Part four of Lunar Penal Colony is finished. I’m not quite as happy with this part. I’m trying to move things to the moon quickly, but I think I might be just adding some pointless narratives right now. Showing the journey from the courts which will eventually lead to the moon. Almost felt like I was grasping at straws with this section. I’m guessing some of what happens between the courts and arriving on the moon will probably end up on the cutting room floor later. For now, I just keep things moving, and worry about cleanup later.
I was awoken early the next morning by a guard sliding a tray of food through a slot on the floor of my cell. “We leave in an hour.” He said simply as he continued on his way.
Rubbing my eyes, I sat up, and looked across the hall to Beach Bum Barry. He was still asleep, a dry yellowish-white sliding down the side of his face. Odd color and consistency for drool. I looked a little closer. I didn’t see any motion from him at all. That was when I realized it wasn’t drool that I saw, but vomit. Sometime during the night he must have vomited in his sleep and choked on his own vomit. I quickly averted my gaze, no longer having the desire to eat.
After recovering from the initial shock of a dead man in the opposite cell, I sat down on the toilet to relieve myself. One good thing about Beach Bum Barry’s passing is I didn’t have an audience for the bodily noises that ultimately and embarrassingly surfaced.
The guard returned in what I can only assume was an hour, as I had no clock or watch to tell time with. I said nothing as he put the cuffs on me and escorted me out of the detention center. I was lined up with the other prisoners, a lot more than were on the bus yesterday. There were several guards, all holding knock-out-rifles, escorting us toward a large cargo plane sitting on the runway.
The inside of the cargo plane was fitted with bench seats, similar to what was on the bus. Like the bus, we were each chained to our seats, secured for our trip. I tried to count the number of prisoners on the plane, but lost track after twenty. My brain injury made it hard for me to keep focused. If I had to guess, though, I would say there were over one-hundred prisoners that were on their way to the moon.
I was squeezed in between Weeping Willow from the bus and a big burly man with wild hair and beard who I named Lumber Jack. Weeping Willow was still crying, but it was much more subdued than the bus yesterday. I guess she’s starting to accept her fate. Being stuck between an overweight woman and a big burly man made for a very tight squeeze for me, which only added to my discomfort. I pulled my arms in as close as I could, and hunched over slightly, eager for the flight to be over, and we hadn’t even taken off yet.
It wasn’t much longer before I felt the plane jerk as it slowly started to move. I could feel the floor and seat vibrating, and could sense the acceleration, despite not having any windows to look out. When the plane began tilting upward, and I could feel gravity pulling me against the back of my seat, I was suddenly thankful I hadn’t eaten the provided breakfast. If I had, it probably would have wound up all over me.
I focused on my breathing, slow and steady. I could feel the waves of nausea, but did not want to give in to them. The feelings of nausea subsided slightly when I felt the plane leveling off. How long were we going to be in the air? How long before we’re back on the ground again? I had no way to know, so the only thing I could do was to continue to focus on my breathing. Breathe in. Breathe out slowly. Ignore the lump in my throat. Just keep breathing.
Suddenly, the plane shook violently. Did we hit something? Maybe a flock of geese? Were we going to crash? Several of the prisoners cried out in fear. I think I was one of them. My heard raced, the lump in my throat got higher, and I could taste the bile on my tongue. My breathing quickened, I was going to throw up. No, I’m not going to make a mess. I forced my mouth to remain closed, fighting back the nasty taste of the bile.
It seemed to last forever, but it was probably only a couple minutes. I felt hot, sweat dripping down my forehead. I swallowed more bile, the nasty taste lingering in my mouth. Weeping Willow was crying harder again. Lumber Jack was just sitting calmly, as if nothing had happened at all. How could someone be so calm. I looked at him dumbfounded. He must have seen me looking at him, as he turned his head to look at me.
“What’s your problem? Can’t handle a little bit of turbulence?” He scoffed and turned away, looking forward again. “Just don’t puke on me, wimp.”
The rest of the flight was much the same. We had more of what Lumber Jack called turbulence, but at least this time I was more prepared for it. I still hated it, and it still brought the bile up, but I refused to let it out of my mouth. I was so thankful when we finally landed and were escorted off the plane into another detention center. Once in my cell, I let the meager contents of my stomach release into the toilet, and washed the taste away with water from the sink.
I’ve now written the third part of Lunar Penal Colony. I have to say I hate that name, but it’s only there for the rough draft. Despite the terrible name for the story, I am enjoying the creativity of it, the writing without any plans in mind. Just seeing where my imagination leads me.
When I started, I had just a rough idea about a science station that was a prison complex on the moon. I toyed with the idea of first vs. third person perspectives, and thought first person would make things a little more interesting. You only know what the character knows, nothing more, nothing less. I can reveal things to the reader as they are revealed to the character. I can even get away with a little bit more narrative this way as well.
I could have started on the moon, which was one of the ideas I was toying with. Beginning the story with the character disembarking on the moon. I decided to go back to the verdict in the courtroom first, as I thought that might be a better hook, especially when the reader discovers what the charge is. The birthday was a last minute idea as I was writing it as well.
With the second part, I wanted to build on why the birthday was so important. Everything bad that ever happened centered around the birthday. I was wondering if I could pull it off that way, but as I look back at how I chained the events together, it almost makes sense, in a twisted sort of way.
So, the third part, which I wrote today, was now moving to the detention center, one step closer to the moon. Focused a little more on the character’s struggles with self and others. I’m not quite sure how this part really fits in, if it is just needless filler or actually benefits the story. The benefit of the way I’m writing this, though, is I don’t have to worry if something is good or not, I just write and keep writing. It’s only a first draft, and can be cleaned up later, once the story has been completed.
I still don’t have an overall plot, nor do I have an end in mind. I’m just letting one scene lead to the next. The next scene will be moving from the detention center to the space center, and from there to the moon. How many more parts will be in there, I don’t know. I imagine it will be two, maybe three more parts. All depends on where my imagination takes it.
Dates will certainly pose an interesting challenge, from the way things are looking. As mentioned yesterday, I probably should remove references to actual dates, leaving only the reference to the birthday. Instead of “birthday tomorrow” it should probably be “birthday today.” That might help the narrative a bit. – Trasee
No food or drink was given on the bus. No one was allowed to get up or move around. We were stuck, chained to our seats, until the end of the day. I passed the time by counting each of my fellow prisoners as they were escorted onto the bus. For added amusement, I found some sort of odd quirk associated to them, and gave them a name related to that quirk. For example, the crying woman I gave the name Weeping Willow. When all was said and done, there were eleven of us being taken to the detention center, our next stop on our way to the moon.
I have no idea how long we were driving. Three, four hours, maybe? All I know is that it took forever to reach the detention center, and my bladder was painfully protesting the wait. The detention center was located on a military airstrip quite a distance away from any known civilization. Not that I cared about that. The only thing I cared about was getting to a bathroom before I peed my pants.
We were let off the bus in the same order we were brought on, so I was the third one off, after Weeping Willow. The large wet spot I saw on the back of her pants let me know that I wasn’t the only one struggling with a full bladder, but at least I had fared better than her, at least for now.
I was led to my cell and my cuffs were removed before the door was closed and locked behind me. There was a single bed, low to the floor, with a pillow but no blanket. A small table with a tray of food was next to the bed. Next to that was a toilet, with no privacy whatsoever, and a sink with no soap or towel. My bladder was screaming at me now, and the fact that there was no privacy was the least of my concerns.
Quickly, I unzipped my pants, pulled them and my undershorts down, and sat down on the toilet. Using my hand, I guided my birth defect down so I could urinate into the toilet properly. I let out a sigh of relief as my overfull bladder began to empty itself.
“What the fuck, man? What kind of dude sits down when he takes a leak?” I looked up and across to the cell opposite me. It was man I didn’t recognize from the bus, a prisoner that must have been here when I arrived. He was sitting on his bed, long blond hair a matted mess and the whites around his blue eyes blood shot. He was extremely thin, like he hadn’t eaten in days. Beach Bum Barry, I called him in my mind, but didn’t answer him. “Ok, don’t answer me, but that’s still fuckin’ weird, ya know?”
After I finished, I cleaned myself with a bit of toilet paper before washing my hands. I didn’t like the fact there was no soap, but I didn’t really have room to protest. With that done, I turned my attention to the meal. A piece of boneless fried chicken, some fries, and a piece of bread on a paper plate. Not a lot of food, but at least it was something.
“Hey weirdo. Whacha in for?” I looked up at him as I ate the chicken. I didn’t answer his question. I just wanted to eat in peace. “Me? Wrong place and wrong time, man. Was trying to score, only turned out I was buying from a cop. Was a major bummer, ya know? What about you? Still don’t wanna talk? I’ve been here since yesterday, man, I need to talk to someone, ya know? We’re in this together, ya know.”
“Tired. Just wanna eat and sleep.” My voice was distorted, I could hear it when I spoke. I hated the sound of my voice. Not only was it the voice of a man, but it was forced and drawn out from my brain damage.
“You really sound fucked up, man. No wonder ya don’t wanna talk. Did you not score your fix either? I bet you were snatched like I was. Those pigs can sure be tricksy, ya know?” Beach Bum Barry continued to ramble on but I stopped listening. I finished eating and lay down on the bed, closing my eyes, and trying to tune out his incessant ramblings. I don’t know when his voice faded, and when I fell asleep, but I was grateful for it. At least in sleep I could escape my fate for a night.
First, Lunar Penal Colony Part 2 is written and posted at Trasee’s Wonderland. Not on the moon yet, but certainly has been fun to write so far.
I need to change the dates around a bit. Two weeks until leaving is too long to move the story along properly. Should I mention dates at all? Birthday is still important, as it is a key point of focus for the main character. Does an actual date have to be tied to the birthday, though? I can’t see the actual dates having any significance in the overall story. Something to think about later. For now, I’m going to move forward as if the dates were never mentioned. – Trasee
Over the past couple days, I’ve had some thoughts bouncing around in my head for a new story idea. They sort of manifested today in the beginnings of a new story, Lunar Penal Colony. That isn’t the final title, I needed to put something down so I could keep track of it. This is a first draft, very rough, story told in the first person. I have no notes for it, just a jumble of ideas that may or may not make their way into the actual story. I have no real plot ideas yet, nor any ending in mind, so this story idea will most likely crash and burn, but it’s going to be fun seeing where my imagination decides to take the story.
This is a first draft idea. I have no real thoughts on where this story could go. Just an idea for a penal science station on the moon. I have a rough beginning, and a couple ideas of what could happen, but no end or plot in mind. This could go well, or, most likely, go completely off the rails. Should be interesting to see it unfold. – Trasee
I looked up at the clock hanging above the door. It’s 10:55am on Friday, April 16, 2117. It’s my twenty-fifth birthday tomorrow, and in five minutes, the rest of my natural life is going to be decided by a jury of twelve of my so-called peers. I know what the verdict is going to be. I’ve known it from the moment I was arrested. I’m going to march in there, the judge is going to tell me to stand and then he’ll ask if the jury has reached a verdict. They’re going to say guilty, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
The door to the room I was locked in opened and a short woman in a blue dress entered the room escorted by two guards. Her name is Mabel, and she is my court appointed legal representative, since I can’t afford one of my own. It’s a mere formality, of course, because the law required it. My guilt was certain before they slapped the cuffs on my wrists barely two hours ago.
“It’s time. Come with me.” I took a quick glance back up at the clock as she spoke. It’s now 10:56. She’s wrong, it wasn’t time. I still have four whole minutes before I’m sent away for the rest of my natural life, however long that might be.
One guard stood to my left, another to my right, as I followed Mabel into the courtroom. I didn’t even have time to sit before the bailiff told everyone to rise as Judge Reggie Talbot entered the courtroom. The dark skinned judge would be the one to hand out the sentence immediately after the jury of my peers delivered the verdict. Again, a mere formality, as for the last 17 years, there has only been one sentence ever handed down.
“Mister Foreman, have you reached a verdict?”
So, it was to fall to the elderly Asian man to put the noose around my neck. I watched him as he pulled out a piece of paper to read in response to the judge’s question. “We have your honor. In the matter of the people vs. Val Edelstein, we find the defendant guilty of chronic unemployment.”
Yup, that’s my crime. Chronic unemployment. As hard as I tried, I could never hold down a job and I have no family to rely on for help. Now this is where I find myself, the day before my birthday.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the court thanks you for your time. Mr. Edelstein, in view of the guilty verdict, you are hereby sentenced to the Lunar Penal Colony. You will be given five years to make yourself a productive member of society at which time you will become eligible to return. The shuttle to the moon will depart on Monday, May 3, which will signal the official start of your sentence.”
With a bang of his gavel, my fate was sealed. He says my sentence is only five years. I know the truth, though. I’m never coming home. No one who is sent to the moon ever comes back to earth. No one knows why, and no one bothers to ask. They’re safe. They’re happy. No one’s living on the streets to make them uncomfortable. So, yep, in a couple weeks, I’m going to join the rest of the discarded souls on the moon. Happy birthday to me!
Happy Easter to everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day, no matter what you choose to do today, whether you celebrate or not. I’ll be heading off to visit family later. I’m happy that I only live about an hour away (a bit longer with traffic) from family now. It was hard only seeing family once or twice a year before, because we’ve always been close. This is the first family gathering I’m going to be able to attend since the move, and I’m happy about that.
Now, I could stop there, and wouldn’t blame anyone else if they want to stop at that point. From this point forward, I’m going to be sharing something else I don’t really talk about much. I’m going to share my faith.
I’m a follower of Christ. I’m not a follower of religion, which includes Christianity. You might be asking yourself don’t Christians call themselves ‘followers of Christ?’ Yes, there are many that do. Unfortunately, many of those same people put more focus on following their religion rather than following Christ. Jesus had words for people like that: whitewashed tombs.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”
Matthew 23:27 NIV
What is religion? It is man’s attempt to reach God. It’s trying to do things to earn your place in heaven. It often manifests itself in hatred, bigotry, prejudices, and all sorts of other negative qualities that humanity shares. This evil that is being done on others in the name of religion can clearly be seen in every aspect of our world today. Is it any wonder why Christ and His followers are so easily dismissed in this world?
So, what does that mean for me and my faith? First, and most essential, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is a God in heaven. There is mountains of proof to his existence, and anyone who earnestly seeks after the Truth can find it. In addition to that, He has made Himself known to me in many ways personally. I’ve personally seen Him move in my life. He’s delivered me from so much, and given me so much more. I could never have gotten to where I am today, or through the trials I’ve gone through in life, without His strength and His goodness carrying me.
Second, I know Jesus of Nazareth was born to a virgin. I know He lived for ~30 years with his family before beginning His public ministry. I know He journeyed throughout Judea performing miracles, raising the dead, teaching people about God, and telling them that He was God. Jesus is the Son of God, and He is God. Jesus was a man, born and lived among us, suffered with us, and could relate to every one of our needs. The reason He was executed was because He professed to be equal to God.
Why is the death of Jesus important? It is important to realize that when we are born, we are born to die. At some point in our future, we will meet our end in this world. When we were born, we were also born dead to God with something called sin. Everyone has it, and everyone knows it. There is no one here that is perfect. It doesn’t matter if it is just a simple “white lie” or the act of murder, we’re all imperfect. Because of that, when we die, we would all go to hell, a place of eternal suffering and torment, which is often referred to as the second death.
Jesus, being fully God and still fully man, lived a life without sin. He was perfect, unlike anyone else. He went to the cross willingly. He was sent to this earth for just that purpose. When He hung on the cross, one of the phrases He said was “It is finished.” What was finished was the separation between God and man. Anyone who believed in Jesus and accepted His finished work on the cross, could gain access to heaven. They would gain eternal life and avoid the second death.
There was still one more act to follow, though. If Jesus did not rise again, then all that would be for nothing. We would all still die in the end, and there would be no hope. Yet, on the third day, Jesus did rise from the dead. This resurrection is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday. His resurrection and ascension into heaven allows us that full access to God, as God’s children.
I’m still human. I still sin. I still do things that God would not approve of. Despite all that, I still believe and trust in Him. I do try to live right according to what He would want. I will never be perfect, but I will always follow Him. I’m not trying to do things to earn my place, because my place was already bought and paid for by Jesus Christ.
God doesn’t send people to hell. That is where everyone is going from the moment they are born. God did make a way of escape, though. There’s only one way to escape, one door in which we can pass through, and that door is very narrow. God offers us that choice, and we’re asked to choose life, so that we might live. Not only live with Him after we die here, but also live much fuller lives here as well, of which I can personally attest.
Those who call themselves Christians need to stop hurling rocks at others. Those who call themselves Christians need to stop forcing those who don’t believe to act like they believe they should act. Jesus only spoke harshly against the religious who did just that. To those who did not believe, He simply showed them His love, His grace, and His mercy. That is the desire of my heart, to love others and show them what I know to be the Truth.
Easter Sunday, of all the Christian holidays, to me is the most important. Yes, on Christmas we celebrate His birth, which is important as well, but His birth only lead to this penultimate moment, where He rose again from the dead, and bridged the gap between God and man. Because of His sacrifice and ultimate resurrection, I, along with all who believe, have become sons and daughters of God.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 NIV
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 NIV
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:7-10 NIV
The choice is set before everyone. You can enter the door or you can avoid it. I’m just pointing to the door, letting you know it is there. From that point, it is up to you.
On Monday, I mentioned that my homestead in Second Life was almost completely torn down to make room for changes that were already underway. Well, most of the week has been spent in world working on the sim. Except for my store area, everything in the sim is pretty much done. I didn’t really create anything new, a couple simple mesh objects, but most of what I did was reuse what I already had. Even better was the fact that I could do all this without affecting the existing Wonderland Glade that was created by my SL sister, Indy.
First Level: Wonderland Glade and Docks
The Wonderland Glade is a beautiful forested valley in one corner of the sim that was created by Indygo Moonbeam. That area remained untouched by the changes, but the rest of the sim was terraformed so that it was all water. This made a nice large area for sailing or jetskiing. So, to accommodate that, I created a small dock in which the boat and jetski are located. In addition, I decided to put out the 7Seas Fishing game for any who might enjoy using it.
Second Level: Darkwolf Boardwalk and Lounge
The Boardwalk and Lounge was moved up to the second level, and turned to face the west. The old club rez area remained intact, so that all the scenes I previously created were still usable in the new area. The lounge backed up toward steep cliffs, that isolated it from the rest of the sim. Since there was the natural barrier there, the other side of the sim was left undecorated.
Third Level: TD Creations Mainstore (Coming Soon)
The third level of the sim is the future home of the TD Creations Mainstore. The store is a single level, having no ceiling, to allow for rezzing of the prefab homes. I still have a lot of work to do on this level, adding more landscaping so it doesn’t look quite as empty, as well as bringing my CasperVend systems over.
Fourth Level: Darkwolf Isle (Our Home)
The home of Lola, Trasee and Kee Darkwolf is isolated from direct teleports. The only access is by being teleported by someone already in the home, or by the teleportation pads on the sim. It is also protected by a security orb so we can enjoy our privacy. The security orb will eject intruders after a warning, but won’t teleport them home, so anyone can still enjoy the sim, without disturbing our privacy.
Fifth Level: Build Region
The highest level of the sim is the build region. It is where I can build new club scenes, designed to fit at Darkwolf Boardwalk, as well as build things for the store. There is a mirror of the boardwalk so components can be properly aligned as well as a checkered grass area for the store builds. A beach area in between contains a pose stand in the beach that I can use when I’m organizing outfits. As it is strictly a build area, there won’t be much in the way of landscaping on this level, which is why I selected a scene that looked nice enough without the need for the additional trees.
All in all, I’m using somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 prims. Hard to have an exact number, as each parcel has a separate group owner. I would guess that I’m not using quite that much. Since I still have the store to do, I will probably end just over that 3000 prim mark. That will still leave me with close to 2000 prims to work with. Looking at what I’ve been able to accomplish, I wonder now, do I really need to upgrade to a full sim in the future? It is still something to think about, but with this redesign, I’ve probably pushed it off until early next year, if at all.