Mirrored from Sythyry.
“Tell us about you,” I said to Eric.
“I told Hditr,” he said.
“Yeah, but you didn’t tell the lugubrious and lanky-locked lizard,” said Hditr. “And we’ve got a couple more dullery days before we get to Ixange. I say everyone will be happier if you tell her three times, once to each of her hideous yet helpful heads.” I gave her my best hurt look — big eyes, drooping ears, half of one tongue-tip out of the corner of one mouth — and she amended that to, “Um … heroically helpful heads?”
“Once is enough,” I said.
“Well, there’s really not that much to say. I grew up in the Nisei camp in Indiana until President Clinton closed them.” said Eric. “Then I went to Case Western Reserve for undergrad, then MIT for grad school in chemistry, and switched to physics after the first semester. I was there only a couple years, and then I got killed.”
I stared at him in triplicate.
“… what?” he demanded.
“Are you going to explain those words, or do I have to ask «Language»?”
“OK, OK, I’ll explain.” He did a terrible job explaining, but between him and Hditr and «Language» I made a little sense out of it.
Nisei Camp: His grandparents mostly came from one country, called Japan, but they moved to another country, called Usa. Japan and Usa were not on very friendly terms. Whenever they had an actual war, which was quite often if not usually very martial, the government of Usa would round up all the Japanese humans living in Usa they could find and put them in internment camps, called Nisei camps. The camps were big towns or small cities, and very tidy.
Aum Shinrikyo: The state religion of Japan. Wants to start the apocalypse.
Apocalypse: The uncovering or revelation of a hidden meaning, especially a meaning that was hidden from all people. It will also destroy the world. The hidden meaning seems to be “You are all mortal.” I don’t get why this was hidden, since, um, everyone is mortal anyways and ought to know it, right?
Japan: One of the imperial powers of Eric’s world. It rules about a quarter of the world. Most of that space is water — uninhabited water. Humans are the only species on Eric’s world (or maybe the only intelligent species — I never got that straight). Humans don’t like water very much, except when they’re being imperial, in which case it’s just the thing to cause all sorts of wars. Also, something about fish.
Usa: One of the imperial powers of Eric’s world. It rules about a third of the world. Japan and Usa imperial at each other a lot, but not very seriously. If they did it seriously, everyone would die. Which is what Aum Shinrikyo actually wants, but they want it done right, and a massive war would do it wrong, so they don’t have massive wars.
Indiana: A region in the middle-ish of Usa. Famed for its burial mounds, its corn, and its oval of dramatic torture where humans are strapped to machines, spun around and around and around, and often explode into flames and die.
President Clinton: A temporary king of Usa, known for feeling his subjects’ pain and bosoms, and making peace with Japan several times.
closed: The camps were surrounded by walls and barbed wire when people lived in them, so they couldn’t leave. When they were closed, the walls and barbed wire were removed and the people living in them could leave. This might be considered “opening” in many other contexts.
Case Western Reserve: A school which is (1) not in a case, and (2) not to the west of very much, and (3) not in reserve. It has carriages for moving students around, which are called ‘Greenies’ because they are blue. It is where humans discovered that there are no actual real directions in their universe, just fake ones. This was very important, especially to Eric because physics, and the speed of light in a vacuum is going on too.
undergrad; grad school: Two episodes of schooling.
MIT: Another school. It’s not in a case, and very to the east, and not in reserve, so it’s not called “Case Western Reserve”. It is infinitely long, and has a giant mammal’s breast at one end, and is very full of science.
“I don’t know what’s going on there now,” said Eric.
Hditr was brushing her tail by this time. “I dunno, have Tllith nip out and nab you a newspaper,” she said.
So I did! When one is between worlds, it is reasonably easy to reach a world that one has a suitable connection to — including, say, a ghost of a person who used to live there. By “reasonably easy” I mean “I managed to get the ghost of the front page of a newspaper and keep it here for nearly a minute.”
March 13, 2003
Despite the best efforts of the Connecticut National Guard and remaining Navy and Coast Guard warships, the space monster Vozan was not stopped at Mystic. Charleston, Naragansett, and Newport are presumed to be destroyed. The governor of Connecticut has urged the evacuation of all remaining residents of coastal areas, up to thirty miles inland.
“What is he saying?” asked Portsmouth resident Karen Blunn. “Thirty miles inland is right on the edge of the curgee flowers! I’d rather get drowned in one of Vozan’s tidal glacier waves! At least that’s a quick way to die!”
“Me, I’m going to take my old fishing boat Naragansett Nell and see if I can’t get across to Montauk,” said Portsmouth fisherman Billy Norbuth. “If I’m fast I’ll get around Vozan. I’ll just have to take my chances with the flux bouncers.”
“I’m sorry, Eric. I don’t understand most of it, but that doesn’t sound very good,” I said.
Eric did not look either very happy or very informed. “I’ve been dead two years? It seemed like only a few weeks! And what’s going on there? What’s Vozan? What are curgee flowers? What are flux bouncers?”
“It’s your world. You should know, shouldn’t you?” I tried again with «Language» — just a translation spell. “That’s odd. Nobody is using any of those words on Earth.”
“Well, what are they calling those things now?” Eric asked.
“No answer on that either.”
Hditr frowned. “What’s the translation of the number ‘one’?”
“… Still no answer. It’s almost as if there’s no language being used there.”
I helpfully asked, “Was that the apocalypse that Aum Shinrikyo wanted?”
Eric said, “I don’t think so. I don’t know much of Aum Shinrikyo’s doctrines. You did not want to be seen being interested in them, if you were Japanese-American.” (Which ought to be: “Japanese-Usavian” or something like that.) He moaned, “Everyone’s dead!”
Hditr shrugged. “Like you. I guess that’s why you got a new death god.”
Eric curled up and wailed for most of the rest of the day, and was inconsolable. As one approach to getting him to uncurl, I tried to send notes to an Eric’s-home-world-like world. That worked well, and now I have a two-way writing-spell that may last for months or years, to … somewhere.
So that’s why I’m writing to you! I’ve told my story, so far. Where have I told it to? Who lives there? What can you say about the apocalypse on Eric’s world?