There’s always a better answer. You’re not stupid til you stop looking for it.
- Mr. Brightside
3 Weeks Later - Doc-Danger - Alien Planet (Orbit)
We’re drifting by the Eho Warp Party. A rather beautiful space city. Probably. Could be a space station.
“Is this a space city, or space station?” I ask.
“Space city.” says High Roller.
“What’s the difference? They both travel through warp portals.”
“Space stations spin to create a simulated gravity. They orbit planets, or stars, but can’t land on them.” says High Roller. “Space cities always land on planets, and use their gravity.”
“Huh. Okay, what if they don’t spin, and sometimes land?” I ask.
“That would be a space ship.” says High Roller.
“Cool.” I say. “I learned something.”
“I’m learning too.” He points down at Eho City. “There’s sixteen warpers down there with identical brains.”
“Maybe they’re a friendly hive mind.” I say.
“Nope. They’re Halfmen. Infiltrators.” says High Roller.
“Dammit. I’ll wake up Eve and Fox.” I say. “How are we going to kill all sixteen at once?”
“Actually, I think I can dust them from here.” says High Roller.
“Hmm. I like your confidence, but I don’t have confidence in it.” I say. “Have you pulled something from Pandora’s Sandbox?”
“Is it ready?”
“Meow? What the fuck does meow mean?”
“Are you making cat noises to avoid my question?”
“Woof.” High Roller closes his eyes. I feel the probability of intergalactic calamity rise to certainty. 16 pinhole portals form. A million miles away, 16 brains implode into nuclear pasta. Intergalactic calamity is still brewing. I give it a tentative push towards unlikely. The probability wave collapses.
High Roller opens one eye. “Are we still here?”
“Yes.” I say. “No thanks to you, asshole.”
“Agreed. That algorithm needs more work.” says High Roller. “Do we have any retaliation inbound?”
“Then it was an unqualified success! Let’s get wasted!”
We wake the rest of the crew. They think High Roller’s pretty smart. Assholes. We fly the Rumor down to Eho. Slip it in as Floor 13.5 of a luxury love hotel. My crew is off to crush this town. I say I need to work. I really need to think.
Soon enough, I’m looking at my twelfth empty beer can. Dammit. I haven’t thought of anything. I fire the can at the Man in the Mask. It disappears before it hits him.
The doorbell rings. I didn’t know we had a doorbell. A portal opens, a neutronium woman walks through. She’s wearing a tattered flight suit. I’m not sure if she’s lost a war, or if distressed air force uniforms are normal apparel here. I can kind of see her vagina. She’s probably been in fight. Or, maybe not. She looks happy and chill. A hint of labia could be the style here. I know it’s popular back home.
“Sorry.” I say. “This room is invite only.”
“You told me to come back.” she says.
I take a closer look at her. She is not made of bioneutronium. She just has a molecular thickness of it around her. I try to look deeper, but I’m stopped by body autonomy algorithms that are identical to mine. What the fuck? Oh!
“Hello Stinger.” I say. "It's nice to see you again."
"Likewise. Sorry I’m late. You’re a hard guy to track down.” She unzips the front of her flight suit. “I wanted to thank you for everything you’ve done.”
She reaches inside her suit and pulls out a huge data crystal. It’s practically pulsing with information. Or, maybe that’s my heart.
“What is this?” I whisper.
“The wealth of nations.” she says. “The secrets of the warpers. All of them.”
“How did you get this?” I’m crying.
“It wasn’t that hard. You have more friends than you could possibly imagine.”
I hold my cheeks. “It’s Fox… He’s the one helping you.”
She smiles. “I heard it was Doc-Danger who held the line at Damocles.”
“Where is Damocles, anyway?” she asks
“Safe.” I say. “I’ve got a friend looking after it.”
She nods. Kisses my cheek. “Look in on them, please. I worry.”
“One last thing.” She reaches into her flight suit again. Pulls out a wad of rumpled, bloodied, notes. “Not all our secrets were easy to get. Finding this was a real bitch.”
I take the notes. Peel them open carefully. They’re crowded with bewildering, disjointed, math. There’s only four words scrawled across it. Weep Not For Me.
“What is this?” I ask.
“The Last Will and Testament of Ibok the Weirding.”