Olympics Site Chosen

                The Olympic Committee has chosen the site for the XXIII Olympic Summer Games.  After long discussions they have chosen the Babylonian city of Ur.  The Babylonians were thrilled with this opportunity, stating that they would begin working on the centerpiece of the venue, the Olympic Ziggurat, immediately.

                As so often happens, however, the Babylonians were hardly able to enjoy the thrill of their success before the political arguments and back-biting started.  The representative for Nazi Germany made scathing statements about the Olympic Committee.  “Incompetent fools!  Passing us over once again!  Any why?  Out of some deranged attempt to snub us over the glorious 1936 games, that’s why!”  He ranted in reference to the Olympic Games in the past world, which the Nazis used as a launching pad to start a world war.  “The Zionists had their hand in this!  Don’t you think it’s strange that the Israelites share a country with the Babylonians?”

                Others point out different concerns about the Committee’s choice.  “An event of this size takes tremendous amounts of material and labor to pull off,” says Jessica Hewitt of Amnesty Now.  “It is no secret that the Babylonian society thrives on slave labor.  Think of the number of innocent people that will be forced to work themselves to death in inhuman conditions, all for the sake of entertainment.”

                Still others bring up different concerns, everything from magical doping, to sanitation in the Babylonian city, to televising an event in a Tech Zone 1 area, to whether or not the Aztecs will sacrifice their losing champions again this year.  Perhaps the most interesting of these is the discussion over the fairness of allowing non-humans to compete.  Is it fair to have a human/cheetah mutation in the hundred yard dash, or to have cyborgs throwing shot-put, or half-giants in the boxing ring? 

                For most of us the Olympics is a wonderful opportunity to see and experience top athletes compete.  Most of these athletes will never earn a single V-Bill for their efforts.  This does not stop them from dedicating their lives to training for the chance to compete among the best and strive for victory.  That is the spirit of the Olympics that I enjoy most.

Newbie Reaction to INSL Pyramid

                While doing some research I ran across the following description of a Newbie’s personal experience of seeing the INSL pyramid in the Grand Plaza of Ada-Kar for the first time.  I found it particularly poignant in that it is similar to so many other people’s reaction.  I have lived here all my life and I still am awed by the pyramid.  I often enjoy watching the reactions of people when they see it.  Many of them, I am sure, are thinking exactly what Olivia Dollarhyde thought as she describes below.  Here, republished by permission of the author, is her reaction.

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                Though I caught glimpses of the INSL pyramid as I approached it, and wondered at its size and splendor even then, the building’s true magnificence only really hit me when I turned the final corner and saw it from across the Grand Plaza.  It is, of course, the sheer size of the mammoth structure that hit me first.  At one hundred stories tall, and with an internal area of over 3.5 million square feet, this is the largest building on Ada-Kar. 

                The blue ray of light shooting from the top of the pyramid can be seen even in the daytime.  At night this incredibly bright beacon illuminates the streets in its strange, electric glow, which shimmers like the aurora borealis.  To me, it looked like the finger of God reaching down from the heavens.

                The sides of the pyramid are reflective glass, which seems to change color as the sun moves across the sky.  On that crisp morning, the windows caught the sun’s rays and the side of the building glistened golden and green, like a calm sea at sunrise.

                Only when I was able to tear my eyes from the building itself did the rest of the scene come into view.  I was standing at the edge of the plaza, about half a mile from the great pyramid.  The area between was a huge, open square filled with monuments, fountains, lush landscaping, and people.  Lots of people! 

                They bustle throughout the square like bees in a hive.  People of every possible nationality and time merged together, blending and separating like birds in flight.  Children played tag on the grass as parents watched from nearby park benches.  Humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and aliens from the farthest reaches of space came together in apparent harmony.  Ancient Greeks hailed Zulus, and Alchemists communed with robots, while the pixies plotted pranks from the bushes.

                What confounded me even more was how normal everyone found it.  Everyone but me.  To me the world seems to shift under my feet as layer upon layer of disparate visions clash in my head; a cacophony of sight that threatened to overwhelm me.

                Then, more than ever, I felt the true weight of what being a Newbie in Valhalla really is.  I was in a sea of life, separated from all I once knew, or thought possible.  As the enormity of this thought receded, however, I realized that I somehow felt comforted by it.  All the chains and boundaries of the old world were behind me.  Ahead were possibilities.