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Oblivion: The Day Everything Dies (Book 2)

 

Oblivion: The Day Everything Dies

Book 2

 

by

 

 

Vincent Pet

Copyright 2011^©^, 2016^©^ by Vincent Pet.

All rights reserved.

The characters in this book are fictitious.

Any similarity to real persons is coincidental and not intended by the author.

 

Chapter III: Karl

Chapter IV: Brummer

 

Part III: Karl

 

Like a faint, pulsating rainbow, Karl crossed the vast darkness of space with tremendous speed. He did not know where he was going and it did not matter. He had been moving through space for tens of billions of years. He still had the ability to think, but his thoughts were as silent as the universe that enveloped him. He had seen all that remained to be seen and there was little left to think about anymore.

Once, when he was much younger, a few of them had decided to leave the universe and travel beyond the big bang perimeter to find something – a barrier, a new physical law, an answer… anything to give them a hope, anything to give that dead, expanding universe a reason to continue. They never found one. They only came to understand that the universe held no more secrets. The quest for knowledge was over. If there still was a doubt left that something unexplored remained to be discovered, that doubt was a direct consequence of the human mind, for hope, was the only unsolved mystery that man still possessed and had no answer for.

It was this human quality called hope which had made humanity strong enough to survive through time. It wasn’t faith, it wasn’t intellect, it wasn’t love that had made mankind live so long and outlast the universe. It was hope. As long as humanity could hope for a better tomorrow, the present was irrelevant, even in despair. As long as man could hope, he would find a way to get to the other side of the woods, to the other side of the mountain, to the other side of the sea, to the nearest planet, to the next star, and eventually to the next galaxy. Hope had brought man to the end of the universe and now, even now, man was still not satisfied of having lived so long for no apparent reason than life itself. Even now, as time was destined to end, humanity still continued hoping for something other than the atoms to decompose and the electrons and protons that comprised all existence to come to a standstill and fizzle out.

Karl was typical of his race. He was the end product of billions of years of evolution. Humanity had evolved through time into immense bodies capable of self-propelling itself through space. They had evolved into flowers of the stars, populating the universe with their magnificence, each being living and travelling wherever they wished for as long as they wished. Far, far away were the days they needed air to breathe or planets to live on. Through many genetic modifications they had changed immensely through time. The only thing that had never changed and that had strengthened through the ages was their will to explore and acquire knowledge. The more they explored, however, and the more it dawned on them that they were truly alone in the universe. That didn’t seem right. It was a cruel concept that a whole universe was created for only one species to appreciate. It was a selfish idea and a very lonely fate. Humanity had so many things to tell, so many things to teach, so many things to share, but there was no one there to listen.

Death had been the last barrier men conquered as they waited to discover what the universe meant. When they witnessed the whole universe die, they wondered what was next. When they saw all the stars burn out and the last ray of starlight flicker and die, they wondered if they would ever see a ray of starlight ever again. When they saw all the planets tumble like barren rocks into the cold and black space, they wondered why only one planet out of trillions of billions of trillions had to be so different. Why had the Earth contained life? When they were finally left in the dark, huddled against each other for millions of years in total confusion, they wondered where to go next, what to do next, how to evolve, and what was left to understand of the universe they lived in, and ultimately, why even bother.

It was during this period that Karl, along with a few others, went searching for the end of space way beyond the edge of the universe. They hoped to find another universe, maybe another set of physical laws, and maybe, just maybe, life. Instead, they found nothing, only space and more empty space much too big for whatever was left of the universe to expand into. While others kept going forward with their search into eternity, he decided to stop. It made no sense to go forward. Disillusioned and abandoned, an orphan of life in a lifeless universe, Karl simply ceased to think and started his journey back home.

It was in this self-induced hibernating state when the signal suddenly started. Startled, he realized that the signal was being transmitted to his mind. Humanity had learnt to be telepathic billions of years ago, but rarely, if ever, used this mode of communication anymore. They preferred to communicate with their body colors. While telepathic communication was limited to one train of thought at any one given time, colors allowed humanity to express many thoughts and carry on many conversations simultaneously by changing their hues, shades and intensities along their bodies. This enabled them to talk about diverse subjects to a hundred different people at once or to share one hundred conversations with the same individual.

Methodically, Karl reached out and probed his surroundings. He detected no one within a radius of one hundred thousand light years. He was the only body moving in the surrounding space. Yet, there was no mistaking the signal. A slight moment of astonishment suddenly overcame Karl as he realized that there was something inexplicable happening to him. Furthermore, he realized that it couldn’t be possible that someone was actually trying to communicate telepathically. That form of communication was effective only within a range of a few tens of thousands of light years.

For one long year, Karl refused to believe that an event that his mind couldn’t grasp was occurring and ignored the signal. He analyzed his own body, checking the structural design and the concentrations of every neurological compound that composed his brain, but he could find no imperfection. All his analysis indicated that he was perfectly healthy. He finally had to admit that the signal in his head was obviously real. He didn’t know what to think of this at first and tried to conjure possibilities that could explain the anomaly. When it became apparent that there was no plausible explanation, he experienced a primitive rush of excitement. Here, finally, was an incident that eluded all reason. Here was something that he was not expecting – a mystery!

Karl turned towards the direction of the signal’s origin. It was too faint to decipher and he wasn’t even sure if there was a message contained within the signal. All he knew was that there was someone or something that was beaming him a message and that this someone or something had to be very powerful indeed to be able to transmit so far away.

Karl increased his speed, fearing that the signal would abruptly end and that he would never know the reason why he was being contacted. With a single minded purpose, he crossed the dark universe. He counted the old Earth years so ingrained in humanity’s mind, even if Earth had died hundreds of billions of years ago. Ten million, twenty million, thirty million years he travelled. As he closed in to the signal, Karl started making contact with other members of his species, each experiencing the same signal, each eager to reach the source. They raced through space with one thing in mind, and as they neared the focal point, the signal started getting clearer.

It was a message, a short one that kept repeating itself over and over again. Come be one. Karl did not understand and this made him want to reach the source even quicker. He had also started to perceive what seemed like starlight in the general distance from where the signal originated and this thrilled him tremendously. He dared not think for fear of raising his hopes, but was it possible that man had found the secret of giving birth to stars? Was it possible that the ones that had stayed behind had found a new way? Was a new universe being born at that very moment? A universe which would contain alien life?

The last few thousand years seemed to pass by in a blink. By that time Karl knew that it was no star that was emitting that particular glow. When he finally arrived at the source, he found himself in awe as he achieved orbit around what was the next evolution of humanity. Karl had been away so long from the center of the universe that he had all but forgotten that he had left behind trillions of people intent on solving the last remaining questions that humanity had about existence.

These people, in their search to evolve, had formed an immense geometrical chain. They had linked themselves with each other, and in time each skin had melded with that of their nearest companion to form one huge organism which was constantly expanding as others joined in. Karl watched as he saw newly arrived bodies join the mass and become transformed into bright shining objects as if they were burning from the inside. He watched as the brains of each new individual migrated inward towards the center of the mass where they fused together with the other brains. While he watched, millions of people kept arriving from all over the universe drawn by the message the organism was emitting.

Karl’s thoughts remained ambiguous to what was transpiring in front of him. Here was a new universe, expanding with living tissue, and he did not know if he wanted to be part of the new experience. He had searched all his life for something other than what he knew and now that he had found it, he felt reluctant to end the life he had always known.

Karl waited a very long time. He waited until there was no more signal. He waited for billions of years as the organism grew and stretched and came to occupy part of the old universe. He waited until he was the last one of his kind. Karl tried to communicate with the organism, but it was a futile task. He didn’t even know if the organism was capable of communicating anymore. Was it possible that the entity was the new universe and that he had failed to believe in it? What was to happen to him? As he pondered this through the years, of what to do next, of where to go, the entity suddenly reached out and spoke to him.

You will be our savior, Karl.

Karl did not understand. He waited.

We tried creating a new universe, but we failed.

Karl still did not understand what the entity meant. He came closer, as if by doing so, he would discover all the secrets that had eluded humanity through the ages. He knew that the entity was placing its hope in him, but what could he possibly do to be of any help? How could he succeed there where the entity had failed? He simply could not see how and a rush of disappointment swept Karl.

We can evolve no more. Our universe has a lock, cold dark matter, and our DNA is not part of the key that unlocks a new universe.

Karl felt a twinge of curiosity. Cold dark matter had been theorized early in humanity’s existence. Basically, all the visible mass in the universe, normal matter, amounted to about five percent. Another thirty percent of matter was this unseen cold dark matter whose particles interacted weakly with normal matter. It took longer than twelve billion years for these particles to have their first collision with normal matter, making them virtually impossible to detect.

We knew since the dawn of our ancestors that dark energy caused the rapid expansion of the universe, but now we know that there is a way to counter this infinite expansion.

Dark energy as opposed to cold dark matter was a form of antigravity force. Early man had been shocked to discover that the universe was not expanding at a constant rate but was accelerating away. The universe had been picking up speed since the big bang. Early astronomy had thought that the pull of all mass in the universe would eventually halt the expansion and proceed to a big crunch in which all matter would return to a single point to restart the big bang and give birth to a new universe. Unfortunately, the universe had simply fizzled out.

What we now know is that the antigravity force of dark energy can be stopped by a dark matter-DNA interaction. We call this the key of God. We have formed the DNA key, but we cannot bind with dark matter to condense the universe and give birth to a new big bang. This is illogical since we are native to this universe and there is no other species to form this key. We can only arrive at one conclusion. Our original genetic make-up has been tampered with. Our evolution was altered in the past and humanity is not what it was meant to be.

***

In all of history, there were only a few individuals who really made a difference. Only a select few had the notions or the power to change the course of humanity. The rest lived on the legacy of these few. As a species, humanity was not very efficient. It needed the birth of millions of people to create that one special person able to make a fundamental impact. When these few individuals applied themselves for bettering humanity, the results were beneficial to the whole human race – knowledge expanded, research increased, new ideas were born, and the whole race benefitted from that special individual.

On the other hand, when these few individuals sought personal glory, wars started and humanity stagnated and struggled to evolve. There were times, though, when even good ideas came from suffering and bad ones from apparent wellbeing. Karl knew that the rockets that launched early man to the stars were basically the evolution of more primitive rockets that killed people. Karl also knew that concepts and ideologies such as capitalism and free society were at the basis of some people living well and others poorly, because in the end, these concepts did not promote equality among all men but inspired competition between men. As much as early mankind strived for the common good of all, it basically expanded through Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest based on intelligence, looks, and wealth, which for a very long time were the driving forces of the species.

Karl knew, then, that their present, even if eons removed from early man, was fundamentally based on the discoveries of a few major individuals. There was a time in mankind’s early history, where even if humanity had spread to about a third of the Milky Way galaxy, their progress remained threatened by their inability to escape the virtual worlds they created. It was during this time that the basis of two great discoveries were introduced: one on Trentl and the other on a planet called Dragolia.

The first involved the insertion of nano, self-replicating, non-genetic material on human chromosomes that would eventually lead to the derivation of a new phase of humanity from which Karl was a by-product. Up until that time, only biological material was capable of reproducing and the human genome grew mostly by either the implementation of other genes originating from other Earth animals and plants, or through induced mutations of existing genes.

The other discovery was a set of theories which finally solved the enigma of an old human dream – time travel. Ironically, the theory ascertained that time travel was only possible when time itself was nullified. For time to be nullified there could be no movement between two points in space, because movement implied a measurement of space, therefore creating time.

***

There is a dimension in the universe where every moment is static and lives forever. The theory was not new. Certain variations of it had been advanced in early mankind’s history around the time that man reached the moon. Only in Dragolia’s time was it affirmed that such a dimension existed.

In this dimension there was no such thing as time. The universe of this dimension was the size of a singular point, in that only one being could occupy all its physical space. Since this singular point was all that composed this dimension, it was infinite. Since this dimension was infinite and singular, it had no distance nor movement and therefore no time. Each event in the universe was forever static, living eternally in a still state, much like a string of holograms occupying one space. Each hologram of the universe was like a picture, and because it was infinite, the observer could see every frame of the universe at once since there was no space between each photograph.

It was theorized that each frame was a quantum gate that could be physically passed through, allowing the observer occupying the singularity to rejoin the flow of time in the normal universe at any point in the history of the universe. Therefore, one could travel either forward or backward in time. Furthermore, it was theorized that the traveler was independent of the time stream and could not create any paradoxes since he was transformed into the mirror image. Karl knew that even if he went back and killed himself in his past, he would still exist from that point forward because he was independent of his original.

By the time humanity could put these theories in practice, man had already evolved to the point of realizing the perils of such experiments. The last five experiments needed to be tested to validate these theories involved the possibility of annihilating the entire universe. When this possibility was ascertained, a genetic mutation was introduced into the genome of man introducing an intrinsic mechanism against the tampering of time. It was much like the mutation that had been added many years before to eradicate suicides and impose individual self-preservation. The process worked very much like an instinctual reflex. As soon as anyone thought about tampering with time or committing suicide, they would instantly repel it without any second thoughts much like a hand recoiling from fire.

Now, though, things had changed. An entity had been born from what man was. It was an entity that was in itself a new universe within the old universe. The entity had given itself a prerogative: to restore the old universe to what it should have been. The entity had carried through the last five time travel experiments successfully and Karl was the only one capable of making the journey back in time to understand what had happened.

Karl was perplexed. If no one had previously travelled through time, how did the entity know that the time line had been tampered with? The entity seemed to have been expecting that question from Karl and was prompt in its reply. It was based on assumptions that there was something missing from the fabric of the universe, a universal constant which should have been present, but which was absent in all their equations. Their only explanation was that the universal constant linking all the fundamental forces of the universe had been removed and that the only way it could have been removed was if someone had once tried and failed one of the last five time experiments.

Karl finally had a purpose, even if he knew that purpose might have a terrible price. For an instant, as he became the singularity, Karl marveled at the accomplishment of his race as he traced humanity’s path from the dawn of the apes to the creation of the entity. Karl saw every moment as if he had a trillion billion eyes as he followed man’s progression from Earth to the eventual mastery of the laws of the universe.

He understood that what he was seeing could all change. He understood that there had to be an event that not only transformed man’s natural evolution, but that of the universe as well. He understood that somewhere, somehow, man had changed his own destiny by changing the course of time, but where and when? Which individual or group of people had attempted, despite humanity’s best effort to prevent it, one of the last five time travel experiments and failed? It was his obligation to discover the event, eliminate it, and set back things on their normal course.

Even though he understood his responsibility, Karl was apprehensive, knowing that somewhere he would have to change humanity’s history. What if he had to cancel great human achievements? He consoled himself by rationalizing that if the human race had overcome great obstacles to achieve immortality once, they could certainly do it again once he altered the past.

These thoughts rolled through Karl’s mind in a mere fraction of a second. The next fraction of time answered most of his questions. He observed the universe from its birth to the formation of the sun and Earth. Then something went terribly wrong. The entity that had sent him to change the past had never envisioned this possibility. How could it?

Karl was stunned as he observed the early universe teaming with alien civilizations travelling between the stars and galaxies. How could this be possible? Then to his bewilderment and incredulity, he witnessed the death of every single living organism throughout the universe at one precise moment – except for life on Earth.

By then, Karl was too astonished and unsettled to complete his mission. He understood what went wrong. Not even the entity could have envisioned the true course of the universe and what would happen if Karl went ahead and changed the event that had altered the fate of humanity.

However, the entity was correct in one thing. Someone did alter time, but it was not man. The genesis of a new universe did not depend on the human species – far from it. If he changed the event, he would condemn humanity. Karl wasn’t prepared to let that happen. He needed to find an alternate solution, one where the human race was part of the universal equation.

His only hope was to create variables that would allow the human race to evolve otherwise without altering the event. Perhaps, he reasoned, the entity that was part of his time wasn’t the best conclusion for mankind. Perhaps, if humans evolved into something else, humankind would be able to create the hypothesized key that the universe needed for its rebirth. The entity was a dead end, but that didn’t mean that humanity had to be a dead end too.

With this in mind, Karl decided to influence the root of the entity’s creation. He concentrated his efforts on a time period when humanity was expanding to the stars, when they were starting to experiment on their own bodies to incorporate enhancements under a brilliant leader and future hero. Her name was Usana. She was the President of a conglomeration of worlds, which under her guidance, was soon to set the basis for unlocking the universe’s secrets.

However, she was not the only one of her era who would become famous in history. Fundamental to humanity’s next stage of evolution was a certain Dr. Bina, one of the pioneers of genetic enhancements. With Dr. Bina’s removal, along with the work she was conducting on the Pontiac, he expected the timeline to be sufficiently altered. He was wrong.

When he returned to the static dimension and checked the future to verify the consequence of his action, the end was remarkably similar. The final entity was recreated through another evolutionary process. To further compound his failure, as he was eliminating Dr. Bina, he had unknowingly exposed himself to an exploration shuttle which he had not factored in. The pilot had a mind that in that split second had completely confounded him. To Karl’s surprise, the occupant was able to repel him. However, humanity should not have been capable, at that stage of history, to offer him any resistance. Here was another mystery he could not explain.

It became starkly obvious to Karl that he had to be much bolder and make drastic changes if he was to succeed. Karl returned to Usana’s time and decided to start eliminating the worlds that would have the most influence on the future, but not before eliminating the military fleet. He still had no idea how one man was able to resist his attack, but he didn’t want to risk another unpleasant surprise and destroyed the fleet.

Karl soon became obsessed with finding the right combination of events that would lead to an alternative to the entity. The fate of humanity and of the universe depended on it. In his mind there was no other possible solution but to try to create different options that would spare humanity. Otherwise, he would be condemned to choose between humanity and the universe.

Nevertheless, even with his redoubled efforts, the end result did not change. One world after the other fell in a fleeting nanosecond as he moved stealthily from the static dimension to the galaxy and then back. Karl tried his best not to further contaminate the timeline with his presence, but the error, even if only once, had already been committed.

***

When Brummer exposed the perpetrator’s image, along with the biochemical and genetic data that Yorsabrim somehow beamed across the galaxy and mysteriously reached Dragolia, Usana quickly understood that they were not dealing with an alien force, but as incredulous as it appeared, with a highly sophisticated mutation of human life. The DNA, even if highly modified, had a definite human imprint. They were clueless about its origin, but some suspected that the Sabrim might have played a role in the creature’s creation. Had they attempted to build an organic weapon that they lost control over?

Usana was highly skeptical that the Sabrim possessed the know-how or the sophistication needed to create such a being. It was beyond anyone’s knowledge. From the information that she possessed in her hands, to even start to understand how the creature was conceptualized would be a baffling enterprise for the brightest scientist alive. Then, if not created by humanity, then by whom? Could it be possible that human DNA had been modified by an alien life form and was being used against them?

It was the only logical assumption that seemed plausible despite the fact that humanity had not discovered one alien living being, sentient or not, outside of Earth. Another thought which mystified them was how Yorsabrim was able to obtain and transmit the data that Brummer received. The fact that the information came from a Sabrim solidified the argument that the Sabrims were involved, or at the very least, had knowledge of the situation. Usana, as much as she wanted to, was unable to propose to the Council a rational explanation that would free the Sabrims from any responsibility in the matter.

What bothered Usana the most at that moment, though, was not the possible implication of the Sabrims in the alien’s origins, but that Brummer had presented them such vital information with an inexcusable delay. A few tense moments followed as the Council meeting wrapped up. The Council, headed by Usana, prodded Brummer and tried to hold him accountable for failing to provide critical information that could have saved lives.

“When this crisis is over,” Usana warned Brummer, as if there was no doubt in her mind that there would be a future, “I will personally chair a galactic commission that will investigate the matter. Whoever is found criminally responsible, either willingly or through pure thoughtless neglect, will be held accountable and criminally pursued by the justice system.”

Brummer simply stared at her in what could have been considered an insensitive smirk. He had no intention of contesting the matter in that mayhem as the Governors continued to bicker. As far as he was concerned, if there was a future, she would find that the Council was not very popular on Dragolia and would find it challenging at best to execute whatever verdict the committee concluded.

That he had been able to supply the Council with the information was a feat in itself. There were many on his home world that had wanted to use this information to bargain for greater power and a more prominent voice on the Council. Brummer didn’t disagree with the objective of increasing Dragolia’s visibility and clout, but if humanity were to defeat this alien he wouldn’t let Dragolia be infamously remembered as the planet that was ultimately responsible, even if indirectly, for the death of billions of innocent lives.

In the end, however, what mattered was that Usana had the answer they’d been desperately searching for and a plan of action was quickly devised. A polarized organic field matching the being’s DNA was set around all the remaining planets in order to capture the organism.

On Karl’s next appearance an unexpected surprise greeted him. He was able to destroy the planet in a hundredth of a nanosecond, but as he tried to regain the static dimension, his body refused to leave that time frame. It took Karl a brief moment to realize that he’d been captured. A biological field had been created around the planet that locked into his DNA structure and held him immobile in space.

Despite feeling mortified of having been captured by his primitive ancestors, even at that moment of defeat, Karl praised human ingenuity. He was the offspring of a special race that had struggled, adapted and eventually conquered the universe. He doubted that there could ever be a species as dynamic or as clever in any future universe, ever again – for Karl’s mind was made up the instant that he was captured and realized that escape was impossible. His personal quest to save humanity had failed, but the mission for another big bang and another universe had to continue at all costs. Life must continue and renew itself. Unfortunately, thought Karl, the price for this future would be humanity and nothing less.

Karl quickly considered his remaining options and he could find but one. He had to convince someone to go back in time and complete what he should have done at the very beginning – not that Karl regretted of having attempted to change humanity’s timeline. The desired outcome would have outweighed any imaginable consequence. It had not worked, though, and Karl finally understood that it would never work.

Humanity would never be able to start another universe and become God in the next big bang. Humanity was condemned to live forever in a dead universe. In a universe like that, Karl knew there would eventually be no more hope left and without hope, humanity would become just as dead as the universe it lived in. He recognized that there was only one task left for him to do. He had to convince the inventor of the time theories, a certain governor Brummer of Dragolia, to complete the work for him.

***

In the normal timeline, Usana would lead the fight that would see humanity regain control of its destiny. Although man had explored about a third of the galaxy, the expansion of humanity was beginning to stagnate as humanity increasingly turned towards virtual realities. The cold emptiness of space and the realization that Earth was the only planet that contained life made people search elsewhere to find purpose.

The universe was dull and man invented other stimulus to find interest. They created make-belief worlds where they could be anyone and go anywhere they pleased. They made worlds full of aliens that their minds created. They searched for adventure, love and thrills as they interacted with each other through these virtual mazes which were much more exciting than life. Virtual reality became more alive than their own universe could ever be, but Usana changed this perception and successfully laid down the new foundations to humanity’s progression.

Karl was not disappointed when Usana came to visit him. She could have easily decided to remain on Earth and dispatch a delegation to communicate with him, but she took the initiative and decided to face the threat herself. Karl was the biggest puzzle and menace humanity had ever encountered and she wanted to know who he was, where he came from, and more importantly, why he was exterminating them.

It soon became apparent to Karl that he was considered a mutant organic weapon created by one of their worlds, Sabrim. They tried communicating with him, but he did not respond. Karl did not wish to contaminate the timeline any further than he required to bring his plan to fruition.

He quietly waited, taking pleasure in being an archaeologist and anthropologist as he read every ancestor’s mind and studied their anatomy. He was somewhat surprised by the simplicity, yet very appreciative of the evolutionary process that was already delineating what his species would become. He was very keen on observing some minds, especially that of Usana. Whereas Karl was condemned and doomed in nearly every mind, Usana had not judged or sentenced him yet. She knew that there was something greater that was escaping her, and that, thought Karl, was the mark of a true leader: Usana was confident of her doubts which made her humble in her decisions.

Despite all that had transpired, the greatest torment Usana now faced was determining the being’s fate. She never considered of having to rule over someone’s right to live and did not see revenge as a just price for an atrocity no matter how abominable and abhorrent the committed act had been. It would not bring back the dead and killing the one responsible, when all was said and done, served only a personal healing process.

It was inconceivable that someone, no matter the crime, had to die for another to feel better and bring closure. However, she understood well the tremendous threat represented by the giant mass. They still hadn’t been able to determine if it was intelligent or not, but it did possess the ability to discern and murder life and this was enough to classify it as cognitive of its actions.

Karl finally acted. He deduced that in all likelihood, they were about to destroy him in a few days. He couldn’t reveal anything about himself for too many unknown variables were at play which could very well be detrimental to his plan. He had never considered his capture a possibility, but since then, he had already run a few scenarios in his mind and most of them projected that his presence would be a negative influence on the future. Already, he could sense the raw, angry emotions of most people towards the Sabrims which would not bode well for the imminent future.

Humanity had survived and thrived after the havoc he had caused, because they never found the culprit in the timelines that he changed. In fact, the tremendous loss of life had reunited them even more and each time a better version of the entity was recreated.

Now, though, they had the culprit in their hands and his genetic makeup clearly originated from human DNA. The culprit was among them. The culprit had to be one of their many offspring races of humanity and the Sabrims, who had never been fully appreciated and respected as a culture, were easy to suspect and target.

Karl reached out with his mind to Usana and planted a viral thought deep in her subconscious. Attached to the virus was a vault of compressed coded information. The virus would keep popping in her head every day with a pressing urgency to see Brummer. As soon as she’d meet and look into Brummer’s eyes, the virus would transmit to Brummer’s mind the vault of knowledge that Usana unknowingly carried inside her brain. Once done, the virus would innocuously self-destruct inside her mind and erase every trace of itself. As for Brummer, after a night’s sleep, the vault would unlock and download all it possessed into his mind. Come morning, Brummer would suddenly find himself holding the information required to complete the task.

After having planted the virus in Usana’s mind, there was little left for Karl to do but wait. It seemed that he had lived his whole life waiting. He had waited for the universe to end. He had waited for the entity to form. He had waited to find a solution for humanity’s right to exist. Now, he waited to die.

An old human primal fear made him shiver at the thought of it. He had never thought about his death. Why would he? He was born eternal. Why he should feel something at that moment, surprised him. He hadn’t felt anything at the idea of killing so many people on the worlds he had destroyed, so why should he feel any different about his own demise?

Here was another mystery which he had no answer for. He searched the information stored in his mind on his race’s history and came across a passage which he thought might be relevant to his situation, written by a philosopher who would be born in another few billion years. Fear became obsolete when man became immortal and incapable of dying. Courage also ceased to exist, for without the specter of death, life is never in question, and courage, therefore, becomes irrelevant.

He paused as he thought about this. Was he finally experiencing fear? A definite possibility. What was courage then? He didn’t know and that he would die with at least one mystery made him finally feel as human as he could ever be.

As Karl waited for the end, Usana went back home to Earth and led a spirited fight against the Council to search for an alternate solution, but the majority felt that the threat was too great to keep alive and demanded that the thing be swiftly destroyed. They feared that it could escape and if that happened, they were convinced that it would continue the slaughter.

Usana argued that the death penalty had been abolished eons ago and that it should never be revived. It was not only a matter of principle, but a matter of upholding the definition of what being human meant. Sensing the growing hostility and compounded with her failure to unite the remaining worlds on this topic, Usana decided to step down as President of the United Planets. Her resignation was promptly accepted by the Council. Not a few hours later, a new President was elected and carried forth the Council’s wish.

Karl was executed.

Part IV: Brummer

 

It was a long drive to the estate where Brummer had isolated himself. It was a pleasant ride, though, and Usana approved of the gentle landscape that the Dragolians had masterfully built through time. No one had ever been able to understand why an Earth like planet with an Earth like sun in a similar orbit as Earth was devoid of life. There had not been one living organism when man first arrived on the planet. There had not been one creature, not even the semblance of a plant on the whole planet despite the fertile land and abundance of water. Things were much different now. The Dragolians had imported many plants and animals from Earth to fill their world. However, the deep mystery of why a planet that should have been teaming with life wasn’t, still persisted to that day – with the exception of Brummer and Usana, who both knew the horrifying truth.

Usana gently nodded to her driver as she stepped out of the car in front of the rather large mansion. Brummer had planned his pursuit of privacy well. There was not one safe area in the surroundings where an aircraft could land and the only option for a determined visitor was the long, arduous and bumpy dirt road that she had just completed.

Brummer’s private doctor, who knew of her visit, came to the front door and bowed respectfully as she greeted him back.

“It is a pleasure to see you again, Honorable Usana.”

“It’s good to be back on Dragolia, Doctor Henning.”

It had been nearly three years when she had last seen Brummer.

“How is he doctor?”

She informed herself on Brummer’s health every month, but the news that she’d been receiving lately from the doctor was not too encouraging. The reason for her visit, however, went much further than a simple courtesy call. She sensed that the time had arrived for Brummer to complete his mission before his health deteriorated beyond the point of no return. Usana hoped to convince him that this time he could accomplish his mission without the heavy guilt he harbored inside and which made him reluctant of even discussing about what fate had so unjustly burdened him with.

She had been able to find the resources to put together a small team of brilliant scientists who discovered a noteworthy solution for the issue which she was convinced lay at the core of Brummer’s depression. She had to persuade Brummer that even if there was no certainty in what she was about to propose to him, there was a very good chance that her plan would function.

“I’m afraid,” the doctor seriously replied in a subdued voice as he led her inside and up a spacious stairway, “that he is simply waiting for the day to die. He rarely eats anymore and has secluded himself in what used to be the guest’s room. He hasn’t come out in many weeks and seldom talks to anyone anymore. He has refused to see all visitors in over a year so I caution you not to get your hopes too high.”

Usana ignored his last comment.

“Has he locked himself in?”

“Yes, but I have a key to the room as does the butler. It was the condition I imposed on him for wanting to remain at home. I made absolutely no compromise on this. Otherwise, I told him I would have confined him to a mental health center even if I probably wouldn’t have carried out the threat considering that the man has accomplished so much for Dragolia as Governor.”

They reached a door at the end of a long corridor and the doctor pointed at it.

“He had this door built as a sort of buffer zone between his room’s door and the rest of the house in order to prevent accidental exposure with anyone. At determined hours he leaves his laundry between the two doors for the maid to pick up, who in return, places his fresh clothes for him to wear. Likewise for his meals. As you can see, he is very determined to keep by himself.”

They went through the outer door and she stood behind the doctor as he walked up to Brummer’s room and knocked softly. As expected, there was no answer. The doctor shook his head, already resigned, as he glanced back at Usana.

“I’m afraid….”

Usana smiled firmly, but politely.

“Doctor, please open the door.”

The doctor arched his eyebrows even if he was not totally surprised with her demand.

“I don’t think your request would be in the best interest of my patient. Furthermore, my pact with Mr. Brummer is very clear. I am the only person allowed to visit him without prior permission.”

Usana remained unfazed. The doctor’s knees trembled slightly as he peered up at her. Here was a person used to conversing with the keenest and most powerful minds in the galaxy and it was intimidating to be in her presence, even if he had grown to know her during the last few years through their periodic conversations.

“Doctor, please believe me if I tell you that this is the most significant and imperative task I ever set out to do in my life.”

The doctor’s jaw dropped slowly as he mulled over what she had just told him. His expression clearly demonstrated disbelief towards her words. She continued with the same resolute tone.

“Believe me when I tell you that the future of Dragolia as well as that of the whole universe can change on the basis of this one conversation that I will have with Brummer. If my inclination is correct, he will be walking out of this room very shortly to complete what must be done for our race’s survival.”

The doctor’s jaw continued to gape further. He was clearly baffled.

“But… but, he’s, he’s not all there with his mind! What can he possibly do of such importance?”

Usana remained very still, her gazes bearing down on the doctor as he gulped uncomfortably between her numerous eyes. The doctor thought for a few seconds longer and shook his head slowly before responding.

“Honorable Usana, you haven’t given me much to reflect on, but since you left the Presidency, the galaxy has fallen into turmoil and I am fearful for the future. I would like so much to hope again. Maybe, it is too naïve to think that the glorious past can return as it once was, but I would like at the very least hope for a better tomorrow than the one we live in today.”

He looked into her confident eyes and suddenly felt reassured. Usana nodded, her gratitude clearly obvious.

“Thank you, doctor. I will try not to fail you or humanity.”

The doctor removed his key from his pocket and turned the door knob.

***

Brummer heard his door unlock and instinctively shut his eyes against the glare of the unannounced light which suddenly bathed him. What bothered him most, however, was not the bright light which momentarily encroached on the semi-dark murkiness of his room, but that he had been disturbed when his orders were very clear and precise. No one, but the doctor was to enter that door without his consent. He had heard two distinct footsteps and quiet, muffled voices. He knew that the doctor had brought someone else along with him.

Eighteen days this time, he whispered voicelessly, disappointed that his personal record of thirty-seven days in isolation had not been broken. Now, he had to start counting all over again and if there was one thing he vehemently detested was to start numerating the same numbers again one by one from the very beginning. Today was day zero. He had to remember this, for tomorrow would be day one.

Although, he thought as he mulled over the idea in his head, he could consider today as day one instead of day zero, couldn’t he? Who would know? He sighed. It just wouldn’t make him feel right. He already knew that if he did, he would lose sleep over it. Even if he didn’t lose sleep at night, it would feel like cheating and it wouldn’t give him the same satisfaction if he did surpass his record. Why did he have to be so honest?

“What do you want?”

Brummer surprised himself that he was able to growl so loudly. Although, he actively talked to himself, it was always in a low, murmuring voice.

“You have company, sir. Someone that you know wants to see you.”

Brummer didn’t lift his eyes, keeping them pointed at his shoes. In the sudden jet of light, they shone copper red. This simply can’t be, he thought as he gaped at his shoes. He was utterly stunned that he had never realized that particular detail before. He was certain that they were copper brown.

At least, that’s what the catalogue that he had ordered from stated. He didn’t like being duped. He was going to send them a letter of complaint and demand an exchange – but, they needed to be delivered within the same day! He had to start counting tomorrow and couldn’t let himself be distracted by such frivolous thoughts.

Brummer heard the doctor shuffle his feet and address the other person with him.

“You’re sure you want to be alone with him?”

The doctor’s voice tailed off, but Brummer was still able to discern the words.

“At times,” the doctor continued, “he becomes quite irritable and rude….”

The other voice uttered only two words, but her tone was brisk and assertive. It was the voice of a woman used to wielding great power and commanding the utmost respect.

“Absolutely positive.”

Notwithstanding the light which stung his eyes, Brummer instantly snapped his head past the doctor to the tall figure looming behind. The doctor took two steps sideways and turned around to leave, closing the door behind him as he did so. The room returned to its shadowy state – not that it would bother his visitor. Not at all. Brummer knew that his guest had modified retinal cells and that the weak light of the room would not affect her eyesight at all.

“Usana, I am very glad to see you. If you stay here with me, we can count together. This way, we can verify each other’s count and confirm that the numbers are correct.”

Usana was not surprised. She knew what to expect. She looked fondly at Brummer, like an old, lost, best friend that, even if worlds apart, she had thought of every day – which was indeed, true. She was about to ask him to do her one final favor. With a soft, yet sharpened voice she hinted at the motive of her visit.

“I’m afraid there is no time to count anymore, Governor Brummer. The future needs you and you know it.”

Brummer let out a long, resigned sigh as his shoulders sagged noticeably. It was the last thing he wanted to hear. Actually, he hoped he’d never be reminded again. Usana remarked that her words had instantly placed the unwanted weight of the universe squarely on his fragile shoulders – as she very well intended to do. Brummer clasped his hands tightly together.

“You know,” he replied in a calm, thoughtful voice which contrasted markedly with his tense body language. “It’s been seven hundred and forty six Dragolian days or one thousand three hundred forty nine Earth days since anyone has called me Governor.”

He paused before continuing.

“You are right. Counting is bad. Counting makes me think of the past. Counting makes me remember. When you count you always have to start from somewhere and that somewhere is a place or an exact moment in the past. As you count, you can’t help but think of the moment you started from because if you forget you lose count. Do you know that I haven’t sneezed for thirty-three days, haven’t shaved in sixty-seven days, and haven’t walked down Coleman Street for one thousand and seven days?”

Usana took a step forward. Despite his isolation, the room was in an impeccable state. Brummer had not let himself rot. A part of his mind was still sharp and focused.

“Perhaps,” Usana whispered, “you count about these things to cloud your mind and to make you forget about the one thing that needs to be remembered the most. Brummer, you need to remember about your mission.”

Brummer stayed silent, but she could see him fixing the space separating them, staring vacantly through her, as if trying to convince himself that she wasn’t there. His lips suddenly quivered and his voice turned harsh.

“We’ve had this discussion before, Usana. Seven hundred and eighty nine days ago, Dragolian eastern time. My answer has not changed! No mission. I will not become the bearer of the apocalypse, of the end of time, of Armageddon… call it what you want! I will not! I will not! I will not! I just said it three times and will repeat it the fourth time. I will not!”

Usana came over and sat beside him. She remembered the last time she had seen him. It was under very different circumstances. He was still Governor. She came to Dragolia merely a few weeks after she had resigned from the Presidency. She had thought that her urge to visit Dragolia had been a direct consequence of her deep dissatisfaction for what had transpired with the Council on the question of Karl’s fate. She had come to search for some tranquility and for those simpler times that Dragolia was reputed to offer.

However, she soon came to understand that her visit had been programmed in her mind by Karl and that she had somehow triggered Brummer’s madness. The day after she greeted him, she was urgently called back to his residency. A strange illness had suddenly afflicted him overnight. She found him babbling incoherently and within days he was removed from office and placed in the best health institute Dragolia had to offer for mental illnesses. She had planned on staying on Dragolia for two weeks, but she ended up prolonging her stay for nearly a year.

She took Brummer’s hand in hers and tried to soothe his agitation by warming up his cold skin by slightly increasing her body temperature. The effect was immediate as Brummer visibly relaxed and his heartbeat descended.

“Brummer, I have the solution. You can finally complete your mission. Humanity will survive in the new universe.”

Brummer’s gaze turned to bafflement as he his mind focused on what she had just told him. In a moment of clear lucidity, he looked up at her with deep astonishment.

“Usana, have you gone mad too?”

Usana laughed heartedly and shook her head.

“Perhaps, I have gone mad, but not as mad as the galaxy we live in. Only you can do it, Brummer. If you don’t, you will condemn us all to this living hell. The apocalypse cannot be worse than this.”

Usana saw his stare cloud over with sorrow as she finished her last phrase. Brummer knew exactly what was happening throughout the galaxy. In his isolated room, he had tried to shut out the world, but the news still seeped through. Humanity should have been flourishing, but the galaxy was a much different place since the death of Karl. After the Sabrims were unjustly accused for creating Karl, some of the remaining worlds had done the unthinkable and launched an attack on Sabrim. Once recovered from the initial shock, the Sabrims, who were much better equipped to fight a war, responded by conquering their nearby neighbors and establishing an empire. They were actively rebuilding a fleet and it was feared that it would be a matter of a generation, at most, before they conquered the rest of civilization.

Earth, meanwhile, had severed communications with most of the planets and set up a protective barrier intended to keep out all undesired interstellar ships from their solar system. Dragolia, instead, was forgotten by the rest of the galaxy. The thriving commerce between the different planets had all but trickled down to a standstill out of fear and mistrust. Local governments with their own agendas were starting to appear, which further added to the chaos.

Karl had targeted the most dominant planets and there were very few worlds remaining that could fill in the scientific, intellectual and commercial void he had left along the path of destruction. Humanity had started its downward spiral and Usana feared that soon there might be little, if nothing left, of the great civilization that had conquered the stars and would’ve one day outlived the death of the universe.

Brummer shook his head. Even if there was an implication of finality in his shrug, Usana caught an undertone of hope in his voice. Her presence seemed to have brought some clarity to his thoughts.

“There is no way out of this dilemma, Usana. I hope that one day someone will come along and know what to do. Maybe, in a million years, a special individual will be born… like a sort of messiah. I rather leave that option open for humanity’s sake instead of … instead of …”

Usana replied back dryly and sharply.

“Instead of taking the only real hope we have of succeeding?”

She wondered again how Brummer’s mind had been able to remain relatively intact considering the great trauma he underwent when he woke up with Karl’s tremendous knowledge scattered throughout his brain. In the arch of one night, Brummer became a complete stranger to himself. He woke up with too much information for his limited mind to either handle or understand. It had taken Brummer months just to regain the ability to speak again. At first, he uttered disconnected, nonsense words. When he finally started talking, though, all the pieces of the puzzle came together – at least for Usana.

What remained of the mainstream scientific community wrote off Brummer’s story as delusional. Not her. She believed Brummer when he told her about Karl, about his origins, and the reason Karl committed those horrific acts. During her last days as President, when she was on the star ship observing the imprisoned Karl, she had felt a presence in her mind. It had been brief, and just as quickly it dissipated, but it left her with a strong doubt that Karl had reached out to her. She never told this to anyone, not even to Brummer, but she knew at that instant that she would be making the right choice if compelled to resign from her Presidential duties, which she eventually did. She became convinced that Karl was intelligent and much more human than they could ever imagine. Brummer’s story had simply confirmed her own private, thoughts.

With as much information in hand that she could gather from Brummer, she put together a team of scientists and worked incessantly with them through the last two years to find a viable solution that would give Brummer the opportunity to carry through his obligation. They had succeeded and now it was up to Brummer to execute it. He was the only one who could, since he was the only one whom Karl had triggered the slight molecular change of body needed to reach the singularity.

“Brummer, you need to access Karl’s thoughts to complete the contraption needed for your body to travel through time. My team has done as much as it could and now the rest is up to you.”

Brummer briskly shrugged his shoulders.

“You are wasting your time, Usana. You know I will not go alone. If you find a way to bring hundreds of people with me, I might reconsider, but until you do I will remain here in my home.”

A thin smile played across Usana’s lips and even if Brummer did not see it, it reflected in her voice.

“It is a paradox that the energy charge of the time machine’s weapon that will destroy us will also provide the energy for that fluctuation of mass necessary for you to carry an extra object that will contain life.”

Usana saw Brummer perplexed face as she lured him with a solution that was totally unexpected.

“Hmm?”

“You see, Brummer, I don’t think Karl expected me to become active in his scenario. He targeted you because you were in the process of discovering a fundamental law of the time travel theories. Karl thought that you were the best placed individual in our galaxy to understand the laws governing time travel. He needed your mind, and more importantly, your unquestionable faith that time travel was possible in order for you to build the contraption. I don’t think he expected you to go public with the news for I don’t believe that the civilization from which he came understood how unpredictable a human mind can be in our time. Karl was perfect and immortal. He was an organized form of humanity living in a perfect, static space. This combination is not appropriate for randomness. We, on the other hand, are erratic in our decisions and our thoughts because we have unknown variables that we deal with every day given by the ever changing environment we live in. There is nothing static and perfect in our time.”

She paused.

“Karl probably expected the initial shock and your isolation from the world, but my hunch is that after this period of seclusion he was convinced that you’d return to a normal life and carry on his quest. From his point of view, it was the only logical thing to do, and therefore, it was perfect.”

Usana pointedly stared at him and added in a tone that did not admit contradiction: “You are no longer really mad, Brummer, are you? You’ve had enough time to recover from the shock and find yourself again. I underestimated you once at the emergency Council meeting. This time, you won’t fool me again, my dear friend. You won’t be able to play that card anymore, Brummer. Got that?”

He didn’t say a word, but his eyes shifted slightly sideways towards her. Did she notice a glint in his eyes? She continued on the same tone.

“You are comfortable with making the doctor, and the few people that you’ve surrounded yourself with, believe that you are mad because it fits your agenda. You don’t want to complete Karl’s mission. You don’t want to face the responsibility. You’d rather die alone and forgotten, but by doing so, remember that you are condemning the universe to the same sort. How selfish can you be?”

She paused as not one word came out of him. She could see his jaw set hard.

“Brummer,” she said as she softened her tone. “Remember, it was not so long ago when that brash Governor, whom I didn’t even expect to come, arrived to Earth, and in front of the whole Council had the audacity not only to laugh in my face, but to offer us hope. I need that same attitude from you. I want you audacious. I want you to laugh at this universe and defeat it. I want you to kill off humanity so you can offer humanity hope again.”

Brummer inhaled deeply and slowly rose and shuffled a few steps to the opposite wall. He flicked on the light and the room was suddenly enveloped in its brightness. He brought his hand over his eyes, unaccustomed to such brightness.

“I haven’t turned on this light for forty-three days. If you want me to start counting for humanity’s future, this could be day zero…”

He paused, muttering to himself, as if deliberating on an important matter that needed deep reflection. He nodded as if he had found the solution and was satisfied with it. “Or maybe day one, but first, you will have to explain to me how I will save humanity after I’ve destroyed it.”

End of Book 2

Continued in Book 3


Oblivion: The Day Everything Dies (Book 2)

A radically diverse and engineered humanity is about to embark on the conquest of a lifeless galaxy. Despite populating the stars, the human species has never encountered intelligent life, yet nevertheless finds itself threatened by a faceless enemy. Book 2. Chapter Three: Humanity has evolved through time into immense bodies capable of self-propelling itself through space. People had evolved into flowers of the stars, populating the universe with their magnificence. Far, far away were the days they needed air to breathe or planets to live on. The only problem was that the universe was lifeless. It was a cruel concept that a whole universe had been created for only one species to appreciate. It was a selfish idea and a very lonely fate. Humanity had so many things to tell, so many things to teach, so many things to share, but there was no one there to listen. Chapter Four: As society falls apart, a determined Usana travels to Dragolia to visit Brummer. She has a mission for him, but not only must she convince him to leave his hermetic life behind but to kill everyone in the process as well. Book two of a three book series.

  • Author: Vincent Pet
  • Published: 2016-11-12 18:50:09
  • Words: 10594
Oblivion: The Day Everything Dies (Book 2) Oblivion: The Day Everything Dies (Book 2)