Had I convinced Imagine that I was on her side, that she could trust me with her story? I waited for days and then weeks without hearing from her.
I pursued other lines of investigation, gathering information on the early development of the Calculix. It began with research on entopic light, which is related to the coloured patterns created when pressing on closed eyes. The goal was to track light direction and its perception in an attempt to situate the mind’s will in matter. A functionality was discerned, which was fed into an animator to produce a computational model of the phenomenon. The model suggested how a physical construct might be constructed from light, and this gave birth to the vibrorb, an early incarnation of the Calculix.
The vibrorb appeared as a shimmering ball of energy criss-crossed by lines. A series of codices were formed by the migrating lines, whose meaning was taken to be a function of the neural configuration of the ‘operator’, the person psychically linked to the system. The model was further refined by employing the neural signatures of meditating monks and other highly attuned participants, including shamans in the throes of entheogenic intoxication. Energy scaling was applied to the model and the Calculix was born.
One afternoon I received a single worded text: Coffee? Imagine Summer wanted to meet at the spot we had our encounter several weeks ago.
She entered the coffeehouse wearing sunglasses and an autumn sweater, on which fell her windswept brunette locks.
“I’ve been thinking about our conversation, and I wanted to talk.” Bottled up for too long now her story gushed.
“One of its functions is to navigate and display all the untaken routes in your life’s decision tree, showing the choices made and all the ones that weren’t. It will calculate where you could have ended up, what you could have been. They’re transmitted in flashes once neural proximity is established, often just by touching.”
She recounted entering the holding chamber and, at the urging of her supervisor, placing her hands on the glowing object suspended at the heart of the device.
“I became aware of ancient objections, saw faces being unmasked, priceless sad information… It’s like rolling round dice, bets are never precisely settled.”
She was having difficulty putting her specific experience into words. She believed the Calculix showed her that life is a test, one of billions, used to confirm or deny universal truth.
I asked her why she agreed to it, taking the risk in conducting these tests, and she said it was an interesting question. She suddenly seized up, as if just realizing she was confiding to a near total stranger, of whose motives she should be more suspicious.
I began talking about myself to take the pressure off. I told her that my pure science days were behind me, that I was now a writer researching the history of the Calculix.
“I can’t tell you much more from my end” she finally said. “But I have something you might want.” She handed me a file for upload to memstrat.
“What is it?”
“We talked briefly about Bern Hijkl. It’s his experimental trials, the unfiltered transcripts from the lab archives. Promise me you’ll keep your source a secret.
“I will, definitely. Thanks for your help, Imagine.”
“It’ll be worth it if what you find out can help Bern and the others.”
Was she including herself in “others”? We finished our coffiene and went our separate ways.
[Unbottled is Part 4 of The Calculix Series]