Part 45: MEmoriesBGM: Meridianus
I looked around- the twins and Marco were preparing to leave.
Hey, hold on! I want to tell them goodbye.
Marco shrugged, and the twins came up to me.
Yes, I guess so. Thanks, then. Or something. We're going away for a very long time.
To the Complex #27, right?
Yeah. I don't know what that means.
We're out of time. Come back here and let's go.
The twins gave me a wave and, along with Marco, vanished into the elevator going up. I had a feeling I wouldn't see them again.
Hold on. First, I want to know who I am exactly.
You are... my future, of sorts. See, I truly feel the weight of my age, and so I have gone to great lengths to make you, my most prized creation. In that sense, I suppose you are like my daughter. Even if, you are a bit more like me and not my daughter. If you want to take a look at what you physically are, lift this section of the wall here...
She moved to it. I joined her, and together we removed some of the padding to unveil a mirror. Staring into it, I finally took a look at myself.
BGM: Memini Meminisse
This would be me now, forever and always. Nobody else would look like me; nobody else would share the same memories and experiences.
So... I'm you, except younger.
Yes, that's correct. You are me, but also My Emptiness. You were created both as my double, so that I may live for a long time, and as a backup for My Emptiness, just in case something went awry. That is why you have been made to carry their memories. But enough about the software and the hardware- such things are trifling, compared to your name.
What does my name have to do with any of this?
Well... apparently, there's a team from Fermilab called the E288 team, led by Leon Lederman who discovered the upsilon meson, which is designated by the letter Y...
Hah, you found that by running an online search in your head just now, did you?
I embarrassedly nodded.
Good try, but it's not quite that. In fact, it has nothing to do with that at all. Hmm... how to explain it...? This may sound a little strange, but bear with me. What do you know of order and chaos?
Order is generally seen as a force of good, and chaos is usually representing a villain's goals...
D+ for effort, but just like everything, it is more nuanced than that. In this case, when I say order, I mean entropy and by chaos I mean negentropy.
I turned around to pay attention to her. What was this all about?
BGM: ME Mori
As time passes, the entropy of the universe increases. Planets slow their movements, stars break apart, and everything floats, irremediably, towards one single future: the cleanest, most pristine order. Eventually, we'll reach a point everyone has called heat death. That is when everything will have expended all the energy released by the universe. It will be as if everything will have been erased.
The universe cannot exist in that state. It is just that: erasure. And so, the universe will enter a secondary process we call the Big Crunch. Once the entropy levels of the universe have increased to the maximum, it will fall back onto itself. And why would it do that? I don't know. The fact remains; it does. It needs negentropy, or chaos, to continue existing.
That is the determinism behind our existences. We have already been written on every possible detail, because every atom of the universe is exactly, precisely where it had been before the Big Crunch. This is called the Eternal Return. It is a theory that says the Big Bang and the Big Crunch will follow up on each other, forever. Eternally, the universe will reset to its center, and recreate itself exactly as it was, with minute differences.
We currently are in the 288th reset of the universe. The machine is called the Abime. It stands for A Bichromatic Meridian. Don't ask me what the A stands for; I've yet to figure it out. I've been hard at work, but it is a strangely guarded secret in the Empty S.
Okay. My head is spinning. Congratulations, you managed to confuse an entity that can compute puzzles at the speed of light.
I know it is very vertiginous, but you have to understand. The universe resets over and over when it reaches the end of its long life.
And what does it have to do with any of this here?
There have been resets before the Abime was created- and there will be resets after, but suffice to say, we will not be here to see them. We have estimated that, beyond the 300th reset... humanity will no longer exist. Everything will have spiraled in such a different way that our planet will not sustain life anymore. Maybe the universe will bring life elsewhere, but nobody knows.
We needed to create an entity that could transfer information across the resets of the universe, even if it's always forward. We need... time. Time is our biggest enemy. While the people wage stupid wars, while people are content watching television in their living rooms, playing games and watching others play games... the universe is dying.
It will have no... observers. And YOU... that's the entity who can transfer information across resets. For some reason, when the universe collapses on its own, YOU can keep the information despite the ultimate compression recreating the Big Bang. This experiment here has been held around a dozen times, I believe. From the 277th reset to the 288th, we have toiled hard to ensure information was carried over.
Incidentally, I haven't shown what our save file situation looks like past the bonus update after we got our first ending. Here's a look at it now
Okay, okay. Let me recapitulate in my head.
The second goal was to give Ityne more staff, while simultaneously punishing those who didn't live adequately. Since they were young, Ityne implanted herself in their heads and she now occupies their bodies to do as she pleases with her Project Deforge. The final reason was to create an entity that could transfer information across time. Somehow, this is required to help prevent the universe from ending once we reach the reset where humanity stops existing forever.
Now? Now you live.
BGM: ME Mori
I live? There's no huge plan for me? There's no ultimate destiny awaiting me?
I didn't create you so that you would be stuck in the same fight against the universe that I'm in. I have created you so that you could enjoy a nice life... In other words, years of freedom, at least.
In many years, it is possible fate will have something grim in store for you. However, I have ensured you will have complete freedom for many years. Please live them out. Go to university, make friends, fall in love with a handsome boy; the choice is yours. As no one will observe you, not even God or anybody else, it will be real freedom. When not observed, all possibilities exist at once.
I see. Cryptic as always, but I understand. In essence, you're telling me to live the life you could never have, is that correct?
Yes. Our business is done here... unless you have more questions. Let's say I'll allow you up to three questions.
I had three questions. I needed to make them count.
What are all eight of you going to do now?
There is a certain important man being held in a prison. I have to rescue him at all costs, and that is who Mark will be tracking down. Currently, we don't know where the prison is. Before I leave, there are some pieces of technology I must get. The vats, for example, are one of them, and another is the machine at the center of the voting room...
Once I leave, I will go into hiding. I cannot remain out in the open, now that I will have visibly betrayed the Empty S. For all I know, armed men are already on their way here as we speak. Make your other questions quick.
No pressure, of course. What's with the Cool S? What does it really mean?
It's the symbol of the Empty S, naturally. However, we have yet to determine the origins. It may have originated from a much, much older reset of the universe. It's possible the Empty S had been a fledgling institution a long time ago, and that's where it comes from. It most certainly wasn't big enough to construct the Abime before we reached reset 001. That may have been when the symbol was formed.
Okay, last question... what's my name? I can't just go around naming myself E288, now can I?
Ah, damn. I forgot that.
She palmed her face, unsure of how to proceed.
Normally, a parent gives their child a proper name. Sadly, I will not have the time to ponder on it. Since you are me, obliquely, I will let you choose a name of your own. If you want, feel free to form something using my own name, Ityne Icofilm. Why not just make it an anagram to be cheeky?
I don't mind, but that's hardly an answer then. I asked you what my name was.
Fair is fair. I will grant you a fourth question, but... hurry. Our time is very short.
I had to make it count.
I was hoping my questions, disguised as one, would fool her.
Those are two questions. I'll answer who it is, is that fine by you?
My hopes were squashed almost instantly. That's just too bad.
That won't really mean much but... I guess.
I simply don't have the time to explain why. It would take too long. One day, YOU will know. For now, I'll tell you his name.
As she spoke, she had begun walking away to the elevator going down. I was going to the elevator going up, but I stuck by her momentarily, long enough to hear his name. It wouldn't mean much, as I said. It was just a name. Yet, I really wanted to know at least one more thing, and if that thing was only a name, so be it.
BGM: Meus Memoratus (This update is the only time this track plays in the game!)
After so long... after living through twelve universe resets worth of wait... I was finally free to live my life. It wasn't an equivalent exchange. For seven years or such, I had to sacrifice eons of death and nothingness. But wasn't that the case for everyone, anyway? People didn't exist for billions of years, only to share the world for a speck of time. Several dozens of years, at best, and then they returned to being dead.
That, perhaps, was even sadder than my fate. At least, I knew the truth of the universe. They didn't. They were bound by their own code. Their code, the code making up each and every one of us was as different as the number of stars in the night's sky, and perhaps even more numerous. Our personalities, our memories, our experiences. Our dreams, failures, and successes. I was but one of them, and now, I was free.
There was something else bothering me, too. While searching my memories, I found something... off. It was asking me for some kind of password. The only hint I had was... What is my real name?
You probably guessed it the moment you saw what our protagonist actually looks like. You already know the answer to this question. You know, even though YOU shouldn't. It's like Ityne said: Re-arrange the letters in her name, make it an anagram...
She couldn't see anything. She couldn't hear anything. Was this darkness going to be her life from now on? Perhaps it would be. The Self-Consistency Principle had caught up to her. If it was her life now, she would accept it. At first, she panicked a little, but after a few minutes of silence- absolute silence- she calmed down. Her hands touched the seat she was on. It was kind of uncomfortable. That was fair, since it wasn't meant for comfort. This seat was made of plastic.
It was in a train.
It was in Montreal's subway train.
She couldn't move. It was as though she was unconscious. It would explain the lack of vision or hearing. Since she couldn't move, her touch upon the seat was the only sense she felt. She was in Montreal's subway train. It was moving; soon, she'd arrive at the station. She would arrive first, before anyone else. But that wasn't quite true.
The tactile alphabet they'd created would serve her very well here. They asked her if she was still sure about it. She replied that she was, and that she had no other choice. Very shortly, the collar she wore would take effect, and then she'd lose all of her memories. She would... disappear. She would be erased. At least, a previous self wouldn't be.
And she had God on her side.
The train stopped. This was it. It was time to go. She had sacrificed too much for this to fail. She only had one shot at it. She only had one shot to save him.
BGM: Meus Memoratus