Horace on the Bridge

Author: Michael F. Da Silva

I will tell you about the last time we tried a counter-invasion. The plan was this: to decapitate their command structure and destroy their ability to create bridges across the multiverse, thus locking them in their own worldline and perhaps even instigate a power struggle amongst their elite.

This was back when there were just around a dozen of us, hopping from worldline to worldline, trying to stay ahead of the Howlers. It wasn’t common for governments to take our warnings of impending extinction seriously; not unless there was a large enough community of free agent post and preterhumans to reason with.

On Earth-749 we took advantage of the pre-existing advanced tech and local preterhuman regimes to make our stand. Like in other worldlines, the preterhumans of Earth-749 had risen to power in competing but otherwise peaceful nation states. They had already built their own version of a D-Bridge, a stadium-sized portal generator for interdimensional travel and exploration.

A thousand rocket artillery pieces fired volleys of nuclear-tipped missiles through the D-Bridge like every machinegun in Hell had been flipped to full auto. Then every rage monster, man of diamond and power-armoured supersoldier that could be found charged through that open gate bent on pre-emptive victory.

I will tell you that this line of thinking was flawed from the outset. First, to this day, we don’t know if they even have a command structure to destroy or if we would be able to recognise it if we saw it. Second, we underestimated their ability to recover from what we considered to be an overwhelming barrage of firepower, both manmade and sorcerous.

I cracked open cordite-spewing lizard kaiju with my bare fists. I flash fried hordes of screaming monstrosities just by looking at them. Things that should not be, ceased to be under the weight of my blows. And I wasn’t the most powerful one there by any means. The very tectonic plates shook and buckled under the feet of entire pantheons. Lightning storms lit the battlefield like the noonday sun, scorching flying nightmares from the sky. War cries collapsed mountains as if made of playing cards.

But the numbers. Most minds can’t even begin to grasp the numbers we faced.

Before long, they’d beaten us back to the shimmering edge of our beachhead. And they’d dialed in the number for Earth-749, another worldline in a long list of planetary murders.

Hubris was our sin. Eight billion souls are our penance.

If we’d never warned them of what was lurking in the void, Earth-749 might still be a shining city on a hill. Hiding in the Myriad is the best policy. Biding our time is the best application of time itself. Eventually, opportunity will knock.

Or they will.

2 Comments

  1. M J R

    Very nicely written with great visuals, this is a story that needs to be expanded upon.

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