Dec. 2nd, 2011

The Method

Dec. 2nd, 2011 12:15 am
Pekki trudged up the path, leading his mule by a rope. The monastery seemed to perch atop the hill and glower down on the surrounding countryside like a squat stone vulture, scarred with age and warped by nuclear fire. Pekki wondered if the Keepers of Lor were watching him using jealously hoarded technology or magic from before the Black Rain. He retained his composure to the best of his ability and arduously climbed to the hilltop and the gates of the fortress.

A severe Keeper and his brutish guards blocked his way. "What do you want?" the Keeper said sharply. "You'll get no food or water here."

"I seek no food or water," Pekki said humbly. "I come only to have you bless my work of science."

The Keeper's demeanor changed, and he smiled, albeit coldly. "Indeed?" he asked, a thin eyebrow arched. "And why should we do that?"

Pekki reached into the mule's bags. The ape-like guards hooted a warning and hoisted their muskets, but relaxed when Pekki came up with a brace of chickens. They were alive, and untouched by the Black Rain too, with no hint of scales around their feet and beaks. The Keeper inspected them and sniffed haughtily. "And this science of yours?" he said, handing the chickens off to a guard.

Pekki drew forth the device he had been working on since the previous summer. "It's an engine," said Pekki. "It runs on steam. See?" He showed how the miniature device, however crude, could burn oil and make a shaft turn.

"Hmmf," said the Keeper. He handed the engine back to Pekki and waved his guards back inside. "It is not science."

Pekki was overwhelmed with disappointment. "But…!" he stammered. The Keeper held up a finger.

"Do not misunderstand me," he said. "I mean, it is not science – yet. No knowledge, no wisdom, may be deemed science until it has been exposed to the scientific method. Only then may it become known to the wise as a matter of scientific interest."

The Keeper entered the gateway and beckoned to Pekki. "Come!" he commanded.

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Self Made

Dec. 2nd, 2011 10:26 pm
DmHur looked up from his meditations. Iorani, his Padawan, stood in the doorway. DmHur smiled, the mobile feelers around his lips twitching. "Then you have completed the project?" he asked.

Iorani hesitated. She had been with the Jedi Master for three years. She knew that he was often kind, but was equally likely to be stern, irascible – especially when he was displeased with her progress. Iorani sensed the importance of the assignment she had been given, and knew that this must represent some kind of test. That was the part she loathed about Jedi training: all the damnable tests.

"I did my best, master," she said fearfully. DmHur raised a mauve finger.

"That is a tautology," he chided. "You did what you did, and did not do what you did not. 'What you did' represents a set of one, and therefore is both your best and your worst work."

Iorani bruised her mind on that koan for a few moments before trying again. "Master, I have never considered myself a builder," she said, "but I have nevertheless made a lightsaber."

"Then you have done well," DmHur said agreeably. "Let me inspect it."

Iorani handed the long tube to her master. She was ashamed of the scratched surface and the crudely screwed-together halves of the casing. "I don't even know if it works," she admitted.

DmHur's webbed hands brushed over the surfaces of the lightsaber, and the parts came apart in his hands. He peered into the innards of the weapon. What he saw didn't look like the inside of any kind of high-technology device. There were a number of loose screws rattling around; some pieces of loose wire, inexpertly twisted together and not connected to any power source; plastic bits that seemed to have been jammed into place; and even, DmHur was reasonably certain, an apple core down at the bottom.

DmHur waved his hand again, and the lightsaber buttoned itself back up. "I'm certain it will work fine," he said confidently, handing it back to his pleased pupil. "We should test it out, no?"

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