Chapter 2 –
Prail and Janique were bored. That was a dangerous combination, the three of them. It could only lead to interesting times and Chinese arithmetic.
“Let’s be detectives!” Janique said, apropos of nothing in particular.
Prail took a more satorial approach, feeling that the universe was tailor-made for her. She never resisted its neutron flow. It was pointless. Useless. Fucking perfection.
“Fucking British detectives!”
“And I’ll tok like this.”
“Ah, a Yorkie. I’m a Cockney. The highest form of British theater.”
“Bloody right. There’s only one ‘em, and that’s fuck ‘em. Up the irons. Wot shall we be investigatin’, then?” Janique asked.
“Life. The universe.”
“Ugh. Hate ‘em, m8.”
“S’okay. His fans hate us…”
“So mote it be done, guvna.”
“Reflective record, then?”
“Give us a case, then.”
Janique paused. Resumed.
“Why can’t you divide ten by three?”
“Is this a trick, then?”
“Perish the thought, m’lady. Ever so much.”
“Additional information requested, then.”
“Do the math.”
“I see, said the blind man. Point three to infinity, ad nauseam. But where’s the last bit going off to?”
“Let’s be off, then.”
“Darling. We are so far off, we’re positively on.”
“Emily Watson, come here, I want you.”
“Three!” they said together.
They were then both attired as Sherlock’s sidekick.
“No shit,” Janique said.
“He was the cool one,” Prail agreed.
“Twas the cocaine wot killed the beauty, innit?”
“Eva so right, right?”
“Bath salts were so much betta, luv.”
“Bloody true. Nothing like a warm, relaxing bath.”
“Bit of a triple entendre, wot? Fancy a go, then?”
“Bit of the old In-N-Out Burga?”
“Ultraviolence by Death Angel, then?”
“All day long.”
“Who got day keys to da Jeep?”
“And we like the boom,” they said in unison.
Then they exploded.
Meanwhile, back at the Bunny Ranch, Pex was shirking his duties. If he wasn’t going to be in this one, he’d sit it out. He still had his hobbies. Pexy collected dolls. But who was he kidding? He no more pass up an opportunity.
The Earth, long since slated for destruction by an invincible force, an infernal overkill, had a lot of valuable resources. Artists. He took a lifetime to work out the hows, whys, and wherefores. A blink, basically. Blink-187, he decided to call it.
He took a vote.
It was going to be a long night. He collected DNA. Rare, lost, often unpublished DNA. Cambridge had a little. In a nutshell, he developed an encoding process that interleaved their physical structure with the whole of their personae. It was an enormous amount of data, so he was forced to take a few shortcuts. He had a lot of people to visit.
One advantage he had was that they did some of the work themselves. Well, most of it.
Okay, all of it.
The clever part, he felt, was stegonaphragizing it all within their own respective crafts. So, the greater the body of work, the more of their essence was preserved. A slight drawback was that their art became more or less indivisible from their actual selves.
Actors (and actresses, to be fair) became themselves, and an amalgam of every character they had ever played. Musicians were now also the music they had written, and their lyrics, if they were inclined to dabble in verse. Visual artists were a bit more complex, but contained all of the worlds they had created.
It was all terribly recursive. He’d teach his sister a thing or two yet about coding. Perhaps.
The real, real beauty of it was that the enormously soft-hearted Project X considered everyone an artist to a degree. So he saved everyone.
He gave each of them a public and private key, composed of anagrams of their names, for simplicity’s sake. He really didn’t think that one through, he realized later. Oh, well. He tried. Not very hard, but he tried.
They were broadcast into the aether via a variety of methods, dependent upon the era from which they originated. Their quarks, neutrinos, dross like that. Their every word and action. Vibratory patterns. Their thoughts. That took some doing.
They were the original vaporwavers. Late-comers were sent via analog, and later, digital signals. It was also reverse faxed, to generate a papertrail.
Authors were the easiest. They poured so much of themselves into their work, Pex simply stole their original manuscripts. It was deliciously cruel, because he ended up with the most vast library in existence, much of it incomplete, unfinished, unedited, and unreleased.
God, he needed a girlfriend.
He sister was his only equal. Janique.
Wait. That wasn’t right? Was it?
Maybe he should chuck it all and become a centaur or something.
But it was too late.