Lobsang, also known as George Abrahams, is an artificial intelligence believed to be the reincarnation of a Tibetan motorcycle repairman. He parts-own the transEarth Institute after Douglas Black offered him a partnership because of his transhuman intellect.
Under his Dr George Abrahams ambulant unit, Lobsang looked like a middle-aged man with silver hair, tall, slim and a little stooped.
Expedition beyond the High Meggers
Fifteen years after Step Day, Lobsang, talking from a soda vending machine, convinced Joshua Valienté to join in on an expedition across the Long Earth (later known as The Journey) to catalog and explore the High Meggers and whatever laid beyond.
Joshua, being a natural stepper and having grown up being used to camping alone in the Long Earth, was supposed to act as a last resort to bring Lobsang back to the Datum Earth if, somehow, he wasn't able to make the trip back. He, however, took some convincing.
A few years before, Joshua was enrolled as a guide and bodyguard for an official expedition across the Long Earth with a party of scientists, lawyers, a Congressman and soldiers. Around two thousand Earths, they got attacked by what Lobsang refered as 'Baboons' and Joshua as 'Assholes'. Joshua being the sole survivor and having not witnesses, some people thought he might have killed them all. Lobsang, having retraced Joshua's steps and taken proofs that Joshua was innocent, used it as leverage to convince Joshua to go with him.
The Mark Twain
Around a week after their first meeting, Lobsang summoned Joshua to Siberia where he stepped to Earth West 4 to discover the Mark Twain, ready to go. As soon as he got aboard, the ship started sailing and stepping.
Not long after the take off, Lobsang manifested himself in the form of an ambulatory unit (Joshua having only been able to talk to a disincarnate voice until now). Along their journey and discoveries, as they got to known each other better, they started to develop a friendly routine consisting of watching old movies and sparring inside the Mark Twain's gondola.
The trolls' migration
During their journey, they met Sally Linsay who took them to Happy Landings and told them about the trolls' migration. She also told them about the Soft Places in exchange for help in discovering the cause behind the migration.
First Person Singular
Not long after discovering the Gap, around Earth West 2,000,000, they ran into First Person Singular, a colony organism who was responsible for the trolls' migration East, causing a mental pressure (felt also by Joshua) unbearable for them. Lobsang decided to merge with First Person Singular to prevent her to reach the Datum and keep on searching for the truth behind the universe.
A devastated Madison
After that, Joshua and Sally travelled back to the Datum to found a devastated Madison but also Lobsang, at least one of its iteration, to welcome them.
The only time they saw each other since then was when Joshua brought Lobsang to see Sister Agnes, in Madison West 5 where the Home had been duplicated. She was suffering from an illness and was dying.
Joshua asked if he could do anything to ease her suffering. Lobsang asked Agnes if she had any regrets and she answered “So much left to do.” She finally passed away in autumn.
She was buried in a small cemetery by the Home in front of some important people, there was even a representative of the Vatican that day, among them some who would have liked to see her dead sooner according to Joshua. It was the only grave in the cemetery at that time.
Lobsang, having heard Joshua say some much about Sister Agnes during their journey aboard the Mark Twain thought she would be the best suited for a task he had in mind and set out to bring her back to life.
To bring back Agnes, he hire forty-nine hundred Tibetan monks to sing quotes from the Book of the Dead for forty-nine days on forty-nine mountain tops in stepwise Tibets. And he also downloaded her dying brain in gel.
After the forty-nine days, Agnes was back. Not entirely Agnes but at least her consciousness in a whole new body, a more upgraded ambulant unit than Lobsang's and more feminine. Agnes woke up and cautiously asked if she was in heaven but Lobsang replied that heaven could wait and that they had more urgent matters at hand. She asked if there would be a band of angels and Lobsang praised her for making a reference to the work of Jim Steinman in her first minute of revived consciousness. He told her she had to sleep some more.
He woke her up again some time after to do some calibration. She heard some music and chanting and asked about it. Lobsang told her she could blame John Lennon for the music and the chanting were hundreds of Tibetan monks singing quotes from the Book of the Dead.
He added that she would be able to look at herself in the mirror and lifted her to a standing position, she wa still too weak to be able to move. She asked who ordered "those" when she saw her bosom and proceeded to explain that it has never been this size. Lobsang told her she would be presentated with a choice of several bodies and that she will be able to pass as human even there were not a lot of human left.
It also added that she was attended by surgeons and medical staff under the Black Corporation's payroll and that they had no idea about her identity. Which seemed quite fun to Lobsang. It was at that instant that Agnes understood who was behind all this. She started to shout at him but they put her to sleep again.
2040, Agnes woke up again and was greeted by Lobsang's voice, telling her it was the final procedure of her revival and that he has been working on bringing her back for three years. He added he expected to meet her in person for breakfast the next morning.
They set up in a room that looked like a hotel suite that was prepared for her. Lobsang sent Hiroe to take care of her when she'd wake up and told her to bring Agnes to his study.
Lobsang was waiting for her, sitting in a swivel chair, with its back facing the entrance of his study when she arrived.
Agnes started to ask if the fire was fake like the one Joshua saw ten years ago but got no response. She then proceeded to say she didn't know if she was supposed to feel grateful or angry when Lobsang interrupted her saying it was what Joshua asked in her behalf. He then reminded her that he visited her with Joshua in the Home in Madison West 5 when she was ill and suffering.
He told her that Joshua asked him to ease her suffering throught greeted teeth. Agnes replied that Joshua probably meant to ease her way, not to perform this 'blasphemy', in lack of a better word. The chair swivelled and Lobsang faced her, he had his head shaven and was wearing an orange robe. He told her he'd rather talk about the reason he brought her back.
Agnes inquired about the reason of her resurrection and he answered that he wanted to give her a new purpose in life. Holding the amount of power he had, he felt like he needed an adversary, someone to tell him when he would be out of order and stop him. Learning about Agnes from Joshua, other sources (including her own diaries), he thought she was the best suited for the task.
She asked him if she had a choice in all this. Lobsang told her she had the choice to walk away and would be taken anywhere in the world and never hear from him again if she wanted to, that she also had an off switch but knew she would not take those options. When she prompted why, he reminded her of what she told him on death bed "So much left to do."
She remained silent for a while then asked about her Harley. Lobsang informed her that Joshua had it properly stored and taken care of. She then asked if she would be able to drink beer with this new body and Lobsang confirmed. Agnes asked where she was and Lobsang told her they were in Sweden, that the day was nice outside and they had bikes. He then asked her if she wanted to go for a ride but as strong as the temptation was to be young again, she asked about Joshua.
The Turin test
In the early days of her resurrection, Lobsang was helping Agnes getting used to her new body and developing her physical reflexes. They were in what could have passed as a gym, both wearing tracksuits when Lobsang made a joke.
Agnes didn’t get it and Lobsang explained that he wanted to convince her that he was not just a computer and he was human. The nun, told him that he was trying too hard and wasn’t human. A very intelligent computer, more than human, but not human.
Hearing this, he proposed to pass the Turin test. Agnes, thinking he was referring to the Turing test told him it would be useless since machines have been able to pass the Turing test for years. Lobsang corrected her and explained that the Turin test consisted on both of them praying for one hour and see if God could tell the difference. Agnes laughed at that and realized that he might be more human than she thought.
Agnes told Joshua later that he kept on surprising her with his humanity, even artificial, and she finally agreed to help Lobsang after a while.
The troll incidents
Since 2030, with the opening of the Long Earth and the arrivel of twain technology, has mankind spread through the Long Earth, and trolls, who knew about humans from place like Happy Landings, had more and more contacts with ordinary humans.
By 2040, some people used troll as a workforce in factories, fields and the trolls were quite happy to lend a hand. But other people didn't see it the same way like in Plumbline where a man butchered a troll and harvested body parts to make folk's medecine. Or at the Gap where space cadets tried to force a mother troll to give away her cub to make it step into the vacuum of space in the world next door.
Such incidents were reported on the outernet and raised concerns around the worlds. Lobsang knew it would be enough to prompt Sally, who always supported the troll cause, to act.
She went to the town of Hell-Knows-Where, around March 2040, where Joshua was now living with his wife Helen and their son Dan. Lobsang didn't know exactly what Sally had in mind but made sure a twain would be hovering around the town just in case the Valientés would need a ride.
Meanwhile, Lobsang created a troll reserve that extended several worlds around Madison West 10. He invited a pack of trolls he found in the Corn Belt to stay at the reserve so he could study them until he released them. In exchange, he had to protect them from humans.
One day Lobsang saw that Nelson's computer was making a search on the return of the Mark Twain and the “Lobsang Project”.
While the search was still processing, Nelson logged into the Quizmasters, an online chat group comprised of elitists who had to pass several difficult tests to access the chat room.
In the video, a bystander was jokingly asking if the cat that Joshua carried was the ship’s cat. To what Sally, offshot, replied “Yeah, wiseass, and it can speak Tibetan.”
Lobsang hoped that Nelson, being as smart as he was, would be able to work out the link between the word "Tibetan" and himself, thing "Lobsang" meant big brain in Tibetan.
Following the trail
It took Nelson a couple of months to sort things out. So it was only in May that he was ready to leave and took a plane to Chicago, Illinois.
When he passed US immigration, a clerk caught up with him to give him a leaflet about a Winnebago, saying it was left personally for him. Nelson who intended to fly to Madison saw it as a sign from Lobsang and rented one. Having no further instructions, he drove out of the airport’s parking area and started to drive West.
He drove all the rest of the morning and stopped at a small town to buy groceries. He was in the Winnebago, checking what the Quizmasters had found on the return of the ‘’Mark Twain’’ and the cat that speaks Tibetan when something caught his attention on one of his screens.
Starting now, it was possible, by hopping from TV channel to TV channel, to watch “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” for twenty-four hours. Nelson understood that, once again, a hint was given to him by Lobsang and that he had to head for the Devils tower in Wyoming. No wanting to be anyone’s puppet, he decided to take his time and enjoy the sights on the way.
Joshua and Lobsang
Around May 2040, the trolls had enough of the humans and left the Earths with a significant human presence in them and news on the outernet said that Sally Linsay and Monica Jansson helped two trolls, held captives at the GapSpace facility, escape.
Three weeks after Sally's stunt, news of it finally reached Datum Earth through the outernet. Lobsang summoned Joshua for a face to face meeting at the transEarth Institute facility a couple of miles of Madison West 10.
A young lady welcomed him and directed him through a self-opening door that led to a white-walled corridor. At the end of the corridor, Hiroe introduced herself and gave him a badge he had to wear at all times.
She also told him that Selena, the woman who first introduced him to Lobsang ten years ago, waged that Joshua wouldn't show up at Lobsang's request.
Hiroe brought Joshua to her office where, after some keystrokes on her computer, put him in the system.
The transEarth employee then took him out of the building where they sat on a bench to wait for Lobsang.
Lobsang, looking like an elderly monk, approached the pair. As the old travelling companions greeted each other, Hiroe slipped away.
Find the trolls
Lobsang thanked Joshua for accepting to come and Joshua went straight to the point asking for why he was summoned and if it was to do with what Sally did at the Gap. Thanks to face recognition softwares and the footage of the return of the Mark Twain, Joshua was know a famous associate of Sally and had been harassed by the medias.
Lobsang replied that Sally's exploit had brought back the troll issue to the agenda and that trolls have started to take actions on their own, deserting the Earths with humans. He then proposed to Joshua to let his trolls show him what he meant. As a matter of fact, Lobsang's holding on the place extended to several worlds.
They found the pack of trolls around a dozen steps away from Earth West 10. In this troll reserve that spanned several worlds, he could continue his study of the trolls he started ten years ago, after their visit at Happy Landings, in conditions close to their wild state.
Joshua asked if it was the reason of Lobsang's humble pose but the artificial monk replied that it was an idea of Agnes. She thought that if he wanted to be part of humanity, he had to be embedded in it, be down in the dirt, at the bottom of the food chain.
Lobsang remarked the stillness of his guest and understood that Joshua was still mad at him, even if ten years has gone since the Madison bombing. Joshua thought that Lobsang, or any version of him, could have stopped the disaster from happening. But for Lobsang, he couldn't take the risk to intervene and kill people just because of some hypothetical attack.
Joshua understood that he would never find in himself to forgive Lobsang on the matter and went back to talk about the trolls. Lobsang told him about all the discoveries he made so far and told him that he offered them sanctuary - protection from humans - in exchange of them staying at the reserve until Lobsang released them.
In front of Joshua, he released them by clapping his hands twice. At that moment, the trolls stopped singing and all looked at Lobsang. After a short pause, they started to sing "Galway Bay" and flickered out of existence. Joshua understood that they were gone, just like all the others trolls across the Long Earth.
Lobsang informed him that a lot of companies, like the Black Corporation, were pressuring things for trolls to come back. He also thought that trolls had a vital role in the ecosystem of the Long Earth.
Joshua exited the facility through the Madison West 10 reception building, thinking it would be more polite to go out that way. And he had to give his badge back to Hiroe.
When he reached the lobby, he was quite surprised to see Bill waiting for him there. When Joshua asked what he was doing there, Bill simply replied that Lobsang sent for him, thinking he would need a companion for the trip despite the fact that Joshua agreed minutes ago to go search for Sally and the trolls.
Lobsang told Bill he would provide them with a translation device. Joshua, not feeling optimistic about it, said he didn't know where to start. Bill replied they had to start with Sally.
Captain Kauffman and the USS Benjamin Franklin
After Joshua and Bill Chambers, also one of the boys Agnes took care of at The Home, left for the remote Long Earths in search of where the trolls were hiding at Lobsang’s request, the artificial old Tibetan monk had other cards to play. One of them was Commander Maggie Kauffman of the US Navy, Captain of the USS Benjamin Franklin, the only twain Captain who allowed trolls aboard her ship.
The idea of getting trolls aboard her ship had been suggested to her by Sally Linsay upon a random encounter in the Mine Belt. Sally told Kauffman she could pull some strings so Maggie could get her hands on a troll-call, a troll-human translation device designed by Lobsang.
One troll-call for a whole fifty person crew was not enough. Lobsang got fifteen troll-calls and wanted to deliver them in person to the Franklin. He also brought Agnes with him and Shi-mi, another gift, who would have to sneak inside the ship since Captain Kauffman was more than likely to refuse her.
Dr George and Agnes Abrahams
— Agnes as Agnes Abrahams
For this occasion, Lobsang used another ambulant unit, the Dr George Abrahams ambulant unit was his public persona, he used that to sign the instruction sheet for the troll-call, and looked nothing like his old Tibetan monk ambulant unit. Dr George Abrahams was a middle-aged man with silver hair, tall, slim and a little stooped.
Agnes had to pass as his wife, Agnes Abrahams, but didn’t use another ambulant unit but still had to let go of the wimple.
The “couple” rode on a commercial twain and used that time to practice their Swahili with Shi-mi]]. They finally reached the Franklin, some seven hundred thousand steps of the Datum, as the Captain and her senior officers were having breakfast on the ground.
The access ramp was lowered and Shi-mi started to stroll toward the Franklin as Lobsang introduced himself and Agnes to the Captain, who was quite surprised that they managed to find a military vessel so easily and asked how they managed it and what was the reason of their presence there. George Abrahams told her that they simply followed various outernet reports posted by civilians and were there about the troll-calls.
Kauffman, who didn’t seem to know who George Abrahams was, suddenly remembered that it was the name on the instruction sheet she received. Lobsang confirmed without any trace of modesty that he was indeed its designer and said he came bearing gifts, fifteen more translators for Kauffman and her crew.
Agnes then let Lobsang and Kauffman talk about the Black Corporation, Sally Linsay and the trolls. When she felt like he was ranting too much, she interrupted him saying that he was preaching to the already converted, that they did what they came to do and led him toward their ship.
A Chestertonian moment
Nelson took a month to reach Wyoming from Chicago.
On the way to the Devils tower, he stopped at Dubois and went to a LongHorn for a beer and a burger. A TV was on and was showing signs of geological disturbances at Yellowstone on the Datum and on the Low Earths. Nelson resumed his meal when suddenly a message on the automated billboard outside his window caught his attention. To Nelson’s bafflement, it was a quote from G. K. Chesterton, a writer that Nelson had discovered by chance in a public library in Joburg and whose he had read the best works in his teens.
Once again, a clue that he was on the right track. Nelson finished his meal and drove the Winnebago out of Dubois towards the Devils tower. On the way, he was pulled over by a motorcycle cop wearing a dark visor. The cop already knew Nelson’s name and asked for his ID, saying he has been expecting him. The ex-priest refused and asked the man’s ID in return, saying that it was quite a Chestertonian moment since both were unsure about the other’s identity and allegiance.
The rider grinned at this and started say another quote from Chersterton that Nelson automatically completed. After this, the cop declared that no further credentials were necessary and that a real cop was on the horizon so he had to go. He left Nelson alone but told him he would find new coordinates in his sat-nav before leaving.
When the real cop showed up, Nelson played the innocent-and-lost-tourist-card until three Winnebagos, all with plates from California, drove by at over eighty miles per hour and diverted the cop’s attention from Nelson.
The "Lobsang Project"
— Nelson Azikiwe
He finally reached his destination in the middle of the next day. It was an electronics factory with the transEarth Institute logo on the gates. The complex seemed deserted but a voice came from a speaker at the entrance, asking Nelson to identify himself. To what Nelson replied that he was Thursday, citing once again G. K. Chesterton and was let in.
He found a door that revealed a short corridor that led to a lift. The voice from the gate told him to take the lift and, once Nelson was inside, explained that this facility used to belong to the US government until it was bought by the transEarth.
The lift brought Nelson to a kind of study of English design, with a fireplace where a fake fire was convincingly crackling. Lobsang, in his orange robe and holding a pipe in his hand, stood up to welcome him and prompted him to sit down.
He told him that he was the whole “Lobsang Project”. Nelson asked him why he was brought here but was told that he came here on his own, solving the puzzle. Which made Nelson to start thinking that the clues of this puzzle might not have come to his attention randomly.
Lobsang revealed that Nelson was considered a long-term investment by Douglas Black and that they were watching him since his mother put him forward for the “Search for the Future” programme and showed him images representing all his life since he was a toddler to now.
Nelson, angry at being manipulated, asked Lobsang if he was a long-term investment as well and what he wanted with him. His host told him that he needed a companion in his quest to unravel the mysteries of the Long Earth, to travel with him to New Zealand to see something and that Nelson had the right mix of rational and mystical he needed.
When Nelson asked him what he expected to find in New Zealand, Lobsang only asked him if he came across the entity called First Person Singular in the data from the Mark Twain’s journey that was made public. This was enough to appeal to Nelson’s curiosity who answered that he would spend the night in his car and think it over.
A long-term investment
It was agreed that they would meet in Redemption, a town further West from Cracked Rock, the Franklin's latest position, conveniently located on the Franklin's route summoned to Valhalla with all the other twains of Operation Prodigal Son.
A few hours after their arrival, a car with a driver was waiting for Maggie by the twain. It looked like a limousine and had steam coming out from under the hood. Once she climbed inside, she saw that George Abrahams, somewhat looking younger, was already there.
Smiling, he informed Maggie that the vehicle was operated by the restaurant and started to tell her about it when he noticed that she didn’t seem at ease and asked if she was alright. Maggie was troubled by his appearance and decided to be honest. She told him that he looked younger. To what he whispered softly that they both knew it was only a façade.
That was enough to trigger the paranoia Maggie already had against the Black Corporation. She thought Abrahams was kidnapping her and started to warn him against doing so when he interrupted her, saying that she was being too melodramatic.
To her relief, the car pulled off in front of a fancy restaurant in a typical Long Earth architecture made of stone and timber. As they sat in a booth for two, she raised her glass and asked if she should raise a toast to the Black Corporation.
Abrahams told her that indeed he worked with the Black Corporation and through them like he has already told her when they last met but considered himself working for mankind and the troll nation. Two fine species, in his opinion, separated by stupidity. He also told her it was the reason why she came to his attention, along with others like Douglas Black.
When he also revealed that he had a hand in the selection panel that helped to give her the command of the Franklin, she realized that her whole career and her whole life has been manipulated. He also praised her on how she handled the situation with the trolls and told her she was now part of the long call as “The woman who let the trolls fly”.
From his point of view, she wasn’t as manipulated as she claimed to be but merely presented with opportunities she was free to accept of decline. He agreed that she was being watched, but in this technology-soaked age, who wasn’t? He concluded by saying that eit ven after this conversation, it wouldn’t change anything on how she handled her mission and asked her if she wanted to order.
Second Person Singular
After Nelson's first encounter with Lobsang, a twain showed up above the facility the next day, at noon, and lifted Nelson in the gondola with the help of a security harness. The twain started to step as soon as Nelson was inside. Upon inspection of the ship, he soon realized that he was alone in the twain but the image of Lobsang appeared on a screen telling him that he would be with him the whole time and could activate an ambulant unit if necessary.
The twain ride to a stepwise New Zealand some seven hundred thousand steps West of the Datum lasted sixteen days. Lobsang loved to talk and to listen as well so the ride went quite pleasantly for Nelson who started to appreciate his company despite having been manipulated.
When they reached New Zealand they headed west for the sea and the twain came to a halt on top of a small island. Nelson was told look down at the island but soon realized that it had a wake and seemed alive. Better, animals of different species and even people seemed to live on that island, much to Nelson’s excitement.
Lobsang told him that the creature was Second Person Singular, that he has visited this place before and that Nelson would come to no harm if he decided to go scuba diving. He then appeared in the same bald and orange robe wearing ambulant unit from Wyoming and told him they will get off ship and board Second Person Singular.
Nelson and Lobsang rode a dinghy to the beach and were welcomed by humans, all naked and tanned, coming out from under a flap in the creature’s shell. A woman with a red flower in her hair stepped forward and asked for news from the Datum and if they had tabacco.
Nelson interrogated Lobsang to know who were those people, to what Lobsang replied that he thought they were the descendants of the crew of the Mary Celeste. Soon they were all sitting by a fire, lit on slabs of stone to not hurt Second Person Singular, and trading stories about how things were going on Datum Earth.
The inhabitants’s language sounded like Creole made up of European languages but mostly dominated by English. Lobsang explained to Nelson that most of the people living her had ended up in this place as a result of a shipwreck or an accident and left either by dying or by waiting for the end of the beast’s cycle when they could get off on a safe shore.
Nelson still noticed that some kids seemed to have been born on Second Person Singular, that the traverser’s cycle seemed quite long and that none of them seemed to find they way of life odd. Lobsang replied that most of the creatures living in the vicinity of Second Person Singular were docile and content to be living here.
The pair then discussed about the species Lobsang called Traversers, how Second Person Singular was heading for a place whose name could be translated as “sanctuary” in this world’s Purget Sound and how most traversers seemed to be collecting different species for an unknown reason.
As far as Nelson could tell, the humans living in the island seemed to be happy. Second Person Singular even had air-filled chambers inside its shell for its passengers and it needed to submerge itself. Lobsang compared it as a kind of never-ending cruise with good company, plenty of seafood and lots of sex (which reminded Nelson that he was getting a lot of attention from the young women).
When discussing with Lobsang, the reincarnated Tibetan pointed out that it was obvious that Nelson didn’t approve of this primitive kind of life that lacked a purpose, the kind that pushed mankind to struggle, improve itself. Nelson couldn’t deny it and told Lobsang that he was perceptive and wondered if it was the human or the computer speaking.
They stayed a couple of days aboard Second Person Singular. Nelson found it hard to relax since the inhabitants’s innocence brought out the teacher in him. He taught them some basic metalwork, how to build a basic crystal-radio set and how to draw wire to augment the poor number of fish-hooks they had.
He also took that opportunity to wander by himself in the forest in the middle of the island that he called the jungle.
The emergence of a new species
On the fifth day, Nelson went back to the twain for a shower and a change of clothes. He was sitting in the gondola with Lobsang and were discussing about why he showed him Second Person Singular and his presence on the trip. Lobsang told him that he showed him the traverser as an example of the fecundity of life across the Long Earth and that he thought that Nelson possessed the right set of mind to appreciate a theory he has been nurturing since Step Day.
Lobsang thought that the Long Earth was meant to save mankind and that there was a bigger plan in motion. But despite the opening of the Long Earth, mankind didn’t seem to progress and even less to know what to make of all this room. For Lobsang, another species, more intelligent than humans was meant to appear.
He then asked Nelson to work with him to sort this out and find the answers they were seeking, saying he needed support as he could not look into the human soul.
The garden party
On September 8th, 2040, Nelson, dressed in a suit, was helping Lobsang with the barbecue. They were surrounded by Joshua, back from his jaunt across the Long Earth to find the trolls and his wife Helen.
As soon as Agnes arrived, she scolded Lobsang for not watching the barbecue enough.
As the afternoon bore on, suddenly a twain appeared on top of Lobsang and his ambulant unit went limp as he left it. Soon cellphones rang all around and people started to step away. The geological disturbances that Nelson glimpsed on TV back in Dubois were just the beginning of something bigger. The day the garden party was held was the first day of the Yellowstone eruption.
Seeking a new species
In the years following the Yellowstone eruption, more and more testimonies of young bright people emerged. This is why, in January 2045, Lobsang asked Joshua to meet up with him at Twin Falls, Idaho to discuss about this emergence of those bright minds all over the US Aegis. The two haven't talked to one another for several years, Joshua being mad at Lobsang for not being able to prevent the Madison bombing and the Yellowstone eruption despite his omnipotence.
After a good night of rest and an inspection of the caldera, Lobsang asked Joshua to seek out this new intelligent species and establish contact with it.
After Joshua was arrested, along with some Next including Paul Spencer Wagoner, Greta, Janet and Indra , around spring 2045, he contacted Lobsang when he was released and this latter contacted Nelson and helped organized his visit to the USLONGCOM Pearl Harbor facility, where most American Next were being kept.
Visiting Happy Landings
Lobsang also detected a message, transmitted on radio frequencies, left by the Next before they departure, stating that they claimed a stretch of the Long Earth, named the Grange that was uninhabited and now serves as a kind of reservation where they can be between themselves and left in peace.
The destruction of Happy Landings
In order to make sure no clues of the Next's location where to be found, Lobsang destroyed Happy Landings by dropping a small asteroid on top of City Hall.