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Everything go in the abyssal experiment zone, where the experts had been living for span upon span. With the new elements swimming in place, maybe only for this one time, they didn’t know how they could possibly give anything more to the culmination of their group effort.

When it began again, the whole Arch could hear it: The Hoopoe’s ultimate track (with regards to this experiment, he would murmur). They’d gotten the best musical talent for this party, it was agreed.

This time, the track sounded different; the difference was the new Dragon. Acamar was there, out in the abyss just past where anyone could see. The sound transformed the way sound does when it bounces off an object, but this object didn’t make sense three-dimensionally. The listening crew experienced something like echolocation, though instead of returning a distorted soundwave, the sound was completed into something greater than the sound they were producing. It was similar to a musical sense of completion, the home note in a composition where every note hit home. The elements of completion were otherworldly, yet because of the way their portion of the sound was grounded in their own reality, the in-between quality still belonged. It was like their own entire dimension was balanced on one side of a seesaw, and this sound was the plank displaying the balance – but likely, they were realizing further, not the only balance touching this existence.

Somewhere in there was the voice of Acamar, but it was between everything that they could hear, while being distinctly there. Acamar was doing something with this wave, or this wave was doing something to Acamar – as though ‘e knew what it meant, what it was, and what to do. Dragons do recognize their element in all novel occurrences.

Time as a dimension seemed to suspend. It was strangely comfortable, the way people are comfortable in the moment before everything that might happen next. They cherished and savored the world they knew, before eagerly facing one they didn’t yet – the world to come in the following moments, approaching as every future approaches.

Atlanta & Beyond

There were some really neat reader and fan experiences to be found at Fandemic Dead in Atlanta, many thanks for the invitation.

And look who’s been seeing this trilogy author here and there! Grogu and his Mandalorian guardian taking an interest; Guy Gilchrist, a creator of Muppet Babies from my youth; and not one, but two Sandman artists, Glenn Fabry & director David Mack. Yes, I am hanging out at La Mole 25 in Mexico City.

Plus, this amazing greeting occurred with THE Cary Elwes. We had ourselves a pandemic-style fistbump.

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Arcta lounged against the bottom curve of an alcove wall – low-ceilinged, cushioned, and comfortable. It was just her inside, lit with a nice medium-level glow. She tugged a scrap of paper out of her fitting sleeve. Snuggling into the curve, she read.

a space on the other side
one form or another
near enough to touch
one way or another
what makes the bridge?
what do we seek?
is the bridge what we seek?
what hunger or call brings us here
to the swaying path?
I sense the desire to be known
by something that wants to know us.
we’re drawn to this pursuit,
danger seems to signify its value.
myself likely closer than most
for various reasons –
can almost touch it,
if I knew what touch meant here

({warping, trying to hold onto a memory of a physical form, but there’s something nearby that’s different; the memory is held together, but in a way that keeps changing it. hold on or hope})

There was something more about what was on the paper, some lingering experiential feeling transmitted that wasn’t in the words. She would take one of these from the stack, that Raev had written in odd moments. When he said maybe he’d write a poem about it – when she busted him out of stillfreeze – she said she’d read it. He gave her all these, that he’d written to make sense or nonsense of it. This was just the right kind of time to have a little of his presence. In full self-honesty, she wasn’t expecting much more of it.

These explanations of amorphous, bodiless experience had some scent of critical information. Reassuringly, none of it seemed like anything she could do anything about. She was just the only one who’d expressed any interest. Maybe nobody could do anything about it, at this point. All of this had been in his mind when he came out of stasis. Raev had experienced or seen a lot, somehow, during that time.