Tremirathen turned his gaze to the counter, and the dead and alive contents. He looked at the control panel on his weapon again, and pressed a couple of switches. The thing bleeped, and then Jake noticed the world simmer, and the peculiar effects were over. "Sorry about that," said Tremirathen, noticing that Jake was not panicking in the manner of the other shoppers and may be at least worthy of considering an explanation.
Melinda came closer. "What the hell is this all about? What
Mr Tremirathen started to gyrate like a top, his fingers dancing in oddball syncrony. There was the sudden smell of ammonia. "The answer I expected," Mr Tremirathen said. "I come from a parallel world where aliens have taken over humanity. They have introduced peace and harmony as a way of preventing warlike humanity taking over or at least damaging the universe. I am building links to other universes so that our people and methods can spread."
"Are you one of these aliens?", asked Jake
"No, I am their first contact. They used me to spread genes and memes that prevent ageing and disease. They have diverted the sex urge from procreation or preservation - people get the same pleasure from doing things that strengthen their own and their partners' bodies that they once got from making more people. That way we have stabilised the population despite the abolition of death."
"Why abolish death?"asked Jake
"So that people are no longer warlike. Risking losing some 45 more years of life in exchange for glory may be an acceptable risk, but risking eternity for a place in the history books is a stupid option. Also people behave better - if you have a finite life, bad doing is likely never to be found out. But if you have an indeterminate life, your sins will really get punished sooner or later."
"Why travel to alternate realities?"
"If we can move across, eventually people will discover how to move the other way. You lot are probably not too far off such a discovery. Your universe appears similar to ours, so you probably have similar understandings of quantum mechanics. Even if the aliens hadn't come to us, we'd soon have been able to make transfer machines like this."
"What are you here for?"
"To set up a firm portal to this universe. It was unsteady for a time, that is why the chickens, like Schrodinger's cat, were neither dead or alive, and some customers here ha wandered into the faulty portal. It is now secure, and more of our people will come over to clear this place up - remove your birth-suffering and death cycle."
"You said something about altering the sex process. I don't think we'll take kindly to that here - we're a good Catholic nation. Sex is for procreation and nothing else." Jake's comment was half a question and half a statement.
"I am afraid that we can't allow this situation to remain - you could come across to our world and try and convert all of us by force. I imagine that your world had Conquistadores?"
"Well, we don't want them. We could simply exterminate you - instead we will to the opposite - we'll immortalize you!"
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