Thursday, August 31, 2017

What Do Children Do

The best time to overhaul a brain is during puberty. An FDA approved retrovirus can deliver a standardized mix of improved genes. Better working memory, better concentration, better creativity and 20 points to your IQ, guaranteed. You won't be able to compete in today's market without it.

Dramatic changes to your brain don't come without side-effects. A fission will occur, between your per-pubescent and adult selves. Your memories of childhood will become distant, scattershot, and difficult to recall. You are a new you, after all.

No childhood memories means teaching children is a waste of time. Education is for adulthood, once it will actually stick. You should make sure your kids don't kill themselves, but otherwise they can be left to their own devices. You see them, running in packs, speaking strange words, playing strange games, conducting strange rituals. I wonder what you might have done.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Order of the Horn

The guards were unhappy, grumbling to each other when out of the caravan master's earshot, and glaring at him when he wasn't looking. They would soon be passing through the land of an infamous robber baron, and allowing a sad old man on a sad old mule to join them would slow them down.

They glared at the old man whether he was looking or not, finding reasons to dislike him. His face was dour, and he brought down the mood of the whole caravan. His tunic bore a sigil like that of a knightly order, but not any order they had ever heard of, so he was surely some sort of charlatan. He had around his belt a strange old horn with strange old carvings; a pagan artifact, perhaps, sure to bring them bad luck.

The caravan master had said that the old man reminded him of his own grandfather, and that it would be a good deed to let him travel with them, even if inconvenient, and that was that. The guards would have to satisfy themselves with grumbling.

Although unfair, the fears of the guard were not unfounded. They were unable to make it through the robber baron's land during daylight, and as the sun set, they were attacked. A volley of arrows flew out from the brush on both sides of the road, landing in a circle around the caravan. They all got the message.

The sad old man hardly seemed to notice the arrows, but as the baron's men emerged and surrounded the wagons, he frowned. He let out a deep sigh, and lifted the strange old horn to his lips. The sound boomed like the echo of thunder, and reverberated as if in a great hall. Both guards and bandits started at movement on the edges of their vision; movement that soon resolved itself into ghostly figures.

Each figure was armored, although the only uniform feature was that the armor was battered and nicked. They held weapons of a style that no men now bore, but that farmers sometimes dug up from their fields. Their shields and banners bore the sigil like that of a knightly order, not one that any of the guards had heard of, but that matched the one on the tunic of the sad old man.

They fought like great knights, swinging their translucent weapons through bandits and felling them in single blows, although no wounds appeared. The sad old man watched watched the knights, no longer dour, with light in his eyes. When the last bandit fell, the knights turned to the old man and saluted him, then faded and disappeared.

The guards now regarded the old man cautiously, and were startled when he spoke. He asked about the lord of these lands, and how he could allow such bandits on an important road. They explained that the bandits worked for the lord, and sadness slowly settled on the old man once more.

The caravan master took charge of his caravan once again, ordering that they should get as far from this battlefield as they can before the sun fully set. As they got underway, one guard noticed the old man had left the group, and was moving slowly, but with determination, towards the castle of the robber baron.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Anchorite Suit

Out on the moon on Titan, they have knights, like the old days. Titan don't have any large proper settlements, right? Just small towns all over. And every bandit king in the belt sees them as good targets, pick em off one by one, and there's no big united army that'll come after you. But on Titan they got these knights.

Big suits of armor. Old mining exos, fitted with military kit. Big fuck off armor plates riveted on. They paint em, old style. Religious. Images of the pilot and his deeds. Iconography.

Its a holy thing. Like a sacrifice, not that they're savages, they're mostly Orthodox out there, but its like a sacrifice. When a man's got nothing left, when a man starts feeling useless, when he's slowly dyin', when he just wants to feel strong again, town elders make an offer. Take his limbs, wire up the stumps to the armor, and hook up the blood too cause he can't eat or breathe no more cause he can never get out.

Aint nobody fight like a man in powered armor, aint nobody fight like a man's not afraid of death, and aint nobody at all fight like a man's got both.