ysabetwordsmith: (Schrodinger's Heroes)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem fills a square on my card for the  [community profile] hc_bingo  fest. This fest encourages the creation of boundary-pushing material that explores what happens when things go horribly wrong and people actually care about each other. Remember, things always go wrong; what matters is how you deal with that. Some of the content may be NSFW. Read the FAQ and rules here. The signup post is here. I'm hoping to attract some new readers.

The following poem belongs to Schrodinger's Heroes, featuring an apocryphal television show supported by an imaginary fandom. It's science fiction about quantum physics and saving the world from alternate dimensions. It features a very mixed cast in terms of ethnicity and sexual orientation. This project developed with input from multiple people, and it's open for everyone to play in. You can read more about the background, the characters, and a bunch of assorted content on the menu page.

Fandom: Original (Schrodinger's Heroes)
Prompt: Planet destruction
Medium: Poetry
Wordcount: 597
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Mass deaths, although not of the main characters.
Summary: Schrodinger's Heroes try to rescue people from a collapsing dimension, with partial success.
Notes: Angst. Teamwork. Science saves some of the day. Alex is a linchpin of existence. Caretaking.

"Fraying Strings"

They had not believed in Alex:
that was the crux of the problem.

To be sure, Alex could be difficult to believe in
if you did not already know her,
because she was such a little slip of a thing,
blonde and beautiful with huge blue eyes,
and smart enough to do quantum physics in her sleep.

Schrodinger's Heroes had gotten involved
because some dream of Alex's
had sent her to the lab in the middle of the night,
convinced that the world was about to end.

Which it was, in fact --
just not the one they happened to be standing in
when she reached that conclusion.

So they did what heroes did:
they went looking for the trouble
in hopes they could somehow fix it
before the world -- that one over there,
any world really -- came to an actual end.

It was, unfortunately, one of those dimensions
without an Alex of its own --
though whether she had never existed there
or had been lost along the way,
they never did discover --
but it hardly mattered.
The effect was the same either way.

That is to say,
this dimension had no Teflon Tesseract,
no team of supportive heroes,
and no list of tangential contacts
accustomed to scrambling into action when Alex said,
"Oh, by the way, gobbledygook technobabble the world is about to end,
and this is what you need to do to help stop that."

So Alex was left trying to figure out
which of this dimension's half-dozen best
(though not actually all that good) quantum mechanics
had managed to drop a wrench down the engine of creation.

She had Morgan to chart the neighboring dimensions
by way of backup in case they needed a lifeboat,
and Bailey to cobble up something approximating a Teferact
from the closest superconducting supercollider,
and Pat and Chris to convince people
that all of this needed doing.

Alex had it narrowed down to two
of the quantum mechanics
when the cosmic strings frayed beyond saving
and the whole dimension began to unravel
like a cheap sweater snagged on a chain-link fence.

Morgan made an emergency call
to the Time And Space Association.
TASE activated teams of first responders
to pull people into an uninhabited backup dimension.

Alex worked at the keys until her fingers cramped,
and beyond, until she could scarcely move,
trying to buy a few more hours, minutes, seconds
as the edge of existence unraveled into
a spray of surprisingly pretty pink sparks.

Finally Chris said, "The hell with it,"
and threw Alex over his shoulder
to run through the gate
that Bailey shut just behind him.

A lone pink spark landed in the grass
and Chris stomped on it
with his custom-made cowboy boots.
It went out.

Alex was crying,
but then Alex always cried
when they could save only part of the day
and not all of it.

There had been eight billion people on that Earth.
TASE had rescued a scant half of that,
leaving behind the other half
and the whole of their biosphere
and all of their history.

It wasn't enough.
It would never be enough.
But it was better than nothing
and some people, at least,
would have a chance to start over.

Chris wiped his own face with the back of his hand
and allowed as to how Alex-less dimensions
seemed to have the life expectancy of a glass hammer.
The other heroes nodded agreement
and closed ranks around their infinitely precious Alex
while Morgan entered the equation to take them all home.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-02 08:22 pm (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Rather reminds me of this XKCD comic strip...

Huh.. no Alex, but what if there was someone as good as Alex among the survivors, just too young as yet to be of help right then.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2013-01-03 10:54 am (UTC)
siliconshaman: black cat against the moon (Default)
From: [personal profile] siliconshaman
Thing is, it occurred to me that we haven't seen how the Heroes deal with children. Not that I think they'd be bad at it, but you know how some folks do have hang ups about that whole thing...

That, and I suspect they'd have a blast reverting just a bit, children are a good excuse for that!

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-02 09:37 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

(From the Doctor:
Time And Space Association
Time And Space Emergency?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-06 06:40 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Is Alex atheist? Those are the people who seem to hold all life so precious...

Rebuilding, from scratch.... wow. I've rebuilt a life twice, but both times had a roof over my head the first night...

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2013-01-06 06:14 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Grammar quibble: Hawai`i, but Hawaiian (no `okina)..

As for rebuilding, once was very deliberate; the second... wasn't. Both times I had most excellent help... wouldn't have known what to do without it, particularly the second time.

Re: Hmm...

Date: 2013-01-06 06:15 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
oh, and... wow. I didn't expect the full rundown... just came pouring out, did it?

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-02 10:00 pm (UTC)
zeeth_kyrah: A glowing white and blue anthropomorphic horse stands before a pink and blue sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] zeeth_kyrah
Interesting -- where did TASE come from? And why the acronym to spell "Association"? I might have used Encomium just to make the letters fit.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-01-05 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] natalief.livejournal.com
I was about to ask the same thing. TASA or maybe "Executive".

Also, "Tesseract" became "Teferact" in one stanza.
Edited Date: 2013-01-05 04:54 pm (UTC)


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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