The old radio picked up transmissions from the Charter, who are agents of Order since time unknowable. Emerson recorded these transmissions, knowing the Charter was watching him.
Whereas, The Anomaly (or the Creative Force) may express its right to freely create as
long as the following stipulations are met:
From: Charter Engineer 35
Subject: Surveillance Report/ Concerns
To the Committee,
The move to our new building is going according to schedule. “The Pyramid,” as the staff calls it, should be fully operational sooner than we expected. On a personal note, I’d like to thank the Committee for my office; it’s more than enough to suit my needs and the view from the tip of the pyramid is incredible. You know, if I put a telescope by my window I could see what all of you are up to right now! Forgive me. That’s a little surveillance humor for you. You can trust me.
The data centers in the lower floors are nearly online. Per the safety manager’s recommendations, I started a buddy system for any staff members who have to venture to the lower levels for any reason. It’s a labyrinth down there, a mess of computers, servers, wires and cooling pipes. Even with the buddy policy in effect we lost a technician for a couple days. Security found him. He had a small campsite and was sleeping next to a server bank for warmth. He’s fine, though. Nothing some IV fluids can’t fix. We would have found him sooner had the Committee approved my request for a few more cameras. Honestly, given what we’re up to in the Pyramid it’s a little ridiculous that we’re not watching over our own hallways.
I know the data center sounds intimidating when I describe it that way, but it’s barely enough storage to satisfy our needs here. We have to both monitor and look out for human Anomalies on Earth. That requires an amount of storage and bandwidth that is, frankly, obscene. It’s quite a task to review what we’ve collected in any satisfying way. We’ve flagged certain behaviors and energy readouts that should alert us whenever one of the children of the Anomaly starts acting up, but that’s a crutch. If one of the Anomaly’s creatures starts messing with the fundamental structure of the Universe, we’re already too late in my opinion. We need to identify these people before one of them breaks something important. This thought worries me to the point that I sit in my office watching the raw feed from Earth for anything that looks suspicious. I know this isn’t healthy, but I can’t help myself.
To take some of the strain off our data center, I shopped our surveillance equipment to governments on Earth. Nothing major, just some electronic communications monitoring software we developed a few thousand cycles ago. Primitive stuff. You should have seen their security director’s eyes light up when he got his hands on it, though! Did you ever see a human being drool before? It’s foul.
With that technology in their hands it means we don’t have to monitor the humans’ Internet traffic anymore (thank god). This saves us from having to process some 30 petabytes of data per day and it means we don’t have to read any more about this asinine thing called “Facebook.” The security official from Earth couldn’t have been happier, though. Imagine being excited to read several billion mundane details about people’s daily lives.
That brings us to our experiments using animals for surveillance. I’m happy to say that research is moving along quite well. It’s easy enough to stream images from their eyes and beam it back here to our data center. We can even use sonic frequencies to give them “suggestions” about what they observe.
Funny story about that latter point: we tested the animal surveillance system out on a suspected child of the Anomaly early on in the project. He was getting off of the subway in Manhattan and we activated the surveillance system to target — what we thought — was a lone rat on the opposite train platform. Only, there was a glitch we hadn’t identified yet that ended up communicating our signal to every single rat in that particular subway tunnel. People estimate that there could be 28 million rats underneath New York City and while I still think that’s an exaggeration it certainly didn’t appear that way when a tidal wave of vermin chased the poor guy back to his apartment.
Research is fun.
From: Charter Suppression Squad Leader
Reporting from: Saint Malibados > Portals Bermuda > Lucius Selig Anomaly
I’m going to assign more of our resources to Portals Bermuda. This is such a mess. It’s bad enough that Selig is straining space-time by creating new dimensions in the first place, but what happened here is shocking even to me.
Selig needs to be put in his place; his ego is unforgivable. He has the powers of a god and how does he use them? To make a cheap resort accessible to anyone with a platinum credit card and no sense of shame. Selig has no idea what he’s messing around with. The very foundations of reality are structurally unsound here. This place is jerry-rigged to the point that the slightest disturbance will cause it to collapse into a universe-shattering paradox.
It’s so bad that I’m afraid to sneeze here, let alone activate most of our equipment.
Here’s the situation with Portals Bermuda, as we understand it. Selig has travel agents on Earth who book vacation packages with tourists. These tourists are mostly followers of his “Power of Positive Mechanics” cult. They consider a trip here to be a kind of holy pilgrimage.
The tourists travel to Portals Bermuda through a wormhole located somewhere on Earth. We haven’t found this access point yet. Selig is being very cautious, almost paranoid, about his business. This is understandable, given his family’s history with us.
Portals Bermuda exists as a hub dimension, like a visitors center. There are other dimensions branching off that lead to realities Selig feels are of significant spiritual importance. We’ve heard the term “Spirit Home” being thrown around a lot here.
One of these dimensions, Saint Malibados, is especially concerning to us. Selig constructed most of the other Portals locations out of “whole cloth,” so to speak. They didn’t exist, and then Selig willed them into existence. But in the case of Malibados it looks like he borrowed (read: stole) pieces of his home reality to build this one. We found this in his PR materials:
Why go to one beach when you can go to ten? We combined the most stunning features of the galaxy’s top-voted beaches to create St. Malibados.
Relax on sparkling white beaches, snorkel in Technicolor seas and marvel at the plasma show following the spectacular twin sunset.
Some people call it paradise, but we know it as St. Malibados.
We wondered what he meant by that, so we started comparing features of Saint Malibados to other beaches in our records. None of the beaches here bear any resemblance to the beaches on Earth, meaning Selig was copying other beaches in the universe.
Only he didn’t copy them, he took them. He stole ten tropical beaches out of our universe and stitched them together to create Saint Malibados. There are gaping voids in reality where our beaches once were. What he did— it’s grotesque, it’s extremely dangerous and it’s copyright infringement.
In light of this information, the line about the “twin sunsets” sounds even more alarming. Is Lucius Selig brazen enough to snatch two stars out of our universe and use them for his resort? I believe he is.
The hubris is sickening. I walk on these beaches, knowing what I know, and I see armies of tourists from god knows where or when drinking cheap beer and listening to Jimmy Buffet cover bands. I see a child cry as he drops an overpriced ice cream cone into the sand. People are letting their pets defecate on pristine beaches that had never been touched by a living creature before. The seagulls here are monstrous things, bloated and engorged from eating the trash left on a waterfront the size of a small continent. I was trying to take samples of the atmosphere yesterday and some jerk kept kicking sand in my face.
Selig must answer for this. I cannot wait to get my hands on him. I’m going to make him watch while we erase this abomination from existence.
From: Charter Scout
Reporting from: The Desert > Portals Bermuda > Lucius Selig Anomaly
It took many months of work, but we’ve found Selig. As I dictate this memo I am watching him through the window of the trailer that doubles as his office in Portals Bermuda.
We’ve heard rumors that Lucius is getting increasingly paranoid, but you have to see it to believe it. I haven’t seen him leave that cramped trailer once since I tracked him here two weeks ago. I can’t imagine what it must smell like in there.
Selig knows we’re here. He moves every day in an attempt to throw us off his trail. The trailer and this patch of desert will be wiped from this dimension tonight and will appear in a different dimension by morning. It’s extremely clever for Selig, but lucky for us we have a man on the inside who gives us the coordinates each day.
Christian Garcia, Lucius’ assistant and boyfriend, is helping us. Garcia has seen how unbalanced Selig has become and he fears what will happen if it goes unchecked. Lucius won’t see anyone face- to-face. He communicates with Garcia alone and then only in handwritten memos slipped under the door to his trailer. Lucius has tightened security to the point that Portals is turning into a prison camp. People who displease the “Master” are sent to mine for Lucian crystals deep in the caves of Murok-Inoo.
Garcia realized what the rest of us knew all along: Lucius is running a cult. But now the guru is burning out. This is the end. He’s about to do something crazy and Garcia knows it. He wants to help us put a stop to Lucius before this scenario reaches its inevitable conclusion.
We dare not kick in the door to his trailer and confront him that way. Portals exists on Lucius’ whim. He built it. He maintains it. He could whistle and send one half of this place crashing into the other.
We have backup plan, something we cooked up with Garcia in exchange for his protection. Garcia will encourage Lucius to make a personal appearance in front of a crowd of his followers. Two of our agents will be planted in the crowd. Posing as two of his followers, the agents will seek a private audience with him.
Lucius must think the Charter operates like aliens in a bad sci fi movie, like we’ll try shooting him with a laser pistol. No, these two agents of ours will be close enough to hit Lucius with a powerful psychic attack. He’ll never see that coming. We’ll incapacitate him so he has no time to react. Portals will remain safely intact, then we’ll install some blocks in Lucius’ mind that will prevent him from returning here ever again.
Nasty thing to do to a person, but it’s better than the alternative. Garcia starts his work in the morning.
From: Agent 35 Subject: Final Report
It’s not chaos.
I found the family. I can hear them. I can set my hand on the dining room table and feel them whispering to each other. They talk to themselves with the solipsism of lower beings who have crossed into some higher purpose. What you call “creative chaos” is soaked into every inch of this place. It’s caustic to my skin, but I don’t care. I removed my containment suit. I will file this one last report and rejoin the family in the Final Room. They’re waiting for me. For everyone.
I don’t want to be anywhere else.
I heard Jean first. I don’t know how I knew it was her, since she has been dead for years. I followed the voice and found a room, empty except for a desk. I didn’t move for a moment. I had my weapon out of its holster as I listened for another voice.
After a moment I sat down at the desk and drew my knife. I wanted to take a sample of the desk back to the laboratory. My attention was drawn to the keyhole in the drawer. There was a light inside. I looked in.
Gears. Light. Heat. Fire. Opposing forces balanced against each other on points no wider than an atom of hydrogen! Symmetry. Order dumping entropy on Creation. Creation boiling through entropy and distilling universes upon universes as it cools. Order shaping those universes, rising in granite towers that kiss the skies of a hundred billion worlds.
The opposition that is the heart of all creation. The eternal return.
There’s something beyond ourselves. Beyond Charter and Anomaly. Beyond this ridiculous hunt for chaotic humans who are glorious when they challenge us. I found it when I found the family.
It’s not chaos. It’s not chaos. It’s not chaos.
And I’m going back to it.
From: The Pyramid
Subject: CEASE ETERNAL RETURN IMMEDIATELY