19 episodes

A political science fiction podcast fueled by hope and finding meaning in ordinary moments.

In the distant future, the leaders and thinkers of Kielash are offered entry into The Collected, the greatest power in the region. In search of information and hoping to make as informed a choice as possible, they enlist the help of an Archivist from The Collected Archives who guides them through a series of entries from lost and abandoned worlds in The Collected’s past.

The Last Echoes Trace Callahan

    • Fiction
    • 5.0 • 1 Rating

A political science fiction podcast fueled by hope and finding meaning in ordinary moments.

In the distant future, the leaders and thinkers of Kielash are offered entry into The Collected, the greatest power in the region. In search of information and hoping to make as informed a choice as possible, they enlist the help of an Archivist from The Collected Archives who guides them through a series of entries from lost and abandoned worlds in The Collected’s past.

    Touch the Ground

    Touch the Ground

    AUDIO) We begin on a space station, hearing the hum of the slow-turning engine. The room is large and nearly empty.

    ARCHIVIST: Welcome to the Archives. Our record for review today will be from section 27: Historical Worlds. The planet Ellori is one of our oldest samples, from the fourth wave before the Founding.

    Please note that any opinions expressed in these samples belong solely to the speaker on record and do not reflect the views of this station, the archival union, or the Collected Archives itself. If anything in this review causes listener distress or confusion please report to the nearest attendant for assistance. Potential sources of distress include homesickness and colonization. Please also note there will be time for questions and observations once the sample has concluded.

    [AUDIO][At the sound of an electronic swoop, the sounds of the space station fade away. They are replaced by a windy, grassy plain.]

    JAI: Sure is cold out here. It was so bright out when the meeting broke up this morning I just took off without my sweater. Typical, you’d say, and you’d be right. There’s no way I was going to spend my last day on the planet tucked up in my room or in some looming building with lights buzzing and doors beeping. So here I am at the edge of the woods again, shivering. If only I had my big sister along nagging me about things like sweaters and making sense, and lunch.

    (JAI cont) I needed to say goodbye, I guess. After all the time we spent out here pretending the city didn’t exist I couldn’t just… leave. What was I, four when you first dragged me outside the wall? Four, terrified, and absolutely Not going to tell my sister I wanted to go home. You treated this place like it really mattered, like some huge important secret you were finally going to let me in on. No way was I giving that up.

    And you were right.

    [AUDIO] The grass and stony ground crunches underfoot as our speaker walks slowly toward a city throughout this recording.

    (JAI cont) All that time poking around in the dirt and playing with weeds, and we somehow made it into our lives. Maybe after tomorrow, once us noisy colonists are gone you can take your students out here and show them everything. Let them dig their hands into the dirt and feel it like we did, let them fall in love with the weeds. Maybe they’ll find something as special as our Bluestar, and change the world.

    [AUDIO] The footsteps stop and Jai crouches down.

    They just… smell so good. All of them, even the grass. That green, bitter, windy smell the walls keep out along with everything else. I’m… I’m going to miss that smell. Think the ship monitors will know if I take a bit of it with me? One of the grass pods maybe? A seed cone? They wouldn’t space me for breaking some kind of “alien plant species intermingling” regulation, right?

    It’s a huge honor. I know you said you’d rather stay here and enjoy all the elbow room but you know my feet didn’t touch the ground the day they asked me to go. Jai Garonn, the dirt-scientist going into space and making a new world? Can you imagine how much Mom must have bragged? I know it’s about the soil, not me, but they need Me to make it so, well… ok I bragged too. Me and my useless bluestar weeds, turning rocky fields into farmland, freeing the new world from vat-food.

    Geh… I hope I can. The first landing team took samples and it seems like what worked here will work even better there, but… I won’t know until we get there and get it to work. Can you imagine if it doesn’t happen? If they cart my dirt-loving self halfway across the galaxy and it turns out I’m wrong? It’s a good thing there won’t be any fuel left for sending people Back!

    (JAI cont) I’ll make it work though, somehow. Like you always said sis, we’re like these weeds. We’ll grow through stone and thrive on sunshine and stubbornness if that’s what it takes.

    [AUDIO] The footsteps resume, on harder-packed ground quieter with l

    • 11 min
    I Still Look Just Like Me

    I Still Look Just Like Me

    [AUDIO) We begin on a space station, hearing the hum of the slow turning engine. The room is large and nearly empty.

    ARCHIVIST: Welcome to the Archives. Our record for review today will be from section 27: Historical Worlds. Today’s sample is from one of the oldest homes of the Collected Archives, the planet Vadd. For any visitors seeking the usual review of our last recorded session, the Archives must apologize. That recording was somehow damaged during transmission and is with our data specialists for repair. We will be advised as soon as it is once again available.

    Please note that any opinions expressed in these samples belong solely to the speaker on record and do not reflect the views of this station, the archival union, or the Collected Archives itself. If anything in this review causes listener distress or confusion please report to the nearest attendant for assistance. Potential sources of distress include military service and battle. Please also note there will be time for questions and observations once the sample has concluded.



    [AUDIO][At the sound of an electronic swoop, the sounds of the space station fade away. They are replaced by a fountain somewhere in the quiet part of a citadel. The burble of the fountain almost covers up the constant hum of a nearby power. Throughout the recording several plops can be heard, like the sound of pebbles hitting the water.

    OROSH: Hi Mom. Hi Dad. It’s Orosh. If you’re wondering why there’s no video I promise the recorder you gave me works, but it turns out something in the soil here messes with the signal. If you really want to see me full of jagged lines and bright out of context pixels let me know for next time. It’s only been a week so I still look just like me.

    I do wish you could see the place I’m sitting in though. It’s… There’s a fountain right next to me. Water comes up out of the top of a planet and flows down into sides intto the basin, and there are flowers and fish carved all over the edges. I’m sitting in one of the flowers. The fish… th- they- they have… eyes and it’s just a little creepy after a while. I’m still not sure how I feel about food that can see me?. Just.. just imagine it though. The water flows all the time. There’s another fountain closer to the center of the city, a bigger one with water coming out in three different places but I like it better here. It’s peaceful.

    You were right about how loud it would be. At home we’re pretty far from the mines and the port traffic’s only a few times a day. Here there are ships coming and going all the time, and the ground-shuttle’s everywhere. The traffic never stops and the lights are always on. They put night-shields on our windows to help us sleep but it’s still brighter than my roommate and I are used to.

    Oh! I- I think you’d like Rel. She’s from Aldeir, that planet we used to see sometimes early in the morning right near the horizon. She was studying to be a tech mechanic there so that’s probably where she’ll end up here too. She’s Definitely ahead of me in science but I think I have her beat in equations.

    (Orosh cont.) First week lessons were a lot, but I can’t believe how much I didn’t know about our own history! Do you know how many worlds our people went through before they finally found the perfect home? Vadd’s the fifth central world. The other four just… we used them up I guess? Resources gone, water dried up, dusty and tired and only livable if you have domes like we do back home. I guess they started off nice enough but… well, Vadd’s lasted longer than any of the others by centuries! They say we got it right this time, and we’re on the forever-home.

    Oh, I’m supposed to meet with one of the attendants tomorrow to talk about my placement. I thought we’d have a little more time before picking a specialty but that’s ok. They’ll talk to me about service too. You know how we wondered about this academy being free? It

    • 11 min
    Keep My Hands Busy and My Mind Free

    Keep My Hands Busy and My Mind Free

    [AUDIO) We begin on a space station, hearing the hum of the slow turning engine. The room is large and nearly empty.

    ARCHIVIST: Welcome to the Archives. Our record for review today will be from section 27: Historical Worlds. Today’s sample is from Thelddin, one of our now uninhabited mechanical mines. Before we begin I would like to take a moment to update you on the situation with our first reviewed record. The specialists believe it will be available for listeners in a few more days although there may be a few places where the audio is beyond repair. We will be advised as soon as it has been restored to the best possible quality.

    Please note that any opinions expressed in these samples belong solely to the speaker on record and do not reflect the views of this station, the archival union, or the Collected Archives itself. If anything in this review causes listener distress or confusion please report to the nearest attendant for assistance. Potential sources of distress include the sound of severe weather. Please also note there will be time for questions and observations once the sample has concluded.

    _[AUDIO][At the sound of an electronic swoop, the sounds of the space station fade away. They are replaced by the sound of a storm, wind gusting against stone. The sound echoes as if inside a large stone room.

    [AUDIO] A rock being dragged over stone._

    DES: Oof! Well, that storm came up quick. Good thing we’re already snugged up in here. Just give me a little time and it’ll be as sound as the house ever was.

    [AUDIO] A baby squeals and makes small noises as Des speaks. More noises of rocks being moved.

    DES: Hm, probably sounder if I’m being honest, which I suppose I should be, given everything. I’ve always felt that good conversation helped hard work along, and since everyone’s busy in the living cavern except you and me, and you’re barely old enough to hold your head up, I guess conversation falls to me. I’ll record it though, so that someday when you want to know who that old man was and they talk to you about Nanny Des you’ll have something other than echoes and tall tales to go on.

    [AUDIO] The scrape of a trowel.

    It’s odd to think, you won’t remember any home but here. Sure, you were born under a warm sky but by the time you have any idea what’s going on the wind’ll have worn all our old places away. Eh… You’ll likely find the caverns a comfort, safety and home, not gloomy and dark. Heh. Maybe it’s for the best. Maybe after a few more kids are born here and you start growing up, there won’t be as much longin’, pinin’ for the sun and the outside. Let me tell you, right now it’s so thick you could drink it.

    [AUDIO] Happy baby squeal. The baby babble and sounds of trowel digging and scraping continue under Des.

    DES: They’re still talkin’ about how much to tell you, you and any other kids we have I mean. There’s a group that wants to teach you just like they were taught, history and nearby planets and even surface agriculture just in case things heat up again or something. Some of the rest want to start a whole new batch of traditions and make history start with today, with movin’ in. Ah… I guess I don’t see how you can begin any kind of story with “We moved off the surface and into the caves and it was much better, and then Des built a wall because he knew how, and then the wind stopped comin’ in.” Too many questions live on the edges there. No. We’re a curious species, humans. You’d never let that stand.

    Our story began a lot earlier than that, kiddo. Hmm. We could start it when we came to the world maybe, and some other stubborn fool like me was building a wall, except this one was under the sky, houses for new colonists, farms and wind towers. We could start it when we first tapped the core, when energy became easy and cheap, when money from the other worlds started comin’ in. We could maybe even start with the first cold summer, a bunch of scienti

    • 11 min
    Harmony

    Harmony

    [AUDIO) We begin on a space station, hearing the hum of the slow turning engine. The room is large and nearly empty.

    ARCHIVIST: Welcome to the Archives. Our record for review today will be from section 27: Historical Worlds. Today’s sample is from Iveh, one of the earliest settled worlds in this quadrant. We will be observing a history lesson taught by an Attendant. As promised, I have an update about the damaged recording. It has been restored to the fullest extent possible and is once again available for replay. Thank you for your patience.

    Please note that any opinions expressed in these samples belong solely to the speaker on record and do not reflect the views of this station, the archival union, or the Collected Archives itself. If anything in this review causes listener distress or confusion please report to the nearest attendant for assistance. Potential sources for distress include rioting and civil unrest. Please also note there will be time for questions and observations once the sample has concluded.

    [AUDIO] [At the sound of an electronic swoop, the sounds of the space station fade away. They are replaced by near silence, a quiet room. We can occasionally hear people shifting in their seats.

    SHAST EHV: All right, that will do Zell. You had it mostly right. This world was founded by citizens from several older worlds, but long before we came here we were united. The people who journeyed here gathered on a cold and distant moon to build their ships and prepare. They had time to learn and adapt to each-other’s ways long before trying to make this place a home. That’s why we’ve done so well here. Harmony.

    Here.

    [AUDIO] A glitchy, draggy sound as Shast Ehv uses her interface. The recorded sound of a forest with a river, birdsong and water sounds dominant, fills the room.

    SHAST EHV: Here’s a live feed of the river not far from where we sit now. Let’s take a look at how harmony was achieved when we created this home, and how it reinforces itself.

    [AUDIO] A swooping staticky [sound as the view shifts. We still hear the forest.

    SHAST EHV: Take a look at the tallest trees, and watch how their uppermost leaves form a nearly complete canopy. Light does make it past them to the ground below but it’s filtered and muted, made gentle enough for the moss and those berries Aldev likes so much to grow without scorching or drying.

    [AUDIO[ The static-swoop again, another shift in view. The water is quieter.

    SHAST EHV: When the first people arrived here they realized the sun was bright and close enough to burn most of the plants they wanted to raise here, so forests like this were planted anywhere they wanted to use for farming.

    [AUDIO] Another static-swoop. The river is louder again.

    SHAST EHV: Diverting the river to flow here also cools the area and keeps the food plants well watered. They in their turn nourish the soil which keeps the trees healthy. Harmony. We have sought it for so long, on so many worlds. We’ve been close. I thought…

    [AUDIO] A chime interrupts, and with a quick swoop the forest sounds stop.

    SHAST EHV: Ah! I see your question on my screen Zell. Well done. Your spelling is getting better.

    No the others will not be joining us today. After the unpleasantness of last night they decided it would be safer for them to view a recording of class later, at home. I’m very glad some of you were able to come today. I know some of what you saw on the broadcast screens was confusing, and even frightening, and I’m sure you all have questions but today we’re covering history. Your families I’m sure would prefer to explain at home, in their own words.

    There is a tie-in though, to history. Here.

    [AUDIO] A rippling electronic swoop up.

    SHAST EHV: If you’ll tap the glowing J on the right of your screen you’ll see part of today’s reading, a page from the journal of Esdo Ehv. We’ve spoken about him before, the Attendant who was tasked with recording our world’s first hundred years.

    • 9 min
    Remember Green, Remember

    Remember Green, Remember

    [AUDIO) We begin on a space station, hearing the hum of the slow turning engine. The room is large and nearly empty.

    ARCHIVIST: Welcome to the Archives. Our record for review today will be from section 27: Historical Worlds. Today’s sample is from Tiroh, then a rich farming world. Please note that any opinions expressed in these samples belong solely to the speaker on record and do not reflect the views of this station, the archival union, or the Collected Archives itself. If anything in this review causes listener distress or confusion please report to the nearest attendant for assistance. Potential sources of distress include mild cursing. Please also note there will be time for questions and observations once the sample has concluded.

    [AUDIO] [At the sound of an electronic swoop, the sounds of the space station fade away. They are replaced by a rushing stream. There’s a little wind.

    LAS: Well I… I guess I’ve turned it on, though I don’t know what I’m supposed to say.

    [AUDIO] small, mechanical noises followed by the long sound of a line being cast out into the water. The sound of the line being played out continues as Las speaks.

    LAS: It’s um… It’s… It’s sunrise, or just about. The stream’s a bit high and fast from last night’s rain. I guess that’ll be good for the green too.

    The launch isn’t until almost dark, so I have most of the day. I figured to spend the morning here. Otherwise it’s just too long a goodbye.

    Ah!

    [AUDIO] A splash the fishing line being reeled in

    LAS: Heh, eh, ah! Hah! Almost had ya!

    You can see the farm from here, you know. It looks just fine. Plenty of green, neat rows of it just like always. You’d never think, just looking…

    [AUDIO] the line being cast again

    LAS: [with a slight laugh] I think this recorder’s scaring all the birds off. Usually I’ve company when I fish. Then again, the fish are scarce too.

    Glad it’s clear out. If I got to pick a day to hold onto, take with me it’d be one like this.

    [AUDIO] the soft ticking of the line playing out, then being slowly reeled in as Las speaks

    LAS: I think the thing I’ll… I’ll miss most, besides all of you of course, is this quiet. Up there everything will be tied to generators and computers and engines, even the air. I expect you get used to the drone of it after a while but… eh.

    Funny that we’re leaving in spring. You’d expect it to be later.

    [AUDIO] A few clicks as he fiddles with the reel, then the sound of the line being cast again

    LAS: Remember that song, the one about the seasons?

    [LAS - singing]: IF SPRING’S A BRIGHT YOUNG MORNING
    THE PROMISE OF A DAY
    THEN AUTUMN’S SOFT SURRENDER
    HELPS TO SLEEP THE COLD AWAY

    [AUDIO] the sound of the line being reeled back in slowly

    LAS: I keep thinking about it. About how Tiroh’s like a year, and the year before was the Andoli moon, and the next year will be some new place, except all the seasons are generations long.

    You’d never know it without putting your hands in the ground or counting the crops, that we’re almost to Tiroh’s winter. I hope once we get there there’ll be enough left to keep things green for you, at least for long enough.

    [sings again]
    TILL WE RETURN TO SPRINGTIME
    LET ME DREAM, LET ME REST
    AND REMEMBER SUN, REMEMBER GREEN, REMEMBER

    I just wish it were earlier, that we still had some summer left, here.

    [AUDIO] faster clicking as the line is pulled in

    LAS: You all hope once we’re on the orbitals I’ll move on, find a partner, have some children and go looking for our next spring. Maybe I will, but I’m not there yet.

    [AUDIO] reeling the line in quickly followed by a small splash

    LAS: Damnit, lost the hook.

    [AUDIO] a couple of footsteps and the sound of a metal lid being opened

    LAS: They say the orbitals are more efficient, but you know I have to wonder. Why didn’t we start off with them then?

    Tiroh’s beautiful, and ours. Why use it up first? We’ve had orbitals before, on the last three world

    • 8 min
    I Choose Them

    I Choose Them

    [AUDIO) We begin on a space station, hearing the hum of the slow turning engine. The room is large and nearly empty.

    ARCHIVIST: Welcome to the Archives. Our record for review today will be from section 27: Historical Worlds. Today’s sample is from Hune, once one of the most successful trade centers of the sector.

    Please note that any opinions expressed in these samples belong solely to the speaker on record and do not reflect the views of this station, the archival union, or the Collected Archives itself. If anything in this review causes listener distress or confusion please report to the nearest attendant for assistance. Possible sources of distress include mention of an election. Please also note there will be time for questions and observations once the sample has concluded.

    [AUDIO] [At the sound of an electronic swoop, the sounds of the space station fade away. They are replaced by the muttering and rustling of a crowded room.

    KAVLIN clears his throat and the muttering and movement quickly fades to silence.

    KAVLIN DO: Citizens, my friends.

    To all who have supported me on this long journey, let me start with thank you. We have spent what feels like a lifetime trying to change the world, trying to hold the hearts and minds of a people whose options have felt closed for so long they have forgotten to dream. We have weathered the disdain, disbelief, and discord our opponents have aimed at us. We have risen to every challenge, and we have done so with fire in our bellies and courage in our hearts.

    What we began two years ago in a common room, our spark of passion, belief, and duty may be paused today but it is not ended. The voters had a choice, and they chose against us. We now have a choice of our own.

    [AUDIO] the crowd grows briefly restless with a few coughs and the sound of people shifting in their seats

    I choose them, and I ask you to join me.

    KAVLIN DO: I choose them because I believe that beneath the fear, beneath the worn and weary eyes and hands around us are the spirits of people who would choose hope if they could reach it. I ask you to join me in bringing that hope just a few spans closer, so that the next time they have a chance it won’t feel too far away to be real.

    I choose them because I know that the hateful, divisive words they shout and whisper about us every day are born in fear, that they see our joy and our community and it stirs them to anger, but that somewhere within them they’re longing to join us. I ask you to join me in showing them our faces every day. Some of them will never turn to us, but for those few who will, I intend an open door.

    I choose them because without them we are too few, and without us they are too downcast, but if we can come together we still have the power to change this world before it is too late. I ask you to join me, and to remain steadfast, because it is not too late.

    Not quite.

    Today’s defeat means that our world will most likely send them our answer soon, and then, within a blink we’ll be one of their outer worlds. The changes coming within the next few years will be vast, and so quick that they might seem unstoppable.

    But we have time.

    If we regain the throat of this world, if we can cry out against the fate of our neighbors just once before being consigned to the dust and darkness, before being asked to leave, to become, to join, then we can remain whole.

    KAVLIN DO: To those who chose against us, please, listen to what we have been saying. There is no power at stake now. You’ve given that away but hear our voices still repeating our plea for time, for sense, and for care. It is easy to choose fear. It is easy to give away your power and let someone else make the decisions, to watch and to wait. But what begins as easy will end in tears if we let it. We all love our world. It’s home. It’s our history and our future, unless we surrender it to the hunger and might of the great galactic giant.

    To those who celebrate tonight, the victors

    • 9 min

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