Thursday, June 25, 2009

Moderation of the Community

Reading this interesting article set my world-building engine into overdrive. This is a small side-story in that universe written for The Friday Challenge.

Tucked away in a corner of the econet, far removed from the national cities, ringed by protective swathes of Nifforest interspersed with Dronelands and Nephilim Wastes, lies an obscure chain of mountains. There a narrow, unobtrusive path winds its way through treacherous passes until it suddenly opens upon the verdant Vale of Cyterra. At the expansive valley’s further end, atop a ridge halfway up the great mount that overlooks Cyterra, stands a temple remodeled from a former biogenetics plant. Within the temple lies a grand hall with a raised dais. In the hall, Cyterrans and three outsiders kneel before Kythara, the goddess of fertility.

The fore of the outsiders hastily pushes himself up from the ground, his greasy brown locks swaying as he shrugs off the Cyterran hands that had kowtowed him before their goddess. He spits.

“I told you, I ain’t gonna bow before any other human. I am a free man!” He glares defiantly at the goddess reclining on her celestial devan. “Who made you Queen of the Econet, huh?” Behind him, his companions likewise rise rebelliously to leer at the sufficiently comely woman.

A Cyterran interjects on the behalf of his deity. “Without the goddess, the Vale would lie desolate as the surrounding lands, and all would starve.”

“Gracious Kythara blesses the seeds that they might grow and kisses the flowers that they might produce fruit,” speaks another.

“She opens the wombs of our women so that they might conceive,” nods a man.

The outsider with the greasy locks snorts. He raises his hands to gesture about the grand hall. “What is this, an old Cytex Systems plant? So you’re, what, a former lab technician turned community admin? What sort of command system do you use to make these people so gullible?”

“You’ve caused quite a stir in my community,” murmurs Kythara softly, ignoring the questions. Her brown eyes appraise the outsiders. “Who are you? What do you want? Why have you disrupted the peace of Cyterra?”

“I’m Phynx,” the man thumbs toward himself. “My buddies Drodabbabob and Klizz and I know more about the econet than ten of your Cyterrans put together.”

“All your base are belong to us,” adds the big man behind him with a sardonic smile.

“Ah,” remarks the goddess. “Renegade Five Channers here to trouble the people for their own amusement or gain.”

“You filthy whore!” exclaims the third man to the shock of the Cyterrans. “You know nothing of us! You’re probably so busy up here spreading your legs for fertility rites that if your drones hadn’t dragged us up here you’d still be bumping uglies.”

“Shut up, Klizz,” hisses Phynx. “Don’t insult your host—not when she’s stripped you of your pistols.” He grins up at Kythara. “Please forgive my excitable friend.”

Kythara swings out her legs to sit upright on the cushion. “On the contrary, I knew the moment you stepped foot in my valley. And now I’ve seen your nature for myself. I zealously protect this community.” She stands. “You will leave the Vale of Cyterra immediately.”

“Like hell we will!” growls Klizz. “Have you seen what’s outside this little paradise, or were you too busy humping to come up for air?”

“Rude as he is, Klizz is right on this one,” intercedes Phynx. “The econet is a free place.”

“I shall speak slowly, so as to be sure that you understand. You will leave today,” enunciates Kythara.

Phynx spits. He glares at Kythara. “You’re despicable. Holding the germination codes over these people’s heads, just so you can parade yourself about like a fertility goddess.”

“That means you’re a whore,” explains Klizz.

“And how would you have it?” asks the goddess. “Without me, these people would die.”

“Pshaw!” cries Phynx. “Dro here is a wizard. I’m sure he could crack the Cytex seeds and I know the nanopros offer no challenge to him. In fact, I ordered him to dismantle your firewalls and hack your zombies’ wifi ports.” He glances over his shoulder. “You done yet, Dro?”

“I’ve set her up the bomb, Phynx,” nods Drodabbabob.

Phynx grins smugly at Kythara. “There’s gonna be a change in the pantheon for the Cyterrans.”

Kythara suddenly doubles over, her body shaking. She then rises with tinkling laughter and extends her arms over her worshippers. “The people of Cyterra serve me out of gratitude for my blessings. I removed their diodes long ago.”

Phynx turns his wide eyes to Drodabbabob. After a few moments, the wizard gives a frustrated nod: “Empty pings.”

“I guess we’d better go then,” mutters Phynx. He motions for his compatriots to move toward the door. But as he begins to leave, his forearm compartment opens, dropping a throwing knife into his hand. In a single, swift motion the Channer pivots to arc the blade toward Kythara.

The knife never reaches the goddess. A massive organo-hydraulic arm drops from the ceiling and snatches it mid-flight. The temple shakes as several tons of metal land on the ground between the dais and the outsiders.

Kythara glowers imperiously from behind the mechanical monster. “I was merciful before, but you have shown yourselves to be a threat to this community. I hereby permanently ban you from the Vale of Cyterra.”

Phynx spits. “Fine, you crazy cat lady, we’re leaving already.”

The goddess shakes her head. “You misunderstand. You are permanently banned. Moderator?”

A synthesized voice speaks from the mass of metal. “Yes, my goddess?”

“Kill these three trolls.”

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