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Rocketship Temple

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On a distant world, in one possible future, our descendants have lived cut-off from the rest of humanity for thousands of years. Like the Polynesians who populated the islands of the Pacific by adventurous island-hopping, these humans are the descendants of colonists, themselves the descendants of colonists, themselves descendants of the people of old Earth. When their vessel landed in the middle of a great valley on this new rock, the settlers were glad to breathe fresh air and to feel soil beneath their feet.  These wayfaring families decided their destination had been reached and began to establish the foundations of sedentary agricultural human civilization in their new home.  After a few years, the thousand or so settlers had produced enough protein and carbohydrates to stock their starship for a run back to the fringe of connected human presence in the galaxy.  However, when the engineers went to turn on the engines, nothing happened.  The ship’s electrical systems functioned, but the engines did not.  A week-long investigation of the ship’s propulsion system revealed that the affected parts could not be repaired on this world.  Only highly advanced parts that were available back in the web of connected society could fix the problem. Most of the settlers were furious.  The engineers sent out a signal with their location and their material needs, reasoning that within about five years a supply ship would come with the necessary parts. No ship ever came. When there were only a handful of settlers left who remembered life back in the network of human civilization, they told stories of their home worlds to the children of the colony, and how the great starship in the middle of the valley brought them from across the stars to occupy their new home.  Massive and iconic, the ship became the focal point of the collective consciousness of the new colony’s culture.  Its sophisticated and polished interior had enough power from its reactors to provide hundreds of millenia worth of electricity.  The new generations who never experienced life outside this colony marveled at the technology inside, which was far more advanced than anything they could produce with their hand-me-down tools and skills. Those with enough knowledge and skill to operate the functions inside the ship were revered as the wisest men of the colony.  In time, they began to occupy a role that we would call “priestly,” learning the intricacies of foreign technology and presiding over their civilization’s “world axis.”  Celebrations and rituals began to use the ship as a temple, and it slowly became sacred to all. As the population of the colony ballooned and more dense urban development became necessary, the hulking metal temple became the center of a growing city.  Boulevards and plazas were built at its entrances, with the largest avenue reserved for its main doors.  Statues were erected along this sacramental road.  Important buildings were built in close proximity to it, and residences beyond.  Generations came and went and technology improved.  Complex edifices, offices and tenement blocks and meeting halls growing ever higher and more connected replaced older structures.  In this society, proximity to the cultural lodestone was of paramount importance.  Rather than a dirty, all-consuming sprawl across the valley and up the mountain-walls, their city was like one giant unbroken work of wood, then masonry, then steel and glass.  Above it all rose the interstellar ziggurat. The legends twisted and changed in the course of time, but the same thread of salvation was woven as the most ancient and cryptic part of their cultural identity: Inside the temple lies the key to a road that leads beyond the stars.
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Written by Preston

March 16th, 2010 at 4:24 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses to 'Rocketship Temple'

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  1. What was the inspiration for this? Did you happen upon a temple that struck you in a way so as to make you exclaim, “Dude. It’s a rocketship! We have to go up in it,” perhaps?

    Kelsey

    16 Mar 10 at 10:11

  2. That may have had about 50% to do with it, indeed. Angkor Wat made me think of that, and the rest just came from turning it over in my imagination.

    Preston

    17 Mar 10 at 03:47

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