(A chapter of Akayama DanJay.)
The year is 2420.
Akayama mentally prompted Uzumaki through her tail. “Did you bring our water-world?”
“Here!” Uzumaki kept the water-world in an air-pocket which drifted to her at the Galaxy Zephyr’s heart. After the asteroid-bombardment, the water-world looked just like Earth used to. “It’s nice having ZAB aboard. Your robot endures the cold emptiness of space so I didn’t have to!”
“Gimme. And give them some space!” Akayama’s conscious effort expanded the air-pocket around the water-world. “When Earth exploded, its atomic particles were scattered. When you ate the galaxy, you gathered Earth’s ash.” She expelled the debris from Earth’s destruction into the air-pocket. It settled into an orbit around the water-world. “We’ll remake Earth’s population from their strewn and mixed corpses.” The ash compiled into innumerable wriggling earthworms. “It’ll take lots of statistics.”
“We’d better be quick about it!” Uzumaki and Akayama communicated at the speed of thought, so only now did the thumb destroy the Galaxy Zephyr’s metal capsule. “How long will it take?”
“Eternities.” Akayama surveyed the orbiting earthworms in her mind’s eye. “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 Uzumaki. “The thumb’s coming down!”
“We’ll make eternities!” thought Akayama. She saluted Lucille. “Commander,” she said aloud, “requesting permission to accelerate space-time itself!”
“Ganbatte!” Lucille had no idea what Akayama meant. “Do your best, Professor Bird-Thing!”
Akayama focused, boiling the Galaxy Zephyr’s worm-ridden chest. “I’m making a Nakayama, understand?”
“Um. No, I don’t,” thought Uzumaki. Akayama built a giant red mountain on the interior of her water-world’s air-pocket. Inside the mountain she produced a sky-robed, emerald-eyed bird-body, and duplicated her consciousness into it. “…Oh!” Uzumaki’s red mountain fired the bird-body at the water-world, through the orbit of wriggling earthworms. Nakayama spread sapphire wings to dive toward the largest of her three islands.
Mid-dive, Nakayama inspected wreckage from the tidal waves. The fruit-trees were smashed but some pines had survived, as had some goats and flightless birds. She was relieved to see the islanders living near the top of the mountainous main island, safe from floods. “Nemo! Virgil Blue!”
“Nakayama! Oran dora!” Nemo alone stood guard of the centipede-bushes, wearing navy robes. The fabric was dyed with selected flowers the same color as her feathers.
“I can’t apologize enough for the floods.” Nakayama landed beside him with uproar like a helicopter. “I’m glad you protected your children like that. I hope you enjoyed fruits while they lasted. I’m sure at least some coconut palm-trees survived besides the pines.”
Nemo nodded like he understood, but of course he couldn’t. Mist from the tidal-floods still made rainbows in the sky, and the sky was blood-red like the original sun. Was this his punishment for eating a centipede?
“I’m using your world to assemble the ashes of Earth into the principal components of its population.” 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. “It will take generations of simulated lifeforms who will represent the diversity of Earth’s life more accurately over time via a complicated adversarial network. Every interaction between any two lifeforms will influence the interactions of both lifeforms with everyone else they ever meet, and so on. When these simulacra die, the information they contain will recycle on an Uzumaki Planet as earthworms, and then the worms will return to your world in new combinations for the next generation. I’m assigning earthworms to you and your children, too, so your interactions count as much as anyone else’s.”
Nemo shook his head, clueless. Nakayama humphed. How could she convey this without words? She plucked a centipede from its bush and held it up to the sky. The interior of the air-pocket patterned the sky like Uzumaki’s desert-surface.
“I know I can’t explain this verbally. Please, let me give you my knowledge.” Nakayama hesitated to stick a tentacle in Nemo’s skull. She’d transfer data the old-fashioned way. “While prototyping my mind-merging technology, I tested memory-banks by storing scans of books I had on hand—mostly public-domain philosophy texts, but also my favorite manga. They’re all in my legacy-files in a variety of languages.” Nakayama’s robes pulsed and released thousands of books which propelled her skyward. “Learn what you can from them! I promise I’ll return someday!”
Nakayama zoomed away on steam. When she reentered the red mountain, Akayama’s human form in ZAP instantly synthesized her two bodies’ memories through her noodly tail. “Commander Lucille!” shouted Akayama. “Requesting permission to fire our Super Heart Beam!”
“You got it!” Lucille shouted into her microphone to her whole crew of ten thousand. “You heard Professor Bird-Thing! Transfer power to our heart!”
Eisu saluted on Lucille’s main monitor. “Are you sure, Commander?”
Fumiko saluted on the monitor beside her brother. “Without power, we can’t even try to escape the thumb!”
Dakshi saluted above Fumiko. “I recommend full-speed retreat. We’re faster than the Hurricane. Let’s leave it behind.”
Beside Dakshi, Charlie lit a cockroach and puffed. “Transferring power.” The Galaxy Zephyr’s right arm went limp, and the portion of Uzumaki it wore like thick red armor turned transparent pink. Uzumaki’s red color soaked into the tiny Zephyr-robots deep within, then crackled across synaptic-cables like bloody lightning toward the Galaxy Zephyr’s boiling heart.
“Transferring power,” said Akayama. The Galaxy Zephyr’s torso turned transparent pink, too. Its red color condensed at its heart and orbited the water-world alongside the ashes of Earth, which continued compiling into worms.
Dakshi watched the earthworms through the windows of his cockpit. “Transferring power,” he sighed. The left arm’s red color joined in orbiting the water-world at the Galaxy Zephyr’s boiling heart. The earthworms tangled at random into wriggling blobs. “Zephyr Eisu, Zephyr Fumiko, maintain power. We’ve got more than enough energy for a Super Heart Beam. If it doesn’t repel the descending thumb, we’ll need our legs to flee.”
“Escape was never in the cards!” Lucille transferred the head’s power to the heart. “War’s all I’m good at! Eisu, Fumiko, don’t hold back!”
“Transferring power!” said Eisu and Fumiko. The Galaxy Zephyr’s legs went limp and their red color raced to the chest. Redness enclosed the water-world and its orbiting earthworms in a spherical shell. The Galaxy Zephyr’s heart roiled so violently that bursting bubbles howled like wild animals.
“Jya, Professor Bird-Thing! Can you fire the beam?”
“Dekimasu!” Akayama saluted. “I can, Commander, but not yet. We’re still accelerating space-time!” The worms orbited faster and faster.
Lucille nodded, but bit her lip, concerned with the view on her monitors. While the Galaxy Zephyr diverted all power to its heart, the Hurricane’s thumb filled half the sky. The thumb’s texture chilled Lucille to her core: mouths wider than oceans screamed in fury and washed away to be replaced by angry eyeballs which similarly melted. Was the Hurricane intending to smash them, eat them, or blink them to death? Or would her crew of ten thousand be made permanent and tormented forever? “Professor, what do you mean ‘accelerating space-time?’ What’s the plan, exactly? What’s with the worms?”
Lucille shared audio of Akayama’s explanation to her whole crew. “I’m rebuilding Earth and all its life. By locally warping the fabric of reality, we can change how time passes, making two eternities in parallel. On an Uzumaki Planet, worms made from Earth’s debris will be processed, mixed, and matched. On our water-world, subsets of worms will become organisms whose interactions influence each other.” As Akayama spoke, the heart’s red shell shrunk, turned blue, and expanded. Then it shrunk again, turned red again, and expanded again, like a pulse. “Our process will be a hyper-torus, like a high-dimensional donut. Time is linear, so we’re wrapping it in a circle and revolving it—“
“Keep it in your lab-coat, Professor.” Lucille leaned forward in her Commander’s chair. “You’re rebuilding humanity?”
Akayama’s mouth fell open. From her lofty vantage-point, she’d honestly forgotten the difference between humans and other lifeforms. “Not just humanity,” she said, “but animals, plants, fungi, microorganisms, and even prions. We’re manufacturing consciousness’s principal components like colors on a painter’s palette. The better our colors, the more accurately we can combine them into Earth’s original organisms.” She worried at the approaching thumb. “We must even catalogue the awful qualities which resulted in the Hurricane to begin with—I’ve sampled Uzumaki, too.”
Lucille poked a touchscreen, prompting her crew of ten thousand to express their reactions. Their consensus was a confused emoji. “Try one more time, Professor Bird-Thing. Explain it so a hamster could understand.”
“Imagine this is a giant space-robot anime.” Akayama gestured around her cockpit. “We’re rebuilding Earth using a slice-of-life situation-comedy of epic scale with countless characters interacting over eons and eons.”
“Whatever you’re doing, hurry it up!” Lucille held a dial, ready to cease diverting power. “You’ve got twenty seconds! Ordinary seconds, ignoring your science-fiction bologna!”
“Oh, it’ll take longer than twenty seconds,” said Akayama, “but I’m ready to fire our Super Heart Beam!”
“Minah! You heard Professor Bird-Thing!” All the Zephyrs reclaimed their engines’ output. The Uzumaki Armor became opaque pink, but the Galaxy Zephyr’s heart shined through pulsing red and blue. Charlie, Dakshi, Eisu, and Fumiko tested the Galaxy Zephyr’s fingers and toes. Akayama angled the Galaxy Zephyr’s chest to point at the descending thumb. “Fire!”
Zephyr-Purple’s chest fired a brilliant beam of white-hot light which heated the Galaxy Zephyr’s red-and-blue pulsing heart to yellow-and-cyan. The beam propelled the heart, but couldn’t push it through the thick pink Uzumaki Armor. “Something’s wrong!” said Akayama. “Our chest-cannon can’t eject the payload!”
Lucille pressed a button to address Akayama privately. “Don’t say something’s wrong!” she shouted, “tell me how to fix it!”
“Do it manually!” said Akayama.
“What does that mean?”
ZAB spoke through Lucille’s monitors. “Take a hands-on approach.”
Lucille squinted at the descending thumb. “Charlie, Dakshi, follow my lead!” When she yanked levers, the Galaxy Zephyr ripped out its own pulsing heart.
“Augh!” Fumiko was caught off-guard.
“My gosh!” Eisu covered his mouth.
“Gotta break some eggs!” Lucille commanded Charlie and Dakshi to pitch the heart at the descending thumb. The heart trailed white light which the Galaxy Zephyr grabbed with both hands. They whipped the light-trail like a battle-rope and its arc severed the Hurricane’s thumb.
The thumb decayed from red to putrid purple. Pearly pulp gushed from the wound and cordoned the injury with countless screeching teeth. The Hurricane howled silently across the vacuum of space. It signaled with its eyes. “What did you do!“
Uzumaki translated Lucille’s shouts into eye-signals for the enemy to see. “I introduced you to pain! Until now, you only remembered suffering secondhand!” On the heart’s boomerang return, its trail curved and contracted into a circle wide as the Galaxy Zephyr was tall. Dakshi caught the pulsing heart and Charlie matched it with the trail’s beginning to make a loop. The loop became a perfect disk, sky-blue on one side, yellow on the other, a continuously ongoing Super Heart Beam. The yellow and blue switched sides so quickly the disk appeared green. Its two sides were perfectly smooth, without handles, but the Galaxy Zephyr naturally tossed it from hand to hand, spinning it on fingertips like a pizza. “This is my wheel of fortune,” Lucille shouted, “and with it I’ll teach you every aspect of despair!“
Inside the Wheel, Nakayama floated through green haze. Her compound emerald eyes could distinguish between the yellow and sky-blue sides of the Wheel even as they blended. The eyes on her left side saw the desert surface of an Uzumaki Planet from the surface of her red mountain. The eyes on her right side saw her water-world from a satellite view at great distance. Through Uzumaki’s mind, she addressed ZAB at the speed of thought. “Uzumaki ate Earth’s sun and moon. I’m sure you can rebuild them.” The sun and moon materialized beside her in the Wheel. She willed them to accompany the water-world. “Uzumaki, do you know how Zephyr-engines operate?”
“I could know, by tapping into your consciousness, but I’m sure you’d rather tell me yourself.”
“Perfecting the engines required unlocking the secrets of Jupiter’s spot.” Nakayama poured snowy white powder from her blue robes. “In that violent red storm I discovered calming white powder. It stabilizes and accelerates cyclical reactions.” Her snowy powder diffused through the disk. Streaks of light shot from the Wheel’s center to its rim, becoming sharp saw-teeth. After spinning with the Wheel for one full revolution, the saw-teeth became streaks of light which returned to the Wheel’s center. The process repeated perpetually. “The beginning and the end start right now. Mortals come and go like countless raindrops.”
“I feel them! I feel their worms digging in the sand!” thought Uzumaki.
“You should. I added you to the pool of unprocessed ash. The same algorithm we use to rebuild Earth’s life will let us remake your pilots’ bodies and separate your minds, trapped together for far too long.”
“How can I contribute, then? I’ll build billions of arms and help the worms along!”
“No!” thought Nakayama. “The Wheel is a great and complicated tool. I’ll touch it as little as possible, and I’d rather you didn’t touch it at all. Worms must manage by themselves.”
“Whoa,” thought Uzumaki. “I hope the reality we’re making is at least comprehensible to its innocent inhabitants.”