Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Electronic Fish Tacos From Jupiter Save The Day??!? PART SIX:

By now you know the drill.  Serialized story. Starts here.  Go read that and at the end of each post you'll have a link to the next.
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Darth abruptly looked up from the laptop screen she had been studying intently.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

"Never mind that now," the man said.  "Come with me."

"And if I don't want to?"

"Then die here alone," the man said.

Darth considered.

**************************************************************************************

Ghastly Gray Jimmy Earwig abruptly looked up from the game of chess he was playing against Jimmy Earwig Who Loses This Game Of Chess To An Alternate Version of Jimmy Earwig From Another Universe.

"What was that?" he asked.

"I didn't hear anything," Jimmy Who Loses said.

"I felt something," Ghastly Gray Jimmy said.

The others were now looking at him, except for Jimmy Who Never Looks Where He Is Supposed To Look.

Jimmy Who Loses reached for his rook with his left hand, and Ghastly Gray Jimmy stopped him.

"Look," he said, pointing at the hand.  "Why'd you use your left hand?"

After a short pause, Ghastly Gray Jimmy said "He did it."  Silence for a moment, and then Ghastly Gray Jimmy continued. "That's our cue. Time for Seal Team Jimmies to act."

"What can we possibly do?" muttered Jimmy Who Asks The Questions Nobody Wants To Ask.

They all considered.

***************************************************************************************

A man walked briskly down a hall carrying papers and frowning.  When he came to a corner, he turned and nearly ran into another man walking briskly down another hall.  The two of them nodded at each other and together proceeded to a room filled with computers, each with a person staring intently at the screen in front of them.

President Dewey was there.  He looked up at them.

"Well?" he asked.

"The readings were correct, sir," the first man said.

"And the reports were also true, sir," the second man said.

"Are you telling me," President Dewey asked, "That the universe is being destroyed and the Artist escaped?"

"That's what our readings show," said the first man.

"That was the report we verified," said the second.

President Dewey turned to the Joint Chiefs assembled nearby.

"Begin the evacuation," he said to the Secretary of Evacuating Everyone From The Universe.

"But where will we go?" she asked.

They all considered.

"Outside," President Dewey said.

****************************************************************************************

Jimmy Earwig was falling, but falling wasn't the right word.   He was standing still, he knew; the rest of the universe-that-used-to-be-multiverses was receding from him, slowly disintegrating into nothingness, or less than that, as a result of its contact first with him and then with the tainted, reversed particles that had contacted those ions that contacted him.

This would be a lonely way to die, naked and airless and alone, in an empty universe.  He wondered whether he would first choke to death without air or instead whether he would simply waste away without food or water, or simply fade into oblivion.

He watched as the universe receded from him, and decided that standing and watching was not enough.  He should act.

There might be a way to reverse this, after all, if he could just find... Negative Jimmy.

There was a risk, he knew.  As it was, it was possible that the disintegration of everything that had ever and could ever and might ever exist would slow and stop -- he wasn't sure how far the effect would go, but it might wear out.  Nobody had ever tried this before and for good reason.  So if he moved -- if he could move -- it might spread the problem and ensure that everything was lost simply by him trying to help.

But better that than just standing here?

Could a hero help best, he wondered, by standing as still as possible?

And if he could move, where would he look?

But he knew the answer to that.  He knew where Negative Jimmy would be, and what he would be trying to do.  Or was reasonably certain he did.

It is a mistake, after all, to think of the negative of something as being simply the reverse or the mirror image.  The negative is not simply everything-but-the-other way, it is negationThis added to negative this is nothingness, and so Negative Jimmy would not simply go left when Jimmy Earwig went right.  He would work to negate everything Jimmy Earwig stood for.

Which meant he was heading for Jupiter, Jimmy Earwig figured.  Negative Jimmy would be working to destroy the multiverse/universe, which meant he would be sabotaging the Emulsifier.  He would be doing that because Jimmy Earwig had been heading there to start it up and see that it operated the way it was supposed to.

Jimmy wondered how that actually worked.  He felt like Negative Jimmy would be driven by Jimmy Earwig's actions -- that when he had decided to save the universe, Jimmy Earwig would be compelled, by his very nature, to destroy it.  But to Negative Jimmy, he, Jimmy Earwig, was negative -- and so Negative Jimmy would see it as himself working to destroy the universe, compelling Jimmy Earwig to try to save it.

Have I been working to save us all only because Negative Jimmy was working to destroy us? he wondered.

In a multiverse-become-one, where he and Negative Jimmy could each exist, the question of who was acting in response to the other became moot, he decided, and he pushed aside questions of free will.  It did not matter, in the end, whether his actions were predetermined, because if they were, he must do them.  If they were not, then he chose anyway to take this course, and so long as he believed he was free to choose, he was free to choose.  In this instance, belief was the same as fact... as it always is in matters of faith.

He began to wonder how to move around.

*****************************************************************************************

Rusty did not bother knocking.  He simply picked up one of the many pictures he had drawn over the previous hours and looked at it, concentrating.

An ogre appeared, wearing a fine tophat and silk waistcoat.

"Urgh." it grunted.

Rusty pointed to the doorway, and the ogre obliged by using it's four-foot-wide fist to smash in the doorway, causing most of the front of the small cafe to cave in.  Sitting at a table inside, staring at a laptop and chewing on an olive that had dropped from a burger was a rather nondescript-looking man who frowned at Rusty.

"You could have just come in and got me," he said.

"This way is more fun," said Rusty.  "I need you."

"Of course you do," the man said, his mood shifting from irascible to grumpy.  He closed his laptop and sighed.  "Lemme get the armor."

****************************************************************************************

Darth got up and said to the man "Okay. I'm in."

"Good. There's no time to lose."

They strode off down the hall together.

****************************************************************************************

Everywhere, klaxon horns blared and from every television screen, computer monitor, cell phone, billboard or other means of transmitting information, the following warning went out:

THIS UNIVERSE IS DYING.  WE ARE LEAVING.  FOLLOW THE ARROWS TO THE RENDEZVOUS POINT.

People did not panic.  There were no emotions suitable for we are leaving the known universe, and so they calmly began walking, in groups of 10 that formed up to groups of 100 to groups of 1000 and ultimately throngs of 10,000 people, peaceably walking towards moon-sized spaceships that had suddenly appeared around the world.

President Dewey watched the monitors and thanked God that someone else on his staff could draw.

***************************************************************************************

In an incredibly remote part of the only universe that (for now) existed, -5 stood in front of a room of things that, if they could be described at all, would cause nightmares so severe your mind would commit suicide by immolation rather than contemplate it.

"Brothers," -5 said, "Our time is now."

GO ON TO PART SEVEN HERE.



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