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Wish upon the Stars (Original Superhero cultivation sci fi litrpg)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Malcolm Tent, Mar 19, 2022.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1
    Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    I groaned as I pushed the door shut. I was exhausted. Today had been my monthly compulsory education download, and those always took it out of me. No matter how many times I sat in that uncomfortable metal chair and got let them stick those awful leads to my temples it never got any less jarring or uncomfortable. Still, it was better than the alternative, rumor had it back before the download had been perfected they forced everyone at or under majority to sit in cramped rooms all day and learn everything through rote memorization. That sounded like torture to me.

    Luckily, the download didn't actually hurt, it was just tiring and annoying to sit through. I called it a win in any case. I dropped my wallet and scan ring on the table by the door as I slipped off my shoes and headed inside. The lights were on when I got here, but that didn't mean much, so I raised my voice to call for my Uncle. "Hey Zeke, you here?" I got no response, but Zeke could get a bit wrapped up in his work so I headed back to his workshop to double check. The door was unlocked as usual and pushing it open all I saw was an empty workbench full of creepy painted masks, as usual.

    I shrugged. Seemed like he wasn't home. I headed back to the kitchen and popped a mat stick into the materializer, selecting the meal I wanted and pressing the button. I left the food to construct and headed over to slump down on the couch calling out a command to the scan box on the table against the wall. A floating screen of light identical to the one that appeared over my scan ring when it was in use appeared above the table, and I instructed the box. "Local news. Let's see what's going on today."

    The scan box brought up the local feeds as instructed. Scan tech was incredibly intuitive, a sort of amalgamation of old style AR and hardlight tech pioneered about a century ago by an Ascendant who went by the name of Dr. Radical. No one was quite sure why he called himself that, but mad scientists tended to be even weirder than most Ascendants, and even the heroic ones were usually pretty nuts, as evidenced by their label. Still, their creations made up about half of today's commonly used technology, so it was hard to be too dismissive.

    That attitude sadly, was not one shared by most people in the Conglomerate, as mad scientists were part of a select group of Ascendant powers that were considered to be high risk for corruption. Any potentially corrupt power was treated with suspicion and scorn, and that was one of the many reasons heroic mad scientists like Dr. Radical were an anomaly. It was a shame too, because they were damn useful, but so many of them got driven off the heroic track and ended up specializing in weapons because of all the disdain.

    The feed today was pretty standard. Some heroic Ascendants from the Unity going up against one of the local criminal gangs. Most of the heroic Ascendants in the city ended up working for the Unity, mostly because their training centers were the only real place to get an introductory course on your powers when you Ascended. There used to be other places that would give a tutorial class on power use, but over time they had all ended up being "uncovered" by the Unity as being villain affiliated.

    They weren't all bad though, Zeke hated them with a passion but I was pretty impressed with some of the executives. I wasn't really clear on how Ascendant powers worked since non Ascendants weren't really allowed to be in the know on that kind of stuff, but they could do some amazing things, plus the girls were pretty universally hot and almost all wore skimpy outfits, so what was there not to like. My personal favorite was Nightstrike, probably the youngest of the executives based on what you could tell in costume. Some people even claimed she was eighteen like I was.

    After watching a light type Ascendant newbie from Unity named Captain Polaris bounce a couple goons who wore the telltale black suits and red heart painted masks of the Queen of Hearts goons I ordered the scan box to open my emails and started sifting through all my messages. I figured it was unlikely that Zeke bothered to tell me he wasn't going to be home but it was always a possibility. I scanned through the list of messages looking for his name but didn't see anything, and I was about to close the client when a name jumped out at me from the list.

    Elijah Wyndham. I frowned. My dad never bothered to message me, I hadn't seen him in years and I rarely even heard from him. Still I was curious enough to open the message. It was a video message, and when I clicked it my father's face popped up on the screen. His sandy blonde hair and bright green eyes were only a few of the many features we shared, and despite being much taller than average at six foot three, I lacked the gravitas my old man could project even over the screen.

    His piercing green gaze locked onto me as the message opened, almost like he was staring out the screen right into my soul, and I swallowed nervously. He always had that effect on me. On everyone I was pretty sure. His voice was flat and composed as he spoke to me, like I was a business acquaintance. "Hello Shane. Apologies for my lateness but I wanted to wish you a happy belated eighteenth birthday. I realize I'm a week or two behind but I've taken the liberty of sending you a token of congratulations via courier."

    I almost fell off the couch. That was...wildly out of character. My dad didn't give gifts. Not for birthdays, or Christmas, or even for special events like weddings. He felt they implied obligation in one direction or another, and despised the concept of favors owed. My father insisted that life was a series of transactions, and that if something was to be given, an equal price should be paid in recompense. I was honestly flabbergasted that he would even think of something like a birthday present. I wasn't really sure how to take that.

    His clipped voice continued speaking as if he was reading my mind. "This token is not a gift. It as a form of repayment for my years of absence and for my failure to enlighten you on certain subjects which will later become apparent to you. I felt this was only fair, as this will be the last time I take the initiative to contact you. You are an adult now, and my messages, as few as they may have been, were and attempt to engage with a child." His voice was hard, but not cold, as he stared out of the screen sharply.

    I...didn't know what to think. He was just cutting contact with me? He'd never been a great parent, but this was a bit abrupt even for him. I saw a slight softening around his eyes as he finished his message, the last paragraph clearly meant to soften the earlier statements as much as he was able. "Our family is a harsh one, Shane. You have to be strong to survive being a Wyndham. If you can't gain that strength and come to find me, never speaking to you again is more of a kindness than you can know. For what it's worth though, I hope to see you again someday, son. Goodbye."

    The message vanished. In fact, it was literally deleted from my inbox, and upon further searches so were all the other messages my father had ever sent me. I kept them in a saved folder, and I'd only ever had maybe a dozen of them in there, but now the emails and the folder itself had vanished, and any searches I did completely failed to bring up even a mention of my fathers name. Even mentions of him in other emails weren't showing up, and when I checked a few emails to Zeke where I knew I'd mentioned him his name had been altered or deleted altogether.

    I was just floored. Not only had I never expected this, my birthday had been over a week ago. The email was recent, like from today, and lateness was not a habit my father indulged in. I stood up, walking over to the materializer and taking out the hot steak sandwich I had set to construct before beginning the message, what seemed like ten minutes or even an hour ago, but had been, based on the time one of these took to make, less than two minutes. I took a bite of the hot steak, trying to focus and figure out what the hell had just happened.

    Before I could focus much though I heard a knock on my door. I jumped, having been so distracted by my reverie I actually dropped my sandwich on the hard wood of my living room. I cursed and picked the thing back up, checking to make sure it wasn't visibly dirty before wiping up the slight mess with the napkin I had wrapped around the sandwich. I shrugged it off. I was hungry and the wiper unit cleaned the floors while we slept at night so no muss no fuss. I took another bite, pleased it was still just as good and headed to the door to open it.

    Whoever had knocked hadn't bothered to try again, just leaving as soon as they'd rapped on the door, because I didn't see anyone in either direction down the hall. I assumed this was the "token of congratulations" my dad had mentioned, so I picked up the dark wood box with my non sandwich hand and carried it inside, kicking the door closed. I carried it into the kitchen and set it on the counter, scarfing down the rest of my sandwich. Then I washed my hands, drying them thoroughly and carried the thing to the table in the dining room nearby.

    Opening it proved to be simple enough. It had a brass cypher lock like the ones my father used to give me as tests when I was a kid. A brass dial surrounded by a series of shiftable rings. I had to turn the rings to make a labyrinth, shifting the dial in between turns to extend a metal wire along the path. Once the wire was threaded through the rings to the outside of the lock I would push it in and a short electric charge would be conducted from the dial the rim of the lock, popping the latch and opening the box.

    This particular lock had twelve rings and was unusually complicated, but I'd done enough of these to figure it our after some trial and error and after about a half hour I finally pressed the dial button and the box opened with a click. I nodded with a smile, I'd always felt pretty proud of myself after I did one of these, and even my dad was usually impressed. That thought wiped away the smile, since it reminded me he'd just basically cut ties with me completely, so I opened the lid and looked inside to see what he'd sent me.

    Inside the box was a rolled up piece of old yellow paper. I frowned, but figured he wouldn't have sent me something useless. I unrolled the paper, but as I did, a small point of metal, something like a needle, which had been rolled up in it, pricked my finger. I dropped the paper with a curse, and it oddly rolled itself out flat as my blood dripped onto the yellowed surface. When my blood hit the paper though, it didn't soak in. In fact the paper did the opposite of get wet. It caught fire. A wave of purple flame rolled across the parchment from the spot my blood struck and I stared in slack jawed amazement as it scrawled out a phrase that was meaningless to me, yet somehow filled me with trepidation.

    Welcome young Wishmaster. It's finally time to begin.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  2. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    Hello all, this is my newest story, an original novel. I'm already more than 10k deep into it on my patreon and I'll be updating daily on the same schedule as my other stories. 2k per day with five advance patreon chapters and a 10k compilation chapter to other sites every five days. Hope you all enjoy, I'm really excited about this one.
     
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  3. anirocks

    anirocks always lurking

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    Honestly this scifi cultivation is jarring for me as it is becoming difficult to reconcile the two. that being said i am willing to see where this goes before any commenting
    p.s.:- which cultivation system are you using. is it an og cultivation system or something from other shows like hunter x hunter or soul land
     
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  4. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    It's a superhero based conceptual cultivation. It's only loosely a cultivation system.
     
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  5. TRm

    TRm Connoisseur.

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    Seems pretty interesting so far, I'm especially curious to see where the world-building goes
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Chapter 2
    Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    Now, one might think the thing that would scare me in that situation was the purple flaming piece of paper that seemed to have swallowed my blood. That person would be wrong. Mostly because I recognized the name printed on the paper and it belonged to someone even I had heard of. Callus, the planet I lived on, was a pissant backwater production planet on the outskirts of the Conglomerate. We were probably the poorest planet in this solar system, if not the entire galaxy. We were barely hooked into the Conglomerate news media, and even then, I had still heard of the Wishmaster.

    The Wishmaster was a universe level criminal. In point of fact he was considered one of the top three on the list of thirteen most wanted criminals in the universe. Exactly where in that top three ranking he fell was a hotly debated matter, especially since the Wishmaster was a legacy title that changed hands multiple times over the centuries, but whoever the current Wishmaster was always had a spot in the top three. The Wishmaster wasn't ranked so high just out of raw power, though no one in the Unlucky Thirteen was personally weak, but more accurately because of his personal force, the Wish Curse Palace.

    The Wish Curse Palace wasn't a place, or even a number of places. They were a sort of universal black market. They were known for their strict adherence to contract and were renowned as being the most reliable black market source for illegal goods in any of the known systems. The Wish Curse Palace might not have the manpower of the Empire, the Fairyland, or the Conglomerate, nor did they have the fanatical reputation of the Church of the Red Revenant or the Black Sorrow Cult, but they were hands down the richest of the known factions, and they had eyes and ears everywhere.

    For some unknown reason no one had even betrayed the Wish Curse Palace, and all attempts to infiltrate them had failed spectacularly, leading to an incredibly terrifying reputation that gave even the major powers on the universal playing field pause. This was general knowledge even a hick from bumfuck nowhere like me was aware of, which only served to underscore how absolutely terrifying it was that I was holding something that belonged to the Wishmaster. Did my dad work for the Wishmaster? Had he stolen this somehow? Was he the Wishmaster himself?

    As much as it seemed like the third option was the only real feasible choice I just couldn't bring myself to believe it. My father was competent and terrifying in his own way sure, but being the head of a force that stood equal with the whole Conglomerate? The Conglomerate and the other members of the Five Faction Alliance like the Empire spanned millions of worlds. How could my father be involved with something on that scale? Unfortunately that particular question would have to wait because the words hadn't stopped and the thing seemed to be continuing to list more information.

    Wishmaster candidate status. I-rank. Ability: Minor Wish- Three times a day grant a minor wish in return for proper compensation. Wish must be feasibly achievable by the candidate's own efforts within a three day period with current statistics. Current statistics:
    Might-1
    Impact-1
    Fantasy-1
    Vitality-1
    Focus-1
    Perception-1
    Creation-1


    That was...a lot. First of all I knew what an ability was. It was what made someone an Ascendant. I'd even seen the occasional reference to Might or Vitality before, and those were definitely words associated with Ascendants. I was presumably an Ascendant now. I might not have believed it but purple fire that doesn't burn things is a pretty convincing method of delivering news. Second of all it said candidate. Which meant I was possibly one of multiple people who had been given this particular ability...however the fuck that worked.

    So...maybe dad wasn't the Wishmaster? Maybe he just knew him? But he had mentioned our family so maybe we were related to him? My fucking brain was hurting. This was too much too fast. I rolled up the paper, unable to find the stick pin that had shed my blood despite looking for it everywhere. Still, I wanted to put this thing somewhere safe for now. It was obviously important. As I slipped it back into the box however I found something else. A black metal card with nothing on it but the etching of an old style lamp with a skull emblazoned on the front.

    It was the logo of the Wish Curse Palace. I recognized the symbol from the various tags that had been painted across the less prosperous parts of the city. I was pretty much out of fucks to give at this point, so despite being pretty sure this thing would be useful for me somehow I just shoved it in my pocket, shoved the scroll back in the box, and clicked the lid shut, spinning the latch to pop the button out. With that I grabbed my scan ring from the front table, put the box under my arm and headed back to my room.

    I'd originally been planning to read, so I left my ring out front so I wouldn't be tempted to game tonight. It was the weekly Doom Sovereign challenge, and I'd already lost more than enough credits betting on myself to enter the finals. I was semi addicted to the game, a widescale rpg that allowed you to pit your character against other players in massive elimination tournaments every week. I actually wasn't bad, but I wasn't in the top ten percent even for this planet, and considering the game had a universe spanning fanbase in the trillions that meant I pretty much wasn't shit.

    The elimination tourneys usually went by region though, so I'd tried my luck recently to make some cash and got cleaned out when I realized I wasn't as good as I thought. Despite my addiction to the game though I wasn't interested in Doom Sovereign right now, I was looking to get in contact with my best friend Benny. I fired off a request for a video conference, trying to decide what I was even supposed to tell him, since I knew discussing any of this directly would get me murdered or thrown in prison for sure. The Conglomerate monitored all means of communication, my dad may have been able to circumvent that shit somehow but I most certainly couldn't.

    Within thirty seconds the call picked up, and the smiling, olive skinned face of my best friend appeared on the screen. Benny's sparkling green eyes were glowing with amusement as he smirked at me from the screen floating above my extended hand, the call interface generated by the scan ring just as perfect and clear as if I was looking through a hole in the wall at someone two feet away. "Shane, didn't think I'd hear from you today. You lost so badly last week I expected you to spend all day sulking in your room in the dark like a luddite."

    I ignored how valid that prediction was and rolled my eyes. "I still kicked your ass, so don't be too smug. But I'm not calling about the game. I need to talk to you in person, somewhere private. Can you get away?" Benny's parents tended to be much stricter than Zeke. My Uncle was a sloppy unreliable drunk, but he was also a generally affable guy who mostly let me do my own thing. Benny's parents, on the other hand, were heavily involved in local politics, and his father was actually the leader of the planet's miner's union.

    Despite how that may sound, the miner's union wielded insane amount's of power on our little production planet, and outside the local branch of the Unity Benny's dad Hector was probably the most powerful person on our planet. He was generally pretty affable, but Benny's mom Amber was a total tight ass about image. I half suspected she let me hang out with Benny because it looked good for her precious boy to spend time with a down on his luck local kid like me. Despite that she was incredibly strict about when and where he was allowed to go, and it was almost sundown on a Friday night so there was a decent chance he wouldn't be allowed to leave.

    To my relief he just waved me off. "Nah, mom and dad are at some kind of charity gala the Unity is putting on. They won't be back for hours and Maria already took of with her boyfriend. Even if they came home early and somehow caught me out I could just tell them I was out with you and throw her under the bus. You know how much they hate Zack." I did. Benny's younger sister Maria was sixteen and still in her rebellious phase. Her boyfriend Zack was a local street thug our age who did odd jobs for the Queen of Heart's cronies.

    Zack liked to act like that made him hot shit, but he was mostly just a sniveling little creep. He avoided Benny and I like the plague because Benny was Maria's brother and I was much bigger than most people, so we mostly did him the courtesy of leaving him alone as long as he didn't get Maria into any real trouble. Besides that Maria never went anywhere without her best friend slash bodyguard Anna, who was an Ascendant, albeit a pretty weak one from what I knew, so even if he did get her into a situation she would be fine.

    Still I was glad for her annoying habits tonight as I shot my best friend a grateful smile. "Ok, meet me at the park near your place." I paused, unsure of how much to say over this line, but I figured there was at least one thing I could share without any danger to either of us, since I was planning to visit one of the intake sites to get registered and get a tutorial tomorrow anyway. I swallowed hard and shot him a conflicted look. He paused, his smile falling as he picked up on my discomfort, and I was able to force myself to tell him. "I got an ability."

    His eyes went wide. "Holy shit man really? That's awesome! I'm so jealous, I wish I had gotten one. I've been drinking those disgusting gene excitement tonics for years now and nothing, and you weren't even trying and you Ascended. Damn man, some people have all the luck. So, what did you get? Is it something cool? Can you shoot lasers out of your eyes? Manipulate fire? Can you fly? Shit I've always wanted to be able to fly." I shot him a quelling look and he shut up, his face becoming serious. "Right. You want to talk in person, no problem, I'll head to the park."

    I was guessing based on his mood shift he had picked up on my discomfort and assumed I got one of the powers people didn't like to talk about. Something that people would assume was going to push me toward corruption. People could be huge assholes about that kind of thing, and if I'd gotten one of those it would seriously mess with my quality of life. That said, I wasn't sure I had. The whole Wishmaster candidate didn't seem like something that would show up when I was inducted, and Minor Wish didn't really seem like an evil sounding power. Then again it was related to the Wishmaster so for all I knew it would result in me getting thrown in prison.

    I winced and got up, shoving the box in a spare bag I had laying around and putting my shoes back on as I got ready to go meet Benny. I needed advice, and Benny and I had been close as brothers since we were kids. I'd met him at one of compulsory download buildings when we were five, and we'd been inseparable ever since. He'd even gotten transferred to the local childcare I'd been in before I turned thirteen because Zeke was too lazy to raise a kid despite having the money for private care. If there was anyone I could trust with this it was Benny, now I just had to hope he had some idea what to do.
     
  7. MichaelSuave

    MichaelSuave Not too sore, are you?

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    I feel like this trust is going to be a bad idea...
     
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  8. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    It isn't. Man everyone on QQ is always second guessing their friends. Doesn't anyone have any life and death bros that are with them to the end? Every time one of my characters trusts a friend people are weird about it lol.
     
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  9. anirocks

    anirocks always lurking

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    Eh its a superhero world where friendship with normies ends with either betray or love. So yeah there's that.
     
  10. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    who told you he's going to stay a normie?
     
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  11. anirocks

    anirocks always lurking

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    Right forgot about the cultivation
    what is it with your protag and them sharing powers without any caveat. Is this a regular trope I should be aware of in your fic
     
  12. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    Take care of your friends man. It's my one rule. If I got superpowers the first thing I would do would be give them to my closest friends if I could.
     
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  13. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    hard -> hand
    1. scifi is almost always literally magic. between psykers, FTL, and "tech" that is total bullshit and breaks all laws of physics
    2. sufficiently advanced magic is indistinguishable from science.
    No, none whatsoever
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
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  14. anirocks

    anirocks always lurking

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    Sci-fi is all about biggatons while cultivation is about bs training and regulating internal energy and such. As such using cultivation in sci-fi setting is somewhat jarring to me

    Same man same
     
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  15. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    i've read too many sci fi cultivation novels I guess, doesn't seem weird to me.
     
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  16. nick012000

    nick012000 Experienced.

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    > insist on speaking in person because the government monitors communications

    > tell your bud the main thing that'd have the government hunting you down anyway

    LOL. I wonder how long until the Unity sends a recruiter over to pay him a visit...
     
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  17. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Cultivation is all about biggatons, even more biggatons than scifi.
    Also training is for losers in cultivation worlds. main characters cheat instead of working hard.
     
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  18. anirocks

    anirocks always lurking

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    1 me:- looks at TA and 40k. You were saying
    Tho seriously there is a huge gap of power between sci-fi and cultivation that I don't see cultivation having more biggatons than sci-fi

    2. Sci-fi itself as a setting don't allow cheat codes and using such a cheat code can end disastrous in sci-fi. Eg:- forerunner in hall tried to take the mantle with cheating/loophole abuse but the result became disastrous as we all know. So yeah cultivation which as a setting naturally promotes loophole abuse and cheating don't mess with sci-fi
     
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  19. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    Again, sci fi cultivation is a really common thing. Putting aside all the sci fi universes inspired by cultivation the actual sci fi cultivation novels that are popular aren't few. Forty millenniums of cultivation, Super Gene, Mech Touch, Monster Paradise and those are just the ones that are or have been at the top of the webnovel charts, there's dozens more that are slightly less popular but still relevant. I can't really argue your personal opinion because it's just that, but from a more mainstream point of view sci fi cultivation isn't really anything that odd. That said I am sorry you find it jarring and I hope my system acts as a method of smoothing out the disconnect for you.
     
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  20. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Actually both TA and 40k have vastly smaller biggatons than cultivation stories in general. like 90% of cultivation stories have bigger biggatons than those settings.

    Population is vastly smaller in those settings than xianxia, scope is vastly smaller (only 2 dimensions in the local multiverse cluster. the warp and the maeterium), size of wars vastly smaller, sizer of planets vastly smaller (a small planet in xianxia has the same surface area as an entire solar system. somehow it does not collapse into a black hole)

    WH40k Titans are scrubs compared to mid level cultivators. Top cultivators can create and destroy entire multiverses at a moments whim.
    Exterminatus? that is small potatos compared to snuffing out an entire dimension, or creating one.

    I seriously suggest you read:
    https://wuxiaworld.site/novel/coiling-dragon-novel-86786765257/chapter-1/
    It is a pretty fun read. And also is a great xianxia story to start with and is actually the ur xianxia experience I would think

    Which is amusing since it is technically Xuanhuan (xianxia influenced by western fantasy).

    However the influences are pretty small.
    1. it is that it is set in a "small" (hilariously big) sub-multiverse which was designed by an arch-deity to use the western 4 elements instead of the Chinese 5 elements. The latter are used by the primary multiverse it is attached to. also created by the arch-deity.
    2. the leveling system is original instead of recycling the standard taoist mythology xianxia levels that is found in 90% of all xianxia stories
    3. sorcerers have a coat of paint that makes them look a little like western wizards. but only a little.

    Other than that it is a very xianxia experience
    out of curiosity, what is your experience with cultivation stories?
    well. let us look at 40k.
    ... being transformed into a space marine is a huge massive cheat. which gives you eternal youth and a bunch of super powers.
    FTL is a cheat. there are a bunch of cheat artifacts out there.
    Actually in all scifi you have some cheat being used for FTL.
    AI are cheats, gene mods are cheats... (actually sometimes the xianxia cheat of the MC is that he reincarnates into xianxia world with an AI brain chip from his scifi world)

    Actually the main difference between scifi and xianxia in terms of cheats is that in scifi the cheats are widespread. The cheats are mass produced and mass deployed. In xianxia you need to be a protagonist to luck out and find a unique "1 per multiverse" item to cheat with.
    While in scifi once a cheat is discovered it is mass produced and suddenly you have millions of superhumans. However the downside is that the cheats have lower cap on growth. You can't just meditate your way into godhood.

    An imperial guardsman can train hard day after day after day... and will still get instagibbed by a space marine or daemon prince or even just skitari (mass produced combat cyborgs made by techpriests)
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2022
  21. TheeGreenBean

    TheeGreenBean Getting out there.

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    True, the only thing anyways really needs to care about tbh
     
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  22. TheeGreenBean

    TheeGreenBean Getting out there.

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    Ikr, people react like telling any1 anything is a death sentence
     
  23. Threadmarks: Chapter 3
    Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    The trip to the park was both way too quick and agonizingly slow. I took a bus to get there, mostly because I blew all my credits on Doom Sovereign but at least had the presence of mind to buy a buss pass at the beginning of the year when I still had a bit of money. The bus was pretty empty at six PM on a Friday night, so I mostly just sat by myself and thought over my options. I'd decided to wait a day or two before I did the intake process for the Unity. If I went now I would probably get thrown in prison or tortured for info I didn't have.

    What I needed was some way to disguise my ability, and I was pretty sure I knew where to get that. I reached down to touch the smooth black metal card in my pocket, tracing the faint engraving of the lamp and skull. The Wish Curse Palace was the place to go for that kind of thing, but in order for that to work I had to get some money first. Assuming this card could let me buy things from them, I'd still probably need thousands if not tens of thousands of credits for something like that. Still, having some kind of plan was better than panicking so I felt much more optimistic when the bus stopped at the park and I got off to go meet Benny.

    My best friend was waiting in his usual spot, sitting under a tree in the back of the park in the shadows. For a rich kid Benny tended to dress down pretty sloppy, and the usual torn jeans and hoodie over a beat up t-shirt made me smile with their familiarity. As usual Benny's messy brown hair peaked out from under the hood, wavy and too long as usual, somehow managing to fall in his eyes even with his head tilted back, but when he heard me coming he jerked to attention, looking around for me.

    When he spotted me he gave a sigh of relief and climbed to his feet, walking over to clap me in a fierce hug. "Oh thank the gods. After that cryptic ass message I thought you might have been hauled off by the Cautious Men or something." Fear flashed through his eyes as he mentioned the Conglomerate's Ascendant identification and apprehension task force. The Unity handled big name criminals, but everyone had heard horror stories of newbie's being snatched up by the cautious men. It was one of the main reasons people were so quick to do the intake despite being railroaded so hard by the Unity.

    I squeezed him back and pulled away with a laugh. "No, thankfully, though I wouldn't rule it our for the future The stuff that's been going on has been kind of nuts." I gestured for him to sit down by the tree and started filling him in on everything that had happened. The message from my dad, the paper, I didn't hold a single thing back, and despite it having been objectively only an hour or so tops this still felt like it had been weighing on me for weeks. When I finished I felt unburdened and smiled, leaning back against the tree just happy to be free of the weight of doing this alone.

    Benny whistled. "Holy shit man. That's...heavy. I know your dad hasn't always been around but for him to literally disown you like that? Plus it sounds like he might have been involved with the WCP the whole time, that's pretty nuts." He bumped my shoulder with his. "But hey, at least you got this cool new power, I mean, granting wishes sounds fucking awesome. Can I be your guinea pig?" His eyes were alight with curiosity and a bit of excitement, and all the drama aside I had to admit I kind of got that.

    I laughed at the enthusiasm. "I guess so. If there's one person I trust to grant a wish to it's you. So...shit, how do I do this?" I considered taking out the scroll, but it seemed like the whole Wishmaster thing wouldn't exactly be secret if a bunch of people were walking around with a burning piece of paper. I narrowed my eyes before looking at Benny and saying in a clear voice. "Minor wish." I waited. Nothing happened. "Grant Minor wish." Again, nothing. I rolled my eyes. "Ok maybe we're doing this wrong. Make a wish in front of me."

    Benny shrugged. "Ok, well you said it has to be within your capabilities within the span of three days, but like...what does that mean? And you mentioned stats too, so do those affect it somehow? Whatever, I'll just ask for something big and we can see what I can get away with." He bit his lip. "Ok, I wish you could give me an ability." I felt a charge run over my skin as he said that, a light rumble of static rolling across my arms, making the hair all stand on end as I felt my power roar up from inside me to answer the call.

    Wish detected, grant wish? The words wrote themselves across my vision in purple fire, and from his lack of reaction Benny didn't see it at all. I mentally tried to confirm but the letters rolled across my vision again. Insufficient stat points to grant wish. Requirements: 50 Fantasy, 10 Creation, 25 Impact, 10 Vitality. I blinked. So that was what it meant by being able to accomplish it in three days. Still, the fact that I could even give someone powers was fucking insane. I told Benny what it said and he cursed.

    He bit his lip. "Damn. Kind of makes me want to wait, but there's not rule you can only do one per person right?" I shook my head and he grinned. "Cool, then I can do something small time now and we can go from there. I wish I had a steak dinner." The tingle came back again, less intense this time, which I assumed meant this would be an easier wish, but it was still noticeable and still took up a ton of my attention. Once again it asked if I wanted to grant the wish, and once again I confirmed I did.

    Stat points sufficient. Requirements: 1 Fantasy, 1 Impact, 2 Creation, 2 Vitality. Compensation required. I blinked, remembering what it had said on the scroll. Right, it had mentioned that. I turned to Benny. "Says I can do that one, but we need to agree on fair compensation. What would be fair?" He just shrugged. I scowled and th0ught it over, deciding to ask for something more ephemeral since this was clearly some kind of magic bullshit or something. Something he wouldn't miss. "How about your Doom Sovereign skills?"

    Benny snickered at that. "I'm not sure you can really call them that, I'm not even as good as you are, but I don't enjoy the game that much anyway so sure. You can have my Doom Sovereign skills." He grinned at me, gesturing for me to get on with the wish granting, so that's what I did. I confirmed the wish after he verified he was ok with it. As soon as I did I felt that electricity on my skin spark up to insane levels, the power feeling like it was filling me enough to burst. I saw a purple flash int Benny's eyes and then there was another flash in front of us, and suddenly we were sitting next to a table, fully laid out with a juicy ribeye and all the fixings.

    I gasped as what felt like sixteen hours of non stop sprinting hit me at once, bowling me over as I fell to the ground, gasping. Across my black spotted vision those same purple flame letters danced. Skill Acquired- Minor Doom Sovereign Mastery. Synergy with existing skills detected, merging. Skill Acquired-Lesser Doom Sovereign Mastery. I felt new memories slam into my brain. Nothing crazy, just hours of Doom Sovereign I'd never actually played. I felt reflexes I didn't have engraving themselves into my head.

    Benny was up and at my side in a flash. "Holy shit man are you ok? That really took it out of you huh?" He helped me up, sitting me in the chair that had appeared next to the table with the steak on it. It was a tiny square table with a white table cloth, and the chair was cushioned and pretty comfortable. The steak on the plate was a juicy ribeye, with a nice steaming pile of mashed potatoes next to it and a bed of crisp asparagus to one side. There was a small dish of bread with a little plate of butter next to that and a full salad in a bowl to one side. Next to that was a glass of what looked like root beer.

    I shook off the exhaustion and chuckled. "I'm good man, shit is just tiring. Still, you got your wish. Take a bite, see how it tastes." It smelled fucking amazing, and I was ravenously hungry after that. I was guessing that the closer I went to my limits the more tiring the wish granting would be. Still, it was pretty amazing I could make something out of nothing like that. Apparently creating a table with a steak wasn't a huge deal, since it only required a single point of fantasy and impact. I was assuming the creation was what made the actual process work, and vitality was probably what made it nutritious.

    He looked like he wanted to argue with me but I shook my head, standing up and backing away from the table. He rolled his eyes, knowing that I wasn't going to eat any of it, though I suspected if he's realized how hungry I was he might have pushed me to at least take a bite. He sat down at the table, scooted the chair in and picked up the knife and fork, cutting off a small piece to pop in his mouth. I was struck by how weird this probably looked from the outside in, and I was glad we'd always come to this park because there were no cameras. Benny was paranoid about his parents checking up on him.

    Since no one had seen me conjure this thing it would just look like some weird guy brought a table here to eat. I shook off the thought and focused on Benny. His eyes lit up as he chewed, and he swallowed the bite of steak down with relish as he picked up the glass to sip some of the root beer. He moaned with joy as his took a swallow. "Ok, that's the best thing I've ever tasted man. If I hadn't needed to pay with literal memories from my brain I would eat like this all the time. Wait, do I need to do that? Can I pay with credits?" I mentally consulted my power, which seemed to be happy to answer questions now that I was using it, and nodded to him in confirmation. He could pay in credits, though the price got a little nuts for anything more than basic conjuring like this.

    He grinned at me. "Well then, I think I have the answer to your little money problem. If I can pay for food with credits than so can other people, and they can pay for other things too. If we're careful we can get you enough cash to pay for that identity masking whatever it is you wanted." He paused. "Though actually we should probably go see what that would cost." He cut another piece of steak and popped it in his mouth, not bothering to swallow before asking his next question. "So, you feel like going shopping tomorrow?" I had to admit, even knowing I couldn't buy anything right now the idea filled me with excitement. I was going to visit the black market.
     
  24. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    A lot of us live in hellholes where the government encourages people to tattle on their neighbors or even family. Creating an environment of distrust.
     
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  25. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    That sucks, I trust my best friends with my life. Telling them would be the first thing I'd do if I got superpowers, but even in the US I know that kind of trust is somewhat rare.
     
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  26. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    I honestly expected money... especially after he said he needs to raise money to go buy a masking ability to hide the nature of his power

    edit: ah, they can, they just didn't think of it at the time
     
  27. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    This actually gets addressed next chapter I think or it might be the one after, he's somewhat uncomfortable asking Benny for money because of their disparate social positions. He doesn't want him to feel like he's using him. It does end up happening, but there was a reason he waited and that it wasn't the first thing to come to mind.
     
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  28. anirocks

    anirocks always lurking

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    Man I and mrttao are just two people arguing/boring each other for the heck of it. So don't bother about our stuff
    Granted my experience from cultivation is mainly from doulou dalu (soul land). Tho I don't see how my experience with cultivation is relevant here
    1. In cultivation all the cheats are unique/or at least unique at the start of it in sci-fi all the FTL, genemods, AI's you mentoned are common not unique

    2. All of the cheats in cultivation are created/discovered by protag. In sci-fi the "cheats" you mentioned are not discovered by the protag

    3. As you yourself already said in the comments which I am repeating it for getting my point across and yes i do consider these differences significant as it's like saying apples and oranges are sames coz they are fruits. t's not.

    1. Proof man proof.
    2. Also you yourself has stated my point. Cultivation has smaller scope and thus has smaller power levels compared to sci-fi
    3. Thanks for the rec mrttao. Adding it to my reading list pile.

    Tbfh I can't imagine putting that much trust on your friend since I myself was bullied in my school days. That being said just coz I am not sympathizing or even understanding why the fuck is the protag doing this doesnt mean I can't enjoy said fic and I reiterate I am enjoying your fics
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2022
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  29. mrttao

    mrttao Connoisseur.

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    Yes, and? The point is that the claim that there are no cheats in scifi is false.
    Scifi is rife with cheats. The main difference is that scifi cheats have greater deployment than xianxia cheats (which are unique).
    Nah, the protag never creates or invents any of the cheats in xianxia. He has them, but he either lucks out to find them or was given them
    What kind of proof will satisfy you?
    How many stories do I have to link which have bigger biggatons?
    Do I need to quote exact figures where said biggatons are given?
    I stated literally the opposite. I think you misread.
     
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  30. Malcolm Tent

    Malcolm Tent Experienced.

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    The protag does very rarely invent cheats, but it's usually based on something he finds or was born with. Either a combination of a few obscure martial arts or incorporating the concept of something he saw into his martial arts to make something unique. It's not the usual route though.

    Sorry to disagree on that one but cultivation is MUCH larger scale than Sci-fi. The upper limits of most popular cultivation novels see the characters literally BECOME a universe. Douluo Dalu is incredibly small scale for a cultivation story. I think it only even takes place on one planet. Planet crushing is like mid tier power in most xianxia if that, most peak tier cultivators can wipe out galaxies.
     
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