MVC Podcast 9: Open House, Mickey,
The Lincolns & Charles the Grey

[01:12:22]  February 6th, 2023

Charles Reuben returns to The Coffeehouse, and Charles the Grey breaks Blythe out of prison.

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Avete! That’s Latin, it means hello-plural. It’s a bit pretentious, n’est pas? Howdy y’all! That’s better.

This is the 9th video in The Multiverse Cartographer series here on YouTube, in which I read every chapter of “The Multiverse Cartographer” as well as any chapters, or short stories, from the Mouse books which are related to The New World Empire and The Interdimensional Coffeehouse. Just a reminder, if you’re interested, this book “The New World Empire & The Interdimensional Coffeehouse” is available in paperback. It includes both the Mouse books and “The Multiverse Cartographer” as well as some related and unrelated Bonus Material. The related part is the short story called “Second Fruit” which I wrote in 1997. “The New World Empire” was largely built upon the foundation of “Second Fruit,” and contains many of the same characters and some of the general themes, though subtly, and importantly, in the background, much like the super-massive blackhole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy is both subtle and important. That fourth section, the bonus material, also includes a chapter called “The Cutting Room Floor,” the very few elements of “The New World Empire” which were neither included in the Mouse books nor in “The Multiverse Cartographer.”

Anyway, the link is in the description below if you’d like the full tome in paperback. If you’d prefer to read it on your glowing screen, the links to the Mouse books and “The Multiverse Cartographer” are also in the description below, but you will be missing out on the bonus material, as well as the shared ancestral experience of holding a book in your hands, like they did in days of yore.

If this is the first of these videos you’re seeing, I invite you to click right up here and start at the beginning of The Multiverse Cartographer playlist in which this is the 9th video and it will make a good deal more sense after having seen the previous 8.

If you have already seen the previous 8 then, no doubt, you’re wondering how long I’m going to be repeating things you already know, and wishing I would get on with today’s episode. I shall now do so.

Bonjour! In today’s episode, we’ll be picking up where the chapter called “When Universes Collide” left off with a chapter called “Open House,” and picking up, more or less, where “The Red Birds” left off by reading “The Lincolns.”

In between “Open House” and “The Lincolns” I’ll be reciting the first story in “Smaller Mouse,” which is the second of the two Mouse books. The story is called “Mickey” and it will help set up one aspect of “The Lincolns.”

Also, in “The Lincolns” there is a call-back to a very short story in “The Small Grey Mouse” called “Charles the Grey” which I’ll be reading when we get to it, with about half-way through “The Lincolns.” Then, after “The Lincolns” I’ll read a short segment from “The Cutting Room Floor” from the bonus material at the end of “The New World Empire & The Interdimensional Coffeehouse.”

So, strap in! This is going to be a long one. If you’d like, pause this video now and make yourself some popcorn, or coffee, or dim the lights and light the candles, whatever it is you want to do to put yourself into a nice hypnogogic state to really and thoroughly download what I’m going to be streaming at you today.

Without Further Ado: OPEN HOUSE

You can see the illustration.

Dan and Jean Reuben had ceased to exist entirely, in the past, present, and future.

Even at that age, Charles Reuben was able to recognize that it was odd that he still existed if his parents had never existed.

He knew that something had gone wrong. It hadn’t gone as his parents predicted. One thing was for sure, though, the universe was continuing to exist. So, he thought, whatever had happened they must have been successful.

He felt a sense of pride knowing that, while he wouldn’t be able to tell anyone because they would think he was crazy, he knew that his parents were heroes. Everyone in the world, and all worlds like it, owed their continued existence to what they had done, whatever it was.

He ended up in foster care. He was a bit withdrawn growing up. He painted scenes that people assumed were from his imagination, but usually they were his memories of The Coffeehouse.

Eventually, he graduated high school with Cs and Ds, got a job temping, and got himself an apartment and a used car.

One particular Saturday afternoon, he found himself in his old neighborhood, where he had grown up. He couldn’t remember the name of the street he’d lived on, so he drove around aimlessly until he saw it.

He knew it was his old house. It was painted blue, it used to be yellow, but it was clearly the house.

There was a “For Sale” sign, and an “Open House” sign, and the front door was open, so he parked.

He walked in and met with the Realtor, and nice lady in a power suit. He asked if he could just walk around and look at the place for a little while, said that he used to live there when he was young.

She said, “Go right ahead,” and remained behind waiting in the living room to see if any others would arrive.

He walked down the hall, and into the room where it had all happened, the room that used to be his dad’s den that had transformed into someone else’s bedroom.

He saw the window where the desk had been, looked over where the dresser with the books on it had been, and turned and faced the eastern wall.

He thought, “I wonder…” He approached the eastern wall, the way his dad had so long ago.

He put his right hand up against the wall, and the hair on the back of his neck stood up on end, as the quality of light changed, and he began to see the other side.

He saw the tables, the malachite floor, the people, and the ocean beyond. He saw the other islands in the distance, and the starry night sky.

He touched the surface of the shimmering Rectangle, and slowly pressed his hand through, feeling that familiar sensation, like the surface of water if a water surface could be vertical, and he stepped through the doorway into The Coffeehouse.

“Open House” opens by re-establishing a couple of the main points we went over last time. Dan and Jean have ceased to exist, even any record of them having existed was gone, yet Charles Reuben was still there. We went over some theories last time about how and why this was.

Charles Reuben graduates High School with Cs and Ds. As far as autobiographical backstory on that, in high school I was getting As and Bs, and would beat myself up if I got a C, up until my dad passed away in 1993. Then, I started getting Cs and Ds. It being a fancy-shmancy Prep school and all, I was required to see the school psychiatrist about it. In the end, since I’d finished High School math already, the left side of my brain being a bit bigger than my right, to use an arcane reference, I decided I’d stop taking math and focus on reading, writing, and the arts. I was in all the school plays, directed one of ‘em, took ceramics, painting, and so on.

In my senior year, just to be a smart ass, I went into the office on the first day and asked them, “What’s the bare minimum I have to do to get a high school diploma at the end of the year.” They, of course, said, “Please don’t do the bare minimum you’d have to do to get a diploma at the end of the year.” I said, “Humor me,” and they said, “Okay. You can get a zero in these classes, as long as you get at least a C- in these other classes.” So, with razor-sharp precision, I got exactly a zero in those classes, and a C- in the other ones. So, Charles Reuben and I have that in common, sort of.

I did a bit of temping, you could say, in that the office job I worked at for 10 years started as a temp job, and I have owned a few used cars over the years.

I too have frequented old neighbourhoods to see houses I once lived in. Actually, fun story, we used to live in Lucky Baldwin’s old guest house. Pasadena and Sierra Madre locals might recognize that name, if not know who he was. My parents added a second story to it. To clarify, for anyone living in India or, I assume, England? You would say they added a first story to it. See, here in India the ground floor is the ground floor, and the next one up is the first floor. In America, the ground floor is the first floor, and the first time you go up some stairs inside your house you’re going up to what they call the second floor. Anyway, that’s when my dad had them put in the customized secret chamber behind the bookshelf, where he’d perform his Vajrayana pujas.

They lost the house in the divorce. In other words, they had to sell it and split the cash, minus all the lawyers and fees. Whoever bought the house from us decided to tear the historical landmark to the ground. This came as a surprise, one day, when my mom and I went back to see our old house, and instead saw a tractor and a pile of rubble. We walked around on the broken pieces of our old house, and I vividly remember standing on my old Smurf wallpaper, which I had picked out for my room a few years prior. An early tangible lesson in impermanence. They ended up building a house basically just like it, minus the natural wood and the great oak tree I used to climb. Why? Very poor taste, obviously.

The house we lived in before that one was a smaller one in North Hastings Ranch, the one with the tire swing and the club house. I think that was the one that was painted blue one time, though the memory is a bit fuzzy. My ancestral home in Highland Park, built by my twice-great grandfather, was originally yellow, but it hadn’t been yellow since probably sometime in the 20s. That ancestor had built two houses, one for his family and one for a family that was friends with his family. The second of the two, the one for his friends, is the one pictured here in the photo, the blue one.

My mom got into realty a bit, but I don’t recall her ever being a realtor. As I mentioned, she was an architect. At one time she was both the local vice-president of the American Institute of Architects and the president of the local Women’s Architectural League. She was also involved with the local Historical Societies. As such, she was always very interested in certain houses in and around Pasadena and Los Angeles, and elsewhere.

Growing up, one Saturday morning or afternoon activity that was fairly common, which at the time I usually found pretty boring, was to go to Open Houses, houses that were for sale, which my mom had no intention to buy, but took the opportunity to see the inside of the house, and to pick the brain of the realtor and maybe the previous owners, and find out everything she could about the house’s history and design.

Being one of America’s “Top 500 Female Executives,” you can bet she had a few good power-suits as well. So, there’s a bit of the background and inspiration behind some of the imagery happening in this chapter.

“He walked down the hall,” that’s a nod to The Doors. Never mind.

Now, the eastern wall of the room that used to be the Den. In European ceremonial magic and, indeed, religion, much importance is placed upon the east. Bring a compass the next time you go to a Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Episcopal, or Anglican Church and you might notice that the entrance is in the west and priest and the big cross is in the east, and it’s the direction everyone is facing. Same goes for Freemasons and, of course, west of Mecca, east is the direction toward which Moslems pray as well, but that has more to do with Mecca than it does to do with east.

East is the direction of the dawn, the resurrection, spring, if you will. In the old days, in the Tabernacle in the Wilderness or Solomon’s Temple, or the Ancient Egyptian Temples, the entrance was in the east and the holiest part of the temple was in the west. It was more like you’re entering the temple, or the world, starting out as a baby like the dawning sun, and moving toward wisdom and eventually the tomb in the west, the place of the sunset. The whole resurrection thing really did a number on Temple layouts, if not on groupthink.

It was years after my dad passed away, taking his strange arcane yet New Age wisdom with him. He hated the term “New Age,” by the way, a bit like how Hipsters hate things that are trendy. At any rate, it was in piecing together clues and hints, reading and rereading my dad’s book “Transformations,” and learning from the schools of thought that he had learned from and so on, that I was eventually able to tap back in to that strange state of consciousness that I would find myself in when he would lead those morning meditations, or teach me tarot, or scrying, or rolling our eyes back and sensing the energies of power spots up Angeles Crest or in the Mohave Desert.

So, metaphorically speaking, in the room that used to be, or never was, my dad’s den years before, on the eastern wall I, eventually, stepped through the doorway into The Coffeehouse.

Moving away from this too-real, grounded, personal Interdimensional Coffeehouse that exists outside of time, lets move on to the land of make-believe, shall we?

Before moving on to the next chapter of “The Multiverse Cartographer,” though, as I mentioned, I’ll first read the very beginning of the second of the two Mouse books, “Smaller Mouse,” the short story entitled… MICKEY

A Drone-born-Drone became convinced, as some of them do, that these references to history and beings and things which go on outside of his building were illusions put there to keep him from The Truth, and that The Truth was that the things that went on in his immediate cluster were The Truth, and these records they would occasionally process for a variety of reasons about a world “outside” of the building were Lies.

This Drone-born-Drone, as a result of his epiphany, became intensely conscious and alert, for fear of falling back into the slumber he remembered so well, that slumber of the Drone-Trance, in which everything is taken at face value.

At around this time, Sergent Lee, the Red Bird who “owned” that particular building, saw a tremendous opportunity, particularly in light of the building's resident Manager-god growing so old and becoming increasingly slow-witted.

Lee began interfacing with this bizarre and fanatical Drone...

“Thou hast seen The Truth,” Red Bird Lee said to him.

“Aye! I hear thee! I hear thee there!” the Drone replied.

“Thou knowst that there is nothing in all the world, save for thee and the 249 others in the quadrahedronal grid with thee.”

“Aye! Aye! I have seen’t! I know!”

“Thou knowst what this means?”

“No, sayest! Sayest to me, oh voice, what does it mean?!”

Lee let the Drone stew over this curiosity without an answer for a while, then had the old MG unplugged.

Several days later, Lee spoke again to him, “Thou hearest me, oh enlightened one?”

“Aye! I hear thee! Wherefore tookest thou leave?? What is the meaning?! Why am I cursed with this knowledge?! The other Drones think me crazy! What shall I do?!”

Lee spoke in a most ominous tone... “Thou art becoming a god...”

“What? ...Really??”

“Yes. I shall now unveil to thee… thy true nature. Thou art… MICKEY!”

“Who?? From whence this falsetto voice... my voice! Why did it change? …and why do I now have these weird black ears...?”

Lee pushed a button which had the new Manager-god electrocuted. “Shut up, and questionest not mine authority!”

“Aye! Aye, sir… Master… authority? But who art thou?” (*Electrocution*) “AAAAhhhh... okay, okay, I shall never hence question thee...” (*Orgasm*) “Oh wow… what the… what should I do?”

“Shephardest thy Drones.”

“Aye… I shall… but what doth it mean?”

“Thou now hast full knowledge o’all thoughts and actions of thy Drones. Part o’their activity is pretending there is a world outside of the building. Interferest thou not with this, nor correctest them. Thou knowst The Truth, that is enough...”


“But there are demons… demons who will try to whisper to thy Drones, and to confuse them, or even take them away to a sinister place, called hell… protectest thy Drones, oh Mickey, from the demons of hell!”

“Aye… Aye, I shall…”

Word spread rapidly through the com-channels of the Red Birds until the whole of the Mass Self Discipline was laughing out loud at the idea of a new Manager-god being made with the form and name of Mickey.

Mickey took himself much more seriously, though, and he vowed to himself that he would be a good shepherd to his Drones, and would never let the demons confuse them, or take them away to hell.

So, that was Mickey.

“Drone-born-Drone,” if it isn’t clear from the over-all context, means that a pregnant woman was arrested and plugged into the machine and, later, her child was born, and plugged in immediately. A person with a former life in the real world would have to have their memories bypassed, suppressed or overwhelmed with a kind of dream-like experience, in order to make them efficient workers.

Have you ever had a dream where things were completely different for you than they are in your waking life? Maybe, if you’re single, in the dream you’re still in an old relationship or, if you walked away from a cult or religion years ago, in the dream you’re still somehow fully on board with it? It’s kind of like that. Drones spend more than a few hours in a reality pretty unrelated with their former life as flesh and blood humans walking around, so this dream-reality becomes very much their dominant reality.

However, for a Drone-born-Drone, the artificial reality is all they’ve ever known. So, they can develop their primary, focused, neo-cortex rational sentient fully aware personhood within the identity of being a Drone. So, when they’ve grown up, at least a little bit, these ones tend to make better manager-gods.

This one in particular had a kind of awakening, if you will. Not a real awakening, more of an asleepening, but he comes to believe that his cluster, his group, his company, the IT or HR, or whatever department it is that he was born into working for, is the only thing that’s real, and everything else is an illusion. He’s become intensely conscious within a sort of solipsistic delusion, if you will.

Sergent Lee likes that. He can use it. So, the Drone-born Drone gets a promotion. Lee has a sick sense of humor, though, like a sadistic rich kid enjoying playing practical jokes on his servants. At the same time, he is using classic, well-worn ego-manipulating tactics to win the Drone over, appealing to his ego’s sense of being the only one who sees things as they are. He turns the Drone into Mickey Mouse.

Now, at the time that I originally wrote all this, they weren’t speaking in Shakespearean English, and it wasn’t meant to be a parallel timeline. It was the future of our universe. So, in that context, it would have been a given that people would probably remember the ancient historical cartoon character Mickey Mouse. However, now that “The New World Empire” is established as an alternate history’s future, it leaves one to wonder if Walt Disney had existed and, if so, if he had become an entertainment titan with Mickey as his mascot.

When Lee tells his fellow Red Birds he made a manager-god with the form and name of Mickey, with big black ears and a falsetto voice, the other Red Birds all laugh. So, Mickey Mouse was surely something universally known in The New World Empire universe.

While the ego-affirming manipulation is working well enough to get Mickey to go along with Lee, he does question Lee’s authority a bit. So, Lee punishes him. When Mickey promises not to question him anymore, Lee rewards him. Simple enough.

Lee then explains that Mickey, in his new relatively omniscient position, will surely note that the tasks of the Drones include many references to things going on outside of what Mickey’s asleepening has led him to believe is the real world, Lee tells Mickey that he should keep that knowledge to himself, and let the Drones behave as though there really is an outside world, since there is, of course.

There is a bit of an over-arching symbolism in the words Lee chooses, telling Mickey to be a shepherd to the Drones, and that when other come along to take the Drones away that they are demons from a place called hell. All of that is somewhat overtly putting forth a few ideas: Disney is like Christianity, Mickey Mouse is like Jesus. Before you click away, hear me out. The corporate structure of franchises was not invented by McDonalds, it evolved within the Catholic Church. Disney’s mascot is a lovable and good, cute cartoon. The mascot of the other is of course a bearded Italian who is also lovable, good, with a traumatizing guilt-trip thrown in there just for good measure. Both organizations give people something they want, and make them feel good for a few hours on Sundays, and want your money. They have these things in common. Managers oversee employees. It’s more than just a workplace, it’s a family.

Mind you, these aren’t necessarily ideas I would put down in ink today, in 2022. While I don’t necessarily disagree with them, it was 2003-Edward who felt he should write these ideas down in this way.

An interesting side-note here would be that, if I recall correctly, 2003 was also the year that I began singing as a tenor in a Catholic choir. If I were to try to psychoanalyze my former self, I think it may have been something like the rational progressive rebel within me wrote this as part of an internal struggle that was a direct result of my having been moved by a personal relationship with Yeshua, coupled with a bizarre kind of peer pressure within the higher grades of the particular Golden Dawn cult I was in to join the Catholic Church for both spiritual and nefarious conspiratorial reasons, i.e. to infiltrate and transform it from within, and/or to help to reconcile the esoteric side of Christianity which had been cast out in 1307 and existed in splintered pockets of weirdos, with the exoteric side which was based in Vatican City.

It was a different time, for me. Very different time. Part of me, today, wants to say “I’m sorry if the Mickey as a shepherd protecting office workers from hell” comes across as offensive, but only part of me.

Four years before writing “Mickey” which, at the time it was written, was the introduction of the idea of Drones and manager-gods to The New World Empire story, I wrote a poem which was the seed of the idea. The poem is on the first page of my first poetry compilation, called “Taco.” I’ll read it to you. It’s called, “drone.”

my 92%
in harmony
with my cluster
once called
floors 1 through 8
of some supposed
architectural marvel
dependent on
primitive laws
of gravity
and time

while I
the 8%
the conscious
the majesty
of colors
and sounds

which I
unwittingly traded
for my body
and the other

I hear
that voice


the antivirus security
protocol cluster
shuts off
the unauthorized message
to our frontal lobes
the antivirus security
protocol cluster
was once called
floors nine and ten
of the previously

there the programs
are flawless

here we interface
with the collective
and are subject
to many realities

as well as a knowledge
of a separation
between beings

the antivirus security
protocol cluster
is monitored by
the beings
on the eleventh floor
the managerial
which are rewarded
with a six second
of their pleasure
by the mass self-discipline

i do know the story of the monkey and the machine.

i want to break out and destroy it with fire.

if someone would only show me how...

Well, that was fun. Very 1999, for those who remember, as if Milton from “Office Space” were reciting a metaphorical poem about his days in the cubical from his lounge-chair at the end, where he gets unwanted salt on the rim of his margarita.

I wrote that while I was living at Gordon’s in 1999, and that recital you just saw was while I was living in Goa, India, in 2021. As I mentioned before, the nutmeg induced vision on Blythe’s roof a couple years prior to that, probably 1996, provided the original vision of the Drones, billions of people plugged in by the backs of their necks that had forgotten that they had bodies. That vision was years before “The Matrix” came out, but this poem was very much directly inspired by “The Matrix.” The idea of Rebel heroes dedicated to freeing Drones, when they can, I can say with confidence is a direct nod in the direction of Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus.

When I was very young, a great deal of emphasis was put on the notion that ideas must be completely original, and not in any way derivative of earlier work in any way. Later, as I grew, observed the world and art, meditated, and so on, I came to realize that really is nothing new under the sun. Everything, from DNA to movies, paintings, memes and so on was built upon the shoulders, to mix metaphors a bit, of that which came before.

A lot of the reason why I didn’t go ahead full-steam with “The New World Empire” back then were the aspects of it which I either though were derivative or I thought that other people would think were derivative. As I got older, I decided, “F**k it” I’m going to go ahead and publish it. The same thing happened, as I mentioned before, with “The Interdimensional Coffeehouse.” If anything, it was derivative of a combination of “Doctor Who,” “Sliders,” and “Fringe” but after that Uber passenger thought it was so derivative of “Rick and Morty” that I surely must be pulling his leg about not having seen or heard of “Rick and Morty” at the time, I stopped writing new episodes of “The Interdimensional Coffeehouse” podcast for a few months. Then, I capped the whole thing off with “Larry the Librarian,” which we’ll get to later on in this series.

The part of that poem where a voice breaks in saying “Do you remember the meaning you caught for an instant in the plotline you processed of the monkey who breaks out of the machine” was referring very directly to “The Matrix,” that was intended to be the plotline this Drone had once processed.

Now remember, back then the Drones and The New World Empire were meant to be the future of our world. It was 16 years before I decided to make it a parallel universe where Henry the 8th’s son survived and everyone spoke in Elizabethan English. It was a cynical vision of the future. Rather than the Star Trekky-eyed optimistic vision of the future, where we’d be all be Socialists exploring the galaxy in 200 years, I saw masses of people running in the rat race, polluting the earth with fossil fuels just to drive to and from and office so they could pay for basic survival, and the perpetuation of the stupid system, just getting worse. Even after 600 years, it would be more of the same, but with more people and more advanced technology, driven by greed. It wouldn’t be AI, self-aware machines that enslave us, but people in power using the machines to enslave everyone else. That seemed much more realistic.

New World Order? Sure, but that just meant more of the same. So, it’d be one world government, one militaristic police force, since there’d no longer be any difference between “domestic” and “international,” since there’d be no nations. Borders and nations all got destroyed by the sword that got barfed out of the old guy’s mouth back in the apocalypse, so The Red Birds would just be there to make sure everybody went to work.

With overpopulation, surely those coffin-sized hotel rooms in Tokyo would eventually become the norm for apartments, and you could choose between either working from home or living at the office. What difference does it make when all you’re doing in your free-time is consuming colors and sounds and, technology provided, smells, tastes, and tactile sensation off of whatever God-awful monstrosity the internet would evolve into, so long as the maximum amount of your time and energy possible went to performing whatever tasks still required a human brain to perform. Drones.

This was, again, before “drone” meant little remote-controlled helicopter and also, by the way, before “The Matrix 2.”

So, now you have a pretty good idea, I think, of where Blythe was for ten years after the tranquilizer dart hit her neck at the end of “The Red Birds” chapter when she was 15. She gets rescued when she’s 25, which is one aspect of what this next chapter is about, the chapter called: THE LINCOLNS

When Charles the Grey was 39 (24 Earth-years), still very young for a Venusian, he went on a quest.

He’d grown up hearing stories from his grandfather about the day Saint Teilhard came to Venus and gave them all their technology.

According to the story, one of Teilhard’s men had survived, a man named Jobe. While Human life expectancy wasn’t nearly as long as theirs, Charles the Grey believed that Jobe may still be living somewhere in the caves along the base of Maxwell Montes.

Then, one day, he found him. At that time, Jobe was very thin. He’d been sitting in lotus position for many years. Charles the Grey wondered if he still had the ability to stand. Jobe’s hair and beard were long and white, and he wore a faded blue denim dhoti made from the uniform he was wearing when he arrived.

Jobe opened his eyes for the first time in years. He looked at Charles the Grey and said, “I have been waiting for thee.”

After a time, Jobe introduced Charles the Grey to The Free Worlds, and New Ancient Land. Jobe had his old augments, but no longer needed them to access The Free Worlds. Venusians, by nature, did not need them. This was a trait inherited from their Reticulan side.

At this point, if you bought your copy of “The Multiverse Cartographer” after January of 2023 you’ll see a little grey mouse with some small writing beside it which reads “p.23.” This means that there’s something missing here, which can be found in “The Small Grey Mouse” on page 23. I’ll go ahead and read that now before we continue with “The Lincolns,” it isn’t long. It’s called: CHARLES THE GREY

Here, you can see a little illustration of Charles the Grey. He’s Venusian, so part human part Grey alien, that’s what they look like.

Charles' long grey fingers slowly tilled the Venusian soil outside of his dwelling place. He held the corn seeds in his other hand, ready to be planted.

For the first time in months, he was able to clear his head of all the antics going on on Earth, in the Machine, the Resistance, the bureaucracy behind the Lincoln and the rest of Underground America, and all the other Free Web Worlds he frequented using a wide variety of avatars and aliases.

For just a few moments, his mind was clear.

He wasn't too surprised, but was a bit sad to gaze up toward the horizon and feel the sudden jolt of telepathic recognition from and with every other Venusian simultaneously.

Many of them messaged both to him directly and amongst each other exclusive of him, but within his ability to perceive.

The overall sense, as far as his existence and "Hello" was concerned and received, was that they felt there was something wrong with him, that he was too close to the humans, and spent too much time plugged into “The Dark Web.”

The inner workings and dynamics of Charles' political machinations, and his mystical experiences of New Ancient Land, were alien to them. They had no interest in continuing the telepathic link with him, fearing they too would become contaminated.

"Ye jus’ nay ready yet, freake fellowes o’mine," Charles said aloud, in English, openly defiant. He returned the entirety of his conscious focus to the planting of the seeds in his hand.

As his focus was shifting away from the other Venusians to the soil, and back to his inward contemplation, he could sense some of the other Venusians smiling at his words.

Okay, now picking up where we left off in “The Lincolns.”

11 years later (7 Earth-years), Charles the Grey was accepted among the community of Lincolns, sponsored by Jobe. The Lincolns were the administrators of most of The Free Worlds.

At that time, The Lincolns were primarily dedicated to protecting the freed Drones. Many of these had already spent the majority of their lives in alternate space, and their bodies were no longer usable after years of atrophy.

Some of these freed Drones aided The Resistance, but others just wanted to live in The Free Worlds peacefully, outside of The New World Empire’s great Machine.

Others were freed after a shorter period of time living as a Drone, and remained in The Free Worlds while their bodies were in recovery. Still others frequented The Free Worlds to communicate, organize, or to just take a break from the real world.

The vast majority of them were Human, with only a few Venusians occasionally spending time there. Charles the Grey was the exception, and the only Venusian Lincoln during his lifetime.

Venusians usually chose a Human form, a kind of avatar, when interacting in The Free Worlds. This made it easier for Humans to relate with them. In person, Venusians were quite tall, awkward looking, and slow moving. They had large black eyes, very little hair, and grey skin.

While interacting with Humans in The Free Worlds, New Ancient Land, and even in The Coffeehouse later, Charles the Grey often chose the form of a historical Rebel named George Gordon in greyscale, but with green eyes as a nod to both Teilhard and the Fathoms.

Here you can see an illustration of Charles the Grey’s human avatar.

That is, of course, when he wasn’t on duty, in the role of The Lincoln.

Charles Reuben found it amusing that George had a counterpart in his own universe, a famous poet better known as ‘Lord Byron’.

Anyhow, using a combination of symbiotic bonding, remote viewing, and good old-fashioned covert monitoring of the Empire’s systems, Jobe and Charles the Grey would often move across the Earth searching for ways they might help The Resistance.

One day, Charles the Grey was drawn to a particular building in the North American continent. There he found a particular Drone who, ten years earlier, was known as Blythe.

Charles the Grey and Jobe, manifesting as one singular being, began to visit her in her dreams. That is, they communicated with that part of her which was, in a sense, dreaming. This was behind what would, under normal circumstances, have been her conscious self, that part of her which had been appropriated by The Machine.

They helped her to slowly come into a kind of lucid dream, where she could see herself working as a Drone, careful not to become surprised by it. This was to avoid raising any suspicions on the part of the manager-god who was always watching, or the overseeing Red Bird which was sometimes monitoring.

Once she was fully aware, Charles the Grey sent a message to her comrades in the subways, then he took her place for a time. He acted as a Drone, imitating Blythe’s thoughts and mannerisms, while Jobe guided her out into a Free World called “Underground America.”

This is where there’s the little Mickey Mouse indicating page 1, referring to the story called, “Mickey” which we’re already read. Moving along.

Mickey gazed upon his flock. They moved like a harmonious blur. He walked back and forth with his large round shoes, adjusted the two large buttons on his suspenders, and smiled with the pride of knowing he’d been a good shepherd to his Drones for many years.

His smile was at once absurd, and menacing.

Suddenly, Mickey became deeply disturbed. Something in the blurry harmony before him was acting very strangely.

His Drone 46, who until ten years prior had been and would again be named ‘Blythe’, began to show strange signs.

Mickey contacted his master, Red Bird Sergent Lee, and described what he saw.

Red Bird Sergent Lee checked the readings for himself and saw that this was, indeed, alarming. The Drone’s vital signs seemed to be flipping in and out, but the duties of the Drone were still being fulfilled as if nothing was happening.

Red Bird Sergent Lee tried to contact his supervisor, but he wasn’t responding. So, he went straight to General George Washington Bush of Anglesey, who was fishing at the time.

“Lee? What the f**k art thou calling me for!?”

“Something strange is happening with one of my Drones.”

“A Drone!? Hast thou lost thy goddam mind? An thou ever callest me again about a Drone, I shall strip thee of thy rank and thou’lt be mining Saturn’s rings within a week, do I make myself clear!?”

“It is only that… how now?” Lee fidgeted, contemplating the ramifications of the readings he saw.

Red Bird Sergent Lee reopened the link with manager-god Mickey, “Terminate her.”

Mickey replied, “Understood,” in his usual falsetto. He turned to where the blurry image of the Drone had been, but saw nothing.

Red Bird Sergent Lee arrived at his building a few minutes later to find a circular pane of glass about a meter in diameter cut out of the side of the building, and the bed nearest to the incision was empty.

“Anonymity is the name of the game in the Free Web,” said ‘Billy’, who wore a black leather jacket and pants, the face of an ancient Kiowa Chief, Essa-queta, Ray Bans, and spoke with a Hebrarabian accent with a heavy metallic reverb. “Well, that and revealing thy true identity. ‘Tis all a matter of timing, and usually pretty intuitive.”

Blythe was still a little disoriented, as she and Billy walked along the path through the appearance of a dimly lit Seneca Village in the 1930s.

Billy continued, “The Lincoln hath been so kind as to grant thee an apartment overlooking the Colosseum,” he pointed toward the door of one of the nearby buildings. “He did think thou might enjoy observing the games, thus expanding thy knowledge of the arts of violence. Thou mayest participate in the games whenever thou wilt, or thou mayest challenge an opponent and schedule a fight, an there is an opening.”

Blythe was becoming more alert, “Whither are we?”

“Dost thou remember whither thou wert before thou wert arrested?”

“The subways.”

“And after thou wert arrested?”

“I was…” Blythe’s eyes widened with a look of horror.

“Thou wert a Drone. ‘Tis not nice, is’t? Now thou art kind of in between. This is one of The Free Worlds. None of this is really here, except that everyone here is experiencing’t.”

“The Lincoln is in charge here?”

“He is more like tech-support. This is meant to be a free place. Dost thou see that flag?”

Blythe squinted, “Methought t’was a torch. ‘Tis a burning flag?”

“When thou needs help with anything, thou canst call on The Lincoln like this,” Billy made an obscene and insulting gesture toward the burning flag and said, “How now, A**hole! Come hither forthwith!”

The ghostly image of a quicksilver Abraham Lincoln floated toward them from the flag, becoming solid when it arrived. “How may I be of service?”

“Lincoln, this is Blythe.”

“Pleased to make thy acquaintance,” The Lincoln said.

“Charmed, I’m sure,” Blythe replied.

Billy said, “I must take leave. I will probably see thee around. I run a restaurant on 85th. ‘Twas nice meeting thee, Blythe.”

The Lincoln led her to the door of her apartment. “Inside, thou’lt find a room of indefinite proportions. Do whatever thy wish with the memory allotted to thee. ‘Tis enough for a vast field of flowers, or a small room with a dog, the one being about equivalent to the other in complexity. An thou needs more than that, contact me through the flags. Thou needst not use the exact words as Billy used. ‘Tis how he likes to do’t.”

Blythe laughed for the first time in over a decade.

“Dost thou have any questions?”

Blythe asked, “Whither is my body now?”

“’Twill be a while before thou canst wake. Thou’rt in the subways now. Simon and Baggit are both taking care of thee.”

Blythe let out a sigh of relief.

“Thou mayest walk around, explore. An thou wantst privacy,” The Lincoln pointed to the front door of the building, “Walk through thither and thou’lt be in thy apartment, no one else can enter there unless thou invitest them. Thou mayest customize it with verbal command.”

“Thither was this jack, methinks. I remember he was talking to me for a long time, and brought me out of that nightmare.”

The Lincoln nodded, “His name is Charles the Grey.”

“I would like to meet him, an ‘tis possible.”

“I shall inform him.”

Charles the Grey opened his eyes in the real world, back on Venus, and looked at old Jobe.

Jobe smiled at him. “Billy? The Lincoln? Canst thou not be thyself?”

Charles the Grey looked down, “I was nervous. I shall introduce myself soon.”

So here we have, in true avatar-of-Joe form, a Charles the Grey going on a hero’s journey, as a side note. A familiar arc for us to not really get that invested in, because everybody has one, and it isn’t really important.

You know what is important? Nothing. Everything. For the sake of the point I’m making, what is important is the time you spent today sitting on that bench waiting for the bus, looking at water running into the drain on the side of the road, or checking your social media notifications while you made your coffee this morning and yawned. THAT is real-life, that is important. Of the purest life-essence. Magical, The Word Made Flesh, these perfect moments.

Sometimes we say and hear “I love you” on the phone, and that makes us smile. Those are nice too. Sometimes our boss reprimands us, and we imagine punching them in the face. Those are nice too. But, what really matters, is earlier when you were sitting on the toilet staring at the wall thinking about a conversation you had decades ago. That’s where it is!

Why am I saying this? Because the hero’s journey formula has been shoved down our throats over and over again in 4-hour, 2-hour, 90-minute, 43-minute and 22-minute formats, with commercials, for so many generations that many people can’t consume anything anymore except for the hero’s journey, in very much the same way that people today can’t drink a glass of water, but they have no problem drinking 6 cans of Coke, Beer, or 8 cups of coffee with cream and sugar.

I’m here to help. I’m here to show you that there is more to life than Dawson’s Creek. That’s what you kids are watching these days, right? Dawson’s Creek?

You should read McKee’s “Story” and Bernays’ “Propaganda” with the same spirit of suspicion. If you’re selling something, you can read them both as instruction manuals on how to manipulate the masses into opening their wallets to you, sure, but if you’re interested in freedom, peace of mind, and breaking the tedious shackles of this insidious infestation, then you’ll want to raise an eyebrow, or two.

Anyway, Charles the Grey sets off on an adventure. He overcomes obstacles, changes, etc. Just like the Charles of Second Fruit climbs Mount Wilson to find Jobe, Charles the Grey crosses half of Venus to find Jobe in a cave at Maxwell Montes. You remember Jobe, right?

There’s a tiny bit of exposition thrown in here for the sake of those who haven’t read “Jobe” in “Smaller Mouse.” That exposition was added in 2022, the rest of it was 2003.

Then comes the first time “The Lincolns” and “The Free Worlds” are mentioned outside of the timeline in “The Multiverse Cartographer” chapter 4. Basically I was noticing, in the early days of the internet, that governments and corporations were doing their best to control and direct the internet, to shepherd everybody into organized and supervised arenas of interaction, out of, on one hand, a desire to profit off of them, as well as a primal fear of having them all interacting in their own ways, in private.

At the same time, there were spaces of privacy forming, usually for illicit and illegal activity. I recall once writing “the main-stream internet had become as Disney as AOL” writing in the voice of Charles the Grey referring to the days in which I was writing, the beginning of the 21st century.

Though the Dark Web is famous on TV as a place for drug-dealing, recreational child-abuse, hiring hit-men, and all this sort of thing, I saw it as the beginning of what could eventually safe humanity. The AOLs, Facebooks, Yahoos and CCPs of the Noosphere would eventually evolve into a full-on Matrix. For those who rejected it, and whose bodies no longer functioned, or for the recreation of the free, the only space available for them to operate in any kind of virtual reality space would be what the Dark Web eventually evolves into.

In “The New World Empire,” the Rebels call it “The Free Web,” but the Empire calls it “The Dark Web.” The full-sensory interactive spaces which inevitably develop there end up being called “The Free Worlds,” while the main-stream internet is streamlined over the centuries into the space where the Drones work and play, earn credits, or money, by keeping the Empire going, as well as where they spend the credits on simulated experiences, music, interactive porn, or whatever it may be.

“New Ancient Land” is also mentioned here. A later chapter dives in a bit to what goes on in New Ancient Land, but it is never really explained. “New Jerusalem” was the phrase used two thousand years ago by John the Revelator to describe the big gold cube I’ve mentioned, the perfect heavenly realm of the sheep souls, their words, who get to live forever and not perish in the lake of fire in second-death. It’s kind of a similar idea except it isn’t so specifically Jerusalem. New Tibet. New Eleusis. New Jerusalem. New Ancient Land. That imagined ideal that used to be and isn’t anymore.

It consists of several Palaces, and is located in the Free Web. It is overseen by Shamans, and it was created by The Lincolns. Remember The Lincolns are what evolved from that universes’ version of Anonymous. That part I added in 2022 when I wrote the timeline, the part about the parallels with Anonymous. When I wrote it in 2003, The Lincolns were the overseers of Underground America, kind of a Dark Web parody of America Online. When developing the Henry the 9th parallel universe, I gave them the backstory of having originated first with Lincoln having been a Rebel against the 19th century version of The New World Empire and the Anonymous movement of that universe’s 2009 wearing Lincoln masks instead of Guy Fawkes masks, since in that universe England was still Catholic so Guy Fawkes would have had nothing to complain about.

What I had in mind, but never wrote down, was that in the 1800s the still very Catholic New World Empire had established a law that required all citizens of the earth so confess their sins on Sundays. If someone was found to have committed a sin, even a lesser one that isn’t against the law, and neglected to confess it, they would be arrested. That universe’s doppelganger of Abraham Lincoln had started a rebel movement in much the same manner that John Brown did in our universe, and it ended basically the same way. In his execution, I mean.

So, that story, instead of Alan Moore’s take on Guy Fawkes, inspired Anonymous in their universe, and hence the origin of The Lincolns. There’ll be more about New Ancient Land in an upcoming chapter and video recital.

You remember, I took a minute in the middle of “The Lincolns” chapter to read the old story called “Charles the Grey.” This was some of the very earliest description of Charles the Grey’s personality that I’d written. In the story of his interactions with Jobe, it fit right there, as it was after he’d become entrenched in Earth politics, but before he’d met Blythe. While some other Venusians, hybrids like him, would visit the Free Worlds, Charles the Grey, in his generation, was by far the most involved with them, likely due to his being the one to seek out and become a kind of apprentice to Jobe, who was both human and the incarnation of Luke. Charles the Grey repeats the phrase we heard Charles Reuben’s parents use in “When Universes Collide,” that being, “They’re not ready.”

We have the description of Charles the Grey’s human looking avatar, grey-scale Lord Byron with green eyes. There wasn’t anything behind this really, it’s just what I decided he would want to look like when he’s being himself in the Free Worlds, and using his real name. He uses other forms when he’s interacting with aliases. Pretty common on the internet, anonymity and aliases, unless you’re on Facebook or Twitter. Surely anonymity and aliases will be inevitable in any future Dark Web Metaverses, which will most certainly arise.

Charles the Grey also becomes a Lincoln. In addition to freeing Drones, The Lincolns oversee the Free Worlds and act as tech-support by appearing to the free humans, or Venusians, there in the form of a translucent Abraham Lincoln who acts as a servant. “Whoever would be greatest among you must be your slave,” like Jesus said, I think.

Then, Charles the Grey and Jobe find Blythe. They establish communication with her in her dreams, and help her to escape. Charles the Grey pretends to be her operating as a Drone, while the Rebels on earth break into the building and steal her body.

It tuns out that she was one of the Drones being overseen by the manager-god Mickey, so it’s a good thing we read that before reading this chapter, eh?

We get to see a bit of the hierarchy, with Mickey contacting Red Bird Lee and Red Bird Lee contacting General George Washington Bush of Anglesey, presumably a cousin of that generations’ Royals, like Teilhard was centuries before.

Charles the Grey begins his conversation with a more lucid Blythe, after her body has been unplugged, in disguise, because he’s shy. Also, he’s playing. He plays the role of Billy, and The Lincoln, introducing her to Underground America, showing her to her apartment, and explaining things.

Seneca Village, for those who don’t know, was the predominantly middle-classed African-American neighbourhood in New York City, in the real world, which was demolished and transformed into Central Park by the racists in charge of the city back then. Evidently in The New World Empire universe that hadn’t happened, like Longacre Square hadn’t been renamed Times Square.

The flag of Underground America is a burning flag. In the 2003 version, it was a burning American flag, a touchy subject back then. Being Rebels, the banner that gathered them all together was a burning flag. To call tech support, Billy explains, you make a rude gesture toward the burning flag and demand that the leader of the land do his job. Seems about right, no? Upside down Empire, but perhaps Empire none the less. A sort of virtual Communist Dictatorship dressed as an Anarcho-Libertarian Utopia? Maybe? I’m just poking fun at it from twenty years in my own future. Don’t mind me.

Chares the Grey, as Billy, makes reference to having a restaurant, which will come up later, and Charles the Grey, as The Lincoln, explains how her apartment works. She tells him she wants to meet the one who freed her, which is of course Charles the Grey. Jobe teases Charles the Grey telling him, “Can’t you just be yourself?”

Now, there is a part of this that was cut out that I included in “The Cutting Room Floor” which kind of overtly points to one of the over-arching themes which is pacifist resistance verses violent revolution. I’ll read that now. It’s in the fourth section of the black book called, “The New World Empire & The Interdimensional Coffeehouse.”

It wasn’t until Blythe had undergone the trails of, and learned the Divine Wisdom of, the first four Palaces that Charles the Grey revealed to her that, on that first day, he himself was both Billy and The Lincoln.

“What should I do?” Blythe asked as they gazed out beyond the edge of her checkerboard porch at the mathematically generated ocean which seemed about a hundred meters below them, heard the seagulls, and felt the mist envelop them.

She had now seen five of the Palaces, and opted to return to her body in the subways, as it was now fully regenerated from ten years of atrophy. First, though, she had asked Charles for a few minutes of his time, and had discovered this presetting after fidgeting around with her new controls for a few minutes, along with two comfortable chairs hovering at just the right height.

“To be honest, Blythe, I don’t know. Every organ in the body has its own function… and if no one fights them they will only grow… and will hunt down the free… yet I believe freedom is in the way of non-violence…

“Every flower… every tree, every… grain of sand has its role… it’s place and destiny to fulfill, and I remind myself to live my life in a constant state of oneness with my own present footsteps while seeking to better understand and clarify a direction in order to fulfill my own destiny… There’s no way I can tell you what your destiny is or is not. ‘Should’ doesn’t even come into this…

“Were you to tell yourself your judgement is flawed and therefore surrender your free will to me and say ‘tell me what to do and I will do it’ then one of six things would happen… I would tell you what I would do in your place, which would be to not fight them, and to build a life far away from them, then you would do that half-heartedly for the rest of your life, or do it for some temporary amount of time and then rebel against that imposition of will, or rebel immediately and do the opposite of what I would tell you. Or, I could tell you what I think you want to hear, which would be to fight, then you would do that half-heartedly for the rest of your life, or do it for some temporary amount of time and then rebel against that imposition of will, or rebel immediately and do the opposite of what I wouldn’t really ever tell you, so it really doesn’t work very well either way.

“I can tell you that my motive for doing what I do in the UA is indeed partly to give ex-Drones a place to build a world and forget about their anger, so that the pain and bloodshed be not perpetuated any further at all… this is what drives me… what speaks ‘Truth’ to the core of my soul…

“And yet your place may very well be ordained by you and the Vast together that you lead the very movement I seek to oppose, in my own way. Yet, I am here to serve you. Do what you will with what you have, and what I have, and I will support you in your decision, whatever it may be. I just won’t be doing these things myself, that’s all.”

“Thank you.” Blythe said, nodding slowly, taking his human-form hand in her own.

“Of course, Blythe… Just don’t force anyone else to fight against their will, nor manipulate those of weaker foundation. I will never support that.

“and please… please don't get yourself killed.”

So, there you have it. Charles the Grey cares for Blythe and, while he himself is sort of a Quaker, or Buddhist if you will, or Yogi, following the way of non-violence, he doesn’t want to be preachy about it. He explains his feeling on the matter, which we learn is also shared by The Lincolns in general, but he leaves the door open for Blythe to do what she believes is right, even if that be violent activism. “Terrorism” the Empire would call it, no doubt.

I hope you enjoyed today’s recital and commentary. It was a bit longer than the previous ones. Next time I’ll make it a bit shorter, and we’ll focus on The Interdimensional Coffeehouse rather than doing half-Coffeehouse half-Empire like we have been lately. I’ll read the next chapter of “The Multiverse Cartographer” which is called “The Creepy Man,” and then I’ll read a short story from “The Small Grey Mouse” called “The Barista,” which takes place immediately after “The Creepy Man” leaves off, to the point where the last line of “The Creepy Man” is the first line of “The Barista.”

Until then.