This is the beginning of a story. In more than one way, I would imagine. And it is about future worlds, and it is also about a writing and publishing project on Steem that we have been running for a while. The name of that project is @steemfiction. The goal is to show what writers from this blockchain can offer to everybody out there. And what Steem can offer to everybody who gets in here.
Now, the story I will share was originally written for the third planned book which would be sci-fi oriented but we decided to postpone that book, take a couple more months and publish one about the winter holidays first.
How you can join and what we have done so far you can read at the bottom of this post.
Before that...there is a story that can't wait to see you. I love the sci-fi genre and I decided to give you this one and when the time comes...just write another.
It was written as a diary and with each post, an entry (or a few, if they are short) will be revealed, until you have all of it.
And I think it is kind of fitting that I'll be telling you about the made-up month of Rager during the made-up month of Inktober, yes? Well, I couldn't be that stupid to challenge myself to make my own sketchy ink illustrations...
Or could I?
The 3-rd Of Rager — Part I
Log entry #242
Rager 1, Redemption year 9
So, it’s the First of Rager, the month of Nature’s magnificent power, mostly directed at us poor colonists, dying by the score out of our own curiosity.
Tomorrow is going to be a great day! I will reach the outpost and find a team to go and explore, you know, where no one has gone before, but for real.
Log entry #243
Rager 2, Redemption year 9
I left the last Inner Reach Outpost at noon. I saw it disappear in the cloud of dust I made with my runner’s three-foot rear wheel as I leaned forward into the saddle, and an image appeared along the dark edges of my mind. But it didn’t have to come true, right? On average, only three out of every seven settlements were torn apart by natural forces during the course of the season. Before we started building them underground, that is.
So this one had a good chance of still being there when...if...anyway. On average, only one in sixteen explorers came back in one piece after venturing the Great Unknown. Which, for some reason, always tempted me to prove myself that lucky one in sixteen again and again.
What lay south was wild and uncharted alien territory. The kind you usually wouldn’t go into alone. But then again, I have always been alone. Well, at least that meant no splitting any rewards for any new finds and the mapping I could do on the way. Plus, I am never completely on my own while connected to Alice, right?
I needed to find it and I could no longer wait. I mean The Anomaly somewhere in the middle of the desert — the probable cause of most of Redemption’s chaotic behavior.
Besides, I did try recruiting help today. It’s not my fault nobody else would enlist for any expeditions at the very beginning of Rager. I was soon reminded of the why.
Purple skies touched the ground about fifty clicks ahead. I could already see them roiling in the upper regions. Cyclones seemed to be forming both left and right on the horizon. Turning back was not an option. For one thing, I had talked too much at the saloon. Something about guts and the lack of them. And also about spineless creatures that survived by tearing the skins off brave and devoted explorers who just so happened to need refreshment every once in a while. And I mean myself, for the others turned out not to be that brave, after all.
Alice advised me it would be indeed unwise to go back there, my proverbial tail between my legs, in terms of preserving what few social points I had left. At least among those who still remembered my previous contributions to the colony. When I asked her if she was at the same time also speaking to those others at the outpost, who had joked and laughed at my enthusiasm, she admitted she was.
“I told them they’ve been wise not to follow you,” she said.
Well, to hell with them! Screw you, League of Explorers of Pints of Booze and Dens of Cheap Ladies! I have a real job to do!
Alice reminded me I was using foul language on account of the institution that actually paid for my real job. She also reminded me of a saying about those who speak ill of others.
Nice Alice, always frank. And at the very beginning of this trip, she already was helping me immensely. She calculated a route for me and suggested the proper speed so that I was able to thread the needle between both storm fronts, then circle the one to the east. I had to use a lot of the batteries of my runner because moving at extra-high velocity requires extra-powerful shields.
Otherwise, any random creature the size of a beetle would be enough to make a hole through both my armor and body on collision. Considering I might soon be moving under thick electromagnetic carpets, it also felt safer to drain most of the energy down to a minimum. A lot of random creatures the size of beetles decided on bombarding my shields this day.
I found no shelter providing elevations such as I was seeking but rather I found a series of depressions. Deep and dry gorges, striping the land as if carved by rushing parallel rivers long ago in the red-hued soft rocks. I buried a probe and a beacon, and after that, I sent out my reports of the new flora that I was able to register upon those summits. Round, meaty, thorny stuff grew there. Some of it was breathing heat in and out at regular intervals.
I could see no insects near the plants but when I tried to kick a stone out of the way, it let out a squeal and then tried to bite my boot in vengeance. I suppressed the strong desire to shoot it, as appealing as its shape made the idea. I congratulated myself on the good survival instinct. Who knows what size its mommy would be? So I let it chew on my nanofibre-reinforced boots for a while. Meanwhile, I took a few snapshots of it and sent a second report to the mothership. Eventually, the critter got tired and curled back into its stone-appropriate pose by the plant. I took a few more snapshots.
The depressions gradually grew deeper and the gaps between them grew larger so I was soon not able to jump across. The clouds had cleared and orange sunset light made everything look aflame for a while. My stomach had tightened during the ride and I was not yet hungry so I decided I would skip dinner.
I was just thinking about leaving the runner on the high ground while making camp under the same rocky slope when Alice warned me about another storm approaching. I couldn’t see any sign of it yet but there was no point arguing with my omniscient companion. She said it would be a large one this time, no avoiding it, so I had to find a really deep gorge and secure my vehicle somewhere on the bottom of it. Maybe I should put a membrane above my own head, too, for the night.
Navigation says 2,542 clicks to the south-east remain until reaching The Anomaly zone.
As I lay beside my ride at the bottom of a small canyon, I heard the winds above picking up speed and I saw the stardust blankets reflecting flashes down on me even before the clouds in the lower atmosphere come rolling over. The membrane wouldn’t block any sight but it would keep me warm and dry. I wished Alice a good night. I would talk to her in the morning when the storm was over. She answered back, reassuring me she wouldn’t leave me alone. I’m her Bob, she said. The usual pun.
Log entry #244
Rager 4, Redemption year 9
The storm was not over. Alice was gone...
to be continued
Well, log entry #244 continues next time.
If you want to become part of the project...
The books already published:
Voices in the Darkness — Paperback:
And the e-book version:
Our book Voices in the Darkness: Tales from the Steem Blockchain is out! It's alive! It's electronic! It's supernatural!
Dead Silence — E-book version:
Stories authored by:
Huge thanks to all the people who made this happen, including our ninja editor!
And thanks for your support! I hope you enjoy reading the stories. They all have murder in them.
Thank you for being with us!