A word about the cosmos…
Some folk say it’s like one of those souvenir jars you can pick up by the ocean, all filled up with layers of coloured sand. This layer’s icicle blue; this one’s envy green; this one shimmers with the fool’s gold of false promise. The layers are called branes, and they contain just about all the things you can imagine, along with plenty you can’t. Stars and comets, rocks and trees, crystal deserts, electric gods, lost souls, forgotten trinkets, worlds broken and whole—they’re all sandwiched inside that jar. There are lifetimes in there, and more besides.
Now look closer. Just like the branes make up the cosmos, there’s something else makes up the branes. It’s what ties everything together, the stuff that lies coiled at the heart of it all.
The trouble with string is that it’s forever getting tangled. Turn your back for a second and it sprouts more knots than your grandma’s knitting basket. Each knot is unique and each one warps the universe that surrounds it, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. Some knots wind themselves so tight that the dimensions get twisted completely out of true, all eleven of them. Others rear up like coral cathedrals only to collapse under the weight of their own impossibility. Big or small, that’s the one thing these knots have in common—they never last.
Nobody knows why this one knot lingers. Maybe it’s bigger than the rest, or older, or stranger, or all three or neither. In this one special place the cosmic string tangles into more knot than you ever saw before in your life. It’s more than a cathedral, more than a coral reef.
The folk who live there call it String City.