The Plan, Chapter One: The Forever Game

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Art Studio' started by Wolvenreign, Sep 7, 2013.

  1. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    Everything changed that day. That day that I realized the meaning of life, the rules of The Forever Game.

    It came down to a simple revelation. Death removes the memory of life. Memory isn't permanent, it doesn't transcend mortality. What you were, what you did, it's gone.

    It's every bit as dead as if you'd never been born.

    People hide behind a lot of things to make death seem acceptable. They hide behind their accomplishments, their religion, their charity, their hedonism, their love. Before that day, that moment, I did too. I told myself that I could be satisfied, living a life where I left a better world behind, climbed every mountain and hurdle life had put in front of me, lived life to the fullest, and spent it all with the one I loved. Long ago, I even believed that God would save me.

    It wasn't until I stared death in the face that I realized what all of that really is.

    Bullshit.

    Everything you've ever loved, everything you've ever known, done, felt, breathed, sensed...it all comes from your consciousness. The source of experience in this world is simply an ongoing process given to you by the natural forces of evolution. It is a gift accidentally granted by the cosmos, and it is precious...so, so precious.

    I don't want to lose it. I never, ever want to lose it.

    I think back to all those times I have seen others make peace with death, and I want to vomit. The look of serenity in my grandfather's eyes before they closed, his life ended of natural causes with only a torrent of feces to mark his passing. My aunt, when confronted with her terminal cancer, simply sighed and said that it was in God's hands.

    And most of all, the death of my poor sister, Aubrey. Framed for a crime she didn't commit, I watched in horror as the electrodes hooked up to every square inch of her body turned her beautiful complexion into a pile of charred slag. The worst part, though?

    She was calm. Calm.

    As though her life meant nothing. As though everything that came before was all some sick joke to her, all leading up to when she would go right back to being dead.

    That's life, though. An invisible, collapsing bridge between two phases of oblivion, the remnants of which are only apparent to those still crossing it. Many of us learned that in preschool. Ashes to ashes, we all fall down.

    Or...do we?

    There is so much we once thought impossible as a species that has been accomplished. Indoor lighting, instant communication, the cure for the plague...hell, even life extension has been done. Human life expectancy used to be 20 years, at most. Now, we live for 100.

    But I don't want to live for 100 years, or 1,000, or even 10,000,000,000.

    My name is Graham Miles, and above all else...I want to live forever.
    How, though? That was the real question, and one that came with several problems.

    First, this is a world absolutely ruled by money. Anything and everything that is done must first be approved by commerce. Even science, as much good as it has done us, is restrained by these awful things called "research budgets". Even assuming that science, in a state that is limited by money, manages to come up with eternal life, I'm going to have to have that money. And what's more, I'm going to have to keep paying for it. Money changes, it gets taken away, changes hands...I couldn't possibly imagine continuing to have that much money for millenia after millenia.

    Secondly, there were problems with living forever on Earth. 11.5 billion years from now, the sun will explode. That would absolutely necessitate space travel, and more, it would necessitate getting out of range of the sun's supernova. In addition, the spacecraft would have to have the ability to detect when other stars are nearing supernova and the best course of action for avoiding their explosions, not to mention the numerous other hazards of space, such as asteroid fields, black holes, and hostile intelligent life. A challenging problem, but perhaps not insurmountable. Still, there is that money problem again.

    The unfortunate truth of the matter is that, no matter which way I looked at it, money was the biggest problem in living forever. Under a monetary economy, all technology, no matter what it is, is developed under a budget to make money, which means using cheap parts that break down quickly so they can be bought again. It would be impossible for something like an eternal-life machine to be made so long as money held it back; it's just not profitable.

    That wasn't the only way money gutted my plans. Earth was essential for the beginning stages of eternal life, as the cradle of humanity which held the only known key to my ticket out of death. Yet, every commercial enterprise imaginable was tearing it a new one. From the massive amount of necessitated waste generated by thriftless consumerism to the mass pollution generated by energy sources which are easily made scarce and thus profitable, money is absolutely tearing the Earth, and by extension, my chance at eternal life, a new one.

    Something had to be done, but what? My experiments in talking to people about the problem had proved fruitless. Some agreed, but most had an almost primal drive to protect money and allow it's constant, world-wide use to go unquestioned. In addition, money was something that transcended mere nations. Even communist countries still continued to use some form of currency.

    Sure, money COULD break down over time, once robots and other automatons became so versatile and cheap as to be more profitable than even the most exploited of laborers...yet, I couldn't possibly imagine the populace, as ever-reliant and unquestioning of money as they were, blaming anything but the robots for their problems. I could very easily see them caught up in the story of man against machine.

    Then, it came to me. In a flash of brilliance, I knew my strategy for The Forever Game.

    At some point, robots WILL be used to replace humans, and it's inevitability was as clear as crystal. Where, though? Simple. The one place where using humans is at it's least palatable.

    The military.

    Of course.

    Who would control these automatic, restless precision death machines? The commanders? The hierarchy? No. It would be none other than the engineer who designs their artificial intelligence. The person in control, no, this god among men, could have singular control over every army in the world, if he is simply the one to program them.

    That was it. If I could take over the world, I could eliminate money. I could create a sustainable future for our planet. More importantly, I could force technology's path to create eternal life.

    I couldn't believe how fortunate I was. Born as a human in the 21st century, I had all the time in the world to climb to the right position at just the right time, and bind the world into puppet strings that it could never escape.

    Hahahahahahah. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH.

    They'll never see it coming. I'll pose as an engineer who seeks to program an essential component of AI that will prevent it from turning on it's masters. Every army in the world that wants to retain control of their military will be forced to implement it.

    They'll be in for one hell of a surprise.

    I must admit, I hesitated. Had I gone utterly insane? Taking over the world? In a sense, I couldn't believe I was even thinking about this. I never wanted power. Hell, I barely even had a sense of ambition.

    Then I looked back at that moment when my neck was scraped by death's blade, and I knew...I knew I didn't have a choice. It was all or nothing.

    That's when I made The Plan.
     
  2. Sterling

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    This guy is insane. I love it. So far, I think it's a pretty fun read. :D
     
  3. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    The main problem that I see is that this isn't a chapter; it's not even a prologue. At this point, what you have is a premise. It's an interesting premise, sure, but it seems to be very vague at this point in time. It bounces from idea to idea without establishing a whole lot, and there's a whole lot of telling without much showing.

    I'm going to jot down some questions I had, some questions I think other people might have, and some general observations.

    -Who is the narrator talking to? Is it just to the reader, or is he telling this all to someone in the story? (Not something you have to reveal in the beginning, of course, but just worth keeping in mind.)
    -So the protagonist had a grand epiphany that radically altered his motivation in life. Why? What exactly spurred this?
    -What crime was the sister executed for? How did the narrator know she didn't do it? Executions are relatively rare, especially among female prisoners, and they take an incredibly long time to be processed. Is this accounted for in the story? (For that matter, who was his sister? What was she like?)
    -Did she receive the electric chair? I only ask because that seems to be what you're going for, but the way you describe it is somewhat inaccurate.
    -Be careful with repetition in word choice (like "money").
    -"Why is money bad?" The reader is, more likely than not, going to like having money. The narrator's going to have to argue harder than Marx if he is to get the reader on board with his ideals.
    -When is this novel set, and how old is the narrator? The narrator mentions that he was born in the 21st century. So is the novel set in the modern day (making him, at most, 13 years old)? Or is it set in the future? If we are in the future, what is the world like? How is it different from today?
    -Why are we learning all of the protagonist's goals and methods now? The first chapter shouldn't be the main character's manifesto; it's too much information all at once. Plus, it means the reader can't learn with the protagonist. It's usually a good idea for the mc to not have their entire plan set from stone from the get-go. Hell, some characters don't even know what they want until more than halfway through the plot. Why not take time to show us how he developed "the forever game" and what inspired it? Maybe the narrator can recount a military demonstration he saw, or something he heard, or an event he witnessed (or all of the above) that spurred his plan. Just make sure to show and not just tell.
    -The character has programming/engineering skills? Has he always had them? Can he do this all on his own, or will he need outside help? If this is going to be such a crucial component of the protagonist's plan, you will have to be very specific.
    -Be mindful of how the audience will perceive the character. If his only goal is self-preservation, that's not going to come across too well to readers. That's necessarily bad or wrong, of course, but it's something worth remembering when writing the character.

    A better structure for this story might be to begin the story proper with the narrator describing the experience that so dramatically changed his views on life. This introduces us to the character, allows us to understand what drives him, and can give us reason to be sympathetic. Then maybe have him go into detail on his philosophy/ultimate goal as he recounts how he developed it. You don't have to rush this, especially since it's so very crucial; hold those cards close to your chest until the time is right.

    Like I said, you have a good basis here, and there's definitely a lot you can do with this story. Just don't skip past the important bits to get there.

    ("Also, "The Forever Game" is a much better title than "The Plan." Switch those around.)
     
  4. Wolvenreign
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    Wolvenreign Transhuman Satanist Furry Technocrat

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    Thanks for the corrections, Gahars! There were a few things that you pointed out that I overlooked. (Also, I was thinking about swapping "The Forever Game" for "The Plan" myself.)

    I should have said "alive in the 21st century". He's 20 years old. I will edit this.

    Yes, she was executed on the electric chair. I'll clarify this.

    The details of the life-changing event is something I'm planning to keep secret for now, until a much later chapter, where it's revealed what it was. For now, the most I can reveal is that it was an event which brought him extremely close to death.

    He doesn't necessarily have engineering or programming skills now, but it's what he's decided to take on. I should clarify this.

    I'll see what I can do to change the repetition on "money".

    You are perhaps correct about the pace of revealing The Forever Game. I had considered putting in more detail, but I suppose I let it fly because I wanted to see if people were interested in the concept. Hence why I made it somewhat short. I think the next chapter will be much longer and detail his surroundings, friends, circumstances, and so on, as well as providing a few more arguments about the monetary system as he listens to people converse and so forth. (I somewhat dread writing these more mundane aspects. I suppose that I very much like writing directly from my imagination. But I suppose this can't really go on without the mundane.)

    Thank you for the reminders and your input overall. I really appreciate it. B-)