I flew across Central Asia, approaching Genesis' home in Mongolia. As I flew there, I thought about Lucy, about Dr. Demented, and about stable solutions to the Planck-scale transfer equation. At the same time, I also thought about Genesis. We had things to discuss.
On the way there, I considered Mephistopheles and his Illuminati Occultus- sorry, Order of Darkness. There was supposed to be a meeting in the near future.
I landed in the clearing in the middle of his Garden. Surrounding me were strange trees of nature-defying colors. I noticed none of the trees seemed to have grown very tall.
"Welcome," Genesis said as I entered his laboratory. "Although you would have been more welcome if you had actually been invited."
"Glad to see you too. There are things we need to discuss."
He didn't look up from his microscope. "I am busy. This body is deteriorating, and I must make a new vessel for myself."
It didn't look very deteriorated to me. A hulking muscular creature, covered in eyes as durable and powerful as the cameras on deep-sea research vessels. He could sense people coming from great distances and had the power to do something about it.
"I'm sure you can multitask."
"Multitasking is an illusion. The structure of the human brain makes it impossible to think about two things at once."
I had been thinking about four things during the flight over. Intriguing.
"Well, then flip back and forth between tasks without ever devoting your full attention to any of them. That's something humans excel at."
Genesis sighed. "I see you are adamant. And I do have a spare version of this body I could inhabit for a time. Very well, what do you wish to discuss?"
"The first is your rather unfortunate choice of location. Situated conveniently close to two expansionist countries, and conveniently far from any natural resources or fertile ground."
"It is a simple matter to import fertilizers, and neither Russia nor China would dare disturb me."
"China's been occupying Indonesia since the One-Day War. If they're willing to disturb a country of two hundred million people, they're willing to disturb you."
"And I suppose you have a solution for me."
"As a matter of fact, I do. Vastania."
"On my Earth, Vastania isn't even a country. The only reason it is an independent nation here is my deranged doppelganger."
"Well, your deranged doppelganger is dead now, and Vastania isn't really independent. I've been occupying the country ever since Dr. Carnage's death."
"And I'm sure now that now, once they've finally freed themselves of my worse half and are enjoying your comparative generousity, they'd welcome another Carnage seeking refuge in their country."
"You won't be a refugee. You'll be their ruler."
He seemed nonplussed.
"The Vastanians don't appreciate being occupied by Estveria. They want to feel powerful again, and the only way for a tiny backwards country in Eastern Europe to be powerful is if it's leader is a supervillain." That was what allowed me to keep power in Estveria. "You are ethnically Vastanian." I looked at his inhuman form. "You were ethnically Vastanian. That should be a big help. You are fairly likeable, and, knowing you, you will keep a fairly light hand on the ship of state. Your creations get a nice new grazing ground, you get more connections to modern technology, and Vastania gets a new and powerful protector."
"I don't think you understand me. I do not wish to rule over humans. On my planet, on Earth Beta, I witnesses plenty of Dr. Demented's attrocities. I come here and find a different mad doctor has been even worse, and that he and I are the same person. I have no interest in ruling over your back yard for you."
Well, I can be very persausive. I had some ideas in mind to convince him, but they would take some time. I could start be getting him thinking about the benefits of a move. But first I should change the subject. "Very well, consider the issue dropped. And speaking of Dr. Demented, what is your position on his possible return."
"We both saw him exiled to the distant past. But if anyone can escape from being locked in a tower in Medieval England, it is him. I suspect he will return, and will do my best to stop him. Even when I was one of his lieutenants, his madness was a threat to my creatures. But I suspect there will be little I can do, and don't expect me to endanger my creations unnecessarily."
Pretty much what I was expecting. "I'm glad to hear you're on the right side." Not that he'd tell us if he wasn't. "And there is one other thing I want to discuss?"
"Yes. You and I are alike in a lot of ways. We both are very interested in esoteric sciences, and we both wield tremendous power due to our creations. One area where we differ in is our attachment to other people. You seem to care for your creations, but until I met Lucy, I never cared about anyone." Genesis didn't need to know about Rosa.
"Ah. Not many think of me as a paragon of compassion. But yes, I do care for my creatures. And yes, I do feel a sense of loss when one of them passes." I sensed he was treading on emotionally laden ground. "They never last long. It is too hard to build a sustainable ecosystem here in the Gobi desert. It strains my mind to create creatures efficient enough to survive here, and then they are born sterile. I make the creature viable, and they are too vulnerable to disease. Perhaps I should consider the relative hospitality of the Vastanian climate." He thought for a moment. "Do you know if my counterpart in this universe was more successful? I've heard of Dr. Carnage's monsters, but I do not actually know their lifespan."
"Extremely brief. He wasn't interested in sustainable ecosystems. More living weapons and convenient torture victims. But," I said, sensing his disappointment, "there is someone who does know something about creating stable artificial life. Lucy, for instance, was grown in a vat."
"The New Archivist will not agree to help me."
"Nor will she release Lucy. If only there were something we could do about her," I said, walking out of the lab.
I landed at my home in Estveria. After a midnight snack, I walked into Justin's office. "Working on an important project?"
"Is the project a girl?"
"Well, then here's what I want you to do: compress Noetron down to four gigabytes."
"Wait, isn't he like twenty billion lines of code, with terabytes of data?"
"Yes. I winnowed down the data sections that we need. Feel free to find ways to compress them too. Don't worry, where he's going he can unpack his code into something longer and more efficient."
"Alright, so we really want a hundred million line description of everything Noetron is. I guess I'd better get to work."
"You'd better," I said, fingering a prototype of the insect-like mesoscale organic robot that would take Noetron to the stars.