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The Project, Tower of Babel
the PROJECT __________

A personal cronicle by: Minghir Atlak
translated by: Alfredo Guzman

_______________Day/ 44 / 2 / 27 ––There was much to do but I sat by quietly and watched as their backs bent to the strain. Chants pulsed sweat from harnessed muscled vessels, husks of humanity. Expendable for the cause, the men, tethered to line's taught cordage, threaded to dead weight, pressed to move the bulk gleened for The Project. Bugs floated about the payload in thick air, the tonnage moved imperceptibly; progress was slow. My office prevented my participation in the struggle; obscure minor officials were exempt from such things like using the lash. My superior was obsessed with his charge relieving me from direct interest and the anger of slim salaried condemned men. Their progress was loathsome. Their movements seemed calculated to disturb the anxious for production. My lassitude countered by the gnarled men was a joke, a symbol for who we are, human's being. A simple approach to being human's civilized. My humor would have been lost on the grimy business at hand; The struggling wad of humanity suffered to provide survival to those dependant on strong backs with no means of providing for themselves — their families were as condemned as they. This effort was but a part of a much grander scheme to solidify the workers need to believe in something. This slab of stone was but a shard of the temple's volume, insignificant but ritualistically strategic, tactically measured to stress the will yet move, if ever so imperceptively. Over the years the structure had changed, alteration after alteration kept the bureaus occupied in a fever pitch from the top down; modification after modification occurred as the priesthood developed into an order of strength and then divine reckoning. Now in the seventh year of creation, The Project was originally to be much less ambitious.
_______________Day/ 01 / 3 / 27 ––The earth trembled again today — little damage but the derrick on tier - 347 broke free and carried itself to the Priest's Plaza; several of the riggers rode the crane's head- rig clear to the ground. the wreckage was quickly dispatched with few observers. The raised palisade surrounding the religious cloister was the perfect spot for such an accident if such a things were fated to happen.
______________Day/ 47 / 3 / 27 –– Today — massive confusion, many injured one of the lime stone blocks fell from the sky and buried itself in the bizarre crushing a undetermined number. There were others, like me, convinced the work would never see its end. We were never to speak of this but there was that shared feeling among some of the other minor administrators — unspoken glances and tones of voice when in conference over the unending details of the project. The temple's rise from the raw scape to dominate still left the reason for such effort unanswered. Bugs and mildew incipient rot and interminable heat were, for me, all good reasons to abandon the effort. The highlands fifty leagues to the north already had splendrous snow capped monoliths, why must man attempt what nature has, by grace of time, provided. Perhaps its our misguided need for geometry. Its true the alpine peaks aren't symmetrical but the grandeur was more than equivalent to The Project. Our whole society was now driven by the obsession of the erection. from the most lowly of the weaver to the tax collector, all were employed to drain of resources for The Project.
My brain has been long since scrambled by condition and occurrences which, despite my self discipline and control, have rendered me a participant in this edifice; by now I am convinced the project is the project of our demise. As chronicler to the priesthood I must render the story of the construction. I must glorify the progress and confirm the sacrifice to the commoner; the patriotic element of the project separates us from the peoples who live beyond the mountains to the north. We are the chosen ones, proof of God's blessings is confirmed by our monolith now rising to the clouds with plans that extend far beyond. God has made our people industrious, prosperous, efficient and most of all— powerful; that belief bonds us and separates our calling from the bands of inferior, dark skinned, peoples we use for the simplest of the labors. The priests have enjoyed a surge of respect and their garments, quarters and privilege bespeak their genius for organization. Their rituals have evolved just in my brief life to a power and grandeur that even, at times, sweeps my mind of questioning and doubt. Yes, there are those times even I am convinced of the rightness of our path. Even in those times when I have to warp history and remake the past to support the effort of the project with symbology which bares no reference to fact, I, at times, when in ceremony, the grandeur and rightness of all those things I have done for the cause of the project seem proper and justified.
_______________Day/ 49 / 3 / 27 ––New arrivals for The ProJect: Four hundred young strong savages from the North. The measures taken, at times, to secure The Project have seemed extreme and distasteful but when I look at how far we have come and how much we have managed even I can believe that we have chosen our efforts well. When I was a child, the raw boreal forest and savanna was but clusters of huts, mud and wattle, with paths leading from one frontier settlement to the other, and now with the forests clear one can see the sophistication of infrastructure, the eloquence of civilized complexity; highways and hectare after hectare of city sprawl away in all directions from The Project, magnificent, organized and orderly suck material through the arteries of transport to be cast down and heaped.
______________Day/ 4 / 5 / 27 ––The last of the blocks are in place on tier #351 and now the derricks will be raised; this takes some time and always costs some life but with the celebration of the start of Tier #352 it's a small price to pay.
Just last year our engineers and architects broke through the cloud ceiling and the project is for certain a heavenly effort. As chronicler I was among the few to ascend to the height above the clouds on the mountain of our own making, With my testimony news was dispatched through the empire the priesthood has attained God-like status. My position is now elevated even higher. The benefit is one personally felt. My status and privilege have burgeoned, my family is proud and my children are among those destined to rule in the future. My wives are pleased, wearing the finery signifying middle management; they have access to places and respect accorded those at the bottom tier of the ruling class, even though I am only a lowly chronicler. I must be blessed with the special gift of interpretation of events that pleases not just the priesthood but powers much higher.
________________Day/ 12 / 6 / 28 –– The effort is bogged down with the supply of cut stone being delayed by the rainy season. Workmen are not being used to the fullest. and have gone to half ration. I have created stories of magic and impossibility for the effort; to help the common citizen believe and then to understand that the forces employed are held only through special right by those who have conjured this effort.
Our leader, the queen is old, and has been in poor health for years. Her younger sister is fit, strong and a bit simple with interests in pageantry and splendor and attire; she is easily manipulated by the court and priests. This lineage is, for the sake of The Project, a perfect alchemy and, I am certain, will secure the prosperity and growth of our expanding empire for decades. There are those of us in the bureau that still have a nagging feeling that the ends may not be connected the means, but this attitude is kept to momentary glances while in conference or tone of voice when discussions of logistics and manpower are discussed. Yes, I see glances drop to the plans when the impossible is discussed.
_________________ Day/ 43 / 6 / 28 –– Fires from the making of charcoal have filled our empire with a dense haze for the past week, I have been ill, I believe it's from the burning. the regular biannual occurrence takes much from me but our needs have grown since I was a child in the village; the fodder must be carted from the out-regions with a cost to The Project — there is again delay while fuel is gathered and the ovens prepared for burning.
The plane is developed from mountain to mountain and the importation of food, fiber and building material has become a major part of the planning process. The Oceans to the East and West have provided much in the way of trade and resources but their abundance have diminished in the past decade despite the prayers and rituals needed to maintain their continued cooperation. More power is needed for the blessing of our project. There is now strategic need to cross the Alti Plano through the mountains to uncivilized territory to gather the requisite material and manpower. The construction of roads and administration of the far off provinces is demanding more effort and attention than had been originally thought; The gentiles, primitives of these frontiers, are not always cooperative and must be managed in, sometimes, severe and demonstrative fashion. I, being at the core of the record of the means used to deliver the end, am unsettled by some of the transcripts passing through my bureau to the archives. Some accounts appear to have signs of provincial overlords exacting more than could ever be reasonably expected. I am unsettled by this but from my vantage the distance and detachment is some comfort.
________________žDay/ 6 / 33 / 28 –– The ceremony was spectacular with honors for many of the new centurions. My son was one of those selected for special recognition. My eldest son will soon take up his first command in one of these far off posts and I am looking forward to his personal account of the state and condition of our new acquisitions. I have heard rumors of total insurrection and subsequent suppressions that do not appear anywhere in the records I handle
________________ .Day/ 6 / 47 / 29 Our office expansion is complete and I have assumed a spacious new office with a north view to the peaks. On clear days the view will be splendrous. For me, working under the cooling shadow of the end, The Project is of great comfort when thinking of the grit and grime of making it all come to pass. I chronicle and that is what I do. I do it well, at least I am told I do it well by the Chief Chronicler. Next to the priests the Chief Chronicler is most important, more important than the tax bureaus and the Army. The Queen is but a vessel, a slave to the sum total of the whole of our scheme to create our nation. I am in my own way a contributor, a player, in the struggle for the ongoing effort. The Project is the commitment to a higher calling, a signifier that separates us from the other beasts and men. As chronicler I know we will prevail.
__________________Day/ 6 / 56 / 29 –– Last day before the mid-summer rights. The sacrifices will have to be extensive as there have been problems with our peoples. The out-reaching provinces are displeased, there has been hunger and disease, both attributed to the savages brought from the north.
__________________Day/ 1 / 33 / 30–– The new year rights were even more spectacular than the last. the priests out did themselves; there were many sacrifices from heaven. Now The Project reaches through the vapors and beyond. The sacrificed cast from the top appeared like angels through the clouds, their wings clipped they fell into the pit at The Project's base in heaps. Three and five at a time were given for the temple and our people —— the roar of their rushing garments held the crowds in silenced awe.
__________________Day/1 /34 / 30 –– With the new year there has been much to do. Year thirty is a lucky year in our calendar and I am blessed. My son has taken his new post on the twisting river to the north of the mountains in the steppe country. I have heard from him just once. A short note:
Father, The land is wild and the people here live in
small clusters, huts made of mud and sticks, their
forested plane is fertile but they lead simple uninspired lives,
using only what they need. they seem to have no reason
to exist they have no leaders and seem to spend much of
their day in the company of each other gaming and telling
stories. They do not work but only gather the required food
and material for subsistence. I have instituted a number of
new policies which, I think, will motivate these savages to
productivity. My bond to you, Your Son Issmak
W/seal to the solidarity to The Project.

My son sounds busy and I know he is ambitious & efficient, he is committed to The Project and our people; I am sure he will do what he must to insure our successes.

Minghir Atlak: Chronicler

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