I Am Your Creator, Dude, by Robin Maxwell

Image by Luke Hancock

Poseidon in Love

The Gods of Atlantos Saga, Book I

God of Destruction

The Gods of Atlantos Saga, Book V

Robin Maxwell, a historian, screenwriter and bestselling novelist, is writing a full-length novel for grahamhancock.com that we will be releasing as a serial publication — chapter by chapter — periodically.

With tongue firmly in cheek, her story peels back the veil of existence and looks behind the scenes of our current tumultuous times and the strange, precious multiverse we inhabit. At the center of it all, Ed and Helen are cosmic coders who discover that Ed’s Earth Simulation has gone completely out of control. But there is worse brewing. Much, much worse…

Below is Chapter 10 of I Am Your Creator Dude.

Enjoy, and make sure to start from Chapter I if you are only just joining this adventure. Read:

“I just read your brilliant ‘I Am Your Creator, Dude!’ Your story is great! Funny, clever, thought-provoking and entertaining.” – Graham Hancock

 

“Many times I have pondered what’s it all about. Spaceship Earth and The Human Condition. You have touched on my reoccurring conclusion that “Earth” is entertainment for the eternal creator. That infinite eternity is a long time so the creator of creators and creations manifest art projects such as Earth. “The Eternal Must Be Entertained” I suspect Channel Earth is one of a zillion creative projects.” – T Crowe Semler

 


Discovering that the MultiVerse itself is in the crosshairs of one of Ed’s mad “simulons,” and after a series of neighborly visits to the Creator-Gods living in their apartment complex — The Infini-Tron Arms — Ed and Helen insert themselves into Ed’s Earth Simulation game. Their investigations take them from Don and Melania’s excruciating Mar-a-Lago bedroom to the simmering Yellowstone Caldera about-to-blow, where a run-in with an extremely pissed off Mother Nature — and Helen’s growing impatience — ratchets Ed’s creator confidence down more than a few notches.

During the bickering couple’s visit to the Atlantis Bahamas Resort and Water Park, where the world’s feckless leaders in every arena are gathered, Ed realizes the “Doomsday Clock” is down to 1 second and counting. In the final two installments of “I Am Your Creator Dude!” will Ed manage to save his Earth simulation, or is it curtains for all creation?

Chapter 10

Just as Ed and Helen threw themselves into the transport, a giant flock of seagulls fell dead out of the sky. All the people and all the tents went up in flames, and the entire Atlantis Bahamas Resort was engulfed in a firestorm so epic and so hot that the buildings simply melted, its lagoons rising up as great clouds of steam. Above this fiery furnace, a hundred-foot-tall mirage of a seriously pissed-off Mother Nature appeared, shimmering overhead, her long white gown burned up to her blackened knees. “I’M BACK!” she boomed, “you stupid little shits!”

“Word,” Helen gravely intoned, daring to look up at the infuriated Earth goddess and hold her eye. “My most profound apologies,” she continued, then gave Ed, trying to get to his feet, a swift kick on one of his shins.

He was silent, maybe still gobsmacked by the catastrophe. Maybe just incredibly rude.

Say something to her, Helen hissed. “Anything that sounds regretful. Groveling would work.”

But by the time Ed managed to open his mouth, Mother Nature had disappeared out of sight, leaving only a whiff of her scorched dress which could easily have been what was left of those hundreds of tents on the beach.

But that was not the only bad smell. The stench all around them in the water was making them gag. The Navy guys steering the amphibious transport out to the aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Michelle Obama, were within moments of barfing. On the entire surface of the choppy ocean was floating dead sea life, from the tiniest krill to the biggest flappy-ist stingrays that would never flap or sting again.

“This is not the ocean,” Helen carped, “It’s bouillabaisse.”

Ed was out of excuses and apologies. He was thinking of saying, “It is what it is,” but he was pretty sure Helen would pop him one if he did.

The Michelle Obama was a handsome ship the size of a small city. Even from where they were now, the wide deck seemed to magically balance on a v-shaped sliver of hull. Of course, there were lower decks where everybody lived, and the “Island” superstructure towered six floors above the deck, spiked on top with the radar array.

But Ed was so upset with the way things were going he didn’t stop to congratulate himself on the design. He needed all of his wits about him to keep any more of this abortion of a day to sink further into hell.

They were less than halfway to the carrier when up from waves emerged an octopus the size of three full-grown men. The thing was somehow able to glide upright alongside the transport as it moved, its attention fixed squarely on Ed.

“Hi,” Ed said to it, trying to remember why he’d coded such a large ‘pus. They were all wicked smart creatures, and even had some rudimentary emotions, if Ed remembered correctly.

“You are my creator, mon,” the animal said in a Rastafarian patois. Its face, inexpressive for its hard rectangular eye that did no more than open and close, instead showed its copious feelings through a rapid change of color, from blue to purple to a red so intense it looked like it was about to burst into flame.

“What is wrong wit you?” the o’puss said to Ed. “You done so good. All animal life. So good, mon. So crazy. So tender. So fierce. So beau-tiful. Nobody bothered nobody of dere own kind. Ya, an occasional mother eat her young. Two males fight over girl. You could kill another kind – fair game – long as it is for dinner. But den you make dese chimps. Dey start shit. Kill dere own kind, kill dere neighbors. Kill for territory. Dat sick, mon. But you know, it make a kind of sick sense. Cause dose chimps were on dere way to becomin’ Sapien. Ya, Sapiens Sapiens too smart for dere own selfs. You even have to say dere name twice to know who dey are. You think it give dem gravitas. Two paths diverge in a yellow wood, my ass. Dis is your fault. Douche move, Ed. Or were you having one of your famous naps?”

Ed gave Helen a ‘Did you tell everyone?!’ look.

“You gave us dis great place, you know dat, right?” the puss went on, turning hot pink, “Dis paradise. I’m gonna tell you some-ting. I don’t care how many planets dere are. Dis is de coo-lest planet in de galaxy. Maybe de yune-ee-verse.”

He quick-shot all eight huge, sucker-lined tentacle tips at Ed and Helen, knocking them back on their butts.

“Dis was the coolest planet. An you ruin it. It is over, mon.”

“No listen,” Ed pleaded to the octopus. “I can fix this. There’s still time.”

“Ed…” He felt Helen tugging at the sleeve of his hoodie.

“Just a sec,” he said to her, never taking his eyes off the giant hovering over them.

“No, Ed, you have to see this.” He turned, following her gaze into the azure Bahamian sky.

“What? I see nothing.”

Helen used her fingertip laser beam to circle in red an area 67° above the equator.

Ed squinted to see what she was pointing to. “That’s not…”

“Yes it is.”

“It can’t be.”

A perfect ellipse… very very tiny in the great dome of the sky… was dead black. And there within it were a few million stars winking through.

“It can’t have started.”

“I suggest you get a move on,” she said.

As a helicopter Ed had summoned from the looming aircraft carrier snatched Helen and him up from the amphibious transport, he looked down to see the great octopus wrapping its eight tentacles around its own neck and begin choking the life out of itself. Its writhing hot pink body turned kelp green and then a dull beige before it sank under the waves.

This was unnerving enough, but as they were set down onto the flight deck of the carrier, he saw a terrifying group assembled just under the ship’s 6-floor command and control center – the Big Kahunas from the Infini-Tron Arms – Bob, Shan-Alla, his mother, even some of the lesser lights like Kid Chaos.

“I don’t think so, Helen,” Ed said, and started moving in the opposite direction.

“Don’t be a pussy,” she said and firmly grabbed his elbow, pulling him in their direction. He would rather chew on glass than face that lot.

“Don’t look at me that way,” Catherine – resplendent in her “Virgin Queen” attire – was saying to the gods as they approached. “It was his 21st, and I couldn’t give him just anything.”

They all just glared at her, sick to death of her hoity-toities.

“Oh, hindsight, ladies,” she shot back sarcastically. “20-20 vision. But if you insist on talking about screw-ups…”

Bob was the first to admit one, but very much on the defensive, “Who says a Super Massive Black Hole is a bad thing?”

Shan-Alla turned her head slowly to fix her accusatory eyes on him. “Now that you mention it, if yor first little wormholes had worked like dey was supposed to, and somebody could actually travel from one cosmos to another without their molecules spagettifyin’ out-to-infinity, now dat woulda been dope.”

“Nobody says ‘dope’ anymore, Shan,” Mother Earth corrected her, sounding more than a little petty. She’d always suffered an inferiority complex, intimidated by her bad big sister.

“But they didn’t, did they?” the Mastress said, completely ignoring her sibling, instead tongue-lashing Bob. “And now those holes are big, fat nothings gobblin’ up some of my favorite celestials …”

“Some of them create new stars…” he argued.

“Don’t you try to grease yor way outta it, Bob. It’s yor fuckin’ universe. Next, you’ll be layin’ shit for this trainwreck right here on The Brain.”

Thank you, Mastress,” Catherine said.” My son may have erred downloading it, but you my dear woman…” she skewered Mother Nature with her glare, “You brought those harmless, hairy, leaf-eating apes down from the trees…”

“That was my bad, Mother,” Ed interrupted as he and Helen joined the group. He looked contrite. “I’d been bingeing on vino one night and passed out for a couple of million years…”

“Oh, now you admit it,” Helen said, glaring at him.

“And when I took back control,” he continued, ignoring the daggers directed at the back of his neck, “I had your glorious creation at my command. Those knuckle-draggers had gotten on their feet, lost quite a bit of that unsightly fur and looked like pretty good candidates to me.” It sounded convincing, but inside, he was wincing.

“Don’t you be ashamed,” his mother said with a rare flash of warmth, and a poofing-out of her linen neck ruff. “The homos turned out fine. Almost fine. In some cases, better than fine.”

“Oh, not with Bach and Van Gogh and da Vinci again,” Bob taunted.

“All a yas just shut up,” Shan-Alla ordered, pointing her 2-inch-long Oreo-themed fingernail at Universal Creator #1,037’s. “And when you gonna let your bitch aspect make an appearance, Bob? You takin’ up all the oxygen ‘round here with this crusty ole man shit. You think it give you grav-ee-tas?” Then she turned to Ed with her most severe eye. “But Hon, you do gotta do somethin’, and real fast.” She was looking at the Big Suck ellipse out the corner of her eye.

“No worries,” Ed told her. “I’ve got it covered. “The culprit is somewhere on this vessel.” Mortified as he was, he gave himself a silent pat on the back. He loved the word ‘vessel.’

Then he caught Helen rolling her eyes. She knew exactly what he was thinking. Damn her, always in my head. He addressed the others.So I will take my leave and start my investigation.”

“Start!?” Shan-Alla bellowed.

“I’m on it!” Ed shouted. “I’m on the fucking thing. Just leave me the hell alone!” He knew better than to cuss like a dorky teenager at these High Creators, but in truth, he was about as out-to-sea as he had been when he’d woken up this morning – yes, again passed out from two measly glasses of wine – and found his Earth Sim in shambles, with some unnamable entity about to cock-block the MultiVerse for all time.

“Come on, Sweetie,” Helen said in the most indulgent tone she could manage. She took his arm and led him away from the Cosmic Board of Directors onto a steel flight deck the size of four football fields. Jet fighters continued to do their tail-hook-and-arresting-wire landings, and death-defying take-offs as though nothing out of the ordinary was underway. As if there was anything left of the fleet to bomb or shoot out of the sky.

That’s when Ed and Helen saw them – the trio. His heart leapt a little.

“Be careful,” she said. “You don’t want to scare them any more than they must already be.”

The three – Einstein, Tesla and Alan Turing, were looking at the dead sea life, floating face-down sailors, and the burnt wreckage of the War Games. They were already glassy-eyed and a little twitchy when they found the human barbecue on the beach of the Bahamian resort.

“This wasn’t what I had in mind when I solved the equation, “Einstein groaned. “It was just an equation. And very short.”

Well, I was trying to crack the Enigma Code in WWII,” the pale, thin Alan Turing said. “I did it. I solved it. They say I shortened the war by three years. And how do they thank me? Chemical castration. Like I was a pervert or something.”

I got off easy for stealing my wife’s theory, then cheating on her,” Einstein offered, “but a nuclear bomb is not such a nice legacy. There would not have even been an Oppenheimer without me.”

Or a “Barbie” double feature, Ed thought to himself.

The two scientists turned to Nikola Tesla, not much more than a skeleton in a threadbare turn-of-the-century suit. “All I wanted,” he said in his morbid Serbian accent, “was to offer everyone in the world free energy.”

“That was quite a photograph,” Einstein offered when he couldn’t find any comforting words, “the famous one, with electricity shooting out of your head.”

“Not exactly out of my head. Dramatic, yes. Making my point. But all Westinghouse wanted was profits. I made bubkas for my patents. They made out – as you say – like bandits. Worse than that, I lost my appetite.”

“We can see,” Turing said, trying not to stare at the emaciated genius.

“Worse even again,” Tesla continued, “they bury the technology. Free energy? Ha! A mockery, more like it. And a car that Musk fellow named after me shot it into orbit around the sun with a dummy driving it. A dummy. Have they no shame?”

A gaggle of the richest Western and Middle-Eastern gas and oil barons in the world were meanwhile cowering together in an emperor penguin-like scrum, threatened by the red-robed “Rebel Brigade” of Extinction Rebellion extremists wielding, in a long line, a heavy-duty power hose. The wealthiest of the jillionaires, Mukesh Ambani – a vegetarian and animal lover wearing a Stuart Hughes Diamond Edition suit that had set him back $778,000 – was trying to pull the white-gowned Sheik Yerbooti in front of him as a human shield, but only succeeded in pulling the man’s red-and-white-checked keffiyeh off, revealing his hipster swag haircut. The Russian tycoons Blavatnik and Fridman were toughing it out with violent gestures and screamed obscenities at the rebels. But the thick stream of crude oil gushing suddenly from the hose came so fast and furious that the rich fucks never had a chance. Soaked and slimy with black gold, they were lifted right over the carrier’s railing and sent flailing into the drink. Of course, the sea was more disgusting than dangerous, as all the sharks, stingrays and giant eels in the water were dead and floating nearby.

Gathered near the edge of the starboard was yet another clutch of stupid white men. The flimsy fabric sign above their heads read “A. A. S.” and below it, the wooden one that explained the acronym…

“The ‘Ancient Asshole Society.’ Aptly named,” Helen observed.

“Hang on. They’re protecting the chronology of history,” Ed corrected her. “They’re academics, historians, archaeologists. As respected as they come. No one stands on higher ground.”

“The sole authorities. Uh-huh.” She jutted her chin at the fawning media hawks surrounding the AASes. The disgraced and fired (then re-hired) Director of Antiquities at the Giza Plateau, Zahi Hawass, arrayed in his designer Indiana Jones regalia, leather hat and whip that would put Harrison Ford to shame, could be heard declaring, “A Pre-Ice Age civilization? “Piffle! Atlantis? Don’t make me laugh.”

Drooling to be seen amongst the authentic academicians, reporters from The Guardian and Slate watched as Arthur Wrench, a real scientist whose line of study was the evolution of latrines, hauled up and swung over a pile of logs and kindling a full-sized effigy of a man. It was mainstream archaeology’s arch enemy – scary in his white dress shirt and khaki trousers – the so-called pseudo-scientist, whack-job conspiracy theorist and white nationalist baby eater, Graham Hancock.

Hancock, Ed could see with his coded “X-Ray Vision” (truly, one of his best sci-fi affectations), sitting at a small table on the bridge of the carrier with his partner-in-lost-civilization-crime, Randall Carlson, deep in conversation with three older gents in knee-length cotton tunics, sporting short hair and long, curly beards. The topic was – what else? – Atlantis, and why everybody hated the idea of it so much. Plato, Socrates and Plato’s uncle six-times-removed, “Solon the Lawgiver,” looked glum.

“Publishers, historians, archaeologists. They think the world of me, and anything you wrote besides Timaeus and Critias, my boy,” Socrates said to his famous student, Plato. “But mention your lost cities of Athens and Atlantis, well…you might as well have chopped off the thirteen snakes on Medusa’s head!”

“Who knew what a kerfuffle I was starting when you retold my Egyptian story in your dialogues?” Solon added, patting Plato’s hand. “You’d think I was claiming the earth revolved around the sun!”

“I don’t really care,” Plato responded. “I waited till I was almost dead to write the damned story, and I never published it. It did peeve me that my favorite student badmouthed it. Said it was a myth! Bloody Aristotle. Very glad I was already dead.”

“Aristotle definitely got the bad-mouthing off to a good start,” the gruff-voiced Carlson interjected. “From then on, everybody piled on. For crying out loud, aliens have a better reputation than Atlantis does.”

“There was a small flurry of public popularity with Ignatius Donnelly’s book,” Graham observed. “You could believe in the Great Flood and hold your head up in polite society in 1882. People just want to forget collective trauma

Fascinating as it was to eavesdrop, Ed had bigger fish to fry. “Where’s the captain of this tub?” he called out over the deck, drowned out by the sound of a jet plane screeching to a stop nearby.

“I’m right here,” he and Helen heard behind them and turned. A 45-ish General Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower in Navy dress whites – spiffy uniform with epaulets and medals, and an elegant brimmed cap — a WWII war hero and the 34th President of the United States until 1961 — stood at attention before them. “What is all this?” he demanded.

Before they could answer, zooming in from four cardinal directions, from above, and even from below – erupting from a furiously bubbling spot in the ocean off portside – assembled a flotilla of countless flying objects, eye-popping as a Vegas floorshow, all of them silent (wasn’t that the coolest thing about them? Ed always thought). A “myriad” didn’t begin to describe the scope and variety of the gathering. Sizes. Shapes. Colors. Light effects and spectacular maneuvers – from classic saucers to triangles, diamonds and boomerangs – at least twice as impressive as the climax of “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Other crafts were slowly materializing out of thin air or popping full-blown into sight, straight from their alternative dimensions, pasts and futures. Ed smiled. Cloaking was one of his favorite special effects. That, and the first “Warp speed, Mr. Zulu!” in 1979. Here came a monstrous mothership, large enough to swallow the aircraft carrier in one gulp, emerging majestically from inside a roiling black cloud straight out of “Independence Day.”

One was no bigger than a human head and just glowed white – no frou-frou. Some were scary and misshapen. One looked like a pancake-shaped asteroid. Some had windows with ETs staring out. Most fun were the unmanned “Tic Tacs” – ones that shot from sea-level to 80,000 feet in 6 seconds, right in front of some gobsmacked Navy pilots’ eyes. Ed loved that he’d coded an “alien vessel” to look like a sugar candy from the 70s.

Moments later, the “Alien Round-Up” started appearing on deck. There was at least one from every species that had appeared in Earth Sim lore since biblical times when Ed had made a quick trip down into his game in a wild-looking spacecraft sporting “the heads of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle” and freaked the Jewish prophet Ezekial totally out. He’d even let the guy come inside and taken him for a ride into space. Zeke’s “vision” was so memorable it made it into both the Old and the New Testaments.

In the mix on the deck, there were three little green men with big black eyes and bulbous foreheads, and three little grey men with the same, though the grey ones were scarier than the greenies with those long, mean, wrinkled faces. None of them had much in the way of lips, or genitals. Maybe design flaws, Ed occasionally thought, causing people to wonder if they couldn’t eat or fuck, what the hell they actually were. Some of the creatures from the “Star Wars” Cantina were milling about, and silly, swearing CGI “Men In Black” aliens, too.

One of them was sweating so profusely that to relieve himself, he pulled a fat zipper down from his neck to his groin, revealing a torso full of machine parts. Another – a pretty girl from Ron Howard’s “Coccoon” unzipped her outer skin to reveal a glowing inner-light-body. That had been a particular favorite of movie-goers until the big sci-fi spectacles exploded onto the scene.

A big lizard-skinned person from the “V” TV series was flirting with a tall blonde “Nordic” woman in an outfit that barely covered her privates. Ed had created that species to keep the interest of grown men who’d just be so grossed out by the others that they’d lose interest in the whole UFO flap.

There was the monster from “Alien,” surely the scariest “beast code” he’d ever written, though he reluctantly gave credit to Giger, O’Bannon, Shusett and Ridley Scott for their input. As for whimsy, the “Avatar I and II” creatures were the prettiest and kinkiest and most fun, especially the flying Banshees. He was still fighting with Cameron for credit – the guy was, after all, the “King of the World,” and had been working on the series for thirty years already.

Ed had let Spielberg claim his comedic telescoping-necked ET for himself, and those “Third Kind” children in “greys” costumes…Ed wished he could forget them, but they were memorialized for all time in what was otherwise a really good picture.

He loved that he’d kept everyone guessing about UFOs this long, though he was guilty as fuck about all the abductees he’d allowed to have scorn and ridicule heaped upon them for over 70 years. Programming a few sexual assaults, unpleasant intimate examinations, probes and implantings…and forced births of hybrid children… were not Ed’s finest hours.

Now, in single file coming around from behind the crazy crew came a long parade of men… and two women – Linda Moulton Howe in her giganto eyeglasses and high-strangeness beret, and the all-but-forgotten Shirley MacLaine – encircling the extraterrestrials (or maybe they were inter-dimensionals). In any case, they all seemed very pleased with themselves, having their day in the sun. Here were Jaques Vallée, George Adamnsky, Immanuel Velikofsky, Allen Hynek and the Integretron’s George Van Tassel, looking very dignified, even a bit supercilious, having been the first to divulge earth’s cosmic visitors to the public back in the day, and therefore suffering if not the worst, then the longest reigns of abuse from on-payroll shit-slinging ridi-culers. The old Majestic 12 murderers and original real Men in Black were there, having been granted a day-pass from their government care homes for the demented, but had tremors and looked heavily sedated.

The modern true believers and “experiencers” were congregating as well, from Van Daniken and crazy-haired Tsoukalos to Knapp, Corbell, Zabel and Coulthart. Dolan, Nori and Sheehan, Lear, Fravor and Grusch were here, too. Betty and Barney Hill and Travis Walton – still in his lumberjacket – made an appearance, and Whitley Streiber, too, though he was distracted, communing with his beloved deceased wife, Anne.

Suddenly, an old-fashioned 50-foot diameter silver flying saucer, with not even the tiniest whoosh, set down on the deck in front of everybody. A 2’ x 4’ rectangle opened on the top of the saucer, and a metal ladder suddenly appeared under it out of thin air.

Ed could hear bumping around from inside it – not a very dignified entrance from whatever ET was about to expose him/her/them self. But what popped out of the doorway was, most unexpectedly, the bespectacled, neatly coiffed head of Bob Lazar. His shoulders followed, but just barely scraped through the opening.

“Tight squeeze on this ‘Sports Model,’” he said mildly. “The original guys were about 3 feet tall.” Right now, Bob didn’t seem any worse for the wear for being the first to “out” Area 51, his claims of having reverse-engineered the little saucer, and being ridiculed into oblivion for 30 years. He just seemed to be relieved to be in good company.

But Neil deGrasse Tyson, poor man, flailed his arms wildly with what he could never believe existed now standing right in front of him, was having a full-blown nervous breakdown.

President Eisenhower nodded somberly as he regarded the flotilla overhead and the weirdos on deck. “I was the first and last POTUS to know anything about these guys,” he gestured above their heads. “After that, it was on a strictly ‘need-to-know’ basis. Those “Majestic 12” guys were real hard-asses. I tried to tell everybody, and of course, poor Jimmy Carter was completely ignored”

“Your ‘Beware the Military – Industrial Complex’ speech at the U.N.?” Helen said accusingly. “How the hell were people supposed to understand what that meant? If you meant, ‘We know there are really flying saucers and little green men,’ why didn’t you say that?”

“Big corporations using advanced alien technologies shared with them by our government to profit the Millionaires Boys Club?’ Who would have believed me?” Ike moaned.

Millionaires? Ed thought. This guy really was living in the last century.

“I’ll bet you think they’re all your creations,” Helen said to Ed of the dazzling display before them.

This silenced him. He was thinking hard. He had coded them through the years. Hadn’t he? Or had he been too busy with the atom bomb and the Korean War in the 40s and 50s? Then the movies in the ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s and ‘00s. “You inserted real aliens into my game,” he accused her.

Indeed, he was suddenly seeing ones he didn’t recognize. Unidentified Flying Objects that were alive. Ones with hair. One undulating like an amoeba. Another big one had the shape of a mouth…and had teeth. There were other biological entities mingling in the group now, like the long-legged, big blue-feathered ones with terrible black beaks – flying in circles overhead, and others without form who were unspeakably ugly, little more than mobile slime mold oozing about on the deck. And ones that looked like greys but were different colors, some of them pretty pastels. A large tentacled creature who had no trouble navigating the solid floor of the carrier was using her thousands of suckers to pick cooties off the crowd around her and pop them in her mouth.

“Hi, Blutch!” Helen called out to the cootie-eater.

“You know their names?!” Ed cried.

Indeed, some of them were waving with their long, bony fingers at Helen. She was waving back!

“Why are they all here now?” Ed asked indignantly. It was bad enough that Helen had stuck real biological entities into his simulation. “I didn’t summon them.”

“Maybe because you’ve got a lot of life forms who do not relish being annihilated, and they know they’re next. I can’t believe you killed the penguins. I loved penguins.” Helen said, truly upset.” Her forearm read-out beeped, and she stared at it, shaking her head. “The last elephant just died. Poacher.” Her face fell even further. “Crap….” She had turned to stare over Ed’s shoulder.

He swiveled and saw at once that her eyes were fixed on the Suck. The thing had grown and was now taking up an eighth of the daytime sky. It was no longer a clearly defined ellipse. Its edges were ragged, looking like someone had held a match under a lady’s nylon stocking. And within its purview was a planet with a rainbow of colors – pale blues, yellows, oranges and deep reds.

“Do you know what that is?” she pressed him.

“Pluto?” he whispered.

“Yes, Pluto. Considering how long light takes to travel from the outer reaches of the solar system, you have maybe eight minutes to stop the Suck.”

Before the thought could seriously sink in, the roar of a thousand waterfalls began. “What now?” he moaned, defeated.

From a mountain of bubbles off the stern rose a little flat-topped stone pyramid. It was not unlike the towering Atlantis Bahamas Mayan-designed step Pyramid Waterslide in the Water Park.

 

It was only missing the plexiglass chute, palm trees, and hieroglyphs carved into its fake stone blocks, and the shrieking teenagers as they started their 120 degree shit-yourself-vertical-free-falls into the chlorine-poisoned “lagoon” below the slide. If the kids had been present now they’d be speeding feet-first into an ocean of poached seafood.

Instead, kneeling on its flat top with a late model MacBook Air, 16-core Neural Engine and Liquid Retina display was the popular theoretical physicist and bestselling author Michio Kaku – though you could see through his shock of white hair that he was actually a robot, most certainly an A. I. robot. It never took its eyes off the computer screen and was doing the-gods-knew-what.

But there was worse to come. The pyramid’s stepped sides were now undergoing a process which rendered it transparent. Indeed, inside it, a computer in the shape of a golden chandelier the size of a small house hung from the pyramid’s apex. Walking around on the floor below were technicians who were more than likely – no, absolutely – humanoid robots. Ed stared at the monstrosity.

“Oh my God,” Ed murmured so quietly as hardly to be heard. “That’s it. The A.I. – Quantum Computer Interface.”

“You didn’t create this thing, did you?” she said.

“No.”

“So it…coded…itself.”

“It wasn’t supposed to happen so fast. True Quantum Computers are far, far in the future. I let IBM, Amazon and Google have them, but they were little weenie ones – 127 qubits. They had locks and limits. And they were always crashing. “I didn’t make those techies that smart. I coded little blank spots in their brains. Let everyone have nightmares about whether self-replicating A.I. was going to control the world. Make humans their slaves. ‘Terminator’ bad-versus-bad robots from the future scenarios. That’s all. I was gonna let them stew in their own juice for a while.”

“Good job with that, Honey.”

He did not dare say out loud that the Quantum Computer and Kaku-bot were probably the originators of the newly established Singularity, and the Suck itself. “Now that I’ve found the source, I can fix this, Helen. I can.” He held his left forearm up in front of him. The control keyboard lit up. He was hardly breathing as he began the de-programming.

But nothing happened. The A.I. Pyramid Quantum Computer was still the A.I. Quantum Computer, except that its stepped sides had again reverted to their stone façade. The Michio Kaku robot had worked up such a lather on the MacBook that his silver fox wig had fallen off. Inside his transparent cranium, Ed could see – no, this couldn’t be – a tiny version of a quantum computer!

A Quantum A.I. robot programming an advanced Quantum Computer.

Quantum squared!!!!!!!!!

Ed wasn’t sure his eyes were deceiving him, though he hoped to Jesus they were, but on one side of the step-pyramid, Open A.I.’s Sam Altman with his Jewish Boy good looks, Metformin-gobbling, intermittent fasting, and respectable-fitness-routine-reasonably-cut body wearing no more than his Speedos, was wrestling his way up one triangular side. On a contiguous side, so they could watch each other’s progress to the top, was another “cut” body scrambling upwards. But this one was really cut. Straight across its torso. Elon Musk’s run-in with one of his StarLink Satellites had left the lower half of him in the fight cage. Now the zombie “upper” was actually moving quite briskly, unencumbered by a big butt and two beefy legs. Sam and Elon were glaring at each other when they weren’t keeping their eyes peeled on the flat-topped pyramid and its Quantum A.I. robot bringing on The Big Suck.

“Ed,” he heard behind his shoulder – a gentle, honeyed, high-pitched male voice.

“What?” he snapped. “Can’t you see I’m busy!?” He turned anyway and saw – well, he had to look down to see – a diminutive and sweet-faced Japanese gentleman gazing at him with an imploring smile. “Was it you?” Ed accused the flesh-and-blood Michio Kaku. “Did you decide the world was ready for ‘Quantum Supremacy’ in full?”

“You’re being ridiculous,” Kaku said. “So far, except for the ‘little weenie ones’ you coded, it was still all theoretical. A quantum computer built using 6 giant atoms controlled by laser light is still far in the future.”

“You wrote a whole damn book about it! A New York Times bestseller and Amazon Book of the Year,” Ed growled, grateful to have his ‘free will’ accusation to hurl at the man if he needed it.

“I extrapolated the facts I had. I got to write about every horrendous problem on Earth, then added at the end of the chapter how a quantum computer could solve it. A lot of it was wishful thinking.”

Wishful thinking?!” Ed was shouting now.

He and Helen saw the man’s eyes go wide at the same moment. They swiveled behind them to see a faint but dangerous-looking red glow to the east and a bit north, across the Atlantic Ocean. There was only one conclusion. Israel’s yahoo of a prime minister, believing his Muslim neighbors were pointing their warheads at the homeland, had, in a single paranoid instant, let fly its entire “payload”– as though such a terrible thing as a nuclear holocaust needed a monetary descriptive as well – in a we-will-all-go-together-when-we-go moment. Retaliation to Israel had been swift and complete.

The Middle East was no more. The Holy Land, everything and everybody within a five million square mile radius around Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Aqsa Mosque, Dome of the Rock and Western Wailing Wall was nothing more than a cremated latka.

This was too much for Admiral Eisenhower. He began running across the deck, his arms flapping helplessly shouting, “Beware the Military-Industrial Complex! Beware, beware, beware!!!” and was nearly flattened by a landing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet.

But now Michio was pulling back his head like a turtle. His eyes focused on a spot in the sky. Is that…?” he croaked.

“It is,” Ed admitted, his shoulder sagging.

“That can’t be.”

“It is. The Suck.”

“We call it ‘The Slurp,’” Michio said, clearly knowing how childish this sounded. “Is that what that thing did?” He jutted his chin to the A.I. Quantum Computer Interface. Kaku gestured all around him, the glow having gotten even brighter over the Mediterranean, and the remains of the Bahamas resort behind them smokier than before.

Then, for good measure, from high in the southern sky, a goodly chunk of the twice-yearly Taurid Comet Swarm – this piece the size of Mount Fuji – hurtled like a fiery missile through the blue and far out of sight crashed into the ocean – by Ed’s calculations right onto the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The Azore Islands had just had their worst moment in nearly 12,000 years.

Ed covered his face with his hands.

Mother Nature suddenly materialized overhead, the stench of her burnt dress making Ed feel queasy. He didn’t dare look at her. “Good work, pal,” she said.

He sighed.

It was a toss-up which catastrophe would arrive first. Ed wasn’t sure how long it would take the comet-spawned tidal wave to traverse the western Atlantic. He began reprogramming it on his arm pad, but suddenly wondered if he should just gird his loins and wait for the monster tsunami, one that would take them all out before the arrival of the Big Suck.

Maybe just let the celestial consequences come at will, Ed thought — let the supercalifragilisticexpialidocious shock wave (a hyper-charged cloud of burning, pulverized earth mantle that would flay them all alive) and the immense wall of water duke it out themselves.

By now, Musk and Altman had made it to the top of the pyramid. Musk tried to pull the Michio Kaku robot off his chair, but Altman kept him propped up. After a few teeter totters, the A.I. bot pushed them both away with super-human strength, and they fell, bouncing off the stepped sides into the ocean.

“Fuck this,” Ed said, more to himself than anybody else. He kicked off his shoes and pulled off his hoodie. Then he climbed up on the carrier’s railing facing the pyramid, balancing with some trouble. He’d been a bit lax with his yoga postures lately.

“Are you kidding me?” Helen said.

“You can’t stop that thing,” said Michio of the A.I. Quantum-Computer combo. “Maybe if you’d designed it…”

“Who the fuck did design it?” Ed shouted as he dove off the rail toward the water, with no good plan in his head as to what he’d do when he reached the pyramid.

“I did,” he heard Helen say from behind him.

He also, in that same moment, felt his progress suddenly halted – the arc from the carrier rail to splashdown arrested in a decidedly ungraceful posture, feet splayed, less a sexy Aquaman “mer-person” than a blue-footed booby. It was from this arrangement of torso, head and limbs stuck in mid-air that he was forced to have the following conversation:

“Aren’t you going to ask me why?” Helen asked.

Ed was wondering if everything else was in stop-action, too – the Michio Kaku robot at his console on top of the pyramid, the Quantum Computer inside – the gigantic wave, and of course, The Suck. Was that halted, too? No – how could it be? It was bigger than any of them, even Shan-Alla Thee Stallion. He actually couldn’t come up with a decent question for Helen about “why” that didn’t sound lame. So he waited.

“Well, did you know what I was designing, like, five feet away from your workstation?” she said.

Ed knew there was danger in both a “yes” answer and a “no.” He stayed silent.

“I know your mouth can move, Ed. And I know you have a lot of questions. You didn’t have any idea what I was working on, did you? Not a muon’s clue. Do you know why you didn’t know?”

“Because I had my head up my ass?”

“Yes, that.” She waited.

Horribly, there was more. “I didn’t care,” he said, forced by some power outside of himself to tell the truth. Still, he wished to hell he hadn’t uttered it.

“That’s right,” she went on. Her voice was calm but too cool for comfort.

“Can you maybe bring me back onboard, Sweetie?”

“I kind of like looking at you splayed out like this,” she replied, ignoring his plea.

“Helen!”

“Fine,” she said, and reeled him back over the rail to the deck. Michio was watching the interaction, no doubt wondering if his wife would ever punish him like this for a technical error.

Once back on deck, pulling on his hoodie and stepping into his shoes, it took Ed a moment to check out the in-progress mega-catastrophes that were, for the moment, still frozen in time and space. The fingers of the Kaku robot on top of the pyramid no longer flew over the controls. A great wave that had indeed out-run the immense ash cloud had crested the horizon and was just hanging there 2,000 feet high, even in mid-ocean, blotting out the sun. He was afraid to check the rest of the sky for a widening of the deep-space blackness of the Suck.

But when he did look, the sight of the MultiVerse killer similarly immobile was so great Ed felt himself pee – just a little squirt of relief.

Then he saw the Big Gun Gods strolling across the carrier’s deck, coming straight towards them with blood in their eyes and he thought, I’d rather jump into the boiling ocean than get reamed out by Helen in front of them.

In front of his mother.

He silently begged Helen to freeze them where they were, but she was furious, so she waited until they were all standing there a few feet away. Catherine was straightening her low-cut Elizabethan gown, playing with a long necklace of black pearls twisted twice around her neck.

“Our young Ed…” Helen finally said to the illustrious gang, “…is a vengeful God.”

There was murmuring among the Creators.

“I know, I know, you’re all a bit smite-y,” she went on. “And the bigger the event, the more flamboyant you get. Not satisfied with your Black Holes?” she accused Bob. “Next thing we know, we get Supermassive Black Holes. Then Gamma bursts pointed at some really lovely Goldilocks planets – just to be mean. Overkill is your middle name.”

Helen turned to face Shan-Alla. “And you,” she accused.

Ed was horrified to hear Helen about to verbally bitch-slap the Mastress of the MultiVerse.

“And I what, Bow-Wow?” Shan-Alla retorted testily.

“You are completely out of control,” Helen complained. “More and more and more and more new cosmoses, dimensions, realities. A new one every minute. You give greed a bad name. Aren’t you ever satisfied?”

Shan-Alla pursed her lips petulantly, but looked like she might be thinking about it.

Shiva, at his brightest blue, came strolling over doing a “vogue thing” with his four arms as though he didn’t have a care in the world.

“Here,” Helen said to Ed, “is a perfect example of your flim-flam.”

“What? Shiva?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Full name – ‘Shiva the Destroyer.’”

“He does other things,” Ed replied, sounding unconvincing even to himself.

“Yes, I do,” Shiva concurred, up on his high horse. “I am also a Creator. A keeper of Time. And I dance! Do not forget my sweet little mate, Ganesha, whom Ed also programmed. Maybe not my choice for a nose. A little tubby. Calm, but helpful.” Shiva did the Indian wag of his head.” All those obstacles – poof!”

“Wait a minute,” Ed interrupted, glaring at Helen. “You programmed all this to punish me. For, for…”

“Having fun while the world collapses,” she was quick to say. “Tormenting your finest creations, in every time and place on Earth you could possibly think of. Magnificent forests – burn them to the ground. Roast a billion Australian animals for the fun of it. Majestic rivers – poison them. You’re so in love with your goddamn movies! And Homo sapiens. Turn the human race into fucking assholes. Gluttonous. Sadistic. Willfully ignorant.”

They’re not all…”

“Way too many are rotten to the core. Violent. Greedy. Stupid. And the bad ones always beat out the good ones. You made the good ones too sweet. Too soft. You like seeing them suffer. Psychos become world leaders. You can’t survive without conflict.” She made a disgusted face when she said the word.

“So you were never happy,” Ed shot back, “I’m damned if they’re bad. Damned if they’re good.”

Michio had been gazing at Helen reverentially. “So it was you who wrote the Big Suck code. And all this.” He was looking at the pyramid and his own facsimile on top.

She just smiled, Cheshire Cat-like.

Ed stared incredulously at her. “But Bob…Shan-Alla…the Infini-Tron Arms…” he said.

“What about them?”

“You don’t just go around…” he didn’t have the words.

“Well, I did. I goofed on them. It got everybody’s attention, didn’t it?”

“I cannot believe this.”

“Because I tricked you?”

“No! Yes! That’s not something that a …fiancé does to her fiancé.”

“That is the single stupidest thing you’ve ever said.”

Ed just sulked.

“The lead-up to Armageddon in your Earth Sim is real,” she went on, “as real as a simulation can be. All your avatars with half a brain know they’re done for. What did you expect?” It’s right in front of their noses. In their noses. Toxic spills from railway crashes. Red smoke in New York and San Francisco. People sticking to the sidewalks in Phoenix. A 300-foot tidal wave coming from inland in Libya. Fish die-offs by the billions. Heat domes. Atmospheric rivers. Reef bleachings. Cat 1 hurricanes that ramp up to a 5 in three hours. All over the world, Ed. It’s a Roland Emmerich disaster pic.” She sighed dejectedly. “I watched you create this…this… masterpiece. I don’t have to tell you what you coded. It’s why I fell in love with you.”

If Ed had had a human heart it would have stopped right then to hear those words, or “skipped a beat,” (what these days doctors call “a-Fib”). Helen had fallen in love with him. He hadn’t known that. She’d never said it. Or maybe she had, but he’d been too busy to take note of her declaration.

“It was so fabulous. So genius,” she went on. “I figured a guy who could come up with this planet and its creatures and so many ways to “love each other” – that was the absolute best. Man-woman. Woman-woman. Animal on animal, species variable. Man-man. Mother-child, Child-father, dog on dog, man or woman on dog, bird, horse, snake. Dog on man or woman. Friend on friend – grandparent on grandchild. Neighbor and neighbor. Sibling on sibling. Aunt, uncle, cousin. In-laws even. People with passion for music. People with nature. People with numbers. All that, Ed. And the beauty…” She choked on the last word.

Ed sneaked a peek at his mother, who looked like water was spilling from her eyes, though on closer inspection, it was tiny streams of algorithms. But the sentiment was heart-warming nonetheless. There it was again – him having a heart. Ridiculous.

“I have no words for the beauty,” Helen powered on. “The art! The colors alone made me weep. And the artists – they themselves were works of art. What went on in their heads? Don’t ever let anyone tell you – even me – that you made a mistake giving people Catherine’s brain. It would have all come to nothing without it…”

There was a “but” coming from Helen. Ed knew it. A big motherfucking “but.” He wasn’t sure he could bear to hear it.

“But you blew it, Honey,” she finally said. “You blew it big time.”

Now, that non-existent heart of his felt like it was being ripped from his chest.

“Why couldn’t you have left well enough alone? Instead, your inner excitement junkie took the wheel. Conflict, conflict, conflict. The sweetest love story ever told ends in an Italian tomb with two dead teenagers, one poisoned, one stabbed!”

True, Ed had pondered the tragedy of the star-crossed lovers but thought their deaths would be so much more memorable than if they’d ridden off into the sunset together to grow grapes and olives and have fourteen screaming brats.

“You’re so obsessed with giving yourself a get-out-of-jail-free card for ‘free will,’ you even made a movie about it.”

“No, no, ‘Free Willy’ was the name of a killer whale in a movie.”

“It had to be a killer whale?!” She was trying hard not to screech. “The kinds of crazy you came up with,” Helen went on. “Unbelievable.” She looked out at the horizon where the mega-tsunami had not moved an inch towards them but was still pretty unnerving. “It was the war that finally got to me. Not just a punch-up over a garden fence. A well-deserved spanking for torturing the cat. No. War. In all its glory. Genocide. I’ve got to tell you, I didn’t realize the full extent of it until we walked through the goddamn International Arms Fair. These war games? A close second. But napalm, Ed? Entire Japanese cities leveled with a single bomb. And no reason for it! Your idiot World War II was already over, though your higher-ups kept that particular tidbit to themselves, right? Right?

“And I’m not even going to talk about Hitler and Stalin and Pol Pot. That was you losing your shit, my darling, and not enough sense to DELETE when you saw how fucked up it was getting. Why did you not DELETE?!!! And why did you not stop the generals from anal-raping this poor planet?” Helen was crying now. Real tears, not algorithm streams. Boo-hoo-ing.

He’d never seen Helen cry before.

All the Big Kahuna’s were looking a bit weepy themselves. Even Shan-Alla – always the least affected – she had so much on her plate with the “Bigger Picture” – wiped away a single tear with a double-cream Oreo affixed to her social finger.

Ed looked behind Helen’s shoulder to reassure himself one more time that the Big Suck had not come back online. It hadn’t. It had always been a Big Suck hoax. Helen had fooled everybody. Bob, Shan, his mother, Shiva the Fucking Destroyer. Even the Lord of Laughter had joined the group on the deck, this time not just sounding like Jerry Seinfeld, but looking like him. He and Paul Reiser had pulled up in a Mercedes hearse, coffee cups in hand.

You guys knew it was a joke all along,” Ed accused the comedians. “A Cosmic Joke.”

“No. Nope. Not true,” Seinfeld said. “Your Helen is one smart cookie.”

Ed could tell Helen was a tad deflated, seeing the real Jerry and not Brad “The Chest” Pitt in his kilt. Yet her fury knew no bounds. “Smart cookie?” She echoed, pinching the skin between her eyebrows, and looked at the group. “That’s the best atta-girl any of you could whip-up for the coder who bamboozled the lot of you?” She leveled her eyes on Ed. “I’m done.”

“No you’re not. You can’t just be ‘done.’”

“I’m moving out.”

“Oh no, Helen please…” He knew he was begging in front of everyone.

Shiva put one of his blue hands on Ed’s shoulder. “Brother,” he said. “Do not beg. She is only a woman.” Everyone glared at the Hindu god, but he glared right back, poking a finger into the chests of each of the Big Kahunas. “Well, maybe they get a bit more respect on some other worlds, but here…” He swiveled around and looked at Ed. “You blew it with the women, my friend. They are fabulous, but, alas, in your game, the whole sex is powerless except for sexual entertainment and procreation. Except for the South African Balubedu. There, the females wear the pants in the family. And I hate to say it, you know, genital mutilation in Africa, and bride-burning in India – 20,000 a year, still. I do kind of understand the reason for Helen’s dirty trick.”

“So it was personal, Helen?” Ed accused with a frisson of self-possession reasserting itself. A little touch of revenge?”

“More… ‘Gotcha!’” she admitted without losing her vindictive edge. “There I was, sitting five feet from your station at mine, and you asked me not once – not once – what I was working on. Occasionally, if I made a suggestion for your game, you barked at me.”

“I don’t bark.”

She just looked at him scathingly.

“So now…?” he prodded. “You’ll reverse engineer your little joke-on-me.”

“Yeah, about that…”

“The Suck. It’s off. Right?” Ed stated, confident that they would already have been catapulted into the void by now if it hadn’t been.

Finis,” Helen replied evenly.

The Big Gods breathe a deep, relieved sigh, even Shan-Alla – truth be told – who’d worried for a New York minute that she might have been “out-Mastress-ed” by some upstart gamer.

“And this?” Ed gestured with his chin all around them. There was still the glowing ash pile of the Atlantis Bahamas Resort and Waterpark, the radioactive skies glowing redder by the moment to the east, west, and south. The stench of trillions of rotting sea creatures.

He watched as the Ancient Asshole gang marched up the carrier’s superstructure outside stairs toting the now burning effigy of Graham Hancock. But Plato, Solon, Socrates, Randall Carlson and the Netflix star were a couple of decks above them, laughing as the dweebs in their righteous fury stumbled, and Zawi Hawass’s Indiana Jones fedora caught fire along with his eyebrows.

Then, one by one, the aliens began beaming up to their crafts, then blinking back to their own dimensions or zooming at 16,000 miles an hour out of sight.

Ed was still trying to find a way to turn things around. “Can’t you cut me a little slack?” he said to Helen.

“Hell no, Hon. This is on you. You could have just shut her down a hundred times.”

“What?”

“DELETED.”

“The whole simulation?” he croaked, feeling the color drain from his face. He realized now just how hard a woman Helen was. She knew he’d never end things – even if just to save his favorite movies. In that instant, he considered a spiteful decoding of Helen’s yellow Capri pants, but he knew she’d just code them right back on that beautiful butt of hers.

He felt small and ashamed in front of the Big Gods, even though he’d learned most of his destructive ways from them. In fact, they were, one by one, poofing out of sight at the moment. His mother was last. She was actually looking peeved, knowing she was at least partially responsible for the mess he was in.

“You know, Mother…” Ed began.

But tucking the long strings of black pearls down between her Elizabethan cleavage, Catherine vanished, too.

Ed realized Helen was no longer at his side. “Helen? Helen?!”

“Here, Ed.” He turned to find her just behind him. They were eye-to-eye.

“Where will you go?” he asked with a touch of sarcasm. He really didn’t think she’d have the guts to leave him.

Helen’s eyes narrowed. She’d heard the thought. Damn her!

“Sorry, Ed,” she replied. “Some things are unforgivable. Just think of this as a ‘teachable moment.’ Anyway, tonight I’m moving in with Stephen.”

“Spielberg?!” Ed barked. His very favorite director. This was a low blow, even for the vengeful coder he now knew Helen to be.

“No, idiot…” Her eyes lowered off one shoulder, and she smiled down at the other Stephen, curled comfortably in his wheelchair. “What a mind,” she crooned, affectionately dandling a lock of Hawking’s hair. “He really makes me laugh.”

With wrist movements manipulating a joystick, Stephen confidently steered his chair across the deck with Helen strolling beside him. They were deep in conversation as they approached the Infini-Tron’s signature Black Hole that had suddenly materialized on the deck. And just before the two of them disappeared beyond its event horizon, Ed saw Hawking’s eyes fixed lasciviously on Helen’s ass and heard the electronic voice saying, “I really like your pants.”

Image by Luke Hancock

 


Please visit Robin’s website:
www.RobinMaxwell-GodsOfAtlantos.com

Poseidon in Love

The Gods of Atlantos Saga, Book I

God of Destruction

The Gods of Atlantos Saga, Book V

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