Anna Belle Rose
Devon tilted his head. “You got reprimanded?”
Maggie sighed, “Yeah, a formal verbal reprimand. And was told I’m lucky it wasn’t a formal written reprimand that would go in my personnel file.”
“I don’t get it. Why were you reprimanded?” Mike asked, as he poured more merlot into all three glasses.
Devon smiled, then asked, “So, start again. Start to finish, what happened today with the Dean and President?”
Maggie stiffened. “Stop sounding like a lawyer.”
“I am a lawyer. And knowing you, I may have to defend you in a labor lawsuit at some point, so I want to make sure I have my facts straight.”
Maggie took a sip of wine. “It’s a long story.”
Devon looked at Mike, who shrugged, “We’ve got time.”
She smiled, “Does it ever occur to the two of you that our social lives suck? That this is the extent of our social lives?”
Mike chuckled, “You mean that after almost twenty years of friendship, our big social event is getting together every month to eat pizza and drink wine?”
Devon’s eyes clouded with sadness, “It used to be the four of us.”
Maggie squeezed his hand, “And she specifically told us she’d come back to haunt us if we didn’t continue the tradition.”
Devon continued, “So explain what happened.”
“Oh, the whole day sucked. It started badly…”
The day had started badly. Maggie awoke in a fog, smelling coffee. She usually woke early to work out, her coffee pot set to start automatically while she showered. Smelling coffee clearly meant she was already running at least an hour behind. Damn!
Twenty minutes later, she poured the liquid java into a travel mug. As she stepped over the toys scattered across the rug, her heart constricted. It always felt so weird when the boys were away. But, at least this morning, she could probably still make her meeting relatively on time, since she wouldn’t have to stop at daycare.
Five minutes later, she pulled into the lot and grimaced to see another car occupying her normal spot. After three futile circuits, she finally pulled onto the grass at the side of the lot, hoping Security would ignore her car this one time.
She hopped out of the car and yanked her bag from the passenger seat, breaking into a jog toward the Commons Building. How could she be late for the most important faculty meeting of the year? With any luck at all, she could duck in the back door and find a seat without anyone noticing.
Today, while we are taking the modern lifestyle provided by civilisation for granted, how many of us ever wonder what civilisation is? Do we really understand its nature?
To understand the nature of civilisation, we need to look into its whole process: civilisation is a product of human behaviour; human behaviour is driven by decision-making; decision-making is influenced by the human nature and the knowledge. As such, human nature and knowledge drive our behaviours to create civilisation. Thus, human nature and knowledge are the driving forces of civilisation.
As force is a vector, it has direction. Then, a question is raised: what is the direction of civilisation? Furthermore, any moving object has its own speed, so this concept is translated into the term of “the pace of civilisation”. As the speed of a moving object is influenced by the driving force and the resistance, then the pace of civilisation is influenced by “the driving force of civilisation” and “the resistance of civilisation”.
This new approach to study civilisation by using Newtonian Mechanics is termed “Social Mechanics” which is a part of the “Physical Sociology”. Apart from this, another approach is taken: human anatomy, physiology and embryology as well as evolutionary biology are used to study social structure, activity and development. As humans have the most successful and advanced body control mechanism through its 4.2 billion years of evolution, it provides a perfect model to understand how civilisation (only 8000 years of history) evolves. Their similarities provide an effective way to study civilisation.
Upon further observation, you might notice that society not only bears amazing similarities to the human body but cosmic phenomena as well: the rise and fall of the Sun, the expansion and collapse of an empire; the collision of galaxies and conflict of civilisations. Behind these phenomena, lie a common mechanism that fundamentally governs everything in the universe.
This common mechanism can be expressed by a mathematical model representing the fundamental laws of physics. Through presenting evidences, it is demonstrated that not only lifeless events follow these laws but the intelligence-driven civilisation as well. As such, all developments in a society including technologies and their consequential social development follow these laws. By using these laws and the aforementioned approaches, many unsolved questions have been successfully answered: the uncertain social development has been predicted; the mystery that the Greeks achieved a brilliant civilisation was deciphered; the puzzle that scientific revolution happened in the West first has been solved; the mechanism behind the rise of the Western civilisation has been unearthed; the enigma of elusive beauty has been unequivocally unlocked and many more…
Finally, comes the conclusion: human civilisation is a part of the evolution of the universe. The laws governing the universe also govern human civilisation.
Danielle A. Vann
A single wisp of smoke traced up my nose and clung to the back of my throat. My lips parted, breaking the Whizbang machine’s electric kiss of death. My heart drummed out the rapid beat of fear, reminding me I had changed history. I had beaten Tunney’s cloak. I could feel it. I was alive, trembling, and soaked in perspiration.
Still, somewhere in the back of my mind, I wished I hadn’t listened to my father’s pleas and had welcomed death with open arms. It would have been simpler in the long run. I held still and waited for a sign, for someone, a sound, a clue as to where I was, anything. None came.
“Hello?” I whispered. “Mom? Grandpa Jack? Hello?” My eyes peeled open, blinking away the haze of a dusty fog, and then gently shut. “Where am I?”
The stench of hot char hit my face, bringing with it a raw dirtiness that sent my body recoiling. Wrenching my shoulders forward, I violently wiggled against the heaviness covering my chest.
I have heard a wise man say that love is a form of friendship, and friendship a form of love; the line between the two is misty. I happen to know that this holds true because I have roamed that misty line. Time has passed since then, but I cherish the memory of the blue roses in grace and perpetuity — our blue roses. It all began with a fortuitous encounter.
* * *
On a fine day in early April 1999, I was sketching in the sculpture court at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I felt hesitant working in such a public space, but this was a homework assignment for the art class I was taking. The object of my sketch was a sculpture of an adorable young woman, a nude, reclining on a moss-covered rock surrounded by an abundance of flowers. The smooth texture of the white marble sensually expressed her lively body, which shone with bright sunlight beneath the glass ceiling of the court.
My drawing materials were simple, just a number 2 pencil, an eraser, and a sheet of heavy white drawing paper. The assignment was to capture the skin of a figure in as much detail as possible. I had almost completed sketching the woman’s body and was working on the rock and flowers. I was not doing badly, I thought, for a small crowd of museum visitors had gathered around me, showing approving faces and nods.
“Ah, this is excellent!” one man exclaimed.
I recognized the voice and turned to see Hans Schmidt, standing amid the crowd wearing a big grin.
“What a surprise!” he continued. “I didn’t know you had such an artistic talent, Mark. How are you?” He came forward and firmly shook my hand.
I greeted him, then pointed to my drawing. “I’ve been working on this for a while. I wasn’t sure how it would come out. But it’s coming along all right, I guess.”
“I don’t know much about drawing, but this looks great.” He gestured enthusiastically to a young woman next to him. “What do you think?”
“It’s pretty.” Her voice sounded like a bell.
“This is Yukari, my wife.” He guided her toward me, his hand lingering at the small of her back.
I swallowed. I knew Hans was married, but this was my first time to meet his wife. Hans’s wife is Japanese? How lovely she is. Hans, you devil, you’re a lucky man!
“Pleased to meet you.” I gently shook her small refined hand. “I’m Mark Sanders. Hans and I are good friends.”
The Vale of Leven, Strathclyde, Scotland 1071
Catrìona stepped to the edge of the crag perched high above the vale. Wind whipped her auburn hair and umber cloak behind her as she raised her gauntlet and let the falcon fly free.
Spreading his long wings, Kessog soared into the air over the blue waters of Loch Lomond.
Her heart soared with him.
This land of tall peaks and deep lochs was her home. Gray clouds might hover over the tops of the mountains, but bright yellow wildflowers graced the steep slopes and the foothills were clothed in the green velvet of spring.
In the distance, the falcon shrieked as he arrowed toward the loch’s crystalline waters, then flew in tight circles over a flock of teals, seeking his prey. The clouds parted and a golden shaft of sunlight reflected off the ducks’ wings and shimmered in the waters of the loch.
Thoughts of her future filled her mind and her excitement rose in anticipation of the arrival of her intended, Domnall mac Murchada. This very day he would come by ship from his family’s lands in Leinster to meet with her father and seal their betrothal. Domnall’s home in Ireland was a place she had heard much about, but had never seen.
In her mind Domnall appeared a most handsome man, except for his nose, which was thin with a high ridge. His wavy light brown hair was always neatly combed and his darker beard invariably neatly trimmed. His eyes were pale blue. But it was not his appearance that had made her father choose Domnall. It was his noble Irish lineage and the trade between Leinster and the Vale of Leven.
During Domnall’s visits, she had been keenly aware of his pale blue gaze following her. In his eyes, she had glimpsed desire, flattered he wanted her and not just the trade with her father. Her cheeks flushed to think that one day she would bear his children.
In the distance, Kessog streaked toward a duck, but missed his strike.
Catrìona watched the falcon for a while until a sharp gust of wind made her shiver. She had a sudden urge to return to her father’s hillfort.
Bognor, West Sussex, England, April 1784
Except for the small waves rushing to shore, hissing as they raced over the shingles, Bognor’s coast was eerily bereft of sound. Lady Joanna West hated the disquiet she always experienced before a smuggling run. Tonight, the blood throbbed in her veins with the anxious pounding of her heart, for this time, she would be dealing with a total stranger.
Would he be fair, this new partner in free trade? Or might he be a feared revenue agent in disguise, ready to cinch a hangman’s noose around her slender neck?
The answer lay just offshore, silhouetted against a cobalt blue sky streaked with gold from the setting sun: a black-sided ship, her sails lifted like a lady gathering up her skirts, poised to flee, waited for a signal.
Crouched behind a rock with her younger brother, Joanna hesitated, studying the ship. Eight gun ports marched across the side of the brig, making her wonder at the battles the captain anticipated that he should carry sixteen guns.
She and her men were unarmed. They would be helpless should he decide to cheat them, his barrels full of water instead of brandy, his tea no more than dried weeds.
It had been tried before.
“You are certain Zack speaks for this captain?” she asked Freddie whose dark auburn curls beneath his slouched hat made his boyish face appear younger than his seventeen years. But to one who knew him well, the set of his jaw hinted at the man he would one day become.