This is a brief synopsis for those who know nothing about the Zeek Sheck story: The Sheckian universe was like an onion peel, one universe on top of another in layers. One day the volcano peak from one universe peeked through to the universe on top of it. A sunbathing woman tried to plug the hilly hole of the volcano tip and messed up a whole chain of volcanos that the Beepers were using as a steam power plant. They didn’t realize there was a rupture between universes and instead blamed the Cloud People who were ruled by the tyrant Zeek Sheck.
The Beepers decided to crack the continent in half so they could rid themselves of all the cloud people. Not only did they crack the continent in half, they also invaded the Cloud City and enslaved many of the Cloud People. They captured all the Sheck family, cut off their heads and used the still living heads as tools for brainwashing in the newly built Care Company.
There was a backlash against rebrainwashing, a revolt, and many revolutionaries tried to rescue the Sheck heads. The revolutionaries built a giant hole boring machine and bored a tunnel under the Care Company and came up right in the middle of the central hall! Unfortunately, The Sheck heads were too far gone and did not want to be rescued so the revolt failed in a very anticlimactic manner.
The revolutionaries destroyed a vast swath of the Care Company with the giant hole boring machine but it didn't phase the beepers one bit. They rebuilt quickly and efficiently using slave labor. For much of the countryside population, the revolt failure lead to apathy and nihilism, immobility and laziness, entertainment and debauchery, festivity and games, all the time.
After the war the Beepers started gathering up towns people and country folk and forcing slavery upon everyone. The Cloud people did not wish to be slaves so they fled and hid in a vast underground maze. The maze was built to be super complex so the Beepers could not find their way down to capture the people and drag them off to the Care Company to be brainwashed.
Unfortunately after a long time, no one remembered how to get out of the maze. The Cloud People lived down in the maze way too long. Mostly only old people lived down there after a while. One old man decided to send his young son, who had been born in the underground maze, up to find the surface, so he could see the sun. The old man decided he’d had enough and he rode the conveyor belt off to be woken later when it was safe to go up the to the surface again.
The boy set out into the maze to find his way up. After a while he found himself in front of a red door. He opened it and went in. Behind the red door was where the engineers of the maze had lived. Unfortunately there was only one engineer left and she was a cannibal! She had eaten all the other engineers because they’d made robots of themselves to do their work for them. The robots built all sorts of contraptions to keep themselves entertained but they’d lost interest in keeping the hydroponic systems working so the food had run out.
The boy ran as fast as he could to get away from the cannibal. She chased him for a while but she was pretty weak.
The boy arrived at a yellow door and was more hesitant to go in this time. He thought maybe he should go back where he came from and give up his quest to see the sun. He went in though and was glad of it. It smelled sweet and there were flowers and greenery everywhere. He saw some people dancing and hugging. When they saw him they embraced him and invited him to join in the dancing.
They fed him a welcome feast and let him stay in a wonderful room filled with deep orange flowers all up and down the walls. He rested and felt happy about his journey.Later a girl knocked at the door. She told him he had to get out immediately or he wouldn’t be able to get out and the people of the yellow door would make him do horrible things. He asked her what she meant but she wouldn’t tell him. She just pushed him and pushed him until he was backed into the conveyor belt.
He’d never actually ridden the conveyor, only had gotten food and other items that he requested from the wall service center. The conveyor belt went up first and then branched off into three different directions. He jumped into the far left lane because it looked like it was going up. He knew he was supposed to go up to see the sun, always up. But after a few minutes it swerved around and started going down. There were no branch offs and it was going too fast for him to crawl back up. He had to ride it down. It got steeper and steeper down and then with a sudden halt, he got launched out a small opening and into a basket in a small room. It looked like a control booth. There was a white button panel, a rusty microphone and a bunch of floating screens with people in them. There was a door to the right. The boy opened it and went into the long hall. There were rows and rows of cages. Inside the cages were the people he’d seen in the screens. As he walked down the rows, they talked to him, reached for him, begged him, and told him their stories.
These were the people who thought they were getting out of the maze by ordering the exit plan on the conveyor belt service center. They had not been put in the deep sleep, instead they’d been brought here. The people of the yellow door took turns doing executions. They were taught by the early engineers it was the only way to have a sustainable population in the maze. The boy went down hallway after hallway of cages filled with people. He was stunned and worried that there was no way out of the maze after all. He was walking down one hall when he came to a cage and saw his father staring out at him. His father looked at him and wept. It was the first time in his life that he’d seen his father cry. He put his hands through the cage to hold onto his father.
Thinking of the button panel back in the first room, he told his father that he would be back soon, that he would get him out. He went back to the room and started pressing buttons and looking on the screen to see what, if anything, was happening. A few of the cages were opening and the people were coming out, unsure and looking around for the boy who they thought was their new executioner. The boy pressed all the buttons and made an announcement to come to the booth. If he could get down the conveyor belt, they could go back up it. His father worked his way through the people and to the booth door. The boy opened the door and let him in. He and his father went through the conveyor belt menu and selected food. They knew that once the food was delivered, the conveyor belt would start going upwards again to take away the trash. They told the rest of the people in the hallway their plan. When the food was dropped in the basket, every filed onto the conveyor belt and rode it upwards. It went fast uphill and split off a few times. Some of the people took the splits and waved goodbye.
A dozen of them remained on the same conveyor section and kept riding it up and up until they were dumped into a room that had a pile of sand in the middle and a rope coming from the ceiling. The rope had rungs on it and one of the people from the cage went immediately and grabbed the rope and started climbing up. When he did this, a vast amount of sand started falling into the room, so much that the boy, his father and the rest of the bunch were becoming stuck in the sand. They tried to break free but it was like thick water dragging them under and they couldn’t get on top of it.
They heard yelling from above. Someone was telling them to stop climbing the rope! That just made the man climb faster, he was determined to get to the top. All the sand started whipping past their face, choking them and getting in their eyes and hair. The sand was sucked up and out the ceiling. As the sand emptied out, the ceiling got darker and darker until there was no ceiling. It was just black with little bright dots in it. Striped black and white heads peered over the edge of the ceiling. The heads were all chattering at once, hooting and hollering. The first man who climbed the rope got to the top edge and fell over. He stumbled a bit and then looked down the rope at them. He started laughing. “I’m outside, I’m outside”, he said. The black and white heads where laughing too and bobbing up and down.
The boy couldn’t believe it because he thought the outside was supposed to be bright light. He went out to the center of the room, grabbed the rope, quickly climbed up after the man. His father followed behind telling him to be careful. They got out and looked at the black and white animals and looked up. His father whispered, “we are out. Those are stars!.“ The black and white animals looked down at the last of the bunch below and chanted JOINUS JOINUS.
Once everyone was up the rope, the black and white animals knelt down to let them ride their backs. They rode and rode through the dark night. Before long, they arrived in a camp full of the black and white creatures. The creatures were kind and good and fed them as the sun came up. The sun. The boy couldn’t believe he was getting to see and feel the warmth of the sun!!