. What was normal on this planet really did require some outside assistance to understand. Within minutes of finding Boing I felt perfectly comfortable. Markus had never seen any life form that even remotely resembled Boing during his years on Fer2. This did not surprise me as clearly there was some form of separation between arrivals from different worlds. Alien segregation, I understood, simple. We do not put salt and sugar in a pot of tea. Fer2 did not mix incompatibles, Boing was a compatible, so Boings freedom will allowed him to rove where it was safe to do so.
Markus had evidently never seen any life form that had remotely resembled boing during his many years on Fer2. Markus eventually offered the comment that Boing appeared to have a quality that somehow countered another persons contradictions, or the compatibility of people in close proximity. Markus was unaware of my other companion. Messo, the grass like woven shoulder bag. That which spoke the mind of Fer2.
True to Markus's statement about compatibility I was becoming aware that the guitar maker was feeling more like a brother, not the traditional long lost. But one who I had lived alongside for all of my life.
Markus and I tested this observation with the action of placing boing outside the room for a few minutes at a time. This separation did not seem to concern boing, who waited contentedly without any observable fuss.
If this creature offers some form of blanket protection, this would make her very valuable.
"Her" I queried, Markus nodded. "YES, I do not know what she is or where she came from but every bone in my body tells me Boing is a female. Markus added. "If she ever has pups. I want one.
I am unaware if my next thought came from myself or Boing, but there certainly was communication between myself and boing that we thought this was extremely funny. My observation of Markus that he never shared the joke. "That's Funny" I said.
"Why' asked Markus "I don't know why" I offered as honestly as I could, "Both me and boing agree it was funny"
"You communicate?" asked Markus
"Just a little bit, .. It seems" I said "Boing suggested to me that your name was Markus
"Not a name that I like" Markus responded. "All of us on Fer2 have a history' He added. "What's your name?"
I hesitated for a few seconds "I don't know" I answered. For the merest second I felt tha Boing knew my name. But if she was capable of informing me remained silent.
for a few seconds I contemplated this situation . It occured to me that neither of us could have been British. How could we have communicate with each other if we had not been properly introduced.
Markus must have had a similar though - maybe Boing was an influence . In Markuses best upper class imitation of a british accent. "How do you do" he held his hand out, I took it. we shook hand "my good fellow - I am Markus. I merely looked him in the eye. I always believed a good straight look directly eye to eye was the best introduction.
"How are you. How do you do? How are you ?" Probably the most unanswered question ever.
Markus continued "It's perfectly normal to leave your past life behind when you arrive at this place". Said Markus. "Most of those transported here have recollections from earlier times that they would prefer to let fade away. Some they will cling to.
While we spoke Boing seemed to understand that being at close proximity affected Mine and Markus's brotherly compatibility. Boing appeared to simply fall asleep. quite comfortably balanced on her single pod in a corner of the room.
"She is tired" said Markus
"I have no idea what constitutes a hard day for her" I added. Asleep or otherwise Boing managed to communicate
. Consuming the local green shrub impregnated the host person with Filigror, it acted as an enabler . This enabling created a virtual immunity to the planet itself . At the same time emitting what could be best described as a sensory enabler. This enabler could create actual sensations, these were felt physically. These sensation could vary considerably from being merely akin to a recognisable smell or mild physical tingling, To an unending more powerful gradient of pain or repulsive reactions. The result being that the occupants of Fer2 would quickly discover. As little as a raised fist in anger could cause a physical reaction from nearby creatures.. This reaction caused the Filigror in the threatened persons body to unconsciously deliver a reciprocal response.
It was in practice an emotional Filigror feedback. There seemed to be no emotion that Filigror did not respond to. Love, hale, even a belief in God. An emotional response could emit a mild buzz, a tingling or in some people a burning sensation. In some instances total disablement.
Unpleasant tingles were known as 'contradictions' and performed in a similar way to an unpleasant of foul smell
On the reverse side, some.stranger could merely be presented as very pleasant, even nice, often with an accompanying pleasant aroma. Mostly people gathered into distinct groups. Those that were compatible, and those that contradicted.
There was some that believed Filigror had adapted itself to incorporate the personality of Fer2's First Administrator. The First Human to arrival on Fer2 . Charlie Hudson. Thereby utilising a way to its own colonisation
There was a general belief that Filigror had adapted itself to incorporate the personality of its first administrator. Folk lore suggested that Filigror has absorbed Charles Hudson's knowledge, intelligence and even his personality. Simply because no other life form on the plant had ever possessed any great ability for thought. Charlie had presented to Filigror a unique quality that it was able to absorb. Filigror did indeed absorb any qualities of any life form that arrived at Fer2. It was an ability of this sort that generally confirmed that Filigror was in truth a singularly intelligent life form. And that Fer2 was its host.
Understanding Filigror was certainly no simple matter. Laymen were mostly happy to acce[t that Filgror had a will of its own, although many believed Filigror had no more purpose than had water, believing that if circumstances varied. For instance, at low temperatures, cold water would freeze. In different circumstances it could boil. Water like Filigror would naturally flow into every creature. Everywhere including the land and every living life form. Some believed Filigror like Water had no intent or purpose of its own.
The Circumstances of contradiction had naturally dispersed into groups. Engineers were attracted to Engineering communities, Poets and artist drifted together according to compatibility. Many communities were completely isolated. In a similar way that Hot water would rise to the surface. Lakes were separated from oceans. Creatures lived in isolated waters that would not survive in other waters. Filigror was similar to water. except it had a mind, a brain that combine the intelligence of every living creature that lived on the surface of Fer2
For many hundreds of Fer2 years only convicted criminals arrived from Earth.
Charlie Hudson, understood this and was the reason he destroyed the return link to earth.
In all practical purposes. In Layman's terms. Filigror is similar to a vast expanse of a water like substance. A living mind, A life form. Charlie's intelligence had an effect not unlike a Tea bag being dunked into a cup of water, it permeated the entire planet. Charly's mind and thoughts mingled and dispersed into an entire thinking planet.
. U N I V E R S I T Y O F D I S C O V E R Y W E L C O M E
My first impression of the University was that seemed pointlessly high rise. There was evidently vast amounts of room for gardens or parks, yet the buildings resemble boxes placed on top of each other. there was evidently a lack of any great need for window, and I imajine that natural light inside the building was a scarce commodity. A plaque at the entrance read University Of Discovery.. I was approached by a tall balding man ' I want to show you something" he said He offered no introduction, He had apparently been expecting me. The man displayed banded cuffs on his shirt, and they spiralled upward to the elbow in an alternating cream and emerald green pattern. I felt no attraction, or opposition. He gestured me to follow, and he sauntered slowly towards a pathway that winded through the University grounds. The Route we took passed by a tennis court, a football field, he finally stopped at an Oval, a running track. He turned to me and said. "Take a wild guess at the name of the fastest runner on Fer2?"
"Flash Gordon?" I suggested.
:Excellent" The tall man said. "We do not have a champion. The tennis court has no champion. Our tallest mountain has no conquering hero "This is why you are here"
The man went silent. He handed me a stop watch ah nodded toward the track.
"Are you interested" he asked.
"In becoming the champion?' I asked
"YES!" he quickly added. he assed without pause. "We have devoted many years into developing and creating ths stop watch, the engineers that developed it have only ever used it as a test tool for experiments. Or for the mere amusement of confirmation. Our previous time peice was destroyed because it failed to confirm several experiments. Does this make since to you?"
The tall man managed to put considerable emphasis on this question. He stared at me with great intent.
"No sense at all" I suggested
"Is this boing" he asked bending on onee to get a closer look at my companion. "I did not know that there was such a creature" he said. The man stood up and looked as if he was expecting me to continue the conversation. This man clearly carried quite powerful authority and I was reluctant to say anything at all as I had no clear understanding of what the conversation was about or what we were discussing. I stepped toward the track and made a rudimentary line by scraping the greenery. I expected that I should call it grass, it had evidently been cropped short and firm "Grass?" I asked.
"Yes Yes. he was obviously quite happy with the name 'grass'. I adopted my best starting position and shouted "ready - Steady' I stopped. I waited while the man seemed to fumble with the stop watch I continued my countown when the man seemed ready.
"on my mark - Get set - GO!" I shouted and lurched forward. I quickly found a rhythmic pace that seemed adequate for the purpose. I had estimated a lap of the oval to be about a quarter mile. This seemed to close enough to the right distance for a running track. As I approached my starting point I decided I should go for the half mile record. The man stopped the watch as I crossed my makeshift starting line. "TWO LAPS!" I shouted angrily.
My timekeeper was clearly absorbing some stress at my shouting, he clearly had not guessed my intention to do a second lap.
It was at this point that Boing intervened. Boing quite evidently communicated some sort of urgent instruction to the timekeeper that he was now dealing with a champion.
There were factors associated with this running track that the timekeeper was totally unaware of. I suspect that Boing had offered him some sort of forgiveness for not knowing my intentions.
I was aware of the story about the Bush Tracker and the value of not knowing
The man was clearly aware that he had encountered something the had not been previously aware of. That I had wanted the record. The record had value to me. He did however have a clear understanding that Filigro did have an ability to give individuals what they wanted. It could do this without any monetary system the only hard and fast rule seemed to be that if others were prepared to contribute then Filigror could simply play a God like roll and facilitate it.
The man smiled as if he suddenly had an awareness that up to this point in time Filigror itself had no concept of competition. Competition was clearly something that had pre existed in the Fer2 population and that Filgiror evidently had no facility for its expression. From this point forward Filigror could determine its purpose and could enable this expression at will. Creating the record felt somewhat like Filigror discovering gravity and performing an experiment for the first time. Only to discover that if you knew the stone in your hand would fall to the ground it would. And then look up to see a few leaves falling from a tree. merely because they knew they could. I felt quite sick, This was not a discovery, it was a creation.
I have no idea of Boings vocabulary, in thought transmission or otherwise, but the though "Holy Fucking Cow" permeated the atmosphere.
Filigror was a child and it had discovered something. It was a new toy and its expression would eventually permeate the whole planet. The man stood silently looking at the watch. Even without the aid of boing I could almost read his mind "We will need more watches'".
Before we left the track Boing hopped to the starting line. Without a cue the man reset the time piece.
I shouted On your Mark. Get set, GO!
Boing was extremely fast on the imitation but live low cut grass. She was certainly faster than I expected. I registered some mild disappointment at losing my title so quickly
There gradually evolved a great hussle and bussle in a concerts effort to calculate the distance of the track that I had run. Several methods were suggested to measure it. "Why was there no measurement of the track?" Eventually this question was referred to the engineering community. I was sure that this could be easily solved after I Noticed a small vehicle similar to the one I had road tester earlier during my short time on Fer2
When the watch was made it seemed evident that the watch calculated percentages, this cog was 15% more active than the original cog at this location. I asked if there was someone available that had been an engineer on my home planet, that I could talk to. "Measurements do not work" I was told. Size and location were directly associated with each and every other location. For example the watch would be bigger, or faster on the plains of Randre, than say it would be on lake Blue. Engineers Could not reproduce any measurement. It was only likely that they could produce a comparison. Without an original measurement it would be pointless.
They could attempt to reproduce the size of the oval on the shores of Lake Blue. But you can be assured that if you re-run the track there would be no comparison.
I expressed my confusion and dismay. Only to be assured that the communities mathematicians
had virtually declare it "a most exiting problem". And most likely that none of them had any reason to solve it. It would undoubtable lead to many serendipitous discoveries
However I was informed that my track record was quite secure, at least untill someone made the effort to better it
I did ask one question "For a half mile" I requested, "What would that time be as an Earth time? the man fumbled. He looked quizzically at Boing. "under half a second" he added cautiously "at this location" He said looking directly at boing.
Boings eyes looked directly at me and forwarded me an explanation. "in order to promote or preserve population. Time is variable at different locations.
"Holy Cow" I muttered. This thought would take me a long time to absorb.
I decided that I needed some recovery time at my allocated abode. Relax and recovery time. This new world I find myself in is stressful, nothing is simple, the whole environment boggles my mind. I think the old expression "To get my Mojo Back" came to mind. I shall probably write a song, Play my guitar to Boing. Currently I am unable to decide whether Fer2 was a simple place, or complicated well beyond my comprehension. I felt no need for any goodbye's so Me and Boing set off homeward . Boing demonstrated an acceptance of this decision by simply doing a single somersault every few minutes as we we meandered the track in a homeward direction.
Boing had the knack of demonstrating her approval. Boing then directed my attention to my right shoulder that was now bearing the upward arrows insignia of the University of Discovery. Boing expressed to me her extreme pride in this simple achievement. Indicating that I had metaphorically 'stepped on a secure stone'. This had taken me a little closer to standing on the solid ground of the Fer2 side of the raging river.
Markus was sitting on my roof when I eventually arrived home. There was a bundle of vines draped across the roof that he had obviously used to climb up.
"When I was Young" He shouted " My Father left a ladder against the eaves of our house while he was removing leaves from the gutter". When he wasn't looking I decided to find out if I could see the river".
"Can you see the river now?" I asked
"NO!" said Markus "your name is Lloyd" Markus added
"It seems so" I answered.
"I have been waiting here for a fair while, I wanted you to see me up here. I am probably the first person to ever to look for the river from the roof of this house." Said Markus "I wanted to remember what it felt like."
"You were the first person to make me a guitar" I said. Gradually becoming aware that being the 'first' had suddenly gained some sort of value. Communication on Fer2 was uncanny. Some thoughts disappear into a mist of secrecy. Other thoughts are broadcast in what could only be an equivalent of headlines in the national Newspapers. or more closer, A Fer2 National Radio.
"I like it up here" said Markus.
"And you were the first person to make me a guitar' I said.
"NO!" said Markus "The guitar was already made. I made the guitar because I had made them before I arrived here. I was only repeating what I had already done. It was something I already knew. Climbing on the roof felt more like holding the first guitar I ever made and strumming the first notes" Markus added "You are a wonderful person".
"Yes" I answered "It would seem so. I expect there will be a number of people doing things for the first time from now on. How did you find out" I asked.
"HA HA" Markus laughed. The news came through like a wild rain storm. and all the world wanted to be the first to fill a bucket with water. It is settling down a bit now, becoming normal. But I expect the memory will linger for a long time.
"I have never written a song before" Markus pronounced suddenly.
"I has the same thought myself" I answered.
"I might call it ' The race of Floyd'" with these words Markus slowly began to climb down from
the roof. He gave a courteous not to Boing ant we entered into Marcus's House.
"Have you ever heard the Name Charlie Hudson" I asked Markus, a few days later while we were searching for words to suit the chone we had created.
"I have his memory" markus stated simply.
"You have his memory?" I questioned.
"how do you mean" I questioned again.
"I have his memory. I have always had it"
"before you came here"
"I don't remember having it before I came here. I have Charlies memory from child hood. The story I told you about The bush tracker was from Charlies memory.
"You are not Charle Hudson" I asked, I was in a state of confusion. I felt like I was a Bull with a ring through my nose and being on a path that I had no way of not following.
"No, I am Markus, I had my own life. But I do have Charlie Memory. He is on Fer2 somewhere, I believe he on in a zone of his own, The grape vine says he has a lot of children and grows roses. But I doubt he has any roses. I have no memory of him growing roses. Charlies memory is blank of any recent events. very little memory of much on Fer2.
"WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE? ' I shouted
"It is Extremely unstable. A mere single photon traveling through would set in motion its catastrophic destruction. But with the aid of a pile of negative mass? That supposedly doesn't exist. It could theoretically work." Markus spoke. casually" Then he casually added " But it can't." then he added with some humouse intent. "It is totally impossible. And the impossible cannot happen twice".
I tugged at my shoulder bag. This Shoulder-bag bag was supposedly my direct communication to Fer2 or Filigror. I received nothing. There was no history no records no knowledge of the earliest years of mans arrival on Fer2. Information on this topic was unavailable to the planet and Filigror itself. It had been stored in a single location. And Unavailable.
I went quiet, I could think of nothing to say. Boing bounce with the tiniest of bounces silently to my side. Like a cat. Softly making a soft purring sound. My entire clothing became a coat of many colours.
"WOW!" said Markus. when he looked up from his guitar.
I was thinking
1Filigror had stored Charlie Hudson's memory in a secret location.
2 Revealed the location to me.
3 stored Charlie Hudson in a place of contentment.
4 Allowed and even arranged for this situation to occur.
5 presented me with colours that exceeded Mary Anne.
The thought of warrior tribes consistently came to the foremost of my mind. As I currently understood it, warriors spent their lives pointlessly attempting (and succeeding) to kill or maim their neighbours with no purpose or end goal. I wondered if winning a small battle was enough value to them to compensate for the grief of losing family members. This seemed to be a situation where some were given what they wanted, but with no benefit to the loser.
This was my first encounter with anything that appeared to be contrary to Filigrorian practise. I somewhat doubted that the lifestyle of the warriors had been presented to me me accidently. The solution of making travelers safe appeared to me to be a far more complicated enablement than allowing the warriors to find their lifestyle pointless. I could almost feel the Filigror in my veins asking for a solution. More than that, I could feel what could be described in my previous life as a calling from god. Filigror it seemed to me, could not solve this problem. I felt I could only present this population, its individuals with more problems. Possibly, I could offer them a solution to either accept or reject.
My sense of freedom was almost dashed. Or at least it would have been if I had not distinctly understood that this was a pathway, I could chose or reject.
I confided my thinking to Markus. Markus merely repeated "You are a Wonderful Man". I never felt wonderful.
Not everyone on Fer2 had total vision, There were a good number of people that I came across on my daily wandering that were totally unaware of my constant companion, and to many, and all intent and purpose Boing regularly, did not exist.
It was another meet up with the blue socks traveler that I now knew and understood to be 'Wanderer'. Who explained this phenomenon to me with reference to 'The Stepping Stones' but this only gave me the thought that my Stepping stone experience was not the same for everyone. We all were seeking different Truths, a different purpose. My first thought of traveler as being part of the reception crew were well short of his real value. It would seem he was merely at the reception area when I arrived on the planet Fer2
Evidently, Traveler was born on Fer2 to a Mother that had the travel bug. She had walked away from him and left her son to be raised by whoever felt inclined to do so. He proved to be a likable child and many people had actively helped to raise him to his teenage years.
Traver had obviously inherited some sort of Genetic consistency. An insatiable desire for constant wanderings or seeking the undiscovered. A curiosity for anything he had never seen before. Filigror had the means and the opportunity to directly absorb this knowledge and combine with sightings from other wanderers, the observations became the source of knowledge (Maps) of the planet. If traveler knew where the tallest mountain was, Filigror had the same knowledge. Traveler explained to me that the stepping stone could totally change the way an individual understands the planet to be, and that at the UNIVERSITY OF DISCOVERY there were Masters studying this topic.
Traveler had a one time passed through Warrior territory and been totally ignored by every warrior he encountered. As if he was not there. Warrior considered this to be quite extraordinary.
.Warrior Territory was a large area on Fer 2 that was populated by hundreds of warrior tribes. each tribe was in constant conflict with its neighbours. Allotting them more territory merly create more tribes. Each tribe was in constant conflict with its neighbours. they seemingly attacked their neighbours because they did not like them. Not for access to food, There was no registrable purpose. No other life that suited them better.
The tribes were mostly small, as years passed the grew stronger, They fought with the closest tribe, killed people that strayed into their territory. This lifestyle seemed to satisfy their needs, until another tribe invaded, This often whittled the local population back to a handful of warriors. According to Traveller they never thought of making peace or an alliance with a neighboring tribe.
"They just do not see it" Traveler told me "When I walk trough their land the never see me". He added "not everyone has permission to see or understand everything on Fer2, and it is not always Filigror that passes permission. Both you and I with our displayed prestige can pass permission"
Well, He added "That is according to the Master of the Stepping Stones at The U.V.D.
Personally I suspect that they do not know what they know. Like Me and You. What I do know is that when I first travelled through warrior territory, I was terrified. I prayed they would not see me. They have never seen me since.
I found the thought of prayer amusing. "Where did you learn to pray?" I asked.
" I had lots of Aunts and Uncles" Said Traveler. "All of my family knew I like stories, tales from faraway places. I never knew who to pray to, so I prayed to myself, Maybe I pray on the off chance that Filigror will understand"
"I would like to meet the warrior people' I told Traveller.
"Why" asked Traveller.
" I do not really know why" I answered " Except, that a few hundred tribes of warriors fighting and dying with no purpose, seems to be something I should at least take a look at. I suspect some hidden agenda of Filigror will be involved. Maybe Filigror does not know why either. I suspect that if I can discover some unseen potential or purpose. Some sort of understanding might come The closer I look .
Fer2 was a very strange planet. It seemed unlikely for a penal colony that was being delivered the worst criminals from a faraway land. That none had seen the potential for a ready made army. One would expect Fer2 woi\uld resemble a raging battle field, gangs and Warlords. or alternatively a fiercely locked down society with no freedom, administered by some Iron hand.
I suspected the iron hand to be Filigror. What I had trouble accepting was that a mans will could simply blow away in the breeze. I felt like the same person I was before I arrived here. Yes! there were some minimal memory loss regarding some minor details. My name? The thought that confronted me was, If other inmates had lost their desires for whatever it might have been that had earned the eligibility to spend the rest of their days here .. . What had I lost? Or if I had not lost it. WHY?