Part 1 : Lacking Choice

In case you haven’t noticed, you have a mental dialogue going inside your head that never stops. It just keeps going and going. Have you ever wondered why it talks in there? How does it decide what to say and when to say it? When it evolves from statements to actions in your mind, how do you validate these ideas to be the right ones? How do you know if the actions even make enough sense to pursue?

Life changes fast. Life changes in an instant. You take a seat by the soft grass for a moment in front of the massive field before you, slurp on your diet coke, lost in your own thoughts of what the future holds for just a minute, and life as you know it ends.

The scenery is bleak, colours of mountainous brown with earthy red all around me. I shouldn’t mind, dad never raised me to be picky over places, and God knows we have been to harsher places, what with vast sandpits and nothing but heat waves in the deserts of Ras Al Khaimah, or the >90% humidity levels of Kuala Lumpur with subpar transport infrastructure, or worse of all, home, where despite 1st class infrastructure, it is practially unsafe to leave the house, what with the president’s head-turning headlines every 4 days dividing the nation further and further each day, and where the pandemic that’s holding the world hostage isn’t the only major problem the nation is witnessing. No, this scenery is alright, and I have enough digital tech to get moving with some form of goal that my mind has conceived. I used to feel claustrophobic where I lived which is why I was determined to get out in the first place. But the real claustrophobia has set in, the one that every human realizes early in their life but squanders it all the same. I am running out of time, and with every passing ‘long day’, I feel more and more boxed in.

I power up my electric portable scooter (x-class Zoom) and with it my high res 1st generation AI stealth drone comes to life as well. It starts to hover above me as I set it to point to B2-Wolf’s pin-dropped coordinates. Technology has come a long way. Finally everything is powered by renewables, and I never have to worry if the battery on my tech will be gone, as the solar power absorptions is remarkable. Dad could always be depended upon to provide. Having great tech was part of the marvel of being in this family. We were proud of dad, more than he would ever know, and in turn dad made real impact in the world, when he worked with major governments to bring about solar energy in the middle east, or together with Petronas brought about the electrification era in transportation to all of South East Asia.

I don’t blame people for speeding around in their Zooms these days without any idea of rules or control. We are all trying things out here, just like how dad used to blow up tons of experiments before finding the perfect solution. You have to be intrigued by failure to be successful. Nobody blames a person for wrongdoing if they can see the noble cause behind it.

The human race’s present limitations are not of technology, it’s lack of breathable air. It’s ironic that while the world for centuries traded solids such as gold and precious metals, in recent decades onto trading paper currencies, would the human race succumb to trading oxygen (O2) as its most precious commodity (for now). But of course, in this new red bleak world everyone is desperate for breathable air. Research in Caltech has shown that the reactor they built can convert CO2 to O2, though not yet able to produce this vital gas in breathable quantities.

B2-Wolf is a black market merchant, with arms and legs extended everywhere. He saw his big break during the collapse of the Silicon Valley and country politics in the US. People say even robbers have good intentions. Wolf wanted to only to stay true to the mission of focusing on actions and wanting the world to realise that there was enough talking and debating. Most people suspect he is highly politically savvy, New York’s top commodities trader in his younger days, he has the brilliance enough to hold hidden agendas deeper than the average introverted genius of this world, that’s me included. Wolf is my only source of oxygen for my journey towards my end goal in this vast red earth. I am about to have to trade with the greatest villain there is, who holds people’s source of live in his hands. I recap in my mind the plan as my Zoom ride closes in on the coordinates. Wolf is going to play a crucial role in my success.

My community is perishing, I know it as clear as I know my mom and sister are in grave danger, even if my head is actually what the big powers at play are looking for and not them. There is a huge conspiracy mounting between the old life and the new one, I was just too naive to see it before. My only goal, to locate the lake the Italians found a few years back buried beneath the one of only 2 polar icecaps that exist on this planet, which has enough substance to produce >99% purity of O2, stop Wolf’s black market in his tracks, shift the human race to my side, and literally save the world.

My name is X Ash. This is my first private blog entry since dad was murdered, in his own rocket that exploded after it exited the ozone layer. His rockets have never exploded by the time it was ready for sending humans into space, and yet it did this time. I barely manage to see the explosion from so far away sitting on that forsaken field in front of the space center, with that bloody diet coke in my hands. I hold my emotions in and speed up to the Wolf’s hideout. I have escaped to Mars and landed just over a week back, secretly riding in another rocket of dads. The red planet is my hope renewed.


Stephanie Lee’s startups

Mangki Tadiba, how it began….

Once upon a time, there was Mangki Tadiba. He was xx. He did xx. The story goes on for an entire paragraph.

I guess I must have been 5 years old when I wrote my first short story. Pity I can’t for the life of me remember what I wrote anymore, and it is a real shame that I didn’t retain a copy of it either. What I do distinctly remember, was mum, dad and big brother clutching their sides laughing at the silliness from words all spelled wrongly.

I think this defines who I am. As such, I have decided to use this title against my start ups, to see if I develop something with this theme over time.

Big bro remembers how I ended the story, so with that I end this first post in the same way.

– DI AN –

PS: thanks bro for the ex-libris design. You have always been the best, and you still are. For interest in some of my bro’s stories (he’s a much talented writer than I am) please be sure to visit