000020
Posted By: Kassandra (#9777)
Date/Time: Sun Aug 9 17:47:47 2009
Subject: Worlds Apart

Night falls across the SLCAZ (Salt Lake City Autonomous Zone) and my guide, Chief Dan George, feels restless. "This area is tasteless," he tells me in broken English, his words punctuated by Shoshone phrases. Chief Dan George is 80 years old and can remember the world before the Awakening and before Wolf spoke to him. Now he is content to be a guide and to take me on a journey of discovery of the great Ute Nation. We have traveled throughout the nation, and this is the first time he has mentioned a bad taste.

"These people, they are good people, but they take something from the land, a little part of our culture and beliefs go away every year. The air and ground here, they are no good." He punctuates his statement with a sweep of his hand, as if trying to drive away bad spirits.

Chief Dan George is not alone. Hundreds of practicioners in the Ute Nation and visiting have complained about the negative aspects that seem to surround Salt Lake City like a dead area of cell phone reception. Some even think that they are doing it on purpose, such as Dr. Everet Lawson from Phoenix University. "The Mormons may not be doing it on purpose .. no mustache-twisting evil plots .. but their very belief system and nature is colouring the land and driving away the very mana and magic that sustains life and Awakened creatures there. We've lost three species of Awakened insect and two Awakened lizards because of the changes around SLC. It is maddening and they're not interested in doing anything about it."

Others, like the Society for Awakened Rights, have other ideas. While they would not release their names for this publication nor agree to be photographed, they tell me that their agenda is clear: much like Greenpeace and other organizations, they plan to stage protests and other activities to drive back the mana-leeching aspect of SLC and bring about a resurgance of magic. So far they have not been successful, and many members have been captured and detained by the local police force.

While many corporations have concerns about the effects around SLC (notably, Wuxing has not set up shop there), others consider it an asset. Mitsuhama PR Director Anki Yashihara remarked, "It is like free security from prying eyes and Awakened intruders. We have noticed no ill effects at our holdings and are happy in the SLCAZ."

Whatever the outcome, there will those like Chief Dan George that are sorrowful to see the old ways decline and see the very land itself change before them. "The young," he tells me, "they will not have a chance to see the real beauty the way it was meant to be. That is sad to me. I hope that things will change, but I am an old man, I think that this is the way of the world now."

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