Escape From Cordis

Greetings, lovely internet folk. Sorry it’s been a while- my discipline as a writer is still under development. And I’ve been working on back-end things for the site as well as other behind-the-scenes work here at Verbal Realms. Anyhow, the following is for your enjoyment and perhaps your edification:

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Ben Dulgoon woke slowly- stretching his arms above him and lowering them a few times before opening his eyes. The ceiling panels in his cell and in the hall were slowly flickering to life. Part of the flicker was the lights coming online one at a time, while part was provided by the shimmer of the transparent door. The doors weren’t force fields (too expensive to waste on prisoners), but they did carry a current and a decent punch if you ran into them on accident. He stood up slowly and relieved himself in the toilet by the corner. A few stray flecks hit the sides, and a small, wiry bot hurried out of a narrow panel in the wall and proceeded to sanitize the area vigorously. Ben hated those things.

It had been five years- give or take- since he had been interned at Cordis Detention Center. That was before war had broken out, or at least before the Confederation had recognized it as such. The Confederation had a long history of pretending things were different than they were, as far as Ben was concerned. He thought back to his home, to Gemini II. The moon and its twin had been terraformed centuries past into rich, tropical biomes which were excellently suited for year-round, small-scale farming and harvesting.

The dream behind the Gemini project had been far more optimistic than that of Beatrah Major. Beatrah had undergone minimal modifications due to its habitable atmosphere and ozone and, even more importantly, the ready accessibility of mineral resources. The Confederation had designated it as an industrial moon with a focus on shipbuilding. However, by the time Ben’s grandparents had been born, the Confederation had essentially crumbled due to infighting among the core worlds. A few well-placed fission explosions were all it took to wipe out the Council, Commissioners, and anyone who cared about what happened on the latest, now-forgotten colonization projects. And yet, leaders in Beatrah saw themselves as the Confederation in this system and purported to be the continuation of lawful governance.

    What a farce, thought Ben.

Continue reading Escape From Cordis

The Colony 7!

It has arrived!

Tah dah!

This is Jack, posting on behalf of Sorin. Enjoy.

January 8, 1CR

Minerva

    I waited outside the temporary dormitories for my brother. I had arranged for him to take me outside the colony walls, despite his protests. The last week had been difficult to say the least. Marius was available only infrequently, and even the poverty of the refugee sector had not prepared me for the spartan lifestyle imposed upon the people of the colony. Tomorrow I would have to start my job, running the small first aid clinic during the previously unstaffed night shift.

There were three nurses, including myself, and a doctor who had been a general surgeon at the local hospital. We were well equipped in terms of bandages and disinfectants, but as in the “refugee sector”, there was very little good medicine. Despite that, the other nurses seemed fairly nice, not that I would work with them for more than an hour every day, and Dr. Krantz was a really nice guy. Then there was the pay. I swear Linne went almost literally green with envy when she handed me my ration card. As a nurse, I was entitled to 3 large meals a day and double weekly credit towards luxury items. I didn’t get it entirely; I only knew that Linne said I was in the top portion for rations.

Either way I couldn’t say I was overly impressed with it. Even in the refugee sector, nursing had paid decently, but here my double portion would be enough for about one book a week. I didn’t mind so much that I had to expect less, though I will say that anyone looking with envy on the ability to purchase a single book was living a far harder life than I had ever had. Marius was the real high earner of the bunch though. Because he had two jobs, Marius got the rights to five meals a day, two of which he brought to the injured hunters in the clinic every day to try and help them regain their strength. His luxury item credit was the real stunner around here though. He got three-and-a-half credits. Apparently, he used some up on fresh flowers every week. Given that they had to be brought in from the refugee sector this time of the year, they were more expensive than books in winter.

Continue reading The Colony 7!

The Colony 5

So……been a while. Matthew was supposed to take the last two weeks, but some miscommunication prevented it. Then I ended up being late again. I think Jack has been doing great updating the site though! alright well The Colony chapter 5 is a break in what I originally wrote to bring you something almost completely new. Hopefully everyone is enjoying some of these characters as much as I do.

the Colony 5

January 16, 1CR

            As we walked towards my new home, a girl huddled in my brother’s arms, it occurred to me that I had undertaken this journey with a surprisingly small amount of knowledge as to what this colony really was. I knew that it was safe, or mostly anyways, and that my brother had some amount of influence there, but Patton’s meek acceptance of my brother’s orders was something new. The guy had changed a lot, to be sure; he was now skinny, almost emaciated, and quiet. All that remained of his former personality was the name. Like my brother, who now used the name Marius, Patton had selected a new name for himself upon his entry into the colony, but the name suited him. Patton had always been impulsive; one for brash speech and later regret.

            The guy next to him I vaguely recognized, though I wasn’t about to bring it up; we had gone to high school together. The language was what really struck me though. The words sounded foreign to my ears, which was odd because I knew many languages. Yet both my brother and the other guy really seemed to understand what Patton was saying.

            Finally we reached the outer edge of the colony. Like the roadblock we had seen earlier, the colony’s walls were constructed of cars piled upon one another, though these had obvious ramps around them to get them to their lofty height, and they were only two high, though they were also two deep. Within the walls, the ground was higher up the bottom cars than on the outside, but the snow blocked my view of what I gathered to be fields created on the old parking lots. There was one single building in the middle of these snow covered plains, an old community college where my brother had been enrolled when the evacuation was sounded. On the roof, several men holding bows looked out over the land. I threw a glance over my shoulder and noticed two miserable looking men on either side of the exit holding machetes and talking in low voices.

            As we neared the familiar structure, a man wearing an expensive looking coat and a silver ring approached us from the entrance. My brother said something in the weird language, and Patton coughed, obviously trying not to laugh.

            “Master Marius, it is good to see you returned to our lovely home.” The man said with a smirk, “I wish you had told me that you would be leaving us; I was feeling quite slighted that you were refusing to see me.”

            “My comings and goings are none of your concern Lazarus; I will do as I will.” Marius frowned at him.

            “But of course my Lord. However, as I am your apparent successor, would it not be prudent to make me aware of any potential dangers to your person?” This man, Lazarus, appeared fake to my eyes. His lack of real concern and desire for power were readily apparent, even having just met him. “It makes the men lose their confidence in me if you favor my subordinate so.”

            “Patton? Patton has to know, he’s my hunting partner. Besides, he is in charge of choosing qualified officials to go and deliver our census information to the government. He was the one who decided that I should go in the first place.”

            “Nevertheless sir, it is in bad form.”

            “If I may interject here, is no one going to say anything about how he called me his subordinate?” Patton’s indignant words were ignored.

            “Lazarus, I really am not in the mood for your whining right now. Lilia needs to get to bed, my sister needs to get living documents, and I need to not have a conniving little shit complaining to me about his ridiculous problems. The men don’t respect you because you are not worthy of their respect. I left Patton in charge during my absence on purpose, and if you will remember the council’s charter, that is his right by virtue of position. Now if you would, master Lazarus, I am trying to pass within.”

            Marius was about as impatient as I had ever seen him, and Lazarus stepped aside quickly. The look he gave my brother when his back was turned made me shudder for all the venom it contained. His gaze turned on me and lingered a moment too long for my comfort, but he said nothing. As we stepped through the doors and into the old college, I found myself almost reeling from the wave of nostalgia I felt. I had gone here when I was younger as well, though it had been some time, and I had gone for college credit high school courses and not for college. The inside looked almost the same as I had remembered it, narrow hallways with rooms on either side, opening up to a lobby only a few yards ahead of me. My brother began moving swiftly through the familiar building, going from this lobby to the grand stairwell into another lobby and finally into a quiet, out of the way hallway. Along the way, I got the impression of heavy use. Many of the rooms’ doors were open, and I could see the classrooms within divided into sections by plain white curtains. There were small groups of people here and there, and, until we reached the last hallway, which I had not gone into much while a student here, there was an almost constant presence of people sitting here and there.

            My brother stopped at the end of the hallway and opened the door to what appeared to have once been an office. I caught the brief scent of roses while my brother laid the girl on a bed in the corner of the room. Returning to the hall where I was waiting, Marius closed the door behind himself.

            “Well then, off to the hall of records. It’s a pain, but I think you will like the people there, at least.” Nodding at me, my brother gestured to the nearest stairwell. As I walked down the stairs, I realized that I still hadn’t decided on a new name. If that was required, I would have to do some fast thinking to come up with something suitable.

            “What do you think I should name myself, Marius?”

            “Anything you like. It is your name, after all. Why should I choose something so foundational to you?”

Marius led me into what had once been an office for adjunct professors in the nearest lobby. Within was a small, but pretty girl wearing yoga pants, a tank top, and a red and white polka dot bow. She looked up at our entry, and broke out in a grin.

            “Well if it isn’t the head honcho himself. You’re looking bright and cheery today, mister frowny.”

             I looked at my brother; nothing about his grim demeanor and black clothing suggested humor in the least. Almost immediately, Marius broke out in a grin. “I look much happier than you to be sure. Though I fear that too much joy will have me collapse in fatigue, for I am not used to such rich fare. Did your mail reach you yet?”

           “Of course it did. Rain, Sleet, Snow, or Hail, or maybe even monsters and a damsel in distress for the umpteenth time. Why? Is the messenger boy expecting a tip? Or how about a kiss for being so prompt in delivery?”

           “I was merely wondering how young Mickey is getting along without his beloved mouse. Though it would give much pains to a chivalrous knight to deny himself the kiss of the fair maiden.”

           “Good thing you’re a villain then milord, for this fair maiden gives her kisses not for free.” The girl was smiling too, completely at ease with the situation. I was feeling rather uncomfortable, however, because my brother had never shown himself to be a flirt. In fact, he had always seemed uneasy around women in general, and it made me wonder how he had changed. Then the girl continued in a more serious tone, “Matthew says he’s been sick recently. I worry about him because of the lack of good medicines. Enough of such pleasantries, introduce me, Marius.”

           Turning to me, my brother said, “This is Minnie, the keeper of records here at the colony. She works here every day and is a great help to me in spite of her young age. She is going to walk you through the process of becoming a member of the Colony. This is where you will come sometime in the next week to receive your job assignment and lodging information as well. If you have any questions about the colony, Minnie would be the one to ask. She’s more knowledgeable than most anybody else here. I’ll be at the temporary dorm in a couple hours to pick you up for dinner.”

            So saying, my brother left me alone with Minnie. The moment he left, Minnie grabbed several forms and pens and began to lay them out in front of me. I grimaced at the sheer number of forms I had to fill out, this looked like more trouble than it really needed to be.

             “Alrighty then, beautiful, let’s get this show on the road. First I need to know your real name, date of birth, country of origin, weight, height, and last documented occupation.”

              Minnie spoke in a really fast voice, her quirky speech reminding me of many of the characters I used to see on TV shows. “Um, Teige Baumann, November 7, 1992, United States, and my license says…”

              “I don’t care about your license, I need actual measurements. Remove your shoes and clothes. I’ll get the blinds for you so you don’t have to feel nervous at all.” Minnie pressed a button and the blinds on all the glass walls descended, followed by blackout curtains. I was still uncomfortable, Minnie was so tiny she reminded me of a pixie, but I quickly undressed and walked over to the scale behind her desk. After getting up and locking the door, Minnie came over to the scale and marked down my weight. Standing on a chair, she put her tape measure to the top of my head. “Alright, last info for this form, last documented occupation.”

               “I was a nurse. I worked at an ER in the city.”

               Minnie stared at me. “An ER nurse? Seems like you’ll be an essential member of the colony in no time. The last name seems familiar too.” Minnie grabbed the next sheet and clipped it to her board while I put my clothes back on. I nearly jumped right back out of them again when Minnie yelled out, “Wait, isn’t ‘Baumann’ Marius’s original last name? I thought you guys looked alike, though you’re not quite what I imagined, if you don’t mind me saying.”

                “Thanks?”

                “Just saying how I feel. Okey dokey, next form. Living relatives and location; I can fill that out for you. Preferred living arrangement: could be a two person apartment or barracks.”

                “Two person seems less stressful to me.”

                “It isn’t. Marius is a great example of that actually. His roommate is a disaster on legs. Marius doesn’t care though. He’s a real sweetie pie. Next form.”

                 As Minnie got her next form on the clip board, I decided that she reminded me less of a character from a show and more just strange. I didn’t hate that, though her mannerisms were a bit annoying. At least she seemed cheerful; it was a welcome change of pace.

                “Alright, so last form is the public information sheet. I fill most of this out on my own, but I do need you to determine a few things. First up is your marital status. Uncomfortable as it may be, we are trying to establish a permanent community. That means that having kids is vital to our future, but we don’t want to pressure anyone to betray any marriage vows or be insensitive to widows. So it’s single, married, or widowed.”

                “I’m single.”

                “Gotcha. Last question, what do you want your name to be?”

                 I thought carefully for a minute about the various options I had considered. I liked a lot of them, but I really did think that a Latin name with the family name Marius seemed like it would keep me closer to my brother. Finally I reached a conclusion. “I want to be known as Minerva Marius.”

Colony 4

Alright so this week, for anyone who has been counting, should have been Matthew putting up the next chapter of Koeleth, but he’s having technical issues, so I decided to cover him for this week. So, about this chapter: this is the first chapter I ever wrote for the Colony, and it is still almost in its original form. Since it was meant as a proof of concept chapter, the original took up about 20 pages. This is the first portion of it. Also, about dates, the Colony creates its own calendar system, with the year of the Fall being year 0. Anyways, this chapter hints about some of the other monsters and characters I have yet to introduce. I hope you enjoy!

Sorin Herling

colony 4

New update, late once more…….

the Colony 2

Hey guys, Sorin again! So, it isn’t Wednesday, and that is entirely my fault. The good news is that as I next week is Koeleth, things should start to run smoother. This week’s The Colony is more introduction, this time to  girl named Minnie. I tried writing from her perspective, but it was really hard!!! so I was only moderately successful. Anyways, part of the reason it was late is that Word was giving me issues with formatting, I think I fixed it, but please bear with us if there were technical issues. Jack tells me that the timeline is confusing……………..please understand that some information is not going to be given until later for effect! I think there are about three chapters before the direct explanations begin. Having read some of the original proofs of my story, Matthew has assured me that it should be okay to make a small amount of frustration for the next few chapters as I lay the groundwork for the plot of the first big storyline. Anyways, that’s it for today, just posting ASAP for now so not as much commentary this week. I’ll see you all next week when I post some interviews we did with each other for fun!

Hello Everyone!!

First, let me just say how excited I am to be putting up the first post. I am Sorin Herling, and this website is Verbal Realms, as you have probably deduced from the URL. We here at Verbal Realms chose the name very carefully, but just in case you haven’t worked out why we called ourselves that, I will explain a little better and with some background. A few years back, I was walking home from school, when I saw a house. This house looked super cool, like a Victorian era mansion, and I, being a big fan of vampires, really thought it would be cool if the house harbored a secret nest of vampires. This is how I created the story called The Colony. Flash forward about two years, and my buddy, Matthew, tells me about a fun little project he had been working on during class. His project turns into a full blown story in less than a few months and he starts writing it down. Remembering my quickly jotted down story, I decide that he and I should work together to get these things published. About one year back, I come up with the realization that instead of writing the whole story down and publishing it at once, we could just write out small portions and serialize it on a website. We were joined on our crazy scheme by our buddy Jack, who will be providing short stories along the way. That is the story of how Verbal Realms came to exist. Please bear with us the first couple of months as we try to sort it out. Please note that we do own all of the intellectual property on this website, hopefully that won’t become an issue! The Colony is my current offering, and there is a forward attached, but my buddy is writing a new story for the website called Koeleth; more on that next Monday when we start our normal schedule. We chose the name Verbal Realms because most of our stories, and these are no exception, take place in a fictional universe that we hope to paint into existence through our words. Hopefully you enjoy our first stuff!Koeleth Chapter 1 The Colony Chapter 1 The Colony Preface