Stellar Dis-curse

“Oooooh,” Victoria nodded in understanding. “Do you think something in the water changed you, or have you always been this selfish?” she asked with a slight smirk.

“WHAT!?” The old man bellowed the question in surprise. He sat on the ornate marble edge of the fountain to tell his tale; but, jumped to his feet at Victoria’s question. “I’m saving innocents from a curse!” Victoria shrugged, but shook her head. Her violet ponytail swished behind her with the motion.

“Just because you think it’s a curse, doesn’t mean it is. Not everyone is going to have your perspective.”

“I’ve lost everyone I love,” the old man replied. His anger was gone, his tone was weary. Victoria nodded.

“People die. You’re lucky to have loved them.”

“I’ve lived over 2000 years, and I thank God I’m nowhere near as callous as you,” he said. Victoria shrugged again.

“Like I said, different perspectives. Wait until you reach my age,” she added a wink, then continued. “Either way, this Earth is about to belong to Sharp Development. A working Fountain of Youth is surprisingly rare; it’ll be great for tourism.”

“Belong?” the elder asked. He tilted his head in confusion. “No one can own the Earth,” he said.

“Dana Sharp can do anything, and she already owns several thousand Earths. This is just one more.”

Who are you? Where did you come from? I’ve searched this Earth for millennia and never found anyone.”

“So… who are you protecting the fountain from?” Victoria asked with a giggle. He narrowed his eyes at her with a stern expression.

“I don’t know yet,” he replied. Victoria took the hint.

“My name’s Victoria,” she extended her hand in greeting. “I’m a scout for Sharp Development and your Earth is of particular interest. Sharp Development is a multiversal corporation with a presence on thousands of alternate Earths.”

“Gabriel,” the elder gave his name as he shook her hand. “There are… other Earths?”

“An infinite number,” she replied. “You’re whining about there being nothing left to see here; but, there are other Earths to see. There are things that exist beyond anything you could imagine.”

“How?” Gabriel asked. Victoria raised her hand and pointed at something next to him. The old man turned and was startled to find a black portal hovering in the air.

“Just walk in; someone will get you sorted on the other side.”  Gabriel hesitated a moment. He did not know what to expect but decided he had nothing to lose. With a stiff nod to himself, Gabriel made up his mind and walked into the portal. It closed behind him. Victoria pulled a node out of her pocket once she was alone.

“This abandoned Earth is now the property of Sharp Development,” she spoke to the transparent rectangle. The display flashed white, then the node disintegrated in her hand. The white powder dispersed into the wind; white nanos began to duplicate themselves in order to saturate the Earth.

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