The Laser Fiction - The Incipient Correlation









In Memory
Sean Pettibone



An Incipient Correlation

Viewing the cluttered, disorganized pages at the correct angle and position appeared to form a tangible meaning on initial inspection. The symbols appeared to follow a coherent structure with consistency allowing the incomprehensible markings to form lines that created a nearly-legible caption to the inferred readings. Infiltrating the elaborate defenses the tangled symbols formed was deceptively complex, requiring greater exertion than anticipated. It was a draining task but my persistent efforts were gradually proving worthwhile. This helped substantially and I saw patterns emerge, though I had to examine the pages closely in order to see them emerge from within.

This was rewarding to a substantial degree, elucidating surreptitious demarcations as I surveyed its guarded pages. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for substantial barriers to emerge. Embarking further into the enigmatic pages, examining its incomprehensible rows of characters with renewed scrutiny, the book tenuously revealed only scattered purpose and disjointed insights. Its resolution, function and meaning remained elusive despite my best efforts. Concentrating my energies on specific symbols or characters appeared to reveal scattered insight but nothing appeared to coalesce, determined to frustrate my attempts at unraveling its mysterious purpose. I spent an inordinate period on a specific symbol scrawled indeterminately across one section. These notations appeared to be hand-drawn, added on the margins as some kind of note.

It wasn't obvious precisely what that particular illustration represented. The possibilities leapt around; it might have been a warning, a subtle reminder, perhaps a clarification, anything at all. It wasn't clear who made the notation, or what motived their unheralded appearance. After some thought and contemplation, I eventually arrived at a tentative indication of where the unworldly composition might have derived. Observing subsequent pages closely, I saw scattered notations scattered in the book, none of which appeared to change the over-arching structure substantially. Its pages were densely constructed, filled with endless arrangements of symbols and characters I couldn't comprehend. I looked over towards the other side of the room, then across the long table into the navigator's circumference. His eyes were drawn completely into his surface task, managing to explore the pages uninterrupted, He seemed lost in contemplation, exploring the pages within his undefined volumes to the exclusion of exterior events.

I didn't intend to interrupt his concentration and decided to forge ahead with my own task, in order to discover at least a partial solution to the intractable forms it presented. I looked towards the fastidiously arrayed books across the room, their nearly invisible spines illegible from that distance, offered little help or support. Looking at the outer perimeter, I briefly glimpsed the edge of a flowing cloak peeking out from the sides towards the farthest encroachment as she silently moved beyond the narrow corridors without elaboration, Intangibly removed from the immediate surroundings, she maneuvered herself safely. She vanished completely, extricating herself from the tower and it's constrained immediate surroundings, venturing beyond external scrutiny into a temporal field I was unable to breach.

She held an unexpectedly reticent disposition, despite our lengthy acquaintance. Unconcerned with my obstructed viewpoint, she settled on a course, determined not to diverge from her predetermined path. This left me unaccompanied but I didn't feel that she abandoned me, her presence manifold despite her intangible appearance. Her cloak was highly effective and I was impressed with the ease in which it allowed her to move, vanishing beneath its dark cloud effortlessly.  She glided across the floor quickly, her back turned away from me, leaning over to hide what she was exploring. Returning to the intimidating volume, I managed to forge a path though several pages without making much progress. I attempted to locate recurring signs or symbols that might repeat through the pages, which might bring a manageable order to its impenetrable characters.

Straining against their unworkable assemblages, they appeared to form a tenuous connection, without tangible objectives. Examining the undulating symbols carefully, I took them literally, attempting to read them from east-to-west, then attempting the reverse with little effect. Attempting to mark a coherent notation was forbidding, tracing their surfaces across multiple pages only added confusion. If I'd known more about the veracity, structure or purpose behind the unintelligible characters, the task would have been simpler, but the persistent complexity and recalcitrant mysteries created on each page withstood my efforts to resolve the book's intransient defenses. Flipping through the book repeatedly with quickly increasing velocity and determined resolve offered little respite; it purposely set in place, determined to remain out of reach defying my efforts to detangle or understand.

It appeared that my efforts weren't making much headway, without the foundation to determine the book's functionality, there was little chance I'd untangle its interwoven paths without assistance. In the end, it didn't matter which direction I viewed it from, the imposing book would reveal little or nothing. Growing increasingly dejected by the impossible task it presented, I eventually decided to cease further incursions. I slowly closed its cover and slid it half-way across the table. I observed it take a unobtrusive position effortlessly where its spine seemed to dissolve before the entire book appeared to sink beneath the surface, covering its tracks, hiding its contents before retreating into its secure position. This left me little consolation; I'd wasted valuable energy resulting with nothing to show for my time. I sat back in the chair and leaned back, unsure of why Gemine had given me the book in the first place. I took another long gaze onto the table and noticed something I hadn't noticed before.

Sitting unobtrusively on the table, another book seemed to have appeared. This was strange, I thought I was seeing things. There was no indication as to where it had come from. I stared at it nervously for several minutes, unsure if I was allowed to open it, or what it might contain. I looked at it closely and there were distinct differences. It was taller and slimmer than the first book. It was outside my immediate reach, and I'd needed to lean over, almost full-tilt, if I wanted to take hold of it. There seemed to be a kind of contradictory barrier surrounding it, imploring me not to venture further, yet simultaneously tempting me to forge into the unknown. I was torn between these competing motivations but eventually managed to work up enough courage to take hold of the book. Stretching across the table, I made tentative contact with its edge, before moving across the table to take firm grasp of its cover.

I managed to take control of it and returned to the chair; holding it close before examining it carefully. Initially, I was disappointed that I couldn't determine the meaning of any of the symbols, either on its spine or the back. Examining it carefully, I nervously held it in my hands, reluctantly. It felt like intruding into a secret realm, unsure what would happen if I looked at it too closely. Its sudden appearance on the table felt predestined however, and my circumventing realization that it probably placed in front of me purposely. I decided to pull it closer and examine it from a closer perspective. It wasn't immediately clear what precisely its surface represented but there was an unapologetically resplendent cover on it surface that appeared to be a vibrant illustration. Bursting in vibrant color and detail, the image conveyed an unexpectedly welcoming disposition, inviting me to embark on the journey without trepidation.

It wasn't immediately clear where the image had derived, I couldn't place its exact location from initial glances, and looked at it carefully seeking clarification and determination. Appearing to represent an elaborate natural vista, the innumerable plants appeared to stretch past the borders that contained them, reaching towards a untethered atmosphere, swirling in waves of clouds and streams of air gushing far overhead. Beneath its upper portion, I noticed a sequence of diminutive structures of indistinct form planted in what resembled intricate mountainous terrain, strewn with sharp rocks and heavy stones.

Simultaneously majestic and somewhat intimidating, the picture revealed additional layers as I examined it closely. I felt its inner pull begin to take hold, its mysterious vista unfolded at a massive, incomprehensible scale that was difficult to rationalize. It appeared that specific objects had individual energies. They appeared to shift position, their meaning and purpose changed depending on what angle it was viewed from. The smallest changes in my position directed significant differences. Tilting my head slightly upward or taking a small step backward changed their meaning and appearance substantially, despite remaining ensconced in static form.

Certain areas appeared barren but additional details came to light from different angles, offering distinctive formations and shapes. Individual elements converged to form larger structures, narrow branches intertwined to form thicker paths, subsequently eliciting elaborate responses and from the skies. Observing it carefully with intensifying concentration, I managed internalize the outer illustration's composition quickly, hoping that studying it closely would assist my understanding of the pages ahead. This wasn't a certainty, but it seemed to be the best approach.

After taking a moment to replenish my energies, I decided to open the cover to discover what the inimitable book held within. Almost immediately, I was surprised; it was nothing like I expected. Instead of a cluttered appearance consisting of endless configurations of inoperative symbols, an elaborate illustration filled the majority of each page. There weren't elaborate descriptions, only small print along the bottom, placed apologetically. I couldn't help staring at the elaborate compositions extensively.

On my initial survey, the book appeared to be an oddly serene catalogue of travels to distant, uninhabited locations beyond reach in ordinary circumstances. It seemed strange that many of the areas weren't populated. Whether this absence was a conscious choice or a reflection of the deserted, vast spaces encountered wasn't immediately obvious. Each picture depicted a different landscape, some festooned with forests, plants and flowers of varying density. Other forms appeared to depict structured environments with manicured buildings surrounding vast formations of steel, concrete and otherworldly materials derived from unknown sources.

Many appeared simple in design and construction, covering the landscapes sporadically. Other paintings resembled large puzzles that overwhelmed the surrounding landscapes. Covered with innumerable interlocking buildings that spiraled upward in improbable directions and unlikely angles, some resembling the vines from the more natural setting of accompanying illustrations. I noticed a recurring theme of elaborately-designed structures that seemed to extend at sharp angles, soaring into the horizon.

Looking at the book's illustrations closely, additional thematic patterns began to emerge. The style was elaborate and careful for the most part, there were occasional flourishes that drew attention from the surroundings, but these were limited. Each robustly drawn illustration showed impressively detailed environments, seemingly alive in presentation. None of the illustrations felt like rough sketches, instead maintaining an otherworldly consistency They maintained a consistent level of quality and detail, each one seeming to bring its world to life in resplendent fashion. After flipping through approximately two-dozen pages, it became apparent that each of the illustrations had probably derived from the same brush. There were noticeable similarities between the illustrations in style, presentation and spacing. It seemed odd that such divergent locations would maintain an unexpected consistency, but a number of differences were also notable.

A significant number of figures appeared non-threatening; set silently beneath tranquil surroundings, while others felt more threatening and ominous. Underlying some of the sections was a emerging sense of incompletion. It appeared in some instanced, that there was only time for partial drafts, with many finer details left unfinished. A further divergence emerged as I examined additional pages and discovered repeated locations that appeared in decidedly altered form. Viewed from different angles at various times of day and night, some extending into subsequent seasons.

The immutable, resounding compositions illustrated divergent consistency without revealing tangible evidence that would help me comprehend their inherent purpose. A fiery vista overlooking a boiling lake under relentless pressure from relentless heat was followed, several dozen pages later. It depicted the same elusive spot from a hibernative perspective, the lake frozen into solid retreat, its churning currents stilled and hidden under ice, from the cold skies above. The previously dominant, unyielding searing heat completely retreated underneath thick layers shadowy clouds. It appeared these redundant locations held significant meaning, given their pronounced, deliberate repetition, but what precisely their appearance signified remained elusive.

I found myself drawn into the compositions, exploring their unexpected paths and divergences, my attention thoroughly engaged by their elaborate design, attempting to decipher their creation, admiring their uncompromising detail and resplendent qualities while furtively attempting to unravel the motivation and purpose behind undeniably mysterious origin. Before realizing what was occurring, the enigmatic book took unspoken command, drawing me ever deeper inside its transfixing pages. These remarkably detailed paintings created an invigorating appeal, simultaneously mesmerizing and challenging.

As I examined their brush-strokes and admired their acuity, they metamorphasized becoming increasingly resilient, converging together to form an increasingly powerful field of view it became increasingly difficult for me to look away from. They coalesced in resembled an open portal as my eyes succumbed to its overpowering constructions, allowing me to explore a series of distinctive, alluring and hidden environments, apparently scattered throughout the universe.

Approximately separated by immeasurable distance, they appeared intangibly connected to each other while maintaining a great remove from each other. This presented an inherent contradiction that was difficult to reconcile using only the presented illustrations, despite the obvious resplendence of the paintings that emerged unapologetically from within its thin pages. Attempting to decipher meaningful insight from the ebullient yet reticent book was exponentially complicated by its lack of structure. There was no indication of sequence, distance or importance. It required an intuition that was beyond my capabilities. This secondary task quickly overwhelmed my efforts and I reluctantly decided to take a respite in order to reorganize my priorities.

I closed the book firmly but quietly and surveyed the surroundings. I wanted to ask some advice but was surprised to find myself alone, sitting in silence at the side the long table. I looked past my immediate area, but found no signs of activity. Not even the slightest shadow appeared beneath the surrounding shelves. Her fastidiously arranged volumes tempted me to look further, but I knew better than to intrude into her work and disrupt the meticulously cataloged books she'd assembled carefully. Resisting the urge meant I'd have to solve the book's quandaries without assistance. Looking towards the shelves, made my decision easier. The long rows of incompressible texts they held offered vanishing reinforcement, without elaboration. This was disappointing on some level and I wanted at least a little bit of help. Deciding to follow a more pronounced tactic, I stood up and looked around for any signal as to where the navigator might have gone, but he'd completely disappeared. It was unclear how much time I'd spent examining the book. I surmised the navigator managed to work through his volumes quickly.

He'd probably grown impatient with my putative, inconsistent efforts and left me to explore its unfolding pages without needless distraction or unnecessary pressure. Returning to the desk, with a manner combining deliberate resilience with an underlying reluctance, I sat down and began flipping through the pages again. I decided quickly that this particular book was set in the correct position; there was no need to turn it sideways or upside-down. I held its opening pages once again and hopefully examined them a second time, carefully looking for additional details I might have overlooked during my initial overview. There seemed to be a significant chance that something previously unseen might emerge. Without interference, I'd been given a chance to review the pages again without distraction. I decided to take full advantage od the opportunity he'd unexpectedly delivered.

I wasn't able to consistently locate significant additional information. For the most part, I encountered minor details such as unexpectedly complicated cloud formations, additional structures layered within other forms and sporadic, indistinct figures became visible, emerging plaintively beneath some of the larger objects. It wasn't immediately clear what these nearly hidden forms determined. The diminutive elements might have represented important elements, or merely showcased largely meaningless artistic flourishes. Without external guidance, it wasn't obvious what exactly I should have sought within the illustrations.

Attempting to find a consistent signature or symbol of some kind, but nothing stood out. Instead, the elaborate paintings reproduced on the pages appeared to convey an unarticulated journey, apparently forming an elaborate travelogue. It's disparate elements gradually converged, without prompting. When taken together, they created a larger canvas, consisting of connected, aligned areas. As i turned each page, the divisions between the spaces dissolve. The book began resembling a extended excursion that occurred through various locations, with persistent elements that appeared scattered at first, but became increasingly pronounced, inescapably unavoidable upon closer examination.

I felt myself drawn into its pages to an even greater extent the second time I engaged with its formations. Actively searching the book for recurring elements required a concentrated effort. I was no longer flipping the pages and responding only to the admittedly transfixing aesthetics. Gradually, I realized that I was looking beneath its robust surfaces to determine whether the paintings contained clandestine signals. I spent an inordinate time looking into its deceptively tranquil surfaces, nearly hidden paths and invisible portions lurking on the illustrations' perimeter.

I was more patient and determined than I felt capable of initially. but somehow managed to locate enough promising elements to keep my motivation high. I managed to subdue my impatience without adequate concurrence to arrive at a firm conclusion. Maintaining sustained interpretations was difficult but I managed to take immediate control, heading without hesitation straight into the book's robustly illustrated pages. It took a significant amount of effort and it took extensive exertion to draw anything significant from beneath the paintings and illustrations' shallow surfaces. I decided to maintain patience and persistence.

It took substantial time and sustained effort until something unexpectedly occurred. Taking a comprehensive approach, I looked over each painting in great detail not skipping over seemingly deserted or insignificant sections. This was a slow process but was proven worthwhile when I began discovering unexpected objects concealed within the elaborate constructs. Several illustrations didn't appear to contain immediately visible indicators, and I had to examine them thoroughly to reveal what if anything they might contain. Several of my efforts were met with empty gasps that felt designed to stymie resolve. I didn't allow these sporadic blockages to deter me from my mission. These unproductive portions remained invigorating from an artistic standpoint, resolving their value from that perspective. These occasionally frustrating intervals achieved the converse effect, reinforcing my determination to seek resolution.

Reaching a consistent level of exploration and resulting extrications, the book's task overtook the larger picture. Obscuring the larger objective, however uncertain. I began to sense that something had gone amiss, I had become far removed. I'd managed to get lost within its pages, before realizing what was occurring. I looked at a memorable composition, unfolding into a stretch of robust land beneath a formative atmosphere that seemed to form a protective layer encircling its entirety. I leaned in and as the picture grew, it felt like I was falling directly into it, searching for additional detail. Despite my strong efforts to counter its hold, I found myself surrendering to its ingratiating design and immediate appeal.

Before realizing what was happening, I felt myself falling into its trap, searching obsessively for hidden sections and secret indications, which might not have been present. I'd subconsciously ceded control to the static image, losing sight of its importance while focusing on a narrow band of possibilities, dwelling on seemingly insignificant details at the expense of the surrounding area. The room's overwhelming emptiness was intimidating, but conversely reassuring. It allowed me to survey the paintings with intensified focus, taking a fastidious approach. I looked closely, carefully excavating each painting in order to discover recurring symbols and patterns contained within. Discovering certain emergent forms and what appeared to be similar characters wasn't immediately obvious.

An inordinate number of these mysterious forms reappeared in succeeding compositions significantly altered, changing position and location with each painting. It was difficult to internalize and decipher their varied forms. Some appeared larger or smaller, others appeared from different angles, upside-down, completely reversed or combinations of each. Many of the symbols were purposely obscured making them even more difficult to visualize. I relied in part on the accumulated work from previous paintings, which allowed me to recognize symbols that might have been partially hidden. Extrapolating each from the margins and shadows was somewhat tedious, I carefully noted their positions and relative prominence.

After completely several incursions into the compositions, larger patterns gradually emerged. I wasn't entirely sure what they actually represented, but after extensive incursions, the most sensible conclusion appeared to be that the arcane characters indicated relative direction, approximate distance and position. The brevity of each arrangement meant the accompaniment for each illustration occasionally consisted of a single, tiny, almost-illegible character in the background, with locations elaborated little beyond cursory explanations. This fact didn't make the paintings' any less resplendent, but the elusive nature and reluctant nature of the visible symbols lent the paintings a pronounced defensiveness that was difficult to reconcile with their vibrant immediacy and unapologetic resplendence.

Despite this contradiction, I remained enamored with them, and the illustrations appeared to become increasing elaborate as more hidden aspects came into view. Concentrating on their intricacies unfolded additional layers that took over my consciousness thoroughly, with room for nothing else. My focus was sharpened to the point that everything surrounding my location dissolved almost entirely. Books arrayed on the distant shelves seemed to submerge within the nearby walls, whose structure and determination appeared to vaporize when I'd sporadically look up from its mesmerizing pages. There seemed to be no one else around, I didn't hear slight rustle of steps echoing from the nearby corridors. Returning to the book with increasing fascination and determination, I was increasingly confident my mission was unfolding in a promising direction.

Examining additional paintings with pronounced resolve, I discovered additional indicators and symbols that reinforced my previous efforts. Aligning with previous pages, my eyes encountered additional repeated symbols that appeared to form a coherent message. Deceptively simple in shorter bursts, their extended correlation formed an intangible yet unmistakable indication. Unable to comprehend the full measure of each symbol's significance due to their elusive design and clandestine function, I was undeterred. With nothing to discourage me, I forged Insistent paths to dislodge the paintings' surreptitious barriers. Utilizing an incremental approach to each composition revealed an unarticulated caution; I didn't want my eyes hastily gliding past anything significant. The paintings reluctantly revealed additional insights, erratically entwined with surprising durability; they appeared ready to converge into a singular explanation; I neared a threshold that would offer tangible insight; their complex solution nearly within grasp after extensive, focused work.

This only reinforced my determination, and I felt a surge of energy invigorate my efforts. I continued my excavations with additional motivation. Every small piece I managed to chisel from the innards of the mysterious paintings gave me another element, gradually setting place for a significant convergence. The directives and denouements that emerged from the paintings grew exponentially elaborate and inherently fascinating. This unlikely combination effectively combined to form a hypnotic field that covered the pages. It succeeded in drawing me ever deeper into its initially inaccessible yet increasingly manageable puzzle. My attentive demeanor maintained its steady hold throughout my incursion. The book held steady while I surveyed its paper for additional inconsistencies and aberrations that might prove useful. Despite examining certain paintings repeatedly for specific inducements, there remained occasional areas that appeared to offer little to no elaboration. No hidden symbols or characters were discharged from within those sections, whether rendering flush or barren landscapes.

It seemed they'd been purposely left open, innately designed to deliver frustration over elaboration. These paintings revealed nothing to divulge despite my persistent, concerted efforts. It was unclear of this was an organized approach designed to distract and delay an unwelcome intruder or merely an indication of a dormant area. Those empty sections existed largely counter to the predominant structure, that yielded consistently useful results. This instinctive approach wasn't as efficient as it might have been. This became somewhat frustrating. I needed to remind myself that I wasn't familiar with the language, vocabulary or dialect used. I had to make conclusions based largely on relative intuition and subjective observation, which further complicated and constrained my capabilities. This required my full attention for an extended period, it was difficult to measure precisely, but I estimated about several hours had passed. I narrowly managed to achieve a sustained pace without encountering impediments to the path ahead.
The images before me were unavoidably connecting as I surveyed them with increasing precision, their interlocking forms and divergent approaches began to settle into an almost predictable rhythm, that transfigured from initial complexity to complimentary structures. Many of these arrived after extensive investigation. I had to look carefully and began holding the pages closer in order to gain productive perspectives. This simple technique was unexpectedly effective and further immersed me into the book to a surprising extent. It felt that I'd become fully immersed within its pages as derived an unspoken hold over me.

Drawing closer into its pages revealed details and initially hidden from view, the surreptitious connections and unseen structures within only became visible with careful observation. Appearing as a series of disconnected symbols, they began converging in an unexpected manner, leading further inward, it felt like a series of doorways opening slowly. I followed its direction as closely as I was able, and my eyes fell deeper into its elaborate labyrinthine paths, following the untraceable lines and undulating curves into their distant horizons. I'd become thoroughly preoccupied, demonstrably enamored, falling underneath its spell.

Something unexpected occurred that initially didn't seem that important upon initial inspection, but grew more relevant as events unfolded. There was a an indeterminate force that pushed my upper back, like someone was shoving me. I yelled out in reflexively in surprise, but there was no response. I looked around to locate the source of the unexpected confrontation, nothing was immediately visible. It was probably nothing significant, probably explained as a stray gust of air from the walls, caused by an unexpected burst from an misfiring section of pipe or a minor air-duct malfunction. The unanticipated burst created a momentarily upsetting interval but its impact quickly faded since there was little subsequent follow through.

I quickly resumed full exploration into the book's illustrations, concluding it was probably nothing. I gave it little further thought; I was already thoroughly preoccupied with my primary task. The paintings maintained an underlying prominence; I wasn't about to allow a minor breach to disrupt my concentration. Several minutes passed and I felt a stronger push on my back, this one connected with determination and pushed me ahead in the chair about half an inch. This wasn't expected and I jumped up and stood up straight, alerted that something was out there.

Looking quickly around the room, it remained empty, with no sign of anything out of the ordinary, I looked at the seat where I was ensconced, carefully examining its visible surface. There were no indications of anything untoward. Examining on the other side of the room, the doorways remained closely held in dormant position, having not budged since their stealthy departure. This was odd and I turned back towards the table and conducted a somewhat hurried, tenuous survey of the surrounding areas for signs of any strenuous, formidable or malignant forces.

Nothing had been moved as I carefully looked over its surface, attempting to locate anything that would indicate disruption. I took a few steps back towards the table and sat down putatively, watching nervously for something else to occur. I waited in silence for several uneasy minutes until I heard something unexpected. It began as a sequence of faint echoes that gradually grew stronger. Reverberating from the surface, the noise felt sharp and determined until it reached the entrance. My muscles tensed, nervously anticipating what it could be. The doorway opened quickly and I almost immediately recognized Gemine. She was standing beneath the frame in a manifestly defensive posture.

With apparent concern, she looked around the library quickly to make a quick inspection.
Nothing appeared out of place. Gemine scanned the shelves and volumes and seemed relieved that nothing was disturbed. Taking a step into the room, she examined its perimeter then moved to its inner portion. There'd been an audible breach, but nothing of lasting physical significance. She followed with a cursory measure of the room's circumference. She firmly walked towards a particularly important group of shelves, measuring and inspecting the assemblage cautiously, visually inspecting them to ensure the volumes remained in her meticulous order.

Gemine quickly reassured herself that nothing was amiss before eventually turning her attention in my direction. She hastily asked if anything untoward happened to me. She seemed a tad flustered, and somewhat disoriented. She took a breath and regained her composure before explaining that she heard some commotion in the distance. This alerted her to potential danger and before realizing what happened, Gemine found herself sprinting towards the room. Its reinforced walls contained and protected her collection, but she had to make sure that everything was secured. Gemine remembered I was there as well . She said she agreed it was probably an inordinate noise from a ventilation duct. Nodding affirmatively, I thanked her for the concern.

She turned her attention towards me and I noticed she was equipped with especially sharp heels protruding from beneath her long gown. It was immediately enviable, unfolding in precise, yet ebullient design. Its smooth surface unmarked by wrinkles or folds, highlighted by elaborate accouterments throughout. Her extravagant and elegant dress was bright and transcendent, sharply contrasting with yet conversely complimenting the simple black cloak and tiny spots the earlier mysterious figure displayed. I was accustomed to something more humble, but her outfit appeared surprisingly practical.

It gave her freedom to move about the tower in unfettered fashion, its long sleeves held close, and the design had obvious flourish, but not overly elaborate enough to get in the way of acts. Its shape immaculately tailored and designed didn't cause distraction, distinctively-designed gown tastefully covered with elaborate fields of shimmering polka-dots. They appeared to float just above its fabric, appearing to form a protective barrier surrounding her. Her outfit created a contradictory effect, making her simultaneously magnetic yet distant and removed. It lent her appearance an unmistakable vibrancy, immediately memorable and inherently distinctive.

She took several cautious steps closer and looked me over carefully, from top to bottom. It wasn't immediately obvious what she was doing, it appeared that she was searching for possible injury that I couldn't see, but I quickly realized that wasn't her driving motivation. I stood nervously across from her and stood still patiently. I assumed this would allow her to make a full examination with great speed but quickly realized she wasn't interested in my health status, unsure what she might discover but confidently hoped it wouldn't be anything malicious. Her eyes narrowed as she appeared to position her focus on my physical body.

I hoped that hadn't caught anything or suffered some kind of residual bruises from the unexpected jolt of wind. She leaned in and examined me carefully from several different angles before stepping away. Gemine held her thoughts at first, but couldn't help expressing disappointment with my dishelmed appearance. She sounded annoyed that I hadn't put more effort into things. She decided not to dwell on this and quickly moved on, and began pondering something else entirely; representing an unarticulated demand. I waited nervously for her to elaborate. Enduring several tense moments, It came as a relief when she eventually arrived at a tentative conclusion I hadn't anticipated in the slightest.

Gemine began to speak, her words took in expressly measured tones, at a noticeably slower pace, I realized she was choosing her words carefully. She began by making an unexpected point confessing her initial lack of imagination. She apologized for not recognizing me sooner. This comment caught me by surprise, since we'd only just encountered one another for the first time. I spoke up and inquired if she'd gotten me confused with somebody else. Gemine carefully deflected and explained her dilemma. She expected to encounter someone who was much older. It was difficult to make such an unexpected adjustment, but she tried as best she could to accommodate the circumstances. Walking closer, Gemine cautiously extended her hand towards mine, reassuring me that it wasn't her intent to frighten or overwhelm me. She signaled that was acting unexpectedly protective of her surroundings, while keeping in mind my perspective was manifestly altered from the anticipated vantage. She turned her attention to the book sitting plaintively on the table, and opened it with surprising casualness to its approximate center-section.

One particularly elaborate page displayed a particularly redolent illustration that was difficult not to dwell on. She conceded its beautiful design, but asked me what my thoughts were about its inconsistencies and discordant elements. Highlighted by untethered gravity an uneasy alignments in the skies, it seemed like a world on the cusp of significant disruption. I examined it in depth as she watched, carefully tracing its divisions and before stitching them back together in hastily-patched reconstructions that revealed previously unseen elements. I outlined the numerous symbols and hidden characters contained within each composition, and proudly pointed out a series of symbols that jumped out almost immediately from the visible pages.
After my brief, unsatisfying explanation, I looked in her direction expectantly, anticipating her immediate approval and concurrence. She didn't share my immediate enthusiasm and seemed to have arrived at a manifestly divergent determination. It speared her systemic decisions and formulations had drawn themselves a contrary objective; she was thoroughly misaligned from my path. Instead, she appeared disappointed with me for unknown reasons. She looked in my direction, then focused on the book she'd given me, quickly switching focus between us silently several times, wondering how I'd managed to reach such a startlingly divergent objective despite sharing precisely the same starting point and extremely similar invariable factors.

Taking several long pauses, while intuitively considering her next course carefully. Taking a step back, then forward, she finally managed to make a concession to our imposing task, somewhat confused state of mind. Gemine apologized for the book's unexpected complexities, unforeseen elements and numerous imperfections. She realized that something had occurred outside her anticipation that she couldn't mitigate or recalibrate. She added that she sympathized with my situation. She knew first-hand, that it wasn't east to avoid getting distracted by the innumerable texts, their intrinsically distracting volumes and hypnotic pages.

This initially represented a complete over-reaction on the surface; however these weren't typical books. I took the book off the table and looked through its pages quickly, knowing what her words were portending. She held her immediate thoughts, and contemplated her response carefully before speaking I admired that Gemine paused to consider things and waited until she was confident. When her voice kept its inner council. Her eyes slipped downward then closed, as she entered what had become her intuitively hesitant interval. Her silent disposition undermined any lingering uncertainty. It countered any reservations that could arise, the discouraging became illuminating, depending on perception of the circumstances. I realized her strangely distant, perceptive demeanor would reveal a larger purpose in due time, but it difficult to make sense of her intangible actions initially.

Creating such an elaborate avenue of contemplation frequently required her to undergo extensive meditation to reach satisfactory contemplation. On the surface, it might have appeared that she was wandering alone through a pronounced cognitive detachment, her mind pacing back and forth across the surface without direction. Observing her closely, the inverse perception emerged. There was a tangible purpose and objective reasoning behind her intrinsically opaque technique and demeanor. This usually proved worth accommodating after began carefully elaborating the indistinct forms in front of her, converting their impenetrable layers into straightforward directives and practical solutions.

Her unusual method required a determined reticence, layered insulations, and unwavering patience leading to unanticipated conclusions and contrary perceptions. Waiting was rewarded in a cognitive measure of unarticulated yet significant meaning. In this particular case, the reward ran diametrically counter to expectations. She came to a halt, her pacing ceased, signifying she'd arrived at a conclusion. Her eyes released from partial slumber and the haze lifting almost immediately. Turning in my direction, she looked directly at me and guardedly began articulating her concerns. She took on a deliberate, coordinated approach. Gemine's forceful manner blended unforeseen comprehension with resulting elaborate explanation. She'd anticipated the circumstances and made contingencies and for precisely this outcome.

I realized that she probably spent an inordinate amount of time carefully selecting that particular book far in advance. However, she hadn't allowed for the unexpected circumstances surrounding my unexpected difference in appearance, sudden arrival and altered perspective. Gemine wasn't prepared for such a profound shift on my part; confessing that she'd been caught off-guard by my inexperience and limited knowledge. This elicited a confounding response on my part. I'd apparently taken a different path in my research than she anticipated. She'd hoped for an immediately visceral, more pronounced and emotional response to the illustrations on my part. She was disappointed that I expended such an inordinate length of time looking for hidden secrets within the lustrations. She commiserated and told me that she understood that the paintings could hold pronounced interest on my part. Elaborated, telling me in furtive confidence that she herself had become unexpectedly distracted by them at times. She managed to understand the conflicts pulling at the edges.

She maintained a distance with practice and concentration. She advised me to follow her lead and investigate them carefully. Gemine wanted me to avoid the constraints she'd fallen into and avoid losing myself within their unseen confines. She wanted me to transcend their attractive environments and beautiful details. Warning me stridently, she told me the paintings couldn't be allowed to predominate to the point of ignoring the surroundings sections. If I allowed myself to lose sight of the overarching destination and predominant objectives, the potential for falling into an endless circle of ritual parallels would become too great. Pausing momentarily, her mind switched approach suddenly. She walked over and stared at me directly before posing an unsettling question. Asking with surprising unease, Gemine wondered if I recalled anything within the book's resplendent pages. I'd never seen the book, or anything like it, previously. Her line of inquisition was immediately perplexing on its face. I wondered how I was supposed to remember those unadorned illustrations, since I'd never pursued them previously.

This was startling and I couldn't summon a satisfying response. Instead, I attempted to change the subject. I asked Gemine how she'd gotten such an unusual name. This caught her off-guard it seemed. She paused for a moment, unsure of how to respond. She though about things for a moment before responding. Without going into much detail about her background, she gave me a tantalizing measure. Apparently, she'd been born during a dual eclipse of twin-moons, explaining that it was a relatively rare occurrence. She didn't need to elaborate further; I was impressed and more than satisfied with her intriguing explanation.

Her position quickly returned to the lead and clarified, then expanded her initial question. Instantly realigning her focus. She asked again me if I remembered anything similar, extrapolating that she actually meant to ask if I'd encountered any other places during my travels, or encountered anything with the other figures, in the immediate past. This allayed a significant degree of my confusion, making me feel surprisingly inadequate. I hadn't managed a parallel journey, I explained the book felt almost fantastical to my eyes. Shaking my head negatively; I nervously defended myself, quickly reiterating further that I held no memories of reading any similar books.

It quickly became obvious that I hadn't previously travelled anywhere that resembled these intricate, elaborate landscapes. Upon Gemine's further inquiries. I clearly told her this was taking the wrong path. I hadn't deciphered hidden directions or locations contained within; there was no way I knew these places. I hadn't encountered anything resembling those indeterminate arrays of characters and symbols. She was noticeably disappointed and perplexed by my evasive answer and accepted my partial, imprecise explanation with pronounced reluctance; it seemed she expected more from me. My theories as to their origin were probably simplified, misguided, or inadequate. Gemine quickly managed to change tactics again. Without dwelling on the lingering, conflicting questions that lingered unresolved, she avoided searching tangible solutions. This realization appeared to elicit a pronounced shift in her disposition and perspective. She'd appeared to change her search; deterring to forge ahead on an different path.

She shifted focus and examined the room carefully, looking for further elucidation. Her eyes sprawled in uncertain directions for an uneasy period before she finally decided on her course of action. Beckoning her attention back in my direction, she carefully surveyed the table repeatedly. Eventually, her efforts resulted in an unlikely admonishment. Stating her disappointment loudly, she proclaimed that she found its narrow, short and empty surface wanting. She walked away from it clearly disappointed with the table's inarticulate response.

Its constrained perimeter appeared to shrink as she moved away and subsequently appeared to sink into the ground. Looking beyond that point, the room fell further into defense posture. Its rows of shelves gradually diminishing, appearing to sink and slide back into the walls. Gemine paced nervously towards the diminutive shelves, their confines offered limited protection. This combined with the complicated, unsteadiness behind her questions, and my tenuous and uncertain responses made her disposition increasingly curious. It wasn't clear precisely what she was intent on proving. She repeated the questions; inquiring about my previous situations and experience, keeping her reactions to my increasing confusion and mostly to herself. She appeared to share some of my dislocation; perhaps our signals had crossed or we were expecting different things to happen.

Gemine remained determined to find something within the innumerable pages that would forge a connection or dislodge memory of a previous incursion on my part. I didn't answer her forlorn questions, not because I didn't want to, but because I couldn't, despite my efforts. Her words echoed through the halls unanswered, creating a diminishing field that reverberated unsuccessfully. Despite her insistence, there was no honest way I could answer in the affirmative. I decided to return to the desk once more and opened it again. I examined the illustrations thoughtfully but remained unable to elaborate much further beyond a primarily aesthetic reaction. This seemed the most likely explanation, at least enough to temporarily dissuade our lingering doubts.
These elaborate artworks remained resolutely elusive and strangely remote. Appearing distant even when examined at close range, their surfaces impenetrable and elusive despite my best efforts to internalize and comprehend their inordinately complex layers. I recognized sporadic parallels on second look, appearing occasionally. Maintaining a largely unspoken distance in their visual consistency and unarticulated qualities, they remained deceptively complex. Without a key to open their meaning, I had to guess. It appeared the repeated symbols held significance and marked something of importance. Despite renewed efforts, I remained unable to decipher exactly what these signals were attempting to convey. At the margins on the corner of my eye, it was apparent that Gemine was becoming increasingly frustrated. Her unanswered inquiries were only succeeding in causing confusion, making things even less clear. The inherent contradictions and contradictory implications her imprecise words denoted created a rapidly forming what rapidly came to forge what became an insurmountable breach.

Following the erratic line of inquiry would have resulted in our arrival an immovable point. Gemine realized what was occurring and prevented it. She took a step back from the precipice, and quickly recalibrated her disposition in order to avoid a detrimental incursion. There was no possible route we could follow that we could expect to resolve the impasse, much needed to remain hidden within the volumes, potentially invasive aspects that she wouldn't allow beyond the room's four walls. Certain elaborate passages and accompanying resplendent visual elaborations within held particular conclusions that couldn't be adequately explained in appropriate context or detail at that juncture.

Pondering our entanglement she held in place for a few minutes and stood at the periphery in mute contemplation. Closing her eyes and not saying a word, Gemine appeared to fall into a deep period of integration. Watching carefully at a respectful remove, I decided not to interfere or disrupt her intuitive trail of thought. I was surprised to see how stable she appeared, not shifting her weight or bearing in the slightest. Standing tall and straight, not allowing any distractions to interfere. Appearing completely in control, without a trace of haziness or entropy she maintained a clear disposition without saying a word.

I sensed her arriving at a rapid conclusion and her hands rose slightly across her sides before re-opening her eyes. Walking with tremendous agility, glossing past me before standing at the edge of the room. Her voice loud and clear, a firm denouement had been achieved. Speaking with unexpected clarity, she made her intentions clear. She'd decided we'd spend enough time advised me to retain their base-line structure and outlined periphery in memory, but advised me not to dwell on the intricacies for the time being. I was disappointed with this approach but not surprised; not much tangible was on display, it was time for us to move ahead and focus on the immediate task before us without becoming distracted or lost within the compositions' intricate, noncommittal layers.

Initially disappointed by making little headway within their thickly shrouded surface, I unconvincingly attempted to reassure myself that I'd resume my studies of the book. This would take place at an unknown point in the future. It might take years, before I'd encounter it again. I'd have to remember the book's location, and its' specific compositions and before the tome's underlying mysteries would resurface. I could always return later after we'd arrived at our objective. I knew I had little time to dwell on it. She pushed forward without further hesitation. She began walking in pronounced movement towards the exterior doorway. Her stride came to a halt as she stopped to look back in my direction. This gave met the opportunity consider the possibly at hand and couldn't help wondering what our next excursion might entail. I decided to leave the book on the table for the time being, there was no one else nearby who might disturb it our move it from its current location so I wasn't particularly worried.

She didn't take long before reaching another equally decisive conclusion; walking with renewed confidence onto the corridor's undiminished path. Remaining embroiled in our previous situation in the library's limiting space, wasn't proving productive. Gemine admonished me to keep my attention focused on the next step. It was imperative to regain composure, or we'd end up locked up here for an extended period, our misguided attention distracted; its temptations throwing us off course. I walked in her direction at the edge of the hall without further elaboration. During the intervening moments, she'd managed to forge a path ahead that was far more promising than waiting passively for a straightforward resolution to appear from the ether on an non-descript page in a random book.

We could tread water within the tenuous space but this obvious approach wouldn't produce tangible results. She'd decided to leave her library behind for the moment, not forgetting the lessons learned, but realizing their limitations. We needed to stand firmly before the nebulous situation we faced, without allowing ourselves became inescapably intermingled with the unstable surroundings.

She quickly determined that this unstable period her putative inquiries accidentally revealed, needed to come to immediate close before additional doubts could arise. This surrounding uncertainty kept us from our most important objective. Gemine effortlessly managed to implement a remarkably quick pivot across the table and took possession of the book once more and put it back in place, quickly examining it for any damage before carefully sliding into the shelf. It took position effortlessly, falling back into place exactly where she'd taken it. The book appeared to camouflage itself, gradually diminishing in significance as it sat alongside the other volumes on the long shelves. We stood back apace, observing cautiously as it shrank further, submerging almost completely beneath the walls surrounding the collection.

She turned in my direction and forcefully grabbed me by the hand. She noticed my reluctance but signaled there wasn't any more time to go back. She shook me out of my stupor, before rapidly heading towards the library's outer periphery past the desks. She moved ahead forcefully, almost sprinting further ahead of the arrayed shelves and borders and ran breathlessly until we reached the doorway. I wondered where precisely this sudden urgency had arrived. I followed her lead, running to keep pace, falling behind a little but never lost sight of her. I wondered what purpose she held; her motivations remained inconclusive.

It was a strenuous endeavor, leaving me little time to contemplate her reversal, she gone from handing me the book to snatching it away without pretext. Apparently, I'd discovered something hidden within that she didn't anticipate, but I couldn't be sure exactly what it might have been. Our removal from the library's confines seemed unplanned, leaving little time for questioning. She didn't elaborate, moving quickly past its protective threshold, until reaching her objective; and resting momentarily onside the outer hallway. She turned and pulled the doorway open. It sprung back into action as she quickly passed through its barrier. I followed her lead quickly and places only half-a pace behind her. I turned around and the door closed, seemingly automatically. It then locked itself quickly and the inner sanctum beyond fell back into silent repose, its mysteries safely shielded from view.
Somewhat relieved, but also noticeably frustrated, she turned towards my direction and nodded her head affirmatively. It seemed we'd gotten out of there just in time. Whether its pull was too strong to resist, or if we'd accidentally managed to entrap ourselves wasn't immediately clear. An unmistakable measure of relief crossed her expression but she waited cautiously and watched the door close quickly behind us after we passed through. I wondered why she was acting forcefully, exiting the room without further explanation.
Gemine pushed us beyond its inner-perimeter before we stood outside the shuttered doorway, looking into the long corridor. She waited for me to settle down from the sudden extraction, allowing me to regain my balance and perception. Taking little additional pretext, Gemine explained that she was impressed by my progress, but she observed an impending barrier. She worried that I'd end up inexorably trapped within the book's deceptively engaging pages.

Her contrary tactic imperceptivity worked to undermine the surroundings, magnifying itself to an inordinate degree. Instead of gathering information and learning useful techniques, I become lost within the accompanying layers, distracting myself with minor details. She indicated that my situation was increasingly alarming, from her perspective. I stood on the precipice just outside the doorway and looked across the corridors, unsure where precisely we were headed, but realized I couldn't dwell inside the library without it transfiguring my sensibilities. It was easy to surrender to the book's charismatic illustrations.

Fortunately, she arrived to pierce its hold and her presence shattered its hold. Realizing that I'd spent an excessive period on preparations, I decided not to repeat that mistake. Despite the short-length of our convergence, I trusted Gemine's motivations implicitly. I felt a deeper connection to her that I couldn't rationalize but felt completely natural. There was an unspoken connection that intuitively precluded defensive remove. Watching her walk down the hallway in determined fashion, I sensed an unspoken confidence that she knew exactly where she was going, regardless of external forces attempting to delay our excursion.
I carefully maintained my guarded position a few long paces behind her, mirroring her without doubting her motivation. I was grateful she'd delivered me from entropic stagnation. I owed her loyalty and deference at the very least, and I followed in her wake quietly without a sound, maintaining a respectful remove while she fearlessly forged her path. My eyes regained focus with unnatural speed, I was able to extend my horizons and felt counter-currents of relief overflowing, providing a welcome respite amid the prevailing confusion. This newfound flexibility opened a greater horizon.

I overlooked the uncertainty of not knowing precisely where we were headed; and felt myself reinvigorated watching her reluctantly take the lead. Despite her reticent approach. I was innately curious and found myself becoming inexorably drawn to her. I was inexorably immersed, observing with her intuitive approach, inherent resilience and unanticipated capabilities. I couldn't help wondering what she might have hidden within her next approach. Walking at a safe remove within her shadow in respectful yet attentive silence presented the only tangible path for me to follow that might reveal the objective motivation underpinning her surreptitious journey as she travelled further within the tower's impermeable corridors.

- Michael Palisano