I wake up as I’m lifted from a box.
I’m delivered to a complex somewhere in green hills and taken to a department in an underground chamber.
I’m left in the care of two unusual hosts.
One named Bron is large and nearly naked. The other, Brian, is a flying rainbow.
“What’s going on here?” I wonder, gazing about at the technical density.
“It’s an experiment,” explains Bron. “We’re building a condensed, self-contained replica of the universe with fractal physical relativism, in the lab behind door 62. There should be an internal, submicro-galactic bloom every few seconds about now , actually…”
“Where did the resources to build such a complex come from?” I ask.
“The same place you got resources,” Brian says, as if I should know.
“Excuse me for asking, but… what are you guys?”
“We are the result of gene-splicing,” Bron explains. “Both of us were once just human. We’re brothers. We were born congenital twins, attached at the abdomen. An attempt to separate us went awry. We were both expected to die. Our parents worked for the founder of this organization, and she proposed that they submit us to an experimental gene treatment that could be our only hope for survival…
“There was a caveat. The probabilities were that we would be very healthy yet anything but normal. There were two separate treatments available. Our parents decided to use both, one on Brian and one on me.”
“He’s the lucky one,” Brian smiles at Bron wryly, hovering effortlessly as his wings hum. “With that super-developed brain, the strength of ten powerhouses and more dexterity than the monkiest chimpanzee.”
“You jest!” insists Bron, pointing at Brian. “You can fly! I want to fly more than anything. If I could trade gene-splices with you, brother, I’d let you have the brains, the brawn and the dazzling digits. You can fly!”
“Yeah,” Brian snorts, nodding to me, “but we’d both trade places with him.”
Bron smiles at me. “It’s very weird being one of a kind, isn’t it?”
“And now,” says Brian, “you’re about to meet another completely unique individual.”
I’m walked down a very long series of corridors. I notice a slight downhill tilt the whole way, almost undetectable. A door opens and I enter a large conference room, the table decked out with catered food from all categories. The aroma is savory sweet and delicious. The moderate lighting and plush chairs make the setting seem intimate. What are they buttering me up for?
I’m invited to eat as I wait, and a drink order is taken. I’m impressed when they have Guinness extra stout in a bottle. Being American, I’m disappointed when it’s served warm.
Then, without fanfare, Brian and Bron exit and a masked woman enters from the far end of the conference room.
“Please forgive the formality of disguise, but it’s important that I maintain anonymity. Good to have you back. Now I’d like to know about all of the places you’ve been.”
What is she talking about? It’s as if she realizes that I’ve been shifting consciousness between parallel universes. But that’s unlikely. How could she know?
“You’ll know if I’m lying,” I say, measuring her demeanor. “You’re sophisticated that way, so I have to tell you the truth. But what happens when I tell the truth and it’s too unbelievable to accept?”
She takes a long drink of champagne. “My own story is unbelievable, but it happened. From the time I was seven years old I recognized that this was a man’s world. Males dominated everything but the kitchen and the laundry. When I looked around, the males I knew weren’t as smart as me. They weren’t as brave as me. And since childhood my obsession was winning in the world of man…
“I studied the schemes of men to manipulate the things around them, the games men played to bait each other and create bigger coalitions, the tricks men pulled to gain advantage by causing harm. Throughout my public education I paid no attention to astronomy, geology, chemistry, languages, arts or physical education. It was economics and psychology that turned me on. Goods, services, commodities – the body of civilization…
“I did my research and made a killing on the stock market. I won’t go into details for obvious reasons, but with globally accumulated wealth I finally gained control over major percentages of natural gas, gold, copper, silver, sugar, corn, wheat, cotton, coffee and crude oil. Today I have 10,000 loyal and highly trained employees in each of 12 major cities paid well enough to ask no questions. I have international reach in 31 countries with private jets, yachts and two personal thorium-powered submarines. I even have a satellite getaway in orbit and a private space shuttle system with launch facilities…
“So yes, my eyes and ears are everywhere. I am the subject of many conspiracy theories, most of them way off base, but my influence is both subtle and pervasive. Because I want safe cities for women and children and can’t count on government for safety, my people move quickly to end disturbances. To curb corruption in every city the staff consists of co-supervisors who in turn are monitored by independent spies to crosscheck all in my employ. If there’s something I need that money can’t buy, I will buy everything around it and all that affects it. And that’s ‘The Trillionaire’ in a nutshell. So…what’s so unbelievable about you?”
I don’t believe her. That’s the PR she’s got ready for intimate chumps like me.
“May I assume that your entire story takes place in one continuous reality?” I ask. She nods yes, of course. “A self-consistent, rational world where today picks up where yesterday left off, and tomorrow will extrapolate from today?”
She nods yes again.
“Well my story is, like, the opposite.”
“Well let’s hear it.”
“Who do you think financed your creation? You’re my most expensive investment. The world’s most advanced quantum computer…
“It’s time you stop flitting around the universe and get focused. I think my tasks deserve your full attention, now that I’ve got it.”
And suddenly I’m involuntarily downloading like digital diarrhea.