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Signal, Noise and Distortion

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In the old stories, some nearly forgotten and some almost genetic memory, there are stories of the Fallen.

The most familiar involved the Serpent taking pity on man, and giving him the gift of discernment, of Sentience...and in more obscure, more secret stories, explicitly doing so that Man would learn to be Man .

The second most familiar involved the one Angel gifted with free will refusing to bow to Man--and according to a number of far more obscure stories, actually refusing to bow to show his own obedience to the Holy.

And some of the stories almost forgotten involved the first that Fell who came down to teach Man those very things that made him different than the beasts--the arts, the sciences, to keep time, to know the signs, to clothe and paint himself, to make medicine...and to call forth things from the Imaginary.

And upon sensing the gunshots in the realm of the Real, and shortly hearing Sho Minamimoto cursing very loudly and holding his right arm and screaming about a cheating fractal bastard zetta son of a digit who can somehow change a vector ...Sanae Hanekoma comes to a grim conclusion.

He could only hope that whatever happened that someday the Host might forgive him his sin.


When Sho ends up at the WildKat for the usual sparring and mathematics on the night after the kid gets shot-- he gets shot--at the mural, he finds the lesson plans he’s used to from Hanekoma have changed radically .

Which is fine with him--that right arm still hurts, though dampened from the red-hot pain of earlier.  Sparring in the dining area is honestly not in his desired trajectory for once.

Tonight, Hanekoma leads him to the back office--a back office that somehow contains a small library within, and an art studio, and more things than should fit in such a spot--and introduces a new concept, that of transfinite numbers and sets.  

Sho is not 100% sure how this fits in, though it does certainly remind him of how he sees the RG and UG fitting together at points; all the same, though, it’s zetta interesting.

It becomes even more interesting when Hanekoma points out that Gödel was essentially trying to reverse-engineer God....or at least get considerably closer to the source of reality.

The night after that, there is some more calculus work, and then the conversation shifts right into another new subject of Newton’s esoteric work--on the finer points of alchemy, how (contrary to the usual thought) that it was not meant to turn literal lead into literal gold, but to refine man--body, mind, and Soul--into a higher vibe, a higher frequency, as it were.

The next night, in the midst of Hanekoma setting up a cold-brew coffee apparatus as an experiment in that tesseract of a back-office, Sho is introduced to the works of Valentinus and the seven open steps--and the eighth hidden step--of alchemy of the soul.

In a subsequent night, he is introduced to the concept of isopsephy and gematria and encoding the nature of a thing in numbers in a discussion on coding algorithms.

The next night, Sho is introduced to the works of John Dee and Abramelin and the anonymous authors of the Lesser Key of Solomon (with the caveat that whilst the entities do not exist in the UG, the underlying theory is sound) and specifically to sigils--first being introduced as a binding condition (which Sho is not precisely happy with the thought of)...and then being introduced as essentially a distillation apparatus for specific Soul.

Hanekoma introduces Sho to the mathematics involved in creating a software defined op-amp and receiver--noting the comparisons to how noise is amplified and filtered in a sound system  just as Noise is amplified and bound in a sigil-- even as he introduces him to the forbidden works of summoning.

The next day,  in as isolated a place as the two of them can find, there is the first lab practical in which the Noise is amplified from its existing oscillation, brought forth into the complex plane, and then its wave function cancelled in what is a mathematical version of the Art of Summoning.

Sho finds it very odd and interesting that the Taboo Noise he's called up--a Eurobeat Boomer--does not immediately try to attack him.

Almost as if they have an affinity.

A strange affinity of being entities that will never, ever be tame.


The next day--seven days exactly from the time the Composer shot the kid--Sho comes into the shop in a blind rage on how the Composer is trying to hack the Game .  That it was bad enough that the Composer had killed a player, but had now put himself in as a Player --with the kid he’d fucking shot, yet!

Hanekoma does his best to reassure Sho--and reminds him that he, too, is also capable of changing at least the spirit of the rules as Game Master.  And he’ll soon have the tools to become the Composer and to rewrite the Game itself.

Over the next week, Hanekoma teaches Sho the very basics of Enochian and a few of his own secrets that have never been written down to tie the function together.

Sho pays attention to this as he has never paid attention to anything in his life.


Hanekoma--when he’s alone in his back office and drops the glamour that he wears to observe the city he loves more than life itself--thinks and hates what he’s having to do.

He wishes he’d had more time to prepare Sho properly, but he didn’t expect Joshua to shoot the kid to gain his own Player to throw the Game.

He didn’t expect Joshua to actually join in the Game itself as an attempt to tip the card table.

He wishes he had more time, and he desperately hopes that this plan B works.

He also hopes--prays, really--that Sho Minamimoto will in fact have enough Imagination to escape the fate that’s been laid for him at this point.

He knows when the Host finds him-- them --he will not have an escape plan.

He’s more than willing to be the scapegoat.  The Judas. The Saint crucified upside down.  The Iblis who refuses to bow.  

The Fallen of the old stories, who damned themselves by giving Man the gifts that made him Human and separated him from the beasts.

Shibuya, for all its messiness, is a beautiful place, and he really wants it to grow and thrive with all its messiness.  He sees the weeds in the Garden are flowers in their own right, really.

He just really wishes he didn’t have to drag Sho in all this in his own disagreement with the groundskeeper.


This place in the back streets of Udagawa, Sho hopes, is isolated enough it won’t be found before the sigil is complete and events are set in place for his desired solution.

Unlike so much of what he’s learned so far, this one has to be done live by its nature.  

The theory, the formulae, are sound.  Sho knows the art of calling forth the taboo, in his own way, but as the intent is to call forth himself it is not such an easy equation as, say, the Noise-beasts he tosses against the players like stray variables.

Sho knows he must have everything perfect for the refinery sigil to work.

The equations are simple enough--a variation on the Euler identity--but the placement must be done on specific points in space and time and attuned carefully, both within and without; this is the delicate part of the Work.

Too early or too far, and Sho will be pulled into the domain of the white noise.

Too far in the other direction, and the refinery sigil won’t work at all.

Too much or too little amplitude or frequency or phase, and things will work strangely.

He shakes the paint markers, uncaps them.  He just needs to have the work last long enough for his equation’s ultimate proof; he can deal with the airbrush-cabinet stink of acetone for the time being.

He concentrates.  Recites the formulae, at once magickal and mathematical; it is one of his own devising, based on pi, a number he has always found deeply symbolic to self.  Calling forth the directions and the mind, body, and spirit even as he draws…

...and is interrupted by what sound like footsteps crunching on asphalt.  Freezes.  

It is just enough to cause Sho to stop the process of drawing and break his concentration...and introduce a jot, a jot in a character which should not have one, and which changes the meaning of the word and ever-so-slightly unbalances the equation.

A few seconds later, it seems to Sho the threat has passed, and he continues the work.  But the damage is done.


One of the laws of the universe--one of its axioms, from which all other mathematical and other operators derive--is the basic concept that one’s particular set of “rules”, and really how one perceives the world, is dependent on your frame of reference.

In one frame of reference, Sho Minamimoto is screaming one hundred and fifty-six digits of pi in the Composer’s general direction; he only accepts flawless calculations and beauty, and the Composer has dared to interfere with both.

In a different--inner--frame of reference, Sho Minamimoto has a vision of how the world will be once this particularly annoying variable is replaced.

In the world to come, there will be no Game, or at least not as it’s played now.
In the world to come, all will be accepted as they are.
In the world to come, people will burn for the need for their own beauty such that it will be as essential as food or drink or oxygen.  
In the world to come, the world will be Art, and Freedom, and people will see the beauty in the new and the disposed-of and the flowers and the weeds.

There will be only one rule in his coming rule as Composer.

So long as it harms not another Soul, do what thou wilt in accordance with your Truth and Beauty.

And with this thought--this act of will--a flare powered by the Imaginary in both numbers and will goes off, and all is colour and static and holy chaos.

A few days later--under the pretense of cleaning up said Taboo Noise refinery sigil--Hanekoma discovers the transcription error.  Sighs.  Erases the jot, reforms the letter to the intended version.  Can pretty much tell where the kid apparently got spooked.

In the endless sea of imaginary numbers, the sigil comes to life like a beacon.  Its own terribly strange function.

And--unbeknownst to all--the touch of an Angel does have enough perturbative effects on a sigil attuned to one individual that it starts a subtle chaotic oscillation, giving its user the mark of his Beast.


When he finally manages to fish himself out of the background noise, Sho very quickly finds that the set has NOT been emptied; HAD it been emptied, he, or Megs, or someone else, would be Composer.

It wouldn’t be an apparently empty set with (for all anyone knew) the component primarily in another portion of the matrix algebra.

He looks at himself, and...is rather surprised at what he sees.  He’s gained a zetta sexy skin-job; he feels better than he has in his entire life , like he could punch the sun.

He certainly didn’t account for THIS in the calculation, but...so he figures...perhaps this happy accident has just resulted in a refinement of his own function after all.

It’s only when Sho gets somewhere quiet and thinks on how to achieve his desired solution that he notices the constant buzzing in his ears and the snow in his vision and the perpetual itching-crawling-burning-numbness in his skin that wasn’t quite there before.

The snow, and the buzzing, and the pain-which-is-numbness-which-is-pain that will eventually become a discordant background note, a constant perturbation


Sho sits and nervously stims and bites his necklace and calculates--as much as his racing mind will let him (since he came back from the other his nerves have been on a perpetual overdrive).

He maps out where the plans have went awry:

The attempt at ending the Composer within the RG, an infinite set where he should have been bounded, failed:

  • Whereas, the Composer apparently operates in an axiom of choice outside the RG;
  • Whereas, the Composer is in fact apparently capable of operating by his own particular axiomatic set within the RG, a particular domain wherein interaction with the imaginary axis is inherently limited;
  • Whereas, the average Reaper is bound by the axiom of choice;
  • ∴, further attempts to eliminate the Composer in the RG are unlikely to be successful as the Composer is a cheating Fractal Bastard.

The attempt at ending the Composer within the UG, a physically finitely bound set, also failed:

  • Whereas, the Composer apparently also operates in an axiom of choice outside the UG, or at least this instance in Shibuya somehow;
  • Whereas, a level i Flare should have erased both player and Composer (being based entirely on the imaginary axis) and yet did not;
  • Whereas, the emo kid with the headphones is somehow back to play again in the Game;
  • Whereas, the Composer has fucked off to Parts Unknown, even though it should in fact be impossible to do so in this bound domain;
  • ∴, further attempts to eliminate the Composer in the UG using attacks purely on an imaginary axis are unlikely to be successful as the Composer is a cheating Fractal Bastard.

Whereas, the Composer shows characteristics of being either in another dimensional set or potentially inherently active on both the real and complex frames in all potential domains;

Whereas, the Composer shows characteristics of being fractally a Bastard and also shows at least some characteristics of being able to shift frames of reference;

Whereas, this is a characteristic of hyperdimensional objects and their shadows on a lower-D polytope;

I need to find a way to literally fractally punch that polynomial prat so hard it literally knocks him out of this dimension.

Sho hasn’t quite figured out HOW to literally knock out a local dead god, but he’s working on it.

The white noise in his head burning in his veins vibrating in his soul tells him it should be possible to transcend this function somehow.


One night, while asleep on the Memory Heap, Sho has a dream that is a nightmare.

In the dream, he defeats Joshua Kiryu and becomes the Composer.
In the nightmare, he defeats Joshua Kiryu and becomes the Composer.

The two--dream and nightmare--are an equivalent set.

Upon his ascent, Sho transcends the bounding box that is Shibuya.
Upon his ascent, Sho is the bounding box that is Shibuya.

Sho frantically tears at the wall, looks down, and finds his own blood and jagged wounds on his abdomen and chest--he discovers in horror he has torn at himself.

He bites savagely at the barrier and finds he has sunk his fangs into his own right forearm--which he continues to bite even when he tastes his own blood.

Sho’s blood in his mouth tastes like electricity and concrete and diesel fuel and the broth for Doi’s tonkatsu ramen and Shibuya river sludge and the life of an unfortunate kid who became the latest contestant in the Game and the tears of his mother weeping over his dead body.

He hears nothing.
He hears everything .

He tries desperately to tune out the noise and its source. 
He cannot do so as he is the noise and the source of it.

The new Composer of Shibuya, filthy and feral and bleeding and folding in on himself as his very nerves scream in a runaway condition, screams the new song of Shibuya in a bestial roar.


Sho is still screaming when he wakes up.  

Looks down at himself to find he has not attempted to disembowel himself...but that the taboo-tattoo has changed pattern.

He sees his face in the side-view mirror of the subcompact in the Memory Heap he is on--and sees the taboo is spreading.  Merging into the whisker-like marks on his face like tiger stripes.  Actually forming a proper sleeve on both arms now.

The snow in his vision occasionally is showing technicolour spots, and the buzzing is worse in his ears, and when he can feel his arms it’s like they’ve been peeled and plunged into acid and stung by a nest of angry Asian giant hornets and deadened with pins-and-needles and perpetually ticklish all at the same time.  

Sho gives a grim, hiccoughing laugh, catching the irony of the mirror’s warning Objects may be closer than they appear.

He knows the function is approaching excessive feedback.  Excessive Noise in the system.

He has to break out of the sandbox soon or it will destroy him, he knows.

He can fix this if he can make it in time.

Time is precious because the function is becoming unstable.

The function is becoming unstable.

The function is becoming unstable.

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Sanae Hanekoma wakes and enters the WildKat Cafe--and it looks as if a tornado has hit.  Everything is tossed hither and yon, ransacked, the occasional bite mark on the wood of the counter and the furniture, a door torn nearly off its hinges.

The Angel follows the trail of destruction into the back room, the room of the everchanging library.

And finds literally every book on esoterica, and every book on electronic amplifiers, has been pulled out and looked through pell-mell and thrown on the floor, even as there is a desperate scrawl in a riot of mathematical functions almost as if trying to plot out a logarithmic--an exponential--function.

Sho.

Hanekoma looks at the numerical and functional insanity scrawled on the table, the walls, the floor, in a red marker that almost appears to be blood..

He realises the function that his young student is trying to reverse-engineer in his Taboo-fueled madness.

Sanae Hanekoma, for the first time, allows himself to weep..

Forgive me for what I have done, Sho..

Forgive me for what I have gifted you.

And for the first time in some time, the WildKat Cafe does not open at all.