(Those of you just joining us can find part 1 here)
I am writing this overview to provide an instructional counterpart to Samm's later recollection. The construction of the temporal anchor is not an emotionally engaging process. This is a matter of necessity as I'll explain, but Samm is being very adamant that this document be more than a "recipe" as he put it. Throughout we refer to the temporal anchor as a location called Door 23. This nomenclature was developed as a common point of reference once we started working with Elise who was not involved in the construction of the Newcomen II. The number 23 had no bearing on our choice for this location, at the time we had no idea 23 had significance to so many people.
(Elise's commentary: The 23's a pretty weird fucking coincidence if you ask me. I've taken advantage of it for certain calibrations I've made over the years. Not calibrations to the machine itself of course, because of its nature only Samm and Julia can do anything to the machine directly. It does allow me to get a sort of energetic resonance with the machine and helps me understand ways to refine and direct the output of the artifacts the Newcomen generates. This is how I was able to shunt the output of object twelve to those tied to the extremitas currents.)
The temporal anchor is the reference point for the moving parts of the machine. Using the metaphor of a lever, the temporal anchor is the fulcrum. Most people have unintentional versions of this; a definitive vision of what they were like as a child or a teenager for example. These anchors happen after the fact and more often than not are chosen for us rather than by us. The image I have of myself as a child, as an example, is more from my mother and father than my own memories which are few and fuzzy.
For the anchor to be useful as a piece of the machine is has to be deliberately chosen and rather being self referential it must be an image of the machine in relation to you. The goal is to create a static piece of time/space, an eternal unchanging and unchangeable moment. This can be difficult as the first spaces that are likely to spring to mind carry with them heavy emotional content. This makes those spaces unsuitable for a Newcomen II, as what becomes fixed is your fascination with the events that happened rather than the place/time they happened. (Samm's note: In part three the inverse principle will be in play. The goal there being to create a volatile fuel for the machine.)
The place I selected for the temporal anchor was an area outside our school where the two of us and a few of our friends gathered to talk regularly. Samm's recounting should fill in the rest of it. Good luck.
(On this note, the Hadron project is in part an upgrade to the Newcomen II as well as way to bring Elise in as another piece of the machine without destroying the integrity of the anchor. Additionally much thanks to James who sent us this gem. Looks like Julia caused more of a stir than we realized.- Samm)
Outside the incinerator building the sun burned a violent shade of bright. Hot winds and bird song moved against each other like the gears of a great machine. Everywhere the grass had long given up its green, and the way the air shimmered above the road made you question why Winter was the season equated with death. I marched up streets that were not quite familiar hoping to avoid running into anyone who would know me well enough to stop me and ask to share my time. Eventually the familiar red brick came into view. To this day it reminds me of a fortress.
Julia was waiting for me by door 23. The same door we had met under nearly every day throughout the school years we had shared. We did not exchange words. Everything that had needed to be said about what was about to happen, had been said yesterday; also under door 23. When she explained it, it was so brilliant I was almost jealous that I hadn't thought of it first. Door 23 was not a place of power because it was strange, but because it was a perfectly normal place. A place that might have been any other door on any other school building where any other kids might have hatched their own secret plans; but it wasn't any other place, and try as I might, I could not think about my friendship with Julia without also thinking about this place.
What we hoped for and what happened is that now I can't think of that place without thinking of it on that day; without thinking of it as where the machine sits. Sitting across from each other we stared into each other's eyes, unflinching, until the sun's place in the sky had noticably shifted. Most people never have that experience, but most people do know how uncomfortable holding a gaze too long can be. Go long enough and that discomfort becomes transcendent, holy like only pain and discomfort can be.
My legs spasmed as I unfolded them. Julia ruffled my mohawk and I noticed her arm was covered with beads of sweat, mine was too. We were both flush from the heat. Julia wanted me to drag my hands across the black top, grabbing my hand and moving it herself as she asked. I can still feel the heat and roughness of the black top dancing with smoothness of tiny pebbles across the tips of my fingers. There was a small black bird watching us from the tree behind Julia. I told Julia to look at he bird, directing her gaze there with a firm but gentle push on her chin as I asked. "Listen to my heart beat." she said, pulling my ear to her chest. "Smell the stink of this place on me." I said burying her head where neck meets shoulder. "Taste the heat of the day." she said, bringing my lips to her forearm.
It went on like that until we'd each run the five senses several times over. Somehow there was nothing weird about it in that moment. Ask each other to notice and show each other exactly how to notice in full the time and place we were in. We owned that place and that day until it stopped being a place we found ourselves and became a place we had made ourselves. Two engineers building their machine until kingdom come.