I had no intention of lying in the dirt for hours while I waited for the crowds to disperse and for a messenger to possibly appear. I decided to make my way down to the observatory proper and reconnoiter the area, do a sweep of the lawn, the park, the grounds, the observatory itself. It was a famous location, but one I had never visited. I wanted to familiarize myself with its layout, its turns and blind corners and hiding spots and defensible locations. Its security cameras. Perhaps there’d be a way to identify the security office and ensure that I’d have access to it later in the evening. Bribe the guard or intimidate them. Having a camera on the entrances and exits would be a tactical advantage when I met with “the voices” Manny had been going on about.
All around me families and college students and bored high schoolers passed by, so much dust just floating by me. Models of the solar system, the galaxy. Telescopic images of stars. Demonstrations of x-rays, infrared, ultraviolet, all the inhuman ways of seeing. I decided that my earlier interpretation of the observatory as a temple had been prescient; the building was not merely a house for the tools required to measure and catalogue the universe. It was a place for people to go and gawk in wide-eyed, slack-jawed awe at gods and demons of metal and glass.
Perhaps the whole building was a spiteful joke, a dying curse. In the face of his own death, the rich man had been made to feel small, and he wanted to create a place that common folks would visit and know that they were small. That they were insignifcant. That spaces between the stars were vast and cold and empty.