“Multiverse di- wait… Where am I?” Cameron asked the smiling waitress. “I don’t know how I got here,” he added with the hope that she wouldn’t think he was crazy.
“No problem, it happens all the time,” she patted his shoulder in a comforting gesture then yelled at the kitchen. “Mundo! You’re up.” Then, she turned back to Cameron. “Mundo’ll explain things and help get you back home if you want.” The waitress wandered off as a tall, heavy man came out of the kitchen toward Cameron’s table. He was using his white, stained apron to dry his hands.
“Hey, I’m Mundo,” the large man extended a moist hand in greeting as he sat down. Cameron shook it hoping the cook’s hands were wet with water. “I run this place and you don’t know how you got here, right?” Cameron nodded.
“Well the short version is you…,” Mundo pointed at Cameron to make his point. “…can travel between universes. “Usually the first time lands you somewhere helpful.” Mundo spread his arms to gesture at the 50s style diner around them and smiled smugly. “But once you get the hang of it you can go anywhere you want; if you can imagine it, it’s out there.”
“I can go home too?” Cameron asked. “The waitress said you could help me get home.” Mundo nodded.
“How’d you get here?” he asked.
“I don’t know, remember?” Cameron said with a trace of annoyance in his voice. Mundo nodded and laughed.
“Yeah, I worded that wrong. What were you thinking before you got here?” Cameron shrugged.
“I dunno, I was hungry. I wanted a really good burger.” Mundo laughed hard and slammed his hand on the table for effect.
“That’s fantastic, I make the best burger in dozens of universes; yours is probably one. But that’s how easy it is. When you really want to go home, you will. If you want a ride stick around, someone’ll show up I’m sure.”
“If it’s that easy why didn’t it happen until now?” Cameron asked. He was starting to feel like he wasted the first 27 years of his life if he could visit other universes.
“Did you get a tattoo recently?”
“Yeah, today actually,” Cameron hoped he wouldn’t have to show the man the new star logo on his left butt-cheek. Mundo nodded.
“Does it have the number 35 on it?” he asked.
“Yeah.. how’d you know?”
“You are something called a Unique Soul. I’m one too, but we’re different kinds.” Mundo showed Cameron a tattoo of the Earth on his forearm with the number 37 on it in black numbers. “Our powers activate when we get our number on our skin.”
“What’s your power?” Cameron asked. “What’s mine?” Mundo seemed to know a lot and Cameron hoped the cook teach him what else he could do.
“When I got my tattoo I learned everything about Uniques. It was like I suddenly remembered something I hadn’t thought of in a long time. And I knew it as fact. Unique Soul #35,” Mundo pointed at Cameron again. “You are an Estrella, you can hope between universes by default. Other Uniques have to learn how to do it, you just have to learn how to control it. You can also see people’s auras and channel plasma from a star through your hands. That last one is pretty advanced though.”
“Whoa… I’m that strong?” Cameron sat up straighter, impressed with himself.”
“Yes, and no,” Mundo shook his head. Honestly, you’re a low tier Estrella. All Estrellas can do what you do, and a lot of them can do it better,” Mundo chuckled.
“I wonder how strong the other versions of me are,” Cameron thought aloud. Once he learned he could travel between universes his first thought was to find his doppelgangers. Again, Mundo shook his head.
“There aren’t any others. That’s the ‘unique‘ part of Unique Soul. There’s only one Estrella with your name that looks like you in all the universes.
“Oh,” for some reason that thought made Cameron a bit sad. He heard a sudden commotion and looked up toward the noise. The few diners that were in the restaurant when he arrived seemed to be rushing out the door in a hurry. He noticed a black portal at the other end of the restaurant with a tall, white-horned woman standing in front of it. Mundo shook his head.
“If you ever see her anywhere, leave the universe as fast as you can,” Mundo said, then he left Cameron’s booth to greet the strange woman. The cook nodded at her, then disappeared into the kitchen. while the woman sat down in a booth.
“That’s Ballisea,” the waitress said. She appeared next to Cameron and the surprise made him jump. “You should leave. Any time you see her: leave.”
“Why? And if she’s that bad why is she eating here?”
“She likes our burgers,” the waitress said.