This is the first part in a novel I have been working on. I am sure it will go through rewrites and revisions but I am posting some of it here. This is the story of how my post apocalyptic setting came to be. I am trying to be more comfortable about sharing my fiction. That is easier said than done.
The story is told in an epistolary version. It just seemed to be the right way to go. I am comfortable writing that way. That may have to do with writing a bunch of game text. I will post the second part next month.
In our hubris, here in the late 22nd century, we would never have suspected that our knowledge was so incomplete. We believed ourselves champions of science. We believed ourselves masters of the world. We strode on other worlds. We held sky cities of Venus, the new terraforming colonies of Mars, and the Jovian system riders showed our ambitious reach. That which we did not know seemed within reach.
So much pride, so much power.
In the shadow of gods, it all seems pointless now. Our works crumble around us, and our science fails us. The world has become a grave for billions, and those who remain struggle to find meaning in a fractured reality.
We live in their world now. Are we pets? Are we microbes for their study? If there is an answer, I do not know it.
I am Dr Verdigris Fogg, historian and survivor. As I sit here in this place I will retreat into the familiar. I retreat into the scholarly. I hope, someday there will be a time when man looks back. It is an act of hope to chronicle what happened so that those in future times may have a record. It is a small thing, but much is made from small things.
Please forgive me if I am an imperfect witness and this an imperfect chronicle. I have lost… WE have lost much. I will do the best I can and hope that it is enough.
What I have done is collect my journal entries, some from me, some from people I know. I also added snippets of remembrances, interviews, and whatever else I could collect. I am a historian and I know the importance of primary sources. I also know the importance of detailing who the sources are. Unfortunately, on some of these, I did not have time to get to know them very well. The circumstances being literally apocalyptic made that difficult.
January 2nd 2186
Journal of Dr Verdigris Fogg
Today was an exciting day as a historian. It was more trying for the rest of society, I suspect. I mean, how often do people get to see the birth of the first nation on a new world? Never. Never in human history have we seen this. Some people referred to the America’s as a “the New World” but that is hardly appropriate. There were people already in that land, and it was not new to them. At some point humans entered new lands they had not previously lived, to be sure, but that is hardly in recorded history.
Mars has had colonists living on it since the middle of the last century. The earliest colonists were fulfilling the dreams of science fiction writers and future leaning industrialists. It had to be clear at some point that a colony may become something more.
Mars declared their independence today. They sent word to the UN and gave them notice of their intension to form a planetary parliament. The Corporate Conclave Courts are screaming about it and threatening all sorts of sanctions, and a few nationalist groups are calling for the UN to move in a force to reclaim the planet, but, so far, this has been a bloodless affair.
My wife explained to me the problems of enforcing any military campaigns. She is on the Science advisory board so I tend to trust her. Apparently moving troops there right now would take a couple of months. We could fire mass driver weapons but that would be less reclamation and more, “wipe the board” and begin again. The cost of that would be prohibitive. Even if they did send troops, and they did make it there 2 months later, they would be in a severe disadvantage. Prosecuting a war against an entrenched native populous who is has technology on par with yours is always a recipe for disaster.
So, given that, after the much wailing and gnashing of teeth, I expect this will be a thing which will stand. There is more profit in giving in to their demands and working with the new government, rather than prosecute a hopeless war.
Isn’t that exciting?
I am not sure who will write that history but it will be an important one.
In other news, I am now the newest Adjunct professor at Oxford. I am doing the telepresence thing from here in Virginia. I will be teaching classes and working on my next book all at the same time. WEEE!
Caroline tells me she will be in Colorado next week for the opening of the new ultra high energy particle lab. Unlocking the mysteries of the universe and a government liaison? Yeah, my wife does that! I miss her.
The kids are with their grandparents in Nairobi. Grandma is spoiling them, as Grandma’s do. My father tolerates them, which is the best I can ask.
Well, my obligation to journal is done. Now back to writing.
January 7th 2186
Journal of Dr Verdigris Fogg
Time for a trip to Colorado. Also, apparently it is time to update the encryption. All my journals from here on out are subject to code word classification Verity. I am not entirely sure what that means but I am told it is serious.
Caroline tells me that she will fill me in more but she will be on extended placement at the Ultra High Energy Particle lab. Not sure what is going on, but she did not sound happy. I can do my work from there easily enough. The lab even has a better telepresence suite than the one in my living room so the classes I teach should be even better. Yeah, technology will make me a better teacher. That’s the ticket.
Mars is sticking to their guns, so to speak. They elected a pro tem prime minister till the first parliament convenes and they have a proper government hammered out. The various outlets are doing what you would expect. The decentralized AI curated outlets are taking a detached view. The ones owned by corporate types are selling them as violent radicals. Three centuries and media changes its character very little.
Grandma has taken the kids to Timbuktu. Mom always did love the history spots. I think my daughter Mika would prefer the robot factories in Nigeria, but expanding her horizons is good.
The book is coming along. Jackson, an American Monster is the working title, though that will change to something tamer closer to release. The outline looks solid and the first chapter is mapped out.
Back to writing then pack for tomorrow.
Journal of January Ruiz
The key to being a creator is accepting, on some deep personal level, that it is never enough. You can’t ever feel really finished with a project. You can’t get enough success. You definitely can’t get enough money. I am on basic dole, with an arts kicker, but I am always using gear 10 years out of date. I love my place, but it is only a few hundred feet. Entertaining is not something I get to do.
I did go on a date last night. Gina is also sinew and muscle, big into the mods scene. I can appreciate that, but I do wish she had shut up about it. It is bad enough she speaks in that weird pigeon tongue that modders seem to speak. The words are truncated and used oddly, so I had hard time following her.
“So, you should Amp, ya?” Gina said with gleam in her eye. ”You make ho no time. Amp the eyes, See more. Amp the brain, know more. It cazy”
“Cazy?” I asked unsure what she means.
“Ya. Cazy, like mad, you know?”
“You mean ‘crazy?’”
“Ya, though no bad like most mean.”
“Have you gotten your brain amped?”
“No, sad. Can’t afford yet. Went fast muscle and bone hardening. Can’t really break no matter how hard you try, ya?” she said with a bit of a leer.
“Uh, huh.” I said as I began looking for a waiter.
As much as I want to fulfill the “sleep with an amazon” fantasy, I don’t think that one will work. I am as adventurous as the next girl, but I think my tastes are a little more old fashioned than that.
I spent the rest of the night working on my holonovel with a bottle of cheap wine and my home comp as company. I love her dearly, but the house VI is not exactly a scintillating conversationalist. I knocked out another 500 words on the piece and went to bed.
This morning I rose, had my needed caffeine fix, and did a nice walk through Petaluma. I went by the dole office and flashed up my writing progress. Got to earn that extra bit, right? Then I just picked up some groceries and carried them home. I had a message from Gina waiting. I am guessing she can’t take a hint, or maybe it is me. Ah the exciting life of a holonovel creator.
January 9th 2186
Journal of Dr Verdigris Fogg
Well, that is done. In Colorado Springs now. The lab is actually built into the old Cheyenne Mountain complex. Something to be said for building into a mountain, but it works even better if someone already did it for you. The full-time staff stays in the mountain while on rotation, and the rest of us commute. The place was built nearly 130 years ago to survive nukes and it has been maintained pretty well, all things considered.
Caroline is super stressed about something at work. I am guessing she is having to explain to UN Ministers why attacking another planet is not really viable. That, and she is also pulling for pure science funding on things like a particle accelerator. I am here for her as much as I can be. Even made some Tikka Marsala for her last night. I hope things let up for her soon.
Mars is kind of a mess. The temporary Prime Minister got assassinated this morning. It was brutal and apparently the guy’s son was there to watch. Terrible. Mars is keeping very tight-lipped about the identity of the assassin.
I remoted and talked to Mika and Corwin. Days like today I miss them more than ever. Talking to your kids is important. Mika was excited to tell me all she had learned since getting to their grandparents. Apparently there are more people actually employed in Kenya than all of the North American states. Not too surprising, but she was interested so I acted a little surprised.
Mom thinks I should quit teaching all together and write full-time, but I have always been super proud of having a job. It is hard to give it up. Maybe I am old-fashioned.
Tomorrow I get to see Caroline’s office. She seems more nervous about that than I would expect, but that is probably due to all the stress.
January 9th 2186
The Lunar Journal
The source of last Friday’s gravitic anomaly is still unknown. The anomaly was detected by 6 ground based gravity observatories, and the two larger Orbital LIGO facilities. The scale of the event seems on par with the Black Hole impact events previously observed dating back to the early 21st century.
There are several mysteries involved, however. The first is directionality. The observatories could not agree on the direction the ripples in space-time were coming from. The usual methods involve looking at the differences in detection from multiple sources to determine direction. The slight variations between detectors indicate where, and the frequency of the waves helps determine distance. In this case, the detectors seemingly detected the waves without enough variation to determine the source.
The other major mystery is the lack of the distinctive chirp found in colliding black holes. While the magnitude of the ripple is the same, the wave form, if there can be such a thing in the fabric of space, is different. The waves detected are often translated to a sound file, which in the case of black holes sound like a chirp. The sound analogy for the recent gravitic anomaly is more akin to the “bloop” sound one might hear dropping a stone in water.
When asked for a comment on the detection, the Dr Maria Cornwall, of the Luna Observatory, expressed a reserved excitement. “We are always happy when a new or unexpected bit of data appears. It means we have more to learn.
The data is being reviewed and we will likely have some possible theories by years end.”
January 10th 2186
Journal of Dr Verdigris Fogg