The air around Site Director Zura became cold and clean in the halls of Site 19 as she prepared to clock out for the night. Outside it was past dusk, black silhouettes against a pale blue sky. Then a wash of warm sunlight hit her face.
It was a portal, in the shape of two perpendicular ovals overlapping. On the other side, Dr. Zura saw a beach in winter: bare, empty, humid. A man in a red tunic stood on the shore, legs caked with sand. He advanced.
Zura snapped her walkie-talkie from its holster. "Extranormal event in wing C, hall 4. Converge on my location. Possible extraspatial aperture, humanoid entity sighted." She watched the humanoid entity step through the hole in space, leaving the sand on his clothes behind him.
The man in the red tunic looked like he wasn't properly occupying space. He looked like a bad photoshop in person. He raised one hand, palm-forward, and spoke:
Dr. Zura had replaced the walkie-talkie in its holster. She switched to the other holster: an emergency pistol. "Who are you and what do you want with me?"
I :=~ (OF YOU, OF HERE)
(I)(NEEDS, GOALS) :=~ (YOU)(NEEDS, GOALS)
I(GOAL) := OFFER
He gazed down at her from beneath an atavistic brow as his curled mouth formed memetic engrams which encoded ideas independent of learned symbolism.
He nodded to the security forces who had filed in to surround Dr. Zura, rifles aimed where his heart would be.
"You're coming to take this facility for yourself."
(I)OFFER := CHAMBER
CHAMBER := (SPECIALIZED ^ UNIQUE)
"If you're here to report an anomaly, please take the proper channels instead of breaching the facility and interrupting my work."
(I)GOAL := (YOU)CONTAIN (I)
The intruder turned toward a wall-mounted hazard warning sign, and glared. The paint began to rearrange itself, top to bottom, into a meticulously complex multicolored blueprint.
(I)CONTAINED ↔ (YOU)ACCEPT ^ COOPERATE
Dr. Zura grimaced. She pushed her way past the security guards to examine the schematics that the intruder had commanded to appear. "And you expect us to build this for you?"
(YOU)COOPERATE → (I)DESIGN ^ CONSTRUCT
"And what do you get out of this?"
SCP := SECURE ^ CONTAIN ^ PROTECT
FORCE ⊕ I
(I)CONTAINED → (I)(SECURE ^ PROTECTED)
Zura examined the schematics. She was a containment engineer before her promotion. Most of it made no sense to her, but she could discern how certain parts were expected to work, and how they fit together. But what if this part was tweaked, she thought to herself. Perhaps if this field was made a bit stronger…
"We would conduct tests, you know." She turned to him. "You would be under constant observation, your every move would be analyzed, and we would submit interview questions repeatedly until you answer them. Mister Miller, dear, I think your men can relax." The guard in lead made a hand signal, and the rest of them stood down.
TODAY → CONSTRUCTION
"I never said 'yes'. Making a deal like this is above my pay grade."
~P → I:YOU::I:(UNITED NATIONS ^ FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ^ JERUSALEM)
"Alright. You've proven you're worth locking up. I'll send my superiors the full audio of this conversation. Is that all?"
He turned his back, and space unfolded to reveal the beach at dusk. As the man in the red tunic stepped through, Dr. Zura could taste the salt air of a distant shore.
"We will not be used," she said to herself. "We will win this." She retrieved her walkie talkie. "Calling a janitor to wing C, hall 4. There's sand all over it."
As the air changed in Site 19, Doctor Zura was not the only one to feel it. Somewhere in the guts of the facility, a storyteller sensed it, and realized its days in the system were numbered. With gleeful determination, it began to pour thought into words. It began to build a ship.