To be “On the road to Shambala” is a metaphor for seeking redemption, purification of spirit, and seeking The Great Divine. It is found in teachings of several faiths of The Great Divine and in the writings of many prophets and philosophers. It is not just a metaphor. There truly is a road to Shambala.
It is pretty.
Yes it is. A man could get lost in himself there.
Is that a bad thing?
Depends on the man.
Everytime you look at something in The City, there is something going on behind it. It is a moment caught in the tangles of time of some other persons life. It is those little moments that make The City seem so alive.
The Earth-That-Was got used up.
The folk that could made for the sky, and made themselves a new home out here. They made a dozen worlds and all their moons just like Earth, but it weren’t all roses and sunshine.
The government, in their vast and mighty wisdom, made the worlds of the Core great havens of culture, medicine, and trade, then dumped everyone else out on the rim with nothing but forty acres and a donkey, and expected them to be happy about it. Eventually, they decided even that was too much, and took back the one thing they’d let the Rimworlders have - their independence.
So naturally, there was a War. The people who just wanted to be left alone, versus the big bosses who wanted to control everything. The bosses won, of course; now everyone’s part of the Alliance and supposed to love, honor, and obey them, ‘til death do us part.
But that was six years and a few million lives ago. Purple or brown, we’re all just folk now. Out here on the Rim, we just do what we have to, take what we can, and thank Whoever every time a new day sees us still flying.
Except for the few of us they took everything from, whose daily prayer is just for a chance to get some of it back.
We’ll fly as long as we have to, but we’re looking for a place to land.
On their beacon, such that it was, we came in from the east, low across the wet and mud. When you get close to the Pielshome Field, the beacon is pretty useless. Visibility was good and I saw the oil lamps that lit the green circle we had been assigned by the controller. As soft as a leaf, I sat us down. A perfect landing graced with a perfect sunset filling our windscreen. The sun set rose, as the sinking began. The paving bricks they use to line the landing circles they only hold so much weight. The mud is everywhere here.
As the Earth That Was was being "used up", the Dysporia began. Any Rocky World in the Lifeband were made to be habitable by people. This produced a huge number of barely habitable planets, most of which are out on the frontier.
Madeira is not one of these world. It is a rich and lush world where the fine arts of wine making have been reborn, along with a culture of civility and honor.
All through the Alliance there are those that follow the Shepherds of The Book. The Book is old and came from many Great Teachers of the Past that walked The Earth that Was. These folks have followed a Great Shepherd into the Desert that is The Rim and have been given the Promised Land.
Nob was a fairly developed colony world. It had a few cities, some manufacturing, and something that passed as a space port. Then a wonderful disaster showered riches and power upon it.
I was watching one of those famous sunsets while I was waiting for the Mule to come back. I saw the spot in the sun. I thought it was a bug. My gut knew what it was. I was running for the cockpit before it registered in my brain. It was time to get off this planet, as the soil was about to run red with blood.
Hot Dang, we are going to LaVenda!
Flying into Lewiston, once you get low enough, is difficult, captain. There is constant wind sheer through the valleys. You have to fly careful, as the wind will slam you into a mountain side faster than a card player tossing in a bad hand. Of course the town you want to get to, Porsen, is the very worse. So best we land in Ramsy territory on the Blue Diamond Lake there, and take the mule up the "road" to Porsen. I just hope the Ramsy and the Regina towns arent feuding any more. I hate dodging bullets that arent even meant for me.
The place looked like a pile of plastic containers, but it was home.
On the voyage from Earth-That-Was, most feuds were put to rest. But there’s some bad blood that can’t be healed with anything but payback. The Native American Indians managed to keep their communities together. While they were as glad as any when the terraforming began to take, they made it known to the Alliance that they expected payment for the land they lost nearly 1000 years ago.
"Cold beer and scantily clad dancing girls all surrounded by glass. Does it get any better?"
Rogers, Episode 2, 8, 12, and 13 of Into The Black.
It doesn’t look like much.
After looking at a shoddy looking town, "This is the bright spot of the galaxy?"
"Do you have to wear shades out here?"
"Thus my point is proven."
Chen Fong to Deiter - Episode 6 Into the Black Campaign
Houston is a very rare world. It once held life. Now it holds life again. That "once life" has given us a legacy that is leading to wealth for the colony.
"Well we can’t fix it, so we will just have to live with it," on a plaque dedicated to the terraforming team and first colonists.
We came in on low burn. There was a lot of glitter in the space. You could see all the scattered material. The nav sensor just turned red and blinked that "I’m broken" icon. We stopped . One of the Buoys floated by the windscreen. My brothers name was on that buoy.
In a universe always in need of habitable planets, Partas II had a good location, good resources, and the people about it had a "need". It just had one problem. It wasn’t generally habitable. A century ago, the Great Project was undertaken. A century from now, it will be complete. People will stand unaided upon its surface.
As long as nothing goes wrong.
Nine times out of ten, it’s the undead that do the running.
Not strictly animal or vegetable, the Corpse bud is a peculiar individual that shares characteristics from multiple kingdoms and species. In appearance, all corpse buds bear a shape of a large rounded top bud divided into four lateral segments, and a much longer, narrower bottom bud, also divided into four segments. Between the two halves are a set of four radial limbs, rounded on top and flat on the bottom, covered with tiny serrated hooks facing towards the body. In overall size, it’s limbs reach as wide as a spread hand, with the body being as thick as a fist. It is as long as a human hand from top to bottom.
Internally, the top bud of the corpse bud contains a bacteria filled membrane that produces the hydrogen that the corpse bud uses to stay aloft, and a series of fungal gills for the dispersal of spores for reproduction. The lower half of the bud contains a number of fine filaments, as well as a sharp barbed stinger containing a powerful local anaesthesia.
The Corpse Bud mobilizes by inflating its top bud, and steers by rotating its arms rapidly about its body. The corpse bud ordinarily drifts with the wind, orienting towards the scent of recent decay and death. It preys on the recently dead, burrowing the lower bud into the victim, using the anaesthesia in case the victim is dying, and not truly deceased. Once embedded, it releases its filaments into the body, replacing the current nervous system. This gives it full animation of the body, and allows the corpse bud to direct it.
Corpse buds are not a malevolent species, being primarily concerned with breaking down the host body for food, and infecting the reproductive cycle with spores in order to mate with other corpse-bud bodies. To preserve the corpse for this purpose, Corpse buds will seek out dry locations to prevent bacteria from destroying the corpses. This often causes a large number of corpse buds to gather in a single location.
In culture, Corpse buds are used to repair broken spines or degenerative diseases, as the sentient mind will easily overcome the mind of the non-sentient corpse bud. Once infected by a corpse bud, however, removal is usually fatal, and the infected individual cannot reproduce, or risk infecting another. Thus, it is a technique often reserved for the elderly, or a last resort.
Necromancers and other dark sorcerers will often preserve the corpses of their victims magically, and infect them with corpse buds, creating traditional undead as well, so as to seed their lairs with undead both offensive and non, in order to throw their enemies off balance. They will also enslave the rudimentary minds of the corpse buds, and transform the docile things into a plague. There have also been accounts of magically transformed corpse buds with stronger minds and a taste for living flesh, but thus far all accounts are unproven rumors.