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Andrew Murphy

Aberrant: The Long March - Delta Earth: The End of Andrew Part 2: Leavetaking

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Continued from HERE

2357

Andrew stood before the machine. Over two hundred years in the making, this machine would allow him to carry out the last wish of one of his freinds. He had worked inexorably, unfailingly, and at times stubbornly to this goal. He had finally duplicated through technology that which had only been possible for a nova; to rip a hole from one dimension into another, to breach time in such a way as to cross the barriers of causality and travel to alternate time-lines. Andrew understood madness and obsession well, he'd been in the grips of both at one point in his life. He'd often felt the seductive lure of madness to banish the real world, the world of hurt that he endured because he must. He'd embraced the obsession of his task and through it he'd advanced technology beyond what he had thought possible. By all rights the machine before him should not be possible. The energy required to do what he wanted to do via technology was absurd, and yet he had all that and more to spare.

Andrew glanced at the helical crystal and mused that he had enough power to break every subatomic bond in every atom of the Earth itself, all contained in a device no larger than a bottle of juice. He smiled. All that power was still not capable of performing the task he required. He could engineer more, he could in theory harness the power needed to tear asunder all of reality. In an infinite universe there was, after all, infinite energy. It was, however, but one tool in his eminent victory.

He performed the final checks and adjustments. His calculations were tuned to readings that were over three hundred years old, but Andrew knew that time would not change these things. In fact time was on his side. Time and the forces of nature and entropy. In the end we all die, even a nova cannot escape death forever ...

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The portal, if you could call it that, for it was really more of a hole, looked wrong. It felt wrong as well, it was like that feeling that forms deep in the pit of your stomach that tells you when something terrible has happened, or will happen. A precursor, perhaps, to humanities latent psychic power. Andrew knew damn well that the portal was wrong, he'd created it after all. A tear in the very fabric of space time, a hole that led to nowhere. He flipped a switch and dialed in the coordinates he desired. There was a sound, deep bass throbbing with a counterpart so high pitched that it was nearly inaudible. The hole began to change, the edges becoming less distinct, the blackness receding until Andrew was looking into a mirror.

The Andrew on the other side had a beard. He was also bald. Andrew smiled and waved, the other did the same. This alternate world was so close to Andrew's ... well it was Andrew's, the other him was him in every way save that he had decided to shave his head and grow a beard. The impact of that change was negligible on the time stream but it was also enough to create a divergence. The second Andrew stepped through the portal and into the other's world. There were two now, of like mind and body. They conversed, their minds were identical. They discussed the great plan, their feelings were the same, their goals in sync. The bald Andrew offered the clean shaven Andrew his hand. Like liquid their hands melded and they could feel their thoughts align; their minds became one, but remained two. Andrews smiled, they had the means, now they needed only to bide their time and gather the others. One by one they would form an army.

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Infinity is a funny thing. It’s not actually a number; infinity is an idea, a concept. You cannot add one to infinity to get infinity plus one as a child might to win an argument; instead you simply get infinity. It’s like trying to divide zero; the mathematics can be applied but in the end they are meaningless. There are infinite universes to the multiverse and infinite earths within those universes; there are also an infinite number of universes where the Milky Way does not exist, where the earth never formed. Infinity by half is still infinity after all.

On a smaller scale one might expect to be able to quantify things; one would be wrong. There were in fact an infinite number of Andrew’s working on the problem of the Watchers. Andrew’s beyond counting, beyond number, who all had the same goal; simply put they intended to prevent the Watchers from even tampering with another timeline again. Ulric had wanted to see them destroyed but his body had aged and decayed and failed him. Andrew had promised his old friend that it would be done; he had neglected to specify how it would be done however.

Infinite worlds could generate infinite energy. Infinite energy was more than sufficient to erect an interdiction to all forms of time and cross-time travel. Once the field was activated The Watchers, his old associates (if, indeed, they still lived), and even Andrew himself would be unable to touch time. No travel backwards, or sideways, or forwards would be allowed. Time would be fixed into its present course, the universal structure would be free to weave itself as it was wont to do without having the threads of lives and worlds pulling and twisted for the amusement of a single nova who had grown so bored, so decidedly insane, that he had, in fact, become a race of one.

And all it required was the sacrifice of one man.

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Andrew activated the machine. Power began to flow from the two portals on either side of the room, portals which led to rooms just like this that had further portals open to rooms just like this that had further portals… It was an infinite progression, in theory there was no way to assign a number to the parallel timelines contributing power to this project; no way to account for all the power being channeled into boring a hole outside of time itself. Infinite worlds generating infinite energy for a single finite task; Andrew, thousands of Andrews, had spent lifetimes working on this project, it was nearing completion and then he could rest.

The view through the doughnut of magnetic coils and particle fields began to distort and darken. With little fuss and no sound at all a point of blackness appeared. It expanded and the view was maddening. Time itself lay on the other side of the window. Andrew picked up the field generator and prepared to step through the portal.

He stopped and looked at the lab, looked at the tokens of his life and saw pictures of faces he knew intimately but who were complete strangers. Andrew had melded, merged his mind and body, with countless other versions of himself; some so nearly identical that they had been unable to distinguish each other as separate people afterwards, and others so different that they were very nearly not the same man at all. He no longer knew who he was; he also knew now exactly who he was, he knew the outcome, the fallout, the repercussions, and the results of every choice, of every divergent event of his life both random and determined. Andrew wondered briefly if the others were experiencing this same feeling, and he knew instantly that they were. They all were, because they were now the same. Andrew understood the Watchers now; he understood that despite all their seeming individuality they were still one person. Andrew now knew that in a perverse way he was changing places with the Watchers, he had become a people of one so that they would become, be forced to become, separate and different.

On a trillion trillion worlds and more Andrew, stepped through the hole in the universe and into nothingness. An infinite tide filled the space outside of time; an exodus of a scale that cannot be measured or comprehended.

End Part 2, The End of Andrew continues in Part 3: The End

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