Charlotte Palmer is waiting when Adam arrives.
“Thank you for coming, Adam,” says the young/old Magus, and gestures at the iron-pitted factory before the two of them. “I hoped you could shed light on this.”
To mortal eyes, there’s nothing unusual about the structure. Rook’s God Factory once made its home in the earth, deep below the surface. But to Adam’s Shard-enhanced awareness, the other hidden aspect makes itself known: a powerful barrier against thought and feeling, forming a ring around the entire factory.
“Tau, external mode,” he orders, and Tau materializes for Ghost Girl’s benefit.
“Is this a Concordance or a Void Shadow construct?” he asks.
“Analyzing.” A beam of energy connects Tau to the barrier, making it visible as well just for a moment. “Affirmative.”
“Well which is it?”
“I am unable to distinguish between the two. However, the barrier has an interface device. Would you like to attach to it?”
Adam glances at Charlotte, and nods. “Yes, please attach.”
Conduit maintenance intelligence LASI-9292. Identify your purpose.
“That is what we hoped to ask you,” murmurs Charlotte with a wry smile.
“We’re here to investigate you on behalf of the Universal Concordance,” Adam answers.
Authorization acknowledged. The purpose of this conduit is to collect and funnel emotional energy between dimensional barriers anchored upon this planet.
“What kind of emotional energy has passed through the conduit?” Charlotte asks.
The ancient intelligence voices a formula, and Tau translates. “Humans would refer to these as negative emotions. Examples include greed, disappointment, anger, frustration, and sadness.”
“Why is this happening?” Adam asks.
Universal Concordance GS-343 doctrine is to dispose of unwanted emotional energy in available reservoirs. The first priority is to avoid leakage from the reservoir.
Charlotte taps her jaw with a finger. “Ghostheart said something about people taking their worst feelings to their graves, and beyond. They saw it as a sort of pollution, like a pool of stagnant water that might sicken someone who drank from it. I wonder if this is what they were referring to.”
Adam speaks. “How long has this been going on?”
LASI-9292 has been in operation for 18,461 local solar cycles.
“That’s a long time to be flooding the afterlife with the detritus of the universe’s worst feelings,” Charlotte frowns.
Adam nods. “Is the conduit still in operation?”
This reservoir approached peak capacity 61 local solar cycles ago. Since then, use has been discontinued.
“Okay. Tau, can you have LASI-9292 notify you if the conduit is used?”
The young Agent turns to Ghost Girl. “I was already going to space, so this is just one more thing I want to look into. What are you going to do?”
“Rosa Rook and Rook Industries attempted to turn me into a ‘corporate god’ with the aid of some very sophisticated machinery.”
Adam blinks in shocked surprise at the casual way Charlotte relays this fact, but keeps listening.
“Along the way I picked up some ‘passengers’ - souls that Ghostheart had captured on their behalf. I think it’s time to take this, and them, to our resident technical experts, Mr. Snow and Mr. Quill. Rook Industries built quite a device at the bottom of this emotional landfill, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. I’d like to understand better just what happened.”
Adam nods. “I’d like to as well. I’ll be leaving the planet soon, but I’ll arrange a way to keep in touch. Tell me what you find, okay?”
“I will. Thank you, Adam.”