040. Blinding Oversight

Levels above the playing field, pocketed out of sight, Geraint and Xent in the Operations Room. They sat there staring at each other, and each of them could read in the other’s face that where they were was not where they wanted to be.

‘I did not realise that an Immaculate Author would be just as problematic as one of those mundane creatures in the real world that wants to write books. I mean, I have heard of getting involved in your work, but letting yourself get sucked into the thing.’

‘Well, then why did we build the Wormhole Prologue Protocols into these universes? Why did we give them a buffer zone into which they might step? What was the thinking behind that?’

‘Well, we built ourselves a Reality Engineer and then we had them consult on the project, and they said it was a necessary failsafe to prevent the magnitude of what they were doing from damaging the equilibrium of their minds in such a way as to precipitate a schizoid break.’

‘Well, that worked out great, didn’t it, Geraint? Is Carter going to be able to fix this? Even if he pulls our author out of the nosedive, do we want to put them back in a position where they might be able to corrupt the reality again?’

‘That one we’re going to have to put to the vote.’

‘Yes, with a whole bunch of idiots who don’t take the time to actually observe what is going on.’

‘What do you want to do? Disregard precedent? Pull rank? Declare a state of emergency and bring down The Edit Mechanism on us?’

‘Not really, but isn’t that likely to happen anyway? They had dispatched an Inviolable Editor from The Overtext, and someone shot him through the head.’

‘I could say it’s all gone to shit, but you know what, why would we have Reality Engineers if there wasn’t some expectation of the system breaking down?’

‘If we didn’t tell them would they even know?’

‘I remember now reading how close comedy is to tragedy.’

‘You don’t want to just see if there is a writer a level up from us?’

‘That would be ridiculous wouldn’t it?’

‘Kind of, but kind of my point. If there are editors above are there not, most likely, writers?’

‘We know there are writers, but all this is supposed to be compartmentalised. We don’t just go to the level above and ask them to handle our shit – that’s a bad recipe for something destined to kill us.’

– * –

‘What did you do to them, Carter?’

‘You know, trapped them in an illogic loop – it just gets stupider and stupider for them from here on out.’

‘Why?’

‘So they don’t interfere.’

‘So they’re going to sit this one out? Seems a little odd given the stakes.’

‘Makes total sense if you know them.’

‘And they never predicted this possibility?’

‘Sure, but they aren’t as brilliant as the people they employ, are they?’

‘Who ever is?’

‘Exactly. So, back to the game then Sherlock.’

‘Yes, Quint.’

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