We spent the next the next day trying to figure out a way we could transfer the unstable quantum energy stored in Tilly’s stabilizer into the alien’s body. We would have been greatly helped if we had any real understanding of his physiology, but that wasn’t something we had the chance to learn. Because he submerged himself in the lava, I hoped that meant that he absorbed the thermal energy through his skin. So we concluded the best way to transfer the energy would be to bath him in it and hope he would be able to absorb enough to come back to life. When we finally had a basic plan, we went in search of the nearest junkyard. Without any money, we didn’t have any other choice but to hope that we could find something useful there.
It took a couple of trips to bring everything we thought we could use back to the cave where the stone man was still waiting for us. We put it together to the best of our abilities. It took a few redesigns, but eventually we had something that we thought would work.
We ran the Stabilizer one more time before we hooked him up to get the last drops of quantum energy out of me. “Are you sure you want to do this?” Tilly asked.
“No, but I’m convinced it needs to be done.”
“You don’t want to recover first?”
“Just do it. We don’t know how long this will take. Or what we’re going to do if we fail.”
“So just get it over with then?” Tilly nodded. “Ok, here goes nothing.”
At first nothing seemed to be happening. “Is it on?” I asked.
“Is it transferring the energy?”
Tilly checked. “The energy’s transferring.”
The stone man remained unchanged. “Maybe the theory’s wrong.” My doubts began to grow. “Maybe we’re distributing the energy incorrectly. Maybe its the wrong type of energy.”
“Maybe,” Tilly said, “he’s dead.”
Maybe he was dead, I thought. It’d been millions of year as a lifeless statue. It was hard enough to revive a someone after only a few minutes, doing it after eons was more than foolhardy. Maybe the word impossible was more accurate. This was dumb, I concluded. We were desperate, so I clung to the only hope we had and that hope it seemed was completely imaginary. There was no chance that this was…and then the alien began to move!
His right hand began to move, slowly spasming…no, flexing. His fingers curled into a fist and then let go. Then curling back and letting go. His arm began to move at the elbow, rocking up and down. Then it began moving at the shoulder. These weren’t just spasms caused by the transfer. These were actual movements. They had to be. The stone man was coming back to life! It was working!
Then his other arm began to move! His body started twisting at the waist! His head began to turn at the neck! After several minutes of that, his body stopped moving. Did we overdo it? Or had I been wrong and it hadn’t been working at all? Then slowly his head turned toward us. His head began to raise. Then his eyes turned to me. He was alive! And he was looking right at me! “Hello?” I said. “Don’t panic. We’re here to help. We’re…friends.”
The stone man slowly turned his head toward Tilly. She smiled at him. The stone man sat down and closed his eyes. That was not the reaction I was expecting. I was expecting him to attack us, to yell and rant. I wasn’t expecting him to want to take a nap. “Did it work?” I asked Tilly. “Did he absorb all the energy?”
“It’s all gone,” she replied.
“It’s going to take days to get more energy. I don’t know if we have days to waste.” I held my head in my hands. I couldn’t just give up. “Na Fru?”
The man of liquid metal opened his eyes and looked at me. “I do not know you. Or your species. How do you know that name?”
“Because you’re not the first of your kind that I’ve met. I know who you are and what you’ve done.”
“And now you have come to punish me?”
“No. We came to enlist you.”
“You know who I am and what I’ve done and you want me to help you?”
“You’ve been punished. You’ve been trapped here for tens of millions of years. Don’t you think it’s time you’ve done some good?”
“Good?” the alien laughed, a deep and bitter laugh. “All I have ever tried to do was good. Good for my people. Good for the universe. Good for all life. But there is no good. Life is just death. It is finite. There is no perfection to find in this universe. I have tried to find it, tried to create, and I have failed. You search for goodness? Give up. There is no point in even trying.”
“He makes a cheerful addition to the team,” Tilly said.
I ignored her and instead spoke to Na Fru. “There is good in this world. I have seen it. Good is helping people. Good is stopping something bad from happening. Or stopping someone who is bad. There’s bad going on now and we need to stop it. You can help us. We need you to help us. Please help us save this world and the people of this world. Help us save all of reality.”
to be continued…