No LDE this weekend

This weekend will not have any ‘Lone Dark Ember’ material, due to a birthday in the family and having to redo the blog because someone actually tried to do a hostile takeover of it! Pretty amazing. Also, finalizing the setup I need for Savage Sparks.

 

This week will have ‘Savage Sparks’ for its entries.

 

Last week was ‘Isles of Doom’, focusing on the ‘Saving the World is Not Changing it’ era.

Lone Dark Ember 2

The Burnt Lands. There’s not a single one of them, but multiple ones. Too many for anyone’s comfort. The star at the center of this eggshell against entropy pulses with energy as it continues its work devouring its nuclear feast. And due to losing some of its own fuel, every so often it will pulse and emit strong blasts of radiation and eject some of its own mass out. In times of long ago, this happened only incredibly rarely, once every few million years. The builders of the sphere knew this would happen and put safeguards in place to protect against this, which most people now call ‘sunshields’.

Of course, not everything is perfect, and the  sunshields started to fail. Designed to absorb the mass ejections and radiation to empower the sphere, the shields, like all things, eventually meet their demise. Parts of it fell from overuse as time went on, as the star pulsed with not only more regularity but radioactively as well.

When the shields deployed, alarms sounded, everyone knew to retreat to safety. For as long as it took for the pulse to work through the system, for the shields to absorb and process the intense power, people cowered under the protection of their closest sunshields. And, once the process has been completed, once the energy has been absorbed, festivals sprung across the sphere.
The sunshields served a dual purpose, not only did they protect the citizens from the massive radiation bursts, but they processed that to revitalize the various systems and empower secondary processes not deemed survival importance levels. The result was extra lighting, various entertainment systems kicking in, extra food processed. So people celebrated this good fortune with festivals, for as long as the extra energy empowered the systems. This could last centuries, even millenia, and one of the most important systems empowered was the Longevity Engines. These incredibly powerful and power draining systems granted people effective immortality, so long as trauma nor disease visited upon them.

For those that are lucky, that is. For those that are fortunate. For those whose shields deployed. For each time the pulse occurred, the shields should have been maintained and repaired. Mechanisms eventually break down. Cogs jam, electronics fizzle out. Nothing is perfect, and even the shields started to buckle. And when that happens, the areas the shields used to protect, are left open. The intense radioactive blasts, the incredible mass ejections, they cascaded through these unprotected areas. They spelt doomsday to those regions. The unlucky died in one intensely painful single moment, all perishing together. The unlucky met their end in a horrific instant.

The lands themselves turned to slag, misshappen, grotesque metallic ruins melted like candlewax and frozen in a mockery of its former life. The deceased vaporized, leaving behind, at most, mere shadowed stains across the land where once they stood. Even the ghosts of these unfortunate dead had been instantly revoked from existence from the sheer intensity of these radioactive blasts. Such it was first in one land, long long ago. A second land soon followed, then another, and soon too many shields failed and too much of the sphere became completely inhospitable to life. And like dominoes falling in a line, the failure of one sunshield put a strain on its surrounding neighbors, which then soon failed as well.

Eventually it came to be that more land became one of the Burnt Lands than territory one could survive in. And only scavengers and society’s unwanted would travel any Burnt Land. So walked one of society’s unwanted, the last of his kind, traveling one of the Burnt Lands with apparent purpose and determination.

Though walked would be an improper word, as with three legs and five feet, he ambled along in a most inhumanlike fashion, but travel did he do. As well, the pronoun ‘he’ is not exact nor appropriate, for his species had four genders beyond our human ones. But for the sake of succinctity, for brevity, he will suffice our purposes, and walked be an acceptably unacceptable substitute. His name, however, may not have any close translation to our worldly languages, for his people spoke their names from pheromones only other members of the species could scent. While his people could talk vocally, and did so with others, their names were intensely personal, only communicated by their unique scents.

Our nameless journeyman looked to the sky as he ambled in a specific direction across the Burnt Lands. He stared at the white dwarf and its pale ambient light and watched as one of the Three Blind Ones, powerful beings of pure energy, danced lazy arcs through the star. It was beautiful, but he always wondered if the shields would fail first or if the star would explode beforehand. He’d bet on both sides of the debate with his few friends, depending on the vagaries of his mood or his preferred demise. He considered once again the benefits and drawbacks to both methods of the end of the last living beings in the universe as he kept moving across the gnarled and deformed ground.

It was a personal quest that brought him out here, a strong desire which propelled him forward. The eggshell of a sphere they lived within was not thin by any fashion. It was several kilometers thick at the very thinnest parts. And while the people lived on the inside of this shell, they’d call anything within the shell ‘the underground’, even should that not be exactly appropriate. The sanctuary builders stored vital and important equipment within this underground, deep in vaults and protected with the resources they had available. And within one vault lay this being’s desire. Within this one vault would be everything he’d risk his life to obtain.

He had good information about the contents of the vault. Within it, it was said, were the genomic information of two dozen species, including his own. Once again he could see others of his kind, for this information could be used during a ‘Festival Period’ where secondary machinery came back to life to recreate his and the other species, giving them a second chance at life. He judged that he could make it to the vault and back well within the estimated span of the Festival Period, he could see a day really worth celebrating with his peoples, then.

His journey had already been long, he’d been traveling well beyond the standard limit of his people’s endurance, he needed a break. Upon cresting the next hill, he succumbed to fatigue and rested atop the broken metal that used to be one of the great retractor arms of this area’s sunshield. He took sustenance and rested, watching the star that granted him his life, calming his muscles so he could regain their use soon.

While he rested, he imagined a day soon when he’d once again have others of his kind to properly talk to. And as he was one of the soldiers on the side of breeders in the last war, he dreamt again of a dawn when his spawn could share in his joy. Where a community of his peoples would again live together and their scent would mark their lands by tainting the atmosphere. He envisioned himself hailed as a savior to his people, with plays written about his journey. There was no greater driving force to him than to lay claim to this genetic treasure and exploit it for the future. For his worst nightmare was facing the end of all livable time as the last of his kind, alone, succumbing to entropy by himself. This fear kept him awake at nights, this caused his dark nightmares that made his slumber a task and not a rest.

He barely heard it in time. Quite some distance away, a klaxon blared. A familiar grinding sound traveled across the forlorn plains. His perch lurched and lumbered as it rose towards the sky, carrying him and a piece of the sunshield that no longer existed. The traveler teetered and toppled and fall now hundreds of meters down to the hard ground, breaking his skeleton across many areas at the dire impact. He looked at the lifegiving star and cursed it.

Tens of thousands of years earlier than it should have, thousands of natural lifespans too early, the star pulsed again. It quivered and it shook and it spat a profuse blast of radiation forth. And our journeyman could just curse as its nightmare came true, as it saw his death was that of a lonely being. He saw off in the distance the sunshield of the area he had called him, just neighboring this failed sunshield, had succumbed to the travails of time and collapsed. The irony of it, he figured at the end, is he could have died with those people he called friend, even should they not be his own species.

It mattered not the bet he made to those friends. It never did. Whether the inside of the sphere be baked entirely or if the star would die first, he’d never see. For him, his universe, his life ended with being baked alive and his only marker upon his world being a stain in a joint of a broken lifter arm. What powers had dreams in comparison to the faintest whimpers of the universe?

Lone Dark Ember 1

Three quadrillion years. The concept may be alien to a human mind, but there shall be a point in time when this comes to pass. Such a distant future will see the end of all things we know, all things we are comfortable with. Worlds, stars, even galaxies, such comforts of existence will have been deceased long eons past.

 

Between now and that distant, foreign future, whose concept we can scarce dream of, lies all the history of all the civilized peoples of all the galaxies. The entire history of every species will, by even one quadrillion years hence, have been writ. The history books themselves will be consigned to the dustbins of entropy. Even the greatest monuments, the most heroic beings, the most deadly villains of the entire universe will have come and gone, all consumed entirely by the void.

 

Yet, tenaciously, vigorously, amazingly, life clings on. While it is true that one quadrillion years from now no more stars will naturally come into existence, while it is incontrovertible that planets will be unanchored from their host stars, doomed to wanted the universe as lone marbles of a celestial oasis, even against the odds imposed by entropy and the empty universe, life dominates. Life triumphs. Life exists.

 

Three quadrillion years, three times as much time passes between this desert universe dominated by the void, the fact there’s any life left, let alone enough to chronicle the existence of, is a testament to one particular people. One of the few lucky species to reach the stars before such excursions became untenable used all the power they could muster to extend the lifespan of themselves and others.

 

These farsighted peoples saw it as their duty to wage war against the encroaching eternal darkness to give life scant extra time to exist. These brave beings united together under the philosophy that life is to be lived and that there are still people left to be born who should be. These intelligent explorers gathered about the last vestiges of life across the large swath of the universe they could reach and gathered them all together, offering one oasis after the next to continue living.

 

First, an artificial stellar system built around their home star. Their great ships claimed rogue planets from the emptiness of freezing space and brought them home to this star, terraforming them along the way. It was thus that billions of years were purchased away from dark nothingness. When their star, like all stars, inevitably started to cool and expire, they moved the planets to younger stars, cutting several billion more years out of a dying universe. This they did several more times, until the last star they could find was the last star formed so long ago, this young, final star half dead by the time they came to live about it.

 

Knowing that this star will, as well, die in the fullness of time, they sought out the white and brown dwarf stars and used their amazing and powerful starships to drag these stars together, forming a ring of stellar remnants to provide warmth and life. And it was thus that a few trillion extra years were gained. But even the corpses of stars would as well die.

 

So the preservers of life, these strange beings who fought to continue the process of life within the universe, would crush the stellar remnants into one another, sparking an artificial birth amongst the stars. With just enough nuclear fuel to reignite when smashed together in such a way, red dwarf stars, the longest living true stars, sprung back into life. And this continued again and again, repeating itself until there were no more stars corpses to crush together.

 

There was but one. One lone dark ember. One oasis of heat in a freezing universal void.

The people living tore apart their planets for resources, tore upon any bits of asteroid and space dust, used everything material they could use as resources, and built a final great project to spite a universe contending to wipe life away from it. They crafted an artificial world about the final star, using the heat and radiation emitted to power their miraculous machinery and offer sanctuary for the rare tenacious few who managed to exist so long. They challenged the ultimate disaster by creating a shell around a flickering stellar candle. And they insured that all things great and small would be able to exist with the food production machines, the atmospheric technology, the liquid replicators. They crafted domiciles and buildings and all the other requirements for society. They gave a future to the hopeless.

 

Then they vanished. Those that fought so hard for life to continue in any form, in any way, disappeared. Some thankful and some sycophantic peoples tried their best to find and thank their saviors, only to likewise never be seen again. No one could understand. Society continued.

 

Society is never at all peaceful, not even in these dark future days. Conflicts arose without the guiding hand of their saviors. The last war known in the universe was fought within this eggshell against entropy. Brought on by reckless breeders with no intent to stop creating offspring, everyone else saw an upcoming overpopulation on an already strained and inevitably doomed city. So war was fought, not just to thin the herds, not just for political power, but to wipe out a way of thinking, to end a culture dangerous to the survival of others.

 

And when the war ended, when the survivors saw how disastrous and deadly the weapons they could use at the end of time were, they collectively threw the weaponry into the star they lived by, hoping the energy and materials would buy even one more day, one more hour, for the star to exist. Such became of all the useless detritus society accumulated, given to the star for fuel in the vainglorious hopes of another hour.

 

After trillions of years of existing thus, the red dwarf star finally gave out. It flared and it pulsed and it burnt itself out, turning into a white dwarf star, the final white dwarf possible.

 

Trillions upon trillions upon trillions of years did society exist under the cool, soft light of their home star. The immortal and long lived beings would fondly remember the red dwarf star era as ‘The Golden Age’ and tell stories of its glory to the younger beings. Its dim warmth offered sanctuary to a people that knew one overriding truth:

 

The end of everything is imminent. Every moment may not be merely your last, but the final breath of all living beings. This dreary existence hangs over the head of all beings, this knowledge that they witness the total end of all history.

 

It is with heavy hearts that people force themselves to live their daily existences. It is knowing there is nothing that could be done, nothing that could be conceived of being done that could stop this downward spiral towards doomsday that seeps into the hearts and shadows the minds of all those surviving on this sanctuary against the frozen dark.

 

What is there to do, what can be done? Why bother trying to repair the decaying buildings and salvage the worn machinery when the star flickers and gasps its own last breaths? Why should they bother with ensuring food and water when each day is another nail in the final coffin? It is with these thoughts that the common people live by.

 

True heroes surpass those thoughts, true heroes fight against the darkness, paragons prove their existence to the very stars themselves, even if it is but one final star. They stand up above society and cleave  a name for themselves that even the cosmos trembles to whisper. They provide shining beacons that not even stars themselves could do, they fight the odds that are insurmountable. And even should what they do be simply wiped from existence in their next breath, they continue to do so because that is who they are. That is the mark of a hero.

 

However, the days of heroes, like the eras of stars, have drawn to a close. Those rare few that exist are the aberration to society, looked down upon and frowned at by a peoples holding onto their breaths while simultaneously trying to draw more.

 

It is here, in the dark borrowed days that we start our story. It is here on this archaic beyond belief bastion, full of decrepit ruins that our stage is set. It is here, where energy beings dance within the star, only to inform others of how the stellar core is crystallizing and doom is impending that heroes stand up and live a life above the others.

 

It is here, on our lone dark ember. Here…

 

Upon a graveyard waiting for its ghosts to die.

Lone Dark Ember Introduction

As mentioned in a prior post, I intend for every weekend to have shorter, less important, or stories that are perhaps best visited every so often being told then. Lone Dark Ember is one such story, it’s best visited only rarely.

 

Because it’s potentially incredibly depressing. At least so for me to write.

 

It is a science fiction story in setting, but one that focuses on drama and characters at its core. The setting is approximately three quadrillion years from now. That’s right, I said quadrillion. Not a million, not a billion, not a trillion years from now. Three. Quadrillion.

 

This is set in a period our current astronomers / cosmologists would call “The Degenerate Era”. One quadrillion years from now (all dates are approximate!) no more stars will have been made for an incredibly long time, all solar systems will have fallen apart, and all galaxies have likely disbanded. Over the course of another two quadrillion years, the trend would just continue, so by the time of our story, the universe is pretty empty. No more stars, no more stellar systems, no more galaxies.

 

Just small stars floating in a dark universe. Lone Dark Embers.

 

Our story takes place in this era. A Dyson Sphere has long ago been created about a red dwarf star. The red dwarf itself has died, leaving behind a white dwarf star. This white dwarf star, radiating small bits of heat and light, provides for the only remaining bits of civilization in our universe. The last few people left alive in the entire universe reside on the inside of this Dyson Sphere.

 

It’s obviously not a happy time. The white dwarf, which could last trillions and trillions of years, is not at all young. It’s giving off less light and heat than it used to. The sphere itself is breaking apart, and there’s nothing left to repair it. There’s no planets to visit to mine, no asteroids, nothing. What’s here is it, what is lost is lost forever. People living here can see the end of the livable period of the universe, and some even count down the days until that event occurs.

 

No new life is really born. There’s going to be exceptions, but it’s a minor miracle that anyone reproduces at this point. A large part of this is that most people living in this final planet city are the very last members of their own species. Otherwise, it’s emotional or practical reasons, few can get out of the funk of their dreary existence watching the universe end, fewer still want to bring life to this cursed existence, and the place has limited resources as well. No more food or water can be made, than whatever machines may be able to manufacture. There’s no way to expand neighborhoods or housing so overpopulation would, if people actually did reproduce, eventually occur and likely doom everyone to an earlier grave.

 

No, people would rather sigh and bemoan their fate as they look out to an empty universe, awaiting the ultimate, final, definitive end to life.

 

There are two special women that live here, they come from species that are ‘universal breeders’, which is to say they can mate with any other species at all and reproduce. They are known as the Blue Lady and Red Princess, and they are in love with each other. Dramatically, passionately, completely so. So even should someone want to have children, the only two women who are able to have babies are effectively married to one another and refuse to procreate with others.

 

Some of the other characters would include a mechanic type trying to do their best to salvage and repair important systems to extend the capabilities of the artificial world. We’ll also find that, even in a place where everyone should be an alcoholic, sometimes it does not pay to be an alcohol seller. A group of historians do their best to preserve all known knowledge in some fashion. We have an inventor trying to make any sort of lifeboat they can. A small circle of effectively immortal beings (in the aspect of being unaging and thus not dying due to old age, nor sickness or physical trauma, they will still perish when the universe does as well) all remember ‘the good old days’ when the star was a red dwarf and the sphere was younger and in less disrepair. We’ll meet a few energy beings that dance about and within the star that issue dire warnings no one understands. We’ll find a few regular people in their daily lives and how they prepare for the ultimate end of everything. And let’s not forgot the few people who can’t take it any longer and provide their own demise.

 

And into this tragic places we see that, even though a star or even a candle may be giving off embers, sometimes sparks still flare to life.

 

That is what ‘Lone Dark Ember’ is about. I do hope you enjoy the story, even if it may take awhile to tell.

Intents and Purposes

Which, by the by, internet at large, is the correct way to type out that phrase. Every time I see someone type out ‘intensive purposes’ I want to smack them and ask what were they even think, that doesn’t make any sense.

Either way, the purpose of this site: To post information on which of my major projects, either Isles of Doom or Savage Sparks, is being written which week. Then to post shorter stories on the weekends here and collect other stories I write here to sell upon this site.

 

I intend to write daily, life permitting of course. The weekdays (Monday to Friday) of one week I intend to write for either Savage Sparks or Isles of Doom, then the next week the other project, then keep switching. On the weekends I intend to write shorter fictions on this site, things that aren’t such major projects. Or update the wiki and other sections of the sites with up to date information. Or continue writing other stories offline. Or sometimes, when needed, take a bit of a rest.

 

The entries will, while hopefully be done daily, be of varying lengths. I intend to write either until I do not feel like writing anymore that day, or I feel that it is a good place to stop for the day.

 

I also intend for the stories to be entertaining! Hope you enjoy!

Copyright Notice

I should not have to say it, but I must. Everything on this site, the blog, the forums, the wiki, any other sections of this site, are protected under U.S. Copyright, all rights reserved.
As such, you may not steal this work in any fashion. You have the right to read the works here through the methods permitted here, that is to say you can read the blog material on any software that allows reading the blog software, you may read copies of ebooks on any ebook reader you own, and all other material is likewise able to used in such a logical manner.
If you wish to use snippets of the work here for reviews then I request you link us to the site(s) you reviewed us on and link our site in your review. If (for some reason) you may want to do fan works of our material, you’re required to submit the works to our forums in the respective subforums.

If you obtained paid material from this site without paying for it, you are requested but not required to donate to us in the amount of what you feel is an appropriate amount in compensation for the entertainment received from the material. Paying what you feel is appropriate after theft absolves you of guilt in our mind.

Otherwise, please enjoy the material here.