Friday, October 9, 2015

Whispers From The Vault Of War Pt. 1

The last few days before I legally became a man, my mother had an unusually concerned look on her face. Mind you, she certainly did have the mother hen complex. She was certainly the type that would want me to stay home forever. But this concern did not seem to pertain to that. Despite becoming a man soon, I still had half a year left of schooling before mandatory space travel would come into affect.

I wasn't sure why she gave me looks I'd never quite seen. I mean, I knew I got to take a trip the day after my birthday to the vortex. Though, everyone does that. They all experience something different, but need for concern? I didn't think so. I had feared something else was the matter. She merely brushed it off if I tried to asked her to explain her worries.

"I'm just sad to know you will be leaving at the end of the year, darling."

I knew she was lying. She was not a good liar. No one was. It was not a common trait.

My birthday came and went. It was fun. I had a lot of friends and well wishers over to my home. I was never the boisterous type, but it was nice to see so many people visit, and get so loud and excitable. All sorts of refreshments covered most all flat services. We blared music so loud I feared the sky would fall. Though the neighbors didn't mind. They were all over. My father even shared his whisky with me. A lot of it. 

I remember kissing the neighbor girl on top of the piano to the cheers of everyone there. I fell off backwards, crashing into the keys, the bench, and then the floor, breaking a vase. I was quickly apologetic, only to receive an uproar of joyous screams and laughter, my parents included. I promptly thought I was going to die from all the handshakes and high fives I received there after.

It was a good night. No, it was a "Great fucking night!" I had proclaimed from on top the kitchen table, as I was kicking everyone's drinks to the floor while dancing to a classic rock song. Though such foul language is looked down upon, I had actually received a room full of people repeating the vulgar mantra. 

As the night wound down, and the guests dragged themselves home, licking their party wounds, I stood in the kitchen, flirting and chatting with the neighbor girl as she was preparing to leave. Rebecca, I believe it was. As she was speaking my praises while double checking her purse, I took a glance to my left, only to see my mother. With that same look. My wide, gaping smile that had developed through the night slowly dwindled to a blank, returning stare.

Something was not right. 


Since I had lived in Seattle, a larger city in what was the United States for those who may be to young for those memories, a vortex transporter was not too far of a drive. Despite there clearly being much to discuss, such as my wretched hangover, the ride there with my parents was as silent as an opera audience. We stopped at a diner for a quick breakfast. Not much was said, either. It got me thinking.

I had been to many birthday parties for someone coming of age. While it was usually quite the event, it was never the same experience I had the night previous. I also do not recall such concern among their parents. Ever. While I do know that discussion of what occurs in the vortex is to be kept silent, no one ever returned the following day upset, or hurt, or anything that seemed like it was a negative experience. However, what I did find peculiar, is that literally no one ever discussed it. Not to their dearest friends, lovers, or on social media. Not a single one. And among a world of billions of people, that seemed statistically impossible.

Now, with an adventure of that magnitude, normally I would have been excited. However, I had received too many looks from my mother, who had then seemed regretful that her concern was so obvious. For something so routine, something was not right.

We had arrived at our destination. It was a large, white, perfectly smooth square building, about half the size of a stadium. It was in the middle of a clearing, surrounded by trees, the grass being the greenest I had ever seen. Despite it appearing to be such a magnificent building, the large parking lot was merely gravel and dirt. We seemed to be the first ones to arrive.

I was the first one to step out of the car. My parents seemed to hesitate, but came out, and then walked up behind me. I began walking, only to notice that my footsteps were the only ones. I turned to see them lightly holding on to one another, looking at me, as if there was something they wanted to say, but would not. My father put out a gentle smile on his face. My mother tried to do the same, but struggled.

"I'll be back soon. Just pick me up tomorrow at the same time. I love you."
"We love you too, son." My father managed to say. My mother hugged me. Then that was it. They made it back to the car, and then drove off. I walked to entrance. It was a large, two panel gate, that seemed so smooth that it almost appeared to be a part of the wall. Almost. 

I saw no handles. Or buttons. So I stood there, perhaps for several minutes. Finally, it slid open. Despite the doors being made of a stone, and being nearly a hundred feet tall, they did not make a noise as they did so. I waited until it was completely open, and walked through.

The large, open area that laid before me was completely empty. Despite seeing no machinery, or structure of any sort inside, it had been completely warm. I walked all the way down to the end, to find a small door. I pushed it open, to find a large, conference room, with about two hundred other individuals of the same age. At the far right, in the back, there was one open seat left. Nearly the entire room looked over at me as I came in and sat. I peered forward, to see an empty podium. We all nearly continued to wait an hour. 

It suddenly came to me. There was no other exits from this room. And this was the only room that was noticeable on my way through the large open hall. Despite the conference room being sizable, the sheer size of the building itself was the size of this room a thousand times over. Though I tried not to concern myself with such thoughts at the time, though it was difficult to ignore them. Finally, a man, in a black, leathery uniform and in boots I had never seen before came to the podium. He seemed to have walked from the side, though no one saw him come from the door behind. He was older, anywhere from sixty to seventy years old, but still had perfect posture, and looked quite muscular. After situating himself, he began to speak. There was a microphone. However, I saw no speakers.

"Hello." The voice surrounded us. I don't think there had been a single one of us not confused.

"Welcome to adulthood. Welcome to the vortex." Everyone began to cheer. I, however, had not. Something was not right.

"I know you have all been waiting your entire lives for this moment," followed by a clamor of agreement and nods.

"And you are all going to be sorely disappointed." The clamor had suddenly stopped.

"What makes our society great, what makes it strong, is the unity of all of our species under three basic philosophies. The first being love.

"We cannot be hateful of one another for trivial reasons. Many years ago, there were such things as a set of beliefs from various groups created around the concept of core, unbreakable principals. Often, these principals were good, and pure. Helpful, and filled with the basic philosophy of love. But often, they were hateful, and destructive towards those born with a certain appearance, or with a certain behavior. Now, these appearances and behaviors seldom, if ever, pertained to actually be harmful. But there were those, who wished to subdue and hurt these individuals, so that they could assert control over others who might question these core, unbreakable principals. Often those who used these tactics for control, were the biggest of hypocrites. But it mattered not to them. They had no love inside them."

 Everyone looked about the room at one another. It was as if they wanted to be confused, but fully understood the words so far spoken by this random, unnamed speaker. Fright began to come about the faces of the freshly aged men and women in the room.

"The second basic philosophy is the quest for knowledge. Aside from these groups of individuals who used hypocritical principals for control, there was another type of group, one that both intermingled with the first set of groups, but was its own entity entirely. While they covered a certain region, which as you all know, all areas are strong and weak in qualities and resources available, each of these groups believed in their superiority, yet would find ways to take from others because they felt a need to improve their own capacity for resources, despite a solution of unifying being a clear choice. They would hurt one another and themselves to achieve this, only to live in paranoia and hate until their dying day. To keep people from learning of unity, and the actual similarities of people, and the thirst to look else where in the universe for purpose and understanding, leaders of these groups would often subdue their own members, either killing them outright, imprisoning them permanently, or labeling them as outcasts. They wanted no one to seek more. They wanted to keep people fools. They wanted to keep people...stupid."

There was a loud, unified gasp in the conference room. It would be important for you to know, that of all insults, of all dangerous concepts, intended stupidity was the most vile, despised of all concepts in our society.

"The last of these basic, unifying philosophies, is focus. Focus is what makes it so that we can perpetuate the first two philosophies. Focus is what causes us to wake, to go forth and do what makes us happy and what makes our species flourish. Focus is what makes us never give up during a difficult situation. Focus helps us transcend apathy, anger, and hate. Focus is what has caused us to rid ourselves of these groups which sought to control us with hypocrisy and destruction, and explore the universe. Focus is what has made us no longer need to fight one another for our small differences."

Everyone was silent. The man stopped speaking. I could see the looks of fright, and of wonderment on the faces of everyone around me. These young men and women seemed to want more, but none bothered to ask, in what seemed like the fear of some sort of reprisal. Near a minute passed in utter quiet. So I lifted my hand to be noticed. When I did so, I looked up to gain eye contact with the speaker. He was already waiting with his eyes fixated on me.


"If this was the world we use to be a part of, how is it that we left it behind? Because if we only wanted to be scientists, athletes, artists, and explorers as we are now, how would we have been able to defeat this problem?"

Everyone else in the conference room had began to stare at me. After a moment, they all turned back to the speaker. He seemed to both deeply frown, but grin all at once. He lifted he right hand, revealing a glowing blue glass orb. He crushed it. It exploded into a flash of light, and then this light crashed into the wall behind us. The door we entered into, along with the rest of the wall, seemed to digitize and disappear. The great open hall we had all passed through had disappeared. The grassy field, tall trees, and gravel parking lot had disappeared. Many slowly raised from their seats in shock, the fright from their faces turning to terror.

What off in the distance use to be downtown Seattle was covered in flames. Loud, rapid, and frightening crackling noises were heard coming from the same areas as the fire. The sky flashed red, smoke over taking the natural clouds. Loud explosions would overtake all noises on a regular basis. Despite the catastrophic noises, screams of pain and frustration could be heard far in the distance. What sounded like large machinery was heard rolling and crashing through structures and even people.

"We brought to these groups what they had always brought to us," Everyone kept peering outside, grasping onto one another. I however turned back to the unnamed speaker.


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