Expository Lunch

“What’s your name?” Bijou asked Agent Mundo. The two women sat in a red and gold booth in a Chinese restaurant. After placing their orders, Bijou decided to start the questioning. The federal agent promised her answers.

“It’s Mundo,” she said. “Agent is just a title.”

“But what’s your first name? Or is it Mundo?” Mundo gave a half shrug.

“I was born Olive Brooks, but I changed my name to Mundo when I was ‘Awakened’.” Bijou nodded. She didn’t know exactly what ‘awakened’ meant, but she knew she’d get the answer soon. Her mind latched on to a more immediate question.

“Do I have to change my name too? To Corona or whatever you said I was?” Bijou loved her name too much to change it. Luckily Mundo shook her head at the question.

“No, it’s mostly a Mundo thing. Not all Mundos do it, but it makes things easier for everyone.”

“Okay, you’re starting to lose me,” Bijou said. “How many Mundos are there? You said we were called Unique Souls, but it doesn’t seem very unique if there’s more of you, and you all change your name to Mundo.”

“Most Earths produce a Mundo at some point,” Mundo said.

“That! That’s what I want to know. You said, ‘This Earth hates unicorns.’ Are alternate Earths really real?” Bijou asked. Her crystalline pink eyes sparkled with hope. If alternate Earths were real she knew she could find the right one to make her dream come true. Mundo nodded.

“Yeah. Real and easily accessible for Uniques.” Bijou grinned broadly.

“Can we go??” Bijou imagined Mundo giving her a tour of her favorite Earths.

“You can,” Mundo said. “I can’t leave my Earth.” Bijou’s smile dimmed slightly.

“Why not?”

“It’ll help if I explain how Uniques work in general,” Mundo said. She sat up straighter and smiled at Bijou. There’re 54 different types of Uniques broken down into six tiers.”

“Oh, those are the numbers you told me, right? You said you you’re #37 and I’m #47. Does that mean I’m stronger than you?” Mundo shook her head.

“Nope. The numbers themselves don’t mean much other than identifying the Unique. You probably are stronger than me, but technically you’re on a lower tier. The ranking isn’t about how strong you are, it’s about what you can do.” Mundo pointed at Bijou.

“You are La Corona, so you’re in the Conqueror tier. Everyone in that tier is powerful enough to conquer the Earth they’re born on.”

“Oh yeah! You said I was born to be one of the most fearful things on Earth,” Bijou said. “That’s to help me conquer the Earth?” Mundo nodded.

“Yeah. Each one goes about it a different way. Coronas are the strongest conquerors and they’re born in the form of whatever the humans fear at the time. I guess when you were born people were really scared of unicorns for some reason.”

“What tier are you? What do you do?”

“I’m in the tier above you, called Celestials. Celestials can open portals to travel between universes. Conquerors can easily conquer their Earth, celestials can easily conquer several.”

“But you said you can’t leave?” Bijou asked.

“Right. That’s specific to Mundos, and one of the lower tiers. My ability is knowledge. When I got my tattoo it flooded my mind with information on Uniques and the multi-verse. It’s weird to doubt and generally not think about other universes one day; then, to know for a fact that they’re real the next. Mundos help teach Uniques about themselves and their abilities.”

“Wow, it’s a great thing I ran into you!” Bijou smiled. Mundo nodded.

“It would have happened eventually. Uniques are drawn to each other, it actually makes my job easier. When I heard about the unicorn attack at the university, I assumed there was a Unique involved. All I had to do was show up, and there you were.”

“So you can’t leave this Earth.. but have you met travelers from other Earths?”

“Oh yeah, quite a few. I’ve got some friends that come by regularly.”

“Wow, what are their universes like?”

“Their particular universes are kind of boring, but there’s a lot of awesome stuff out there. If you can imagine something, there’s probably an Earth like that.”

“Oh! What about aliens?” Bijou asked. Her sole reason for attending college was to become an astronomer, but even that was a means to an end. More than anything she dreamed about meeting alien life. Now that she had access to other universes she could just find one with aliens in it and meet them. Unfortunately, Mundo shook her head.

“Sorry, no aliens.”

“You’re kidding me! Out of all the travelers you met, not one of them came from an Earth that’s met alien life?” Mundo nodded.

“Pretend this Earth is an apartment in a very trusting building,” Mundo said. Bijou nodded. “There’s only one key to open the main door, and all the apartments are unlocked. Once a Unique has been to your apartment, it gets a key and can come back any time to any of the apartments. Not only that, but Uniques share the key with everyone they meet.” Bijou’s eyes narrowed with confusion.

“Aliens?” she asked to get Mundo back on topic.

“Yeah. No one that has come into this apartment building of ours has met any aliens, nor met anyone that has met any aliens yet.”

“You can’t know that for sure, right?” Alternate Earths were great, but Bijou wanted to see the universe, not just more Earths.

“Once aliens have the key to our building we’ll have the key to theirs. Then we’ll be able to enter all kinds of new Earths that have met aliens.” Mundo shrugged. “There’re infinite universes out there. Sure we can travel between a few, but it’s still only a small corner of infinity.”

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