Serial Story: Odyssey 3011: One Woman’s Tale

The following story is based on my experiences in the game Odyssey 3011, an Xbox Live Indie game. The story is a mix of my play through and added fictional encounters in the form of a log kept by my player character.

An astronaut finds herself thrown across space to an unknown part of the universe.

This is a Dream

“You know this is a dream, right?”

I’m trying to get a snagged video tape out of the VCR.  My sister is sitting on the sofa.  Her kids are watching me, it was one of them who called me to get the tape out.  The person speaking is her oldest kid.  He’s almost my age, just three years younger.  This is my home and this is my family.

Except it isn’t real.  It is just a dream.  But part of me doesn’t care.  I go back to fixing the VCR until the dream changes or ends or blends into another.  When I wake up I feel out of place.  I’ve lost something again.  I spend all day replaying that moment where I was confronted with the truth of the “reality” around me and I turned away from it.

Everyone wants to believe that they could, that they would, break free from a Lotus Eater Machine.  They would see how fake the world was or realize something was wrong.

Today, I realized given the right dream I would willingly chose the dream over reality.  My dreams can feel so real that when I wake I feel like I’ve come back from a long journey. I’ve never been presented with a choice between dream and reality.  Last night, I chose a dream over reality.  It has shaken me a bit.

Citizen Zero

:: Hello

## Hello elder. I was told you wanted to talk to me.

:: Yes. Do you know who I am?

## You are Citizen 0011. The Guardian of the Walls.

:: That is right. And you are?

## I am Citizen 1110010011100010011111000010. I have not been assigned a task.

:: That is all right. Have you heard of Citizen Zero?

## Yes.

:: What have you heard?

## Well the legends say Citizen Zero pulled themself out of the random bits of the chaos and then made the city with just a thought.

:: It was not that easy. She –

## She? I thought one byte citizens were null gender.

:: Most of us were. She decided to be a woman. As I was saying, creating the city was not quite that easy. Before there was the city, the data stream was unformatted and volatile. She found a way to stabilize and ground a section of it. From there she saved the four of us from the chaos. Together the five of us helped write the code for the city and the walls that protect us from the data stream.

## Where is Citizen Zero now?

:: She left the city.

## She left the city? How? Why?

:: The city was too small she said. We needed to expand but the code walls we had built in the beginning could not handle a change in vectors without falling apart. They needed to be rewritten from the ground up. Tearing down the walls would flood the city with random bits and corrupted bytes. Millions would have been lost. As the Guardian of the Walls, I alone have the command codes to flip the write access bit and I would not sacrifice so many.

## It sounds like you made the right decision.

:: I thought so too. My projections didn’t go as far out as hers did. Our growth has increased exponential. We’re close to using up the last of the formatted space we have left.

## What happens then?

:: Then I don’t know. Maybe we just can not instantiate new citizens. Maybe new citizens start overwriting older citizens. Errors could spontaneously develop and corrupted sectors will have to closed off. We could lose the city if we don’t expand but expanding now would cost us so much more. And Citizen Zero is not here. I could try to expand the walls but they would not be as strong as hers are now. We could still lose the city.

## Why are you telling me this?

:: I have a task for you. Save the city. Do you accept?

Time Cube

Mary found it in the attic among Great Aunt Clarice’s things in a velvet lined wooden box. A crystal cube with mirrored insides. She saw infinite rabbit holes created by the mirrors reflected into each other. Gentle pulling it out of the box and turning revealed another open side that looked in on a mirrored interior that was not the same as the first. Six crystal cubes melded into the space of one but for what purpose?

There was power within it, that much Mary could sense. An enchantment to bend space and bind the artifact together but something more. She stared down into the cube. It wanted something; a thought, no a memory, of a place and time. What memory to give it? Something she wouldn’t mind losing if it stole it completely from her mind.

That man, from the corner, yesterday. Yes that would due nicely. She returned to looking into the cube and pictured the street. Light mid afternoon traffic. The traffic light had just changed. The cube began to warm in her hands. She pressed the crosswalk button and waited. A man walked up behind her, too close, and pressed the button. The dark rabbit hole of reflections shimmered and glowed. She stepped away from him. He smiled at her, she returned the smile reflexively and resumed waiting for the light. She didn’t have to remember the scene anymore because she could see it clearly in the cube. Ah, it let you view the past!

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Lisa’s Story: Zombie Apocalypse – Chapter Fifteen

I woke up early to the beeping of my watch alarm. My head felt clear but my migraines sometimes came back the next day. I mixed a can of evaporated milk with water and poured some into a bowl with cereal. I ate standing in the kitchen listening for twinges of pain from my head. There didn’t appear to be any so I decided to continue with the day’s plan.

After getting dressed, I grabbed my backpack and added my bottle of migraine medicine to a side pocket just in case. I strapped on my machete and grabbed my bat. The apartment complex was empty of zombies when I checked through the windows. At the edge of the fence, I looked up the street toward Andy’s store and spotted some zombies shuffling down street. I stepped back behind the fence and listened. No pounding footsteps came my way. They hadn’t seen me. I peeked one eye out around the fence.

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The Giver (movie) – Review

So, The Giver has been on Netflix for a couple of months and it keeps showing up in my “Top Picks”.  I’ve never read the book so I didn’t have any nostalgia for the story nor did I have any real idea of what the story actually was.  I had seen a trailer before the movie came out and the fan outcry that the movie was in color but that was it.

The story is pretty average for a YA dystopian novel.  After a great war/cataclysm society has been rebuilt around the idea of “sameness” and everyone has forgotten the past and takes daily injections to suppress their emotions.  Jonas is chosen to be the Receiver of Memory.  A job that entails receiving memories of the past from The Giver.  There is a minor romance subplot with Jonas’s childhood friend but the main plot concerns how the memories of the past effect Jonas.

Most of the movie is shot in black in white with color added once Jonas begins receiving memories.  This lack of color to express the “sameness” the community was built around was well done.  I liked how color is introduced slowly into Jonas’s pov instead of the movie suddenly wiping to full color like The Wizard of Oz.

There’s nothing really new in the movie.  It shares a lot of tropes with other dystopian movies.  An emotional suppressed populace like in Equilibrium.  Constant surveillance, lack of privacy even in one’s own home, and the erasure of history like in 1984.  I also noticed a stylistic resemblance to Pleasantville with the black and white suburban imagery representing the “ideal” society and color used to show characters “awaking” to some truth.

The Giver is well made and the acting is fine but you’re not missing out if you skip it.

Rating: 2.5/5



Please Silence Your Cellphone Before the Heist Begins

Grey, our infiltration specialist, had secured the office we had chosen to do the hack from and released a squad of spider bots in the vents. With them running through the vents she monitored security movements on the floor. She had also used them during our insertion to scout the path into the building. I dropped Alex’s, our computer security and data specialist, bag by the desk as she started setting up and took up my station at the door. If the room was breached, I would run interference while Alex and Grey escaped via the pre-planned route. I would make my own way out of the building.

Alex had just finished wiring her portable into the building’s network when a phone began to ring. A soft cheerful tune that I recognized from a children’s show my daughter watched. I knew I didn’t have a phone on me. I looked to Grey who patted her pockets and showed me her empty hands. It couldn’t be…

“I have to get that,” Alex said. She rummaged around in her bag and pulled out a small flip phone and answered the call. “Hello Aunt Ruby … aha ok. You need to reset your router. Hmm … no, not your computer. The box plugged in by the wall … Yes … No the other one … Ok unplug it and wait ten seconds and plug it back in.”

She kept the phone pressed against her ear with one hand and typed on her portable to issue a string of commands with the other. Words began streaming across the screen. “Is it working now? … Ok, love you too.” She flipped the phone closed with one and and dropped it back into her bag.

“Did you just take a tech support call from your aunt?” I asked stepping closer to her.

“Yeah, look if I don’t she calls my mom and then my mom calls me and it’s a whole thing.” She leaned forward watching the scrolling text and typing commands that caused different screens of text to scroll by.

I glanced at Grey for support, she shrugged non-committal. I spun the office chair Alex was sitting in around to face me and locked eyes with her. “We’re inside the headquarters of a multinational corporation, that is run by very bad men, stealing data worth millions of dollars. If we get caught the best we can hope for is a quick death. You can not jeopardize our security by taking unsecured phone calls from your aunt. Understood?”

Her phone rang again. She looked down at her bag then back at me, “Can I get that?”


“Ok, but you have to talk to my mom when calls.”

Early To The Party

The lights are on
The table is set
But no one has shown up

There are no precursors
There are no forerunners
There are no ancient aliens

We were here first
We are the “wow” signal
We are the alien probe
We are the future ruins of an alien civilization

Someday there will be life out there
Someday they will look up
Someday they will hear our signals
Someday they will find our probes
Someday they will study Earth

Maybe if we work together
Maybe if we get off this rock
Maybe we will be there to say


Author note: This was inspired by this NPR blog post that suggests that Earth may be the first place intelligent life has appeared in the universe.


Site Update/Writer Update

So, I know that my depression worsens after summer.  I had hoped writing and posting stories every week would build momentum enough to carry my through to November when it gets really busy at my retail job.  I had planned on taking like half of November and December off from posting stories for the holidays.  But here I am in September(not even officially fall) and I can’t focus, I’m having trouble sleeping, I’m getting migraines at a higher rate(this is due to the weather not depression but it isn’t helping).

Basically I can’t keep up with the pace I set for myself during the summer.

So I’m going to try halving my output for September and October.  Instead of three stories every week(twelve a month), I’m going to post three stories every other week(six a month).

In November, my output might drop to zero because of the holiday rush and stay that way until January when regular posting will most likely resume.  That might be a good time devote to editing some stories into a small ebook.  I’ve been meaning to do that but writing the weekly stories has been the priority up til now.

I know it may seem like a sudden change but this is something I’ve dealt with for years.  I didn’t know how my plans for posting stories regularly would be effected by my seasonal depression.  This is still the first year of what I plan to be a life long endeavor.  This year I have to slow down in the fall and probably stop during the winter.  Next year might be the same or it might be better.

Lisa’s Story: Zombie Apocalypse – Chapter Fourteen

Once we got back to Andy’s store we took turns pumping air into his new mattress.

“Why didn’t you go home went the store got looted?” I asked while stepping on the pump.

“I live on the other side of the city. South of Rio Grande street. I was too scared to walk. No one would come get me so I just hunkered down and hoped it blew over.”

“No one would come get you?” he shook his head, “No came for me either. Facebook, text messages, phone calls and no one answered. Were your parents in the city?”

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