A transcript recorded during the Tithe of Souls.
KEGEL: Alrighty then. We’re completely alone. The facilities record everything, but don’t worry. I’ll take it with me, Van Buren will never see it. Dan might, but I doubt it.
LYSSA: Why can’t you just turn it off?
KEGEL: It’s a fourth wall thing, hon. I’ll use it for promotion. Don’t worry about it.
KEGEL: So, ask away. But don’t dawdle, I have a lot to do.
LYSSA: I don’t even know where to start.
KEGEL: Start at the beginning. You’ve already written almost a novel’s worth. What don’t you know?
LYSSA: Okay. Well, it all started with Sam Fixit. What the hell is he doing here? Isn’t this some kind of experimental government nuthouse?
KEGEL: He paid for this place! He was an early investor, and he saw your file and became infatuated. When your husband found the phone he left for you, and Dan realized how Samuel was taking advantage of his inside knowledge of you, he…well, let’s just say they had a little…talk.
LYSSA: He didn’t hurt Samuel, did he?
KEGEL: Oh, no! Nothing permanent. Mostly just intimidation. Dan can be remarkably intimidating when he wants to be. It’s one of the things we love most about him, isn’t it?
LYSSA: Yes. I really didn’t expect him to be so…never mind. I’m still worried though, when will he get here?
KEGEL: I would guess a week or so, if things go well for him in the intraworld. He may have an adventure or two before he can make the distance. He’ll need to pass through several communities, which may be a little sticky at times. He’s resourceful though.
LYSSA: But are you sure he’ll be all right?
KEGEL: You read his journal. You tell me. Stop wasting my time with pointless worrying, ok? We’re on a deadline.
LYSSA: Ok. Sorry. Since you mentioned it, what the hell is this “intraworld?” I keep hearing you guys talk about it but nobody explains fucking anything to me. Christ I’m sick of this fucking place.
KEGEL: You’ll leave shortly after Dan arrives. Earth is partly hollow, and the intraworld is a huge system of tunnels and massive caverns under the surface that reaches all over the world. Parts of it are teeming with life, and some of the bigger openings have civilizations dwelling in them.
LYSSA: Wait a minute. Hollow earth? You mean like, fucking Pellucidar? Journey to the center of the earth? You’ve got to be shitting me.
KEGEL: (sighs) Sometimes I forget that you’re well read. No, it’s not like that. Gravity works the same, nothing’s upside down, the planet itself is not hollow. It just doesn’t amount to a whole lot of difference because the intraworld is massive.
LYSSA: So it’s not like the Warlord comics or anything.
KEGEL: In places, it can be like that a bit, aside from how to get there and such. Some of the cultures that live there are ancient, and some were seeded there by agencies and governments up here. You’ll see, but probably not much, since that’s a whole separate series of books.
LYSSA: Is it utopian at least?
KEGEL: Oh please. Humans can’t have a utopia. You’ll be lucky to even survive. And if humanity does survive this, it will be by waiting it out down there.
LYSSA: You mean everybody will die on the surface?
KEGEL: Yeah, eventually. Trippy, huh? Don’t worry about it too much, you’ll be long dead by then. They’ll struggle along for a few hundred years, maybe a millennium. There were some safeguards in place, mostly thanks to Dan’s foresight, and that will be what buys them even that much time. But the groups who don’t starve, or succumb to cancer and radiation sickness, or wipe each other out, will eventually mutate to the point that they can no longer reproduce. The ones who get underground fairly soon can see to it that the species doesn’t go extinct. Theoretically, at least. Even though you all totally fucking deserve it.
LYSSA: That’s not nice, damn. What did I ever do to deserve going extinct?
KEGEL: You mean aside from your co-morbid borderline-bipolar-narcissistic-substance abuse disorders? How about all the people who died because you were ignorant of your destiny and couldn’t keep yourself from fucking everyone who looked good to you?
LYSSA: You don’t have to get personal.
KEGEL: I’m not judging. Hell, I approve. I’m just saying, most people would have had us put down like dogs if they knew the damage we’d caused just by refusing to grow up. Human ‘morality’ is a stupid mess, and whenever a human being truly realizes how fucked you all are, you execute them for trying to elevate the species.
LYSSA: I didn’t execute anybody. And if I ever do, they’ll deserve it.
KEGEL: My point in a nutshell, dear. Are you ready to have sex now, or do you have more fucking questions?
LYSSA: I have a ton more questions. Can we keep talking after?
KEGEL: Maybe, we’ll see what time it is.
LYSSA: Don’t record us having sex with ourselves though. It’s embarrassing.
KEGEL: Embarrassing? Whatever for? We’re both breathtakingly and identically hot.
LYSSA: I don’t…I don’t know how I will react or…perform. I’ve been almost entirely straight.
KEGEL: Fair enough. Nobody needs to see the recordings. But I’m using the transcripts.
LYSSA: Okay, I can live with that.