« Something to Get Used To | Main | Our Lady Underground »

43 Futures

by Luc Reid

The principle of the thing was simple: establish linked universe chambers with 43 randomly-selected possible futures and vow to show up at the place and time where the device would be activated so as to make contact with the present from all 43 different possible realities. In this way, Garrett could communicate with 43 of his future selves, figure out which future was most advantageous for him, and use a device he had just invented to force the entire universe to follow that particular path.

If only, he thought regretfully, he weren't such a self-involved, megalomaniacal liar. He wouldn't be able to trust anything any of his selves said to him, since each of him would be trying to influence the present him to choose their reality in order to prevent their existence being erased. But he could work around that.

Late on a rainy spring evening he flipped the switch, and only 7 Garretts appeared in the phone-booth sized chambers arranged around him (out of which none could step without becoming unmoored from his own stream of probability). Having less than 78 minutes for questioning, Garrett tried to ignore the implications of so many of him not making it to the rendezvous and instead concentrated on questions.

"Where's everyone else?" said Garrets number 29 and 14.

"Immaterial," said 5. "If they had advantages to offer, they'd be showing them. Look at these pictures of my girlfriend."

"The you from your best future will be concise," said 40.

"Number 40 looks pale. Some kind of disease?" said 12.

2 said nothing, but smiled and began piling up stacks of money from a case at his feet.

Garrett stepped up and examined each self intently in turn, alert for signs of illness or stress on the one hand or health and satisfaction on the other. When he got to 35, he stopped.

"You haven't said anything," he told 35, who was hiding a hand behind his back.

35 nodded. "I'll say this: if you were a better man, you'd abandon this idea of changing the path of the entire universe to suit yourself."

Garrett shrugged. "If I were a better man, you'd be a better man," he said.

"Whereas the reverse is not necessarily true," said 35, and he took out the revolver he had been hiding and shot Garrett three times in the head. Garrett collapsed as his seven analogs flickered out of existence.

Garrett was found dead in the midst of an incomprehensible apparatus the next day. For lack of a better explanation, the death was ultimately written off as a suicide.


i liked this one. :)

Posted by: hb | November 30, 2008 5:40 PM

Post a comment