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Life is Beautiful is a short story by Rei Nakazawa that was published in 2006 at the time of the release of Dissension on the, now defunct, Ravnica mini-site .[1]

Story[]

12 Orzabin 9957 Z.C.[]

aw grate i got ink al over me. o wel gotta go on.

the bio guy sez i need to kep a jurnal so we can tel if the stuffs workin. i told the guy i dont writ to ofen but he sed thats alright. tel ya the truth it kinda reminds me of scool or the litle i had neway. but thats not somthin i wana talk bout.

ok thats enuf for today.

24 Orzabin 9957 Z.C.[]

ben bizy, but the bio man sez i gota writ so here it is.

the stuff he uses is al slimy n it makes me fel dizy but the bio man sez its helping so i gotta belev it is. but bein th onle human here is kind of lonly.

i no i aint the smartest guy. so i cant writ to good. but yu dont liv on tin stret for gods no how long if yer stupid. im smart when it counts. i get along with guys. i no alot bout stuf that helps me liv. thats always ben enuf.

but the docs rite. i cant liv lik this forevr. here in novigen i get fed hot fud got a soft plas to slep witch is alot beter then wut i had.

yeh i lik it her.

9 Dhazo 9957 Z.C.[]

ben awhile since i wrote something. not that long, just a coupla days, but it feels like forever.

the bio man - raiche he said his name wuz - he said i was relly improving, by leeps and bounds, what ever that means. i feel better, too. i get up earlir in the morning, i dont sleep til noon like i usualy do. but then im not on tin street anymor. raiche reminds me of that every day.

hah if only pa could see me now. lookit yer son contributing to sience, like raiche says. so im not gonna amount to nuthin, eh? makes me wanna just find him and spit in his fat face. and laugh. cant forgit to laugh.

i kind of miss tin street. wonder whut matty and gats and the rest of em are doin right now. probly trippin ofer their left feet witout me. boys never culd find their behind with a map.

make things wors, got some wierd stuf evrywhere that raiche says are xperiments like me. but some of those things sure dont look to good. makes me nervus just thinkin about what they look like. but raiche says that if i dont look like them by now, i probly wont. then he musta saw i wasnt too convinsed cause he then said that he checked me up and down and i aint becoming like them.

if he dosnt give me somethin more than that soon, im outta here, warm bed or no.

21 Dhazo 9957 Z.C.[]

I finaly found another human in this place. His name is Warrik, and he said that he's an ironmonger's son from Anasis Plaza. Seems lik a good sort, so we've been talking. He's just a little one, about twelve maybe from what I can tell. Brite, for his age. Sounds to me like he's been in the same treatments as me, which sits kind of wierd in my head. He's just a kid. But then, I was just a kid when my dad turned me out. He said he's doing this for his family back home, so they can get some gold in ther pokets. But how could he have, if he'd died?

Right, forgot about that. We met kind of by acident. I was just wandering around Novijen, the kind of little trip that Raiche keeps on telling me not to take. Suddenly these Simic guys start running around, and I hear roaring and screaming. I run around the corner and see this boy cornered in a lab, and this huge squishy thing shaped like a mossdog, only its not like any mossdog I ever seen. Its drooling and growling and lookin at the kid like he's a snack. If I thought about it for even a second I might not have done anything. Hell if I thought about it for even a second the kid would be chow. So I just jump in. I got no idea what I'm going to do, I just jump in. Befor I know it, I've got the dogthing in a chokehold, hanging on even though its a lot bigger then me. Then I wrestle it to the floor and slam its head on a wall, knocking it out cold.

I'm just standing there because I can't believe what I just did, when I hear clapping. Its Raiche, and he says that I "performed admirably." I'm still trying to get my head wraped around what I just did, and they're carting the dogthing away, when the kid jumps up and hugs me, saying I saved his life. Raiche is telling me how I'm supposed to be improving physikally as well as mentally, and the kid is going on about owing me a blood debt, but I'm not listening. Its gonna take a while to believe it, I can tell you that.

24 Dhazo 9957 Z.C.[]

One thing I gotta hand to Raiche, though, lookin back on what I wrote bfore and what I can do now, its pretty incredible. I mean, even now its a lot better. And its not just my mind. Besides what happened with Warrik, today we had a test where I had to run a block in this indoor trak. Not much for runnin myself, xcept to get away from the Wojek. But I felt ready for it, more alive then I'd ever felt. Ran that sucker faster then I'd ever run before. Was like I was one of em huge quik spiders that the Gruul like so much. Raiche was pretty wowed too. Said that my progres wasnt like anything he'd ever seen. Kinda proud of that, even tho I didn't do anything. Just lived.

Just lived. Kinda what its like back on Tin Street. Raiche said he couldn't imajin being like that, but its the only life I know. And it suited me just fine, just livin. Kinda nice, going day to day, no job, no nothin. A little food in yer belly, a little wine, a little sleep, mebbe a little company from Shadowfront Alley every now and again. What more does a man need?

Least that's what I thought, til Raiche found me. I'd just rolled the dice, gotten a double spotter, making me a cool fifty, when all of the sudden the guys go all quiet. Thought it was cause of my good luck, til I turn around and see this Vedalken standing over me, just staring. The others scamper, but I just sit there. Dunno why. Still don't. Anyways, the Vedalken finally asks me if I'm happy. And I tell him what I just said. Uh, wrote. Whatever. Anyway, he frowns at me and tells me that I should be going for something better. I laugh at him and ask him where I should get the gold for my new me. He says, come with me, and Ill help ya. Course, I don't go right then - Matty always told me the most awful stories about what the Simic do to folks. But I got to admit I'm kind of curius, so I think, why not? Not like I got anything better to do.

So he brings me to Novijen, the Simic HQ, and basically wines an dines me, then slaps some gooey slugs on me eight times a day. Pretty disgusting, but whatever they're supposed to do, they do it good. I'm even starting to think less about what they're doing to me. I mean, they're making me stronger and smarter and faster. What the hell was I so worried for?

Warrik tells me something similar happened to him. His dad's business wasn't doing so great, and they were afraid they'd have to close up shop when Raiche comes in, tells them they can make a lot of money if they let Warrik come with him for a few months. His ma didn't really trust him either but they decieded in the end that they had no choice. He might die in Novijen, but if they did nothing he'd die with them in the streets. So here he is. Happens a lot, I'll bet, with the way things are out there for we people in the trenches.

Still don't think that my old life was all that bad, though. Once I get out of here, I'm going back to Tin Street, even if Raiche doesn't give me that big old fee he's been promising since the get-go. I'll show Warrik my old corner, introduce him to the gang. We'll have a new member before too long, I garentee.

8 Prazh 9957 Z.C.[]

Exponential progress. I don't believe even Raiche expected this. I surely didn't. The rate at which my physical and mental prowess has been advancing lately is nothing short of astonishing. I can now lift three times my weight without difficulty, and I have assisted Raiche in my own cytoplastic experiments. I have heard whispers of inducting me into the Simic Combine once the tests are over. I have not decided yet whether to accept.

It's rather ironic, all things considered. My father wanted me to be an Izzet, practically raised me from birth for that sole purpose. He literally pushed me into school after school, workshop after workshop. Once he even tried to bribe a metalworker into taking me on as an apprentice. When it became patently obvious even to him that I didn't have the Izzet aptitude, he turned me out onto the streets. He said that with my fourth sibling on the way, they couldn't afford to take care of me. Hogwash, of course, but as much as my mother and sister cried for me, they couldn't defy him. So out I went. It was the only good deed the old fool ever did for me.

I have to wonder now, though: could I go back to Tin Street like this? I want to, if not for the reasons I thought I once did. But with this body, with this mind, the good I could do there is staggering. It's as though I'm seeing the world clearly for the first time, seeing how the world operates. I used to be afraid of the Gruul and their anarchy, and the Rakdos and their knives. Yet they're all part of it. The Boros, the Azorius, and yes, even the Simic... They rule this world, so they must be, and are, responsible for everything that happens to its people, good and bad. I think I was too cowed by their power before, but now, I can see ways around even the guilds' most entrenched power structures, ways to bring change without chaos. I could make a difference.

I feel as though I owe it to the gang, to my street, to try to do something. That's something I learned early in my life on Tin Street. The Boros, for all their puffery, wouldn't help any one of us when it became really important. The Selesnyans, with all their preaching of brotherhood, would do even less. We couldn't trust the guilds or anyone else in power. We could only count on each other. And we did. Perhaps some little part of me still hopes that life could go back to the way it was, even if I know it can't.

There's still something about Tin Street, and my old memories, which draws me back. But would my old friends even accept my help? If I were in their place, I'd be hesitant. Warrik looks at me these days with a mix of awe and fear. I can't believe that anyone would be afraid of me, yet there it is. He says that I'm a completely different person. Which is true, of course, but in a way, not true. I can feel it. Why can't I make him feel it? He asks me for permission every time he wants to speak to me, or even approach me. I tell him that he doesn't need to, but he does anyway. Once I even caught him calling me "sir." He never even called his father "sir."

One of Raiche's favorite habits is to tell me that I'm part of a glorious future for Ravnica. Is it foolish of me to hope that past and future can coexist together?

30 Prazh 9957 Z.C.[]

Things ar going badly. It seemed so good at first but now its falling apart.

I'm getting worse as fast as I waz getting better. Am I going back to the way I used to be? An is that such a bad thing? I think back on the past few days and ask myself if i was happy. And I think sort of. Kinda. No.

I'm also woried about Warrik. He's been sick all the time now. He's throwing up and his skin looks all yelow. Ive told Raiche about this, about what I'm going thru, but he told me not to worry about it, that Warrik was just feeling a side effect of some treatment, and I was just going through a "faze." But its something more than that. Even I know it. And I think he knows it too.

1 Mokosh 9957 Z.C.[]

I tried to escape last nite.

Warrik's not geting any better. Hes so yelow and pale and he can hardly stand up on his own. Evryone I talked to said the same things as Raiche that we're both fine and we'll recover soon. They think I'm that stupid? Maybe I'm not a biomanser, but I'm not an idiot.

Its not just that. I never really realised it until Warrik wasn't around, but the only things anyone talks to me about is how I fel and how my tests are going. Nothing else. They even call me ZV29K all the time. I dont think Raiche even ever asked me what my name is. I almost began thinking it was my name for a wile. Until Warrik. Thats why I owe it to him, and me, to get us out of here. Find help. Dont know where we'll find it, but we have to.

Aneway, I snuk Warrik out of his room and went down a hall. I knew of this vent that we could use to get outside. But there was this patrol of slime things - kind of like the dogthing that attaked Warrik the first time I met him, but shaped lik humans, bores, garials, all kinds of things. They spoted me, and I new I had to get by them. I put Warrik down and punched one of the humanlooking ones in the face. My fist went rite thru it, and it felt like one of those citoplasts Raiche used on me. I trid to get my arm out of it but it was stuk. The others trid to suround me, but I swung the humanlooking thing, still atached to my arm, around and batted them aside. I finaly got my arm free and just began fighting and fighting. I was covered in the slime and they wer still coming.

Sudenly, they stopped and left. Raiche was ther. He said that he was sorry for the acident and to go back to my room. I turn around and Warrick wasnt were I left him. I asked Raiche were he was, and he said he was sent bak to his room. But I haven't seen him at all today, and I'm woried.

I'm not leaving Warrik in this plase. I'm not leaving without him.

3 Mokosh 9957 Z.C.[]

startin felin lik i wuz. that dint tak long. want mor then evr to get out. trid to think of othr wayz to scap but cant. relly hard to think now evn harder then befor.

i mis warik. i havnt sen him sinse we trid to scape. i axed raiche were he was but he woodnt anser. iv trid to find him but i kant remembr were evrything is now. i hop i find him sun.

8 Mokosh 9957 Z.C.[]

hafta rite this down befour i go.

my body is chanjing. lost all my hair an my skin loks lik that slim raiche put on me. fels lik im melting. skins same yelow wariks was befor he went mising.

im skared. slim is driping on the skrol. i think its coming frum me. i dont want to die.

9 Mokosh 9957 Z.C.[]

sumething is rong

Official Communication, 17 Mokosh 9957 Z.C.[]

OFFICIAL COMMUNICATION 17 Mokosh 9957 Z.C. TO: Momir Vig REGARDING: Cytoplast Revitalization Project

My deepest regards:

The Cytoplast Revitalization Project is at an important crossroads. I strongly feel that the restoration of the natural order into a stronger, more permanent state is at hand, and that the CRP will be a primary step in that goal.

I trust you have perused my notes on subject ZV29K. The resulting cytoplastic life form is now kept in the Eastern Holding Facility with the others, where I am told it appears to be "happy" (whatever that means for these life forms), content to eat, sleep, and engage in odd rituals that I am told ape those of human mating. Although all attempts to communicate with these mindless masses have continued to be fruitless, my colleagues are working on various scenarios to get whatever further use we can out of them. Testing for nervous systems via a series of increasingly strong electric shocks is being run as you read this.

However, I would not hesitate to call this latest round of subjects an unqualified success. ZV29K persisted in his superior state for a full two weeks longer than all previous subjects. I project that this period can be extended by a full three days, if not longer, in the next set of subjects. This hundredth round of human trials will be our last, I believe, before we can finally begin treatment of our precious floral and animal subjects. Then success will truly be within our grasp.

I will, of course, keep you apprised of all progress.

Raiche Belas Senior Researcher, CRP

References[]

  1. "Life is Beautiful" (dead link)
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