Head boxed, life boxed, world boxed. They convince you that all your belongings fit into a little box; and that is how it seems. A sense of belonging, a false nostalgia – you feel it, and that is the trap. Once that trap has been set they drop a match into the box, and you know surely that you belong in those flames, and you burn there alongside all your possessions.

It was not your life, but it is a bruise you clutch, because you own the injury.

They put someone in a room with you and they ask you what it is that you missed about that life, and what you wished you still had from it. They use your answer to build another box, and when you step into the water it is as real and deep as the last box in which you submerged yourself.

You become that life, you drop a taproot into it, and you bed down in it, and you fruit. And then they again burn the fields. How many times does it happen? In the rapid eye movement of your sleep you click through an infinity of permutations. By building and demolishing your world; your life; they build and demolish you.

Callister looks at himself in the mirror. He looks for a long time. He doesn’t recognise himself; doesn’t really understand where the veneers that they lacquered over him end and the truth of him begins. He remembers the Permutation Box – and he has built it around many, and now he seeks to mass produce it.

Stepping into  the room where the Typing Pool swims fluidly in a liquid rhythm he hears a sound, an ululation, and he knows that the Metaphor Engine he has been cobbling together is starting to be built. A plug into the Dreamspace Interface, using the sleeping heads to construct a kingdom of control.

They are building their own Permutation Boxes in their minds; a subtle blade driven in where no one even feels the wound; no one even knows that death wraps them in it’s embrace. Stitching with Thirteen’s Needle he will build the Pinnacle again as a thing constructed in a distributed network.

Callister stops, places his hand on one of the typists shoulders, and he wonders, where does he fit into the scheme of things if he does this … when he does this? Sometimes he dictates to them; sometimes he undams the stream of consciousness, and he lets them write; lets them build. In a box; inner box.

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