Humanity's Gold

short stories collection - a compilation of my short stories.

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Captain’s Log 1.25.2838
My eyes watered at the sight. We had finally discovered what we had spent all these years wandering aimlessly for. Shifting and moving, the silvery substance coated the land, its beauty enticing and dicing. There were several who ventured over its smooth surface, dying one by one. Out in the distance could be seen the splendorous pinnacle, atop its peak a mountain of gold. Men still strove for that most holy of materials, still killed and maimed for a chance to hold and possess it; some said that gold had become more than a sign of wealth and power.


Another story that ended up inspiring my book-in-progress Filugori, it is a focus on humanity's lust for something, anything, that will bring him fame and glory. It uses a character more obsessed with the adventure as a counter-backdrop to the drama unfolding around him.

Captain’s Log 1.25.2838

My eyes watered at the sight. We had finally discovered what we had spent all these years wandering aimlessly for. Shifting and moving, the silvery substance coated the land, its beauty enticing and dicing. There were several who ventured over its smooth surface, dying one by one. Out in the distance could be seen the splendorous pinnacle, atop its peak a mountain of gold. Men still strove for that most holy of materials, still killed and maimed for a chance to hold and possess it; some said that gold had become more than a sign of wealth and power. No, it had become engrained in the very soul of humanity, driving us forward, providing the impetus to partake on these Herculean efforts to discover and colonize the galaxy. It was an elixir that we could not stop drinking, least we realize that there is no purpose to our sorry existence. So we continue to pile our trade—lusting, craving, hungering for that high, that indescribable euphoria of ‘GOLD! We found GOLD!’

Captain’s Log 5.65.2828

The ship hung in low orbit, the twin planets were almost touching; several massive craters on their surfaces a testament to past encounters. “Deploy the ships, have everyone on standby,” the captain looked around, “we shall drop the ships at high 7, commence slow burn.” Here and there people continued at the same calm pace, such was the routine nature of this procedure. “What’re you all, DRONES? Where is your hunger, your ravenous spirit for adventure?” But the captain was in a world of his own; people had long since ceased caring about that ephemeral fist pump, that momentous adrenaline rush. No, there was nothing to be had here, just a dry run training for the real thing, if even that. “Captain, give it up, there is no gold to be had; no one is going to get excited over a dry run.” The captain stared straight ahead, his stark white hair flowing as the fans started to warm up, his blue eyes piercing the scene.

“Have you ever seen such a magnificent sight? All these people pass this awe inspiring scene without a second glance, it’s like they…”

“Have lost the ability to take in the small things? Yes sir, yes they have.”

“No, not the small things; the most grand encounters, mind-boggling of scenarios. But why do they live, for what do they strive? I have led these men and women from Sol to the Outer sector; however, each time there is no gold, they elicit the same reaction—abject state, as if all the wealth we’ve come across has suddenly vanished.”

“Gold is life.”

“Indeed, someday I hope to show them what they are missing.”

The drop ships drifted down toward the focus of the two planets and the captain walked up and down the cargo hold, his jet black suite in stark contrast to his subordinates yellow attire, their jumpsuits’ collection of symbols highlighting the simplicity of his iron pressed jacket. The air was thick with chemicals, they kept it at high pressure to force out any foreign air that may try to leak its way through the double door once it was opened. Tools lay strewn about the vicinity, the whole placed looked a mess—nobody cared to clean it up after each expedition. The decision to paint the whole interior a stark white was paying off; it exuded a professionalism and cleanliness that, despite the mess, satisfied the captains craving for order. As they hit the wispy coat that surrounded the planets, the captain tried to regain his balance and smoothed his hair. “There’re no dignitaries here captain.” He looked about for the source of the disturbance, but none was to be found, they all gave him that same—to him eerily creep at times—blank stare, as if there were about the admonish him at any moment. He surveyed the area again and walked up the staircase on the side, cables attempting to slow his every step. The railing almost didn’t save him as everyone was thrown into the air; then the sound of action could be heard all around.

“Get that door opened! Guns ready, shields on, we’re going in Hot, HOt, HOT!”

The doors swung open and the captain momentarily swung their way. The yellows jumped outside, some floating and landing with a confident thud on their feet, others walked slowly, surveying the area; dust kicked up and swirled around the landing zone, the whole scene something straight out of a comic strip. Ethereal and surreal as the particles hide their presence, they donned their old school respirators and set off, the doors closing behind them. The captain straightened his tie and started up the second flight of stairs near the back of the hold toward the flight deck. As he opened the door he treated the rest to the same wide-eyed, mouth agape expression that accompanied their expedition to a new world.

“My god, if only we had discovered this before…”

Captain’s Log 1.26.2838

Having realized the futility of our endeavor, it was decided that it be best if we launched the ships again and landed closer to the gold mountain. The world shone around us as the silvery substance continued to shift and swirl, the dust kicked up by those running toward the departing vessels giving the scene an Arabian feel, at any moment the silvery substance would peel back to reveal its true, parched earth form and men on camels would ride in—screaming and slaying—from our flank. But alas, this was fleeting as the thrusters blew away any hovering particles and brought me back to my senses. I turned and rushed toward the last ship to depart, jumping into the bay just as it gained air. We left the hatch open—strapped down there was no danger of falling out—and took in the dazzle that we were being treated to. We thought that the silver sea was worth the effort tracking down this elusive world, but as we continued to survey this land, our hearts yearned to be down below, exploring this virgin world and unearthing her secrets. Silver leaked into the red ocean that mixed and churned with globes of blue and green, it seemed as if someone colored oil and threw it onto dyed water, adding a metallic shine to blind and prevent full appreciation of the wondrous creation. Floating amidst the churning waves were islands, the liquid being more dense than earth. Towers of rock, some smoothed and beautified by the acidic conditions, and crystalline structures reached for the sky, those that were translucent reflecting and refracting the splendid array of colors that whirled about them. These fortresses on the sea, for all their stark beauty, were dead. Yet, at the center of all this majesty stood the most extraordinary sight of all, the stoic mountain of gold—assured and confident—amongst the liquid rainbow lakes. It was in this moment of bliss that the radio cut in, breaking the illusion that we finally could be tourist instead of miners on these forgotten worlds.

Captain’s Log 12.3.2864

“You realize what the charge is for this crime?”

“Yes, but this is not the most fair of proceedings.”

The captain stood up and walked toward the witness stand. He paused for a moment, coalesced his thoughts, and decided on his next course of action. The day had finally come when gold no longer mattered. It happened faster than was planned—humanity, faced with that precarious drop in vigor and purpose that would come with the dying of the last gold mines, had decided to lust after another thing. What they turned to was, at first, inarguably better. Life. Yes, that most holy of crusades was launched, that most forgotten of desires amidst our material lust. Life. No person had yet encountered it, in the several millennia that we had traveled the known universe; no person had yet reported life. However, there was never a desire, after the first gold world was found, to start an extensive search for other living organisms. Sure, there had been the occasional crackball who attempted to cement his name in history by discovering that illusionary non-Sol life form, but they always came back empty handed and disillusioned. But, the gold disappeared, ran dry. No, it wasn’t that we used it all or that it suddenly vanished, but to be unable to mine more gold was essentially to make it useless. In some perverse way, that confounded economist and thinkers, the more gold was found, the more its value increased on the market. It was akin to a stream, the more water in the stream, the more value can be derived from its many uses, but once this stream runs dry, its value diminishes to naught, even if the lake it created remains.

“We have decided to find…Life…and you attempted to stop us.”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“That is not relevant.”

“Yes it is, tell us why.”

“No.”

The captain—on the inside boiling with rage and indignant that one would desire to halt such a momentous expedition—calmly took out a light and started to fill the room with that most horrid of smells, a couple coughs could be hear reverberating about the cavernous hall. After a couple of minutes pacing in front of the witness stand, the captain stopped and glanced at the accused.

“So you’re guilty?”

“No.”

“Then you are not innocent?”

“No.”

“Thus, you are guilty.”

“This trail is a fraud, so I will not play within your pedantic framework. You seek to convict me, the jury wants to convict me, the judge will approve of capital punishment—what am I to do but close my mouth.”

“Your appeal tugs at my heart, but I could care less about your conspiracy, what I do care about is whether you’re part of this conspiracy.”

“No.”

Humanity had come to a cross roads, do we begin anew, refreshed in our goals, understanding, and decision making, or do we continue to harbor our addictive past, wrought by the savage inhumanity it had caused us. Some proposed that we start the Grand Colonization, seeding the galaxy with millions of colonies, enough to build a vast network that would fill the void and calm the increasingly desperate and crazed view that we are…alone.

“You’re all are scared…aren’t you? Deep down, that unthinkable, treacherous fear exists that we may be all there is, that the universe is in fact…empty.”

The captain looked about—slightly distressed—and dropped the light on the ground, smothering it with his heel.

“Your honour, I would like to request a recess.”

“Granted.”

“And your…ack, let go of me, I said let GO…you’re thinking to yourselves, we have nothing left to live for…”

Captain’s Log 1.28.2838

We landed among the mountain of gold and cried, our suits turning ever darker shades; a man to my left looked to be convulsing (with joy I assume). We waded in it, enjoying the feeling of it wrap around our feet. We molding it like clay and rubbing it all over our bodies. Through all this, we never thought that this would be it. We would be both the legendary, famed heroes, and the detested, infamous villains—forever exalted and shamed—the Last Miners. Every so often a breeze would waft by and looking up I wept at the glorious sky, spread out from dawn to dusk was a spectrum of reds, the sun blazing its trail across the sky. I walked toward the edge of the summit and looked down, feeling a bit queasy. It was then that I appreciated its largesse; this would feed the gold stream for years. This was big and—above money—glorious, we would be glorified and people would bow at our feet.

As we jumped up and down, the warmth eloped and caressed some as they slept in its splendor; the sea below gained an acrimonious hue, dull black and gray swaths cutting the serenity that was the rainbow ocean. A ship started to descend and finally landed. Several yellows stepped out, donned their respirators—their wheezing cutting through the rapturous noise—and took out the diggers, flipped the switches and began their work. Several of the others laid down their gear and a couple more waddled over to the nearest ship, climbed in and patted the side, then drifted off into the distance with a brief roar and puff of smoke. I never understood why we always need so many armed men, transports, and materials. It’s not like we had ever encountered life…or ever would…

-biafra

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©2006-2017 | biafra ahanonu | updated 19 june 2017
biafra ahanonu