tssmn OP t1_j2edajz wrote

It's a new day.


Come to the Palace and face me. Let our swords cross one final time and give light to this blackened world.

The words woke him from his deep slumber, catching him suspended in midair, hovering above the waters of the Hollow. It was a wide expanse of deep, opaque water, flanked by arches of stone, coming together like the ribcage of an incomprehensibly gigantic beast. Beyond, a dark sun in perpetual eclipse bathed the world of Idris in a pale blue. Slowly, he righted himself upward and looked around, his eyes caught by the sight of a white line piercing the heavens from the horizon. He knew its source. With a surprising burst of speed, he pushed off and flew forward, the surface of the water exploding behind him.

His pitch-black fingers fell into the water, skimming through the first couple of inches as he sailed parallel to its surface. He could remember the sensation of cold he felt so long ago, before she came to claim Idris as her own. At the thought, his fingers hooked out of the water and curled into a fist, picking up speed with another explosion of water as he approached the miles-high cliff of Wayfarer's Pass.

He suddenly stopped on a dime right at its narrow entrance, sending a sharp gust of wind careening through its thin passages and small wave from behind rolling up from the surface, only for it to level out soon after. His ivory eyes scanned the pathway, remembering what was once a bevy of colors - brown, red, green, gold, brilliant purple.

Wayfarer's Pass was known as the litmus test for an explorer. It spanned across the entire planet, with walls so high it dared to push the world's atmosphere away from it. It separated the two halves of Idris from each other and was the only way through to the other side. If one wanted to make the journey, they would have to put themselves through the vice of the Pass' grip, a suffocating sojourn through the tightest corridors. If the claustrophobia didn't get you, if getting stuck didn't get you, the sudden shift of the Pass might, the two halves coming together like a sadistic puzzle piece and plastering you across its walls.

But he had flight. Why did she give it to him?

It was a question - one of many - that didn't leave his mind. He mulled it over as the water beneath him buckled and caved from the pressure of his takeoff. His body skirted the vertical surface of the stone walls, feeling the warmth they absorbed from the dark sun.

The sun was one of the last things to change. When she touched down on Idris, the planet was alive and full of vigor. Its people were happy, healthy, and welcoming. Now, they were just gone, a void. She tore everything from this place, everything except him.

Beyond the Wayfarer's Pass was a solitary building, built upon an island plateau. When Idris was alive, the building didn't exist. He came to call it the Palace of the Fell, because it was there where the planet fell into darkness and ruin. In the moments before the Blackening, it was a temple devoted to her. The people of Idris called her a goddess because her first words were "I can save you."

His eyes narrowed. Salvation was a nebulous lie.

As he picked up speed, torpedoing straight towards the palace, he outstretched his hand, conjuring a sword from the pale blue light of the dark sun. He found a firm grip on its handle as he landed with a slam on the black and gold floor of the Palace courtyard, sending blasts of wind out in all directions to violently sway the leafless shrubbery. He wasted no time, breaking into a full-steam sprint towards the arched entrance of the Palace, of which was flanked on both sides by two differing statues - one of her, and one that looked strangely like himself.

It caught him off-guard, forcing him to stumble, but he pushed the thought from his mind and continued forward, crossing the threshold and entering into the massive, cavernous chamber.

There, stood in the pinhole of light, was she, her dress flowing in the wind. Resting on her should was a large, thick blade of light, her hand firmly grasping the handle. She watched the light above, her head turning at an awkward angle to acknowledge him with her gaze as he entered the room.

He responded by closing the gap between them almost instantaneously, raising his sword above his head. The light of the dark sun glinted across his blade, reflecting a sliver of light across her eyes and, for the first time, he saw the true colors behind them.

His grip faltered. She was familiar.

The massive blade swung through the air.


tssmn OP t1_j2chgsr wrote

I woke up in Godsmirror, a vast salt flat that hardly sees rain. When it does, the myth goes that the flat is so large that God could see his own face and be blinded, and so the name stuck. I don't know when, but it rained.

My body was surrounded by an inch of water that stretched as far as the eye could see in all directions. Piles of salt pierced its placid surface, standing as monuments to the wind. A great shadow stretched across me, granted by the enormity of the Kings - two marble spears that dared to pierce the sky in their ascent. As I grew aware of my position, of the duality of wet and dry, a thought emerged from the depths of my mind:

Go west. Keep walking until the horizon bleeds fire. Someone there is waiting for you.

Impossible, I judged. I traveled this world from end to end. There's no other souls here.

When I first landed on Dur, the mission was simple - gather some samples, report back to the Merchant Fleet, grab a permit for planetary harvest from the Galactic Council, and return with the fleet so we could get to work. Dur, as far as we knew, had some resources that the Cosmic Bazaar had no claim on. The salt from Godsmirror was one such resource.

I didn't expect to run into the snowstorm that obliterated my ship.

Ganna's Folly is a small island southwest of Godsmirror. Named for the fabled explorer Ganna of Ferrous IV, the island has an anomalous snowstorm that batters at its sands perpetually. Contrarily, the island is never iced over. The terrain and plant life remains relatively warm, but good luck surviving long enough to dig a hole. If the wind or the cold don't get you, the ice spikes will.

And get me, they did. Tore straight through my ship and sent me hurtling into the sea. Thank God for the ejector seat.

Long story short, I've been stranded here for five years. Been wandering for so long that my clothes have torn to shreds from the wear and tear. Travel has been tough; survival, even tougher. At times, I've fallen unconscious. A few times, I could've sworn that I died from one danger or another, and yet, like clockwork, I end up back in Godsmirror. Whether or not it rained is how I gauge my luck. If it rained, it's a good day to travel.

I've never traveled far enough to see the horizon "bleed fire," which is strange, considering I've spent far too much time circling Dur, looking for someone - anyone - to help me get off this planet, but I'm not going to stop until I find a solution. I've got someone waiting for me back home.

Go west. Someone there is waiting for you.

I got to my feet and checked the sky. The sun was on its rise. I've been here long enough to know it sets in the west. Checking the shadow of the Kings, I followed it as it stretched across the salt flats. As my eyes met the horizon in the distance, a peculiar pillar of light emerged, notching the horizon with a temporary mark.

Taking a heavy, deep breath, I rolled my shoulders and shook the dust from my bones, disturbing the mirror as I started to make my way west.


tssmn OP t1_j2bz12h wrote

Planet found. Checking registry... Registry check successful.Registered planet name: Exolsus-27BRegistrar name: UnknownRegistry date: ERROR! Data corrupted. Please inform your local administrator for repairs.

Galactic coordinates: ERROR! Satellite offline. Attempt to reconnect? N

Approach vector confirmed. Beginning descent.

WARNING! Temperatures below 170 K detected. To ensure safety, please remain inside the ship.

Scanning atmosphere... Analysis complete. Atmosphere is composed of 16% nitrogen, 31% hydrogen, 12% helium, 40% carbon dioxide.

WARNING! Low fuel. Please attempt to land in a safe area. Contact your local administrator to establish a Mobile Refueling Station.

Analyzing weather... Analysis complete. Winds in excess of 70 miles per hour.

Scanning terrain... Landing area identified. Proceed north-northwest at 310 degrees.

WARNING! Damage sustained. Location: signal booster. Please contact your local administrator for repairs.

Approaching landing area. Please remain inside the ship.

Landing successful.

Movement detected. Scanning for organic lifeforms... Organic lifeforms detected. Beginning analysis...

Temperature fluctuation detected. Threshold: 297.011 K

Analysis complete. Insectoid lifeform detected. Height: 9m. Weight (observed): 3100kg. Lifeform is capable of generating heat through vibrational frequency. Vibrational frequency attained: 300Hz.

Additional lifeforms detected. Begin analysis? Y

Beginning analysis...

Automated message received. Sender: Owen Carmack // Recipient: Owen Carmack // Subject: Once more around the sun. Read message? _

Read message? _

Read message? N

Message archived. Deletion will commence in one hour.

Analysis of additional lifeforms complete. Subjects are mammalian and possess little to no advanced intelligence. Subjects are octopedal and possess little to no thermal insulation. Subjects seem to subsist on little to no food; suggests the absence of digestive systems or desire to feed. Analysis suggests subjects are docile.

Analysis predicts a symbiotic relationship between subjects and insectoid lifeforms. Subjects are reliant on warmth for survival. Insectoid lifeforms are reliant on food. In exchange for warmth, subjects hunt for food beneath the surface. Analysis suggests insectoid lifeforms are incapable of burrowing.

WARNING! Damage sustained. Location: cockpit. Please contact your local administrator for repairs.

W8RNING! Damage sustained. Location: control panel/ Please contact your l3cal administrator for repa&rs.

W@)/ING! Damage sq4tained. Location: fuul t1vk. Please cop9(ct your local 22ministrator for repairs.

WAR///e$ Damage s4N98#Hed. Location: tempera/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

93NC*03NK! n*09B~K++

Reboot successful. WARNING! Critical damage sustained to ship computer. Data corruption at 13%.

Retrieving message archive...

1 message archived. Read? Y

FROM: Owen CarmackTO: Owen CarmackSUBJECT: Once more around the sun.

If you're reading this, I guess that means I'm not dead after all. Whatever that means to you, I hope you can breathe a sigh of relief. It took a lot of guts to get to where you are, I bet. I don't quite know where "there" is, but it doesn't really matter, does it? All that matters is that you're there.

I don't say this enough, or ever, if we're being honest, but... I'm proud of you. I don't know how you pulled us out of that shithole situation with Dad, or what you did with the last 200 credits we had, or if you finally worked up the courage to say something to Elizabeth, but I hope none of it was too painful. Either way, just being able to breathe for another day is enough for me, if I've lived that long.

WARNING! Critical damage sustained to ship computer. Data corruption at 48%.

Promise us something, will you? I know the times ahead are gonna be tough, but whatever happens, we have to live, you understand? It doesn't matter the weather or the stress or the bullshit; none of it. We can't quit. We can't give up until we found what we've been looking for.

WARNING! Critical damage sustained to ship computer. Data corruption at 80%.

I know it's out there. I know the key is hiding among the stars. We just need to find it. I'm putting my trust in you. In me, I guess. Don't let us down. Salvation is just a f

WARNING! Critical damage sustained to ship computer. Data corruption at 99%.

WARNING! Temperatures below 170 K detected. Unlocking the ship hull will result in a severe drop in temperature. Proceed? _

Proceed? _

Proceed? Y

Unlocking ship hull...



X1@XN((/ tR8x09*U zBzu@4 y^8chj3J9 -\ $v+/ B7wH$15l0 vVs9 1Gu%#0Dwn" BW .9T}

[H3nG9@8 =~c8///


tssmn t1_j22158a wrote

Carrie leaned against the railing of the bridge, haloed by a bright lamp that had to have been installed not more than a month ago. She stared into the sky, trying to pinpoint with her naked eye the trajectory of that which would be not just her undoing, but the world's. She knew it was coming - they all did - and yet, it was still too dark to see. Nevertheless, it was only days away.

In the brush surrounding the bridge, she could hear the crickets chirping, and the cicadas buzzing further off. There were a lot of insects around these parts, and she was familiar with most. As a child, she came to this very spot to hunt for ladybugs. She came back when she was older to share her first kiss with the star quarterback from her high school. She returned here to burn the photos of that failed relationship. She arrived here days ago to end it all, when she found out the meteorite was on its way.

Like the trajectory of the celestial doombringer, it was hard to pinpoint why she was still here, why she hadn't taken that leap. The drop was steep enough. She knew that if she landed right, it would be her curtain call. Maybe it was her family that anchored her. Maybe it was a deep, gnawing fear of death. She chuckled quietly to herself, pondering the inescapable. It was going to happen at some point, regardless of whether or not she wanted it. Maybe it was something else.

Something rustled in the bushes, just then. A deer, Carrie thought, but she turned to look anyway, only to be met with glowing eyes that peered at her from the shadows. She froze in place, her muscles too tight to move. A deep, shaking breath filled her lungs as she watched the eyes get closer and larger, the light of the bridge revealing the face of a gigantic moth creature. Walking on human legs, it approached the middle of the bridge and paused, turning its head to the same sky Carrie looked at moments before. It walked to the railing, grabbing onto it with its segmented arms. As it watched the sky, its wings lightly fluttered and spread open only partway.

For a while, Carrie didn't move, afraid to earn its ire, but a peculiar motion from the creature caused the fear to leave her body. The moth creature lifted its arm and pointed to the sky, its wings rubbing together to form clicks and chirps as it turned to look at her. Carrie looked back into the sky, watching the stars flicker.

"You understand what's happening, don't you?" she asked, turning to read the moth's face.

The creature nodded.

"Are you..."

Carrie hesitated to ask the question. It was hardly more than rhetorical, but an opportunity like this would never come again.

"Are you scared?"

The creature paused, then slowly nodded again. Carrie could see the nervousness in its movements. Carefully, she stepped closer, and with each advance, her ears became more aware of the roaring ambience that was starting to build, and that was when she realized why she couldn't see it: it was going to hit the other side of the world first. She would only see the wave of fire that would come to claim her and the creature.

Down below, she watched the city of Point Pleasant become engulfed in flames and destruction. Even from here, Carrie could hear the frantic screams of a lost people, doomed to extinction. They needed an outlet for their uncertainty and fear, and violence was that outlet.

"Why are you here?" she asked the moth creature. "Why did you choose to show yourself to me?"

The creature responded by moving closer, lightly pressing its fuzzy body against her arm. Carrie looked down and smiled. "Ah," she lamented.

"I s--"

A deafening, thunderous, world-shaking crack exploded through the atmosphere. The ground suddenly shifted back and forth, as if an earthquake just made itself known. Carrie felt herself losing grip on the bridge, only to be caught within the creature's arms. She looked up at it, eyes wide in horror before she scrambled to her feet and back to the railing, watching the horizon grow alight in a brilliant orange. As the temperature suddenly scaled to sweltering heights, she looked to the creature and mouthed several words, her voice taken away by the overwhelming blare of death's trumpet sounding the end.

The creature took Carrie into its arms and hugged tightly, staring at the quickly-approaching blade of fire that eviscerated all in its path. Carrie, thankful not to be alone in the moment, shut her eyes tight.

Her hearing was the first to go. All else followed.


tssmn t1_iwvhecs wrote

Five days ago, I turned on every computer screen I had. Full brightness, nothing but white. I put the harshest noise I could find on my speakers at the highest volume. I told myself that I could do this, that I could find a remedy. I'm just lucky the plugs are still the same.

I can't see the screens anymore. I can't hear the noise. Nothing seems real, apart from the reality that I know I'm awake. I haven't blinked in a long time. I can feel the pain when I try. That pain is an anchor, tethering me to this reality, if there even still is one.

Six days ago, I didn't know what a 'time warden' was. Six days ago, I was a college student, studying music production in the spare time I wasn't breaking my back at a warehouse for little pay. Six days ago, I was able to sleep without traveling backwards through time.

Six days ago, I had my own apartment. 40 years ago, that apartment was some general store that sold some food and a bunch of useless shit that no one today would even care about, so when I woke up 8 hours after sleeping, laying on an old wooden floor of the store that was about to celebrate its last days in bankruptcy, you could color me surprised.

There was a caveat to time traveling that I found out very early on. It's not just you that travels - it's all your stuff, too. Imagine trying to explain to someone in the '80s what a flatscreen computer monitor is. Imagine trying to convince them you're not a thief. Imagine getting shot.

That pain, too, is an anchor.

This time warden said I was being punished. I asked why, and they answered with 'there are things at work that are beyond your understanding.' Sure, okay. Real cool, vague reason you got there. I already hate talking to people, so trying to have some entity outside the bounds of space and time give you a clear-cut answer as to why you travel back in time at the rate of one month per hour of sleep? Truly makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I can already tell what's going to happen. My body's so heavy and I haven't been able to pick up the pen and write. Eventually - very, very soon, I think - my body's going to give up and I'll pass out for who-knows-how-long, and that's dangerous. I don't know... where I will be when I wake up.

If I wake up.

Oh, god.