The Letter

I am one of three on the team.

The team is one of three on the ship.

The ship is one of three working the lower half’s mid 30 on this tridant.

Of course, there are no ships in either the upper or lower spaces … unless we count what we think is beyond the heat.

Each team works 8, sleeps 8, relaxes 8.

That is how it has been since the beginning.

Our task is simple.

Drop to firma. Retrieve.

All retrieves, across all tridants in the lower half’s mid 30 are collected and collated for the second retrieve.

The second retrieve adds to the understanding.

Without the understanding, there will be nothing.

The easier the first retrieve, the harder the second.

The digs, like drives, disks, engines, machines, glass, cables … litter the firma. With a good following wind, a team member can manage 16 drop and retrieves in a single shift. Normally it’s more like 9 or 10. It can be zero.

The tangs like paper, books, photographs, art … they are no longer on the firma. To find them we go down further.

Even then, what we find these days are in conts. Some of them once managed by the digs. Not any more.

It appears that tangs were important to the priors, but fragile. They were stored in conts and digs were used to protect them.

The conts we are now finding have been stored for safety. Over time we are moving to deeper and deeper places to unearth them. The priors used dig protections everywhere. But the digs are long lost. So even with A find, we only have a sealed cont. The sealed conts are only explored after collection and collation – during the second retrieve.

It has now been more than 30 rots since this ship has found any tangs. We know there are more. But the 3*3*3 method is beginning to strain.

A decision has been made.

In the lower half’s middle 30, our tridant has been chosen to break the 3*3*3

In our tridant, our ship has been chosen to break the 3*3*3.

In our ship, our team has been chosen to break the 3*3*3.

It seems that our team is the route to the understanding.

Our team will drop to the firma and not pull back for 3 rots.

We drop tomorrow. Our target is to retrieve one of the largest known conts. It’s been in our sights for more cycles than I can count. But too big. Easier to pull the smaller conts and the occasional tangs.

This has not only never been done before. It has never even been tried. Even the process remains theory.

One mission. Find the cont. Return it to the ship. Intact. No specific instructions regarding the team.

The conclusion is far from certain. To say we are scared would be an understatement. This is why I record this new history.

Of course, it won’t send. It will be stored. If we come back it will be destroyed. If we don’t, it will be dispatched. That is the promise. In this way, our families will eventually know what came of us. Not you of course. Nor our daughter. But eventually, once we have understanding someone will.

By then we will know and move beyond the upper 30. That is our hope. Our dream. That is my life. That is my promise to you and our family. That I contributed, in some way, to the understanding.

In the hope that you understand, even though you will never know.

With all my love.



I started writing this story at the end of April following a dream. I wouldn’t say I don’t dream, I’m sure I do but don’t (usually) recall them. This one is an exception. The story builds on the dream, where I found myself running endless loops with other people in a sealed space. I had a job. A repetitive job. It was unclear what I was doing or why, but doing it I was and others seemed to understand my role better than I. And then this weekend, I read this post from Doc Searls. I don’t really write fiction, but this again must be another exception. Time to publish!


John Philpin
John Philpin
JOHN'S career spans 30 years, 2 continents, and organizations as diverse as Oracle, Citibank and GE. A Mathematics graduate, John moved to California in 1990. He helps technology companies create, develop and deliver their story for fund raising, market development and influencer programs. He also works with businesses to ensure they understand, and are ready, for the ever accelerating changes that technology is bringing to their industry. John is a co-founder of Expert Alumni and gleXnet and long before futurists and industry watchers were writing about the impending challenges that industries were going to be facing, they predicted a perfect storm of issues like skills gap, declining work forces, the gig economy, people trained to do work no longer needed, demographic shifts, economic and social change, market upheaval and rapidly changing ways of doing work. From the beginning they have promoted the idea that massive change was coming to how organizations should think about their workforce, with a singular focus on simplifying the interface between people and their work. Understanding the challenges ahead of the curve, the solution was built to arrive at a better understanding of the greatest restraint to business operations - competence, not capital. gleXnet provides unparalleled insights into an organizations people and operations by flipping the problem from the perspective of people, not the business.

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