Ryan was staring at his Globus Mundi, the three dimensional globe he could conjure in the center of his nanoverse, when Crystal walked in. He’d been looking at it for several minutes while she talked to Isabel. It gave him the ability to impact the weather on a massive scale, incite Earthquakes, and even conjure volcanoes. Small dots appeared and disappeared across the surface of the globe – some indicating a human birth or death, other indicating a divine being opening a doorway. “I’ve never really used this for anything other than seeing what was happening,” Ryan said.
“Not an accident,” Crystal said. “Most of us don’t use it anymore, love. It was great when we needed to awe people back in the day, but these days it’s really just useful for recon.” She pulled up a chair Ryan had already summoned for her.
“But why not? I mean, you could have stopped hurricanes, earthquakes, saved thousands of lives, right?”
Crystal sighed. “Ryan. After all this, you’re still optimistic about how much power we have.” She didn’t sound condescending, although there was a hint of amusement in her voice. Mostly she sounded…almost proud.
“So…you can’t?” Ryan asked.
“Well…no, we can. But it’s also not that simple.”
Ryan furrowed his forehead. “I don’t under…wait, no. Let me think about this for a moment.” Crystal gave him an encouraging nod and Ryan looked at the map, trying to reason through the downsides. “Well…okay, so if you were to disperse a hurricane, that energy would have to go somewhere, right? So doing so could result in a bigger hurricane later, or tornadoes, or something else worse somewhere else?”
“Got it in one, love. We did things like that more often back in the day, when there were great bloody swaths of land with no humans we could divert the storm to – or when we were trying to point the energy at our enemies. But even then it was bloody dangerous, yeah? Nature snaps back against twists harder than anything, and on a scale that big, it could be a nightmare when it reasserts itself. Back in seventy-nine, someone stopped a volcano from erupting in Southeast Asia. A week later, that energy settled back in…and Vesuvius blew its top.” Crystal shuddered. “That was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen. It’s much safer to conjure disasters than to stop them.”
Ryan stared at the Globus Mundi, his heart sinking. “It feels like that’s always the case with us. We’re all like Kali – great at destruction, but when it comes to creating things, we’re useless.”
Crystal stood up and walked over to Ryan. “Listen to me. We’re not useless for creating things. We’re damn good at it, because we have thousands of years to work on it. We can take the long view so much better than mortals, and we can try and preserve knowledge over generations. We are great at creating. However, destruction is easy and quick. Building something takes time and patience. But when we do take that time and patience, the thing we create endure for centuries.”
“I hope so,” Ryan said, biting his cheek. “We’re building a whole new world, after all. And we don’t exactly have time, regardless of how much patience we have.”
“We’ll also have billions of people working on it. Man-hours count for something, right?”
“Fair point.” Ryan took a deep breath. “So, did you work up the nerve to ask my sister out?”
“You’re just stalling,” Crystal said sternly. “It’s time to get this whole thing started.”
“It’s a legit question,” Ryan protested, but Crystal was having none of it.
“I’ll answer after we’re done then. But right now, you need to get to work.”
Ryan sighed and looked back at the Globus Mundi. Crystal had been right – he was stalling. “Okay, what do I do?”
“Normally when using a Globus Mundi, you put some of your power into the Earth. The globe magnifies it and enhances it,” Crystal said, walking around the spinning, holographic Earth. “But we’re not trying to directly impact the Earth with this twist. You’re creating wormholes. So, first of all, you’re going to need more space – go ahead and expand your Staging area.”
Ryan blinked. “I didn’t know that was possible.”
“There was a lot I didn’t get around to telling you. Never got full enough to be needed.” Crystal motioned him towards his console. “Come on, love, you know what to do.”
Ryan walked over to his console. The touch screen, as always, responded partially to his thoughts – a new icon had appeared, one Ryan had never seen before. A gear icon, the kind so many apps and devices used for their Settings menu. He tapped it. A list of options appeared – Staging Area Gravity, Staging Area Atmosphere, Staging Area Temperature, Staging Area Dimension, Staging Area Time Relative to Core, Staging Area Speed – the list went on and on, full of things Ryan had never even considered altering. He tapped the icon for dimensions and was rewarded with a slider. He took it and dragged it across the screen.
The floor of his staging area stretched out away from him, expanding from the size of a small apartment to the size of a house to the size of an office building. He kept going until it was two square kilometers wide – plenty of room to house the wormholes and their opposite ends. “That’s…wow.” Ryan said. “I could make an entire city in here.”
“You could, but why bother? No one’s going to want to live in your staging are.” Crystal laughed at the thought.
“I thought you said we couldn’t take people to this other world with our staging areas,” Ryan said. “Couldn’t I just make this big enough and bring a city’s worth of people with me?”
“I said we couldn’t take the entire Earth to another world in staging areas. Even if we get every single god and goddess currently active on board with the plan – which we wouldn’t – we’d need to take twenty to forty million per god- and we’d have to worry about them getting there, spreading out, about bottlenecks forming, about sanitation for the days the first people came through, about feeding them, about so many things. It would be an absolute disaster, and the entire time if any of us got even a single little setting wrong, we could wipe out every person in there. And on top of that, it’s draining to keep your staging area that large without dropping into your nanoverse’s time stream. Half of us would succumb to Hungers before we even left, the other half would fall to them before we got there.”
Ryan shuddered at that possibility. “Okay, okay, I get it.”
“Thought you would. Now, come on back over here.”
“The thing you can do as an Eschaton that no one else can do is draw energy out of the Earth – specifically, out of the radioactive isotopes at the core. They get replenished after the world resets, so don’t worry about taking too much. In fact, since you only get to do this once, take all you can. Any excess energy you can just disperse into your nanoverse. Once you do that…things are going to happen fast. You’ll actually feel omnipotent and omniscient. You won’t be either of those, but it’s a heady experience. Don’t get lost in it. Drag the power into line, start churning out the wormholes. I’ll be standing by your console and expand the staging area if needed. Remember the line you memorized?”
“If a Minkowski spacetime contains a compact region Ω, and if the topology of Ω is of the form Ω ~ R × Σ, where Σ is a three-manifold of the nontrivial topology, whose boundary has topology of the form ∂Σ ~ S2, and if, furthermore, the hypersurfaces Σ are all spacelike, then the region Ω contains a quasipermanent intrauniverse wormhole.” Ryan said, choosing the words carefully to make sure he had it exact. It was a line from Lorentzian Wormholes, and he’d memorized it off of Wikipedia. “I did excellent in math, and that still only makes a kind of sense.”
Crystal’s eyes sparkled. “Of course it’s confusing, love. Hell, I don’t know what it means at all. But it gives you enough context to recognize the math when you see it, and since you can see the math, you’ll be able to make it happen. Just, well…” and here Crystal gave him a grin full of mischief. “Roll with it.”
Ryan laughed at the old catchphrase, a laugh he desperately needed. “Okay. Thank you. You sure it’s safe for you to be in here while I do this?”
“I’m sure I’m not going to sit outside and wait to see what happens. Should be safe though – worst that happens is I get stuck between two wormholes and bounce back and forth until you move them far enough apart I can land.”
Ryan nodded and stepped up to the Globus Mundi, taking a deep breath. “Okay. Then…here goes nothing.”
He held out his hand, and the unimaginable power of the Earth’s core poured into him.