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This Is Happening

Authors: C60 and Stratos


The towers of Austere have a way of making you feel like you should be more than you are. Rising as the cliff falls away they contradict the flow of the land, and make the natural seem out of place. Such is the precision of their elegance, the clarity of their pale lines. And that is all before you take in the squid.

Rising from unknowable deeps a cluster of teuthida tentacles embrace Austere’s spires. From their length alone they belong to a squid of enormous proportions. Pulsing gently with patterned bioluminescence, digital camouflage and cryptographic mating colours, they caress Austere, undulating slowly across its pristine surface. Commissioned by Glint of Holovid 12 this titan is one of the largest products of biomancy in Outworld and serves a singular purpose - aethernet connectivity. Buried deep in those grasping arms lie transmission arrays and receiving antenna, all the paraphernalia of macro-scale bandwidth delivery. It represents an untapped media resource of colossal power and Austere has refused all its requests for a system link.

Rejected like an infectious transplant, the squid lies dormant, its biomantic potential unrealised, for its time has yet to come. You see, Austere is built on the principle of manifestation. If you have doubts they are exacerbated and consume you in recursive patterns of failure. But there is augmentation too, if the dynamics are set and the diffusion of egos matched with the osmosis of attention. Follow the incomplete mecha-dendrites down from the I/O suckers and you will find, at the heart of his domain, C60 sitting on a throne of hacked inputs and black market bandwidth. The sources of his data are unclear, but they are clearly facilitated by more than one major player in the ratings game. He has the ego, now he needs the attention.

This is his time. Ziggy Love, his rival, is burning more candles at more ends than any mortal can juggle. The devil is in the details and this pattern is becoming fractal. Deep in the heart of Austere a conjunction of savage subliminal manipulation and suave showmanship coalesces with a singular purpose. The obvious assumption would be that this is the destruction of Ziggy but the truth is both deeper and more direct. He wants one thing, and one thing only, the ultimate entertainment of Outworld. Win or lose, all outcomes lead to victory for the confrontational catalysts of the Channel 60 production crew.

But first Channel 60 must get on the air. C60 needs a transmission, a carrier wave to ride deep into the nascent zeitgeist of Outworld. Austere provides the basis for action - a throne of emergent technology extruded from the floor. Circuitry buried in its sloping sides configures itself optimally for the task ahead, alive with potential. The chamber Austere has chosen is dark, lit only be the blue and green status lights of the machinery manifesting around its occupant. C60 sits atop the sculpture of hardware and grins; the light catches his jawline photogenically, the image recorded on the first of many cameras constructing themselves from components created by converted walls and ceilings.

Now for power. C60 closes his eyes and exerts his will. A message is sent instantaneously across distances both vast and insignificant, unhindered by the rule-breaking topography of Outworld. The message arrives and its request granted without hesitation. Monoliths of colossal scale shift and the reactor at the heart of the Telluric Fastness beats infinitesimally faster. A burst of energy arcs into the aether, joining the constant battering of the storm. This one does not discharge, but stabilises into a surging conduit. A connection is formed and Austere draws deeply.

Tentacles spasm with the sudden rush of power, peeling momentarily away from the tower, trailing half-formed cabling behind them. They flicker and glow with racing luminescent patterns, genetic code and evolutionary memory forms scrolling across their surface, bright against the night sky. Then they slam back down on the towers, drawn in by Austere’s sudden, hungry acceptance of their network requests. Rippling with purpose, patterns shifting with strobing frequency, the squid’s arms grip the spires and merge with their structure. Handshake protocols are offered and accepted, the first data packets sent and checksummed for integrity. The tips of the tentacles glow green across the board. Austere is online.

The broadcast exists because he does. He is the transmission, made possible because it is necessary. He performs because he is being recorded. He is recorded because his performance is unmissable. He has power, bandwidth, and one hell of a show. Now for the ratings. C60 grins slightly wider. Cameras swarm and click, capturing the moment. A message scrolls across every monitor in Austere’s new studio - Channel 60 is live in 3… 2… 1…

“I am C60 at Channel 60 and This. Is. Happening. We are on air and on brand, on point and online, omnipresent and unrelenting, selective, expensive and seductive. We answer to no one but cover everything, from onset to aftermath, action to backlash, from your faction’s birth to its collapse.

We are broadcasting live to all quadrants of Outworld, via the UHF Metacognition Structure at the heart of Austere, now mounted by the Aerial Squid and distributing its data to YOU, right now, wherever you are.

The team here at Channel 60 believe in harnessing the Geomantic potential of this new civilisation to bring you for the first time an Aethernet wide showcase of Shaper for Shaper programming. So don't touch that dial, This has never happened before, but it is happening now. We recommend you update your dreams and delusions accordingly.

Through the conduit of high definition holo visuals and Geomancy enriched waveform emissions, an archive will be assembled that future generations will wonder to behold. Here and now at the onset of the second cycle I challenge you all to come alive as never before. We will bring to the attention of the world, the hottest stories of our time and shine a spotlight on this great arena, where audience and performance are one and the same.

We begin tonight with a story, more than deserving of your collective attentions and pivotal to our own explosive narrative. So friends, Shapers and Outworldians, lend me your ear ducts and eye holes for a few short moments, open wide the maw of your mindscape to swallow whole this cutting edge coverage.

But first! A very special message for the Holovid 12 contingent of of Joy Effect! Who at this very moment are no doubt staring, perturbed, bamboozled and in awe at their monitors, which without warning have switched out their programming for mine. We of course apologise profusely for the unscheduled interruption! Your informative and provocative itinerary provided the basis for Channel 60’s numerous predilections, providing a shimmering pink foundation upon which we were able to construct our own magnificent medium of transmission.

Your own consorts, name of Flux Wildly and Glint provided the gargantuan cephalopod resonator, that now slimes its sticky feeder limbs all over Austere’s exterior. Their intentions were of course to amplify your own signal, allowing for a global entertainment monopoly to emerge. And I suspect to facilitate more regular visitations, but my sources tell me that Flux at least has gone his separate way.

Perhaps it seems unconscionable that we would utilise your technology of an ulterior motive, that we would hijack the airwaves that were you preponderate asset. If indeed it is aggravation you are experiencing we ask that you look no further than your Commander in Spandex, your Hero in Heels, your Protector and Erector, the Chic-Sheik Hair-Attic Wig-Rack…. Ziggy Love. The man, the myth, the legend, the advertisement, on brand, on camera and on Stardust, YOU SIR! Are the source from which our production is made to manifest.

And so it is to you that we extend our most heartfelt congratulations on all of your success, the world has through you become an interactive narrative, alive with charisma like a symphony in technicolor radiation.

However, the Walkers have a saying “Be effortlessly better.” When I met you I understood for the first time what they meant and what had to be done. After learning so much from your stirring rendition of the planets happenings, I knew in that instant how best to repay you for filling the void of my fractured memory. You are not like other people Ziggy Love, and your talents have lead you to a place no other persons can reach. Here you have begun to stagnate, content to be decadent on your decorated plateau, desensitised to the consequences of your actions. But we cannot allow a hero of the people such as yourself to become sluggish in his becoming, simply because no one has the nerve to challenge his position. The exploitation of potential is the very essence of what we both stand for and yours must be put into an environment where it can astound even itself. The survival of the organism depends upon its ability to out evolve its competition in the great game played by life at every scale.

I was born to wrestle Titans Ziggy Love, I see that now. I was born to face impossible odds for sport. Mountains can be taller and oceans can be deeper Ziggy Love. There is no upper limit to epic.

Not here at Channel 60 to be sure! Not here at the greatest broadcasting corporate entity in the known multiverse! I am here with Crystal Nex and The Void to introduce our exclusive and copyrighted forthcoming programming that will be subverting your airwaves and converting your mind states, Rift’s End to the Frozen Waste!

But it won't just be us bring this sunrise to sundown saga to life! You, our devoted audience, will be the serrations on this cutting edge display. With the fate of Outworld on the shoulders of each and every one of you shapers, you had best believe our team will be in the thick of the melee, swarming mechanical eyes at every pivotal action. From the second the engines come online we will be at there to witness and record your most glorious ascensions and your most bitter defeats. Stars will be born and die, just as they do across the black velvet of the cosmos, and with the same devastating impact.

When we stalk the five factions in Walking With Shapers, when we dig through the dirt in Keeping up with the Valterians, when we have the last words of the wars in Back to the Affront or bring you the celebrity inside scoop on Nuts about D’s Knuts, author and audience will collide. Whatever you have to say and whoever you want to be, bring the story to us and watch it explode across the network. Pro and anti faction content, product placement and independent data mining are encouraged, for the right price we will build multimedia presentations to your exact specifications, the news is what we make it and our mainframe is the apex of the transcontinental food chain. So get in line with your grandiose designs, sign the waiver and shine in the spotlight, strap on, buckle up, eyes wide and sit tight. I’m C60 at Channel 60 and this is happening!