Imagine a window...
A window, looking out on a green meadow, a world knowing no artifice, a jewelled field of emerald hanging under a brilliant sapphire sky. A window leaking little strands and streams of color, flowing from the frame like flames down the wall, pooling on the floor, staining the gaps in between the ceramic tiles an iridescent blue-green.
Imagine a glass retort filled with hazy cyan, drawn from tailings from the growing, glowing stain wrapping its tendrils across the tiles. Imagine it sitting on a pristine laboratory bench - one of two dominating the room, centerpieces of science set in cement and stone. The white-tiled, sterile, antiseptic-smelling room is clearly a laboratory; that or some complex, arcane clinic, a room containing one lab bench would have to be some place of science - yet feel that flicker of uncertainty that nestles in the deep structures of the brain, and know, buried somewhere at the root of all perception, what the master of this laboratorical world knows: that such conceptions are misleading, products of connotations created artificially yet organically in an interfacing social construct created by the mind. So stretch yours a little, and let her in...
The Sociologist strode through the doors of the laboratory, down the aisle between the countertops of science; behind her the doorway fell apart and dissolved into the stuff of dreams - strange, papery dreams, the room following in her wake becoming drawn in lead, then crumpled - creases forming in the shape of reality before folding it all to a nothing that was less than vacuum and yet more, a space that could be and was not, not yet. The benches remained intact for a second’s delay, hovering in the bizarre potentiality as the laboratory cracked and shattered along non-Euclidean lines, before they, too vanished from existence with a hyperbolic pop. Her lab coat billowed behind her in a nonexistent wind, yet every strand of her prussian-blue hair treated the wind exactly as it was, and refused to billow no matter the incentive. Perhaps it had to do with the single lock of prehensile hair that gripped a pen and took copious notes on the clipboard in her right hand, defying the flimsy excuses for rules that science dared to deem necessary for operation.
It is said that science stands on a pyramid of purity, deriving the universe from mathematics downwards:
Physics dictates the presence of electrons and charges, begetting chemistry, the interactions between atoms and molecules;
Chemistry begets biology, the creation of complex organic systems from those molecules, patterns replicating and reproducing in a race for life’s survival;
Biology brings forth the mind, the most complex organic system ever created, feeding inputs into neural nets, unconsciously harvesting and analyzing the results, begetting psychology, the ultimate study of self-awareness;
And a hundred, a thousand, a million psychologies together, mobs flowing in a fluid dynamic - there, psychology spawns sociology, where the pyramid analogy crumbles and falls. For what pyramid has its apex buried in its own base?
The Sociologist knew this in a way that was both secondhand and like a backhand across the face; it came from something else, but it affected her nonetheless. She had had - once - now - forever - a duty, to learn and to understand the shifting mathematical sands of interacting psychologies, the wild strangelets of individuals in groups constructing odd and illogical fantasies. And yet they nonetheless followed a new logic, a different system of reason - she was the bastion, the studier of the constructs created by the minds of the multiverse, and what she knew became her - as the duty had become her too -
The final, free hand, gloved in leather, picked up the flask as the last of the room returned to void, and lifted it to a light on the border of existence. Hues from either side of cyan pitched endless combat under the pallidly brilliant glow, lit by the eldritch across the edge of the imagination, teal against celeste versus aquamarine and electric blue, turquoise and magic mint locked forever in battle. Eddies flailed in the streams as colors fought for dominance, flashes where combatant shades conflicted among themselves, sparkles where little criticalities unfurled the world within the glass.
“I said, one moment.”
Cyan-irised eyes, reflected in the retort, broke their owner’s gaze to meet those of an apparition hanging in the unblank void of what-ifs and mays and perhapses - though it was through clouds of coulds, by far the most populous members of the potential space, that the stranger pushed through. As it approached, it took on specifics, as if winding details from the unfocused haze about it: a rumpled tie, a worn business shirt over a prison uniform, smashed sunglasses - exuding an aura of strange, broken confidence, the sort exhibited by those who are positive that this time, this time, they’ve overreached their boundaries, yet they forge ahead because circumstances could hardly change, for better or for worse-
The Broadcaster looked haggard above all things, worn out and used. The neatness and mania that so often ruled his power, the duty to broadcast and communicate, upon suppression by a restrictively punitive environment, had turned into something...else. Something broken and dangerous.
“I’ve held for many moments in my life, Sociologist.”
There was a pause, punctuated only by a quiet, insidious glare. Broken with: “Aren’t you supposed to be incarcerated, Broadcaster?”
“Phone privilege...a necessity, a blessing, to say the least-”
“Not to us.”
The Broadcaster’s visage managed to force out a faux-shocked look. It resembled a breed of neurotic dog wearing a pair of shattered shades and an expression suggesting a loaf of bread. “Please, Soccy. Show some hospitality, at least.”
Another room formed angrily around them, wood-paneled walls violently bonding with broken, half-truncated screams of echoes of crashes, the sound dissipating as it struck the sea of uncertain future.
For a fraction of a shard of a splinter of a second, the Sociologist’s coat reflected bright, potential cosmos, starfields and galaxies, cesious streams of reality binding the world in light-
Then without ceremony, a wooden chair spun out of the air and hit the carpet with a hollow thud at the Broadcaster’s feet. In another blink, the fireplace built in one of the walls burst into flames, with just a touch of menace, then sat back and lit the sitting-room with a warm, suffusing light.
With care, the Sociologist placed the flask of color on the bar. “Your ‘battles’ are still going, Broadcaster. Little cataclysms of death and pain, of revelations and stories. Splendor and government and entertainment and mystery and war, the settings on which those you have recruited set their chosen to fight and destroy. They are still going, with or without you. Why, then, are you here?”
Gingerly, the man in the prison uniform picked up the chair, as if afraid it would bite - which it failed to do so, being for most intents and purposes an ordinary chair. He sat, and watched as his host stepped behind the bar, pulling out a bottle of some unknown vintage from a space in a direction that seemed to lead beyond perception. His nerves, shot, yet tried to recover their composure: “A very nice gedanken room you’ve made here-”
The bottle spun, flew, shattered on his face; red wine sprayed, as did red blood. “What. Do you want.”
Seething, he stood as he bled, trying valiantly to control his voice- “I want you to host one. A battle. There is...no need for hostilities!” -and failed, the last words coming out in a scream of a being jailed, trapped, desperate for a duty taken away, grasping at straws to vicariously live through any outlet that could be given-
Slowly, the lock of hair lowered the second bottle, and the Sociologist narrowed her eyes - considering the options, calculating outcomes, converting the situation to an analyzable system...and smiled, understanding the proposal.
“Yes! Yes! A social experiment - that’s why it must be you; do you see?!” The Broadcaster raised his hands in exultation, a genuine smile breaking out on his worn face-
She held up a pale hand. “But I could do this on my own. Why do I need you?”
The hand waved, dismissing the stricken, fallen Grandmaster. “Go home, Broadcocker. Go to Jail, do not pass Go, do not collect a salary...”
The carpet, walls, fireplace dropped away around them, and the haze of indefinite causality rose to claim them all, and with them they took the Broadcaster as he slumped, his whimpers fading to nothing. The audience was over... but the show was just begun-
The laboratory continued existing once again - though now it was a larger space, the benches pulled against walls a stadium apart, the leaky window a postage stamp under a ceiling gone into infinity. A book, untouched and new, appeared on a birchwood desk by the window, fibers woven from firmament at once real and not-yet-real - and in a trice, the scene completed itself, the world returning to consistency.
Blank pages, bound in leather, fluttered in the conditioned breeze playing across the birchwood desk, their off-white sheets rising and falling like the breath of some papery beast.
The Sociologist lifted the glass flask of shifting colors to her eyes once more, observing the warring hues in an ever-changing stalemate, in chaotic, uncontrolled, wild, violent, vivacious deadlock. The eyes in the reflection peered into the flashes of tint, tinge and saturation with a new light, the light of the real, casting shadows that played out deadly acts on the tiled floor, shades making shadows making battle. Her eyes held a new gleam, of experimentation’s genesis, the commencement of a new catacylsm-
And in the Sociologist’s slender hand, a fountain pen brought itself down to the first of a thousand pages, then without ceremony, without fanfare, inscribed:
Journal of Sociology
Imagine a coat, on the shaking shoulders of reason and science.
In your mind’s eye see it defying both, reaching across existence.
And it is stars...
Welcome, one and all, to the sixth battle in Season Intermission!
Rules, rules, rules, and a guideline
I wanna sign up! What do I doooo?
The soft deadline is ten days from now, Friday May 4th, across that extremely variable timezone sort of thing that happens which tends to stretch days over 36 hours. During that time you’ll have the opportunity to express interest (in the form of a traditional ‘reserve’ post) and profiles you’ve written. After that, there will be four more days, until Tuesday May 8th, where those who have expressed interest will have the opportunity to fulfil their reserves. No profiles will be considered after May 8th. Then, you can inflict tremendous psychological torture on me as I try to decide on an eight-player lineup!
Signups are CLOSED!
If you have any queries, questions or concerns, contact us at #grandbattle, the IRC for all things Grand Battle!
Seriously. That should be your first port of call.
- Sanzh: Elise Pestarztyn (#4B644B)
- Ixcaliber & Solaris: Blake Richards (#000000 and #FFFFFF on #818181.)
- TimeothyHour: Nemo (#FF0000 on #FFFFFF)
- Wojjan: Miss Blacklight (#de512e)
- snowyowl: Oli Nelson (#6300A5)
- ~ATH: Jean (#207070 on #EEBEBE)
- dynamicEquilibrium: Simiel-6-Class 2431-Model Individual-CA-0083 (#000000 on #0099CC)
- Palamedes: Dr. Alberich Von Wissenschaft (dec.) and Mr. John Doe (dec.) (#006400)