Under the Thumb

Lucille cackled at her newfound power. Her Galaxy Zephyr was big as the Milky Way used to be. At her command, the Galaxy Zephyr’s limbs moved so slowly—and their movement was so distorted by the speed of light—that time lost all meaning. Perhaps centuries passed as the Enemy Hurricane’s thumb descended.

That thumb was trillions of times their size. Lucille rubbed the Galaxy Zephyr’s hands along its sternum. “Hakase, if you’ve got a last-minute scheme, now’s the time.”

“I know, I know.” Professor Akayama squirmed her bird-like body in Zephyr-Alpha-Purple. “I’m merging with our Hurricane Armor.”

“You just got here,” said Daisuke. “You can’t leave now!”

“I’ll leave a wireless puppet in my stead.” When Akayama opened ZAP’s hatch, her body split into two. One piece merged with the Galaxy Zephyr’s Hurricane Armor. The other piece was a three-foot-tall bird-pilot which sat squarely in ZAP’s chair. It called to Lucille: “Buy time!”

“I trust you, bird-thing.” Lucille moved ZAB’s monitors and pressed buttons to display the leader of her computer-technicians. “Release our secret weapon.”

She made the Galaxy Zephyr reach into its belly-button, where the computer-technicians were stationed. The Galaxy Zephyr pulled out their payload: a metal pill relatively large as a baseball. She pitched it at the descending thumb.

The Enemy Hurricane frowned with all its mouths. “What’s this?” asked its eyes.

Saigo no chansu,” said Lucille. “Since realizing your vulnerability to viruses, we’ve built you the suicide option.” She folded her arms. Charlie and Daisuke directed the Galaxy Zephyr to fold its arms identically. “Absorb that metal pill and disintegrate. It’s your only way out on your own terms. You’ll die today or wish you had.”

“Ha! Your confidence betrays you.” The Enemy Hurricane let its thumb smash the metal pill. “I am humanity! You’re leftover trash! I wouldn’t waste an instant considering mercy.”

Yare yare daze.” Lucille kept her arms crossed.

As Akayama merged with the Galaxy Zephyr’s Hurricane Armor, her mind spread through the whole humanoid. “Have we our water-world?”

“It’s here.” Her Hurricane floated the water-world to the Galaxy Zephyr’s heart. After the asteroid-bombardment, the water-world looked just like Earth used to.

“Gimme.” Akayama made Hurricane flesh swell around the water-world. “When Earth exploded, its atomic particles were scattered. When you absorbed the galaxy, you gathered Earth’s ash.” She collected the debris from Earth’s destruction in an orbit around her water-world. “We’ll remake Earth’s population from their strewn and mixed corpses.” She compiled ash into wriggling earthworms. “It’ll take lots of statistics.”

“We’d better be quick about it!” They communicated at the speed of thought, so the thumb only now destroyed the Galaxy Zephyr’s metal pill. “How long will it take?”

“Eternities,” thought Akayama. “Even having our water-world to build upon, reconstructing Earth’s population from rubble is an impossible task. It will take eternities—but we have eternities.”

“No we don’t,” thought her Hurricane. “The thumb’s coming down!”

“We’ll make eternities!” Akayama wirelessly instructed the bird-pilot of ZAP to contact Lucille. “Commander! Permission to accelerate space-time itself!”

Ganbatte!” Lucille had no idea what Akayama meant. “I believe in you, bird-thing!”

The Galaxy Zephyr’s chest boiled. Akayama focused her consciousness back into a body. “I’m Nakayama now, understand?”

“…Yes!” The Hurricane’s red mountain fired her body at the water-world, through the orbit of wriggling earthworms. Nakayama spread wings from her lab-coat to dive at her largest island.

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Mid-dive, Nakayama inspected wreckage from the tidal waves. The fruit-trees were smashed but some pine trees survived, as did the flightless birds. She was relieved to see the islanders living atop the mountainous main island, safe from floods. “Nemo! Virgil Blue!”

“Akayama!” Nemo alone stood guard of the centipede-bushes, wearing navy blue robes and a silver bird-mask.

“I can’t apologize enough for the floods.” Nakayama landed beside him. “You’re a wonderful parent, protecting your children like that. I hope you enjoyed fruits while they lasted. I’m sure at least some coconuts survived besides the pines.”

Nemo nodded like he understood, but he didn’t. Mist from the floods still made rainbows in the sky, and horrifying tidal waves were still fresh in his mind.

“I’m recreating Earth’s life on your planet.” Nakayama swept her wing across the horizon. Nemo assumed she was explaining the rainbows. “Land from the asteroids should be sufficient.” She mimed asteroids crashing into the oceans. Nemo assumed she was explaining what he already knew: asteroids caused the tidal waves, floods, and rainbows. “I’m assembling the ashes of Earth into the principal components of its population. It will take generations upon generations of simulated humans who will represent the diversity of Earth’s life more accurately over time. When these simulacra die, the information they represent will recycle in my Hurricane as earthworms, then return to your world in a series of machine-learning algorithms.”

How could she convey this without words? She made an arm, plucked a centipede, and held it up to her Hurricane, which filled the sky like rusty clouds.

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“I know I can’t explain this verbally. Please, let me give you my knowledge.” Nakayama hesitated. She’d never stick a tentacle in Nemo’s skull. She would transfer data the old-fashioned way. “While prototyping my mind-merging technology, I tested memory-banks by storing files I had on hand—mostly public-domain philosophy texts and my favorite manga. They’re all in my legacy-files.” Nakayama’s robes pulsed and released thousands of books which propelled her skyward. “Learn what you can from them! I promise I’ll return!”

Nakayama zoomed away on steam. As soon as she merged with the red mountain, she wirelessly instructed ZAP’s bird-pilot to shout: “Commander Lucille! Prepare to fire our Super Heart Beam!”

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