(back to Zool V Chapter Nine)
There was a sudden flash as the eerie agent of FACT transcended into the realspace of the Committee. Three maniacal screams rang out.
Librarian fled. Fast.
The flash was not without effect on the group by the well, either. Artu found himself huddled over See No, but the monkey and the corpse of Rotwang were the only humanoid things to be seen in the clearing. What in smeg was that?
"Act of Dog?" chittered See No Ilev.
There was a massive yawn. "I had nothing to do with it, before you ask," said an immanent voice echoing through the empty precincts of New Oxford. It added, "Oh, dear."
We are here concerned with six dimensions out of the twelve postulated by Standard Grade Sanity Issue Physicists. Length, Breadth, Height, Duration, Quantum, and Absurdity, let us call them. The accuracy of these labels is meaningless, for accuracy is itself a concept born of the mind of one limited species within one limited realm of this tangled web of the omniverse. Imagine the six-dimensional universe with which we are concerned, then, as a tapestry of colour and light. Imagine a single stain upon the beauty of that tapestry. Imagine a dull red blot of ink, out of place, out of shape... but heavier than ink, more like a ball of wax, for it pulls the rest of the tapestry out of shape. This, then, is Zool, Death Planet where the intractable Pedants of Ten Thousand Worlds, but I digress. Now imagine this stain cleaned away, swept down the path of duration into the infinite past. Yet imagine it repeated, not once, but four times. As a fifth distortion of events, a fifth ruination of the pattern sweeps out from Planet Zool, imagine a voice.
Artu, See No Ilev, and God looked about their suddenly rather reduced party.
Well, you're supposed to be omnieverything, if that's not too agonising a tautology, Artu asked, so where are Isidore and the rest?
There was an uncomfortable pause.
"Home... it seems. Isidore is even now filing a report with your employers on Earth... Death is having a cup of tea and thinking about challenging a number of people to games of chess just to scare them... and Eelalog, Prometheus, and Alan-Breck are all back on Planet Zool."
Well get them back here, you lugubrious lummock! Artu coughed- unnecessarily. Um, sorry about that, Your Divine Majesty. Situation getting to me a bit.
"Sorry, I can't..." God mumbled. He paused. "You know, I don't think I've ever had cause to say that before..."
YOU can't? Why not?
~~Because of me.~~ -- WJR
Sorry, said Artu, staring at a large and indefinitely blue object about the size and shape of an old Portaloo standing before them all, because of WHO exactly?
~~I have been summoned out of the shadow universes,~~ pronounced the curious voice, as if it was speaking in reverse. ~~Why so I cannot tell you, only that I wish I was somewhere else. I am in this capsule for my own safety and yours, for it is possible that if I am exposed to the matter of this reality it will come to an end. Or be replaced by something completely different.~~
"Would you mind getting to the point?" said God wearily. "Neep!" added See No. "Don't Like Dei Ex Machina!"
~~Very well. I am-~~ and the voice here made a word that sounded like 'geek' before swallowing and saying, ~~Pardon me, reverse universe. I am Queeg. I am the Anti-God of all Anti-Reality...!~~ The voice paused dramatically. ~~And I would dearly like to know what I'm doing here.~~
"You and me both, Queeg old boy," said God, shrugging. "If you turn my name inside out I just bark."
Would it be possible, Artu squeaked, pointing at a strange occurrence in the sky, for you two Divine Majesties to stop blethering and do something....??? --TL
It's customary to talk about a fast moving vehicle tearing through the air. This is, of course, not really true. Air isn't held to air all that strongly, so it's more a case of pushing through it. It's usually even more inaccurate to talk about 'tearing through space', because there is, as far as we know, no substance to space. Even a warp or hyperspatial drive does not tear space as such, it merely rearranges it a little. A tear in space would be, of necessity, a very bad thing.
The ship which was currently extruding itself into the universe high above the remains of New Oxford was tearing space in order to do so. It was also, quite independently of this, quite plainly a very bad thing. (Because any starship which looks like the skull of a goat with horns and great curling hook-pointed spikes protruding from its eye sockets, nostrils, and mouth requires no conviction for metaphysical vandalism to make it a very bad thing.)
"Er... um." said God.
"Eeeeee!" squealed See No Ilev.
At the risk of being offered tea for the next six months, what the hell's that? yelled Artu, at several times his usual volume. He paused, before turning to God. Get rid of it!
God stared at the artefact. "Um... it won't... er... be got rid of. It seems to want to stay." He looked rather wretched.
You're supposed to be omnipotent!
~~Over his multiverse...~~ commented Queeg from the Portaloo. ~~That is an object from my multiverse. Our version of Satan, you might say.~~ The skullship's spikes tore into the remains of a college, ploughing bricks and mortar and a few old dons who'd not noticed the collapse of human civilisation yet high into the air.
Elsewhere, Librarian sealed a hatch behind him. The rest of the Committee were dead- dead or insane. More insane. Insane in the wrong way. Whatever. The agents of chaos, the dread beings from beyond time known as the Arrpeaji Society had played the game well. Cthulhu, FACT, Saitra... so many others. The game had been played across at least seven dimensions, and Librarian was sure one or two of the counters had been put away in the Settlers' box by mistake.
"Hurry up, Queeg," he hissed, powering up the controls in the small flight deck. Lights began to flash, and a display lit up, showing the ravening skullship's devastation of New Oxford. Slowly, ponderously, the Ooze-fugue's vast, sugar cube shaped craft rose into the air to combat the anti-Satan. Librarian spoke the ancient words into a loudspeaker, a challenge which dated back centuries. "This is the voice of the Ooze-fugue Librarian. Resistance is useless. You will be assimilated." -- WJR
Oh great, snapped Artu, then What?! as something very small and very fast took to the skies to intercept the trajectory of the huge and unwieldy spaceship.
"Aiaiaiaiaaiaiaiiaiaiaiaiaaaaaaaaaaaa!" yelled See No Ilev, hurling itself like a guided missile, straight for the Sugar Cube. "MyShroveTuesdayPresentMyShroveTuesdayPresent!!!"
"Rishct!!" Librarian swore, swerving the ship by about three point two three degrees to evade the attack. "What the cksf was that? And why the elhl has my voice gone unffy? t0w0!"
"I said, I'll do this!" barked God.
"No - me!" snapped Queeg.
Librarian, witnessing this, laid his ahde in his ahdsn. The two realities created by the two deities and their nemeses had turned into one sdodgin sciomc Miwllai Ugouhbrrus cut-up... the Arrpeaji had planned this to perfection.
Ilwl, said Artu at the top of his increasingly bewildered voice, ouy otw sioidt yikndl spto guanirg dna HTSU PU?????? Lepsae? --TL
Everything in Artu's field of vision was wrong- geometry twisted at right angles, trees with trunks growing out of top and bottom both, anchored into two different sorts of ground, stairs with people walking up both faces. He staggered past a piece of paper on which two hands were busily drawing one another.
Where did the Gods go? he wondered. Each hand pointed in a different direction. Artu chose a third at random. He hoped he was heading towards the sugar cube of the Ooze-fugue, but since that appeared to be in at least three different places in four different skies (one of which appeared to be in his pocket), he could hardly be sure. An infinite number of Hamlet folios ran past, walking on their leaves, one hopping along gripping a test tube. Artu's remote chemical sampler confirmed the tube as containing monkey DNA. He caught sight of Queeg's portaloo and staggered towards it. Uoy vhae tog thsu pu... he begged, his language breaking down again as he grew closer to one of the Gods. Universe the breaking are you. There was a loud crack, and a jagged black chasm opened along the length of a nearby cloud. A herring fell out. Marley was dead, to begin with, but the fifth and final Babylon Station was All Alone in the Night. The League against Cruel Shorts acquired its first Royal Charter in the same day as King Midas was discovered to be six feet tall, although the ruler was later discovered to be lying. Meanwhile, on the Planet of the Eggmen, Cthulhu, who was feeling far from sunny-side up, having avoided an encounter with a switchblade wielding mini-lop, was just on his way to remember what he'd been doing before reality went peculiar, when it went even more peculiar. To be exact, it stopped.
There was still a universe, of course. There was still length, and breadth, and height, and duration. There were probably still alternate dimensions... but reality was no longer having any more truck with it. Little things like causality, believability, and the Law of the conservation of non-ridiculousness in the Laws of Physics went flying out of the big window just visible below the North Star. On the planet Bottlebrush Minor, Nathaniel Heppenschmied, widely regarded by the local lettuce population as the silliest man in the galaxy, tapped his watch. He looked at the water flowing out of the tap, and sighed.
"Summat's got to be done about this here business, and I reckon as how I'm the one to do it." -- WJR
Continue the story here...
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