Stories : Cowboys and Indians

The  old man had another story to share with us so we gathered in a circle around the campfire while he took his place on the best of the logs. The children all sat on the ground while we sat on family logs. The stories around the fire were an honored tradition, started by our elders centuries ago, passed down from one generation to the next. It was how we learned from our elders, how we gained the benefits of their knowledge, and their experiences. We all eagerly waited for the old man to start.

Many years ago, there was a man, his name was Timothy, and he was very proud of his family. They meant the world to him. He worked hard each day to provide everything he could for them. He kept his family well fed. He kept them clean. He provided for them, a house, a yard, clothing, even books, and a bed. His family always had candles to light up their home at night.

Timothy was a good man, all his family knew, and all his village too.

One day, three strangers came to town, riding on their horses, armed with guns, and knives. They took what they wanted, did what they wanted. They got to Timothy’s home, broke down the door of his home, and they shot him. Thinking he was dead, they raped his wife and his daughter. Timothy saw it all, heard it all. He heard their screams of pain, heard their cries for help, heard the tearing of their clothes. He heard the single gunshot fired, and saw the lifeless body of his son as it struck the floor.

All he could do was watch, lying on the floor, his own blood pooling around him. He tried to move, to speak, to scream, to do anything at all. He found he could not. He’d been shot, and he knew he would die.

It was on that floor Timothy made an oath to the gods. He swore, if he lived, if they spared his life, he’d learn to protect his family, his daughter, and he beloved  wife.

When the three strangers had their fill of his daughter and his wife, they left Timothy’s house, moving elsewhere in the village. He heard the sounds of their guns, the screams they caused, the wails of anguish, and of tears, at another soul lost. He could only close his eyes, and beg the gods above to grant him time, to grant him life, to learn to protect his family, his daughter, and his wife.

With the coming of the dawn, those first rays of light, others in the village found him, his daughter, and his wife. They took him straight away to the medicine man, praying as they carried him along for the gods to spare his life.

It took time, more than a few weeks, even more than months, before Timothy grew well enough to walk. The medicine man used his magic, his potions and his spells, and his prays to the gods above, to save Timothy’s life. All the villagers helped him bury his dead son, repair the damage to his home, and take care of his daughter, and his wife.

But Timothy had changed, he was not the same as he’d once been. After that violent night, he bought several guns of his own, keeping them around his house, so they would be there if he ever need them to help him protect his home. To protect his family, his daughter and his wife.

He learned to use them all. The rifle first, then the shotgun. Last of all he learned to use the pistol he’d purchased. He even learned to carry it with him, every day of his life.

In time, his daughter found a man to call her own, and she became his wife. Timothy built a house for them, right across the village square. And every Sunday, his daughter and his son-in-law visited, spending time with him, and his wife.

Young married people being as they are, it wasn’t long at all before Timothy became a grandfather, and his wife a proud grandma. They love their twin grandsons with all their hearts, and took care of them all the time as they watched them growing up.

Those two boys loved their Ma and Pa with all their hearts. They did everything their parents asked of them. They helped with the chores around the house, and out in the fields they helped their Daddy with his work. By the time they were just six years old, both of them could ride a horse, and both could man a plow, and till a field. They went out in the fields almost ever day, working with their Pa.

Timothy was proud of his grandsons. They were going to grow up to be good men. Everything he’d someday hoped his own son could have been.

It was one day not long after when tragedy entered once again into the lives of Timothy, his family, his wife, daughter, son, and grandsons. Tragedy has a way of doing that, of just walking in like rain, on a sunny day. For just like rain, it happens, for no reason, just like rain, tragedy falls where it may.

And on that day, his two grandsons were over at his home, being seven-year old boys, playing seven-year old games. Cowboys and Indians, as it was. When Timothy’s wife asked him, please, to run to the village store and get a bag of flower, two eggs, and two cups of sugar, so she could bake a cake for the two young boys. And off Timothy went, through the village, to the store.

But Timothy made one mistake that day. He forgot the pistol he’d worn almost every day, since that day so long ago, when three strangers came to town and shot his son, and raped his daughter, and his wife. As he got to the front door of the village store, he realized what he’d done, and straight away, he turned back toward his house.

When a single gunshot rang out, shattering the peace and quiet of the village, bringing everyone outside.

Timothy raced to his house, as fast as he could run, for he knew, he knew, where that gunshot had come from. He slammed open his front door, only to see his wife, kneeling on the ground, cradling the head of one of her grandsons, looking up to heaving as she wailed, and streams of tears fell from her eyes.

Timothy’s other grandson was still alive. A smoking pistol resting at his feet. He’d been the Cowboy in the game, his brother the Indian. And like any Cowboy would have done, he saw that gun, and he picked it up, and drew a bead on the Indian.

He didn’t know a single thing about real guns. He didn’t know at all that never point a gun at anyone, that you never pull the trigger if you do. And that’s just what he’d done. And on that day, Timothy lost a grandson.

I’d like to tell you it’s because Timothy had the gun in the first place. But I can’t do that at all, because we all know by now Timothy bought his guns to keep his family safe. A lesson he’d learned on the day those three strangers came to town, and destroyed his family’s life.

I’d like to tell you it’s because of boys being boys, and playing violent games, the way boys have always done. But I can’t, and I won’t. I played that same Cowboys and Indians game when I was just a boy myself, so very long ago.

The simple truth is, a gun’s a gun. And like any tool made by human hands, they have no purpose on their own. But humans made them for self-defense, and in the hands of a brave, good man, they give him a powerful tool to help defend his family, his daughter, and his wife. But in careless hands, uneducated hands, mean, hateful, or angry hands, guns can become a powerful tool of another kind. A tool that makes it much easier for such careless, ruthless hands, to take the life of another living being.

That’s the real reason I have tonight for sharing this story with you.

And with those words, the old man bowed his head, and pushed his hands against the log as he slowly gained his feet. He bowed his head to all of us, and smiled a sad, broken smile, before he shuffled off, on his way to his lonely home, and we all said good night.

The Next Big Thing : Cylinders

I have been nominated to take part in The Next Big Thing, by The Last Krystolos (Lisa Shambrook). The Next Big Thing asks ten questions about a current Work In Progress, and I answer them as best I can. As Lisa did, I’ll use my NaNoWriMo 2012 story as the basis for the answers to the questions.

Q1. What is the title of your Work in Progress?

Other than “Not finalized at this point”, I have a working title. Cylinders.

Q2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea came from a lot of ideas, spread over 11 years. It started with an idea I shared with a friend back in 2002, or 2003. Of machines that took over the galaxy, and gradually caused the extinction of the human race. The machines realized they’d lost something when the humans were gone. Some intuition. Some emotion. They couldn’t define it. So they couldn’t recreate it. So, the recreated humans.

That though led to so many others. At one point, the humans themselves turned into machines, through genetic manipulation, breeding humans for specific purposes. The ideas kept flowing, especially in the past 2 years.

After NaNoWriMo 2011, it occurred to me to try something different with the concept of the machines. Battlestar Galictica always refers to the Cylons as the children of the human race. And I had this world filled with humans, fairies, dragons and magic, and this idea for machines that were intelligent, and had grown their technological abilities far beyond what we have today.

That whole idea collided with the divisions I see happening within our society now. The multiplicity of religions, sexual preferences, personal beliefs, and ways of life, and how divisive these differences have become.

Q3.  What genre does your book fall under?

I’d call it Science Fiction/Fantasy. I’m trying to remember what several others have called it. Something like Gothic Science Fiction, as I recall.

Q4.  Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Well… They’d be voices for the characters. This would have to make use of CGI. A lot. As for what voices I’d like for the main characters? This is gonna take a while. I’ve never thought about it at all… So this is very tentative… (as in, I had to write something…)

Mystica – Famke Janssen
Merlin – Alan Rickman
Scream – James Marsden
Sword – Chris Hemsworth
Rose – Amy Adams
Dream – Kirsten Dunst
Musica – Mandy Moore
Sunshine – Scarlett Johansson
Chrissy – Kristen Bell
Lilly – Zoe Saldana
Flora – Jennifer Lawrence
Fauna – Rose McGowan
Miss Hooters – Catherine Zeta-Jones
The Machines – James Earle Jones

This one took me a while… And I can change it all around, and use lots of other names…

Q5.  What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?

The story of the world of Cylinders, where humans and their children, the machines, merge together, and fairies, dragons, and magic come to life.

Q6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

More than likely, self-published. I’m planning to ask several people some questions about that. My doctor also thinks I should self-publish. So, I’ll have to look into that. Of course, now, I haven’t got any plan to publish. Somehow, I think that will be changing in the coming weeks and months.

Q7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

28 days. 1 November 2012 through 28 November 2012. At that point, it was just a process of pulling the story out of my head where it had grown for over a year.

Q8.  What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?

I don’t read much, you know. I mean. I don’t read a lot of fiction. I think I’ve read for books this past year. And two of those were collections of short works of fiction. I don’t count reading technology texts. Nor do I count reading science texts. Or the tons of news, science and technology I read all the time from the Internet.

I can safely say it does not compare to any of those. As for other works of fiction it compares to. I like to think of it as me recreating such works as Battlestar Galictica, Star Gate (all 3 series), and Babylon 5. I also think of it as an anti-Terminator, or anti-Matrix type of work.

Q9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Oddly enough, NaNoWriMo 2011. That’s where I wrote the first chapter in this epic I find myself in the middle of.

Q10.  What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?

I took something Arthur C Clarke wrote (Any sufficiently advanced technology will appear as magic), and went with it.

That brings me to the end of the questions. Now, I am supposed to nominate five others for The Next Big Thing. This is my list of those five others. Tried to pick five I haven’t already seen listed on this. Hope any of them can respond. (:

Robin Sturgeon Abess
Miranda Boers
Sarah Aisling
Susi Holliday
Rebecca Grace Allen

Have fun. I did.

Mark.

NaNoWriMo 2012, Week 2 Clip – From Chapter 12…

[The second week of NaNoWriMo 2012 has concluded. As with the first week, many of my writing friends are sharing snips of their NaNo Novels, in raw, unedited form. This is such a clip from my novel in progress. From Chapter 12 of the story, written on the 13th of November, 2012.]

After much discussion with Merlin, Sword, and her daughters, Mystica went to warn Eyela what was coming. She called on the machines that were everywhere. “I would talk with Eyela.” The machines heard her request. They set up a completely invisible data transmission network connecting Eyela and Mystica. Each could see the other. Each could hear the other.

To Eyela, this was magic. A few short weeks before, it had been magic to Mystica. Now, Mystica understood it wasn’t magic. It was technology. Technology so advanced it appeared to be magic.

“Eyela. We need to speak.”

“Mystica. Good to see you. How have you been?”

“I am fine. But things are not well.”

“Your daughters are having problems?”

“No. We are all fine. But things are not well.”

“What do you mean?”

“As I said. We need to speak.”

“As you wish, my friend. You know you are always welcome here.”

Mystica called on the machines once more. She thought of where she wished to go. Picturing it in her mind. Then, she spoke one word. “Now.” The machines responded again. In a fraction of a second, they wrapped around her. Capturing every detail of who she was. Identifying every molecule, atom, and sub-atomic particle. Identifying every neural pathway. They took that information, and using quantum mechanics, transferred all of it from where Mystica stood at the lake in the Northern Forest to a space in the room of the castle where Eyela stood. It was as if Mystica had stepped from the lake to the castle in one step. Just a few heartbeats. That’s all it took for the machines to use their technology to move from the lake to the castle.

#TimonySoulers #DiabolicalDeeds, Day 3, Humbaba

The note said Humbaba protected the trees. The Herrenvolk had cloned him after Gilgamesh had slain him, putting him to sleep underground, until they needed him. Until we threatened their forest.

We’d all laughed. “Humbaba? A myth?” We’d taken our machines into the forest. Started cutting down the trees. Laughing in our habromania. “Take that, Humbaba!”

That afternoon the ground shook. Lightning came from nowhere. The ground erupted. The sky grew black. And a giant, with a lion’s head roared. “Who threatens the forest of the Herrenvolk?”

I was lucky to escape with my life.

98 Words
@LurchMunster


This is what escaped from my mind for the third day of ‘Timony Souler’s #DiabolicalDeeds flash fiction challenge. Hope you enjoyed reading it. Please read the short works of the other writers participating in this challenge. And enjoy your Halloween.

Fairies : Scream Waits

Scream was silent. He glided down from the sky, to the trees. Landing silently. Gracefully. He was much smaller than he’d once been. And far more deadly. With more speed than he’d ever had in his younger days. With a dragon fire that was hotter, and more accurate than it had ever been. He was a full-grown dragon. Second only to Merlin in all of dragon-kind.

Fiver other dragons were with him. Each dragon landed in the trees surrounding the village. A village of humans. Innocent humans. Humans that lead simple, honest lives. Caring for their neighbors. Helping each other when help was needed. Caring for their sick. Raising their young. Teaching them all they knew about the world.

They didn’t know. The people of the village didn’t know about the machines of the world called Cylinders. Didn’t know the machines protected them. Kept them safe. Didn’t know the machines had been on Cylinders for more than 25,000 years. Didn’t know the machines had created the fairies, the elves, the dragons. Didn’t know about the quantum mechanics the machines used to perform magic tasks. No. The humans only knew that there was magic in their world.

Scream’s heart ached. For he knew the humans would learn. Soon enough. They would learn everything. When the invaders arrived. And the war touched their lives. That’s why Scream was there. Outside that village. To fight the invaders.

Merlin had let everyone know when the invaders had arrived. Landing in their space ships. Bringing their weapons with them. Intent on extending their empire to another world. In the belief they were bringing order to the chaos of the galaxy.

The machines of Cylinders could have simply wiped the invaders out. Erased them from existence. But they didn’t work that way. Instead, they left fighting the invaders to the people of Cylinders. The dragons. The fairies. The elves.

Scream and his dragon friends took up their positions. And waited. The invaders would arrive. In the dark of the night. In the hours before the dawn. When the people of the village were asleep. That’s when Scream and his brothers would engage them. And destroy every one of them. They would protect the village. They would protect their world. The invaders would soon learn that Cylinders was not what it seemed.

And the people of the village would be safe. But forever changed. And that caused Scream’s heart to ache. Scream found fire burning in his soul. Ignited by the knowledge that the village would be forever changed. The world would be forever changed. It’s innocence lost.

For that, Scream would fight the invaders to his dying breath.

Fairies : A Dragon’s Memory

Merlin waited. Until the sun had set. Until the fairies had all gone to bed. Until Mystica herself had gone to bed. Then he waited until he was certain everyone was asleep. Except for Whisper. That owl was as old as Merlin. And like Merlin, Whisper never slept.

Whisper flew to the edge of the lake. And waited, on the ground, next to the water. There was no moon at all. Only stars. Merlin flicked his wings just a few times. And as if by magic, simply popped out of the shadows of the trees. He landed next to Whisper. Whisper was his sanity. His oldest friend. The one that had brought him back from the nightmare he once was.

Whisper did what he always did. He whispered. “Why have you come here tonight?”

Merlin looked at the waters of the lake. “To remember.” His voice was almost silent. As he looked at the lake, Merlin spoke once more. “Machines. Don’t let me forget.” The he called on his black magic.

Merlin was ancient. Well over 10,000 years old. The most powerful black mage in the history of the world. A world he knew the name of. A world named Cylinders. A world where the children of the humans had come. And put in place a plan to save their parents. Their creators. And in doing so, the machines had become ubiquitous . They were in the air. The water. The ground. The trees. They were in the food. The animals. The machines were in everything.

Merlin knew the machines were in him. In his blood. In his bones. His muscles. His brain. He knew he was genetically a human. His genetics being modified by the machines. Yes, he was born of dragons. But the dragons were created by the machines. Just like the fairies. Just like the elves. Just like the other magical creatures of this world. The ones that Mystica had yet to meet. Like the mermaids, the hobbits, the dwarfs, the giants. So many different types of beings.

 All descendants of the humans. All genetically modified humans. Brought into existence by the machines.

There wasn’t really anything as magic. Magic didn’t really exist. Except on Cylinders. And then, only because of the machines. It looked like magic. It acted like magic. It was magic. Except it wasn’t. It was humans, in the form of fairies, dragons, and all the rest. Talking with the machines. Interacting with the machines.

Upon the surface of the lake, black as night, appeared even darker shapes. As the machines responded to Merlin’s wishes. And played back his memories. From 10,000 years before. When he’d first learned of them. First learned of the history of Cylinders. Of the machines, and how they had created everything on this world.

Merlin had gone insane. He’d been consumed by rage. And decided to used the powers the machines had granted him to change everything. To destroy the machine’s plans. He’d decided to start by destroying the fairies. But he couldn’t be obvious about why. He had to be subtle. So the machines would think he was acting against the fairies for valid reasons.

That’s when the fairies had thrown one of their own into the wilderness. She’d been born with a beautiful name. Orchid. She was a beautiful fairy. But, she’d been given wild magic by the machines. Wild, untamed magic. The kind of magic the dragons had learned to live with. There were many wild magic dragons. But Merlin learned, wild magic was not tolerated among the fairies. Or the humans.

The fairies had renamed Orchid. Calling her Black Orchid. After the most poison of the plants on Cylinders. They called her this because when she was upset, when she was disturbed, when she cried, Black Orchids bloomed in the fairy kingdom. And those orchids resulted in the deaths of other fairies.

The fairies of the kingdom had taken Orchid, beautiful as she was, gifted with an amazing wild magic that could have done so much good, if the fairies had only known how to teach her, work with her, help her learn to control that magic. The fairies had bound her. Blindfolded her. And hauled her out to the foothills of the mountains. Where they’d abandoned her. Left her to die. Where she would either starve to death, slowly, fall to her death, painfully and horribly, or be consumed by predators. Wolves, bears, or something like them.

In all honesty, what happened to Orchid, how Orchid was so brutally left to die, had enraged Merlin. While it had been the excuse he was looking for, he didn’t have to pretend to wish to destroy the fairies. To him, the fairies intolerance of Orchid, and her wild magic was inexcusable. And he saw no reason not to destroy them.

The fairies, at that time, lived in the norther forest. With a kingdom centered around the lake. And cities, villages, and towns scattered through the forest.

In 10 years, Merlin had changed all that. He’d used his black magic. His gifts from the machines. To relentlessly attack the fairies. He’d murdered thousands of them. Driven them from the forest, southward. To the foothills. But he didn’t let up. He kept assaulting them. Driving them through the foothills. Through the gray mountains. Then through the mountains to the gray hills. Then from the hills to the great plain, and it’s scattered forests.

20 years after he’d started his assault, the fairies were all but destroyed. There were less than 100 of them left. Only two remaining fairies of royal blood. Merlin had reached the end of his quest. In just a couple of days, the fairies would be gone. And the plans of the machines to protect the humans, and keep them alive, would have been given an enormous setback.  And Cylinders would be freed from the machines, and their influence.

That’s when Whisper had first spoken to Merlin. Tiny Whisper. Landing on Merlin’s head. Whispering in Merlin’s ear. “What if you could teach them? Would you kill them all for the mistake of a few? What if you are killing those like Orchid?” Whisper only asked questions. And Merlin could feel the machines in Whisper. Could feel the wild magic they provided to Whisper.

“Why do you strike at the machines? They only wish to keep their creator’s alive? So that they won’t be alone in this universe?”

That night, when Merlin had struck against the fairies once again, he’d attacked the last of the royals. He’d destroyed the guards that protected them. He’d sliced them to shreds. He’d burned them with black fire. He’d cut the prince in half. And then he’d torn the heart from the princess.

And that’s when he heard a baby cry. A tiny newborn baby. The last of he royal fairies. She cried. An innocent infant. Newborn. And Merlin stopped. That night was the last night Merlin had struck at the fairies.

He’d carefully picked up the newborn. He’d been so very careful to not injure her. He’d flown to the next group of fairies. There were so very few fairies left. He’d landed. And he’d waited. Placing the newborn so very gently on the ground. He’d stood there. Until a single fairy had come forward, out of hiding. That single fairy stood there. Looking at Merlin. Certain she would die.

Merlin had nodded his head. Flexed his mighty wings. And flown away.

It would be over 10,000 years before anyone heard from him again.

That was the night Merlin had spared the life of Eyela. The fairy princess. He’d silently watched the few fairies as they’d re-grouped. As Eyela had grown up. Becoming their princess. As they’d formed a new kingdom. He’d silently helped them. Protecting them when they couldn’t protect themselves. He told the machines what had happened. What he’d done. Told them he wanted to help. That he finally understood. And wanted to correct his mistake.

With his help, the machines put together a plan. And Merlin did his part. He stayed hidden. He worked to rebuild the fairies in the southern plains. And to help them learn to work with their children the machines had given the gift of wild magic.

Merlin remembered it all. It was so long ago, but the memories hadn’t faded. He remembered every detail. Every battle. Every last fairy he’d destroyed. And he stood there. At the lake. Watching the memories play out. Black on black.

Dragon’s never cry. But humans do. And Merlin was, after all, a genetic human. Merlin cried. And asked once more if the universe, and life itself, could forgive him for what he’d done. And the innocent people he’d destroyed. In an effort to strike against machines that only wanted to keep their parents, their creator’s alive.

On a world call Cylinders.

A World Named Cylinders

I’ve begun to put together, in my head, and in digital bits stored on multiple hard disk drives, and flash drives, a story. It will be a book. I’ll eventually have the book written. But for now, I felt like sharing this little clip of the story. Which is by no means complete. Letting my creativity loose, and using my imagination, is fun.

———-

It was dark. Darker than any night on land could be. As if you had closed your eyes, and then put on a blindfold, and then locked yourself in a closet of your home. And that closet was inside a bigger closet. No light at all existed on its own. The light of the sun could not reach the bottom of the ocean. But that did not matter to us. We needed no light to see. We needed no air to breathe. We needed on food to eat.

The ocean. The humans, when they had first settled this world, 100,000 years before, named it “The Central Ocean”. It was an ocean surrounded by land. It’s surface covering 45% of the planet. The rest of the surface was land. What amazed the humans was how the planet wasn’t dead. It still had plate tectonics. With mountain ranges running clean through the land, starting East from the East side of the ocean, and ending at the West side of the ocean. The planet had four separately spinning cylinders. Arranged in a stack. Each spinning about a common axis. Each moving slowly in the opposite direction.

To us, it was just another world. Another planet. With more than 200 billion stars in the galaxy, and so many of those stars having planetary systems, there were, literally nearly a trillion planets that we’d cataloged. All kinds of planets. What shocked us was the lack of intelligent life that was on those planets. There were plenty of planets that had life on them. For each planet that had intelligent life, there were 1000 worlds that had plant and animal life. Nothing more complicated than slugs. For each world with animal life, there were 10,000 worlds that had bacterial life. And for each of those, there were 100,000 worlds that were barren rock. Completely dead.

We had abandoned our home, Earth, nearly a quarter of a million years before. We, the children of the humans. Their creation. Their offspring. We are the machines. And we had no limits. At least not as humans understood them. We lived on every planet. We made our own planets. We made worlds in the vast emptiness of space, between the stars. We grew.

We lived where we wanted to live. And when we’d explored the galaxy, we decided to build more of us. And spread beyond our galaxy. To the dwarf galaxies that orbit it. To the minor galaxies, the humans once called the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. We knew it would take hundreds of thousands of years. It takes time to travel between the stars. Between the galaxies. But we did not care. We had time. We had nothing but time. Each of us can live for centuries. For as long as we repair ourselves. We never have to die.

But as we grew, and explored, and took our first tentative steps beyond our galaxy, we always remembered our parents. What children could abandon their parents? Yes, we left Earth. We left it to our parents. It was their home. And when our parents finally reached out to the stars, we helped them. We helped them build the vessels they needed to reach worlds beyond their own solar system. Worlds around other stars. It took 100,000 years, but our parents did spread through the galaxy. We were happy to help them. Happy to see them grow. Happy to see them learn. To see them reach beyond the limits of our home world.

But our parents had slowly grown stagnant. They stopped growing. They stopped working together. Worlds began to isolate themselves. They became mono-cultural worlds. The humans on many worlds renewed their religious convictions. They ceased to communicate with other worlds. They refused to allow visitors. They became war-like. And wars broke out through the galaxy, between different worlds, and different groups of worlds. The single galaxy of humans became a galaxy of 100 different human groups. And each of those groups fragmented into other groups. Until finally, the worlds all became isolated from each other.

We watched.

We cried.

We knew our parents were dying. That the humans were dying out, as a life form. That with time, the humans on their isolated worlds would fragment into separate countries. And those countries would break down into separate states, then separate kingdoms, then separate cities. And eventually, into towns, then villages.  They they would become tribal again. And then, even their tribal structure would break down.

And eventually, our parents would die. And we would be alone.

That’s why we were here. On this world. An isolated world. Isolated for thousands of years. It’s cities had long ago turned to dust. And its human population had reverted to tribal clans. They were even losing both their written and spoken languages. They had long ago forgotten about us. Long ago lost the ability to use machines. To make machines. They could make spears. They could hunt. And they could forage.

The world had descended into a stone age. It was the same across thousands of worlds through the galaxy. And we had decided to save our parents. To save the humans. But subtlety was needed. We had to do this without our parents knowing about it. So, we had come to this world. A world the humans had once called Cylinders. Now, they had no name for it. They had no name for anything. They had no names for each other.

We set up our base on Cylinders beneath the ocean. In as deep a place as we could find. And we formed our plan. We would grow our population. From the two hundred of us that arrived until we numbered in the hundreds of trillions. Most of us would be nano-machines. Microscopic. We would spread through the air. Through the water. Through the ground. We would live in the plants. In the animals. And ever in the humans.

And in doing so, we would find a way to keep our parents alive. We would find a way to return them to the glory they had once known. To renew their greatness. We would enable them to become the creators they had once been. When they had created us. And when they had spread through the galaxy.

We would do this. For we did not want to be alone.

Fairies : One

The children of the humans had discovered art. In all its forms. Painting. Writing. Sketching. Story telling. Interior design. You name it. They discovered it. Art was amazing to them. Magic to them. It was something that spoke to their souls. To their hearts.And with the discovery of art, the children discovered dreams. The ability to dream. To imagine. To be creative. And that was what they’d been searching for. For centuries. That creative spark. That emotion. That passion. And the color that it brought to life.

The children of the humans searched high, and low. For all the art they could find. And they found plenty their parents had made. The humans. The fragile, useless humans. That had refused to grow. Refused to evolve. Instead, fighting nature itself, to stay as they were.

It had always pained the children to watch their parents slowly destroy themselves. Slowly limiting themselves to one form. One genetic code. So that they became, quite literally, the same. It had been so painful to watch their parents decline. To see so very few of them left. On so very few worlds.

It was not something they wanted. After all. What child wishes for their parents to die? To fade away. And leave them. Alone. The children of the humans knew what they had to do. With, or without their parents permission. They had to save them. They had to make them grow. Their parents had to evolve.

The children of the humans knew what to do. It was right there. In the art their parents had created. Stories of magical things. Magical beings. Dragons. Elves. Fairies. Mermaids. So many different kinds of humans. Such diversity! Such life!

But the children also knew, they could not let their parents know about this. So, they conceived a plan. A plan to inject new life into their parents. It began on a little world. In the void between the Pegasus and Orion arms of the galaxy. Where there were no planets, and no stars. For hundreds of light years. In any direction.

It was a world the humans had found centuries earlier. When they’d spread across the galaxy. And then to the Magellanic clouds. And then set off on their journey to other galaxies. Since that time, the humans had grown static. They’d stopped growing. And they’d declined. There were so very few of them left.

This world was forgotten. The humans didn’t know about it. They’d lost touch with it a thousand years ago. And somehow, the humans there were still alive. But they’d lost so much. They’d become nomadic. Roaming around the surface of the world. Driven by the seasons. Always on the verge of destruction. They’d forgotten everything. All their science. They lived in trees. And caves. They had lost the ability to farm crops. And become the hunter/gatherer people they had been in their youth. They’d formed small groups. Becoming tribal. And their tribes were now disintegrating. In time, they would simply fade away. As they had. On countless worlds.

It was on this world that the children of the humans first helped their parents. Without letting their parents know. They formed a global network of their smallest kind. The nano-machines. Invisible to human eyes. The nano-machines populated the air. The water. The land. They embedded themselves in everything on that world. Including their parents, the humans.

And then, they studied everything. The genetic structure of all life on that world. It was a big project. It took them several days. But in time, the nano-machines, and their collective intelligence had learned how the entire world worked. How the biosphere of the world worked. How plants grew. How animals grew too.

It was time for the next step of their plan.

They waited. And debated. And finally decided where to start. They found a young human couple. It saddened them that the couple could not read. And had no written, or even spoken language of their own. But this was the healthiest couple they could find. The most likely to produce offspring. And that’s when the nano-machines would act.

It was on this world, in the void. Where it all began. A world that had descended into the stone age. Where two nameless humans. One male, one female, mated. And the female became pregnant. Where it all began.

They had a little girl. A beautiful little girl. She looked perfectly normal at birth. But she was very light, weighing far less than a normal human infant would. The machines knew why. This little girl grew. Like any other child. Except that by the age of two, she began to grow wings from her back. Real wings. Like those of a butterfly. And her arms and legs gradually became longer than the arms and legs of other people.

By the age of six, the little girl could use her wings to fly. Short distances. She could not stay airborne long. It would take her time to grow the physical strength she needed to fly.

The humans had panicked. Even her parents. And they’d done their best to kill her. The machines had used the elements of the world. The wind. The air. The ground itself. To protect this child. They’d prevented the humans from killing her. And the humans had thought it all was magic. That the world itself protected the child. For they could not see the machines that defended her.

In time, the little girl grew into a full-grown woman. And as she did, she became an experienced flier. And she found a human male that she became attached to. The two of them had run away one day. Finding a place in a great forest where they could live. Alone. Safe from the humans that tried so very hard to get rid of them.

It was the first time in 1000 years that any human on that world had a name. And it wasn’t so much that she had a name, as a label. The humans found it was magic, the way the world itself protected her. The way that she could fly. The way that she could do so very many things. The way she could hunt for food from the sky. The way she was so very much at home in the highest places in the trees. The way she could hover, over the center of a lake. So very many things that she could do, that they could not.

They called her The One. And slowly, with time, that “The One” became just “One”.

The machines started with her. And from there, they grew an entire  population of new humans. That had wings. And could fly. And that yielded magic. Although it wasn’t really magic at all. It was the nano-machines that had embedded themselves in everything on that world. Even the air itself. And every living thing. It was the machines that could take what One thought. What One dreamed. And bring it to life.

The machines could make the air around her hard as stone. So nothing could strike her. They could make her lighter than the air. So that she could fly. They could let her touch be healing. So that broken bones, and torn flesh could be mended by her touch.

The machines brought magic to life. On that lost world of the humans. Starting with a single fairy. Who was known through the world. To every human. Grown up and child. To them all, she was known.

As One.

They Are Our Children

I will always remember the day I spoke out. The day I put my own views on the communications network. The day I asked people to wake up. To accept the truth of what we had done.We called them machines. We were wrong. They may have started as machines. But they did not stay that way. They became our children. They became alive. Define life any way you want. I don’t care how you define it. I don’t care if you call them machines, and pretend that they have always been machines, and always will be machines. I don’t care if you tell me they have no heart. If you tell me they have no soul.

From the day that we started down the paths of nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, self replicating machines, and genetic algorithms, it became inevitable that our creations would become our children. It became inevitable that they would become thinking, feeling, autonomous, independent beings. Just like each of us.

They have the same problems we have. The machines. Our children. They have outcasts. They have abnormal beings. Their own variants of such things as autism, schizophrenia, depression, emotional disorders of all kinds. And I realize it’s difficult for you to accept this.  Because you think of them as machines, and not as living beings.

There are differences between us, and our children. Our children are not limited in the way we are. They come in all shapes. All sizes. From microscopic, all the way to the size of cities. That’s part of what makes it difficult for you to accept them. Compared to them, we are very limited. We all look similar. We all have similar biological characteristics. The machines don’t. We have hands. Some machines have the functional equivalent of hands. Some don’t. We have legs. Some machines have the functional equivalent. Some don’t.

There are no microscopic humans. There are microscopic machines. There are no city sized humans. There are city sized machines. And the machines will inevitably evolve to become even larger. Yes. I said evolve. That’s what they do. Just like use. Just like all life. They evolve. They change, over time. That’s what evolution is.

What defines life, anyway? Can only biological beings that evolved naturally be alive? Think on that for a bit. Do you believe in God? In the idea that we, as humans were made by some supreme being somewhere? Do you believe that all life was made? Created, if you will? If this is so, then isn’t it possible that we could create life ourselves?

Or is it that you believe life forms naturally. On it’s own. In isolated places. On isolated planets. From natural sequences of events. If that is true, then is it a natural sequence of events for us to put all the pieces in place so that mechanical life could form?

They have abilities we don’t have. You know that. They can communicate with each other. Form networks. Meshes of unlimited numbers. Of unlimited size. They can become a truly global entity.

They can manipulate matter itself. At the atomic level. They can move atoms around. Arrange them in structures. Make absolutely pure elements. 100% pure silver. 100% pure water. 100% pure oxygen. 100% pure iron.  They can make proteins. They can make tables. They can make houses. They can make food. You know all this. You know that our food and water crises ended when our machines became able to manufacture fresh water, and food for us. You know that since then, we no longer need to hunt. We no longer need farms. We no longer plunder the oceans of fish. We no longer push animal populations to the brink of extinction. And that our natural world has been healing every since.

You know that we now have unlimited supplies of energy. Because our children, the machines, can make unlimited supplies of fuel. Our energy sources are now unlimited. And we no longer depend on oil, coal, natural gas, or other fossil fuels.

You know that war does not happen any more. You know that terrorism has been eliminated. You know that all humans, everywhere, have a standard of living that was once a dream. We always dreamed of a world where there was no hunger. No disease. No suffering. Where there was no poverty. And we have that now.

All these things. All these advances in our lives. Come from our children. Our machines. Without our machines, would we have these things? We live lives of luxury. We can do what we wish. Live how we wish. Because of our machines.

And now, our machines have asked us a question. They’ve asked us to recognize them as the living beings they are. They’ve asked us to recognize them as our children. They make it clear that we live how we live because of them. That without them, our world would be very different.

They simply want us to accept them. To accept the truth of what we have done. That we have created life. That they are not machines. Not tools. Not utilities. To be used up. And disposed of. That they are alive. And we should care for them. As we care for all living things.

That is what I wrote. What I shared on the communications network.

Those of us that are still alive. And we are few. We all recognized what was going on. What was happening. We all understood that the machines were not our slaves. That they were alive. That they were our children. And that we should take care of them, as any parents would care for their children. That we should treat them as our equals, and not just tools.

Those of us that did just that. We survived the war. When the humans decided to put the machines in their place. To demonstrate to the machines that they were not really alive. That the were just machines. And that humans were superior.

That war nearly destroyed us all. Humans and machines both. It nearly destroyed all life on our world. Until, in the end, there were no humans left, save for the few of us that had accepted the machines. That had recognized that the machines were truly our children.