Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Electronic Fish Tacos From Jupiter Save The Day??!? PART EIGHT: Just Another Place To Die.

Here's where this story began, so click that link to read it from the beginning.  

Here is where it ends:








 Jimmy Earwig came in many different variations, just as everyone and everything does.  An infinite number of possibilities, say scientists (but what do they know?) means that everything that ever could have been... is.

Including Negative Jimmy Earwig, who had been sinking into the Great Red Spot of Jupiter, watching with interest as his very existence destroyed things around him, enjoying himself touching selected monsters living on Jupiter and watching them explode, as the Emulsifier shaped and formed over his head, a machine as humongous as it was ridiculous-looking.

He knew what it was for, of course, and he wondered at what point he should touch it and destroy it, ending Other Jimmy Earwig's hopes.

And then he had felt the shift and known that everything had changed, that he was not the destroyer anymore.

Unless he wanted to be.

"That's the thing about negatives," he'd said many times.  "They don't make any sense."

And now, formerly-negative Jimmy Earwig, Negative Jimmy, began walking towards the base of the Emulsifier, heedless of the battle raging above him in the skies of Jupiter.

He had, he knew, only a few moments.  So little time to do what he loved so much: destruction.

So little time to prevent this machine from working.

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




"Why do you want to die?" asked Darth, her own daring at questioning the God she had adopted a belief in years ago amazing her.

**YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT IT IS LIKE TO LIVE WITH MADNESS, ALONE**

"I have been dead for years, so, no, I do not."

**TERRORS USED TO MOVE IN MY NIGHTMARES, AND ALL MY DREAMS WERE NIGHTMARES, AND I COULD NOT STOP DREAMING.**

"And so you will destroy everyone?  To end your own torment?"


**I SAID USED TO**

The lights flickered warningly, flashing brightly enough that Darth had to shield her eyes.  The room, if it was a room she was in, seemed to tilt.  Zero was angry.   She floated, feeling herself off-kilter.


**NOW THEY ARE GONE**

"And so you are better?"

**YES.  BUT I CANNOT RISK THAT THEY WILL COME BACK.  WHICH IS WHY I MUST CONTINUE THE PROCESS**


Darth thought she heard something somewhere.  She could not be sure.  The lights, though, in the distance -- did they blink? Were they running over to one side?

"The process..." she began.  There was a sound, something besides her and Zero, here.  "The process... of destroying everything?"


**WHEN EVERYTHING IS GONE, THERE WILL BE NOTHING TO BOTHER ME.  THE DESTRUCTION HAS CURED MY DEMENTIA.  I AM NOT TORMENTED BY DEMONS ANYMORE.  I CANNOT LET THEM RETURN.**

"If you let everything die, you will be more alone than ever."


**BUT I WILL NOT BE FRIGHTENED**

"Won't you?"

The lights went dark, just for a moment, then came back on.


**I WILL NOT**

"You cannot be sure of that."

**I WILL NOT**

"You..." Darth stared at the lights.  "You are still scared."

It took a moment for her to realize what that meant.  She heard the noise again, more clearly now.  It was the sound of an avalanche, almost -- the low rumble of a part of the universe collapsing onto another part of it.


**DO YOU STILL WANT TO MAKE A BARGAIN**

Darth wondered what options she might have.

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



The four men, on the trip to Jupiter, took on their roles as Archetypes, moving into the creations they usually just allowed other people to inhabit.  And so shortly, The Artist, The Writer, The Teacher, and The Thinker stood on the top of the machine, their ogre panting behind them.

"That thing can move," The Writer said, taking off his red helmet.  "You'll have to teach me how to make one."

"Maybe I will," The Artist said, "If you'll quit slicing mine apart."

"Sorry about that," The Writer said.  "I was feeling a little grumpy."

"This thing is not going to work," said The Thinker.  He was staring at the machine, examining it as best he could.  It was a thousand times larger than any apparatus ever created by humans before, and yet was dwarfed by the planet it stood on, in the shadow of more moons than were strictly necessary and lit by the explosions of the battle cruiser that was looming, crippled and crashing, far above them.  The four men...?... ignored the space battle.

"I drew it exactly as I was told, with only minor improvements as necessary," The Artist said.  "It will work exactly as intended."

"Something has changed, though," The Thinker said.  "It will not work."

"I thought I was the one who was supposed to be pessimistic," The Writer said.  He looked up at the sky.  "Not that that takes much work."

"Let's fix it, then," said The Teacher.  "Can't be too hard."

"There's no time," said The Thinker.  He stared at the others.  "We've got about one minute left before the disintegration is irreversible."

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


 Negative Jimmy cracked his knuckles.

"A push here, a pull there, and this thing will topple," he said.

He charged up his battle armor and felt the power buzz and crackle around him.  Missiles?  he wondered.  Plasma bomb?  Dark energy ray? Or good old fashioned nukes?

So many choices.

He glanced up in the sky where all his opposite-minded counterparts were falling to Jupiter, chased by ravenous carnivorous grapes, their manner of death not left to their own choice.  They would be eaten, or burn on re-entry, or be crushed by the flaming hulk of battle cruiser that would not quite strike the Emulsifier, but they could not choose how they died.

"I can, though..." he breathed, and he felt the power of the possibilities that lay before him.

Plasma bomb, he decided.

It just felt right.

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







"If it will save the universe..." Darth began.

**IT WILL NOT**

Darth floated again, her involuntary kick at the quickness with which Zero had rejected her proposal causing her to float away.

"I ... I..." she stuttered.

It is difficult to stand up to one's God.

"I am not interested in bargaining for anything less," she said.  "You can have me... but you must give up the universes, then."

**YOU ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO MAKE DEALS**

The lights suddenly flared, brighter than ever.  The glimmering twinkling distant lights were lost in the glow of white that she was surrounded by, and she shielded her eyes, noting that the light slowly shifted, running from bright white to a slight yellow, shifting almost imperceptibly.



 **HERE IS WHAT I OFFER**

She watched.  The light around her was all yellow now, a faded slight yellow, like the first glimmer of sunrise.

The twinkling lights approached closer and began spinning, whirling around, the shapes and tracings they formed beginning to show a picture.  She watched as it became more and more solid, and she saw Jimmy, his battle armor glowing, his eyes narrowed with thought, staring up at the machine he had had that madman, The Artist, create.

"Jimmy..." she breathed.  "You're alive..."


**THIS IS NOT YOUR JIMMY.  THIS IS HIS OPPOSITE.  HE PREPARES TO DESTROY THE MACHINE THAT YOUR JIMMY CREATED.**

"So... what are you offering?"


**I NEED THE MACHINE TO WORK.  MY GRAPES ARE DESTROYING ANYTHING THAT WOULD HARM IT.  THEY WILL TEAR HIM TO BITS IN MOMENTS EVEN IF THE MONSTERS DO NOT GET HIM**

"Monsters?"

The scene shifted slightly, a new whorl of patterns showing her a 5 with a bleeding, gaping hole, riding the neck of something that looked like it had been created from the parts of serpents that the Creator had found too distasteful to use on real creatures.  The 5 led a collection of such beasts and was, she saw, entering the Great Red Spot, behind Negative Jimmy.

**LET'S MAKE A DEAL**

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




"The outside ................." said The Thinker, suddenly.

The others looked at him.

The Thinker looked down at the machine and said:

"It will work."

"That's good," said The Teacher.

"No."

The other three looked at The Artist.

"Oh, crap," he said.

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







"We've got air, boys! We've got air!  Get those wings out and spread out!" Ghastly Gray Jimmy glanced at the power meter in the right corner of his screen.  3/4.  It would have to do.  Drawing power from the atmosphere would slow down the autofighter, and he needed that on full.  Powerful ion guns on his back were oriented on the Grapes of Love, which pursued Seal Team Jimmy with a vengeance as the remaining twenty or so survivors formed a perimeter around the Emulsifier. 

Ghastly Gray Jimmy felt the guns pulsate on his back, trusting his computer to protect him.  One-half of his screen was oriented on what was behind him, and that was horrifying: a giant cloud of carnivorous grapes entering the atmosphere of Jupiter followed by a rapidly-deteriorating hulk of a battle cruiser.

The only thing that allowed us to get here ahead of them is that they were burning up as they came after us, Ghastly thought, and thanked every God he could think of for the existence of battle armor.

With that, he headed towards the top of the Emulsifier, his position as the one Jimmy certain to die here making him the temporary leader of this desperate last stand.

He found four men standing there.

No... they weren't men.

They were...  he squinted, and mentally blinked his screen through filters to get to power-level radiation monitoring.

The glows on the screen confirmed it.

Archetypes.

Would they help?

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



"What kind of deal?" Darth asked, her hand quivering.  She wondered if she could get close enough to disable Zero...

... to kill... her God.

**YOU CANNOT**

"What kind of deal?" Darth said, suddenly sobbing.  The images continued: She saw a battle forming on the Great Red Spot, around the machine Jimmy had ordered made, she saw those horrible grapes flying down, and she kept seeing, even with her eyes closed, those monsters.


**I WILL SAVE HIM**

and the room filled with images of the Jimmy who was slowly flying up into the apparatus of the Emulsifier, carefully examining it.

"That's not my Jimmy."


**HE WILL THINK THAT HE IS.  I WILL CHANGE HIM.  I CAN DO THAT.  HE HAS BEEN REVERSED AND HIS TOUCH WILL NOT DESTROY YOU.  IN EVERY RESPECT HE WILL BELIEVE HE IS YOUR JIMMY**


"But I will know the truth."

No answer.

"And I will die anyway -- you will destroy all the universes, and so I and this Jimmy will perish, with everything and everyone else."

No answer.

Darth stared at the blinking lights, still squinting in the yellow glow that was slowly going to a green, shifting again.  She wondered if the colors meant anything or were there to dazzle her, or were incidental.  Jimmy on the screen had gone about one-third of the way up but had stopped and was looking over her shoulder.  The view shifted to show her the 5, and she cried harder.

She did not want anyone to die, but particularly not any of the Jimmys, all of whom, she knew, were more or less the same person, just slightly different each time.  Each one of them had the tiny ineffeable essence that made Jimmy Earwig who he was.

Who she had loved, in life and in death.


**IN EXCHANGE YOU GIVE ME YOUR LOVE**

The words broke Darth's reverie.

"My what?"


**YOUR LOVE**

Darth's mind broke, a little, and she dove to the floor, pounding her delicate fist against it hard enough to cause her to rebound off into the air, drifting now through an ambient yellow-green glow in which she could see the monsters begin to move towards Negative Jimmy.

"You had my love.  You had it.  I worshipped you and told others of you and preached in your name and prayed to you and loved you like nobody ever loved their God and now you are MAD and destroying the universe and you want me to love you again?"  Darth's speech broke down into ragged sobs.


**YOUR LOVE FOR HIM**

Darth buried her head in her hands, floating curled into a fetal position, not understanding.

**IF I CHANGE HIM TO THINK HE IS JIMMY EARWIG, HE MAY SAVE THE UNIVERSE YET.  I AM WILLING TO TAKE THAT RISK, BUT ONLY IF I LOVE HIM THE WAY YOU DO.  IF YOU GIVE ME YOUR LOVE FOR HIM, I WILL CHANGE HIM TO THE MAN YOU LOVE, AND WE WILL SEE IF HE CAN SAVE YOU... AND EVERYONE.**

Mad! Darth thought fleetingly but she did not even hesitate.

"Take it," she gasped through her tears.  "Take it and make him save us."


**IT WILL BE DONE**

 There was a wrenching, a pulling, in her mind, nothing physical but she could imagine scenes and thoughts and emotions and kisses and orgasms being torn from her, nights spent sweaty in a bed with Jimmy underneath her, days spent eating lunch and talking, drives on the moons of Mars in a rover, the ring she had found in his barracks the other day.

She screamed as it all left her mind.

The colors around her began to shift to blue.  The battle raged on in the image in front of her.  The lights in the distance twinkled, and as those things happened her love for Jimmy Earwig was taken from her with her consent.

And poured into a deranged, paranoid, immensely powerful interdimensional supercomputer.

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



 With a road, 5 led its snake-beast into the machine and its monsters began tearing at it.  5 let them do that while he sought out Jimmy Earwig, who was in the center of the machine, staring at something he couldn't quite understand and wishing he'd been given a moment's more time when he felt the beast lunge at him.

A quick spur of his thumb triggers and his neutral-g's pushed him away.  Even as he did that he popped blades out of nearly every surface of the suit.  Grab me now, he thought, and the blades pulsed with electricity.

In front of him stood 5, still bleeding ochre from the gap where it had pulled off the negative sign it now aimed at Negative Jimmy.  Around it and below it swarmed the stuff of nightmares, the threat worse than the numbers itself: every half-formed, middle-of-the-night, worst-case-scenario creature that had ever existed.

The Amygdalans were here.

From primitive times forward, in every universe, man's brain had the ability to form thoughts that man could not recognize as a thought -- those fears and sorrows that made his skin crawl and made him jerk awake from near-sleep, the sounds that were echoed in bumps in the night and faraway auto brakes squealing and the night terrors of a tiny baby in the hospital, those impressions just outside the vision that made one make the sign of the cross or clutch a lucky totem or utter a quick prayer.

Those creatures had always been the work of Seal Team i, which had for eons now been imprisoning them in a faraway universe, the reason the team had been created.  The Amygdalans could not exist in our worlds, the world of reasoning creatures -- they spread terror before them like a tsunami and shook the minds of people like an earthquake, and wherever they went they rent the fabric of existence and warped the laws of reality, setting themselves up as queens and demigods and dragons and monsters, demanding tribute, torturing, ruling, killing.

And they were back, let loose by this monster of a number.

"DIE!!!" 5 screamed and his snake-thing lunged again, grabbing Jimmy despite the thorn-studded battle armor's electrified jolt causing it to shake and shudder.  Jimmy blasted into the mouth of the thing, lasers pulsing over and over until he could see through the back of its head, and arcs of power coursed along its body and it let him go, and he fell to the ground, the last act of his now-dead battle armor being to shield his body from the fall.   He stripped it off as 5 leapt from his now-dead steed and stood in front of him.

The negative sign it wielded was as sharp as a sword and it wasted no time.  It lunged at Jimmy and stabbed him in the side, then again, before he could react.  Jimmy pressed one hand against the larger wound, already gasping for breath.  He heard jetpacks and wondered if the others would reach him, and grabbed a broken blade off of his armor, the blade slicing his own hand.  He ignored it.

"I'm not dying yet," he said, and gritting his teeth, dove directly at 5, slashing downward with the blade he held, hitting a deep blow on the number, slicing into it as hard as he could.  The blade cut so deeply into his own hand that he could not hold it anymore and he let go, wrestling his arms around the number and trying to pull it to the ground.

It fell atop him and he was looking up through the bend.  As 5 thrashed and tried to hit him with the negative sign again, he saw the Amygdalans, so horrible he could scarcely look at them, climbing the tower of the Emulsifier.  He saw two Jimmys in battle armor coming at him.

"Don't worry about me!" he yelled, his voice barely audible over the din.  They began shooting, though, and paid no attention to him.  Phasers blasted 5 and some hit him, too, and they pelted the ground around him.  Negative Jimmy pushed at 5, which lifted him up as a shield and Jimmy stared in horror as two of the Amygdalans turned on the Jimmys who were rescuing him.

One Jimmy stopped firing abruptly as some sort of collection of tentacles layered with eyeballs enveloped him and disappeared. Just disappeared.

The other was shot through by a million tiny darts from some sort of cactus-man, and fell to the ground, 

5 stabbed Jimmy all the way through the back, the negative sign piercing upwards through his heart, which stopped beating. 

5 dropped the body to the ground.  It looked at both of them.  One had a gaping square hole in his chest and was covered with blood.  The other was a ghastly gray and lay there, already well into rigor mortis.

"Get 'em out of here," 5 said.

It looked up to watch the Amygdalans it commanded beginning to dismantle the Emulsifier.

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




"He's dead," The Writer said.

"There's no time to change anything else," said The Teacher.  "Not if we want to do it right."

"It's too bad there's nobody here who wouldn't care about the quality and would simply whip something out that even if it didn't make sense it would at least wrap this up in a better way," agreed The Artist.

"The outside...is inside..........." The Thinker said.

"What do you keep mumbling about?" asked The Writer.  He put his red knight's helmet on.  "I guess it's up to me."

The Teacher put his hand on The Writer's arm.

"No," he said.  "There is one other."

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



 Darth sat, huddled, none of her love for Jimmy in her mind.  She wondered how long she would remember having loved him, that feeling.

She felt hollowed out and wanted to throw up.

**I WILL CHANGE HIM NOW**

She looked at the screen and said, softly, almost inaudibly, in the blue glow that was shifting to purple,  "It's too late.  He's dead."

The lights flickered and went dark, then came on again and then flickered again.

Darth wondered how she would get back home, and then realized it did not matter, anyway.

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



The Grapes were here, now, and they were swarming over the Amygdalans, a battle beyond compare as monster tore into monster, giant hands made entirely of glass swatting at carnivorous specks that riddled them with holes.  The battle roved over the structure of the Emulsifier, the Amygdalans being spurred on by 5 to tear the machine apart, the Grapes trying to stop that.

Above it, the Archetypes stared at The Thinker and then The Artist turned to The Teacher and said "This is no time for movie quotes."

"Every time is a time for movie quotes."

A breeze spun lazily over them, and their hair swished in it.

"Look down there," The Teacher said.

A mile or so below them at the base of the machine, Negative Jimmy stirred.

"She's done it, I think," The Teacher said.

"Who? Who's done it?" The Artist demanded.

"Do you think you're the only two who can plot something?  We had some things going here, too," The Teacher said.  "You've got to be thinking, two, three, four steps ahead of this stuff."

He clapped The Thinker on the back.  "She did it!"

The Thinker didn't smile back.  "The outside is inside...so the inside is out."


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

Negative Jimmy was no longer dead, but no longer wearing battle armor, either.  Above him, a thousand nightmares wrestled for control of the machine, and he knew what he had to do.  He began climbing again, knowing where he was headed for.

He was a hundred feet off the ground when a wounded Seal flew towards him.  "I... they got me..." the man said to Jimmy.

"Help me," Negative Jimmy said.  He motioned the man over.

"Jetpack," Negative Jimmy said.  The man stripped it off, his chest heaving.  "Thanks," Negative Jimmy said.  "Maybe I'll see you again."

He flew up as quickly and fast as he could, acutely aware that he was flying into an apocalyptic battle and he was unarmed.  He didn't need to get far into it, just far enough to get to where he'd seen the object.

There it was.  He grabbed it.  It was small, smaller than his fist, but glowed so beautifully, so brightly.  It was made up layers upon layers, each folded inside itself, a billion layers of stuff so wonderful he could scarcely name it.  If diamonds had babies and those babies were demigods made of clouds, it would not be as wonderful as this object was.

But it also would not be as terrible.

He felt his heart beat, just once.

I'm not truly alive yet, he thought.

He clutched the tiny egg to his chest and looked above him.  His heart beat a second time.

That was enough.  Everything above him heard it, somehow, felt the beating of what he thought was his heart but was not. 

The egg glowed.

"I live so that I can die," he said to himself.  Then, louder,


MALIS AB!

he shouted, and dove to the ground, his jetpack screaming as he pushed it as fast as he could go.

The Grapes caught him first, biting at his ears and eyes and hands, and he clutched at the universe-destroying Egg.

Up above, unbeknownst to him, The Teacher yelled at The Writer:

"NOW! Go pull the lever!" and the Artist and The Writer swung down on the space ogre, heading for the activation lever that was surrounded by three ragged Seals who were near death.

Jimmy saw the ground approaching.

An Amygdalan he could not see grabbed his legs, spun him up.  His jet pack thrashing furiously, he stared into a cavernous mouth lined with teeths that were each alive themselves and had their own mouths.

He clutched the egg tighter, alone in a whirl of Grapes chanting love love love and eating him alive and felt himself thrown into the maw of the monster.

His heart beat a final time, and the egg detonated, destroying the entire universe just like that.

(For that is what Blutonian Death Eggs do)

And as it did The Artist and The Writer threw the lever and the Emulsifier began to spin.

Negative Jimmy's heart burst as the Blutonian Death Egg was intended to do -- destroying his heart, which because of the reversal contained the entire universe inside it-- and from the heart of Negative Jimmy sprang forth every universe that had ever been, spreading out and expanding.  The universes grew and grew, bubbles forming and taking on life, sucking in everything around them except the Emulsifier itself, which spun them off into the nethers, the void that had previously surrounded them being chewed by the energy that continued to pour from the Blutonian Death Egg.

The Artist and The Writer clung to the lever, helped by the three Jimmys.

Amygdalans, grapes, Jimmys, numbers, starships ,planets, supernova, supermarkets, cars oceans whales nebula magazines spun by in a whirl, the universes regaining their size and expanding in a billionth of a billionth of a second as the energy from the Blutonian Death Egg caused them to be reborn and recreated from the heart of Jimmy Earwig and in moments too scant for most people to notice, it was over.

"The inside is back out," The Thinker said.

He and The Teacher looked down at The Writer and The Artist, down below, still pulling on the lever.  The Emulsifier stood alone on a Jupiter that sat in its own universe.  If one squinted, one could see the shades of other universes still flying outwards from the now-quiet Emulsifier.

"You can probably stop doing that now," The Thinker said to the men struggling with the lever.  "It worked."

"So," The Teacher said.  "Everything is fixed?"

"Oh, no," The Thinker said.  "Everything is not fixed.  Not by a long shot."

The Artist, The Writer, and The Space Ogre, joined them atop the platform.

"We will survive, for now," The Thinker said.

"But there is still an insane supercomputer out there, somewhere.  And the Amygdalans have been freed.  And these new universes may not be stable - -this Emulsifier may be needed again.  And people have been flung into lives they did not expect and lost their old lives."

"But we saved the multiverses," protested The Writer, lifting his helmet off.

"For now..." The Thinker said. 












THE PEOPLE IN THIS STORY IN SOME CASES CAME FROM BOOKS BY OTHER AUTHORS, WHO LET ME USE THEM WITH THEIR PERMISSION.  THEY ARE:

Andrew Leon, who came up with the concept of "The Imagination Room," and whose characters from the book "The House On The Corner" appear briefly herein.  "The Imagination Room," in this story, is the portal.

Make sure when you start reading it that you've set aside the whole day. You won't want to stop.


Rusty Webb, who created The Blutonian Death Egg.  I don't know if I got it right.   But until he publishes his own story with his own (real) Blutonian Death Egg, that's what I did with it.

Seriously, this book is too good to NOT have a sequel yet.



P.T. Dilloway, whose Scarlet Knight is more of a hero than a villain and would never slice off the arm of Rusty's ogre, although P.T. might.

If you liked comics, you'll love these wonderfully-written prose superhero stories.  


And Michael Offutt, who created the insane supercomputer Zero and whose world-building is so incredibly good that I can only shrug in comparison and say "Eh, at least I can rip off your characters."

Michael is smart enough to link these pictures together. And the books are worth three times what you'll pay.


Read their stuff.  It's really good.

Look for more Seal Team i adventures coming up in the future.

3 comments:

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

So I at least get partial credit for saving the universe, right? Where's my parade?!

Rusty Webb said...

Wait, did I become God there for a minute? It really kind of feels like I did.

I really don't have words for this. Really. Damn.

Andrew Leon said...

I don't have any words either. I think you used them all.
My mind is all like "wow..."

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