Within the aetherscape behind Uixtr Xkcd’s closed eyes, during a moment of stillness he was able to secure while traversing this unfamiliar distance, he accessed a personal message node which possessed certain formal criteria. It was the Vedani habit closest to encryption. Unique filtering of the aetherscape was a personal trait similar to physical appearance. The message needed to be formulated specifically to Uixtr, not multi- or widecast; it needed to be single-author, not anonymous or conglomerate, and of a minimum familiarity of association in public quanta; of linear fashion, not fragment-pieced, and of information density significant to Uixtr’s set threshold. Someone needed to know to send this specific kind of message in order for it to land in Uixtr’s node, which would reject any other form.
This time, there was one. Uixtr dissociated from his environment as he examined communication that linked him to his people while he was alone from them. It was from Oibhn Clnr. The message emerged from an interrelation of referential indicators, a meta-layer of information that described the context of the missive, while indicating how the foreground communication arises with a connector diagram fed by live related data. With Vedani communication, ‘linear’ did not refer to spatial arrangement of symbols, but that one item preceded another in following or prioritized logic. From its contextual constellation, this linear message stretched, waved, and morphed from one item to the next.
OIBHN: We’re done using up the rolls of grey foam. Only one tuning polygon remains in Imperium space. At first the scavengers were the usual private-interest suspects, then a new one to note, appearing solo. Then came various investigators, then investigators accompanied by military escorts, who remained posted. They may or may not have noted the distribution throughout every federet and nearly ever galaxy. Probably not all of the placement data belongs to the same sources. They seem unaware that we’ve achieved full coverage, or if they know, then they still haven’t figured out the office machines. To their credit, they might. We now have wide pluralities of transanchor coordinates, having developed additional capacity and new capabilities. Our system administrators have sharpened their skills and are ready with the upper hand. They’re not going to know what’s hitting them, but we’ll spell it out. Our signal will be impossible to ignore.
Taking a moment to pause and admire some of the personages who have come into to contact with the journey of this trilogy.
There’s a William Gibson, a Charlie Cox, a Shakespeare & Co. storekeeper, a Larry Niven, a comic book store owner from my youth, MORE, and most recently the Space Lady!
Guess as hard as you like, or just… receive the transmissions. The first is actually an idea sketch, the next is the stuck pen scribbling spot, and the third is… my second page of Fibonacci-Virahanka addition, totaling up to the QUADRILLIONS, on the front of my current Bones of Starlight dedicated story journal.
The First Abyssal Inverse Dwelling Designer (First AIDD) had another innovation to add to the hidden private research station informally known as the Arch; not the first time this had been the case since it was active and inhabited. This generally reassured residents, as though the place couldn’t be falling apart if First AIDD Arjun Woollibee had time and resources to be coming up with something new.
He’d gone through various corridors hanging a type of minimal conduit, sticking it up like a holiday decoration. Arjun traded interestingly awkward smiles upon eye contact, being sure to alert the people in charge of each area that this was his intentional element in process. He was mostly able to proceed without additional questioning – he didn’t prefer to explain things before he’d gotten them working, and many understood this about him.
Back at his control base, he broadcasted a drill signal before he threw his lever. Along the conduits, the wavelength spectrum of genuine, not simulated, sunlight filled the halls. Benevolent ghosts of lost Anzi! After doing a personal victory jig right then and there, Arjun emerged for an applause stroll.
He was not disappointed, as everyone was delighted. In a larger chamber where the sunstrips glowed, someone in the congratulatory group asked how he’d gotten sunstrips to work through the profound abyssal layers of Foshan’s deepest oceans. “It’s a transmission. A particular pulse parts the water in an atomic scale stream, allowing in photons of natural daylight above. The pulse remains continuously connected with a current that keeps the conduit steady around the photon packeting, traveling between synchronized waveform coding inherent to the vibrative and receptive surfaces. We’ll receive the same daylight that shines above, with the same spectra, levels of natural intensity and times of rising and setting, as sunstrips normally work. And while we have the sunlight, we also have communications open to priority.” A moment of quiet while that sank in, then the room erupted in cheers.
Arjun walked back into his office eyes closed, both relishing the moment and feeling a drop in achievement adrenaline that heralded a sweet rest to follow. As he heard the door seal, he opened his eyes, and was as surprised by the sight in his office as people were about the sunlight in the halls.
This was an enormous weekend on so many fronts! It’s hard to go into the depth of the experience without spinning a legend, so I’ll sketch the merest outline.
First, some thanks to Stephen Shamus, the man with the plan! Making the calls to make it all happen, he’s a top rock star getting us all working together. With actress Mandy Rivera.
Here’s a small highlight of conventiongoing characters who took a moment with a Bones of Starlight book:
Haku of Spirited Away!
Is Kelli Staci a character? In a way…
Leeloo Dallas MULTIPASS!
Here are some well-known entertainers who I had the pleasure of meeting, with thanks to those who made it possible – all of whom personally accepted a copy of my latest novel, Bones of Starlight: Abyss Surrounding.
Deborah Ann Woll & Eva L. Elasigue
Eva L. Elasigue, Zoe Saldana, Mandy Rivera
Josh Brolin, Eva L. Elasigue, Mandy Rivera, Chris Evans
And here’s your humble author – felicitations to all who now have a new book from me!
Extra Bonus: Pride Weekend! I joined NorwesCon this year to walk in Seattle Pride Parade. I went dressed as a Muse – both in the classical sense of a figure that inspires others to create, and with resemblance to the mechanical muses from comicbook Girl Genius! I bore a scroll painted by Leo Shallat, photo by writer Phil Foglio.