It’s one of those narrative dynamics they lay in with a foreshadowing protocol. Loss of data and recovery of it makes for one of those moments when the whole mélange moves out of dark ages and into an enlightenment period.
Bartholomew was a Reader. He was tasked with spool monitoring — how was the existential delivery unpacking, and how was the straightness of the delivery line? There were bad actors in the field with a Snip team come to hack the storied continuum. He was trying to see whether he could identify any problematic areas where a sequential logic hairline fracture might occur, because that would give the Reality Hackers an in.
Starlings wheeling anti-clockwise wouldn’t necessarily be a worry, if you couldn’t see the strain in the constraint hack forcing them to break with their normal story. Could he throw a trace-line into the mix? He tapped his orbital arch above his left eye and toggled his Cryptochrome Eyes until he could see which actors in the wheel were being steered. It took a second to register that in fact all of them were being compromised. It looked like someone was riding the signal of their spatio-temporal markers, and messing with their recursive evolute function. You couldn’t hide that much output; it had to be The Nest.
The Flood Narrative was expected, signals being read off for decades in advance; millennial echo patterns and doom cults on the rise. Existential canaries were confirming the pathway of the people to their terminus.
He had been awaiting the secondary saviour narrative to arrive as counterbalance, and it didn’t disappoint. Who had not dreamt of Atlantis at some point, or something like it?
The question he asked himself was how The Nest might corrupt it and turn it to their ends?
Some stories have a sealed end that you are almost never going to be able to break in on, but some stories have a probability wave that is a frayed loose end that anyone with half a brain and a hack rig could work to change.
The first time Bartholomew heard about The Float he knew that it was the Atlantis resurgence. He wondered what exactly it would look like. He had been there before when it had been in its prime.
‘I recognised you, you know.’
Bartholomew smiles confusedly at the man.
‘Yes, I know you quite well, Bartholomew. I came from Lemuria. I was one of the early people to be taken into The Nest. Don’t worry — you can stop fretting about Atlantis coming back. It is. We know about it. We’ll let it come back as it may. You can’t cuckoo something that you have already corrupted, can you?’
‘I don’t know.’
‘You can’t corrupt me.’
‘We already have. You have been listening to stories. Stories are where the turn begins. That first inkling of doubt is going to be the maggot in the apple that invites us in. Anyway, let’s just sit here and wait. It’s coming soon.’
‘Do you know what it will look like?’
‘Sure, it hasn’t changed much, at least aesthetically. The Cuckoos are going to make a mess of it I’m sure. Won’t be good until the Parliament of Rooks is installed.’
Bartholomew touched his cheek, it was damp. The memories of Atlantis were returning to him and he was trying to commence his own drowning.