Author : Cesium

The vibration of his phone woke Anders from a deep sleep. He rolled over groggily and checked the display before answering. “Hi, Eliza. Something wrong?”

“Yes, Anders.” The synthesized voice so familiar to him came through from the other end. “I believe the portal is malfunctioning.”

“Malfunctioning?” It had never done that before. Still… “I’ll be right over.”

Quickly he got dressed and jumped into his car, and managed to catch a few more minutes of sleep before it pulled into the parking lot and deposited him on the sidewalk. Eliza was waiting for him, and he followed her smooth white casing into the building and down to the lab. The pool of utter blackness hung impossibly in midair, just as it always did. He turned to Eliza. “So where’s the problem?”

“It is not the portal itself, but what is on the other side.” He turned back toward it. “I have probed the environment; it is safe.”

Anders stepped forward without hesitation; there had never been a problem before. Moreover, he trusted Eliza with his life.

When his vision cleared, he found himself standing in the corner of what looked like a large warehouse, lit by panels in the ceiling far above him. But the other walls were much further away than they should have been; in fact, he couldn’t even see them. The space seemed to extend infinitely outward. It was filled by an array of chairs and desks, each supporting some antique metal instrument; the closest few dozen to him were occupied by people. A rattling din filled the air.

“What is this place?” he whispered, to himself.

“It was you who taught me about the infinite monkey theorem,” Eliza said, her voice taking on a strange echoing quality. “An infinite number of monkeys before an infinite number of typewriters will eventually produce all the great literature of mankind.”

“Wha-” Anders started, but stopped short, for something had caught his attention: the people before him, the ones sitting at what he now recognized as typewriters, were all him. There were slight differences — a beard here, a coat there, eyeglasses — but their identity was unmistakable. His vision blurred slightly, and he felt dizzy. He stumbled back against the wall, his eyes tightly shut.

“It was also you who discovered that the portal could access alternate universes,” Eliza continued, her voice cutting through the clacking of the typewriters. “Once I discovered this place, how could I not satisfy my curiosity?” He heard the whine of servos, and knew that Eliza had returned through the portal.

Suddenly, a strange calm overtook him. He opened his eyes and walked to an open desk.

Then he began to type.

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