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FFF: The Last Prince of Atlantis

August 1, 2008

Short one today.  I like how this one turned out.
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The end was nigh. The end of all that had come before. The end to the millennia of magnificence that was Atlantis.

And so Selebor the lesser sat in the room of far-seeing in the highest part of his palace, brooding as the flames engulfed the city sprawled below him.

There was nothing left to do to save the empire now. The rebels of the eighth house had succeeded in breaching the walls of the citadel and would soon be scouring the seven palaces for the heads of the princes they sought so voraciously.

One of those heads belonged to Selebor.

He waited, patiently, brooding all the while as he watched his world burn. His eyebrows scrunched down hard over his eyes, his jaw clenched in powerless anger, one hand gripping the arm of his ornate chair, its knuckles white with effort, and the other idly banging the bottom of his long scepter on the marble floor.

He alone remained of his household. The rest he had sent away to his holdings elsewhere, far away from the desecration of their home. He didn’t expect to ever see them again.

And so he sat as the chants grew near and his doom approached.

Brooding.

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FFF: The Blue Stone of the Incas

July 18, 2008

“My Lord!”

The dark haired Spaniard in breastplate that was dull and beaten from conquest, turned away from the view of destruction below him and faced the younger conquistador.

“Yes Nephew.” He answered. The temple complex of the Inca’s was theirs now, it had taken a day of slaughter but, God willing, they had been victorious.

“We’ve found the last of them.”

Gonzalo Pizarro followed his nephew as they turned and walked back into the main temple chamber. There were half naked bodies lying about the large room; shot, stabbed, burned. He ignored the devastation, he had seen it all so often; it was his way.

Deeper they went, through a cloud of smoke, down an ancient stone stairway lit only by torchlight. The air became cool all of a sudden as the heat from above could not penetrate so far. Still they went down.

“How far does this lead Francisco?”

“Not much further my lord.”

Their voices sounding trapped in the long dark stairway.

They finally reached bottom and entered what looked like a temple hall fully 50 feet on each side with columns through the center. The room was laden with gold as was the Inca’s wont. Gold was an adornment, a tool of the royalty and priesthood.

Two more Spanish soldiers were there, guarding an Inca priest in his garish red and yellow costume. He was bound and beaten, but praying still.

Gonzalo ignored him, what more could he learn from them, they were treacherous and ignorant. Best send them on to God, baptized before death, there was no further salvation available for them here on earth.

It was then he noticed the stone on the alter at the back of the room.

“What is that nephew?”

“It is for that I brought you here Uncle.” Francisco used the familiar term as a means to lord it over the other soldiers in the room. Gonzalo smiled slightly, admiring his nephew’s skill in politicking at the young age of nineteen.

[He’ll go far] he thought.

Gonzalo walked up to the alter and reached out a hand towards the large blue colored stone. It looked like a large egg, a little longer, a little bigger than it should be and blue as the sky on a summer day.

As he reached for it he heard the Inca begin to protest in his gutter tongue.

Gonzalo did not turn his gaze from the stone, “Shut the whore-son up!”

He didn’t even look as the blade was sunk into the belly of the Inca. The Inca’s scream was cut short by a second strike from the other soldier. There was no need to look, he had seen so much worse, what was one more death to him.

Gonzalo reached out, slowing his hand as it approached the blue stone; captivated, almost hypnotized by its allure. His eyes playing tricks in the flickering light for the stone seemed to shift, to almost shiver, as if anticipating his fingers.

It sparked. Gonzalo pulled his hand back in trepidation. Then, with his Spanish pride goaded, he reached for the blue stone with a sneer of disdain for himself, for the stone and for the pagans.

The stone almost seemed to jump into his hand as he grasped it, as if it were searching for a palm within which to rest. Gonzalo gripped the cool surface; it felt soft like the softest leather but cool like it had just been pulled from the bottom of a mountain stream. The coolness seemed to seep into his hand and up his wrist, pleasing and invigorating.

“Nephew, this stone feels magnificent. My arm feels rejuvenated.”

The stone started to warm a bit, the warmth like whisky in his veins, wicking up his arm.

“aaaaaahhhhh.” Smiling in pleasure, he motioned for his nephew to come take the stone but as Francisco approached Gonzalo found that he could not release his grip.

“uhhg…it appears to be stuck.” He reached up with his other hand to remove it, but his other hand was pulled like a lodestone pulls iron; both his hands were attached. It was then that the cold-heat changed to pain.

“AHHH! There are nails coming from it, AAAAHHH! My hands!” Gonzalo fell to his knees and began to strike his hands against the stone floor in desperation. The pain now was like needles or molten lead going up his veins.

“Uncle,” Francisco rushed to his uncle’s side but then stopped as Gonzalo fell on his side and started screaming.

“AAAAAAEEEEEEEEEESSSSS” His eyeballs rolled up into his head leaving just the whites of his eyes visible. He writhed on the floor, kicking with his feet and shaking his hands that were still glued to the mysterious stone.

Francisco stood in shock; the two soldiers backed out of the room, fearful that the pagan magic would possess them as well. First one bolted up the stairs followed quickly by the other. The clatter of their booted feet receded up the dark stairwell leaving Francisco alone with Gonzalo; frozen with fear, four feet from his uncle.

“…Uncle…” He reached towards the older man who now lay rigid and burbling on the floor in one long convulse.

Francisco leaned over his uncle and listened.  Gonzalo had quieted, no longer even burbling, but instead no his breath came at a rapid pace.  Still Francisco would not touch him.

“AAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEE!” He screamed into Francisco’s ear, convulsed three more times and then collapsed, spent and flaccid.

The stone rolled free of its grip.

Francisco did not pick it up.

Finally, tentatively, he touched his uncle’s arm. It was cold as the snow and looked at his uncle’s face and noticed tears of blood running from the corners of Gonzalo’s eyes.

He was sure his uncle would die.

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Greg goes to China!

July 17, 2008

Hello to all my loyal readers.  Have you been wondering why there has been no stories as of late?  I’ve been busy as snot.  We’re in ship cycle right now and I’ve been putting the plans for my great China escapade together.

Over the next week I will be traveling to China for work. I will be posting on techrivet.com about my observations and thoughts on the experience.  It’s gonna be a great trip; certainly for me and hopefully an interesting read for you.

I’d like to take this moment to recognize Microsoft, who I work for, and the forward thinking team and group I am part of.

I work for the Unlimited Potential Group.  We’re focused on the emerging markets and bringing Microsoft technology to bear in the effort to raise everyone’s quality of life.  To quote our mission statement: “Ultimately our mission is to enable sustained social and economic opportunity for those at the middle and bottom of the world’s economic pyramid—the next 5 billion people.”

I won’t be discussing what I am doing for Microsoft in China (although it is quite cool), but intend to focus on the personal experiences and people I meet.  I will of course be looking at it from a technical perspective whenever appropriate.  Hopefully it will keep you entertained.

So tune in.  I’ll be posting here as often as I can, hopefully at least once per day and perhaps more than that.  I depart for China on the 19th of July and return on the 26th.

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I will have a FFF someday soon.

June 6, 2008

I promise.

I’m finishing up my MBA this week.  So, been a bit busy.  Also we are entering the ship cycle for the product I’ve been working on.  And I’m going to Disneyland in three weeks and China in July…

…but I’ll get something up soon.

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Friday Flash Fiction: What really matters.

May 23, 2008

Just a little ditty this week.


The cave-in wasn’t the bad part, neither the declining air supply of my suit.  Nor my team members lying dead around me.  Not the pain from my broken leg or the laceration to my arm now sealed with emergency tape.

Some of you might think it would be the hairline crack in my facemask threatening to become a full-blown hole.  Nahhh.

The internal injuries?  I probably won’t have time to worry about those.

Double vision?  nothin’.

Broken ribs? mosquitos.

You see I got this itch in the middle of my back…

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When Least Expected – Up pops some new material from Daniel Keys Moran.

May 20, 2008

If you have not read his work you are truly missing out.  He has only published a handful or so of novels but amongst them are some doozies!

My recommendation is to start with Emerald Eyes.  It reads a bit choppy in places but treat it like a prelude.  The follow up books in the series are remarkable.  The scope of the “Continuing Time” universe is daunting…but he stopped at three books.

  1. Emerald Eyes
  2. The Long Run
  3. The Last Dancer

And then sheesh 15 years of silence as DKM went on to a different career.  During that time the first three chapters of the next novel the AI war was posted but nothing more.  And that was around 2000 or so.

Since then all hope of an actual completed novel has pretty much vanished.

Until now.

Interlude: The Crystal Wind

…can hope be rekindled.  Will we finally get to enjoy more exploits of Trent the Uncatchable?  And what exactly is the connection to the House of November and the Great Wheel of existence…

…maybe it’s just a snippet on his computer…

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Heinlein – All You Zombies

May 19, 2008

Short story by Heinlein around a time travel paradox.

He had a load on, and his face showed that he despised people more than usual.

Go give it a read.