Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Star Trek '12: 1412 AD - Hamalki

One of the great ambitions of any civilization is to create the technology to make fantasy a reality, or otherwise make the impossible a possibility.  That is the driving force of intelligent life, and can be seen again and again in an infinite number of ways.  What was once someone’s radical idea becomes an everyday thing for someone else.  Some ideas become stories, some become ideals, and as the bulk of what most people experience, some become new technology.  A fork is technology that someone who had never experienced anything like it would find incomprehensible, just as anyone who has would find it just as incomprehensible to not know what a fork is and what it does.

The spider-like Hamalki had the same ambition that most sufficiently advanced species do, and that was to traverse great stretches of space with as little effort as possible.  Many generations worked on this ambition, just as many generations on many world have and always will, until an engineer named D’d’lk, or so she was known at the time, decided the ideal shape of this ambition would be called the inversion drive, which when realized would actually collapse time and space, making travel instantaneous no matter the destination.  The only thing that made this difficult was that D’d’lk had no idea how to achieve it, and so she spent many years on the problem.  The only thing that makes any ambition difficult is the inability to solve it in the most efficient means possible.  Unfortunately, since efficiency is always the goal of ambition, it takes an uncommon mind to make it work as efficiently as possible.

Does it sound like I’m talking in circles?  That’s what thinking about such things is like, and for people like D’d’lk, this is an unavoidable hurdle, both a welcome challenge and constant frustration, to know what you want and that you have the capacity not only to conceive it, but to make it a reality.  But are you going about it the best way, or are there better ways?  Constant doubt is the companion of ambition, of dreams, and D’d’lk dreamed a great deal, even in her waking moments, so busy in her trains of thought that those around her never knew when she was present even when she was in the room.

She tried to avoid it, but that’s all that she talked about, too, because it was the only thing that interested her, the best way to solve her dilemma, to realize her ambition, to make the inversion drive a reality.  It was the same story at home as in public, and because she knew her family better than she knew strangers, her family heard so much more than anyone else.  Problems that were tangential to her goal never failed to escape her notice, and sometimes it seemed she lacked focus, but not in her own mind: D’d’lk always knew exactly what she was doing, even if it didn’t seem that way.

Her young daughter grew and matured listening to D’d’lk, her frustrations, setbacks, triumphs, and failures.  D’d’lk never lost faith in herself, and even if her daughter didn’t realize it at the time, she absorbed all of it, and it was her that finally made the inversion drive a reality.  But that’s what dreams are made of, the stuff of tomorrow.

(This particular story takes its inspiration from the Diane Duane novel The Wounded Sky.)

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