Author: Don Nigroni

Twelve years ago, during the first year of the Ultimate Crisis, the Special Problems: Organized, Researched, Explained and Solved (SPORES) think tank was presented with the perplexing Adjoining Door Conundrum. Our scientists knew about a spot near Mars where there was a curious portal to a parallel universe that was thought to be very similar to ours.

But it was an adjoining door between the two worlds. Advanced civilizations on both sides would need to unlock the door for either to gain passage through the portal. All the Prime Speaker of the Assembly of the Solar System wanted us to do was recommend whether we should unlock our side or not.

We discussed the risks and rewards. If we unlocked but the other side was locked then nothing would happen. However, if the other side was already unlocked then angels or demons might rush into our world. Also, the matter and energy or whatnot from the other world might be incompatible with our dimension with unknowable consequences.

You must appreciate the situation was dire, our solar system was on the brink of a quark subnuclear war between the Red Faction and the Orange League that might have destroyed most of humanity. Worse than the subnuclear threat was the Horrific Blight, a novel fungal disease that was spreading throughout our solar system, destroying all plant life in its wake.

Animal species were going extinct at an alarming rate. It was estimated that the total human population would fall below a hundred thousand in just nine years and be virtually extinct in less than fourteen years. Famine was already a problem on the poorest planets and moons and even on Earth food was already being rationed to prevent hoarding.

Eleven of our members thought the potential reward outweighed the very disturbing risks. We were despairing of any salvation and unlocking offered a glimmer of hope. Only Emma objected. She believed we could somehow solve our problems by ourselves, and unlocking would only divert urgently needed resources and bring down certain ruin on humanity.

Emma was put to sleep yesterday, and I’ve opted to be euthanized tomorrow. It’s important to understand our decision to unlock was made out of sheer desperation. To our surprise and relief, the other side was unlocked also. Probes were dispatched to make contact with any advanced civilization in the other dimension and request their assistance.

Based on excavations and atmospheric chemistry, we estimated the last advanced civilization in that parallel star system died out about a million years ago. Perhaps they unlocked their side in the hope that we’d save them. Apparently, they were disappointed too.