Writing Competition Submission - The Heart of a Planet

The Heart of a Planet
By Rymdhamster
2022-02-05

Logline
Three siblings set out across an abandoned world, heeding the call of a dying planet.

Story Summary
The planet of Melsevis was settled a millennia ago, with advanced terraforming machinery throughout the planets crust to keep the ecosystem stable. One of the scientists merged with the machinery to control the subtle fluctuations and create the best world for the inhabitants. Their life was greatly extended by the machinery, but every few hundred years a replacement was needed. This caused a generation of children more in tune with the nature to be born, children that could feel and to some extend control the ebbs and flows of life on the planet. Eventually one of these children would follow the currents of energy to the heart of the planet and take their place in the machinery.

But as life grew more and more comfortable, and automation made work easier and easier, fewer children were born. And now that the next replacement is needed, there are not many children available to answer the call. And as nature starts dying, more and more of them are taken off planet by their parents.

But three siblings decide to heed their call after their mother dies and their failing farm seem to be beyond rescue. They gather their belongings and set out across the more and more desolate landscape to solve the mystery of why the very nature seem to be calling out to them.

During their travel, the siblings’ different mentalities rub against each other and they being to ponder what the true order of things are. Should humankind change the world around them to suit its needs, or should it instead adapt and change with the world.

When they reach the end of their journey, each of them must decide if they are willing to give up their existence to rebuild the world as it was, or if they should let the world reform itself into what it was always meant to be, in the hopes that humans can find a place there.

In the end, once of the siblings sacrifice herself to take over control of the machinery, and with the remaining two siblings as prophets of a new beginning, she tries to blend the true nature of the planet with the necessities of humans, to create a new world more in balance with itself.

Main Character Descriptions

Sunan
Always looking for solutions, even if there is no problem or the solution is too risky.

Lini
Dreams of a better life, which is any life but this.

Kalum
Ponders the mystery of life, and if there is a greater plan

Acaton Mk3
Mechanical mule, content with existence

Setting Description
Nature is slowly dying on the planet. People are abandoning their farms and heading to the space port to buy tickets off world. Only a few farms remain, trying to make do without supplies and services. Villages, farms, and industries lie abandoned, but some automation is still running.

EPISODE SUMMARIES
Episode 1 - The Old Homestead
The three siblings work their family farm with their aging mother. Each has an encounter with some dying plants that seem to revive in their presence and then fade away. They talk about the problem of getting spare parts, as they have already salvaged everything from the nearby abandoned farms. Their mother collapses in the field and eventually dies. The siblings’ debate what to do. They realize they all feel nature drawing them somewhere and decide to leave together. Kalum points out a direction, and when asked says the grass looks greener that way.

Episode 2 - The Abandoned Farmlands
They pass an abandoned farm with a dried-out pool where a wolf has fallen in and can’t climb out. Kalum wonders if the right thing would be to help it or let nature take its course. Lini reflects that the pool is like this planet, if you can’t get out you will die. Sunan Lowers a plank, letting the wolf escape. Later, they join a family traveling to the space port. The child in the family shows the same affinity for nature as the siblings, but his parents don’t notice or care.

Episode 3 - The Spaceport
People are camping in the streets waiting for the next transport. Tickets are easy to get, but ships are few and far apart. Scalpers are selling tickets that are next in line. Lini wants to take the chance and leave and sells the mule for three tickets. Her siblings are furious and decide to steal back the mule to continue their search. Lini ends up in bad company, and realize the siblings are not only family, but also friends. She gives the tickets to a family, giving them hope. The siblings reunite and continue.

Episode 4 - The Industrial Zone
The siblings are fleeing through the shutdown industrial districts, chased by the angry scalpers. Malfunctioning, automatic processes and broken-down machines cause dangerous moments but are used to escape from the scalpers. On the far side is a swamp made of leaked chemicals and waste from the factories that was never collected. It has poisoned the area. The last scalper falls into the swamp but emerges half melted and corners the siblings. The wolf from before appears and ends the scalpers life but poisoned from the chemicals it also dies.

Episode 5 - The Wilderness Beyond
The siblings leave what counts as civilization behind and continues through the wilderness where at first everything seems to be dying. But at closer examination, they discover new species that seem to thrive. Moss and weeds that appear healthy, insects and small animals that have adapted to their environment. The siblings discover their presence cause this new life to thrive even more. The previously faded colors of nature now grow more and more vibrant as the siblings continue on.

Episode 6 - The Heart of the World
The siblings reach the distant mountains and discover an elevator that takes them deep underground to the ancient terraforming machinery of the planet. They encounter the world father, who is now dying, causing the planet to die as well if no one takes his place. Kalum wonders if the new life they found could replace the old. Sunan needs to know how it all works and takes the place as the new world mother. Together with Kalum and Lini, she lets the new life thrive and starts combating the pollution of old.

Tone
Contrasts, vibrant against faded colors. In the beginning it’s vibrant plastic and painted metal colors contrasted with the faded colors of dying grass. Glowing toxic pollution against sand. But then it transitions to lush vibrant greens of fresh growth and blossoms against with the fading and sun-bleached buildings and muted rust. The same goes for the people, where the siblings have a goal and a purpose, compared to the grey masses who have given up. But it’s also the contrast of hope and adventure against despair and ambivalence.

Theme
A basic theme throughout is environmentalism and the unwanted effects of just throwing things away. The need to recycle resources and make do with what you have. It’s also about the natural cycle of death and rebirth, self-sacrifice, existentialism, and having to build a better world yourself when no one else seems to care.

Contact:

rymdhamster@rocketmail.com

2 Likes

I really like this. There are a couple spots where I can envision the quiet ambience of a scene. I most enjoy the theme you’ve decided to focus on, and how your work raises the question of what humanity’s role in nature is meant to be. The answer you seem to deliver is that humans are meant to intervene and help nature along as its dutiful custodians. I get down with that

1 Like

Thank you so much =)! That is my own conviciton, but I hope there would be room to explore different takes on it through the siblings diffrent viewpoints.

Loved your story summary! Clear and concise with a rich world that isn’t complete bogged down by world building. Nice work.

1 Like

Riktigt intressant, helt klart bästa bidraget!

1 Like

Tack sĂĄ mycket, det uppskattas!

Thank you! Yes, I figured with only six short episodes, you don’t want to waste to much time on trying to explain a bunch of lore.