One of my past, unrecorded attempts at Nanowrimo. I think this was 2008. Could be later. Anyway, it was supposed to be an attempt at sci-fi, but I lost interest and it gathered dust until Monday, where I found it, edited a bit, and here we are.
He looked at the small planet for some time now.
He claimed it for his own eons ago, and now he was tired of it. He wanted to pass ownership over it. But there were rules for such an event.
“The Counsel may rise,” a clarion voice pealed.
He rose alongside his siblings. If the word ‘sibling’ could ever be used to describe the relationship he had.
“The ownership of the planet is to be passed on to whoever wants it,” the voice continued. “We must understand exactly what that entails to. If the owner may discuss it?”
“Yes sir,” he said, carefully smoothing his deep plum colored suit. “The planet has been under rack and ruin for some time now, and now I wish for someone else to take over.”
“Any reason why it is?”
He shrugged, a lightning movement. “I may have put some undue influence into the evolution of the planet,” he said, placing up a slightly battered briefcase onto the polished tabletop. He opened it, removing several papers. He slid them to the person on the other side. “As you can tell from the forms, I have put some amount of pressure into the inhabitants…” He trailed off as the person took the papers and pored over them. When he finished, he glared, his wire-rimmed glasses catching the light and turning them into octagons of white ice.
“From what I read,” he said, adjusting the glasses as he reread some paragraphs, “you have created several wars throughout the centuries, have spread discord among the people, tried to destroy the planet itself by means of technological advances, and other abominations that I do not have the time to get mad over at the moment.” His gaze catastrophically swerved towards the owner. “I cannot find any reason why you should either keep it or give it away. I am sorry, but this case will be in abeyance until further notice.” He tossed the papers back to the owner, who straightened them and put them on the briefcase. He then sat back down while the clarion voice went on.
“However, if you might find someone in your family who just might be able to take over for you, I might give them the privilege of letting them keep it.”
The man looked at the others who were still standing. He focused on one of them, a rather lithe woman dressed in silks that glistened and melted rainbow colors. “My dear, if I may ask you a question?”
She looked at him with a disconcerting gaze. “Make it brief.”
He handed over the papers. “What do you make out of this?”
She took the papers and read them. “Hmm, could work, but you have done much. I do not know if I can improve this.” She glanced at the other standing next to her. He was dressed in battle armor that glistened in deeper rainbow tones. “What do you think?”
He took the papers and barely skimmed the first page before laughing in harsh, grating guffaws. He spoke in the same tones a moment later, “No you can’t, sister. He has done too much damage. The world is done for.”
“Now don’t be like that, brother,” another lady admonished gently. She was dressed in creamy white robes. “If one thinks, one can find a way.”
The man snorted, stirring his walrus mustache. “You always think there is a way out of this. I know better. This planet’s destiny is already written out, and there is nothing that can…” He trailed off as he focused on the planet, his steel grey eyes flashing in angry astonishment. “It seems I am wrong.” He glared at the lithe sister. “Is this your doing, woman?”
She shook her head as she looked at the planet. “Not directly. I am feeling a nexus of such power that it might drive the world into a new age. Everything is so…chaotic.”
Everyone looked at the owner, who fidgeted into the chair.
The man opposite them looked at the group and focused his attentions on two of them who were whispering fervently. “If I may interrupt, may I ask what you two are asking about?”
One of them, dressed in pure unrelieved black, looked coldly at the man. “Only discussing this nexus. I am thinking that it can be used for a contest of sorts.”
The other, dressed in unrelieved white, answered. “Yes. Consider this: You mentioned that if there were anyone who would take it over, they would keep it. Correct?”
“Yes. Not there is anyone foolish enough to do that.”
“So why not bend the rules a bit. See who is most suited for it. There is a nexus in the works on the planet. One that I have not seen on this planet in millennia. Why not let us use our considerable powers to try to claim the nexus. Let whoever successfully does so keep the planet.”
“Hmm, it does sound interesting. But I do not know why you two,” he looked at the lithe woman and the armored man, “would try to claim it.”
“We do not,” said the man, the sister nodding in agreement. “Therefore, we would see about acting as referees in this little bet. If the others agree?” The other nodded.
“Then it is agreed,” the white-dressed man said.
“Wait a moment,” the man opposite said, holding up a hand. “Since the nexus will be claimed by those who want it, or at least to use it to their advantage, I’m setting a few ground rules.
“First,” he said, as he raised a finger, “is the fact that he who owns the nexus, or at least manipulates it into his or her advantage for at least one week, planetary time, will win. Agreed?” Everyone nodded.
“Second,” he continued, raising another finger, “is that there will be as little bloodshed as possible. I do not want wars distorting this nexus into irrelevance, for I deem all worlds sacred, even those as dark as this one.” Everyone nodded again, the owner squirming slightly at the minor barb.
“Thirdly,” he went on, “to make this game even more interesting, I am asking all participants to go into mortal form.”
The table went into an uproar.
“I refuse to go avatar!” the black-clothed man protested. “I will not be walking among the commoners that the world has. My powers will wildly imbalance the outcome of this game.”
“I also refuse,” another man said, his whisper-thin voice barely audible. Grey robes shrouded him, hiding all features. “I also feel that my powers will create shifts and fluxes that can render the nexus destroyed.”
The man opposite looked at them coolly as he adjusted his glasses. “Considering that all of you are going, excluding these two,” he motioned towards the refereeing duo, “you will be balanced out. In addition, if not, allow me to make the addition that the mortal forms will be rendered vastly powerless? Because of this, sir,” he nodded to the whisperer, “you will not destroy it. However, if it does become destroyed by any means, the ownership will default to the original owner.” He glared at the owner, who adjusted his tie a bit. “Are we all agreed that this will be suitable?”
“A question,” said the white woman. “Will we still be able to use our powers? I mean the ones that we have left. Or will we be totally powerless?”
The man took off his glasses and cleaned them with a silken handkerchief. “I would rather say that you will have a bit of your powers, to make the game fair enough. However, I would like to have you be the personifications of your powers.”
Everyone exchanged a somewhat uneasy glance.
“Let me understand this third rule,” the black-clothed man said. “We are to be in a mortal form, our powers gone, walking the world, and with the objective to try getting the nexus.” The other man nodded. “So, what if one of us gets killed?”
“He is out of the game. He will be come back here and watch the remaining players.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
“Fourthly, if and only if the nexus is in any sort of danger of being destroyed, the players will not make any moves to continue its destruction. Instead, all must make the effort to rescue it.”
“Now that doesn’t make sense, sir,” the owner said. “If the nexus is going to be destroyed, and if it does, then the world falls into my possession once more. It is almost as if you don’t want it to be in my possession…oh…” he trailed off as he put the pieces together.
“Yes. Since you don’t want it, I’m giving everyone else a chance to claim it.”
“But you said that the case is on hold!”
“Oh, I did say that,” he said innocently. “But I also said that if there was anyone else who could get it, they could. And I see several in front of me who agreed to claim it on the basis of this contest.” He smiled a lightning-flash curving of lips. “Everyone agree?”
Everyone nodded, sensing there was some sort of trap.
“Now we may begin the contest—oh, one last thing,” he said in afterthought. “As I said before, you are to be in mortal form as the personifications of your powers. This is the fifth and final thing: that I choose the forms. Since you have agreed to the other four, I will assume that you agree to this one.” He held up his hands as if in prayer, and then twisted the palms in opposite directions, fanning a set of blank cards that suddenly appeared between them. He twisted them again, and the cards fanned the other direction, showing them now embossed in designs of swirling green on green. He closed the fan, and then spread them on the table. “Everyone will take one, please.”
The white lady took hers and read it. A slight shadow of a smile passed her face as she nodded in agreement. A shimmer appeared around the card, then around her, causing her and the card to dissolve into a cloud of scintillating energy. A small wisp of the white extended to the planet and vanished.
“What just happened?” the white man asked.
“She accepted the fifth condition. A small part of her is now in mortal form. The rest of her,” he motioned towards the patch, “is here, in abeyance, until either she wins or loses.” He motioned towards the other cards. “Go on, there’s enough for everyone.”
The whisperer took his with a withered hand and read it. “I accept.” The card and his body fuzzed, another small wisp vanishing into the planet.
The white and black men took theirs, read them, and then exchanged cards. Or at least tried to.
“No, that will never do,” the man said, his glasses flashing white again. “Accept or forfeit your chance to win.”
The two looked at each other again. The one in black shrugged, his form turning into mist. The other soon repeated the act.
“And that leaves the owner and his brother,” the man said, pushing the cards to their respective owners.
“A question,” the brother said, adjusting his yellow-checked tie, “and I’m surprised that no one really asked it before. Will we remember who we’ll be when we go over there?”
The man flashed another lightning smile. “That was not part of the rules, so I guess that was a no. But then, I also never mentioned that all of you were to be in one time frame.”
“What do you mean by th-” The man never finished as the card flashed into smoke, causing the man dissolve into mist.