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A Preface to Book Two
Greetings from Switzerland.
J.(Channing)Wells here, humbly begging apologies of your fair selves. By my own calculations, it has been fully two-thirds of one year since I began for you transcription of the landmark bit of literature known as "Mundementia One". The First Book of this series, save for the ever-elusive Part Eight (more on this below) has been completely transcribed, and has been uploaded into my _personal_ space on the "World Wide Web", a new development in "computer" technology. Alas, you will be required to obtain a "World Wide Web Browser" in order to quickly and efficiently access these documents, but if, by chance, you are unable to obtain such a thing, you may contact me via "Electronic Mail." If, on the other hand, this new technology is available to you, you may find Book One, subtitled "The Book of the Matriculation", at the following Web "Site": http://members.xoom.com/Channing .
This note has been transmitted to you through this Electronic Mail "Mailing List" because here, in politically-neutral Switzerland, I have been given a brief respite from the hostile forces which have hounded me and prevented me from contacting you, and I have therefore resolved to continue my transcription with Book Two of "Mundementia One", subtitled "The Book of Going Forth." Before reading this next work, it is the suggestion of this transcriber that you peruse what is available to you of the first work in order to increase your comprehension of the work to come. Of course, as has been previously noted, this work remains incomplete and bastardized without Part Eight (lost to history, and subsequently to the Mob) and so any confusion that you experience in the reading of this work is, perhaps, understandable.
So, you ask, why has it been so long?
Well, I'll tell you.
When last you heard from me, I had set out from my native Iowa with my eager eye towards Wiltshire, England, where it was rumored that certain prescient Druids had used their most potent arts prior to the arrival of Charles the Great to predict the writing of "Mundementia One", and had hastily constructed certain insignificant rings of stone, in which the text of this work was coded. I had theorized that if, indeed, I could find the monolith that corresponded to Part Eight, I could deconstruct the code of rings and stones to derive a rough simulacrum of the text of the _single most important chapter_ of this work.
Sadly, I was never given the chance.
Short on funds, and having hocked all possessions of value in order to obtain plane passage to the Kingly Isle, I promptly went looking for gainful employment in order to finance my research. I finally managed to conquer my jet-lag and airsickness enough to hold down a position in an "unskilled labor" environment, signaling the beginning of my brief career as a BBC Meteorologist. The work was dull, and required no special training, other than the ability to pronounce the words "overcast" and "rain" in at least a fair approximation of a Mid-Atlantic accent, a skill which I mastered quickly due to my considerable talents in the Theatre.
Sadly, life was not good. My difficulties were compounded by my inability to find a rental apartment, because, in England, there is _no such thing_, a discrepancy which shocked me, and which I am still unable to reconcile with reality; I tried and tried to find them, but there were _no_ listings in the directories for anythings of the sort. Ergo, I lived for several months in the foyers of bus-terminals, eating cold sandwiches (or "lorries", as the natives call them) and slouching through my day job, valiantly attempting to scavenge enough funds to buy a bus (or "perambulator") ticket to the Wiltshire Plain.
Things began degenerating rapidly the day the Sun came out.
Now, to many people in many countries across the world, the appearance of the Sun is, at least presumably, a daily feature of the day. Not here in Auld Britannia. Still, even all my experiences with the British Climate over the course of several months living there were unable to overcome my pre-ingrained assumptions on that fateful day that I ignored _all_ of the flashing warning lights and klaxons coming from the Microsoft Forecast '99 system when it predicted a day of "Sunshine, 21 degrees" (which I thought a mite cold--venturing outside I had found the software to have been completely wrong, as it was obviously closer to a pleasant Seventy Degrees rather than the frigid Twenty-One given to me by the software). So pleased was I, and so eager to enjoy the sunshine, that I hastily transmitted only my corrected temperature reading and then went out to watch the ducks.
Little did I know the damage that I had wrought.
Oh, yes, there was some nonsense about how we all should be dead of heatstroke at the day's temperature as it was given; I tended to get those sorts of complaints quite a bit during my tenure there, and I ascribe this to the ignorance of the populace at large. But, _but_, more importantly, in my haste, I had not transmitted that _critical_ bit of data regarding the day's cloud cover, or lack thereof, to the proper authorities. And _that_... well, perhaps this would be a good time to interject a written transcript of a BBC News broadcast on that fateful day.
* * *
(Vid: A cluttered newsroom. Copy-boys flinging themselves around like dervishes in the background. A Female Reporter sits at the desk.)
FEMALE REPORTER: (British Accent) Good evening. I'm Sarah Grey. This evening's top news: A tragedy of epic proportions rocked the city of London today as thousands of England's young were dragged kicking and screaming from the innocence of childhood, and outraged and stunned parents everywhere have been left wondering _why._ We take you now to the home of Missus Sarah Kingsbridge of Twelve Saint Mary's Place, where earlier, we had installed a hidden camera without her knowledge, in the hopes that something interesting would happen. Malcolm, execute the film.
(Vid: Scratchy black-and-white image of a weary-looking mother and a small male child.)
CHILD: (British Accent) But Mum! I thought you said that _GOD_ warmed the Earth and provided us grey and inconstant cloud-filtered light through his _Love_!
MOTHER: (British Accent) Yes, Tad. He _does_. He... just... er... He acts _through_ astronomical entities, such as... well, the _Sun!_ Which is... er... That Big Yellow Thing you saw today that scared you so!
CHILD: WAAAAAAH! I can't comprehend the actions of a divinity that functions only as a directive force for natural physical processes! My primitive socio-religious concepts only allow for the image of an omnipotent controller-deity who interacts on a direct basis with mankind without heed of Scientific Principles! WAAAAAAH!
MOTHER: (crying) I'm sorry, Tad... I never meant... to lie to you...
(Vid: Back to the newsroom.)
SARAH GREY: Reputable sources have identified _this_ gentleman as the perpetrator of all this mayhem.
(Vid: Picture of, well, me.)
SARAH GREY: (continues) If you see this man, please be advised that he is a dangerous criminal against the innocence of the youth of our nation. He may yet strike again. But please, if you see this man, do not pick up blunt objects and club him silly; please refer your sighting to the proper authorities, so that _we_ may club him silly with our own blunt objects. Thank you, and good luck to all you parents out there whose childrens' worlds have collapsed around their young little shoulders before they were even given a chance to experience the happiness of childhood. We now return you to your regular broadcast.
* * *
Well, I think that pretty much sums it up. I rapidly stole my way aboard a departing cargo liner, and through pieces and happenstances, I have made my way to Switzerland where the British Police Force (The "Worcester") will be unable to find me. And now, beautiful now, I have the time for further transcription.
The point of this missive, then?
More Mundementia One, comin' backatcha.