Author : Beck Dacus

I entered the war room, the data all pulled up on my reader. The e-whiteboard at the front told me that one of the colonels was trying to sell the idea of a space ark to the Admiral, telling him to devote materials to escaping the Solar System and trying to hide. The Admiral had a look of frustrated acceptance on the issue when I came to a stop and saluted.

“Admiral,” I said, “I’m sorry to interrupt, but the Intelligence Division has urgent information from spy telescopes on the Jidehri reinforcements.”

He sighed, “Go ahead.”

“We’ve taken time to look at the star on the other side of the wormhole,” I began, my voice shaking a little, “as well as its immediate surroundings. We’ve managed to identify several planets on the other side. The hole isn’t aligned correctly to show us Mercury or Mars, but Venus, Earth and Jupiter have been resolved after we ran the images through some pattern-recognition software–”

“Hold on,” he said, holding up a hand. “You’ve lost me. It sounds like you’re saying you saw our Solar system through one of their wormholes.”

“That, uh, that is correct, sir,” I managed to utter. “The Intelligence Division has come to the conclusion that what we saw through these wormholes were our planets in other universes. We think that the Jidehri open them when the war in one universe doesn’t go their way, and then pass through to another universe where we, the enemy, are having worse luck. This essentially gives them control over probability, and allows them to devote less resources to lost causes while making their successes even greater.”

“So there have been countless universes where the Jidehri have just up and left. No resistance, no warning.”

“Right. And countless times, universes like ours have received more forces of conquest, leaving us with even less of a chance, prompting even more versions of the Jidehri fleet to come here and fight. It’s a positive feedback loop, and the way things are going now, it’s going to put this universe’s humanity in the ground.”

The war room was silent after my dramatic ending. The officers in the room looked with pale faces at the Admiral and I, partly in fear of the Jidehri, partly in fear of the Admiral’s reaction. Which happened to be a brightening of his eyes and a smile creeping across his face.

“My God! This, ladies and gentlemen, is the turning of the tables! If we put up enough resistance in the coming battle, the Jidehri will leave overnight! Send out a broadcast– I want to notify all of human space about this development.”

“But sir,” I returned, “we’re in a losing universe that, for just that reason, is going to keep on losing! I think we need to take Colonel Rinyan’s proposal of a last-ditch ark seriously. It may be our last option.”

The Admiral actually laughed at me. “Nonsense! If we make it just a little difficult for these damn things, they’ll scrap this war and move on. I wish I could help the next universe over, but the only thing we’re capable of doing is saving ourselves. And that sounds a lot more plausible all of a sudden. Rinyan, I’m afraid we’ll be using the resources you want for the ark on something a little more… militarily oriented. Get the Engineering Division to design some new battleships. This war ends in a fortnight, one way or the other.”

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