Well, we have decided that, due to an overwhelming amount of support, that we are going to move forward on a new project. We have an engine, we have a server, we have a very detailed setting with storyline, we have a name, we have domain name, and we are preparing to move into the hiring and work phase. Hold tight and keep your eyes on the brainstorming forum at http://northlands.mudsite.com/ for more information about how you can contribute or take part in this. Below is the pitch, which is on a sci-fi mystery setting; of course, the theme is far beyond this, but this is all you need to know what to expect if you should start playing in the near future. I suspect that it will take us about two weeks to have the game up and running for applications and players wanting to immerse themselves, depending on the response that we receive; it should take less time for us to have a new forum for the game, a sleek website and a guest lounge to chat in while players wait for the Grand Opening.
Atonement, Chapter One: Where the Hell are We?
I opened my eyes for the first time and nearly went blind. I was encased in metal and glass, and as my gaze came into focus through the flickering blue lights of the machines around me, a symbol injected itself into my mind that I would never forget; before me was a glass wall with the insignia '11' etched neatly (and backwards, I would later come to realize) into its sleek plane - and beyond that lay only darkness.
I coughed bile and fluid out of my lungs and tore apparatus from my balmy flesh. I tried to scream, but my cries were drowned out in the monotonous hum of my prison's computerized walls. As the ground quaked beneath my feet for a fleeting moment in time, I furiously beat my fists against the glass wall before me in a desperate attempt to escape from this Hell.
The glass shattered and its unforgiving fragments stuck into my skin like an old memory that refused to be silenced. Bloodied and weak from atrophy, I pushed away from that sickly, pale blue light - and into the darkness. Bent over and between deep breaths of glorious oxygen, I dry-heaved. I was impossibly hungry, as though I had never eaten before. My bare feet ached with each stumbling step further into the emptiness of the vast, black chamber. With the monstrous roar of a demon, the florescent lights of the room flickered on to exorcise the shadows with a dim and yellow glow. Lining the walls were an army of identical glass doors. Each door was illuminated from within by that hateful blue light, shadowed only by the sleeping bodies of other men and women - and each of those doors bore a number; I followed those numbers with my eyes, from Zero to Two Hundred. Only two numbers were missing - Eleven had been my prison, and Nine was dark and empty as well. I was not alone.
From behind me came a lilting, frightened voice. "Who are you?", she asked. I turned around to see the naked form of a woman leaning against a window to the outside world. Her arms were crossed over her shapely breasts protectively, and her hair was wild and tangled; despite this, she was beautiful, with a lean body and curves in all of the right places - and for the first time, I felt desire run through my veins with the flow of hungry, boiling blood.
I clenched my jaw to quiet the biological urge and swallowed hard, before I pondered her question. I did not know, then, who I was - or even where I was. I answered in a deep, husky voice that surprised myself, "I am Eleven. Who are you?"
She answered me with some managed amount of confidence, but her head turned to let her gaze drift back to the window she leaned against, "I do not know. But there is something that you should see, Eleven."
I shambled over the expanse of cold, metallic floor and empty space between myself and the beautiful woman before me; somewhere close to half-way, the entire room shook tremendously and I nearly collapsed. I-do-not-know seemed less bothered by it than I was. Of course, though, she was older than I was; this was my first birthday. When I drew close to the woman and the window, I could feel hunger for food and flesh creep back into my mind, but it was drowned by the confusion and fear that was gripping me. We did not speak then, but I forced myself to look away from her and through the panel of the window that she indicated to me. I almost wish that I had not. I almost wish that I had stayed in my Hell of blue lights and strange machines, that I had found the willpower to return to sleep.
Beyond the window was a black ocean of stars and Nothingness. An icy, blue rock the size of a ball, or a fist, floated lazily across the vast sea of space. I nearly choked. A streak of golden fire reflected against the glass, the sign of some unseen source of light. Debris in the form of floating and misshapen boulders drifted by at a speed much faster than the distant planet.
"Where the Hell are we?", I intoned, and my question came out in a dry rasp, as I looked back to the beautiful woman at my side.
"I do not know", she answered with wide-opened and frightened eyes, "But I think that we're going to die, Eleven."
The embrace happened naturally. I opened my arms and she opened hers, and I then wrapped myself around her to draw her close in a gesture of shared fear and compassion. Her cold breasts pushed tightly up against my pallid skin, and I could smell her hair; yet, I felt no desire for her now. My focus was lost through that open window, even with her head buried in my chest, and I gazed into the Void - the Unknown.
Somewhere behind me, glass shattered with a deafening crash, and another sibling was born into our inhospitable reality. There was a buzz of static, and from what seemed like all around me, a computerized voice spoke without passion or sympathy:
"Now entering target system. Engines off-line. Navigational targeting
system damaged, but operable. Life-support systems operable."
A moment of silence passed. My gaze stayed in awe at the hateful wonder that awaited me beyond the window. The beautiful woman in my arms began to sob with a quiet dignity, and I felt panicked tears begin to well up in the corners of my own eyes. And then, the cold, computerized voice spoke again:
"Destination set: Home."
I did not know where Home was.