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September 12th, 2004
03:12 am
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Lend me your brainpower.
Imagine for a moment that you're chasing someone. You catch up to their last known location, burst through the door, and the place is empty save for a short note crisply printed on generic paper:

I turn into a star
My hands are the heavens
And my voice is the sea.

That's it, your only clue. You have a reasonable certainty your target is trying to goad you into further pursuit, so this probably isn't some red herring with no relevance.

Now you have to try to track them down again. Where do you start your search?

So, where do you go? (Please explain in comments.)

(n.b.: This is, just to set your mind at ease, hypothetical. There is no "right" answer; guess wildly as long as you can come up with some interesting reasoning.)

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From:ceruleanst
Date:September 12th, 2004 04:29 am (UTC)
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The first and last lines could represent all sorts of things, but the only idea "my hands are the heavens" suggests to me is the sort of clock with just one moving part. I would check local parks and see if there's a sundial in any of them.
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From:elynne
Date:September 12th, 2004 05:49 am (UTC)
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What are those things called... it's not an observatory, though it could be - oh, for that matter, it could be an observatory, too; actually, that would make more sense... because the background noise of space is a surflike roar of static (voice is the sea thing), and the star part is obvious, and "my hands are the heavens" could refer to controlling the mechanism.

So now I'm all incredibly curious, and you have to promise to give the answer soon! ;)
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From:soreth
Date:September 12th, 2004 09:54 am (UTC)
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A planetarium?
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From:elynne
Date:September 13th, 2004 05:47 am (UTC)
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Yep, one of them. Oddly enough, I came on another answer completely by accident as I was reading The Fifth Elephant - a character emerges into a vast underground cavern, the floor of which is thickly populated with people, each of them holding candles, and most of them talking. His first impression is of stars, before the sound hits him, "a roaring surf of voices." It was such a clever answer, I wish I'd thought of it. ;)
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From:baxil
Date:September 14th, 2004 06:08 am (UTC)
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There's no "answer", per se, but the other guesses elsethread offer a pretty good look at the riddle. As mentioned in a subsequent journal entry, there was no "real" answer when I posted it; it was some song lyrics that got my brain moving.

Of course, I'm probably going to be obligated to work this into one of my stories now ;D
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From:elynne
Date:September 15th, 2004 05:48 am (UTC)
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Hmph... well, yeah. ;) *hughughug* BTW...
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From:soreth
Date:September 12th, 2004 10:07 am (UTC)
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If his/her "hands are the heavens" and "voice is the sea" it suggests to me that looking in hurricane and tsunami territory might not be a bad shot. Those fingers of the sky can do a lot of damage, especially when there's shouting involved.

"I turn into a star" could mean a lot of things, but I'm going to look for places named after stars and/or stellar regions. But just to be on the safe side, I'll look for popular places where the big-names in popular movies, theater, and music like to vacation or spend their time.

If there's a concert or something on the coast of somewhere that was recently cancelled by some very bad inclement weather, seems to me like that would be gold.
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From:baxil
Date:September 12th, 2004 05:36 pm (UTC)
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One of my original speculations was Hollywood, on the basis of that first line, but I couldn't get the other two to fit. The hurricane alley angle was one I didn't think of.
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From:delcan
Date:September 12th, 2004 10:22 am (UTC)
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Like the big fat cheater I am, the first place I'd go is to run a search engine and see if that's a riddle I was previously unaware of, that has been in circulation for some time.

Without that lame answer...

"I turn into a star" - A bright light, or heavenly body. Not literally a heavenly body... but perhaps something that rises into the sky.

"My hands are the heavens" - I have control over the sky, or things within it; or perhaps, my realm is within the spiritual domain.

"And my voice is the sea" - I am loud, yet steady and calm, to no disastrous purpose. Or, I command the sea. Or, I am a representation of the oceans - "I speak for the sea".

My first actual guess was an airport - with jets that turn into dots in the night sky, the hands that guide them, and the voices of the massive engines. But the riddle is phrased personally with all three lines, so we're looking for a single entity.

My next guess is a seaside lighthouse, which turns to a bright light, casts its power over the sky, and represents the seaside in almost anything in which it's depicted. It would certainly be a place of power for a search to continue, in a plot-wise scheme of things.
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From:baxil
Date:September 12th, 2004 05:38 pm (UTC)
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> run to a search engine

Like here? ;)

The airport logic is pretty reasonable. I think broad consensus here is turning toward the lighthouse, though, so good call.
From:tkat
Date:September 12th, 2004 12:50 pm (UTC)
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I'd say Lighthouse.

It must reach tall, up to the heavens.

It must speak for the sea, with the sound of turf, and knowledge of what sailors must hear.

And, it must look like a star in the sky.

I love lighthouses. :)
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From:ceruleanst
Date:September 12th, 2004 01:17 pm (UTC)

Wait, I have a better one

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I noticed that it looked like a haiku, so I counted the syllables. 6-6-6. The reference to the fall of Lucifer and the possible slur upon Catholicism ("my voice is the See") are extra hints.

"Devil's hand" and "devil's fingers" are names for the common starfish. That encompasses all elements of the poem nicely. Look for a restaurant/club/etc. named "The Starfish" or similar.
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From:baxil
Date:September 12th, 2004 05:33 pm (UTC)

Re: Wait, I have a better one

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That's the most intriguing and mythological answer I've seen yet. In other words, it sounds perfectly like the sort of logic one would expect from the sort of person likely to be the recipient of such a note. ;)

If I had to pick a winner, so far, it would be between this and the lighthouse.
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From:ngarewyrd
Date:September 12th, 2004 03:12 pm (UTC)
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I'm gonna be strange and say that I'd go to venus, the morning star,

simply because, Venus is a planet, that is turned star, and it slumbers every day, in the sea..

or perhaps I'm just being silly like that
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From:philrancid
Date:September 12th, 2004 04:08 pm (UTC)
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they sound entirely too weird to have in my life, if they can elude me with mere poetry.
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From:hafoc
Date:September 12th, 2004 04:31 pm (UTC)
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I decided to go for something techno-thrillerish-- the Lockheed Skunk Works, or perhaps Lockheed Marietta.

Why? Because the "star" theme is a common name element in famous Lockheed designs: Vega, Sirius, Altair, Orion, Lodestar, Shooting Star, Global Star, Starfighter. Also, if the Skunk Works, it's got a Hollywood star connection, because iirc it's in the same general area.

And as aircraft rule the heavens, aircraft designers use the sky and its properties as the tools, or hands, to make their machines work. And the roar of the engines is like the roar of the sea. Not to mention that certain Lockheed aircraft such as the Orion antisubmarine and weather patrol plane are offshore reconaissance, therefore "the voice of the empty sea," for various military and other organizations.

This is a really stupid answer, and a real reach. The lighthouse is the better. (I like lighthouses too.) But if you're heading for a technothriller this is an appropriate reading.

Truth is, though, that what you've got here is the sort of teaser-clue you find only in fictional thrillers. You must logically deduce you're a character in a work of fiction. Logic and real life experience fall right out of it. What is driving this chain of events is the necessity to construct an interesting story which will come to a neat conclusion in one hour (less commercials).

Therefore, you know that whatever explanation you choose, however far-fetched, the Evil Mastermind will in fact have his secret headquarters there when you arrive. Otherwise there's no story and the sponsors won't be happy.

In fact, he has his spies watching you. When he sees you're heading for a lighthouse, or the Skunk Works, or what have you, THEN he will move so as to be able to set up his secret headquarters there before you arrive.

(This ultra-hurried schedule for getting the headquarters into operation is the reason that the secret headquarters of Evil Masterminds always have security holes a seven-year-old could lead a herd of elephants through.)

:D

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From:baxil
Date:September 12th, 2004 05:30 pm (UTC)
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> Truth is, though, that what you've got here is the sort of teaser-clue you find only in fictional thrillers.

Oh, naturally. :D The fact that about 20 intelligent and creative respondents have already come up with about 18 reasonably plausible different answers for this (for some value of "reasonably plausible," although that value is well within the bounds of thriller logic!) indicates that any real-world attempt to recreate the sort of thriller atmosphere with this note would meet with a wild-goose chase of the worst kind and the pursuer eventually giving up in disgust. Or ...

> In fact, he has his spies watching you. When he sees you're heading for a lighthouse, or the Skunk Works, or what have you, THEN he will move so as to be able to set up his secret headquarters there before you arrive.

See, now you're just thinking like a writer.

*cough* Of course, I've already come to the same conclusion myself. *cough* I may have the pursuers note something similar. *cough*

Excuse me, quite a cold I must have there ... What I was trying to say was that I'm just posting this to give people the fun of speculating. Yeah, that's it. ;)
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From:hafoc
Date:September 12th, 2004 06:35 pm (UTC)
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Second possibility: Look for something named Draco.

Draco is a constellation, so it has become a star. It is one of the constellations that has "hands," a dragon's claws being a fair approximation. It also covers a large swath of sky, so it can make a fair claim that its hands encompass the sky, or in poetspeek ARE the sky.

Not only that, but Draco is supposed to be based on Timat, the dragon of chaos from before the world was made. It WAS the sea, and the sky. Once the world was made, though, Marduk however defeated it by sending all the winds, which he controlled, down its throat to choke it-- a moment when its voice would have been the voice of the sea, the roar of a hurricane, indeed.
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From:dracana
Date:September 13th, 2004 02:38 am (UTC)
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I thought about this for a while.

The first part of the riddle "I turn into a star" had a big influence on my thoughts, turning my thoughts to the sky and all that is there. As someone else mentioned that word "star" can refer to more than the stars themselves but any heavenly body out there such as planets and moons, particularly at night

"My hands are the heavens" seems to somehow imply the telling of time and since it was already established for me that it lay somewhere in the sky and people have been known to use their positions in the sky for a simple measurement of time.

By now I have a pretty good idea of what I think it is, "And my voice is the sea" only adds to it since heavenly bodies do have a big effect on the tides.

So I would guess through all that. The Moon.
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From:zuki_san
Date:September 24th, 2004 11:44 am (UTC)
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I haven't got anything else cohesive to add, but rather a few ideas.

"turn into" could mean turning in a directional sense "turn into that parking lot," instead of a transformation.

And, after playing with "my voice is the sea," my thought process went like this: "Sea=waves=there are other kinds of waves=Radio Waves?"

and then it [i]almost[/i] makes sense, if you think about how hands, being an instrument of movement and expression, could be the sky/atmosphere/and clouds that radio waves broadcast into and bounce off.

I'm not entirely satisfied with this answer, but here it is.
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