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Lotus the Traveler

Lotus lives in dimension 2 Lotus XVII.  They qualify for the universe name not only due to being the first contact from their world, but from being the most distinctive quality of their universe. Sixteen variants from other second level dimensions have made contact, but only this Lotus maintains contact with the Compendium and other dimensions. They will say to everyone that they meet that exploring is the most meaningful part of their life.

Open and curious, Lotus discovered pithanotons early in their life. To understand these particles, they pursued a life of science and exploration. On one trip they encountered what others described as magic. Despite their intricate knowledge of various particles and mastery of hexaton fields, this power of magic opened yet more worlds to explore. They plunged into the study of magic with unrivaled enthusiasm.

They do not like the term magic to refer to higher dimensional particles.

Magic, like light, behaves as a wave and as a yet unstudied set of particles. Magic has definite principles that translate to axioms and formulas. Mathematics is comprised of an infinite number of dimensions, not merely the ten that you know. However, we name this magic and thereby remove the desire to understand it. In its place, the pseudo-mystical schemer peddles their circular reasoning and bewitching displays of color and pomp. Magic does not exist, but I can point to the higher dimensional particle that the most fundamental laws of physics and math proclaim should and do exist. Call them kruptothons enneathons, or super-dimensional particles. Call them Ralph, but in the name of humility, do not call them magic.

from The Touch of Math and the Myth of Magic

In the journey to learn and travel, they have created adaptations to allow for safer travel to outer dimensions. One such adaptation, the Boundary Sphere, allows them to navigate through three-dimensional space in a visible way. This sphere also protects others from their impossibly sharp edges.

A further refinement allows the ability to create sounds. Through practice, the Boundary Sphere serves as a voice by using the edges of their body to generate vibrations against the sphere. In their universe, communication happens only by touch. Using the sphere, Lotus rotates their body, touching the sphere at specific places with deliberate intensity to generate sounds and translate their touches into words. Creating their own spoken language from their native language, Compendium translation machines provide a more direct method of communication with Lotus, a development Lotus values highly.

Lotus is insatiably curious and enjoys sharing what they know. Aside from harnessing the power of super-dimensional particles, they hope to make contact with entities in various one dimensional universes. They are the foremost authority on multidimensional travel. Lotus continues to push the boundaries of what is possible.

In addition to their primary pursuits, Lotus possesses a keen mind. Their ability to think and process in multiple dimensions defies their inability to directly perceive these dimensions. Aside from math, Lotus loves chess and ranks with an estimated ELO of 3600. They enjoy defeating Artificial Intelligences in chess saying that the game cannot possibly be mathematically solved. There is such a thing as magic and it is the magic inherit in chess that allows the game to endure.

Discovery of 3 Chinnakan I

The Compendium is surrounded by a sensory array that detects incoming pithanoton particles. When they are detected, the signature of the incoming signal is matched with our archived contacts. If it is a new contact, the signal is routed to the room dubbed Welcome Committee.

The Welcome Committee is the name of the room where first contact with a new universe is made. Only staff that enjoy the monotony of encounters with the 1 millionth tiny variation of a known universe can hope to be assigned there.

Needless to say, upper level management is never found there.

There is a very strict protocol, including the hexaton fields that prevent any molecules or lifeforms from exchanging places. The AI makes a guess as to the closest baseline of the new world and we change the décor of the room to create something mostly familiar to the contact from the new universe. I haven't worked the Welcome Committee for a while, but I do remember various log cabins with faux bearskin rugs, alien cantinas, and all the various laboratories packed with strange equipment generated for the new contacts.

This contact, though, was unusual. The Welcome Committee generated no scene at all. This can sometimes happen when a mental contact is made by a higher consciousness. Since those contacts can be dangerous, our Em-Par team will show up to handle potential mental attacks.

When they arrived, they began to express melancholy. It wasn't the kind forced upon them, but an organic sadness that can only come from within. Em-Pars are not usually the emotional type, so we raised alert levels to seal off the room from the rest of the Compendium. I was not looking forward to filing the mileage card for the time loop that may be required to undo this contact. The worst part is the overtime form for working the same time period multiple times.

Interrupting my thoughts, the Em-Par team leader gave the signal for safety. We manually initiated contact and waited. After a few moments, a song came through. It was a dirge.

There was a bass voice signing about death and loss. A soprano voice harmonized in brighter tones, singing about life and positive change. The song changed after a minute to the low alto voice singing of memory and grief, the high tenor joined in with thoughts of hope. It repeated two times. Somehow this song brought out feelings of grief I didn't know my species was capable of producing. It wasn't mind control, but I could empathetically feel the song and experience those feelings. The juxtaposition of high and low, pain and joy was almost overwhelming.

The Em-Pars signaled that the singers knew of our presence despite the lack of visual contact. We started a one-way viewer to see them and examine their world, though even the most stoic of us felt slow to begin analysis.

We saw a man and woman standing in a dry plain. There were cacti and desert plants. A group of twenty-one persons were standing behind the couple. Analysis showed that this was a funeral, but we already understood that before the reports began pouring out on the displays. The boy appeared to be no older than two years old. They all appeared baseline human, but we knew that even before the pithanton report declared it so. I stopped looking at the displays and just looked at the people.

When all of them began to sing together, I was brought back to my homeworld as a small child. I remembered my younger brother who suddenly passed in his sleep. I wasn't feeling back there, I was physically brought back there somehow. I was standing at the bedside trying to awaken him, not understanding that he was already gone. We all knew it was coming, he was expected to live another few months, but he made it two years, 8 days, 2 hours and 22 minutes.

This time was different, though. I wasn't in shock. I was sad, I was grieving, but I was also remembering the pillow forts in the living room and the trips to the tourist traps on Io. I was celebrating his love of life and his desire to experience everything he could before he was gone. I had strapped him to my back the day before when he wanted to fly around. He laughed so deeply, I didn't want to land.

I got in trouble in my early career for going to alternate timelines to meet my brother as an adult. I had recently attempted another trip but was intercepted by the security and the logistics teams. I had actually filled out the fake paperwork to make another attempt after I got off work.

Afterwards, though, I felt I didn't need to take that trip.

They sang for another ten minutes. Then they lowered the boy into the ground, covered him with a red powder of some kind, and buried him.

The people were aware of us watching the entire time. We have protocols to prevent being misunderstood as gods or higher beings, but they knew that we were just observers, somehow. The Em-Pars confirmed as much.

Other teams came in and we started the examination of their culture and customs. The biologists studied the flora and fauna. The soil and everything in it was classified by the geologists and filed in multiple reports.

We began to study their language viewing into their past and near future. After recording hundreds of hours of conversation, we started the committee to name this universe, the last thing before transition to the archival teams. A handful of names were produced, but the choice was unanimous. We named it The Song, Chinnakan in their language. This remains the only universe in the Compendium where first contact was a song.

Rosie the Quarterback

from universe - 3 Chinnaka I

Survival for the Rock Island Independents during WWII meant playing exhibition games. The lower-paying game and less dedication to norms set the stage for the story of Marjorie 'Rosie' Aberson. The following story comes from Marjorie's best-selling book, They Call Me Rosie.

After a perfect 1942 season, all eyes were on the Chicago Marauders to continue their dominance. Boston was floundering and both New York teams had nowhere to play home games. With few contenders, hopes ran high for another championship season in Chicago. In Rock Island, however, players were being drafted into service or leaving to play for other professional leagues. The AFA was offering big money and had lured many famous players away from the NAFL. The better pay and more reliable schedule in the AFA made the league attractive to players young and old. Despite this and other obstacles, Coach Holland fielded twenty players for the team, drawing on talent from retired players and nearby college teams.

Chicago, meanwhile, was dealing with their own problems. Two exhibition games had been canceled for various reasons. Without games, income shrank. The front office would claim that Chicago needed at least one game to properly prepare for the season ahead. The truth of the matter was that they were not scheduled for enough games to play the season. The NAFL had set a six game minimum for teams to qualify for the championship game. Big money awaited any team in other pro leagues willing to schedule a game with Chicago. Due to their undefeated season the previous year, no team appeared willing to take them on. Strapped for cash, the Rock Island Independents would agree to a game and a date was set.

Welcome to Moline

Coach Holland had neglected to say that Darby field held only 5000 fans and that he didn't have a full team. With such a small stadium, the ticket receipts wouldn't come close to covering Chicago's costs. If Chicago would win by more than a seventy point margin, the NAFL would declare the game ineligible for the purposes of completing a season. Coach Morris of the Marauders had no other offers for a game. He would later say that he planned to limit his own team to thirty-five points. For Coach Holland, the Independents needed this game to stay in the existence and build a future of his fledgling team. How he convinced Chicago to travel to Moline is an enduring football mystery.

Coach Holland told the lineman to rotate 2 players every quarter to play both offensive and defensive line. Eddie, a fullback, would be the emergency QB. Holland hoped for one more player, but none could be found until that fateful night when he took the biggest gamble of his career.

He asked his wife to call on Marjorie at work the next day. Marjorie was doing factory work while her husband was serving overseas. She and Mrs. Holland worked in the same factory and talked frequently. Coach wanted to offer her money to help the team practice for the Chicago game. Marjorie was keen on the idea and the three of them began to work. Holland introduced her to the team as a placeholder so that the other 20 players could focus on the strategy for the upcoming game. Another assistant served as the center for kicking practice. Marjorie proved effective and consistent. The kicker, Chance Holloway, was a lanky nineteen year old that lied about his age to play football. With him and Marjorie, the team would take the field with twenty-two players, the league minimum for a game.

The team was apprehensive at first with Holland's plans, but they grew in confidence as they became comfortable with a pass-heavy gameplan. Eddie chose to play both fullback and linebacker. The Independents also practiced a few gimmick plays in an attempt to fool the Marauders famous defense. Marjorie would later write that everyone on the team was resolute. "The boys," she wrote, "believed that their victory was as inevitable as the Allied forces."

September 20, 1942

The day of the game came. The radio broadcasters set up. The Marauders gathered their reserve players on the far sideline and Rock Island lined up for the kickoff.

Chicago was surprised by the Independents' tough defense. The Marauders didn't score until late in the 3rd quarter on a 2 yard TD run. This was the first score of the game for either team. After a successful extra point, Chicago took a 7-0 lead.

Early in the 4th quarter, Rock Island answered with a touchdown of their own on a breakaway run by Eddie for a 43 yard TD. The kicking team took the field and the Chicago defense reacted in disbelief. Marjorie would say that she thought that they were gawking at Chance as he weighed 125 pounds soaking-wet. The team lined up for the extra point and Chance was able to split the uprights. All was not well on the field, though, as a Chicago player took it upon himself to teach Marjorie a lesson. After the play, he ran up and knocked her down hard. He chuckled to himself as he left the field.

Marjorie dusted herself off and walked over to him. Staring directly into his eyes she said, “Now that didn't do anything, now did it?”

Before the Chicago player could react, his teammates walked him off the field as the entire Rock Island team rushed on to protect Marjorie. She would later write that the team's support was much appreciated, but was entirely unnecessary.

Late in the 4th quarter, Chicago marched downfield, but had to settle for a field goal, taking a 10-7 lead. The weariness of the Independents was beginning to show as players had begun to shuffle between plays. Chicago had put in fresh players in an attempt to expand their lead. The exhausted Independents battled on.

A fumble on Chicago's next drive gave the ball back to the Independents with enough time to tie the game. With only a minute left, they lined up for a field goal after three failed attempts to make the 2 yard run for a touchdown. Coach Holland pulled Marjorie aside and told her to run the Haymaker. She nodded and trotted in with the Chance.

Chicago fans had made it clear that the Independents would be lucky to walk off the field. It was later revealed that a fan was so upset by Marjorie's presence of the field, that he planned to rush the field with a baseball bat if she returned. Several Rock Island fans pinned the man under the grandstand for the last minute of the game.

Marjorie would write that all she felt in that moment was that she was going to slug a certain Chicago lineman right in the jaw if he tried anything. She wasn't that emotionally involved in the game, she was there for a little extra money to buy a couple chickens for eggs. Still, she had no plans to suffer a fool. As the saying goes, "A fool knows only after he's suffered."

Rock Island's Last Gasp

She wrote in her book that the snap went towards her face. The Chicago nose tackle had gotten the best of the center, causing a terrible trajectory. She stood up to catch the ball, took two steps back and threw a lob just over the defender to Eddie standing alone in the end zone. Rock Island players ran immediately to the sideline to protect Marjorie as she left the field. Now up 13-10, Coach Holland had Rock Island return to line up in a running formation for the extra point. Marjorie wasn't on the field. Beyond these established facts, exactly what happened after that touchdown is disputed to this day. She wrote in her book that she turned to walk off the field only to be met with a celebration of fans and teammates.

By other accounts, there was an unconscious referee, two injured Chicago players, ten fans arrested, and a hoarse radio announcer croaking over and over, “Can you believe it?” At some point in the confusion, a stray dog took the football off the field. Retrieving the ball took about twenty minutes. Ultimately, the point after attempt was not successful and Chicago had 45 seconds to come back for the win. As the Chicago offense steamrolled down the field, it appeared their victory was assured.

One what would be the last play of the game, Rock Island called a desperate blitz. Their gamble paid off as Chicago's quarterback was pinned behind the line of scrimmage. The game ended with a Rock Island victory and the story of Rosie the quarterback was born.

The Rest of the Story

Rock Island made it through the rest of that season finishing with 3-4 record. The Marauders went on to claim another championship.

Marjorie never took the field again. She got the chickens she needed and went back to work the next day. Her husband returned from the war and her experience in professional football was soon forgotten for thirty-seven years. In 1981, Marjorie penned They Call Me Rosie to address the myths that had built up around her and to relay the actual events of the game as she remembered them. The NAFL would honor her in 2020 by inducting her into the Hall of Fame. The league commissioner pledged equity for women in all levels of football.

Marjorie "Rose" Aberson, number 21 for the '42 Rock Island Independents remains the only woman inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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