This is a Work of Kongrefiction;
This Memory Has Not Yet Happened
On March 13, 2024, SicMirx stumbled through the door, clothes torn and his face contorted into a mask of fear. It was a dark, rainy night in Chicago, Crystal Pepsiland (a wholly owned subsidiary of New Coca-Cola Land), and the ominous rumble of thunder echoed off the warehouses and low dives (a partially owned subsidiary of Urban Decay LLC) in the neighborhood outside. Sic swayed on his feet and I jumped up to steady him; it seemed that he could barely stand.
“Precarious,” he rasped, at last collapsing into a worn leather chair in the corner of my office. Rivulets of water were streaming from his shredded jacket, collecting in a pool on the scuffed wooden floor. I studied that puddle for a long moment to avoid looking at his face.
“My God, Precarious, my God, what have we done?” Sic choked back a sob, and started to say more, but went suddenly quiet. I finally dared to look up; he was staring distractedly out the window. We both sat silently for several minutes, gazing past Venetian blinds, through grimy glass. The rain made the neon signs outside hazy and smooth, and as we studied that gaudy luminescence, Sic seemed to calm himself. “Precarious,” he said finally.
“I need your help.” He started shivering again, so I poured him a local concoction known as a Mixed Metaphor. He drank greedily, like a camel passing through a needle. From somewhere outside, the strident tones of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” rang out.
It was the second to last time I would see him alive.
The next day, I stopped by the local Transchromatatron. One-eyed Greg was already there, warming up the quantum flux binders. One-eyed Greg had acquired his ostentatious sobriquet by repeatedly referring to himself as such until everyone else finally got bored and agreed; in point of fact he had no eyes (he had lost them in the war with Adidas and Montenegro).
“Precarious!” he exclaimed happily. I never did figure out how he identified his customers when he was blind—this went quadruple for me, since I hadn’t actually ever been a customer, or spoken to him, or met him before.
“Greg,” I replied. He looked hurt, so I grudgingly corrected myself. “One-eyed Greg,” I said, “what do you know about time travel?”
He looked delighted. “I thought you’d never ask again.” He stood up, and motioned for me to follow him to the back room. We passed through a series of short corridors, gradually heading downward. The lights grew dimmer. Finally, we reached a chamber full of strange silver machinery and rapidly oscillating white lights.
“Precarious,” he stated grandly, “this is Chicago’s finest Temporal Decompiler. All of the greatest minds of the Chronological Institute in Longyearbyen have worked here.” I looked around at the greatest minds of the Chronological Institute. A pimply-faced teenager was snoring in a corner, and a giant three-armed cockroach was reading TIME, the famous tabloid magazine.
“Mm-hmm,” I mumbled.
One-eyed Greg looked ecstatic. “So, what can I do for you?”
“One-eyed Greg, is it…is it possible to change the past?”
I felt disoriented. I clambered out of the DeLorean and looked around. I didn’t know where I was; hell, I didn’t know when I was. But I had followed SicMirx’s instructions precisely. This was the right where, and this was the right when.
I looked around. Judging from the architecture, I was somewhere in Europe: perhaps Iceland, perhaps Vanilla Iceland, perhaps Rita’s Italian Iceland. I looked up at a large clocktower, accented with bronze. It was 11 o’clock.
I had 15 minutes.
I ran along rooftops, narrowly dodging some blocks and what appeared to be an unexploded bomb. I dashed through an outdoor park where no one ever, ever walked on the grass, hustling past strolling women, women with strollers, high rollers, tenpin bowlers, and an invisible ninja you could only kill with a meteorite. I ran under gnarled oaks, past a gurgling fountain, and across a crowded street of mob kingpins, flash mobs, and a Flash mob (as well a Stencyl mob). Then I saw it.
It was moving toward a computer terminal, its photoreceptors glowing red (robots with red eyes are evil robots). I reached into my pocket, and drew out a syringe loaded with Kreds. Only those Kreds could counter its digital bloodlust, that MMO-corrupted programming. And then it turned to look at me. It smiled, or would have if it had a mouth. It reached out and tapped the terminal.
And then it wavered like a mirage and disappeared. I looked at a clock through a window. 11:16.
Sic staggered up to me. “Precarious,” he gasped. He looked like he wanted to say more, but the whole world seemed to suddenly lurch. Sic suddenly gave a small cry, fell to the ground, and died.
All around me, uncaring people walked past and around us. It was as if they couldn’t see us. As if we didn’t really exist. For all I knew, we didn’t.
I slumped down on a bench, my head in my hands. I had followed the instructions to the letter—it was impossible! And then I realized—there was one letter I hadn’t followed. Somehow, somewhere along the time jump, it had expired.
I could still save him. But I would need to go further back.
And I would need to re-up my K+.