Abbey Games has a new community and forums! Come on over to and don't forget to mention your old username! The old forums will remain available, but read-only.

The Uncivilized [Story Challenge #23]

Post Reply
Posts: 13
Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2016 12:43 am

The Uncivilized [Story Challenge #23]

Post by Saela » Wed May 18, 2016 5:28 am

The big board had been prepared meticulously, everything planned out well in advance. The subject of the lecture read:


Agatha took to the podium and stared out to the crowd, feeling a strange sense of unease that seemed to grow with each passing moment. Everyone else had felt it, too, although Kwame assured the group that it was just their imagination.

Clearing her throat, Agatha began the speech.

"Civilization. What is it, and how do we define it? Is our progress the result of it, or is the very concept an illusion created by our p-- Yes?" Agatha asked, no longer able to ignore the incessant whispering and frantic waves from someone sitting in the front row.

"Ah, yes! Excuse me, but I can't help but notice your board. Is that actually what you intend to present to us?"

"The contents of the board will be discussed in due time," Agatha snapped, annoyed at the intrusion. People never would've acted like this back in her day. No, back in those days people had manners. "If you could all please hold your questions until the end, we will--"

"Yes yes, but," the boorish man continued. "The graphics. What on earth has happened to the graphics?"

"You mean the illustrations?" Agatha asked, her fingernails biting into her palms as she spoke.

"Yes, whatever. Don't they look a bit... I don't know, different?"

Agatha looked at the board, and then back at the man.

Back at the board, then at the man.

"Yes, they're different. And?"

"Well, we all know that change is bad! Why would you change something?"

Agatha chewed her lip for a moment, pondering the question. It was true that she'd seen more than her share of change, and most of it annoyed her. Still, the age of progress she was living in showed firsthand that sometimes things did get better.

"I don't think it really matters. The important thing is that--"

"It just looks a bit, well, a bit cartoonish. Are you planning to revise it before beginning the lecture?"

"The lecture has already begun!" she said through clenched teeth. "Or at least it will, as soon as you kindly allow me to continue."

"So, that's a no, then?"

"That is a no." The glare Agatha sent to the man could've melted steel.

"Oh. Well, okay."

"So, as I was saying. Civilization. What is it, and how--"

"I think that fellow had a point," someone else interrupted. "The illustrations on this board are much too bright. Did Hildegard draw

"Hildegard did not draw anything!" Agatha said, palms slamming against the podium in exasperation.

"And another thing," the original man called out.

"Great, just great," Agatha whispered quietly.

"I can't help but notice that you didn't make a single Observation during the entire study. Those are essential to learning, you know."

"We decided it was in our best interests to focus on other areas, such as--"

"All I'm saying is, between the childish graphics and the lack of observations, it seems like you're really dumbing this expedition down. A lot. Are we really your target audience, or did you plan on selling this to kindergarten teachers?"

"You haven't actually heard anything about the expedition yet. Or any of my lecture, for that matter."

The man shrugged.

"I think I've seen enough. You probably didn't even visit Shangri-La! This is definitely the most dumbed-down, simplified, silliest expedition I've ever seen. I for one demand a refund!"

"You didn't pay anything!" Agatha exploded.

"Yes, and I'm not certainly not going to now! This is a travesty."

"You've got that right," Agatha groaned, walking away in a huff. Behind her crowd erupted into chaos. As the angry voices grew louder, it became clear that the audience was arguing amongst themselves, each side taking an increasingly-aggressive stance on the matter. No doubt, this would end in at least one duel tonight.

"I'm getting too old for this," Agatha muttered, leaving the auditorium in disgust.

Posts: 179
Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2012 2:21 pm

Re: The Uncivilized [Story Challenge #23]

Post by Manuel » Wed May 18, 2016 10:52 pm

Nice story, Saela. I like how this is a quite thinly veiled critique on the way internet discussions often evolve. Normally I feel that a stern voice might fix those discussions, so seeing Agatha apply all her tough-teacher tricks and still not reaching any effect makes me feel a bit sad and powerless. You capture the frustrating dynamics well.

Thanks for sharing your story here! I´ll link to it in the results I´m posting to the Steam forums.

Post Reply