You ever had that damn moment where the world stops, you’re sittin’ down on the first spot you found, head in your hands, staring at fucking nothing with a supernova going off inside of you? It’s such a small feeling, yet it’s so. Fucking. Big. It’s like, for the first time, I actually feel alive. And it’s all his fault.
-- 23 hours ago --
“Hey dipshit, you forgot your change!” The twerp scurried back, and I squinted. I didn’t notice at first, but he had these scintillating green eyes. They widened with shock when they saw the pile of grimy silver coins.
“H-how much change is that, s-sir?” The kid stuttered out, one hand reaching up to grip a curl of dark green hair that had started to slip out of a messy ponytail.
Can’t you read the fucking register. I point to the plain red digits. His eyes gotta have doubled in size at this point, and the muttering starts up again. Great.
“23? 23?!?! No, it--it can’t be starting this soon. Unless I did the math wrong. But I ran the computations 36 times, and varied the sign of the antiderivative in sync with randomized oscillations in solar flares you’d expect during this point in the millennium. Unless one of the—gasp! Maybe a guardian is involved, or I missed a cue before. Oh no, this is bad. Badbadbadbadbad.”
I was starting to check out. Solar flare caught my interest for a second, but then this kid turns out to be batshit. Nope. Not going there. Got enough of that running in the family.
I start to tell this kid off, world doesn’t revolve around you, can’t you see there’s a jesus fucking line, asshole, but then he looks up and the words stick in my throat.
“Who’s the current oligarch?”
“Oligarch? The fuck you from, ancient Greece? We have presidents these days, dumbass.”
The kid snorted. Snorted! At me!!! “Don’t be silly—” his eyes roamed over me for a second, and oh hell no, this is not turning into a conversation so help me go—“Ka—Katsu—Kacchan! They’re the same thing.”
“Yeah well if you’re a fucking expert on the modern democracy then maybe you’ve heard about the equal opportunities of waiting in a goddamn line.” His head swiveled, he dropped the empty paper cup—empty!?! It was full of coffee two seconds ago. Well that explains a fuckton. His head swiveled back before I could yell at him to pick up his shit. His eyes gleamed. Oh hell no.
“THAT’S IT!! Kacchan you’re amazing! A line, that’s what I was missing! I was so worked up with sinusoidal latencies in the contrast transfer function that I completely forgot the fundamentals of Occam’s Razor! Thank you so much! Oh gosh I’ve gotta go, I’m at 23! Bye!”
“LITTERING IS ILLEGAL, SHITBAG! PICK UP YOUR FUCKING TRASH!”
“Bakugou.” My boss’s dead voice resounded behind me, cutting me off before I could really rip into this kid, who was completely gone, out of sight, not a trace, with a line of shoe-tapping, breath-huffing, glare-sending customers in his place. “You were yelling at thin air. Take a break. For a week.”
“Good. I can’t take the smell of this shitty watered down coffee.” I left. Grabbed my jacket, skateboard, fucking headphones. Once Slipknot was screaming into my ears it clicked. I was thinking about the stars again. Maybe it was that kid’s eyes. His craziness. Completely in his own world. Alone in a room full of people. I was itching for Queen Murder Death; that is, my C++ interface, half-from-scratch computer spread out over a network of piggybacking on my shitty neighbors’ CPU, leeching off of the storage system of those selfish bastards at Argonne labs. The rocket simulation last time hadn’t made it, but, if I tried a more advanced, Fourier-based algorithm to predict turbulence due to solar radiation, then maybe it could ride them, incorporate the energy surge, instead of get fuckin fried. I drop my keys at least twice at the door. Ideas have expiration dates after all. I’m inside, bag on the floor, booting up Queen. I’m staring at the load screen, knees a-jitter, when I stop. See, I’m a routine-based person. It normally takes me about oh 1.5 seconds from opening the door to getting Queen’s juices flowing. But I’m pretty sure that was closer to 2 seconds. Because, in the middle of my studio, I’d stepped around something, someone? Oh. Oh hell no.
“Hi Kacchan! So the straightest solution was that I was at 23 for meeting you! Not for the next hop. I mean, it’s an honest mistake. Good news is that my math was all right. Kind of. Small error. Carried the 1, that kind of thing.OHbutIshouldintroducemyself.I’m—”
“Get. Out. Of my motherfucking house before I make sure you NeveR FuCking HoP AgaiN.”
“You can stop the hops?”
“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU!?!?” I grabbed the nutjob’s ponytail and started dragging him to the door.
“Ow! Ow! Kacchan that hurts! Please stop!” Tears were leaking out of this little bitch’s eyes, and god that pissed me off. I’m about to toss him outside when he goes limp. “Well I didn’t want to have to do this, Toshi’s gonna be so disappointed, but, here goes.” The kid shot me a wobbly smile before saying some word that sounded like the hum of cicadas on a lazy summer afternoon, or the clink of ice cubes in a glass of lemonade on a porch table, the old hag’s nagging in the distance. I blink, and wake up on the floor.
“Hi Kacchan, welcome back! My name’s Izuku. I guess you could say I’m from the future, since that’s where I was last. In my world, there’s a curse called the starhopper. It’s a misnomer, really, because it’s way worse than hopping from star to star. Your consciousness gets thrown into another universe, and you kind of float around there for a bit until, well, nobody knows what happens next. I like to think you find your way back to the home world’s core, but there’s no evidence for it, and I am a scientist after all. Yeah, I was one of the researchers studying it, but I got infected, so here I am. I’ve been here for a long time, so I don’t remember all of it. For all I know…”
For all I know, you’re a damn lunatic. I’d call the police, but I happen to have some borrowed-without-permission tech lying around. Not that the idiots who call themselves officers of the peace have enough brain cells to figure that out, but still.
“Hey, kid, whatever your name is, Deku or some shit, have you called your mom lately.” Hah. I’d bet good money that the majority of looney toons get triggered when you mention their mom.
“Mom? Like, the last generation? Um, our species doesn’t work that way. Earth languages don’t have the word for it, but our “parent” gets reabsorbed by the planet soon after creating a new being. I have her memories stored somewhere, she was really quite an exceptional person, but no I haven’t called her lately.”
Well, next tactic.
“What about the doctors, you know, who used to treat you.”
“Ah, you mean my fellow researchers! As a matter of fact, I was just trying to harness the energy of the solar flares to access the transdimensional frequency, but Earth tech doesn’t seem to have any? I couldn’t detect any epsilon particles, although there was some interesting radiation at this Argonne place.”
Great, now he’s a crazy AND dangerous motherfucker who’s been sniffing around a particle collider!
“Well, duh, Argonne produces a fuckton of weird shit on accident, it’s fucking careless that’s what it is. I love it. I dunno what epsilon particles are, but if you need solar energy then there’s lots of it around.”
“Mm, no not solar energy. Solar flares have a unique energy pattern that’s related to the heart of the star.”
“A…unique energy pattern? Yeah right. I’ve been studying interstellar travel for over five fucking years and I’ve never heard of boring-as-shit solar flares having special energy patterns.”
“That’s probably because you don’t know about epsilon particles. They’re kind of hard to detect since they’re mostly antimatter.”
“Jesus fucking Christ, you’re saying that solar flares have an antimatter component? Bullshit! I can prove you wrong this fucking second! Queen, start up the Killer Explosion Rocket Simulation!”
I grabbed the wacko’s wrist and pulled him to the other half of my dismal studio apartment. “Look, I know you’re crazy, which is fine, power to you, but you’re also wrong, which is not fine.”
“Is this your computer? She has nice specs.”
“Of course she does, you bitch, what do you expect, she’s Queen Murder Death.” I change the parameters to include possibilities for antimatter components, and then set it to run the simulation. Which. Would take 16 hours. Fuck. Beep! Queen chirped out an alert, a box saying “All done, Lord Explosion Murder! Please click your cursor right on this spot to see all the simulation results you desire!”
Deku ruffled his hair and waved around the geigercounter-looking piece of ass-tech. “I lent it some processing power from my portable.”
Great, now I’m going crazy too.
“Yeah right, it probably ran a dud simulation because the parameters were a mess.” I opened the results, and, well, fuck. Solar flares predicted with 89.37% accuracy, rocket is in a positional steady state at a pre-programmed pitstop, fuel has been increased by 161% since the launch. “That’s … not possible. It’s a coincidence. The neural network was running unsupervised, it probably just … the probability of that happening is too low, I. Shit, you're motherfucking right.”
Yeah, I’d say that’s about when it got weird.