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Rhosgobel Tesseract

It was a bright day in April when Wilhelm Tesseract discovered he could jump through time. The year was 2097.

Our clan have always been scavengers. We moved from place to place, scrounging used parts and cast-off clothes, camping in old subway tunnels and in the basements of abandoned factories. But as Wilhelm’s ability spread throughout the clan, time jumping became our new way of life.

We jump back to uncover secrets, play tricks, and hide clues about the future. And sometimes we indulge ourselves, exploring your best vintage years to collect 80s shades, concert tees, and Atari 2600s.

We are the Dead Rabbits.


Rhosgobel Tesseract
We needed a place underground. Somewhere near the city. Somewhere unchanged for 100 years. And we found it in the abandoned subway tubes beneath the street. Networks of tunnels, and empty stations, their stairways bricked up, their tiled walls still plastered with moldering ink-press posters.

Slowly we have made the place our own. Power we pirated from the street. Weeks were spent clearing the rubbish of another age, colored bottles, sturdy metal cans, and bag upon bag of cast-off ticket stubs. The upper levels we opened to topsiders, those who wander down in search of privacy, or adventure, or a refuge from the rain.

But the deepest sections we keep only for our own. A heavy metal door stands guard. A flight of iron stairs spirals down. This is where the clan meets. Where we make our jumps, traveling back as far as we dare. Its name is called the Dead Warrens.

Do you have the Watchword?


Rhosgobel Tesseract
And when we follow the cracks in the busted pavement like one would a map or a constellation of scars there are secret hearts speaking minor symphonies.


All rabbits making jumps would do well to understand which system they’re in, and when it was constructed. Remember that the penalty for error is rockdeath.

Note: The chart below refers to the oldest sections for each city. Jumping from newer tunnels is not advised unless build dates are confirmed.

London 1863

Istanbul 1875

Chicago 1892

Glasgow and Budapest 1896

Paris 1900

Berlin 1902

New York 1904

Madrid 1919


Rhosgobel Tesseract
If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

The jump from London to New York has been established.

The grey dirge had been sung for Bernal Tesseract, and his bedding scattered before we heard him calling from the Wet Tunnels. A rope was lowered and we pulled him up, filthy and smiling.

He looked good, for a young rabbit presumed lost to rockdeath.

“Glad I ended up back here with you lot,” he said, grinning. “Didn’t know where I was. But once I felt the water I was pretty sure I wasn’t dead.”

The clan gathered around him, sniffing.

“I’ve been elsewhere,” he said. “And not just in time. I’ve had a visit with our comrades in New York. Leastwise, the ones who went back for the Straw Hat Riot of ‘22. A good time that was, snatching hats off heads, or else wearing them, and outrunning the mob. And let me say, City Hall Station looks grand, lit by electric chandelier.”

We all wanted to know how he did it, of course.

“It’s like a normal jump,” he said, “but foggier. You’ve got to let yourself drift. There’s a cold spark, like the fear that comes from leaping over water, that one must give in to. Afterward, when you feel the pull, head toward it. It calls to you, bright, like the HUD on a vizhelm, and the trick is to not think much about it.”

This only made the clan more curious and it was not long until the jump over the Atlantic had become commonplace.


Bernal Tesseract
Bernal Tesseract stroked his whiskers and stared again at the sec-screen. It was old, circa 2050s, manufactured during a period when the retro green of the MS-DOS display had come back into vogue.

It flashed the same code at him in rotation, maddeningly, again and again, across its curved monitor. It looked like M1T7R1Lhex, a basic security language that every rabbit learned as a kit. But each attempt he made to crack it from that framework failed…and he was getting cold.

Beyond the locked door somewhere, his Berliner comrades were holed up in warm tunnels, jacked into nova or gathered around a fire barrel, chewing braided grass.

He had begun to shiver, and to give up hope of breaking the entrance code. He remembered a pile of old boxes he had passed earlier and was debating whether he could fashion them into a warm bed when it struck him: The code was not M1T7R1Lhex at all. It looked similar, but its principles, though equally simple, were entirely different.

Suddenly the voice of Wilhelm Tesseract rang in his mind:

Rabbits, when facing a problem, one must first determine what sort of problem it is. You cannot know the rules of a game before understanding which game is being played.

Bernal smiled. He looked at the code once more, pressed a few buttons, and the door clicked open.


Bernal Tesseract
There are times when the air that floats between mortals becomes, in its stillness and silence, as cruel as the edge of a scythe.

Nova changes you. After a year or two your pupils lose their color and your mind sharpens for tiny details, picking out shadows that lie at fractionally wrong angles, light misplaced by minutes from its proper channel in the day, the glint of platinum as opposed to gold.

But in meat life you may miss important stimuli. Like a truck. Or a long flight of stairs. Or the difference between a crow and a gun.

The distinction sharpens as your novatime piles up. Addiction is the first phase, but everyone past 2052 is addicted. When your body changes, when your mind begins to shake its confines and stretch out within its preferred domain, when implants become a real consideration–faster uploads, faster reflexes, sharper vision–that’s when the choice kicks in.

We call it going alien. And the ones who plug up, the ones who upload memories and movement centers to nova: We call them aliens.

Every population has them, those who have given up much to move a little closer to the singularity. In meat life they are removed, docile, and rarely met. But in nova you will know them. They see you from 10000 meters. They see you through walls. However fast, however strong, however skilled you are, it is laughable. Some of them can fly. And so we call them gods.

From the Dead Rabbit clan, there have come six Alien Rabbit Gods.

To consecrate these warrens, we intone their names.


Alma Tesseract
The hatch was badly rusted and stuck shut. Alma Tesseract ran her knife around the rim and struck the center with a length of rebar scrap. She cringed at the sound, a muted metallic clank that quickly faded.

She was deep beneath the Warrens. Maintenance crawlways, drainage tubes, and air vents crisscrossed the rock, but even at this depth larger tunnels were still being discovered.

With effort she freed the hatch and swung it open. Immediately her vizhelm registered a light source, she flicked off the IR broadcast in her HUD and waited for her eyes to adjust. Phosphorescence spilled from the hatchway, a cobalt green that made her think of blacklight.

She fixed her grapmag to an iron girder and lowered herself into the tunnel. It was full-sized, 4 meters of line unwound to reach the base. Alma unclipped the winch from her belt and left it hanging.

Faint light surrounded her. She guessed lichen would be the source, or a deep-dwelling fungus, but the light shifted somewhat, pulsated, and when she knelt for a closer look she saw that it came from grubs. Thousands of luminescent grubs meandered along the walls, feeding on regular streaks of what looked to be heavy black paste.

There were no train tracks in the tunnel, which was odd. Alma enabled mapping and continued on. There was an acrid smell, not rot exactly, but sour. She much preferred the dry, old smell of the Warrens.

After a time the paste on the walls disappeared, the grubs thinned out and the light dimmed. Alma tread on quietly, her eyes had adjusted and she did not want to spoil the walk with the HUD. But as she ventured further the dark in the tunnel became thick. Her breathing went shallow, she felt pressed in upon, and even her rabbit eyes could see nothing.

Just at that time she entered a place of dangerous silence, a watchful quiet, that is the sound of several quiets overlapping.

“You’re in Mole Land,” said a gravely voice. “And should not be.”


Alma Tesseract
Alma Tesseract leapt backward in the dark. Upon landing her heel struck a stone and she stumbled to the ground. Her hand flashed to her temple and her vizhelm crackled on.

Three Moles loomed over her. How they got so close, and so quickly, without making a sound, she could not fathom. But there they were, swaying together in silent uncertain synchrony, their snouts in the air, sniffing.

All three had darkscreens, implants, expensive. They wore robes of the same blue black color as their fur and none seemed to carry a weapon. The center Mole stiffened and stared down at her. A faint light flickered within the obsidian depth of his darkscreen, for an instant Alma thought she saw two white and wizened eyes. A shudder passed through the Mole, ripples ran down his snout.

“Time-hopper,” he hissed. “Your thoughts reveal your intent. But indeed we are armed, as you shall soon find out.” He drew himself up and his companions leaned in, as though harmonizing.

The psiwave hit her like a thunderclap. It surged out from the Moles unchecked and Alma found herself again in the dark, sound surrounded her like the rush of the ocean, her ears filled with it, and somewhere in that dizzy rumble hung a trace of song, a sleepy familiar song that her mother used to hum.

Alma woke on her side. Her vizhelm had been removed. The Moles whispered to each other as they rifled through her pack.

“Old. Old. Old.” one of them said.

Alma heard the sounds of her gear being tossed aside.

“Ah, but here’s a medscan, save that.”

Soon enough they were finished. Alma’s mind had cleared considerably, the muscles in her legs twitched and she felt her sense of balance return.

“Put these on her,” the lead Mole said, taking something from his pocket. “We’ll bring this one before the labour.”

Alma did not wait to find out what that meant. She bolted down the pitch dark tunnel, the Moles cried out behind her in dismay. She did not turn back. She rushed into the grublight and found her winch hanging where she left it. She snapped it to her belt, eyes straining down the tunnel for any sign of movement, and ascended through the hatchway. She slammed shut the hatch. It was dark, but familiar smells were all around. The Warrens were close.

Alma put her arms out before her and groped her way along until at last the faint orange glow of the outer maintenance LEDs began to light her path. She exhaled.

Her thoughts had turned to her report, and to the questions of the clan, when suddenly a Mole voice, thick with anger, hissed deep within her mind:

“Goodbye, time-hopper. For now.”


Bernal Tesseract
We were dead but now we are free.

Bernal Tesseract woke to the smell of fear.

He scrambled from his bedding and sprinted the low access tunnel that led to the main Warrens. In the sleeping hall all was not well. The clan’s bunks and nests lay empty. Some rabbits sat on their haunches, oddly, hunkered on the stone floor, their hands clutching their heads, as though trying to ward off some terrible and invisible pain.

But most of the clan stood rapt, erect, in neat lines they stood, and each line was eight rabbits long.

At their head stood a labour of Moles. Eight Moles in blue black robes had arranged themselves in a semicircle, they swayed gently in and out, rocking on their heels and murmuring in atonal unison.

Their darkscreens pulsed with sluggish ivory light that bathed the Warrens in a fractured, rhythmic flash. Bernal yawned. The smell of fear hung heavy all around him but this no longer struck him as important.

In the molesong he caught a glimpse of an underground tower, earthworks plunging boldly down into the dark, the masterwork of a great race, a place of nobility, a place full of secrets. It was a place he should like to visit, Bernal thought. Endless interweaving tunnels, glowing with grublight, caverns ringing with dirgesong, melancholy yes, but also beautiful, and far from the sharp intruding sun. An orderly place, where an honest rabbit could work hard for a sure meal and a dry place to sleep.

Bernal paused in his reverie, for this last thought took him aback. It seemed overwrought. Food came easy to his clan. The Dead Warrens were an excellent place to sleep. And of the rabbits he knew, most were wily, all were skilled, and none were overfond of work. He opened his eyes.

A column of 24 rabbits, walking three abreast, were being led out of the sleeping hall by three Moles. The other five wandered among the stragglers, rabbits like himself who had not moved in response to the summons. One approached him, its darkscreen flashed white and Bernal felt a sizzling pain behind his eyes.

“Fall in, worker.” The Mole’s voice was in his head. Bernal took a staggering step forward and stopped. He opened his mouth to cry out, to rally his clan, but a bright flash from the darkscreen and a sudden surge of pain silenced him.

“Try that again and I’ll fry you,” the Mole said. “Now fall in.”

Bernal gritted his teeth and refused to move. The Mole reached to adjust a dial on his darkscreen, but at that moment a dull yellow light spilled from the archway that led down into the Deep Warrens.

The Mole hissed, and his clan mates in the hall scurried to his side. The three Moles leading the column rushed back in to join their fellows. They formed a semicircle, their robes swayed about their feet as they rocked in and out. Each turned a dial on his darkscreen, a piercing electric hum filled the hall, and once again they intoned the molesong, waiting. They did not wait long.

A huge green rabbit framed the archway, clad in scavenger armor, a pulse rifle slung across his back. He stared at the Moles from behind the glowing yellow optics of his rebreather helmet and stood his ground. The song of the Moles took on the pitch of an ululating shriek, their darkscreens flashed with white heat, and the psiwave they sent out before them was a visible violet net that crackled in the air.

The net never reached him. It erupted in a hail of sparks, its wasted energy outlining a perfect sphere of empty space that extended for a meter in all directions around the rabbit.

“Danger!” shrieked the Moles. “He’s psi-shielded! Retreat!”

But it was too late for that. The rabbit touched a switch on his helmet and with an electric snap all eight darkscreens flashed searing white for an instant, and burned out. The Moles fell to the ground, writhing, and then went still.

“Cast their bodies down into the grub tunnel,” the green rabbit said. “I think the Moles will not bother us for some time.”

With that he turned back to the Deep Warrens, his pulse rifle still slung over his shoulder, untouched. The clan gathered together.

“Who was that?” the young ones wanted to know.

Bernal Tesseract smiled.

“That,” he said, “was Salnar Tesseract.”



“Your dreams, your feelings, the speed of your hand, the reflexive movement of your eye as it tracks a mosquito: In truth, all are chemical reactions at their root. And we have the chemicals you need to improve that truth.”
--Aquilus Melenard, Veritas Labs

The Veritas Labs VR set was legendary, even without accounting for the upgrades. For those with a craniospinal jack it offers, off-the-shelf:

  • Copper conductors, for hyperfast reflexes. Conductivity: 97%
  • T3NEMAR3 optics. 2000x EF-4 silicone dioxide lenses, polished to within .0000002 microns.
  • Octapol Cables with HEX5 grounded connection points for reduced feedback, compressed surges, and force-limited earwig attacks.
  • Veritas Boost: Jack-fed, proprietary chemical enhancements and blood assays.
  • Full suite, Lethmite tracking software. For optimal performance, let Veritas know your location, body temperature, heart rate, dopamine saturation, galvanic skin response, audio/visual experience, and nova habits. Cognitive mapping conveniently included.

After three months in his workshop, Yamarashi Tesseract had completed these upgrades:

  • Copper removed. Replaceable silver conductor cartridges installed throughout. Conductivity: 100%
  • T3NEMAR3 lenses sonically polished to within .0000000007 microns.
  • Hand-soldered cable connection vacuum box. Fully isolated. Zero feedback, zero surges, earwig attacks impossible.
  • Lethmite tracking software purged. Update software rerouted to external drive.

After maining the modified set in nova for 72 hours, Yamarashi Tesseract discarded his pulse rifle in favor of a vibrotachi. The rifle bored him. He found the sword a more enjoyable use of his new speed. Even without his targeting alarm--the amber flash in his HUD, the warning ping--it was elementary to spot movement and calculate the angles of enemy barrels.

When bullets flew, he enjoyed simply not being there.

As he rose in the lists, Veritas drones began to stalk him, hovering over his battles, their camsets blinking. When he hit 200 kills without a death, Veritas upped its game. They tried to switch him off, with increasing levels of urgency, but each time it resulted only in a new line of code on the vidscreen of his connection box. Humorous.

When they found that he had taken their tech off-grid, and improved upon it, Veritas implemented a new approach. He was actively hunted by MER7 Waspsins on the ground, in the air, and under the water while in nova. Every player with an on-grid set was a danger to him.

So Yamarashi made additional upgrades. He bypassed the jack-fed boost and installed direct implants to service his cerebellum and amygdala. He upgraded to pharm-grade adrenaline, GABA, and serotonin. He wired in radar/sonar detection units and anti-firecontrol software to shut down opposing scanners and targeting. And he walked nova alone.

IRL, he watched his back. Veritas had an army of skinjobs tasked with collecting delinquent payments, tracking would-be hackers and after-market fences, and carrying out hits on off-grid users like himself. They effectively discouraged black label use of their products with a tracking sentinel installed deep at the heart of the motherboard. Attempts to remove it resulted in an explosion large enough to destroy the hardware and a few offending fingers.

Yamarashi Tesseract had wired the sentinel with its own battery supply, confused it with a virus of his own design, then removed it entirely. He had dropped the resulting mechanism in the hopper of a streetside trash bot and chuckled as the bot zoomed away, on its endless circuit of the city.


Bernal Tesseract
Isn’t there something in living dangerously?

Bernal Tesseract sat alone in his room. On the desk his best gear was laid out before him, the spoils of 26 jumps.

A drip from a pipe overhead marked time like a metronome. The drip pooled in a corner, making a puddle whose size, had anyone bothered to measure it, captured the exact number of seconds elapsed since the streetside factory above engaged its nightshift water supply. The resulting trickle disappeared down a drainage grate and ran into the Wet Tunnels, where it merged in the dark with a thousand other such rivulets, a writhing river of black and uncounted hours.

But Bernal could not indulge such thoughts. Not tonight. Instead, he pored over the gear on his desk, eyes bright.

He had been invited to appear before the Conclave. Their number had lately decreased by one—a rare incident of rockdeath due to an overambitious jump.

The invitation itself was an honor, and marked him as one of the best scavengers in the clan. He had the collection to prove it. Trophies not only from the 80s and 90s, sunglasses and other souvenirs from the golden age of trifles, but an assortment of more utilitarian items from his own time as well. There was a darkscreen stolen from the Moles. A Veritas audiovid helmet with chem-detector, droid override, and IR display. And a cyborg wolf mask capable of rending iron with its adamantine teeth.

Still, his acceptance was not guaranteed. They would interrogate him on stealth tactics. Psi resistance. Mech, tech, and demolitions. They would quiz him with an endless series of blending questions, queries meant to gauge how well he could pass for native in the times he jumped back to. It was no good trying to infiltrate (or party with) Berlin’s Skate Punk Nihilists in the 80s if you didn’t know the boards, the bands, and the lingo.

Finally, they would grant him his baseline, an odd paragraph of interwoven and sometimes rhyming phrases that he would repeat at the conclusion of each jump. To ensure that his mind had not degraded.

If chosen by the Conclave he would join a guild of the most respected Dead Rabbits worldwide. Those entrusted with the most difficult missions. Those privy to the most secret machinations of the clan. Their name was known by everyone. Their number was 333.

If chosen by the Conclave, doors deep within the Warrens, doors dreamt about since a kit, would suddenly open to him.

If chosen by the Conclave, only his closest friends would continue to call him Bernal, and only then in the soft quiet of their private gatherings.

The rest would address him by his proper title.

Supreme 237.


Torsten Tesseract  11.05.2098
Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.

Bernal staggered down the low tunnel, smearing blood along the rough rock at intervals as he leaned on the wall.

His right eye was ruined, pulped by the butt of a Mole carbine—it would need to be replaced. His right shoulder was torn open. But the slit in his SpecOps cloak did not match the jagged lacerations in his flesh. A Mole arcblade had sliced cleanly through the secsteel fibers; the wound itself Bernal had inflicted when he ripped out the gimpbolt. They would not take him down to Mole Town, not this time, not so easily.

Finally, he reached the end of the tunnel, set with a heavy steel door. Bernal keyed in his code, and slumped inside.

Reception was empty, but he heard voices in the Staging Room and made his way toward the sound.

They were gathered about the briefing table, many members of the Conclave and a handful of Supremes, standing. Some looked angry, others worried. One spotted him and coughed. Torsten Tesseract, head of the Conclave, swept a sheaf of papers from the table and rolled them up before Bernal could catch a good look. They were yellowed, aged, even through the pain he saw that much, and they had a musty smell.

“237,” Torsten said. “You look terrible. Glad you’re alive, we’ve had our doubts. Let’s get you patched up.”

They led him down to the medbay. Bright lights and a dull blue operating table. A spot of red appeared on the floor, and another, he blinked dumbly, not registering what they were or where they came from. He felt the sting of a needle and slipped into darkness.


He awoke sitting upright in an elevated bed. His head hurt, but his vision was clear. Startlingly so. He could not, in fact, remember ever having seen so clearly in his life. He watched particles of dust flow on the channels of his breath, parting to pass around the chair, as water in a river parts to pass around stones. His eye came to rest on the crossbar at the foot of his bed. He zoomed in until he saw imperfections in the metal, tiny dark pockmarks in the chrome. With a start he zoomed out, too fast, and the change brought a sickness to his stomach.

Torsten Tesseract cleared his throat from the corner. “You’re not all rabbit anymore,” he said. “Yamarashi did that work himself, and from the look of you, it seems to function well.”

Bernal nodded, remembering, and scanned the walls for a mirror. No luck.

“Maybe best to wait on that for a bit,” Torsten said. “Let it heal. In the meantime, we have plenty to talk about. You’ve been gone awhile. What happened out there?”

Bernal sucked in a breath. “Moles. Ambushed us in Istanbul, 1890. Earlier than they’ve ever been aggressive. Waiting for us in the tunnels, it was strange. They didn’t have modern gear—their equipment was vintage—but it was cobbled together in a modern way. They had a functional radio. 5 years before radio was operational. And a seriously upgraded machine gun compared to anything available back then. I swear one had a makeshift darkscreen. It didn't work, from what I could tell anyway, but he must have had access to schematics. I'm not saying they can timejump. Yet. But I think they've figured a way to communicate through time.”

Torsten squinted. “Who busted up your eye?”

“These 1890’s Moles weren’t just singers,” Bernal said. “They had Grunts too. No Molechoir this trip, just shooting and bashing. Something has changed.”

Torsten drew a recpad from his pocket. “We knew it was bad when Tialoc spoke, two nights ago. Here's what he had to say."

The leader of the Conclave held up the device and tapped play. The deep voice of Tialoc Tesseract filled the little room.

“Something seethes beneath us, comrades. A long-fingered darkness reaches up to the Warrens. Gather your breath, and the spoils of your greatest jumps. Band together, scavengers. War is coming.”