Alternate 7816JS

Author : Joshua Reynolds

Dinosaurs thundered through a post-industrial city on their way to work. Suits and ties. Briefcases built to fit thick, knobby talons. The stink of mammal bacon on the breath of some, boiled plant on others. Pollution choking the air and grease and oil and garbage on the streets. A thriving, productive society.

This wouldn’t do. Oh no, not at all.

Not because the dinosaurs had evolved, or even because they had simultaneously supplanted the mammal and driven it to near extinction (except for those in processing farms, getting fat from no movement and squirting out infants every nine months) but because they intended to do it elsewhere.

The Censor stood on top of the tallest building in the city, invisible to the saurian eye, his coat heavy with light-bending circuitry and Ellison cells. He tapped the side of his head, bringing up a HUD screen on the insides of his eyelids. A series of tiny screens within screens appeared on the display, an infinity of bureaucracy. The Timeline Validation Bureau. Bland faces appeared in each screen. Gray little men leading gray little lives in their chronal separation cubicles hard at work, never to know the joys of the infinities of the continuum. And to prevent others from doing so as well. That was the job of the Censor. Of all the Censors, though they were all the same man.

They were all him. All Wight.

And they all loved their job.

“Report.” A multitude of somber voices echoed in his ear.

“Alternate 7816JS is experiencing a major chronal incident.”

“Nature?”

“Scientists have discovered the back roads. They have open doors to Alternates 7826JS, 7846JS and 7886JS respectively and a fourth tacking directly into the continuum itself.”

“Eliminate.”

“My thoughts exactly.” The Censor smiled. “Initiating reality disruption.”

He stuck his hand in his coat and pulled out a smooth sphere-an entropy grenade-and twisted it’s top half lightly. The sphere began to glow as he tossed it up into the air where it rose higher and higher finally fading out of sight altogether. It would phase itself into the heart of the sun. When it exploded it would send out an entropic pulse and erase the rogue timeline from existence as well as the three it had infected with its disease in a controlled ‘Big Bang’. The Censor leaned over the edge of the building, arms resting on his knee and breathed in the humid, swampy air. How many sentients would perish? The machines in his head began to calculate and he hummed to himself as he prepared to leave. Overhead, the sun seemed to flash for a moment, growing brighter with every second as the entropy wave devoured it from inside out.

The Censor smiled as his eye lenses polarized against the glare.

He did so love his job.

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