Many Worlds Chapter 56
The journey to the structure was rather routine, at least from Jules’ perspective. That didn’t stop Robin from panicking the first time she saw a monster. Jules couldn’t really blame her, though, since it was a pretty horrifying thing. She probably hadn’t expected things that appeared to be actual monsters, and not just large animals. Of course, combat wasn’t the reason she had entered Many Worlds. She was interested in exploring historical ruins. That was what they were planning to do next, except calling where they were going ruins would be incorrect. Instead, it was merely an unoccupied facility.
They made it to the facility before evening. This made it relatively close as planetary scales went, but significantly outside of the safe zone. The group approached the structure, or more specifically the visible piece on the top. They had supposed that all four sides could open into a door, so they intentionally approached a different face. Isaac took the front, but when he was about to reach his hand out to touch the structure, it opened. “Strange,” he noted.
“What’s strange?” asked Professor Merkot.
“Well, last time we had to touch it for a door to open.”
“Where did the wall go?” Robin asked.
“It just merged into the wall next to it. At least, that’s the way these things appear to function.”
After everyone gathered on the elevator, which was fortunately quite large, Professor Merkot spoke. “I’d be interested in first seeing the library you spoke of, and the computer.”
Robert nodded, and moved to operate the control panel, but the elevator activated before he touched anything. “Umm… that didn’t happen before.” Although it was a strange occurrence, the group arrived on the correct floor, so Robert just shrugged.
Jules first showed Professor Merkot a book pulled out of the wall. While Merkot studied the strange properties of the book and its materials, Robin wandered the halls, not that there was far to go. “This material has fantastic qualities. Does it tear?”
Jules shrugged. “I don’t know, I didn’t particularly want to try. Maybe we can find a corner without any text on it.” That wasn’t a particularly hard project, but since the writing was on both side of the paper it also wasn’t trivial. They didn’t seem particularly interested in leaving a large margin of space on the edge of their papers- or whatever the best name for what they wrote on was. That said, because the text was always the same size and recognizably separated into sections. Thus, occasionally, there was empty space on both sides of a page. Jules found one, and pulled on the corner.
Jules had expected some things from his attempt. One, that it would be extremely hard or impossible to tear, and the other that it would somehow still tear by paper if it tore at all. Instead, it seemed to peel away. That is, Jules ended up with a small piece of material in his hand. It didn’t have ragged edges, nor was it curved. Instead, it was a square, as if he had perfectly cut it out. Jules had a thought… and placed it back where the empty space was. It seamlessly reattached, and he honestly couldn’t tell he had done anything in the first place. He demonstrated this for the others.
Douglas then had the idea to “poke” some out of the middle. Remarkably, a section came out. Then he rotated it and put it back in. Because of the peculiarities of the language it wasn’t possible to tell that anything had changed, since rotated characters still looked the same, though Douglas pointed out that people who could actually read it would probably notice that the spelling of a few words became completely messed up. He then put it back the way it was before.
Professor Merkot was still looking over the text. “Fascinating. It’s nothing like our language, or any of the languages we had in the past. Nor do I recognize this style of architecture, and this technology is very different as well. The only thing that I have seen like it is… one of those ‘respawn points’ that you humans appear from. Is this your writing?”
Jules shook his head. “No. Actually, the technology that brought us here was not developed by us. We got this technology from a nearby planet.”
“Fascinating. You have had contact with other species before us?”
Jules shook his head. “Just their technology.” Plus Herbert, who might still count as a piece of technology even if he was also a sapient being.
“Umm…” Robin spoke in English, “I don’t remember anything about that in the lore I read for this game. Where did you hear that?”
Jules turned toward her. “Do you want the simple explanation, or the complicated explanation?”
“What’s the simple one?”
“I made it up as a semi-plausible explanation.”
“… What’s the complicated explanation?”
“The expedition to Mars found alien technology, including an AI, and the government managed to transfer that data back to Earth. They created the game Many Worlds as a cover, and the wristbands transport our consciousnesses to new bodies created by the ‘respawn points’ which were somehow already on other, real planets.” Jules shrugged. “Presumably they’re on other planets besides Uesmeth, or the name Many Worlds will be a lie. Not that the government doesn’t do that.” Then Jules went back to casually playing with the book in his hand. He actually “tore” it in half, before sticking the two halves back together.
Robin stared, not sure what to say, and too confused to really say anything. Douglas sighed. “What are you doing, Jules?”
“Playing with an alien book.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
“I know, but I’m playing with an alien book.” Jules turned to face Douglas. “Look at this.” He let go of the book, but it floated in the air. Then, the spine split and it turned into a collection of individual pages. “I’m playing with an alien book using telekinesis. Is it a problem to tell people this is real?”
“Real?” Robin tilted her head.
“Show me your wrist.” Robin held out her left hand. “Your other wrist.” Jules paused after she held up her right hand. “Nevermind. You’re left handed?” As she held up her left hand again, the wristband very briefly appeared as Jules fiddles with it. “Have fun.”
Isaac just shrugged, and Robert sighed.
“Eh, I guess I don’t have any right to judge how you use your abilities, based on mine…” Douglas said as he displayed a bit of black fire on his fingertip. “Just be more careful about that, will you?” Jules shrugged noncommittally.