Monday, January 31, 2011

Review ofPandemic 1.0 and WoD possibility

Well, for a few days I let myself follow a story/ARG/experience a little more intensely than I normally do (my apologies to all my twitter and facebook and other social media people as I flooded my accounts with really odd stuff)

Pandemic 1.0 (or #pandemic11 on twitter) was a transmedia storyworld/experience created by Lance Weiler and others. It is loosely based/takes place in his HiM (Hope is Missing) storyworld from a few years ago (ck http://hopeismissing.blogspot.com/ and http://lanceweiler.com/work/case-study/ for more info on that)

Lance brought a short movie to Sundance as well as a surrounding game/story/ARG (http://www.argn.com/2011/01/sundance_film_festival_is_ground_zero_for_lance_weilers_pandemic_10/ ). He released water bottles, gold objects, phones, actual prop locations, a mission control for people to visit, and more physically at Sundance. He also coordinated a social media story using twitter, facebook, the official web site(www.hopeismissing.com ), Youtube and maybe more.

People at Sundance were encouraged to play and interact with people online.

What resulted was a wild ride, interesting experiment and a story that developed in very odd ways.

I know a lot will be written about this over the next months and such as sooooo much happened (good and bad)

Overall the story is interesting, but not easy to follow (this came out a lot in the social media aspect as wild theories abounded, which is fun, but it was hard to know what was in game and what was not as people were encouraged to play along and I admit, i was followed by at last one "non-official" story pathway/character). There is the promise that this was just the beginning, so who knows.

What I really like, is how much possible avenue there was for participation and how there was potential for not quite needing to have the whole story and yet you could have, potentially, still enjoyed pieces - hence a true transmedia narrative.

If I have time, I could write pages of my experience and what i noted and other bits, and i hope (ooo I made a pun ;) to be able to do that.

For now, I take the immediate that this experience has really piqued my interest and i'd like to run smaller scale versions at small cons and other events as I think this mix of traditional story/traditional gaming/ARG/LARP and digital gaming can work and be a major awesome experience.

I’d love to run/participate in an event along these lines for another storyworld I am very interested in – World of Depleted. I think a mix of this story involvement would fit and I’ve even written a general plot and idea for a few ways you could incorporate this type of interaction and story into the WoD universe.

so here are a few links if interested - and feel free to give a holler - I am always up for chatting (@geologylady on twitter and part of the Pandemic11 Facebook and I watch the World of Depleted Facebookpage too)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Forsaken: part of the World of Depleted

The cool thing about a big sandbox is there is lots of space to play and create - here is a quick overview of the film matthewsblogmk2.blogspot.com/2011/01/forsaken.html and a link to the film's web site - www.four58.co.uk/

Here is a short article about the film's special effects - www.effectsportal.net/index.php/forsaken-short-film-effects/


maybe I can even embed the trailer below - hope this works

UPDATE - here is some info about the release date and more from the WoD site - worldofdepleted.com/archives/1153





Sunday, January 23, 2011

the journey through Gavin's journal - 3 stories

Well - the journey we have been taking with Gavin through his Journal may be shifting gears ever so slightly - in the Feb 01 (2009) entry - Gavin mentions being unable to pass along certain sites and codes but perhaps other Dark Dreamers can - so this blog entry is a little (note little and not very thorough) attempt to pass along some of the information I've been finding.

I've found a few of the pieces Gavin has mentioned, but I know not all - so I am sharing some of what I have found in the hopes that others can pitch in and help find even more information - I know more exists and I want to find it and the story!!!!!!!

There is a lot in Gavin's journals and it is spreading - I'll share a couple and maybe others can add.


Many of Gavin's first entries focused on setting the reason for the journal and following Gavin as he begins to prepare for what he believes is coming. From hunting boar, to how to cook in the field to survival tips. Then the dark turn of Gavin's dreams began to produce entries filled with research of places, icons, and dark groups. As Gavin (and then Norman) continue to try and learn more about these groups and the concepts they support, the entries include updates that sound like war prep, with codes and meetings and trying to infiltrate. Also, personal glimpses of Gavin mix more as we learn about his family and friends.

The last few entries have focused more on trying to find these groups that Gavin believes may be responsible for the cataclysmic fall he has seen and the horrors that result.

This is by no means a full recount of what has been found - I'll save that for perhaps an eventual wiki page (which if people wanna help - the more the merrier - http://worldofdepleted.wikia.com


#1 Qr Code, Deep Thoughts and more

In the Sept. 8 (2008) entry - Gavin shares a dream and a QR code that is half completed. Because of the dream, he thinks it might be important, maybe even contain a date (keep that thought in mind for a bit later). Later it is mentioned that Gavin and Norman are working to find what this code might represent

Mentions of Norman and Gavin working to find how this group might be passing info takes you to the discovery an online tshirt shop may be a front (Dec 10 entry)

Gavin lead me to the site - Deep Thoughts located at http://666-3777.spreadshirt.com/ if you found a link to it another way - please share - the web URL # seems suspicious but I do not know what the link might be. The Jan 16 (2009) Entry discusses Deep Thoughts

The DT site itself is a wonderful mix of designs and sayings and odd prices - what all of the designs/sayings might mean, I am not sure - something to play with and see if there is more or not. I must say I like some of the shirt designs :)

but not too long ago one shirt appeared with a QR code on the back - and an interesting saying on the front. If you following the QR code (as I mentioned in another post on my blog) - you are brought to a toolfarm site with a picture - the missing half of Gavin's QR Code

Putting them together gives you the following

M.A.
Vindobona
180

and this is where I am stymied for now on this story - those three must be a code - using Gavin's journal references, I am tempted to look for a date. Googling those three as they are written leads to mentions such as this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius - as he died in Vindobona - which was on March 17, 180 - is that the date or a reference to finding it????

So any thoughts? and if so - how might they tie into the story - are they a code for the Knights of Xeno (KoX) site - see below



#2 Knights of Xeno

This one I am really stuck on and hoping others are working on it. Gavin mentions the Knights of Xeno and William McKnight in many of his entries about his dreams (search knights of xeno at Gavin's journal)

Gavin first came across the Iron Clockwork Eagle symbol with no idea of the link - I found the link by trying different names associated with WoD and different URL combos (search for Knights of Xeno) that lead me to http://www.knightsofxeno.info/

Well in the Feb 01 (2009) entry Gavin makes the link between the symbol and the group and maybe the Deep thoughts site (hence wanting to track the meaning of the completed QR code) - he references the KoX website and that it may be a front stoop - I had kinda thought that too and have been trying a few URL combos, but not had luck - this is where any ideas might be helpful

#3 - surveillance video, Jenna connection and more

The last item I am mentioning here is a link between a video and Gavin's journal and what might be hidden here

The Dec 17 (2008) journal entry references a conversation NOrman and Gavin had being cut short - in this entry Gavin mentions a secret agency is is fearful watching him (who might that be?) and that there was a hack and data is missing (what data might this be?) - the referenced conversation and such can be followed here in this video - http://www.worldofdepleted.com/secret/jennashirt/ - (I lucked into this video - if others have already found it - how did you find it? Sometimes the pathway we take to the story is as important as the story in helping connect all the dots and find more pathways to travel)

But back to video - there are many pieces here to tease
  1. NOrman's time stamp is four hours later than Gavin's
  2. the date is 12-16 fitting with the journal
  3. there are some mentions of programs and code names at the beginning which may or may not mean something
  4. Jenna Whitmore is placed in London 2 nights before the Norman/Gavin chat, and then 12 hours later Jenna is contacting someone in Prague {as referenced in the journal entry}
  5. at the end there is reference to a virus being created by an Israeli and it being ready by the 1st, then it ends with a reference to the QR code and if they have that long, which makes me think again the QR code might lead to a date, but what that date might do???

If anyone has any thoughts.... PS I love the song playing in the video!

So - there are a few pieces of story I am chasing - if anyone else has any ideas - please share (I am "game" for any discussion ;)

keep dreaming and discussing :o)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Why ARGs, games and World of Depleted are Awesome

Ok so researching games, Twilight 2013 (related to www.worldofdepleted.com) and such and came across this blog http://meltei.wordpress.com/2010/06/15/twilight-2013-week-seven/ - and what she writes, kinda really, in a nutshell, explains why I think transmedia, game mechanics and the like are good and important

from the blog (not my words) "Over these weeks of Twilight 2013, I have learned a lot about the real world. Not all radios talk to each other. Some cars drink gasoline, some drink diesel. There are bullets with balls, bullets with holes and bullets capable of penetrating armour. During each game session, Ángel’s player draws pictures of guns and bullets on all pieces of paper he can reach and tries to educate me. Internet is also a great teacher."

Back to me


I have researched so much for the different games I find - a new one is opening - http://pandemiconedotzero.com/ and it seems to swirl so nice into the other topics I have been looking into for World of Depleted. But the end game is - you learn and play and grow...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Transmedia Resources Updates

I have a few pet projects and one is collecting articles related to transmedia and aligned subjects - I post what I find at http://www.transmediaresources.com/ - and I have probably about 500+ articles sitting in my gmail folder that need to be added, plus there are even more to be searched out.

That said - if anyone is interested in a menial task of helping to review and add resources (it takes me so long because I read the resource before adding and whooo that means lots of reading, thinking and time : )

Well anyhoos - slowly adding more - below is my last little update blurb at the site

--------------
Happy New Year everyone! - It seems the creative juices and discussions continue to flow (a couple of interesting recent articles I like http://muchtoolong.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-makes-good-transmedia-format.html and http://athinklab.com/2010/12/16/a-tale-of-two-trends-augmented-reality-and-transmedia-storytelling/)

As mentioned in both articles, transmedia has continued to build and grow and excite, which means there are a large number of resources. No one can collect all of them (I heave a big sigh as I had this dream to build a transmedia library) if anyone has any ideas on better organization systems for this site - please let me know.

Also, I am alway worried about archival issues - especially as the Internet ebbs and flows and sites disappear - yet there is always a conflict between copyright and just wanting to make sure the ideas and content survive - if you find bad or old links - please let me know, thanks!

I am going to copy three paragraphs from http://muchtoolong.blogspot.com/2010/12/what-makes-good-transmedia-format.html - I recommend reading the whole article (even better, leave comments and start a conversation).

By Simon Staffans - "There are still probably as many definitions of transmedia as there are people talking about transmedia. These are not necessarily differing all that much from each other, but rather in a nuance here or a nuance there. It’s all good though; we should all fear the day when we have the definite definition of what transmedia is. That’s the day when it’s time to start doing something else.

It’s not just talk either. A growing number of people are starting to venture into the field of transmedia to tell their stories. These range from major multi-million dollar ventures to small dramas or documentaries with next to no financial power behind them. Some will fail, even amongst the colossal ones, but some will succeed magnificently, even amongst the small ones – such is the way of the storytelling business.

As more and more projects are being developed, there seems to be a need to look beyond the ”what is transmedia?” or ”why transmedia?” to the much harder ”should I and this project go into transmedia?”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Impact of technology on social and mental

I ran across this article and anyone interested in digital and the future and possible social/mental/cultural impact from technology, I recommend you read it

http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/2011/janfeb/features/digital.html
- (from the taglione for the article) "Separation Anxiety -Now that there's no escaping the digital world, research is getting more serious about what happens to personalities that are incessantly on."


I really like a lot of points brought out in this article and plan on looking into it - especially since I teach technology and I love technology - it does make me wonder a bit though.

I have been reading/following/writing fanfiction for a very cool "universe" called the World of Depleted (http://worldofdepleted.com)- this article along with that scenario really has me thinking - Is a new form of mental disease/affliction developing? I know there are cases of tech/gaming addiction (watch Frontline: Digital Nation for some great info - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/digitalnation/virtual-worlds/internet-addiction/game-addiction-counseling.html

But - is there more coming? How might we prepare?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

todays date in binary 11111

Just in case you were wondering... ;)

From http://knol.google.com/k/counting-in-binary-for-beginners#

Take the decimal number 11,111 - Here's what the "1" in each column means in decimal, where each column represents various sets of "ten's"

Decimal "10,000's"
(104)
"1000's"
(10x10x10, or 103)
"100's"
(10x10, or 102)
"10's" "1's"

1 1 1 1 1


So one group of 10,000,
plus one group of 1,000,
plus one group of 100,
plus one group of 10,
plus 1,
Or more commonly, 11,111.

Let's look at the same number - 11111 - in binary, where each column represents sets of "two's"

Binary "16's"
(24)
"8's"
(2x2x2, or 23)
"4's"
(2x2, or 22)
"2's" "1's"

1 1 1 1 1

So one group of 16,
plus one group of 8,
plus one group of 4,
plus one group of 2,
plus 1,
Comes out, in numbers most of us would understand, as (16+8+4+2+1) = 31.

So 11111 in binary = 31 in decimal

thanks http://knol.google.com/k/counting-in-binary-for-beginners#

Monday, January 10, 2011

Roman battles, stoicism and gladiators

well - it seems there are uncomfortable connections beginning to percolate - the latest QR code (see a couple blog posts earlier) have a possible connection to the Battle of Vindobona - I have not read anything yet about that but my mind cringes as I make the connection between Romans who were noted for crucifixion and some of Gavin's other dreams - I do not know if that is a connection or if there are others. It seems the plague figured greatly in this time period and M.A. may even have died from the plague....

I have to read some of the 1000s of sites pulled up when searching for the three items revealed in the QR contact - of course now it is worrisome, why would someone be sending a message about something that could relate to a battle, death, and so many other possibilities

of course the three items listed could mean something else and this is a red herring,.... one would be so lucky....

as a side note - it seems M.A. died on March 17th, 180 - is this a way to denote the date, an action, or place (I believe Vindobona is now Vienna Austria).....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

World of Depleted Fanfiction - More of the story

So, here is another installment in the story I started in another post

It's still a rough draft and very much a work in progress, it just helps to throw things out into the digital Grid sometimes : )

------------

Title: Should've Stayed Outta Their Business (takes place about a month or two after Getting Business Done - see here for that story and for info on the characters)
Author: docwho2100

Story: World of Depleted (with original characters)
Pairing: F/F and who knows what else
Rating - R

DISCLAIMER - World of Depleted is property of Viking Productions Inc. No infringement intended.

“Based on the World Created by Jeremy Hanke & Chris Tanchyk”

'This Work set in the World of Depleted – worldofdepleted.com

Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 3.0 United States License’

--------------

AN - I like visuals and to log my research so here are a few references

Minako's weapon - http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/store_detail.html?s=ASP52612

Some proverbs - http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Japanese_proverbs

Brown Thrashers - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Thrasher

The foyer bench - http://g-ec2.images-amazon.com/images/I/51xtITf62LL._home-office-furniture_.jpg

The house - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Colonial_Revival_architecture

The Bible verse - http://bible.cc/jeremiah/21-6.htm


----------


Should've Stayed Outta Their Business – part 1



"Come on, tell me."

"Jo, I do not want to play this game today."

"Come on, I know you wanna. Coooommmee on, come on, come on, I know Minako you just wanna, so, tell me, come on," Jo let go of the handle to the cart she was pulling and skipped ahead to poke her finger on her traveling companion's arm.

"Jo," Minako exclaimed and smacked at Jo's hand.

"Then just tell me one thing you really miss."

Minako stopped, the handle of her cart dropping to the black asphalt street. "Why do you insist on asking me this? Why does it matter, it is all gone."

"Exactly, that is why we need to remember."

"Josephine you are making no sense, has the sun finally baked your brain?"

"Come on grumbly, you are making me trudge along this road, you can at least do something for me. Are you going to make me use my impressive 1.6 centimeter height advantage to bully you?"

"I do plenty for you," Minako sighed as she adjusted the scarf she was wearing, finding the air was too cold for her liking, she had hoped to be farther west before the weather turned.

"Then it is simple, answer one thing."

Minako sighed, knowing if she gave in now, she'd always give in and Jo would never stop pestering. Rubbing at her forehead she threw her hands up in the air. "Fine, if it will shut you up and get you moving again, hot showers, long, luxurious hot showers."

"See cranky dragon, that was not that hard," Jo teased.

"It was sheer torturous hell."

Jo made a scoffing noise, as she returned to her cart. She froze as a shriek rang out. The blonde immediately drawing the gun she had taken to wearing in a hip holster, noting Minako had pulled out the expandable baton she carried, the doctor flicking her wrist to extend and engage the weapon.

A scream sounded again, closer, both women staying put as it seemed the person, or persons was heading their way.

A shrill squawking noise preceded the appearance down the road of a woman. Both watched the woman whose arms waved in a frenzied manner above her head, her gait half between a run and a lope, as she zigzagged side to side.

"Is she drunk?" Jo questioned, tense as she waited to see what was making the woman run. "An animal attack?"

Minako squinted against the sunlight reflected from the road, observing the woman. She began to move toward the woman.

"Hey, is that wise?" Jo questioned as she watched the crazed woman, wincing as the screeching wail tapered off into an agonized moan, the woman dropping to her knees, clawing at her throat. "Damn it doctor, you are going to get us killed with your always having to save the world," Jo muttered as she followed behind Minako, the gun trained on the crazy woman, although her eyes continued to scan the sides of the road for possible attack. They had fallen for traps before, and she knew they would again, Minako would never give up being a doctor, Jo had accepted that and now worked her damnnest to keep the crazy woman alive. Not as if there was much else left for her to do in this shit world.

"Jo my bag," Minako called back as the doctor watched the woman crumple to her side. Drawing near, the doctor began to assess the woman, taking in the torn and soiled cotton blouse and skirt, noting blood stains mixing with the peacock blue pattern of the blouse. She could see red rash splotches on the woman's arms and chest, the blouse shredded enough that Minako could see much of the woman's upper chest. She frowned as she noted sores on the woman's lips and face, the woman's throat looking bruised and scratched, an ugly neon blue and plum purple mottled color.

"God, shimen soka. Please not another case of the plague. Stay calm Minako," she began whispering to herself as her clinical mind continued to feed her a truth she did not want to hear. "As grandfather reminded, ame futte ji katamaru. I must keep working, ishi no ue ni san nen," she turned to see Jo approaching. "Jo, drop the bag and stay by the carts," she paused, seeing Jo stop, but not moving away. "Drop it. now!" she breathed a sigh of relief as she saw Jo drop the bag and scuffle back. Minako darted forward, grabbing the bag. She could see Jo start to take a step forward. She sighed, damn stubborn blonde.

"Plague."

The word hit Jo like a searing bullet. She instinctively took a large step back. They'd dealt with plague and intense disease before. Somehow Minako always managed to come out of those encounters ok, yet to Jo it felt like playing Russian Roulette. Her green eyes widened as she recalled a conversation they'd had with a town doctor a few stops before. He'd talked about a new strain, one that seemed impervious to everything and seemed to affect those that had seemed untouchable.

"House, my babies," the crackly voice broke through Jo's self dread, capturing both Minako and Jo's attention.

"There's more?" Jo whispered.

Minako, hurried back to the woman, crouching down beside her, mentally uttering a small prayer her grandfather had taught her before reaching a hand out to the woman. "Your house?"

The woman swung her arm, slapping Minako across the cheek, the doctor falling back on her butt. Pushing up, the sick woman lurched along the road, a stumbling, lumbering run. She stayed on the paved way for only a few seconds before swerving off to crash through the strand of trees.

"Feck," Jo called out, stunned as she watched her friend push up and take off after the sick woman. The former IT professor rolled her eyes at the hasty action Minako had taken. Making a decision, Jo grabbed their carts and pulled them to the side, off the road, trying to hide them from the main view of the road. She then sprinted in the direction the other two had run.

Already starting to breathe hard, Jo skidded to a stop as the trees and tangling underbrush gave way to a clearing, a two-story, Dutch Colonial Revival style house in the middle of the clearing. Gulping in air, she began walking toward the house, trying to determine where Minako and the psycho chick had gone. A mangled scream came from the house. "Door number one Monty." Jo said, taking in a resigned breath before heading up the steps to the wooden porch.

She noticed a rocking chair on the porch, a birdhouse wind chime, two of the five chimes missing, hanging to one side of the porch. She moved to stand in front of the door, looking at the doorknob for many moments as she wiped her palms on her jeans. She'd mapped the ornate design etched in the silver knob three times before she reached out, half expecting it to burn her. She turned the knob, the action slow, prolonged. Not sure why, Jo pushed the door open, remaining frozen in front of the doorway.

It seemed normal; she could see a small foyer that was rimmed by a wooden archway, leading into a larger open room. Her eyes tracked to the right, a sofa or some piece of furniture, half visible, what looked like a possible mantle to a fireplace behind it. She had just started to look to the left side when her vision was obscured.

"Josephine, stay out, do not come inside."

The sharp command broke Jo's reverie and she jerked back, astonished as Minako loomed in front of her, already shutting the door.

"Minako," Jo questioned, jumping back as the thick oak door slammed in her face.

"There's at least three children, one is dead, I need to check the rest of the house. This is bad Josephine, please, stay outside, let me assess the situation. I..." there was a hitched pause, "will need your help. Just, give me patience, for now. I know that is a word you abhor, but, just, trust me."

Jo's lips puckered outward as she clenched her jaw tight, her hands closed in fists, planted solidly on her hips. She felt like a child scolded by a parent, yet, she knew the doctor was correct.

"Damn her for always being bloody right," Jo turned then, kicking at the decaying straw welcome mat. She halted in front of the porch steps, kicking at one of the forest green banister columns, cursing as her foot stung from connecting with the solid wood.

"I'm going to get the carts Your Highness," she yelled and stomped down the stairs.

Minako leaned against the door, listening as the cursing faded as the Brit moved off. She pinched at the bridge of her nose, hating to have done that, but the danger was too great. The whole house was infected and as she was not completely sure what she was dealing with, or even how the disease might be transferred, she didn't want to risk Jo.

A crash from the upstairs drew Minako's attention. The woman she had followed had disappeared upstairs when they'd entered the house. Instead of following, Minako had been drawn to the frail bodies in the living room, two on the sofa and one slumped in an over-sized armchair.

She'd just determined the young boy in the chair was dead, the other two on the couch near death when the door had opened, drawing her attention as she diverted her examination to keep Jo from entering. Now that the tech professor was gone, she returned to her surveying. She took her coat off, laying it on the foyer bench, rolling up her sleeves as she headed upstairs, preparing herself for whatever she might find; she could smell the death and decay in the air.

--------------------------------------------

"Bloody hell, if this cart tips once more," Jo shouted as she gave the cart handle a tug, popping the back wheel free and sending it over the root that had snagged the wheel, halting the forward progress. With a grunt, she pulled the cart the rest of the way into the clearing, parking it next to the other cart.

The carts had been a gift from the residents of Hetzel; a small community they had visited recently; Minako leaving her gifts of books and medicine. In return, they'd built the carts for the two women, much to Minako's delight and Josephine's bane as it meant they could now carry more stuff. They had been robbed twice since getting the carts, luckily each time most of their odd collection of books and electronic bits left alone as the carts had a false bottom where they carried the more valuable and potentially trouble-causing items. The incidents had left them shaken and contemplating the thought of hiring someone to travel with them for protection. A discussion they were having more frequently, especially as many of the people they encountered were not so receptive to the ideas Minako wanted to share.

Jo's eyes narrowed as she thought about some of the people they had met; she'd learned quickly not to mention her former profession or her skills. While some loved the technology, others loathed it. Another lesson she had learned the hard and painful way.

"Honey, I'm home," she called out, flinching as her loud yell had startled a flock of Brown Thrashers, the birds exploding out of the nearby trees and thicket, trailing across the sky. Jo almost covered her head, something her sister would do anytime a bird flew overhead as the younger Baynham had been on the receiving end many times of a deposit of bird poop, always smacking the person who would try to tell her it meant good luck.

"Josephine."

Jo looked up, spotting the figure in the doorway.

"If you could give me a couple of the soup pouches. Also, if you could find firewood, they have a fireplace here. They must have well water as there is flowing water from the sinks. See if there is an outside spigot for you to access."

"And don't forget to add make a camp on the cold ground here as you get a cushy bed because we are staying a few days, right?"

"I don't think they will last more than two."

Minako's reply deflated the sarcastic retort Jo had been ready to fling. She looked down at the withered grass, rubbing at her forehead. "I'll get what you need."

The doctor nodded, before retreating back inside.

Her shoulders rolled forward in defeat, Jo moved to grab a small axe from one of the carts, she gave one more look back before heading to find wood.

-----------------------------------

Jo finished tending the fire, setting it up so it'd burn for a bit and provide warmth. She cast a glance at the house, a flickering light and set of shadows evident through one set of the mullioned windows. She'd not heard anything more from the house since she'd left the wood and food on the porch.

She hoped Minako would grab some rest. She'd seen the doctor work herself to true exhaustion, the woman passing out many times in the middle of some activity. It was one of the doctor's qualities Jo both admired and hated. She could never understand doing something to the point of physically exhausting your own body. There was dedication, and then there was stupidity.

The blonde stood, wiping her hands on the legs of her jeans as she moved to the house. She knocked on the door, moving back a few steps. She waved as she saw one of the front curtains flutter to the side, an action she'd expected.

"What do you want Jo?" he doctor's weary, muffled voice filtered through the door, just audible.

"Just thought I'd check on you."

"Thank you for the sentiment."

"Have you taken a break, or eaten anything, maybe slept a little?"

There was no reply to Jo's questions, which told the blonde the answer was no. "You need to take care of yourself."

"It seems I have heard this before."

"And you damn doctor will be in position to hear it again I am sure," Jo slapped her hand against her leg in frustration.

"What?"

Jo decided to change the subject as she backed up a little on the porch, dragging the rocking chair beside the door as she asked, "How are they Doc?"

There was silence, Jo could hear a shuffling sound and something she thought might be the crackling of the wood in the fireplace. "Listen, sit for a few minutes and talk to me Minako, please? It'll make me feel better and then I'll go back to my lumpy bedroll and stare up at the stars until I fall asleep."

It was almost a minute before Jo heard a scraping sound, a bump against the door and then a rustling sound. "A few minutes and then I need to check on them."

Jo closed her eyes, celebrating the victory. "Thanks Doc, so?"

"The Jeffersons stopped here a few days ago from what I can tell. Most of them are hallucinating so the stories are often vividly inaccurate."

"Are you saying you've heard a few doozies?" Jo smiled as she heard a chuckle from the doctor. If she could keep Minako's spirits up, at least she could feel like she was doing something.

"There were seven of them; they drew sick about four days ago. At least I think it's been that long," Minako looked across the foyer toward the fireplace. Earlier in the day she'd found an inscription carved into the wood. The discovery had been prompted by the appearance of Mrs Jefferson, the woman stumbling into the room while Minako was tending to the children.

At first Minako thought she was coming after her as the woman had a large butcher knife. Instead, the mother had stumbled to the mantle, carving a line in the woodwork before passing out. After placing the woman back in a bed, Minako examined the mantle, discovering a quote; a short passage from the Bible; a verse from Jeremiah about plague. There were four tic marks carved at the end of the quote. Minko guessing maybe the tic marks represented days, it could fit with the development of the symptoms and stages of their sickness.

"Three are still alive, the mother and two children. One of the children died a couple of hours ago, the others were dead when I arrived."

Jo rolled her lips together, pressing into a thin line as she closed her eyes, saddened at the loss of life and also at how detached Minako sounded as she spoke.

"I've been making notes. This is different from anything I've seen before. It's fast. It's not the plague, but something like it."

"Great," the sarcasm thick in Jo's reply.

"If you do not wish to know, then why are you here talking to me?"

Jo was quiet, her first impulse to snap back at the condescending tone Minako used, yet, she managed to bite back her retort. There was a deeper reason why she was here and not tinkering with one of the small projects that she'd normally fill her time during the evenings when they camped.

"You know," Minako pushed on filling the silence, her weariness making her cranky, "you were always happy to sit in your office alone or your apartment or where ever tapping on your computer. I would think you'd be just peachy having time to yourself, rather than hovering like a faithful puppy. "

"But I wasn't alone."

Minako gave a scoffing laugh in response. "You are treating me as an idiot?"

Jo finally gave into the pushing and pushed back. "If the shoe fits... I always laughed at those who thought technology was isolating and turning everyone into solitary robots sitting in front of a screen alone when they could be out socializing. The whole lot were wrong, I was never alone," Jo stood, her action causing the rocking chair to violently tip over. She ignored the chair as she began pacing in front of the door. "I was texting, or chatting, or messaging, skyping, tweeting, I was always talking to people. All those daft media and brainiac academics had it wrong, I met more people, not less. And I was..." Jo broke off, stumbling a bit as she'd tripped over the disintegrating welcome mat.

"Never alone," Minako supplied, her tone quiet, understanding.

"It was how I met people, interacted, knew how to communicate. But now..." Jo was standing in front of the door, her hands slack at her sides, head hanging down as she felt weary and desolate.

"You fear being alone."

"I was not a social bug like my sisters and brothers, but, I still hung out. I just watched; liked to hover in the background, feel the crowds around me. I was always connected. Technology gave me a way to talk and a freedom, a way to never have to be left out. And now, now it's all gone and I hate it," Jo swallowed hard and turned, tripping again on the mat. With a growl, she picked it up and flung it as far as she could over the porch railing, giving a curse as a few of the sharp straw fragments sliced her hand.

"Fecking cheap mat," she muttered as she placed her injured fingers in her mouth, trying to stop the tears.

"Josephine, if I promise to go and take a small nap, will you go and lay down as well?"

Snuffling, Jo looked at the door, her fingers still shoved in her mouth.

"However first, there are a number of books here. I could read to from one of them if you like?"

"You would?"

"Yes, I know how much you like having me read."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be, just, try not to think about being alone, alright?"

Jo nodded. She crossed the porch to the fallen chair, righting it and pulling it close to the door. "I'm ready."

--------------------

Yesterday had been bad.

Jo had spent the day wandering around the area to collect firewood as well as trying to find something to supplement the small stash of food supplies they had. She'd worked on making some more copies of the maps Minako had started, the documents marking the different spots they had traveled and what they had left behind. Jo liked to tease it was their equivalent of the Princeton Review of the after the Fall medical college system.

She'd also become worried as she'd heard Minako coughing, the doctor becoming more and more distant. Especially as the last child had died, leaving only the mother.

Today was not shaping up to be too great either.

Jo was currently trudging up the porch stairs to pick up her latest assignment. She picked up the cards Minako had left on the porch, giving a humorless laugh as they were still a little damp; Jo sure Minako had wiped them trying to keep things as sanitized as possible. The cards were an example of the many ingenious inventions the doctor had developed. Minako had realized when sending others out to look for plants, it was hard to carry around an entire book, plus only one could person could use a book at a time. So they had meticulously cut up the photos and descriptions, pasting them on cardboard, making little herb cards. They'd found some clear tape and done the "Poor Man's" lamination to try and help preserve them.

"Damn fecking woman, can't be bothered to think about herself, leaves that fun chore to me," Jo muttered as she stomped down the stairs and headed into the trees, not really looking for the herbs pictured on the cards as she continued on her rant. She had been camping out in front of the house for the last two days and was growing very cranky and fussy as day three was looking to be a repeat of the last two.

"Why can't you just care about something besides your daft crusade," she stomped extra hard, a crack echoing through the forest. Jo's eyes widened as she looked down, her foot having gone through the ground. Even as a sharp pain was beginning to lance its way through her ankle, another sharp crack rang out, a series of pops radiating outward from her location.

"Oh shit," Jo managed to get out, already trying to backpedal even as the ground caved in, causing Jo to fall through the hole that had opened up, a solid thunk sounding out, followed by the sound of dirt cascading down for a bit before giving way to silence.

------

Minako stood in front of the bathroom mirror, staring at her reflection. She started to swallow, then winced and stopped, her throat sore. She jutted her chin out a bit, noticing a slight purple tinge to an area on her neck, her eyes tracing along the hem of her blouse. She did not need to move the material as she knew there were red splotches developing; she'd found them this morning when she was washing up.

She'd pushed the first traces of the cough off yesterday, attributing it to her not having eaten or drunk much the last couple of days. However, it had grown worse, as had the pain in her throat. She'd distracted herself by writing up everything she had observed and done. One of her favorite medical professor's mantras had been the need to document details and to record everything without bias; that was how great medical discoveries had been made, by combing through volumes of details and piecing them together. Minako hoped perhaps her details could help someone find a way to stop this disease.

The doctor moved through the house, looking over the dusty and abandoned contents, her mind racing with fear as she tried to avoid the conclusions she had drawn; tried to fight the feelings that were creeping into her mind and soul, polluting her ability to function. Drawing out the deeply buried secrets she had managed to deny for so long.

No one had ever known the real motivation behind her becoming a doctor, no one but her grandfather. Everyone else had thought it was a compassionate reason, or a career move, or a fitting place for her advanced intelligence, or to honor her father's wishes. There had been so many she had heard, and she had let everyone assume those were what drove her; what fueled her intense dedication and determination.

Those reasons sounded so much better than the truth; she was afraid of death.

It had been during her internship that her grandfather had found her one evening in their gardens in Japan. He had taken her on a walk through a part of the garden few were allowed, his inner sanctum. She had listened as he told her stories of his ancestors; had patiently broken through her wall. He had known she became a doctor to hide from what she feared most as it gave her a sense of control over death. It was her desperate attempt to run from cessation, to snatch as many souls as she could from the arms of oblivion; each saved life giving her a chance to gloat and feel as if she had taken one more step away from the dark abyss.

As she wandered through her memories, she drifted through the house, finally ending up back in front of the fireplace. She reread the carved inscription, her eyes lingering on the last few words of the biblical verse.

"I am not a mikka bouzu Grandfather; I swore to you I would never give up. I have always continued. I just..." Minako looked at the mantle, a deep bubble welling up inside her chest. She let go a strangled sob as she dropped her face into her hands, the fear and realization paralyzing her and consuming her; she was going to die.

End part 1 - TBC

Sharing words of wisdom

something to think about from @Caitlin_Burns on twitter

One was must always choose their words carefully because someone, somewhere, will listen to them without context.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

World of Depleted - Deep thoughts lead to more codes

Whahhhhoooo there are things afoot - it seems the Deep Thoughts Shirt site has been updated and there are things to be seen


Again a little space and a neat WoD poster and then some thoughts below - spoiler thoughts






WOWZERS - one of the shirts was updated with a Qr Code - I kinda like the warning on the shirt - it fits in with the dark, ominous tone of WoD - Those Who Do Not Heed the Future Are Destined to Suffer.....


If you check it out - you are lead to a URL which is a picture - http://toolfarm.com/1222/4432/1/origin_p2.png


And ooooooo it's a half QR code - know what that makes me think of.... Yuppers, Gavin's dream - so on to putting them together




and guess what you get..........

M.A.
Vindobona.
180.


And now I am going what the hooey-heck? Now I shall contemplate what those can mean....

hmmmmmmm