[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 2

No Mans Sky Atlas Rises

Sixteen. Over and over and over. Through finding Artemis, putting up with Apollo, getting my footing with Nada and Polo and their strange space station, it’s always been sixteen. Across the worlds and systems of the Euclid Galaxy, that number has shown up everywhere. Gek and Vy’Keen never remembered speaking about it, though they did, and with voices not their own. The Korvax never spoke of it, but they were closer to the Atlas than anyone but the Sentinels. And I’ve found no evidence that the Sentinels have ever spoken to anyone.

Since my last communication, I’ve made it back onto the anomalous station. Something drove me to keep trying, despite the threat of painful discorporation. It wasn’t the blueprints, and it wasn’t the frantic hustle and bustle of all of the Travelers. Maybe it was Nada’s sad acceptance of the multiverse’s fate. Maybe it was the rich, chocolatey scent of Polo’s continued hope. Ah, I’m skipping ahead.

I couldn’t shake the pull. I hadn’t seen any other Travelers on Akrodne X, except for Elearu, in ages. They could have left for other systems, or perhaps they’d slipped out of our reality, like Artemis had. Who could know? I’d find myself staring out through the glass of my grow domes, at a countryside littered with abandoned bases, slowly being reclaimed by the environment.

I could no longer find the solace in building that I once had, that Elearu still did. I had put so much of myself into creating these sprawling pods, glass-filled corridors, and underground concrete. I had built something beautiful, but it was complete. My compatriots, Gek, Vy’Keen, Korvax, and whatever the Overseer was, could operate just fine without me. They had their own project and own lives, despite Attendant Eil’s implications.

I looked to the stars next. I’d explored several nearby systems, but each was so like the last. There had to be more. There had to be.

There was. I had been told that many Travelers had ventured toward the center of the galaxy, in search of the Atlas itself, but that few returned. Perhaps they’d found renewed purpose, a place to call home, or something more sinister had happened to them. Nada had expressed their misgivings about seeking it out, and I’d put together some of the why. The Atlas was tightly linked to the Korvax hive mine, and Nada had been split from it for a very long time. Most didn’t survive that sundering, let alone thrive. Nada was afraid of being forced to rejoin, and of losing their individuality among the many. And they were right to fear.

The Sentinels were designed to answer directly to the Atlas, and they had wiped out entire universes of living beings. The ancient Gek had been punished by the Atlas, reduced from a mighty empire to trade-obsessed merchants, for their transgressions against the Korvax. It mercilessly hunted any being that rebelled against it or sought to escape it. Fearing the Atlas was wise.

And yet, the visions I’d received from the ruined monuments told me that there was more to it. The appearance of shattered worlds told me that something was wrong. And Null had said the Atlas was in great pain. Were we, the Travelers, not the Atlas’ way of knowing itself? Were we not its curiosity? Its drive to understand? That’s why the Gek fear us. That’s why the Vy’Keen aid us. That’s why the Korvax revere us.

And maybe that’s why I had to know for myself.

Closets full of skeletons

Livejournal Icon | Basic Round Social Iconset | S-IconsAs part of switching over to a new setup and layout for the site, I’ve needed to finally go back and switch from WordPress’s category system (old and busted) to the tagging system (new hotness).

It’s tedious, but it’s worthwhile, and I should have done it ages ago. I’ve started at the oldest posts, and am working my way forward. Of course, those posts are part of the massive LiveJournal import I did before I closed that account. And hoo boy, are these LiveJournal posts.

The signs for my anxiety and my migraines were clear, and I was a stubborn idiot not to recognize them. I had thought that my first real migraine was on my honeymoon with my first wife, but these entries say otherwise. All of the symptoms are there, and some of the headaches lasted for days. I’d been having them a LOT longer than I’d thought. And my anxiety, mostly about work and failing those I cared about… wow, it was intense. It wasn’t the same flavor as when my life began to revolve around children, but it is clear as day to me, in the now.

There are all kinds of details that I’ve misremembered over the years. Not the big, life-changing ones, but the small ones that I could have sworn went another way.

Also, it should be known that, as a bachelor, I marinated A LOT of what I cooked overnight. Maybe I should start doing that again.

Also, since all of this was posted to the internet, and I’ve decided to keep the posts alive here, I should NEVER run for office. Or, I suppose, if I do, be ready to glory in my younger self, rather than be ashamed of the shit that came out of my mouth.

Whichever. :)

Writing Journal

My No Man’s Sky character doesn’t really have a personality. He’s made choices, buffeted by the story line and the revelations that came from finishing quest lines, but he’s never been active about it. He’s never had a driving goal, or something to accomplish for himself. A completely passive character isn’t compelling, and isn’t fun to write.

The game has been fun to play, don’t get me wrong. There’s no way I’d have as many hours into it as I do if it wasn’t. I would never have stuck around through the bugs, the graphics clipping, and the new bugs introduced (and then subsequently resolved) with every major update. I’d have never weathered the game’s detractors and the controversy surrounding its launch that still hangs on, four years later. My favorite aspect of the game, base building, is still hobbled by the game’s inability to negotiate between terrain modification and terrain regeneration/respawn.

And yet, it’s fun for me, and I stick around.

The difficulty with my fan fiction idea is that I chose to make my PC the main character, when he’s just a thin veneer laid over whatever neat thing I want to accomplish next. That leaves two options that I can see:

  • Write stories about another Traveler out in the No Man’s Sky multiverse. That leaves me to continue playing as I have, and allows freedom to stretch that might not exist if I’m constrained to writing about what happens in-game.
  • Take the opportunity provided by switching to playing on PC to actually play a character. I’ve started over in the quest and story progression, which means I can play a character in the game, rather than letting the game drag me along.

I should give this some thought, and find out what my streaming community thinks.

Building a Minecraft Machine

So, way back around Christmas time, each of my kids asked me to build something for them or install something on their computers. My daughter wanted to learn a language on her computer. DuoLingo to the rescue. My youngest son wanted java Minecraft, with the Pixelmon mod. Done easily enough. My middle son wanted a computer to play Minecraft on when he came out to my place. Ah! A challenge!

I tend to keep pieces and parts lying around, so I went digging. I had a Lenovo ThinkCentre super small form factor PC from the Other Project, along with its mounting bracket. I had a brand new mouse, but it was from the PS/2 era. I had a monitor that I was using to troubleshoot my server when it went sideways. I had a keyboard collecting dust. That was pretty much everything I needed. Except, of course, the ThinkCentre didn’t have a PS/2 port. Too new for that. So, once again, adapters to the rescue! A quick trip to the local Micro Center, some browsing in their adapter aisle, and I came home with this oldie-but-goodie.

He wanted to play on the family Bedrock server, so Windows 10 was the operating system of choice. Then, I mounted the bracket onto the back of the monitor, and plugged all the bits and bobs in. Keyboard, mouse, monitor, everything was recognized the first time around. There was a little bit of tinkering with drivers, a little bit of poking and prodding, but in the end, everything worked, right down to the wifi.

So, now I’d made the gift, got it together, and tested Minecraft on it. No delays, snappy response, and no drops from the server. It would never play something high-end, but it did what I needed it to do. But, my middle son wasn’t out to my place as often as his younger siblings, so I needed to be able to store it away. The monitor cable was easy to wrap up and tie, but what about the mouse? It couldn’t be permanently shortened, he’d need slack on it when he used it. I’m not sure why, but this is my favorite part of the build. Two curtain hooks from an old box fit right between the computer case and the mount bracket, and the mouse wraps around them just like a vacuum power cord.

When he got the computer, my son loved it. He was excited, and the first thing out of his mouth was… “Can I play Fortnite on it?”

Ah, well. Can’t win them all!

[Fan Fiction] Predecessor, pt 1

Three switches was all it took to relinquish control of my faithful ship, the Crystal Song, to the station’s auto-docking system. Once again, I flipped them, the motions burned into my brain from what seemed like years of piloting. The ship and station seemed to spin as they negotiated a common horizon. I focused on slowing my breathing and keeping my muscles relaxed. If it happened again, it was likely to hurt just as bad as the last several times. Unfortunately, the Anomaly, as it was commonly known, was the only place in this universe or any other where I could exchange the salvaged tech I’d dug up for blueprints. And I REALLY wanted those blueprints.

The outside doors opened, and the Crystal Song was through. Incomprehensible machinery moved, switched, and rotated around the ship as I slowly drifted forward, toward the inner doors. Maybe this time would be different. I’d gotten in once since this had started happening, but I didn’t have anything to trade. Of course, now that my hold was full to the brim, as they say, I couldn’t get in. And each attempt was more painful than the last.

The inner doors cracked open, spilling out warm, intense white light. This was it. Moment of truth. The doors slid all the way open, and the Song’s instrument panel faded to the light filling my vision. So close! Just one more second, and I’d be through…

The warm white changed to a cold, harsh blue. Every nerve ending lit up in pain. It felt like being torn apart and being pulled away, like every atom in me screaming away from ever other, but I was still alive enough to feel it. Then all I could hear was my own screaming voice, and my body was rebuilding itself inside my base on Akrodne X. It took only a moment, and then the pain was gone as if it had never been.

I was breathing so hard that my faceplate was fogging up. How many times was that? Five? Six? I haven’t tried it again since. The Anomaly hovers there, hanging in space next to the system’s station, taunting me. But I’m not risking it again. Not for a long while.