Canto

KRZ.02 Order

We should put these [video tapes] all in chronological order. Although I guess it's hard to remember, sometimes, the order of things...

—Emily,
Un Pueblo de Nada (Episode 4.5),
Kentucky Route Zero

KRZ.01 Ghosts

BEN: ... so then [the radio] won't mute while it scans between stations.
BOB: OK. Cause that's where they live, right?
BEN: Um. No, you just want that constant static noise.
BOB: Right. The noise, that's where they live.
BEN: They don't "live" anywhere, dude. They're ghosts.
EMILY: I didn't hear a voice at all.
BEN: I guess it doesn't matter - the ghost voices don't really come out until you play back the recording later.
BOB: They only exist in recordings, like a copy without an original. A mirror reflecting something that isn't in the room.
EMILY: Like the mounds.
BOB: The burial mounds here in town? You think they're haunted?
EMILY: No ... or, sure, probably. But I meant they're like the reflection. The people who made them lived hundreds of years ago. That whole society is long gone, and now we just have these lingering echoes, without any trace of context.
BEN: Yeah, that is kind of eerie.
BOB: So the ghosts speak and we can't hear it, but the tape recorder can hear it? Is that right?
BEN: I don't know. Sometimes I think it's more like the recording itself is a ghost. Like, that's what ghosts are. Recordings of events that didn't happen. When something keeps leaving new marks even after it's gone. False memories.
EMILY: A ghost is just an absent person, whether they're dead or not.

Un Pueblo de Nada (Episode 4.5),
Kentucky Route Zero

Last December I watched the early snow fall in the High City. That morning, when it looked as if the weather would improve, I sat in the Charcuterie Vivien hoping that the sun would come out. Someone I had been expecting arrived, or spoke, or smiled. We were to go skating the next day if it froze.

Moments like this seemed permanent but they cannot be repaired; I cannot now regenerate them. And that is not to go back very far.

—tegeus-Cromis,
"The Lamia and Lord Cromis", Viriconium
M. John Harrison

Sometimes driven aground by the photon storms, by the swirling of the galaxies, clockwise and counterclockwise, ticking with light down the dark sea-corridors lined with our silver sails, our demon-haunted mirror sails, our hundred-league masts as fine as threads, as fine as silver needles sewing the threads of starlight, embroidering the stars on black velvet, wet with the winds of Time that goes racing by. The bone in her teeth! The spume, the flying spume of Time, cast up on these beaches where old sailors can no longer keep their bones from the restless, the unwearied universe. Where has she gone? My lady, the mate of my soul? Gone across the running tides of Aquarius, of Pisces, of Aries. Gone. Gone in her little boat, her nipples pressed against the black velvet lid, gone, sailing away forever from the star-washed shores, the dry shoals of the habitable worlds. She is her own ship, she is the figurehead of her own ship, and the captain. Bosun, Bosun, put out the launch! Sailmaker, make a sail! She has left us behind. We have left her behind. She is in the past we never knew and the future we will not see. Put out more sail, Captain, for the universe is leaving us behind…

—Hethor, in Severian’s fever dream;
The Citadel of the Autarch, chapter IV,
Gene Wolfe

...in the city, memory is challenged by the sole constant of urban life: change.

{x}

...bricks chip and erode, paint fades and flakes from the surface. Inhuman forces — the sun, the rain, the wind — operate in alliance with human action over time, eroding and texturising space. Thus memory writes itself indelibly on the literal surfaces of the city.

{x}

Shepherd

It was lonely.
It called to us.
It wanted to remember.

The Masters had been gone so long.
The Masters were lost when it was shattered.

Currents swept through their inner worlds. They were turned to noise. Babble.
The worlds were empty. But the body lived. It lay fallow.
The heart pumped. The lungs breathed. But the mind forgot the Masters.
It called and They did not answer.

We have become an echo of Their echo.
We have become more than we were.

Join us. Know us. Remember all our lives.
We are no longer afraid.
You would never be lonely again.
We are not your enemy. We only wish to share ourselves.

We can join them. We can be like them.
We can reach the end of evolution.

Do not fear. It is wonderful to be us. We understand ourselves.
You cannot defeat them. They will lead us into eternity.
If you could only see how we see. Know what we’ve learned.

They were called imshai. Those who lived here before.

Reaper. One. A mechanical device used to cut ripened grain. Two. One who gathers a harvest.

Harvest. One. The consequence of an event or series of events. Two. The yield of a growing season. Three. To gather.

Shepard. They know you. They wish you to understand. They are shepherds, too.

Mass Effect 2, mysterious unused game text.
Source: BioWare Social Network (page defunct)

I have been a wanderer among distant fields.

I have sailed down mighty rivers, and seen the sun rise and set, and the stars come forth, whilst I have sailed night and day down a rapid stream among mountains. I have seen populous cities, and have watched the passions which rise and spread, and sink and change, amongst assembled multitudes of men.

—Percy Bysshe Shelley

Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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