Rating/Warnings: PG-13 (Death)
Summary: Red and Maddy at the end of the world. And no, I did not include the song lyrics in the wordcount– sheesh! lol
NOTE: This is a very rough draft with no editing at all (per National Novel Wiriting Month rules) and is presented for amusement value only. Think of it as a periscope into my writing process rather than a coherent story!
There will most likely be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, contradictions/retcons, uneven characterization and pacing. These snippits are also posted out of order, so please refer to the Outline to figure out where it’s supposed to fit.
I Hope You Dance
I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance
Never settle for the path of least resistance
Living might mean taking chances
But they’re worth taking
Lovin’ might be a mistake
But it’s worth making
Don’t let some hell bent heart
Leave you bitter
When you come close to selling out
Give the heavens above
More than just a passing glance
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance
I hope you dance
Lee Ann Womack – I Hope You Dance
Red stays up with the rest of the team for the last night before swtichover. They’re drinking and celebrating the beginning of something so massive he’s still not sure he can wrap his head around it.
Tomorrow they flip the switch, well, hit the enter key really, that will start the organic program known as the City. She’ll start small, there’s no way to turn her on all at once, but she’ll grow, oh how she’ll grow. He toasts the starts with what’s left of his beer.
Madaline laughs behind him and he turns, grinning that stupid slightly too-drunk grin that always makes it’s way into photos, but he doesn’t care anymore. They’ve done it, they’ve made history– succeed or fail they will have done something so much bigger than all of them.
“We can’t got to the stars, then we’ll bring the stars to us!” Maddy raises her own beer, but Red snorts.
“Who needs the stars? We’ve got a thousand– no a hundred million Earths waiting for us. Phooey on the universe, we’re staying home!”
Maddy grins, but is a sad sort of grin. She’d wanted the start so badly, he can remember when he first met her in college, full of the burning drive to make it out past the meager limits of their own solar system. But faster than light travel is still an impossibility, but the city– ah the city.
“To the Earth then,” and she clinks bottles with him, they’re not quite drunk enough to miss, not yet. And then she slips in beside him on the balcony, snuggling under his arm and not quite laughing at him when he has to brace on the railing for balance. “To all the Earths and all the Us’es that’re in ‘em!”
“Probability–” Red starts, but it’s a long repeated argument and she finishes for him “–dictates that the impossible is impossible and not merly improbably. Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” She laughs. “I like to think we’re out there, somewhere, doing the same thing.”
“I hope not,” Red says, “I’d hate to think of two Cities at once.”
“I wonder if we’d cancel each other out.” Maddy finished the last of her beer and sighs.
“If we turn it on tomorrow and nothing happens, I’ll blame your evil twin then.” Red laughed, “Maybe nothing will happen and we’re all just getting drunk for nothing.”
“Mmm, right, I bet all the you’s in all the Earths are saying the same thing.” She looked up at him and then bipped his nose with the neck of her empty bottle. “I’m going for another drink. just in case. You want one?”
“Nah, I have to drive, be driven, something like that.” He sighed, “motion sick is no fun in a limo.”
“True enough,” Maddy unwound herself from his arm and kissed his cheek before heading back inside. “To evil twins!” She said, saluting him before heading through the sliding glass door.
“To us’es.” He watched for a moment as she made it back inside and then turned back to the stars. “To all the us’es, to the may haves, might haves, to chaos theory and the square root of the impossible.” He raised his bottle. “To the City.”
And if the stars heard him, he didn’t notice, because the beer was gone and he was headed back inside to the party to celebrate a maybe.
The next day the City is born, a collection of organics and inorganics wound tight around and impossibility. She was run by artificially intelligences, based off the science team, but only pale shadows of themselves. You still couldn’t capture a person with that technology, but it was faster to start from a copy than it was to teach one the slow way.
They need the speed of sparkspace to control the growth, the name was a joke, but it had stuck. Meatspace and sparkspace, living at two vastly different speeds– they couldn’t hope to keep up, but thanks to the AIs they don’t have to.
The math is solid, the theories based on as much experimentation as the they can manage. If things go as intended she’ll make the first contact with a sister reality in a month. After that the growth should be exponential.
A hundred million Earths, and none of them will be more than a short trip through the city away.
The first doorway appears on schedule, then the next, and it’s only when they hit the low teens that the impacts start to show.
By the twentieth they’re trying desperate to shut down the cities growth, but she’s grown too large. Every door that appears in the city rips another small hole in their own universe and it’s happening faster and faster. People vanish, places revert decades or centuries, each new reality strips a way a small part of their own.
It’s too late to stop her– was too late from the minute they hit the key that turned her on, but they keep trying. Up until they’re forced into the city to keep from vanishing themselves, they keep fighting long after the door to their universe is gone.
Time does funny things in the city, and sometimes Red wonders how long it’s really been. How many days, or years, since the party to celebrate the end of the world.
But he can fix this.
Maddy said so.