NaNoWriMo 2022, Fling Thirty-Six

The cabin of the unthinkably-fast sharpness that is called Alpha is not a roomy place. But there is, at least at the time we are describing, room for the Pilot (also known as Alpha, like her ship), the Presence known as Tibbs (a being with no well-defined size or shape, being primarily a shimmering in the aether, and therefore not requiring much space), and the three young humans Colin (sitting next to the pilot, in what might be a co-pilot’s seat if there was a co-pilot, which there has never been), Kristen, and Steve (the latter two lying side by side supine in the rear of the cabin, looking upward through the transparent canopy at the impossibly pure colors rushing infinitely by, and talking now and then in low tones).

“So if the universes are connected by tendrils,” Colin is saying to the Pilot Alpha, “and we can use the tendrils to pass between universes–“

“Some can,” the Pilot says, her voice coming from somewhere amidst the shiny intricate surfaces of her face or helmet, “we in the Alpha and Omega do not pass to other universes, we only skim into the interstices when we can, for speed.”

“But some can, others can. And that is the difficulty!”

“The difficulty?” the Pilot echoes politely. She has not had passengers, not up here in the cabin at any rate, for a good two thousand years, and although she hopes they will not be with her long, she is rather enjoying the novelty at the moment.

“Yes,” replies Colin, “if the universes are possible worlds, or alternative realities, but we can travel from one to another, well, so — take this universe, say, and imagine that someone arrives in it along the tendrils, from a connected universe.”

“As you four did.”

“Um, yes, however that worked, if that’s what happened. But then! As soon as someone arrives in this universe from elsewhere, there must be another universe, identical to this one up until that point, where they did not arrive, where they changed their mind at the last moment, or simply ceased to exist just before arriving.”

“People do not simply cease to exist,” the pilot says, and small lights within her helmet or her head flash on and off, possibly with amusement, “not everything conceivable is possible.”

“Sure, okay,” Colin responds, enthusiasm undampened, “but it must be possible that they didn’t arrive, so there is a universe where they arrived, and one where they didn’t. There is even an interstice where they passed through from one universe to the other, and then another possible version of the interstice where they turned back half-way. So the interstices themselves are universes, or parts of universes, and have alternates. The entire set of universes, channels, and interstices that I am able to reach, are a single universe, which must exist in an infinite number of alternates, in each of which I make different choices, have different experiences.”

“If I understand you,” Tibbs says, shimmering from where the canopy meets the control panel, “you want separate universes to count as separate only if the two cannot interact in any way. So no being can touch more than one, because otherwise they would themselves link together all the universes that they touch, and they would collapse into one.”

“That way of seeing it matches the mathematics as well,” Pilot Alpha agrees, “at least some mathematics that I could show you. It is not strictly correct to say that the universes are connected through tendrils passing through the interstices; we should say rather that the universe, this universe, consists of innumerable planes or realms, connected through tendrils passing through interstices.”

“Right, right!” says Colin, “exactly what I’m saying. All of these universes, or things that we call universes, are just one universe in fact. The unthinkably huge number of other universes are, by definition, out of our reach. We can conceptualize or model them, some tiny fraction of them, but we can never touch or change them. When the mycelia and gravity channels connect the planets and stars, and the reality tendrils connect the … the planes, as you said, they bind them all into one, causally, into one transitive closure.”

“God, he’s so Colin,” Kristen laughs quietly into Steve’s ear, and he pulls her a little closer as they watch the colors of time speeding past.

“He always is,” Steve says softly back, and lightly bites her ear.

Beside Alpha, and sometimes briefly coming into view as Steve and Kristen gaze upward, the sharpness Omega speeds in parallel. When they’d first met the Pilot Alpha after emerging from that last portal, they had asked about Omega sitting in the other service cradle, and its presumable pilot; but Alpha had only shaken her head, and hinted darkly that those were questions whose answers they did not want to receive. Their one glance at the being in the Omega’s cabin had been unsettling at best.

“Are you happy, babe?” Steve asks Kristen now, and immediately regrets it.

“How could I not be? This is amazing. The most sophisticated virtuality ever, or some crazy quest through the true nature of reality, or something,” she says. She turns and looks at him, wondering what’s in his mind. “And with the best boyfriend ever.”

He blushes.

Now Tibbs and Colin and the Pilot are discussing their most promising route from the next service stop (in a day? a week? a year?) to the multiple confluence that Tibbs insists they should find for unstated but interesting reasons. She wonders how long it will take to get there, and what time is about here, anyway.

“I do worry about our bodies, and our friends and parents, back in the real. If this isn’t the real. Or… you know?”

Steve nods. “I know, me too. But here we are.”

“Here we are.”

Fling Thirty-Seven

3 Responses to “NaNoWriMo 2022, Fling Thirty-Six”

  1. Yep…there they worries they are in their moment seemingly all together:)

    Liked by 2 people



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