Many Worlds Chapter 67
A few months passed. More wristbands for Many Worlds were released, but numbers of people playing went up and down. It had to be admitted that it wasn’t particularly enthralling as a game in the long term. There were level ups and classes that gave people a very real sense of progression, however there wasn’t any particular direction that players were being guided. This worked for many people, as it allowed them to do what they wanted. However, it wasn’t for anybody.
As for what people wanted to do, some people wanted to explore. This included the various structures that had shown up, as well as the new terrain. Not that exploring the terrain was necessary, but people enjoyed it. Some people even explored the cave systems, which were extremely dangerous. Naturally, most of the time it didn’t end well, but there were always those who would make those choices. It seemed that there were somehow still caves, even though massive earthquakes seemed most likely to flatten out the whole planet and fill in all of the empty space. However, that didn’t happen, and nobody was exactly sure why. Though, the Uesmethi had many theories, it wasn’t something they could really observe during a landshift, since any observation equipment would almost certainly be destroyed.
Though there wasn’t much progress in the caves, besides finding out that they were still somewhat unstable, and as expected full of monsters, the structures continued to reveal their bounty. As time went on, every structure was explored. Some of them were found to be almost the same as others that had been found, but some seemed almost empty, as if they were unfinished, except the outer shell. It also became commonly known that adventurers were the only ones who could open the structures, and also the only ones who could (almost) completely control the facilities. There were various things that worked just fine for Uesmethi, but some computers, using the exact same presses, refused to respond to Uesmethi commands. Then, there were a few that seemed to not respond to any commands at all. That said, people were still very limited in what they had actually managed to do, since most had only a very basic grasp of the language, at best.
Jules’ group was doing better than average, because they happened to know a linguist who was studying at one of the library structures. That and Jules’ Information ability helped their growth speed. Mary’s group was more interested in exploring new areas, so they returned to being separate. However, they would still occasionally work together. Jules group remained studying the language of those who created the wristbands. None of them were exactly interested in the language itself, beyond how interesting it was that all of their characters were symmetric. Instead, they were more interested in the technology… and what had happened to them.
Robin also travelled with them between a few facilities. Her secondary class was technometry, which basically just let her “see” some of the past of an object. That part of it wasn’t particularly powerful at the current point- at best, she could tell who had last been carrying an object. However, it was more useful for determining the relative age of things. That led to some interesting conclusions. The structures seemed to have been built less than seventy years before. It was hard to get an exact number, apparently, but some of them seemed to have been finished later than that.
Jules discussed this with Robin and the rest of his friends. “So, if that time frame is true, and the one on Mars was built around the same time…”
Robin nodded. “That would explain why there was suddenly a new expedition to Mars that may have never been planned to come back. Presumably that one wasn’t buried.”
Douglas continued, “Then the disaster occurred and… as far as we can tell, there hasn’t been further contact. Probably. If we understand their date system correctly, which we might not.”
Jules sighed. “Yeah, it’s really hard to tell. There might be some more voice files after that point, but I can’t really make out anything that’s being said, and I can’t tell anything from the tone of voice either. They could be from some other time too.”
Robert stood in front of the computer, with Jules watching from nearby. Robert seemed to be doing nothing, but Jules knew he was concentrating. Then, Robert typed something in. Then he started almost cackling maniacally. “…Ha! I have succeeded! Unleash your secrets to me!”
“Finally figured out a password or something?”
“Not a password. I just provided myself… administrator access, basically. Here, there were some video files and pictures that weren’t available.” Robert opened a picture… which was just of a planet. Additional pictures seemed to be of the same planet from different angles. “Satellite imagery?”
“Something like that, I guess.”
“Well, that’s something. Maybe this is their planet? I don’t think it’s Uesmeth. Now, for the final event… a dozen of so of the most recent pictures. Because I don’t want to watch a 10 hour video just yet.” Robert started moving through the pictures. At first, they just seemed to be the same thing, the planet. Then a few in, something changed. The angle always changed, but something looked different at the edge of the side that could be seen. Then, the next picture… The planet almost looked blurry. Robert zoomed in. Fortunately, these people had been fond of ridiculously high resolution images and completely unnecessarily large framerates. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been much of anything to be seen in the video of the accident. Zooming in… Both Robert and Jules got a familiar, uncomfortable feeling. There were cracks. The next image showed the cracks spreading further, as the satellite had moved further around the planet, seeing more of the destroyed side. In addition, some of it no longer looked like cracks, but just as if it were turned to dust. This continued, until the entire planet was dust. The cracks spread out beyond the surface of the planet, but stopped not far from it, at least relatively. Then, in the last few images, the cracks faded, leaving behind not a planet, but a half-formed ball of dust.