Part 65: Snake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 4) - Tactical Waiting ActionSnake Tales: External Gazer (Chapter 4) - Tactical Waiting Action
Basic Actions ~ Intermediate
My photo of Gurlugon sat on the table at the hideout.
"No sign today?"
"No. Looks like it hasn't shown up today, either."
It had been a week. No new sightings of Gurlugon. No one knew where he'd show up next. Maybe he'd never show up ever again. I believed Olga. It didn't seem like she was lying, and what's more, the existence of that ridiculous monster was proof in and of itself. There was no way something like that could live in our world, but it might be possible in another. Otacon brought up a theory about "parallel universes."
As usual, Otacon gave far more of an explanation than necessary. But in a nutshell, the idea was that rather than a single universe, there were countless universes existing in parallel. That meant that one universe might be exactly the same as mine, except the number of hairs on my head was off by one. In another universe, civilization might have sprung from paramecia. There could even be a universe full of monsters. Otacon thought these universes were supposed to be mutually exclusive, but for some reason had begun randomly intersecting. That was how the Olga we knew became switched with an Olga from a parallel universe, and how that monster came to be in ours. And Otacon warned that the phenomenon seemed to be progressing as we spoke.
But if his theory was correct, we were in for big trouble. For example, it was possible that in an hours, I might switch with another version of myself from a different universe. Otacon might have already been switched with a different Otacon. What would happen to us if we switched to a universe, say, where the Moon was about to collide with the Earth or something? It was simply impossible to predict what might happen next. Fortunately, the moon hadn't smashed into use yet - or at least not in our universe. Of course, that didn't guarantee we'd be safe tomorrow.
"How's the analysis of the VR system coming?"
*shakes head* "I'm not getting anything at all...."
Otacon looked sick when he heard Olga had said that the VR system was the root of the problem. He told me that the Koppelthorn Engine, the heart of the new VR system, was a quantum computational device designed by Dr. Koppelthorn, but the principles behind it remained unknown. He opened the housing, a literal black box, and found nothing inside except some mysterious circuits, clattering gears, and what appeared to be some iron spheres. But somehow, it worked.
That's probably why it was such a source of excitement for some people. Pseudo-science aficionados had examined the thing, but the only conclusions thus far had centered around the possibility that it made use of components from UFOs or artifacts from a lost civilization. Meaning nobody had figured out what made it tick. And what's more, nobody had ever seen this Dr. Koppelthorn himself or herself either.
So what was the connection between the mysterious VR system and the collision of the parallel universes? Olga had said that the root of the problem was the VR system's "peeking" into other universes. But Mei Ling had her own theory. The Koppelthorn Engine-based VR system wasn't simply constructing a virtual reality through its calculations, but managed to get around the wall separating the parallel universes, peering into parallel realities that satisfied certain requirements, and incorporating that information into the VR systems virtual reality construct. Perhaps that observation and interference was creating the disturbance in the parallel universes.
But that wasn't all, said Mei Ling. Perhaps Olga was searching for the Gurlugon because it was the cause of the distortion among the parallel universes. The Gurlugon had become the fulcrum around which space had warped. And if that was true, there would be no way to stop the distortion without getting rid of the Gurlugon itself.
And for that reason, we continued searching for the Gurlugon. We'd lost all trace of the monster, and hadn't made any further progress into analyzing the VR system. But the disturbance of the Parallel universes might well be continuing. It was possible that some of the universes might even be in peril. And it was equally possible that our universe could follow the same path moments later. We were completely frazzled.
Suddenly, Mei Ling spoke.
"If killing Gurlugon will make things right, there might be a way."
*looks up* "What do you mean?"
"If it's true that the VR system can interfere with other parallel universes, why not try killing Gurlugon within the VR system? That could mean we're actually killing the original Gurlugon, and the Gurlugon in our universe could disappear...."
"Isn't that just a little too extreme...?"
"We can't just sit back and stare at the photo! We've got to do something! You agree with me, right, Snake?!"
"I'm not sure...."
Her logic seemed extreme no matter how I looked at it. But at the same time, I had the feeling that I'd end up doing it anyway. Doing something for the sake of doing it wasn't the answer, but I had to agree we still hadn't come up with a solution to the problem.
A few hours later, I squared off against Gurlugon inside the VR system...