Where's Michael?

The Impossible case of Michael Graham

"Marco? Come in." She said, barely able to keep her voice steady.
"Polo, Is something wrong Harry?" the handler replied through static from the speaker in Harriet's ear.
"Clear the Splash pad, Michael is here." Harriet lifted the rifle as she listened to the bulletin sent to the ear of each away team.
"Polo 1, positive configuration on port: 68886, Marco 1 through 5 handling. Spread out." Marco chimed. Harriet looked around and saw nothing but pure shadow. There was no sun here. No stars.
"Switch to thermals," Harriet said, speaking in the ear of all around her. She rotated the wheel on the four-eyes goggles, and the world lit up in various shades of red, purple, and blue. Each seeker did the same. They observed their surroundings. She has seen so many worlds, but none were so void of light. The area was cold. There were no trees, no landmarks, just empty black ground, like stone, as far as the eye could see, even with the assistance of the goggles.
"Michael." Harriet shouted, and for the first time in three years, she finally had her response.

"Mom," the voice came back, exactly how she remembered it, "Is that you?"
Harriet dropped her rifle, making several seekers at her side turn hastily at the sound. She ran toward the voice, her eyes built up tears in preparation for their reunion. The steps echoed in this place, each sound fading as soon as it was made.
She continued to call out, screaming Michael's name in desperation. Of course it would be here, this port, this place. It was under her nose the whole time. She heard the boy cry out again.
"Mom." he screamed, the sound so close Harriet could almost feel her son in her arms again...

A Missing Boy

The Case of Michael Graham is famous among the largest organizations in The Web. On a hot summer day, an eight year old boy hides in a nearby storm drain during recess. Hide and seek was his favorite game, and the children often praised his uncanny skill. The boy's name was Michael Graham and he found himself staring at a strange symbol that blocked the opening of the drain.

The crossing of light from holes in the drain created a tear in reality. It was the last place he was seen. His father (or mother on occasion), Harry Graham, founded Oxenfree after spending months waiting for the authorities to find his son. He returned to this storm drain and left the boy's stuffed bear inside. He waited, fell asleep, and woke to find the bear was gone. He checked his watch: 12:37. He returned every day for a week, and only then did he notice the streams of light seeping through holes in the metal.

At 12:35 every day the lights would cross creating a strange geometric star. The variations between the earth's tilt and the sun caused a new portal each day. All of them were worlds his son couldn't have entered. He used his fortune and influence to study these many worlds, all in the name of finding his son.   It's the same story across the multiverse. Every Michael will find the storm drain, see the star, and in the wake of his disappearance, every version of Oxenfree is born.  

An Impossible Case


Michael's Star is the symbol used to create portals to the many places that Oxenfree explores. This can only be done by crossing beams of light in such a way that a portal to the configured reality opens. This is the same shape through which Michael traveled through in the first place.   Each destination changes by the slightest fraction of a fraction of a degree. These changes are infinite and even though they can detect the general location of the reality Michael traveled to, the true changes are so small that they are undetectable to the human eye.     The rotation of the shape matters as well. The slightest change by an infinitely small degree will change what reality you open to. Oxenfree uses computers to perfectly align the shape, leaving no world unexplored as they travel along the star.

Fun Fact: Boogeymen

Oxenfree usually maintains independence from the rest of the web. They are still called upon when cases involving children emerge. The Seekers of Oxenfree are deeply connected to any incident involving metaphysical anomalies and Boogeymen. They created their "Home Team" to handle these incidents, and their track record is surprisingly successful.

The Coldest case


Currently Michael Graham is 11 years old across all versions and timelines. The cold hard truth of the case of Michael Graham is that not all of them can be found. It is unlikely for even a majority to survive the next year.

Each Harry Graham is showing signs of mental deterioration due to their obsession, and this has led to more than one version of Oxenfree falling apart in destructive and dramatic fashion. It is an absolute fact that this case that can never be solved completely.

In one such incident, one version of Harry killed another who has yet to find his version of Michael. Without the version of Harry, it is physically impossible to locate every version of Michael and return them to their home reality.

An Impossible Quest

The problem presented with this is that the amount of distinct realities to search still nears infinity, as you can break a single degree of Michael's Star into an infinite number of parts. Each away team travels somewhere new, some even using alternate versions of Oxenfree from other realities in their search.   There are many strange things about The Case of Michael Graham. These not only make the case colder with each passing day, but give many a moment of pause when considering the facts.
 
Facts of the Case Description
Natural Sixth Sense Each version of Harry graham can sense whether there is a version of Michael in the current reality they are in. This is shared with each version of Michael as well, who is drawn to Harry.
Kinship Upon finding any version of Michael, Harry will know whether or not it is his version of Michael. Versions of Michael do not have the same talent.    
Friends in High Places In every reality where both Oxenfree and The Web exists, all organizations label The Case of Michael Graham as "Case Number: 68886"  

fun fact: Oxenfree

The members of Oxenfree are looking for Michael Graham, but also others who have disappeared simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the process of their search, they explore the strange worlds they encounter, collecting what they can to make their search easier. The members of Oxenfree call themselves seekers and their search is never ending.   Other versions of Oxenfree have found their version of Michael and continue their search for others. The search is on borrowed time, for some have found their version dead or worse and as time goes on the frequency of these cases grows.
 
Facts of the Case Description
Time... It has been three years since every version of Michael has disappeared, a number that is universal across all realities
The Odds There is a hard limit in number to the versions of Harry Graham and Michael. Why there is such a limit makes no sense with the information present about the Multiverse itself. If there are infinite numbers of realities than there should be an infinite number of them that have Harry Graham, Oxenfree, and Michael. This is slowly showing to be false as their are no new version of Oxenfree entering the search as of year two.            
The Entity Every version of Michael that is found dead shows signs of struggle and it often appears as though the boy was hunted. Each version of Michael refers to a strange entity that spoke to them before they disappeared. The details are always the same. It had no voice but could speak, it had no form, but could be seen, and every version of Michael can sense if it is near. No other information exists about the entity, though the entire case could be its doing.  


Michael and The Web


final.png
"It makes you dizzy when you pass through" by Dylonishere123
There are countless people, especially among The Troubleshooters, who know Harry Graham's pain on a deep and personal level. Members of Oxenfree are almost universally helped in whatever way possible. Every organization has, at one time or another, recieved a call for aid over the last 3 years. The Alexandrian University maintains Task Force: Einstein specifically for helping Oxenfree in their endeavors. If there was ever a true neutral organization in The Web, Oxenfree would be it. While few outside the major organizations even know they exists, those who meet them admire their childish antics, and appreciate all that they do. It is rare to hold good standing in the hearts of so many.

One of the major reasons for the spread of the case is the sheer impossibility of it. Many elements of the case are unfathomable with modern science, and the fact that some entity could be behind it causes concern for everyone who learns of it. There are those who stand against their constant interference with alternate realities. The Magicians of Carthage warn them at every turn not to toy with metaphysical barriers. It is likely that this tampering led to the entity emerging in the first place.

Harriet turned and saw the bright flash of red and orange morph into her son's crying face. She ripped the goggles off her head and tossed them aside, reaching out to the boy. They said nothing. The shock overtook them both. She remembered what her counterparts said about this feeling. There was the rise in the chest and the overwhelming joy. The uncontrollable sobs came after, but no words could define such a unique sensation. After three years of searching, she found him.
"How," she managed to gasp, "how could you survive here for three years?"
"Years?" he began, and then screamed in terror. The seekers finally caught up, and they all stared at the infinite void, the source of the boy's fear. There was something there, scratching and cackling with glee.
"Back to the pillow fort, now" Harriet screamed, picking up the boy and running. Gunfire rang out and faded as each seeker followed, unsure of where the target was or how close it could be.
The dull muffled pat of their feet on the ground echoed out as they traversed the black stone expanse.
The large door opened to them, and each entered into the safety of bright white light. The hard light beams lit up the black ground as the fort rose, hovering in the air. The beams crossed and expanded, opening a portal to safety. The doors began to close and Harriet caught the sight of black smoke and glittering eyes.
The entity didn't even bother to follow them. She heard the laughter in the darkest pit of her mind. She never saw the entity before, and now that she has, she tried to push away an unsettling thought: Did it go to all this trouble for a laugh? Was this just a big joke?


  • 2017

    1
    /4
    2017

    8
    /4


    April 1st, 2017
    Disaster / Destruction

    Michael dissapears and Harry Graham discovers how.

  • 2017

    6
    /5
    2017

    20
    /7


    The investigation
    Discovery, Scientific

    Harry Graham begins the creation of Oxenfree, expiriementing with numerous configurations of Michael's Star.

  • 2018

    13
    /1
    2018

    5
    /6


    Discovery Of Hardlight
    Life, Achievement/ Win

    Many of Oxenfree's technology is created in this time period as they continue their search.

  • 2018

    12
    /5
    2018

    13
    /5


    The First Michael is Found
    Discovery, Exploration

    The first version of Michael is found in port: 34GHG, along with another version of Oxenfree. This led to research in how many other versions were at play.

  • 2018

    22
    /8
    2018

    25
    /12


    A series of findings
    Miscellaneous

    A series of events unfold in the later half of the year, including the rules of their search listed in the tables above.

  • 2019

    1
    /1
    2019

    2
    /1


    Death
    Life, Death

    The first case of a dead Michael occurs. In the following months, the cases of death occur more frequently.

  • 2019

    15
    /2
    2019

    16
    /2


    The death of Harry
    Disaster / Destruction

    The first death of a version of Harry Graham, making the true completion of the search impossible.

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
21 Oct, 2019 17:08

Uhhh,...wow. Not sure what to say, other than "Wow."   Okay--I do know what to say... I'm not into Sci-Fi and this grabbed my attention so well, I started dropping food on my keyboard as I read.   Brilliant descriptions. Awesome hooks--and it all happened because you opened with that story with mom.   Wow. ...at this point, I'm hoping you win. Best so far.

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
24 Nov, 2019 18:36

I should go into the business of fortunetelling. WAY TO GO!!!

JAIME BUCKLEY
Your New Favorite Author
My World | Join My List | Read my Books
22 Oct, 2019 18:45

This is an amazing article. Your CSS and formatting really grabbed my eye as well as the perfectly written hook. I only noticed a few small things:   "so void of light" I don't know whether or not this is intentional, but the fact that the word void is crossed really confused me.   Most of the others just were that I'm not super familiar with your world and it took me a few seconds to catch on. Other than that, I really loved the little touches such as Michael's Star and the narrative style writing, as it really suited the article.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Oct, 2019 19:34

Thanks so much my friend! I appreciate you taking a look and I'm so happy you enjoyed it!   The word void is intentionally crossed and that is universal across my worlds. The void is a domain and here it hints at where the fictional pieces take place. Like an easter egg of sorts.   Are there any particularly jarring bits that inhabited understanding? Terms that really need to be expanded for understanding? I can always to it, I'm not at count limit.

22 Oct, 2019 23:04

Yeah, it was an amazing work and really fun to read.   Ohhh. That makes sense.   Nothing important as they are all written in such a way most readers will be able to pick up on the terms and your world with one or two once-overs.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
22 Oct, 2019 20:58

Caught me a bit off guard with the whole multiverse thing - probably because I have no prior experience with this world - but once I got that down and read back through it cleared some things up. This reads almost like an SCP of sorts with what I read as multidimensional spec ops investigators hunting for any sign of Michael, wherever he may be (or even whatever he may be). Very well done - I wish I could write at least half as well as this!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Oct, 2019 21:20

thats exactly what it is XD an excellent way of Summarizing it. Multiversal stuff isnt a big part of the world at large but it is a major thing for the organization of Oxenfree. Was the multiversal stuff a little too offputting? also thanks so much for the kind words. it always feels strange to get praise but its always appreciated!

22 Oct, 2019 21:29

If the multiverse thing is inherent to the world itself, then it wouldn't be off putting in that context. However - granted that your comment said it wasn't - if its not, then it could go a little bit smoother if the multiverse perspective was more apparent in the beginning than it is currently, if that can be worked in without interrupting the flow of the story.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Oct, 2019 21:32

hmmmmm.... excellent point. I most certainly think it can! I will work something up for the revision. Thanks so much! i appreciate it.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
22 Oct, 2019 21:35

Also! rereading yours soon my friend. Must eat first =/

22 Oct, 2019 21:41

(No idea if emoji's show up but we're trying it anyway) :thumbsup:

22 Oct, 2019 22:15

I don’t understand the Marco/Polo beginning even after a second read. I know he was good at hide and seek, but he isn’t answering, and who is answering is unclear. Also be sure that the dialogue tags aren’t capitalized unless it’s a name.

“light seeping into the drain from holes poked into the metal over time.“
Awkward sentence

“they can detect the general location of the reality Michael traveled to, the true changes are so small that it's undetectable to the human eye.”
It’s might be better as they are?

The Fun Facts boxes are basically impossible for me to read (on mobile) - maybe try lightening the background?

Was every Michael from every time stream missing? Or are they searching for one Michael? This was a little unclear. Where are all the Michaels going when they’re rescued from the void?

I liked how you split the prose up! Well done framing!

I’m not sure if you have an image after the Failures/Description box or before the Harriet and the Web box, but if you do it isn’t loading for me (on mobile. There’s a big empty space there so I wasn’t sure

What’s the significance of the case number? It feels like there must be a significance, but the only thing I can think of is the Room 8 from your Kyanite story

I really like how it’s called a Michael’s Star

It took me to my second read through to (I hope) understand the Harriet/Harry angle and I just want to make sure I’ve got the right idea. Because there’s so many time streams, sometimes the person working with Oxenfree is Michael’s mother, and sometimes it’s Michael’s father, but they’re the same being apart from that?

Other than those questions and graphical things, it’s a super intriguing read! Very well done!

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
23 Oct, 2019 03:54

Ok, first off I feel like I should apologize for not having read from your world before??? Loving the pure SCP vibes I'm getting from here! I really like the whole sci-fi-cryptid aesthetic, seriously HOW had I not been reading already?
  My only real question is, how does one simply found an organization within The Web? It sounds a lot like an underground, unknown group. (I went and read the Origins section of the Oxenfree article as I don't currently have the time to read the full thing— so Graham was already rich and influential? Still, how was he so? His prior life and career aren't mentioned much beyond having a son. Or, were the portals what led him into his fortune?)   I also caught a single pesky typo!

...It is likely that this tampering let to the entity
  Beyond that, this was a fantastically entertaining read— to the point where even my one question isn't much of a negative at all!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
23 Oct, 2019 04:19

OOOOOH im freaking out. AHHH! timepool is following my world!? thanks soooo much. The Web is my little side project and it is quite special. I often think some of my best work is in this world. The SCP elements are certainly there and make the vibes real easy to tap into. That is a compliment of the highest order in my eyes, though The Web is often far more ironic. IE your question.   The Web refers to a unwritten law among the united nations. It is far to easy to create an organization, but to be recognized by the act means you'd have to be as much of a threat as what you fight. most people in the web are just everyday concerned citizens called troubleshooters.   As far as Graham goes, it depends on the reality. In the "Home reality" its a bit of a secret but he had a decent amount from a few inventions but now he can travel the multiverse. By going to alternate realities that are maybe one or two years ahead, he was able to steal tech and then patent it in the home reality. This is vaguely mentioned in the seekers of Oxenfree "RPG class" article.     I knew a typo was there i could sense its fear -.- thanks so much my friend! i appreciate all the kind words! it made my night, truly.

Sage Timepool
Garrett Lewis
23 Oct, 2019 06:29

Thanks for clearing that up! Especially if it's your best— I have to read through some more of this world as I find the time to!
  Yes, the typo must be body-slammed into DUST. Let it haunt these pixels NO MORE!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
23 Oct, 2019 06:37

LOL indeed! It shall be done. Im flattered really. Its no rush of course, but Heimdal may be a nice place to start if you get around to it. It even has recordings! lol have a good one man and again, thanks so much!

28 Oct, 2019 21:25

Why have one cold case to solve, when you could have an infinite amount of them??   This is so unique and well done! I really really enjoyed reading through it. I love how interesting it is -- the geometric shape ripping apart reality is such a cool idea. The tables you used to show the successes and failures is great as well, and I'm very intrigued by "The Entity". Opening and closing the entire article with the story is absolutely wonderful.   Really great job here sir!

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
28 Oct, 2019 22:27

Thanks!!!! I appreciate it so much. This was a labor of love so I'm so happy you enjoyed it and it was worthwhile!

29 Oct, 2019 15:36

All this stuff about things happening repeatedly in some multiverse, with this kid disappearing and OxenFree being founded repeatedly in different dimensions, really made me think of Homestuck. That's always a good thing.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Oct, 2019 15:40

Almost like a scratch on the game disc, no?

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Oct, 2019 15:42

Btw, thanks for the kind words and sorry for the notification spam XD

29 Oct, 2019 17:36

Such a nice article. Well, not exactly nice - more like, spicy. It is a bit crowded and very condensed. The Marco Polo code did require reading twice, but, it's funny. The whole idea feels new and refreshing, as I haven't been into Sci-Fi for a few years now: I do enjoy a good multiverse and the fact that you say this one case is actually impossible and inextricable brings a jeering smile on my face. Yeah, we know it's impossible, that's why it's fun, and saying it out loud is even more fun when it's put as you did.   Thank you for having written it.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Oct, 2019 19:43

Thanks so much for the kind words! The Marco polo code is still something I'm trying to make work but I'm glad it eventually worked out. I'm behind glad you enjoyed it.

30 Oct, 2019 08:27

Well, that man is an explorer, who basically discovered Japan three centuries before the Neerlandese noticed there was something there that could potentially be a commercial partner... Though in Marco Polo's time, trade with Japan was a dead-end, as he put it : they lack nothing and they produce more than they use of every single luxury good we could imagine, so nearby countries don't trade with it, as they can't sell to it.   So, an explorer... an organisation that scouts the multiverse... It's fitting, at the very least.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
30 Oct, 2019 13:48

True enough! You're quite right, and it goes even further! The childrensn game of Marco polo ties in too. Oxenfree uses alot of terms associated with children. This often helps them reassure the children they meet, and builds trust as well as hint at theirnwon childish antics.

30 Oct, 2019 19:32

I did not know that game ; indeed, it is all more the reason. Plus, it's so cute explained that way.

28 Jan, 2020 18:03

I kind of suspect that Michael has had dealings with this entity before his incident, just because he is said to be a hide-and-seek master. Also, it might have something to do with the 'sixth sense' that Harry has. In short, there are just a few loose ends here that I'd love to make a game of tying up.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
28 Jan, 2020 21:01

Thisnis a major part of Oxenfree's story line both in the fiction and the rpg. This is an area I don't have many notes on, but what your thinking is one of several possibilities. I plan on having it as a multiple choice kind of thing that gms can work with and cater to what happens during play. Makes twists fun and engaging and since its multiversal, it could be that each Oxenfree has a different resolution.

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
5 Mar, 2021 02:36

Ooh! I like this. It's very unsettling, and reminds me of when I used to do multiple alternate universes for my stories! I'm so happy I'm not the only one that does something similar to that. A great article as always!

~TimeBender~ Here's my costume challenge entry!
Eclipsion Royal Armor
Item | May 28, 2021
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
5 Mar, 2021 07:29

Ahhh, oxenfree. They have very little influence in the web overall and seldom get involved but they are the favorite of all the organizations I've done in this world, including mine XD. I rarely delve to much in the multiverse though. I like leaving it as this unknown thing theyve barely scratched the surface of.

Powered by World Anvil