Archive | May 22, 2012

The Study of Emerging Cultures

Continuing flash series! I’m going to write one flash for every Icon I have, over 4 LJ accounts, 1 DW, and a whole bunch of not-currently-in-use, until I get bored or run out of icons.

Today’s icon:

My Anthropologist, from The Planners ‘Verse

Icon & Art by [personal profile] meeks

Before This story.

Late Autumn, 315 Post-Conflict

For the entirety of my decade as a scholar in the Tower, I studied Ancient Cultures. The Ancients division of the Library is one of the largest, and it is an intensive field of study.

However, the problem with Ancient Cultures is that, almost to a one, they are Ancient and thus gone, lost in the Conflict or long before that. One can read about them endlessly, theorize, study, hypothesize, but one can not actually visit these cultures. In many cases, one cannot even visit their ruins.

However, in the branching study of Emerging Cultures, one has quite a bit more room for exploration and study. The isolated nature of the population pockets after the Conflict means that, in the past three centuries, many different cultures have evolved.

Some, such as the Wild Tribes, are not currently open for embedded exploration, the way the Tower’s Scholars prefer to study. The Tower has attempted such. Every single attempt has ended poorly, indeed, fatally.

(I must admit I was still tempted. A one hundred percent chance of death is no deterrent to knowledge!)

Instead, I have acquired myself a position in one of the canal towns, a port from pre-Conflict made over into the shape of the new world. It is a benign and placid place, no more foreign than my mother’s farm.

But I have learned, to my eternal joy, that several grouped family units of the so-called Wild Tribes visit this town regularly to trade. I hear I will meet the Kybelii next week!

Finally, I shall begin to learn the truth of Emerging Cultures!

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(MoarPls) Learning the Bones of the City, a continuation

After Rediscovering the City, from the January Giraffe Call.

It was the job of a lifetime. My lifetime. My apprentices’ lifetimes. And the handsome scientist from SUNY Geneseo with the blue, blue eyes – his lifetime, too.

The City out of Nowhere was becoming the state project. More than that, it was a state revitalization. The Parks Service had, after a good deal of arm-wrestling with every other department and bureau in the state (as well as a bunch of three-letter-acronyms), claimed the city, set up a perimeter, and started regulating who could go in and out.

Lucky me, as a stonemason, I got to keep going in. The place was in pretty good shape, for its age, but it needed work, a lot of work, and my team had already surveyed most of it. So we stayed.

We stayed while the tourists came, while the photographers and the paper-writers and the linguists came. Us, and then the pipefitters, and the landscapers, and the bricklayers. And the brains. And the scientist from SUNY Geneseo with those stupid blue eyes.

All the brains wanted to talk about how best to restore the buildings, whether we should at all, whether this was an artifact that should be left pristine and un-touched. They wanted to talk about how we should best honor the former inhabitants, but whoever that had been, they left nothing.

(Almost nothing. When repairing what we were calling a church, we found their ash-urn storage, and the biologists went to town on tiny, tiny bone fragments.)

So we went from living outside the walls in a kind of tent city, to living in the walls, in what could sort have been an apartment building closest to the biggest gate, and we went from just-fix-the-really-broken-stuff to actually renovating the place, and then they started talking about tourist housing. Because damn were we getting tourists coming out of the stonework.

We can make her live again, I’d said, when I’d first touched the city’s ancient bones. And we were. I just hadn’t realized quite how literally that would turn out.

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