As I mentioned before, I'm writing a short novel which covers the events on Earth, leading up to the forming of the UPL (United Power League), the Great Purification, and the Exile and Long sleep. Here is the first chapter!
Disclaimer : The following fictional delivery takes place within the Framework of the StarCraft environment, which is intellectual property of Blizzard Entertainment. In the event of patent and copyrighting the party having final say in the ownership of this work would be Blizzard Entertainment, with the only recognition that I - the author - produced the work
It was a clear partial wintry morning, as Dr James R Watts approached the academy from the East, where the sun fell upon a large wooden door. He usually walked in via this way, avoiding the crowd and favouring the archaic nature of the entrance, which had withstood the destruction of antiquity. Finding himself within a dimly lit passage, he found the air a few degrees warmer, and steadily proceeded through. Passing the Unix Toaster, which was out of order, he mentally pencilled in a reminder to mention this to the tech-team. Onwards he carried his deliberate stride to the library sub-section.
Upon entering, he remarked the scene to be less busy than usual. But of course at this early hour, the students would sooner stall in this weather than arise anew for their work.
And the academy staff themselves seldom deigned to make use of public utilities, save for a select handful, including Watts.
He had a certain favour set aside for this corner of the academy. There were computer terminals available and a kitchen for staff use. He'd had the mind to grip a coffee to reignite his morning spirits but proceeded first to settle in the alcove, where his usual table area was found.
Opening his ever-present case he established his laptop with a swift movement, hitting the power button. Checking his analogue watch - a thing of the past only wielded out of habit -
he incurred the cue to make that coffee and broke off heading to the kitchen.
Grabbing a featureless institutional mug he mixed a fair amount of milk with three sugars then unleashed from an urn a spout of brown tar-like substance.
administering his sugar with an iron spoon and a stir, which produced a satisfying metallic sound, the brew was ready. He decided instead of returning immediately to his table, to rather stall a bit in the kitchen with the cup.
Looking around, seeing in a box alongside the sugar were Instant Warm Release Capsules, a product used to reheat a cup if the user was a slow drinker. Watts didn't have this issue, let alone the urge to remedy a cold coffee if at hand. He looked above and beheld the scene beyond.
An array of windows opened a view to the grounds below, and since the vantage of the building was elevated from a higher angle, there was plenty of detail. If anyone looked up towards the upper structure, they would see a cheerful expressionless face, devoid of spectacles (he reluctantly wore them) but marked with grim unsmiling eyes of contemplative distance. Not to say his face lacked life or vitality, or harboured latent neurosis waiting to be unleashed by some trigger. Nothing of that sort.
Say rather that he seemed like a man whose life was dominated by 2, maybe three primary emotions and as a result he remained scrutably reliable in that sense, being someone never swayed or hi-jacked by any outburst or unrestraint. His hair, marked with an absent-minded grace, as if someone had groomed him into a military-style cut then allowed it to grow out. His skin, the perfect balance between healthiness and palid-indoorness. And his stature, too tall to be a dwarf but too short for an elvish king.
As he continued to look out the window, he saw remote figures hurrying and dawdling upon their steady itinerary and a car traveling along the one way road. It was a regular car and not one of those cold-fusion energy conservers, he observed to his relief. Watts turned his attention to the architecture of the structure itself.
This stone building, since he could remember had always had green ivy crawling along the walls, rendering an archaic decorum of intellectual enrichment.
Yet the academic byplay within - much to the lament of a small minority - was felt to be insubstantial. In fact, today there was an expected meeting with a prominent figure whom he knew, felt the same way.
Yes, there was indeed a meeting pencilled into his schedule, the much expected encounter with a particular University Chairman, Doran Routhe. A man of such all-pervasive magnitude and high-stature that he felt disarmed by the invitation.
Not by design of position was Watts privy to his immediate company. In truth, only over the last 4 months, something of a rapport had developed between the good doctor and Chairman Routhe, something that he'd envisioned in passing after-thought. When their new friendship started to grow, there was doubt in the actual reality as it unfolded.
It all began, when attention was drawn to Watts with the recent publication of his book. A book he'd co-written along with other figureheads of the academy.
It had attracted the usual amount of prurient interest. The three co-writers, named in sequence of importance were Jesse Johnson, an expert on film and media and reknowned in the entertainment industry, William Doetree, an accomplished social psychologist and respectable face in the Academy itself. And of course Doctor James R Watts, with his masters in anaesthesia, and non-specific experience in the psychiatric ward.
The project was mainly spurred on by Johnson, but to lend credence to overall validity, he thought it be best to recruit a left and right-hand sidekick to flank him on either side.
This manoeuvre proved ingenious and so too spared him from direct assail. The book, was an attack on contemporary culture and the state of the libertine media which had reached epic dimensions of unsurmountable influence, since the 21st century.
It was in accord with the usual theme and attitude that some conservative members of the public - in their minority - thought they had some business to contend anent.
In his secret opinion Watts did submit that Jesse Johnson, while vested with these noble ideas was in truth just another consumable icon who, through no fault of his own, was just another source of entertainment.
The book caused a stir and the 3 co-authors became darlings of the media, but for some reason their was actually a mixed undecided attitude coming from a few critics, a handful that for some reason must've actually considered the content within. As if midst the shouts and polluted noise some people had really read the words and so... managed to resonate sympathetically with the authors themselves.
Unquestionably, the two appointed experts who lent support to the work were responsible for the imbued quality of the book. Had it been produced by Johnson alone, the project would have been contained merely within media circles and no academic light would've seen it.
Not to mention the qualified input gave the book a decisive edge.
Now, after the books release, articles appeared online and on a daily basis all shades of dignified characters appeared on TV to contend the issue.
As it appeared, Johnson - who almost always featured in these bits - seemed capable to endure the pontification that ensued. Watts thought the word onslaught was closer to the mark.
More importantly, these events had led Routhe to consider Watts in a new light of curiosity. Like a blithe master rediscovering a useful servant. Watts did wonder though how long this new interest would last, let alone the media uproar.
There was another prescribed interest which the doctor proved resourceful, but nothing that made him indispensable, since Routhe being a man of inexorable wealth could probably enlist any other doctor to supply the medicine Watts currently enabled.
Until recently, he had never spoken to the chairman for more than a few moments at a time, certainly never been invited into his private quarters situated in the most affluent neighbourhood of the city. It seems the current pretext for their meeting was to drop off an advanced copy of his next write-up.
However, there was something in his manner that suggested he'd had something else in mind, as if he was studying Watts to see if he be up to some other unknown task.
In any case, presently Watts drew himself back from his thoughts, continued to sip his coffee, and so returned to sit before the screen.
There were students beyond the library scene who'd gathered to chat amongst themselves in a relative undertone, while busying themselves at the work terminals and their laptops. He noticed some of them didn't have their Augmentation Headsets on which pleased him slightly.
The sun through the line of windows cast a welcoming light, but despite this the inside of buildings were always illuminated with lights, creating a yellowish-white glow, perceptible now due to the grey skies outside. Settling the chair in place he discovered his computer had already reached the log in screen. Entering a 5 letter password, brought before the desktop, he opened the programs needed for his admin.
There was a mail from some aspiring student who'd taken to the written book. "Urg Grud" He thought aloud.
There was little analogy that could add symbolic dignity to this, at least from the current perspective.
The only cliché available was the image of a powerful dragon, swotting a bothersome fly with his lazy tail. The dragon had some measure of smiling, content within himself. And more or less basking in the attention of some flattering audience. But the fly continued to return, either being immune to damage or reincarnating anew and repeating the process.
The dragon, would in his response expend a small amount of biological currency to move his tale but soon this becomes irritating and tiresome. He is eventually unsmiling, highly agitated and worse than all, drained of intellectual enrichment. At this point, the fly is content with having denied him vigour and loses interest.
And now, the rapport with the audience has been affected and Watts can no longer appreciatively deal with them. How had he allowed this invasive young mind to creep into his proximity?
He'd certainly made the error of appearing talkative about the subject, but this was expected. As a member of the academy, he had to be approachable to all student members, whether mediocre or brilliant, lazy or assiduous. This particular student had tried - and succeeded - to forge a sort of channel of communication with Watts, of which he at first encouraged, for a number of simple reason.
Only a couple of days ago it occurred to him this guy, whether he knew it or not, is exhibiting classic symptoms of passive-aggressivity. The type of personality that seeks to wear down someone in a subversive, indirect way. Who piggybacks exhausting insinuation into the conversation through polite camouflage until their target is put under strain, and snaps. Or conversely, has to bear the extra weight of the strained tension.
Little stupid behavioural patterns, imperceptible to the decent mind. Such things, for example where the speaker is forced to repeat himself, re-affirming important things which the other party had somehow forgotten were already said on other occasions. An innocent, uncritical lack of regard for memory.
All these thoughts occurred to Watts, and now the student was trying to authoritatively suggest a book by some radical-left conspiracy theorist by the name of Icke Davidson, who'd apparently tapped into similar theme purported by the doctor's current book. "What a pain" he muttered to himself. He thought that he'd best ignore the insect and not even become exasperated with the discussion.
Of course he knew who Icke Davidson was, and he knew that there was indeed a tenuous similarity, but he won't, this time be lead into a cul de sac of annihilation, forced to recite, point by point, why their current work is a cut-above the likes of the sensational Icke Davidson. Deleting that message with a petulant click of the touchpad, he resumed his admin.
Nipping other messages here and there, then branching off to look at some other online news feed. There was another youthful uprising. The political situation in this current region, the Cape of Good Hope, situated on the Southern most peak of the African Continent had been in periodic unrest for decades. Perhaps over a century. But it would likely not have spread to this surrounding area, but still, the hearsay and reports implied the riots had reached a peak. The authorities would probably indulge them or eventually mitigate the youth with some compromise.
Although, this served as a temporary measure and always - somehow by design or nature - the same movement would eventuate again under different but similar minded auspices.
Watts took a quick look into his cup to see how much was left.
The results of the coffee were unpredictable. The expected result, of course, was to hope for a boost of vitality, that would revive the mind... sharpen the wits. On the other hand, while those good things happen, other physical side-affects could ensue. Things like the urge to relieve oneself, inordinate agitation, or a bolstered likelihood to irritability. All these things were well within ordered risk, but today the coffee went down well.
At length, he closed down his programs and the screen presented itself, the desktop image a rustic cavern midst some countryside. A loading scene from some archaic video game, that'd somehow survived the last few centuries of time. Pressing the power button the machine began shutting itself down and Watts assembled his inventory to leave the place, heading to the Medical Science section, upon where he'd await the his time to encounter Routhe. Moving past the rows of shelves and desks, which were now more busily engaged. He exited into the corridor and remarked a few secretary ladies and young lads proceeding in a hurry. For a quicker itinerary he thought he'd leave through the main glass doors. Which would bring him into the central upper quad, which granted a view looking beyond towards the city.
As he emerged, he remarked the clean air mixed with a light scented fume of industrial flavour. At this hour, the area was busy with many people going about their way.
A group of kids were zooming past on their semi-motorised cycle-bikes, and others
seated upon the main steps leading to the grand atrium, plugged into their augmentation headsets, no doubt interacting over some common medium. Serene smiles on some, a silly guffaw on others. As always, with a grim face hardened by years of academic byplay, James R Watts beheld the view beyond. It was like it had always been for the last century, just a few extra huge towering structures generating cones of opaque smoke. Above were several news drones, broadcasting some headline or piece of advertisement of helpful non-sequitur. Nearby upon the grass along the main road and path,
tending to the grass was a Garden-Android, an expressionless uncanny valley face tending to the hedge. In fact, it seemed to have mal-functioned once again and was clipping thin air.
The demand for repairs and maintenance on these superfluous entities where almost a daily pain. An explosion went off in the distance, which only a small number of the crowd remarked vaguely.
It could have been an act of sabotage committed by the rebelling youth-league. it could've been a hybrid-energy car malfunctioning once again, incinerating its occupants. It could have been some juve with a faulty Electronic-Cigarette, or perhaps another defective cybernetic-augmentation-implant, still in their flawed incipiency.
Whatever it was, no person felt the urge to investigate. And with that irresolute certainty, Watts continued onwards to his destination.