Saturday, July 12, 2014

Space Gods

Alexander Star was getting a little bored. He hadn't left the lab in over a week. He'd nagged the Doctor into creating a home entertainment system, and watched through the first twenty-five Star Wars movies, before getting bored with twenty-second century special effects.
He decided to ask the Doctor for another portal to Earth. All kinds of fun stuff happened there.
Dr. Demented was having a good day. A very good day. A day where he could produce more scientific work in an hour than all the scientists of Earth would produce in a week.
He was wearing his armor. His armor wasn't made of Ultrasteel, or carbon nanotubes. It wasn't made out of magnetic monopoles, neutronium, or QCD matter. Dr. Demented simple took a few cubic meters of empty space and froze it in time. It couldn't be penetrated by any form of matter or energy. It was entirely indestructible. Alex knew this because Dr. Demented had spent several hours bragging about it.
How did the Doctor control his armor? Electricity couldn't travel through it. Neither could optics, or magnetic fields. Demented had grinned when he explained this part. The armor was made out of clockwork. Made from countless billions of gears and shafts. It contained a clockwork computer system, and thousands of clockwork weapons. Alex appreciated the irony of a clockwork machine frozen in time.
Alex approached the master of time. He was sitting in a chair. Maybe more of a throne. A dozen machines were connected to his armor, electrical and quantum computers interfacing with the clockwork one. Robotic arms were jotting notes on chalkboards, whiteboards, bits of papyrus, holographic projections, and clay tablets.
The Doctor had no trouble speaking perfect English. He could have spoken any of a thousand languages. "Why do you disturb me? Can't you see I am in thought." The sounds didn't just come from the scientist himself. Numerous machines spoke in unison. It was downright spooky.
"Yeah, I just want to go to Earth again. There's stuff to do there."
"You know, it isn't easy to create these portals."
"Pretty please?"
The space in front of Alex began to ripple.

Alexander Star could do anything. Fly around the world? Sure. In thirty seconds? Easy. He could crush coal into diamonds, provide energy for the entire planet, or wipe out life on Earth. Or, he could hang out at a shady club in San Francisco. Guess what the all-powerful space god with the body of a teenager decided to do.
"Yo," he said, to nobody in particular, "hit me up with some X." Someone tittered at the guy who thought people still said 'yo.' Someone else passed him a bag. He stuffed it in his mouth. The bag, and the thirty tablets inside. A normal human would have been killed by half of that. Alex felt a high for a few seconds before the drugs were flushed out of his system. All side effects and all traces of addiction were cleansed from his system. "Jesus. I just can't keep a high."
"Another bag," he said. Nobody gave him a bag. Instead, someone drew a knife.
"I've been watching you," knifeboy said. "You take more than the rest of us put together. You never bring any. You can't keep a high? That's your problem."
"I'm trying to solve that problem by getting some more. Now back off."
"Want to make me?" The knife wielder pressed it against Alex's neck. Nobody made a move to stop him. "Give me one good reason not to press it in."
"If you stab me, it'll hurt a lot-" knifey stabbed before Alex could say 'for you.'
The blade slid off Alex's skin. "That was a mistake." He didn't want to kill anyone. But he'd never experienced physical violence before. He was curious. He grabbed the knife, and crushed it. He punched the former knife-wielder. He was careful not to injure his opponent too much. He wanted the fight to continue.
The former knife guy started punching Alex. Interesting. Alex lifted his assailant and threw him across the room.
"Oooaaaughghg! You broke something." Nobody called an ambulance. That tends to happen when injuries happen amid a large group of people. Everyone just assumes someone else is doing it. Of course, many people there had a bit of a vested interest in the police not showing up.
So there were no police. No authorities at all to stop Alexander Star from doing whatever he wanted. Well, not quite. "Stop that," someone said as Alex walked towards his broken adversary.
Alex walked up to the good Samaritan. He seemed a lot older than most of the other clubbers. He was also dressed differently. "And who do you think you are," Alex demanded.
"Professor Cognis."

That didn't have the effect Cognis thought it would. Instead of being intimidated, the teenager looked confused. "Who?"
Cognis started looking through the young man's mind. "The superhero." He gestured towards the door. "Come, walk with me."
"Why should I come with you?"
"We have things to discuss which I'd rather not talk about in the present company."
Alex looked around. He counted no fewer than three people throwing up. "Fine."
They left the building. "So," Cognis said, "you're the one who flew around the world in twenty-nine point four seconds."
"How did you find me?"
"You traveled around the equator at relativistic speeds. If you were trying to hide, you did a bad job."
"You knew I was in San Francisco. Maybe you could track me to the club. Then how did you find me? Facial recognition?"
"Telepathy. Your mind is only vaguely human. Kind of stood out."
"So you're reading my mind right now?"
"Yes. I apologize for the invasion of your privacy."
Alex considered killing this man. This person who had broken into his thoughts. "Before you kill me, I need to talk to you about Dr. Demented."
"What do you know about him?"
"Relatively little. I know he is an extremely powerful genius whose Time Key gives him control over time, space, and gravity. I know he conquered an alternate version of the Earth, which resulted in the deaths of over a billion people. I know that he is about to return, and may well do the same thing."
"None of my-"
"It is your business." Cognis snapped. "When billions of people die, it's everyone's business. Someone with your powers, your abilities, you can't stand by." Cognis looked through Alex's brain for an example to drive home the point. It seemed Alex had not yet suffered any personal tragedies. "I see you don't yet have much experience with death." The previous Crucible had had a lot of experience with death, being personally responsible for more loss of life than any other sentient being in this section of the galaxy. "But you do have a perfect memory. So next time someone you care about is in a bad situation, remember this conversation. Remember that Dr. Demented will likely do that to a million times more people than you have seen in your life. And remember to do something about it."

Alex pondered the conversation as he flew through near-earth space. Dr. Demented was the only person he had ever really known in his life. He was reluctant to take up arms against his... friend? Savior? Father? Who could he talk to about this? Who did he know? It occurred to him that after Dr. Demented, this Professor Cognis person might be the most important person in his life, just on the basis of a five minute conversation. Who else had he talked with.
There was that person who'd talked to him when he was on the moon. They'd exchanged more than a dozen words. That person meant almost as much to him as knifeboy.
Having nobody better to talk to, Alex flew to the moon. He ran around, smashed boulders, waiting for whoever-it-was to take notice. Eventually he (she?) did.
"Hello. My name is Lucy."
"My name is Alex. Who are you?"
"I'm Lucy."
Alex rolled his eyes. "No, like who are you? Like why can I hear you when I'm on the moon, and why can you hear me?"
"We're on the phone."
Alex realized that he had unconsciously been communicating in radio waves, not sound. In retrospect, he probably should have picked up on that earlier. Alex felt a little embarrassed. "Do you know who Dr. Demented is?"
"He's a very bad man."
In the airless vacuum of the moon, Alex sighed. "Well, he's kind of my mentor. What should I do?"
"I don't know. What is he doing right now?"
"I don't know."
"You should find out."

1 comment:

  1. The he was sitting in a chair to He was sitting
    "An who do you think you are," to "And who