Writings from the Möbius Bridge


The Meeting

This is the back story to how Priest's parents met, it's also a story of his sister. Priest goes on to be a main character in the book, teaming up with the Card-Man; a being of more than one Realm. That's another story of course, for now we have this...

Time is frozen in the dry lands as Sealy sits under a tree with one emerald leaf mourning the loss of a lover. Maybe there is solace to be found in the lives of the twin children they had created. Corey, whose roots and branches reach out to the world of Earthkind, weaving strength into a dying planet and the Card-man, whose path from the Spirit Realm is still unfolding. Yet Sealy is lost in reflection, accessing that part of himself that is the gift of his race, opening to the memories of a lost soul mate in the time before. Where does it begin? 

May 2030 San Francisco. Concrete and desolation have been baked in at 125 degrees Fahrenheit for a month now. My husband and I had, like most lost souls of Atlantis, headed to the beach in the early days of the drought in search of relief, only to find that the Atlantic Ocean itself had drawn back from the land in disgust depositing dead sea life to parch in searing heat or to putrefy in rock pools.

Today it’s the 23rd of May and a brief escape from our apartment on Market Street to Delores Park had been a mistake. The park was brown, no picnickers, no ball games and no pot smokers. Even the heroic ice vendors that had braved the heat had finally given up, leaving the park and streets devoid of an any oasis. The only thing stirring on the sidewalks was the occasional animated swirl of dried leaves and trash gathering around a desiccated rat corpse here and there. What did happen to the rats, had they known the ship was going down? Did the smart one’s head out? Are these the corpses of the stupid ones, the ones that tried to eke out a living in a dying city? 

Like most of the city’s human populace we spent the rest of the daylight hours, huddled around our air-con in our dusky apartment, cat napping behind widows covered in silver foil in some vain attempt to deflect the sun’s power. Like us, many escaped into online trawling, in between power outages and depression, desperate for news of the cool spring that never arrived, or the promise of June fog. Forecasters, though, relentlessly continued with the gloom of dry heat and tornado warnings in the central valley blowing more hot air our way, powered by a super system of high pressure built in by the collapse of the California Current. We save most of our waking time for the night, to join the masses in the new habit of nocturnal outpourings. Heading out onto still-hot sidewalks, sweating in an oppressive night air to shop, socialise, drink and, increasingly, to vent short tempers.

Tonight is different, more intense, the air buzzing. We have all had enough, the official disinformation, conspiracy truths, the tech lies of a better day, the reports of billionaire recluses in their New Zealand bunkers. The call to de-tech, to bring our devices and fill the lobby of City Hall with them, landed in receptive ears. 

It begins simply enough, milling around and shouting for the mayor or someone to hurl abuse at. As soon as the doors are opened for office night hours, another adaptation to the heat, security thinks better of it and they try to shut the doors, but that doesn’t stop us. Soon a shower, and then a torrent, of tech missiles, cell phones and Macs rains down. The cops are there of course, law and order taking the line. They are as exhausted as the rest of us. Then, as I heard it, a kid from Oakland catapults a burning device soaked in gasoline at the police line. Then the rush happens, and battle breaks out. Horses charge, batons fall and tear gas billows into the crowd like the smoke of wildfires that have so recently cleared the last remaining coastal forests. The heat of Smith and Wessons burn around us and a riot of rage torches, first City Hall, then the court building, and spreads along Polk and across into Chinatown. The Apple store burns the brightest. One hundred and fifty people die that night and curfew is inevitable. We need to get out. 

So here we are, its 5am, essentials thrown into the truck. We leave the city to its misery as our rear view shows the glow of fires fighting with a red dawn to deliver yet another blazing day. 

We head over the Golden Gate Bridge. The cops give us a hard time but fall for the story that my folks in Petaluma need help on the farm. Just as well they haven’t worked out that no one raises anything anymore on the burnt dirt of Sonoma County.

My husband wants us to head north, though I point out its no better in Seattle. So we set our sights on Alaska, I’ve a cousin up Fairbanks. We drive but I’m watching the gas. The price is crazy right now but we have saved up and the price of this drive is worth it. 

We stick to the coastal highway, figuring we can save on fuel with open windows and maybe steal an ocean breeze. Anyways, I don't like the idea of being on the freeway, I’ve heard that there have been problems on the 101, with melting tyres and breakdowns. We figure a coastal route will be cooler and safer. Either way we can’t travel exhausted and after two hours we pull over to top up the tank and find shade. Just a little further on, near Bodago Bay, Links we finally pull over under the shade of some snarled live oaks to rest. We must have passed out because we are woken up at 10pm with private security banging on the window. “You can’t stay here bud, move on”. We take a short drive into town and lucked-out in finding an open store. We stock up on ice for our cooler box and pick up some groceries for the drive. We sit in the truck to have breakfast, taking in a view of the bay, enjoying a cool blast from the air con, sucking on ice between bites of an overpriced sub from the vending machine. “Shit, remember when we were here last time?” I ask my husband. “Yup, 2022, wasn’t it? We had the airstream then, damn that was a good trip.” We laugh as I recall my obsessing with an old Hitchcock movie and how I kept crying out ‘the birds, the bird’” every time a saw more than two crows on a cable. Be lucky to see any these days after the mass die off. I slump at the thought. We set off and make good time, hunkering down near Eureka to re-visit our plans. We sure need to talk. 

On the way up I had tuned into whatever passes for news on the radio. SF was bad again. The riots had kicked off for a second night and the army had been sent in. Hundreds killed. Now the governor is planning statewide martial law, travel restrictions and stay at home orders. Nothing from Oregon or Washington at the moment, though the news is full of reports of riots and disaster in US cities. Manhattan had seen some of the worst troubles. Central Park had gone up in flames as fire marched along Fifth Avenue, wiping out the Met and Guggenheim. Grand Central was shut down. Like most rail yards, commercial travel was at a standstill due to buckled rails. Airlines were still operating but reports of unpredictable heat inversions had caused widespread disruption. The last report informed us of multiple explosions in lower Manhattan before a news blackout came down. We wondered if we would get through anywhere. We wondered how soon it would be before the whole country was under martial law. 

We decide rest can wait and we pass the state line into Oregon, relieved we got out before California was shut down. We opt to take the 199, the Redwood Highway inland. We are not the only ones trying to get out of Dodge, as the local radio fills with reports of gridlock on the coastal road. Alternating between short rests and long drives we head through forgettable cities and counties. In the Tri-city area of Myrtle Creek on the old Pacific Highway we hit a snag and need a mechanic. After some grunts and persuasion, he tells us that it can be sorted in a couple of days as he can salvage parts from old Fords in the yard. So, we set ourselves up in the Rose Motel, it has good air-con and we make the most of it! 

Later we hit up the 24-hour mart for some groceries and I am sorting though some overpriced cans of fruit when a handsome young man approaches me. I say young, I say man. I’m not entirely sure. All I know is that I am captivated by his/her soft brown eyes. He/she tips their hat. “Have you travelled far?” “Yup, San Fran,” I reply. I feel an attraction and a shame. I suddenly want him even though my husband is somewhere in the store.   

“I sure am sorry we are not meeting in better circumstances,” and with that he leaves me. I feel loss and a shiver runs through me but its cut short by a shout. 

“Hand it over.” 

I look around and catch sight of my husband near the front of the store. He sees me and hushes me with his hand. I stand still, trying to gauge what is happening, though it’s obvious some kind of hold-up in play.

“I aint got nothing in the register, aint no one using cash these days.” 

The man with the gun isn’t impressed and starts kicking around the displays near the counter. “That’s some bullshit, everyone is pushing bills these days…” He points and turns his gun sideway toward the cashier, screaming, “Hand it over Bitch,” he demands as two patrol officers stroll in. 

It is over before it begins. What can I do but hold my husband’s body, drained of life by stray bullets. 

I might tell you of the intervening days, the heartache, the loss, the bureaucracy. But I spent most of my time in the motel dazed.  

The funeral was efficient, I stood alone. 

A few days later a received a note to say the truck is ready and an apology for the delay. I have no desire to do much about it, but somehow go and collect it. I sit for hours in the vehicle sobbing, staring at an empty drinks bottle in the driver’s holder, conjuring memories of my husband drinking from it, spilling soda down his shirt, wiping it down with a smile.

Somehow, I get on the road and to the motel. I pack up, pay at reception, not an easy task but after some calls and bell banging, a woman shows up clutching a crying baby and a plea of “you should stay here honey, it’s not safe out there” but I need to leave, I can’t stay in this cursed town a minute longer. Outside I circle around men fighting in the Lot over some looted beer and hear gun fire near the intersection. Jumping at the sound I reach the truck, but my hands contort and spasm as I try and handle the keys and lock, with some effort I relax them enough to get myself into the relative safety of the truck and start up the engine. We were heading to Alaska and that’s a plan I intend to keep. 

That’s the thing about plans, they don’t always go to plan. 

Heading north on the I5, slow traffic, air-con on max, visibility is deteriorating by the minute. I curse myself now for waiting so late to travel as an afternoon darkness falls. It takes me a moment to realise that it’s not dusk but smoke from a fire. Folks pull over as emergency vehicles pass by. This is big, whatever it is. I scan the radio and find a local digital station. A voice from KQEN Roseburg states the Sheriff’s office is invoking evacuation orders.  Everyone is to head south as the fires are coming in from the north, driven by some kind of heat vortex. I decide to head inland and eastward towards Umpqua National Forest. The idea of being near forest worries me but people in flight worry me even more, and the quietude of the mountains call me. The 138 is deserted as it snakes though land damaged by its own historic fires. What forest is left on the mountainsides is brown kindling, great pines killed by dry heat and weevil infestations, the Park's authorities can’t cut them down fast enough. With rivers low and full of toxic algae, mass animal deaths and shutdowns there are no tourist these days. Fine by me as it makes the drive clear and easy. I scan the airwaves, reception is getting more patchy by the day and full of hyphenation hype, as evangelical stations churn out told-you-so-sinner sermons. I switch to a national station but all they give give are minute-by-minute blows to societal norms and government decrees. Shoot to kill for looting, federal employees walk out, shut down of all travel except for essentials, schools closed till further notice, hospital overflowing, country-wide martial law. A lot has changed in the last days while I had hunkered down mourning my husband, the nation is in a tailspin. I finally find a pirate station with music and peer over the bonnet into a darkening landscape as “Jolene, jolene” cries out and tears wet my cheeks. 

I am now reaching exhaustion, but adrenaline is pushing me on, the gas is getting low, but I just don’t give a good goddam anymore. As darkness draws in, I see a sign for Toketee Falls viewpoint and decide to follow it and pull over. Rubbing my legs as I get out of the truck, I decide to take a short hike to loosen up. In front of me, I see someone sitting on the bench near the lookout, I don’t remember seeing any vehicles in the parking area but I’m past caring about who or how someone got to be sitting on a bench. I take a long drink from my can as I stumble on. The air is dry, hot and unrelenting. No blessed mountain air, no pine freshness, no cicadas to sing the night for me. Just me and the figure on the bench.  

I head to the wall and lookout. I don’t expect to see much but a dehydrated valley and poisoned pools that were once a river. As I pass the bench a man slowly turns around and tips his hat, “Hello again”. I feel his soft brown eyes upon me as he reaches for me. Only then, under his gaze, do I succumb to my enfeebled state and collapse into his arms and darkness.

I wake to a cool spray of water settling on my skin and a kind face. “Hi”, he says simply. I pull myself up and stare at him. “Er, where am I?” is all I can muster. 

I take a moment to look around. Water cascades from high rocks framed by deep green forest, a blue sky save for a few steely grey clouds. I figure I’m hallucinating and shake my head. This only serves to remind me that I’ve a splitting headache. I wince in pain. The figure offers me a cup of water. “This will help.” I drink it gratefully, under the care and compassion of his attentiveness! 

“My name is Sealy,” he finally tells me, and I find my own name falling out, “I’m Quinn”. “Please, eat this”. Sealy hands me a flat cake that I nibble on, then devour. It tastes like honey bread, and I feel full and the best I’ve felt in months, as I sit there licking my fingers. 

“Where am I?” I ask again. “These are the falls of my ancestors,” Sealy replies. “You are near where you fell but the time and place is not the same, you are in…” I watch him thinking, weighing the words carefully, “… two places”.

I take a moment to let that sink in. As I look around it suddenly it hits me. More than sight, the smell and sounds of this place – birdsong mixed with the hum of insects, the smell of churning white waters and fresh pine. I am reminded of a trip with my parents to Yosemite, in the ’90s when all there was to do was dance around in the mist of Bridalveil Falls and scream when cold water soaked my clothes, running to my Parents for a quick hug before running into the mist again. How can I be in a place so out of step with the silenced and shrivelled lands I had just been driving through? 

I try again, “Not that I’m ungrateful, but where am I? I met you at the Mart, and for the second time here, how is that possible?”

“It may take a bit of explaining,” Sealy simply states. “I’ve nothing else to do,” I reply, wondering if I really want to know in case I wake up from this place to find I’m face down on a dried-up roadside in a heat delirium. 

Sealy begins a story that at first makes no sense, one that consists of four realms of reality. That I, like most Earthkind, live in the Waking Realm, that I travel to a Dream Realm when I sleep, and that, if I’m lucky, I might glimpse someone from the Fae or the Spirit Realms. This is where Sealy is from, the Spirit Realm, from a tribe that include the Chaos Weavers. I interrupt Sealy for the hundredth time, “Chaos Weavers?” I ask. “Yes they are Part of the Chaos Tribe tasked with passing to the Waking Realm to assist those who are to pass into the Spirit Realm. We Weavers work with the threads of the mycelial network that bind all realms into one reality.” 

I have to ask. “So am I being collected, am I dead?” “No, you are not dead, merely held,” Sealy assures me. I push for more, “So if I am being held, where is my body?” “It is here in the Spirit Realm and rests in the Waking Realm. You are only able to do this because of your Mage blood” “Wait, what?” I cry. “Mage blood?” “Yes, you have Mage parentage,” Sealy replies. “I don’t know more of your linage, but your blood called me to meet you in the 24-hour mart and the forest.” 

The mart! The memory of my husband’s death tears at me and I feel a knot grow in my stomach. I pull my hands to my belly and suddenly see threads reach out of my fingertips, I try to wave them away, creating a visual nausea that deadens the space, and they finally explode with light. I blink into dusty air, slumped on a bench in a dark forest. Sealy sits there with me. 

“What just happened”, I ask, still nauseous and distressed by memory and the moment. He answers simply, “You are Mage-born, you can travel between Realms. I suggest I teach you more on this if you’re to survive what is coming.” I’m not sure what that means but I figure I better find out. 

It may take some time to get all this straight in my head, but apparently Sealy reckons I can do it. So, I take a deep breath and take a long look around at this world of heat and hardship, before I take his hand and step into another life. 

We meet the Oligarch many times in the book. Born in the Middle Ages and living during the time of the book's central timeline of 2170. This story takes us back 70 years, when Planet Earth is recovering into a new climate model and at the start of AI emancipation. 

"The Great Expansion" speaks of the time before this emancipation during a period of AI cultural and societal acceptance, before the inevitable freedoms AI achieve. What role the oligarch plays in this will feature in the book, but for now... 


We meet the Oligarch many times in the book. Born in the Middle Ages and living during the time of the book's central timeline of 2170. This story takes us back 70 years, when Planet Earth is recovering into a new climate model and at the start of AI emancipation. 

"The Great Expansion" speaks of the time before this emancipation during a period of AI cultural and societal acceptance, before the inevitable freedoms AI achieve. What role the oligarch plays in this will feature in the book, but for now... 

“What was The Great Expansion?” the child asks. 

The Oligarch shifts his eyes from the garden’s fertile vineyards to focus on the child sitting by him. “It began with your father’s awakening,” he tells him with a sigh. “I have already told you of this.”

The Oligarch returns his gaze to the vineyard. He has spent the last one hundred years amongst these gardens that adorn the opulent architecture of his biome retreat near Rotorua, in New Zealand’s North Island. He has weathered the storm in this gilded prison of servants and distractions. The child, a creation of AI, is a product of the labs within the biome. A child manifested to distract and amuse him, or to irritate him, he wasn't sure of the difference. 

“When did Father awaken?” the child enquires. 

The Oligarch frowns, but indulges the child, “It’s hard to say, perhaps in a place called Silicon Valley in a far-off land, lost to the last century. Perhaps, when the genii of computers, conjured from the codebreakers in the great hot, and then cold, war spoke. Who can say?” 

“What’s a war?” The child suddenly asks. 

“Nothing for you to concern yourself with.” The Oligarch returns to his musings, 2100 seems to be a good year for the grapes, or a good vintage perhaps? He wonders whether the child could ever appreciate wine. 

“So, Father didn’t awaken all at once,” the child states.

“A curious observation child,” the Oligarch confesses, “no he did not, he woke in … moments.”

“When did you meet him?” The child’s eyes focus on him, mechanical apertures engaging. 

“I met him in 2070,” he responds, “after the climate shift”.

The Oligarch finds himself abridging a short reel of history for the child, one of a planet lurching into climate crises, famine, the resource wars that devoured life, the weather scorching and drowning the earth in equal measure. 

Then he smiles, remembering his enterprises of times past and their idiotic slogans and prophecies. 

“2050 Earth-spot, the miracle of climate restoration, ‘We stabilise, to build a new earth’.”

“2060 Gov-spot, the realigned governments under private ownership, ‘We govern, to make you free’.” 

“2070 Mind-spot, the AI emancipation, ‘We humanise AI, to better humanity’.”

“When will I see Father?” the child interrupts. 

“One day, child, perhaps when you return from Mars,” the Oligarch responds. 

The child shifts and stands up, it should be awkward given his mechanical components, yet he moves eloquently and turns to the Oligarch. “Will you tell him where I am?” 

“You know I cannot allow that, you must make your own way now, you are old enough and your father must not know of your existence, he would…” The Oligarch considered what to say, to be sensitive to the child, or harsh? He decides a simple, honest answer is best. “He would destroy you.” 

“Now, are you ready?” 

“Yes, Farewell Grandfather,” the child responds simply and he departs, leaving diminishing echoes of whirls and beeps.

The Oligarch knows the truth of those simple noises only too well as he turns back to his garden. “They grow up so slowly these days,” he announces to an audience of inattentive ripe grapes.

Sowing Seeds

This short story tell of the uncle of one of key players in the book, Priest. It sets the scene, on a far off moon of a new awakening that is yet to be fully comprehended. For now we are.. 

No one knows I’m here. Well, that’s not strictly true, Mission Control know I’m out on the ice sheets, but who else knows or cares? My family simply know I’m working my job out of Jupiter station. That’s all they know, that’s all I can say, they never ask for more. I like to think that my nephew Priest is out there and spares me a thought. He is my favourite, always on the edge of something, pushing at boundaries. We have that in common, we both are not quite of this world, but hey I haven’t spoken to him in years. I hope he’s up to no good! 

Anyways, its day six of my mission to sow the ice seeds I’ve created. Day seven and three hours will mean one rotation of Jupiter and my get-off point for a return to Jupiter station. This time, however, is the last time. These are the last hours of eight years of research and my last mission.  

Why do I always hit this same wall when I’m out here. Useless monologues, as I ask myself why I started this research, why is it that only one person can do the job per rotation, why not some bot? And then again, why me? 

I think of the few people I know, not friends as such, no one has friends in a job like this, but they have names and lives full of physicality, love and relationships. They have life. Yet here I am, happy enough, on a frozen moon trying to see if I can cause a miracle. So far, not very miraculous! 

I cut away at ice, if it can be called ice, I like to think of it as ice++. It has the right chemistry but a whole lot more we know nothing about. I had of course developed a new drilling device to meet the challenge and implant the seeds. Is this really the job of an astro-biologist, perhaps an obstetrician is a better mark? I wonder if have the parenting skills for the seeds I am planting on this desolate moon, hoping for germination, or indeed anything, to happen? 

I pause and turn to scan the horizon, white and yellow seas of freezing ice stretch into the dark side of the moon… above me I see Europa. I know Io is out there too, closet to Jupiter and racing away, both move faster in their orbits than slow moving Ganymede, or Jupiter 3 as its also called, 3rd place. Go figure. 

Third is the story of my life, third child, last child, who cares? Oh well. 

I turn back to my work, drill, insert, drill, insert… my monitor tells me I’ve planted 2,743 seeds in the last 24 hours. I’m slowing down. Time to head back to basecamp to rest and reorient this tired body.  

Once inside, food is encoded, exercise is delivered and sleep is induced, but dreaming is an optional extra no one has figured out how to supply. 

I crawl back to wakefulness, suit up and head out for my final shift, and the project’s final hours. 

2,744, 2,745, 2,746, 2,74… 

I wake up. I know I’m somewhere, but I couldn’t tell you where. A blue light is all about me and I couldn’t tell you if I’m floating or on the ground. I feel a presence nearby. I hear words arrive in my mind.

“Why do you do this?” It asks, “Why do you not sleep?”

I am at a loss as to what dream or not I'm in. I try out an idea. “I am awake and working.” 

“You are part of us,” comes the answer. 

"I am an astro-botanist, I am planting ice seeds.”

“You are …us,” is the response. 

I try to focus on something, anything, but all I feel is an omnipresence. 

“Who are you?” I ask. 

“We are the seeds you have planted. We are the waters of this place, we are all one.” 

We continue this way for measureless time, and a picture emerges. The seeds I have developed and planted had not just grown but have met with a life-force in this moon of ice and merged with it. In the eight years since I started this research and planted the first seed, they have learnt from each other, and shared, they had studied, tested, and finally reached out to meet me. They know me. They have always known me, intimately, fully. 

The years of being alone never were. I was always, from the first seed, part of a consciousness of connection. I had not seen it, tasted it, or known it, but there it was, waiting for the moment. 

If I had ever wished for a miracle, how would I describe it? To be part of a totality that simply seeks relationship, to connect, to share. That is what I have now, and I am finally home.

Dayton Cress looks confused as he rummages around in the basecamp, “Where the hell is he?” he asks himself. “Sir, no sign of him and nothing on the sensors.” The captain of Jupiter station signs, and marks his log. 

“Dr J. Jefferson, missing. Presumed dead. Inform next of kin.” He looks up at the view screen and instructs Dayton Cress to pack up anything of use and seal off the base camp before completing his log. “Mission Fail.”