Architecture -- Chapter 9
"We're about to go through the portal that gets us inside the
Balipiton," the tour guide said, "Is there anyone who did NOT get
implanted before we proceed?" The implant would protect visitors
from the automated security system
inside the Big Ball. Those not implanted would be taking an
"You might feel a little disoriented as we pass through:
Remember: Observers on the ground can only see empty airspace
where we are right
now. I'm going to go first and I want you to follow me to the
other side in an orderly fashion."
group was near the top of one of three cylindrical
spires that formed a triangular cradle. Nestled within the spires
was a giant metallic
ball approximately 1 mile in diameter. An observer on the ground,
looking up to the point where the ball should touch the spire, would
airspace. That begged the question, "How do you get in?"
This is precisely
what the tour group was doing.
The feeling of entering an alien world began the moment a visitor
entered the portal. The Ball interior was an independent
drawn toward it's own core, so visitors walked through a tubular
gangplank that made a gradual 90-degree bend to reorient them to the
Ball's gravity. The duct
architecture was alluring but foreign. The initial sensation was
like entering an alien spaceship. "The air molecules convect
where the two
magnetic fields collide," the tour guide commented, "and that's where
the haze comes from. It's an interesting effect, isn't
it?" That magnetic convection also created the empty airspace
effect that was viewable from outside. There was an actual
linkage but the light bent around it.
inside the ball, a shellan's body was perpendicular to Vejhon's
drawn toward the center, "The brain adjusts to what it
believes to be real," the guide said. It was amusing for visitors
ground to see birds walking on the Ball's underside, unaffected by
natural gravity "I don't think my brain wants to accept it," one
guest said, looking out a skylight. "Just assume that the windows
are monitors," the guide suggested, "and you'll be OK." Then she
pointed out, "There's the vomitorium." Those who could, laughed,
while others resisted the urge. "Nice placement!" a kid
quipped. Everyone at least smiled.
Most visitors simply wanted to experience the weightlessness in the
auditorium. "Is this really a spaceship?" a kid
asked, "the anchor points don't even look real." That was true,
the magnetic linkage gave the illusion of unobstructed air where the
ball connected to the spires. "The light bends around the anchor
points," the guide said, "which gives the illusion that nothing is
there, but... " she knocked on a frame for emphasis, "we just walked
right through the
invisible anchor." She made eye contact with the kid, "And yes,
if we had reason to get this thing into space -- it could withstand a
"What about sea water?" another kid asked. "Very good question,"
the guild raised her eyebrows. "It's a perfect, uncrushable
hull. Are you refering to a shell collapse?" The kid
shrugged, he didn't want to get that deep. "Since you asked," she
continued anyway, "the ball is designed to be a flotation device should
there be a shell collapse, however, their intention is to leave it
anchored to the new sea floor until the new surface conditions can be
assessed." She gave the kid a polite, but slightly smirky smile.
8. There was a 6’ thick
plate near the core of the Ball. It was toward this induction
that all loose and free-standing objects were drawn. The building
engineers’ referred to it as the ‘G-shell.’
Encased within the G-shell was zero-G, Dyson sphere theater – the
central attraction. "The theatre had a separate
architect," the guide said. "Rumor has it that an
extraterresterial of unknown origin..." "...designed and built
the theatre," Kid #1 finished. The guide nodded her head.
"I don't believe it," a tourist
mumbled as a parent might tease a child. "Disbelief has never..."
Kid #2 prodded the others, "...negated a single fact," all the kids
recited in unison. "So
you know your Cacci Dai," the guide complimented all of
them. The whole group approved and had lipped synched the
lines along with the kids.
"Probably a Corlos operative," Kid #1 suggested. Kid #2 patted
him on the back in agreement. The crowd giggled again. Kids
have a license to be funny, but not 'Kid kids' -- they weren't very
damn funny at all. "But wasn't it supposed to be a
biocybergenics labratory?" an older adult asked. The guide nodded
cautiously but curiously toward the adult, who evidently had esoteric
insights into unpublished trivia. "Yes it was," she
was about to elaborate when another adult interrupted, "Blue Funnel
bribed our local media to put a negative spin on biocybergenics --
that's what happened." It was policy to not permit adverse
political opinions to get carried away. "I don't disagree,"
the guide confessed in a hushed tone, "but they don't want me
adding things that aren't in the script." The kids glanced at
each other, like they had been read into carefully guarded op.
Kid #1 blurted out, "And then the Psionic Guard kicked their
asses!" Kid #2 threw his fist up, "Yeah!," and both kids fist
bumped, "No Blue Funnel on this shell!" Kid #2 said
proudly. The kids had clearly bonded. An older
shellan patted both kids on the back and the rest of the group laughed
out loud. "Are you guys... 'Kid' kids?" he asked, "or..." he
to fill in the blank. "You can never tell..." Kid #2 said
mischievously, which was comically true. "What are you doing out
of uniform?" an older lady joked; definitely stroking their egos.
One kid gestured like he was pulling apart a target's limbs, and the
other kid laughed heartily.
Funnel has a free reign on most apsionic shells and aspired to
absorb Vejhon's financial infrastructure into their interstellar
cartel. Once the Psionic Guard unshelled their dystopian agenda, Blue
Funnel was immediately banished from
Vejhon, then permitted to establish a tolken presence in the commerce
quarter, provided they never left the quarter. The SGK's
have a handle on that one.
Wexli drifted down to a deserted street with two and three story
buildings on either side. The first oddity was the width of the
street -- it was unnaturally wide. Then he noticed the lack of
the darkened windows; just dull black rectangles with indiscernible
depth -- the utilitarian
purpose of light was questionable.
15. He saw infrequent flashes of light emanating from the windows
followed by flashes of gun fire. His instinct was to
interdict the assailants but there was a little boy wandering battered
and bruised ahead of him. The gunshots were being directed at the
16. Wexli felt an urgency to protect the child, and then he
realized that he was dreaming -- he was not in the temple and this was
not reality. In the dream, Wexli's house was at the end of the
street, so he took the
child by the hand and led him to his home.
17. Once inside, he set the boy upon his kitchen table and
rinsed a wash cloth with warm water to clean the boy's face. As
he removed the
dirt from the child's face, he saw that it was really himself, as he
looked at that age. He awoke anguished and hurt. It was a
hurt that he had kept to
himself for his entire life, and he was startled that his unconscious
mind could ambush him like that.
18. "Wexli?" the Director said to Wexli's mind. The
Director was in his office at Spearpierce. "Yes," he
19. "Do you know what that was?" the Director asked. "I can
only suspect, but I don't really know," Wexli replied.
20. "It was you, Wexli. You in the present, helped to heal
your past self. Not many know about that past, do they?"
The director was mostly observing, as was his right. "No, Sir,"
Wexli answered. For it's brevity, the dream had lasted an
21. "In all fairness," the Director offered, who never invaded
without good reason, "Let me share something
22. The scene changed to another world -- it was probably not
Vejhon, but 'where' seemed irrelevant.
23. There was a terran-looking creature that could have easily
passed for Vejhonian or Theotian, in a struggle against a
more aggressive race of Reptilians; much more warring than the
Jolvians. The Jolvians were Angelic by comparison. These
Reptilians lived in a different dimension and Universe, far from here.
24. The subject terran was one of millions who had been
attacked and conquered by the Reptilian invaders. Whenever
is not inflicted by an invader, an indigenous resistance
25. At this point in time, the Reptilians had built many well
protected fortresses on the conquered world, and the resistance was in
full sway, but ineffective.
26. What the Director specifically wanted Wexli to see, was the
subject terran in question, entering the Reptilian fortress unchecked
undisturbed by the Reptilian sentries or by any Reptilians at
all. "How is it that they don't notice him?" Wexli wondered,
"they act like he's..." Wexli had an epiphany where the Director was
going with this, so he didn't ruin the moment. The fortress
interior was a technological wonder in contrast to the savage Reptilian
stereotype. It was definitely not dull.
27. "It's the moment of discovery..." the Director pointed out,
as the scene continued, "...when the terran
realizes..." the Director was waiting for a specific moment, "...that
he isn't what he thinks he is."
28. The terran is peering at the fortress from a prone position
on a grassy, curved embankment out of view. He starts thinking
about how he entered and exited the fortress unchecked and undisturbed;
not so much as blinked at. Unlike other terrans -- this terran
understood the Reptilian language. "How is that so?" he asks
himself. When a psionist can commune with a dreamfasted object --
the object is perceived to be real, rather than
29. The terran's face becomes fraught with realization. It
finally hits him that he doesn't need to hide in the grass because he
is the enemy, and the enemy knows it. Yet, his fellow
think that he is one of them. The "What Am I?" aspect hit Wexli
hard. He lipped the words in synch with the subject, not knowing
30. There is an engaging dichotomy of nerves as the subject wages
a war against the contradiction before he finally accepts the truth,
like dying in one paradigm
and resurrecting in another. He remembers clues that seem to
fit: "Why did I find them alluring and attractive when others
were repulsed and terrified?" "How did I understand their
advanced technology?" "Why did I understand their language like
simply turning a key?" All of their cultural nuances were
familiar ad infinitum.
31. "Spiritual quantum entanglement?" Wexli postulated.
Anything was possible. "So how does he live with it?" Wexli asked.
32. "With music," the Director answered curiously. Wexli
rendered an astonished facial expression. Hyperbole.
Metaphor. "Psionics," the Director clarified abstractly:
He was indenting a threshold of predicate thoughts that only psionic
symbols could connect. It went deeper than he expected, but Wexli
33. "Whole societies have been translated that we don't even know
about," the Director qualified. "If you 'think' a dimension, you
become that dimension," he added. "There is always 'that infinite
question' that every shellan wants to ask, that our limited corporeal
minds can not quantify."
34. "The question is
Chaos. The answer is Cosmos. The One...Is." And thus Spake the
Director. This must be the pedestrian explanation for why
shellans get their heads bitten off for asking a simple question.
"In the way you just thought it -- yes," the Director answered Wexli's
private thought. "Let me answer you with another question," the
Director offered: "What is a more grievous than murder?"
Wexli grinned -- it was cliché, and the zero point that
deflected logic like teflon:
35. "To be wrong," Wexli answered. The Director grinned
along with him and then drifted off to assist with other calamities,
emotional and otherwise. Wexli felt better; the Director had
given him the band-aid he needed for that moment in time.
"Inaccuracy shoves deception up everyone's..." Wexli juxtaposed.
"Ass!" at least 500 admirers instinctively filled-in-the-blank for him,
since he had not guarded his thought.
36. "Thank-you!" he smirked. With the signature trade of
his profession fully reengaged, he added privately, "I have no idea how
off-shellers survive here."