Upon hearing that the AIs have spent some time studying Lloyd Allen, the astute New Albion historian immediately thinks of the obvious two choices for study: The New Albion Radio Hour and Arcadian Mystery Theater, both of which contain classic Mr. Allen shenanigans. Although completely unknown to the layman, copies of broadcasts do exist in several libraries across the continent, including the library of the Monastery in the Western Mountains.
The more studious historian, the one who can call out the deeper cuts, will wink and slyly mention the Deborah After Dark debacle. Copies of this are even fewer and most of the few historians that discuss this do so according to second hand sources rather than having heard the broadcasts directly. Still, the broadcast is not impossible to come by, just difficult.
The Caravan Analogy on the other hand is stuff of rumor and legend. There is just enough corroborative evidence that most esoteric historians will concede that it does or did likely exist (and happen), however almost no copies of the broadcast tapes exist at all in present days. Rumor has it that a single copy exists, and it held by the New Albion Discordian Society (NADS), an obscure, quite mad group of anarchist historians whose chaotic almost satiric approach to academic history and reality mapping is also termed the Sacred Chao. Its adherents operate in a grey area, somewhere between serious and prankster and often infuriate their professional peers with their shenanigans, such as attending academic conferences claiming to represent the University of Dollfuckers.
Despite their colorful reputation, their library has numerous texts and broadcasts unobtainable by their more serious minded peers. Practically unseen by outside sources, their library is rumored to contain a prized copy of the Caravan Analogy, an example of handiwork by Raven and Lloyd in the earlier days of their relationship, after the construction of Lloyd’s 2nd Playhouse but before the construction of the Carnival.
How the AIs came across a copy is unknown. Collusion between the Discordians and the AIs is not entirely ruled out, but is never the less unlikely. A theory abounds that the AIs somehow procured a copy of the Caravan and the Discordian Society then actually stole it from them, which if true would be an incredible feat, almost as difficult to pull off as it is to believe. As far as the broadcast itself, While crude and hardly as well developed as Lloyd’s later work, there are still numerous lessons for the AIs to have learned from it.
It is generally accepted that the AIs ignored Raven almost entirely, although they would have had to run across mention of him. Likely they thought him irrelevant and with his split from Lloyd some time back, merely a footnote in the study of Lloyd Allen’s work and methods. It is therefore entirely possible they did not know of the Carnival’s battle with the demon or the its subsequent stranding in the CO where they themselves had decided to plant the Cabaret. This oversight was a mistake, as while Raven never came into direct contact with the AIs, he is thought to be responsible for the subjects’ escape from the CO.
Theories also abound that the AIs knew next to nothing of the Gift, or upon running across mention of it, had misidentified and carelessly underestimated it. Others argue they did know of it, and had factored it into their designs, but that it was a factor that would figure in at a later stage. This question is assumed to be cleared up shortly.
One of the reasons the New Albion Discordian Society is tolerated begrudgingly by the academic community despite being at such odds with their attitudes and methods, is that when it comes to the more esoteric aspects of history, only the Monastery has greater knowledge and records, and the Monastery is notoriously aloof and difficult to communicate with. The only group in the city thought to be able to communicate with the Monastery is in fact the Discordians, though to what degree is unknown.
Both Lloyd Allen and Raven are shrouded in mystery and legend, and that certainly holds even more true for their time together. Still, there are several theories generally accepted to be at least close to the truth.
Lloyd Allen was already PH when the young David Adams had his encounter with the mythical Terryan and began his flowering. It is surmised that they met at Lloyd’s 1st Playhouse, where Lloyd took the young man under his wing. However, he had not been PH long and was in fact far more of a novice than he first let on.
Some point later, after extensive travels together, the two built the 2nd Playhouse. Some of the affairs that occurred there are too much myth and legend to be given any credence, but the Caravan broadcast is thought to be come from this period. Whether the Caravan performance captured in the broadcast happened many times or just once is unknown. Early manuscripts which comment on the performance assume the Master Of Ceremonies to be Raven, although some later commentaries call this into question and insist that it is Lloyd. They suggest that the old hermit met in the Mirage is actually Raven, and his actions regarding the audience members were specifically designed to manipulate the participants into manifesting the Gift through just the right mix of stress, challenge, trauma and insight. While very few participants would ever manifest, that would be no matter to Lloyd and Raven who were looking for the few who might. Did the girl in the broadcast flower, the commentaries ask? No conclusion is ever reached.
This conjecture is not accepted by all, however. Other manuscripts fiercely dismiss the idea that this was Lloyd and Raven’s motive behind the performances. They argue this is pure speculation based on wishful preconceptions. They caution against forming conclusions without evidence of motives, and instead concentrate on whether the performance is an fact a full fledged sub reality, limited in it’s expanse, but fully formed within its small sphere of existence. This would be the first example of a fully manifested sub reality created by a PH, and certainly by either Raven or Lloyd. Indeed it is argued that the two would have had to work in conjunction to create and sustain it. While nowhere near as expansive as later sub realities by either they or other suspected PHs (there is a small snippet dialogue from Lloyd concerning a post human named Sarah M and his admiration for her work. One manuscript attributes another quote regarding a young Sarah M to Raven, although his opinion of her is arguably derisive and negative).
Given the events that occurred after the Cabaret cast left the Carnival and the revelations now brought to light, interest in the works studied by the AIs which helped birth the Cabaret have spiked. Many are trying to create a definitive list, while others argue this is impossible. Still, many agree these Caravan tapes are on that list and inquiries have been made to the Discordian Society to please release them or at least allow access. So far they have been silent, but perhaps the doors to their vaults will be opened in time. Until that time, the search is on to identify and assemble whatever sources the AIs consulted.