Belt

He was having a dream again of that planet. Totally red, totally rusty. He was looking for Stewart this time, but Stewart had passed on to another realm. The Land of the Living. Because, in the dream, *he* was instead dead, trying to make his way back from, shall we call this Hell? No, Greg Nash Ogden corrected himself while staring around. Too luminescent, he decided, to be that place of anguish and gnashing of teeth. But certainly red like that place. No fire, though. Better wander around while I have my wits.

He eventually stumbles upon the underground base, vast in size.

A robotic weapons factory, at least in part.

But no food. He realizes he might starve down here. To life?

He receives a name on a back wall. Mars.

Greg Ogden wakes up, his mouth dry as desert.

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Filed under *Second Life, Gaston^^, Mars^^

skipperless skipper

He stares out at Stewart’s boat in the bay while calling.

“Hello, Stewart?” Indistinguishable answer. “Oh, cool. Stewart’s big brother. I remember you.” Answer. “Oh… sorry to hear that.” Answer. “Oh that’s too bad, oh man. When’s the…” Tangential answer, still indistinguishable. “Well, my deepmost condolences, Newton.” Final reply. “Goodbye. Let me know if I can help in any way.” He hangs up with this. “Guess I won’t be using *Newton’s* sim skipper out there tomorrow after all. Maybe never. Mr. Babyface is going to be *so* disappointed. I’ll have to find another way off this isle of isolation. Poor Stewart! Disappeared inside a watery sinkhole.

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Steamboat

Mr. Babyface looked down at the large palm tree The Man About Time was currently referring to. “The Hole is gone,” he had just said about the mysterious object formerly underneath it. “When Mick jumped in, the effect was gone. The great 2-n-1 was over.”

“Takes 2 to know, yeah,” Mr. Baby says in response now, thinking he needs to phone up Greg Ogden as soon as possible. Or, on the other hand, Gregg Oden, if he’s in that form presently. He’d been romancing a living, breathing Mandela Effect for months and didn’t know it, didn’t know the term for it. The Man About Time is attempting to clear this up.

“Gaston has a lot to do with this,” then offered MAT in his mild voice while scratching the back of his neck on the couch. “Changes people, and sometimes not for the good.” He scratches more. “Sometimes… for the bad.”

“And that’s where Greg said he was going in that letter he wrote me,” completes Mr. Babyface while turning, more eager than ever to pick up the phone.

But which way to go, he thinks, receiver in hand just later. Does he go to Gaston or does Greg come here?

“I’ll come to you,” responds Greg Ogden at his red Gaston house. “They frown on mutanty looking people around here,” he said, referring to Mr. Babyface’s baby faced head.

“Well I *never*.” But he was coming back and that was the most important thing. He was pulling him out of *there*.

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Filed under *Second Life, Gaston^^, Lower Austra, Nautilus^^

return of the Dawg Pound?

“… nice view of Carrcassonnee’s new, blooming tree over at the Temple of TILE. I think this could be our new spot, Other Baker.” He woofed down another delicious piece of Raggedy Ann’s pizza with this. “This — um so good — this new pizza item is the *best*, Baker Blinker.” He takes yet another bite, and talks, still with his mouth pretty full. “Ginger, yum (*chomp*). Just a hint of ginger.”

“How about that table over there, though,” suggests similarly woofing Baker Blinker, not as convinced this was their new spot at Perch. “Better view.” She was at least polite enough to stop eating when she talked.

Baker Bloch glanced over after swallowing. “Too near the door to the place. You know I don’t like sitting in front of the door. *Everyone* can look out on us.” He returns to the pizza and the devouring of it. “Besides (*cut*), Mr. Babyface is over there right now (*bite*).”

“Mr. Babyface has *been* over there. What’s he doing with all those newspapers?”

Baker Blinker’s been glancing over here, thinks Mr. Babyface, paused in his reading. She may report me to the maitre de, gasp, who may tell the owner. Maybe even Perch himself, who sees *everything* anyway.

Oh wait, he suddenly realized, playfully fooling himself. Perch is back in (Carrcassonnee’s) head — not mounted up there above the door any more. Grease stain left behind covered up by a big clock. Oh well. Guess there’s no one around to monitor my voluminous newspaper reading today. Maybe I’ll order another cup of coffee around, say, 3:30-ish.

At 25 after 3, Mr. Babyface spots the odd conjunction that would influence the rest of his life. An ad for a football camp featuring Leroy Kelly, and just below, an ad originating from Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Steamboat Kelly, he ruminates after reading one then the other. The famous running back who replaced (best running back ever) Jim Brown but also made a (smaller) name for himself. Sat on the bench and bided his time — good for him. Patience pays off.

Trouble was, there was never a *Steamboat* Kelly. Only Leroy — sans nickname. Mr. Babyface had entered an alternate universe where up could be down and Cleveland Browns players, former and present, could be manipulated by a higher power.

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Filed under *Second Life, Lower Austra, Mars^^, Nautilus^^

Necksity

“It was like it was staring at him, right in front of his face. (Blue) Improvio and (red) Chroma: the same, or two things spinning around the same, pretty axis. And who was he? Formerly Core-Alena the walking talking centre tree, yes. But now: Sidechick Corea. Footsteps outside — uh oh. Pretty Man approacheth. But is she still a man? So close to the transition now. The door opens. He stands.

(Face) scars are still in place but that’s about it for the man bits.

“Jump on my shoulders for the last time, Sidechick. I want to know the final truth. I’m ready to switch over to Jasper.”

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pretty Improvio

“Anyway, I thought I’d just pop over and tell you that your old house is up for rent. Better get back to the brood.”

“Wait, Gambler,” Greg Ogden implored. “Before you go, tell me more about this Core-Alena, how she got to Gaston, how she passed through Purdy here on the way.”

“I already told you,” Gambler projected. “She passed through centers and then she just uprooted herself and started walking from the original ‘Purd’ — this Purd*en*.”

“As opposed to Purdy here and also the Purdue University related sim. I get that. But why couldn’t she start walking, say, *here*?”

“You know that too,” came the reply. “Purden is actually the secret centre of Our Second Lyfe itself. Triple 128 — only one.”

“The…” Greg Ogden attempted, then let Gambler take over again, seeing the stumble.

“All the axes measure the same: height, depth, length. A, B, C: the great 3-n-1. But in Core-Alena’s case it is also the center of a 256x256x256 sim cube. It’s what makes her, well, *unique* unique.” Gambler was referring to the all important tree being as a she because that’s how she knew him-her in Gaston.

“But she’s not at this centre any longer,” continues Greg Ogden, chattier thanks to the (doped) coffee. He suddenly realizes this, and holds his mug out in offering mode. “Sure you won’t have any?” He was hoping to get the whole story today, whatever means. *Whatever* I mean here. Gambler was an old girlfriend over in Gaston for Greg Ogden, having met her shortly after changing from machine to man (but still keeping a lot of machine characteristics, like an obsession with symmetry). She came here to tell him about his old, empty house, yes, but there was more to it. He could feel this. Something about Purdy. He was a purdy man, true. He knew this — all the ladies end up, in the end, telling him so. Gaston changed him forever in this way. Sister Improvio too. Earie as well. He became Greg Ogden, Improvio became Pretty Man — wait. That’s *it*. Gambler, all along, was…

He could see through her disguise now. “Boy this coffee is good,” he declares, taking another draw from the toxic concoction.

—–

“We’re both purdy,” she ended. “Too similar to each other in our red and blue. We had to create Earie in the middle. Ear. Between the sun yellow legs.” She stared up at the brightest star in the sky, not looking away. The only star. The daylight one. All turned black.

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Filed under *Second Life, Mountain Lake^

Big Shift

Soon he had reached the end of his Abbey Road on the west edge of Vail.

One step further…

… and he was in a different place altogether now. Vila. Uncle Zach was (again: miraculously!) waiting for him in his Calypso Tuk Tuk Taxi.

“Where to, Butt?” He meant bud. Or did he?

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Filed under *Second Life, Gaston^^, Purden/Snowlands^