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Dischenectody I
A Nick
Dischenectody II
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Six Men
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Cover Letter
What is It?


Posted March 29, 1996

Churning into the great unknown, Alex’s vessel tumbled end over end.
The new latches had better hold, he thought.  The depths had secrets
vague and mysterious.  There was no other protection available besides
the old shark cage.  He’d welded some loose joints, put strong steel
plates over most of the exterior and put stronger steel safety catches
all around the door.  Five minutes ago, he’d swung the groaning door
towards himself and fastened it closed.
	As the streamers and blobs eddied past the swiftly descending
cage, Alex wondered what his destination might be.  No one had ever
attempted this before, and when his advisor had proffered the chance
to make the trip, Alex had certainly had second thoughts.  But
adventures as new and unique as this are once-in-a-lifetime
opportunities.  Besides, a chance at the record books as well as the
certain media coverage would assist him in making a name for himself
in the field.  Four minutes ago, his advisor had shaken Alex’s hand
through the cage’s portal, stepped off the platform and shouted "Best
of luck, my friend."
	Through the hazy miasma Alex seemed to see off in the distance
a luminous surface.  Objects seemed to cover the surface in great
numbers, and the closer he got the more detail he could see.  Some
were small and simply formed, either motionless or slowly waving to
and fro.  Others were great complexes engaged in activities with the
glowing surface or with other objects.  A large section began to bulge
outward, and many identically formed and colored particles gathered
around the bulge as if to surround it.  Three minutes ago, a steel
hook had been attached to the cage and it had been raised, Alex and
all, forty meters off the ground.
	The bulge had completely pinched off now, and the surrounding
objects had formed a complete wrapper around the new shape.  Alex was
much closer to the ground now, heading for the area the bulge had
formed, which was for the moment devoid of any cover.  His speed
seemed alarming as he braced for impact, but at the last moment he was
able to see through the glowing surface to a much larger structure
behind it.  The veil parted easily for the cage, and Alex scarcely
felt a shudder.  Looking quickly behind him, he saw that the gap had
already repaired itself.  Two minutes ago, the massive gantry had
swung Alex and his cage over the giant burgundy disk of his advisor’s
machine, and a raucous buzzing seemed to permeate his entire being.
	Below Alex, an massive and incredible structure had revealed
itself.  A fantastic chain of bead-like forms, twisted in upon itself
four times in a marvelous display of topological perfection hovered in
all its glory.  All along this form were giant hunchbacked machines,
moving slowly up and down.  Alex could see that some machines were
making adjustments to the main structure, and others were creating new
objects efficiently and rapidly by assembling raw materials.  One
minute ago, Alex felt his brain and body turn inside out but did not
perish, upside down but did not fall, left-side right but did not
faint, and every which way but without moving a millimeter.
	Alex’s makeshift vessel approached the four-fold structure and
seemed to slow as the number and size of the raw material items around
him began to impede his progress.  His trajectory was thankfully
taking him right alongside of it.  One of the machines moved past him
slowly, and he was able to watch it closely.  As it moved, one end
sliced the structure open, and the other end stitched it back
together.  Alex felt sure this machine was efficiently and rapidly
checking for and repairing any defects it found .  Another machine
approached from behind as Alex was studying the operation of the
slicer.  This machine, one of the recycling ones, efficiently and
rapidly recycled Alex and his steel cage into raw materials.  Two
milliseconds ago, Alex and the steel cage were shrunken down to
sub-microscopic size and implanted in a skin cell belonging to a
common cave newt.

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