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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

David Farwell - A Proposition

“You want me to do what?”  I turned around to see Jeremy Reinold close the classroom door behind him.  I turned back to Jessie Pollick who was shuffling through his notes.

“Word on the street is that you have a knack for getting around… regulations.”  Jessie looked up and smiled.

“Then perhaps you've also heard that I got busted just a few days ago for doing exactly what you’re asking me to do now.”  I couldn't believe this.

“We’re aware.”  The response came from Jeremy.  His look was serious as his tone.  “We don’t want D’veeta to become involved any more than you do.

“Funny,” I replied.  This was getting better each moment.  “I was just thinking the same thing.”

“Consider this.”  Jessie was speaking again.  “Until recently, Takotah II was inhabited by explorers.”  He paused.  “Why do you think it is suddenly closed off and monitored by a ResEng?”

I had no intentions of being drawn into this.  D’veeta was already on me for last weeks incident.  Getting caught again would surely mean being banned from Pahrahtehs.  “I would think that the message of structural instability would be a big hint,” I replied.  I didn't care if I sounded snide.  I needed to lay low.  At least until I could get back on D’veeta’s good side.

Jessie spoke up.  “If these buildings are so unstable then wouldn't it be more like the DRC to shut down that section of Ae’gura?  They've had no problems with barricading people away from regions of the cavern before.”

“I think he’s right, David.”  I could tell Jeremy was trying to assure me of the logic.  He continued.  “There’s something more to this.”

After something between a deep breath and a sigh I had a response.  “I can think of several earthquakes in the last year that affected this cavern.  Who knows how many buildings were damaged.  And it’s not like you can just prevent people from going places any more.”

“And that’s where you come in.” Jessie said.  They had me make their point for them.  “You can’t prevent people from going where they please in the cavern.  Structural instabilities in the cavern may seem like a good cover, but in truth the Nexus could be shut down and linking zones could be restricted.  It wouldn't stop people from coming here.  It might not even stop them from reaching the restricted zones.”

I closed my eyes and looked at the light on the ceiling; thinking very carefully about how to proceed.  “Why do you need to get in there?”

“Research.”  Not the response I expected.  “It shouldn't take too long, but if I’m right I may be able to shed some light on the issue at hand.”

“Alright,” I said.  “I can get you in, but I’m going to need help.”  this needed to go off without a hitch otherwise there would be hell to pay.  Jessie nodded his head before sitting behind his desk in relief.
I fumbled with my KI briefly; just long enough to send Terry a short message.  Egg Room.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jessie Pollick - Pieces of the Journey Part 3

A few days after an announcement from Ikuro Kodama that the cavern would be closing, a strange KI
message began to float around the cavern that read 02/09/04 The gathered will tell the path of the shell. 33359/ 58/ -81.  What followed were the first steps of Yeesha’s second Journey, the Path of the Shell.

Two journeys, or perhaps just one Journey.  Yeesha’s Journey and her Path of the Shell were both marked by symbols that outlined a message behind each.  Yeesha Prime taught her followers about the Least.  The Bahro; and their enslavement by the D’ni.  The Path of the Shell’s message was far grander and abstract.  Plenty of works have detailed the minutiae of each journey and its meaning so I will not expand much further.  I only wish to draw attention to the symbols connected to these journeys.

Yeesha’ Prime was not only designated by five ages, but also the five lines used to make the hand.  It doesn’t take much imagination to realize what each line represents.  Furthermore, as enigmatic as the Path of the Shell is, it should be noted that the shell symbol can be drawn from the Yeesha hand by dropping the fingers and drawing a line connecting the thumb to the center of the spiral.  This spiral is an important commonality.

An analysis of petroglyphs from around the world reveals the spiral to be a common motif; being one of the most ancient symbols.  The spiral can represent many things including growth and awareness of the one in the context of the whole.  The spiral also can be given the meaning of journey.  Assuming that the spirals found in both journey symbols are not there by coincidence but to symbolically represent the meaning of the journey they represent then the altering of the Yeesha hand to the Shell symbol is as Yeesha said: a tying of the beginning to the end.

There has been one additional journey symbol found by explorers.  It was first discovered in a garden age released by the DRC during the second restoration in 2006.  Eder Tsogal had been approved for release as a sort of sunny getaway for the explorer population.  Upon visiting the age the explorers found the age to be different from what the DRC had described.  Several journey cloths with a new symbol were scattered around the age.  When the garden age of Eder Delin was released later the same phenomena was observed.

It is assumed that these cloths and the associated journey were the result of Yeesha and the bahro though I have found no direct confirmation.  This assumption is supported by visible changes in one’s Relto after completing these ‘door runs.’  A comparison of this symbol with the previous two clearly shows the emphasis of the spiral in the design.  This strengthens my belief that the spiral is meant to denote some sort of journey.

This brings me to the issue of Pantaleon and the associated cave ins.  It is a commonly held belief by the explorer community that the cave ins and missing persons of the past year can be attributed to the activities of an explorer named Pantaleon.  Tracing the root of this belief reveals that this story originates from The Cavern Today following an interview with Pantaleon.  He claimed that his friends had been tricked into taking a journey they believed was meant to restore the Path of the Shell but would ultimately leave the cavern vulnerable to invasion from a conquering race.  The story he provided is as unbelievable as the details concerning certain associated cave ins is disturbing.

His knowledge of the circumstances surrounds the cave ins, understanding of how the cave ins were triggered, and the continued absence of anyone who can verify his claims serve to.  The explorers Esto, Dean, Adelia, and Laroon were all named by Pantaleon as being involved in this ordeal, but none have been seen in the cavern for quite some time.  First to go missing was Dean; there were also rumors of Esto having fallen into madness.  In the case of Adelia, her disappearance followed her recovery from injuries acquired during a cave in in descent that claimed the lives of many explorers.  Following her disappearance, a community effort began in hopes of finding her.  Again, Pantaleon can be found at the root as he is noted as organizing many of these searches.

Occam's Razor dictates that the the simplest explanation is often the most accurate.  Are we to believe Pantaleon’s story of an elaborate deception put together by the leader of a race of conquerors or is it more likely that this tale was a fantasy of a deranged explorer.  The crime of murder is an awfully heavy accusation to make especially in a community as tightly woven as the cavern community.  In truth, we have no evidence of deaths or intent.  The likelihood that Pantaleon is some sort of serial criminal with a penchant for elaborate story is as likely as the chance that his story is true.  While he may believe his story to be true, the actuality of the events is probably somewhere in between these two options.

Having lost his credibility, Pantaleon has left for the surface.  Any attempts at contacting him have been met with silence.  His absence has lead to the proliferation of the story of “Panta in Takotah II.”  The practice is regrettable, but it serves to educate and remind the explorer community of the recent tragedy and its perceived source.

The story Pantaleon gave to TCT involved an elaborate symbol that he described as a Triple Shell.  Regardless of whether his story is true, I am curious to see if this symbol shares the similarities noted from earlier journeys.  Finding a representation of this symbol in his notes could go a long way to revealing the truth of these events as similarities in the symbol may give weight and credibility to his story.  In the case that the symbol does not share these qualities it is more likely that we can discredit his tale as fantasy.

One thing more.  Jeremy Reinold has given me a page with an odd symbol upon it.  Like the Yeesha hand, the Shell symbol, and the garden age symbol, this symbol shares the spiral motif.  At first glance I found some familiarity in this design.  After some research I find that it is strikingly similar to glyphs drawn by the Hopi on the surface.  This "Hopi Spiral" is another curiosity I hope to investigate in the future.  Perhaps some field work is in order.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Jessie Pollick - Pieces of the Journey Part 2

The Great Tree Symbol
Phil Henderson may have been the first to take Yeesha’s Journey but by the time he returned he was not alone.  Many had taken Yeesha’s Journey and often spoke of what Yeesha had taught them; what she had shown them; and that they had seen her.  When asked about Yeesha, the DRC would avoid any real answer but refer to her as "that dead girl."  This seeming denial of Yeesha's involvement drove much of the cavern into two camps: those who sided with the DRC and those who followed Yeesha.  Yeesha’s followers found their ranks bolstered with those who disagreed with how the DRC had been handling the restoration.  These explorers made up a group known as the Great Tree.  It was this group that rallied against the DRC when Phil returned to the cavern.

Perhaps one of the most fascinating moments during this time occurred on December 2nd.  Phil had come to the URU Obsession Neighborhood and was met there by many explorers including Douglas Sharper and Brian Fioca of the Great Tree.  In an attempt to curtail the efforts of groups such as the Great Tree and the followers of Yeesha, whom the DRC found increasingly polarizing, the DRC began confiscating Journey cloths and Yeesha Pages that had been spread around the ages.  When asked about this act, Phil told the explorers that “She knows,” before vanishing and then appearing in a different location moments later.  His teleportation was erratic and based upon the accounts of those who saw him teleport it was unclear if he had full, if any, control over this ability.

After appearing in the light garden, Phil was told by an explorer that a page Yeesha had placed on the wall had been recently removed.  His response was that Yeesha would come to that location again and he asked the explorers to wait with him.  Chat logs show that Brian Fioca and Douglas Sharper remained highly skeptical about Yeesha but chose to wait in the light garden with Phil.  Phil asked those who remained to watch the stone.  Moments later, the page that had been confiscated reappeared on the stone wall.

It is important to note that at this time Phil did not have a Relto, a gift from Yeesha which serves as a junction to many ages in a similar manner as the Nexus, and as a result had to rely on other explorers to travel to different locations in D’ni.  Following the events in the light garden he sought out his own Relto and began to help others on their Journey.  Douglas Sharper was one of those he helped.  When the two returned, Sharper was a changed man.

After this event, skeptics Douglas Sharper and Brian Fioca were seen wearing the Yeesha shirt now believing fully that Yeesha was alive and could bring about the change the cavern needed.  With an increasing number of explorers showing their support for Yeesha, the DRC felt increasingly battered and often became frustrated with the explorer community.  Phil Henderson only exacerbated issues when he began climbing the Guild Hall.

Dr. Watson and a crowd of explorers pleaded with Phil to leave the dangerous location, but Phil replied that it was part of his Journey.  He went on to speak to the crowd who asked him about Yeesha and her plan.  “She wants you to know what D’ni was.  She wants you to know what power does, the power of books.”  Despite this message, there were still those in the cavern who did not trust Yeesha.

Eventually, Watson was able to encourage Phil to meet him at the bridge.  Sharper warned Phil not to go.  Sharper’s bad feeling about the situation worsened when Laxman showed up and onlookers called across the cavern for Phil to run.  He did not.  Sharper panic linked off the bridge hoping that Phil would follow behind.  Soon after, Laxman stole Phil's Relto book, forced Phil through it,and then followed after with Watson.  Phil was kidnapped and kept secluded in the Egg Room of Kirel for two weeks.

On Dec 26, 2003 Phil was released by the DRC.  Almost immediately he was climbing on the Guild Hall again.  The DRC pleaded with him to come down.  The explorers didn't understand what danger he was in saying "let us help.”  Laxman is noted to have told the explorers “There is no safe way to get up there.”  It seems the area around the Guild Hall was so unstable that even the nexus link did not work.

It is also of note that during this event many strange cries could be heard throughout the cavern.  When asked about these sounds Laxman is on record as saying “We believe Phil is effecting this somehow.”  Some explorers proposed these were the cries of the Bahro.

Regardless of the source the cavern was in awe when the section of the Guild Hall wall where Phil had been climbing collapsed.  Phil's KI went offline.  The cries had stopped.  When the DRC cleared away the rubble all they found was a smashed KI.  Phil was presumed dead and two months later, after much silence from the DRC, the Cavern closed.

Officially, the reason for the closing of the cavern was due to lack of funding.  Funding aside, it seems likely that the close had much to do with the death of Phil Henderson.  The cavern was divided but neither side wished to see Phil die.  Records show that Phil often told explorers "The journey continues.”  He was right.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Jessie Pollick - Pieces of the Journey Part 1

The cavern community is much like any other group.  They provide social function, entertainment, and support for its members.  As a society they are not terribly exclusive but membership is only there for those who find their way to the cavern.  Those who inhabit the D'ni cavern hold an enormous reverence for the city and the Journey.  This is the defining mark of this community.

For some, that Journey began nearly 20 years ago when the DRC contracted Cyan to produce Myst.  The subsequent releases all acted to inform the public about D'ni before the cavern was open.  The DRC knew that people would feel drawn to D’ni.  They took great care to hide the location of the cavern until they felt it was ready.  When the DRC finally did open the cavern in 2003 there were those who had already made the Journey.

I take care when using the word journey, as before in its generalized form it has such a general

meaning.  In this case it refers to explorers finding their way to the cavern.  There is another form.  Journey in it’s proper capitalized form is very specific in it’s meaning.

When explorers in the desert first came to the cleft they were greeted by a hologram of Yeesha, the daughter of Atrus.  Her speech is profound now as it was when it was first witnessed.  It is here we learn the second meaning of Journey.  To quote Yeesha:

It's as a fine tapestry. Complex beyond comprehension, but now torn.  We will show you remnants, pieces of the tapestry. Pieces of the Journey. Find these remnants, these Journeys. Seven. Seven in each age. Seven here in the desert. Consider it a quest; no a request.  Worship.

Worship.  Worship of what?  Yeesha sought to warn the explorers of the pride that had destroyed the city of her father’s father.  Her wish was that the city would not be restored physically but that through us D’ni could be reborn spiritually by learning how to right the wrongs of the past.

Perhaps the first to take Yeesha’s Journey was a man named Phil Henderson.  Phil was a Restoration Engineer for the DRC who had vanished while surveying Eder Kemo in September 2002.  When the DRC realized he had gone missing they called for a twenty-four hour search party but found nothing.  Phil’s KI signal would be picked up from time to time over the next few days.  Eventually an explorer was able to make contact with Phil.  The conversation was brief with the message ultimately being that he was safe but would not be returning to the cavern.

On November 20, 2003 Phil Henderson returned.  He was found in Eder Kemo by an explorer by the name of Zardoz.  He asked to meet with the DRC and eventually spoke with Victor Laxman in Ae’gura.  Onlookers overhead the conversation which began with a request to meet with Laxman and Dr. Watson and ended with Phil responding to a sound that only he could hear, apologizing for his mistake, and then running into the city.