53.3 \ 235

“The emergent cultural wave I’ve been observing might frame these occurrences within an interesting perspective,” said the other city official.

“Go ahead, Roznmyk,” said the King Proxem.

“Viewing the portal images in deadzone neighborhoods has understandably become an obsession. I’m aware, on all the obvious levels, of what’s going on, though my viewpoint is restricted to my position. I’m sharing anything from the wildest and most furtive speculation that has crossed my awareness, after making it my particular interest. I really feel like this would spill out better if I could pace around in front of you – may I?”

“That sounds fine,” said the General. The King Proxem nodded.

She straightened her sensible ensemble as she got up and moved to block the view. “This is just more like the posture I use when connecting items on wallboards, and I may ramble because that’s what it’s like coming up with these things. So excuse the fervor, it accompanies the thought pattern.”

“People believe that the Strangers – this is the popular name for the nonhuman figures in the grainy images – that they’ve made contact with humans several times.” Roznmyk paced gently and ordered her thoughts from behind an internal gaze. “It’s been posited that the reason many technologies were shut down on the advent of intrusive communications is because they were invented at least partially by, or originated from, the Strangers, who apparently retain superior command of them.”

“A number of conclusions are being bandied around. There is a theory with strong supporters that we are related to the Strangers, somehow. This is in contrast with those discussing specific times in recent history when there may have been contacts which precipitated captive experimentations akin to xenophobic torture, which gave them projections of intolerable aggression if that were allowed to continue, which set them on a course toward these events.” Roznmyk took a deep breath with a couple blinks, gathering her thoughts to continue. “Some say the Strangers were in contact with people of Hirylien just before HA235 decimated the planet.” She glanced at King Vario, who was holding a fist in front of his set mouth. “That this may have been a reason for using a bioweapon to suppress the populace.” She shook her head to continue. “They know we can hurt them. They’re not working alone.” Her hand lifted, sketching out a few more thoughts. “There’s more, of course, but that’s probably enough for now.” The city official drifted back toward her seat.

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