At sunrise on March 19 2018, Baker Bloch teleports into the very center of the Threesun sim (128, 128). He’s right on top of a larger statue, whose position logically marks this center. So: interesting at the beginning.
The statue is one of three in the subterranean chamber he manifests within, all positioned against the same north wall. Notice that a 4th enclave on this wall is empty (one to the far left here). Are these chess pieces again? Baker ponders. The description of the objects don’t seem to lend more to this possibility.
Then on the west wall, what are obviously representations of the “three suns” in question: 3 metal circles with 8 irregularly placed “flames” apiece. Seem to be made of copper or bronze.
Baker spies a small container or coffer in the center of the altar below them. He approaches… and opens.
Time to take this to the next level.
Rey Wisa, aka Ellen, exits the chamber through the tall, metallic west doors.
Oops, wrong one.
“Do you remember who was beside Karoz Blogger over there, Campbell?”
“That’s very good. But do you remember which Baker?”
“Err. Bloch?” the blue being guesses incorrectly.
“No,” responds Sidechick Corea gently. “That would be Baker Blinker, who is married to Karoz.” He checks the sun, then quickly looks down at his watch while shaking off educational mode. “Dear Lord,” he cries. “I forgot about Baker! He’s maybe been waiting, oh jeez, *3* hours! School’s over, Campbell O’Pine. I have to get over to the Threesun sim. Pronto!”
“Where’ve you been, Sidechick? After-school Care? I was dying down there, you know.”
“I’m *so* sorry.”
“It was suppose to be a natural paradise, Sidechick Corea my friend. *Still* my friend.”
“Mucho apologies again for being late yesterday, Magus Ellen.”
“T’is alright. But the expansion beyond the original 64 changed all that. The woof and warp became predictable. Our Second Lyfe began to collapse in on itself at this point. That’s why I switched from white to black. Black opens this time. And so — here we are.”
“But nothing’s changed,” observes Sidechick Corea. “All remains the same. The duplicate continents, the repetitive patterns of houses going on and on from the central 8×8.”
“Things have changed,” counters Ellen. “The blue boy is here for one. He will keep appearing in unexpected places.”
“What of the golden orb?” Sidechick asks, staring into the center of the fairy pond now. “Is it gone forever?”
Ellen pauses, then: “Time will tell.”
There wasn’t much in the way of art in Heartsdale to Mabel’s disappointment. One gallery showing mainly soft core erotica — well, a lot of it wasn’t even erotica, just women posed in various suggestive manners, let’s say. But there were some other types of works mixed in here and there, like this painting called simply “Dancer” that Mabel kind of liked. And this one below named “Country Road”. When visiting, Mabel sometimes imagined traveling down this picturesque road — outta here (like in that old John Denver song).
In Collagesity, there were rumors that you could actually go inside Baker B.’s collages to different Real Lyfe locations. Maybe the same could apply here, she thought.
The town had plenty of empty buildings and apartments. Mabel again wonders what it looked like in its more golden days. When it was closer in time to Collagesity. When did the split occur? Does it have something to do with the house? *Their* house? It must be, Mabel concluded some time ago.
Mabel had begun to smoke. “2 packs of Lucky Stripes, Jim,” she requests to the owner of the town’s lone convenience store. “And a couple of snickers.” It was a habit born mainly of, well, boredom. Not much to do in Heartsdale, as you the reader have probably picked up. Buurb worried about her continued health, but he figured it would turn around once she had her house. Then they would be focused on fixing it up, showcasing it even for the rest of the community. Maybe open a gallery in part of the downstairs. Mabel could paint up on their favorite floor, the 3rd. Scenes of town, even. She would turn around, he believed. Returned immersion in art would aid immensely. The parts of Heartsdale that seemed sour or boring would have new light shed upon them. It all revolves around the house.
Mabel returns to their alley apartment, planning to light one up as soon as she got inside.
“Just block out the chessboard,” Catvas I purred. “Focus on the temple. Think of the moths, where they were, where they are now. *Be* the moth. Fly free to the moon and back. You are a moth.”
On the floating raft 3 stories below, Cactus concurrently ponders the same identity while companions Tiniest Tell Tale and Akira think about fish and birds respectively.
“That’s very good Karl. Now my turn. Stand over there where I was and take all your clothes off.”
“All right babydoll, hehe. Anything you say sweets.”
“Thank you guys for joining us tonight on… ‘Nascera Today’. We’re always very curious about the various manifestations of core avatars.”
“Good to be here,” Annie replies smoothly.
“Likewise,” adds Karl coarsely. He coughs.
“So… to begin. Annie, you’re playing the role of a bad girl who wants to turn into a good artist, but is having trouble with the conversion. As the core being Wheeler, a number of your characters in ‘Collagesity 2018 Early’ are trying to jumpstart an art career. Can you elaborate on that?”
“Sure, Mr. Corea.”
“Just Sidechick will do.”
“All right Sidechick. Let’s begin with Annie, the body of which I have now. Annie is a bad girl, yes, but comes from a broken home. Her parents, as well as a good chunk of the remainder of her relatives, were sucked up in the Great Rift between 2010 and 2013. I was 13 in 2013, a Y2K baby, then. But the year 00 didn’t cause any large scale anomalies like anticipated.”
“Yes, thankfully Sidechick.” She turns to her boyfriend. “Karl, you suffered a mental breakdown that year, didn’t you?”
“A giant robot rabbit crushed my car!” He huffs and coughs again, but doesn’t elaborate.
“‘Nuff said, I suppose.” Annie eyes him a little longer before pivoting back to Sidechick. “What was the question again?”
“Sidechick looks through his notes, then: “Just to talk about your various characters in the present Collagesity novel and their artistic aspirations.”
“Well…” Karl sneezes here. “Okay, you’re not coming down with a cold are you Karl? Because you’re sleeping down in the Rabbit Hole if so. I’m not catching what you have.”
Karl shakes his head. “No, not the Rabbit Hole, no. I’d rather sleep on the open beach.”
“But that will make your cold worse. No, the Rabbit Hole will have to do. I’ll build a fire down there when we get home.”
Karl huffs some more, sneezes, but then nods his head in resignation.
“Can we continue now? Get it all out — the sneezing and the coughing — and be done with it. Sidechick’s come a long ways to conduct this interview. I for one can’t concentrate with all these pre-cold antics going on.”
Karl takes a minute to cough and sneeze some more. He really gets into it. They both watch him in shock and awe. He then nods again to indicate it’s all over and he’s ready to continue, noise free hopefully.
Annie stares blankly at Sidechick Corea. “I’m so sorry. What was the topic again?”
like a rose
They stood on Highway 9 just beyond the northwest corner of the studio Sidechick Corea rented for the week. “Are you sure you don’t want to come see Karl’s and my new place, Sidechick,” spoke Annie. She points down the beach. “Just over there; it’s cute as a button. Unfortunately we don’t have the stove installed. Else we’d invite you over for supper! But still — come take a look.”
Sidechick didn’t mention that Ellen had warned him not to stay on New Island more than a couple of hours at a time due to the aberrant energy. He simply and politely turned them down, saying he had to get back to Nascera and that his supervisor had more chores for him to accomplish.
“Tell me more about your boss,” Annie inquired before he took his leave.
“He’s very, very gracious. He’s kind and gentle. He *radiates*. He is the embodiment of, well, of a perfect man. He eats a lot of ice cream but it doesn’t seem to make him fatter than he already is, haha. He likes snickers.”
“Cool. Karl, we better get back to the house. We have a lot of decorating to do tonight. A lot of ordering from the marketplace.” She stabs him with a bony finger in his hairy chest. And *tomorrow* we attempt another one of those nudes. I don’t know what happened to that last one.”
Karl nudges Sidechick Corea in the ribs. “Get this — she drew me as a *blue* boy. You gotta come see. It’s hilarious.” He’d stopped coughing for some reason. Looks like the Rabbit Hole won’t be needed any longer.
“Interesting,” Sidechick manages.
“Surely it won’t happen again, Karl. It’s like my paintbrush was possessed!”
“Ahh, but we can always switch roles. *You* in the nude, har.”
“Sidechick excused himself again and began walking down Highway 9, intending to make his way across East Bridge well before nightfall. Ellen had also told him not to drive a car onto the island.
So Ellen was also right about that, he pondered while striding the middle line as much as possible. And Karl resurrected in a Bluebird Cuddle Van over at Horizons, as he explained in the interview. Blue!
“Hmph. How’d *that* happen??”
like a rose 02
“Ahh. A nice hot coffee before a nice hot fire. Doesn’t get any better than this in Our Second Lyfe, Robot Derak Jones. But take a seat.”
“I’m glad you found your hearing aid and stopped yelling, Pencil.” He remained standing. His hemorrhoids were acting up again.
“Me too! I mean: me too.”
“You are truly David now.”
“Well,” adds Eraserhead Man. “I’m a giant pencil pretending to be David Lynch for the purposes of this story. Novel 8 is it?”
“That’s right, EM.”
“Kids couldn’t stay around a while longer? I kind of miss them since they left, what was it, this afternoon?”
“It was a sudden departure,” agrees Robot Derak Jones in his metallic, echoed tone. “They found a house on the other side of the island. Baker Blinker had it in her inventory. That’s the core avatar for Karl.”
“I know who Baker Blinker is,” declares Eraserhead Man. He sips his coffee, then smacks his lips pleasingly. “I understand they found out that Karl is blue. Blue Rose Case, of course.”
“That’s why you’re here.”
“Well… let’s see what *this* does.” Eraserhead Man abruptly throws the contents of his cup into the fire. Both watch as someone else forms in the room.
“Look at that, Robot. A demon. How about that? A flamey little fire demon. What’s your name, little fellow?”
“Gus,” came a small answer from the fireplace after a pause.
Eraserhead Man turned to his friend Robot Derak Jones. “Gus, he said, Robot.”
An erratic wind began to blow outside. One might say it was gussing if they had the guts.
“You sure you don’t want to borrow my flip flops, baby doll. It’ll be a lot better than those high heels you’re wearing.”
Annie continues to run on the treadmill set up at their new house just tonight. “I’m fine, Karl. I’m very experience with these kind of shoes. I feel comfortable in them.”
“You don’t know what it’s like to be a lady of the night,” she grouses. “You have to sacrifice things. Like foot shape. For a better or higher cause.”
“Whatever.” Karl rolls over on his side; wonders how much Annie paid for her jogging outfit. Probably a freebie. She’s cheap that way. Another type of cheap, then. He admires the view. “Hey, you know that beach out there we can see from this window — I think it might be a nudist beach.”
“Really?” Annie finds herself getting excited at the prospect. More potential models! Maybe if she gets away from Karl for a while she can regain her artistic touch. That blue boy, pheh.
“Yeah. A chub — considerably bigger than me even. I know you like chubs.”
“I like chubby *arms*. And you’ve got them sweetie pie.” She managed to turn and blow Karl a kiss while keeping on running. “So tell me about him. I assume it’s a him.”
“I don’t know — red beard. I think.”
“Was he completely naked or was he, you know, wearing something like a thong?”
“No. Stark raving naked.”
“Hmmm.” Annie was thinking she needs to be at this window looking out as much as possible. Or perhaps sitting on the porch in the rocking chair with the nice view of the beach in question. “Next time you see him or anyone else nude on that beach…”
“You call me. You come find me.”
“Alright. You planning to ditch me for someone else? Someone not as *blue*?” But Karl was almost entirely joking. He knew their “together time” was so good that he was hers and she was his. No real mistaking on that. Annie knew this too; played along.
“Um, depends on what other goods they’re packing,” she smirked.
“Oh, you’re a *dirty* girl. A smutty, dirty girl. Get off that treadmill and come here.”
The flames rose once more.
Afterwards, Karl sits at the computer checking the day’s sports scores while Annie sprawls out on the love seat, another freebie pickup. “Uh oh,” he then says, peering out through another transparent wall. “Look who’s back.”
Bill (Wheeler) always dreaded going to see The Boss. It was a scary walk through the Red Curtain Hallway, for one. And at the end: The Venus Door. What could Philip want from me today?
Both look at the pile of money stacked up on the marble table. “As you can see, life’s been good lately, Bill. But you’ve been neglecting me.”
“Now tell me all about this chess game you’ve been playing.”
After the meeting, Bill realized she had only a limited time left to save the Heterocera continent as a whole, perhaps Our Second Lyfe itself. She paused to take a look at the moth temple through vintage binoculars on the pier outside the Mermaid Lounge just exited.
How to paint this thing and capture the true essence? she ponders again. 3-n-1. Mabel, Annie, herself. All painters trying to capture essences. All linked together, of course, in their failure to accomplish the deed so far. She thinks this, deep down, through her core avatar. Wheeler.
Unnoticed so far, a somewhat drunk Roger Pine Ridge observes Bill from the side of the lounge. Cyberpaperdoll has abandoned me here in this *swamp*, he reflects bitterly. I must talk to *someone* about it.
He debates whether to approach her. Decisions have always been hard for him.
As mentioned, Mabel and Buurb loved the 3rd floor of their potential house. A type of heaven for them, I suppose. Buurb could write and Mabel could do art. Their respective passions, besides each other of course. Or this is how they fulfill themselves through each other.
We start at the northernmost window (of 3) looking west…
… then pan out to take in a nearby chest with a smaller container, perhaps a suitcase, on top of it.
This is in the room at the top of the ladder heading up from the 2nd floor. Then below we also peek into the next room. Both contain a variety of what could be called refuge or junk, but the married couple still love the stuff and dare not throw any of it away once the house transaction is complete. Whenever that is.
Mabel often wonders who this melted girl in the portrait is. Could it be her as a child, somehow? At any rate, looking at it always reminds her of her beloved twin brother Little Big for some reason, still off fighting in the Green and White War in some distant part of the galaxy. Last she heard: Aldebaran.
More of the second room; that would be Buurb’s writing desk in the distance, which would double as a place for them to have brunch, tea, etc.
And then we have Mabel herself sitting in the 3rd room. This is projected to be her art studio where she’ll rekindle her love of painting (and drawing). But what to paint remains a big question.
Maybe that perpetually burning fuel tanker down at the gas station seen through the south window here, hmm.
Mabel’s primary goal today remained the mission, however, and speaking with Precious Snowflake who she knows is the same as Baker Blinker. On her way, she stops to take a good look at that tanker. “Yes, this might do very well for subject matter,” she says.
She walks into the fire within but remains unharmed.
Onward to the mission…
“So you see Campbell O’Pine. Here at the edge of Misacs, for instance, we also have the beginning of the end of Our Second Lyfe. That gain in elevation over there in, let’s see (Sidechick checks his inworld map), Bushchat, is more than just that. It gives us perspective upon the basically flat 8×8 of the themed house regions preceding it, The Perfection. With the essentially endless repetition of these houses beyond, the Linden peoples are drilling in the message that Our Second Lyfe is not the be all end all of virtual reality. More is around the bend. And that’s where the Corrigan statues come into play, especially the Queen’s. Are you ready?”
“Let me go find her and then I’ll teleport you over.”
It takes a little bit for Sidechick Corea to come across the Corrigan Queen. He first stumbles upon the multicolored iris eyes first noted by core avatar Baker Bloch over 8 years ago.
He then spots the Queen behind him. “I’ll just teleport Campbell over now so that he can walk with me toward her.”
“It’s fascinating, Campbell. The body of the Queen lies in Pixy but her arm and the blueish orb she holds extends over into Corrigan. But we call her the Corrigan Queen because of all the other stuff in that sim, like the eyes you just saw.”
“And then the flat Queen. Is that the proper way to put it?”
“Good enough. But I want you to think about that blue orb almost direct above your head. In fact, let’s just fly up there to take a closer look.”
“Remarkable, Campbell O’Pine. Ellen is right. I think this orb *has* to be you in some form.”
“A move!” Magus Ellen exclaims upon teleporting into Iris and seeing his opponent’s Knight to King’s Bishop 4. “She’s just moving to move, but that’s okay.” He takes a thick lick. “This should be another easy one for me. Time for a castle.”
“Holey moley Pencil. What is *that*?”