This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
SITTING BACK AGAINST HIS SPHINX, Dion stared out at the grey wasteland before him, finding it hard to believe that this empty chasm of a place had ever held any amount of beauty whatsoever. After some time staring out at the scenery, he glanced down at an old photograph that lay gleaming in his palm. The world that it portrayed, an abundant world filled with so much life, so much promise, could not have possibly been real. Yet there it was – the only evidence of this worlds’ former beauty - beauty now long lost. He took in a deep breath then let it out slowly as he started to fold the photograph very carefully.
Dion is a seventeen-year old with slight tan skin, dark emerald eyes, and straight shoulder-length fair hair. He wears a dark marine trench coat over a black high-collar, long dark grey pants, and a pair of old brown boots; a leather belt crosses over his chest and around his waste holding an assortment of small pouches as well as two gun holsters. A pair of silver rimmed goggles rest on his forehead.
After he put the photograph in his pocket, Dion looked intently to the northern horizon. He was close to his destination – IrDA. IrDA had once been one of many metropolises that had dotted the landscape over two centuries ago.
A heavy silence weighed down upon him, surrounding him in a cocoon. Just as Dion started to find comfort in the silence, a static noise resonated in the air cutting it like a knife. It was quickly replaced by a young voice. “Novena to Whirlwind, do you copy? Novena to Whirlwind, do you copy?”
With a groan, Dion stood up, then turned to face his Sphinx - a kind of oversize motorcycle - pressing a key on the clear black surface of the mantel, opening one of its many compartments. The Sphinx is a pre-NEC relic, made completely of black magnesium alloy from the outer armor to the inner skeleton. Dion couldn’t be sure what made up the wide boulder sized tiers, but they could endure the most complicated terrain and could last another decade or so. He took out a device that resembled a flip phone, but where the keys should have been rested a small silver disk instead. Dion pulled the disk out then put it in his ear. He pressed his finger against the center. “Whirlwind, responding.” He said with a heavy sigh.
For a moment there was nothing but silence, then the young voice spoke again - this time coming from the disk. “What were you doing? Sightseeing again?”
“There’s nothing worth to sightsee. What’s with the call, Monee? Do you have another Order for me?” Dion pulled out one of his guns from his belt. It was about 15 cm in length, made out of grey titanium. On the sides of the gun were golden inscriptions that Dion couldn’t understand. Dion pulled down on what looked to be the safety trigger on the gun, however as he pulled it the barrel of the gun retracted to give way to a long thin blade. He tossed the blade up in the air absentmindedly, catching it by the handle every time.
“Sniffer got something on the radar when we did some recon.” Monee - leader of the Blaze Strikers and commander of one of the few still operating fly-arcs in the world - said with a clear tone of apprehension in his voice. With how mature Monee could be sometimes, Dion couldn’t help but forget that he’s only twelve-years old.
Watching as the dagger spun in the air then resting in his palm, Dion said. “Is that so? Where’s it coming from?” He caught the dagger, he pulled the trigger at the edge of the handle. The blade retracted and became the barrel of the gun again. He returned the weapon back to his belt then started preparing the Sphinx.
“It seems to be coming from IrDA, but...” Monees’ voice trailed off.
Dion froze. “‘But’ what, Monee?” Silence answered him. He pressed his hand against the disc. “‘But’ what, Monee?” He repeated calmly.
“Well, we’re not sure exactly. It’s like something is messing with our instruments somehow. I mean they’re picking up some kind of energy reading. It could be Mana or it could be some left over electrical energy that managed to survive. We don’t have anything solid. I know this is a lot to ask, Dion, but we need you to complete the Order and then take a look around. If there is Mana we have to retrieve it right away.”
“Don’t worry Monee, I’ll check it out. I am a Scavenger after all. If there is any Mana I’ll find it.” Dion said. Dion is one of the best Scavengers, in the whole Salvation Company combined. As a Scavenger his job’s simple; complete various ‘Orders’ that include (but are not limited to) retrieving items that could be used to repair various outdated equipment, Search Requests from the Library, and the most crucial - collecting Mana Energy. It’s a dangerous job, but someone has to do it.
“Okay, call us when you find it. Stay-” Monee was cutoff, they had gotten out of range.
“There’s no need to worry. I’ll stay safe.” Dion said to himself. He took the disc out of his ear then put it back in its case. After returning it to the Sphinx compartment, Dion resumed his preparations for departure. It didn’t really bother him that much that he had to do some extra work, he was used to it. As a Scavenger one of the skills you must learn immediately is adaptability - learn how to move with the situation. It’s the only way to survive in this slowly dying world.
TWO CENTURIES AGO a phenomena called Never Ending Chaos - NEC - left the world at the egde of ruin.
As it was recorded; mankind had surpassed the greater understanding of the world. They had found answers to long asked questions, made complete use of the world’s natural resources and had even found cures for sicknesses that had tormented the world for generations. It was an era of peace and knowledge, a time that seemed without end.
This, unfortunately, was not the case.
When NEC happened there was disaster followed by disaster - nonstop earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, etc. - all across the globe tearing everything asunder. All the accomplishments of man were destroyed in a blink of an eye. A third of the worlds’ population, lost.
NEC lasted only one century. In the aftermath of the worlds’ greatest trial the survivors came to discover that the world that they once knew had changed. Large percentages of land were taken over by water, strange apparitions appeared across the continent, and then there were some areas that were still feeling the echo of Never Ending Chaos.
It became evident that there were not enough resources - even with the third of the population gone. So fearful, angry, and desperate, the survivors went to war for what little land that remained using the few weapons that hadn’t been destroyed. Years passed and still the war raged. Little by little the survivors could no longer remember what they were fighting for. All they had was hatred.
When it seemed that man would succeed in driving themselves to extinction something miraculous happened.
In the wars’ climax, in the middle of the battlefield, a giant tree grew into being. None could believe their eyes. Instead of being a tree of wood it was a tree made completely out of crystal. It radiated shades of blue and violet. It had been a long time since any of the survivors had seen anything so divine.
That tree, Lignum Vitae, grounded the century long war to a halt.
Though Lignum Vitae could have been considered a sign of hope, many had already lost the will to live. Never Ending Chaos had damaged the world enough - the war had only made it worse. The war was only a distraction, but now with it over they had to face the painful truth. The world didn’t have much time to live and neither did they. The survivors bore witness as the world around them slowly fell into depravity. The survivors quickly succumbed to despair, however there were those who refused to except their fate.
An organization made up of five separate fractions was formed by the few people who still clung on to life - to hope. These groups; the Lynx Cats, the Jade Rubies, the Eagle Hawks, the Pharaoh Kings, and the Blaze Strikers – are mankind’s last salvation. Together they make up the Salvation Company.
It was the Salvation Company that had discovered the strange power within Lignum Vitae, a power strong enough, maybe, to save what’s left of the world. This power - is Mana Energy.
DION SAT DOWN ON HIS SPHINX. He pressed some keys on the Sphinx mantel, a map of the area illuminated over the smooth black surface. After close examination, Dion figured it would take him about a half hour to reach IrDA, maybe less if he pushed on the engine hard enough.
After pulling down the silver rimmed goggles over his eyes and putting on a pair of black leather gloves that he usually kept in his pocket, Dion couldn’t help but take one last look at the valley. Can it really be done? Can we really save the world? Even if we did will it ever go back to the way it was? He shook away these foolish thoughts. Knowing our luck the world will end not matter what we do.
Within a matter of seconds he was on the road once more - leaving a whirlwind behind him.
Karl12: This is a very unusual sci-fi mystery. I enjoyed the suspense which was present throughout the story. I loved how I never knew what to expect from the characters. This made the story thrilling and made me suspicious of everything and everyone. You have a great style of writing – one which captiva...
Sara Grover: Being that this is your first story and I assume first draft, a lot of little mistakes are common, we all have made them; little things like your instead of you're, missed capitalization, missing punctuation, etc. As for the plot, I have a lot of questions and I did leave comments on certain sect...
catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.
themyronus: Vanessa has made 'amazing' the norme. I didn't want to read this as I am waiting for the finished and polished book to come out. But then I decided to read one chapter for kicks...well hours later I finished what was posted. Fortunately, my memory is not to good and I hope I will read the book wi...
Dru83: This is the second or third time I've read this one and I just love it. It has just about everything you could ever want packed into one scifi story. It still has some parts that are a little rough in terms of grammar, punctuation, and word usage, but it's still an awesome story. I love how detai...
Oru Manna: Within this tale is a cast of characters with intensely unique voices and personas; each one radiating their own desires so clearly, you would think they were all written by different people. Their behaviors, their speech patterns, even their thoughts are so independent of one another, it really ...
ericaporamoralcine: La trama es muy interesante y original y eso ya dice muchísimo cuando todos tratan de triunfar con ideas ya trilladas.No puedo opinar en detalle sobre la gramática, porque a pesar de entender el inglés a la perfección, la falta de uso en cuanto a lectura y diálogo hacen que me maneje bastante mal...
Bri Hoffer: I couldn't put it down!! The characters are all incredibly likable, and it's so descriptive you can see, smell, and feel thier surroundings. Great story, and very well written. I cannot wait for follow up stories. there were a few grammatical errors, but nothing that I could move right over.
softprose: Honestly, this book already has me on my toes, I can't wait to buy the physical copy! It is like a fresh breath of air when reading this. I've already fallen in love with all of the characters! This will be one of those books I'll read over and over again without getting bored of it.
Alexis Dredd Zarcal: Overall, it's a rather thrilling piece, merging superstition, psychology, slice of life, and the usual Japanese risque fare. All the elements have rhyme and reason in being placed together.The respective background stories of the characters involved so far also give a sense of flair and thrill.I'...
Hawkebat: Playing both Kotor I & II and Swtor I found the story line interesting and it held me until chapter 35 Very good story and plot flow until then, very few technical errors. I felt that the main character was a bit under and over powered, as it fought for balance. The last few chapters felt too f...
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."