You are startled as we begin the transition. We are now sliding down- if “sliding down” were even the correct term, but in this case it will be the easiest for you to understand- a Riemann surface, down into a temporal Calabi–Yau Manifold that will allow us to travel where and when we need to. If you feel that slight disorientation- ah, yes, that was it; don’t worry, it will pass quickly. That was us puncturing through some superstrings that are powering this particular manifold. 

The next bit of disorientation will be your own timeline looping in on yourself like Möbius strip.  I can assure you that it will only be temporary.  You may experience-

***

(Flashes: a dark-skinned man with leathery skin reaching out to you. A pale stone column with an old woman leaning against it. A smokey old room with cherry wood furniture. Blood on russet earth. A man with a star bleeding from his forehead.  A whisper: “Somewhere in the present you-”

Light.)

***

The ancient Neanderthals, despite their pioneering efforts in the realm music instrument construction and improvisation, lacked the sufficient cultural intelligence to manifest those intellectual pursuits into tangible form. Such innovation would have to wait thousands of years, until around 2000 B.C.E.

In the ancient Sumerian city of Nippur, life was hard, which is what tends to happen when you build a village in the middle of a marsh. In fact, Nippur was destroyed by a flood, and then rebuilt over the ruins of the previous iteration of the village. Repeatedly. This stubborn persistence eventually paid off, when a subsequent version of the city, having built over the numerous corpses of previous ones, actually survived a flood or two.

It also helped that, instead of using reeds to build their huts and other structures, the inhabitants of Nippur began using adobe-brick. We can only surmise that one fellow, tired of having his house, wife, and young children swept away by flood after flood, uttered the Sumerian equivalent of No Mas (or, simply carved it in cuneiform and used it as the cornerstone of his new home) and built an experimental house out of said adobe-brick. When the next flood came, and he was safe on top of his russet home while most of his neighbors had either fled or were drowning, they would look upon him and ask themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Once the waters had subsided and the hapless townsfolk returned to the ruins, said Innovator made a remarkable profit in helping construct the newest building craze in Nippur. What they didn’t realize, at least initially, was that adobe-brick, being sun-baked from sand, clay, and water, eventually deteriorated (erosion had not entered the Sumerian lexicon, it would seem). As a result, homes were frequently torn down and rebuilt over their ruins, which had a the curious effect of elevating the city above the surrounding region, alleviating their flooding concerns. The original brick building Innovator, however, still needed to provide refunds for this unforeseen development.

The Sumerians, acknowledged as the earliest civilization in the world (as opposed to the free-wheeling, disorganized nature of the Neanderthals before), made a great many strides in the realms of technology, agriculture, and, most importantly, music. And in developing music, using instruments such as the harp and lyre, they also came to develop a written form of music notation using a diatonic scale.

The diatonic scale is a seven note octave-repeating musical scale comprising five whole steps and two half steps for each octave.  Curiously enough, it has been claimed that the ancient Divje Babe flute was tuned to a diatonic scale. The relevancy of this point cannot be understated; despite the inability for Neanderthals to write down and maintain a historical form of their music, these concepts could very well have passed on via genetic memory.  In essence, from the very first moments of the Promethean discovery of music, its impact has been such on humanity that our DNA is now encoded with it, ensuring its very survival until the very last embers of civilization fade away.

***

We have arrived.

You are disoriented. Slowly, the malaise passes and you notice that the stars are few and far between.  Distant shards of light, puncturing a blanket of darkness. You are scared; don’t be. The fear is a natural reaction, of course; whereas previously you had the despondent landscape and failing stars above you. Subconsciously your mind was able to contextualize your place within that environment. Out here, with so few stars and only darkness threatening- again, only subconsciously – to engulf you, your instinct kicks in to fight or flight. Considering the darkness is incorporeal and you are hardly in a position for flight, given your present condition, this untenable situation causes your mind to deadlock. No need to worry; again, this is normal.

We are, after all, at the very edge of the universe.

-Continued-

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