Welcome to the Machine

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There are things I know, but shouldn’t.

And there are things I do not know but should.

My ID says my name is James Thrillwell, but I am not sure that is correct. Everyone calls me Jimmy.

Names are funny.

If I can’t remember yours, I’ll call you “Mike.” Most of the time, it works out.

The sprawling city in which I live has no name. At least not one we can remember. So, we simply call it “The City.”

I live alone in an apartment in the heart of The City. I am not sure who pays for it. Maybe I do. I earn money, so I must pay the rent. I think… No one has ever complained.

My building is a towering shoot of concrete and glass bamboo in an endless forest of countless others. No, I will not tell you the address.

futuristic cityscape

When I awoke this morning, I did not recognize where I was.

Then the room came into focus, and I saw my rig. A hodgepodge of cobbled together digital devices that I have somehow turned into a personal computer and workstation.

The initial flood of panic drowning me drained away as I rose from my floor-bound mattress. My rig beckoned me and an automatic tea kettle I do not remember filling steams a happy high G note.

The pot sits on the desk among digital interfaces and instruments. I feel calm and at peace with my tea in an ancient mug featuring a faded logo of somewhere called “Sesame Place.”

When I put the telecom handset on modulator-demodulator, a 9600 baud squeal sliced through the air like a siren. I love the way the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end every time I hear it.

This is my music (although I make more “normal” songs as well).

The handshake crosstalk rattled the tiny speaker in the modem and descended into an undulating static before dropping away.

I held my breath. This is the tricky part.

… Connection established …

Yes.

a man standing in front of a circular time portal.

I won’t describe how it works because I don’t know. Somehow my signal flips over to a hyperdimensional relay and scatters across the cosmos, looking for gateways in which to entangle.

My glacial data tether gets packet-wrapped in a quantum sleeve. Spooky action at a distance indeed. Einstein would flip his wig. He wore a wig, right? I don’t remember.

I think I met Einstein once. In a chat room, of course. IRC still functions. Probably always will.

The blinking cursor on the command line told me I have access to a network outside of The City. Others do too, but we have never met in real life (if there is such a thing). We are the only ones who know it exists… Maybe.

I have greater access than the Others. I can go deeper, wider. I hack through firewalls and air­ gapped servers like a blade through warm water. Using my innate abilities, I direct my rig to scan forgotten corners of an interconnected network spanning the fabric of space and time.

Yes. I know it sounds strange. It is.

I don’t remember the first time I accessed the Chronomicon. But that’s not saying much. Meatspace memory is shaky by design.

And I never use clocks or calendars.

The reason? “Reality” is relative. Given that, knowing what hour/day/month/year it is makes no difference.

I don’t know who created The Chronomicon or why. Nor do I know from where this data comes.

Sometimes I only get glimpses. Other times, a deluge of information floods my video monitors and overwhelms my processors.

A subroutine purges memory cache.

I reset.

I’ve gotten used to saving early and saving often. But occasionally it is inevitable.

It’s not pleasant, but neither is an electrical fire.

Or worse, cybersecurity death squads bashing in my door and lighting me up with automatic weapons.

The good news is: every time I reboot, trinkets of information remain. Images. Music. Stories. Audiovisual ephemera from the past or the future. It is difficult to know which is which. Not that it matters.

All previous attempts to share my discoveries have been discovered and deleted by crawlers. Nasty little cybernetic hitmen.

Chronomicon.com is the only haven I can maintain –    hosted on a forgotten corner of the “World Wide Web” which, as far as I can tell, people on the street do not know or care about. Old, forgotten tech. Or future tech not yet invented. I’m not sure which it is… The domain name itself (Chronomicon.com) is a misnomer. This website is NOT the Chronomicon. This website is about the Chronomicon. The things I have found on (through? with? by?) the Chronomicon.

Are my findings true? Realible? I don’t know. Is the information correct? Are the stories fiction? Fact? Are the music/images/video created by sentient beings or artificial intelligences? I don’t know and I don’t care. Questions like these only make you tired.

And I tire easily.

The Sysops hunt for me. Constantly. And hiding is exhausting. I survive by staying hidden.

Stories are told by The Others about those who didn’t take precautions and pushed too hard. Or got lazy and let their guard down.

They are all found.

And erased.

digital spider

My intuition (or paranoia) keeps me alive. Even when I wake up in an unfamiliar room on a floor­ bound mattress next to a cobbled together digital workstation.

What is the Chronomicon?

I don’t know.

Or I have learned and forgotten it. Like I said. I don’t know many things I should know…

Chronomicon.com will be a journal, a catalog, and an experiment in hypertext, graphics, codes, signs, sound recordings, video. Forms and formlessness.

Beyond that? I don’t know. And I do not think I should know.

A wise man once said, “All I know is I don’t know nothing. And that’s fine.”

Very wise words. Could almost be a song (pun intended).

Time for a donut to go with this tea.

Laughing fat Buddha sitting in a giant donut.
a man standing in front of a circular time portal.