Monday, April 27, 2009

Daily Story 12: Damage Control

Suddenly Uriel felt the universe twist around him, pulling him apart in a searing white light. He collapsed on the ground, panting. The building was gone. The city was gone. "Sealtiel? I think it just happened again. Everything is different."
The voice replied from the air itself. "Confirmed. Are you okay?"
"I think. It hurts like... wait! Check now, that might have been him returning!"
"Yes! Got him!” He sighed in relief. “I'm feeding you the coordinates, hurry!"
Uriel stepped through space - folding reality somehow making the pain of the previous incident vanish – and found himself in the desert somewhere, looking at a battered AMC Gremlin with a strange device built into it. Fanning out his ethereal wings, Uriel confronted the man standing by the car.

Aaron froze, staring at Uriel with his mouth hanging open. "Be not afraid," Uriel said, "I am an angel of the Lord sent to warn you of the consequences of your actions. You must not travel through time."
Aaron recovered somewhat and arched an eyebrow at Uriel. "An angel? Right. What are you, another time traveler?"
"No! Listen, what you are doing is completely ruining the afterlife. Every time you alter history we get everyone a second time, all at once. We have duplicates, we have people who aren't on the books, it’s chaos. This isn't just some stupid paperwork problem, I'm talking about literally a hundred billion souls showing up out of nowhere. Hell has been completely overrun, and Purgatory is packed so tight they're crushing each other - even though we closed Purgatory years ago and emptied it out! I'm already not sure that we can recover, and every time you mess with the timeline it gets worse!"
"If you're really an angel that means there's really a God. Let him fix it."
Uriel shook his head. "I think maybe you went back far enough that we ended up with a few extra Jesuses. Jesii? Whatever. Assimilating them all at once without warning seems to have damaged the system."
"The 'system'?" he snorted, "What, is God a computer?"
"No, don't be stupid. It's complicated, the Yesod node crashed, and... look, the point is that He's not responding, our connection is down. I need you to just listen to me and stop what you're doing."
There was a seemingly endless pause, and then Aaron jumped into the seat of the time machine. Uriel reached instinctively for his flaming sword before remembering that it was wedged into the Pearly Gates to hold them shut against the massive sea of souls waiting for entry. "Target is confirmed and hostile - I need an immediate level three smite!" Aaron started flipping switches faster, the machine humming to life.

Uriel blinked to clear his vision as the flash faded, and was relieved to see the time machine was still there. He walked forward cautiously and opened the door, revealing a squirming pile of beetles on the seat.
"The target has been contained. Send a strike team to Hell to retrieve his soul, we'll need to interrogate him to see how he did this. I want to stop the next one before it gets this far."
"Uriel, this is Sealtiel. We have God online, He says the time travel thing is a hole in the Netzach node but He'd have to reinstall everything below Beri'ah from scratch to patch it. The gates gave out twenty minutes ago, this place is a mess... and there's no guarantee that we'll catch the next guy before it happens again. It's above my pay grade, but if I had to guess I’d say they'll go for the wipe."

Uriel sighed and kicked impotently at a rock. All of that work for nothing. The angel of the Lord looked out across creation and mourned for it as the beetles wandered away from the machine into the desert.