17: One And A Million (part 3)

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17.3 Splintered

Alternate One: 30 May 2107

"We've got to help them," Krista Hartmann said.

"How do we chose which ones to save and which ones to help?" Morton replied.

They were ranging around the world. And they were observing the plight of the others – the lost, the mindless – there were so many adjectives that could be applied to them – none of them positive.

"Can't we help all of them? We are more powerful now than we ever were."

"There are less than a million of us. There are in excess of ten billion of them. Even given our current inexplicable enhancements are you sure you are capable of caring for over ten thousand people on your own? That's what it means. They are no longer capable of feeding or cleaning themselves. We would have to do everything for them including growing the food to feed them."

"The machines and robots can do that."

Morton looked at her, head askew. "Have you tried to access the AI systems at all since the event?" he asked.

She frowned, "No, haven't had the chance or the need really, not since we can do so much more ourselves, now."

"Take a look at them."

Krista let her mind range around her surroundings, something that was now as easy as walking, and she saw for the first time the state of anything electronic.

She gasped. "What's happened to them?"

"They've all broken down. Electronics no longer work."

"What? Why?"

"Probably for the same reason we are also changed. This world is not a direct copy of the original. It is a shadow or it is no longer in quite the same space-time as it was. I don't know, I don't have the expertise. Maybe there are subtle differences in the physical laws."

It was soon established that the failure of anything electronic was planet-wide. Several of them tried to contact the Moon through telepathy and teleportation. But something stopped them. They could easily talk to each other from one side of the planet to the other. They could physically jump such distances with hardly more effort than talking. But the Moon and anywhere beyond the Earth was, for some reason, off limits.

"We may no longer be in exactly the same universe as them," Morton said. "But we can still see them. I wonder if they can see us."

"What do we do?"

Morton thought for a moment.

"Survive," he replied eventually. "If we can handle the cost."

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