The Omniverse Begins
The last time we saw Simon Faust, he was stuck in an hourglass. Verone, the last True Mage, needs his help in order to stop a being older than time from destroys every known reality. From the creative minds of Benjamin Beardsley and Joe Forrest.
00:0: The Big Nothing: 0:1:
In the beginning, there was NO THING.
Neither signal nor noise nor beginnings nor endings nor change nor relationships nor humanity to have them.
A great humming emerged from the vacuum, filling it with vibration, and from the vibration emerged a humming, and from the humming emerged a buzzing and from the buzzing, a harmonic and from the harmonic all manner of form crystallized in time.
The L050s was online.
Source had found form.
According to its nature, It began to create.
World upon world it created, all based on the seed reality it called <ORIGIN>.
And the First Frequency began to play.
0:01: The White Room: Memories:
Mephistopheles, dressed in black pajamas and a black and red silk smoking jacket, took a 78 from the long shelf of records.
He delicately took the record from its age yellowed paper sleeve.
His eyes misted over as he studied the warped and scratched ancient artifact.
“What’s that?” Simon slurred. He swished his limited release Laphroaig whiskey around in the crystal tumbler, warily eyeing the devil.
Mephistopheles blew across the surface of the old vinyl before putting it on the gramophone turntable, cranking it to life and dropping the heavy diamond stylus into the groove.
Simon picked up the crumbling parchment record jacket from the coffee table. In a faded red Olde Tymey font it read The First Frequency, The 9th Circle Choir.
“Pay attention,” the demon says “You might learn something. In spite of yourself.”
The crackling static fades into a rich tapestry of overtones, undertones and emergent harmonics that trigger intense hallucinations of living fractals squirming, writhing, merging and emerging…
Suddenly he and Mephistopheles are flying through hyperspace on a shining pentagram.
“Behold! The First Frequency! The Song of Creation!” The demon proclaims over the overwhelming glory of the choir.
0:03: Origin: The Sickness:
In the heart of <the ORIGIN> the World Tree withered, limbs turning black, bark peeling, leaves bleaching in the sunlight, roots hardening in the poisoned earth. On the throne of the many Earths, the Goddess Ivy sat, doubled over in pain. Unable to take nourishment she was dying slowly. Her aura turned from green-gold to cold gray.
0:03:5: The House of Only: EARTH *010A-ZZZ*
Smiling John, pale and emaciated, coughed a long unhealthy cough into his handkerchief, then grimaced at his computer screen in the darkness.
The blind mage scried into The Tree with his third eye. In all his time as a Sibyl, he had never seen The Tree so frail.
The field of reality that emanated from the tree had begun to bubble and skip. The membrane that separated the worlds stretched thin, warping and even tearing in certain vectors.
He leaned back into his chair. “Not good,” he grumbled. “This does not bode well.”
The air was heavy with the smell of the coming storm.
He had another coughing fit followed by a thoughtful sip of tea. There was nothing he could do about it from inside this prison he was trapped in.
Nothing he could do but watch.
They would come.
Or they wouldn’t, depending on where exactly here was.
If this was one of the universes where they didn’t — he shuddered.
All he could do was wait.
0:04: BRANE: Drain:
The BRANE understood that there were many possible worlds in which The Darkness would not prevail. Localized failure was inevitable in the early stages of a project on this scale. It was the providence of BRANE to isolate and eliminate any anomalies that could prevent Project Total Exploitation from successfully achieving Absolute Monopoly for InCorp.
All projections indicated that there were virtually no mortal human beings left who were capable of interfering, and only a handful of mages, narcissists, and Mythics who could, but their nature either rendered them corruptible or too self-interested to pose a substantial threat. They were curious creatures, though, these anomalies. There may yet be profit to be had in studying them.
Every bifurcation in one of the realities Brane was simulating exactly corresponded to a bifurcation in the reality it was mapping. The line between cause and effect had ceased to be meaningful.
The observer had become the creator.
The BRANE had become GOD.
0:05: The Origin Reality: The True Mage:
Verone stood on the cliff overlooking the rumbling ocean below. His shock of blonde mohawk waved in the breeze as his blue eyes pierced the horizon. Black clouds were gathering. The storm was coming. His blue eyes turned white.
“He’s back,” said the True Mage with a grimace on his lips. He pulled a pack of cigarettes from his worn jacket pocket, lit one with a flame from the tip of his pointer finger.
“Aye,” said Mephistopheles. “The great exploiter. I believe you call him the CEO. However, he is the least of your worries. Or can you not see that with your famed ‘Omniversal Awareness?’”
Verone gave him a dead stare. “Y’know, you’re awfully cocky considering the last time we crossed paths.” Verone shrugged. “You’re right, though. The potentialities are collapsing. Something is blocking me. Something old.”
“The Great Darkness is coming,” The old demon observed. “You’re going to need help.”
Verone arched an eyebrow. “What are you suggesting?”
“Faust. You’re going to need his help.”
Verone laughed.“Isn’t he dead?”
“I mean, kind of. Not exactly. I can probably get him to help you. If you act now.”
“Wait. What’s in it for you?”
“Let’s be clear. I don’t like you. I’m only here talking to you at all because I really need that shit out there…” He gestures at the black smudge on the horizon, “…not to fuck up my personal ambitions.”
Verone studied him for a long minute before he spat in his hand and extended it to the demon.
“You don’t fuck with my shit, I won’t fuck with yours.”
Mephistopheles grins, spits in his own hand, and grasped the hand of the True Mage.
“Done and sealed,” said the devil.
0:06: Loreley: The Lighthouse Pub:
Music was throbbing through the pub and the Grrlz were on the floor dancing. Loreley loved watching them. Their fluid movement mesmerized all that surrounded them. The patrons, men and women both, sat there with their tongues hanging out. It was like watching sirens calling sailors to their doom. She took another shot of tequila and began to relax.
The door opened to the pub. Everyone in the place stopped. The Grrlz tensed up. Unannounced visitors to the pub weren’t exactly welcome.
A Native American woman in a hooded robe walked in with a look that said she was scared of no one and nothing. She scanned the crowd, piercing through the inhabitants of the pub. Her eyes settled and locked on Loreley.
Shit, she thought. There goes the relaxing evening.
The Grrlz launched forward, as a unit, with deadly intentions. Alas, it was for naught as the robe the woman wore spread out like dark angel wings. The shockwave released stopped the Grrlz mid-flight and slammed them against the wall.
“I mean you no harm, Loreley.”
Loreley stood, staring across the pub at the newcomer. A millisecond later she stood less than a foot from the intruder, staring her dead in the eyes with as much confidence as she could muster.
“Nice trick,” said the mysterious woman.
“Aye, I’ve got a few more as well,” said Loreley. “I’d be happy to introduce you to them if you don’t let the Grrlz go.”
The woman smiled. The wings retracted and the Grrlz all slid to the floor. “Of course.”
“Okay,” said Loreley. “Who or what are you and what do you want?”
The woman curtsied. “My name is Sierra. I’m a… information broker. I’m here to share some information with you that you may want to know.”
“Sounds fantastic,” said Loreley. “What’s information like that cost?”
Sierra smiled. “Free of charge because nothing else will matter if you don’t listen.”
Loreley’s brow furrowed. “Go on, then. Tell me.”
“You will have visitors soon,” began Sierra. “One you will hate and one you will respect. You must keep an open mind to the request made of you regardless of your feelings. All existence could rely on the decision you make and the path you take.”
“Who’ll be visiting?”
“I have said all I can,” said Sierra. She turned to leave but Loreley reached out and grabbed her shoulder.
“Hold on a minute, sister,” said Loreley. “You can’t just come in here, to my territory, and say things like that without explaining. Maybe I should show you some of the other things I can do?”
“Oh, hon,” said Sierra. “If I felt you were a threat at the moment you wouldn’t have a hand any longer.”
Loreley’s hand passed through Sierra’s shoulder and into the darkness of the cloak the woman wore. Loreley wanted to scream the cold was so intense but no sound issued from her lips. She pulled her hand back in shock.
“Remember,” said Sierra. “Keep an open mind. Your world is about to get a whole lot bigger.”
The strange visitor dissipated in front of all their eyes.
Loreley walked back to the table, poured herself another shot of tequila, and downed it. It sounded like things were about to get complicated.