Chapter Two A Brief History Of The Multiverse Part Xxxvii

In the beginning:
Well, that's kind of where it got complicated…

In the middle: There was a mess of tangled worlds. On one, a war tore families to pieces and a government propagandist fled. On another, a little girl was born of a millennia old legacy. On every world, key events were shaping up. Obviously, they weren't all happening at the same time. But time is a difficult thing to describe, especially in the void between worlds. So while an old man with a broom desperately tried to prevent the destruction of his world, any number of things could be said to have been happening. However, we need only describe one just now.

Hachihiro faced the flickering blue light again. If it wasn't his wife, then who…?
The light disappeared and a middle aged man stepped into the room with his hands in the air, palms out.
"Godo sent me!" He exclaimed as quickly as possible. "He said to tell you 'Vajradhara Kinnara is outlined by the moon' for some reason"
Hachihiro dropped his guard slightly. "It's a password, it means you're probably not one of them. We need to get her out of here, now. How can you help?" He demanded.
"It's okay, just hold her hand. And then touch this with the other one." He held out a small golden rod.
"What is it?"
"No time, just do it." Reluctantly, Hachihiro obeyed. The strange man twiddled something on his wristwatch, pushed a button and grabbed the other end of the rod. Hachihiro noticed the blue glow again and suddenly he felt very… Gloop.

***

"Uuughh… Where am I?" Calum lay on a hard, cold stone floor. He was covered in dust and bleeding from the forehead. In his right hand he tightly clutched a large metal box.
"OH COME ON!" Intoned a heavy, dark voice. "CLICHÉ ALERT. BLOODY HUMANS."
There was a series of clicking footsteps and a skeletal foot appeared in Calum's vision.
"Oh, it's you…" He sighed, trying to lift his head. "I guess it didn't work then, I'm dead am I?"
"YOU MOST CERTAINLY ARE NOT!" Death pronounced as he hauled the man to his feet. "DO YOU THINK I NORMALLY ALLOW MY CLIENTS INTO MY HOME DURING A JOB. NO SIR, AND IF I DID IT CERTAINLY WOULDN'T BE IN THIS STATE." He gestured at the blood on Calum's head.
"Then… What? I finally activate the portal I've secretly worked on for years and I end up in Death's… kitchen?" He guessed, looking around at the room.
"I GUESS SO. USUALLY I CAN TELL WHAT SOMEONE'S BEEN DOING BUT YOU DON'T SEEM TO BE FROM AROUND HERE…"
"No… I'm not. So where is 'around here' anyway? Which Death are you?"
"I'M SORRY? WHICH DEATH? I'M THE DEATH. THE ULTIMATE ENDING. THE-"
"Yes, yes." The traveller interrupted. "But which world. I've clearly travelled out of my own, so where am I?"
"OH… WELL I COVER SEVERAL WORLDS WITHIN THIS CLUSTER. MOSTLY NORMAL PLANETS, LOTS OF PEOPLE DYING, PROBABLY SOME LIVING TOO… I MUST SAY, I'M NOT REALLY THE ONE YOU NEED TO ASK."
"Right, so not Pratchett. Who else…?" His thoughts were interrupted by a shout from another room.
"Hey, Dee. Who's that?" A man strolled in wearing skinny jeans and a tight white top. He looked accusingly from the tall, robed skeleton to the dust covered, bleeding man. "Oh, I'm sorry. Am I interrupting something?" He shot a venomous glare at Death.
"O, HI LAZARUS. THIS IS, UMM… WHAT DID YOU SAY YOUR NAME WAS?"
"Oh well that's just great, you don't even know his name. You know everyone's name!"
"Uhhh… Call me… Um… The Sourceworlder."
"RIGHT. LAZARUS, THIS IS THE SOURCEWORLDER, SOURCEWORLDER; LAZARUS." Lazarus strode over to Calum and eyed him for a moment. Then, suddenly, he slapped him so hard he fell to the ground.
"How could you, Dee? I thought… I thought you loved me!" And he stormed out, slamming the door behind him.
"LAZZY? COME BACK, IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK…" Death walked out after him.
The sourceworlder lay there for a moment, thoroughly confused. He knew where he was now, certainly, and he realized what he'd just caused. What was confusing him was how something like that could have ever worked… He had to get out of there, find somewhere better. He reached into the box and flicked some switches. Then, Death's kitchen was lit with a dazzling white flame.
Hmmm… This is different from last time. He thought.

***

They landed on the floor of an unfamiliar house. Hachihiro got up and dusted himself off, then looked for his wife. She was lying peacefully on the floor, still asleep.
"Where are we?" He asked.
"Kalm, I think." Replied the sourceworlder.
"Kalm?! What the hell, that's right in the middle of enemy territory! It's right next to Midgar you fool!"
"I know, but if I've got the calculations correct then we're about a year before the war started. Midgar's still only half built and no one will think it odd that two people from Wutai are sightseeing in Kalm for their holidays." The sourceworlder explained, in a calming voice.
"What? You mean we've time travelled?"
"Yes. How is that any harder for you to believe than that we crossed the world instantaneously?"
"I suppose…" Hachihiro sat down, his mind was spinning and he was having trouble taking it all in. The sourceworlder wandered over to a window and gazed out across the plains toward Midgar, it's dark shape looming on the horizon. It's surprisingly complete-looking dark shape…
"Oh Belgium this is bad…" He breathed, and glanced down into the square. A large man in a sharp suit was stood there, shouting into his phone.
"Hello? Can you hear me? The signal's breaking up. I said North. 50 Kilometres North. Did you get that? Hello?"
"This is really really bad." The sourceworlder repeated.
"What is?" Hachihiro asked, a note of panic entering his voice.
"Umm… I've slightly messed up the Phi and Sigma Coordinates… We're not in the right time. We're in very much the wrong time, in fact."
"Well get us out again, then!"
"I can't. Your wife shouldn't travel again in her condition for another five hours at least. It would kill both of them."
"Right. What's about to happen that's so bad then?"
The man gazed out across the small town's rooftops.
"Just now," He said slowly. "A Turks Agent has sent a field report to an air crew. He said that an Terrorist cell, part of the Avalanche group, has been located some ten miles north of here. The air crew is under orders to bomb the target immediately they receive the transmission. There is a radio malfunction. The phrase '10 miles north of' disappears from the transmission. The unit will blindly follow the order. Some of them have families in Kalm, but if the boss says drop bombs there then bombs they will drop." He sighed. "There will be a fire. Obviously the disaster must not be traceable back to the company, so they will arrange a coverup. Any survivors will be taken to Shin-Ra manor in Nibelheim. Nominally for secret detention. In truth, Hojo will use them as subjects in his experiments. The town will be very rappidly rebuilt, and repopulated with people who won't ask questions and, more importantly, won't answer them. It's a technique that Shin-Ra will get very good at over the next few years."

***

The fire was low by the time the tale was finished.

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