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C-137 was in some deeeep shit. Squanchy and Birdperson — AWOL. All alone, pressed up to 2 inches of glass between his hypothermia-prone skin and the 2.7° K fuck-all void of space. Which would give him 10, 15 seconds tops if the 3 armadas of galactic federation that were trying to stick it in his ass cracked that glass like an egg. If he was going to survive this, Rick C-137 needed an edge.

 

Like himself.

 

If there were infinite universes, it stands to reason there were infinite microverses. And in one of those microverses, it stood to reason there'd be what Rick needed.

 

---------------------------

 

"Ooourhp--Morty. Would you pass me that screwdriver."

 

A portal opened. 

 

The now-tiny (comparatively normal-sized) figure emerged from it. He was not wearing pipe cleaners on his head.

 

He was, however, much younger.

 

The washed-up, fugitive rocker wore a torn, low-hanging wifebeater. And a shit-ton of ash. He was still slightly smoking. "Do you — uurp — have any — — nano-microton-gargle-blasters? I'm kinda in a bit of a jam, here. What?? — Hurry the fuck up you jaundiced micro-turd I don't have much time."

 

This was untrue. Rick 137-C had 100x the time he would have a second ago.

 

So about 15 minutes, half hour, tops.

 

He grabbed the sides of his older, labcoat-wearing counterpart's face. "Think back. Think waaayyy back. When the galactic federation had just handed your ass at Cromulon 9. What did you do to get out of it?" visitor-Rick asked.

 

"Oh man! I remember that one!" Micro-Rick C-137 (relatively-normal-sized-Rick) replied, "I shrunk down into a microverse inside my microverse — same as you. Gave me enough time to grab all the other guy's — shiit ."

 

Click. "Hand it over, punk." Older-Rick's wrinkly hands were reaching perpendicular from his galactic blaster.

 

"R iiick ," the young, egg-headed Morty whined, wisely stretching his toothpick arms up to the ceiling.

 

"Not now M— — Orty. This guy's portaled into my miniverse Morty. He's trying to buy time against the Galactic Federation. He wants to buy himself time to arm himself with our shit and come out of our microverse guns blazing Morty. He wants to steal my shit. We can't let him do that Morty."

 

"W--why not Rick?"

 

"Because I did it to me , Moorty. And I never gave any of it back. I destroyed it all, Morty. Do you think I want to lose all that hard work to some punk-ass bigger-than-me who thinks he's the smartest being in the u— — universe, Morty? Micron-for-micron I'm way smarter than that punk, Moorty. I'm like a bird, Moorty. My neurons are waay denser than some punk-ass kid. We can't let em have my shit, Morty."

 

"Who the fuck's the kid?"

 

"Stop trying to take my fucking shi—"

 

"Save it. Now where are your nano-microton-gargle-blasters?"

 

"I-is that the one that cuts people up into tiny squares, Rick? I mean, other Rick?"

 

"No — — Moorty. It's the one that exchanges their livers with their kidneys and explodes them. God, why do you keep this kid around? Did I go that fucking soft in my old age? Am I that much a pussy that I need a kid to wipe my ass and make sure 'grandpa' gets back through the portal the right way and stroke my ego? God, glad I skipped outa there way before this little shit."

 

"Morty's why I'm not hopping into a microverse and trying to beg off their shit you pussy-faced punk. His MoOrty waves cancel out your Rick ones. Makes you invisible to the Federation. Think about it. Go where you want to go. Steal whatever shit you wanna steal. Spend entire afternoons at Blips and Chipz. Stay in one place while you watch interdimensional cable. Federation stays outa your ass and the multiverse is back to being your oyster. Not that it ever wasn't." That was the thing about being a freedom fighter, wasn't it? You didn't get much freedom. Your choice was to run away or blast the latest couple-dozen armadas into itty-bitty pieces. No time to kick back and watch Ball Fondlers.

 

"Just drag around that useless kid?"

 

"Hey!"

 

"Shutup Morty." "Shutup Morty."

 

"See? You're already getting the hang of it. Fine, Morty. Give him his shit."

 

The kid stumbled to the cabinets. "But Rick, you said —"

 

"Shutup Morty. Give him his shit. He probably needs it. You're still a baby in his universe anyway. If you're even born. It's — — gonna be a few years."

 

"Yeah. Didn't even know if Beth has a kid. Kinda lost track of her sometime in middle school."

 

"Yeah, that happens. Her new husband's a jerk. A real thorn in my ass."

 

"He that dangerous?"

 

"No. That pathetic. Shhesh. 20ccs of ruined my daughter's life."

 

"Man."

 

"Yeah. I know. Now take your shit and get outa here. We don't want the federation getting wind of us without a — — Morty."

 

"And here. Change your clothes. Can't have you smoking up my garage. And don’t even fucking think of stealing my Morty. I’m you. Just a hundred times per micron smarter than you and a hundred times more time for me to figure out how to kick your ass. Also, mini-Morty is only 1/100th as potent as your Morty." An alarm starts blaring somewhere in the garage, " — And by the sound of the galactic federation closing in on our mini-asses, I think you’re gonna need it.

 

"Now take my fucking coat and my fucking shit and get the fuck out of my garage."

 

Rick C-137 pulls on the labcoat. It smells like generic fabric softener. Does Beth do these?

 

"Thanks," he smiles at his older counterpart, "I gotta ask though — How come you all aren't stomping on Floobleboxes or pulling Gooblecranks or something?"

 

"This microverse is used strictly for 'research purposes.'"

 

"Fucking Dufus Rick."

 

"'Peace among worlds,' Doofus Rick." 

 

"Yeah, fuck that guy."

 

"Shit eater."

 

Conspicuous silence.

 

"Oh fuck me!" C-137 yelled, pointing at microverse-Rick.

 

He portals out of that shit-eating micro-turd. Doesn't glance at the discarded mail afterward. Or memorize the address.

 

---------------------------

 

3:02 pm .

 

Beth's not home. Well. Strictly speaking, she is. The people-finder outlines her prone silhouette horizontal on the second floor. Rick purposefully doesn't think about why.

 

She's probably exhausted from having to take care of the baby without Jerry's help. Stupid lechious fucknut's nowhere to be found. Probably being useless and vacuous at work or something.

 

Summer won't be home from school until later.

 

A baby's crying.

 

Small whimpers, like it's trying not to be heard and doesn't want to bother someone who won't be too thrilled to help it anyway and if someone were listening and could swallow their guilt instead of another mouthful of cabernet, they'd come. But otherwise, it wouldn't be worth another sore throat.

 

And it's not really a baby. More like an undergrown toddler. From the unfocused look of the eyes, it looks like it was born a little pre-me. Rick's gonna have to do something about that, Rick thinks. He tries to think of the construction of the ray blaster instead of all the different reasons the kid might have come out too soon.

 

Never one without danger, he picks the kid up.

 

It would be dangerous, he thinks, to stick around so long, if Morty's underdeveloped brainwaves weren't already starting to absorb his signal.

 

"Shhh. Shh." It's been a while since he's done this. 

 

"Whadoyouneed, little Morty? Does somebody have to change your shit? Do you need to eat or something?"

 

The tiny, uncoordinated hands tug at his hair.

 

Well, it was already sticking straight up . "No, you can’t eat my hair, little Morty. Now," he said, setting the settling kid down, "I’m going to go to the kitchen to see what else is in this place —" besides the cabernet, he thinks. Because he’s the smartest being in the known universe. He’s bound to have some irrelevant thoughts.

 

He sits the kid down in front of the TV, against the arm of the sofa. "Wait until I come and live with you, little Morty. Then I’m — " he turns his mouth into his sleeve, just to not wake his daughter up, " — going to set up interdimensional cable M — — Orty. Then you’re never gonna be bored again, aren’t you? You stay here Mo — " he lets go of the kid.

 

Morty starts to scream.

 

"No — shit — " he digs out his portal gun. Shoves Morty through the portal.

 

The house goes silent.

 

Rick can’t feel his fingers. That’s what happens at 2.7° K.

 

He stares at the beige carpet. " ...7 mississippi, 8 mississippi ...fuck," he mutters, "Why do they use that fucking state to count with? Probably no worse than ‘potato’ and more accurate than ‘hippopotamus’...10." He pulls little Morty out.

 

The kid is purple with asphyxiation and hypothermia, but Rick can still see the little boy’s screwed-up eyes now are wide with wonder. His slightly-gaping face taking little breaths to huff ice shards, so he’s technically okay. "There you go Morty. Your first taste of the frozen, uncaring void of outer space. It’s just like the rest of the multiverse, Morty. Just like home. Now shut the fuck up. Okay, okay Morty. I’ll bring you with me. But you’ve gotta keep quiet, Morty. You’ve gotta keep quiet because your mom’s sleeping."

 

The kid doesn’t say anything or react at all. He just keeps staring with his bottom lip slightly curled and eyes like lightbulbs. "You’re a weird kid, Morty."

 

Click.

 

"At ease, Rick," Birdperson says, setting down the camera. It was a clunky gray 636 Close Up. Rick had got it for him for his birthday fourteen months late, but it was still thoughtful of him. Birdperson liked to reflect on the little things. What a waste of time.

 

"Is this your grandson, Rick? I am not familiar with the appearance of your species, but the two of you share a resemblance."

 

"Yeah," he turns his face away from the kid " — — apparently he'll grow up to hide my brainwaves." 

 

"That is interesting, Rick, but I sense that is not why you are really here. I sense your need for family, even though you abandoned them, and what they stood for, long ago."

 

Rick put Morty back in his crib. "Comeon. Let's fucking blow this joint. Summer's gonna be home from school soon."

 

"You will return here soon."

 

"Yeah, yeah. Save it for the monologue." 

 

And if he teleports them into the middle of a federation base nearest to Earth, he doesn't think about why.

 

That backwater planet's named after dirt anyhow.