So I seeded the sky with story bubbles, and a cloud burst with words this morning. I woke up, and while I was lying in bed, a scene unfolded in my brain. Word for word. I figured I should probably get up and write it down before it evaporated. Below is an intro to my newest story. It’s going to be a serialized fiction, and the first part is The Skyland. If you like, then let me know. If you hate it, then let me know. Any feedback is appreciated. And remember, this is just a quick first draft to introduce the concept. Not sure that this scene will make the book as is. Plus, I’m still working on characters, story arcs, and the outline. I hope you enjoy!
My brother and I snuck up to the roof of our building to watch the storm. It wasn’t the tallest by far. Next door towered nearly twice as high. But it didn’t matter. Every structure had just about the same view. After all, we lived on an island in the sky. Affectionately referred to by a mash up of the two words, and called the Skyland.
Naturally, beyond the surface of the Skyland was clouds. They sat below us, never quite able to reach up as high as we flew. I’d never seen rain with my own eyes. Just in old movies and shows. The Skyland got its water by sucking it out of those fluffy pillows below us.
The bottom edge skirted the clouds, evaporating their bounty, and recycling it for u000s and the plants that grew here. Also along the bottom edge was one of our means for gathering electricity. Several massive lightning rods protruded from the Skyland’s belly. The surge of each strike was stored in the iron-air batteries that lined the underside of the streets.
Most days, we got our electricity from the glowing god overhead. Every surface, with the exception of the living ones, was covered with solar panels. See through solar panels served as our windows, and regular ones served as our walls. It was always a challenge to get enough electricity. Even with our ability to store it, the Skyland used so much. So, we’d have to chase the sun. We’d follow it’s path around the globe. Which made for some extremely long days. My room had been outfitted with heavy shutters to block the light when I sleep. But it never felt natural. Even though it’s what I’d grown up with, something inside me made me yearn for sunsets. Not once in a while. My psyche wanted them every day. Weird.
Storms were always a gift. Usually, if they were strong enough, we could store enough electricity to give us a night away from the sun. Sunsets and rises were a celebration. Family’s would gather to enjoy the rare painting of colors in the sky. They’d actually tear themselves away from their netting and be together, in the flesh.
As we scanned the seemingly endless layer of clouds, we could tell we’d be in for a good show. Even from above, the cumulus were dark and swollen. A booming thunder slapped our ears, and my brother jumped back. I laughed at him. Alex had just turned twenty three. Far too old to be afraid of storms.
“Shut up, Max” he said.
I couldn’t. He sneered at me.
“You look like an old man with those tattoos. I’ll never get used to it,” he said.
Just the mention of my tech tats made my throat itch. I raised a hand to the black and silver stripped pattern, and scratched. It was no use. Those markings had healed long ago. The irritation was in my head.
I was born different. A few generations ago, there was an evolutionary leap. Or, set back. Depending on how you look at it. Humanity, with no natural predators and great advances in medicine, lost their immune system. I guess mother nature thought if we weren’t using it, then we needed it anymore. She was wrong.
A particularly nasty virus crossed species from our former pig stock. It circumvented our best drugs. With no way to fight it off, humanity looked for other answers. They came in the form of Nanites. The Capitan of our ship, since the beginning, has been an networked artificial intelligence system. We call him NAIS. He developed the tiny bots, 3d printed them up, and dispersed them to the population. These bots saved humanity from sickness. But they did so much more than that. In time, people began learning other ways to use them.
We already had an infrastructure that allowed us to interact with the physical environment using our minds. That’s where the tech tats originated. Microphones embedded in the collar bone. Speakers in the ears. Eventually, tats for the hands to make objects yield to your motions and gestures. People discovered how to take the bots farther. They replaced the tats with them. They were now able to interact, not just with their physical environments, but with each other as well. Humanity had, in a sense, become a collective conscious. Every since then, being netted has been a way of life.
But not for me. I was born with an immune system. Just like how sometimes, people are born with a vestigial tale. An unevolved call back to our ancestors. As such, my body saw the bots as foreign invaders, and rejected them. My parents did what they could for me. At first, they tried immunosuppresent drugs. They couldn’t strike the right balance to successfully introduce the bots, without making it extremely unlike I’d be killed in the process. In a world where everyone is connected, and interaction is more with the mind then body, it was like I was handicapped. So, we did the next best thing. I got tech tats. Just a couple at first. I was only a child, and those things hurt going on. But I received more and more as the years passed, and I found myself limited here and there.
When we were children, we’d sometimes see the elderly wearing tats that looked like mine. My brother teased me mercilessly about it. Those people are gone now, but he hasn’t forgotten. And he won’t let me forget, either.
Another boom snapped me out of my funk. It was time for the show. I picked up my binoculars and watched the space below us. Bright flashes of light illuminated the blooming clouds beneath us. They had a sharp, whip crack snap. They were followed by the low rumble of sound rolling over the forgotten ground miles below.
As we watched the spectacular, something near the edge of the Skyland caught my eye. A man had crossed into an no access area. I watched through my lenses as he made his way towards the edge. I tapped my hand against Alex and urged him to look.
“What’s that guy doing?” he asked.
“I don’t know. Can you reach him?” I asked.
He closed his eyes and tried.
“No. I’m not picking anything up. It’s like he’s not even standing there.”
Through the magnification, I could see a blurry, blank expression on his face. Normally, standing where he was, the wind would lick so hard that it’d knock you back. But we were hovering over the storm now, no motion, no wind. He looked off into the storm, perhaps beyond it, trying to see the Earth that I never had. He took a small step back, and I released a small sigh.
Then he placed his hands to his head. He turned towards me. His face was now a wreck of emotions. He was upset and angry. He began to pound at his head with his fists. Then he tore at his clothes. He spun in circles, trying to rid some unseen demon from his body.
“Let me see,” Alex said, trying to steal the binoculars from me.
I shoved him off, and continued to watch.
He was yelling something. But I couldn’t hear it from this distance, and there was no one else around. Angry, he composed himself. He walked back to the edge, spread his arms, and fell forward.
“No!” I yelled, as he plummeted.
“Did he just,” Alex asked.
“Yea. He jumped,” I said, sadly.
“Why would he do that?”
“I don’t know.”
I stood up and handed him the binoculars.
“Where are you going?” he asked.
“Inside I guess. I don’t feel like watching the storm anymore.”
Thanks for reading this. And, again, comments very welcome.
Like nano stuff? Check out this FFF – Nanombie