17: One And A Million (part 2)

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17.2 Some Assembly Required

Scotland, Germany and beyond: 29 May 2107

Morton Fisk tried to hold panic under control by doing something methodical, such as a stock take of the situation. So, the Earth had been splintered into five initially identical copies and, as far as he could determine, he was the only mentally intact human on all five worlds.

Despite the unexpected augmentation of his abilities, his contact with the other four worlds was diminishing rapidly. He had to do something, and do it quickly.

Although he had discovered much since the splintering, he found that only three minutes had elapsed since the event. He was somehow doing things at great speed – part of the augmentation, possibly.

He needed to think even faster. Whatever he had done accidentally to himself, dragging the splintered remains of his mind back to this world for reassembly, he needed to do for others. He reached out to see if any evidence of the pyramid still lingered.

At first there was nothing, then he found some dim sparks and homed in on one. It was one of the third level people, a woman whose name he didn't know. She was lying on a bed in Düsseldorf, Germany. He scanned outwards to the other worlds and located her other four copies – they were all alive but only the copy here in this world held a spark. But he detected that there was still a connection between all five and he wrapped his consciousness around that connection, strengthening it, willing it to want to join back together.

Initially there was little sign of anything happening but, then, almost as soon as he sensed it, there was a rush of recognition between the shattered parts of the woman's mind. The spark flared and, as the copies of her body in the other worlds fell into death, the one in this world gasped and humanity enveloped her once more. Her consciousness brushed his and, in a moment, he knew her name – Krista Hartmann – and more details of her life than he'd wanted.

He had no time for a proper explanation. He blasted her memories with what he had discovered and showed her what he had done to retrieve her.

"Bring as many back as possible, Krista. Show them how to do it. Force them to do it. There's no time to lose if we are to save enough people."

She nodded and they both sought out more sparks.

After an hour, between the two of them, they had managed to personally reintegrate more than a hundred minds. After the initial shock, almost all of those had gone on to pluck more than seventy thousand others from oblivion. Each one had popped back to what Morton was beginning to think of as World One. For some reason, this world was the reason for the augmentation of their abilities. Only on this world had there been any sparks.

However, the links between the worlds were, by this time, becoming so tenuous that full integration was becoming much harder. Those whose bodies had already been consumed by the asteroid's firestorm on world three couldn't be fully integrated.

Three hours after the splintering event they knew that they would have to make do with far less than a million. On a world where, hours earlier there were billions, there were now only a comparative handful.

However, there were billions of people still alive – with most reduced to mindless, dribbling wrecks.

What they could possibly do about them?

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