He sat at the bar, the worthless, meaningless and futile chatter filling his ears. It was a dank pit, full of dull souls lingering in the cigarette smoke. Did they know how transparent they were? Did they have a clue about their own construction? Of course they didn't. These people... all people... would never (could never) know the difference between intelligence and purpose, deception and drifting.
But hadn't he himself been drifting?
No... he'd been doing something with purpose.
Drifting was his purpose, at least for now.
But wasn't that what all these people told themselves as they went to bed at night? As they delivered their children to school? As they sat at the bar, attempting to out-deceive their peers?
He rose from his seat, and headed towards the men's room. As he pushed through the door he waited a moment to let some drugged up fifty year old pass by. He moved into one of the stalls, but did not sit on the diseased toilet seat. His purpose was greater...
He took the pen from his pocket and scribbled the expression onto the wall.
[(1267 x 56497)Infinite] + 1
"Primary... secondary... tertiary... constructed...," he whispered to himself.
The man didn't know what he meant. He didn't know what the expression represented... or where it had come from... but it was a purpose. Plus one was the purpose, he could see that.
But X- was also a purpose... but not his.
He went to touch the expression with his hand, but quickly withdrew it. It was sacred. He couldn't just... touch... it. Not yet...
Instead the man rested his hand against the brick wall, but it happened again. His hand slipped straight through the wall, into the heat that lurked behind it. The heat, the flames, the monstrous reality that lurked behind all others. He could feel it... it called to him. Threatening to spill forth...
"Unknown...," he whispered, withdrawing his hand back into reality.
Quickly he realized his error... not Unknown.
That was his purpose. Unknown, a word he could net yet comprehend, and would not until thousands of years in the future, and Saelieni. Plus one, Unknown, Saelieni...
He shoved the pen hastily back into his pocket, and left the men's room.
The Collector was sitting on the wheelchair ramp that connected to the small hospital building (really not much bigger than a house). His near infinite mind puzzled over a problem that even it couldn't understand. Technically it wasn't a paradox, merely a question he didn't know the answer to.
How had he not known Arthur was left a note?
Who left it, who was interfering with the design?
The Collector thought backwards into his half-remembered past, but knew he wouldn't find the answer there. This was something above him. Above his knowledge, above his logic. But what entity could be above him? What entity was more powerful than he? So powerful in fact that he could not only escape The Collector's future sight, but also his present?
It was an irregularity in cosmic design.
It was unknown.
At that moment, long forgotten words whispered in The Collector's depthless memory.
I am the voice from the void...
"My name's Arthur Krenitz, I was just driving through when my ute hit something and flipped," He answered Garson's question.
Will kneeled next to the corpse of Jonesy and his dead men.