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The Orbs — III — Approach

February 18, 2022
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The world’s first series of endlessly generative audio/visual art has been distributed. Standby for the revealing.

Chapter 3 — Approach

Year — 2197

After a few hours of floating weightlessly toward the many-colored Orbs on the horizon, it was difficult to tell if they were any closer. The Orbs may have gotten bigger to indicate their approach, but no one could spend much time looking at them without becoming entranced, or as Lunya had taken to calling it, “getting lost in yourself.”

The main systems board of the Voidwalker 3 was reporting solid function on every level. The thrusters appeared to be working properly, but there was no vibration, no friction, no turbulence, and no change in velocity. After little throttle tests here and there, she was finally ready to commit. Without so much as a cleared throat, she proclaimed loudly to the VOA, “Shut down engines.” Then her gaze was captured by a piercing Orb at 11 o’clock that was orange like the sunset.

Don’t waste gas.

Lunya always thought it was her dad’s favorite phrase. It was his way of saying so many different things, like you can’t go on a road trip, you can’t get your own car, cut the engine. It was never good news for Lunya, but somehow that phrase had become something of a driving force in her life (so to speak). Her engineering career was defined by the monumental achievements to fuel storage, use, and amplification.

The most interesting thing about don’t waste gas is that Lunya’s dad wasn’t a grease monkey like her. He was a robot guy, he used to manage a dock fleet of 1000 AI units that did 42% of the fish processing, sorting and shipping for the basin tri-cities. In a tall overlook tower, he used to sit drinking coffee all day from a massive cup that said “All I Smell is Coffee.” It’s true. It reeked in the fish district.

Lunya’s dad taught her some incredible things with batteries, regenerative power supply cells and self-charging systems. A lot of his robotics designs were borrowed for the creation of the Voidwalker series. Technically, as part of the estate, they belong to Lunya now anyway.

Even with everything from her father’s data, she had found far more useful material in her grandfather’s patent files. Grandfather Eugene had developed engines that could run for days on a single drop of unleaded petrol. It was unclear what had kept these engines from becoming wildly successful, especially in the midst of a worldwide crisis of energy. Victims of the dark years, the silent depression and the dust storms would all have benefited from these inventions throughout the turbulent 22nd century. But as far as Lunya knew, this ship, code named Gulliver, was the first ever practical application of a Grandfather Eugene design. The single fuel tank will last years of endless travel without refueling.

The Orbs were definitely getting bigger now, but they still had a distant and looming quality. Lunya was wondering again why they were here. What resource did the Agency expect them to find and deliver, and how could it change anything at this point?

The oil has been gone for more than 30 years now. The weather has been worse than ever, with people suffering on all extremes. Failed supply chains have left countless families hungry, naked, struggling in ways they never imagined. Lunya remembered a childhood of lights always left on and personal electronic devices in every pair of hands. Things had changed so much, and so quickly.

As she continued lost in thought, absorbing the feelings of the piercing orange Orb in the distance, Lunya was reminded of her briefing from the Agency. Each traveler received a personal and secret briefing, with instructions that each briefing should be shared with no one other than the intended recipient.

Lunya’s packeted briefing was very simple, and it was the same strange phrase that had been repeated in her dreams for well over the last year.

Accept the Gift.

The colors in the Orb shifted with sudden but somehow orchestrated beauty, allowing Lunya to be drawn from the most recent reverie. She couldn’t even tell how much time was passing, and looking about the bridge, no one else could either. Pria had sprawled out papers and plans on a roll up desk but then lost interest in them at some point when her attention was captured by a light purple Orb beginning to peek out from behind the first row. She was wide-eyed and drooling a little on her papers, but she looked happy.

Even Alister was enthralled in one of the Orbs. His was a pastel yellow, and he sat plainly cross-legged on the floor of the bridge. He occasionally giggled to himself in a lost-in-childhood kind of way. Wherever he was, he was having a good time. Lunya could only assume that throughout the ship, the rest of the crew was glued to their viewing windows in a similar fashion.

Lunya had no idea what lay in store, but she was far less afraid than earlier, facing the anomaly gateway beneath a billion tons of ocean water. The way these Orbs were drawing them in was not fearful. They gently drew everything in with their pull, not only Gulliver itself, but the people inside it. It was like gravity, but nicer, not so rough and real.

The ship floated on through the strange open area toward a field of colorful Orbs as far as they could see, accepting and expected.

Past Chapters

I — Departure

II — Conception

Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about the uses of your Orbs, including play-to-earn utility, custom sound tracking throughout the Gala Games Ecosystem and more.

Orbs are currently traded on the secondary market at OpenSea:

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