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Plot - Zero Empathy

Updated: 1 day ago

A cinematic scene of a large, sleek spaceship making an emergency landing on an alien planet. The landscape is rugged with rocky outcrops and sparse alien vegetation under a dark, stormy sky. The spaceship, illuminated by landing lights, descends with smoke trailing from it. In the foreground, a humanoid figure observes the scene, adding a sense of scale and tension. This intense moment captures the peril and mystery of unexplored space.

Plot literary genre: Sci-Fi | Planet 4702 Loky, year 214 of the Second Age

Main characters

Adam Sarc is in command of a merchant vessel that transports materials between distant planets. It is not a dangerous trade but the voyages are very long and for that reason well paid. Adam steers the spaceship with the help of Lieutenant Gerome Tx. The two are lovers. A crew of ten travels with them. The internal climate is very good; the crew is serene. Everyone has a strong reason for agreeing to embark for years in exchange for money. And indeed, future plans are the most discussed topic on the vessel.

The call to adventure

About halfway through the voyage, Adam intercepts a call for help coming from a point beyond the edge of explored space. “Help! We are in danger!” repeats the automated message. “One million credits for those who will save us.” The amount is very high and corresponds to four legs of the vessel. A choice is imposed: lengthen the voyage further or turn a blind eye. The greed that unites the crew gets the better of them and the ship heads into unknown space.

The conflict

Having crossed the border of explored space Adam and crew enter a dark and hostile area: magnetic fields, meteorites, and all sorts of difficulties seem to motivate them to turn back. Despite this they continue on to the point where the message was issued: a small planet. They are preparing to investigate the surface when the vessel is hit by something that forces them to make an emergency landing.

The ship is welcomed by a local population, the Sponk, humanoids with no emotions. One evening the Sponk village is attacked by other humanoids. A battle ensues in which Gerome dies. However, the crew is well-armed, helps the Sponks and drives off the attackers. The truth emerges: the Sponks are at war with another population on the planet, the Airi, who are less advanced, very aggressive, and have emotions.

The key

Adam and his men would like to re-embark, but the ship is out of commission and the crew begins to manifest strange malaises. Meanwhile, clashes with the Airi intensify. During an ambush, Adam and two men are taken prisoner. Led to the Airi camp, they discover how they live and a piece of truth that had been missing: the Sponk “feed” on the emotions of others, turning them into beings similar to themselves.

The Airi are those who have escaped the doomed fate and are fighting a battle of resistance. And the rescue message was a trap to attract more beings to the planet. Adam experiences more inner conflicts: he would like to rescue the crew and depart, he would like to kill the Airi warrior leader who stole Gerome from him, he would like to find out more about the planet and the Airi who also appear fascinating, but he has a first duty: to free the rest of the men who remained with the Sponks. He will succeed, but he can no longer leave the planet.

The alternatives

Several endings are possible, happy or otherwise. In Sci-Fi plots it is harder to imagine different eras or places, but it is also easier to change situations: the crew could be two people, or the vessel could carry hundreds of hibernating humans to a new colony. It is also possible to translate the plot into a fantasy reality, freeing imagination and creativity.


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