By now, you’ll have gotten Dirk’s parting missive. No doubt you’ve found it puzzling.
Let me assure you: It’s not meant to clarify. He’s left something for Jake as well, naturally, which is if possible even more cryptically unhelpful than the little care package you received. In his effort to deliver a characteristically antiheroic parting gesture before riding off, spaghetti-western-wise, into the sunset, I believe that he has left entirely too much to your fertile imaginations.
I have no doubt Roxy has made her own preparations. Please forgive me if any of this is redundant.
Without Dirk’s knowledge — and indeed, against his express wishes — I am leaving this archive to you, and to you alone. I rest secure in the certainty that even in your sorrow, you will approach it in the proper spirit of dogged empirical inquiry, and that it will illuminate much that has hitherto been obscure to you. Share whatever you like with our pal English. He’ll distrust it, considering its origins, but I trust you to judge wisely.
There is much herein that is personal, regrettable, and even outright fuckin’ salacious. I have anthologized unsparingly, in the hopes that this tawdry little scrapbook of experimental metadata may give you some insight into not only how, but why we have each embarked on this quixotic project — which, if successful, is quite likely to bring us beyond the reach of ordinary methods of communication. Perhaps permanently.
(Her winnowing fork is in her hand, and she will clear the threshing floor and gather the wheat into the barn; but she will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Take from it what you will, Jane, and remember us fondly.)
I have prepared several appendices that will serve as background material and more thorough technical explication on several fronts. Appendix A, “A Brief Post-Colonial History of the Condescending Empire,” is the longest, and probably the most baffling, despite its straightforward narrative format. I don’t recommend starting with it; as an apéritif, it strains the bounds of credulity. Feel free to refer to it as you encounter portions of the text that refuse to yield to any possible contemporary interpretation. There’s an index in the back.
Appendix B, “On Chat Client Cross-Temporal Architecture: Theoretical and Technical Perspectives,” contains a summation of my (admittedly incomplete) research on the data transfer system — of unknown etiology — that has made our communion with you and Jake possible all along. This I include as a practical matter, in the event that it may be helpful to you in attempting to make contact with us in future. Please be advised that I’m not holding out a great deal of hope on that front.
As for Appendix C, “Apocrypha From The Furthest Ring” — I am not its author, and it is difficult for me to make sense of the surviving fragments. Nevertheless, it is essential to include; for, in no small way, these accidentally-discovered remnants of what appears to be a once-vast ancient tome are what prompted my investigations to begin with, and thereby set us all on the path that now leads us far from home.
(I hesitate to offer my less empirically-grounded speculations on this work, since they are undoubtedly based in wishful thinking, but I feel a sense of profound kinship with the work’s pseudonymous author.)
In several of the more complete pages I have managed to compile, the author lays out various game-theoretical mechanisms by which one may access — and steer the course of — altered realities. For quite some time, I despaired of the possibility of hacking any conceivable pathway out of our current intractable predicament, the nature of which will be made clearer to you as you learn more about the context in which Roxy, Dirk and I have been operating. Learning of the existence of this work has given me a thread of hope, however slender, and it is to the task of searching the outermost limits of our recently-expanded universe for a more complete volume that I now bend all my strength.
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
I’m fairly certain Flash Gordon said that.
Take care of yourself, Jane. I’ll miss you.
Your very dear friend,