Day 203: The worst thing that could happen

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I staggered into the room and started wrapping the cord around the handles. I could hear the shouting in the distance, but they were heading toward the Armoury. They thought I was heading for the weapons.

They were wrong.

I figure I’ve got about fifteen minutes. Fifteen minutes until they find the tape recorder shouting messages from behind the barrels in the corridor. Maybe ten if they realised that the gun was always hitting the same spot in the wall behind them. Hopefully they’d be too busy avoiding getting shot to realise it.

Hopefully.

I looked at the machine ahead of me. All wires and lights, blinking and winking in the darkness of the room. A single screen with green letters on it, asking an immortal question.

DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK?

“Yes,” I whispered to myself. I walked up to the console and pulled the keyboard out from beneath it. Richtus had built this thing well.

He calls it RESET in his journals. Says it’s the cure. He says it can access the other routes that history could have taken, that with the right worldseed it can fix everything. It’ll stop Oscar and Discali from ever accessing SOURCE.

Or, with the wrong worldseed, it’ll lead to devastation. Nuclear war, plague, zombies. If it is possible, RESET can lead to it.

Worst case scenario, we end up in a bad future where RESET was never built. But I’ve got the worldseed. Richtus’s last page. He disguised the worldseeds well, scattered throughout all of his writings. Why did he write them all down? I don’t know. Maybe he just wanted to leave us all with anything that wasn’t this world.

I started typing, feeling the plastic yield to my touch. This keyboard had never been used before, still fresh and unworn.

DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK? 

“Under the bravado, the small boy still craves the approval of his father.” Take the first letter of the first, the second letter of the second. For common use words, use the number of letters instead. If the word ends with a vowel, reverse the sequence.

I can hear them hammering at the door now. I guess they’ve finished with my distraction. There’s a couple of gunshots, ricochets. “Even in the summer, the holly fights through.” Sequence after sequence, falling beneath my fingers. They’ve got cutters on the door now. But I’m nearly done. I can actually get this done.

DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK?

“In the end, all it comes down to is the flip of a switch.” There was a clang behind me as the door fell in. “Without another word…”

It felt like somebody punching me in the spine. I lost all feeling in my arms and legs, sprawling forwards and slumping over the keyboard. A random string of letters appeared on the screen.

WORLDSEED ACCEPTED. 

I smiled as the darkness crept in around the edges of my vision. Where I was going, I wouldn’t care. It wouldn’t exist anymore. One way or another, everything was going to change.

I started to laugh as the blood bubbled from my mouth. We were going back.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

 

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