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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 d├ęcor 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.

The Sycarion Continuum

I've recently decided to be okay with my unfinished projects. Rather than try to perfect them, I want to just post the ideas to share with everyone. Click here for all the posts in the series.

I write a lot of in-world lore for any game I prepare to run. As a kid reading Stephen King novels, I appreciated that all his stories are in the same multiverse, so I decided to do the same. The result was that I put easter eggs in all my campaigns. Here's are some of the highlights:

  • There was an ORION agent stranded in Greyhawk that kept logs for Agent 13.
  • There is an ancient mech buried in a mountain that would serve as a dungeon and a plot device to defeat the tarrasque.
  • I had a crystalline sphere for Centurion Legion. A very small grav tank would make it to the game world that would use its fusion engine to power an asteroid civilization to rival the Rock of Bral.
  • An alien sorcerer from FASERIP made their way to an alternate Spelljammer world. They worked with an Arcane trader as adventurers for hire. (They were an NPC party that never saw play.)
  • I have Sportsworld that is the home for all the Statis-Pro sports games and Tudor Electric Football games I ever played. One of the Statis-Pro teams has a lost half-elf running back that would become one of the greatest the game ever saw. I had sketched out an adventure where his family hired the party to bring him home.
  • Analytical Engines from Space 1989 (a dystopian future Space 1889 world that no longer needed liftwood) made their way to the FASERIP game world and hilarity would ensue.

In an attempt to collect all of the worlds and their stories together, I have several three-ring binders, notebooks and sketchpads with older information. I use Obsidian, Fantasia Archive, and Github for newer information. The result is what I call the Sycarion Continuum.

I'm not sure that I will ever be able to create my Magnum Opus or use D&D/Cypher System to stat out everything, but at least I can share it here. I may be the only person that understands these stories and their characters. The game stuff will be as unbalanced as heck. That said, the hope is that just publishing all of this stuff (with only the lightest of editing) will provide a spark for someone else's work. The goal is to get into the habit of writing or at least paying off the idea debt.

The first handful of posts are already scheduled. The next sets of posts (maybe 30 to 40) will be things that are already written in various paper and digital archives.

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