Crystal had warned Ryan that it would be an intense sensation. That had been an understatement, in Ryan’s estimation. Being stabbed was an intense sensation. Being set on fire was an intense sensation. This wasn’t either of those. It really wasn’t that the sensation itself was intense – it was more that every single one of his senses was intensified. He could hear the sound of Crystal’s heart, pounding in his ears as loudly as if it’d been shoved against his eardrum. He could hear the gentle hum of his staging area, a sound he didn’t even know it made. He could hear an almost imperceptible series of rapid dop sounds, and slowly he realized that it was the sound of air molecules bouncing off each other.
It helped that he could see them now. Individual molecules whirring through the air, bouncing around, ricocheting off each other and solid objects. Somehow they didn’t interfere with his vision – he could see them and at the same time see through them, a dichotomy that he was struggling to process.
The sound of screaming reached Ryan’s heightened ears, and dimly he was aware that it was his own voice making the sound.
“Hold on to it, love!” Crystal shouted over his voice. “Focus, remember?”
Have to…have to…Ryan repeated the phrase over and over again in his head, not even sure what he had to, just sure that he had to whatever it. Do it, be it, beat it, claim it, use it….have to.
The human mind wasn’t meant for nigh omniscience. Ryan was still mostly human. Equations were swirling around him now, billions of them. Some were the vectors for the individual air molecules, some were electron probability distributions for individual atoms, others were the very math of the quantum field that filled the space between everything and also made everything. He could see the formulas that made up individual quarks and their interactions. It was the most fundamental level of reality, deeper than anything Ryan would have ever dared to even attempt to manipulate.
“I…can’t…” Ryan growled. “Too…much.”
“Remember the phrase!” Crystal shouted.
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. It popped into Ryan’s head the moment Crystal spoke, and immediately equations began to make sense.
The problem was matter. Matter couldn’t form the necessary topology to generate the sigma hypersurfaces needed to create the omega region that would result in the wormhole. At least, no matter in its normal form. The quarks that were the fundamental building blocks of reality had mass, and what Ryan needed was antimass that wouldn’t have the annihilative properties of antimatter.
In short, he needed matter that would repel gravity, warp space time the way gravity did but push it away instead of bringing it in. And he needed to do it without causing his staging area to be consumed by an antimatter explosion that would kill him, Crystal, and probably his nanoverse as well.
He started with holding out his hand and twisting the quantum fluctuations that surrounded him to spontaneously generate a black hole with the mass of a human body. Such a thing was theoretically possible but had a less than one in ten to the power of six hundred chance of happening at any given instant. Ryan was able to collapse that odds down to one in two chance of happening – he didn’t have the strength to get it down to a certainty, even with the immense power flowing through him – and then waited for the black hole to manifest. If he couldn’t see the equations, he wouldn’t have seen it happen. The black hole was smaller than the air molecules it occasionally added to its mass as they flew by.
The equations that governed it were absolutely fascinating. Ryan had to keep adjusting the number for how long the black hole had existed so it wouldn’t evaporate and explode with hundreds of megatons of force. Hawking radiation was pouring out of it, and Ryan realized he could set it in a loop to have it pour back in, stabilizing something that shouldn’t be able to continue existing.
From there, it was a simple as changing every single quark that made up the singularity at the heart of the black hole into a new type of quark that Ryan invented on the spot. An exotic quark, with a negative mass.
The effect was immediate. Ryan was pushed back and to the ground as the singularity stopped trying to explode constantly, instead distorting spacetime with incredible force. When Ryan righted himself he could see it there. It was pure white light in the center, radiating out with the colors of a rainbow. At first he thought he’d made a mistake, that this wasn’t working…and then he realized he’d just forgotten a step. With a gesture, he pulled apart the two ‘ends’ of the wormhole, letting one rotate behind his body.
When he stared through the one in front of him, he could see the back of his own head.
Crystal started to cheer in excitement, and Ryan felt himself smile. Each end of the wormhole was about three meters across, large enough for people to walk through easily. It was emitting its own radiation, similar to the Hawking radiation the black hole had been creating. In a few days, it would shrink to nothing and evaporate from that impact. It would last long enough. I don’t think the radiation will be harmful to humans… Ryan thought, then realized he didn’t need to think. He could just look and see how the radiation interacted with the atoms that made up his own DNA, and confirmed that he didn’t need to worry about creating a world dying of radiation poisoning or destined for cancer.
The immense power still coursed through him, but now that he knew what to do it with, it was less overwhelming. He sent the two wormholes he created sliding to alternate ends of his staging area, kilometers across…and then he started to do it again. And again. And again. A thousand times. Two thousand times. He was starting to feel the power drain at two thousand and five hundred times. He fell to his knees at three thousand and five wormholes.
And then, exactly three thousand, three hundred and thirty three wormholes later, Ryan felt the power of the Eschaton wink out.
Crystal rushed to his side as he collapsed fully onto the floor, his vision spinning, his heart pounding. Darkness was creeping in, the way it had back when he’d first gotten his powers and pushed himself too far.
“I got you,” Crystal said. “You did it, Ryan. You did it. Uriel will be here soon, and I’ll take care of that.” She was smiling, and there were tears of joy in her eyes. “For now, rest.”
Unable to even nod in agreement, Ryan did exactly that.