The Fall of a Sparrow (FanFiction): Richard Watson

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The Fall of a Sparrow (FanFiction): Richard Watson

Post by Zardoz » Tue Jun 16, 2009 3:13 am

Dr. Richard Watson’s office is a sight to behold. The antithesis of Cate Alexander’s, I cannot see the floor for what I’m sure is the majority of his office space. Stacks of books and papers and boxes are arranged side-by-side, seemingly for stability. That intent appears to have produced success, for the office is nevertheless neat, as the stacks have achieved a level of structural integrity apparently immune even to the strongest earthquake. Watson is pulling a paper from one. I watch in horror and fascination, wondering if the integrity will be compromised. "This is it," he says calmly. "This is it," he says calmly. "Let me show you what led us to D’ni."

The article is a reprint from the Journal of Anthropological Research, published at the University of New Mexico. The title of the article - “Network Analysis of Dispersal Patterns for Artifacts of an Unknown Southwestern Indian Tribe.” The author - Richard A. Watson, newly minted Ph.D. in History from the University of Utah. What catches my eye is Figure 1:
“The center of the main cluster - that’s D’ni, although it’s really Carlsbad, of course. That was the market with highest measures of network centrality - reach, degree, betweenness scores. You know.” My look clearly gives the impression of someone who has heard the words but not understood a thing.

I’m seated across from Watson, as he slowly makes his way through a Jumbo Burger, one of the specialties here at Happy’s restaurant (also home of the Jumbo Breakfast - "We're not Fast Food, we're Good Food!"). Watson has brought me here in response to my request for going back to the beginning. Just down the road is the Bullring Flea Market, a dusty set of covered stalls next to the Carlsbad RV Park & Campground. It being Tuesday, the market is closed but Watson assures me that this is The Beginning. “My parents dragged us kids all around the country for nature vacations. We stayed in parks and campgrounds, whatever they could afford.” A trip to the Carlsbad Caverns brought Watson to the RV park. The flea market was a nice morning diversion, and even in his relative youth (he was thirteen at the time) historical artifacts held a keen interest for him. “I wandered around the few stalls there were back then,” he recalled between bites, “and found this odd, small figure. I thought it might be a chess piece, or something.” He finally pauses from his Burger. “I didn’t know it would be the discovery of an alien civilization,” he says dryly. [An aside to my readers: I will not use the adverb “dryly” again, but the reader should assume that anything Dr. Richard Watson says, he says dryly.]

Watson kept the figure, which survived the family’s subsequent moves, his high school years when adolescence was best forgotten, and even a college stint which his mother used as an opportunity to clean out his room. Going straight from college to graduate school, the figure actually played a role in focusing his studies. “Since the day I had acquired it, I wondered, How did it get there? There was nothing in the way of supporting documentation. We’re talking the Bullring Flea Market, after all.”
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Re: The Fall of a Sparrow (FanFiction): Richard Watson

Post by Zardoz » Tue Jun 16, 2009 5:17 am

Dr. Richard Watson

Canonical Facts
Mystlore: Watson received a Doctorate in History from the University of Utah before being invited to D'ni by his good friend Elias Zandi. When Elias Zandi died in 1996, Dr. Watson became the sole chairman of the D'ni Restoration Foundation and decided to create the DRC one year later instead to help with the responsibility. While chairman of the DRC, Dr. Watson was not responsible for any particular phase but instead helped out in a variety of areas, one of his major concerns being the safety of those in the cavern. However this came to a halt when he abruptly left the DRC following Phil Henderson's apparent death. Unable to cope with Phil's death, Dr. Watson went in search of Yeesha, possibly taking her journey, and wasn't heard from for several years. He returned in September 2007, revealing that in his absence he took the quest to hold the Tablet, and ultimately freed the Bahro from their enslavement by giving it to them. On November 16, 2007, Dr. Watson invited the DLF to help him research the D'ni language; however, this effort has waned since the cavern was closed.

DRC Biography: Dr. Watson is the fearless leader of the D'ni Restoration Council as
our Chairman. Dr. Watson was good friends with Elias Zandi and was given the reins to the D'ni Restoration Foundation (the precursor to the DRC) when Elias passed away. Dr. Watson is committed to the restoration effort and is involved in all efforts to some degree. Dr.
Watson is responsible for all major DRC rules and regulations as well.

DRC Forum:
As promised in the "Surfacing" thread...

It has come to my attention that Prof. Jeff Zandi is increasingly getting more and more attention. I'm under the impression that some of the attraction to him is that so little is known about him. In hopes that an unrealistic legend surrounding him is not established (or that those that are beginning are not perpetuated), I've decided to provide a brief glimpse into his background.

To tell this background, it's best to go back about fifteen years. In fact, much of this recent history of D'ni has never been told publicly. Perhaps now is the time.

D'ni was discovered (in the modern era) sometime in 1987, by a gentleman named John "Fighting Branch" Loftin. Almost everyone referred to him as Branch. I don't know the exact date of his discovery, and unfortunately, he isn't around to ask.

Anyway, Branch happened to be fairly close friends with a wealthy archaeologist named Elias Zandi (close friends called him "Eli"). Elias' particular area of expertise and interest was the Southwestern United States.

Elias Zandi was well known in archaeological circles. He had visited a number of sites around the world and procured a number of valuable historical artifacts. He commonly paid top dollar, eccentrically claiming there was some kind of connection between himself and the objects. After a while, he began to focus on Southwest artifacts exclusively, claiming that some of them had a "special mystery". It was during this time that Elias became closely associated with Branch. Branch had a certain knack of finding items that Elias was particularly interested in.

The dam broke loose when, while exploring in some caverns, Branch stumbled upon what we now know were D'ni digging machines. To describe Elias as elated does not come close to portraying the truth. Possessed is possibly a better word. Elias became single minded in his pursuit.

It was 1988, March 19th to be exact, that Branch and Elias made their first trip into the caverns, as documented in Elias' journal. It was a short one, through the entrance, through a small crack, suddenly into D'ni-made tunnels, past the long abandoned diggers, and eventually to the top of the shaft. They returned from that first trip as changed men - Elias writing in his journal, "I have come to a place that I could never have imagined, and yet it seems I have come home."

It was in 1989, on their third major expedition that they reached the great D'ni cavern and saw the ruined city. Elias' journal stoically describes what they saw, but word has it that he was so overwhelmed that he collapsed to his knees and wept. He realized then that the size of this discovery required him to seek assistance. He made plans to call an old friend.

I had met Elias years before and seen him on numerous expeditions. The two of us, around the same time, but for quite different reasons, began to focus on the southwest U.S. and had several opportunities to work closely together. By 1989, we were fairly close.

After being contacted by Elias, it took me little time to start making plans for a lengthy expedition. I still remember my initial skepticism at his claims, and yet I trusted him, based on our friendship and the information he supplied. At the same time, Elias began the process of purchasing thousands of acres of land surrounding the area where the tunnels had been found. [As a side note, it was also at this time that Elias first contacted the brothers of Rod Miller, a friend of his son Jeff. He wanted to spread the word of his discovery in a very subtle way to others he thought might feel "the call", but I'm getting ahead of myself.]

By the time everything was in place in 1990, Branch, Elias, and myself were ready for our first major expedition to D'ni together. I must admit, with every new thing I saw; with every step I took; the further I got from the surface; the closer I felt to home. That journey ended up lasting more than three weeks and brought the three of us all the way to Ae'gura. It was there we discovered a number of artifacts, including, most importantly, the journals of Catherine.

In 1991, the three of us made another trip, but sadly, Branch did not make it back to the surface. The events of that trip have shaped me, and although I choose not to recount the details, I will note that I broke rules and permitted things that I regret to this day. It was a very trying experience, but neither Elias nor myself could help but continue pushing forward, albeit with some additional care.

By this time we were able to begin translating some of Catherine's journals and other documents that had been found. Elias was passing this information to the Millers on the surface. As information was uncovered, their project shifted from a story about the discovery of the cavern to the stories told by Catherine's journals.

By 1992 things were moving rather quickly. I formed an expeditionary group, with a few of my former colleagues, to perform a much more detailed and lengthy examination of the cavern. (The recruiting stories are amusing - perhaps another time.) Elias did not accompany this group on our trip down. He came down later and met us in the city.

It was this meeting in the city where I realized that Elias and I differed on our views of the future of D'ni. It appeared to me that he was taking some rather extreme view regarding restoring the city to its "original glory" and re-inhabiting it with people who called themselves D'ni. He said things like "We feel the call, for many of us have the blood of D'ni within us, and it calls us home." I must say that I understood some of what he was espousing, but not the extreme to which he was taking it.

Don't misunderstand, I was still committed to the endeavor. D'ni was calling me, maybe not in exactly the way it was calling Elias, but it was calling. So Elias and I continued to work together as he funded the continuing restoration of D'ni. It's interesting to note that from that trip in 1992 until now; the city has never been completely uninhabited.

It was also in late 1992 that I began dividing my time between explorations of the cavern and helping the Miller brothers with their project on the surface. By this time, several of Catherine's journals and many of the other documents we had found had been translated. Elias felt this project would be best served if I were there in person to provide them with information directly. I agreed.

As Elias became more consumed with the restoration, his health began to deteriorate. In 1993 he underwent open-heart surgery, and his doctors warned him to slow down. But his life was tied to the restoration of D'ni, and nothing could slow him down. It would eventually overtake him.

In late 1993 I had the pleasure of bringing Rand, Robyn and Ryan Miller to the city for the first time. They were awed by the place, stating that our descriptions and even photographs of it had not nearly done it justice. This was shortly after their project had been completed, but before it had been released.

Their game Myst, based on the story of Atrus found in Catherine's journals, would go far beyond any of our initial expectations. Elias' desire was not to tell the whole world about D'ni, but rather to specifically spread the word to others who would recognize the tales, even on a subconscious level, and would themselves feel "the call". He expected those who heard the story but didn't feel the call to just dismiss the stories as works of mere fiction. We would all be surprised by the number of people who would feel the call in the years to come.

In 1994 I organized two massive supply trips to move large amounts of supplies and equipment to D'ni. The second trip was affectionately known as the "ice cream" trip because of the number of cones (saftey cones) we brought down.

1995 proved to be rather interesting. It showed the largest spike of small groups of people going out into the desert, looking for a path to D'ni. Invariably, they claimed they were "called" using that same term that we had used. Elias was thrilled. Many of those who came were accepted as volunteers on the restoration project.

In late 1995, November I think, there was another interesting turn of events. Elias had escorted Rand and Robyn back to the city, and Elias' son Jeff was with them. Jeff had been down several times before, but this trip was memorable. Jeff and Elias had a rather large philosophical disagreement over the restoration of the city. Jeff had some strong opinions regarding the path his father was taking and was very vocal. He rather strongly stated that he felt that the restoration was never supposed to be purely physical, but that it was primarily a spiritual renewal. Elias didn't understand that position at all, and the arguments grew heated at many points. As far as I know, the two parted ways after that, and I don't know if they saw each other again.

Sadly, in 1996 my good friend Elias died of a massive heart attack. He left his fortune to the D'ni Restoration Foundation, a nonprofit organization he had established. I was the chair of that foundation and executor of his estate. He left no money to his son, but strangely, he left him the land in New Mexico.

I was somewhat overwhelmed by the responsibility that was thrust on me, and formed the D'ni Restoration Council in January of 1997 to create a group of people to help me oversee the restoration. As time has passed, I've come to be nearly as obsessed with the restoration project as Elias was, tempered by our past mistakes and realizing that this effort must be balanced with a focus on caution.

I've had some contact with Jeff over the years, I even offered him a seat on the DRC, but he refused saying that his vision for the restoration was something beyond what we on the Council could comprehend.

Jeff is a good man; an honest man, and I've always held him in fond regard. Even so, I don't agree with his methods or his misguided vision regarding the restoration of D'ni. That said, I continue to hold out hope that one day we will work together in this grand task.

Dr. Richard A. Watson

Zardozian Facts

Studied under Lloyd Gunn, Associate Professor, History, University of Utah

Watson’s dissertation: The Origins and Development of Trade for Southwest American Indian Artifacts

Prospectus: Upon completion of the written and oral qualifying examinations, the student shall be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. Thereafter the student shall present a prospectus of the dissertation to the supervisory committee for approval. The prospectus is a proposal for a research project and is essentially a "blueprint" or plan to carry out the study. The prospectus should be developed only after considerable preliminary investigation of a general problem. The prospectus is a detailed document which outlines the research problem, the justification and purpose of the research problem, primary and secondary source materials, and the intended methodology. The prospectus must receive formal approval by the student's supervisory committee. A departmental form which summarizes the action of the committee, along with a copy of the approved prospectus, must be filed in the departmental graduate office following the prospectus meeting.

The science of network analysis is a mathematical strategy that includes visualization of nodes (people and places) and the connections among them. For a respiratory infection spread via droplet nuclei, network analysis aims to identify the most critical nodes responsible for transmission and, based upon their location in the network, to predict which nodes are likely to be infected. As subgroups of TB patients and contacts converge, specific collections of nodes can be selected for screening prioritization. Network analysis can add to our understanding of individual-level variables, commonly explored through conventional biostatistical methods that assume independence and often fail to reflect complex links among cases, contacts, and the places they interact.

The oldest municipal museum in the state, the Carlsbad Museum was founded in early 1931 by the Carlsbad Archaeological and Historical Society. The Museum shared a building with the Carlsbad Public Library in Halagueno Park, downtown Carlsbad. The first curator and field archaeologist was R.M.P. “Bill” Burnet, a volunteer. From the first the Carlsbad Museum was affiliated with the Museum of New Mexico, becoming one of the Branch Museums when that program began in 1938. In 1937 responsibility for funding and staffing the Museum was taken over by the City of Carlsbad. Ina J. White, a former journalist, became the first paid Museum curator and registrar. Working with the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Nebraska, the Smithsonian Institution and the Museum of New Mexico on excavations in New Mexico and Texas, Burnet built up an outstanding archaeological and paleontological collection. Ina White was a dauntless promoter of the Museum, which attracted visitors from around the world. The Carlsbad Museum was touted in advertisements as “second only to the Museum of New Mexico.” Through the 1950s and 1960s the Museum’s doors were kept open, but few items of importance were added to the collection. In the 1970s the Museum gained a Fine Arts Committee, a new facility incorporating permanent fine art galleries and a temporary exhibition space, and a new name: “Carlsbad Museum & Art Center.” In the 1980s the Museum got its own Board and a paid director. The fine arts collections have grown steadily through acquisitions and donations, notably the William and Christine McAdoo Collection of paintings by the Taos Society of Artists.

Bullring Flea Market
Flea Market Address
Bullring Flea Market
4303 National Park Highway
Carlsbad, New Mexico, 88220

Happy's Restaurant, LLC
4103 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad NM 88220-9060 map
Happy's is the home of the Jumbo Burger and the Jumbo Breakfast. We are open 6 days Monday through Saturday, 6 AM to 7:30 PM
Happy's started business 1/15/1997 now 1/15/2011 starts our 14th year serving Carlsbad, NM. Happy's is a family restaurant with homestyle food. Our motto is "We're not Fast Food, we're Good Food!" Happy's Burgers are made fresh daily. Jumbo eggs are served with our great breakfast and if you want good homestyle Biscuts & Gravy with bacon or sausage; we have it. There is a variety of Mexican Food to choose from that will make your palaet Happy and if you enjoy fresh Catfish that is cooked to perfection; stop and eat at Happy's. We have several Kids Meal's that include a drink. Want to see an unusual Toy Collection? Minatures? Movie memorabilia? Come to Happy's Restaurant where 'Tis the taste that tells the tale.. is true! Call ins and take outs are always welcome.

Carlsbad RV Park & Campground, 4301 National Parks Highway, Carlsbad, New Mexico

Timeline (Zardozian dates in italics)
1961 Born
1987 Ph.D. from University of Utah in History
1990 First visits D'ni
1992 Forms "expeditionary group" to visit D'ni
1994 2nd major trip to D'ni
1996 Becomes head of DRF after Elias Zandi's death
1997 Forms DRC
Aargh!! Me Pony sez, Aaaarrrghhh!!!

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