. Earth's Dreamlands Info on RPG's, (313)558-5024 area code RPGNet World HQ + Archive Drug
: Earth's Dreamlands : Info on: RPG's, :(313)558-5024 : area code :
:RPGNet World HQ & Archive: Drugs, Industrial :(313)558-5517 : changes to :
: 1000's of text files : music, Fiction, :InterNet : (810) after :
: No Elite / No porn : HomeBrew Beer. :firstname.lastname@example.org: Dec 1,1993 :
by Colin Campbell
Cosmic Charlie pulled Lilla by the hand down the steps through
flying rice and confetti toward his car-but his car wasn't there.
Instead, a red Porsche sat at the curb next to the church. It was
covered in paper flowers.
Charlie stared at the car and then Lilla's father was standing
there grinning and pressing car keys into Charlie's hand. "This is
our surprise wedding present for you. Congratulations, kids."
"Oh daddy thank you," Lilla said and she kissed Charlie and
they climbed into the car.
The reception was at a picnic grove in the mountains behind
Santa Barbara. Charlie marveled at how well the car handled as he
drove up San Marcos Pass. He was amazed that he was married. He was
20, and he and Lilla were both still virgins. He was proud of that.
He stepped on the gas a little bit more and the Porsche surged
ahead even faster.
Then at the turnoff he misjudged the curve and misjudged his
speed and the car went skidding off the edge and there was a long
endless plunge with Lilla's scream surrounding him as he uselessly
stomped the brake and then there was a stupendous impact and a
bounce and then Charlie was upside down with blood dripping across
his eyes and he couldn't move to wipe it aside and the only thing
he could see was Lilla staring blankly, her white dress spattered
with red, and a metal rod sticking through her head from one ear to
another like a Steve Martin joke arrow.
Lilla's white dress was all he could see. The dress became
brighter and brighter and he was roaring through a tunnel of
darkness toward a bright light. And then he passed through. He
floated dreamily out of consciousness into a shouting cascade of
dream imagery. His heart stopped.
His complicated biomechanical sensory systems failed, and the
whole organic machine of Charlie's body came to a halt.
Still, each individual cell hoped to survive. A good competent
muscle cell is still alive hours and hours after the coroner signs
the death certificate. Cut an arm off and wait twelve hours and put
it back on--it can live. It's been done.
The cells are tough-the delicate part is the control system.
When that fails, everything goes to hell in a hurry and each muscle
cell sits there dimly in the dark muttering "C'mon, gimme a pulse
of blood and I'll run like hell, we can still get out of this
But the pulse of blood never came.
It was several days before the bodies were found and then the
families gathered for the funerals.
At the funeral Charlie's father found himself talking to
Lilla's parents. "Charlie had such big plans. His pal Zepp always
called him "Cosmic" Charlie, his plans were so big....now he's
"Unless he's reincarnated," said Lilla's mother.
"Reincarnation is a silly notion," said Lilla's father. He was
a mathematician. "There's not a chance in a quintillion that a
person could be reincarnated."
Charlie was unable to see the tears at the funeral, nor the
mourning that preoccupied the families for weeks. Charlie knew
nothing about it because the unique biochemical sensory device his
DNA had built was no longer reporting to his consciousness: the
complex organs and interconnective systems were dead.
But his DNA was still alive.
DNA is not a static thing. It's a complex assemblage of
billions of atoms writhing and vibrating and accomplishing tasks at
the core of the cell.
Trillions of Charlie's cells were still alive, still waiting
for that pulse of oxygenated blood, still conducting a purposeful
internal activity, his stubborn DNA still maintaining a kind of
consciousness. Charlie dreamed he was still alive.
But weeks passed and the planet continued to spin around the
sun, and Charlie's last surviving internal cells began to shut down
Six months after the funeral, Zepp and a dozen of Charlie's
other school pals met at his gravesite overlooking the Pacific
ocean. They drank too much and didn't mention Charlie.
Charlie's DNA still vibrated and communicated to the other
strands of DNA inside each demised cell; DNA is like a virus and
can survive even if crystallized. And so part of Charlie's
consciousness dreamed on, unaware of the passing time.
On the first anniversary of the crash, Charlie & Lilla's
parents met at the gravesite on the cliffs above the Pacific ocean,
and once again they remembered Charlie. It was the last time anyone
visited Cosmic Charlie's grave.
Charlie's school pals graduated and scattered; Lilla's pals
were were all back on the East coast.
Lilla's mother and father died together in a plane crash nine
years later. Twenty years after that, Charlie's mother died of
cancer, and then within days his father shot himself.
Both of Charlie's brothers died in the Pacific Attack by the
Asian Hegemony. After 60 years Charlie's sister was dead, too. Soon
after that everyone in the world he had known was dead.
The Earth continued to spin, and the offshore winds ruffled
the grasses growing on his grave. Some of Charlie's DNA still
twirled and vibrated down below.
A century after Cosmic Charlie died, a severe earthquake split
off a sliver of the cliffside cemetery, and Charlie's gravesite
slipped toward the sea.
A thousand years after that, a new ice age began. Humanity
retreated toward the tropics as glaciers covered North America with
mile-thick ice. The coastlines of Europe receded and England and
France were once again a single land as the English Channel turned
into a narrow river. Charlie's gravesite was now a dozen miles from
A hundred thousand years passed. A comet smashed into the
Pacific ocean and 2000 cubic miles of water flashed into steam and
the resulting storms and climactic disruptions killed 90% of all
life on Earth. Charlie's cliff tumbled into the newly risen ocean
and began to be subducted by plate tectonic activity.
A few humans survived the comet impact and they regrouped to
again cover the world with cities.
Millions of years passed and the continents shifted and
drifted. Los Angeles scraped north past San Francisco and piled
into Alaska. Charlie was now part of a geological stratum far below
the surface, but a few strands of his DNA still vibrated with a
sense of self-identity.
The Sun drifted into a cloud of hydrogen gas and flamed
briefly brighter; huge solar flares erupted and boiled the Earth's
surface and dense clouds formed. Now Earth looked like Venus.
In the heightened electromagnetic field of the more active
sun, the Earth's spin rate declined rapidly. The day was now 30
hours long and the rotational energy transferred into heat made the
continents erupt with volcanoes. After hundreds of millions of
years, no humans were left on earth, although many survived in
orbit and on planets of other stars. Charlie's molecules were now
thoroughly reduced to traces of carbon and organic matter in a vein
After a few billion years the sun began to run short of
hydrogen and started burning helium instead. The sun ballooned into
a red giant 70 million miles in diameter and Earth was scorched to
a cinder of iron. Mercury and Venus were consumed by the fire.
Now Earth was the innermost planet. Then the sun raced through
the fusion progression as it ploughed through another rich cloud of
virgin hydrogen gas, and then went supernova.
Earth was vaporized. The remnant of the sun was a white dwarf
star that dimmed gradually over billions of years into a dark,
barely warm lump of dense matter.
By this time the universe had expanded to its limits and began
to shrink. All matter compressed toward the center and after a
hundred billion years the universe was once more a zone of
furiously compacted energy smaller than the diameter of an atom. It
reached the limits of smallness and exploded outward again.
At first the new universe was nothing but boiling quarks and
leptons. It expanded, and then went through the era of inflation in
which it hyperexpanded into a hundred trillion quadrillion
universes, each as big as Charlie's original universe.
Each universe cooled as it expanded and hydrogen and helium
gasses formed. In a few hundred million years there were trillions
of new galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars, and the
stars raced through evolution to explode into supernovas to form
new elements. Hydrogen and helium were joined by concentrations of
carbon and oxygen and nitrogen and silicon and sulfur.
As soon as these elements were available, dirtball planets
began to form out of the clouds around most suns.
Universes formed solar systems the same way everywhere. Bode's
Law-the curious periodicity of the orbits of the planets. The
biggest planet was always in the Jupiter spot. Earth's spot turned
out to be a resonance with water. In every star system, a water
planet formed at the distance where it could, given the heat of the
sun. Always it was a double planet, and the tides of the close
large moon kept the waters churned and sloshing.
The third stone from the sun was always awash in water and the
tidal and heliomagnetic churnings mixed and separated various kinds
There are only a few ways for quarks to fall together into
hydrogen atoms. Hydrogens can combine to form other elements, but
they were the same elements everywhere. There are only about a
hundred kinds that could stay together long enough to look at.
Well you rub these elements around with running water for a
few billion years and they organize themselves into DNA. They can't
help it, any more than a hydrogen atom can help it when it mixes
with another hydrogen and changes to helium. That's the starting
point. Helium is the building block for life chemicals. Three
heliums make one carbon.
Every solar system had pretty much the same history. Every
life world evolved some kind of dinosaur while probing the land
masses. The designing and launching of land mass probes was an
absorbing hobby for life, and then the comets and asteroids wiped
things clean and it was always the smaller, cannier designs that
survived. The comets smashed things up every few million years.
Just as there's only one way to put a solar system together,
there's only one kind of DNA pattern that will bring about the
specialized organ, the human brain, that has been developed to
transmit and receive information from other consciousnesses, and to
store data. The problem with consciousness is that you need a
memory, and memory can be stored only in a physical system. A
consciousness can access and use memory, but only if the hardware
Although a given DNA structure is unique in its own universe,
it is bound to occur in another universe sooner or later if you
have enough universes. Since there are infinite number of
universes, there are an infinite number of universes with identical
DNA structures. In each universe, after ten billion years there
were 10 trillion galaxies, each with 100 billion stars and 100
billion water planets.
A small percentage of solar systems didn't pan out, but of all
the solar systems in a given universe, 100,000,000,000,000,000,000
had planets just about like Earth. Somewhere in the high
quintillions. And as luck would have it, as life evolved on one of
those worlds, one of them developed exactly as had Earth. And
Cosmic Charlie was born again.
His life proceeded exactly as before and then there was a red
Porsche at the foot of the stairs and Lilla's dad was there with
that strange smile and he was holding out the car keys to Charlie.
Charlie was filled with a sense of deja vu. He started the car
and drove up San Marcos Pass, and once again skidded off the edge,
only this time he survived, paralyzed from the chest down.
He went through rehabilitation and learned to live in a
wheelchair. Two years later Charlie was visiting at a friend's
house and the friends were invited to a party, but it was on a non-
wheelchair-accesss boat, and Charlie couldn't go. By this time he
had a drinking problem. He stayed home to take care of the host's
dog and parakeets for a weekend. On Saturday night he opened a
liter of Stolichnya and sipped it as he poked around the house. He
opened a drawer and there was a big pistol, a .44 Magnum just like
the ones Dirty Harry used. He took out the big black steel thing,
it was as long as his forearm, and he took a long drink of vodka,
and he waved the gun around and pulled the trigger a few times and
it clicked, and on impulse he put it to his head and pulled the
trigger. Brains splattered on the wall, and Charlie's DNA awareness
plunged blindly ahead once again into the foamy chaos of the Big
A billion quadrillion years went by and another universe
evolved a copy of Charlie's DNA and it produced another copy of him
and the universe propelled him through exactly the same red Porsche
crash, and there he was with the pistol in his hand once again and
he put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger and the gun
clicked, and clicked, and clicked.
Then Charlie opened the gun and felt a sudden chill and his
stomach churned when he saw the dull brass of the single cartridge
in the cylinder, and the circular pit in the cartridge's primer
where the firing pin had struck. It was a dud.
If there are an infinite number of duplicates of you, your
consciousness won't notice the loss of an individual body or two.
If you pile your motorcycle into a tree and crush your head, a few
bodies out of the infinity might die, but all consciousness would
still exist. The consciousness would not be aware of the dead
bodies, no more than we are aware of the fingernails and feces we
shed each day.
There were endless identical universes in which his every
alternative choice was lived. His DNA structure could be developed
during a 100,000 year window: from the start of the Cro-Magnon era
until humans learn how to program the DNA themselves, after which
the baton of consciousness is carried forward by silicon and teflon
creatures and mankind joins the dinosaurs.
Sometimes the DNA was identical but the society was primitive:
when Charlie was born into a Stone Age family, he rarely lived
longer than a few days, due to a low Apgar rating and a lack of
sophisticated medical attention. If he did manage to survive
infancy he almost always died in childhood due to clumsiness.
True human consciousness doesn't emerge until the connection
between the right brain and the left brain, the corpus callosum,
knits together around age 10; Charlie's DNA was rarely able to get
a complete, fully developed brain into existence, let alone a
sexually mature body.
Each time Charlie's DNA replayed in a new universe, the events
of his life were depressingly similar. Even with the best foods and
nutrients available, his DNA structure was unable to build a
strong, dextrous body, and he fumbled through life after life with
the same clumsy embarrassments scarring his emotional development.
Not only was Charlie's DNA a less-than-perfect plan,
susceptible to early disease and death, but also the greatest
number of human births takes place in the last millennium of human
existence. The likely places for Cosmic Charlie's DNA to occur and
survive turned out to be societies that had equalled the medical
advances of the mid-20th century. That was the only place where
Charlie's DNA came to full adolescent bloom. And each time he drove
the new red Porsche off the cliff.
So far, in how many billions of iterations, he had yet to
live long enough to reproduce. He was always the one asleep in the
back of the car coming home from the prom when the drunken driver
piled into the parked road grader. He was always the one drowned in
two feet of water during the Cub Scout canoe trip.
There were untold billions of universes where Charlie drove
drunkenly onto the freeway in the wrong direction and suddenly
realized it just as the oncoming car smashed the world into
oblivion, and a quintillion years went by and another Charlie woke
at home in his own bed with a terrible hangover and he didn't
remember the crash. In his universe he'd gone home by a different
route when a traffic light turned red instead of green as he
approached the intersection. He sat at the red light and passed out
instead of going onto the freeway, and woke at 5am slumped over the
wheel, head aching, back stiff, the motor still running and the gas
gauge on E. He was still drunk but he drove safely home and flopped
into bed and never even remembered that he'd passed out. He never
did figure out where the gas went.
In all the universes there wasn't a Cosmic Charlie who made it
to his 24th birthday. But the Charlies kept on relentlessly coming
It was true that the assemblage of his particular pattern of
DNA was unlikely; but every few quintillion universes or so, it
would pop up again. Not always the same situation; sometimes the
DNA structure showed up in days of Wyatt Earp and Jesse James of
the old West, and sometimes the DNA structure was born on the moon,
but all seemed to come to grips with the universe in the same
Consider a cube one light year on a side. Now set off a
flashbulb inside it once every hundred billion years. Now imagine a
being so long-lived, and so slow, that it perceived the flashes as
a continuous glow. That's what Charlie was: a collection of
miniature flashes of DNA existence, one per universe, that pile up
until they appear to be a continuous beam of light.
To the pervasive consciousness of the universe, Cosmic Charlie
is a window, a hardware assemblage. The assemblage blinks on every
few billion years, and to the viewing consciousness it is as though
the time gap did not exist.
As trillions to the trillionth power of universes blinked in
and out of existence, a resonance built up across a timeless
dimension, and when the number of individuals with the Cosmic
Charlie DNA reached the high quintillions, the resonance linked
with itself into a higher consciousness, aware of itself in the
same way that the pubescent brain becomes aware of itself when the
corpus callosum is finished and the time differential between the
two lobes become the "now" that our consciousness resides in.
UltraCharlie became more and more aware of the huge network of
his being, but he couldn't control the individual cells well enough
to discuss it or cause a change in the life-pattern. Might as well
ask a neuron to explain a thought that has passed through it as a
chemical pulse. He still kept driving that red Porsche over the
Charlie rode through googolplexes of universes from big bang
back to coalescence, and it seemed that the bangs were happening
faster and faster, subjectively, while in his childhood the orbit
of one planet around a sun was nearly infinite. His consciousness
was limited to that of the particular body he grew in, and his
consciousness merged only with others of his exact DNA structure.
But as his experience grew, the infinity of other individuals
with his DNA structure became apparent. The more he learned, the
further away his particular childhood seemed. Now he resonated with
the consciousness of all the members of his genetic structure-the
old man and the young boy, the gnarled and maimed ones, and the
ones hopelessly mired in pretechnological poverty.
And suddenly he was walking down the steps toward the red
Porsche, and this time when Lilla's dad gave him the keys, he
handed them to Lilla, and she drove flawlessly over the mountain to
the reception. A year later Cosmic Charlie, Jr, was born, and then
the infinite flicker of DNA combinations began again.
Except that this time, the super-consciousness gained contact
with subtler variations of the DNA cognates, rather than merely
with the exact-duplicate Charlies. Charlie's cross-universal
consciousness reverberated along with the DNA of his offspring,
too, and Charlie moved up a notch on the Karmic wheel.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank