The Game

   In the year 20xx, two... Bengal companies decided that the economic climate was against them and that the situation could no longer be tolerated.

   The market was heavily influenced by the older players, the rules tended to be made undemocratically and the chances they had were far from fair. After may months of deliberation, they decided that something had to change... A small number of private schools were created, where the teaching methodology was radically altered. The subjects the children studied were reevaluated and alternatives were considered. The results were as follows:

   1. Earth Sciences. A new subject was introduced, called Earth Sciences, which replaced geography, history, botanics and biology. It's purpose was to familiarize the children with their immediate environment: places, plants, animals, people.
   2. Medicine. A new subject was introduced, called Medicine, which replaced anatomy, biology, botanics and chemistry. It's purpose was to teach the children as much as possible about health related issues, hygiene, healing and poisonous plants and animals.
   3. Architecture. A new subject was introduced, called Architecture, which replaced geometry, calculus, biology and botanics.
   4. Engineering. A new subject was introduced, called Engineering, which replaced physics, calculus and chemistry.
   5. Visual Arts. A new subject was introduced, called Visual Arts, which replaced crafts, anatomy, biology and optics.
   6. Musical Arts. A new subject was introduces, called Musical Arts, which replaced Music, Acoustics and Crafts.
   7. Human Sciences. A new subject was introduced, called Human Sciences, which replaced history, languages, geography, archeology, religion, psychology and ethics.
   8. The Game. A new subject was introduced, called The Game, which replaced sports and included all of the above.

   Furthermore, it was decided that each year one subject - and only one - would have priority over all others. It was also decided that each child would chose his or her priority subject each year, thus selecting the path that attracted them the most very early in their development.

   All subjects were pursued from top to bottom and from the bottom to the top. The children were engaged in specific projects, which required new skills and new information, while helping to organize and revisit old skills and information at the same time. Creativity and innovation were encouraged.

   All new skills and all new projects were integrated into The Game, which was...

   The Game was the ultimate testing ground for all assimilated knowledge and physical training. It was a complex set of buildings and machines, which incorporated architecture, engineering, chemistry, medicine and required the children to use all of their skills to achieve maximum results.

   For example:

   - knowledge of geometry was required to select the optimum positioning and attitude of the body
   - physics was required to select the optimum amount of force to apply in order to achieve the desired trajectory
   - biology and botanics was required to identify conditions in a specific area of The Game (atmosphere, possible dangers)
   - architecture was required to build new Game features and to improve design
   - chemistry was required to create new dynamic assemblies and machines for The Game
   - visual arts were required to create optical illusions and other Game features

   At first, The Game evolved almost exclusively on the ground, but as the children progressed trough their studies and training, The Game became more and more complex. Soon The Game integrated aerial features: jumps, short flights and later water and other fluids.

   After that, The Game integrated underpowered suits, for longer exposure to different environments: air, water. After that came powered suits, fitted with adjustable blade-like wings, for sustained flight (more blades deployed meant more surface area but less speed, of course).

   After that The Game integrated hydro-engines, for sustained water and fluid propulsion.

   After that, The Game integrated underground excavation equipment. As the children created tunnels through the ground, construction materials were pumped into them, so that small structures were created. In time the structures evolved and became larger, bigger and more complex. As the capabilities of the suits and the strength of the construction materials available were enhanced, the underground depths reached increased. It became possible to go deeper and deeper underground and higher and higher above ground, respectively.

   At some point the skills of the children and the capabilities of the technology made it possible to drill down to the mantle and build structures by using nothing but molten lava, carefully guided in selected patterns. At some point it became possible to create aboveground structures in exactly the same way, with minimum effort.

   At some point it even became possible to create entire islands from the ocean. Or even continents!

   At some point it became possible to create reliable mathematical models to map and predict earthquakes. It then became possible to influence the movement of the mantle and the crust, in order to control, limit and eventually eliminate earthquakes entirely, harvesting vast amounts of tectonic energy in the process.

   At some point it was decided to enhance The Game to include the outer space. A massive new chain of islands was engineered, which would support a structure strong, light and inexpensive enough to reach to a height of 100 Km. To reach outer space, basically.

   The first proposal was a tower, but considerations like stability and exposure to the elements determined that the it would have been impractical; dangerous, even. The final structure was a matchstick pyramid, with a base equal to it's height: 100 Km. New machines were created, called Spiders, which built small sections of the structure as they went along and glued them in place, just like a spider's web. Powerful engines, flexible joints and computers provided the structure's stability.

   Work progressed rapidly, and new levels of The Game were designed to take advantage of the new structure which stood 100 kilometers tall, when completed.

   A Sky Drive was installed, which would ferry people and materials to the top of the pyramid. There was speculation even that actually the ancient pyramids served the exact same purpose, but the lack of materials and technology made it impossible to function in that capacity, obviously.

   At some point, construction of a new space structure began; a structure which was basically a circle, standing 250 kilometers above the planet, around the planet. The same spider machines were used to build it. When the circle was completed, another was built perpendicular to the first. Then another and another, until the entire structure gained enough strenght and stability, forming a cage around the planet.

   At some point after that, work began on a new structure, some 10.000 kilometers away from Earth, which would serve as a linear magnetic accelerator for Moon travel. When it was completed, a massive colonization effort began on The Moon. Very soon a pyramid was built on The Moon, then a cage and finally an accelerator. Soon after that the effort was expanded to Mars and Venus, and in a few short years the entire solar system was colonized, each planet with it's own pyramid, cage and accelerator.

   The entire system was powered by an unlimited supply of solar power, collected close to the Sun and then transmitted everywhere.

   After that, interstellar travel was considered. A new massive circular accelerator was built, which would accelerate a ship up to half the speed of light and then point it at the nearest stars. It wasn't easy but... it sure was a tremendous adventure. The prospect of traveling 8 light years to the nearest star wasn't pretty, plus the time it took to accelerate and decelerate the ship, but the people were confident that there would soon be ships that could travel much faster than that, ships which would pick them up long before they reached their destination...

Scene... 1245...

     The General, the scientists and the crew discuss the need for safety at all times and the mandatory use of space suits. Personal grooming and hygiene comes into the conversation.


     “And how are we going to go number 2 in these freaking suits?”, Steve asked incredulously. We’ll always have to take them off, put them back on, take them off and put them back on over and over again. That sounds like a lot of work to me!”
     “Everything sounds like a lot of work to you, honey...”, mumbled his wife.
     “Actually, no, we don’t have to take them off”, said the Captain.” The suits, I mean. If I recall correctly, the latest models have a built-in toilet, don’t they? Don’t they, doc?”
     ”Yes, they do”, said the scientist in charge.
     “See? No problem, mate!”, jumped William, hitting Steve up the head with the flat of his palm.
     “Well, yeah... But it’s still messy...”.
     “I know!”, said Bruce. “For you and you alone, buddy - and this is a one time limited offer - we will have ourselves a new invention!”, he said, tapping him affectionately on the shoulder. “We’ll just stick a tube up your butt and some foil!”, he said with conviction, while the look on the poor bastard’s face turned to pure horror.
     “And then”, he continued with an air of complete satisfaction on his face, you’ll just shoot out nicely wrapped, colorless, odorless rabbit type pellets! How’s that for ya? See? Don’t you ever say we never listen to you!”
     “Hey, that’s a great idea, Commander”, said the Captain, grabbing one arm of the poor hapless Steve, while William was grabbing the other.
     “An excellent idea indeed!”, jumped Susan, while the two were starting to drag him away.
     “Guys... Guys... This is not funny!... Guys??!!”

To be continued

Desperados: The Veeery Slow Guitar Cover

   Well... here it is. It is slow, but I already said that. There are a few mistakes, and there is a chunk missing at the end. There. Disclaimer over, now listen to the song. If you dare.

One Week 'Till the End

   of the World!

End of the World

(Just in case you've forgotten.)

Scene... 1411...

    Somewhere in a room...


    “Com’ on, General!”, protested Bill loudly. “That’s the dumbest rule I’ve ever heard!” he said, gesticulating widely.
    “Why do we have to be married? And worse than that”, he said, moving in closer to the general’s ear, shifting his eyes around the room with a weaselly expression, “do we really have to take the old ball and chain with us?”, he whispered, pointing his head towards Susan in a... ahem... discrete manner.
    “I’ll show you ball and chain!”, jumped Susan.
    “You’d better watch it, Lieutenant...”, Claire jumped on him too, ominously.
    “Ladies... ladies...”, he said stepping sideways, arms raised, palms open, with little success though, because he barely had time to dodge one of the better placed blows from his future wife.
    “I’m sorry... I’m sorry... I didn’t mean any disrespect... I was simply stating...”
    “... the obvious...”, Steve muttered from his corner, immediately attracting the wrath of all women present.
    “Stand down, everyone,” barked the General, rising to his feet exasperated. “The doctors said this is the best thing possible for your mental health. Besides”, he added, “we don’t want you chasing each other all over Mars, Lieutenant, do we?”
    “Hmmm...”, said Rebecca, joining in the mayhem. “I don’t know, General... I think I wouldn’t mind a good chasing...”
    “And I think I can arrange that”, Jack whispered into her ear, while Rebecca smiled at him languorously.
    “At ease, Captain”, said the General. “Not you too!”
    “Our decision is final”, the General concluded. “President’s orders. We want you to have no worries up there, other than the mission. And if the shrink says this is best for you... then... you’ll be married! End of discussion.” Then turning to William.
    “If I were you, Lieutenant, I’d start doing something about that right away.”
    “Yes, Sir. Right away, General, Sir!”
    Then suddenly turning to the General’s aide and dropping down on his knee: “Will you marry me?”
    He barely had time to bolt out the door, skilfully avoiding another shot from Susan.

To be continued...

© The Far Settler 2012. All rights reserved.

Scene Two

   Same place as before.


   At exactly that moment Jack walked in, coming out of nowhere. “Good morning, honey”, he said to his wife. “What’s going on here? I heard some noises”.
   “Oh, it’s nothing, dear,” she said playfully. “Just some harmless fun, that’s all.”
   “I see...”, he replied, not exactly believing her. “ You’ve been harassing the poor Lieutenant again, haven’t you?”, he said, his face suddenly severe.
   “Don’t worry, dear”, she said, purring her way out of trouble. “Just some harmless fun, to pass the time.”
   “Riiight...”, he said, putting on his “I don’t exactly trust you” look.
   “But enough about that,” she said, changing the subject. “Where have you been?”, she retaliated, her face changing to an inquisitive cold mask in a heartbeat. “Huh?”
   “Oh, that! Heh, heh...”, Jack started. “The General called. I was just getting ready to go there right now.”
   Rebecca's face softened suddenly, with a worried look in her eyes.
   “No... At least I don’t think so. I have to go”, he said, giving her a quick kiss. “Talk later.”
   Then the captain stepped away and disappeared beyond the massive white door, opening wide in the equally massive white wall.
   “Why does he get to go outside?!”, a voice mewed a subdued revolt from somewhere.
   “Well... he’s the captain...”, Rebecca said, raising her arms and shoulders.

To be continued...

© The Far Settler 2012. All rights reserved.