74.1 \ 256

It had been a while now since Navann Ynam had finished her stint volunteering at the hospital as a retired nurse while the Affliction raged. It had wrenched her heart to use a device to determine who might get less lifesaving care, and then everyone survived. It was the most amazing thing when the reverse agent rolled out just in time, though many patients seemed to be recovering somewhat even before they had gotten any of the formulation. That hadn’t happened on Hirylien, some said. Navann remembered some of the faces in the back of her mind; sometimes, she was sure she saw them in the streets afterward, which put a tear in her eye. The signal takeover happened later, and she lived in an affected neighborhood. She remained in her single apartment on her own, not a whole lot different from her semi-retired life, while certainly more interesting.

73 \ 255

every system is poised in arrested interlocking patterns
these many, focused, brilliant minds arrayed in strata
– medium within medium – facing an equal complexity –

this became my refuge, and then, my seeming multilayered purpose
these are not my calculations, though I may have furthered them
these are not my machines, though I may have nurtured them
this is neither my challenge nor my victory, but this may change me

as a Dragon, I accept change – the changes of the universe are mine as well
while as the mote of sunlight in the deepest, darkest abyss,
more obscuringly dense than the vast vacuum,
I wonder what I am here to illuminate?

the respectfully somber yet audaciously brave flourishes to begin,
and something starts to happen that never happened before
in the same way that nothing has ever happened before,
yet in such a way as to make that clearer than at other moments

clarity of our attention magnifying as pulses move through electricity,
furthering attached responses, setting in motion their multivarious channels
my awareness extends far, but only so far, not all being within my realm
I feel thrills in the anticipation held within the unknown
as the processes make their leaps.
what we’re hearing has never been projected in such a fashion,
and I for one feel it corporeally, perhaps they must in their own structures
this is going to have to affect something
this doesn’t feel like something that does nothing

my visual perception of water is probably the finest
in present direct experience, and this is stunningly unique
if the aim was to produce beauty, then they have done it
I have heard them say that the truest means are often the most beautiful,
and if so then from what I see, they may be achieving their exact aim

they, with their own ways of perceiving, appear as thrilled as I
probably more so in the Human way, because this is their endeavor
while I, in my Dragon way, recognize this as a turning point
the kind which we, too, note and remember within ourselves

from somehow within the sounds reaching and contacting the water,
there appear bright colors and dimensions, distances all around us,
as though we are inside something that is someplace else
but this someplace is no place of ours! so totally like, and unquestionably other,
fully realized, no sketch but a complete other place
– this could be a sky – this could be a land – shocking to the core –
though there is a form of grounding reassurance in our solidly continued existence.
we are fine.
our wavelengths are meeting other wavelengths,
and the completed soundscape is an unbelievable glory,
the definition of transcendence,
something nobody even knew they were going to achieve –
it shows on every face

and it’s transitory, we reach the end of our transmission,
and we’re back to the place where we yet remain, the same place we began
things achieve neutral state as we power down
did we do it? is this what this was supposed to do?

there’s someone in here that wasn’t here before
a small floating being who matches the skyscape colors that just surrounded us
she is clapping, and beaming radiantly

“Sublime! That was sublime,” said Rosy Glow. “I was drawn. You’re going to need something. I’ll try and see what it is by the time you need it.”

72.3 \ 254

Finishing their rounds through the Service Hallway, Onk and the Woollibees rejoined the operating cluster at the Peak to deliver the all-set status. Team leads, point persons, and emergency messengers were gathered there. Princess Soleil was among them, along with some of the other nonresident visitors.

When possible to inquire without distraction, she’d gleaned various expectations of the projects coming to a head in this obviously landmark experimental run. The Princess wanted to know what she and these other unlikely personages were all here to witness under threat. She had her reasoning, which led her here; so did Arkuda, so did Captain Harper, et. al. These different purposes led these different people here at this moment, which held them gripped.

The predominating sentiment was an educated anticipation of the unexpected. In every list of possibilities was a line of question marks, connected to the question marks in other parallel projects. This element, along with the aggression above water, lent a slight doomsday aura to the scientific team’s determination to see this through – come what may. The unexpected observer-participants, in getting here, had reached this point themselves in successfully navigating the extenuating circumstances. This was next, this was it. If this didn’t take them all out, any number of other things might.

Every direct eye view at the Peak of the Arch was open, the full set of multi-spectrum camera perspectives engaged, plus arrays of readings routed to their associated staff. There was a certainty that they were on the cusp of corroborating hypotheses they had built from their soundings. Something may exhibit contact with the altered physics of a dimension close enough for them to hear, now that they’d figured out how to listen. They may have gotten close enough in their methods for it to hear them. In learning how to do this, they had already gained knowledge of their own dimensions. It had given them gifts already, the bargaining chips that protected and endangered them now.

72.2 \ 254

“How’s the stability of the temporary alteration to the torrential slip field?” Arjun directed this to Bux, who had designed the hydromolecular mechanics of tensile grip and torrential slip.

“It’s more or less as unstable as it should be. What we’ve designed is a sustained semi-stable instability factor – a disturbance within the turbulence. It has selective permeability to specific force oppositions that will maintain field integrity while creating shifting hydrointeractive microhole surfaces that extend our effective wavelengths by transforming them for the medium.” Bux descended from his rapture state of envisioning ideal function. He ran a hand down the front of his tab-collar laboratory robe. “We’ll only activate this altered fieldstate for the Symphony.”

“I don’t think it will sound very much like your usual symphony,” meditated Arjun quietly.

“This could have taken someone a year, but with our dream team and dream budget under high stress – well, we just zipped it right up. I would not have demanded this of others under normal circumstances, but the challenge was met. We’re ready if you are, my brother.” Buckminster then addressed Onk, who’d walked ahead of their pace to the next installation cluster. “Leryn, is your crew ready to manage the divided/controlled surge to the amplifiers and field?”

“We’ll still be able to draw from the hydroelectric generation of the torrential slip field. If we decide to use maximum application, we’re prepared to darken most of the building. We can only do this once in a day, and make it to the next day, or to the surface. We’re as ready as we can be.” A round of suppressed excited nervous chuckles overtook them all briefly.

72.1 \ 254

From where they were inside the Service Hallway, they couldn’t see the curve in the far distance, through the medium-dim light friendly to the technologies exposed here. Buckminster Woollibee and Arjun Woollibee – along with their lever-pulling electrical engineer Leryn Onk – were reviewing the modification setup that was now installed along the entire hairpin length of the Arch. They’d been figuring this out and setting it up for a little while now, since the discovery that a central key to their experiments lay within the sonic spectrum; fine tuning the largest possible and highest-energy-allowance sound system that could project and respond at various levels, and ideally interface positively with the surrounding aqueous molecular matrix.

“Do you remember when we first hearkened to Arctyri, when the Councillor and General were here in their official capacities? A lot has happened since, I know, and now both of them are actually back without their titles, arrived separately. But you remember the cold current we set up, unbroken from room to room, using every unusual air regulation device?” Arjun tapped a pen against his forehead while he asked this.

“Yes,” replied his twin Bux, “it was very convoluted. We were caught up in the moment.”

“Maybe we could have done it in here.” Indicated with an upraised hand, the continuity of this connecting space was unquestionable.

“Possibly. Though it may not have been as interesting. Being interesting could be a factor when attempting to call up a Dragon.”

“You may be onto something there,” acknowledged Arjun, using words they’d been tossing to each other since they could first work on a puzzle together. Meanwhile, Onk was stepping aside to gently fondle every newly-wired bank of sensors and emitters, for yet another once-over.