Quelling the Storm : A Short Story

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Quelling the Storm : A Short Story

Postby KungFujiApple » Fri Feb 21, 2020 6:16 am

Ok, so to start off I'm just going to say that I don't know anything about writing. This was a small backstory that just kinda kept growing, and then kinda became a short story...or at least part of one. Still, I wanted to share.


Throughout the story I make major references to the Blood Brothers. I also make hints to other back stories and homegrown MFZ lore such as:
- Runaway Urashima
- Sand Rippers
- Freedom Fighters of Tamada Sier

Might I add, Runaway Urashima and Sand Rippers are some of my favorites among the many fantastic stories in this community.

Hope you enjoy this small bit.



Part 3: Quelling the Storm



<1>

"I'm sorry can you please repeat that again?".

"Over 100,000. 101,348 confirmed deaths to be exact. This last attack on Colony 4, pushed it over the hundred thousand mark.". She paused for a moment before coldly continuing:

"12,117 confirmed deaths, 187 missing or unaccounted for, 23 survivors, 14 wounded."

Dan, stood looking out his chamber window onto the serene peaceful forest below. Bright flashes of orange, radiant blue, and emerald filled the darkening sky. No matter how many times he saw this planets sun sink below the mountain peaks, it never failed to give him a sense of inner calm.

This was Dan's secondary residence. A place provided by the Supreme Counsel, located close to the Unions highest court of justice. It was spacious, and decorated with some exceptional works of craftsmanship.

One piece that he personally admired was by famous Venusian artist, Shiere Lao, entitled "The Sea of Truth". Shiere Lao was renowned for her "reactionary" works of art. In Dan's case, this piece he owned looked like a rather ordinary picture of a clear blue waveless ocean meeting an azure cloudless sky at day.

However, this rather simple seascape was more than what met the eye. It "reacted" to people when they were near the painting. It was able to reveal what they were feeling inside.

The cloudless sky and calm sea could turn into a variety of scenes: ranging from sparkling oceans that reflected a sky of sun swept fire, to darkened blankets of storm filled clouds over an inky tempestuous sea.

He had at times used it as a type of lie detector by simply comparing what a person said with what the portrait of the ocean revealed behind them. The results were often... illuminating.

What left the biggest impression on him, however, were not the ones who were attempting to hide their inner self, but rather the ones who were very clear with what they said and how they felt. "Can not honesty be just as breathtaking as any work of art?" he used to think to himself.

One "reaction" that he will never forget was a number of years ago when his family came to visit. His daughter was just a little child at time. She was so happy and excited to see her father that she came running through the front door as fast as she could. He picked her up in his arms and tightly held her so close. They had embraced each other by the painting. She happily exclaimed:

"I missed you so much daddy!".

He remembers looking deep into her eyes and saying:

"I love you so much.".

Out of the corner of his eye he could see the painting move and shimmer. The ocean became radiant, the sky rippled with swirling hues of dazzling color. It was as if a magnificent starburst brush had decorated the canvas, creating a vibrant kaleidoscope in the sky. And for the first and only time, he saw a pair of blue Venusian dolphins playfully leap from the waters surface, remaining suspended for a moment, before going back down into their vast sapphire home.

It was then he knew for a certainty that any work of art, any masterpiece, could never be as breathtaking as the honesty of such a deep bond of love.

This painting was one of several significant artworks that was found in this residency. But despite the interior beauty, to him this place felt less like a home, and more like a glorified office where he could sleep. It was still a place where he worked. It was not where his family was now, and that is where his home was, his real home.



<2>

The residency building was surrounded by gorgeous landscape. One of the Union's finest "groomed" forests. Every tree, plant, and water source meticulously engineered and preplanned. An environment routinely maintained and cared for by autonomous landscaping drones. Every drone made to resemble and mimic the various natural wildlife, varying in sizes and designs from insect to small mammal.

This was a merge of the newest science and technology, an effort to maintain a "natural" feel in this manicured habitat. A new fully functioning techno-organic environment. Some praised this synergy of nature and synthetic as a great achievement, even considering it as the newest form of evolution. Dan found the concept of designing technology to mimic nature as being ironic, "Were we really trying to improve, or just trying to impress ourselves?", he often wondered.

It was beautiful though. The nighttime forest would glow with its luminescent trees, soft blues, pale whites, hues of pink. If colors could be felt, this display could be described as a warm blanket on a crisp autumn night.

Still he'd rather be with those he loved. Having a family that was close was something he had always valued. He continued to gaze out the window while the last illuminations of day slipped below the the distant peaks, now silhouetted in the far distance.

For a moment, he let his mind slip back to when he was young, remembering how his parents took care of his 2 brothers, sister, and him. All of them were always close. And now that he had a family of his own, he wanted that to always continue, not just with him, but with his children, and their children's children.

It bothered him thinking that there were those now suffering, having to deal with the loss of their own families. He imagined putting himself in their place, how would he feel losing what he held so dear? He knew that everyone eventually dies, but it shouldn't be like this, not pointless, and brutal, and untimely.

This bothered him, more than he could have anticipated. People were dying and suffering. In such a short time .... so much destruction. Why was this happening? Who would cause such brutality without any reason? Why has the Union not already prevented this?

He was concerned about the future state of the Solar Union. Just within his lifetime he has seen signs of this organizations decay. Colonies fighting for their independence, separatist rulers rising to power, growing corruption and greed.

Dan had been a member of The Quell for several years now. The Quell was not an acronym, it's name did not represent some grandiose title, very simply it was a name that accurately described what this branch of Union diplomacy did, it put an end to problems. Whether it be internal or external threats, The Quell almost always had their hand in taking care of it.

This division of Union oversight, did not operate within the normal structure of Union order. It was allowed to operate outside of the standard policies and procedures of Union law. Many are not even aware of its existence. However, despite any pretenses of intrusive authority and menacing obscurity, The Quell does its best to operate as elusively, peacefully, and undetected as possible.

Dan had thought it was an immense honor to be a part of something that strived to peacefully protect all within its boundaries. And now the innermost recesses, indeed the fabric of The Union itself was laid out before him like a woven tapestry. A point of view like this, can certainly change a man's perspective. And it was beginning to change his.



<3>

Dan did not find himself becoming embittered, the people he worked with, and the cause he labored so much for, were all still very admirable. But he did find patches of apathy settling in his mind, not unlike the patches of grey and white that had begun spindling their silvery weave into his basalt black hair.

Age had begun to manifest itself within him, taking residence like an unwelcome houseguest, one that made their visit permanently. Still, this stage in his life did not find him inactive, he made sure to train routinely. Most of his career had been non combative, but he firmly believed in a balanced body for a sound mind.

He had worked very hard to get to where he is today. And all he wanted was peace, security, and happiness. He wanted to help people, all people, no matter the planet, race, or background. And he believed that what the Union stood for was the best way to achieve those desires.

However, since attaining this high office of responsibility, he was less sure that this "way" was the best way for others. Yet, what other "way" was possible now? It may not have been all he believed it was, but there were still many good things.

A substantial amount of the people within the Union did have peace, security, and prosperity. Still, he thought things should be better for the ones who were less fortunate. That is what he strove for, that was his aim: To help those ones who were the less fortunate.

But could he? Could he really? What is one man with good intentions against an ever growing decay ripening in a people spread out among the stars? Was this Blood Brothers faction the disease, or rather a symptom, of a much larger disease? It was questions like this that burrowed itself into his mind, laying eggs of concerns, fears, and doubts. Even if this Blood Brothers problem were to be solved, what next? There seemed to always be something else, some other concern, some other turmoil, some other crisis. Would it ever change?

These questions triggered emotions that churned in him like a storm swept sea. But he kept a calm exterior, and refocused on taking care of the situation that loomed in front of him. In a controlled tone he asked her:

"How could this happen? How has this plague not been stopped?"

He thought that technically speaking, it may have been premature to use the term "plague". Putting technicalities aside, though, in his heart he felt this was a plague. A plague that could, and needed to be stopped.

She responded: "All known reports seem to indicate that this Blood Brothers Unit are virtually undetectable and unpredictable. They have no confirmed home base, or base of operation. All attacks are sudden, brutal, and without any confirmed pattern, or motive."

Her voice had a tone and pitch that most people found soothing and calming, however if one concentrated, they could tell it was artificial intelligence. It was virtually impossible to exactly tell where the sound of her voice was coming from. It was not like a being that was standing in front of you, it was as if the room itself was speaking to you.

Particularly this AI, a unit named Shelli, was only available to members of The Quell. It has access to virtually every file, every regulated transmission in Union space that is currently happening. In addition it has access to a vast amount of records, documents, virtually any media for over the last 200 years.

Shelli is also highly capable of interfacing with unregistered, unknown, and foreign technologies. This AI has proved to be one of the most important assets in ensuring that Quell operations be dealt with speedily and with as minimal impact as possible.



<4>

Dan, his worried eyes now staring off into the distance where the sun had just set, furrowed his brow and began analyzing the situation out loud to himself:

"I have to go before the Unions highest council tomorrow, to address the recent incident on Hyperion Alpha. Another confirmed attack by the Blood Brothers. This last one marks their 8th attack. Little is known about them, except that they are an Ijad based syndicate. However our recourses show that these Blood Brothers are apparently just as destructive to the Ijad as they are to the Union. In the course of a single year there are over 100,000 dead in Union space alone. When attacking they leave little behind, and take very little with them..."

He paused trying to make sense of all this.

"There must be a motive behind all of this", he continued, "they can't be evil for the sake of being evil, could they? It is almost impossible to detect them, and there has yet to be a noticeable pattern to their attacks... "

He again trailed off for a moment but this time in deeper thought, trying to put together the pieces that lay scattered about on the table of his mind.

Shelli broke the silence:

"An observational report by investigator Calhoun Dugan was recently downloaded into my data banks. It pertains to the recent Blood Brothers attack on Colony 4 of Hyperion Alpha, would you like to review it?"

"Immediately please", he said without hesitation.

The vidscreen on his tablet flickered to life. Dan was not expecting what he saw.
- KFA frame compilation
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Re: Quelling the Storm : A Short Story

Postby Artasid » Thu Mar 26, 2020 7:51 am

I finally had a chance to sit down and read this and I must say I am thoroughly impressed!
I have to give you a HUGE THANK YOU for including my BloodBrothers, though to be brutally honest, I still have yet to work out the finer details of their origins/backstory, but your inclusion of them here is inspirational and wonderful. I like where this is going.

I eagerly await more 8-)
The Dead may outlast the Living, but those who never Lived outlast them all.
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