2376 - Tolle Tage in Terrania
Mad Days in Terrania
Leo Lukas

At the Stardust Monument a confused person is picked up and removed by two mysterious, black dressed men.

Meanwhile, the Xeno-psychologist Hajmo Siderip gave up his career in the LFT fleet, for his current life companion, but has grown apart from her since then. Now he is lecturer at the University of Terrania and also operates a practice, directly from his apartment on Thora Road.

On December 14, 1345 NGZ he has two meetings that affects the expiration of the next three weeks in an unexpected manner. First the scientist Matheux Alan Bari comes for an appointment. He is a lazy genius and very scared to travel, as well as one of the first Globists. Now he is supposed to begin a new job on Mercury. Since there are no other psychologists available to help with his fear of travel, he has turned to Hamjo, who he considers practically a veterinarian. In addition he informs Siderip that strange crystals have been forming inside his body. Hajmo is not sure, what he is to think of this, but the hour long consultation is already coming to an end. Alan Bari leaves the office, and Darasalaanaghinta Mitchu, aka Sparks, enters. She is a freelance reporter and interviewer who wishes to film Siderip concerning a Swoon rock band, for Albion3D. It is a rather lowbrow job, but she needs the money, since screwing up on a story two years earlier about a supposed secret love tryst involving Julian Tifflor and multiple women.

The two feel somehow drawn to each other, but nevertheless nothing comes of it and their paths separate again.

One day later, while he is clearing out his old office, Alan Bari suddenly breaks down. It turns out he has a new strain of the old Center Plague, which eventually crystallizes a body, killing the person. It is the third case of this kind in the recent past. The physicians assume a connection with the FILLING STATIONS, but cannot cure it. Therefore, the scientist is facing certain death.

Meanwhile Sparks contacts an informant about the disoriented man and his ravings about ESCHER. The only thing determined about this term is that there is a grey building on the Thora Road with a nameplate inscribed with ESCHER. As coincidence has it, the best place to observe this building is Siderip’s apartment. The reporter worms her way into staying with the psychologist and continues to pull him ever deeper into the events. Since Sparks is broke, she avails herself of his credit and he allows it.

On December twenty-seventh, two men come to Matheux Alan Bari, reveal to him that they know all about him and make him an offer to become a Processor for ESCHER. The scientist does not have anything to lose and disappears with the two men.

Sparks is frustrated as she makes no progress, but then suddenly two people emerge, who are considered as being located far away. The two scientists are supposed to be in the Charon Cloud, but they seem to keep coming to the buildings neighboring ESCHER. As Sparks finds out later, they enter the ESCHER building via transmitter. In addition she finds out that two further men are again and again to be seen in the vicinity of the building, but that their personnel files had been deleted. They do not exist any longer. The handwriting of the TLD is to be recognized in this. She also gets a special camera, which discovers ultra-tiny spraying particles, which got through the wall of the ESCHER building.

On December thirty-first Siderip and Sparks almost consummate a relationship, but it falls apart when she wants him to take a recreational drug and he gets angry over it. They stop speaking for three days.

As the two are about to make up on January 4, 1346 NGE, the information reaches them that another disoriented man has shown up very close to Hamjo’s apartment. It is Alan Bari, as Siderip determines in surprise. He is ranting to himself: “ESCHER is dangerous!". It is just like the fourteen other people before him, who had emerged in different places in Terrania and then disappeared again - fetched back by the two dark dressed men. But this time, Hajmo and Sparks are faster, and while he removes the scientist, Sparks observe the scenery: The two dark dressed men show up and then disappear again after questioning the people in the area.

Pal Astuin and Merlin Myhr are working for ESCHER. Using their information network, which is constantly being developed, their information base grows from hour to hour. It quickly becomes clear to them who might have snatched away the "Processor" from under their noses. On January fifth they leave to recover him.

In the meantime, Siderip does not manage to bring the scientist home, as the man breaks down on the way there. Instead, Hamjo brings him to a former girlfriend, a doctor in Terrania. He begs her to take care of his "friend". It turns out that he seems to just be suffering from exhaustion.

Later on, Hamjo learns that Matheux Alan Bari was reported deceased on December 28, 1345 NGE from Center Plague-B. He and Sparks immediately pack up and hurry to the hospital, figuring that they are being closed in on. They succeed in bringing the scientist into their glider but then the two dark dressed men close the trap, and Sparks and Siderip are knocked out. .

Alan Bari awakens back in ESCHER, and his mind is clear again. He is happy to be back where he belongs. After a short discussion with Astuin, the former LFT agent opens a "case", and a spark spraying light rises from it. The thing expands and coats the scientist. The man feels better and falls back asleep.

Sparks and Siderip awake in Hamjo’s bedroom and are faced with Astuin and Myhr. The two ESCHER coworkers make Siderip and Sparks an offer. Either they join ESCHER, or their memories can be deleted. Hajmo agrees to join, and Sparks pretends to accept the offer, but then jumps to the other side of the bed. She activates a Paralysator trap, which she and Hamjo had set up in the dwelling, but this paralyzes only Hajmo, as the two ESCHER agents are somehow immune to it.

On January sixth Siderip and Sparks awake again in his bed, but cannot remember anything that has occurred since the beginning of the new year. Her recording equipment and Positronics show no sign of anything having happened in the past six days and therefore Sparks finally gives up the ESCHER story.

ESCHER’S existence is once again safely secret…

Jerry Schneiderman 2007-08-14

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