I need a good logo for the CAPP. The one I have right now sucks ass. If anyone wants to try their hand at creating one, feel free. It's one of the things holding back Travelogue. The current description is "A geodesic lattice whose nodes are closed eyes," but if you can come up with something better that's emblematic of the civilization, please do.
The CAPP as originally written.
Hi everyone. Long time no post.
Item 1: I've been working on some design stuff for Travelogue. You can see it on my DeviantArt page.
Item 2: The first piece of civilization art has finally come in! Kiriko has posted it on his blog. He's tackling the Nanori next.
Item 3: The SA Wiki has been very unreliable recently. I'm considering migrating to another wiki site, though moving things over might be painful. I really don't want to lose anything. I also can't afford to set one up on the Valent Games site; the hosting fees increase significantly. Any suggestions for good sites?
This journal and the game that came out of it are now under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 license.
More detail can be found on the SA Wiki forums.
Travelogue is up to 33 pages with these new pieces of fiction. Art is very slow in coming, so don't hold your breath. I'll have a playtest version available to see at Genericon.
I have a pretty big announcement coming at Genericon as well. Let me put it this way: don't buy a PDF copy of SA between now and then.
Or of Valence.
Or basically anything else of mine. Just trust me, hold off.
"Ye have no right to say that to me!"
Aengus McAllister has made the worst choice of his day, though by far not the worst of his life, by choosing to confront his boss Seamas Finnigan when he's drunk.
"Look, ye know I'm right! Ye can hardly stand, Seamas. Yer in no condition to go to work."
"I know my job better than any man here. Aintitright?" Seamas looks around to garner support, and failing to see any, totters between anger and embarrassment.
Aengus sees his chance and jumps in. "Look, if ye were sober-" It's the wrong thing to say.
"I ca'hold my liquor better'an anyman!" the towering Finnigan roars. The crowd clearly disagrees, and the entire bar erupts in a brawl.
Half an hour later, Seamas leans on Aengus' shoulder as the smaller man helps him home. Both have black eyes that will clear in a few more minutes, broken bones that will set and heal by tomorrow, a little internal bleeding. It's nothing serious.
"I'm sorry, Aengus. Ye dinna deserve that."
"Ah, that's just the booze talking, ye great lummox."
Seamus cuffs him idly and keeps talking. "No, really. Ye were lookin' out for the Tree. There's no greater cause. Yer a good employee an' a credit to yer family"
"Well thank ye. And ye can thank me by remembering earlier next time an' not crushin' me nose halfway to the back of me head."
"I love ye an' all yer kin, McAllililister." Seamas staggered a few steps further and slumped into a heap at the base of a great creeper vine elevator. Aengus laughs.
"You great faker! Get yer arse up and move; yer fine." Aengus prodded Seamas, then gave him a swift kick in the backside. "I'm not here to drag yer great carcass home." A punch in the head that would have dented a car. "By Morrigan, get up!"
Seamas did not move. He barely breathed.
"Oh, shite. Seamas, if this is a joke..."
But it wasn't. Aengus yelled for medical aid, then hefted the giant over his shoulder, and ran for the closest doctor's house. The Tree opened the way for him.
Seamas was in a coma from which he might not recover. The Tree's lead xylem technician, the man who flavored his soups with nightshade, had been deliberately poisoned in the middle of the Daoine's most important cultural exchange since the First Days.
Word did not spread. It oozed like a toxic sludge. The lifeblood of the Tree was its people, the Daoine, and their families were woven tighter than a spacesuit's fibers. Their lives were devoted to the Triple Trinity, to the Tree, to passion, to each other. Only those who needed to know and could keep a secret were told, a grim and serious one percent of the population.
Aengus sat at home that night and cried himself to oblivion, then went to work like a soulless wight. In the evenings he grilled the agents of an tOireachtas so long as they would let him about what they had found, who they suspected, how he could help. The answer was always the same: wait and let us do our job. We know your pain.
Aengus went about his job mechanically, still reviewing the events of that night in his mind, seeking any hint or clue as to the monster's identity. He cursed his lack of a neural mesh. In his sorrow and concentration he almost failed to see when the truth poked its head out of a knot-hole a week later.
A group of visitors from the Old Civilizations had come down to the xylem monitoring station. They nodded appreciatively, pointed and asked questions, and were in all ways polite. They looked like buffoons, of course, because all foreigners looked like buffoons, but one could hardly blame them for that.
As they left one of them said, "I'm sorry about the incident."
Deirdre Callahan, a younger technician not in on the conspiracy, said "What incident?"
"With your lead technician. May Brigid watch over his family." His mesh fed him the right words for a severe illness or the like.
Deirdre laughed and waved. "Oh aye, a vacation is such a terrible incident. May such awful incidents befall us all!" Most people there laughed. Aengus didn't. The foreigner noticed. Aengus stared him down, and the man flinched.
Aengus was gifted with generations of hard-bought genetic enhancements. The stranger's comparatively meager bionics kept him ahead for just enough time to reach the facility door. Aengus yelled to the Tree while he ran, and the door slammed shut as Aengus' fist slammed into the foreign diplomat's shoulder. The result was like dropping a melon off a balcony.
"YOU! What have ye bastards done to my friend!"
The police arrived and pulled Aengus back. A few days later they released him from jail as the full extent of the conspiracy came to light. Six full Druids imprisoned, one on death row. Three assorted staff members from the visiting civilizations in jail as well, with many more under suspicion. It was a frightening day for the Tree, and it gave pause to all the Daoine about these new visitors. For Aengus, however, the day was the best in his life.
It was the day he got his friend back.
Sorry this took so long. Other things intervened. Thanks for the reminders!
I have a story for the Daoine started as well, but it's on a different computer. I'd rather take my time and not replicate what I've already done, so it won't be here until Sunday.
This is a story we tell, so that we know what must be true.
The Timewalkers brought us to the dream long ago, and far into the future. They do it right now, child.
We Dreamtime People live in the dream, but not always fully. The Timewalkers live there always, coming to our worlds to tell us of things in theirs. We hear their words now and forever, echoing throughout the dream. Some of those words tell of a Time Beyond Time, when everyone will be a Timewalker. That sounds pretty good, eh? We of all people should not be surprised.
In that Time Beyond Time we can see the shapes of the civilizations that were and that are to come, and the echoes come back to us now and form the story we tell. They speak of the convergence of lines.
Across the shapes of the civilizations are dark and light lines, we hear from ourselves. These are the lives of people who change the lives of many. These are the geniuses, the psychotics, the teachers and the takers.
In our dream there are fewer lines than we would sometimes like. We hear that there were more once, that there will be more again soon. But the dream calculates for us, tells us that there should be more only if there are more people.
So we know what must be true, eh?
What must be true will be true. What must not, will not, and was not. What was and was not change sometimes, as much as it might scare you.
This is the story we tell. To our children and our parents, our ancestors and our descendants across the centuries, we spread the word through the dream: there are more. We are more. If you cannot see them, it is because you do not live in the dream.
Other people think, when they can understand what we say at all, that we are confused. Some think we speak about things that do not exist. Some think that we speak of the Others, the Skotadi and the Aia. They find it hard to believe us when we speak of things that can or will exist. They believe primarily in "can not" and "will not." They are stuck in the now, muddled in time and hardly dreaming at all.
There are few lines because of this. Crises create lines, lines create crises. The Gaians, Wraiths, and Assembly seek to manage crises and push them away. We watch and learn, but act little. The Daoine and Nanori are so full of day-to-day crisis that there is little true overall change.
But hints come.
Hints out of the dreamtime. Out of the Time Beyond Time.
We of all the people in our universe will not be surprised. This is a story we tell our people, about the shapes of the civilizations, so they will be ready. Now, in the past, and in the future. We do not live in the dream enough to see it all, but some day we will, and the lines will begin to converge.
What must be true will be true.
I wake in a strange place.
People look at me as they pass by, most surprised to see someone sleeping on the street. Some children even ask their parents what the word for that is. It makes me glad to be here.
I stand up and stretch, set up a privacy screen. Nothing too high-tech - just a sonic shower and a clothing fabricator. The whole thing wraps onto me after I'm clean. Microbots scrub my teeth and pores.
Even when I'm clean and well-dressed I still stand out like a sore thumb. The people here are utterly different from me, often in multiple ways. I've kept my mesh from downloading all but the minimum cultural guidelines and local laws. Hell, I've even had it block part of my language center so I don't start learning their language too quickly. I want to have as much novel interaction with them as possible. It's the whole point of my visit.
A man stops and seems to offer me help. I hand him a card and he reads it, a little confused, then moves on. He's heard of us, but he doesn't really know us yet. We just got here.
I wander down the street with my pack on my back, poking my nose into conversations, asking strangers for directions, purposefully blundering around the infosphere. It takes up the majority of my day. I get a lot of strange looks. I spread my web as far as I can go, and then find an alley to sprawl out in. Friendly officers of the law ask if I need assistance; I hand them the card and they roll their eyes as they leave.
In my dreams I am a tendril of light pushing into a galaxy, tasting each of the stars and growing fractally. My edges splinter and expand like ice crystals growing through water. Behind me is a tiny thread of light that grows dimmer by the moment. The meaning is clear.
I send a transmission in the morning, encoding my experiences, and listen to the faint, encrypted echoes that come back. Everything I've seen is being analyzed by millions of minds every day, and each one (for now) sees it differently. The whole Assembly is in chaos and uproar. Many speak of the need to review the Pattern. Some have abandoned it already. Others say that Transcendental aid will be required. Still others pound their fists and say that the Pattern is pure and unsullied still, and that contact with the new civilizations will change nothing.
Being here myself, I'm not so sure. I need to stop listening for a day and reconnect.
At the station my diplomatic pass serves as a ticket to the embassy, and I ride the tubes for an hour, halfway across the planet. As I walk in the front door I can feel the infosphere - OUR infosphere - envelop me, and I feel at home again. It's like coming in from the cold and taking off your parka, like relaxing in your lover's arms after a hard day of work. The food from home is a nice touch, too.
With the familiar sounds of kissing and shouting and laughter in the background, I know we can make it work. It's just as if Issac Newton saw a black hole.
There's a larger Pattern out there waiting to be found.
"Excuse me - were you just talking to that man?" The woman posing the question wore a dark suit, almost antique in its formality. The man she asked wore green robes that looked like they had little red insect antennae around the base. It was a relatively accurate assessment. He turned from his companion, swirled the wine in his glass a bit, and responded.
"Yes, I was. Why do you ask?"
"Do you know what he was trying to do?"
The man frowned and checked a device on his wrist. The lights on it were blue. "Nothing, so far as I can tell. Why, am I in danger?"
The woman frowned and muttered, "Only ethically." She sat down and introduced herself. "Kenyi, of the League of Independent Worlds."
"Yes, I guessed. We're so glad to be hosted here at your capital. My name is Tilapa, of the Harmonious Nations of Gaia." They shook. Both made a mental note to sanitize their hands later. "What did you mean by that statement?"
"I'm a member of the security force here. I deal with memetic crime of a specific sort. The man you spoke with is a... I'm forced to use the word 'suspected' criminal."
"Oh!" Tilapa looked around for the man. "Then why is he here?"
"Are your people familiar with the concept of organized crime?"
"I'm not sure what you mean. Most of our criminals are highly organized..."
"That would be a no, then. Here." She handed him a data seed, formatted for his machines. The organizers who had set up this party had hired some very competent engineers to get around the systems mismatch.
The Gaian loaded the seed and scanned the contents briefly. "What a bizarre idea."
"Yeah. Tell me about it."
"Do you want some help tracing their activities?"
"The way our legal system is set up you might end up doing them a favor by trying to help us. Trust me - stay out of their way. Your people believe a little too much in the things that would help them do their job. I'd rather not infect your society that way." Kenyi went to stand up.
"I think you underestimate us."
She paused. "How so?"
"It's true that peace is important to us, that we would rather let our worlds be trampled than let violence rule our response. But because of that very belief, the methods you describe here," he waved at the strangely pulsating display device all the Gaians seemed to use, "could never gain a serious foothold. Something like this is no threat to our civilization on an ideological level. They might..." He searched for a metaphor. "They might inhabit the body, but they pose it no threat."
Kenyi stood up and adjusted her coat. "That's good to hear, but it's not where my concern stops. You keep looking out for your civilization. I'll look out for its people."