the orrery (finally) opens its doors
After a long and complicated incubation period, which some have described as a ‘painful eternity’, The Orrery is now officially open to the public. Touted as a feat of ‘pointless ingenuity’, The Orrery is now the largest mechanical model of the Meridian System, surpassing the one in Midhaven by just enough to not seem petty.
The project was initially conceived of in 72 AC as a means of meeting the increased demand for outsider-friendly information in the cycles following the Colossal Tear, but has been hampered at multiple stages by backtracking, indecisiveness, disagreement, insecurity, feuds, procrastination, and, in one particular morbid case, fatality. Gherman Molynix, who oversaw the initial development of The Orrery, left the project last cycle citing ‘irreconcilable creative differences’:
‘As more and more people were brought in, the project became so obscure that nobody knew what the point of what we were doing was anymore. We were just trying to force a bunch of conflicting motives and ideas into one big mess of a thing. It was supposed to be a simple way to show outsiders the general structure of our System — which many have described as unnecessarily convoluted — so we wanted to make it as accessible to newcomers as possible. Originally the plan was to use images we had of the various subsystems and planetary bodies and moons and whatnot, which if you think about it is probably the most logical way of demonstrating that kind of thing.
Well if the Board of Enlightened Enterprises is to be believed then you’d be seriously mistaken in that assumption, because apparently the best way to describe complex and often abstract concepts to outsiders is to be as ostentatious, obtuse and frankly ridiculous as possible. When I eventually snapped and said this to them, they told me that wasn’t the point of the project, and when I said I thought that was exactly the point of the project they said “well if you like outsiders so much why don’t you go outside yourself?” and then they locked me out! So yeah, I’m a little bitter about the whole thing, don’t pretend you wouldn’t be.’
When I spoke to board’s VC, they told me that ‘over time, we realised that we wanted this project to be so much more than what we originally envisaged. While the initial idea was fine, we felt that our investment would yield greater returns if we treated this endeavour as a means of expanding the Portal’s presence as a centre of cultural as well as scientific advancement. It may have taken an inordinately longer amount of time to get it off the ground, but we wanted to ensure we were providing something that was as much a feat of artistry as it was one of knowledge; something that would cement the Portal as a hub of both creativity and innovation.
Is it dangerous to build a mechinarium above a displaced patch of abyssal cosmos? Possibly. Did we cut corners? Of course. But ask yourself what truly matters here: we now have something that looks really cool, and as someone who’s never actually seen it, I can say with absolute certainty that you simply can’t put a price on an asset like that.’
The actual construction of The Orrery was completed over the course of two weeks, which despite spurious claims to the contrary, wasn’t rushed to meet any kind of deadline and has most certainly passed the necessary health and safety regulation checks. Each major region of Meridia has been meticulously recreated from the finest Enachan brass (only the third cheapest brass in the System), with fully orbiting planets and other celestial bodies that are, according to newly appointed Head Curator Rufus Locke (former Overseer of the Temporal Archive), ‘powered by magnets or magic or something, who cares?’
When I asked him about his new venture, he was visibly excited:
‘Well it was supposed to be a promotion, but so far all it’s been is an overwhelming amount of hassle. I knew there’d be a lot of work to do, that’s to be expected, but this is beyond ridiculous. And to be opening to the public so prematurely? When did this place become so disorganised? I’ve barely had time to move my stuff in, let alone actually get around to compiling some useful information for these idiots. So now as I break my neck trying to play catch up, I’m going to have to do so whilst being bombarded by inane questions and people messing. And the best part is, the salary barely amounts to a pay rise after taxes! So tell me, how exactly do I benefit from any of this? Sometimes I wish I’d never left Midhaven…’
We look forward to watching how The Orrery grows as a place that invites learning and discovery.
Entry is free to all visitors to the Portal. Refreshments aren’t provided.
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