What would you do if you could do anything?
.00001 Nano-Seconds Later - Fox - Earth/Lodestone
Doc-Danger hits the black hole with a blast of unreality. It flickers, shudders. The space gods on the surface are ripped into sparkles of pure information. Our bodies reform, but reluctantly. The guys around us look worried. They should be. That was a warning shot.
“Okay!” I say. “This is just a misunderstanding. Everybody just needs to calm down.”
“Alright.” says High Roller. He lights a joint.
“Good start.” I say. “But, we need to tell Doc-Danger to calm down.”
“Good idea.” says High Roller. “Go do that.”
“Yeah, maybe you should.”
“I don’t think seeing me would calm him down. We did not part on good terms.”
“Did you have to threaten to kill him?” I ask.
“Yeah, okay, you should probably hang back.”
“Why don’t you go?” says High Roller. “He likes you.”
“Yeah, but, I’m not sure I’m me.” I say. “The real me may be dead, and I’m just an artificial construct that thinks I’m me.”
“Oh.” says High Roller. “Well, look at it this way - either you’re you, or you’re not.”
“So, if you’re you, he’ll be happy to see you.” says High Roller. “And if you’re not, then you’re replaceable.”
“Yeah, I don’t like that plan.” I say.
“I’m interested in hearing alternatives.” says High Roller.
We take another blast. This time only High Roller and I reform.
“Take your time.” says High Roller.
“Fuck!” I say.
The sparkles form a swirling vortex that stretches towards Doc-Danger.
“Damn it, I better get up there.” I say.
I THINK NOT.
I square on Lodestone. Kinda. It’s hard to square on a black hole. I kick off, float between her and Doc-Danger.
“I won’t let you hurt him.” I say.
YOUR FATHER HAS KILLED US A BILLION TRILLION TIMES. WE’RE DONE FIGHTING. WE’RE GOING TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
Megacles arises from the swirl of sparkles. She soars towards Doc-Danger.
SIT WITH ME. TAKE SHELTER IN THE SHADOW OF THE MIGHTY ONE.
Goddamn. They want to eat the Earth. Doc destroyed the universe. I’ve been reborn. I won’t let anyone kill my dad. They didn’t kill the Man in the Mask.
This better work.
I watch Doc-Danger and Megacles drift towards each other until they are close enough to touch. Ugly cracks in reality surround Doc-Danger. He’s bowed by the weight of a dead universe, but still strong enough to destroy another. He’s a ghastly sight, but Megacles stares at him hungrily. The sparkles around her are agitated. Eager to descend.
“Who are you?” Doc-Danger asks.
“You know who I am.”
“I know who you look like.” says Doc-Danger. “And I know you eat people. I figure you’re the monster that ate her.”
She smiles. “Does it matter?”
Doc-Danger scowls. The cracks in reality get wider.
Megacles smiles wider. “If I’m not Megacles, then everyone you love is dead.”
Doc hangs his head. The cracks thin.
Megacles is practically vibrating with eagerness. “Do you want to live in that reality?”
The cracks seal. “No.”
“Then don’t.” Megacles pounces. The sparkles descend, consume them both, and are consumed by Lodestone.
AH HA HA HA!!!!
Lodestone consumes the Earth, consumes the Milky Way, consumes me. From inside her I watch Lodestone greedily gorge on trillions of galaxies. At this rate, she will consume the entire universe in seconds.
Seconds later, it’s done.
I float in one of the infinite infoverses. Lodestone joins me.
“Hey.” I say. “What now?”
WE’VE DESTROYED THE GREAT FILTER. MADE PEACE WITH THE END OF EVERYTHING. NOW WE DO WHATEVER WE WANT.
I think of Ibok’s will. Remember that Lodestone plays as a prisoner.
“You want to burn a hole in reality.”
“You don’t need my permission.”
ACTUALLY, I DO.
I stretch my true sight. See that Lodestone is having similar conversations with many, many space gods. Of course. The 4th cosmic power requires some cooperation.
“You need to travel time to escape this reality.”
YES. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN.
“We’re leaving through the Big Bang?”
ALL OF US.
“Not good enough. We’re going back to the start of time. Let’s pick up everybody who has ever died on the way by. Bring them with us.”
THAT WOULD BE DIFFICULT.
BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE.
Time starts rushing backwards. More people join us every reverse second.
Well, I’m not sure where we’re sailing, but I couldn’t ask for a better crew.