Mourning Period

[Legend:  Jelk, Kreetal, Kraaxek]

[Scene:  A space station’s observatory.  Very streamlined, very high-tech.  A wide-open circular room with glass walls looking out into space.  A grey-green planetoid can be seen close by.  Two alien figures stand close together, reptilian anthropoids covered with fishlike fins, and tentacles as a substitute for hair.  One is grey, the other bright yellow.  They seem tense and worried.]

[Enter Kraaxek, of similar race, colored electric blue.]

“Well…?”

“He didn’t make it.  He’s dead; the universe reset.”

“No… No, no, flopping NO!  Why didn’t you pull him out?!”

“We can’t just ‘pull him out’, Kree.  He was always the one who pulled US out.  He was the spacetime expert; it’s what he did.”

“Did you even TRY?!”

“No.”

“Jelk, please; not now.”

“I told him; I told him it wasn’t going to work.  That universe was doomed to a paradox from minute one.”

“He tried, Jelk, which is a good deal more than you would have done.”

“Yes, and I’m not dead.”

“Jelk, stop it!”

“Why?  This just proves my point, Kreetal!  Why are we doing ANY of this?  Where does it end, Kraaxek?  Tell me, where does it end?  We climb to the top of one universe, there’s always another one right after it that needs climbing, or fixing, or destroying.  We’ve got enough work as it is protecting OUR universe from people who are trying to do the same thing to US!  Isn’t that enough?”

“Don’t ask me that question, Jelk.  You don’t want to ask me that question.”

“Yes, I do.  What makes you any different than Arch?  What floppy universe are YOU going to go off and die in?”

“Quiet, both of you!  It’s bad enough Arch is gone now, you…  You don’t have to make it worse!  We’re all we’ve got now!  And I’m sick of you two arguing all the time; I thought you both fixed that!”

“That was before Kraaxek went on this wild multiversal campaign of his.”

“Stop acting like none of this is your fault!  How hard did YOU try to talk Arch out of going?”

Like he ever listened to me.”

“He DID listen to you, Jelk!  I don’t have a clue how, but you GOT him.  You knew how to talk to him about all his lone gunman stuff!  He wouldn’t have lasted half as long if you hadn’t held him back, and if you would have even TRIED to talk to him maybe he’d still be here!”

“Kree… don’t.  Don’t do that to yourself.  Don’t ask what might have happened.  Arch could bend time and even HE could barely see alternate fates.  He’s gone.  He’s gone, we’re still here, and we have to accept that.”

“So, what, you want me to pretend like it doesn’t matter?  Like, like Arch dying is no big deal?!”

“I’m not saying that.”

“Why don’t you then?  Why don’t YOU, tell US, what you ACTUALLY want to say for a change?”

“…All right then, I’ll say what I want to say.  I think that NONE of us, no matter what we did, could have stopped Arch from going into that paradox universe and trying to save it.  Kree, you say Jelk ‘got’ Arch.  Well there’s one thing I ‘got’ about him:  he believed in something greater than himself, and greater than the universes he was a god of.  He believed that he survived as long as he did, got as strong as he did, for a purpose, and he believed that that purpose was to save people that couldn’t be saved, because he was strong enough to do things that couldn’t be done.

“Look at where were are.  Look at how many universes we’ve travelled to, how many gods we’ve conquered to become gods ourselves.  How do we know what rules even apply to us anymore?  How do we know what limitations are left?  Arch could carry an entire universe in his pocket like it was a marble; I’d say we’ve been off the edge of the map for ages now.  There’s no one around to tell us what we’re supposed to do, what we can do or can’t do.

“I believe that Arch’s death told us something.  He was the strongest of us, and he still wasn’t strong enough; I believe that means there IS still something out there we haven’t found yet, something that MAKES the rules we don’t know about.  And I believe that I would like to know what those rules are.”

“…That’s why you want to keep moving, isn’t it?”

“It is.  We won’t find it if we don’t look.  Same reason I keep looking for home.”

“Flop that, Kraax, and flop you.  What makes you think there IS anything out there?  Why does everything have to MEAN something?  Why does everything have to have rules?  Why can’t things just BE there?”

“Why?  Why do universes go paradox and collapse?  Why can’t a universe just BE there, hmm?  We’ve all seen it happen.  Did YOU decide that paradoxes kill universes?  I sure didn’t.  SOMEONE made that rule, Jelk, someone bigger than us, and don’t ask me who, because I don’t know.  I’m just A god; I’m not THE God.”

“That… actually makes a lot of sense, Kraax.”

 

{One day I might actually explain what any of this is.  But hopefully I’ll just write enough of these shorts in this universe with these characters that it’ll explain itself.}

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