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Mustang

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Mustang is currently an independent kingdom between Nepal and China. The following is an excerpt referring to Mustang, from Scenario: Human Mind Project.

The Initiation

Mustang-map

Mustang really does exist, but few have ever heard of it due to its small size, and it has generally been known as the Lost Kingdom. In the late 2030's, it was annexed by the Republic of China

Arousal's Tip, the first major breakthrough in our Human Mind Project, paved the way for the next step, during which several more discoveries would be made, each step bringing us closer and closer to the final goal.

That day, before we returned to our homes, Andarin told us to meet exactly one week from then, at a particular site labeled with nothing but GPS coordinates. We were to arrive at that place--somewhere in China's Himalayas--and would then "enter Andarin's Mansion". But when I quickly glanced on the map (projected by Wikipedia), I saw nothing but barren mountains covered perpetually in ice. Certainly Andarin would not make this place his mansion?

When Andarin saw me gazing at the map, I said, "I can't find it on the map..."

Andarin: Trust me, it's there."

And so it was that we gathered in the middle of China's Mustang Province, what was once the highest-situated kingdom in the world and which had now been united with the Republic of China, whose president was the most powerful man in the world. Little did we know, that there was indeed something hidden in that barren cold wasteland.

What We Saw at Mustang

What existed at Mustang, when we got there the next week, was--Oh well, I should first tell you how we got there. Mustang borders Tibet and Nepal, and was considered the Lost Kingdom, the highest kingdom in the world, until its unification with China in the late 2030's. To get to the site Andarin called for, we had to go via rocket-plane. It seemed all so very empty, mountain after valley after mountain. And it was all covered in ice. The place was barren... or so we thought.

When we got there as a group, we waited. We did not know if Andarin was tricking us, though we thought that he wouldn't. Maybe he had some secret that he had to show us, we thought. So we stayed, and about half an hour later when the final member of us arrived suddenly Andarin seemed to appear. Of course, he did not just appear, but we only then saw him, so bored were we of the desolate wasteland and the frosty cold. We asked where Andarin came from, since we did not hear the high shriek of any rocket-planes just then.

Andarin seemed to press a certain invisible keypad in the middle of the air, and suddenly a door-sized panel seemed to scintillate, revealing an atrium within. At this point we must have all thought, we were so stupid! We had been just standing here for half an hour waiting, and now Andarin was out to prove our stupidity by emerging from a cloaked building only a few feet away. We knew then that Andarin was sincerely disappointed with our group. Not only had we made one advancement in our project over the past eight years, but we had not discovered this secret.

As we entered the atrium, Andarin boomed in his rather loud voice: "I'm very disappointed with you so-called experts. Every other project that we've been working on has yielded fruit and have therefore been moved to my mansion here. Your group is the largest in number of people, yet the last group to enter my confidence. Even the one contribution you did manage to obtain was possible only through my quick thinking. You have yet to prove yourselves."

Beyond the atrium, we finally realized the size of Andarin's mansion. It was a biosphere of its own--undoubtedly, the colonization of space was on his agenda--and the immense complex hosted various buildings within them. Each building was devoted to one of his projects and was a good-sized lab. The technology here was incredible, and in the center of the entire facility loomed Andarin's secret fusion power plant, capable of sustaining all this activity. The ground beneath us sounded hollow from our steps, and I quickly surmised from what I saw that it was where light bulbs were facilitating plant synthesis for the foods that supported this community.

Here was the greatest community of experts in all fields combined, all of them working under the sole direction of Andarin. To a doctor of philosophy, it was the most that one could wish for. It was--utopia.

Biosphere V

What Andarin had constructed was, in effect, the fifth biosphere (after the Earth and three failed ones), and although it was supposed to be separate from the rest of the world, we were still able to enter and exit. It it was one of the world's largest research institutions, and it was entirely funded by Andarin's book sales.

We were introduced to our research facility, one of many buildings inside Biosphere V. Technology had indeed increased; there were control panels on every wall, robots performing every task, and eye jewels worn by every person. These people subvocalized to their eye jewels and their surroundings, and it was immediately apparent that our project, should it succeed, result in their liberation from endlessly forming their thoughts--which were becoming ever more complex through the last decades--into words that simply could not fully represent what they had to say.

We were served a very satisfactory meal by several robots after touring our research facility. We were not shown any of the other facilities; Andarin clearly thought that it was not our business to meddle in other researchers' affairs. During lunch, Andarin spoke from his seat:

"You may wonder why I had not brought you here much earlier, as doing so would have certainly made it faster for you to perform your duty, and our breakthrough may have come quite some time earlier. I reply to you that this is because of my precautions. I knew, as you all now know in retrospect, that some of the people that had been among you would try to sabotage the research project, but would be incapable of waiting more than a few years, and thus by doing what I have done I have eradicated the threat that they pose. Now, only a few of us would wish to harm any of my projects. I have placed so much at risk with Biosphere V that I have taken the precautions necessary to reduce that risk as much as possible."

And at that time, we were once again amazed at Andarin's talent for manipulation. We were even more unhappy with the progress we had made, and were even more determined to prove that Andarin was wrong. We went to work after lunch. As a futurologist, I had very little to commit to the project, but I predicted in my periodically updated Future Wikia (online open-source project that had by then greatly expanded into a major place of collaboration of futurologists from all over the world, of which I was one of them) that in six years--2044--the human mind project would be complete. It was a challenge to our group, as Andarin had clearly stated that he did not expect the project to finish until 2045. Our unit members took up the challenge eagerly. They hated to be viewed as incapable by Andarin, who had suddenly become the one person to whom everyone wanted to prove their ability.

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. In retrospect, we knew that what Andarin had said and done all the while was to goad us to work harder so that we could indeed complete the project faster. We thought we had understood Andarin now, after so many times of believing this. Yet we were still mistaken. Andarin was, for the moment, unfathomable.

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