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#22451 - 06/27/07 09:56 PM The Chronicles of a Vast World
Tim Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 192
Loc: California
This is a Science-Fiction story that I am currently writing, in first person point of view. It is from a Marine's point of view landing on a foreign planet having been his whole life been on a ship for the Anthos Federation to colonize it. The title above is tentative, as the names are also; and refers to the chronicles of this planet of this story is part of, spanning over millenia. The rest are not science fiction due to the inhabitants living in it in the cultural past in our point of view.

ENTRY #1, LANDING + 14
My whole life I have been traveling merely as a sojourner to an unknown world. The very prospect of it has wondered me; for in all my days I had not yet set foot upon its grand, seemingly immovable surface. Voyaging through this vast universe, at velocities that can only be watered down if tried to describe. Representing an Empire, a Federation, a People whom I have never seen before. Undergoing an extensive exercise program, so as not to deteriorate my muscles and to equip me for the time ahead.
Each and every day I romanticized our -mine and the rest of the fleet’s- colonization. Seemingly thinking that our AF-23s, frigates, landing craft, and civilian passenger ships could bring peace to the unconquered. It was our last hope, I thought in my mind. Our last hope to set right this cosmic universe.
Now, as I am writing this, I have seen that I was wrong. We all were, regardless if we had expected the best or the worst for this mission. Now when I say ‘We,’ I mean the multitude of people I journeyed with to this system, most not having met except for the between-craft briefings on the virtual screen. Most have perished, the others deserted on courses I can only ponder at; for there is only one other planet in this System; a gas giant. I am now here, on this planet our Federation called, when writing the mission plan, G19 along with a handful of survivors.
Now I realize that telling the outcome of my adventures could in some cases be anti-climactic. This I know, for I have read the great literature known to Anthos; the classics, the moderns and post-moderns, and even the archaic books. It is my job, though, to report what happened. I do not know who I am writing to, or even if this will reach anyone before it is engulfed by time, but I must get my thoughts out.
Something, as you can already have guessed, went wrong. What, I do not know, only speculate. I will keep a log discussing the multitude of findings of this alien planet, of both the civilization that once lived here, as well as our fleet’s destruction, adding to it as more evidence is known to the survivors and I.
I now must get to the point of my experiences:
Along with everyone else, I had been genetically engineered and born in the Fertility Room upon this ship. Since perhaps a few years old, we were required to train for landing upon the planet and any other activities we might need just in case. It was here that each of us diverged into our own distinct areas; those who would be pilots, scouts, or would stay on the ships and orbit the planet. Some who would be engineers or journalists. The civilian ships were similar, one selected each generation to become the Emissary to the Anthos Federation and the others undergoing activity to stimulate themselves on the multi-generational voyage.
I was perhaps in my mid-twenties when we first entered the system in which this planet resided. It was then when our training accelerated, just as our fleet started to decelerate as to not come in too fast. Collectively, we all became aware that this was it, we were finally upon the last hope for Anthos. The horror of failure came along with it, telling us that if our mission did not succeed, or if the planet was lost, then the universe itself might collapse. We realized that we were searching for the last planet in the known universe that was capable of sustaining life such as ourselves. Now, to this day, we are not sure if that is so; that the General had been given some propaganda from higher up in command in order for his mission to succeed. We survivors can only hope that there are yet possibilities. There is a voice deep within me that says Yes, that has always said that. As I look at from this world, I see many points of light moving ever so slightly in the night sky. Perhaps each of those stars harbors a planet of rock similar to the one I am on, but have not been accounted for. Surely there is, someplace far beyond what is known. Flippantly, I have made a deal with Corporal Malthus that whomever finds the next habitable world first would not have to do dishes for a cycle. That was a few days ago; now I realize how foolish I was, for there is no chance of doing dishes. Our ship’s engines have no way of re-ignition, and the Natives have relatively primitive appliances.
Now, returning to the story I have vowed to record, before it will be lost for all eternity; I will skip directly to when we emerged close enough to the planet to view it:
As I have already said, all of us had been waiting this moment for a long time. In the literal sense, we were born for this moment, as well as the figurative. Me and Sergeant Nahat [Hebrew, 5183; Rest or Tranquility, Isaiah 30:15] (who was my cabin-mate; we shared many a stories together) were taught to man the scouting vehicle. Secretly, I felt lucky to be a scout for the Federation of Anthos, taking pride in my position. For a sense of adventure and wonderment had been creeping into me since I was a boy of how this planet would turn out. Surely the large, open spaces would be more comfortable than our dorms. How curious it would be to have the sun’s rays directed onto the skin directly, without getting a horrible disease. How beautiful the planet would be. How it was actually a living thing, swaying with high velocities and grand, yet soft and near.
The vehicle itself was a wonder. Engraved with the FA inscription of a whitish dove clutching a red stem saying, “ANTHOS; PEACE BE WITH ALL.” Some type of circular pieces meant to progress across terrain called “Wheels”; we had been told that it was because of they that the whole Federation was possible, and was built upon. Although plasma and ion energy was more efficient, I must admit that the Wheels also created a sense of awe; most likely an atavism passed down through many generations. The scout buggy was built to hold three, but for the scouting needed only two. The other, we had been told, was to hold any who are wounded, “not that we count on there being any.” Communications were there also, including a “live” video and audio feed up to the command center in the atmosphere. It, therefore, was not live as it would take a minimal amount of time to reach the station, and to synchronize the light and sound components in the file.
I was glad to have a partner so dutiful as Nahat. It is too bad, though, that he has now passed on, and is now one with the world. Though it is what he would have wanted, after a lifetime of training. His corpse now lies not too far away from I, where I am writing this, in a makeshift grave dug by his rifle.
Reminding me of back where I now reside, it is getting very late. The darkness upon this place is so complete, the stars made so visible, that anyone in the Federation would long to see it themselves. Yet there is one drawback to it; only a light from my pack illuminates me and my small band of survivors, and we must conserve our precious energy. We have already given the Natives a sizeable amount, for it wonders them, and would not leave us until we gave them the stick. We are very busy, and it might be quite some time until I continue this diary of sorts, and know not exactly how I am supposed to end each entry. I can only hope that I will survive another day to record the rest of what happened, lest it be lost; never to be salvaged again by men. Peace be with you, for now.

ENTRY #2, LANDING +16
It has been a few days since I have last written, and my squad and I have done a great amount in that time. But before I get to that, I must finish recounting the story of how we landed on the planet. When we were in the atmosphere seems to be a good place to start:
I remember vividly seeing the planet up-close. There were mostly patches of blue and green, accompanied by some brown and grey. There also seemed to be a small thing already in orbit around it called a Moon. From what I had overheard, it was just a smaller version of the planet caught in its orbit due to its diminutive size. There was sent to it an unmanned landing craft, since it was not known whether it had an atmosphere or not.
From the window near my station I could see behind me some blue lights burning; a multitude of ships. Still further out and blurred due to the intense light were stars. In that moment I wondered whether there were others just as me, residing on all those other planets or stations, secluded by time and space.
We heard the Captain’s voice on the intercom telling us to brace for the high gravities we would face coming in. I was strapped in, unable to move very much. There was an exhilarating sense to it, despite the sharp pain we all felt. I know that it was not just me since I had talked to Sergeant Nahat after we landed before he went to his grave. This last part of the journey seemed the hardest, even though it was the briefest, lasting a few hours. The others on different ships which were to land on the later waves would have envied us for just getting it over with. Or so I thought, to keep my spirits up; and had been telling the other crewmen for as long as I could grasp our mission concept.
Finally, we slowed to a sudden halt that I am sure would have sliced us in two had we not have collision shields and belts. No one knew what had happened, for we seemed not to be moving anymore. On my communications HUD the light appeared telling us to disengage the craft. Apparently Nahat’s had told him the same, as he looked at me in confusion. As if in slow motion, I heard a loud boom as if in the distance, shattering the window next to me. This was it.
As if we did this everyday, we walked down the flight of stairs into the main hangar bay to board our buggy. In the limited peripheral vision I had, I could see another crew attempting to board their own scout craft. Getting it started was easy, as we actually had been doing this every day since childhood via simulations. Everything went smoothly, and within a minute we had disembarked the large frigate.
My first look at the planet was something words that I write now cannot even describe. It seemed so spacious, so available, without any hindrances whatsoever. Our frigate had left a fiery trail not far from it, which could have been from the ion fusion reactor’s heat. But besides that, there was little evidence a pride of the Federation had landed on this remote planet. Out in the distance there was another, on the trough of some hill, and looking upward I saw many black spots on a clear-blue sky. Now that I have witnessed this planet, and have seen the species living on it, I would liken the sight to what the Natives call birds. For the creatures (which are not endowed with Reason) fly at high altitudes in the sky at high velocities.
As I was the Surveyor, and the Sergeant the driver, it was naturally my job to examine the terrain and life-forms of this world. Though equipped with a rifle and in the Military, I was also a keeper of the peace, and was cautioned only to use its force whenever no other choice was possible. For as I thought; “We had came to bring peace.” The fool that I was, we all were. Except for a Private who had been preaching that what had happened would happen for quite some time; he also is now dead, I believe, since he would have been still in orbit when It happened.
I was in that first day’s journey thoroughly impressed with this world, never having seen anything like it. Sure, they had shown us grained photos of other planets in the Central Federation, but those were Industrialized and thousands of years uninhabitable and desolate. But the various textures and colors and life on this planet were astounding. I gathered a few species of the nimloths as the Natives later told me they were called, to be analyzed on the on-board laboratories on the landed frigate later. To not damage the specimens, special canisters attached to our buggy were used to store them until then. That night, a few minutes after the sun had set, (since the planet is circular, and orbits around its Sun, the light source disappears for a time, and is called night) we got a radio transmission from Sergeant Heurisko [Greek 2147; to find] and Corporal Kataneuo [Greek 2656, signal or beckon], saying that they had contacted an ingenious tribe of what they thought were the intelligent life of the planet. They sent us their location via satellite to us, and the Sergeant and I quickly found them, for they were not too far away from us.
And sure enough, there was a large clearing with primitive dwellings. At the far end of the clearing, the white buggy was clearly visible, even in the emerging darkness. Slowly we emerged, and through the windshield I could see scores of faces staring intently. Nahat seemed extremely excited at this find, just as I was. I remember saying something to him- “All of our lives we have longed for this moment” or something of the sort, as we stopped to dismount. In the distance, the only noise in the gloaming, a few rumbling engines could be heard. It was then that it occurred to me that perhaps we were destroying the Native’s calm and peaceful lives. Despite this, I stepped down, and peered at the creature closest to me, examining hardly his face.

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#22453 - 06/27/07 10:04 PM Re: The Chronicles of a Vast World [Re: Tim]
dr_rocket Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/06
Posts: 196
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
Hi Tim,

Not bad. You need to finish it and get it published, then we can read it at our leisure. Just make sure you tell us when it hits the market.

Dr. R.

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#22457 - 06/27/07 10:45 PM Re: The Chronicles of a Vast World [Re: dr_rocket]
Tim Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/16/06
Posts: 192
Loc: California
Oh, thanks. Yeah, well that might take a while since I am still in high school. But so far I have at least 50 coherent stories spanning many millenia on this fictional planet. In fact, i havent even named it yet; possibly Anthos, although that would contradict the space republic federation's name.

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#22501 - 06/28/07 09:35 PM Re: The Chronicles of a Vast World [Re: Tim]
dr_rocket Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/06
Posts: 196
Loc: Palo Alto, CA, USA
Hi Tim,

Don't worry about being in high school. Plenty of people start their career young. You might have to suffer a few rejections at the hand of publishers - complaining about style, age or whatever. Nothing is or can stop you but your own lack of will.

As far as that goes don't even worry about polishing your style. To see what I mean look at Heinlein's first novel "For Us the Living: A Comedy of Customs" (1939) It's nothing like his more polished mature style, say in "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" (1966, Hugo 1967).

In any case, with all the crap that's out there, you could hardly do worse. After you get that first one in print you will be off like a rocket.

Good Luck,

Dr. R.

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#22514 - 06/29/07 06:11 AM Re: The Chronicles of a Vast World [Re: dr_rocket]
Wolfman Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 264
Loc: Pago Pago, American Samoa
Tim, you go, Boy. I have long said what the world needs is more Science Fiction writers. Almost any Scientist you talk to or see interviewed, when asked the question, "How did you become interested in Science?", will respond. "When I was a kid, I read this book..."
One piece of advice; Read, Read, Read. The works of other successful Sci-Fi writers. Start with this, by Harlan Ellison - "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream".

All the best!

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#22533 - 06/30/07 04:01 AM Re: The Chronicles of a Vast World [Re: Wolfman]
Ellis Offline
Megastar

Registered: 01/08/07
Posts: 1490
Loc: Australia
I liked your story very much Tim. It is thoughtful and lively at the same time. Don't worry too much about publishing and the opinion of others at this stage. Just write!(And take Wolf's advice to read---heaps). Good SF is hard to find, and it will be great to see you succeed.

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