"A Fractal Universe Adventure."
By John Pirillo.
"Okay. I get it. You're my father. What else is new?"
The Tall Man laughed. "Not in the traditional sense, but rather in the sense of your ideas have their roots in my work."
"That makes as much sense as a bowl of crap in an ice cream cone."
"Haven't you ever wondered why you suddenly became so fascinated with fractals...especially the flames?"
"Not really. Too many better things to do with my life besides running it back and forth to edit it."
"Maybe, but if you had, then you would have noticed smaller things happening around you, preparing you, prepping you for your discovery. Our...discovery."
Chesterton stood up. "Am I under arrest?"
"Not in my power."
"Then I'm out of here."
"You would. I'm not you."
Chesterton left. No one tried to stop him. He got all the way to the front door, which was solid metal, and eyed thee green lit panel before it. It took a handprint to open it. He shrugged. It either did or it didn't. It did.
But what he saw was not anything at all like what he expected to find...such as a busy street fronted by large buildings, and hundreds of people scurrying along sidewalks fronting the buildings, on their way to pick up snacks, comic books, clothing, pay bills, meet lovers. You name it. Only this time he couldn't. The reason was plain and simple. He wasn't on earth. Not even close to it.
What opened up before him was a vast cascading field of fractal flames that burned with an unearthly light.
He felt, rather than heard the Tall Man step up beside him.
"Welcome to my world."
"Kinda big for one man, isn't it?"
"In the beginning. But after a while, you kinda grow on it."
"Don't you mean that the other way around?" Chesterton demanded, turning to face the stranger who had whisked him away from his life of teaching and escapism.
"Not at all."
He waved a hand at the vast fields of fractal flame fields, filled with billions of burning planets and suns. "Just imagine the sheer amount of life that must exist in what we see just from here, let alone the full extent of it."
"Actually, I don't care. Gotta enough life in my own world, thank you."
The Tall Man eyed him sternly. "You're a stubborn man, you know that?"
"Asking me or telling me?"
"Then answer your own question."
Chesterton twisted his right pinkie and vanished.
The Tall Man smiled. Just what he expected from him. He sighed, put his hands in his pockets, closed the door to his headquarters, shutting off the splendid view it offered.
Chesterton examined the fractal flame at its penultimate level. He couldn't zoom into it any further. He was having a hard time concentrating on it though. He kept thinking back to his capture and subsequent escape or release, depending on how you took it. He didn't doubt that the Tall Man could whisk him back again, but he also didn't doubt that he could also escape again. He'd been in much tighter squeezes, and much more dangerous ones.
Chesterton turned around on his swivel chair, allowing it to roll with his turn until he faced Timothy, one of his best students. A real jock, but a brain the size of Einstein's.
"Yeah. But I wanted to talk to you before I headed back home. Mind?"
Chesterton shook his hair, causing cascades of pink sprinkles to dust his lap.
Timothy laughed. "You're a self powdering Tinkerbelle."
"Yeah. Makes me glow at night too. Great way to avoid cars hitting me on my bike."
"You ride a bike?"
Chesterton spread his hands. "Well, not a traditional one."
He saw in his mind his three wheel device that he stood on when he pedaled, that was solar powered in the day, and ran off battery and leg power at night. It also had a water condenser for the hot days so he could drink back some of his sweat and windshield wipers for the days he had to wear his surround helmet he had made to give him a 360 view of his ride.
"Not at all." He reiterated. "Traditional."
Tim, which is what Chesterton called him in private, sat down, setting his football helmet on the tiny desk Chesterton sat at. He sat there for the longest of times, as if pondering the fate and meaning of the universe, his large brown eyes whisking up and down and right and left, as if invoicing everything he could take in and register it for future investigations.
Chesterton jumped up and smiled. "Great. Me too! Let's go get a Sonic!"
Tim screamed like a girl and whooped like a tiger as he rode on the back of Chesterton's bike. Chesterton took turns at almost right angles, thanks to his hyper-dense gyroscope which was teched into nine different dimensions so that if the bike went anyway but where Chesterton wanted, it would automatically adjust and get back on track. He had just patented the design and sold it to Darpa for a billion dollars, which he immediately donated to Zimbabwe to build schools and hospitals for kids.
He didn't like being rich. It made him feel dirty when he saw so many struggling to just have enough to eat, or have shelter for the night. He spent his weekends off helping out at the local shelter for battered women in the mornings, brought his electric harmonica and played it for the elders at the rest homes at night and on Sundays; he climbed mountains to raise funds for the homeless.
He didn't have a sheltered life or a boring one. Just a busy one. The way he liked it. No time for women in that dimension, maybe another one...he smirked to himself.
Finally, he wheeled his bike into a slot at Sonic, hits brakes screeching so loudly...he had installed amplifiers on them...that customers immediately ducked, thinking they were a target for an oncoming missile or crashing plane. He switched it off and Tim dropped to the pavement, laughing so hard and crying so hard he could barely contain himself.
"Man, if the kids knew you drove like that, they'd never let you hear the end of it."
"If they knew I drove like this, they'd be you and wouldn't care a gnat's ass." Chesterton replied smugly.
Tim shook his head. "Just for that the Sonic's on me. Chicken or Beef?"
"Fish. With double fries and lemonade."
Time nodded. He spoke into the speaker system in front of the bike. "Sonic Chicken, double fries and a large lemonade..."
"Triple sized." Tim corrected. "And a double beef with triple fries and a double chocolate shake."
"Will that be all, sir?" The speaker system asked.
Tim shrugged. "Depends on how much I laugh."
"All for now."
"Thanks. Your order will ready in ten minutes. Meanwhile, enjoy your stay at Sonic!"
Tim settled down on a bench next to the bike. Chesterton climbed off and joined him. "What's eating you, Tim?"
"I got a girl pregnant."
Chesterton hadn't seen that one coming, but he should have, seeing how the kid always had a new girl on his arm every time he saw him.
Tim began to sob. "I don't know what to do. I don't want the child. I don't want to hurt her. I don't want my parents to be mad at me. Oh hell, Teach, I'm really screwed, aren't I?"
Tim looked up. He hadn't expected that reaction.
"You plays it, you pays it." Chesterton told him with a straight face.
"You'd throw me to the lions!" Tim growled, anger reddening his face.
"Nope, just pussycats."
Tim laughed, and then he almost choked with anger. "Hey!"
The ride back to the school was quiet. Tim rode like a champ, his girly screams chomped back as he pondered his worries, his stupid mistakes.
Chesterton was going to drop Tim off at his home, but then got a better idea. He took him back to the school. The custodians greeted the two of them. They were used to the Teach keeping late hours. They did too. Besides, he kept them in stock with Kool-Aid and potato chips. How could you hate or get annoyed by a man who did that, and gave your kids Star Wars Yodas for Christmas?
Chesterton unlocked his office, sat down, as Tim sat down at the desk near him, and then he pulled out a school bought chocolate bar which had cost him a buck and he kept for such times. "Eat it. It'll put hair on your chest."
"I already have hair on my chest."
Time ate the chocolate bar. As he did so, he began to calm down. Finally, he belched, and then tossed the wrapper at the trash can. He missed. Made no motion to pick it up.
Tim eyed Chesterton warily, then snatched the wrapper and trashed it.
"Now what?" He asked.
"You to do the right thing."
"I'm not going to marry that girl. She's a freshman!'
Chesterton's good nature vanished. He stabbed Tim in the chest with his right forefinger. "Expulsion from school, no football career and jail time. Your choice!"
Tim blanched, face becoming as white as a ghost.
"With lots of big guys that love young kids like you."
Tim staggered to his feet and headed for the door.
"Where you going?"
"To clear my head."
Chesterton nodded. Tim staggered out, leaving the door open behind him. Chesterton kept quiet. The kid was a good one at heart. He'd do the right thing in the end. He was just lucky he was having to deal with it at his age now, rather than as a stunted adult who collected women as prizes and broke heart after heart.
Chesterton sighed, reached into his desk drawer, and then sighed again. "Damn!"
He had given his last chocolate bar away. He had bought a whole box of them.
"Damn those kids are killing me!" He growled, as he got up to leave his office for his bike to return home. He wanted to continue his research with the better equipment he kept there. School computers were usually many generations behind what consumers had, and usually far less well equipped as the manufacturers cheaped them out so they could sell them at discounted prices.
He soured a moment, thinking about how unfair the education system was. It riddled its teachers with holes of discouragement and despair, while paying its top dog admins money to act like coronated Kings and Queens. America was not the same country he had grown up with as a kid. It had become soured and selfish. Corporations ran the world now, just no one was willing to admit it and do something about it.
He nodded goodnight to the custodians he passed. They Buenos Noched him on his way and he waved. He unlocked the electric charge on his bike which would shock the hell outta anyone trying to steal it, leaving this side of death and dying, and then got on. He loved the feel of the night air as he shot along on its three wheels, dodging traffic and lights. His reflexes were quick, but his equipment quicker. He knew when cars were coming, where cops were, and how fast to go to avoid all of them.
He made it home to his humble abode out in the tullies. Just north of the 215 and east of the 95. The homes weren't too expensive. The people a little more laid back and kids didn't try to steal everything that was loose from yards, cars and homes. Vegas had changed so much since he had moved there. Nevada had been one of the top 5 dogs in the nation for its education and now ranked somewhere between the bottom and a cesspool. It stank! And the people running the show just kept heaping more crap on it, rather than letting the teachers figure it out as they used to.
Oh well! He gave up his growing sense of alarm and disillusionment. He wasn't Superman. He never would be. He didn't want to be. No one, with any amount of powers, could change the course of a bureaucracy of that size. Not unless they wanted to get squeezed to death in the process. He had seen hundreds, no thousands of teachers bail after they realized nothing was going to change. Sad. But...
He locked his front door. "Lights on."
Lights came up, softly. He had installed a home-based computer that managed all his needs about the home. It was perfect. It could flush the toilet, warm up his coffee, keep the freezer at just the right temperature in his frig, warm up his bath or shower, make his toast and shine his shoes, if he were regular shoes. He looked down at his Star Wars tennies. Nope. Not for him. Let other fools torture their feet.
He threw himself down on his sofa a moment and ran through TV channels talking his way from zero to CNN. Same news on every channel. Global warming. Some idiot proclaiming the world was approaching the apocalypse. A preacher arrested for molesting a child. A wife killing her husband while he was sleeping because no one believed her he was violent. A school burned down in the South and a KKK sign painted on its parking lot.
Yup. Not much had changed in the world.
He flipped to the Cartoon Network and feasted on Sponge Bob for half an hour, laughing his guts out. Finally, he was hungry. "Toast. Two slices. Buttered." He ordered to the air.
He kicked his tennies off in his bedroom, then walked into the kitchen, where the toaster was warming down, having just kicked out two perfectly sliced pieces of toast, evenly buttered. He snatched them. Sat down at his kitchen table, and tossed them onto a plate with Donald Duck on its face. "Juice. Half cup. Orange." He ordered.
A buzzing sound from behind him. The frig opened and a robotic arm shoved out of it with a half glass of orange juice. He took it. "Thanks Arm!"
The arm wiggled in response, then withdrew into the frig, which promptly shut.
It was as he was enjoying that simple repast that he got the Big Idea. It was so simple; he wondered why he hadn't thought of it before.
He smashed the rest of his toast into his mouth, washed it down with the rest of his juice, and then ran for his lab. Which was actually a bedroom converted. It had loud green painted walls with thousands of Marvel Hero posters pasted to them. Well, technically the walls weren't green anymore, but every once in awhile a poster would loosen and the wall would see the light of day again.
He flopped in front of his Boxx computer. It was hooked in parallel to a hundred more that sat in his refrigerated garage. His server room. He had the computing power of a SuperKray, but at a fraction of the cost. Boxx had gifted him when he showed them how to make 1gigahertz computers ran at a hundred gigahertz without heating up or running up the bill. He could have made millions selling his idea to IBM or one of the other biggies, but why feed the monsters who were ruining the world?
He punched in the co-ordinates into his fractal program. It was a derivation of Chaotica on steroids. It could punch a hole through time and space to the 10th to the 10th to the 10th to the 1 billionth powers. In other words it was a quantum computer times a thousand. Again, something he could have made billions of dollars from. He wasn't in it to win it, but to learn. He couldn't figure out how all those people could sit on so much money and like themselves when so many others struggled to just get by or didn't get by at all.
Money was just that...paper and promises. So he used his wealth to help and to serve. After all he was the Teach!
He smiled at that thought. Teach!
So now that the Tall Man was coming back to him again and what he had been shown. He decided it was time to play Little God Number One.
He fed the last co-ordinates into his computer, waited for the nanoseconds to tick off, then swiveled to stand before the huge hologram being projected behind his chair. It was shot there from a ceiling projector hooked into his super array of Boxx computers.
The Fractal Universe beckoned him. Literally.
He hadn't wanted to admit it at first, when the Tall Man showed him the photos, but now he was ready. Yeah. He was a fractal universe. Yeah. Everyone was to some degree....a fractal universe. Well, this fractal universe was about to become something much larger, much more powerful. It was about to become...The Teach! Because he had finally put it all together. He had found Fractal Zero! Himself!
"Project!" He ordered.
He felt himself slam into the fractal universe of the hologram and vanish from his office. Every atom of his body was shredded, rearranged, nano-sized and rearranged again. When it was all done, the pain subsided, he was good as new.
He turned around and looked back towards his home world. Earth. It shone like a sparkling jewel in velvet black void. It needed a little tender love and affection. He flexed his fractal fingers and grinned. "Look out world! Here I come!"
Then he fractalized!