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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 4:11 am 

Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:43 am
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Location: Texas
Mysterious Mynds 7-Teledahn

You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
Naguib Mahfouz

“I kept coming back to the ranch, wondering what was so special about it.” Prentiss explained to the team, once again gathered around the table. “So I did some digging. Zandi bought it back in 1987 after visiting it alongside private contractor, Branch Logan.”

“Right. According to our working theory, that’s where Zandi would have found the diatreme and fitted it out as the centerpiece of his little religion.” Morgan nodded.

Oh, but there’s so much more than that.” Garcia piped up from the computer. “Emily asked me to look into the news from that period. Zandi and Logan spent entire months out at that ranch with no one seeing them. And Zandi brought in tons of supplies, manpower, and equipment out there.” She wagged her eyebrows suggestively. “And guess what kind of equipment they brought out there?”

“KGB mind-wiping tech.” Morgan hazarded. Garcia giggled.

“Equipment to craft the cleft we visited, obviously.” Hotch mused. “Assorted electronics, cement mixers, jackhammers...”

“A lot more than jackhammers, Hotch.” Prentiss passed over an itemized list. “Industrial drills, raise borers, and dynamite. We’re talking heavy-duty mining gear.”

Rossi’s eyebrows lifted. “You’re saying this ‘City of D’ni’ might be under that Ranch?”


“You’re not looking, are you?”

“No.” Reid called back.

“You’d better not be looking.”

Reid started to reply, stopped, then answered, “You realize that by continually insisting that I not look at you, you increase the subconscious urge to look.”

There was a splash. “Don’t!” The voice had an edge of panic.

“I’m not.” Reid answered wearily, letting his head sink back against the wall. He had been banished to the small house on the island while JJ took advantage of the new waterfall to take her first shower in days. After that, it would be Reid’s turn.

JJ had been... jumpy ever since he got back from the pillar cave. For a long time she’d just hugged him, crying, and then without another word had rushed off to wash her face in the pool.

And that was all the talking they’d done about that... hug. That strong, passionate, intense hug.

Reid’s mind was already busy rationalizing it. It was perfectly understandable, given the circumstances. He was the only other person on the island, after all, there was probably heightening dependence coming into play, a strange form of Stockholm’s Syndrome. Then too, there was what had happened to Will...

“By the way, got any explanations for the steaming-hot waterfall pouring out of the mountain?” JJ called.

“A couple ideas.” Reid’s eyes drifted to the switch for the window shades. Shaking his head, he looked away. “The heat suggests it could be like a hot spring, or a geyser.... perhaps a caldera of sorts below us, that forces the water up through a combination of steam and pressure.”

“Reid, I can’t say I’ve ever taken a shower in a geyser before, but I imagine they’re a lot warmer than this.”

“There could be an outlet for heat or steam elsewhere.” Reid shrugged. “But yes, that’s an issue with that explanation. Also, since the opening is so small, and it wasn’t there yesterday, it seems likely there should have been some kind of minor eruption, only...”

“Only there are no signs of anything like that.”

“Right.” Reid blew the air out through this nose in frustration. Again he glanced at the window shades. “And I could be wrong, but I think the rock even shows signs of slight erosion.”

“I noticed that too.” JJ came in the door of the hut, fully dressed, her hair wet and her clothes still slightly damp. “Maybe a month’s worth of erosion, in a day’s time.”

“Which messes with the obvious solution that it’s simply being pumped up from below us, like a fountain.” Reid sighed. A thought seemed to strike him. “Unless the erosion was there before. I never really looked at that part of the island.”

“Beats me. I can’t remember.” JJ glanced around the hut. “We don’t have a towel or a spare shirt or something, do we?”

Reid blinked. “Not really, no.”

“It just figures.” JJ ran a hand through her tangled hair. “When this dries, it’s going to be horrible mess.” She grumbled.

Reid sent her a quizzical look. “A bad hair day is a little low on our list of priorities, JJ.”

“Give me a minute to be a girl, okay?” JJ sighed. “Right. We’re doing fine. We have fruit, we have water, and most importantly, we have a goal. For the first time we set foot on this place, we finally know what we’re supposed to do.”

“What the cult wants us to do.” Reid corrected warningly. “We need to be careful we’re not sucked into their way of thinking.”

JJ gave just the tiniest wince. “Right. Anyway, what they want us to do is to find all the handprints in each world, then go through the weird stone doors that take us to the space-cave so we can teleport the floating pillars to the island.”

“I still want to see how it does that.” Reid turned to look at the square of four columns, two of which now sported the horned pillars they had collected from the other ages.

“Yeah, it’s gonna freak you out.” JJ smirked. Her face changed. “Any idea why they want us to, by the way? Apart from making us listen to a disembodied voice in a cave, there really doesn’t seem to be any indoctrination going on.”

“Technically we don’t even have to listen to the voices.” Reid pointed out. “You can stop the recording or jump down the star-pit right away.”

JJ closed her eyes. “And then there’s that. Any theories?”

Reid shook his head. “Honestly, I gave up on the teleportation thing a while ago.”


“In terms of what the cult is trying to teach us... I agree, I’m not seeing a whole lot.” Reid frowned in thought. “The first place you could argue was teaching about how even the greatest structures fall and how all the protection and wealth in the world can’t save you from death.” He shook his head. “But it’s so indirect and vague a message as to be useless to a cult.”

“Definitely doesn’t seem like an indoctrinatory doctrine.” JJ mused. “Those other two places we went to... I don’t know. They honestly seemed pretty straightforward.”

“The beauty and destruction of nature?” Reid suggested.

“Maaaaybe.” JJ’s frown was growing. “I could see it, with the themes of duality and the harshness of the one...” She shook her head. “But here’s the thing. You could get that from any old desert. You could get that from a fallen tree.”

“Just like the theme about the entropic nature of reality could be derived from any set of ruins.” Reid nodded.

“Exactly. I wonder if these themes are actually there, or if we’re just reading them into the landscape. Either way, it’s not exactly strong indoctrination.”

Reid hesitated. “It... might just be very gradual.” He suggested. “I mean, we don’t know how many of these worlds there are.”

“There are only four books.”

“But one of those led to another.” Reid pointed out. “What if the last has six or seven books inside? Or what if collecting all four pillars simply takes us to another island?”

There was a horrible silence while both of them contemplated a seemingly endless succession of worlds and puzzles wearing down their minds in the service of a death cult.

“We... we don’t know that.” JJ said, forcing the vision away. “Anyway, we need to keep exploring if we want to find a way out. And there are still two more books.” She jabbed a finger at the door. “You go and wash up, and after that we can talk about what one we’re going to next.”

Reid nodded and pushed himself up off the floor. “For the record,” he said, heading for the door, “my vote’s on the cabin-interior book. It’s time we started looking for these people.”

“Agreed.” JJ nodded firmly.


“Under the ranch? Seriously?”

“They had to do something with all that mining equipment.” Prentiss argued. “It certainly wasn’t all used on that little cleft.”

“Come to think of it, that fits with something Agent Dawson was telling me.” Hotch frowned. “He said one of the more geologically-oriented of the forensic team was poking around the volcano... he said there were signs of an entrance leading into the crater.”

Morgan blinked. “Into. The crater. As in, down into the volcano?”

“We should really pay that forensic team more.” Prentiss muttered.
“It might not lead into the magma. This area of Arizona is known for its cave network.” Rossi shrugged. “There’s the Carlsbad Caverns close nearby.”

Morgan’s brow was knitted in thought. “But would a volcano leave a natural entrance into a cave system like that?” He asked.

A series of shrugs greeted his question. “Not sure.” “Maybe.” “Seems like lava would cause problems with that.” “I could... google it to find out.”

“We need to get brain-boy back here.” Morgan sighed.

“What are you thinking, Derek?” Hotch raised an eyebrow.
Morgan shrugged and leaned back. “Maybe we’ve been looking at this the wrong way. We’ve been casting Elias Zandi as the founder of this whole thing, but suppose it’s his contractor, Logan, who started it.”


“The sun moves along the horizon.”

“Let it go, Spence.” JJ glanced up from the console she was fiddling with. The periscope-like viewfinder she was staring into was attached to a bizarre, flower-like structure with a sprouting solar panel, pointed horizontally along the horizon.

“I’m not sure you’re quite grasping how impossible that is.” Reid insisted. “First of all, it demands that the side of this world be constantly pointed at the sun, which means the other side must be frozen solid. Then, the fact that the sun is making a full circuit of the horizon every twenty minutes means that this planet must either be orbiting the sun at a blistering speed, or it is itself rotating at a blistering speed. And then...”

“Look, what if it’s just a three-month day, like they have in Sweden sometimes?” JJ suggested.

Reid snorted. “Does this look like Sweden to you?”

“No.” JJ admitted, looking around. “No it does not.”

She and Reid were standing before a towering column with a small, flower-like dish at the top, all contained on a raised metal platform above a foul smelling swamp,. Attached to the platform was a long metal walkway which extended in one direction off back to a... JJ still wasn’t sure if that was a large wooden structure or an enormous tree stump. The cabin she and Reid had arrived in was inside it, along with a locked trapdoor and a broken elevator.

On every side were giant, twenty-foot-tall mushrooms.

“Can mushrooms grow this large on earth?” JJ glanced over at a particularly large specimen.

“They’d be the first I’d hear of.” Reid shook his head wearily. “Then again, so would tropical climates with horizontally orbiting suns.”

There was also that. A small, glowing orb hung low in the sky, moving across the horizon with dizzying speed. It ducked behind mountains and clouds, but remained more or less the same distance from the horizon, whipping past the enormous tree-stump (or wooden structure) every twenty minutes.

Weird as the last worlds had been, this was a whole new level.

JJ shook her head. “I have to admit, this is making your ‘bubble-world’ theory more appealing.” She said as she turned back to the viewfinder.

“I’m not sure whether to be impressed by the originality or revolted by the ridiculousness of the whole thing.” Reid crossed his arms and looked very annoyed. “Profile-wise, swamps tend to attract the individualistic or the exploitative. Occasionally also the secretive and introverted. In this case I’d say exploitative, given all the machinery and hardware inserted into the swamp. Whoever designed this place appreciates nature only so far as they can take what they need from it.” He squinted at the horizon. “As much as they can, too. In that light, the horizontal sun almost makes sense... it allows for a 24-hour work day.”

“Especially if they can exploit that sun as a power source.” JJ added.

“What do you mean?”

“Call it a theory.” JJ answered, fiddling with the knobs on the control panel. “Obviously this place needs power. There are three... gear-shaft things going out of here—“ She pointed at the different poles extending out of the platform, “—so this is some sort of nexus... or a power generator of some kind. And this thing...” She squinted into the viewfinder, “...seems to be aiming that dish at the horizon, with allowances for a constant rate.”

“A horizontal solar panel.” Reid sighed.

“A horizontal rotating solar panel.” JJ corrected.

Reid rubbed his eyes and groaned. “I can’t even begin to explain how contrived... do you realize how insufficient that panel is to generate energy?”

“Maybe it’s supposed to be some hyper-conductive material.” JJ shrugged wearily. “Maybe it’s not solar energy the way we think about it.”

A last twist of the knobs, and the platform started to rumble into life. All three crankshafts began to rotate. Farther away, other machinery could be starting up..

“Or maybe it’s just part of the cult’s method of making us suspend all logic and rational thinking.” JJ stood back from the viewfinder with a look of satisfaction. “But either way, it’s what we need to do to keep moving.”


“Rossi, you said Zandi was known for paying top dollar for obscure artifacts, right?”

“Yes.” Rossi nodded. “Almost maniacly. He claimed he felt some sort of connection to certain unusual Southwestern artifacts.”

“Right. So this contractor, Logan. He realizes his boss has this obsession with stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere, and he’s just found this underground cavern in the middle of nowhere. He sets up a few random huts, and phones his boss to tell him he’s found the source of all the artifacts.”

“Records do show Logan had an almost suspicious ability for ‘finding’ the peculiar sort of artifacts Zandi craved.” Prentiss nodded slowly.

“So Logan was a forger.” Hotch nodded. “He milked Zandi for years by feeding him false artifacts, and finally a false city, thinking that his boss’ll make him a millionaire for this ‘secret civilization.’”

“If that was the plan, it failed hard.” Garcia frowned. “Zandi spent all his money buying up the land around that ranch. Like, we’re talking thousands of acres. Logan didn’t get anything.”

“Because Elias makes a cult around the place, which eats up all his finances.” Hotch nodded.

“I take it Logan’s dead?” Morgan asked.

“...yeah. In 1991. But the details are... sketchy.”
Garcia frowned at another of her screens. “Huh. It looks like they never even found the body.”

“Logan asked for money, Elias got mad for him tainting his new religion, he had him killed off. In the process of rationalizing it, the cult becomes a death cult.” Morgan finished.

“Or Jeff.” Hotch interjected. “The father’s obsession would mean they would never be very close; the underground city would have worsened it. Jeff might have resented Logan for that—and if he found out Logan faked the whole thing...”

“Jeff and Logan fight, Logan is killed, the stress drives Jeff off the edge.” Prentiss nodded. “He starts killing off the members of his father’s cult.”

“Several problems with that, you guys.” Garcia sounded regretful. “The DRC wasn’t really a thing until several years after Logan’s death. Jeff wasn’t involved at all at that point. In fact, so far as I can tell, the only other person who was connected to it was our friend” Garcia paused. “Richard Watson.”


“Nice apartment.” JJ noted as she stepped off the elevator, taking in the bed, desk, fish tank, and half-dozen stacked boxes. A couple tinted windows were opened out on a view of a small swamp behind the tower. “What sort of person owns it, you think?”

“Obsessive note-taking, but definitely not OCD.” Reid eyed the mass of papers and figurines that made up the desk. “Emphasis on acquisition and storage of knowledge.”

“In a material format.” JJ pointed out. “This apartment belongs very much to a materialist. He’s obsessed with storing and possessing things. It’s not about the control, or else he’d organize his possessions better. Just having them is enough for him.”

Reid nodded absentmindedly. “What do you suppose that room on the lower level was for?”

“The control-room-slash-observation-tower-slash-granary-unloading station?” JJ shrugged. “Not entirely sure. It looked like they were harvesting something from the water, something they’d want drained. and dried. Some sort of lake-bottom creature, maybe.”

“Or soil, or vegetative undergrowth.” Reid nodded, but his forehead was furrowed. “But it doesn’t make sense. You couldn’t support a facility like this on that alone. If this place is supposed to be some sort of sludge-harvesting plant, there should be hundreds of those bucket-things, all with different unloading rooms.”

“Well... there might be. We still haven’t seen what’s under that trapdoor.” JJ shrugged. “What’s bothering me is this room.”

“What about it?”

“It’s a little at odds with the geographic profile you gave.” JJ crossed her arms and glanced about the room. “This man appreciates nature—you can see the drawings and models on the desk, to say nothing of the fishtank. But he’s not obsessed with control—the mess. And it doesn’t seem like he’s very exploitative either.”

“The man who lives here might not be the same person who built the facility.” Reid pointed out.

“I’m saying it doesn’t work with your bubble world theory.” JJ objected. “You’re assuming someone lives here, but by the bubble theory, this whole place—including the room—is fabricated. They should reflect a consistent mindset. And the fishtank.” JJ tapped the glass. “Where does this thing fit in? Everything here is bizarre, exotic, and nonsensical, but this is a store-bought fish-tank complete with a light bulb and a bubbler.”

“Well, one way it fits is that it at least verifies the man is secretive.” Reid stood up from a perusal of the desk, a manual in his hand. “According to this, that fishtank is actually a safe.”

“What? How’d you work that out?”

“Note from the supplier. There’s a mailing address too, we’ll have to look into that later.” Reid had crossed over to her side of the room and was bending over the fishtank. “Let’s see, there should be a button right...”

A hidden panel in the cabinet slid open. Behind it was a book.


“Dr. Watson.” The team exchanged significant looks.

“Suppose Watson realizes his old friend—and his son—are being tricked by Loft, and it’s destroying their lives.” Morgan realized. “HE kills Loft, and...” He paused and frowned.

“And what?” Prentiss shrugged. “We’ve already established Watson leads the more moderate faction, and Yeesha and Jeff the more extreme. How does Watson killing Loft make him more moderate?”

“Maybe we misread the situation.” Morgan considered. “Maybe Watson’s been leading the death cult all along.”

“Or perhaps Jeff caught Watson killing Loft, Watson made up a religious explanation on the fly, Jeff bought it and took it too far.” suggested Hotch.

Rossi shook his head. “Watson’s a true believer. He’s not making up anything, he truly believes everything he told us. But he doesn’t strike me as extreme enough to lead a death cult either. I think we’re making a mistake by fixating on Loft’s death as the formative event in the making of the cult, if Garcia’s right, he died long before the whole trouble got started.”

“But Watson IS the most likely suspect for killing Loft, since he was the only other person besides Elias involved at the time.” Morgan argued.

“No wonder he ran, then.” Hotch mused.

“Except he didn’t run.” Rossi had a deep frown on his face. “He vanished in front of us in our own interrogation room.”

The team winced. “Gonna be honest, I was hoping to avoid talking about that.” Morgan sighed.

Prentiss scoffed. “Why? So we can pretend it didn’t happen?”

“Because we have absolutely no context for talking about it.” Morgan answered, giving her a look. “Behavioral analysis textbooks have very little to say on disappearing acts. And who wants to bet that forensics has as little to say as they did on the cave?”

“Leaving us exactly where we started.” Hotch’s jaw clenched ever so slightly. “Still with no idea where anyone is.”

“Not quite.” Prentiss raised her hand. “Yes, we still don’t know where Reid and JJ are, but I’ll bet anything you want that Watson’s going straight to the DRC.”

“Especially if they’re based in D’ni.” Rossi nodded at her. “We threatened his artifacts after all.”

“Right.” Prentiss agreed. “And whether those freaky little green books teleport to other worlds or not, D’ni the city, at least, has to have a physical location in the real world.”

“Which is under the ranch.” Hotch tilted his head, a new look of determination in his eye. “All right. So what are we likely to need?”


“So THIS is the office.” Reid glanced around the room. “Much more neat and professional.”

“Not used very much, though.” JJ ran a finger disapprovingly through the dust on the desk. “And the desk is still something of a mess.”

“Pictures, art, drawings, maps...” Spence glanced around the walls and suddenly frowned. “JJ. Notice anything weird about this room?”

“Besides the bizarre creatures depicted, the exotic furniture, and the solid rock wall? No, not really.” JJ answered.

“There’s no door.”

JJ glanced up from the desk, looked around, and blinked. “Huh. That’s... weird. There’s a window over there... maybe he climbs in through a ladder.”

“Or maybe this place is supposed to only be accessible by one of those books.” Spence argued. He walked over to the window JJ had mentioned. “This place just makes less and less sense.”

“My word, Spence.” JJ was no longer listening. She was instead flipping excitedly through one of the notebooks on the desk. “This... these are detailed journals! They have names, dates, places...” She squinted at an entry. “Even the New York Yankees!” She glanced over to Reid excitedly. “This is the break we’ve been looking for!”

Reid did not move from the window. “JJ?” He said, his voice a little strained. “I think you’d better come and look at this.”

Puzzled, JJ gathered up the notebooks and slid them into her pack, then strode over to stand with Reid at the window.

It was the subterranean city from the tapestry. But it was large—so much larger then they could have anticipated. Hills upon hills of massive stone structures towered beneath the yawning roof of an immense cavern. Elegant, mosaic-like streets wound their way through the city. Everything was lit by a faint glow from the undersea lake that could be glimpsed surrounding the city, and in the far distance, Reid and JJ could see a very familiar arch.

“That’s... the arch from the painting in the cave.” JJ breathed.

“Where this all started.” Reid nodded, as if in a daze.

JJ’s eyes drifted downward and her breath suddenly hitched. “Spence... there are people down there.”

Sure enough, now that Reid looked, he could see that the city was alive. Lights were flickering on and off in many of the windows, and down below in the streets he could see tiny shapes milling to and fro.

“You think... this is the cult’s headquarters?” He hazarded.

“I think we should leave before we find out.” JJ answered, already groping for the little green book.


“Where did you say the path was?”

Agent Dawson looked a little uncomfortable. “Rachel said it was past the fence, on the far side of the volcano. You have to basically go into the crater to find it. But are you sure you want to...”

“Yes.” Hotch cut the forensic specialist off. He turned to the man standing next to him. “Mr. Simmons?”

Mr. Simmons, a grizzled old man fully decked out in a miner’s helmet, kneepads, and elbowpads, nodded and signaled to his crew, who pushed past the fence and began to scour the mountain.

Hotch turned to his team, all of whom had ditched their usual outfits for similar spelunking gear. “I don’t need to remind you that it’s imperative we move slowly and cautiously.” He warned them. “We have no idea what to expect down there. Follow Mr. Simmons’ directions at all times—he and his team know what they’re doing. They’ll take the lead and scout out the tunnels and paths we’re likely to follow. Captain McNinch and his men will follow them and clear the tunnels of any hostiles.” Hotch nodded to a dour-faced ranger. “We are to stay behind them at all times and not get in their way.”

Morgan, Prentiss, and Rossi nodded.

A call from the top of the mountain caused Hotch to look up. “All right.” He said, putting on
his own helmet. “Let’s go find a lost city.”


“This journal belongs to a man called ‘Douglas Sharper.’” JJ was flipping through the notebook excitedly. “Apparently he was in charge of restoring this ‘Age,’ as he calls it.”

Reid looked doubtful. “Then these are supposed to be time periods, rather than separate worlds?”

“No, I get the feeling it’s just a term.” JJ answered. The two of them were threading their way through a tunnel deep beneath the trapdoor they’d finally opened. “But he talks as if this world has an entirely separate history of caretakers and owners—as if he thought everything here came from that ‘Dunny’ city that the hologram mentioned.”

Reid pondered this. “It makes sense. Members of the cult would naturally believe that these bubble worlds were real.”

“But someone—several groups of someones—would have to know the secret, to maintain them properly.” JJ argued. “And if the man in charge of running the facility didn’t know...”

“Whoah.” Reid drew up short.

JJ glanced up. On the wall of the tunnel were some very strange paintings—similar, in some ways, to the ones she’d seen in Eder Kemo. They seemed to be very stylized stick figures, but their poses were very strange. Some of them seemed to be walking hunched over, others were standing straight up with their arms stretched overhead.

“That’s... odd.” Reid managed. He glanced up and down the tunnel. “What... do we think this tunnel was for again?”

“No idea.” JJ answered, checking the journals again. “Sharper mentioned something about the ‘back side’ to this place, but so far I haven’t seen anything but vague suspicions. Apparently he was told this place was some sort of mushroom farm, but even he didn’t think that made sense.”

“Well, they don’t seem to be farmers.” Reid frowned at the figures.

JJ could do little but nod. “Maybe it’ll make sense further on,” She suggested, glancing ahead. “It looks like the tunnel opens up.”

After a moment, Reid nodded, clearly reluctant to leave the mystery of the pictures. “These bubble worlds do seem to have an internal logic.” He agreed, starting to move forward. “The cult clearly wants some sort of lesson to be derived from each, so they generally explain most elements found... within...” His voice died away.

He and JJ had exited the tunnel into a large open room. Surprisingly well-lit for being so deep underground, the floor was strewn with rocks, wood, and assorted animal bones. A low rock shelf formed a natural bench around the perimeter, and two barred doors stood at the far end of the room.

Chains dangled from the ceiling.

“A dungeon.” JJ noted tersely.

Reid’s mind suddenly made the connection to the drawings. “For slaves.”


“No, this volcano’s been extinct for quite a while.” Mr. Simmons assured Hotch, as the latter lowered himself to the crater’s floor. “I doubt it erupted more than once. We should be fine.”

“Should?” Morgan had been a little bit ahead of Hotch, and was already on the crater floor.

Simmons’s wrinkled face creased in a smile. “There’s always a risk with these things, agent. But don’t worry. I’ve rappelled into much more active volcanoes than this.”

“Oh joy.” Prentiss muttered, a little above Hotch on the rope. “I feel so much better.”

Simmons seemed not to hear, he was already turning to look at the cave on the far side of the crater. “Honestly I’m not sure how much you’ll even need me, it looks like there’s a solid trail that has already been cleared away.”

“Let’s hope we won’t.” Hotch said, landing and moving aside to let Prentiss and Rossi through. “In the meantime, let’s just keep going.”


“Amazing.” JJ shook her head, staring out over the glistening sea. “So much beauty and so much evil in close proximity.”

She and Reid had cleared the dungeon with surprising ease—Reid had noted that probably there was usually a guard to ensure that the slaves would not be able to unlock the gate themselves—and from there had followed a ramshackle boardwalk outside to a low rock shelf and tower overlooking a silent bay. The sea stretched away for miles ahead of them, mirror-smooth and glowing in the light of the rotating sun.

“It’s beautiful here.” Reid dropped down to sit next to her. “I just checked: on the other side of that tower is the swamp where we started, with all the mushrooms and rusty walkways.”

JJ smiled. “Maybe that’s why they built the tower... so that they didn’t have to see what they’d done to the place.”

“Possible.” Reid agreed. “There was some sort of wall they had up between the swamp and the ocean. I lowered it down—maybe getting the water flowing will clear out some of the stagnant water in that swamp.”

JJ half-turned to look at him. “You’re beginning to talk about this place as if it were a real ecosystem.”

“I think the cult wants us to treat it as an ecosystem.” Reid insisted. “As a symbol of man’s exploitation of the environment.”

“And of himself. The slave pens.” JJ reminded him. Heaving a long sigh, she stared out over the ocean. “I suppose you’re right. It’s a beautiful illusion, though.”

“It is.”

“It... reminds me of Lousiana.” JJ said suddenly.

“The ocean?” Reid asked, scratching his side distractedly.

“And the swamp. And the heat. And the deserted slave pens, in a way, but mostly, yes, the ocean.” JJ blinked out at the gleaming water. “Me and... and Will. We used to go to the ocean in Lousiana."

Reid glanced at her but said nothing.

“We used... to go out on late nights, and just...” JJ swallowed, “...just watch the waves.” Her voice hitched a little. “I’d bring Henry, dandle his feet in the water a little. He’d laugh and Will would chuckle and... and say... he’d say...” JJ choked and could not finish.

“JJ...” Reid said, in a low voice. “We...”

A low sound interrupted them. It was something like a cross between a low moan and a trumpet blast, a thunderous hummm that rose up and down in timbre and echoed over the waves.

JJ and Reid both started upright at the sound. “Was that...?” JJ asked.

“It sounded like a whale.” Reid observed, unnecessarily. “But what...”

Then they saw it.

It was far off at sea, at first, no more than a tiny undulation on the horizon. Slowly it swelled to a bump on the near-still surface of the water. As they watched, the bump grew, changed perspective, and swam toward them.

It was a vast red-gold creature, like a whale in shape, but with hard plates on its back like some sort of crab or turtle. It floated half-in-half-out of the water, and steered itself with three webbed pairs of segmented limbs that sprouted, bug-like, from its side. As it approached, it lifted its head from the water, and let loose again the crooning scream they had heard before.

JJ and Reid stood, petrified by the sight of the bizarre creature. It barely seemed to notice them, but continued swimming past the former dam, intent on the mushrooms inside. Its scaly underbelly glinted as it rippled past them, flexing with muscle. It disappeared into the bay, and a few minutes later they heard the crash of a mushroom falling into the water, and the sounds of something chewing.

“I... may have to re-evaluate my theory about this place.” Reid whispered, distractedly.


“Perhaps it’s premature, but I feel like we may need to come up with a new theory.” Morgan grunted, squeezing through a narrow cleft in the rock.

“It does seem like it would be hard for Zandi to move much equipment down here.” Prentiss admitted, squeezing after him. “Certainly couldn’t drive a truck through all these rocks.”

“What, this?” Simmons, pondering a mass of boulders up ahead, turned to look back at the BAU team. “This is all recent. Cave-ins, mostly. Sure, it looks pretty well sealed, but this floor—“ his foot tapped the stone meaningfully, “—is smooth and level. There was a tunnel here once.”

“Twice, I’d say.” Another of the spelunkers was frowning at the ceiling of the tunnel.

Hotch squeezed through the tunnel just in time to hear. “Twice?” He echoed questioningly.

“Once, I get.” Again Simmons tapped the ground. “This floor was drilled out and leveled fairly recently—there’s even some signs of flaking concrete where they tried to even the path out. But twice?”

“Does it seem likely they’d drill so badly half the tunnel would collapse like this?” The spelunker at the ceiling looked down disdainfully. “There’s two kinds of drill marks up here. I’m betting someone made a small, well-supported tunnel, then some other fool came along and widened it to allow a truck through. Only they didn’t support it properly.” He gestured at the boulders.

“That... would make sense.” Simmons agreed, casting his eyes up and around the tunnel. “Amateurs, most likely.”

“None of that explains how we get those boulders out of our way.” Morgan pointed out. Behind them, Captain McNinch’s team was struggling to fit through the crack.

“Don’t need to.” Simmons pointed at the far left corner. “The cave-in doesn’t fill the tunnel. Some of my boys already went through the crawlspace up there to scout out what’s—“


A thin, helmeted figure with goggles and a flashlight came scrambling through the hole and half-fell down the boulder pile. Barely stopping, he dashed up to Simmons and grabbed his arm. “Boss, you need to... you’ve got to...”

“The fiery abyss, man?” Simmons tore his arm free, staring at the spelunker. “What’d you find? Where’re the others?”

The man cast a glance backward. “Still over there. They’re looking at the... the...” he seemed to be fumbling for words and gave up. “Sir, you need to come, I can’t explain, it’ll sound crazy, I don’t even know what they ARE...”

“What’d you find?” demanded Simmons, but he was already scrambling up the rocks after his man. “Animals? People? Bones?”

“Cave monsters?” Morgan muttered, climbing up behind them.

There was a sharp intake of breath. Simmons was half-kneeled in the crawlspace, staring into the space beyond, his headlight shining on whatever it was within.

“What is it?” Morgan asked, but Simmons had already scrambled into the hole, and from the sounds was tipping and sliding down the cave-in on the other side. Grumbling, Morgan climbed up behind him and peered in.

It took him a moment to realize what he was seeing. Beyond the cave-in, the tunnel continued on. Looking, he could see what Simmons was talking about, there was a clear tunnel, larger than ever, but it was nearly entirely choked with boulders, great curiously round stones nearly twice the height of a man. Simmon’s spelunker team was clustered around them, their head-lights flashing and flickering over the surfaces of the shining rocks...

Morgan blinked. The light was glinting off those rocks far too much for them to be stone. And now that he looked more closely, he could see little pieces jutting out, glowing in the lamp-light, jutting out with too much of a pattern to be natural.

Details impressed themselves as Morgan’s eyes grew more accustomed to the light. The one closest to him looked something like a squat scarab, or perhaps a great crab. He could see vast arms folded against its armored sides, the black metal gleaming dully through the stone dust that covered it. Part of the tunnel had collapsed on top of it, but it seemed unharmed by the massive boulders resting on its carapace. On its side were massive arms that could only be used for drilling through rock. For a moment, Morgan wondered, bizarrely, if they were alive, some sort of vast subterranean insect. But as soon as the thought occurred to him he recognized the glint of metal.

Not creatures. Morgan’s mind swam. Machines. Digging Machines.


“It... could’ve been an animatronic.” Reid passed a hand over his head, still staring out at the sea. “A floating vessel with pneumatic joints and...” He shook his head. “No, no, it was too smooth for that.”

“Reid, did you even hear what I said?” JJ asked gently.

Reid waved as if to dismiss her. “Yes, yes. Last handprint. We can open the door now.” They were in a look-out room of some kind atop a tower just next to where they had seen the whale. JJ’d hunted through the room and found a few items of interest, including a not-half-bad shirt and a fishing net, but the most interesting thing to her had been the handprint.

Reid, on the other hand, still seemed distracted. “Couldn’t have been a hologram, that’d require too complex of rendering. And it was so close, I could have jumped on it if I’d wanted.”

“Don’t.” JJ said sharply. “Jump on it. Just stop thinking about it, Reid.”

Reid turned to look at her, his gaze just slightly vacant. “Just stop thinking about it? JJ, what makes you think I CAN? That... thing, it was an impossibility, an abnormality, an anomaly! It can’t exist, and it does exist, and it can’t possibly be faking existence, and that means this whole place...”

“...isn’t important.” JJ cut him off, fiercely. “I don’t care if it’s real or fake or an amusement park ride or a giant video game the robots put us into to turn us into batteries. Nothing has changed. It’s not home, and our friends aren’t here, and neither is Henry.”

Reid stared at her, mouth open.

JJ took a step toward him. “Look, take this and go back to the island.” She said, slapping the green book against his chest. “I’ll handle the pillars.”

Reid’s eyes suddenly cleared. “No.” He pushed the book away.

JJ closed her eyes. “Spence, you can’t stay here, and I can’t...”

“No.” Reid grabbed at her arm. “No, let me go through the door.” She looked at him uncomprehending and he pleaded. “Please. I need to see. I need to observe.”

JJ blinked at him. “You’ve already seen...”

“Not like before.” Reid insisted. “Before, I was looking at it as an illusion. I need to see it again, see it fresh, see if there’s anything I missed.” Quickly he found and pressed his palm against the handprint cloth in the room. It lit up all the way. He turned to her. “Please, JJ. I’m trying to understand.”

JJ studied him for a second. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.” She whispered, her eyes glazed with concern.

“I have to try.” Reid shrugged. “Please, JJ.”

There was silence, then JJ sighed.

“Go ahead.” She said, moving away. “I’ll head back to the island and wait for you there.”


“These things aren’t on the market.”

Hotch glanced at Simmons coldly. “Yes, I can see that.” He was facing one of the massive cutting arms of the drilling machines on the left.

“I mean they’re not on any market.” Simmons protested. “Anything. Open, black, industrial, government... I don’t think anyone’s even thought about machines like these.”

Hotch pinched his nose and rubbed his eyes. “Mr. Simmons, I can assure you, that’s standard for how this case has been proceeding, so instead of telling me about how you don’t know what the metal’s made of, or how the machines are powered, tell me what you DO know.”

Simmons cast another glance at the machine, but reluctantly continued. “Well... they’re too big.” Hotch raised an eyebrow and he hastened to explain. “Like, way too big, at least for closed mining like this. Must mining gear tends to be as small and flexible as possible, to maneuver in small tunnels, to make small, controlled, precise excavations that won’t jeapordize the integrity of the mine and will go only where it’s supposed to go. These things...” He nodded in turn at all four of the machines around the tunnel “...would need a truly massive space to work in, or even turn around in. Trying to drill with one of these in a tunnel like this would be like using a backhoe in a sewer.”

Hotch nodded contemplatively. “So these are designed for above-ground excavation, you think?”

Simmons cast a nervous glance back. “Well... that’s the other thing.”

Hotch expletive his head, uncomprehending.

Simmons leaned closer. “They’re... they’re facing the wrong way.”

Hotch looked sharply at the workman, then at the machines. His face cleared with instant understanding. The machines, as Simmons had said, were too large to turn around in the tunnel. But all of them were facing the agents, with their enormous drilling mechanisms pointed back up the way they had come.

These machines had been drilling TO the surface.


JJ didn’t immediately use the book to return to the island. She’d noticed an odd mechanism back at the slave cages and wanted to toy around with it and see if it did anything.

She never got there. As she was passing through the lower chamber, her eye was caught by a stone tablet, resting on a small crate. She and Reid had agreed, of course, that such things were distractions from their main work and not worth wasting any more time on, but JJ couldn’t help but be curious as to what sort of city this tablet showed.

To her surprise, they showed no city at all. This time, the faded tapestry was adorned with the image of a small stone chamber, with a narrow window showing a glimpse of green jungle growth beyond.

JJ wasn’t quite sure why she did it. Perhaps it was the jungle, which was the most normal-looking thing she’d seen yet. Perhaps she assumed that, as she had the book anyway, she could always go back if it was dangerous. And a part of her was curious, of course, as to what the heck these strange tablets were for, anyway, if they weren’t part of the solution.

Before she could stop herself, she reached out and touched the parchment. In a moment she found herself caught up in the usual teleporting sensation...


JJ found herself as she had foreseen, in a small stone room. There was a bed inset into one side, and some sort of low stone toilet into the other, but no other notable accessories that she could see. A dusty old blanket and a scattering of assorted items crowded the room, but aside from that it was really very disappointingly plain.

There was... something odd, though, JJ noted. About the floor. There was just the faintest sense of being pushed, of a sort of force pulling you to the wall with the window. It was barely noticeable, but as soon as you tried to take a step you could feel it. JJ’s first few steps had her stumbling around a little awkwardly.

Aside from that, though, everything seemed fairly normal, and JJ was disappointed, on glancing around, to realize that the room had no door and could really not conceivably be considered to lead anywhere. She dug out the small green book, glancing at the window as she did so.

Trees, rocks, and waterfalls rushed past her window. For a moment JJ was astounded by how smooth the ride was, then several things clicked into place, and suddenly the force from the floor made sense. Rotation. She was in a rotating building, and like a gigantic merry-go-round, the centrifugal force was pushing her to the edge. Slow, so the push was not great, but it was still there.

Book still in hand, JJ stepped up to the window, pressing up against the bars—apparently this had been some sort of jail cell—in an effort to look outside. She saw lush, green vegetation on the slopes of a cavern of greyish-blue rock, with gushing waterfalls roaring past. Mist swirled deep below, but she thought she caught a momentary flashing glimpse of another building, at the end of a long bridge. It was almost like...

JJ caught sight of the creature.

Almost on reflex, she mean person/people away from the bars, stumbling against the faint push of the building’s rotation. The small green relto book tumbled from her hands, bounced against the windowsill, and, as she grappled at it madly, fell down on the wrong side of the window, dropping out of JJ’s sight.

As she heard the diminishing sounds of the book bouncing and reverberating off a hundred unseen objects on the other side of the window, JJ turned, slowly, taking in the small room and its distinct lack of a door.

She was stuck in the maximum security prison of an ancient civilization, deep in a mysterious jungle on an unknown world.

And she had just lost her only ticket home.

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.
Edward Abbey
a/n: I'm alive, I'm alive! Sorry this took so long to get out, I got sidetracked on a huge Agents of SHIELD crossover series I got obsessed with. Also life has been crazy. Most of this, up to the part where they catch sight of Shroomie, has been written for months, but there was just never a good time to work on it.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 6:42 am 
Obduction Backer

Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:46 pm
Posts: 847
Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah Afalstein and welcome back! ;)

You'll probably want to re-read your prose as the forum word detector has made a number of interesting changes for you.

[Reveal] Spoiler: Also:
The name was John "Fighting Branch" Loftin. You first call him Logan and then later Loft.

There are a few other oddities afoot but since you've said earlier that this is different "instance" of our beloved Cleft and cavern, I will assume it doesn't much matter. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:06 am 
Obduction Backer

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:29 am
Posts: 520
Woot woot a new entry! Few things:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
As Ainia mentioned, it's Loftin not Logan. But, and this is more of a lore thing regarding the Cleft, and as you have already said this is your interpretation so there will be differences there. First, the entry through the volcano wasn't the one that the DRC used. There are, lore wise, two entrances into the tunnels to D'ni. The one in the caldera was used by Atrus and Gehn and was likely uncovered when Atrus' battery test in the caldera went awry. The resulting explosion probably caused the crack down into the tunnels, and what allowed Gehn to come up to the surface earlier than he had intended. The original entrance into the tunnels, Tiana's cave entrance, that was later expanded by the DRC when they brought in their equipment, is roughly 35 miles southwest of the Cleft. For obvious gameplay reasons this is shortened in Uru, but just thought I'd clear that up. There are two entrances into D'ni, Tiana's, and Atrus/Gehn's entrance.

MOULAgain KI: 024104

Chloe Rhodes

DIRT - Uru Live

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 3:17 pm 

Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:43 am
Posts: 39
Location: Texas
ChloeRhodes wrote:
Woot woot a new entry! Few things:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
As Ainia mentioned, it's Loftin not Logan. But, and this is more of a lore thing regarding the Cleft, and as you have already said this is your interpretation so there will be differences there. First, the entry through the volcano wasn't the one that the DRC used. There are, lore wise, two entrances into the tunnels to D'ni. The one in the caldera was used by Atrus and Gehn and was likely uncovered when Atrus' battery test in the caldera went awry. The resulting explosion probably caused the crack down into the tunnels, and what allowed Gehn to come up to the surface earlier than he had intended. The original entrance into the tunnels, Tiana's cave entrance, that was later expanded by the DRC when they brought in their equipment, is roughly 35 miles southwest of the Cleft. For obvious gameplay reasons this is shortened in Uru, but just thought I'd clear that up. There are two entrances into D'ni, Tiana's, and Atrus/Gehn's entrance.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Really? Where do you guys find this stuff out? I have the Book of Ti'ana map, and it only seems to show one. Is it something you've extrapolated from the different journeys in the two books? I can't remember Atrus' battery causing much of a crack... suppose I should read the book again.

I mean, it makes sense (upon consideration) that the DRC wouldn't use the volcano entrance--I always wondered why they didn't have some sort of more traditional method of travel by the cleft, but assumed it was because they'd become accustomed to traveling by book.

I'm divided. I can see where this is the sort of problem that could really pester diehard fans, but it's not something that comes up in the game at all (or even very clearly in the books *gripe gripe*), so I'm not sure I'd want to spend the extra time solving it. Would the caldera entrance still lead them past the drilling machines?

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 5:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:46 pm
Posts: 847
Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
Shorah Afalstein,

Here are my thoughts (for what they're worth :P)...
Afalstein wrote:
ChloeRhodes wrote:
Woot woot a new entry! Few things:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
As Ainia mentioned, it's Loftin not Logan. But, and this is more of a lore thing regarding the Cleft, and as you have already said this is your interpretation so there will be differences there. First, the entry through the volcano wasn't the one that the DRC used. There are, lore wise, two entrances into the tunnels to D'ni. The one in the caldera was used by Atrus and Gehn and was likely uncovered when Atrus' battery test in the caldera went awry. The resulting explosion probably caused the crack down into the tunnels, and what allowed Gehn to come up to the surface earlier than he had intended. The original entrance into the tunnels, Tiana's cave entrance, that was later expanded by the DRC when they brought in their equipment, is roughly 35 miles southwest of the Cleft. For obvious gameplay reasons this is shortened in Uru, but just thought I'd clear that up. There are two entrances into D'ni, Tiana's, and Atrus/Gehn's entrance.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Really? Where do you guys find this stuff out? I have the Book of Ti'ana map, and it only seems to show one. Is it something you've extrapolated from the different journeys in the two books? I can't remember Atrus' battery causing much of a crack... suppose I should read the book again.

I mean, it makes sense (upon consideration) that the DRC wouldn't use the volcano entrance--I always wondered why they didn't have some sort of more traditional method of travel by the cleft, but assumed it was because they'd become accustomed to traveling by book.

I'm divided. I can see where this is the sort of problem that could really pester diehard fans, but it's not something that comes up in the game at all (or even very clearly in the books *gripe gripe*), so I'm not sure I'd want to spend the extra time solving it. Would the caldera entrance still lead them past the drilling machines?

[Reveal] Spoiler: My own thoughts on the matters at hand...
Personally, I've not found much hard information about exactly where the DRC entered the cavern (but then the earliest forum chatter with the DRC members seems to have been lost at some point, if I understand things correctly). However, Chloe's comments about this make a great deal of sense for a number of reasons.

For one thing, it's clear that Jeff Zandi and Yeesha are offering us a non-DRC-sanctioned means to enter the D'ni cavern, so the whole Cleft-business would very likely be quite separate from the DRC work. Historically, only a few explorers were selected originally by the DRC to be allowed into the cavern. However, Zandi began publicizing his Preafter puzzles by hacking into DRC forum accounts and posting commentary and clues there, which led to a much larger number of explorers discovering Zandi himself at his Airstream, who then encouraged the newcomers to follow Yeesha's path and enter the cavern on their own. The DRC found this very frustrating but eventually had to accept reality: these new explorers had arrived and it was not in their power to send them back.

Much of this can be gleaned from some of the old DRC posts at their site forum.

Also, the DRC folk didn't travel by Relto book until fairly late in the game (after they began embracing rather than resisting Yeesha's presence and thus going on their own individual Journeys), so early on, they most definitely would have done everything by "brute force", i.e., transporting all their supplies down to the cavern by hand or burro or whatever. ;)

Once they had found the Nexus linking books, got the Ae'gura book pedestals back into working order and got the KI network up and running, they *could* have taken a Nexus book to their headquarters and begun using that system for transporting themselves and goods to and from the cavern. I think this is very likely but have not found any evidence to confirm or deny this theory.

If they got even more ambitious/bold, they might have found a blank Book and Written a link directly to their headquarters and then kept said Book in the Nexus. However, I've never seen anything even hinting that the DRC members were meddling in the Art.

Regarding the two entrances, it's pretty obvious in BoT that Anna and her father discovered/opened a different entry point into the cavern tunnels while they were investigating the source of the stone circle caused by one of the digging machines. Wingrove describes a series of cliffs nearby the circle, and how Anna and her father began a project of chipping an opening into the face, revealing an old lava tube beyond. The entrance they made there was barely big enough for a young Anna to slip through with her father's assistance. Chloe seems to have access to information I haven't yet discovered regarding its orientation with the Cleft location; the best I've been able to figure is that it and the Lodge are all within a reasonable distance of the Cleft (since Anna and her father could spend prolonged time there fairly easily).

The tunnel route to the Cleft seems to have been mapped by Aitrus later, perhaps when he took his small family on a brief visit to Anna's childhood home at the Lodge. Since Aitrus had helped with the construction of the Great Shaft, it makes sense he knew how close to breaching the surface that path was. The mystery (in my mind) is the apparent paradox of the opening at the Cleft. Although Aitrus blew an opening to the surface from beyond the D'ni seal (where they had stopped their tunnel toward the surface), it's described as being located where Anna originally entered into the D'ni tunnel system in her youth. So it seems that Anna and Gehn used a different exit point when they escaped the cavern at the fall; this same entry was used later by Gehn when he left for D'ni after Atrus's birth and Keta's death. So my best guess is that there is a series of D'ni tunnels very close to the surface, spanning the area between the Cleft and stone circle. Aitrus's map emphasizes the caldera exit rather than the one at the stone circle, strangely enough. I suppose it's possible the map is the work of a number of cartographers, with Gehn or Anna adding more over the years...

Regarding the caldera opening, if we believe Wingrove knew what he was writing about, young Atrus never discovered its existence at the Cleft until his battery experiment. Personally, I find it most unlikely that Atrus hadn't explored his home territory both thoroughly and repeatedly. It doesn't make much sense to me to assume Anna had closed it off in the meanwhile, since her reaction to Gehn's return makes it clear she had been hoping he would come home again.

As with so many other mysteries, I suspect the Bahro are at the bottom of it somehow! :D

Regarding the digging machines, this gets more into conjecture. BoT describes two digging machines that Anna discovered while first wandering the maze of tunnels leading to the D'ni cavern. Judging from the descriptions of the Great Shaft construction, it seems the four machines were kept in various locations, most probably in continuing to open up new tunnels as the D'ni searched for underground resources and expanded their cavern territory. So I've always imagined that the four machines were brought to the Shaft location from very different places, worked together on the enormous task of creating a passageway directly to the surface, and then were returned to their various former projects afterward. In my own mind, I find it very unlikely all four would be kept together, or would have been in use in the same place when D'ni fell, but that's just my own head-canon. :)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 8:18 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:34 pm
Posts: 554
Location: Canada
Yea...I have a trip coming up..../me prints and plans to read while daughter drives
/angelmyst is happy!!!

KI #03313934

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:11 pm 
Obduction Backer

Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 3:29 am
Posts: 520
Heh, looks like I might need to further clarify what I meant, probably should explain a bit:

[Reveal] Spoiler: Spoilers for some potential future content regarding Descent/Cleft/Intangible Stuff
In researching stuff for DIRT - Uru Live, and work on the Intangible project the group got alot of in depth knowledge into some of the Descent/Cleft history in terms of how it was/is being made for Uru vs what appeared in the books. Obviously because of the nature of it being a game, things had to be incorporated at a much smaller scale. One of the areas we/I focused on was the entry point into Descent. Its always been made clear through the books descriptions that there were not one but two entries into Descent, and it was unknown which route the DRC took, and even hypothesized that there might have been a third route. In the interest of keeping it simple, it was decided that the DRC probably used the original Tiana entrance to the cleft, this became known as the Desert Canyon, and if you take a look at the concept art/pictures released at Mysterium this year you'll notice its similarity to Gira. Thats because at some point in Uru's design and change from a single player to a multiplayer game, the starting point of the game was changed. Once the Desert Canyon was abandoned as the point of entry into Descent, that content was re-purposed and used for Gira.

Eventually Myst V came out, and a new entry way had to be made for the start of Descent. Since Uru had already established the Volcano/Cleft area, it seemed natural that they put the starting point there rather than in a newly designed Desert Canyon area. So the BOA entry/exit into the tunnels was chosen instead, and Tiana's/the DRC's entry point was once again left by the way side.

As for its orientation, again, as part of the Intangibles development of the entire area of Descent, we asked some questions of Cyan regarding placement of the areas, relating to surface locations like the Desert Canyon, Cleft, Tomahna etc so that any future Descent related stuff that comes out from the group will be as close to the established lore as we can make them, while still accounting for the gameplay development issues that arrise in scaling some of this down.

MOULAgain KI: 024104

Chloe Rhodes

DIRT - Uru Live

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:07 pm
Posts: 1292
Location: Central Europe
While we’re at it, here there are some photos of actual, awesome Tunnel Boring Machines.

KI #46116. Donate to help the Cavern stay open!
Want to know what’s going on in the Cavern? Visit the GoMe site.

MacOS wrappers, D’ni Lessons, DniTools, goodies.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 11:03 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2013 8:46 pm
Posts: 985
so long as they're not boring tunnel machines :lol:

new MOULa: Acorn1; new Ki: 57213

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 9:02 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 28, 2007 11:46 pm
Posts: 847
Location: The Cleft, New Mexico
ChloeRhodes wrote:
[Reveal] Spoiler:
...The original entrance into the tunnels, Tiana's cave entrance, that was later expanded by the DRC when they brought in their equipment, is roughly 35 miles southwest of the Cleft...

This tidbit presents an interesting puzzle regarding the relative locations of the Cleft caldera, the Lodge and the stone circle/DRC cavern entrance (and Tadjinar)...

[Reveal] Spoiler: Looking at BoT evidence... seemed clear that the stone circle was fairly close to the Lodge (a couple miles at the very most) since Anna and her father made daily trips there and back when they were studying the circle and chipping an opening into the lava tube. The Cleft was described as being about an eight-hour walk from the Lodge, on the way to Tadjinar, which implies to me that it was a great deal farther.

Yet everything I've learned about New Mexico history at that time implies Tadjinar must have been what we now know as Mexico City, the seat of power for the Spanish viceroyalty here in the New World in those days. All of which would mean the Cleft caldera must be southward from the Lodge. Although it would make sense for Anna to travel toward the Camino Real (the direct "highway" to Mexico City) from wherever the Lodge was located, the only reason I can imagine for her not to head directly toward Tadjinar in the process is if there was an impassible barrier in the way (for instance, treacherous country, lack of water or shelter).

Here are the details as stated in BoT:

  • Tadjinar is more than 100 miles from the Lodge
  • The journey from the Lodge to the caldera can be done between sundown and dawn during the middle of summer, so it probably took from 9pm-5am or about 8 hours
  • Anna made the journey from the Lodge to Tadjinar and back in 7 days
  • A few miles north of the stone circle, there was evidence of a massive earth settlement (location of the Great Shaft?)
  • Anna and her father had done a recent survey of land to the southwest, 3 days' walk each way (or about the same distance as Tadjinar, though apparently in a different direction)

In trying to piece all this together, the picture that emerges has Tadjinar and the caldera located to the north of the Lodge. And somehow Anna managed to travel more than 100 miles across the desert while pushing a heavy-laden cart in only three days' time.

Nope, I don't buy it.

Of course, Wingrovisms can explain away pretty much any of this. And it's fairly clear that Wingrove had absolutely no idea of the true location of the events he wrote about (and so obviously had never visited the Lodge, Cleft or cavern). So basically, I'm left with little believable evidence from BoT for the real locations and distances we're dealing with here.

Nevertheless, the Cyan/canon contention that the Cleft/caldera is 35 miles northeast of the stone circle and/or Lodge still implies that Tadjinar is northward. Which makes no sense... Gah! :evil:


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 6:14 am 
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Location: california
I enjoyed reading this. I don't know the tv show so I can't tell how true to that it is but it holds together very well to me for FBI investigators trying to make sense of it all. Quite amusing.

I'll look that up BRB

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