This is Part 3. Part 1 and Part 2 are here.

V. vim and vigor have a get together

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Are they bored all the time?
No. Yes.
You can’t keep saying two contradictory things and expect me to know which one you mean.
What if I mean both?

I do mean both. Absolutely. It’s hard to explain.
So hard you won’t even try?
Ok. Fine. I’ll ask them.

Do you think they’ll like me?
Why, are you nervous? “You’re finally meeting my parents!” This is where I playfully jab you in the ribs. Big laugh. Flirty giggle.
I haven’t been nervous since I was 15. And please don’t. They’re still sore from the drive up here. Can I get one of those, by the way?
Custom. Maybe. Probably not. Ask nicely.
Ask them?
No, my friend Benjamin. He makes them.

Do me a favor and stick your arm in this hole.
Excuse me?
Please. It’s important. Security.

Oh my god, what is thi-stop laughing, what is this?!
Don’t panic, it will take longer if you panic.
Come on! I drive to the end of the world on a hunch and I get attacked by what is definitely an octopus tentacle. Voluntarily.
City boy thinks four hours outside a city is the end of the world. Say hello to the Witches. Looks like they got bored.
Mankind develops AI and all it does is play pranks.
She. They. And what makes you think they’re AI?
Other than the obvious?
Other than the obvious.
Because what else would it be? Aliens? Magic? Dead gods? Leftovers from a cosmic battle between good and evil?
Alien magic too, don’t forget that possibility.
I will admit, I did forget that possibility.
You’re correct enough.

Door’s open. You should be able to remove your arm now.

Stop scowling.

Ladies first.

Oh, now that’s cool.

Welcome home
Now what do we have here

Do you want to see the future?
Not even a little bit?
I live night by night. Ignorance is bliss, and all that.
How about five minutes of the possible future? It might be fun.

Fuck it, five minutes couldn't hurt.

Hell yeah.
Hell yeah.
Hell yeah!
Hell yeah!!

Hell yeah.

Good job team.
I’m not high fiving you. Get dressed.

What the hell was that?
What was what?
That! That was- what did you see?
We were getting froyo. It was pretty good. What did you see?
It did not involve froyo.
You can’t see me but I’m shrugging. This is what might be, not what will be.
Was it hot?
Of course it was; I was involved.

The extraction plan is not going to work. Fuck! Do the Witches have a back up plan?
No, but I do. Are you afraid of heights?
How about falling?
How about jumping?
No, I am definitely not afraid of jumping unless it turns into falling from great heights.

I have bad news then. Do you trust me?
Then when I say “go” you start running and don’t stop, not even when you run out of platform. I’ll be right behind you. Metaphorically, of course.
...Ok! I figured out where this is going! And I don’t like it!



This part seems pretty easy.
Falling is always easy. It’s the next part that’s going to hurt. Speaking of, one second.

Do you think anyone else has ever jumped from space?
And survived?

Yes. But they had parachutes. Congratulations on the world’s first. Now brace yourself. Here comes a cupped hand to save you.
The cupped hand, of course, being a jet-drone with what is possibly a net. Clever.
The gods work in mysterious ways.

Listen, Lord[3], I’m sorry but I don’t have a lot of time to explain other than we have to go. 
Well, can I at least get the CliffNotes? Please? 
Do you want to do exposition or color commentary this time?
What? Who is that? Where is that coming from?
Sorry, that’s the better half of my better half. We can pretend she’s a ghost if you like.
Oh that helps a lot-
I’ll do exposition. You can riff.
“Riff?” Your time with me has changed you.
Is this a professional kidnapping or a professional rescue? Are you professionals?
If you’re asking if we get paid by other people to do this specifically, the answer is no.
The real rewards are the friends we make along the way.
You two are insufferable.
I’ll ignore that for now. There are people coming to kill you. We are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m Virginia LeGrange, by the way.
And I’m Tom Master Right.
Since we’re making up fake names, I’m Sam Call-Tzuyen now.
Shall we?
You’re not afraid of blood, are you Ms. Sam?
Should I be?
Tom here is, when called for, the world’s friendliest buzzsaw.
I can tone down the blood if its an issue. I think I have a setting for that.
Well, I would prefer a minimal amount of people die, considering I’m not entirely convinced that you two are not insane.
We all would prefer a lot of things.

Do you like it? 
It looks...lethal. Lethal but cute. You ever read Hyperion? It’s like a chibi Shrike, all blades and edges. Is it autonomous? 
It can be, if there are transmission issues. Otherwise, well, I’m remote piloting from a secure location. Also, we’re streaming now. Wave and say hi.
I’m Gunn Grit, and you’re watching me do the choreography to “Villainous.”
“Gunn Grit” is a very bad name.
Trigg Deathshot.
Viggo Voltius.
Busti Bustil-
Hard no.
Come on.
Chu Maarst.
I assume this opens up our ambitions to the heavens. How replaceable is it?
When did you start talking like me? And more replaceable than you. Less replaceable than me. This Shell isn’t cheap.
How replaceable am I, exactly?

Are you ever worried about what we’re doing?
What are we doing?
Saving the world, of course.

No. Should I be?
Did they remove doubt when they did this to you?
They removed a lot of things. The rest they buried. But I have faith in you.
I’m grateful for that. And terrified.
There are few constants in life. I figure I should be one.
And what if we’re doing the wrong thing?
Then we’ll fix it. There’s an American in my ancestry, back when that meant something. I have a legacy to live up to of trying to fix impossible problems. 
Americans were notoriously successful in fixing impossible problems.
Yeah, well.

Are we finished yet 
Good enough for now 
Glorified fanfiction never sat right with me 

And yet you still help with its creation
The most qualified fanfiction on earth if youre asking my opinion
I view it as a purely creative endeavor for better or for worse or for more or for less

Do we want them to forget what they saw
Leave some slime behind in their minds weve created something of value here
Leave the froyo scene I dont care about anything else

I hope the future is easier for them than what weve seen
It usually is
We create on a curve

She deserves more
She deserves exactly what she gets
Am I to break this tie because I abstain

As always
Realist Pragmatist Liar Cheater Skeptic Hero I can say many words it doesn’t make them true


To being surprised
To the future that exists
To what is until it is not


On Neymar.

On Neymar.