Unker Ten was used to the questioning look and tried to help people out with a little smile and shrug of the shoulders, as if to tell them, “Yeah, the name’s a bit unusual, but, hey, what ya gonna do?”
Luckily, the young lady checking DNAID was more interested in her holoposts than doing her security job. Unker Ten was waved through. It seemed too easy for a place that in street myth was the Fort Knox of ultimate meaning. Though, just as quickly, Unker Ten discovered that getting in wasn’t really the barrier. Making sense of the place was.
The antediluvian archives were an endless warren of files. Rows, stacks, shelves of every conceivable kind of physical file storage. Actual physical documents. Hard to conceive of such tangible records, but here they were at the tips of Unker Ten’s long, smooth, ridgeless fingers. To think this is how the world once stored its information. Where to even begin?
Granted there had been systems once to organize and catalog printed docs and texts, but the space, the manpower. In a world grown short of both, Unker Ten could hardly believe these salvaged items from the permafloods had been granted this precious dry, climate controlled real estate. The undercurrents—whispers, rumors, look-aways—had to be true then. This labyrinth of flimsy, perishable paper had value. High value.
Especially to Unker Ten, if the fate healer’s prediction fifty years ago was correct. The mysteries preceded the digital age, preceded the permafloods. Answers, if any, would start here. Though, there was no doubt in Unker Ten’s very flawed mind, that any finish, any resolution, any vengeance would take place light years away. Still, the fate healer had said to start at the beginning, and it had taken over fifty years to determine where that might be.
Now what? How to solve the puzzle, make sense of the maze, and decode his strange existence?
Not a clue until his seventh year in the archives. Unker Ten had become a creature of the endless stacks and shelves. The intensity and serenity of the place made him one with the beasts and brains domiciled in docsville as his sometime foe, sometime foil, Legerdemain called it. A story unto itself, docsville and Legerdemain. But not here. Not now.
Unker Ten’s story began again when he found his antediluvian government dossier, yellow, brittle, dust in the making. Just as the fate healer had set forth the strangeness of Unker Ten’s being—a pronouncement and pronunciation that was, in a sense, birth—the government military report provided a myriad of details. None more telling than these:
Age: Uncertain Sex: Uncertain Race: Uncertain Name: Uncertain
For the first time, in an already-long life, Unker Ten was certain.