“Hey, you hear that? I made an excellent choice,” Ricky said. He looked at the other occupants of the small room. His best friend, Hector, and two people he met six months ago for the first time. A short man with a tall blue mohawk who called himself Vegas, and a woman with short spikey black hair and golden arms named Jenny.
“It’s a recording. It says that no matter what you pick,” Jenny said. Hector chuckled
“Yeah man,” he said while still laughing. “Besides, you don’t even know what universe you picked. You just pressed buttons randomly.”
“Traversing in 3,” the console began a countdown. The lights dimmed, then Ricky and Hector took a step closer to Vegas and Jenny.
“Why are we using this? I thought you guys could do it without the equipment?” Hector asked. Over the past 6 months since Ricky and Hector met Vegas and Jenny, the strangers taught them a lot, and revealed some of their secrets.
“Jenny can,” Vegas said. “But it’s important for you to know how to use this, because we’re not always going to be around.” Vegas idly rolled a poker chip along the top of his fingers while they waited.
“1. Traversing,” the console said. The lights went out completely for several seconds, then they reignited. They still stood in the same small room.
“Everything still looks the same,” Ricky complained to Hector.
“Of course it does,” Jenny said. She took a step forward toward the door they came in through. “You guys are still *in the elevator*, you know? C’mon out and take a look.” Jenny opened the door and the fluorescent lights of the confining room were drowned out by red sunlight. She quickly shut the door again, and locked it.
“Nope, bad choice Ricky,” Jenny chuckled and back to the console. “Just a second, let me update this, then we can try again.” Jenny began typing on the console.
“What happened? Hector asked.
“This universe isn’t safe anymore, so it’s gotta be blocked outta the system,” Vegas explained.
“That can happen?” Ricky asked. “How?” Vegas shrugged and went quiet. He made an effort to study the bare walls while Jenny worked on the console.
“Usually it happens naturally. Some universes are really old, and we’ll know ahead of time that it’s going to die. Sometimes someone conquers a universe.
“There’s someone out there with that kind of power?” Ricky asked. Jenny nodded without taking her eyes off her work.
“Tons of someones. Remember, there’s infinite universes out there, and tons of [Unique Souls](http://hserratafun.blogspot.com/2017/11/hugoverse-guidebook.html). Not all of them are good,” Jenny said. “There, that should do it.” She took her golden hands off the keyboard and hit a button.
“Access to this universe has been restricted. Reason: Ballisea. Traversing in 3,” the console said.
“What’s a Ballisea?” Hector asked.
“A Unique. But, not a good one,” Jenny said.
“She was powerful enough to conquer a universe?” Ricky asked with awe in his voice. Vegas chuckled.
“Kid, you don’t know the half of it. Hey, what’s the biggest, definite number you can think of. Not infinity, it needs to be a hard quantity.”
“A one with a trillion zeroes behind it,” Hector answered.
“A one with a trillion *TRILLION* zeroes behind it,” Ricky gave his answer. Vegas nodded at both of them.
“Alright the biggest number, a trillion trillion zeroes. Even if we *doubled* that number, it would still be less than the amount of universes Ballisea has conquered,” Vegas said solemnly.
“That number is just for the Earths. The amount of lives she’s taken is staggeringly unimaginable,” Jenny added.
“Isn’t there anyone that can stop her?” Jenny and Vegas both lightly shook their heads.
“No single person can, but there is someone with a plan. His name is Regal, and you’ll meet him when you start school. He’s the principal at Toku-High,” Jenny said.