Library Card : Part One
rating: +10+x

The early morning fog hung low in the sky, covering the bay in a thick grey blanket. It was still dark, as the sun had not yet peeked its head up over the distant coastal mountains. The local fauna had awakened; however, as the killdeer trilled and a lone leopard shark lazily swam under the dock. They were not bothered by the cold or by the thick smell of salty mud as they started their day, oblivious to the tall figure standing on the dock above them.

Basar gazed out across the water, watching the birds swirl through the fog and carry the vapor trails on their wings. Standing there in a wrinkled suit with many sleepless nights clinging to him, he knew he was out of place, but at least he was alone. He was about an hour's drive South of his facility, standing at a sad excuse of a "beach" that was really just an offshoot of a local shipping channel. The barges would still be docked here, as the factory they brought stone for processing at hadn't opened its doors for business yet. But even with the factory being closed, the place still hummed with energy. Basar could tell the Way was nearby, with how the growing electric tension in the air caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand on end, and with the whispers of a migraine about to set in. Having a sensitivity to the cracks in reality could be a nuisance at times, but a part of Basar wondered if this tension was caused by his nerves more so than anything else. He quickly shook the thought away.

Perhaps one of the few benefits of running the site the rest of the Foundation turned a blind eye to was the fact it gave Basar, and by extension, his staff and employees, a lot more flexibility. At least, at one point it had been like that. The Foundation's views on anomalous personnel - those with abilities different than the norm - were changing, and now that they were actually considering hiring them rather than shunting them all off to Basar's facility, his site was growing smaller and smaller and more obsolete. Basar wouldn't be surprised if by the end of the year, they'd ask him to "retire", as even though he was a site director, his niche specialties would make it hard for him to transfer.

The questions that always itched in the back of Basar's mind rose up again - why hadn't the Foundation done any studies on him, like they did other anomalous personnel? And to be made a site director so quickly? He was qualified - having worked his way up through the Ethics Committee - but he had seen the other hoops anomalous personnel had to jump through just to get hired for low ranking positions. Being a soothsayer - the thing that made him anomalous - had its limitations, and the clairvoyance hardly ever granted anything useful beyond how someone might react to what he had to say. But still - to not test that? Investigate it? What kept him hidden from sight from the most omnipotent organization the world had to offer? The stoic expression that was always plastered onto Basar's face shifted, as the bottom of his lips turned just slightly into a frown. The moment passed though, and the neutral expression returned as Basar turned his attention to the boat docked next to him.

It was a single scull with a wider hull - meant for recreation rather than racing. Out of all the boats here, it had the best chance of supporting his weight. The shell bobbed idly in the water, the oarlock on the end of the closest rigger gently tapping against the dock's surface. With a small huff, Basar knelt down, undoing the oarlocks and adjusting the spacers to be at his height, before with another loud huff, standing and going to get his pair of oars. Again, now with the oars in hand, he knelt down, placing one through each oarlock, before locking them in place and rattling them slightly to make sure they were secure. The movements, while out of practice, were familiar to him, but whatever memories from his youth that aided him in these actions were as clear to him as the opposite shore was in the fog.

Sliding the farthest oar out until the collar clicked against the oarlock, Basar slowly stepped into the boat, between the seat's tracks and careful not to shift his weight too suddenly. The boat creaked under his weight, but remained buoyant as he stepped in with his other foot. Lowering himself down, he took a seat on the sliding seat, and stretched out his legs so that his feet were against the footplate. Whoever had used this boat before him had been much, much shorter, so there was yet another pause as he took a moment to adjust the boat to his preferences. Finally was he able to slip his oxfords into the pair of oversized sneakers mounted to the footplate - technically something that was frowned upon, as you were supposed to remove your shoes before strapping your feet in, and again how Basar knew this he wasn't entirely sure - but they went in with little complaint.

Slowly he pushed his way down the dock before reaching the end, and with a large shove, the boat went gliding out across the water. Both oars were pushed against their locks for stability as Basar watched the little wake in front of him. Checking over his shoulder, he could barely see where he was headed, and without bow and stern lights he'd be invisible in the fog, but that's what he was hoping for. He had about two hours to get to his destination - a collapsed trestle of a nearby railway bridge - undetected, after which time the sun would rise and begin burning away the blanket of fog keeping him obscured.

The row out to the bridge was slow, but largely uneventful. It took a few minutes of shakily working his way up to a full stroke, hesitant to move too quickly or too far in fear of tipping the boat, before Basar could comfortably get the boat moving in an efficient matter. His muscles groaned, as while Basar was, for the most part, in pretty good shape for his age, fatigue and exhaustion wore him down. On he went though, past the harbor, past the parked barges, and out into the bay. The fog obscured the channel markers until they loomed much too close to the boat for comfort, but they provided enough of a guide that Basar could find his way.

The rail bridge was quite a sorry sight. The very first bridge to span across the bay, aiming to bring prosperity to the rail lines, it now sat abandoned for forty or so odd years. As Basar approached the collapsed trestle, he could hear the metal groan and whine under the strain of its own weight, as well as the quiet lapping of the waves against the support beams. He slowed the boat to a stop before reaching out and grabbing a hold of one of the fallen pieces of metal, docking himself against it.

Sunlight had begun to pierce through the fog, warming an already exhausted Basar as he sat under the bridge and caught his breath. As he watched the bay start to appear around him, questions swirled in his mind again - why was he here? A hunch, no, specifically a dream had brought him here, out onto the middle of the bay, to go to a place that was not only well above his pay grade, but also a place the Foundation was supposedly banned from. Supposedly - he had read reports of others, rarely getting through, but said reports were rare and few between, and often did not end kindly in the Foundation's favor. Yet here he was, on the cusp of a Way, about to step into the largest library in the multiverse - the Wanderer's Library.

Or at least, that was what he was supposed to do. Basar considered himself a man of logic, of reason, of no nonsense protocol. That, even despite working in a world of the anomalous, everything could be explained and rationed down into a single course of action. A poster child for the Foundation, he was, but that didn't bother him. But sitting out here, following a dream of all things, did, and with that Basar was perplexed.

The dream hadn't even been that much - it had shown him the halls of a grand library, full of human sized bug-like creatures. A strange kinship had been felt as he looked up at one, watched it scramble down a bookcase and hand him a book - a leather-bound sketchbook with an eye on the cover - his eye. The one burned onto his forehead. The one that no one seemed to notice except him. Everyone could see his centipede tattoo, but the eye remained hidden from sight, much like his discolored skin.

Then, flashes. Instructions of how to get through the Library through a portal known as a 'Way'. It showed him an aquatic center an hour South of his facility. A which boat wouldn't be noticed gone if it was taken. Directions to the nearby rail bridge utilizing the channel markers. A fond oceanic memory being required to open the portal - the short term memory of you going here for the first time will work - the dream seemed to suggest, aware of the lapses that occurred often in Basar's thoughts, that he was more gifted in seeing ahead than in behind.

And that had been it. Basar had woken up at his desk earlier this morning - 3:35 AM it had been, that only being remembered because Basar had taken the time to note the whole encounter down. Yet he did not report it in, file it away for later, instead he took it with him, found the directions to the aquatic center, and had immediately made his way down here. A poster child of the Foundation he had just called himself, but here he was breaking one of the very basic rules - acting on impulse, following a gut reaction, logic nowhere to be seen. But he was still doing it. He was here. And for the first time in forever, Basar felt alive. He was making his own choices, of his own volition - he was a person for once! He held that thought with him - the smell of the sea, the taste of fresh air away from the city, the burn in his chest that told him for once, he was more than just a walking symbol of authority - stood up in the boat, his hand gently gliding against the wet metal, before stepping off of the boat and into the dark water below.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License