1780

Blotted Ink with a Broken Quill

United States

13 years old.
In love with books.
Ranger's Apprentice. 1
Dawn of Wonder. 2
Wings of Fire. 3
Warriors. 4
Percy Jackson. 5

ENFP-T

Coldplay.
Beatles.

Guitarist.
Artist.
Screamer.
Lover.
Actor.

Join Date: September 12, 2018

Message to Readers

Please review.

Reboot: Chapter One of- Shattered Sky, FIVR

December 6, 2018

FREE WRITING

1
Chapter 1: Reboot
    What time is it? I thought, looking up towards a black sky. I was sure I had just looked up at the sun and it was shining. But the ground had shook—I mean seriously shook— and it had become dark. The streetlamps hadn’t turned on either. That was odd, because whenever the light level was low, they switched on. I looked up to a loudspeaker, expecting an explanation. None came.
    First I theorized that I had been knocked out by whatever shook the ground, and that I had possibly been lying on the street for a good few hours. That wouldn’t make sense either, because although this street wasn’t mainstream, a few people would have definitely come by and done something.
    It was also extremely quiet. Too quiet. I didn’t realize before how much white noise there was when there was no panic.
And when I looked, the moon wasn’t in the sky, and the stars were all but gone. Also odd. After sitting on the ground for a few moments longer, I decided to go back to my dwelling to see if I could figure out what was going on. As I walked through the quiet streets, I saw a few people quietly conversing in groups. Squinting through the dark to see, I walked up to one of them and said, “Excuse me?” One of the members turned to me and gruffly asked,
“Yes?” He had the same look I did. Confusion at the events conspiring. His face was also guarded, leading from the “blackout”, as I had just thought to call it. I then knew he didn’t want to talk, and it would only make the group suspicious if I asked anything.
“I’m sorry, I lost my train of thought,” I said. It was a clumsy out, but I wanted to get going, as I wouldn’t get anything here.
As I walked the couple of blocks to my complex, I look around, noticing how odd the perfectly geometric houses and clean streets were in the dark. I attempt to use the retinal scanner on the door. I hear a quiet ding and the sound of a mechanical system unwinding. I pull the handle to the open it, but it doesn’t open. Frowning, I realized it must be because of the blackout. I was really out of it, hearing those sounds.
Fortunately, the people in the apartments were given keys, and I pull mine out of my back jean pocket. I insert it into the lock, and turn. I open the door to the complex, and walk inside. It’s stylized in simple white and blue, with smooth angles, but I can barely see any color in the pitch dark.
By mostly feel, I walk up the deserted stairs and through the empty hallway, arriving at complex number eight. Again, I almost put my eye up to the door, then remember, unlocking it with the key. I step inside and slip off my shoes, slotting them by the side of the door. I walk to my kitchen, and try to turn on the stove. As I expected, it doesn’t work because it’s electric. I’d heard of antique ones that ran on gasoline, but I didn’t have one.
It must have to be a power issue. But that’s a new level of odd. If a short circuit had happened anywhere, even on the main power grid, the city would have had backup power. The only way it would have been possible would be if the power cores, the mainframe, and the city’s plants were shut down or turned off. And that still didn’t explain the stars, moon, and sun disappearing.
    I didn’t know exactly what to do, so I waited for a good hour on my bed. During that time, I pulled out my receiver, sending a message to a friend who worked in a major tech company. The message was simply, ‘Do you have any idea what’s going on?’
    A few moments later, the device said, Error. Message cannot be sent at this time. Connection insufficient.
    I had never seen that message before. All I knew was that it meant that the signal was either not present, or not strong enough.
    This felt slightly doomsday-ish.
    Not really knowing how to continue, I decided to go to the office building—assuming it’s the time I think it is—to go ask him in person.
Locking up the apartment, I go back downstairs with an apple and a wallet.
I walk up to the button and press it, not expecting the familiar voice to say that a taxi would arrive shortly. I sigh, then begin the six mile walk in earnest.
***
    Along the way, I see a few people on the streets, most of them looking quite confused and a little nervous. But it’s deadly quiet, and I can only just hear indistinct whispers.
    I continue walking for around and hour, and I arrive at the building. The lights there are dark too. I hear a sharp crack, and I quickly turn around. A black glass pane lies fragmented on the ground. I slowly walk up to it, and pick up one of the broken pieces. Through the hazy darkness, I see it is slightly reflective and when I touch it, it’s smooth.
I try to get a closer look at the surface, then I remember something. Cursing quietly for my insolence, I pull out my receiver and turn on the flashlight function. Although my eyes are momentarily blinded, I soon see the glass panel has sleek electrical lines on the inside of it, similar to a projector that was used for entertainment. Maybe it was just a projector piece that had fallen out of the window above him. Very unlikely. He pointed the flashlight up, and sure enough, there were no buildings within fifty feet of where the panel had landed. Turning over one of the larger pieces, I observed sleek black wiring, small sparks occasionally flying off.
I was starting to get worried; what was going on?
Figuring there was no point continuing to view the panel, I picked up a smaller piece that wasn’t sparking and put it in my pocket.
I arrive at the complex, and pushed open the sliding front door with a quick grunt of effort. It’s empty in the lobby, but I can hear voices up ahead. I walk through the main hall, and follow the voices until I discover a door with a crack of light under it. Doing the polite thing, I decide to knock, and the voices stop for a second, and then the door opens. Four men and three women are sitting inside, and the one who opened the door happened to be Nikolas.
“What are you doing here?” Nikolas asked in slight shock and annoyance, surely suffering from the affliction of blackness. Then he reclaimed himself and said,
“Why don’t you sit in.”
“Thanks.” I responded quickly, and proceeded to sit, suddenly not caring to be polite enough to acknowledge the rest of the people in the room. I wanted answers.
At least they were mostly employees who I new through Nikolas. And so forth, they didn’t blame me.
But it didn’t help much. They knew about as much as I did, besides the logic behind the possibilities of the technological situation. I noticed they had a battery powered generator, which was connected to a powerbox; it must control the light in the room.
One of Nikolas’s friends—supposedly the genius of the group— explained the entire situation from the ground up, “First of all, the sun and moon disappeared, which makes zero sense unless the Area was thrown radically off course. But then we would freeze, which hasn’t happened yet, fortunately. But then that means we would be burning up. If we moved enough for the sun and moon to disappear, and not see any stars, then where are we, and why are we dead because of the temperature. But besides that, the next dilemma doesn’t seem to correspond with anything; why would all of the lights turn off? A city-wide EMP, probably natural, would only shut off the systems for a split second, then the AI would take over, resetting the system. So that means that the auxiliary power core would have been shut down—possibly for maintenance— and that could cause it to go down for a day or two. But they would have put it back up, and within ten minutes, we would have power-”
“And the loudspeakers don’t work,” I pitched in, wanting to be useful.
He just gave me a slightly annoyed look and continued,  
“And even with the loudspeakers not working, it’s still not only a technical problem. The freaking sun and moon are gone! Argh! What is going on?”
He said exactly what they were all thinking. What was going on?
We talked about various things and stupid ideas—mostly to forget about the events— some involving how the sun had just exploded five hundred billion years early, taking the moon with it, but not the Area. Then, another star was thrown off course, heating the Area to the exact same temperature, but it was just invisible, so we couldn’t see it.
We are all about to die, Was my final conclusion.
***
    I decided to stay with the group for the rest of the night—or possibly day, I don’t really know which. Checking the receiver, I discover it was, in fact, nighttime.
    I slept the night there, eating a meal of microwaved pizza and crashing on a futon with the rest of the group.
    When I woke up in the morning, I opened my eyes to a completely dark room. I fumbled for the light switch next to my bed and felt empty air. Tired from sleep, I slowly came back to the events of the previous day. I looked out the window and saw yellow lights shining down from the streetlamps. I quickly woke Nicholas.
    “They have the auxiliary power back on.” I said informatively to my groggy friend. He stumbled over to the window and looked out to the streetlamps, gave me a quick smile, then went back to his mattress and fell into the blankets. I sighed and laughed quietly to myself, then got up and walked to the reception area and out the door, which opens automatically this time.
    Looking up to the sky, it’s still dark, with no moon, sun, or stars. The streets were lit with only lamps and the occasional light from a window with the substitute of power. I went back inside to the group, who were mostly awake, and I greeted each of them and said that I would be leaving soon. We said our goodbyes, but before I left, I walked up to Nicholas and took the black chip out of my pocket.
    “I found this on the ground… Well, it more fell from the sky as a black panel, and this was a small chip that fell off. Whatever it was sparked for awhile, and I wonder if it could help you understand anything.”
    “Hmm,” He said for a second as he took it out of my hand and studied it, turning it against the light.
    “That’s odd. It looks like a chip from a projector screen. Do you know how large the original piece was.”
    “I don’t know. Maybe seven or eight feet long, five or six wide; but it wasn’t straight, it was jagged.”
    “Thanks. I’ll look into it,” Nicholas said, ending the conversation.
    I said another goodbye, then I walked out onto the street, taking in a breath of air. It was stale, and I heard a whirring all around me. Did this cataclysm slowly suck the air out of the atmosphere?
    Resigned to knowing that I didn’t have any idea what was happening, I decided to make it back to my home. I walked up to a taxi button and pushed it, wondering if it would work. Sure enough, with the auxiliary power back on, it said, “Your taxi will arrive shortly.” I stood, not deciding to sit on the bench. Looking around while I was waiting, I saw another piece of black panel fall from the sky I took my wallet out, and when it arrived, I put the credit card into the slot on the back door. I heard the pleasant ding, and the door slid open. Getting inside, I said, “Apartment block seventeen B, please.” The please wasn’t necessary, obviously, but it was out of force of habit. Regular drivers had only been replaced by self driving taxis three years ago, and I didn’t use them enough to remember nobody was behind the screen. It was actually just a giant computer with all the latest “self driving” technology.
    “Driving to: Apartment block seventeen B.” The machine said.
    I got out of the taxi when it arrived, and I walked into the apartment in which a few people were up and bustling around, still looking worried about what happened. I checked the sky again, and of course, it was black. No sun, stars or moon framed by a blue sky. I went into the apartment and shucked off my shoes onto the floor, turning around and falling backward onto the bed; it felt harder than usual. I sighed, then pulled out my receiver and looked at a news feed that was being broadcasted. It didn’t say much that he didn’t know, other than that everyone in the entire Area was freaking out like crazy, which could be assumed.
    I continued to go through the news, and the first fifteen articles only had news about the blackout. I sighed, then got up and went over to my desk.
    On it sat five things; a massive pad of paper, pencils, vivid color pens, a plethora of stencils, and a fully detachable computer that got extremely bright. I was a fantasy artist. I did book covers, video game design, and logo and general art for startups and some big companies. The job wasn’t great in terms of income, but I enjoyed doing it and I got along fine.
Right now, I was doing creature design for a VR game that had been in the works for a long time. They paid good, and they wanted some stuff done that I enjoyed doing. I looked down at the countless doodles for dragons, draugr—basically zombies—ogres, and even some crystalline golems. I even got to design one of the races and it’s subraces, which I learned meant that each race had different ways it could be configured. The company didn’t tell me much about the game, just what they wanted the race to look like. I’m sure they had hundreds of other designers for different creatures, and I was just a lucky one they thought good enough to create a race.
I thought their strategy for designing art for a game wouldn’t end up looking so good, since there would be so many different styles, but I guessed that the project—which had been lasting for ten something years, and I had only been called in the past six months—needed hundreds of designers for a project so big. I had heard that there was no “fixed” storyline, and that every person who played was booted onto a server that was roughly the size of half the earth, each with their own story. The NPC’s—which I learned at the beginning of my career meant ‘non player character’—were indistinguishable from real people. They had hundreds of algorithms for every single way they acted to every situation. Based on their background—which every single NPC had, even ones that begged on the streets—all of them acted accordingly to every situation they were put in.
A perk of being a designer was that I got a free headset, which would be updated to newer versions as they came out with better technology. The headsets—which costed anywhere from a thousand to five thousand dollars—didn’t use screens. The visor was just to keep the sun out. It had electrical neurotransmitters on the inside which interacted with the brain when the headset turned on. They interact with parietal and occipital lobe in the brain—which at the point when this was being explained to me, I only understood a tenth of it—and make the it “feel”. It was what made realism so, well, realistic in the game.
I got some other perks as well, the main feature being I could choose what subrace I was. All the races except human had two, three, or four “subraces”. They were randomly assigned to all players after the they chose their main race. Their were very subtle differences from each subrace, and each one got a different ability. Besides character customization—which I had been told was very limited— there wasn’t much you could choose in the game. Another thing that I knew from my limited knowledge was that the stats were randomized from five to fifteen, and there was a higher chance of certain scores if a specific race was picked.
I reviewed all of the information in my mind, and went back to the paper on my table. There was a document on the laptop, and I opened it. I turned on the projector, and a 3D image appeared above the open device, and I began to draw a base sketch.

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