A New Hope - The stories

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Tell us which you preferred

Poll ended at February 21, 2021, 01:45:53 AM

A Glowing Ray of Hope
3
50%
Different Hopes...
0
No votes
A God’s Hope
2
33%
The Last Star
1
17%
 
Total votes: 6

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Wormtongue
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A New Hope - The stories

Post by Wormtongue »

Good Day, all. Apologies for the delays - there have been fun and games behind the scenes.

We have four responses to the "New Hope" challenge. Read on, and then tell us what you thought.
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A Glowing Ray of Hope

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A Glowing Ray of Hope

By Robin B. Lipinski

It was a war. Just another war in an endless parade of wars which have existed since the time mankind learned to harness the power of hate.

The war was one of science and politics. It was a battle between countries and the struggle to be the dominant society. China. U.S.A. Russia… So many players, so many losers.

The aftermath of this war was the usual scar of disease, broken lives, pollution, and despair. And yet, life continued.

“Do you think we will ever get another crop of corn to grow?” Askers was a farmer who in an earlier period was once a very successful grower of corn in what was once the state known as, Ohio.

“No. The bio-weapon China unleased has changed the DNA of the corn seed. The data shows the days of growing crops as we once knew it is now over.” Tony was Askers friend, and also the one who saved Askers life back when the virus had mutated most of the population into a society of zombies.

“I bet we can get something to grow?” And with that sentence of hope uttered by Asker, Tony left in silence and returned to his bunker.

Back when life was normal, Tony held a job of nuclear scientist. He had worked for the government and knew the power of the atom almost as much as he now knew the hate of humanity. It was because of his earlier work that had done which helped the U.S. survive the onslaught of bio and nuclear weapons waged against. Without the bomb, China would have prevailed. Instead, China glowed with radiation and total death while at least the zombies still lived in the U.S. along with handful of those such as Tony and Asker which survived mostly intact.

Tony entered a large underground bunker where he had survived the war. Inside there was everything a person needed to survive. Clean water. Radiation free food. Warmth. Comfort. Security. There also existed a lab where he made tools for survivors and also, his invention he was working on. He called it the, ray of hope.

“Are you ready for dinner dear?” Elizabeth was Tony’s tenth wife. The previous nine had succumbed to radiation poisoning and a couple of them were eaten by zombies. Elizbeth however, was a true peach. Sexy body. Good cook. And a fantastic marksman. Just the other day she shot and killed over twenty zombies. She even had all her hair and teeth.

“I’ll be there in a minute honey.”

What is a minute? Sixty seconds? For Tony that minute turned into over twenty hours. He became totally engrossed in his work. Elizabeth knew her husband was doing something, very important, so she let him have his space and she placed food and drink inside the room and left him to his work.

Finally, he came out of the room and hugged his wife. “I finished. It is complete and ready.”

“That’s great news. Will it work?” she asked curiously. She knew it was important, but she did not know what it was.

“I guess we’ll all see,” he replied.

Aside from zombies and some old farmers, there was no one around to witness Tony as he set up his ray of hope device.

He had placed it on an old electric truck and drove out toward a small hill. On the way he ran over ten zombies, squishing their decayed head into a purple jelly mush.

It did not take long but soon the device was ready.

With a smile on his face, Tony stepped back and putting his arm around his wife’s shoulder started the countdown.

“10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…”

What a lovely sight! The purest white light the planet had ever witnessed. It was such a powerful and peaceful light, it spread quickly across the planet. Even the side of planet buried in the darkness of light was blinded by the song of Death.

Tony had perfected what mankind had always strived for and wanted. The ultimate weapon of death. His use of knowledge and skill had allowed him to build something so pure, so powerful, so magical and wonderful, the world would never be the same as it would no longer exist.

Earth was vaporized. Totally and completely. No more humanity. No more war. No more fighting. No more zombies. There was nothing left to show that Earth had ever existed. Nothing that is except a fading glow of what was once known as the , glowing ray of hope.
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Different Hopes...

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Different Hopes...

By Sergio "Ente per Ente" Palumbo


The fall to the surface of that planet had been devastating, and it was obvious his destroyed spacepod would not provide any usable parts left. The soldier, Dewei Yneard, 30-year-old, knew that not even the lifesaving module aboard – which was unserviceable now - would be of help to him from that moment on. So, he found himself alone, with little food, and only a few useable weapons. The man was certain he would need them, along with ammunition, because that rock in space was designated on the computer display in his body armor as “a dangerous icy wasteland, far removed from any manned outpost of Earth Empire, filled with huge local predators that commonly prey upon each other day and night. Utmost attention required.” The text continued as follows, “Call to be retrieved already activated. Waiting for response…waiting…waiting…” But no other useful information was forthcoming.

The days here were short on the planet, as Dewei had soon discovered after spending a few hours on the surface, where ancient waves – now icy and motionless - had formed fantastical shapes and shadows over the centuries by crashing into the cliffs. In fact, it was mainly the night, and darkness, that ruled over that desolate world. And a very strange darkness it was, as the whitish shades of the hard snow that covered most of the terrain lightened the overall environment a bit, though that didn’t prevent the unending wind from reaching him everywhere he went along those flat ice-cold plains. He could feel his energy supply getting lower and lower, hour by hour. Dewei was forced to feed on the small protein rations he had with him, by means of a modular tube attached to the helmet that completely enveloped his bald head.

What the man understood, after the first half of the day - and after he had already killed two fierce spiky beasts whose teeth had quickly torn into the reinforced protection of his body armor on his legs and on his arms… – was that he hadn’t many energy shots remaining in the battery of his excimer rifle. His pistol, which he had also recovered from the destroyed spacepod – that had since fallen down a precipice making it unreachable - had a very short range, and even less ammunition left.

Presently, his best hope was the small device on his back that marked his ever-changing location, allowing equipment to find where he was. It was still working, for now, but the man didn’t know how long it would continue to send out a signal, and if some vessels from the Earth Empire would ever find him. He was worried that no help would come before he froze to death and he became, unwillingly, part of that icy, and silent, alien land bereft of any intelligent living beings…

The battle in space had been difficult, and part of their force had been wiped completely out by the attacking Wli-kli-wli who had showed off, on that day, all of their capabilities during that fighting. Then, the starship he was on had ordered everyone to “Evacuate!” and all the soldiers aboard, including him, ran to reach the spacepods and launched. Trying to survive, with the hope of being retrieved later, Dewei had been unlucky, crashlanding on this planet. He didn’t know about the others. His spacepod had probably been dropped late, and attracted by the gravity of the planet.

It was, anyway, when 26 hours of stay on that damn’ world were almost over, and his best hopes had gone with them, that something happened. An unexpected event.

The noises of space engines could be heard in all their power, and suddenly a brilliance went through the overcast sky. A small reddish spaceship appeared, and its descending course brought it to the surface, just a few yards from where the man was resting while trying to repair his damaged body armor.

The metallic hatch opened and two individuals, very tall and very thin, approached him. It took only a few moments for him to understand that both of them had weapons in hands. And their facial traits, though partly hidden in their space armor, reminded him of something he had already seen…

‘Damn’!’ the man thought as the newcomers forced him into their ship. He did as he was ordered, because what other choice did he have after all? It didn’t take long for him to figure out that they were Eklgthue, also called the Dissectionists. These independent aliens had a bloody reputation of cruelly cutting to pieces the confined aliens they detained if they didn’t get the answers they wanted during interrogation.

The hatch closed at their back, and once inside, the air came on. Then the two Eklgthue removed their helmets, and the first one said, “You’re human. And you’re our prisoner now. We caught you, and we’ll make the best out of you…”

“Your coming to us is an opportunity, better than our best hopes! We came here only to get water supply, and instead…look at what we discovered! We need to get money to repair our ships and refuel,” added the smaller alien, with fur on his nose and spherical chin, while standing before the hatch.

“It will be easy to sell the info you’ll give us during the questioning,” the other alien said in a sneer. “Or, in case you die during it, undoubtedly we’ll sell your body parts, and your technology as valuable pieces to be studied by all those less evolved species out there that you humans already wronged during the conquests of your Earth Empire in space. They’ll be thankful, too, and they’ll pay us a good price, for certain…” the first one spoke again.

Then, a gray paralyzing beam was directed towards the man, and darkness enveloped his mind. When he was revived again, he really wished in his heart he had already died on that icy alien world, instead of being there on that damn’ warm spaceship.
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A God’s Hope

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A God’s Hope

By Michelle "Bottomdweller" Dutcher


Within the emptiness of a god’s mind, mountain lions romped and played, suspended in time and space. They had hovered there - alongside memories of lush, green hillsides and cool water rushing over the limestone fords of the Father of Waters – while the Piasa dreamed, high up on a cliff inside a cave inaccessible to all but the bravest. But most of all, he dreamed of all the mountain lions he had cared for and loved over the centuries – for even a god needs a pet.

Windigo climbed the rocky path leading to the cave of his eternal master. The route had fallen into disrepair without human feet to climb it, but it presented no problem for the sure-footed mountain lion. He stopped for a moment to survey the valley so far below him. To the west was the great river and further west than that were the small villages of the humans who lived in the hills. Once there had been tens of thousands these tasty creatures, enough prey for both the lions and their masters, but that food source had run dry generations ago. The only thing visible from those glory days was the picture of his master painted onto the cliffside by the humans who had feared him and sacrificed to him.

The great cat climbed on, upwards ever upwards, toward the lair of the piasa. When he finally reached the cave, he peered inside cautiously, curiously. He saw the heaps of bones as deep as the shoulders of a buffalo and beyond that, the blackness where his master slept. He inched his way forward over the skeletons of dead animals brought to him as sacrifices by the original people. As the light in the cave grew dimmer, he climbed over skeletons of humans the Piasa had claimed as prey a century ago or more.

“Master,” said the mountain lion, lying in sublimation on the cave floor.

The piasa opened one red glowing eye. “Kishi, is that you?” asked the god, raising his head a little, his beard shaking with the movement.

“No, lord. Kishi was my grandfather, many times removed. I, Windigo, am here to serve your needs.” The mountain lion crept a little closer so the huge beast could see him better.

“How long have I been sleeping, and why have you awakened me now?” growled the animal, his mighty wings fluttering slightly.

“The human elders still tell of your exploits from centuries ago. We mountain lions hear them talk in hushed stories around their fires, telling of your reign of terror before you went to sleep.”

“I fell into sleep because our food became scarce. My stomach is still empty.” The piasa looked closer at the mountain lion, it’s tan and black fur reflecting the sunlight from the entrance to the cave. He began to wonder if this large cat might not make a nice snack.

As if the servant had read the hunger in his master’s mind, Windigo announced the reason for his visit. “While I was sitting by the human’s fires, hidden by the darkness of a moonless night, I heard them speaking about other humans who are coming.”

“Humans? How many humans?”

“The villagers whisper they are as many as the stars are in the heavens. Which is why I woke you. I saw some of them. I hoped that we could hunt them together.”

The piasa stood up now, a little unsteadily at first – but it had been almost three centuries since he stood. He used his horns to scratch the scales on his body, his muscles rippling under the scales. “Like the stars?” he asked, cheering up, his humanlike face brightening. “I thought we had killed too many of them. I thought the numbers would never come back, and now you say there are others coming to take their place?”

“Yes, my lord. They come in giant canoes and riding strange animals and bringing their own buffalos and boars with them.” The mountain lion slunk back a little as he could now see the piasa’s full body, a form three times as large as his. “I’ve seen them myself. In fact, there are three of them right now on the top of this mountain. They were following me with their eyes as I entered the cave.”

The piasa licked his lips. It had been centuries since he had tasted warm blood on his tongue and human flesh in his jagged teeth. The pair could hear the humans talking now, shouting to each other. “Lower me a little more, Daniel. I’m sure that cat went into the cave. It’s right below me.”

Suddenly, there in the blue of the sky outside the cave, hanging from a rope, was a large explorer holding a strange stick. The human peered inside the darkness, but he couldn’t see what was leering back him. There was the sound of flapping wings as the piasa grabbed the man in his mouth and dragged it screaming into the cave. The huge god was so hungry he didn’t even notice Windigo tearing off a leg to rip apart, as he was satisfied with the soft, warm entrails. At least he was happy for the moment. His servant had told him there was more meaty prey over the entrance to his lair, and he knew they wouldn’t escape his superior hunting skills.

Yes this would be a good day for the god and his pet, a day of rejoicing and newly awakened hope.
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The Last Star

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The Last Star

By JonTrue


Long after my body has decomposed and the sun I look up to every morning has grown cold and consumed everything I ever have, or ever will, love. After countless millennia pass on the relentless winds of time, as those vigilant points of light in the night sky wink out one by one like fallen soldiers on the battlefield; this ancient universe will come to an end. When time has nearly ravaged all expectation of life, there will be just enough atoms that are scattered just close enough to not be dispersed by the endless void, and just far enough from the mega-black holes that will plaintively consume entire galaxies, to create one final star. It will, for the first time in countless eons, ignite into an infinite inky blackness. A single ephemeral flicker of promise that will itself extinguish before the light of its birth cry bathes the frozen corpses of a trillion civilizations.

This star, which my eyes will never gaze upon, the very definition of exasperated futility as it bursts forth with every ounce of energy it can muster, will come to warm one last rock. With time, and luck, that rock will attract others, some carrying a precious cargo of water. Well into the last star’s infancy, the waves of vast oceans will lap and crash with white foam onto rocky shores that we might find — almost familiar.

There will be loss and tragedy that befalls the tiny planet. It will form life only to have it all but destroyed by a rogue comet that escaped a distant solar system when the last star was nothing more than a dark cloud of dust spinning in the void. Ice ages and solar flares will bring the planet to the very brink of desertion, but from that seemingly insuperable devastation, life will emerge again, stronger and more durable than before. When the first eyes glance at the heavens, they will not spend their nights in awe of the countless constellations as we did. Their thinkers, dreamers, and lovers will not be inspired to touch the heavens. Their inspiration will be drawn to the idea of other worlds, beyond what they can see.

Their prodigious minds will not be focused on astrophysics, their version of Galileo will care not for invisible ellipses, but something that was altogether foreign to our primitive ancestors. Under the protection, care, and nourishment of that last star a people will arise that will focus all of their creativity, knowledge, ambition, and aspiration to opening a propitious door to other universes. Eventually, as they build off the work of those that came before them, as those brave learned people sacrifice their fleeting lives for the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of their world, they will succeed.

Before the inexorable end days of the last star, before this universe grows black and silent for the last time, a great door will be devised. Some of the people will decide to stay, and die as their star, the last star, consumes everything they have known and loved. They will accept their fate, and some will curse those that leave for not abiding by the Creator’s will. Many others though; will make the journey.

The people who came to be under the light of the last star will travel the expanse between universes with a single step through a doorway large enough for an entire civilization to move through. Every creature that called their planet home, every machination and monument, every work of art and family heirloom that they held dear will be carried and coaxed as they walk trepidatiously through that fateful door. I need to believe, although I know it foolish, an atom or two from us will be carried across that threshold, into a new universe still in its infancy, an overflowing cup of unparalleled possibility. I cling to the desperate notion that with the people of the last star we, in some small way, continue on after this universe comes to a slow, uninspired frozen death of darkness. The look of unbridled awe upon their faces, as they see the endless twinkling stars of a young universe for the first time, cause my words to fail me. It sparks an ineffable feeling in my chest, one that I can only inaccurately describe as unbridled joy. In that moment, as the cool starlight washes over them, as they traverse to their new home, they, the children of the last star, will embody a single word: hope.
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Re: A New Hope - The stories

Post by ente per ente »

My vote is in...eh,eh :D
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