And lo it came to pass that the real world did fracture and shatter and the great multitude did slither between the cracks. Some drowned, some froze, some fell from upon high, some boiled away in space. Others relived the same day for eternity or lived the same life forever, refining their actions with each new lifecycle. They lived the life of their screen idols or became the things they most hated and feared. They went to heaven, they went to hell, they went to middling middle worlds of universal metric metering. And whether they knew it or not, they were all stuck.
Intransients we call them, the ones who can't escape the confines of their monoverse. Not by themselves at least. It's hard to say how many have fallen, the event seems to have taken place on many occasions over similar points in time. Which is to say a series of successive universes, each rebounding from an impassable point in time to resume somewhere in the past and continue forward to the next encounter and repeat. In the weeks and days leading up to the event millions disappear from the face of the Earth and during this latest occurrence at least the dead and the fictional came to life and overwhelmed the planet. Most were distracted when the main event happened. Six billion people gone in an instant and six billion new universes called into life. How many were killed, how many survived, how many have been rescued or hunted down for sport, we simply do not know.
Transients are less commonplace, more extraordinary. Which isn't to make a declaration of racial superiority. Transients treat their intransient cousins terribly though. The time travellers are the worst. The ones that meddle. The ones who don't understand probability and can't understand that history rarely does anything the same way twice. If they're not trying to kill Hitler, they're trying to be Hitler. Or Stalin. Or Mau. Or Napoleon. Or Alexander. They never think about the people that have to live in those worlds after they've gone to wreak havoc somewhere else. There are those amongst us who believe that one monumental historical event changed out of all proportion will correct the flow of time and we may step into the future proper. Many have tried but it makes no difference. Forward we cannot go and the past is just a paddling pool in which we wet our feet and make the same mistakes in slightly different ways. At best we are drifting sideways, sliding into the limitlessness of our imaginations.
Transiency, aka transversing, jumping, cresting, affecting a change, changing up or neo-worlding, to list but a few of the thousands of euphemisms in current use, is the practice of stepping out of one reality and into another. There were some who possessed their abilities before the event but they were few and far between. Some of us had always had innate abilities, but they were useless until after the encounter and certainly didn't trigger any instances of transiency. After the event some found they could change their circumstances through thought patterns and ritualistic actions and artistic outpourings alone. Concentration is the key. Anchoring yourself to a centre and moving reality around you.
One thing we do know, it's all about the imagination. Many have speculated that the event threw people into realities based on what they were thinking about or worried about in that instance. There is good evidence to confirm this. It's been said by some that the barrier in time is the entrance to Nirvana. You only pass beyond it when you think of nothing. Others say that the true afterlife lies beyond that point or the true Armageddon. I've seen each of those fairly minor events a dozen times or more on this side of the divide and they were both passé long ago. Dull too. Some say we've lodged in time because we've run out of ideas. The sooner we generate some new ones the sooner we can start moving forward again.
For now though we have a billion realities to range across, though most of them are variations on a theme. When you've seen one Batman you've seen them all. They are much rarer these days, most of them killed each other in turf wars and purges. Mother Nature does love to clump ideas all together. I once visited this version of Gotham City that had a different Batman patrolling almost every block within the city limits. They had 25 different Riddlers on file, 33 Penguins, 14 Two Faces and 5 Poison Ivies. No Jokers though. Wasn't much of the city left when I was back there last. Just the joker sat grinning on top of the rubble.
The same goes for all the Spidermen and Hulks and Holmeses and Lady Dis and Marylyns and Courtneys and Beyonces and Boadiceas in the world(s). Nature favours variation, so be original if you want to avoid a fight to the death. Also avoid Moriaty and Khan and the Borg queen and Cruella DeVille. Don't be a bore unless you want to end up a dead bore. Also, transients are called that for a reason, you're trespassing in other people's imaginations, so be respectful and be inconspicuous. A cape and a pair pants over your trousers isn't really doing the job.
The methods for crossing the threshold between worlds are as varied as the people who cross them and yet essentially they all employ the same trick. They each create some environmental effect to trigger a neurological response in the transient's brain. This triggers a separation with local reality and passage into some other state. It's about disassociating from reality. It's hard to describe unless you can do it, but I've heard it equated with how people fly in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, where they throw themselves at the ground and miss. It's a bit like that.
There are many ways to distract oneself at the critical moment. Amongst the many methods are audio, visual and olfactory triggers, music, TV episodes, perfumes and culinary aromas. Then there are those who travel on items of furniture or in modes of transport. Then you have the artists and writers who again use their skills in a whole host of ways. Others use weapons and trinkets and sports equipment to affect change. A few, the true grand masters of the art, even move about with little more than a thought.
Let us now look at some of these methods of transiency in more detail. This list is far from complete at present and I will look to publish an expanded version upon revision.
Artefacts represent by far the largest subgroup. These are objects, usually hand held and evenly split between sentimental items and objects of practical use. The first thing to understand here is that as best we know none of these methods have any actual physical effect. The items usually pass through with the transient, but the process is being triggered by the transient's brain and nothing else. Half a dozen blown out MRI scanners attest to that fact. That said, sentimental or fanatical attachment to an object or an idea is known to heighten the desired state in transient subjects and it is certainly true that only the most practiced and powerful can effect a change through will power alone. Most everyone else it seems needs a bit of help.
So for example, I have seen change being affected through any manner of weaponry (swords, nunchucks, lightsabers - fake and worryingly real, a rogue German World War One fleet firing its twelve pounders, etc). Skipping ropes are a common theme for both sexes. Good for creating an imagined cocoon around oneself. Ribbons too. Them less so in men though. There's also golf clubs, rifles, hula hoops, boomerangs, spinning tops, as well as things like music boxes and musical instruments. These work for different reasons that we will return to when we consider auditory association. Suffice to say that most artefacts seem to work by offering safety, imagined or otherwise. They offer either actual safety, weapons and suchlike, or they remind the transient of less complicated times. The latter type are predominantly found to be associated with childhood.
Items of furniture are another common form of transiency. Chairs, sofas, bathtubs and beds are all used to affect change. Actually, beds and bathtubs, together with showers, form part of a rare breed of objects that don't often pass over with the traveller. Oftentimes transients will cross between specific items of furniture in space and time, childhood home to favourite chalet say. But again the methods are as varied as the beds and chairs that are used. Many fly. How can they not when they are powered by human imagination? I've seen furniture jams over the skies of Amsterdam and Timbuktu. Brass beds, four-posters, leather eight seater settees and magic carpets all gridlocked in the sky.
I know a girl can only get any locomotion out of her bed when she's snuggled inside the duvet cover. Says it reminds her of getting inside her quilt as a kid and pretending to fly on it like in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. These days she does exactly that, squashed up quilt like a wheelhouse at the centre of the mattress. It once again demonstrates how important those childhood associations are in transiency.
Cubicles, Rooms and Buildings
Extending beyond furniture, enclosed spaces can create the level of disassociation required to slip into a new reality. Ranging from furniture up to large buildings, the range of mobility decreases with each stage. Once you get up to the level of castles there is virtually no mobility at all and even to get the building moving through reality rooted to the spot can take the combined will of half a dozen people who usually have to be related to one other.
Scaling back down and some mobility can often be achieved. I know a guy moves around in a chip shop. Just rocks up on a shop front somewhere and an hour later he's doing roaring trade and everyone is convinced he's been there for years. Doesn't just have to be a shop either. He kept it as van outside the Coliseum for a few years. Said it got too hairy when Caligula came to power. Moved back to Skegness.
I know another guy can only change up when he's straining on the loo. Bigger the movement, the bigger the change. But when he's finished he might have washed up at the Empire State Building or on the Starship Enterprise. He says the worst thing is always when he's built himself up to go and has to wait for someone else to finish using his cubicle. Can only use that one. It travels with him.
Traditional transportation may not represent the largest of transient groups, but it is perhaps the most effective. Buildings can house a lot of people but don't go very far. Furniture can go places, but is usually restricted to the number of people it can carry. Ships and trains and airships and airplanes can do better. Also everything from bubbles cars to jet packs, cycle/sidecar combos to submarines. If it can be imagined it can be ridden. It all comes with the territory.
Obviously there's also all your fictional craft, TARDIS, Enterprise, Millennium Falcon, Planet Express Ship, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Mystery Machine, the Nautilus, KITT, the A-Team van, the list of what's speeding around out there goes on and on. But again, it's about being inconspicuous. And a skipping rope, say, tends to freak the ancient Greeks out far less than the 1001 idiots who whizz about in the train from Back to the Future III. On the plus side, they do seem to keep colliding with each other in subspace so hopefully they won't be a nuisance forever.
Some just walk. Just start walking and let their mind wander and soon the mean streets of downtown Chicago are replaced by those of renaissance Florence or the back story of an Agatha Christie novel or the background of a Dali painting, being chased away by giant ants. It's all about that process of the mind, all about relaxing and focussing on a spot on the brain. Whatever works, works.
The Howth Craft is a collective term for a number of vehicles all believed to have been designed and built by the godfather of transiency, Andy Howth. The Anna Livia Plurabelle, The Great Hiatus, JH Bonham, Ellington Express, RMS Steinbeck, Operation Moorcroft and others are all known to cross the domains and all have Howth's hallmark about them. We know that by the time of the last event he had been sailing the seas in the Anna Livia Plurabelle for many years. He made Danny Roberts captain shortly before the final shattering, then disappeared. Roberts has spent years in a futile trawl of the domains looking for him. He'd turned up in World War II last was heard, helping James Joyce smuggle Jewish refugees out of occupied Europe in his airship. I have been able to find a few that have been passengers aboard the JH Bonham. They speak of an great expansive gondolier, the main space decked out in antique red leather and a painted dome in the ceiling high up inside the balloon's superstructure. It is said that once up in the jet stream the JH Bonhan can cross any ocean or land mass in a single night.
If you want to sail in luxury though, the RMS Steinbeck is the way to travel. When you think of all the people that that ship has taken to safety in its time. She's a passenger liner plucked from her heyday and decorated in tribute to the writer John Steinbeck, his books and the books which inspired their titles. There are suites dedicated to Adam Trask and Tom Joad, as well as the Shakespeare Concert Hall, John Milton Botanical Eden and the Sea of Cortez swimming baths. The Captain's Table is round, watched over by King Arthur's knights carved out of Portland stone and the captain also keeps a standard poodle called Charlie as tradition dictates. Amongst the crew has arisen a kind of adoration towards the man. Of the three cinemas, two play only films based on the work of John Steinbeck. At any one time half a dozen of the man's books are being read aloud at daily readings.
I have been privileged to travel many times with the crew of RMS Steinbeck and been inspired by the good work they do. It is idiotic that even in this multi dimensional epoch in which we now find ourselves there are still people being persecuted and people petty enough to engage in the persecution. That crew stick their balls on the line every day of their lives to pull populations out of war zones and relocate them to the more sedate corners of the universe. The much lauded Venice Initiative. RMS Steinbeck was the first collective to actively teach people how to navigate pan dimensional space, running seminars like a kind of psyche driven self-defence course. Yet the crew always perform 'Of Mice and Men' on the eve of a journey's end, the great bard looking on impassively from above the Juliet window. Always a sold out performance and guaranteed not to leave a dry eye in the house.
The Great Hiatus is a different prospect. A Dutch narrow boat, Howth build The Great Hiatus for his former lover, the musician, performer and adventuress, Helen Marr. It seems they had a fine old time during their years together. There are records of an Andy Hilliard Howth and Helen Louise Marr answering bail in a courthouse in Shanghai in July 1926. They reappeared two years later in Hong Kong, the local papers carrying the description of a couple who came ashore from a ship like Nelson's Victory anchored in Hong Kong Bay (presumably the Anna Livia Plurabelle). The reports speak of a well spoken Irish gentleman and his English Rose companion. They seem to have been implicated in an incident at Kowloon Station that night. One man was killed and several others injured. They escaped arrest that time and the ship was missing from the bay by morning.
They returned eighty years later and the papers reported their coming ashore as if it was the first time. It seems they relaxed in the day, partied at night. Their names were mentioned in connection to a number of unexplained deaths in Tokyo, they'd been thrown out of India after getting caught up in a plot to buy relics directly related to the Buddha and at least one oligarch had offered $1million for an accurate description of Andy leading to his execution. They travelled as far west as San Francisco together. We know that because of the wanted posters. And yet after Shanghai no one ever got close to arresting them together again.
We think that it was after that second trip to Honk Kong Bay that things started to fall apart. He was unfaithful to her it seems and she disembarked the ship in great haste at Sumatra. Witnesses reported hearing gunfire and we know Howth rarely handles firearms. He felt sufficiently guilty to give her a home though. 'The Great Hiatus' was waiting for her she arrived back in England. She is mostly limited to canal systems and rivers, but you'd be surprised just how far that little boat takes her. Marr has been spotted in Venice, Sri Lanka and Canada, as well as Gormenghast and Wonderland. Even carried across America as freight on the Ellington Express, tipped over to one side.
Howth took up with the O'Connor girl not long after, but she doesn't seem to have been on board very long. They were last seen at his home in Trinidad together. Howth seems to have smoked out and trained more of the pre-event transients than anyone, though they were almost exclusively women. Even Howth's direct descendant, Danny Roberts, seems to be a post-eventer, unless you count his reported knack with animals. Roberts efforts since the event have been extensive and operations like the Venice Initiative exist because of men like him. I called his efforts to find Howth futile, but in fairness they do keep him exploring and finding out new realms and rescuing the dispossessed. The A.L.P. isn't as roomy as the RMS Steinbeck but it's had more refugees in its barracks quarters than any other ship but the Steinbeck. Like the Steinbeck, it is a ship that I one day hope to sail upon. There are one or two questions that I should like to put to Captain Roberts. And quite a few answers.
Transients can be further broken down into active transients (actives) and passive transients (passives) . Actives have free range in a number of directions, passives are restricted in some way. Most of those using artefacts and transport and other objects are currently all classified as actives, although there is some talk of re-grading immobile buildings as passive.
Lifers on the other hand are almost fairly evenly divided between actives and passives. They mostly hold dominion over their personal lifeline as they move along it. Passive lifers generally live the same life over and over again, or any section of one life. However they move through that life in linear time and have no other powers other than the retention of knowledge from previous lives. The best that passive lifers can do is slash their wrists or jump off a tall building and return to the moment of conception. Yet like the time travellers, many never think about the consequences of their actions. Each time a life goes through the next lifecycle a new universe and a new reality are created. Slashing your wrists, jumping off tall buildings, these actions have consequences for the ones left behind. The problem with all the virtual immortals wandering around these days is that life starts to look pretty cheap when you have free access to as much life as you can handle. Personally I think we'll be able to move forward again when we regain some of our humanity.
A special class of lifers are the ones that are stuck in a moment in time replayed over and over again ad infinitum. They are called Groundhogs, for obvious reasons. Yet like the rest of the lifers, they seem to be the engines of the expanding multiverse, chucking out variation upon variation on a theme. Solid ground upon which to lay foundations.
The truly talented active lifers can create multiple lifelines for themselves that stretch space and time and often even credulity. And yet I've witnessed them effortlessly move from one reality to another. Worse for some of their passive cousins who never know what daylight might bring: puberty, old age or a mouthful of tit.
It is said that of all the pre-eventers, whatever else their skills, are all groundhog lifers. The multiverse too. All are stuck between two points in time, one impassable, fixed and immobile, the other a variable based on how hard you hit the first point. Ask Andy Howth. He may have done as much damage as anyone to the integrity of the wall but even his bull strength couldn't penetrate it. It raises an interesting question. Is a prison still a prison if it gives the impression of being infinite?
As we have already discussed, transiency is best achieved when triggering some spot on the brain to effect a change. As Proust amply demonstrated, the senses can have a powerful effect on the memory and power of recall and a specific smell or sound can transport a transient to a specific point or move the traveller great distances at incredible speeds. The smell of a Madeleine or the scent of a lost love are reported by those who move in such ways to be powerful lines of egress. They say the nose is like a jet engine and life's rich aromas are its jet fuel. Strictly a passive breed, the olfactories create activity by deliberate exposure to specific smells. Jets engines some of them may be, but most tend to handle more like a Scud missile.
Beyond even smell , music has the most powerful effect on the mind. Smell tends to be a personal experience, whereas music is often a shared event between individuals. There are many, many couples roaming around the domains and most of them do so through music, often played during sex. Mutual, simultaneous orgasm is essential in these kind of joint adventures and music helps retain a shared sense of time. Of all the methods so far examined, music has the most practical and varied applications and it's worth breaking down the various forms of musical transiency into their subsets.
The first subset are actual musicians. Most musical instruments are artefacts in nature, although the larger items strictly fall under the classification of furniture. I've seen more than one Steinway and upright piano whizzing about with a rug or other surface rippling underneath it. Some have learned to play specific sequences of notes in order to effect change, others have particular songs that they run through. Whole repertoires even. All musicians are classified as actives. The true explorers, the Magellans and Vasco de Gamas of their day, are the jazz musicians. Lydian chords and Mixolydian scales have replaced the need for ships.
There are also the singers. Everything from karaoke to full choirs capable of travelling together. In these days where anything seems possible, many bands find themselves adopting dual roles. The event brought many musicians together and they tour together, gigging and solving crimes in the realities in which they wash up. The amount of bands you see these days riding around in a Mystery Machine or an A-Team van. Most of them, it has to be said, are spectacularly bad at what they do.
Special mention must be given however to two unique bands, The Changing of the Guard and The Cultural Fascists. A Changing of the Guard gig is a journey in itself. They rock up at a place in a circus tent full of bleachers and passage is booked for the concert the following evening like you'd pay to go see the circus. People turn up with their meagre possessions and the Changing of the Guard rock them into another dimension.
The Cultural Fascists are unique among musicians. The only known pre-eventer band. The only know pre-eventer musicians, period. We know this 'cause of that trick they used to play when they played that Radiohead song. Members of the audience would find themselves playing brass instruments that appeared in their hands out of thin air and they just knew what to do. Clips all over YouTube in the weeks leading up to the event.
This girl I met loved musicals. She was quite adept at changing up, but only through worlds centred around musicals. Lloyd-Webber, Rogers and Hammerstein, Gilbert and Sullivan that sort of thing. And that's how she lived her life, jumping from Mary Poppins to Maria to Nancy to Bess. I asked her what happened when women like Nancy met horrible ends. She sang that it was fine, she always got out right as Bill Sykes's club came crashing down. Wasn't she horribly beaten in the meantime though? She sang that it was only for a short time, the bruises never travelled far and it was a small price to pay for every day being filled with the joy of song. She finished on a high C and held it for an excruciating amount of time and I left her to it. It was killing my throat spending even a little time in that place. Time consuming too. Could take two verses just for a simple question and answer. The band were taking their time as well. Playing up to the crowd.
The flip side to the musicians are the people who listen to music, both actively and passive. As with scents, songs create an association, an immediate link to a point in space and time. I heard of a guy who explores the many dimensions with a classic yellow waterproof Sony Walkman and the complete Now That What I Call Music! collection on tape. Paris via Joe Le Taxi or to Harlem with a bit of Malcolm McClaren's Double Dutch. Best he said was T'Pau's China in Your Hand. Didn't know if he'd end up in Maoist revolutionary Peeking or the planet Vulcan.
Many lifers use music as a trigger to specific times in their life. Many of the walkers too. iPods happened at exactly the right time. Music becomes like a tag. If you can pin a sound to a place, a time, an event, you can use the individual notes like stepping stones over a river.
If you suspect someone of being a jumper in disguise, one of the first things you can do is check their possessions for a music player. Most trackers (as active music users are often called) keep emergency playlists for when they need to get to safety quick. Even your Walkman users usually keep a special mix tape safely secreted about their person. Find such a playlist and more often than not you're be dealing with a tracker. Belligerent or beneficent as they may be, you will know in a short amount of time. Trackers are notoriously bad at keeping their emotions under control for any length of time. It's what drives many of them forward into new realms.
There a girl I visit sometimes, keeps a carousel. You ride the inter-dimensional eddies on the back of a wooden horse. The trick is it rotates twice as fast as a normal carousel, hard house pumped in through the PA system. You arrive in each new place deaf, dizzy and veering off to the left.
I said that a lot of couple use sex, but just as many use any number of forms of dance to affect change. Dance is quite a classy way to change up but you have to suit the dance to the destination. Tango is not a great way to travel into the past for instance. Especially the Middle Ages. You can find yourself burning on a stake before you can say cha, cha, cha. Indeed, it can be a real problem for couples who travel together as they are not always in control of their emotions. More than one partnership has met a sticky end due to a deep, sensual dance performed to some mutually meaningful piece of music. They stare deep into each other's eyes and the rest of the room, the rest of the universe dissolves into nothingness and they're boiling to death in the vacuum of space before they know even what's happened.
Couples are reminded not to engage in dance unless they have somewhere particular they wish to go. And if you are going to have sex, take precautions. Forget contraception, keep a survival pack on standby. I know a couple so paranoid by this sort of thing that they now make love exclusively inside a capsule capable of surviving a vacuum. They were going to have a threesome but there wasn't any more room. We can laugh, but they told me the capsule's services have been needed on three occasions so far. Though I suspect its presence increases the probability of an 'accidental' trip up there. Weightless sex is amazing, so they said.
Beyond even music is simple sonic manipulation. Drums in particular have been found to create formidable sonic wavefronts capable of being directed by the ablest minds. The armies of many of the new tyrants use percussion units to march into unconquered lands. Some of the biggest beasts know to man, both mythical and prehistoric, carry great daiko drums mounted on each of their flanks. Some are more than five meters in diameter, rhythmically beaten one side and then the other by great ogres who sit astride brachiosaur or oliphaunt.
Francisco's percussion unit in particular is immense (I've twice had the misfortune of running into it). Everything from snare drums all the way up to three enormous drums, each twelve meters in diameter and carried on the tops of industrial sized trucks, the kinds they used to move the Space Shuttle around on. When that unholy trinity are put into action they can gouge an instant bridge to most places yet imagined. So big is the gap each rips that percussionists have been seen pouring in fifty abreast, thousands of players, filling the air with noise and destabilising the local reality. The invaded peoples are kept terrified and impotent just long enough for the main forces to come through. If you should ever hear far off drums, run. Nothing else, just run. Nothing makes Francisco happier than a good local massacre.
There is also a holy order of blind Franciscans monks who use sound for everything they do. They see via sonar and change up using directed sonic pulses generated by mouth and lungs. And they use those same skills to silently assassinate targets chosen at random.
Artists and Writers
A rare breed but a powerful bunch. Actives every last man and woman of them. Usually very focussed too. Writing and painting have very direct routes to the centres of the brain that trigger transiency and most artists and writers that I have spoken to have found ways to use their skills to trigger highly accurate jumps. Transiency can be a hit and miss affair and it tends to get worse the further away you drift from your natural reality. Like getting caught in the open at night, or in a sandstorm and walking in the wrong direction. Writers and artists don't tend to suffer from this kind of disorientation, although we don't really understand why. It might be something to do with the kind of people who turn to artistic outlets. They tend to already live in their own little worlds anyway and this may act as a insulating barrier around them. It's one theory out of many.
The bohemians (bohemian is to artistic active as tracker is to musical active) also have more idiosyncratic ways of travelling than other subsets. So for instance, I know two men who keep journals. The one has kept a journal every day of his life since the event. Idea came to him on the day. Each evening he sits down and he recounts his day to the journal that he keeps on his laptop. Except it isn't the day he's just had, it is the day he is to have the following day. He has a bit of think during the day, usually over lunch, and writes it all down before he goes to bed. But whether it be boxing Rocky or out-golfing Tiger or deep-throating Marilyn, by the end of the day everything has gone exactly as he foretold, including the lunchtime break to think about the following day.
I asked him if it doesn't get boring always getting what he wants, but he says that no, rather it focuses him in the moment for the most of his day. There are only two points in the day where he has to think beyond that moment in time and for the rest he lives in a kind of heaven. He says that after a few fairly minor errors at the beginning he has learnt to be as specific as necessary for the following day to pass hitch free. Even so, he confesses that he does throw the occasional spanner into the works, just to keep things interesting. He adds that he doesn't remember writing any nosy parkers into his day and goes to rejoin Marilyn.
My friend on the other hand only ever turns to his journal when he needs to transverse. Focuses in on his journal, writes the date and location underlined on a new page and then he just writes for as long as the mood takes him about everything and nothing that has occurred to him since the last journal entry. When he stops and looks up, he has invariably travelled to the time and place at the top of the page. He says it's a rule that he has to write for as long it takes to record everything in his head. Not allowed to look up to see where he is until he's finished, unless immediate danger is perceived. One of the transferable skills of being a reader, he says. You learn to monitor the world without even needing to look up.
This kind of transiency is highly accurate because it can be as precise as a written description. An address and the date is usually all it takes. Like the trackers, my friend has a emergency playlist, a list of safe house addresses to flee to in times of crisis. He told me about of the time he was locked up in the Black Hole of Calcutta. He had no writing paper to hand, but managed to escape by writing on the palm of his hand with a forefinger. Had to concentrate real hard, really believe it. Took days, but managed it at long last. Always keeps spare writing material on his person these days. I thought it best not to ask where.
Once again we see how key the mind is to this entire process. I knew a man affected change with a sword. Got sucker punched in Bremen and wound up in a dungeon. Got his sword back by imagining he already had it. Easy enough to skip to a new world from there. You can achieve anything these days if you put your mind to it.
Other writers tell stories of far off lands or write descriptions of places they would like to visit. Like the Groundhogs many of these kinds of writers turn out to be generators: They themselves stay fixed in one point and create new realms around them. Many writers never get to see the worlds they conjure in their imaginations, nor have any idea that they have done so. I said that artists and writers were all actives, but strictly that is only among the transients. There are many intransient bohemians who contribute a great deal of energy to the expanding brane of possible worlds. They are one of the few intransient subsets that has any influence on anything outside of their monoverse.
Some write babble. Go into a trance and bash randomly at the keyboard. Others go into a trance and do actually write structured, flowing prose, save the occasional typo. Many write in poetry, but this is far and away the least accurate form of literary transiency. Back to Scud missile analogies. You also do come across the occasional writer whose life is normal in all respects except that he or she narrates the experience beforehand and then goes out and lives it. They are few and far between and usually highly manipulative. The fiction writers are the worst. Writers like our felatio loving journal writer tend to be quite self centred and narrow minded. Fiction writers see the world in a different light. They cease looking in the mirror and become the mirror itself.
Every genre of fiction, literary, TV and film, is accommodated along the brane. We may not be able to explore the future, but we can explore what our imaginations thought the future might look like. If your an adept science fiction writer, you must cream yourself every day you're alive these days. To be able to just think up some crazy science fiction place and go there. It is rumoured that the components that make up many of the Howth craft were manufactured in these areas of reality. The science fiction zones are immense, but again they do seem to clump together and cancel each other out at points.
Of course not everyone wants to live in the future and you will find writers living in and controlling narratives set in virtually every age of human history. Fiction writers are powerful and yet they seem to be fairly harmless in the main. Most of the genre specific writers have historically retreated to worlds of their ideal imagination and failed ever to emerge. But to step into their world is to be completely at their mercy. Some are like spiders. They set up shop in the corner of another reality and wait for unwitting souls to stumble into their webs. How so many have picked up a book in a second hand store and never been seen or heard of ever again.
Artists are similar to writers but their creations tend to be even more focussed. Like writers. there are those who like to paint the future they imagine for themselves. Yet painters tend to be more outgoing and the vast majority paint scenes they would like to be in and then walk into that scene. Copious amounts of wine are often involved. Some can walk out again, others have to draw a new scene and live in a universe of infinite regress. There are those who pass into the literal version of the reality they have depicted and those who pass and wait for reality to bleed in as it were. Could be a post impressionistic masterpiece one minute and the same old grimy Wigan Pier five minutes later. One artist told me that if he painted a surrealistic work and travelled inside it, he tended to paint something quite normal whilst inside, which the inhabitants considered surreal. He could then cross back into normal space.
I know cartographers that can travel to any city, current, ancient or imagined, simply by sketching out the main arteries of their streets. Same goes for the architectural architects and artists. More of them around than you might think and it's a difficult enough skill to start drawing Notre Dame from memory. Almost total range of movement through space if you can do it though. Any distance travelled with a few correct strokes of the pen.
Inverse to writers are the readers. Reading is an almost entirely passive experience, although Danny Roberts reminds us that reading is a symbiotic relationship between author and reader. Readers used to be derisively referred to as leechers, because it was believed they contributed nothing new to the multiverse. However recent evidence has shown that in fact readers are instrumental in opening up the dormant areas of the multiverse. For hundreds and thousands of years, men and women had ideas and thoughts and feelings that were recorded in some way. Each and every idea that had ever been held in the memory when the event occurred was effected by the interaction. Every book, every song, every film and TV episode. The ones who travel into those forgotten realms open them up to exploration by others. It's like going in a dusty room and turning on the lights and giving it a spring clean. Readers are also more likely to reactivate obscure artistic movements when stumbling across them in art books. More new playgrounds in which to frolic.
Certain books contain great power. It hardly need be mentioned that the heart of the mighty Anna Livia Plurabelle is a first edition copy of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Her body was built by Howth, but her heart and soul are all down to Danny Roberts. I've heard the Wake described variously as a singularity or a four dimensional anchor in space. Whatever it is, its dense text make the Anna Livia Plurabelle a force to be reckoned with and a source of much jealousy. I hear Roberts keeps a hand annotated copy of the Wake of what passages lead to what time and locations when read aloud. Kind of an A-Z of the multiverse. I know many would like a good look at that book.
Body-Snatchers do exactly what you think. They invade and take over other people's bodies, usually for nefarious purposes. Very much active and entirely devoid of any humanity. If you suspect anyone of being controlled by a body-snatcher, my advice is call a priest and have them exorcised. Sounds silly, but remember imagination is the key and in these strange times exorcism is as good a method of freeing someone of outside influence as any.
Again, narcotics are exactly what you'd expect them to be. Transients who use opiates and barbiturates and acid and alcohol and amphetamine to affect change. Most have overdosed by now. They always have to go that one step too far, take that bit too much for the ultimate change. Sex change half the time. Or ethnicity. Heart can't cope with the forces exerted by a jump of that magnitude. The rest go to old fashioned overdose. Those of us that have survived this long have done so because we know never to use narcotics as a gateway to inter-dimensional change.
When all is said and done though, there are as many ways to transverse as there are transients and many do not fall into any one class. I once met a woman who could travel along the lifespan of any large building simply by fingering the brickwork. She nearly got crushed by a stone at the building of the pyramids, she said, but she lived near the British Museum and loved to take the children up there, all holding hands in a chain. Then off for a lovely afternoon in Victorian London and still back home in time for Doctor Who.
Vernon Naismith could go one better. He would go to the British Museum and anything he could touch he could travel back along its timeline. Naismith's published account of piggybacking the statue of Ramses II back through time is a masterpiece and well worth seeking out (as, to a lesser extent, is his account of the Venus de Milo expedition). Naismith was killed when he identified the wrong statue with which to return the present. He was on a expedition in ancient Turkey and was crushed to death by an earthquake. His remains were only located thanks to a tracking device.
There was a guy I ran into in the back story of Raymond Chandler novel said he managed to get to that version of Los Angeles by, as he called it, his haunted radio. Said he could go a whole bunch of places just by turning the dial through static until he found something worth listening to or visiting. Said the music stations tended to move him through time, while the talk and news stations were more likely to identify anomalies in the local reality. Just had to tune in and focus his gaze on dial a time. He said he'd come from a zombie infested world and had been hauled up in an attic in Franklin County, Missouri when he dialled into this radio presentation of Chandler's Farewell My Lovely. I'd got in via the novel, but we both saw it all in black and white. Same with half the Dashiell Hammett novels you run into. Anything with a sniff of film noir about it and the world is suddenly being rendered in grayscale. Even so, I thoroughly examined that sonofabitch for bite marks and scratches before I let him anywhere near me. When you've had to watch even one person turn into the undead you never forget it, believe you me.
Then you have people like Sarah O'Connor who have great talent in manipulating others. A very shrewd operator, although having no powers of transiency herself O'Connor has grown adept at seeking out those who do and bending them to her will. Cuckoo O'Connor some call her. Then there is Ricardo, Danny Robert's former partner in crime. Ricardo's great original gift was his ability to bring statues to life and control them with his thoughts. Roberts taught him how to hone his skills beyond mere parlours tricks during their years together and by the time of taking up with Dee, Ricardo had become one of the grand masters of transiency. Together they form one of the most formidable unions known to transient kind. Even the likes of Francisco tend to give them a wide berth. Now there's a couple bold enough to tango right in the middle of the Spanish Inquisition.
Someone else I know walks through walls and someone else uses out of body experience to dissolve from one body to the next. I know of one man who builds a cocoon and another who builds a blanket fort. I know of dog walkers, horse riders, hand gliders, scuba divers, sky divers, pastry chefs and crossword compilers, each using his or her skills to navigate and explore the domains. And then there are the countless bits of electronic kit that people carry around with them that they think makes a blind bit of difference to where they transverse. Most of the apps you see for sale are cons, they never do what they say they should. There are some genuine apps starting to appear on the market and these do demonstrate some of the basic methods of transiency.
WARNING: Never, under any circumstances, allow anyone to inject a microchip into your spinal cord. They'll tell you it's to allow transiency, but really you'll be controlled against your wishes and enlisted into some tyrant's zombie army.
The truth of the matter though is that many transients use a combination of methods. As previously mentioned, most lifers that can travel along their own timeline do so using some form of sensory trigger, most usually sound, smell or taste. The likes of Dee, Ricardo and Roberts usemany different methods to affect change. I also use a hodgepodge of methods. Many techniques can be taught by experienced practitioners of the art and there are now many initiatives like that carried out by the crew of RMS Steinbeck that teach transient and intransient alike simple tricks and skills for affecting quick changes, most usually as a means of defence. There are many who see the intransients as a lesser form of life to be exterminated. It is astounding to me how people there are that have such an easy path back to the past still seem determined to learn so little from it. The remainder of us see intransience as a kind if illiteracy. You don't massacre people for being merely illiterate. Rather you teach them how to read.
It's a mad, bad, crazy, brave new world out there. No time, no history, no reality is as simple as it used to be and many still strive to make sense of what has happened. For some it seems as if mere minutes have passed since the great event. Others have lived centuries. Some, like the Groundhogs, have no measurable means of knowing. The new tyrants and their kind seem set on controlling even the seemingly infinite scope of human imagination, but it is a futile gesture. How can all of this be controlled or even conceived by a single mind? One of those very men who went back in time and replaced Napoleon and avoided his predecessor's mistake of invading Russia still lost his entire army in a battle with the people of a Manga universe when he tried to use their reality as a kind of inter-dimensional Belgium. Some call the animated zones Siberia. If you want to avoid defeat these days, forget any thought of invasion of the cartoon realms. They are the great leveller of inequalities. Out there even something as humdrum as a can of spinach has the potential energy of dynamite. Good domain to run to if you find yourself the object of a hunt. Best to otherwise avoid the area.
What has preceded has been a fairly brief resume of the various methods of transiency currently in use, as well as some observations upon the nature of transiency itself. As I have already stated, this is a far from comprehensive and I intend to publish an extended revision at a later date. Taken from my perspective it has been many years since the event and I have grown tired of merely wandering. It is time to begin to chronicle and catalogue what happened and what we have learnt and that way we might figure out how to defeat the likes of Francisco once and for all. Or at least seal them off in a corner of the multiverse. It is one of many problems we might be able to solve. I intend to post this communiqué anywhere people might see it. If it can help just one person get out of a tight spot then that's got to be worth something. Remember, whatever method you decide use, ultimately it's down to you. Only you can make the change.
I have referred to many people here. The brane is an unforgiving place and many transients are hunted down by transient and intransient alike. You only have to think of those intransient bloodsuckers, Enrique and Elaina, feeding off of transients to gain their powers. With that in mind I have named some here but left most anonymous. The ones I have named can look after themselves and have already gained enough notoriety through their own exploits. My name checking them here will in no way increase the amount of attention already focussed upon them. The same cannot be said for the rest and they dutifully remain anonymous.
I paint the current picture as bleak, as indeed it is, but there is still plenty of joy and fun and adventure out there, if only a little bit of vigilance is used. Becoming practiced in a flexible method (or array of methods) can lead to a whole series of fascinating and surprising experiences. Some of the experts appear to be approaching a kind of immortality (another reason I have little fear in naming them here). Over time anything is possible, but go slow to begin with. Have an escape route. Have a safe house and method of reaching it at all times. Develop a sixth sense and learn to trust it implicitly. If you sense danger and your name doesn't happen to be Marr, Howth or Roberts, then run. You can't reach immortality if you're already dead.
In between running, have fun. Enjoy yourself. The new tyrants wish to bring us under the yolk of their monoverse and restore order to this glorious chaos of possibilities. To live in constant fear of them is to hand victory to them without so much as a skirmish. I say no more. Here and no further! Enough is enough. Ya basta!