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Chapter 3 Excerpt

Scene of the Crime

Posted by The Philosopher
The scene of a crime is usually a pretty ordinary place.  It’s significance only detected after the crime has been committed.

The Office is a bland, low rise.  If you are curious, you can find it on a Google Map clearly enough.  When you zoom in far enough, you can even make out the cars parked there, the car spaces neatly marked side by side.  I have gone to the e-inverse to check out the Office.  It looks pretty much the same as it does in the real world – that is if I was a bird soaring above and looking down.

I have often wondered what time of day, the image was taken.  The car park is reasonably full so it must have been a work day – there are not too many who visit the Office over the weekend.  My car though is not in its allocated spot, though.  I know this because I can see the manhole which is nestled in the corner of my car spot that must be one of those access points to the city’s sewer pipes which run under ground.  The lid of the manhole rattles every time I drive over it to park.   Where was I at that very moment, when the Office was captured for Google Maps?  It worries me because I am always at work.   Just thinking about it makes me paranoid.  On the e-inverse records for the ordinary universe I am absent.  Does that mean, that I don’t exist?
The Office is in one of those grey semi-industrial areas, captured between multi-laned roads laden with trucks – very big trucks that are frightening to drive behind, beside and in front of in peak hour traffic.  The only item of note is the absence of trees, apart from the three or four scraggly eucalypt that grow at the front of the Office.  I guess they are there so our employees feel as though they are still connected to another life.  But for all the effort, those trees are overwhelmed by the expanse of asphalt determined to destroy any possibility of nature restoring the balance.
Car yards are littered to the north, east, south and west of the Office.  A forest of mobile phone towers grows at the top of the surrounding buildings.  There was a rumour at one stage that the radiation from these towers was at unacceptable levels at the Office.  Although being the responsible corporate that we called in the experts to check it out.  They found slight abnormalities but nothing that would land the company in court.  I have my own theory about he abnormal readings, and it has nothing to do with services provided by the telecommunication industry.  Personally, I think it has to do with the Vortex, but to talk about that publically would place significant doubt on my credentials.

Just south of the Office are the poor people’s markets.  Every day hawkers trade their wares here – vegetable, meat, fish, woven rugs, cheap furniture, illicit drugs, and broken dreams.   I have only gone to the markets a few times but have never enjoyed the experience.  The crowds that amass here are confused, the haggling is loud, and fine film of grime covers everything.  Fish days are the worst – particularly in summer after a thunderstorm.  Fish remains are flushed into the sewers at the end of the day, which flow underground via the Office.  Unseen but not unscented.

On these hot, humid days the rank of decaying toxic fish rises up out of the sewer through the vents in the manholes.  The manhole at the corner of my car parking space is just one of the many scattered only the length of the sewers.   On these days, I will stay at the Office for as long as I can before I venture out to the car park.   The smell of fish brings back bad childhood memories.

I have already alluded to the fact, that I believe that the Vortex is particularly strong at the Office.  Light and shadows will play the darnedest tricks.   Just walking down a corridor, or into a certain office and the light will shimmer.  For a brief instant vertigo will surge from the base of your spine and swell within your skull, then just before you fall, you fly into the Absurd.
Here the Office is a very different place.  From my many visits to the Absurd, the Office is located at the centre of the Zetoec Realm.    It is not an Office as we know in the Ordinary, but a monstrous fortress sitting at the apex of Tall Mountain.  The fortress is constructed of heavy stone roughly hewn from the local mountain.   Veins of quartz run across the stone, and in some places you can find semi precious and precious gemstones peering out of the stonework.  The amazing thing about the walls of this fortress is that from a distance, those veins of quartz in all colours of the rainbow form an unlikely picture, of a master puppeteer holding the strings of puppeteers holding the strings of puppeteers holding puppets.  At different times of the day, the light reflections make the puppets seem to dance, and sway, and sometimes battle.

Everywhere in the Fortress, you will meet the descendents of all bloodlines.  Here they mingle in the expansive halls decked with the finest tapestries that over the ages are stained with the blood of past engagements.  They bustle down the hallways, all looking as though they are on the most important business for the realm.

Posted by the Philosopher
Busy, busy, busy … sure. Really, you have no time to live? No time to stop and say hello?

There were some parts of the Fortress where you could literally taste power, feel its tentacles slobber over your skin, entice you to walk away from your moral backbone.  But it was at the centre of the Fortress where the Power sat – – sometimes benevolent, sometimes wicked and lecherous.

Over the years, the city of Zetoec grew and sprawled from the outer walls and down the slopes of Tall Mountain.   Narrow lanes wriggled recklessly between the houses, and places of business.  Residents and vendors would fly their allegiance to the realm hanging colourful banners and flags from their stations.
Beyond the city limits were the four quadrants of the realm – North, South, East and West.  They were the pygmy fiefdoms of a larger realm.  The frescoes within the Fortress make record of the conflicts and petty squabbles that would sometimes arise between the quadrants, and as much as they were part of the Zetoec Realm, they begrudgingly looked to the Fortress for leadership and protection.

Reader Comment:
Hey, I just got it.  The Absurd is just Fantasy – right?
Nano Writer Response:
Fantasy! That’s absurd.  Dear Reader, for your own well being I hope you don’t cross paths with a Cordillera, or a Pelagian, or a Kapricorn, or an Aletian.
Reader Comment:
Ha – in my dreams!  What’s all this got to do with Corporate Heroes any way?
Nano Writer Response:
Well, dear Reader, if you are willing to stick with me for a bit longer, I was just about to get to that.  I just wanted to build the context for you, so that when you read about the corporate heroes, you will appreciate what an unlikely group of people they are.


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