Author Topic: Dust  (Read 986 times)

Weave

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Dust
« on: January 02, 2014, 11:56:20 AM »
Just something I came up with this morning. I'm no writer, so bear with me; just thought I'd share some of my meandering thoughts and maybe elaborate upon them.

Hope you all enjoy.

IC: Dust

   My grandmother told me tales her grandmother told her, and maybe even farther before. Stories of oceans, rain, and water, water you could get for free almost anywhere. Now water is traded, bargained for; wealth is no longer measured in gold and coins but in life-giving liquid. A sip could get you a bit of dirty food, maybe, a cup a night or two at an inn, but people can’t carry much more than a few jugs anyways, and you’ll never find a clean vendor. The rich are said to drink from fountains and live as if the world hadn’t changed since the Cloudburst, but most of them are dead or in hiding; they underestimated the lengths people would go to, the sheer, debasing things people would do to get a little water. People guard their old water reserves like nothing you’ve ever seen, fighting with tooth and nail and shooting just about anything that moves. No talking, no reason, just dead. You won’t find any honor here, just cutthroats and degenerate savages in the sandblasted wastes, but don’t mistake their desperation for foolishness – the fools went mad and killed themselves guzzling ocean water. All that’s left are the parched semblances of the old world, mad men clinging to life with the tenacity of a cornered dog armed with military-grade firepower no single man should rightly have.

   The world before this one, and the world even before that are both very different things. On the old maps we had all these little lines that divided us, places where some could live and others couldn't. They were petty things bickering and warring over resources, weapons, and religion. My grandmother always mentioned a nameless war, one that hurt the whole world so badly people wouldn’t speak of it, and the single city that came after it. See, lots of the world was already in bad shape because of the war, places you couldn’t live in without the air burning your skin off or taking your sight, where horrible things born of hatred crawled from the bombshells and ruins in malformed agony. My grandmother thinks it’s how we ruined the water. Something called the Aegis Corporation united the world and built the single remaining city, promising peace and protection. And for a long time, that was what we had – the city of Neo Aegis Corpro. But when people stopped fighting they focused their efforts on other fronts, and technology boomed. Life was more comfortable, nourishment easy and plentiful, and people lived longer – much longer. Neo Aegis Corpro strained to feed its inhabitants, but they kept it secret for a time. When it slipped that we were running out of water people panicked. The Aegis Corporation got all its great big suits together and came up with a plan called Operation Cloudburst. It went like this: Shuttles would fly up and dump a payload of chemicals to seed the clouds and make them rain – the riots let up and people got hopeful, they even celebrated by squandering the water they had because the knew their plan would work.

   And it did.

   Within the thirty minutes, the clouds went black and opened up, pouring down rain for hours and hours and hours. For days, even. For months. It didn’t stop. The slums that clung to the edge of the city were the first to go, uprooted by the water and smashed against the city or dragged out to sea. My grandmother used numbers and words I didn’t know the meaning of to describe how many died. Even in the city, the old skyscrapers collapsed and brought ruin to the streets. The bigger buildings remained and stood against the storm, but what use were they when the world around them vanished? They still stand as a testament to the hubris of humankind, covered in dust and ruin. You can even find them still, if you take a duneskiff or espercycle.

   The rain washed away everything, even the green of the land itself, until it became what you see all around us today – dust; a barren expanse of nothing but rocks and sand and ruins. And when it all let up? The water had mixed with the ocean and been ruined by the debris of the city. Some people thought we could clean it up, but there was too much garbage; all the useless stuff we took for granted that ruined the water. Ironic, isn’t it? Most of the collection containers the city used burst or were drained in the ensuing panic, but some remain nestled beneath the ruins of the city, they say.

   Now we look to the dead. You don’t bury your dead anymore, you distill them. We built machines that ground up the bodies and squeezed the water from them. It’s not always a lot (especially old bodies all dried out from age; the phrase “the good die young” is more or less a societal endorsement) and it tastes like nothing you’d ever want to taste, but when you’re thirsty you don’t care much about luxuries like that. Speaking of which, there’s a new load of dead coming in from the last raid today on Rimtown – hope you’re thirsty.

LordVreeg

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Steerpike

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Re: Dust
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2014, 11:07:58 PM »
Very interesting premise!

I've been rereading it a few times, and I'm slightly confused about whether the oceans are still around or not.  The deluge of Cloudburst implies that the precipitation mixed with the oceans, but then you sort of also suggest that the oceans are only stories.  Does super-polluted rain still fall, the evaporated-then-condensed-and-precipitated sludge from the polluted seas?  Like acid rain from hell?