050. Smooth Exit

The machinery of rebirth, when it is a natural occurrence, is as simple as dying and waking up as someone else – people have been doing it for millennia.

Add in the complication of it being an Immaculate Author, and combine with that the aim of doing more of a restore point kind of action, and things start to get a little bit more difficult.

Carter Brecht was carrying a matter-clamp around with a tame singularity in it. The singularity had been hacked and programmed with the spatiotemporal signature map that they wanted to super-impose over the Immaculate Author’s current Existential Integrity Drive, and use it to kickstart a backwards reaching re-write.

Seymour was in a chrono-synchronous alternative dimensional pocket with Quint Essential and a Midwife, Quantum Elements moving around a featureless room. Who would have thought it would come to this? There had to be someone else writing this script, didn’t there? Carter would not have planned for it to have to end like this. That there were so many people now aware of Reality Engineers and their role in the forward momentum of existence was a problem.

Bella Crow stood there with Wren, and with Thomas. Gank and Spay haunted the background. The wordsword Excalibur had been thrust deep into the heart of the Stone Of Tara.

David Arnover sat there with Coran Andress – they were staring at each other, or so it appeared. In truth they were staring at something no one might really see. When you start a story and you break pieces of yourself off to become other things, and you give them enough life that they take on a life of their own, what do you think will come from trying to forge a single person from two different people? Spay?

How does it end? How does it begin? For some an event might be one thing and for others it might be something entirely different.

Someone coughed loudly behind Carter. Carter turned and saw himself, looking like he was trying out for a part in a Clint Eastwood biopic, and stood slightly back from him was a very confused looking individual.

‘Hello me,’ said Carter to Older Carter.

‘Hello you,’ said Older Carter to Carter ‘Man, I had not realised how good I used to look.’

‘What are you doing here? Why the hell do you look so bad? Who is this with you? Are you not aware of the danger of Multiple Iteration Triggered Collapse?’

‘Yes, I am more than aware of the danger. I’m an isolated element. I got myself severed from narrative continuity, so I’m a low impact player here. This guy with me is an Edit Mechanism – everyone, meet Andy.’

‘What kind of Edit Mechanism?’

‘A reset button, which is what you’re looking for.’

‘And how do you know all that if you’re severed?’

‘I didn’t ditch the SNC, Carter.’


‘Oh, OK, not calling it that yet – Super-positional Neural Computer – that little mimic neural bundle packed in around your anterior cingulate cortex.’

‘Great, so why do I need a reset button instead of just doing what I had intended to do with Coran Andress and David Arnover?’

‘Well, OK, so, I am a little bit further along the learning curve, than you. You can call it Tulpa Divergence, Narrative Incompatability Syndrome, or my favourite: Impossible Mirror Egg Rewind.’

‘You’re just spewing word-salad at me – what the hell does it even mean?’

‘What it means is that your solution doesn’t work. I have seen what it does – it causes narrative echoes, ghost timelines, narrative collapses. It triggered The Reality Wars. It ended the stories.’

‘And this Andy won’t cause that same problem?’


‘And how do you know this?’

‘Because I have seen the way he works.’

‘He looks like he could barely work a phone, so what am I going to see him do?

‘It isn’t what he does, it is what he is. He barely understands what we are and where he is, and what is going to happen with him.’

‘Does it kill him? Because I am not sure about that.’

‘Oh, no, he has a reboot existence programmed into him. Ever heard of Dobie Fangle?’

‘It rings a bell. Isn’t he a Rogue Elephant?’

‘Yeah – Trigger Diaries. He programmed this dude here then plugged him into a reality I was monitoring, and it triggered a reboot while I was there.’

‘And it worked?’

‘Would I be coming here to sell this to you as a solution if it didn’t?’

‘I don’t know, do I?’

‘Well, whatever you do I am still here and kicking, right? If I tell you wrong, then I wouldn’t be here would I?’

‘Do you think I am not listening to everything you say? You told me you were an isolated element. I have whole team of people carefully aligned and waiting for me to give the go-ahead on the plan we have had in place forever.’

‘Forever, oh, it’s been a lot less time than that – don’t forget, I know how you play the game. You can ride the wave of a reboot anyway, can’t you? If I fuck it up, you can rewind it, can’t you?’

‘I suppose I can.’

‘And that whole line of bullshit we spin the non-Reality Engineers about alignment and timing is just that, right? BS. We can make reality jump through hoops.’

‘Did you – I mean, did I – go rogue?’

‘Oh, we were always a little roguish, weren’t we?’

Carter smiled, ‘OK, so tell me, what the hell do we have to do to activate this guy?’

Older Carter had been carrying a box under his arm for the whole time, he set it down and he let Carter see it.

‘A pizza?’


‘You’re kidding me?’

‘If you needed a delivery system that could be smuggled through the strictest of inspections, wouldn’t you use the best metaphor tech? If you were going to replicate The Slice in metaphorm, would you not love the idea of turning it into a pizza?’

‘What flavour?’

‘I knew you’d get it,’ said Older Carter, smiling ‘It’s Hawaiian.’

‘Guaranteed that hardly anyone would want any.’

‘Except Andy.’

‘Andy, have a slice.’

Andy grabbed up a slice of pizza and took a bite.


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