Many Worlds Chapter 65
Jules and Douglas found Robert and Isaac on the next floor up. “Learn anything interesting?” Jules asked.
Robert shook his head. “Not really. There seem to be instructional videos for this machinery here, but my grasp of the language isn’t good enough to get any of it. Though, that’s to be expected for any kind of technology at this point.”
“Oh, we were hoping you might be able to help us with something tech related, actually. We have a video demonstrating… portals, it seems. The video cuts off abruptly at the end, and we’re not sure why, we were hoping to slow down the video at the end to see if something hit the camera or something. Besides, the portals look pretty cool so you should see it.”
“Well, I might actually be able to do something about that. Although I’m not that great at their actual language yet… I’m starting to understand the machine’s language.” He tapped his head. “Technopathy, and all that.”
“Good, let’s go.” Jules headed for the elevator. When it was on a different floor, there was a nearby call button, and the barriers around the edge were up. Presumably, this prevented accidents from happening. There was also a floor where the elevator went through, so it wasn’t possible to see to other levels most of the time. It was rather strange, and though it put elevators in useful locations, it also meant that they were sometimes in the way.
As Robert started fiddling around with the system, Jules enhanced his Luck. It shouldn’t hurt, in any case. As far as he could tell, more Luck made things that happened better… while more Quantum Flux just made more improbable things happen. Though, he wasn’t really sure how that translated into affecting the real world at all. Still, it shouldn’t hurt.
Robert concentrated, intentionally avoiding some options. “That one is probably delete. I’m not sure, and it might not work, but it feels like it so I’ll stay away.” The video played while he tried things, so that he would know whether he was affecting anything. However, merely selecting it from the list had started it. This was why Jules wasn’t confident in figuring out what to press. There were various unknown symbols, and he didn’t know which were to interact with the videos in the ways he understood- pausing, moving forward and backwards, or whether they even used those kinds of interactions. There was also the possibility that he would be manipulating the file. Deleting it, moving it, renaming it. Some of those would be more problematic than others, so he had decided to be cautious. Robert had a special ability that was relevant, so he was the best choice.
“Ah, this is it, I think.” Robert had found some hidden options. Well, perhaps not hidden exactly, but not always on screen. The video paused, unpaused, and skipped around to various points as Robert messed with it. Finally, he found options for forward and reverse… and a way to slow it down. He navigated to the last portion. It was only a few hundredths of a second, which just meant it looked weird when seeing it at normal speed. The first thing Robert managed was pausing it partway through.
“Yeah… it looks kind of like a broken lens? There are cracks everywhere, but it’s strange.”
Next Robert managed to make it play through the last bit over the course of about a second. Cracks spiderwebbed across the video. “Well, it’s not glass cracking,” Robert said, “Glass cracks so quickly you wouldn’t be able to see it moving like that. Not at about 30 times slower. I think, anyway.”
Robert moved to just before the cracking started. “Okay, now it should be about 300 times slower. Maybe.”
At the current point, the robot was carrying something toward the portal. Then, something rippled across the portal. Robert stopped and reversed the video a tiny amount. He paused it when the something was partway past. “It’s… weird”
Douglas looked at it. “It’s between sides.” All that could be seen was something like a shadow, perhaps a limb or something longer than it was wide. Either way, it crossed the whole portal. Not through it from either side, but across. In the direction where there was no space. However, there was obviously a 3-dimensional something blocking vision… though there wasn’t much light on it, so it wasn’t easy to see details. It just looked black. The moment it appeared in the video, cracks started.
The cracks appeared on the portal itself. Then, they started spreading from there. Douglas thought he saw them spreading on the other side as well. On the close side, they spread through the air, and the ground. With three hundredths of a second extended out to ten seconds, the cracks spread almost slowly. One went through the robot, bisecting it, but it didn’t fall apart. There hadn’t been any time. Instead… its two halves just seemed to be further from each other than before… even though there was also nothing in between them.
Robert just replayed the whole scene a few times. Nobody was saying anything. Then, he sighed. “Well, that doesn’t look good.”
“I feel you are severely underestimating the gravity of the situation,” Isaac said.
Jules nodded. “It looks like we might want to avoid portals, if we ever find any. I suppose it’s good there aren’t any here right now.”
Douglas just continued to ponder in silence.
“How big of an area do you think got… broken?” Isaac asked.
Jules shook his head. “I don’t know. We’d have to learn to understand the language, and find some later information.”
Robert shrugged. “Well… we can play the next video. That might tell us something.”
The video did, indeed, tell them something. It showed the portal being set up, with the frame being placed. They didn’t learn much of anything from the video itself… except that the first video seemed to be the most recent one that this computer had.