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    1. Helios 11 yrs ago
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Cheers to newly oceanfront property. Love the concept. Excited for good times.

Breathtaking

लुकाउने


Leaning into some ideas for the Nepal region, especially if rising tides have swallowed the lowlands and made the Himalayan foothills ocean-front almost like fjords. Would love to have some of the local folklore made into “mutant” vestiges of humans/fauna. Probably some heavy emphasis on wind power.

That being said, happy to consolidate to an area that people are actually playing if that makes RPing easier to engage.
Echoed sentiments as above. I would love to put down the jello and bingo chips and feel words with the youths once again.
~ Ilovačić Mining Array ~

In Orbit of Dralloth - Rogue Planet - Outer Rim




The slim jeweled finger of Claire clicked upon her glass; a strange chartreuse liquid that faintly smoked. She sat amongst a crew of smartly dressed cyborgs in high collared black robes. Together they looked forward out of the command module of the destroyer Whispered Breath, all dabbling in similar elixirs. In their vista was a planet with dense blue forests enlarged to show the globe’s details and intermittent flashes of plasma scarring its surface.

“I do hate invasions.” The delicate voice of Claire quipped. “Why do they even bother? A rogue state adrift in the galaxy. Why would one elect to become an orphan, especially in times such as these?”

“They are lost, High Soul.” Came the sickly cool voice of Admiral Vok. “Wayward creatures who have lost taste for the struggle. At one time Dralloth was a backwater world filled with fringers fighting against their very world to survive. When civilization found them, they fell to its vices, its… comforts.”

“Yes but who gave them the pestilence!?” Claire retorted as she drained the contents of her chalice, smoke licking gingerly out of her nares.

“Perhaps the Augustans…” A young ensign from among the crew conjectured hesitantly.

Claire dropped her glass. “Do not utter such vile ideas. The Augustans know better than to deal in the ilk of artificial intelligence on our borders.” The word intelligence dripped from her tongue as if the creation of it were putrid. “Besides, we need them. The FORMAN needs them. Enough so to adjure their company in this little foray. The FORMAN–in its infinite clarity–has found their participation to add to our legitimacy. To smite a single pathetic system alone screams of colonialism. A civilized coalition ridding the galaxy of anarchy’s metastasis, now that is the work of saints.”

“Will the Imperials come, High Soul? Have you word of them?” Admiral Vok asked. His piercing pale eyes lanced the previous ensign. A quick nod of his head saw the gangly cyborg be ushered away. Admiral Vok returned to pacing inches in front of the projected planet, as if to study its every canopied inch hungrily.

“I do not know. The Auggies are a fickle quiddity. Tied up with their dealings in the Outer Rim, the Concordat, their own self loathing of oligarchs vis-a-vis dictators. The normal ilk of people who cater to the opinions of others, not a divine truth. Just today's truth. Someone’s truth. I trust them as much as I enjoy wearing their footwear; sometimes not at all, yet with the perfect dress they are an accessory that can amaze.”

“If they do join the opening beachhead, I shall see to their arrival personally.” Admiral Vok said with a low bow. “The invasion of Dralloth will not be easy on our own. As you know the resources of our people are highly consumed on the barbarian front. I do hope that this venture will provide a wellspring of support from the Augustans. Proof that our two peoples are united in our needs and capable of sharing our burdens.”

Claire arose from her throne and sauntered over to the tall pale figure, her rapturous red dress clashing with his black robes fiercely. She gave a small kiss on the top of the bald, bowed head and made her way to the exit. “I am trusting you, Vok. The FOREMAN is trusting you. Do not let the toil of these souls go to waste. I am off to charm the diplomats and aristocrats of the galaxy.” she gestured to the air as if to mockingly waltz. “I do hope they are less boring than you all. If nothing else, better dressed. Should you meet the Auggies, do try to add a bit of *zest.*

Kisses!”

—--

A handwritten letter on fine black parchment arrived each of the heads of state and prominent oligarchs of the galaxy. To add to the financial burden of this galactic postage came a present, a small bottle of vibrant green liquid with a slight smoking hue. Fine gold calligraphy wrote:

“XX

Great Citizens of the Galaxy. You are cordially requested to attend the Gala of Souls this coming fortnight at Repository 12, well placed in Penal District 3 of your Ilovacic Mining Array. Together we will bask in the civilization and culture that these many millennia have curated throughout our galaxy. A time to greet old friends and acquire new respect for the children of Orion. Though we cannot and may not wish to rebuild the Federation, we can weave the fibers that once connected its great friends and families. Let us enjoy the company of each other, exchange gifts, and come to understandings that once permeated this galaxy. To shine light on our commonality that–no matter how barbarous or civilized–we are all souls on the same journey through the cosmos. A journey best spent with good company and an aperitif.

I trust you will dress your best and have a present.

Adoring love, XX

Claire Ilovacic”


~ Ilovačić Mining Array ~

Volčić (Ecumenopolis) - Outer Rim




“Is it not beautiful, Claire?”

Delicate fingers laced across the visage of a small porcelain face. The hands belonged to a creature, not entirely human. His body was like that of a marionette. Symmetrical soft lines and crept over his ivory skin; he was a man assembled. In those hands lay something like himself, something real and yet soulless.

A soft female voice responded. “A thing can be beautiful, and yet the creation of it can be an abomination.”

The woman was strikingly elegant. Her dark locks hung about the shoulders of a fine red dress of Augustain make. A peplum hung smartly about her waist with a small clutch bag of priceless Mansadom leather lazily tucked in the nape of her elbow. She stood with an air of presence–or at least self importance. She rocked the penciled heel of her white lace stiletto impatiently. Yet the figure remained at his bench, aweing at the small bodiless face. The porcelain creation.

“She made me too, you know that, Claire. The inspired Lady Ilovacic. I was her first creation, Claire. Does it not honor her to create others in the same way?”

“Robots are an abomination.” The expensive figure retorted sharply. “Surely if she had wanted more of you she would have made them. And yet you were the first and only. The only soulless metal she ever graced with a conscience–”

“--do you not serve a synthetic conscience?”

“It is not.” The venom of the woman cut the air. “The FOREMAN is a program. It is a passage, a community, a grand ideal that is coded into the very fiber of this empire. It has no form, it has no bounds. It is an unstoppable virus of logic and it is the only hope for this galaxy. You may have been the first invention of Josephine Ilovacic, but the FOREMAN was her last; her magnum opus; her final product. You are the miscarriage of brilliance. A soulless mistake. Hiding in the Outer Rim—in a fucking patissere shop.”

The mannequin sat motionless as it absorbed the lashes of Claire. Indeed they sat in a quaint pastry shop, somehow suspended in time. No customers filled its empty booths. And yet it was pristine as if furbished for opening day. The smell of rich cinnamon and buttery delights hung in the air as if the morning rush was dawning. And yet it was all a facsimile. Just like its curator. A perfect moment preserved in perpetuity.

“I am not hiding Caire. She loved to be here. Just like I love it.”

“You cannot love. You can only destroy. You destroy the meaningfulness of life. True life. You are antimatter.”

The stooping robotic figure left its plush seat at the booth and walked entrancingly to the counter. From a small oven he produced a tray of fresh delights with the warm hint of apple. “Lady Ilovacic would come in here every day and sit, just there.” He gestured to his previous rest.

Claire took no notice, still standing like a javelin thrower intent on another assault.

“She would order these beignets and pour over her beautiful work. She made this galaxy a better place, Claire. She created; not just like a scientist, but like an artist. And there one day after a lifetime of truth, and art, and love, in that seat, she died.” He gently separated a pastry, a rich red alluvium running from its warm dough, offering it gingerly to his guest. “It is only right that this place be maintained after her passing. That we sanctify the homely halls of this shope and all that it was in those moments. It is a holy place, divinity runs in the cushion of that seat, in the rich air, in each morsel of this food. It is a part of the greater picture, the divine inspiration. I have kept it this way for over a century now. Just as she left it. And one day, inspiration will strike. She will strike. And the truth, and art, and love of her mind will find a way to reenter this world. She will be the final ingredient to create something to save the entire galaxy, not just the souls of convicts… Do try the beignets.” The delicate hand held the pastry aloft to Claire.

“I am Lady Ilovacic now. Your master is dead. All that will ever come from her is what we have now. All we can do is obey her design. This place is just a sanitarium for your circuit brain. You work to maintain it, to cook, to labor, to give yourself meaning. But these seats are as empty as your soul. You will never matter, your work will never matter, because you are a robot.” Claire stepped to the counter, heels agait, shoulders like the flight of a swan. She snatched a half of the morsel from the lacey metal fingers.

“Have you ever tried eating it, robot? Ever tried being inspired?” She nipped a bite off of a corner, careful not to spoil her thick red maquillage. The vehement look of disgust seeped from her face. “Your work, just like that sugary shit-bread, is a waste. Because you are no more real than rocks in the soil. You will never create truth, or art, or love like an Ilovacic. Your existence is simply a tremor of the earth, rearranging the worthless atoms of dust without purpose. Work is for the soul. Living souls. One day I will convince the FOREMAN to shut down your little museum, shut down your worthless little circuits, and finally return to the dirt every obstacle to Josephine Ilovavicic’s true vision. Unless the Barbarians get to you first. Perhaps when they burn this place to glass you will finally be worth something. A small blip of dopamine in the endless void. Thanks for the beignet. Inspiring.”






-- Kroak Top Land --




A long drawn *Hummmmmmmm* consumed the air. The swamp, festering with all of its smells, and sounds, and vibrations became controlled by the ethereal call. The wind and water and time moved in sequence with her presence like still water after a pebble's strike. And then it was gone.

The swamp remained still for a moment more. Even the beams of light, dancing on stilts atop the water, held their pose for a brief refrain. It was a meditation. A digestion of the Voice which ruled this bog; ruled this this space and time. Its maker was unknown. But what was it to know, when one could feel.

A sharper, more earthly croak cut the air. Impatience was palpable in its voice. Atop the weathered porch of a hut sat two frog-like figures. They relaxed in wooden chairs slouched and cross legged, juxtaposed to a game table. A small tub of briny water held floating figurines. They bobbled loosely in the murky bowl, their placement just barely noticeable amongst the checkered features of its glass walls. Within this grid the two figures played a game. Pieces moved and took other pieces. Each with a turn, casting aside the lost figures like garbage. The game was familiar: strategy, maneuver, risk, reward. And yet like all things Kroak, it was played in three dimensions. The real fight took place in the depths below.

“They dishonor us. They dishonor the Voice.” A whisper came from a purple Kroak, very old and frail much like their speech. Her people called her Guunghnoknok, and she was a venerable voice amongst the swamp. “Let us cast upon them like the gnats they are, creeping upon their short sight toward that which would end them.”

The figure across from her did not stir. He sat a green toadkin, grizzled with the scars of a hard life and various trophies of rotting bone and flesh. Xnokylynya, the chief of the Top Land. Between his fingers hung a small roll of foul smelling fungi. It danced glowing embers into the firefly-dappled sky. He took a drag of the biri and filled his generous sized sac.

Xnokylynya held the smoke for what must have been an hour, staring, watching the floating figures in the bowl.The sounds of the swamp had grown louder as the air cooled and darkened around them. Faint wisps of blue smoke began to trail from his nostrils. The high pitched trills of small insects. The altos of life amongst the canopy. The low croaks of his countrymen hidden yet thriving deep in the swamp’s fold. His smoke joined the early evening haze that was beginning to cloak the surface of the pond below.

His opponent sat patiently. By now the mist of night had constricted their view to only each other and the still floating figurines before them, all else was a warm haze. The same blue smoke trailed upwards from his nostrils, yet glowed like sapphires in the dwindling light of the day. Without warning something flew into their vision from above. A black figure, dancing wings the only clear sign that it was alive. The green scarred Kroak unleashed himself at it. Amidst a puff of incandescent blue soot shot a tongue. It wrapped around the flying creature and drew it into his clutches. And yet the captured foe was bigger than the Kroak. It scrambled and writhed its insectoid features as he gripped it with his hands. Its wings dashed frantically before one was torn off with a wrenching bite. The violence of the tussle betrayed the looks of the old battered toadkin. He held on with all his might casting wood and dirt into the sky. Without hesitation, the purple Kroak picked up the chair that had been her perch and broke it across the face of the insect. The beast was stunned for a moment, and in that moment it found its fate. Xnokylynya, chief of these lands, ran the creature's head into the murky bowl of figurines. The creature frantically tried to escape his grasp. Yet he would not relent. He held firm, his tongue slowly pressing its head deeper and deeper into the watery grave.

At last it ceased. The air turned quiet again; like it had after the Voice. And yet no hum cut the silence. Time and space crept along in the humid fetor of the bayou. The last whispers of light still danced amongst the lightning bugs. This time, only the deep, baselike song of Xnokylynya croaked into the night air.

“Tell the Talan we feast.”

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