24: Recombination (part 6)

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24.9 The Big Crunch

Hyde Park: 24-25 May 2128

"Easy when you know how, isn't it?" Rick said as he followed Mila hopping around 'one'. With his help, she had finally managed to master teleportation.

A brief smile flashed across her lips. "We need to get ready," she said. "It's only a few hours away."

"I am only too aware of that," Rick said. Out of habit he looked at his wrist but the watch that he had once worn had disappeared days ago and he couldn't quite remember when he'd last seen it. For most of the world it was still May 24th but Australia had already passed midnight and, despite the linked minds across the planet, the quakes were ramping up to the inevitable climax.

A couple of hours ago he and Mila had visited the various centres around the globe to inform them of what was going to be attempted. Some of them hadn't understood until he had inserted the plan directly into their heads. Many of them, once they'd begun to comprehend it, looked horrified.

Alin Yan had commented, "I think it is not far from what Morton had in his own mind. He hadn't exactly made it public, though."

Garter grunted as if this was news to him but, other than that, kept quiet. Whilst being part of the concert that had transferred world four's NewGen to the Moon, he had seen for himself the scale of the power that Rick had tapped into, and hadn't envied Hartmann's role as the conduit through which that energy had been distributed to the pyramid.

After a final tour to make sure the connections around the world had the best chance of holding together, Rick and Mila returned to Hyde Park. The operation was being coordinated from there, though almost any relatively stable location in the world would have done.

They were at the western edge in a small lightweight hut that was well away from larger trees. It was away from the Tree itself, which had been evacuated as there was evidence that the quakes had undermined and, in places, liquefied London's clay base. Like many tall structures, the Tree was no longer guaranteed to remain upright.

As local time crept past one o'clock in the morning, Rick stood in the centre of a circle. The others – Mila, Alec Garter, Krista Hartmann, Charles Moore and, although he claimed he would nothing more than a burden, Alin Yan – were seated on plain wooden chairs surrounding him. The new pyramid was assembled with four of the five seated providing the stabilisation between Rick and the millions of minds that propped up the structure. Everyone on the planet aged twelve years or more was incorporated – about four million in total. Rick let his mind wander over it all, marvelling at how solid it felt but knowing that it could fall apart in a moment should any of the top echelon falter.

Parts of the structure were constantly at work trying to reduce the effects of the earthquakes on this world, while others were doing their utmost to determine best how to allow the worlds to slide together with the least amount of damage. The energy that Rick and Krista drew from the source allowed them to see those other worlds as clear as the one upon which they resided. However, it made them all aware of how the ground on each world was grumbling in defiance of what it was being put through. Rick could see even deeper, at how the magma swirled and churned in the depths, fighting against the growing influence of the other worlds.

"Alignment in five minutes," Krista said. She'd again reluctantly agreed to drag the energy in from the source. This time, though, Rick was also doing the same, in addition to relaying it back down the pyramid via the other four.

"Iceland is breaking up," Mila whispered.

Rick nodded, its remnants had already been driven under the sea on 'two' and 'four'. Much was going to have to be sacrificed. Yellowstone, which had also blown itself skywards on 'four' and 'five', was about to erupt on 'two'. It was still being kept stable here on 'one', though for how long it would remain so was anyone's guess.

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