Marcie’s Armageddon

“… and on Sunday,” Marcie smiled. “I want to give crafters something to do too. Maybe a wedding, or a ball?” She offered her half-formed ideas to the pink-haired girl that was helping her set her server up. Jessie nodded. They sat in Marcie’s living room. Jessie and her friend, a shorter, green-haired girl.

“You’re wanting to run these events every week, right?” Jessie asked. She did most of the talking. Marcie got the impression the second girl was tagging along with her friend. Any time she left the room, her two guests immediately took up chatting and giggling. Marcie nodded to answer Jessie’s question.

“Okay, that might be a little overkill, but you can change it later. And since you’re repeating them so often, we can make them less repetitive by changing them up. Wedding one week, a ball the next, and maybe a fair or farmer’s market to fill out the rest of the month. I recommend changing up the rest of the server events too.” Jessie said.

“Remember, you have the whole world. Mad Scientist Monday doesn’t have to take place in the same location every week. You can ask the AlterNet to randomize any variables from week to week,” Rana added a helpful note.  Also… we need to talk about Wednesday,” she said. Jessie nodded.

“Ms. Sharp doesn’t want anything related to ‘aliens’…,” Jessie added air-quotes with her explanation. “in the AlterNet. So, your alien invasion is a no-go.”

“Oh… really?” Marcie was surprised. It was a feeling she had the chance to practice often lately. Her life changed completely once she took control of her Earth. That was the first step in learning about a completely new universe that she had no idea existed. “Why?” Marcie asked.

“Because aliens don’t exist,” Rana said. Marcie tilted her head and narrowed her eyes.

“Then, what difference does it make?” she asked.

“Because, Ms. Sharp doesn’t want them to exist,” Jessie replied. Rana nodded as if what Jessie said made perfect sense. It didn’t.

“Okay, this is what I’m hearing, and I don’t get it,” Marcie said. “Ms. Sharp doesn’t want anyone in the AlterNet to talk about aliens, because they don’t exist. And she’s doing this so that .. they won’t exist?” Both girls nodded. “How does that work?”

“You’ve done some research on your own, have you heard of an Estrella named Andromeda?” Jessie asked. Marcie shook her head.

“What about the Calavera, Wonder?” Rana asked.

“Yes! She’s on CyberRiot, right?” Marcie asked. Rana nodded.

“Does anything else stand out about her?” Jessie asked.

“She’s a nano-swarm A.I.?” Marcie shrugged.

“That’s right. So is Andromeda. She joined CyberRiot too, and they have another A.I. Unique Soul named Metro. When Dana Sharp released the first AlterNet, centuries ago, -“

Centuries?” Marcie interrupted. Jessie nodded.

“It’s not like she doesn’t have a thousand Muertes on her payroll; she’s not dying, like ever,” Rana giggled and Jessie joined in.

“When the first version released, we thought only humans and animals could be Uniques. Now, we have three sentient A.I. Unique Souls on one roller derby team. The AlterNet has a way of making things happen. I mean, it’s common knowledge that the AlterNet spreads to other universes on its own for the most part.”

“What does that have to do with aliens?” Marcie asked. “Are there alien Unique Souls?” Jessie shrugged.

“Ms. Sharp is trying to keep the AlterNet from thinking we want aliens. Because if it thinks we want aliens, it will create aliens. And for the most part, humanity has done a pretty good job of coming up with aliens that are good at killing us. They’d almost definitely be Unique Souls.”

“So… no aliens on Wednesday. Got it. Any other ideas?” Marcie asked.

“Yeah,” Jessie smiled. “Don’t decide right now. Leave it as a free day where you can try out different ideas. Don’t rush the decision like you did your server name,” Jessie giggled at Marcie. Rana and Marcie also smiled at the joke.

After Marcie’s first meeting with Unique Souls, she was left unhappy with the name she’d chosen for her Earth. ‘Marcie’s Test’ was meant to be a placeholder name. After researching everything she could, thanks to the node itself, she learned about the Star Academy. They cataloged all Earths they came across, and Marcie could change the name of her Earth with them. She was surprised when the meeting turned out to be with a pair of teenage girls. But, they certainly knew what they were talking about and had been pleasant the whole time.

It turned from a short conversation about changing the name to a full explanation about the fact that she now had complete control over her Earth. She wanted to make it interesting, and they certainly helped her with that.

“Well, I think we got all the broad-strokes ironed out, and the AlterNet will handle the rest. Did you decide on a server name yet?” Jessie asked. Marcie nodded.

“Marciegeddon.”

Marcie’s Life. Marcie’s Test.

“How can they be humans and extraterrestrials at the same time?” General Hopsitel asked as his aide escorted him to the first meeting. The pasty, rotund general waddled through the narrow halls with renewed purpose. He was ready to retire the week before; then, first contact was made.

“Well, ‘terrestrial’ just means ‘from Earth’. These humans contacted us from somewhere else,” Marcie replied with a subtle eye-roll. General Hopsitel wasn’t a bad boss initially. Each year the General gave her more responsibilities to handle. She was thrilled at first because it meant he trusted her. 15 years later, she was essentially doing his job and giving him cheat notes.

“Do we know anything about their planet yet? Location? Name?”

“Nothing. After contact was confirmed both sides exchanged basic information. Once they learned we were humans too they fast-tracked the first meeting.” General Hopsitel stopped before they exited the building and looked at Marcie.

“This just happened last week, right?” he asked. Marcie nodded, and the General ignored her eyeroll. She was damn good at her job and he gave her all the leeway she wanted. “How did we translate so fast?” Marcie grinned then pushed through the doors out into the sunshine. The General followed her.

“They speak English,” she said as she crossed the base.

“English? And we know they’re humans?” General Hopsitel asked. Marcie nodded.

“No, it’s not a prank, Sir.”

“How do we know? If we don’t know where the signal is coming from…,”

“This,” she handed him a letter envelope from a stack of forms on a clipboard. The General grabbed the envelope; it was heavier than an empty one, but not by much. He opened it and found a small glass card in it. He pulled it out and looked it over while they entered another building. It was about the size of a playing card and just as thin.

“Glass?” he asked. Marcie shook her head.

“They sent us that. It’s called a node and it’s way more advanced than anything we have right now.” Marcie took it from him, tapped it several times, then handed it back. When it was in his hands again he noticed it showed the time. He ran his finger on it like Marcie did and it changed to a homescreen style layout that reminded the General of his smartphone.

“We have smartphones too,” the General said. Marcie sighed. She normally didn’t mind their work relationship, but they weren’t normally making first contact and changing the world. The added stress made her a bit bitter. She stopped and took the node from his hands again.

“Our smartphones can’t do this,” she said as she held up the node in front of his face. The General watched the node stretch as Marcie pulled at both ends. When it was about twice its size, the long piece broke in two; Marcie handed him one back, and tapped it in his hand. It brought the time up. Then, she showed him the clock on the second piece. Both said 9:55 A. M.

“Okay,” General Hopsitel nodded. “I believe you.”

“Thank you, Sir,” Marcie gave him a playful mock salute as they reached the meeting room. She opened the cafeteria door for him, then followed him in. The General stopped as soon as he entered the room. Most of the tables and chairs were cleared out leaving only the white concrete floor. Half a dozen men and women in labcoats sat in the center of the cafeteria next to the rest of the military representation: three other generals.

“Where’s the President?” he asked. “What about the rest of the world leaders?” He expected to see a room full of delegates from at least the first world countries.

“We were contacted. As far as we can tell, that signal was sent only to us; it’s not a broadcast. They gave America node technology. If they wanted the rest of the world to have it, they would have broadcast a message for the whole world. The President needs plausible deniability if this does get out. ‘Officially’ he doesn’t even know about this meeting. Now hurry up, it’s time.” She shooed him toward the crowd of scientists and soldiers. He saw a large black hole appear in the center of the crowd. By the time he got there, the hole was gone but three new strangers stood in its place in the center of the crowd.

They trio, two men and a woman, looked like average 20somethings in jeans and t-shirts. Each sported an elaborate tattoo on their arm with different numbers.

“Hello Earthlings!” the taller, raven-haired man said. His tattoo was a bright blue star on his forearm with the number 35 on it. “We’re from Earth too,” he said with a laugh. Immediately the group around General Hopsitel seemed confused until the woman stepped forward. She had a black widow spider tattooed on her arm with the number 33.

“He means we’re from Earth also, not Earth two as in the second one,” she explained. “There is no ‘Earth 2’, there are too many to count.”

“Too many?” The scientist closest to General Hopsitel asked. The woman with the spider tattoo nodded and seemed about to answer, but the second man spoke up from behind her. He sported an eagle on his arm with the number 20.

“Full saturation!” he shouted gleefully.

“Thanks for using that node we sent you,” #35 said with a grin. He pulled his own out of his pocket and tapped and swiped on it. Marcie was startled when her pocket vibrated. She stood unnoticed by the door waiting for the General to finish. She watched the situation with interest, but could not hear anything.

She pulled the node she created out of her pocket and saw a message.

[User: Corvus has requested ownership over Server: Marcie’s Test. Do you wish to transfer ownership?] [Yes] [No]

Marcie’s eyes went wide. She didn’t know what it meant exactly, but she knew she entered ‘Marcie’s Test’ as a placeholder name for the Earth while she experimented with it. At the time she wondered why her Earth needed a name. Her first instinct was to deny access; she did that then looked back to where Corvus was looking at his node. He was a fair distance, but she saw his smile turn into a look of concern.

“Uhh.. Actually. Sorry guys,” Corvus said to the scientists and generals. “We have to go. We’ll get-,” his exit was interrupted by the woman.

“What?” she asked. He turned to face her.

“Something came up,” General Hopsitel heard him say through gritted teeth.

“OH, right.” she said. Corvus wiggled his fingers at the air and summoned a black portal.

“We’ll call you,” he said, then the trio wasted no time running into the black hole that appeared; it closed behind them.