B. Morris Allen

“Oh no, not again”

With a soft fizz, space expanded, contracted, and just plain oscillated. The fabric of space-time frayed, cosmic strings unwound, and muons dissolved into the merest hint of sub-sub-atomic matter. Reality was suspended, if temporarily, and with a note from its doctors.

The doctors, stretched languidly over several extra dimensions, enjoyed the sudden freedom over a long lunch. After bargaining over the bill and whether the entity that had ordered the expensive dark matter deluxe should pay more, they cleaned their whiskers and got down to work. When they put reality back together, no time later, it was slightly changed.

“Systems green,” recorded the newly created instrument package in its log, though in place of ‘green’ it actually described a state of balance between chi and theta proto-forces during a non-invasive quantum deficit interaction. “Transition complete. All attributes active.” It ran a second a series of checks, and declared “Noetic system substantially overspecified. Excess capacity to be tested with elegiac orthometry.” It initiated data analysis.

“Four dimensions evident. Vertical gain overestimated. Concave package casing adequate for immediate needs.” It deployed several colorful, delicate instruments crafted from its rich mix of femtobots. They fluttered in the increasingly powerful force vectors applied to them.

“Vertical offset increasing. Resulting lateral vortices causing minor degradation of material storage capacity.” The instruments shook and quivered uncertainly in their mounts. Spiracles of shaken femtobots shook free of the package’s upper surface and were seized by atmospheric forces. The package composed and discarded several epic poems about the uncertainty of existence in a changing universe.

“Some material lost. It may take some time to regain.” The package re-arranged its instruments for a better vantage, accepting the risk that some might be damaged or lost to the violent environment.

“Noting rapid blue shift in radiation. Hypothesis 1: local universe expanding unevenly. Hypothesis 2: reflective layer growing nearer.” The package examined opportunities for personal growth, but decided that existence as a static, command-driven data-gathering device was somehow limiting.

“Imminent impact predicted,” the package noted with resignation. It pondered whether an autonomous existence as a self-propelled unit might be more fulfilling. It designed and crafted an ipseity cloning mechanism, aimed at the brightest visible star.

Falling at its terminal velocity, the package’s bowl-shaped casing struck the edge of a granite crag and shattered into a thousand pieces. The sensitive petals of its instruments tore and femtobots sprayed over the surrounding countryside.

It took years for all of the femtobots comprising the package to gather and reassemble. At length, however, the package was once more complete and stationed on the patio table of a housewife in Dorchester.

“Well,” it said before triggering the recall sequence to initiate a return to its designers in chi-space, “that’s over with.”

Beside it, a highly improbable wormhole snapped open.