The Pinnacle was in disarray; that ivory tower; that monadnock collapsed into its own footprint. The data stacks were a disintegrated library; information burning to nothing in the fire.

Callister sat there at the edge of the devastation. He had an idea. He’d carried it away with him. He gave it body, translated it into a metaphor, a tulpa if you will, as he had been trained to do in The Alchemy Yards. That butterfly sat there on his finger.

He saw others who had survived (not so many of them, but some at least) and they were all sat there performing this translation of something born in ideational space into something codified and given a spatiotemporal index, yet which might be unravelled by anyone that had a key.

He saw Breult’s hummingbird. He saw Britten’s Lycaena Dispar. He knew that this tiny creatures would fly out into the world and hide themselves. This place was about programming the denizens of the reality they had been policing, but the program had broken down. The man in charge; that man if immense vision, had succumb to something other, and as he had fallen into disrepair, so to did the thing that he had been building.

What were the Stations without the heart? How long would The Hub hold when the issuers of the program had fallen silent?

Callister picked himself up, attached the breathing apparatus’s mouthpiece to his mouth, and stepped out into the wastelands – that thin border between the Kingdom Of Ur-Lea, and the unscripted realms.


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