EXERCISE Picture Challenge #45: Hope

Discussion in 'REFINING WRITING' started by Arcadia, May 11, 2016.



  1. Greetings! I am Arcadia, Content Developer extraordinaire. Just a word before you begin this next challenge, I shall officially be taking over for @redblood on these content challenges. I hope you all enjoy what I have in store for you!
    INFO: They say that a picture can tell a thousand words. How many can you find?

    Each week a new image will be posted, and your challenge will be to write whatever the image inspires you to write. It can be anything as long as it relates to the picture. A plot, a scene, a short story, a poem, a character, etc. You can write as much or as little as you wish. It's not the length that matters, it's what you put into it. There is no time limit to these challenges, so feel free to jump in at any time.



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  2. One thing you can state with utter certainty. The Caretaker protocol is a testament to the art and genius of the ColonyCorp engineers. The robotic hivemind, designed to take care of the colonists in every possible event to occur, produced an impeccably neat and organized mass graveyard with what resources it had at its disposal.

    It has been a long and brutal war. The Hrangaars are bound to lose. They are technologically inferior, and their diplomatic skill stops at asking their potential allies whether they wish to be destroyed or enslaved. Heck, they are even stupider than us, as was biologically proven. But in their objective idiocy lies their strength. They have the numbers, and they refuse to give up. We had to annihilate dozen of their slave races before we managed to finally defeat the first world of their pathetic empire. Eventually, we realized we could not afford to play by our rules anymore. Every invasion was paid by a staggering amount of dead humans.

    So, two years ago, we tested the first biological warfare cloneship, Ark. A leviathan of a spaceship, filled to the brim with biological samples of the most virulent and deadly diseases, and the most lethal apex predators we could collect. A single strike from such vessel was supposed to render a whole world dead, in a very literal sense of the word. The test was done on a nameless Hrangaar world. After the escort fleep blew the orbital defenses up, the Hrangaars started to fortify the major locations on the planet below. It must have been quite a surprise, when instead of a myriad of drop pods and planetary assault ships, a single, ominously large ship dropped from the FTL just above the planet's capital, and parked in low orbit, where it was easily seen to the naked eye from the surface. A single bomb was dropped from this vessel, guided through the anti aircraft fire by the powerful computers aboard. It made a successful planetfall, and released a nameless organism, a virus merged from a dozen blackest biological nightmares the humanity has encountered between the stars.

    Two days later, the virus was the only living organism on the planet. Five days later, it died off, leaving behind a dead husk of a world.

    Or so we thought. Somehow, one of those mongrels got away with a sample. I imagine him bleeding from every orifice, eyes turned to black, dripping sludge as his ship landed on the Hrangaar world where he made his escape. He made sure to inform the personnel at the cosmodrome to not open his ship, that he was carrying a great weapon, stolen from the enemy. They were too dumb to adapt it, learn from it, but perhaps they figured out that this time, they knew something we did not.

    Week ago, they returned our weapon to us.

    Today, the fifth clone ship is being christened, the Erebus. Tommorow, the cloneship fleet will set sail. Their worlds will be wiped clean of life, and this war will be over.
     
  3. In the way of my people, we do not grieve for the loss of a soldier's life. It is not spoken about with sadness but with honor and it is expected that those remaining would be filled with inestimable pride. There is no mourning a warrior, grief is allotted only in small amounts to those who die pitiable deaths. Children who catch The Quaking and die trembling and coated in sweat are afforded some small degree of mourning. In my years as a child, this was simply the way that the world worked and not something that I gave so much as a thought to questioning.

    When I was barely half grown, my father was assigned to represent our people in one of the grand cities belonging to the outside peoples. My mother and I were to come along, to broaden my horizons, my father said. And so I was plunged headfirst into a world that took my breath away and left me dumb and staring with disbelief. The buildings were glimmering monuments dedicated to no god, people clustered and invaded every space. You could not walk a step forward without touching something that belong to someone else. The experience was suffocating at first and I felt like I was drowning beneath the vastness. But slowly, I grew to love this city and I called this land my home long after my father returned to where we started.

    This was the city in which I planted my roots, the city that I had chosen for my own. It was also the place where I would meet my husband, a bright-eyed native who had never known anything but the constant hum of life and was filled with the same restless energy. Everything about him was vibrant, from the way he kissed down across the throat upon returning home to the incomprehensibly fast words that flowed from him like a river when he became excited. His very soul rushed over my own being, I was barely a tributary compared to his mighty cascade.

    When he was called to fight in the war, I could not communicate to him my fear or my longing. To put my terror into words felt as though I were to give life to the thought and I could not bear to voice the darkness in my heart. I watched him leave in a crisp uniform and bright boots and I did not shed a single tear. I grasped for the pride that I thought I needed to feel but I could find nothing. That space was empty. There was only fear there, which I clung to tightly and in secret, afraid that I was weak for wishing that he was anything but a warrior. I knew he would not be the man I chose were he not noble, but I sometimes wished he had instead been a coward and fled with me instead.

    It was raining on the day that they told me that they had brought him back. There came a man to the door, dressed in the same crisp uniform, and my hope died on the spot. I knew without his words that he would not be returning to the house again. I held my head high, I told myself that he had died with honor. I lasted through the service where they lowered his body into the earth and spoke again of this meaningless word, of pride. They told me that he had been a good man, a valiant one, and I repeated the words again that I was proud.

    Only when they were gone and I was alone on his grave, I let go of the words that clung to my tongue like ash. I did not feel proud.​