magnes_icon2.gif bf_rich_icon.gif

Also Featuring:

mason_icon.gif warren_icon.gif

Scene Title Infinie
Synopsis The Looking Glass comes online.
Date November 17, 2014

“What we’re doing here is nothing short of rewriting the possibility of the human race.”

Richard Schwenkman is nothing if not a dramatic idealist. In the weeks since signing on with Pinehearst, Magnes has had the opportunity to pour over their collection of the fragmentary research of Michelle LeRoux. Today, though, is a reward for all of his hard work so far. “This project is a dream given shape, carried on from oblivion by sheer happenstance and determination.”

The halls of the research levels of Pinehearst Tower are sleek in ways movies try to make science fiction. Walls of glass behind which research teams work on technological innovations. Updated FRONTLINE body armor with enhanced optics and ferrofluid armor, foldable displays capable of being tucked into a pocket, cybernetic brain-machine interfaces, the stuff of fiction. But behind the pyramid-stenciled frosted glass doors at the end of that hall lies the crown jewel of all Pinehearst's research.

“Mr. Varlane,” Rich motions to the door, sending the doors sliding open, “Merry Christmas.”

Pinehearst Tower

The Looking Glass

December 25, 2013

12:47 pm

As the doors slide open with a mechanical yawning they reveal a cavernous chamber beyond; a split-level manufacturing bay with a wrap-around balcony. The ground floor is strewn with incomplete mechanical components, forklifts, machines under tarps, and computers on wheeled carts. At the back of the room rests a twenty foot wide ramp leading up to a triangular metal frame surrounded by exposed wires and coolant pipes covered in frost and radiating steam. Technicians in lab coats stand around arrays of computers, looking over calculations and sensor data. On the ramp a wheeled drone with a single mechanical arm sits awaiting orders.

There are two men who turn when Rich steps in, one an older gentleman with wire-rimmed glasses and short, gray hair. The other is a tall and thin man roughly Magnes’ age with messy brown hair and mercury-chrome eyes. “Magnes,” Rich turns around and motions to the two men. “This is Warren Ray and Mason Chesterfield, your peers and members of our R&D team. And this…” Rich motions to the gate behind them.

“This is the Looking Glass.”

"It's a freaking Stargate!" Magnes shouts, stepping up toward its it, though not too close. He just stares, eyes wide as science fiction becomes reality. "Do I get hooked up to this thing, or… how does this even work?" He looks to Warren and Mason, turning around to offer a hand to each of them. "I guess I have a lot to learn. I'm not much of an engineer, but I'll try to learn as much as possible. I want to dedicate myself to learning things like this inside and out."

He's wearing a lab coat over his rather formal button up and such, frequently insisting on dressing like a scientist in these situations.

“I told you,” Mason says as Warren mumbles and hands him a $20 bill. With a flash of a smile Mason walks past Warren and gestures to the gate. “I will profess I did draw some inspiration from Starner for the design. Originally this triangular frame was six inches across, not twenty feet. But we kept the shape. Attempts to go circular had unusual repercussions with energy flow.”

“Infinite loops.” Warren chimes in, making a circle with his hands. “In theory we could use a Looking Glass to generate infinite energy, but without infinite demand or infinite storage it reaches critical mass and melts down spectacularly.” He looks up at the ceiling. “With a Dyson sphere I could…” and then he trails off, following an unseen point in the air.

Mason looks back to Warren with a smile, then rests his hands on his hips and looks from Magnes to the gate. “We’re trying to get the scientific emulation done first before we go ahead with anything as wild as a brain-machine interface, but Warren has some ideas for that.”

“All in due time,” Rich says as he makes his way over. “We'd actually like you to work on what we call a foundational project. A separate project that of made functional could impact the design of Looking Glass once it's finished.”

“We're building a quantum sensor, based on Michelle LeRoux’s formulas. But we also want to see if we can start small and transmit audio before we try to transmit physical matter.” Mason notes, raising an eyebrow to Magnes. “Are you interested in potentially reaching out and touching someone?”

"I know from an experiment I did in the Virus World that using my ability with an open black hole, or wormhole, it's hard to say, that it's possible to send radio signals across dimensions. I've already done it. But what came back was some sort of horrible psychic monster thing, so we had to shut it down." Magnes crosses his arms, because he seems to be very serious about that. "We have to be prepared, with failsafes, no matter what project we do."

"I know that LeRoux's work involved determining frequencies. I also know that every time the Mallet Device, or, what I'd like to call here in this universe, because the scope is much larger, the LeRoux Device, has been used, an aurora showed across the sky." He motions his hands, as if to illustrate an aurora. "These tests to figure out how to pinpoint where we're opening things to are going to need failsafes. Because I know two things right now, from personal experience."

He holds up an index finger. "One, there's a powerful psychic monster out there that can communicate and mess with our brains through radio waves and god knows what else." Then, raising his second finger. "And there's Kazimir, in Peter Petrelli or god knows what body at this point, probably waiting for an opportunity to break through and end the world. So, let's keep these very real precautions in mind."

"Otherwise…" He gives a thumbs up. "Let's do it!"

Warren wanders over, having heard Magnes’ concerns about the project and slips a hand out to Mason. Begrudgingly, Mason hands a crisp $20 bill over to Warren, who pinched it between two fingers and side-eyes Rich. “Interdimensional monsters are real,” he retorts.

“I told you so.

Pinehearst Tower

The Looking Glass

February 13, 2014

6:16 pm

Music from an old 1980s boombox hooked up to stadium speakers blares through the enormous Looking Glass lab. Well past many researchers time, only Warren, Magnes, and Rich remain behind.

The Rolling Stones’ Paint it Black echoes through the air, and Warren is wandering the floor with a coil of wires wound around one arm, a pack of lithium batteries strapped to his waist, and a magnetometer held like a conductor’s baton in one hand, waving it wildly in the air. “The flow of radio waves can be manipulated by the presence of ionized particles from the magnetosphere, the sun’s coronal mass ejections can create massive EM radiation…” he sing-song thinks aloud to the tune of the song.

Rich, standing over a white work table with Magnes, looks over at Warren and then back to Magnes with a crooked smile. Rich is soldering a circuit board together, while Magnes assembles the components of an analog VHF transmitter into portable chassis.

“So,” Rich disregards Warren for the moment, letting the savant work out his ideas. “You getting your lady anything special for Valentine’s Day?” Rich's brows raise. “Tomorrow isn't that far away now.”

"Have you figured out what the auroras have to do with opening holes between dimensions yet?" Magnes wonders, because, well, that seems like it could be an important breakthrough. But he continues to solder, wearing a lab coat and some goggles. "I thought we'd leave Adell with Isabelle for the night, and then I'd take Elaine to a movie she's wanted to see, then we could go somewhere and have a fancy dinner. We always do a movie then dinner, because we discuss the movie over dinner. It's fun."

He smiles, a bit of smoke rising before he soaks up the melted solder into some copper wire. "I managed to track down a first edition of The Hobbit, and I made her a new sweater. So she'll get those when we get home."

"You know, when we get back to my world, I guess that'll mean there's an extra first edition in the universe." He can't help but think that's a bit interesting in some way. Even the most small, silly things seem interesting in the context of multiple universes.

“Edition scarcity doesn't really matter overmuch,” Rich admits, though he tries not to diverge too hard again on the topic of artificial scarcity. “As for the uh, auroras… I've been leaning back toward Mason’s idea about them.” Setting down what he’s working on, Rich settles down into a wheeled chair and pulls himself around to Magnes’ side of the table.

“Auroras are ionized particles in the upper atmosphere reacting to solar radiation, we know that.” Rich explains, pantomiming a sphere with his hands. “The reason behind the aurora when Looking Glass fires might well have to do with the nature of the forces that separate one super-string from the next.” To illustrate, he pulls out some of his business cards and lays them out side by side.

“So this is us,” Rich explains, “and string theory implies that all other universes are like this,” and he stacks the cards on top of one another. “But Mason’s thinking is that…” he removes all but one card, “This is it.”

Rich picks up the single business card and wiggles it in the air. “That all other realities are happening parallel to us right here and right now. The same moment in time stretched out into infinite possibilities. But we can only perceive and interact with one at a time, because of the frequency our version of the universe vibrates at. This means that when there is something like… an overlay event, something that affects the quantum level of reality it could impact all equally.”

Rich ticks the cards back into his jacket. “So the aurora is an expression of particles expanding out from another universe, banging off our ionosphere, and being represented as visible light.” But that only seems to get Rich going.

“Imagine now that this explains some Evolved abilities. Precognitives? Able to see across strings. Probability predictors? Able to make average assessments across strings. It's just a theory,” Rich admits reluctantly, “but this project could be to our understanding of Evolved people what relativity was to our understanding of physics.”

"At the other lab, they fully believed that if we kept studying the sensory aspect of my ability, we'd be able to pinpoint other universes, teach me how to sense strings, maybe perceive or affect other universes in some way." Magnes thinks about all of this, but he always thinks about it in the context of his ability, as it's one of the things that start him on this whole dimensional journey.

"The sensory aspects of my ability weren't as extreme until I became a black hole. I want to explain, because, it's… it's hard to explain, really." He says, a little apologetically. "My consciousness expanded to the point that I started to lose myself, I started to lose who I am. All I could think about was consumption, like I was becoming the primordial force of a black hole itself. I could feel the core of the Earth spinning, the planets rotating, the pin pricks of stars on the back of my neck…"

"This happened to a lesser degree when we opened the portal that got us to this world, but no where near as extreme. It's one of those things that fundamentally changes you." He looks down, not soldering for a moment. "I can feel the Earth rotating, right now. I can feel the Earth moving, it's not stationary to me. I can also feel the tug of the Moon and the Sun, I can tell you exactly where they are right now. The version of me in this world probably can't, because he never, as far as I know, became a black hole or got augmented to such an extreme degree."

"So, at the other lab…" He looks over at Rich, behind his goggles. "They had a hypothesis that I could possibly learn to sense things at a micro or quantum degree, if I trained. Or maybe if I have the aid of technology. Either way, you're right, I think that learning the relationship between string theory and abilities is important, and could lead to breakthroughs of our understanding the nature of the very universe. Of every universe."

"There are infinite possibilities, but…" he considers his next words carefully, shaking his head. "I think that we can only interact with the ones that are fundamentally different from us, the ones that spawn from large events. I think the frequencies have to be sufficiently far apart, but also not so far apart that we can't reach them with a reasonable amount of energy. If the frequencies are too close together, like a frequency where I choose one wording of something over another wording, then we probably can't distinguish that frequency any differently from our own."

“It makes sense, in a way,” Rich admits, taking the circuit board Magnes was working on and examining the points. “Both parts, I mean.” He looks up from the solder points to the gravitokinetic. “If the frequencies are nearly indistinguishable, we may never have sensory equipment strong enough to distinguish them. But telling the difference between a low note and a high note? Sure, that’s easy.” Circuit board in hand, Rich wheels over to the part of the device he was working on and starts assembling the whole of it. “But your ability affecting your mind, yeah, that also tracks…”

Working with a small screwdriver, Rich begins to mount the circuit board into one half of the gun-shaped device. “Take Warren, for example,” he gestures to the now far-off scientist, wandering around the lab in deep thought. “Arthur recognized that Warren’s ability was causing psychological strain on him. Shifting from focusing on machines to shifting to focusing on people was causing so much harm. Because the mind wasn’t built to handle that input. So… Warren doesn’t ever stop using his ability now, and he’s more stable for it. Detached yes, but he seems to like it that way. With therapy and medication, he’s able to be functional.”

Rich looks up from his work to Magnes. “All abilities tax the mind, some moreso than others. Look at Gabriel Gray. He can understand how anything works,” there’s a motion of his hand to the greater scheme of things. “I can’t imagine how much stress that puts him under. Living in a world with no mystery.” Rich looks back down to the device.

“I think this is ready.”

Pinehearst Tower

The Looking Glass

*April 25th, 2014**

2:37 pm

“We thought we were ready.”

Standing in front of a slide projection in one of the conference rooms adjacent to the Looking Glass chamber, Richard Schwenkman shows a blueprint design for something called the LeRoux Device, a handheld device tethered to a power source that must be carried in the bed of a truck due to its size. “The LeRoux Device does function, but we were mistaken on some of Michelle’s most basic theorems.” Rich paces back and forth, motioning to the next slide, depicting a visualization of multi-world quantum frequencies.

Finding the frequencies of other worlds is attainable. By examining Mr. Varlane and the MBTA bus remains, we’ve been able to narrow down a band of quantum vibration that could be his world.” In the conference room, Mason Chesterfield, Warren Ray, and the subject of the hour Magnes Varlane sit around a table, listening to Rich’s assessment of the last few months. “But it appears that the Looking Glass may never have really worked as intended. When we failed to synchronize the broadcast array of the LeRoux device to another superstring vibration, I started thinking about what atmospheric effects could be hindering us. After a talk with Mason,” he motions with a stylus to the bespectacled man, “I realized I was going about it the wrong way. Mason, if you want to take the next slide?”

The display switches, showing an image of the sun’s magnetic field. Mason doesn’t rise from his seat, but explains his theory. “After examining historic data, including the date and time of Michelle’s original experiment, I discovered a startling realization. Each time we had a successful deployment of the Looking Glass, the Earth was experiencing a period of high-energy bombardment from the sun. 1982 was smack in the middle of a period of intense solar activity, and my theory is that the radiation emitted by the sun somehow affected the Looking Glass. Unfortunately, without decades more of study or Michelle herself, I can’t begin to understand why or how it was enhancing its signals.”

There’s another slide, a line graph showing an up and down red wave. “This is the 11-year solar cycle of the sun. You’ll notice that starting around 2002 we were at peak solar activity and continued tapering off. This is especially unusual, due to the sudden coronal mass ejections we began to experience between 2006 and 2011. Even at a low-point in overall solar activity, the sun was belching out infrequent and erratic bursts of solar radiation. November 8th, 2011, was one such day.”

The next slide shows overlapping models of Earth being bombarded by the radiation of one sun. “If we assume that there is a constant between all of the worlds — physics — then we can make the assumption that our sun is agnostic to the changes and choices we make in life. That it’s 11-year cycles happen across all worlds. Therefore, when one world is experiencing a bombardment, all worlds are. This creates a commonality that may… somehow,” he seems dubious there, “make it easier to create such entry points.”

Another slide pops up, and shows a line graph depicting the current solar activity and date. “We’re looking at a series of CME bursts this year, and I believe we’re heading toward another spat of sudden solar activity. There’s a small burst here,” and Mason points to late June, “then by estimates an enormous CME is expected sometime in November. Then, a longer period of inactivity, followed by the largest CME yet sometime in July of 2017.” Mason looks around the table. “That is our map.”

Warren, silent much of this time, slants a look at the slides and then back to Mason. “Are we certain that these coronal mass ejections aren’t going to just going to just Carrington Event us into the stone age?” Both of Warren’s brows raise, and Mason closes his eyes and then blinks a look over to Rich.

“That’s the scariest thing about the sun, as much as we think we can predict it…” Rich raises his shoulders in a shrug. “There’s even more we don’t understand. So, no. No, we don’t know.”

"Alright, so Michelle's algorithm is to calculate the sun's frequency in different universes, so, logically, these solar events being stronger across universes makes the machine more capable of picking up those frequencies." Magnes considers, crossing his arms as he leans back in his chair. The gears are turning in his head as he tries to figure something out…

"If I'm right, then that means the entire reason we need a storm is because we don't have enough power, or because our machine isn't sensitive enough, plus we have an entire barrier around Earth. This is probably why they had the facilities in Alaska." He points up at the sky. "There's less of a barrier between us and the sun."

"But what if we had a way to poke a hole in the barrier, a means of detection that entirely made the barrier around Earth irrelevant, so that we didn't need a storm?" he wonders, because this at least seems like it makes sense. "If we could make a means of detecting the sun's frequency that is entirely indifferent to the Earth's magnetic field, then we wouldn't be at the mercy of waiting. Or if we could temporarily pierce through the magnetic field entirely."

“I’m not certain it’s entirely about detection,” Mason notes with one finger pushing up his wire-rimmed glasses. “Well, that’s not to say that isn’t half of it. But I feel like there’s a blind spot in our understanding of the science. But I’m interested in hearing what alternatives you might have to detect the solar frequencies better. A satellite, perhaps?”

Warren drums his fingers on the tabletop. “I could… build a particle accelerator in pieces,” he spreads his hands apart, “and attach them with autonomous drones in space, creating a particle accelerator that circumnavigates the entire globe and remains in geosynchronous orbit.” Silver eyes flick from side to side.

“How…” Rich looks at Warren, then the others, then back again. “How— How would that help us right now?” Warren looks up, as if only hearing Rich or the other conversations for the first time.


“What?” Rich parrots back for a moment, then waves a hand in the air and motions to Magnes. “Magnes, your thoughts?”

"Do we really need to build a satellite?" Magnes asks, pointing up at the ceiling, as if to indicate space. "We have Hubble, a space station, multiple satellites and other things collecting massive amounts of data that no one even knows what to do with. Real time data."

He places his hand down on the table, looking around at the others, one by one. "There's a slight delay, from space to Earth, but if we could sync up our machine with the specific data we're looking for, from one of these satellites in real time, using math to account for the delay, then there's a chance we could get what we need, what we'd normally have to wait for a solar storm to get, sent directly to us without a middle man."

"I'm sure Arthur can make that happen." he suggests, because Arthur seems to have his fingers in every pie. "Sure, it's possible that there's a unique property in the solar storms itself that's causing something nebulous to happen, but we can't control that. What we can control, what we can test, is this."

Then, he pauses, and looks at Warren. "Wait a minute… no, no, that's probably a bad idea, but…" He slams a hand down onto the table. "What if he did build a particle accelerator, and we could create mini black holes, which, combined with my ability, could perhaps be used in conjunction with Michelle's algorithms to send messages to my world."

"Here's a fact that we already know: My ability can push black holes into being wormholes. Without using an augmentor, we could potentially combine the mini black holes created in a particle accelerator to send packets of data to my universe. We could send the data through radio waves, which we already know can go through a black hole extended with my ability, because of an experiment I already did." Then, there's a pause, as he mentions that experiment. "We'd just have to be ready to shut it down, because, well, the otherworldly psychic monster."

“Piggybacking off of an existing satellite…” Rich looks over to Warren, who makes a subtle shrugging motion and stops scribbling designs for an orbital particle accelerator.

“I mean if you want to think small,” Warren admits with a flippant wave of one hand. “But I am intrigued by this otherworldly psychic monster topic.”

Mason makes a noise in the back of his throat, removing his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. “There's no such thing as monsters,” he asserts. “Just things science hasn't yet explained.”

Pinehearst Tower


*May 9th, 2014**

6:17 pm

The roof of Pinehearst Tower, over a hundred floors above street-level, is a windswept and cluttered space. Communications antennas, satellite dishes, and HVAC maintenance stations line the round perimeter of the roof. At the middle of the roof entrance there is a circular helipad and elevator access, and it is here where banks of computers connected to wheeled power supplies hum noisily against the whipping wind.

Beyond the rooftop, the Manhattan skyline is alright with a sunset glow. Warm purple and orange spreads across the western horizon while the deep purples and blues of night sink deep in the east, where stars glitter like tiny diamonds. “Okay folks, we’re about to… either make or break history.”

Richard Schwenkman stands in the middle of the helipad, adjusting sensors on a portable satellite dish connected by spoiling cables to their communications equipment on the roof. Nearby, Mason Chesterfield looks at data streaming to a laptop. “I'm getting a clear read of the solar activity. I think this is about as vivacious as its going to get, we should be prepared to start broadcasting.”

One minute!” Fifty feet above the others, Warren Ray is wrapped around a ladder ascending the side of an enormous telecommunications dish. He's connected a device attached to a backpack into an open panel, wires dangling out and down around his ankles. “I'm going to boost the frequency of our signal repeater, make sure the world beyond this one hears us loud and clear!

Today’s the day, if all goes well. Today’s the day Magnes phones home.

Magnes has prepared some papers, and he's wearing an emerald green bass guitar on his back. He's made it quite clear how he wants to send this message, how particular people would decode this message. And sending it as a song would mean that people who aren't meant to receive it, will just dismiss it as some random noise.

He pulls his bass guitar around, which, thanks to Warren, has some weird compact built in amp, so he starts to strum a bit, testing things out, then stares at a screen of data, before looking up at the sky. "If anything goes catastrophically wrong, try to get over here and grab me so that I can bail us off the roof."

It's a worst case scenario, but it's an important thing to keep in mind as he double checks coordinates, then starts to get into position where they have their speaker positioned.

It's while Warren is doing his last minute work that he looks over at Mason and asks. "Hey, I never asked before, but do you happen to be related to Catherine Chesterfield? I knew her back in my world."

A ghost of a smile crosses Mason’s face, then after a moment of confusion he finally thinks to answer. “Yes, I… She's my daughter. She lives here in Manhattan, actually. I'm… do you know if she's— ” Mason hesitates. “No, no. Actually… it's probably best if I don't start asking questions. That way lies madness.”

“That's not the only way!” Warren shouts from the dish, plugging in a braided cable into a bypass he created. There's a brief shower of sparks, followed by a flicker, and then all of the satellite dishes on the roof begin turning in the same direction. “We've got signaaaaaal!” Warren shouts from the dish, his mechanical arm waving wildly in the air.

Rich nods emphatically, then motions to Mason who begins quickly keying in information on the laptop. “Much like the Voyager probe, our broadcast will include information for those who hear it including a means by which they could reach back out to us. Otherwise, we’ll have no way to know if we’re just shouting into the void.”

A data transfer begins on the screen, transmitting information in binary as an audio signal. The frequency of this world along with the general means used to send a message across superstrings is included. It also includes the frequency of the world they're attempting to communicate with, so that those who hear the message know where to signal back to.

“If we succeed at this,” Rich says over the howling wind, “we’ll have changed the face of scientific history, forever! We’ll have rewritten mankind's understanding of the universe and our place in it!” He looks to Mason, who nods in the affirmative that the data transfer is complete. Everything is ready.

Magnes!” Rich motions to the gravitokinetic, “play us into the history books!”

"Cat is really nice, I wish we were better friends." is all Magnes says, smiling as he pulls his guitar around again, and then starts strumming a complex bassline, finally revealing his singing voice as well.

You remember me?
Now and once again
As I always was
You remember me?
A spirit they can't contain
As I always was.

You remember me?
Standing tall against it all
As I always was.
You remember me?
Bright against a black hole

He turns a knob, raising the distortion, because Warren did a number on this guitar. Then starts to play his bassline as a sort of bass/melody hybridization.

And off I went, through the dark, here in another world
Survived the virus, stepped into the bright forest of pine
The worlds keep turning, but I could be in them all
I'm here, in this song, as I was

This is the song I asked for
Another me, in another time
But I'll be back, if I can reach you with my mind
I'll pick up a bass, get the band back together
And it'll be just like I was

His voice is soft, very Weezer, playing his heart out as he tries to make Sable proud across multiple worlds. He's practiced repeatedly, not wanting to get a single note wrong, though there are a few distinct mistakes, ones that only his band members would recognize, little quirks he finds it difficult to get over.

You remember me?
You remember me?
You remember me?
I'll never forget, and she's here with me
Though she hates the pine forest

I remember you
All those years ago
I remember you
As someone that I love

As you always were

Closing his eyes for a brief moment, he raises his head to the sky, and sings even louder.

We'll come back, like Alice, through the Looking Glass
No matter how long it takes
Not just an aberrant's fantasy
Remember me

A message for my father
Peering through the strings
Following the song of the baby cardinal's mom
Remember me

An infinite dive into the universe's frequencies
A voice shouting let me in, let me out
But I'll always return, rarely sleeping or eating
Paving forking paths, the impossible dad

Remember me?

He stops playing, finally, and then talks, as if the machine were simply a normal radio.

This was a piece by Mad Muse, a remix to the song As You Were. I call it The Afterlife Chronicles: A Legendary Journey Into Other Worlds. Or I guess you could call it Bogus Journey. If you're who this song was meant for, send us a message as soon as possible. If you have any requests, well, that'll be hard from all the way over here.

Everyone on the roof had gone silent at the display, from Rich to Mason, even Warren. After a moment, Mason turns his attention back to the equipment and clicks a single key. “Switching to listening mode…” There's a long pause, then a look to Magnes.

“I guess…” Rich says quietly, looking up to the starlit sky, “I guess now we wait.”

Pinehearst Tower

The Looking Glass Lab

Rich’s Office

*September 10th, 2014**

5:05 pm

“It's been four months, and we've made six different attempts, and nothing.” Sitting behind his desk, Rich flicks a pencil up in the air, sending it spinning end over end before it clatters back down on his desk. “I think we’re missing something…”

The discouragement is palpable, but the effort that the team has put in to this isn't minimal. Over the intervening months the Looking Glass team had spent countless hours trying to send a message that receives a response. But there's been nothing but silence. Theories have been tossed back and forth, but ultimately nothing has panned out. Everyone is discouraged, and no one is satisfied with the results.

“Arthur wants us to move away from the broadcast elements. We’re two months out from the next spike in solar activity, and he wants Looking Glass ready for a test transfer.” Rich seems nervous, all things considered, about opening a door to a place that may breach unknown parts of the universe when connecting the two points.

“I can't keep stalling,” Rich admits, reluctantly. “But I'll be honest, Magnes,” he looks to the younger man in his office. “I'm kind of afraid what'll happen when we switch it on.”

"We have to consider that they just don't have the technology to send a message back, even if they've received it. We're also not sure that our message ended up where or when we wanted it. Are we even sure that there's a discernable difference between time and dimensional travel? There's so much we don't know." Magnes sits back, folding his hands in his lap.

"A lot could happen if we open this thing. If we're not sure that these frequencies are working the way that we want them to, we could literally let Kazimir Volken in, who I'm sure is just waiting for a chance to tear me apart." he grimly suggests, but otherwise seems to be in deep thought as he stares down at his lap. "And there's also that thing, if it has a physical form, with whatever that ability is… Arthur himself wouldn't be able to stop it."

"We have to be sure about the frequencies, we have to be sure about where we're opening this portal to." He looks Rich dead in the eyes now, raising his hands to rest on the desk. "If we're not sure, we could literally end the world, or at the very least our lives. I've been out there, I've seen things that no one on this planet except the people who came with me can imagine. Arthur is being too confident in his ability, he isn't invincible."

"In my world, plenty of people thought they were invincible. Gregor turned himself into an unstoppable monster. But there's always someone or something stronger." Taking a deep breath, he's clearly a bit stressed. There's a lot to be concerned with… "When we open this thing, Arthur, preferably Arthur and Peter need to be there, because we don't know what's coming out. Between the three of us, if it's Kazimir, we might stand a chance."

"But we do have to consider that something might be missing. That maybe Michelle didn't complete her work, that maybe she found flaws with it that we don't know about." Raising a hand for Rich, he wonders, "What do you think we could be missing? If the frequencies are coordinates, than what could make us miss the mark, what variable could fill in the gap of reaching our target?"

Sliding his tongue across his teeth, Rich leans back in his chair and folds his hands behind his head. It’s obvious everything Magnes is suggesting tracks, but on the same token there’s so much that’s beyond Rich’s understanding, the nightmares of worlds he’s only dreamed of. Nightmares this Earth had the good fortune of never living through.

“Well,” Rich finally offers with a thoughtful pause, “if you think about the Looking Glass like a… like a map app on your phone…” he sits forward, rummaging around until he finds a piece of paper with an interoffice memo on it. He flips it over to the blank side and grabs a red Sharpie, and draws a circle. “The frequency might not be the address you’re headed to but like… a country code? So maybe we’re broadcasting to the right frequency, but the wrong point in space? If everything in your universe vibrates with the same frequency, we could be broadcasting into the void of space a galaxy away, or more! So then…” Rich furrows his brows, “How do you connect point A to point B? How did Michelle manage to do it?”

But then, of course, he answers his own question. There’s a look on Rich’s face that is at once thoughtful as it is discouraged. “I know what we’re missing…” is said with so much resentment. Because it’s so obvious. “We’re missing Edward Ray.”

"Goddamnit." Magnes crosses his arms, thinking about that carefully, and then he lowers his head to thump it against the desk a few times.

He doesn't immediately say why quite yet, it's just one of those Magnes things that Rich should be accustomed to by now.

"In the Virus World, the way that we got here…" He raises his head to stare at Rich again. "It was because Edward Ray calculated that we'd need to open the portal on top of the Deveaux building. Edward Ray was calculating everything. He even knew that us or someone else would end up in his world, he calculated our arrival. Which means that somehow his probability manipulation transcends timelines."

"I don't like working with Edward Ray. I don't trust him, I don't want to get caught up in his plots and schemes, and quite honestly I'd prefer not to have him completely screw us into killing ourselves, but…" He shrugs, rolls his eyes, and throws his head back into the chair. "I can't argue that Edward Ray was one of the elements that got us here to begin with. I didn't realize that he was a vital element. It would be nice if we could figure out or if he would actually tell us how he knows where to be, but…"

Just… shaking his head again. "I hope you know how to get Edward Ray into a trustworthy state. And if we are going to involve him, my only request is that he not know any information about me. Absolutely nothing. I'd prefer we not even need to be in the same room, but I understand how that might end up being a necessity."

“Well,” Rich makes an uncomfortable face, slouching back into his chair. “As much as I’d like to… have a lot of different conversations with Edward, that’s… going to be hard.” Looking askance to the clock on his desk, Rich grows distant for a moment. “Edward Ray is dead.”

When he looks back to Magnes, Rich bobs his head from side to side slowly. “He worked with Unity Enforcement for a while, but he wound up sympathizing with a terrorist organization called the Guardians, was feeding them information. There was a raid on his apartment and… he was killed.” Exhaling a deep sigh, Rich folds his hands together and slouches back into his chair, wholly unaware that the truth of the matter is far more complex.

Magnes knows that story, in part. But he knows that the Edward Ray of this time was put away in the deepest, darkest hole imaginable — the Moab Federal Penitentiary. But if Rich doesn’t know about that, it’s because Arthur doesn’t want him to. If Edward is alive, Arthur isn’t letting him out to play.

"I'm not sure if I've heard of the Guardians. Maybe we didn't have them in my world, or maybe it's something that happened since I've been gone." Magnes listens to this, though, then squints, holding up a hand.

He can't take any risks, so he doesn't say anything more than, "I need to talk to Arthur, like, right now."

“That might be hard too, he’s in China right now for a summit on global warming. I don’t know if he’ll be back until December… there’s a big conference in Japan in a couple months. But,” Rich inclines his head toward his closed laptop, “I’ll send an email and see if Dirk can forward it on to him.”

There’s a moment of silence that passes between the two, and Rich looks back to Magnes, seemingly at a loss. “Arthur wants results, though, so…” Rich spreads his hands, “we have to keep pushing forward.”

"Tell Arthur that I need to talk about Moab, and that it's incredibly relevant to the success of Looking Glass." Magnes ominously says, clearly unwilling to outright state what it is that has him suddenly wanting to talk to Arthur.

There's a slight look of stress in his eyes, brows furrowed. "In the meantime, yeah, we have to push forward, maybe hope that we don't open a portal in the middle of a star or something." He raises a hand, tapping the side of his head. "I still think we should find a way to incorporate my gravity senses. If I could somehow be enhanced to sense between strings, which are theorized to at least have gravity as one component, that could possibly be used to pinpoint things… but that's the best I've got."

Rich’s brows furrow, eyes narrowing, and then he offers Magnes a subtle nod. After a moment, he exhales a slow sigh and draws concentric circles around the one he’d started on the back of the memo.

“I suppose that’s something to start with…”

Pinehearst Tower

The Looking Glass

*November 17th, 2014**

12:44 pm

Arthur never returned Rich’s email.

«Core temperature is stable at minus thirty-four Celsius.»
From the observation room overlooking the Looking Glass project floor, Rich and Mason observe the crew preparing the gate for its first active cycle. Down on the floor, in front of the gate, they have hooked Magnes up to an electroencephalogram to monitor his brainwaves, made portable as a colander-like helmet thanks to Warren’s research. “If you feel anything… weird, let us know.” They’ve effectively turned Magnes into their canary in a coal mine.

«CTC chamber sealed. Energy levels are normal.»

Technicians in cleanroom suits stand within close proximity to Looking Glass, observing the triangular particle accelerator as it begins to frost over with coolant. As they back away, Warren motions with his robotic arm toward the frame, and a wheeled robot with a single articulated arm begins to whirr forward, clutching an apple in its grip.

«Engaging particle accelerator.»

There’s a loud hum that shakes the room, and it starts to build into a whine. Warren looks over at Magnes, one brow raised slowly. Exciting, isn’t it? his expression wordlessly says.

«Activating laser array.»

Dozens of lasers around the triangular frame light up one after the other and the tracks they are set on within the triangular frame starts to rotate, moving like the treads on a tank and spinning the lasers around as they form a briefly visible lattice within the cold fog inside of the gate’s mouth.

«Laser rings at full oscillation.»

Today’s the day.

Magnes keeps his gravitational field wide, feeling out, focused on the gate itself, trying to keep his nerves steady and on the ball. He remembers the tests he did at the other lab, trying to focus on empty space.

That's what he tries to do, focusing on the empty space of the gate. "So far this is working similarly to how I remember the Mallet Device from my world, with the lasers and everything. Except the Mallet Device didn't have a Stargate, and there was more me turning into a black hole and everything going to hell because we broke it."

He swallows hard.

"I'm ready." is all he can say, remaining as prepared as possible, a part of him internalizing how he might protect himself with his ability if this goes entirely tits up.

«Increasing power output by fifty percent.»

The noise coming from the metal frame grows louder as waves of freezing cold air radiate outward from the coolant pipes encircling the particle accelerator. Ice begins to form on the ground in front of the gate and the lasers lattice has begun to look like a whirlpool of gleaming light. Magnes can feel a subtle tug on his gravity coming from the vertex of the spinning lasers, as though they were creating drag on space.

«Laser intensity at fifty percent and holding.»

A static-electric charge begins to build in the air, causing the hairs on the back of Magnes’ arms to stand on end. He can feel the tug of gravity harder now, like space was being twisted to a point in front of himself. He can also feel the oscillation of the particle accelerator, moving against the spin of the lasers, he can feel reality bending inside of the machine.

«Increasing power output to seventy-five percent.»

“Holy shit,” Warren hisses as the center of the triangular gate begins to phosphoresce with a spiraling cyclone of light. Lambent waves of aurora-green light tear from inside of the frame, extending an electromagnetic curtain through the air. Warren squints, chrome eyes reflecting the aurora. “It’s… beautiful.”

"Space is bending, I can feel it bending… no, I'm not sure if it's accurate to say space, or maybe it is, it's just… the world is bending inward." Magnes grips the sides of his seat, staying focused on the point that everything seems to be bending toward.

"I don't think I need to say that this doesn't feel safe." It was different when it was Ruiz, because he knew the dangers of his ability. This… who the hell knows how this will turn out. "This is at least in the top ten things I would rather not be doing right now."

"I have a ridiculously hot red haired nerd fiance at home, and I'm here, doing this!" He sounds slightly unnerved, a bit panicked, but he's trying his best to remain focused, taking a few deep breaths in an attempt to steel himself.

Then, he just stares, because that's all he can do to be prepared for whatever is about to happen. He stares, and prepares his ability.

“Isn’t life amazing!?” Warren exclaims as he squints against the light of the vortex. Raising his mechanical hand, he gives a thumbs-up to the men in the control room.

«Power output stable, continuing to maximum output.»

After that call over the intercoms, there is a seismic shudder that ripples through the air between Magnes and the Looking Glass. It isn’t a physical sensation, but a shockwave across gravity that sends Warren stumbling backward and the wheeled drone rattling back down the ramp. A moment later, the laser-light has pushed to the edges of the triangular frame, creating a seething fringe of plasma that crackles and snaps violently. The air between the frames of the triangle ripples like a heat mirage, though nothing is visible on the other side.

«Power levels at one hundred percent and holding!»

The shockwaves end as the air in the middle of the frames collapses in on itself like a singularity, and as it begins to fold inward there is an inversion of gravity that feels like vertigo to Magnes, like the world itself was turned upside-down. Because then, there’s something else crackling over the intercoms.

«La Mer.»

A pit of dread forms in the depths of Magnes’ stomach as he hears Else Kjelstrom’s voice and that song. The last time he heard it was in his mind as Mount Natazhat imploded around him, as the world was turned into emptiness and void. But here it is, staticy and popping over the intercoms. Warren whips around, looking at the speakers. “What the fuck?

«Qu'on voit danser le long des golfes clairs…»

In the middle of the frame there is a sight Magnes and Warren behold. Beyond the gate, framed by a burning ring of plasma, is a lapping ocean from which ruined skyscrapers extend like broken fingers. Sail-powered boats drift on these waters, and they can both smell the salt spray of the ocean.

«A des reflets d'argent.»

In the control room, Rich is frantically waving his arms and shouting, but Magnes cannot hear him, the intercom is overridden by whatever signal is now being broadcast across reality. Warren’s eyes narrow, and with a gesture of his robotic hand, he starts sending the wheeled drone ahead, driving up the ramp and toward the gate with the apply in its mechanical arm. “Is that your world?” Warren shouts over the noise, looking to Magnes.

«Des reflets changeants…»

"No! Fuck, this is the world that we saw when the Mallet Device was activated! This is that song… this is the song I heard, it triggered something in my brain back in my world, and I became a black hole! This is all what happened…" Magnes thinks, he thinks hard, then looks over at Warren. "We don't know if we can replicate this, but we need to get the data on this world, on these coordinates. And, we need to test this, we need to send something through."

Then, reaching into his pocket, the pocket of his lab coat, he rips a piece of paper from a journal, and a pen, and starts hastily scribbling something.

«Sous la pluie»

My name is Magnes J. Varlane. I don't know who you are, or what world this is, but if you can, I need you to find a way to respond to this message. And then, just as hastily, he scribbles the known coordinates of his world, and then tosses the piece of paper after using his gravity to tighten it into a ball, before lowering the gravity to keep it somewhat afloat. It seems like the world is sort of full of water.

«La Mer…»

"I don't think anyone will get that, but just in case, well, it's an experiment. What's the most that people in a flooded world could do?" Then, trying to look back before remembering that he has a helmet on, he looks back over at Warren. "What now?"

«Au ciel d'été confond»

Lesson the first, the paper doesn’t make it past the gate. As soon as it crosses the threshold, it ignites and is visible as a few quick wisps of flame on the other side. Warren’s eyes widen at that display, and he slowly approaches the stable doorway. “We uh, it’s… the energy of this thing. How could… uh…” Head tilted to the side, Warren motions with his mechanical hand and the drone begins moving toward the gate entrance, arcs of plasma leaping from the gate to the metal frame.

«Ses blancs moutons»

The apple in the machine’s arm blackens to a crisp as it passes the threshold, and the machine fares only slightly better Plastic wiring covers melt, leaving drooling trails on the ramp, and the machine dips through the gateway and then drops out of sight with a sudden splash. Seawater sizzles when it splashes on the gate on the other side.

«Avec les anges si purs»

“I think we— ” Warren’s voice cuts off as there is a sudden crackle-snap of pink and red sparks in front of the Looking Glass.


The sparks coalesce into the shape of a person, not some wanderer from another reality, but something far more mundane and familiar. In Magnes’ world, Kristian Bentley was a member of Messiah, and the Kristian Bentley of this world looks little different as he turns his back to the gate, looking Magnes dead in the eyes, and releasing a dead man’s switch from his hand.

«La mer bergère d'azur»

Fortis et Liber,” Kris says before his backpack explodes, before the explosion tears through the particle accelerator, tears through the stable gateway, and the last thing Magnes J. Varlane sees is an impossibly bright flash of white light.


Then nothing.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License