~ a short story
Bob walks over to the table and sits down. Looks like they were already at it. He makes eye contact with the bartender and orders a drink for himself. The others are engaged in the midst of a deep conversation and they pay him no heed. He listens in.
“So they lose that battle, and they lose control of the planet. But the Matriarch’s forces are regrouping and rebuilding, not without my own assistance,” Mike smiles as he looks from each person at the table. He pauses for effect.
“What’s next?” Dante demands.
“Well, it’s ongoing. I fully anticipate another war – this time it won’t be about conquest, it will be about survival. And vengeance! The stakes couldn’t be any higher. I haven’t yet reached the end of this little world’s saga. All in all, for a smaller campaign, it has been more eventful that I could’ve imagined. Learned a lot about their ways, their natures. Plan to implement the knowledge from these lessons into my next venture,” Mike explains to Dante and the others.
Dante and Sandra look over to Bob, freshly seated. He is smiling, not able to help himself. Sandra speaks, “Welcome Bob. About time you showed up. We’ve already gone. Your turn. You can catch up with the others’ tales when you have time. Though I doubt they will be as interesting as your own. You have kept us in the dark for so long. I speak for everyone when I say that the anticipation is killing me!”
Bob takes a deep breath before speaking and smiles broadly,
“Ladies and gentlemen, I shall deliver on the hype.”
The faces of the others at the table are unblinking. Practically hysteric with prospection, they look to him. Bob has been waiting for this moment almost as eagerly as they have, the opportunity to tell his own story – years in the making. A story entirely of his own creation.
“As you may now know, I was granted domain over World 56813.25.48 – starting from the birth of intelligent life all the way until the end. An Alpha and Omega Campaign. I am the first of our toon to embark on one. The reason we don’t normally engage these, at our age, is because of their length and the rigorous investment required from the Shaper. I have been in this same campaign for over five years now, over three thousand years of world-time. I made the conscious choice at the beginning to not report any updates along the way, because I wanted to reveal the full story, when the time came, all at once. All could be told in time. Like now!
“All begins with sowing the seeds of nature, same as y’all understand it. I gifted them, my chosen species – the sapiens – with a specifically wild core nature. They evolved over time, designed by their environments alongside my seeded consciousness. They learn, makes tools, cooperate in tribes, advance together. As planned, for the purposes of communal and technological progression, for civilization building, all these traits combine. This is necessary for all potential endgames, whichever I ended up coming upon.
“However, deep within them there is a self-interest that goes beyond rationality – greed, prejudice, even hate. It grows the further they go. Tribes come into contact. Friends and foes. It’s an engine. Works in cycles. They barely even realize any of this happening in their own subconscious. This is key: through a clarity of apparent self-awareness, this hidden core exists. Comes to shape everything about them. It is so deeply ingrained that none can escape its subtle influences. There is a spectrum with all of it, savagery matched against self-discipline. But it is all within them. Crafts the structure and incentives of the systems they build for themselves in their eventual civilization. There is a hierarchy that establishes itself among them whether they like it or not. They place value on the lives of one another based on the arbitrary forces of birthrights and appearances and certain beliefs, rarely if ever any true substantive qualities that justify affection or power. Material soon reigns supreme, afore character, afore life itself!
“It was fascinating to witness so many seminal decisions result in thousand year standings, from the small embraces of self-interest, often spite. None of you would believe how much dumb luck would come to shape some of their empires. But ultimately, despite great potential borne in their adaptations and in the rare cooperations of dissimilarity, their penchant for the lesser pleasures of existence came to dominate their choices. Impeded by self-deceptions and impossibly detectable bias, they fumble into the expected advancements. These years are fascinating. They figure this shit out but often in the most stupid, backwards ways. It’s humor of the highest order!
“As a result, there is violence. There is war. And in the aftermath, the victors deal out oppressions. The powerful generate systems early on which perpetuate the power-holders’ bloodlines, wealths, prejudices. It isn’t difficult to see exactly what all this leads to. And you see, almost ALL of this is just in the seeds of their biology, their natures. The resources which I implant on the planet itself are wide-ranging and sincerely providential. They could co-exist with each other, even the plants and animals. Every notable worldly threat is mostly avoidable.
“Well, once they have spilled the blood of innocents for long enough, destroying progress and pulling the chair out from underneath rationality for long enough – they figure it out. Well, some of it. After their generations of hunting & gathering, discovery and conquest, they begin to realize the powers of their superior intelligence relative to the other denizens of the world. It’s the only thing that really makes a difference in the primordial crucible of competing species. They come to build cities spanning thousands of miles, to the edges of the world. They generate systems of travel and production by which efficiency is mercilessly charged again and again to great success. The economic progress itself eventually halts any grand wars. Greed overpowering the glory of conquest, they find tolerance. No more invasions, bloodlust becomes less profitable. Instead wars are fought in the shadows – using diplomacy, influence, and something called finance. Still strategic bullets in some places…
“The population grows, the people live longer, the world is safer. But alas, that wild heart is still there. The insatiable curiosity to discover is matched only by the necessity to maintain power and dominion. Riots and accidents. Police take over for militaries. Those shadow wars. Newly fashioned greeds and prejudices permeate from the top down. They justify themselves unto the sake of material accumulation. All violence, every drop of blood, for the sake of … stuff. Because it is physically impossible for them to resist it, to be objective, to think long-term. Again, all from the Alpha seeds I planted. I’m telling you, it is perfect! Provides me with an endless source of entertainment. All of it leading to my Omega tree.
“They develop religions and philosophies and social structures as far ranging as the oceans which divide their countries. These belief systems allow them the moral relief to justify just about anything. Their governments, the same ilk as the long-game power mongers of the world’s ancient past keep up a facade of democracy, for the sake of preventing open rebellion. The masses accept it and use politics for their own miserable purposes, all the while forgetting, or rather failing to realize or understand, that their ancestors abdicated any real power hundreds of years ago, thousands of years. To the uppers alone. To those with a mind to control the masses of the lowers. Ever since sentience was grasped certain socioeconomic groups were doomed, save for every revolution failed to organize.
“At long last, the inherent greed in their accumulated enterprises begins to erode the very environment around them. Power supersedes long-term survival. A cycle of wealth and power beget one another, perpetuating each other, one greed enveloping the other, feeding it. Additionally, the civilization needs to sustain more and more people, so they kill off the other species and their environment housing it all to make room. There is no stopping the need to produce. And as a result, pollute. They destroy the life-granting natural habitats of their forebearers – replacing them with their newfound steel cages and digital mindspaces and dens of corruption. And in all of this, the more advanced they become, the more at their disposal, the more unhappy they become. They lose meaning. In ‘hardships’ which would make their ancestors smile comfortably, they slog through their little lives. A prejudice for weakness, and ironically, for the “need for community” remains, untapped and unconscious and yet even more influential because of it. They find a steady but unsustainable peace inside of their distractions. The relationships in the modern eras, you see, are all inverse. Upside down. Digital scapes give them the opposite of what they need. And it’s all leading to something. My plan begins to crystallize.
“Perhaps most important in all of this, is the sciences. Hard and soft. Science and psychology. Matter and mind. This may come as a surprise, this doesn’t seem like a world which values science, yes? Well, it’s half true. Science builds their world, starting with those ancient tools. But in spite of this, the most innovative minds of this world are not the most powerful, or influential, or often even heard or considered by the populace, outside of the devices they can create for mass appeal and for mass consumption. Life-saving infrastructure and technology is abandoned; not profitable enough.
The remaining genius is used, or rather exploited, most of all by the governments and those holding power, for their own purposes. They do value science, just without values, without real responsibility. They need it for instrumental reasons. Further control, further power. Their expressed, propaganda purpose is “defense.” “Security.” The use of the word by the imperial governments is unintentionally ironic. And lo, it is in these weapons their scientists make for them, the most powerful death-causing machines you have yet seen on any world, that this Campaign, and this world’s, endgame is borne. They are produced en-masse, by each of the world’s primary players and pointed at each other’s shores. Primed for launching whenever those that are deemed worthy of unleashing a hellscape, deem it strategically necessary. The mere invention of them, and the order in which the nations achieve it is a crisis era in of itself. If there is historical period in the time of this world you should each take the time to tune into on my stream – it is certainly that slice of time. Perhaps the most riveting moments in the entire campaign take place there. But in the end, the superpower nations secure all these weapons, which are capable of destroying mountains of populous, entire countries. And they live in this state for years. They continue to exist and preside over a darkening world. In spite of these conditions, they exist on this brink and continue on. The people simply forget. About the looming annihilation around them every moment. They forget what this means. They forget about what mass death looks like, only glimpses of it recent history. They forget about the garden they live on. Some know what should be done; none of them do anything. With their lives, and not their politics, they persist, voting for an inevitable outcome with decades of culminating inaction.
“And all of this, I allow it to be. I keep the steady state, observe it. In all honesty, I didn’t have to do anything interventive in this meantime to put the pieces in play. The nature I imbued them at origin with did all the real work. Their prejudices and appetite for greed generate all of this irrational conflict and fear. This incessant fear of unknowns, most of all, puts them into a position of destroying themselves and the only world they know. Them and all future gens. Ha!
“I know the non-prevention of this outcome I have described to you is against general guidelines. I can tell by each of the looks you are giving me now you think it to be wrong. Before, I might have agreed with you. But in an Alpha / Omega, you are encouraged to be more hands-off. It isn’t necessarily about the best outcome anymore; it is about letting them choose their own outcomes. That is why they stress you spend so much time in the Seeds of Creation phase. With this much time at your disposal, those beginnings will come to shape everything more so than anything the Shaper does along the way. So it’s important to spend the time to get that right. And I think I did. The Alpha seeds, you know.
“I let this stand for many more generations, fast-forwarding, simply mesmerized by this reality and the stasis of the conditions. In its own way, it was admirable that they simply didn’t kill each other after all. But of course, I grew bored. So I had an idea, the first phase of which, of course, would be to tactfully instigate the long-awaited apocalypse. To flick this precarious switch of mutually assured destruction.
“It wouldn’t be difficult to incite such action. A single domino would do. But I wouldn’t desire for all of them to perish. Some would have to survive, a new generation for a new world. And a new conflict.
“I won’t bore you with the details on how or why the nukes started falling. They do. But anyway, I had this idea: vaults. Hi-tech bomb shelters, but more than that. Tombs these fleshbags could climb into in order to ride out the apocalypse. Hyper-advanced underground and highly protected dwellings, entire cities perhaps, which could serve as the next generation’s abode. The places that the highest classes of society would retreat into when the bombs started to drop. It would be the last bastion for the survival of the species. And within each vault, a specific purpose and endgame in mind. Through my controlled-surrogates, scientists, biologists, neuroscientists, and psychologists, I hand-crafted each vault myself with a singular purpose in mind. And again, folks, this being my first tangible act of Creation in over three thousand years. This more so than even my seeding process was the most time-consuming and enriching experience during the whole campaign. Each vault has varying conditions and supplies. But ultimately, the parameters were similar – only enough resources and life support sustainability for exactly 10 generations of the families. And as the resources dwindled to a full stop, in the final year of the Vault, there would be violence, chaos, mass murder, you name it – in the mad pursuit of escape from these vaults-turned-tombs. In the end, after these 10 generations, only the most able bodied and resourceful person would be able to leave the Vault and escape out into the surface world. One person, from each vault. Approximately one thousand vaults. One thousand entrants into…. a battle royale of sorts.
“The radiation on the surface world makes it nearly inhospitable, of course. The expected aftermath of the hyper-lethal cocktail of nuclear and biological weapons used to ruin it in a previous age. And this is integral to the value of the Vaults and their 10 generations of housing; no one can leave and witness the surface in all this time because they will die without question. However, in the final year of the 10th generation, the last of the vault dwellers, the desperate final survivors of the whole ordeal – the victors – “discover” a secret serum hidden within a labyrinth in each vault. An injection of this serum grants them a variety of superhuman abilities. One of which is a permanent immunity from the lethal radiation levels on the surface. Key fact here: there is only enough serum for a single person. This becomes known to all those vying for control of it. They can’t save them and their family, only one. Hence, the single survivor, presumably the strongest of the vault gets the stuff. The great objective here being that only the most ruthless survivalist, in a recursion of the baser instinct of their ancient ancestors, will emerge from each of these Vaults. Each will be expected to be different in their own way, in their methods and their minds, based on the specifics of the unique Vaults’ parameters. But all of them very much superhumans. Superbeings with a new purpose; the perfect candidates, heroes & villains, psychopaths & saviors, the Gods and Demons for this new world. A world, in the years since the humans retreat, which I have built from the ground up!
“Taking it back now, history lesson: 95% of the world’s populations perishes in flames of the surface war. Only a fraction of a percent are admitted into the vaults to survive, for these 10 generations of further technological advancement and breeding. The rest of the living population must persist and endure in this hellish new world, on a surface ruined by fire and death and most importantly, radiation. The people and the remaining animal populations mutate. They grow into entire other species. Hordes of unnatural yet intelligent beasts and men roam the lands. They rule the world now. Until this specific moment of Emergence. From out the Vaults our intrepid superhumans arrive.
“When the 1,000 Vault dwellers emerge into the surface, their grand conquest for survival begins. Spread throughout the landscape of the new world and armed with nothing but their own instincts, guile, and superhuman abilities to use: they must gain control of it all. They encounter the new denizens of the surface world and assume respective dominions – uniting tribes of men & monsters to fight the next war. A war to be fought with the scraps of a broken world, with no rules and no clear conditions to victory. The primary weapons being the blades and arrows of the ancient world. The teeth, claws, and hunger of the beasts.
“Incalculable forces of ghouls, the White Wolves of New Siberia, the Garuda birdpeople of east Asia, the Shademen of Europe, North American Deathstalkers, South American Ape-Gods, African Hellbeasts, the Dragons of Galapagos, the Pacific Deep Ones, Robots, DogFolk, CatGirls, and much, much more. Names I have given to the horrors of this new dark world – the foot soldiers in a new theatre of war. The 1,000 Vault dwellers have gathered their forces, some have even united and they prepare for an impossibly entertaining conflict, a conflict to end all others, “The Apocalypse Wars.”
“Come now, it is about to begin. That is why I brought this screen,
“Let us watch how it unfolds!” ~
– coming to Reality Engine X this Fendar IV
The best world building x warcrafting x simulation experience of all time.
~ inspired from a Shaper’s real world experience with “Earth” thousands of years ago.
new ~59.99 // used ~54.99