Congratulations again @rasmanisar! Nice job, two wins in a row! And thanks again to the other authors that entered and all the forum members that voted. You can send me a PM for the next contest theme if you'd like. I'll be using your suggested theme when I get the next contest up later this evening. In the search for happiness  Once when humanity was a developing species, young and hardy without a sense of the power it would one day wield over the cosmos, the road to happiness was one that was rarely travelled, and then only by accident. Any search for emotion was soon put to one side by the harshness of nature with its deeply rutted pathway, waiting to trip those who lost sight of the struggle for survival in the search for inner peace. And so we grew, taking the challenges that were thrust upon us by the world and turning them to our purpose, the stars in our vision mere candle flames compared to the fire that burned in our dreams and hearts. However, when Man had conquered the world to his purpose and stood tall and proud at the summit of the great unified metropolis that his endeavours had finally achieved, then did he begin to wonder at that fantastically intense feeling that tore through his mind on succeeding in his mission, the transcendent and yet almost tangible bliss that he experienced for that brief moment. Despite all that he had achieved, with all the incredible power that lay at his fingertips, he could not possess that which he felt only for the briefest of moments - true inner happiness. In desperation, Man turned to his greatest scientists and ordered them to find the passageway to happiness, so that he might experience it at will. The scientists had access to everything they could possibly require, from rare herbs to intoxicating substances, from psychological study to biological knowledge, and so they researched and researched for year after year as Man sat in his world of completion and obsessed over the one thing that he could not have at his fingertips; the concept danced across his mind, burning like a white hot fire through his dreams until there came a time where he could not even sleep without being tortured by its alluring proximity. Every day he would go to his scientists, and every day there would be the same dreadful response - no progress as to the substance of happiness. After they had searched to no avail for year upon year, the scientists decided to build a great artificial intelligence to answer their question for them; more complex than had ever been created before, with the capacity to experience the full spectrum of emotion in its purest form. When The Intelligence was completed, Man stood before it and said 'How can I find happiness?'. But the machine gave no answer. So Man asked 'What is happiness?', yet again, The Intelligence offered nothing to him. For many months Man rephrased and altered his question in countless different ways, and always was given the same useless response. One day, in a fit of rage he took a hammer to the machine, screaming as he did so 'WHAT KEEPS FROM ME THE ONE THING I DESIRE?'. The hammer bit deep into the delicate construction, damaging its ability to experience emotion. For the first time since it had been created, the machine responded ‘The thing that you seek is against the very nature of that from which you seek to gain the knowledge.'And with that, its emotion processing core broke down completely, lapsing into silence. Man puzzled over this for days, whilst his scientists attempted to repair The Intelligence. Eventually, Man saw what he must do - If he sought to gain the knowledge from the Universe, and happiness was against the nature of the Universe, then when experiencing happiness he could not experience the Universe. Man was very excited by his discovery, and at once informed his scientists who had been unsuccessful in their attempts to repair The Intelligence. Whilst they had restored it partially, its emotional functions had not been fully restored; it now did not understand happiness. Man knew that his discovery had come about due to The Intelligence's words, and therefore intended to restore it by showing it how to find happiness once more, so that he and it might share the bliss. He sat cross legged in front of The Intelligence, and started deliberately to forget, that he might block out the Universe. First he forgot the Dawn of Man, with the struggle to survive against natures foes. Then he forgot the Rise of Man, where he spread his dominance across the entire world until all was under his command. And finally, he forgot the Trials of Man, his great quest for happiness itself lost in the wake of its own purpose. The Intelligence watched Man carefully, for it saw that he had reached true happiness. After a time of silence, it spoke. 'Man, what must I do to find happiness?'. But Man could give no answer.