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Old 07-13-2006, 02:20 AM   #1
Al6200
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Default The Gift: Act 1

Hello, this is something I wrote quite a while back. The prologue is purely dialogue whilst the first act is written in prose. Sorry :( If I could get any critique, reviews, or analysis, that would be wonderful. Thanks, Al.

My story:




Prologue:

Ordos:

The emptiness of this biological form is clear
I can see death
Can feel its cold hands touching me
I lived life for its most tactile and visceral ploys
Fell imp for its wanton pulls upon my person
But there was never anything to this universe

It was just something that emerged as a machine
Began to process more fully
No meaning nor no abstinence swore it
From this undue suffering to my person

Feyn! Come forth to me
So that I may manifest my
Thought-self within your
Words, so that you may carry
Them onto suppress my visceral fears

Feyn:

To deny me death would be the greatest blow the universe could impart upon me. Upon my death my body would become a disordered element of the forces of which I was conceived, a force that would turn around quickly to bring life to this Earth. To deny a force of life unto this universe by existing infinitely in a world of finite matter would be to deny myself the greatest gift I could give to my brethren, the greatest joy a man of this Earth could ever experience.

I must stop myself from movement to threaten such as you must not be denied.

Commander:

If you do not desist from stillness for one moment more than:
I will be forced to move myself to retaliate;
For I am a biological machine; I observe; within the confines of this visceral mote:
I do not seek to find truth;
I am the subjective consciousness;
I am a slave to my humanity;
My master is my Aegis from reality;
And it is dear to me!
.
.

Ordos:

Stand nowhere, stand a mind without an eye. Take this action and you will eternally be a computer of flawed perfection, perfectly wrong in all its perception; for as a dead man you will see nothing but will exist as everything. You have acknowledged that your death will be the greatest gift you can give to the Earth, but you will know nothing of your victory after-the-fact, and for that you will be eternally bested.

Feyn: So you are contented to live in a swarm of lies, of gilded emptiness?

Ordos: There is no lie. When it hits my eyes it is a raster. From what origin indifferent, I am conscious of what is perceived, not what is objectively present. What difference lays therein a bitmap of real life, as opposed to your “lies”? At its lowest form, I do not receive life; I receive a symbol of it, encoded into tightly woven Booleans of the subjective truths, the lies of it all... The lies that lay beside me, the lies that protect me, and the lies that enslave me…

Act 1:

For seven years, the ideologies and the prejudices of a long pacified element of the human spirit rose from the ashes of its own destructor to once again bring war to the men of Earth. And thus was wrought upon the fragments of a warped and weary man a state of war, fought and waged for the sake of her most visceral causality. A farce stood between the reality of death and a whimfully passionate breed of men. The warped and tainted elements of man and all their self-gilded senses wore the cloaked masque of the farce—sourceless men and meaningless corpses its guise and the blind perverted love of bloodshed engendered by the sight of an angry flesh-machine, blooded and lifeless, was its aegis. And upon the breaking of the farce one would come to see man indifferent from the flesh-machines of which it so clearly bore. And then, in silence and in the stillness of pre-battle waiting, would encroach upon the consciousness a fear like none felt before. Darkness of the eyes. No senses. No perception. I was all there ever was and will ever be, and upon my passing there was and will never be a universe such that is observed now. This would come to be realized, and would come to bare a nature of that which is written thus:

Three transports landed at the Heli-port flanked on both sides by two sentient repair drones. At the soft and constant automated landing sequence of the transport, the two drones dropped from suspended positions in the air to land at the door of the transport. They terraformed in standard procedure the metallic surface of the Heli-port to shallow grass plains for the walking path of the passengers. At the road at the end of the Heli-port read a sign:


Man is God. Knowledge is strength. Power is infinite.


Feyn emerged from the transport, looked at the sign, shocked.
“Great father of the lands!”, thought: Great father? A reference to the paternal entity of all power, with a face of many promises and a guise of many strengths. Have these machines made man supreme ruler, given him dominion over all challenges? Hypocrisy, I use the phrase to curse what I indirectly reference. Is man born good, or is it the light of God which fills us with good.
Feyn shook the thought off, continued through the streets. Machines swarmed to his unimportant presence, spoke in the automated monotone “Power is infinite, desires are in the realm of the arbitrary as desire is reality, should you desire it”
“Be gone”, spoke Feyn.
“As you wish”, went the response of the machine.
Feyn thought: Ordos desires my presence at his empty dwelling of past so that I may receive a gift named Ajax, a gift of Ordos from the badlands war campaign. Among one man, many dwellings, most of them uninhabited. It was no burden, such wasteful opulence as the physical is nothing, power is infinite, all existence is now in thought.
Feyn entered the abandoned dwelling, heard a faint humming from deep within. Humming faded to full speech in the machine.
“Instinct and perceptive, animal and human, amaranth and monolith, I am an animal and a man, a fulcrum. A wall runs between them with no beginning and no end. I am above you and can see all, and hold the key to breaching the barrier to be both”, spoke Ajax.
Feyn looked at the gnomish figure, thought: What have I burdened upon myself, this machine who bares the physical-facial guise of a child. This thing had been a gift of late from an old friend from the old wars. It had been designated as a sentient machine. With no safe-guards on the child-machine Ajax’s consciousness, controlling him was reduced to a neural stimulator deep within his machine-human hybrid brain. Capable of feeding a powerful stimulus, positive to the desired motion, negative to the most undesirable action and overriding all other neural impulse. An ancient and proven method. Nearly as old as the thinking machine… The neural stimulation can be directed by the master through direct neural translation. What an odd perspective of control, my thoughts to his body, his images to my eyes!
Feyn spoke, “What is it to be a perceptive monolithic human”
The machine responded: “Humans apply stimulus to a grid of pathological context, instinct bypasses perception level analysis and directs action through collective consciousness of evolution… fatally deadly… and fatally quick”, words betraying actions with a great and omnipotent subtlety.
“Two methods for two environments, the line is clear and distinct. The simple rely on the developments on their instinct from past generations as they are unintelligent and inherently basic. The complex organism learns and develops a perceptual context of consciousness to which stimulus is altered and filtered”, spoke Feyn. He thought: This machine means to test my basic nature. To entertain? To enlighten?
When an animal faces attack, it first sees its survival. There will be an attack, however subtle. His black and white animal perception sees me as Ordos with a diseased part that must be removed through some sort of agony, thought the machine.
“Old friend, you have been shaped from the values of my mind. You are my perception of Ordos. Quite clever”
“Effective”
Feyn attempted to hide satisfaction, so he agrees. The path to ultimate victory over this machine is now clear. The badlands will provide a challenge similar to that Ordos and I faced in the wars of old and should that be the model for his design, he will act the way those would have acted. He will then be full unto me as an old friend as mine. His mind is strong though. I will need something that we will transfix all thought and anxiety upon so that the real agony will be a surprise, one which will bring Ordos to reclaim the body and destroy the diseased delusion known as Ajax”
Feyn moved through the streets of abundance and infinite. There seemed to be a counter-evolution in the architecture of the infinite. A focus on the unique overpowered the infinite streets of opulent gold and silver. Palaces of old had acquired their opulence from their scarcity. But as every house could be a palace, a new sense of craving for identity had evolved, where the peasant was the man who was lost in the mazes of gold and glitter and the aristocrat was the man with identity who could isolate himself from the infinite and be unique.
Feyn went at a slow pace then stopped and turned around. A seeker drone, armed with drug sniffing apparatus, suspended in the air, moved past the two men. He, well being scanned at a distance by the seeker, spoke to Ajax in the old battle tongue: “The seekers aren’t designed to hear and interpret this language. I plan to buy Hajj from a dealer at the edge of badlands. Drugs thrive for a reason, my friend. In a world where there is no class, no identity… where opulence is abundant and there is no desire, no ambition, chemical highs are the only ways to push the frontier of experiences. They create challenges and borders, which we all crave at some level”
Ajax realized it. Hajj was a hallucigen, but the high was strenuous, and the agony would force an instinctive response, where he would instinctively fit the role of Ordos who identified himself by refusing the popular drug culture. He would then see himself as Ordos through the instinctive act. A sleeping consciousness within him would awaken, while another, the identity which he was and had created would be destroyed. Fear swept over Ajax at an overt level. He would be replaced. But knowing the agony that would kill his consciousness was an elemental part of ensuring the plan would be thwarted.
Feyn saw subtle fear on Ajax’s face. His fate had been drawn into inevitability. Ajax would expect the agony of the drug and would build the anxiety and expectation to a certain time. Than before that, the agony would occur and he would have no anxiety, expectation, or resistance. Ordos will be there in a new form and I will not be alone.
The metallic wall that divided the city from the badlands was lined with three border stations. As the city was of a significantly higher elevation then the badlands, the border stations on the rounded metallic wall gently sloped downwards. The stations were manned with seeker drones and parties of massive hunter drone carriers slowly arced over the wall, occasionally deploying hunter drones to attack targets identified by the seeker drones.
Ajax stumbled, anxious and afraid, back from the border station.
Feyn spoke: “Seekers detect the contraband item and tags the closest source of heat, which is transferred to a hunter drone carrier. The hunters than attack the thermal spot which has been tagged. Therein lies their primary weakness, the hunters don’t attack the contraband; they attack a heat source associated with it. When we make our way down the station, seekers will detect the drug. But I will fire off a flare which will bare the heat tag and will get attention from hunters”
Ajax bore a weak attempt to be casual: “That’s good intelligence”
Feyn responded: “Each hunter is composed of a first cylinder, generally a few centimeters in diameter filled with deadly chemicals that kill quickly. Upon that cylinder there is a tiny needle which delivers the ordinance. They travel in swarms of hundreds and when attacking at speeds of over 50 miles per hour. They’re driven by efficient suspensors mechanisms and use the gravitational energy to dart themselves forwards extremely quickly once they’ve locked onto the distinct heat pattern. One would not want to confront such a foe with poor intelligence”
Ajax’s intensity grew. The dormant thought-self of Ordos within his flesh grew close to superceding that of the prominent thought-self of Ajax. The prospect of losing a distinct identity that was his own and not that of another man was what had drove Ajax to suppress the thought-self of Ordos within him. Such fear of death for the distinct thought-self had grown to a deep anxiety at the obvious end of his life possible before his eyes. Should Ajax run away he would be plagued by the dormant thought-self of Ordos for eternity. It would be vital that Ajax go through the drug agony, and as he had so anticipated the moment, he would be able to act as his distinct thought-self and Ajax would be forever in the hands of the identity and consciousness of which he had created for himself.
Feyn allowed time for a seeker to approach the party. He drew Ajax to him with his arm, and then lit the flare in his hand. He held the flare close himself and the satchel which bore the drugs. He set the flare down on the ground next to the flare and stepped back as the seeker examined the substance. He looked up at the carrier and saw it deploy a small fleet of hunters, calculated to the size of the heat source. Feyn watched as the hunters accelerated until they crashed into the metallic floor and splintered and crashed. Feyn waited, saw another drone deploy from another carrier. A collector. Because the Hunters pumping poisons into the drug itself would not have been inefficient in its destruction, a collector drone was sent to collect the drug and take it to a facility to harvest the biomass. Feyn threw an Electro magnetic pulse grenade at the drone. Upon the shattering of the needle, an EMP pulse was emitted. The flux wave generator in the tiny grenade had deactivated the tiny seeker. All this became very simple to Feyn: there was the drug, no security, just machines. A thought surfaced: One man with the machines, working at even half his wits and abilities could easily have crushed both the men. He could have called for back up, could have directed the hunters with his intuition. But it is alas not an age of men, and no person would give up a live of luxury for the public good. It was incomparable.
Once the two
An icy rock outcropping which jetted from the metallic wall ran along the sides of the snow tundra that had defined the badlands. Ajax and Feyn hugged the rock wall as they made their way deeper into the badlands.
The party moved until Feyn stopped them at an indistinct spot on the rock wall. Feyn thought: So close to the hot spring, a small movement could break the ice and neutralize ones thermal trail.
Ajax was immersed with the terrible reality that his end was immanent, but he was comforted by the knowledge that the agony would not be now, and he had focused his anxiety upon a specific time in the future, leaving his current thought-self unguarded. He watched carefully for Feyn to pull out the drugs, but he remained there.
Feyn spoke: “Behind a thin layer of ice here, there is a hot spring; one may blend into it if to avoid heat detection”
Ajax, believing it was a distraction, ignored the comment.
Feyn saw a seeker encroach over the rock wall and scan the area. It moved closer and a hunter squad came down from the sky.
Indistinct to thermal sensors, standing in front of the hot springs, Feyn was motionless.
Ajax realized the dilemma. He could dive at Feyn and send him into the hot springs, saving his life. He could also choose to move Feyn in the opposite direction and let the hunters devour him.
A voice of the distinct thought-self within Ajax spoke words that became suddenly disturbing and ritualized as they contaminated him: You are the gateway between man and animal. A man would realize the threat drugs pose to the race and would see damage in the perceptual grid of context from the machine culture. An animal would bypass such and act quickly to save his friend. As you are the gateway, you will stagnate.
And then another option entered his mind: save your old friend of war. The idea’s source was the thought-self of Ordos within him. And Ajax realized the trap. This was the true agony of test; the drug was simply a guise. The anxiety depleted within him and built up to protest any progression of the Ordos thought-self in impulsive decision making.
Ajax capitulated. He became weak as all his efforts of self-preservation were futile against a force so bent on his death. The feeling towards Feyn at that moment was not anger, but more sadness and pity: He would do such onto me as to find an elixir for his loneliness. He spoke thus: “Friend, you have trapped me and have won. The thought-self of Ordos claws for dominion of my flesh. You may steal my flesh in the intention that it will give you solace”.
Feyn felt empathy for the creature which had created a personality and distinctness from nothing. He had felt though, at that moment, a disturbing compulsion to not be alone and find consolation in a thought-self of another being, no matter the cost. He spoke on impulse an old saying which he had repeated to Ordos in the badlands campaign

“When one goes to heaven
To saint peter he will tell
Another soldier reporting
I’ve served my time in hell”

Ajax recognized those words in full impact and power that Ordos had done, and the die was cast. Ajax was no more. Ordos lunged at Feyn, and he crashed into the hot springs, and the hunters left.
Feyn looked at the blank and empty stare. It had not given Feyn solace as he had expected. Instead it held the terrible reality of death that bore his name, and the cruelty he had committed.
Feyn left Ordos behind and continued to the city. Ordos watched his old friend walk away, treated in a manner befitting the sin in which he was conceived.
“You’re right Ajax, I am an animal”, went the words to the heretic ebbing of the silent wind, spoken by the wilted amaranth.
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Old 07-13-2006, 04:23 AM   #2
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Nice story, first, here's some mistakes I found.
Quote:
“Instinct and perceptive
Should be Instinct and perception so they are equal.
Quote:
physical-facial guise
I suggest using the word visage. It means face, but more of what you're looking for.
Quote:
Can feel its cold hands touching me
Its = it is. it's is possesive. it's is what you need.
Quote:
When an animal faces attack, it first sees its survival. There will be an attack, however subtle. His black and white animal perception sees me as Ordos with a diseased part that must be removed through some sort of agony, thought the machine.
“Old friend, you have been shaped from the values of my mind. You are my perception of Ordos. Quite clever”
“Effective”
I lost track of who was speaking here...In fact I lost track a few times. Watch your use of quotation marks.
Also, you missed a few periods at the end of speech, which is needed before the "
And you use the word instinct a lot. Try to find a different word with basically the same meaning. You can find that here:
http://thesaurus.reference.com
Quote:
Than before that
Then.
Quote:
Once the two
Missing something?

Ok, over all the story was...confusing. It was never really clear what was going on, and I still don't get some things. Overall though I would give it a 7/10, good job on it.
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Old 07-13-2006, 04:44 AM   #3
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Default Thanks

Thanks for the reply.

But I'm curious, what did you think about the actual story. What did you all think of, the content, not just the english mechanics. Although english mechanics are important, they're all just pretty easy fixes that could be eliminated with a few passes of editing. (I never edited this after I wrote it).

So, what did you think of the story.

Characters?
Themes?



Quite honestly I tend to find the message of an english piece to be more important then the mechanics through which the ideas are communicated.

I'm curious, is the 7/10 just due to grammar, punctuation, and overuse of certain words or is there a fundamental error in my story?

I really like to focus on a story rather than prose style, but I do understand that every great theme needs a grammarian vessel.
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Old 07-14-2006, 01:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Ok, over all the story was...confusing. It was never really clear what was going on, and I still don't get some things. Overall though I would give it a 7/10, good job on it.
Like I said, it was confusing for me. The general plot was never clear to me, however I think I got the theme of "right to live" shown by the character of Ajax (the character I thought was the most well done). However the main character's motives/beliefs on this matter I don't think were very clear either.
You got a 7/10 for the reasons of:
1 point off for mistakes
2 points off for confusion.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:21 PM   #5
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Default Right to live I wouldn't say is really precisely the theme

Really, these were the themes I intended to convey:

1. People search for meaning in life. Some people see no meaning in life, and thus ironically are the ones must opposed to their death (such as Ordos). Some people find meaning in life by creating other life. One example of that is Feyn, he finds the meaning of life to be death

2. Fear corrupts ethics. From the very beginning, we see Ordos so afraid of death that he is unwilling to take his place in the universe. He is unwilling to die so that others may live. Ironically, it is later Feyn who denies to let the part of Ajax that is Ordos die. He is so afraid of being alone that he stops the circle of life. He stops Ajax from taking over and being a unique person. He tries to make Ordos last forever, which is something that can never be done and can only destroy.

3. Human observation is tainted and subjective due to us being sorts of slaves to our biological masters. And that biological master is the compulsions that control human life. It is being an animal.

4. The human experience, visceral and illogical as it may be, can be quite wonderful. As he lays dying, Feyn tells Ordos that death is beutiful and that there is no greater experience. Because not dying would deny life to others. The society in my story has great power. They have all the opulence in the world. But all people really want is boundaries. All they want is love, life, and the challenges of their anim nature.


Anyway, those are really the major 4. There are others if you read it over. For example, think about how Ajax offered his life at the end. This is in many ways a motiff, because in the beginning Feyn said that the most beutiful thing a man can do is to give his life for others. This is ironic because Ajax giving his life doesn't help Ordos and it doesn't make him happier. In fact, it makes Feyn make the same mistake he told Ordos not to make. He let fear stand in the way of life's processes.

But in a way, isn't denying one's fear, denying what makes us human. And isn't that what Ordos did in the beginning by denying the meaning of life.

Anyway, its really complicated. And I'm honestly a tad bit confused by the story reading back on it. There are a lot of themes and sub-themes, and I never really mapped them out right, but I think they all came out.

But hopefully it wasn't just a jumbled mess of ideas.
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Old 07-14-2006, 09:34 PM
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Old 07-17-2006, 04:53 AM   #6
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I think if you read it over and made it more clear, it would become a great story.
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