“Everything that can exist, does exist.”
One year ago, a seed of the Nexus hit something in me. The Nexus is a place that exists outside time, but when fertilizing my intellect, it has bound itself to this Now. A figment of my imagination as I am a figment of its Existence, the Nexus has been steadily growing in my mind ever since, seeking the ideal way to express itself so that others can begin discovering it.
I don’t understand much yet. I just know that this “project” (switching to plain English now) means a lot to me. To explain just how much, I will share with you an image.
I found the graphic below almost a decade ago. I loved how it condenses entire books of life, career and development advice into a single image. In this case, a picture is worth a million words.
This image was in my possession years before I was found by the Nexus. Several months after starting work on the project, I rediscovered it and was thunderstruck when I realized that Nexus fits in all four circles, thus meaning that engaging with it is my (creative) purpose.
Coincidentally, the definition of the word “nexus” means “the core or center”, “a connected series or group”, “a means of connection, a link or tie”. So it’s funny that in my case, that little star in the middle of the graphic represents the Nexus.
What is it?
For now, I can say that Nexus is a creative undertaking that chiefly involves literature, alongside other forms of creative expression. And if the 1st of May 2018 signifies the birthday of Nexus, its conception dates back to January 2015 when I started work at a short story titled “She’s Waiting in the Library”. It was never officially published, although several of my close friends have read it.
My perception of the Nexus is, for the most part, an evolutionary explosion starting from that short story and spanning multiple dimensions of imagination.
I will now dive right in and take you on the first official reveal of the project.
All the world’s a stage… and what would a stage be without its Actors? Here are some of the Actors involved in discovering what the Nexus really is.
Lovely thinks she knows you very well. At least part of you. That’s because she speaks to the mischievous, playful and sensual. Most sentient beings can resonate with at least one of those traits.
Lovely’s main goal? To have fun. Sounds simple enough, right? Not when you’ve been around a couple of millennia.
Lovely’s main problem? She’s bored. But rumor has it that there’s one BIG surprise left undiscovered. It’s like that last gig that wins you enough of whatever to start planning your retirement. And that gig is called the Nexus.
Every experience is a surprise waiting to unfold its story. Lovely likes opening presents. She thrives on the bubbling anticipation of approaching her objective, sensing it from all perspectives as it reveals itself. That’s how she approaches any new circumstance, like a cat, stalking, circling, making sure all angles are covered. And that’s why her first appearance in this story is somewhere within the forest surrounding a large settlement.
She rides her usual trick, a cross between a tricycle and a gazebo if you can imagine that. She sits underneath the protective hexagonal roof, together with her trusted cat, Tricky. They’re looking at the settlement below from underneath the sheltering shadow of the trees. This will be fun.
A druid hailing from a long line of Nature Healers. Her world is mostly covered by thick forest. There are several sentient species inhabiting the forest, most of which live in harmony with nature. Azucena’s tribe has a symbiotic relationship with a species of ancient tree, which they call the Tree of Ages. The roots of the tree run long and deep. It is so that Azucena’s people have learned of a dire threat to their forest.
The Tree of Ages has imparted a vision to her. A long journey is awaiting her. It will be both beautiful and terrible. And at the very end, within the Nexus, lies a new beginning.
Among the hills surrounding the Eternal Mountain, there is one that is so different, it might as well have crashed there from another world. Unlike its siblings covered by thick forests, only tall grass waves in the wind upon this mound’s steep slopes. But that’s not the strangest thing about it. Neither are the bizarre purple rocky formations jutting through the tall grass here and there.
What defies explanation is the massive tree that thrones upon it. With branches the size of castles, its colossal roots flow like rusty rivers across the hill, sometimes taller than the grass surrounding them. The only thing that seems to have managed to stand in their way are the mysterious purple formations, around which nothing grows.
Azucena stands at the bottom of the hill, where the huge roots sink who knows how deep into the world, perhaps down to its very heart.
Karl is a man of many talents. Unlike a jack of all trades, he’s a master in everything he has ever set his mind to. He became powerful enough to understand humility. A hermit, he often ponders why this Existence and not another? He thinks you might be wondering this sometimes as well. Life has taught him that there’s an answer to every question.
Open to every decision, willing to partake in any ritual, Karl will accompany anybody who helps him find his precious Flower. Chasing one’s dream seems like a never-ending quest. But Karl has at long last divined the location of the Flower. It’s in that place everybody he ever crossed paths with seems to gravitate towards, whether they’re aware of it or not. That place is the Nexus. And Karl will get there, one way or the other.
The office is quiet. Most detectives have gone out for lunch or have left early to prepare for the Thanksgiving celebration. Upon the only occupied desk, a plastic fan is struggling to cope with the failing air conditioning. It’s another sweaty summer in this modern-day New York police precinct.
The phone rings. The hairy elbow next to it is busy doing crosswords. The phone keeps ringing. At the fifth ring, the lips of the elbow’s owner form out words too dirty to print. He picks up.
“Uhh… sir?”, says a trembling voice on the other end.
“Yes, officer”, the man answers, with a tone of voice at the crossroads between irritation and boredom. He seems like he had practiced this answer for years and he has now brought it to the stage of fine art.
“There’s… uuuh… there’s a guy with a flaming staff standing in the middle of Times Square sir.”
“Shoot him,” says the detective with his most casual voice, never taking his eyes off the crosswords.
“Flaming staff, Times Square. Shoot him, damn it!”
Silence from the other end. The detective’s attention goes back to the crosswords in front of him. He frowns. He figured out the word he’s been so busy solving. It’s “staff”.
“Hello?” he asks.
“Sir? I’m afraid.”
“Why, child?” asks the man with the staff.
We’re now on the street where Karl Sandros first arrived on Earth.
“Put that stick down!” gnarls Jack.
“I liked it better when you were calling it staff. I can’t put it down. It would seriously damage your street”, laughs the man.
The young officer bites his lips. He is somewhat unable to control his shivering. His partner’s gun is also shaking in front of her. Jack’s nerves are wrecked by the enormous pleasure he feels looking at the orb of fire floating at the top of the stranger’s staff. It’s as if all the dreams he ever had have been invited for a hypnotic dance inside an imagination he never thought he had.
His partner is also at the end of her wits. She manages to blurt out something from her memories: “Identify yourself!”
She blinks. In that instant, all at once, she can see all the choices needed to make any of her dreams come true. Everything she ever wished for was somehow related to that mysterious orb of fire gently floating between the occult-looking wooden fingers of the old man’s staff.
“Tell me child, did you ever hear about the antichrist?”
Jack’s lips start trembling.
The old man laughs. “Oh, don’t worry! I don’t bite. Such a remarkably gullible civilization you have here. Just a word from your books and you go all soft in the knees. What wonderful cultural programming! I wish to meet the beings that shaped you so. As they say… ‘take me to your leader!’, child.”
“Sir, you better get down here”, yelps Jack in his radio.
Hate is Horgh’s favorite dish. He loves smoldering hate and he’s good at cultivating it day by day. We all have moments when we turn to the destructive, the darker side of Existence. Horgh knows that. And he’s making a bet that somebody will be brave enough to admit it and accompany him on a destructive ride beautiful enough to make the Gods cry.
What Horgh hates the most is being told what to do. He’s been ordered one too many times. It never stops. But there’s a way out, or so he heard. It’s all about a place of power so strong, so significant that it wraps around it the fabric of everything that was, is and will be. And that place is called the Nexus.
Born and raised in a post-apocalyptical desert has its perks. Such as the armor fused to Horgh’s body, protecting him from most threats his world could throw at him. But this is not his world. This fetid, disgusting jungle is certainly not his world.
He steps on a snake, crushing its skull and taking pleasure in the sound of squishy meat bursting through cracked bone. He killed more creatures here in the past week than in decades before. It’s quickly becoming boring though. They’re too frail, too unsuspecting and way too stupid.
Then, he starts noticing it. A strange sound that accompanies him with every step. A high-pitched squeak that becomes more unnerving by the minute. Perhaps the creatures here are weak, but the humidity is strong. It’s affecting his armor.
All the world’s a stage… in fact, there are a lot of stages. Here are some of Places involved in the journey towards the Nexus.
Each of the Actors above has a Nemesis, with whom they are racing to reach the Nexus. The first four of these Places are each connected to one of the Actors’ Nemeses. Can you guess whose Nemesis is connected to which Place? The fifth and last Place (The Crashed City) is the Place where… well, just read on!
A Universe spins into existence, twists your way and brings you an image. It’s a small village tucked between two hills. Up on the sky, stars flicker out one by one. Mist flows through empty streets, after descending the ragged peaks that throne all around the valley. There’s only one path leading up to the village. It passes a guardhouse before heading straight to the only two-stories building, the tavern.
There’s nobody in the guardhouse. Nobody to hear the first sounds made by the visitor. It’s a mix of footsteps and that of a number of metallic objects scraping each other. Had there been somebody in the guardhouse, now it would have been time to sound the alarm.
The visitor is a visitor because he doesn’t look like he uses to inhabit any of the modest wooden huts here. His leather and steel dress is covered in belts, hangers and bags. There are objects tucked in there that only imagination can try – and most likely fail – to understand. A couple of knives and other sharp, glistening objects do seem to indicate that everything he’s carrying has but one purpose: to… remove obstacles.
It’s a day like any other on the deck of this solar system’s hyperspace junction control tower. There are no ships inbound, no ships outbound. Business as usual. A single biped is on the deck, sitting in a reclining chair, wearing a sensorial suit. Dozens of tubes and wires connect the creature to various ports located on the floor.
The control tower looks like a dark gray rod, drifting just outside the sun’s heliosphere, from where its signals can beam loud and clear across the interstellar medium. It’s almost invisible in all spectrums, save for light perhaps. It sometimes blocks the meager shine of the small brown dwarf star it circles. The object, less than 100 meters in length, is loaded with all sorts of sensors – dishes, antennas, lenses, radars.
But the most important sensor is located deep within the vessel: a small quantum confinement chamber. It’s a small cube placed on the forehead of the sentinel, for the fastest possible information transfer to its brain.
The biped in the chair suddenly jerks, as if woken up from a dream. As soon as it does this, the control tower uses a number of boosters to change its alignment. It takes less than a second for the control tower to fold space and show up on the other side of the heliosphere, where an unusual ray of light is about to enter the solar system.
The control tower identifies the ray as an information transmission from a previously unknown civilization. The sentinel uses one of the tower’s lenses to absorb and block the ray, safeguarding the nascent civilization behind it from yet another source of cultural pollution. It catalogs the information and decides that no answer is necessary.
Just as the sentinel is about to return to its slumber, it is, for the very first time in its long life, surprised. An object, a very large object, emerges from quantum stealth. It shows up directly in front of the control tower. It’s a spaceship of monstrous size, almost twice that of the small red dwarf star. The sentinel knows this ship. It has seen it in the archives. Its immense gravitational force is suffocating. The sentinel engages a shield, in a feeble attempt to protect the solar system and its planets.
A labyrinth of grassy paths connects thick, heavy trees that support dozens of species of different vines. Life in this place isn’t counted in heads or legs. It’s counted in layers. Life here is thick and busy. Except for one spot. One large, dark desiccated dead circle upon which a gateway stands – a black frame covered in the writings of a thousand madmen.
A woman appears in the middle. No fancy special effects. She just appears and begins walking towards one of the paths. Ahead of her, reed withers. Vines strangle the trees. Frogs scurry deep underneath the sheltering life-giving mud, which promptly crushes them, convulsing and drying out with her approach. Trees sizzle and their bark exfoliates. Upon seeing her, birds peck each other’s eyes.
Gray, dark clouds swirl around an almost perfect cone of snow-covered rock. Hundreds of meters below, where the slope eases for a while into a narrow ledge, a man enveloped in red robes dances the sky. His hands channel the power of his vestments directly into the surrounding atmosphere, tormenting the air for hundreds of miles around. He stops, grabs a fistful of snow and laughs as it grows sharp, icy spikes.
A duel is about to take place, a challenge unlike this world has ever seen. A battle that no inhabitant of this world will see, but will nevertheless be affected by it.
There is, however, one spectator waiting for the other combatant to appear.
“And that’s you”, shouts the man, speaking into your mind. “Let me win, Chooser. Give me the power to plunge this world into life-giving chaos. Let us end their boring peace, let us see their heroes rise!”
The Crashed City
They climb the last few meters and emerge on top of a precipice overlooking a lush valley. Their eyes widen. The sight beneath is too unreal to process. Fear tries to offer an escape into the irrational, but curiosity glues their feet to the ground.
There, in the middle of an azure lake surrounded by a purple forest lies their destination. It’s a huge chunk of rock on top of which lies a city. Its architecture is unlike anything they have ever seen. The massive boulder seems to have been ripped out of some other planet and flung out here.
The first of this world’s suns, a large, dirty orange sphere, is setting. Deep red rays make their way through the blaring blue light of the much larger star lying at the center of this solar system. The multicolored light glistens off the glassy surfaces of the alien city. It looks deserted.
Some buildings have crumbled. Birds have nested inside shattered cupolas. The city’s parks and gardens have been infested by local species, now engaged into a decades-long battle over the little soil still available. It’s a sight to behold, but they do well to rush back into the protective forest where thick purple leaves shelter them from the merciless blue sun.
At long last, night will soon come. They will then have to somehow reach the city, either by swimming or by using Horgh’s grapple hook. Azucena is eager to delve into the undoubtedly warm water of the lake. Lovely thinks balancing on a steel wire will be fun. Karl just smiles. Here comes their first step towards the Nexus…
But wait… I’m not done yet.
The Last Deadline
I’ve been a racer all my life. I’ve raced for people’s attention and love, for accomplishing this or that, for meeting deadlines imposed on me and, worst of all, for meeting deadlines I imposed on myself.
I’ve decided that this 1st of May is my last deadline. Approaching this date has put quite a lot of pressure on me. I really wanted to publish the very first version of my representation of the Nexus now, roughly one solar revolution after I made the first steps on this journey of creation. But my intellectual baby is still far from being able to talk, so I’ll wait.
Meeting deadlines can be poisonous and even lethal for any creation. It damages not only the quality of the product but also the way it is launched. A rushed launch is no good.
From today onwards, I will pick a different course. I will pick to flower. To wait, with calm, for the right moment to perform and to show, to involve and to ask for help. And in Nexus, everybody and everything is involved. And I do mean everybody and everything.
From now on, one of my mantras shall be the famous:
It’s ready when it’s ready!
I have absolutely no doubt that Nexus will be a successful project, product, creative endeavor and investment. Every quark of every atom in my body screams this in complete ecstasy for what is to come.
If you would like to contribute to growing this project, please support me: