Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Microstory 1947: Leonard’s Debrief

Generated by Google Workspace Labs text-to-image AI software
SI Eliot: Shifting gears, I think we have a pretty good idea of what happened out in the desert. Your story matches other people’s accounts. I want to know more about you, and where you come from. I understand that you’re from Earth, but in another universe. What exactly does that mean? Is there another you running around here somewhere?
Leonard: I am no expert in this. Like I’ve told you, I’m just a parole officer. I only know about any of this because I had a parolee who wrote stories about it. I didn’t think any of it was real until it happened to me, so now I’m drawing on what I can remember him telling me. I didn’t exactly take notes, because again, I thought they were just stories. But no, there’s other me here. There’s a difference between a timeline, a reality, and a universe. Right? Yeah, that sounds right. Don’t ask me about the first two, but I get that the third one is completely different. It doesn’t have the same people. How two unrelated universes could both end up with a planet called Earth with humans living on it who are about the same as each other, I really couldn’t explain.
SI Eliot: Who was this parolee of yours? He was, what, just some writer?
Leonard: Well, yes. He wrote science fiction stories, and then one day he found himself in one of his own stories, and that’s what set him on the path to my universe.
SI Eliot: Where is he now?
Leonard: Apparently, now is a relative term. The last time I saw him, he was in my universe. They probably assigned him a new parole officer after I disappeared. Or...
SI Eliot: Or what?
Leonard: Or I’ll eventually go back to where I was, and no time will have passed from the perspective of everyone I left. *airquotes*
SI Eliot: So, you’re a time traveler.
Leonard: I may be a time traveler.
SI Eliot: *clears his throat*
Leonard: I told you that I’m not an expert. Look, I don’t think I would have noticed anything if my friends were here, and your laws weren’t so different. I mean, it’s not illegal to break out of jail? That’s so weird. For me, it’s a crime, and when you’re caught, you’re charged with it as such, and if found guilty, it could add to your sentence.
SI Eliot: Do you want us to do that to you?
Leonard: No, of course not. I’m just trying to illustrate the differences. This world probably seems completely normal to you, but if you went to mine, you would feel like I do now. Now imagine being a—quote-unquote—alien. Those four you have in custody right now, I bet their society is profoundly different than yours, or even mine. Just remember that. If you have to jar them with your bizarre procedures and practices, do that. If you have to try to meet them at their level, do that. But do not expect your understanding of human behavior to have anything to do with how they think. They have seen humans destroy worlds before, and even though they’ve reportedly found you not guilty of the same, I don’t see how they don’t use it against you anyway.
SI Eliot: What are you trying to say?
Leonard: Don’t trust them. They want to kill you, whether they admit it or not. Now are we done here? I’ve not slept in days, and I don’t feel like this is doing any good.

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