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Song world - Earth Song

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Song world - Earth Song

Postby Tony » Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:44 am

Hi, I'm new to this so please bear with me. I've been writing a "collection of stories" of sorts since last November. It consists of tales collected by people of the story telling races, the search for intelligence throughout the "Multiverse" carried out by the watchers and what they found when they get to Earth. Below is a first draft of chapter 1.

Any feedback much appreciated.


Books from the Library at the Centre of All Things

This is an re-edited version taking into account Waytanblee's feedback from below - Cheers you!

Chapter 1 - Re-genesis

Tan, moved quietly through the undergrowth following the weak signal detected by the stone. Li's whiskers twitched as he clung onto Tan's shoulder, brushing Tan's cheek and making Tan smile. “Whiskers! What next?” he wondered.

As he moved through the scrub he recorded both the plant and animal life on his wrist panel. Every so often he would take a leaf sample or send Li off to grab a scale, feather or sample of fur leaving behind some bewildered creature which within seconds had forgotten what had happened and gone on about its business.

Tan leaned against a tree to catch his breath and check the signal monitor on his wrist while Li clambered onto the trunk and scrabbled around the bark looking for a possible sample or snack. “It's OK, boy. Not much further now” Tan said calling Li from his rummaging, and moving off again.

The land started to rise slowly but remained heavily covered in vegetation. He was getting too old for all this. He was due a vacation and made a note to book a trip home. He had tales to tell and young nieces and nephews who were always ready to hear them.
He broke through a particularly dense patch of shrubbery and brambles and found himself in a small clearing. Li leapt from his shoulder and glided to the remains of fallen tree trunk a few feet away. Tan checked his wrist again and saw that they had reached the signal location. There was no sign of anything artificial or otherwise but he slowly made his way around the clearing until he had returned to Li still perched on the trunk. “Nothing above ground then. Li, search out any hollows or burrows while I recheck the signal.”

Tan fine tuned the monitor and rescanned the area. “It's stronger this way.” Together with Li, he made his way to a slab of rock and started to scrape around one side of it. Li darted to the opposite side, then disappeared briefly before whistling that he had made a discovery. Tan joined him and saw what looked like the entrance to a small burrow. He sat down on the slab and started to unpack a torch and a small trowel from his pack. Shooing Li away, Tan started to scrape away loose dirt and moss. Shining in the torch he could see there was what looked like a much larger cavity, about a metre down the tunnel. How big he could not see but from Li's behaviour it looked very promising. He then began to dig more vigorously until he had dug out the entrance tunnel so that it would allow him just enough room to wriggle through into the cavity and then he sat back to have a drink while he considered what to do next.
There was about an hour of light left before he needed to return to his base camp and he could sense the impatience of the stone. Well, he would just have a look inside to see what he could see and then go back to examine the data.

Tan stripped off his outer clothes and rolled them up into his pack and then secreted the pack in a dense patch of vegetation on the edge of the clearing. Returning, he wriggled his way into the excavated tunnel and into the cavity beyond it with Li going on ahead. Once in the cavity he looked around using the torch.

Something had been in residence by the look of the dried grass and fragments of bone. Li clucked happily as he rummaged around, sniffing at the bones and tufts of reddish fur. The burrow looked unoccupied now and from the look of things the last occupant had died here. Tan set the torch to wide beam and placed it on the floor before scanning the space with his wrist monitor. The signal seemed to be emanating from a point a small distance beneath the cavity floor. Tan broadened the scan parameters and let it carry out a full scan.

“Um.. There is definitely something metallic down there. Not a natural phenomenon then. Come Li, lets go home and see what we have found so far.”

Tan made his way back out of the burrow and, with Li helping, he covered the entrance with branches.

Darkness had fallen by the time they had reached the camp and had got something to eat and settled down to examine the data. Tan had plugged the monitor into the analyser as soon as they had returned and already some results were appearing.

“So what have we got? A substantial object lying just below the surface, just a little distance beneath the cavity. What about its shape? Domed, could it be spherical? Uncertain. Probably responsible for the rise in the terrain. It appears to have a lot metallic elements in its construction so it's probably quite ancient. What about the signal, you got any thoughts on that.” Tan scrolled through the display, checking the listed options as he went. “Is it a message or just a beacon? Check for character sequences ..... None ….. Could be just the result of a malfunction? Nothing definite so far. Machine hum? Does it fit the cataloguing criteria? What's this? Priority 2! So someone thinks it could be worth looking into.” A thought occurred to him and he held his hand out Li who climbed on and clambered up onto his shoulder. “Come on let's get some fresh air before we turn in.”

Tan pulled back the flap and went out into the open. He sat on the ground and put his hand to the stone and shut his eyes, focusing on the warmth and the slight vibrations it made. He felt the familiar sensation of slipping from the page as his consciousness was released from his brain and its tethers were allowed to play outwards. He opened his eyes and it was as if he was entering a library of floating symbols. He selected the symbol for the book of stones and almost immediately was in the quantum plane occupied by the stones and linked with the life spark in the stone. He felt its anticipation and …. what was it. “Are you afraid? Come, what is it?”

A picture formed in his mind, a vehicle of some kind. What can of vehicle? Interstellar ship. That would make it ancient. No surprise there. All star ships were. But what was it for and what were it's origins? A multitude of images flashed past showing a range of possibilities ranging from crashed robot explorers to lifeboat buoys and then onto ancient drawings and what looked like illustrations from children's' story books.

A memory floated to the surface of Tan's mind. “Now what was it? Stories his great grandmother used to tell him and his sisters and brothers. Fairy stories about the dragon worlds. Seed ships! Is that what you think? Come now, that's just fairy tales.”
Other images formed. Artefacts and natural formations flashed pass but none of them matched the signature they had detected. But then there was no record of what a Fairy seed ship signature was either!

“Li, let's get some sleep” called Tan and they returned inside the tent and closed the flap. Later as Tan drifted off to sleep the old tales played on his mind. The seed ships were thought to have been scattered throughout the galaxy as a dust drifting until some signal draws them together, settling on worlds at their birth, building themselves up and waiting for the the right moment to burst into activity.

Morning came too soon for Tan. Li was already up, chattering away. After breakfasting, they collected what they needed and headed back to the buried ship's location.

Once Tan had squeezed back into the cavity he began to carefully excavate a small hole above where the signal was strongest, stopping every so often to push the spoil out of the cavity entrance. Li remained outside, keeping watch for potential dangers, so he said.

It was not long before a soft clink indicated to Tan that he had reached the outer hull. He made the the hole wider, climb in brushed the surface clean it with a cloth to get a good look at it. He sat back on his haunches and called Li in from outside.

“Well what do you make of it?”

Li peered over Tan's shoulder down into the hole and turned to Tan with a chirrup.

“You're right, it's not edible. OK, you get something to eat while I see if I can make a reading.”

Tan took the stone in his right hand and reached out to the exposed surface with his other hand, closed his eyes and cleared his mind. This time he he did not cross the boundary into the library but remained in his head, still tethered to his physical self. He called up the his systems menu and selected raised sensitivity from the setting options. Immediately the external world seemed to throb with energy and sensations.

The surface was cool and quite alien. Not just different like this world he was on but somehow other, not belonging. It did not feel constructed; not bolted together, not welded. He needed more options and started to breathe shallowly. He crossed the boundary and slipped into the multiverse library, slipping between the pages, looking for some possible link. Nothing. He needed to go deeper to hit the raw processing power of the quantum annex. He had never tried going this far down this many pages at such a distance from the Yef home worlds. He continued to slip now between the words and then the fibres of the pages heading for the quantum annex to link with Greater Yef.

Suddenly there was no connection, the familiar buzz of activity faded away, it was as if all the teaming enquiries being processed had been cut off, dead. He felt himself to be floating in an empty hall so cavernous that he could not guess at its dimensions. If he shouted would there be an echo? He strained to hear anything but there was nothing. As he started to pull back he felt a … what? A tingle, a vibration? What was it? An interest? He was confused, this was so wrong. This wa something different, something so alien. He did not want to find out and continued his ascent back to the macro level. Too slow, he could feel he had been detected. Ignoring all training, all protocols and all caution, he dived back into himself and cut the link, hitting the glowing virtual reboot button that he found hanging there, smashing through all the warning messages.

With a start Tan opened his eyes. He sat back and took a deep breath. Li was agitated and squawking from the tunnel. Tan looked around the cavity and saw that the metal hull was shimmering like it was fluid. He felt himself sinking through it. He could not pull himself free! He wrenched the stone on its chain over his head and threw it to Li.

“Run boy!”
Last edited by Tony on Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:00 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Ariel » Thu Jun 07, 2012 7:06 pm

:shock: What happens next???
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby waytanblee » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:44 pm

It would make a good preface to a story really. I liked it. I don't read much scifi, but I like to write bits here and there and this bit was pretty inspiring. It wasn't clear whether he was in the library or the hole sometimes, but Li was a pretty good inclusion. Can you tell me anymore about the plot? I may be able to help there and offer suggestions :) Spelling and grammar good as well.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Tony » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:23 am

Thank you Ariel and Waytanblee for reading my story.

Yes it is really part of the preface / prelude. The next time Tan comes back into to story is many years later when he regains consciousness inside the mystery ship. (I have not written that bit yet - I must get a move on with it.) Li in the interim has remained in the vicinity and is able to save / rescue a young human boy from the attentions of the entity from the ship (I've drafted that bit - I will paste it in below). I need to focus on the main storyline more. It does not help me when I get ideas for later parts and get stuck into writing those. If I still taught I would be giving myself a right telling off about now.

I've had a go at making it clearer in the ending where Tan is at any time (his camp, the hole, the quantum / multiverse library) by adding a few extra words. What do you think:

Tan took the stone in his right hand and reached out to the exposed surface with his other hand, closed his eyes and cleared his mind. The surface was cool and quite alien. Not just different like this world he was on but somehow other, not belonging. It did not feel constructed. He breathed shallowly as he slipped further down into the multiverse library, slipping between the pages, looking for some possible link. Nothing. He needed to go deeper to hit the raw processing power of the quantum annex. He had never tried going this far down this many pages at such a distance from the Yef home worlds. He continued to slip now between the words and then the fibres of the pages heading for the quantum annex to link with Greater Yef.

Suddenly there was no connection, the familiar buzz of activity faded away, it was as if all the teaming enquiries being processed had been cut. He felt himself to be floating in an empty hall so cavernous that he could not guess at its dimensions. If he shouted would there be an echo? He strained to hear anything but there was nothing. As he started to pull back he felt a … what? A tingle, a vibration? What was it? An interest? He was confused. It was something different, something alien. He did not want to find out and continued his ascent back to the macro level.

With a start Tan opened his eyes. He sat back and took a deep breath. Li was agitated and squawking from the tunnel. Tan looked around the cavity and saw that the metal hull was shimmering like it was fluid. He felt himself sinking through it. He could not pull himself free! He wrenched the stone on its chain over his head and threw it to Li.

“Run boy!”
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Tony » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:36 am

This is the next related section to my story Song World:

Chapter 2 – Songs Birds

Davy finished his bowl of cereal and grabbed his backpack. As he slipped out through the back door he shouted back “see you in about an hour or so”. Josh shouted from the bathroom “don't forget you've got school!”. The garden gate jangled shut and the sound of bike tyres crunching over gravel could be heard receding into the distance.

Within a few minutes Davy had left the row of cottages far behind him and he was within sight of the wooded hill. The air was chilly from the night and dawn was still a while away as he came to a halt and dismounted. He wheeled his bike off the road, lifted it over the stile and he was off again following the track up to his father's shack. As soon as he reached it he leaned the bike against the shack wall and was off along the trail into the wood. He moved quietly and carefully until he came to the old oak and then he struck off the path and into the undergrowth.

On the edge of the glade he knelt down and lifted the canvas aside and crept into the hide his father and Mikey had thrown together for him. Inside he switched on his lantern and, taking off his haversack, set about setting up his recorder. The boom microphone was pugged in and positioned and, putting on the headphones, he sat back to wait.

The sky was just lightening when he started to pick up some rustling and the odd squawk. He turned off the lantern and looked out the hide. Once his eyes had adjusted to the light levels he could make out small dark shapes in the trees and scrub. Birds! The birds were being drawn, fluttering and hopping from branch to branch towards the glade in near silence. They settled in loose clusters around the perimeter and just sat there. Davey's hand hovered over the record switch but there was still nothing to record.

Then an ethereal note rose nearby from some unseen bird. It developed into a song of such complexity and sadness that Davy felt goose bumps raise on his arms and back of his neck. He switched on the recorder. What type of bird was it? He could not say, not even guess at. Before he could reach for his notebook other birds started to join in, swelling the song to something more than the dawn chorus. He could pick out blackbirds and thrushes, numerous finches and *beep*, warblers and robins. Then starlings joined in. This was just crazy. Davy had not heard so many different birds at the same time. The area was good for song birds but not like this and certainly not singing together. This was not territorial threats, there was no competition. It was not chaotic, this had purpose, order even. It was like when his father was playing with his friends. Just jamming at night, experimenting with themes, enjoying the mood and moment and each others' artistry.

Davy turned his attention to the glade as a shaft of sunlight fell into the small clearing from the canopy, upon the upward facing flowers of wood anemones through motes of dust or possibly gnats which shimmered in the light, now thinning now clumping into vaguely familiar shapes. Was it smoke or even steam rising from the dew on the grass as the sunlight hit it?

At times a sinuous form seemed to appear and then disperse only to reform a second later. It seemed to be moving in sympathy with the bird song, rising and falling, spreading out and then retracting. For a moment Davy thought it was conducting the bird song, then dismissed the thought. “That's daft!”

Something large landed in the branches above the hide. A pigeon, Davy guessed. Was it going to join in? No, it just settled itself quietly. Davy ignored it and continued to monitor the song. He had about twenty minutes of recording. He was just thinking about getting back home when he heard the crunch of footsteps outside the hide. The bird song stopped as the hide flap was lifted and Mikey's head looked in. Davy switched off the recorder.

“Hi Davy. Your dad said you should get home and off to school.”

“Just about to. I've just got to pack away my things.”

“Oh no. I'll do that. You get off. I will leave it in the shack for after school.”

“OK, be careful with it. There were some interesting songs. I'll play it for you later.”

“Sure thing.”

Davy crawled out of the hide, past Mikey and stood up. He looked back at the glade which was now well lit but could see nothing odd. With the disturbance the birds had mostly flown off and all was quiet. He made his way back to shack. In the branches above a bird-like shape watched him as he made his way back to the trail. It looked down at the hide and then, having come to a decision, followed the boy, hopping or gliding from branch to branch. At the road it stopped, watching the boy as he cycled away.



Chapter 3 Meetings Across Time and Space

The day seemed to drag on relentlessly as only the young knew. After what seemed a lifetime Davy was off on his bike and again cycling up the track, not having bothered to go home first. He skidded to a halt outside the shack and was off his bike and in the door in a breath. His bag was on the table. He looked inside and all seemed in order. The recorder was stowed on top and he carefully removed it and switched it on. He wound the tape back and set it to play. He pulled out a stool and sat down to listen.

It was just as he remembered. All day long the song the had haunted him. It was not the normal mix of birds giving their all, this was like a performance or like his father's mates improvising as they played - “jamming” as they called it or “doing his head in” as Davey's friends might say. Music, that might best describe it he thought, but not anything he had heard before. He stopped the tape and rewound it, switched off the recorder and packed it away again. He got up, shouldered the pack and left the shack.

“One more look” he thought and headed off to the clearing to see if he could find any clues. He was soon back at the hide but did not enter it. He wriggled through the scrub until he could see the glade. It looked empty and, other than the odd twittering of a bird from the the surrounding trees, it was quiet. He clambered up and stepped out into the glade. The air was full of black flies hovering with their legs grouped together and dangling down. Just like spooky tiny kites with their tails hanging and swaying about in the light. What was it that Mikey called them. Saint Mark's flies. Yes, that was it. He could remember him laughing when he asked why would St Mark want them.

He paused and looked around. There was nothing else to see. After a second or so he started to walk into the opening. When he reached, what he thought of as, the middle he stopped. As he looked around, unconsciously, he started to hum the birdsong to himself. He suddenly shivered and he had the feeling he was being watched. He thought he heard a sigh and the grass around him started to move as if a breeze had started up, one that he could not feel on his face.

A dark shape swooped down from the trees to his right, chattering and shrieking at him. Davy ducked out of its way but it swerved in its flight and mobbed him again. Davy raced for the shelter of the trees, protecting his head with his arms, and dived behind a birch. The noise stopped and Davy peeked round the tree. There was no sign of the bird out in the open and he settled back to catch his breath.

A rustling sound from above made him look up and there perched a few feet above him was the creature. It was looking back out into the glade. What was it? It looked like a bird about the size of a jackdaw but with markings reminiscent of a jay. It was neither.

The grass in the glade was still again. Seemingly satisfied, the bird turned its attention back to Davy. It looked down and made a chirrup before hopping down, branch by branch, until it was level with Davy's head but at a distance of about three feet. It met Davy's gaze and put its head on one side and chuckled crow-like.

“That was not funny” said Davy. “I wasn't bothering you.”

The bird chirped again. It sounded like “Li ... Li ... Li”.

Davy repeated it's call and the bird came closer. “Davy” he said.

“Davy” the bird said.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby waytanblee » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:26 am

I still don't know what the library is. It seems to be in his mind, am I right? That's what I'd assume about it so far anyway. Because he is in the hole in the ground, and in the library. But I assumed also that he was a librarian from what you told us at the beginning, before the text. Maybe a good explanation of the library would suffice. Unless you've already included that and I've forgotten. I'll read the rest now, more for fun than anything else.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby waytanblee » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:37 am

Wow, that's really good. I'm not just saying that either. It starts off normally, but then the concepts draw you in from about the third paragraph. It's the idea of the boy liking to record the bird song that I really like. Reminds me of something a kid would do in a seventies movie, like the explorers, when tech was really exciting and computer games were something locked away in arcades. Then you have the kid spooked by a bird saying his name. That spooked me, kinda like the Spielberg movie Encounters of the Third Kind did.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Tony » Fri Jun 08, 2012 7:46 am

Hi Waytanblee.

You are being a great help in making me focus on the story. The Davey storyline is set in the late sixties - early seventies. Tan is a watcher / story collector sent out on a quest for intelligent races throughout the universe or multiverse (I think the multiverse might become just to big for me to cope with but I will leave it in for now.) I have not really dealt with the idea of the library directly in anything I have written yet. I was going to let it come about through all the strands of the book rather than hit the reader with too much description. Maybe I should let a bit more into Tan's story line.

I will give you some background to see if helps you and anyone else who has a look. Technology took a strange turn in the greater universe what with the discovery of the multiverse (and how all the different planes / pages intersect) and the quantum plane. The combination of the two giving rise to a communication link to the centre of the multiverse (where the great library at the centre of all things resides) and giving rise to a method of travel between the planes only needing the right state of mind. When Tan enters the library he only needs to travel there in his mind. When the watchers travel between worlds they can slip between the planes physically by taking a different mental route (still working on that ).

I think it might be a bit heavy to give it all in one go so I'm hoping the readers will go along with it. The stories are mostly about a range of different peoples and also about the dangers of looking to deeply into the past particularly when there are still remnants of an all-powerful ancient race still lurking around in the dusty corners of existence. What happens on Earth is going to the longest story arc but it is one of the ones I sort shy away from when I've been writing.

Thank yo again.

Tony
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby waytanblee » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:17 am

Okay, I understand now. I think the best thing to do would be to put in some hint, however literary, that it is not a physical place. That would supplement the readers confusion about it I think.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Tony » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:18 am

I will be definitely making that change.

Thanks

I've done that now - back up at the top.
Last edited by Tony on Thu Jun 14, 2012 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Ariel » Mon Jun 11, 2012 10:31 pm

More please. :D :flower:
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Re: Song world - first draft

Postby Tony » Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:20 am

OK Ariel, will do.

I have still to write the next part for Davy and Tan. I will try to do so this week. In the mean time I am going to start another forum to upload some of the tales collected by the watcher / story tellers that will accompany the story of the splitting of the children of earth - (Davy's meeting with the ancient intelligence and the other consequences of the awakening of this intelligence).
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