Acta Explorationis: Primum

The Ascended Love Department begins preparations for their first excursion after finding an old key tucked away in storage.

7/3/20244 min read

As management proceeded to sell Relaxio Coded Banners from their lemonade stand propped up in the resort lobby, staff discovered a battered, weathered, and extremely out-of-place key in the basement while sifting through stock.

The Banners, a new yet untested technology developed by the Resort, was modernistic, chic, edgy, and intriguing, and yet this key, this old, unknown and unrecognizable key somehow made it's way into the box.

Who left it there?

Management didn't know, at least they didn't say they knew, and the Resort staff I asked didn't seem to know. We also put out a call to guests, and nobody claimed it as theirs.

"Just add it in with the Banners, nobody will notice.", we were told. And we did it.

Anyway, skip forward a little and we come to find a seasoned guest ended up blind buying it! And that's when rumors about the key really started to spread - where had it actually come from, and what did it lock...or unlock?

We assembled the Ascended Love Department - kind of as a second choice, but necessary as the folk over at the Basement Division didn't respond to us, other than with an email response reading:

" :) "


So the Ascended Love Department gathered on a cold and windy Tuesday night, pulling up comfy chairs stolen from the lobby (temporarily, of course) and with coffee and biscuits on tap. Soft music was playing in the background, as rain gently tapped against the Resort blinds and subtly splattered onto the marble floors below them. It was a serene and fitting setting for the start of this journey together.

The Ascended Love Department is out of its depths, don't get me wrong - they specialize in fun and silly little trinkets, like affirmations and custom pictures and lovely words on the timeline that make you pause and smile. Sat around a little coffee table, with a rusty old key laid in the middle, was odd for the ragtag group.

But they felt drawn to it. We all did.

"Where or what could it unlock?" someone raised. We all thought for a moment, silly or mundane thoughts flashing across our minds - a chest is too obvious, and buried treasure is too crazy.

We sat in silence for a bit, each thinking of places we've seen, things we've held, people we know, anything that might be a clue to what it unlocks.

And then a thud.

The Resort doors jolted shut, and draped in a black trenchcoat a figure emerged from the tikkilit hallway. Rain rolled off their coat and pattered on the floor, their boots clunking as they walked towards the group.

The figure pulled their hood slightly back and said:

"Quod est superius est sicut quod inferius, et quod inferius est sicut quod est superius."

Silence, for a while. Puzzled looks. And then one of the Resorts interns pulled out Google and translated.

That which is above is like to that which is below, and that which is below is like to that which is above.

"The Basement, has anyone actually been yet?" someone else said, cutting the silence sharply.

Everyone looked around, shaking their heads and shrugging. Staff were strictly forbidden, and guests weren't even supposed to know of its existence. It's a basement, after all, and the Resort had far prettier offerings for the guests to enjoy. Amenities galore.

They looked back up, and the figure was gone.

Okay, weird night just got weirder. I know.

We unanimously decided that was the place to be, and - after tidying the little corner room we sequestered in for the impromptu meeting - set off for the Basement. It felt almost like a school trip, a cluster of excitable and anxious souls wandering like a gaggle of geese to a common location, but the energy was electric.

Though, arriving at the entrance to the Basement, overgrown with greenery and cobwebs strewn across it such as it had been so long since the door was last opened, we were greeted with a letter tucked into one of the joints.

"To those who wish to seek more..." the letter was addressed, in an off-white, coffee-stained envelope.

Opening it, the following was hand-written in eloquent, beautiful, old handwriting:

"Dear explorers,

The Basement is host to many secrets, but your key doesn't enter here... yet. More is needed, more is required, and you must travel to find this. Further than the Resort. Further than you have ever been before.

This journey will take you across borders, across oceans, across landmasses you have never seen before. It will challenge you physically, mentally, and spiritually. Only those who ascend, beyond the physical self and into the digital self, will succeed.

Only those worthy will succeed.

To start your journey, bring sufficient supplies, equipment, and bodies, to the following start point. There, another letter will guide your next steps.

Goodbye, for now."

And with it, a smaller slip of paper, cut from an unrecognizable map, with the following coordinates:

20°40′59″N 88°34′7″W