Terra Firma

Terra Firma

A Chapter by Haeshin

A bizarre reverse in gravity forced mankind to leave Earth centuries ago. Now people want to return again, no matter what the cost, even if it means their sanity.


'What do you think your creator is like?'



A bizarre reversal in gravity forced mankind into the depths of space, and planet Earth was lost. Humans were taken in by a friendly alien race and given a new home almost identical to the one they left behind, but it just isn't the same. Their yearning causes a mental illness that always ends in violence, and the Araian race has no choice but to send elite soldiers to contain them and protect the ones that are still sane. Mankind must choose between having their rights taken away or their entire species forced to leave yet another home.





-Year 2011 AD-



Strange gravitational shifts on Earth literally start pushing all but the earth to the air. Cars, people, animals, water, loose trees, papers, rocks, etc., begin to slow hover upwards to a distance of two inches above ground.



-Year 2013 AD-



It is impossible to ignore the reverse in gravity. Scientists have begun desperate attempts to resolve the situation.



All satellites in outer space have gone offline. Radio attempts to come into any sort of contact with them are null. They are nowhere to be found.



-Year 2016 AD-



Will mankind have to move to outer space, long before it's ready? Technology is on a race to develop the necessary tools and materials that are no longer unlimited. Governments around the world base their projects on already researched space travel, such as the basic rocket ship to the small labs created for outer space. Priority is given to the problems of oxygen and longterm nourishment.


-Year 2022 AD-



People must wear anchors stitched into their clothes and installed into their vehicles, houses, and other household items to live some sort of semblance of a normal life. They now face the inevitable truth that they will one day have to live in space, and soon. Very, very soon.



-Year 2035 AD-



Pieces of Earth are literally cut off and floated into space. Recycle and evaporation systems are being installed to provide a continuous, perhaps unlimited supply of water. The space colony DCis created by the United States. Built in a simple disc shape, it houses up to five hundred men, women, and children, with a limited number of crops. But it remains incapable of lasting for a indefinite amount of time.


All kinds of radios and cameras are attached to rising pieces of debris. This is a joint attempt by the United Nations to look for planets beyond the solar system, searching for any piece of rock in space they can use as landing points.



-Year 2039 AD-



Researchers from a planet called Arai discover a battered camera from Earth. It takes a while to translate the damaged recording within, but once the scientists do understand they whisk the camera back to their own Ivory system. There the Universal Nations are forced to come to a decision quickly, not knowing how much longer Earth may have. They send out a ship that can travel the furthest distance, and military soldiers launch an asteroid-like bundle that will survive a journey through the Earth's atmosphere. A far less damaged video recording is reached by humans near Inchon, South Korea.



The pictures shown by the Araians are simple but clear: If mankind's technology can manage to travel to the edge of their solar system, Araians can manga to meet them there with their own machines. News are sent worldwide that someone is willing and waiting to help. Mankind must be careful not to move too quickly. There's no time or means to use whatever superior technology the Araians may have to make this plan succeed.



-Year 2040 AD-



The gravity push seems to be growing stronger. In less than five years it will be impossible to remain on Earth.



-Year 2041 AD-



The start is shaky and difficult, but once both sides hit their stride, the human exodus is steady and ongoing. Once they see what the Araians and their home planet are like, people no longer hesitate. It is a relief to know that Araians appear human in almost every respect, though the males do have a certain lack of ears. Their planet is comprised of islands the size of nations back on Earth, more or less scattered across the seas. The climate is generally cool but bearable. Humans can soon adapt to this world.



Planet Earth is never seen again.



-Year 2048 AD-



Humans are free to live wherever they please, but at their request and because there are so many that are uninhabited, Araian governments grant them a grouping of small islands to call home. The collective 'land' is called Terra.



-Year 2051 AD-



With the help of Araian technology humans develop their own nano-machines, but are unable to fuse them with an living organism. Their nanites are restricted to bodysuits called 'Bioids' and various weaponry.



-Year 2055 AD-



The nano-machines are now capable of transforming the body altogether to create weapons and armor that match even Araian standards. What humans have yet to reach is thousands and millions of years that the Araians spent developing a culture centered on the code of the warrior.


-Year 2068 AD-



A human woman goes into a berserker rage and attacks her own family members. Within the year she becomes the first of a dozen humans who develop psychotic impulses, and the general theme of their ravings is the same. Each and every one of them wants to go home to Earth.



-Year 2069 AD-



One young human by the name of Luca Darwell has incredible intelligence, far more so even by Araian standards. Surely he is capable of learning why Earth experienced a strange gravitational reverse. People know for a fact that he can. They begin to ask themselves why he refuses to help them find their way back home.



The homesickness in humans beings that cause mental instability is officially named 'the Dorothy Syndrome', and those stricken with it are called Returners in reference to their desire for Earth. Their violence towards humans and aliens alike force Arai to take action and bring up the matter in their Universal Nations, which controls a military alliance of peace-keepers. Special soldiers from this army are sent out to capture the maddened humans for imprisonment and/or medical treatment.



-Year 2070 AD-



Luca Darwell is officially deemed missing.





Full Plot Summary: Cele Santiana leaves his native island of Glesia to attend the small West Point Military Academy on Baekho Isle. He correctly anticipates a stiff but well-meant welcome, and notices right off a boy named Dean Walke. There's a clear wall separating him from the rest of the islanders due to an accident that injured a group of children eight years ago, including Max Darwell (yes, brother to that Luca Darwell).


When a Returner human goes off in the middle of town, Cele discovers another reason why people look at Dean so strangely: There are nanites not in a bodysuit or a weapon but fused into the very cells of Dean's body and created anew whenever a cell divides, making him a bio-droid by technical definition. The only one to have created and mastered such technology is the missing genius Luca Darwell, but Dean refuses to give any information and warns Cele to stay out of it.


After the accident that day, Dean was the only one to change.”


Amazingly enough, Cele and Dean develop a sort of camaraderie after fighting to a draw in a practice duel, forced to a stop by teachers before they destroyed school property. Dean notably makes no effort to connect with any humans despite their well-meant efforts to reach out to him instead, ignoring the struggle for them to deal with Returner outbreaks knowing that they could be susceptible to it as well. His most callous side comes out when human West Point students are traumatized by their repeated Returner encounters. Cele gets a peek into Dean's bitterness towards the humans of this particular town.



I learned a long time ago that humans are the real monsters on this earth. There's no difference between life and hell because of them.”



Safe haven? Paradise? What sanctuary! You've just been brainwashed into seeing this island as one.”



When will you learn that not everyone feels the same way as you?”



The island's small government is mobilized in response to a visit from Micah Sendan, an influential scientist/politician from the Terran island of Athens. He comes to invite Baekho Isle into joining a human petition to the Araians for their technological research to be released into the public, allowing mankind to reach their level instead of waiting decades, maybe even centuries, to catch up with them. In a conference open to the public, Micah states that having the Araians' help with technology will negate the humans' need for the genius of Luca Darwell.


Still, it would be a good back-up plan for the Baekho government to sanction the capture of Dean Walke as a research subject. In return Dean reveals Micah's obsession and inferiority complex towards the young man he will never be able to surpass, that most and if not all of Micah's successes are from stealing the works of others and 'prettying them up' to pass off as his own. The man loses his self-control and exposes the worst of his arrogant nature, and so the Baekho government politely asks him to leave. Preferably without Dean who can't be subdued anyway.



Micah's plane fails to work, so he's still on Baekho when the latter part of his plan arrives. A small army of Returners attacks Baekho to place it under military arrest, forcing Cele and others to stand down by taking hostages. Micah gloats over his impending capture of Dean, but is stunned when the bio-droid implies that he is not the first of his kind. Two other bio-droids named Shad and Ron arrive on Baekho and help Dean free the island and confiscate a few military vehicles (such as Micah's plane and a submarine) to use as scrap parts. They 'kindly' let Micah return to Athens Isle by ship.



If I were to say that I'm the fourth of the Legna series...what would that mean?”


By now it's heavily implied that Dean died eight years ago, and he nonchalantly says that he was created from the boy's corpse. Apparently the two key ingredients for a Legna series bio-droid is human flesh and nanites. A Baekho couple breaks down and confesses to murdering Dean Walke eight years ago. Their son had been permanently crippled by the accident and the two lost all control when Dean glared at them as though they were the ones in the wrong. The couple beat the boy to death and threw his body into the sea, but were stunned into silence when Dean inexplicably returned alive and well the next day. Eight years later they attempt to justify their actions by saying that Dean was a virtual outcast in their community anyway, especially after he caused the accident that crippled their son and put Max Darwell into a coma, rendering him physically weak for the rest of his life. The obviously lost relationship between the boys are cited as proof that children and adults alike thought nothing of Dean's life.



As the islanders react in horror, the couple breaks out in full-blown cases of the Dorothy Syndrome. Dean ignores them both and leaves Cele to subdue the new Returners while he confers with his fellow Legnas. Apparently Dean has hacked Baekho Isle's defense system and connected it to others on the Terran islands taken over by the Legnas without anyone knowing. As a test run he plays the recording of a song over this newly completed sound system and has a strange calming effect on the Returners. At a message he receives in his head, Dean stops the song when the experiment is a success.



Personally he announces that the army created by the Returners are turning towards other Terran islands to take them by force and unite all humans into the single purpose of finding Earth. The Legnas have been ordered to destroy them before that happens. Privately Max and Cele are told that Dean didn't really die eight years ago but would have if 'that person' hadn't saved him. That night he was offered a deal, to save Dean's life in exchange for Dean becoming a Legna that carried out his plans. Dean has no love for Baekho at all, but stayed partly for that person's goals and to overcome his past so he could move on. Dean leaves with the other Legnas the next day.


I guess you can say that I made a deal with the devil.”



Cele attempts to let the Universal Nations Military know of the impending battle, fearing that it will cause a high number of human casualties. But Dean has destroyed any ability to communicate with the other Terran islands, and certainly not with anyone outside. Using knowledge gleaned from his position as the adoptive son of Baekho's leader, Max helps him get off the island on the condition that Cele take him along.


They find Athens Isle as a wasteland of monsters. Human bodies unable to withstand the nanites in their flesh have been transformed into mindless, half-machine creatures that indiscriminately attack anything but each other. They're the result of Micah Sendan's experiments with nanites in living organisms, and he holds some control over them while safely ensconced in a military base. Cele sets foot on the island but forces Max onto a boat pre-programmed to return to Baekho. Then he sets off to infiltrate the same military base Micah is in to re-establish communication with the Araian isles. He meets a defense in the form of mutated Returners and Micah's assistant, a former Baekho teacher named Sheryl Malke.


Somehow Cele manages to get into the communications room only to meet a final obstacle. He tries to convince Dean to move aside, saying that the Dorothy Syndrome is clearly growing worse and must be contained before Micah's monsters spread beyond Athens if they haven't already. Dean replies that his creator doesn't want the Araians or the Universal Nations to get involved, not yet. The monstrosities created by the Returners and their insane goals must be kept a secret even from the rest of mankind, as knowing the horrors that could await them will only frighten the species and render their minds more vulnerable to the Dorothy Syndrome.



All for the greater good? Since when did you care about them, Dean?”



“I don't. That guy just doesn't want this to happen yet, not when the fifth hasn't been born.”



Cele and Dean clash in an all-out battle.



Alone in the military base, Micah is stunned to find Luca Darwell in the same room, in person. Micah demands that Luca take mankind home if he feels any sympathy for the people that strangely yearn for their home planet even though they've lived so peacefully on Arai for years. It's only a matter of time before this strange psychological phenomenon drives mankind insane to the point self destruction, then maybe extinction. Luca can do it so easily. For him to find Earth and enable mankind's return, it's no different than opening a door so why doesn't he? Why won't he?



Luca replies that they shouldn't have taken his only friend, and calmly shoots Micah in the head. He issues an order that activates an aria over the connected Terran systems, awakening the fifth and sleeping Legna within a dark, spacious lab at a unknown location. Each of the Terran islands are affected through the interconnected systems and all Returners within range are lulled into a quiet and harmless state.



Cele wakes in a hospital room on Baekho Isle, watched over by Arianna, Cele's oldest sister, and his mother, both of whom have arrived as family and as UN military soldiers helping to investigate the Athens Isle incident. Everyone is stupefied to know that the entire island has been destroyed down to a few rocks lying at the bottom of the sea, and they can't find the humans who had been transformed by the Returners' nanites. Micah Sendan is alive but thanks to a bullet wound to the head, his IQ has dropped to bare average levels. Cele tells his mother everything on the condition that the military keeps it a secret from the general public.



On the day he leaves the hospital, Cele receives a small keychain in the mail. It comes with a small glass sphere attached and a separate medical vial, along with a letter from Dean.



'That day I learned how stupid I was for relying on others for my existence, and how much I had to change. There's a lot of baggage I know I have to talk out with Max sometime, but you can tell him that I'm moving ahead no matter what. I won't let anything stop me. Whether or not he does anything on that hell of an island is up to him. Honestly it irritates the hell out of me that he's just another brainwashed zombie that only thinks of protecting it, like he's incapable of anything else.



Oh, and, you know, about that...Luca's sending that portable shot thing that Max can give himself. It contains the antidote to the, uh, 'medicine' Luca gave him years ago, to make him unfit for enrolling into West Point. What can any of us say? Luca's a softie at heart, I think, and I can understand what it's like to be a big brother now.


I don't have any faith in people, or maybe just in humans, 'cause, you know...I think...maybe we really were friends, you and me. Let's meet again someday.'




Arai- A planet of water and scattered islands in the Ivory galaxy. Except for a cooler climate, it is more or less identical to Earth. The people who inhabit it follow a strict honor code and have an identical appearance to humans, but their physical stats and technology are clearly superior. Araians are also natural swimmers thanks to the plentiful water around them.



Notably Araian males have no ears and the area below their temples are lined with sensitive skin. These spots are covered by audio machines that resemble headphones and control the intensity of sound.



Dorothy Syndrome- A strange mental state that exists only in humans and has no apparent cause. It is the yearning to return 'home' or specifically planet Earth.


Returners- Humans stricken with the Dorothy Syndrome. Returners are known for being the reason that Luca Darwell disappeared.


Legna Series Bio-Droids- Humanoid robots created by Luca Darwell (presumably for his protection) who are free to act entirely of their own free will. The Legnas are made from human flesh merged with nanite machinery and allowed to exist as one. They are believed to be the key to finding and returning to Earth once more.



Cele Santiana- 26/15. 'Is it really that hard to trust me? Making up lies is so hard.'



The Araian youth sent to the Baekho Isle branch of the Terran military school of West Point. Easygoing and confident, Cele remains unperturbed despite the trouble he encounters, but he does worry easily for people that he cares for. He suspects there's more to Dean Walke than meets the eye, but unlike most he doesn't think that 'more' is anything malicious.



Cele creates his own 'weapon set' as per Araian (military) tradition, a collapsible object that can be worked into different combinations. So far he has a shield, a blast rifle, a sniper bow, multiple swords, and a buster sword that hangs in a fan-like formation, all connected by loops of narrow chain.



Dean Walke/Gil (Legna #4)- Appears 15. 'Why do I need faith? I know that my 'God' exists for sure.'



A proud and disdainful native of Baekho Isle, but it's soon revealed that he's a Legna series bio-droid created by Luca Darwell. He's blamed for an accident that hurt a group of children eight years ago, rendering his childhood friend physically weak for the rest of his life. Like the other Legnas he can also 'trans' parts of his body into various objects and weapons.


As a Legna geared towards offense, Dean's primary ability is the creation of weapons regardless of their type, size, and power. He works mainly with a series of swords, all but one being normal-sized.


Micah Sendan- 28, can appear 15. A former bio-engineer of Lexander Industries, Micah now works for the Returners and does nothing to abate his obsession with Luca Darwell. It leads him to have delusions that he is Legna #0, and experiments with his own body as well as that of others.



Shad (Legna #1)- Appears 22. 'Honestly; how do you question the guy that made your birthday suit?'



First of the five Legna series bio-droids, Shad has a lazy, calculating, and openly sadistic personality. It is his job to protect the other Legnas and he will join any side that helps him do so. Shad's primary ability is to manipulate the atoms of others, ranging from those that make up dirt and air molecules to human cells.


Ron (Legna #2)- Appears 20. 'Like the autumn season, why not one final blaze of glory?'



Undoubtedly the most dramatic of the Legnas, Ron is a blazing redhead with a dramatic, aggressive personality to match. He thoroughly enjoys life and pushes others to have the same passion, showing the utmost disgust if they are wallowing in dull depression instead.



Ron relies on his ability is the creation/manipulation of energy to make bullets for his handguns. Most often he uses that ability to create different types of barriers that also provides footholds when he's in midair.


Luca Darwell- 15 at the time of his disappearance five years ago. A human genius believed to be capable of anything, yet would do nothing he didn't want to. He refused to aid in finding the original planet Earth and vanished when people resorted to force. His motivations, whereabouts, and if he's even alive is unknown.

© 2015 Haeshin

Author's Note

*attached picture was taken off of Google

My Review

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Wouldn't the Earth also break apart if gravity turned off? I mean, gravity is all that holds the planet together.

Anyway, seems like a good premise. I am curious as to how they create artificial suns (it sounded as if it were merely a projection or lighting) then how do they sustain energy for plant growth?

Dunno, I'm just a lonely astrophysicist who loves Science fiction.
I'll be watching this if you don't mind.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

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Added on September 12, 2010
Last Updated on January 5, 2015
Tags: terra, earth, science fiction, adventure, drama




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A Chapter by Haeshin