We had been waiting for some time, 32 shifts from green to red had 
passed by on the blur of light at my feet. Might have been half an 
hour, or an hour, but it felt like a week. Cranium was meditating, 
loudly. Two tiny Mr Swarms were playing catch with a mote they 
found on the floor, the large Mr Swarm idly watching. Hex was 
brushing her hands across the walls, mumbling to herself.

"Oh!", she blurted as the floor rose under her heel.

"My condolences, I misinterpreted your perambulations." a small 
form bowed and continued, "Your quarters have been finalized, they 
shall be more than satisfactory. Come." 

We followed our guide around a corner to a large circular room with 
4 doors spaced evenly around it. Behind each door laid a nearly 
triangular room that terminated in a large curved wall, glowing a 
calming amber color like firelight. A long low bench, about 4 feet 
wide, ran along one wall, a portion at the end held a thick 
mattress below it was a folded stack of various bedding. The other 
wall contained a long counter, with a small sink near the door. 
There appeared to be a small selection of books on the far end.

"Please, refresh yourselves. If you wish you can inform yourselves 
with the materials we've left in your quarters. When you are ready, 
meet here in the central hall." our guide continued, "We are 
anxious to begin our conversation, please notify that you are 
prepared with the device on the table." Our guide flattened into 
the floor, and small table and 4 benches arose out of it, on top 
was a large button-like object.

We adjourned to our temporary quarters. I found a towel near the 
bedding and spun it experimentally, then tried the sink.
It turned on the moment I stuck my towel under the faucet. A clear 
liquid was familiarly pouring out of it. It only made towel wet, 
and didn't seem to have any negative effects on my gloves. I gave 
the towel another twist and snapped it in the air.

What appeared to be books were a collection of tablets, each marked 
with a number of angles in ascending order. I picked up the last 
one, there was a nearly formed 7-pointed star on the edge. I 
flipped it over in my hands the same motif appeared on each face.  
I went to hold it up to the light, but the moment my second hand 
touched it a blur of light flashed before my eyes, and I was 
outside in the wasteland. Startled, I dropped it and found myself 
still standing in my room. 

I walked out into our lobby, and checked the other doors - everyone 
seemed to be consumed by their tablets, so I returned to my room and 
grabbed the one marked with only one line on the edge. Instantly 
I was standing outside, before whatever catastrophe we saw on the 
surface of the planet ever began. The sky was the same blue/purple, 
dotted with high whisks of clouds. The sun shown a pale red, making 
the freckles on my arms appear black. I looked down, and found 
myself wearing a red Tommy Bahama and linen slacks. We were on the 
light side of the planet, near a lake, surrounded by short squat 

"Welcome to Nalmyke, 46 Billion years ago..." a narration began. I 
put down the tablet and picked up the second one. "The Glodan 
Empire reigned from 2900 to 1700 years ago. Their power extended 
from the Afram Sea to the Frozen Spires of Durklunt..."

Miles below my feet was a large ocean, The world spun across 
hills and valleys, simple trade routes, lakes dotted with tiny 
ships, and finally across the horizon where frozen cliffs touched 
the sky in perpetual darkness. A lone track led into some sort of 
fortification built into the cliffs face.

"...Glodians power also came from their ability to sycrentize with 
other cultures, their own culture fascinated with the art and 
socio-political theories set forth by the Flalo people before them, 
who also desired to seek out new arts, technologies, and advances 
to society." Onyx busts of kings and great thinkers whirred past me 
in space like I was supposed to recognize them. I set the tablet 
down and walked back into the lobby.

"You can take off that mask, already" Hex said, balancing her 
athame on her finger. "The water in the sinks has a bit of sulphur 
in it, but it's fresh."

I pulled off my mask and wrestled it into its compartment on my 
back. The air was heavy, and pleasantly earthy.

"The others still immersed in history?"


"Find anything out?"

"You didn't finish either?" Hex didn't wait for my response. "I 
skipped around. From what I can tell, they co-evolved with our 
ancestors. Built several great civilizations before being attacked 
by aliens and uniting as one people with the aid of another group 
of aliens.  Unfortunately, by this time most of the surface was 
uninhabitable, and the atmosphere was badly damaged, so a lot of 
them left with the latter group... Oh, and I'm pretty sure we're 
in some sort of government bunker." 

I wondered if they were listening to us right now.

"Not right now, no, they're still close though, I can still sense 
them." Hex rolled her head, and slowly opened her eyes. I never 
liked her or Cranium using their powers on me, but I guess if you 
can read minds you might as well do it. I knocked on the 2 closed 
doors, no reply. I sat across from Hex and noticed she had done one 
of her Tarot spreads.

"Don't mind the Death card there - it symbolizes the end of one 
thing, and the beginning of another."