Friday, August 18, 2017

Microstory 650: An Escaped Murderer Kills No More

Eido Mateo’s Homecoming

This is one of those taikon that are hard to judge, which is why it’s so important that we have trained and conscientious verifiers to make sure that all events in question qualify. Lightseers have been worried about this one since the Book of Light was first written. It describes the life of a murderer who changes his ways. It doesn’t say who this killer is, why he’s meant to stop, or even what amount of time is supposed to pass. All humans are potentially immortal. Even those who haven’t worked hard enough to gain access to transhumanistic upgrades still have access to basic medical treatments that can extend life by decades...centuries, even. Though many of us never worry about death, or at least death by old age, we still measure time by the same lifespans of old. In fact, lifetime remains a legal term in most courts. Seventy standard years is used in sentencing systems as a baseline to determine how much punishment an offender deserves, be it more, or less. It is for this reason, and other traditions, that people still experience their lives in increments of about seven decades. People often alter their lifestyles to account for these transitions, as arbitrary as they may be to medical science. Because of this, believers were unwilling to wait however long it may take for an escaped murder to prove that he has stopped killing. Does the clock start once the taikon themselves begin, or can a murder have effectively quit long before, and somehow qualifies now. Fortunately for the more impatient amongst us, the former turned out to be the right answer.

Peve Stannon is considered to be one of the worst serial killers of all time; in this galaxy, and likely beyond. Of course, murder in Fostea is completely legal, as it’s a free choice that any central government would be powerless to prohibit. There are many good reasons to kill someone else; personal vengeance, business purposes, or even to protect others. Peve Stannon did not kill for these reasons, though. He did it for fun, and he was quite particular. Stannon went after people who his twisted sense of morality told him were too different than him to be trusted. He didn’t like being around those who were not heterosexual (which includes most everybody), those with darker skin, or people who chose to associate themselves with diversity. As terrible as it was to live under the rule of the dirty communists back in Lactea, one thing they had going for them was their ability to accept others for who they are, which is a sentiment we continue today, if only that. Stannon got his ideas by studying the planet isolate, Earth, which is where Fosteans lived for a brief time during its early civilizations. Since then, racism and homophobia has come and gone to the Earthan peoples. They are now living in the middle of the first decade of their third millennium, and things seem to be going okay. Decades earlier, though, bigotry and hatred were almost ubiquitous, with an entire political party being built on the platform of killing people who were different than them; their main issue being those of a rival religion. They ultimately resulted in the deaths of millions of people. We fight against our rivals as well, but we do so on an even playing field, and our goal is to show them The Light, not to simply be rid of them. Peve Stannon was fascinated by their behavior, and that of others later on, notably a white skin supremacists group who, umm...dressed up like ghosts? Stannon went on several killing sprees for years, eventually killing thousands of people. He was finally caught by a collective of the survivors of many of his victims, who created a court system for the sake of hunting, and prosecuting, Stannon. Sadly, Stannon escaped from the prison they built for him, and has spent years hiding out, having left no trace of where he might be going. But one thing he did do was spend the rest of his life without killing anybody else. His body was found in the middle of the woods by the survey team shortly after former Eido, Mateo’s departure from this universe. Verifiers still don’t know how he ended up on Kesliperia, or Hargrave Peninsula, but decided that he had died recently enough to qualify for the fiftieth taikon.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Microstory 649: Eido Mateo’s Homecoming

Peninsula Removed from the Mainland

When Sotiren Zahir first met Eido Mateo, they could immediately relate to each other. They were both charming, mysterious, intriguing, and highly intelligent. They were the perfect match for each other. Had they wanted, they could have taken over the entire universe, and any other universe beyond it. Shortly after arriving, however, Mateo was taken back to his worlds by those he once called his friends. It’s unclear what happened to him while he was back there, but we know that he was somehow altered. The Sacred Savior had predicted Mateo’s return to these worlds sometime in the future, but many believed this to be more about his wishful thinking. Actually, the text was vague enough for him to return more in spirit; that his ideas could continue to modern times. Most did not think it possible that Mateo would survive the wrath of his former compatriots long enough to come back in any literal capacity. Following its sudden creation, verifiers landed on what would now have to be called Hargrave Island to survey the land. In fact, the recently validated resurrected Sotiren came as well to see this for himself. Before they could even get started, a door appeared in the middle of the rocky shore. It was just a regular brown door in a maroon frame, and it seemed to lead precisely nowhere, because all they found on any side was more rocks. It was not attached to anything, or at least not to anything in our perceptible dimensions. The door opened, and out came none other than Eido Mateo, along with his friends. And they really were his friends. He completely ignored Sotiren upon seeing him, as if they had never met before. Sotiren was saddened, and reportedly frightened; with good reason. One of his best friends had been taken from him by an enemy that he did not understand. Mateo was changed in some way, through technology Sotiren was not familiar with. If they could make this merciless warrior a tame moron, what else could they do? What threat does their parallel universe pose to ours? What other threats are out there waiting...or looking for us? Sotiren tried to get the real Mateo back, but Mateo had no recollection of their time together. He claimed that that wasn’t really him; that he was somehow possessed by someone evil and dark, but of course, nobody believed that. His people had done awful things to him, and Sotiren doubted there was any way to fix it. They left again before he could make any real progress, but their story together was not over yet.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Microstory 648: Peninsula Removed from the Mainland

Substantiation of the Cleansing Light

This taikon was at particular risk of being instigated unnatural, which is against the rules. In general, we are at risk of mischievous nonbelievers attempting to artificially create taikon in order to corrupt our beliefs. The fact that the taikon must be fulfilled in a particular order protects us from this, but only to a degree. It’s still possible for these evildoers to keep tabs on our progress, and prepare for the right moments. While we must all be vigilant against the corruptors, we have also curated a number of verifiers. This position, between standard Lightseers, and Highlightseers, is a coveted one. Verifiers are trained their whole lives. They memorize not only the Book of Light, but also contemporary records, to better recognize valid Lightseed events. They are extremely important to the process. We cannot simply rely on hearsay and fake news media reports. We have to see for ourselves, and people who have been trained their whole lives have to ensure every single taikon’s legitimacy. As it turned out, however, this taikon didn’t require any special precautions against corruptors. The peninsula in question was an obvious one. The Cleansing Light did not return the planet’s oceans to its original state, for that would be impossible. The removal of the oxygen irreversible altered the terrain, which meant that the oceans of now are different than before. One thing that came out of this was a new island. The Hargrave Peninsula was a large bit of land that protruded from one corner of the mainland. On one side was the Morbek Sea, and on the other was Linta Bay. Though other terrain had shifted, it had remained stable and unchanging. About an hour after the new oceans were created, however, the peninsula began to split off, forming a perfect canal that now separates the new island from the rest of the continent. Though it would be entire possible to achieve this through technological means, this did occur natural, and our verifiers have confirmed its validity.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Microstory 647: Substantiation of the Cleansing Light

Tidal Lock a Planet

The exciting thing about this taikon is that no one knew how it would be made manifest. Unlike other religions, we are very aware of the fact that the sacred cleansing light is metaphorical. As people of both science and faith, we recognize the true physical properties of light, and its wave-particle duality. We know how it’s scattered, reflected, and refracted. We know how fast it moves, how it’s possible to move beyond its speed, and we know the entire spectrum, and all of its uses. We are not ignorant or childish. Because of all this, the “substantiation of the cleansing light” was not something we could predict or understand. What exactly does that mean? Many have thrown their theories into the ring over the centuries. Some thought an actual entity; one that could be called God, would spontaneously come out of a source of light. With the simplex dimensions, people move in and out of what we perceive to be light all the time. That someone would do something like that could not possibly fulfill the requirements for a taikon. They are meant to be rare, if not impossible, and not provoked too thoughtfully by believers. In order to explain this, some in this camp of belief have guessed that light itself would somehow be made whole, so that the entity would not be so obviously a person, but something beyond. Of course, we now know that a person made of solid light could never be trusted, as one of our current primary irritants could mimic this power. She was born as the result of ancient genetic modification that gives her the ability to manipulate light to her will. She has regularly used this ability to render herself invisible, generate holograms that are nearly indistinguishable from reality, and even impersonate others. It would not be inconceivable for her to show up somewhere as a human of light. We would have to be wary of this, as she is a false prophet, and would only be doing this to garner support for her evil cause. Still, as unlikely as these theories were, they were still the most popular, because they were the easiest to understand. What happened instead was a demonstration of the cleansing light’s power. The entire ocean on Kesliperia was replaced with a new one. This has been done before, with Lake Wurveol on the Roepl moon where the Sacred Savior was buried, though on a much smaller scale. Furhter, while the Wurveol bloodwater returned from a spontaneous wormhole, the new Kesliperian oceans were created out of a sea of light from the new star that formed recently. This was a true miracle, and proof in what we now know to be the very real power of the Cleansing Light.

Peninsula Removed from the Mainland

Monday, August 14, 2017

Microstory 646: Tidal Lock a Planet

Death of an Ocean

Lots of celestial objects are tidally locked to each other. It’s not a particularly rare phenomenon. It can happen between planets orbiting their stars, or between satellites and their parent planets. Due to some complex deformation in relation to each other, these objects will lock into a sort of rhythm that prevents one side of one object from ever facing the other object. This will leave one side of the object in perpetual lightness, with the other stuck in perpetual darkness. Oirpelne is one example of this, along with Earth, and its one moon. It’s important to understand that tidal locking does not happen upon a satellite’s formation, but as a result of changes over time. Furthermore, cosmic scales are not the same thing as other perceived scales. Though locking happens in a relatively short amount of time, it still takes vast amounts of time from the perspective of anything capable of witnessing it. Not so in this case. One of the effects that the complete deoxygenation of Kesliperia had on the world was complete restructuring of its topography. Mountains, canyons, and tectonic plates shift around, and under, each other. The terrain is unrecognizable today to anyone who saw it last week. This deformation caused Kesliperia to begin an irregular orbit around its parent star. And this happened immediately; on human timescales. Less than one day, to be exact, for it was occurring during the Week in One Day taikon. As with many other taikon, this should be a physical impossibility. Thankfully, the Sacred Light is unimpeachable, and this all happened within the timeframe useful to Lightseers eager to see the realization of the taikon prophecies.

Substantiation of the Cleansing Light

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Puzzle of Escher Bradley: Chapter Five

Click here for the entire story.
Click here for the previous installment...

After an awkward conversation with the lovely couple, I say my goodbyes, and drive back to the station. Both fortunately, and unfortunately, none of us knows exactly what’s going on. We’ve all lost about an hour of time, during which we were presumably together. There aren’t any inexplicable marks on our respective bodies, and we don’t feel injured, or otherwise in pain. They have the strangest sensation that they’ve been crying, but have no recollection of what might have triggered their sadness. The upside is that they’re more embarrassed about it than I am, and I get the impression that they’re not going to rat me out to my superiors. A detective with the ability to lose chunks of time is no detective at all. I obviously need to investigate this issue, but right now, I think it’s important to return to my desk. Since I’m not yet working on a case, and it’s my first day on the job, I have no reason to be out in the field yet. Extending that period of time would just make things worse.
The first thing I notice when I step into the the police station is that there is nothing different about it. No one has noticed that I was gone, or really cares. Benefits of working in one of the largest cities in Kansas, I guess. Everybody’s too busy with their own stuff to pay attention to anyone else. I was this close to moving to the small town where my mother grew up. No real interest in living in Missouri, though.
“Yo, Hummel,” I say as he’s passing by.
He stops. “That’s Sergeant Hummel to you,” he tells me. “Or just Sergeant.”
I chuckle once.
He looks at me seriously.
“Hummel, you’re not a Sergeant.”
“What the hell are you talking about, Bran? Did you take the wrong medication this morning?”
“Man, you—” I get a peek at his badge, and it’s certainly designated for a sergeant. Last I saw him was this morning, just before my missing hour came up. I was handing him paperwork that I didn’t have time to do myself. Which he was happy to complete because he tries and impress everyone who can further his career. Yes, he’s older, and more experienced, than me, but I made detective first because I’m better. That he’s suddenly a sergeant makes absolutely no sense, and I’m sure it has something to do with my missing time. Of course, I can’t say any of this to him. “I’m just messing with you. Sorry.” I shrug it off as playful office banter.
“You need to get it together, Bran. You’re a detective now. Act like one.” He starts walking away as I nod. “And there’s some paperwork on my desk with your name on it,” he adds without looking back.
I rush over to his desk to find the exact same stack of documents I handed him this morning...in my reality. So some things are the same, and others are different. The trick is not figuring out which are which, but finding a way back to where I belong. This isn’t my world, and even though I don’t so far dislike it more than the first one, it’s unfamiliar, and that makes me uncomfortable. I speed through the paperwork so I can get to my lunch break, and work on my own problems.
“Thank God your back,” the woman from before says to me as I’m getting out of my car in the couple’s driveway. “Some weird stuff is happening to us.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Why? What happened to you?”
“No, it’s...not important. Literally tell me about it.”
“Follow me.”
As we’re walking up stairs, I can hear her husband rifling through some boxes in one of the rooms. “Cheryl, take a look at thi—” He notices me there. “Oh, it’s you.”
“What is all this?”
“We don’t know,” Cheryl answers, shaking her head. “It’s kid’s stuff, but we don’t have kids.”
“I’ve been looking at it...holistically,” Tyler says. “It belongs to one kid. He likes dinosaurs, astronauts, and drawing. It’s a bit weird that he has both cabbage patch dolls, and trolls, but I dig it. Cheryl, I think we had a son.”
“How do you know it was a boy?” I ask.
He holds up a pile of clothes.
“Oh my God, this is crazy. When I got back to the station, I noticed something different. One of my colleagues has suddenly been promoted. Twice. That’s impossible for just one day.”
“Somebody’s messing with our memories,” Tyler laments
“Or we messed with our own memories. Or we were exposed to some kind of toxic chemical. Or I’m dreaming, and you two don’t exist. We just can’t trust anything we perceive in reality. Maybe nothing is real.” I’m not usually this philosophical, but I’m at a loss.
“I think, therefore I am,” Tyler notes. He picks up a photo album and starts looking through it.
Cheryl digs into the boxes, trying to find hard evidence that they had a son. Perhaps he scribbled his name on his favorite toy, or scratched his initials on the bottom of a pinewood derby car he and his dad built together, but mostly his dad.
I try to think of what next step we could take. If we’re looking at the problem the wrong way, what could be the right way? Think, Bran. You’re a detective, for God’s sake. What would Pender do? “Have you met your neighbors yet?” I suggest. “Maybe they saw something, or know something, or something weird is happening to them too.”
“We spoke briefly with our neighbors to the South,” Cheryl answers. “They were about to leave for family pilates class, so we didn’t spend a lot of time together, but they didn’t seem bothered by anything.”
“We knocked on the door of the people on the other side of the empty lot to ask if a package we sent ahead of time had showed up on their stoop,” Tyler adds. “I suspect I screwed up and put the wrong address on the form, but they didn’t see anything. They seemed perfectly content with their own reality too.”
“What empty lot?” I ask.
He keeps his eyes on the pictures. “To the North.”
I walk across the hallway to another room, and peer out the window. The house next door is about as far from this one as any two houses ever are in the suburbs. “I don’t see what you’re seeing. There’s a house there.”
He comes over, a little frustrated by the tangent, and looks out as well. “No. There’s not.”
“Holy shit.”
I run out of the house and approach the house next door. The other two follow.
“You really don’t see that?” I ask of them.
“I just see grass, and some dirt.”
“Yeah, me too.”
“An invisible house. Are you kidding me? Literally, are you kidding me?”
They don’t seem like they’re lying. I walk up the steps, and into the house, completely ignoring the whole thing about probable cause. Fortunately, this doesn’t seem to belong to anybody. It's completely empty, and it’s cleaner than any building I’ve ever been in. Except for the fireplace. I can see a small patch of dust, or maybe ash, surrounding an even smaller shoeprint. It sure looks like it could be that of a child’s, and there is just the one. Letting that go for now, I run a quick sweep through the downstairs, and then the upstairs. In one of the bedrooms, I find a closet that feels familiar and new. I open the door to find that it’s not a closet at all, but some kind of a lift. Like somewhere between an elevator, and a dumbwaiter. Realizing this to be my only lead, I step into it and push its one button.
After a half hour of what feels like going up, the lift stops. I exit back into the room where I started, assuming this all to be a drug trip. Someone has poisoned me, and now I’m wandering around like an idiot. I think that I’m in a house, but maybe I’m teasing the edge of a cliff. Well, probably not a cliff since this is pancake Kansas, but I could still be in grave danger without having any idea. Whatever, I’m just going to keep going as if everything’s real, and normal. If I die, then I die. I didn’t pick this job because it would be safe, or easy.
I go back downstairs, and back outside. Cheryl and Tyler are still standing there on the lawn of a house they can’t see. It’s unclear exactly what they do see, but if only one thing is clear, it’s that they can no longer see me either. I keep going, feeling myself drawn down the street. My hallucinations follow me everywhere I go. At first, the houses are normal, but then I start seeing things that can’t be there. In place of one house is a desert, and in another, a lush garden. I can see the entire island of Manhattan, and an extreme closeup of Jupiter. It’s like this road is some central hub, connecting multiple places together. A teleportation station. A waypoint.
In the distance, I see a figure standing in the center of a house lake. It’s not frozen over, but he’s not falling through. Upon noticing me, the figure pulls his arms back, and then forward, somehow using his own energy to propel his section of water forwards. As the figure approaches, I start being able to see that he’s a young boy. He eyes me curiously. “What are you doing here?”
“I took the elevator.”
He looks over my shoulder, in the general direction of the invisible house. “Most people don’t see that.”
“Do you live in this world?”
He smiles. “I live in all worlds.”
“So, you’re the one doing all this? You’re...stitching these different places all together.”
“Stitching,” he repeats. “I was thinking about calling this merging, but now stitching is a contender.”
“My friends back there,” I say, trying to remain calm, and act like I been there. “We think they’re missing their son. There’s evidence that he exists, but he’s nowhere to be found, and they can’t remember him. Are you...are you him?”
“Nah, my parents are...well, they wouldn’t be looking for me. Whether they could remember me or not. This is a big place. Your boy might be here, but I haven’t seen him, sorry.”
“I feel like I’ve been here before.”
“You may have. This dimension is tricky. Spend too much time here, and it screws with your brain. I may look like a child, but I don’t age here, and time doesn’t always pass in the real world. I recommend you go back, and forget you saw anything.”
“No,” I argue. “I think I already have forgotten things. What I need to do is remember them.”
He breathes deeply. “I may know a girl. But it’s hard to get ahold of her, and her prices are pretty steep.”
“How do I find her?”
He starts sliding away slowly on his impossible water. “I’ll let Nerakali know that you’re lookin’ for her. She’ll find you if she wants to negotiate a contract.”
“Hey, wait!” I call up to him while he’s still in earshot, walking forwards a little to keep it that way. “What your name?”
“Glaston,” he says in a British accent. Then he pauses for effect. “Kayetan Glaston.” Then he zips away faster than the speed of sound, and all of the crazy lot portals disappear.
As soon as I step out of the elevator, and back into the real world, my memory is erased once more. I recognize Tyler and Cheryl, but I still don’t quite understand why I’m there. I go through this whole thing about seven more times over the years before one of the children I encounter in the other dimension happens to have the ability to manipulate people’s minds. She had the coolest name ever, but I can’t remember it, because I think she erased it from my mind as she was putting everything else back in. In fact, she erases everybody’s name, theoretically so I can’t look into them further. I remember meeting them, but not their names. She lets me keep Escher Bradley, though, so I can technically continue that search, but it has no way of moving forward. His parents gradually forget him further, eventually getting to the point of being able to give his stuff away and wiping their hands clean. Now there’s no proof he ever existed, but my certainty is immortalized in cement.
I run down a few more leads, but nothing comes of them. I even go back to Stonehenge, which is where my parents once took me for vacation. This is where I had my first encounter with time stuff that I can’t explain. I witnessed a girl disappear through one of the doorways. Her parents flipped out, trying to find her, but it didn’t look like they loved her very much, because they seemed more concerned with how losing her made them look. I don’t know how I could have forgotten all this, or whether there are any other memories that the memory girl never gave back. Maybe I can manipulate time myself, or I spent my whole childhood in fifteenth century Spain. I do doubt it, though, because the girl seems to actually strengthen my mind. Other, minor, things change around me. Hummel switches between being a sergeant, and a uniformed officer every few years, with no explanation for how he thinks he was promoted. He’s only nice enough to carry a conversation when he’s in uniform.
I frequently return to the invisible house. Sometimes it appears, and sometimes even I can’t see it. Ever since the last child, though, I haven’t gotten the elevator back. It’s like it wanted me to find the nine of them, and once I did, that was enough. I do find a doorknob up the fireplace, but that’s it. Before I know it, it’s the third millennium, and another child is missing. Along with nine others.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Microstory 645: Death of an Ocean

Reclaim the Sword of Assimilation

You will recall that the planet of Kesliperia was once orbiting a single star in an otherwise empty system. There were no asteroid, comets, or other orbitals. There was just Kesliperia, and its sun. Then one day, a second sun suddenly came into existence, with no rhyme or reason. Scientists never did figure out where the star came from, or how it arrived in the area. It did have a drastic effect on the planet. At geologically impossible speeds, the topography of the planet began to shift. Mountains rose from the ground out of nowhere, and new oceans separated the continents. The gravitational pull from this new star was enough to throw just about everything we know about physics out the window. This is not the only change that Kesliperia would have to endure, however. According to original eido, Mateo, the Sword of Assimilation is a fickle and unpredictable object. It randomly shifts between realities, time periods, and branes, without any provocation. Apparently, if in the possession of someone, it can remain where it is, but if that owner loses it briefly, they may find themselves without it forever. By this phenomenon, the Sword of Assimilation—after centuries—finally reappeared to our people, this time on none other than Kesliperia. We do not know where it came from, or where it’s been this whole time, or really, if any time has passed for it at all. We were just grateful to have it back...but it did not come without its cost. It evidently brought with it some kind of technology with which we here in Fostea are not familiar. Soon after the Sword was removed from it, the planet’s surface transformed once again. The oxygen suddenly disappeared from its atmosphere. Again, we don’t know where it went; just how it affected the world. This caused many terrible things to happen to Kesliperia, namely the destruction of every single living creature, but it also managed to fulfill a taikon. With no oxygen to create its liquid form, the hydrogen in the oceans evaporated, and bled into outer space. If this sounds familiar, history buffs might realize that this is not the first time something like this has happened—though, this time, it happened much faster. There was no time to evacuate the world, or do anything to protect themselves. The Kesliperians in both nations, even after having recently found peace between them, all died. Of course, Lightseers rejoiced, for this was foretold in the Book of Light. Even better, this was not the only effect the Sword of Assimilation—or whatever it brought with it—had on on our faith. It also somehow managed to tidally lock the planet with its new sun.

Tidal Lock a Planet

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Microstory 644: Reclaim the Sword of Assimilation

Confirmation of War

The next taikon marks the beginning of the Week in One Day. During the course of a standard twenty-hour day, ten taikon were fulfilled in succession, overlapping each other as necessary. Earlier taikon shared days with others, and more later will do the same, but this is special for being a harrowing journey involving a small number of people. The first involves the most powerful weapon known to man. Sacred Savior, Sotiren Zahir, along with his followers, first witnessed the power of the Sword of Assimilation while our ancestors were still trapped on Earth. A ruthless and charming man suddenly appeared in their midsts. With him came the Sword, as well as a handful of supposed former friends who were trying to keep him from having it. We know very little about how the Sword was created, but this mysterious visitor revealed that it comes from a different universe entirely. He was hoping to procure it for Sotiren as a gift of friendship. Having been living in advanced civilization for centuries, humans have encountered just about every phenomenon the universe has to offer. Why, our ultimate origins are sourced from another universe, so even that isn’t unusual. But we have not seen anything like what the visitor described. The other universe is right next to ours, and it follows the exact same physical laws as this one. Travel between them is, though not the easiest thing ever, quite trivial to us now. We regularly traverse the kasma when we need something from the other side, careful to avoid our oppressors of days past. Prior to the completion of any of the exodus ships that would finally take us home to this galaxy, the idea of parallel universes was even more fantastical than it is now. At least outside of a virtual simulated environment, that is. And these more distant universes sounded far more interesting than we can see here.
The visitor and Sotiren took to each other, and immediately developed an unbreakable friendship, and an unshakeable alliance. They both knew that the visitor—and newest eido—would one day be forced to continue his journey across the kasmic void, so he wanted to help while he was still around. He fought at Sotiren’s side, against his once-comrades, hoping to garner the Sword of Assimilation from them. As the eido was struggling with his former lover for the weapon, the blade slipped, impaling both her, and another man who was merely caught in the crossfire. Unfortunately, the other travelers eventually escaped with the sword, taking the eido with them. None of them has been seen since. The man who was accidentally stabbed with the Sword, however, was rushed to medical treatment, and spent the next couple of weeks recovering. As if his body were waiting for him to be well enough, he one day disappeared, and didn’t reappear for another year. He spent the whole day then trying to figure out what was happening, only to find himself jumping a year once more come the stroke of midnight. He has been doing that for the last several centuries. To him, only a few years have passed since that fateful day on the field of battle. Seeing this, Sotiren realized that what the visitor had said of the Sword of Assimilation was true. It could transfer great power from one person to another. He predicted that the Sword would one day return to our universe, and that is exactly what happened. Its return heralded not only the beginning of the Week in One Day, but also specifically Eido Mateo’s return to this universe. But he came back different.

Death of an Ocean