“Move the planet? Why would anyone want to move a planet?”
“Well, Frank,” Kink said, “because they don’t want to die.” Noticing the look I was giving her, she went on, “You see their sun? It’s about to implode and turn into a black hole.”
“Excuse me? The Sun’s about to turn into a black hole? Are you kidding me?”
“No joke, Franky-bear. We’ve got about fifteen minutes before that star implodes.”
“But don’t worry. It’ll take another ten minutes before we notice any changes.”
I looked at Gra and I looked at the Origin, standing in front of us. Gra seemed to be doing calculations, but the Origin was just standing there with the Brane Cutter in his hands, waiting. “If that sun is about to implode, what are we doing here?”
“Saving these people, Frank. What else?”
“Saving them?” I looked at the multitude of Gra’s people.
“Yes. The first go around didn’t go so well.”
“First go around?”
“Yeah, they all died. Only a handful of them survived.”
“So, then…?” My mind finally caught on to what she was saying. “We’re changing the past.”
“Technically, it’s still your future.”
“You’re trying to change the time stream!”
“No, duh. That’s why we need to hurry.”
“But you can’t do that!”
Kink laughed. “Look who you’re talking to.”
“This is insane!”
“This is why we’re here. Gra’s people died. He wants to bring them back. We’re here to save a planet, a whole race of people. You’re the hero, Franky. I thought you’d like that.”
I shook my head. This was all so crazy. “We’re going to save these people by moving the planet? Is that even possible?”
Kink shrugged. “Who knows? I’ve never heard of it succeeding. Not this way at least.”
“Which way have you heard of it succeeding?”
“Really big engines.”
“REALLY big engines.”
“And that’s actually happened?” I asked.
Kink replied, “I’ve heard stories.”
I shook my head again, wondering if all this was real or if she was just messing with me again. “And just where are they supposed to moving this planet?” I asked.
“I think the main objective is get away from the black hole.”
“Right. Of course it is. Well, I don’t think we have enough time to build a bunch of big engines so what’s the plan here? We do have a plan…right?”
“We have a plan,” the Origin assured me. I hadn’t realized he was paying attention to us. “This,” he hefted the Brane Cutter, “is the plan.”
“The Brane Cutter? You’re going to use the Cutter to…what? Cut a hole in space?”
“And slide the planet into it,” Kink replied. “That’s right. Good deducing, Frank.”
“That’s…that’s not possible.”
Kink shrugged again. It was surprising how nonchalant she was acting. “We’ll see. But we don’t have much time to waste.”
“The Sun? How many minutes do we have left?”
“Not many, but that’s not what I’m really worried about.”
I rubbed my temples and closed my eyes. “You’re not worried about a sun imploding that ended up killing a race of people. What else could you possibly be worried about?”
Her face was serious. It was always a strange sight when that happened. “We’re not supposed to be here, Frank. People don’t want us here.”
“Who? Who doesn’t want us here? Who’s coming for us?”
“So many people, but let’s not be here when they come, all right?”
“There.” I jumped as Gra finally spoke after so long. He pointed at a spot in the sky, apparently his calculations were complete.
“Are you sure?” The Origin asked. “You have to be sure.”
“I am absolutely certain,” Gra replied.
The Origin said, “We will not get a second shot at this.”
“I know the stakes!” Gra yelled. “Do it already!”
The Origin turned on the Brane Cutter and fired. For the first minute, it seemed as if nothing had happened, but then the body mods in the eyes of this new body adjusted, zoomed in, and I saw the hole growing. A darkness opened up in the sky. It began as a little dot, but soon it appeared larger than the sun and it continued to grow! In no time, it was covering half the sky! It was terrifying, like a giant abyss we could all fall into and never come out again! Gra stepped forward and pointed at the hole in the universe. “In there!” he yelled to his people. “You have to put the world in there! It’s our only chance!”
The other men with skin of liquid metal, of crimson and green and lavender, looked at him for a second and then returned to their work moving the planet. Not one of them said a word or made a gesture. Had they heard what he said? Did they believe him? There was no way I could tell. The hole appeared to be getting closer, but was that because we were moving closer to it or was it just still growing? I didn’t know. I couldn’t tell.
“Is it working?” I asked.
Gra turned back to us. “Yes,” he said, his voice uncertain, yet hopeful. “I think it is. I think…”
And then the Time Police appeared. And we were all in very big trouble.
to be continued…