Dead Planet XXII

Dead Planet XXII

“The process of scientific thought
consists of increasingly less
inaccurate predictive models
based on observation. When the
model is not subject to change
due to further observations, it is
no longer scientific.”—John C. Wright,
Null-A Continuum: Continuing
A. E. van Vogt’s World of Null-A

“Hellas City is gone,” I said.

The whole city wasn’t there anymore. Disappeared off the surface of Mars—not a smidgen of the spaceport left.

The kid didn’t say anything. He pointed to the anti-grav array on the screen. It told a different story. A zone of space roughly the size of Hellas City shimmered & wiggled—like the heat-wave mirage of some ghostly city in the desert.

Once set in motion—the time-energy construct must continue. Where had I heard that? Oh yes, it was Dr. Hayakawa & his Null-A staff—back in the pyramid.

(The exo-psychologist had said: “You’re assuming a doppelganger principle? If one second of time is removed from the past-to-future manifestation of the Martian mind—it will distort its mass-energy to manifest a different, parallel personality. Once set in motion—that particular Martian mindset must continue.”)

“It’s an automatic cloaking device,” the kid said.

Which made sense. The Tyrell-Terra Corp war-fighters would throw up defenses right away. On the screen the photons carrying the false image of the outer edges of Hellas Town—were dancing in aleatoric chill patterns to disguise the City.

The City was visible on our instruments—and continued to be visible all the way back to when that space-time memory inside our heads was real. The City existed for us—but not for the lizards or creepazoids.

Even that was highly unlikely tho—I said to myself. Knowing what I knew—thru the grapevine about lizard tech & the mirror boyz. Knowing what I didn’t know—thru the kid’s disjunctive jazz-static between his ears. Performing similarity effects—was the name of the game apparently.

The kid took us for a bee-line—straight to the roof of the Hellas Towers. Whatever battery of tests Tyrell & Hayakawa & his Null-A staff had put us thru—had got something going. I still didn’t know what it was—but I was used to being in the dark. My identity was pretty much—blended with the kid sitting next to me.

In the back of my mind—I heard Tyrell saying there wasn’t time. The pyramid the kid & I were in—the key to what? The real Rosetta Stone was the kid—that was my guess. And he was playing it dumb.

As we angled down onto the roof—somebody was waiting for us. It was the Predictress—she’d been able to use her powers to get a fix on the kid’s droid coordinates. Seeing into the cyborg future—knowing precisely when we’d get back.

The kid didn’t act surprised. Droids treated other droids—differently than they treated humans. They were on the same wavelengths—at least according to Dr. Kair’s neurohypnotic unit.
The Predictress had an ultra-sensitive mind—like long-range radio telescopes that could detect distant nebulae, Messier objects, quasars. She had a anti-grav array in her brain—like our shuttle-craft dashboard.

We landed and all three of us—got down the stairwell entrance into the Tower quickly. All three of us were now beyond—the other side of the blind moment. The Predictress & the kid seemed to know a lot more about what was going on—than dummy human me.

“It’s happening again,” the Predictress said.

I turned to the kid—he was already in a droid trance. He was standing there on the balcony—looking west toward where we’d flown in from. The lizards were attacking the pyramid we’d been in—a smoky shadow-shape thing was happening to the power-mid.

The eye had detached itself—from the base of the ancient structure. It was folding out of time-space—while the rest of the ship was going up in flames on the horizon. The Predictress made some kind of wry comment—the kid nodded in agreement.

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