The sign, when dusted off, read: "Not an Entrance."

Bejli pushed away the banyan vines and got her fingernails under the edge of the door. It was the only way in to this part of the complex. The rest of the block had been squatted for a long while, but this building hadn't been cracked for a few years at least. The old landlord had kept some sort of a holdout here. A study maybe. One of those spaces that the rich kept just to be—drawing rooms and conservatories. Now the guard patrols were gone, and someone was going to get to crack it again. Bejli figured she might as well be the first.

From outside it was a windowless box of pocked concrete and old steel. Trees embraced it, pressing into the hard edges as they stretched for the sun. Stained glass once arched around the outside door, but had been smashed after the landlord's demise, perhaps by vandals, perhaps by beasts or falling branches.

In these times post-electric, Bejli was one of those great apes who scaled the jungles of once-civilization as the towers slumped sideways and panes of safety glass were ground back to sand.

Nobody had jimmied the lock on the door yet, which was good. A late model Schlages that you couldn't really hack through and lasted forever. But with the stained-glass windows broke, she could just run a drone-limb around the back and turn the lock. She entered the antechamber and locked the door behind her.

A coat rack hung one decaying blazer and a centenarian cap. There was a wood stair, post-OSHA construction lacking bannisters, then the lower level, poached from what was once a parking structure. Simple chamber, all at 90 degrees. Boxes lined the walls, an irregular second layer to the room. A couple desks and a bauhaus chair of dubious replica. And strewn everywhere a cosmos of variable detritus.

There were schematics: 2d hand-drawn, CAD, and holographic. Statuettes of printed resin. Hand-carved tools. There was a model of a clock, bursting with complexity, as it was measuring much more than time. A mirrored loop of solar panels about the size of a horse leaned against some crates marked Spinerette Project. Illuminations of trees and their seeds covered a token-operated seedbank. A wall of hieroglyphs of unknown expression. Details for aquaponic systems. In a corner, a stack of boxy metal cans. A map of a hollowed-out earth. Recipes for modified concrete.

This didn't happen. These artifacts were immigrants from the principality of rumor. This space, a hatchery of separate continuity. A coulda-been world. A maybe. Better off avoided?

The cache lay beneath Yerba Buena. Not yet cold. Not dead. Maybe dreaming. Tomorrow bristled hot and humid as night settled in above. Below, Bejli settled in to read. She had to surmise it, just enough, to get her blood flowing. Then, a rousing oratory, and a colony to get this hive moving again. Maybe they could do better than the last couple tenants.