Day Eleven of NaNoWriMo and I'm falling behind. I'm currently at 11,534 words, and am 6,800 behind. I also won't be able to write at all this friday and saturday. In other words, I have a lot of catching up to do, but I'm not SO far behind that I have no hope of finishing. Yet.
Either way, here's some new excerpts from the book. They are very rough, naturally, given the nature of NaNoWriMo, and they aren't complete, meaning I'm only picking and choosing which portions to post, since
A. I'd like to refine the book and publish it some day (and believe me, much editing must be done first.)
B. 9,000 something words is a bit much to post in one blog post.
And so, here's some more of Legacy.
It wasn't long before my Unit met. I entered the chamber where we were supposed to meet first, a bit early. I waited a short time before Rios entered. I looked towards him. As he walked into the chamber he said to me “So what do you think?”
I thought to myself for a minute. “It's hard to say any reasonable assumptions without more information, but there were quite a few... Oddities, I noticed.” I told him. “You and I both.” I looked at him. “What did you notice?” He was quite quick to respond, “Well, the plant life covering the planet seemed odd to me, but what really struck me as strange was the growling.” “What about the growling?” He paused for a moment, clearly thinking how to put what he was about to say. “It was such a long, monotone rumble. It seemed... Inefficient to me.” “How so?” I inquired. “It was just... One noise, one long drawn out noise, with very little variation. It didn't seem like it was trying to tell us anything.” “Perhaps they communicate in more than just verbal ways? Perhaps the verbal is only one portion, and smell is another?” “Yes, I thought of that. I suppose that's possible.” He replied. About that time Weq entered the room.
Rios and I both looked towards him as he said, “So what do you both think?” Rios repeated what he had just told me, and I told them the strange oddities I had noticed. “Yes, all of that is very strange.” He agreed with both of us. “So did you notice anything odd?” I asked him. “Well, it was very hard to get a good look at the life form from the video. So... I didn't really notice anything other than what you said.”
At that moment, our leader Yui'Req entered the room. “I see all but one of you are here.” He said to us. He was very stoic and strict. A cold person. While the rest of us were good friend, he always secluded himself from our group. Whether that was because he viewed it as being below him to socialize with those he was in charge of, or whether he was just a cold person, none of us knew. In any case, none of us knew him very well. “Yes Yui'Req. We're just waiting on Trai.” I told him. He glanced at me. “Waiting on who?” “Erm... Trai'Muh sir.” Yui'Req wanted us to say each others full names in front of him. It was unusual to speak of your equal like that, but he considered it to keep us better as a team, due to being less of a casual feeling. Our naming system was quite simple. The first half of the name (for example the Tare in my name) is our name. The second half is our parent's name. (The Sondre, in my name.) For example my father was named “Sondre'Tsoni”, thus he named me “Tare” a name he had chosen for me. The second half of my name would automatically be “Sondre.” Thus, the two halves would come together to form a “full” name, “Tare'Sondre”.
The full name would typically only be used in very specific situations. When you introduce yourself to someone, you would never introduce yourself “I'm Tare.” You would always introduce yourself as “Tare'Sondre”. The other person would then know instinctively to call you by the first half of the name, based on how you emphasized the name, and context. You would also only call someone ranked above you, like the leader of my Unit, by his full name. It would be unthinkable of me to, for example, call him “Yui”. I would always call him “Yui'Req”.
A few moments later Trai entered the room, and Yui'Req looked at us all and spoke. “We have been chosen,” he began, “to be one of the first few Units to depart for the surface of the planet.”
Before I knew what was happening, it seemed, we were descending in a shuttle. Down toward the surface of the planet. To protect from native viruses, and bacteria we were all in minimally restrictive suits. I looked out the windows, down toward the planet surface. It was a quite smooth ride down to the surface. 5 days, of this planet's time. That was how long we had on the surface. I still remember the first step onto the alien surface. It was... It transcended words. It was a feeling... And unbelievable feeling. I was setting foot on a planet that another species of intelligent life had been living on for an indeterminate, but assuredly large number, of years. We had landed not far from where the Drone had explored ever so briefly. I looked around. There was a sort of still in the air. I looked at the overgrown structures to either side of the road we had landed in. Then I walked up toward one of them. I touched the plant life. Thin, long vines grew vertically up the side of it.
We walked through the empty roads. It was day, and the local star shone brightly upon the city. Of us, only Yui’Req carried a weapon. The people of Earth had a term for a similar weapon, a “gun”. Although the earthlings use for these weapons was far different to ours, as I shall cover in detail later on. As such, I shall from here on refer to the weapon as a gun. Understand there is still a considerable difference between our weapons and the earthlings weapons, but for the sake of convenience, I shall refer to it in the way. Yui’Req was the only one permissed to carry one, although even his usage of it was only intended more as a display of technology or to be used for our defense should something terrible happen, and nothing hostile.
Suddenly I heard Trai give out a loud yelp, and heard a low pitched growl. I turned suddenly, and saw Trai lying on the ground, with one of the creatures atop him. It had attacked him, and Trai continued to give out loud screams as the creature assaulted him. I attempted to pull it off of him, but to no avail. Suddenly, I realized a disheartening fact. We were surrounded. I looked around the five of us and realized that there were seven or eight of the creatures encircling us. They looked at us with a vicious hunger in their eyes, their ferocity clearly hardly being concealed beneath their harsh demeanor. They watched our every move.
What happened next disturbed me. Yui’Req took out the gun, and shot projectiles at the creatures. “No! Don’t!” I screamed, but it was too late. I watched as the creatures were propelled backwards from the force of the blast, and watched as a cloud of their very being dispersed, leaving nothing behind. “You can’t attack them!” I screamed at Yui’Req. “Why not! They’re attacking us!” He responded, and shoved the beast off of Trai. “We can’t introduce ourselves to them by killing their people!” Yui’Req glared at me. “We need to fall back, somewhere safe!” “Where?!” He asked of me. “I… I don’t know yet! Somewhere… There!” I gestured towards a large structure at the end of the road. It was large, and overgrown like everything else, but it seemed like it would make a suitable place to fall back to, to me.
I had to have picked the best building in the entire city, I supposed, to be trapped in. As Trai lay injured we explored the building. Only Yui’Req stayed behind with Trai. It was enormous. A giant building. But the architecture wasn’t what excited me. What excited me was that it was filled with… Well… Knowledge. It was filled to the brim with something my people had never invented before. We had many ways of documenting information, obviously, but it wasn’t like this. The term, as we later found out, for this type of document was a “book”. A book was a collection of many pieces of paper with writing on them, bound between two hard coverings.
The point we finally realized we were sitting on exactly what we needed, to study the planets culture, was when we found one specific section though. It was a brightly colored area of the building. There were images on the walls of brightly colored, and simplified versions of the various beasts we had seen in the picture books we had found. There were images of clouds, and multicolored arcs in the “sky” of the walls. “What do you suppose the purpose of this section is?” I asked Rios, as we picked up the thick books resting upon large wooden structures (we later found out, were reffered to as “shelves” or “bookcases”.) And looked at them These books were not like the other books in the building. They were thick, and each individual piece of paper, was extremely thick, made of the material the covers of the other books were made of. They were brightly colored, like everything else in that section, and there were far less symbols on them, than there were on other ones in the building.
Rios looked at them, with an intensity in his eyes. As if he were devouring every image, every symbol on each individual piece of paper. I was about to ask him again when Weq charged in. “Look at these.” He said, and dropped many books onto the floor. We crouched down and he opened one. “These are from the ones with all the pictures.” He told us. He turned the individual pieces of paper, and we saw various images of wildlife. Very vicious, bestial creatures were recorded visually in this way. Finally he got to one specific image and stopped. “Is that-” I began to ask. “It is.” Weq responded before I finished the words. “Those are the creatures that attacked us." They certainly were. It was undoubtable that these creatures were, in fact, the same that had attacked us before. “But what does this mean?” I asked Weq. Weq looked at me and said “I don’t think those creatures were intelligent.” He responded to me. “You don’t?” “No! Think about it! They didn’t seem intelligent to me! Sure, they surrounded us, but that doesn’t indicate intelligence, certainly not sentience. I mean, look, here they are just listed among the other creatures of this planet. They have one piece of paper dedicated to them, no more than any other creature in here!” “That’s not conclusive!” I told him. “Of course not… But it’s... It’s…” Rios spoke. “I think Weq is right.” He said.
“Why do you think that?” I asked him. “Look at this.” He opened one of the thick books we had found moments ago, and gestured towards a simplistic depiction of a creature on it. “What about that?” I asked him. “Look around, the pictures in here, these creatures pop up everywhere.” I looked at the pictures on the wall. He was right, there were several of them on the wall. Two legs, two arms, and a head seemed to be connecting to a torso on these creatures. “What’s your point?” I asked. “I think those might be the real intelligent life that built this city.” Rios responded to me. “Because there’s more pictures of them? That seems pretty… Farfetched.” I asked. “No, not just that. There’s more. It’s… It’s…” He said frustratedly. “Those creatures we encounted! Those growls… They didn’t seem to be any kind of language. They didn’t seem to be directed towards each other like language would be. They just seemed… Bestial.” Rios paused, and there was silence for a moment. I finally said, “Alright, let’s suppose you’re right. Suppose those are just some beasts living in the city. Where have they gone? The creatures who lived here?”
“I… I don’t know.” He responded. “But I’m telling you, those things, are not what built this city.”
“Interesting.” Yui’Req said. None of us had noticed that he had apparantly approached us silently while we were talking. “So what you’re saying is that they aren’t intelligent at all?” “Yui’Req! What are you doing here? You were supposed to be staying with Trai!” “Trai will be fine. I sent a message out for backup, and a shuttle will be coming to pick us up and take us back to the ship soon.” “What?!” I shouted. “You mean, only Trai, right?!” “All of us.” He responded. “This planet is clearly too vicious to come down to without protection of some kind, beyond these thin suits.” “This is unacceptable! We just got here! We can’t just leave-” “It’s done. The shuttle is on it’s way. That’s why I came to get you all. It’ll be here in a few moments.” I began to speak again, but Yui’Req said “It’s done. Do not complain or else I shall have to take extreme action against you.”
And so we followed Yui’Req back to the front of the building. Moments later, sure enough, another shuttle touched down in front of the building we had been holed up in. Rios looked longingly back towards the building, as Weq and I helped Trai into the Shuttle. As we lowered him to the floor of the shuttle, I turned back to Rios and said, “Don’t worry. We’ll be back.” “Do you know what those pieces of paper we found were?” He asked me. “What were they?” I replied. “They were knowledge. Knowledge of the language, knowledge of the people, knowledge of the species, of this planet. And we’re leaving them behind.”
“We will return here.” I told him, “For now, Yui’Req is right. I wish he weren’t but he’s right, we weren’t prepared for… Whatever it is we’ve found here. Trai needs help- We need help. We’ll get ready and come back.”
“I hope you’re right.” Rios said to me.
I hoped I was right too.