Thursday, 11 July 2019


I’m free – but I need some questions answered!

When you last heard from me I was in quite a pickle, having entered a strange mental state in which I seemed to occupy infinitely many universes at once. Got to say that’s one of the toughest things I’ve ever tried to describe, and really you have to experience it to understand. Here’s what happened next.

I spent several hours doing my best to find the exit keyword for the device, using some of the password-hacking techniques I’d learned at the Academy. I was quite rusty, and although I covered the vocabulary space in roughly the right path, I probably missed a few regions here and there. But in the end, it made no difference, because it wasn’t a word that finally released me – it was an action.

After hours trapped in one location, I’d begun to feel the need to urinate. I ignored it for as long as I possibly could, but in the end… well, you know how it is. Due to my anger at being held against my will, I wasn’t exactly going to lose any sleep about peeing right there in the room, and I decided I would have to do exactly that. But as soon as I unzipped my suit, the device let go of me! The infinities receded rapidly, dwindling until the last few of them flitted away from me like terrified birds. Carefully, I removed the headset, breathed a sigh of thanks, and then went to relieve myself in the designated place. I’m not a monster.

I returned to find everything as I’d left it, with the infernal machine sitting there innocently, like some child’s plaything. A thought struck me. This was no toy, it was a work of exquisite engineering. Whoever had built this place was unlikely to have skills enough to make it, so they had probably bought it.

A few minutes exploring the computer finally paid off by yielding a receipt from a company called Psi-spy. Not the most pronounceable name, but it instantly raised a shrewd suspicion, and I visited their store front to find the listing for the device. I had to do a few sneaky things to access the place too, since it was well hidden. Clearly their business was, how can I put this, not 100% legitimate.

It turned out that the odd device was a ‘remote psionic piggyback probe’. I honestly thought psionic devices were the stuff of myth, but it turns out I was wrong. In future, I’ll try to remember that, just because Analemma doesn’t sell something, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Anyway, when I realised what the thing was designed to do, everything made perfect sense – and I was filled with satisfaction at solving the puzzle, blended with horror at what it implied.

My stalker (yes, by now that word definitely applied) had been taking free rides in my mind with this device, and I hadn’t even been aware of it. Perhaps by now you’ve guessed what happened when I put it on: an infinite recursion generated by my own mind giving a ride to my mind, which gave a ride to my mind, which gave a ride to my mind… and so on. In the world of real physics, this process would have had a limit somewhere. But psionics isn’t physics, it’s basically magic. I’d entered a new phase in my life, in which I’d have to accept that things were not as they had previously seemed.

Obviously I needed to destroy the place. I couldn’t have people spying on me like that! Climbing rapidly to altitude in the Minicruiser, I lost no time in obliterating the hideout.

Ha! Don’t tell me you believed that? Of course I wasn’t nearly so stupid. Why would I destroy evidence in such a manner? Evidence that could allow me to find my stalker? I’m disappointed if you underestimated my cunning to that extent. No, I put a plan into action to trap my foe. First, I reprogrammed the remote probe to target chickens on Earth, one at a time, moving on to a new one only when each died. Given the way most chickens die, I thought this just about unpleasant enough. Then I applied a secure lock to my configuration change to prevent the machine being retargeted. I’m hoping that this busybody fan won’t realise I’ve been here, and will just think it’s malfunctioned. In addition, I left a few spying devices of my own around the place, well hidden. I needed to know who was doing this, because (and I’m going to be blunt here) they needed to be dealt with, by any means necessary, ranging from memory erasure to severe forms of death.

After a quick scan to check nobody had returned, I left Mars and headed to the L3 point, my original objective. I’ll be in touch later to tell you what I found there, although I’m not hopeful. I’ve now missed the opposition of Saturn, so my chance to destroy whatever Maria T had left there may have passed.

But at least there’s only one of me again. Infinity, seen up close, is nowhere near as cool as you might think.