TheNeverPages Serialisation
Series 5, Episode 12

TheNeverPages - Series 5, Episode 12

The cyclones have crossed the horizons and back again. Twelve times, in fact and we have not yet caught up with Brekker and Angeline. Twelve ‘days’ pursuit on foot, over red sand and under an ashen sky. No food, no water.

Paisley has led the way, the courageous animal. He runs, nose to ground after that woman and that monstrosity. I call to him to stop, I cannot keep up but he does not heed my words. The sand mixes with me and every few steps I become merged with the dunes. I cannot keep up! The sole of my shoe sticks, then it turns red like the sand, then my legs begin to fall apart and I begin to feel the dune overcoming me and I struggle free and continue onwards. It is like running through quicksand but where you yourself are intermittently becoming that very same quicksand. The chase is impossible, yet Paisley’s determination and lack of consideration toward my physical condition drives me on. A saviour he is.

I am writing this now, twelve cyclones since the time we stormed the LHC compound. Has it really been twelve days? We are resting on a dune that is has a bedrock of iron. Like much in this desert it seems the sand only covers a percentage. Some of it has rock underneath, metal and even coral. In other places the sand is deeper than my sadness.

We rest now because we have to. I need to document all that has transpired. I have not touched this journal since it began. TheNeverPages were forgotten while we battled. Then the chase came and it is only now that we have time to recount. Paisley lies on the peak of the dune, his head over the brow so he can see into the distance. On the horizon I can see a tiny pinprick of light. I know what it is: Brekker and Angeline have also made camp.

Storming the LHC Compound – Chain of events:

And so, we left the laboratory determined and energized. It was a calm night, the town was asleep and the stars alight. We moved silently through the ghost city, fully aware of the chaos that was to ensue. As we walked we took time to appreciate the architecture, the archway, the statues, the pillars and, when we got to Mother Motherland, we sat on the ridge, held hands (and paw) and looked upon her glorious face. It is quite something to be alive in a place when all else is absent. It is quite something even more to be alive in a place when only you know that everything around you is only moments from cataclysm. We had a calm sea inside us. I saw it in Angeline’s eyes and I felt it in Paisley’s slow, controlled breathing. I knew it in my mind because MGV2 was quietly humming the melody to Lucy’s song (the song she sang in the sunlight as we climbed out from the dune).

We tested the gravity field of the ridge on the LHC side by throwing a rock and timing the descent and tracking the direction of its parabolic trajectory. Its fall was slow and it angled sharply towards the LHC pipeline, like a coin to a magnet. The rock struck the pipe, clung to it for a second and then fell to the ground. It seemed that the entire crater was a sort of ‘bath’ for irregular gravity.

We all turned and looked back at the town, bathed in moonlight, silent and asleep. Pripyat. We all blew her a kiss, turned and as one we leapt from the ridge down, down, down into the crater.

The freefall was exceptional. While there was no wind resistance in the traditional sense we did feel an upwards pressure upon us, like pole-to-pole magnetism. We fell slowly and for a few seconds poor Paisley scrabbled around trying to figure out what was happening. MGV2 reached out and stroked his belly and his leg kicked sweetly. We performed complex and conceived gestures in that timeless freefall and even the bullet in Paisley’s eye worked its way free. He was on his back, falling down, and the bullet gently floated up, free of the socket and hung a few inches from his face.

The joy and novelty of our obscure descent threatened to overcome us. However, as we approached the LHC pipeline, we started to speed up slightly and we began to feel the pull towards the outer casing. Linking arms and legs, we repositioned ourselves ready to land feet first. It was approaching fast and we were about to strike when we halted suddenly.

Suspended above the pipe, we combined potential energies, converted them to kinetic and managed to right ourselves gently onto the pipeline. Paisley’s bullet as if divinely connected to him, floated down and found its home in his eye socket once more.

We wasted no time in contemplating our bizarre free-fall. To business. Angeline rushed over to a service hatch, swung it open and climbed in. MGV2 followed. I picked up Paisley and followed lastly.

Inside the pipeline, Paisley took the lead, sprinting in the same manner as he has done during these last twelve days pursuit. We followed and just about kept up. MGV2 and I pooled our adrenaline and our energy but Angeline? She was something else. She overtook us, overtook Paisley and we could not see her feet touch the ground. She literally flew down the pipeline.

We got to the service tunnel and entered. I was about to close the hatch behind when Angeline instructed I leave it open. I did. Again we sprinted down until he came to the drop to the reactor floor. Paisley’s eye could not perceive the drop ahead and so he bolted straight over the edge! At seeing the dog careening over, MGV2 dived forward and grabbed his hind leg just in time. However, he slid forward, carried by the momentum of the falling mutt. At the last second his free hand grabbed a rail and he brought them both to rest. Angeline glided over them and hovered above us all in the atrium of darkness. Paisley swung below, MGV2 holding him, me standing in the entrance to the service tunnel. Angeline, hovering, looked at us with a blank, clouded expression. She gazed at us and smiled. “I go,” she said. “I go to him! Master of Engineer, the God Machinist commands me!” and she rocketed upwards into the black.

We felt sick. Betrayed. I pulled MGV2 and Paisley up and back into the service tunnel. We took stock. Our conclusion? Press on. I climbed down the ladder to the reactor floor. MGV2 followed with the still shaking dog slung over his shoulder. It was clear that we would have to fight our way up the hundreds of leagues from the reactor floor to Tesla, to the observation decks and to Brekker himself.

When we climbed into the reactor floor we looked up and saw it. Sight of sights! Above was the Multiverse! The Final Fold was in its initial stages. Everything had a glow. Everything was warm. Everything was charged. Paisley’s hair on end like steel. The grains of sand that made up the outer layers of our ‘skin’ seemed to separate and hover around us. We were breaking apart and yet held together. It seemed the magnetic field in every atom had expanded! We looked up into the Multiverse and we bore witness to many, many levels of light, stacked on top of each other, like sheets of paper, each showing a new or alternative view of what we were seeing.

It was like looking at a picture of a cat, but in the lens, you can also see a faint picture of a leopard, a lion, a jaguar, a tiger etc - each individual, each real if you focused on it, yet all merged if you focused on the whole. Imagine that, but extrapolated to an image of everything around you! We saw the reactor columns going up to the ceiling (these seemed constant) but around everything else, well on the gantries we saw many people burning, and yet many people cheering, all melded over each other. A deck of holograms. Disorientating is not enough to describe it.

Tesla. We had to get to Tesla and, of course, we had to get to Brekker. But the climb! The climb through this pandemonium of realities? It was too awful to contemplate, but had to be done. To Tesla we went.

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