The first of three histories regarding the cracking of the lens.
Martin sits on the rope balcony beside the lens Necessity.
Idly he asks:
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who’s the fairest of them all?”
The lens contemplates.
It offers: “Fox News—fair and balanced!”
“It’s unrealistic images of fairness like these,” he says, “that compromise a guy’s ability to act as messiah in the modern day.”
“I cannot speak to that,” the lens informs him.
“This is the problem,” Martin says. “I need data on Persephone; or, more generally, on the Eleusinian Mysteries. But it’s hard to find.”
“I have not failed on the technical level,” he says. “The chaos: I pump it. The levers: I pull them. In general, I comport myself as expected of me according to the nature of this tower’s operation. Therefore the problem lies in the equipment.”
The images in the lens swirl thoughtfully.
“Perhaps,” it offers, “the nature of your request is ill-defined.”
“. . . to know more about Persephone?”
Martin favors Necessity with a hard glare. “The pursuit of knowledge,” he says, “is definite.”
“Even with regard to a mystery?”
“Here is how I theorize,” says Martin. He gestures broadly. “For the purposes of gathering data and taking specific action, the point of utter mystery—that uncanny ungatherable data that produces only static at the moment of observation—is irrelevant. One may isolate it in the bubble of its unclarity, hand-waving around its edges, and leaving only the hard facts at hand. Perhaps there is right here in the tower some infinite force, unknowable, imperceptible, transcendent to the circumstances of my life, but I relate to the world only in context of verifiable data. Invoke the mystery as you like; I shine light in what I can and the remainder is of no matter.”
“Hm,” says the lens.
“So: what is it that you will not show me?”