Sunday, December 27, 2015


There was a roaring crowd behind Hank.  Cheers.  Music.  She thought she could hear the voice of Susanna Moyer in the background.

“Oh yeah... about the Jewel.  I’ve got it.  I’ll be on a plane tonight.”

Jahan slowly put the phone back on the table.  In a way she had it coming, but it's never a great moment when karma catches up to you.


“The deal is that they walk out.  They are free.  They have no pre-existing bonds to any of the corporations or to any government agency.  Nothing.  They... they just walk away."

"I expect they will need to be counseled, extensively, before they are ready to walk anywhere."

"We tell them as best we can what happened at Niantic and afterwards.  We tell them what happened to them.  We tell them about recursion...

"And how you’re going to try to get them back to their bodies?”

"I'll never stop trying."

“All this for nothing.”

“We go on doing what we do, you and I.  They have a chance to walk away.  They’ve given up an unimaginable amount.  They’ve given up years.  They are going to be confused and disoriented.  They are going to have holes in their lives.  We did this to them.  We’re hitting the big ‘undo’ button.” Hank met her eyes.

Jahan looked at him.  He was decided.  There wasn’t going to be a negotiation.  She thought of a hundred ways to try and work around them and knew that none of them would work.  “We won’t be able to control the corporations.”

“The good news is that none of them know anything that isn’t three years old.  If some of these folks want to return and continue research, they can do so, obviously.  We are out of the way.”  He smiled.  “Do we have a deal or don’t we?  And you don’t have the option of reneging on it.  The Azmati pact travels with me now.”

If she gave her word, it would be her bond.  In truth, 'controlling' the researchers at this point was a matter of semantics... they had been shaped by their time in the Portal Network.

She assented.

He produced the Wind Jewel.  The real one. 

He traced the familiar Glyphs... it began to glow.

The portal opened.  There, suspended in a place between the dimensions, they saw the Investigators laid out in the Abaddon Chamber.  It was as unlike the 13MAGNUS Nest in Afghanistan as it could possibly be.  Harsh.  Scientific.  Metal.  Sterile.  Gleaming and glowing with newness and every technological tool Calvin could get his hands on.  But it served the exact same purpose. 

There they were, laid out in a circle.508681705618641906192919497254845687

Calvin was amongst them. 

“What are you going to tell them?” Jahan asked.

“Nothing.  Calvin is.  He’s going to tell them the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."

"And after?"1907171607060408064407505037060408060505082109

"It's going to be an interesting day, Jahan." Hank looked down at the glowing spiral in his hands, then up at Jahan.  He knew she could feel it too.

The Wind Jewel began to grow warm.

The energy was palpable, blinding.  They shielded their eyes... Hank thought he felt the room shake. 

Then, quiet and cold.  The background hum of stubborn machinery.

There standing beside the long tables, some staring in confusion at 'themselves,' were the researchers.

All save one.33424b4e334245594f4e44f4e3342384a


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ghost Town

She had heard of this place a thousand times.  She had seen drawings.  She had meditated on it, seen it in sharp focus through her mind's eye.  But actually being here was utterly different.  The XM flow was supercharged, tingling with an energy she had never felt before, like stinging spices, simultaneously painful and stimulating.  Dangerous.  This is where it had all happened.gs4c2aeponal6gdo8h

There was no sign that read ‘Niantic Project,' but the familiar blue logo appeared on sheets of paper littered throughout the facility and on occasional monitors which glowed like apparitions on walls and desks, automatically waking as she passed by them, then once again resuming their slumber.
The place felt haunted.  People had experienced something terrible here.  The original researchers were sentenced to a kind of death and placed in a Nest in a secret laboratory below the building.  A Nest that was only accessible by one possessing a Primal Object, like the Wind Jewel Jahan carried with her.  They had been turned into Simulacra by Calvin.  He had done it to himself, as well.

But there was something more than that...  the ghostly feeling extended further.  There were other dead here, too.  She had heard the stories about the chaos surrounding the body of Roland Jarvis.

She hadn’t known what to expect when she entered this hallowed ground.  Would the facility be guarded by HAZDATA guards playing out some government contract issued by Congressman Dasher?  Did the NIA or 13MAGNUS leave a trap for her?  Would they be lying in wait?  She didn’t know.  She had prepared for everything.  

Thus far, the building was empty, as if everybody had fled after the showdown between HAZDATA and the Corporations, like children fleeing a haunted house.  There was yellow tape in various areas from some investigation that had followed Epiphany Night.  She passed the project work area where Oliver-Lynton Wolfe’s exploding Power Cube had triggered the event, Enoch Dalby’s musical instruments, Carrie Campbell’s scrawlings over walls and floor.  At the time, nobody knew how valuable and prophetic they would be. A notebook lay on the ground nearby. Lightman's early attempts to decipher Carrie's Glyphs.w,yfm4u1pxr1rbf0n

She looked up at the crow’s nest where Calvin supervised his project.  The window was shattered.  She didn’t know when or how that had happened.

There was Henry Bowles' office where early work on ADA had been carried out and Richard Loeb’s area where ADA had begun to become truly sentient.  She saw the hat stand in the corner. His fabled gypsy fedora wasn’t there, of course.

Chapeau worried her.  She had considered having him killed or captured, but something told her not to.  Instinct.  Or maybe a distant voice.

She descended deep into the building and reached the lowest known floor, following the long dark tunnels using the map from Calvin's files.  She crossed dozens of nondescript doors before she saw it.  It was ordinary.  Just another door, nestled between some kind of hardware storage room and a room that seemed to contain some HVAC machinery.  ABADN.  She smiled.  At this very moment, Agents were battling around the world, in Okinawa, Milan, Oakland and a dozen other cities, but she stood alone in the epicenter.  She withdrew the Wind Jewel that Hank Johnson had pried from the hands of Quetzalcoatl Guzman days before and traced the Glyph pattern. 

Nothing happened.

She tried again, her brow furrowed. This didn't make sense.

Then she realized the truth.

Hank Johnson.

She had fallen for the oldest trick in the book.  She felt blood begin to pump in her forehead and cheeks.4tju7ibsehgyibn9,6n

He had switched the stone.  Probably with a forgery that he’d found in the dead Azmati’s cache.

Damn him.  Damn him.  She began to laugh, hearing it echo sharply down the long bare tunnels.