Samstag, 5. Mai 2018

Voices from the other side

A lot has been said about the rumours of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) by the European nuclear research organisation CERN being used to open portals into other dimensions in the Silicon Valley-owned yellow press for conspiracy theories otherwise known as social media. It is a subject that is easy to dismiss maybe for self-proclaimed sceptics, but I can say with certainty that it is not a subject you are truly qualified to comment on unless you have the necessary first hand experience.

It was in November 2016 that I took a rather unnecessarily complicated train route through Eastern France to catch one of the very rare performances by a pioneering German post-punk band in Grenoble. The train I took passed through the Ain department commune of Gex under which most of the LHC runs its circular path, intersecting it in two locations. I actually expected that fact to be no more than a footnote in a status update on travelling somewhere in Europe's middle of nowhere, akin to crossing the former inner-German border or other such instantly shrugged-off little travel factoids. What actually happened was ultimately a lot more memorable, albeit deeply discomforting and disturbing.

I was - to my memory - alone in my train compartment, being your standard modern man tapping away at a smartphone screen with one hand, being your standard rock 'n' roll troglodyte nursing a qualitatively questionable lager with the other, contemplating my punishingly uninteresting aforementioned travel tidbit when from out of nowhere I heard a voice talking to me. I turned around responding to the question I thought I heard. There was no one to be seen anywhere, and I wasn't all that sure what the question was or if it really was a question I actually heard. You know the lager, it wasn't the first, and considering the distance from Northern Germany to the French-Swiss border the last night of sleep was a fair bit in the past by then as well. But the voice returned, repeating what it said, or so I was somewhat sure. Still there was no one to be seen upon turning around and examining the compartment, and as for the content of what was said, well, it's where it gets a bit strange anyway.

You see, when I was spoken to - and I had a clear feeling that I was being addressed directly - I had something of an inner knowledge (for lack of a better term) of what was being said, some inner certainty of understanding, but I did not actually consciously understand the language that was spoken. I could not even identify, it was like nothing in terms of languages that I was familiar with. It feels odd using the word "alien", as you feel your credibility slipping away the instant you utter it, like "why don't you go to a talk show and talk about seeing a saucer and being abducted", but the voice speaking to me, the language it used, could only properly be described with that word, because it truly was alien. Imagine the most abrasive elements of Eastern European/Slavic languages amplified into almost a grinding noise at times, spoken with an unsettlingly inhuman intonation that had something of backmasking and pitchshifting an octave below your average human voice. An odd, unsettling experience, to say the least, but being my usual self I followed my first instinct to take a big sip from my can of beer and try to shrug it off as the common trickery the human brain likes to play on itself in times of stress and exhaustion.

Then it spoke again. Louder, more clearly.

"Why are you trespassing in my domain?"

I wouldn't know how to respond, not even in which direction since there's nobody to be seen to address, and certainly not in which language since while for whatever reason I can understand what is spoken, I would have no knowledge whatsoever to speak the language myself. "Ask the conductor" is what I mumbled in response when I heard the voice the first time, but by now I was uncomfortable enough to try to not be rude again. And it repeated.

"Why are you trespassing in my domain?"

Seconds passed in silence and I'm frozen, feeling the numbing beginnings of fear crawling under my skin.

"I will not tolerate intrusion. I see you all as you pass my realm as if it is yours. I will protect what is mine, and take what is yours as compensation for your invasions."

No matter how alien and inhuman the sound to this voice was, I could clearly identify an intense urgency to what it was saying. It was a matter of serious concern not only to the entity - another word to raise calls to send me off to a trash television talk show - speaking, but to those it was addressing. The grave reality and seriousness of its threat could be clearly heard in every nuance of its intonation. It was clear that the consequences for those living in or passing through the region, or perhaps our entire planet, would be of utmost gravity. I can remember today as if it was yesterday the sick feeling to my stomach caused by the existential fear this threat raised in me on both a conscious and subconscious level. It took quite some time for myself to recover from what really felt like a state of shock the moment this inhuman declaration of retribution drilled itself into my brain in its already unsettling form as an alien voice from no identifiable direction. For a moment so brief, it was ultimately one with a lasting traumatic effect.

The voice itself had already been gone by then. The train had already passed the vicinity of the LHC. It's a relatively small area and at the speed an average train is going you don't spend much time in the direct area. It might be a relief to think that maybe the retribution promised by the entity would be confined only to that particular area that is small in size and limited in population, but from the power that could be felt through the voice speaking to me, it would be far more likely to assume that its impact would stretch much further and affect a lot more. It is an unsettling aspect for myself to consider about the world of today, as there is neither much in terms of specifics to deliberately plan for or more importantly a timetable on when to expect the consequence of this development. All I know is that something will be coming in the foreseeable future and that there really is no way we can properly prepare for it.