Born to nomadic wanderers in Pollen, Nikolai spent much of his childhood without so much of an idea of settling or placing roots. In fact, even today the concept of staying in one place is as foreign as foreign can be. This has often been a source of tension between him and the Chronicler cluster in Wroclaw which he hesitantly refers to as home. Much of the typical Chronicler way is lost on him as they wish him to remain in the cluster to perform the duties of an agent, and Nikolai, or Aperture as they have rechristened him, desires the exact opposite: A life of wandering in search of knowledge and truth.

Nikolai cannot place how old he was when he was taken by the Chroniclers. He had yet to reach puberty, that much is sure, though the rest of his memories of the nomadic wanderers is hazy and discouraged by his new colleagues. He does remember spending most of his time alone, however. The few other children that the wanderers had in tow were much more concerned with hunting and physical prowess, while Nikolai was told that he “live in his own mind”. His body was far too frail to compete with the other males for any form of respect in the tribe, and he became somewhat of an outcast among outcasts. Each time the tribe would come upon wreckage or relics, Nikolai searched for any written material or mysterious gadgetry to satisfy his mind’s endless curiosity. Soon it was obvious his mental capacity was far greater than the others of his tribe, and in the wastes of Pollen, such things are often considered a danger to others. His books and machinery were always taken from him, sometimes in fear, sometimes in cruel jest.

The tribe was only too happy to hand him off to a set of passing Chroniclers. He contributed very little to the nomadic community, and was often quite a burden on the rest in order to keep him healthy and focused on survival in the wastelands. The Chroniclers, expressing very little, assured the tribe that he would be useful to them if allowed to travel with them to the Wroclaw cluster, though the tribe would’ve passed him off without any reassurances just to be rid of the extra baggage.

In the cluster, Nikolai, or Aperture as was now his moniker, was one of the most gifted minds that Wroclaw had ever possessed. His propensity for machinery and mechanics was second to none, though his political ambitions were non-existent. This kept him from advancing in the local Chronicler hierarchy, though not for lack of Charisma; he simply would negotiate to keep himself out of the political machinations of others rather than to wedge himself in. Ultimately, the cluster learned that it could not manipulate his desires for themselves and Aperture would find a way to complete his own goals before others. Therefore, while still a meager agent, Aperture was allowed to come and go from the cluster as he pleased, so long as he always brought back something new or useful with him from his wandering journeys across the waste.

And he often did, proving his worth to the cluster on more than a few occasions. This pleased those higher in the authority scheme, as they benefited from Aperture’s endeavors without having to give him rank or title or much compensation whatsoever. Aperture had been used to relying on himself, and never would give thought or concern to others, only his quest for knowledge and the undiscovered.

And then, the dreams started.


The Song of Amergin Erokk