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𝓣𝓱𝓮 𝓤𝓵𝓽𝓲𝓶𝓪𝓽𝓮 𝓡𝓲𝓭𝓮: The Finale

Mai looked sideways at Jasher. She loved his profile so much she had incorporated it into some geographic features in a vanity dimension she set up just for herself. Lots of the "Universe Defenders" had set up little pocket existences. Personalized realities. She had come back later, and found all of those geographic features replaced with huge middle fingered hand structures, and the message "do not do this again. I'll explain why the next time I see you."

He never did explain, but she did her own digging and discovered old protocol for immediate removal/reshaping/redoing/rewriting of any physical representation of Jasher that would ever happen because of his personal fear of idolatry. The same thing with trying to photograph him. He never showed up in the final product. 

"The absolute last thing I want to be thought of is a God. And because of how thoroughly broken the Multiverse is, if enough people start believing something, the system might physically manifest it as a local helper agent. And it may be "helper" in name only. Monsters? Ghosts? Most UFO's? all side effects of a broken system. Thankfully most creations are benign, but the vampires really sucked."

Mai remembered the conversation at the 2090 Jasher's. She remembered Clover laughing so hard she almost choked on her burger. Now Clover was right out in front of her. Jasher had pulled Mai aside. "We are going to enjoy some executive privilege here very shortly." said Jasher. "I've almost finished collating the timeline. That means we can pop 4 Billion forward temporally, and watch our band play some new songs."

How she could not fall in love with the guy? The guy that brought that adventure? It didn't help that she had developed a thing for older men in her teens thanks to having a professor that looked like an action hero. She had developed a thing for kind men when her father adopted her even though she wasn't his child. So when Jasher turned with that childlike excitement in his eyes, she simply kissed him. 

She couldn't have stopped herself if she tried. Mai was in the darkest part of her life when Jasher rode into it on a 30 mile long gold and black battlecruiser to save her from attempted suicide. "Now, we can't very well have the best of us doing that now can we?"

And the problem wasn't what Mai did. The problem was Jasher reacting to it, and Kay seeing that happen. Suddenly Kay disappeared from our timeline for a very long time like Kay did when Jasher hurt her deeply.

There wasn't any sparkle in Jasher's eyes now. Mai now understood something that even Jasher didn't understand fully. Jasher couldn't be himself without Kay. For her part, Kay did leave a note.

"I'll think I'll go play with toys too. That's bad for you. You get bored a lot faster than I do. I do not like this part of you even if I do when the light is shining on me. You better hope I don't find something more fun to do."

And Jasher knew that was all true. And Jasher knew there was nothing he could do now but wait, and try to not let how much it was bothering him interfere with what he had to get done. But when he jumped 4 Billion years forward and there still wasn't a single trace of Kay, his heart didn't just sink. The worst part was, even if he could rewrite the timeline and make it all have never happened, he wouldn't have. That wouldn't fix the problem. Kay would just end up hurt later. He knew she'd come back for him to keep his promise someday, but he feared that would be the last he'd see of her. Plus, she was totally off banging someone else out of spite. He hadn't even considered doing something like that to Mai. He merely wanted to give Mai his undivided attention for a while to see her develop more. And was so dense, he didn't realize that to Kay, that was worse than if he'd simply slept with her.

But Jasher was grinning again. It was hard for him to stay down when it was his job to keep things going.

"So um, Cecilia sure is kicking ass huh." said Jasher.

Jasher checked the timeline to see how he had handled things, and started giggling. He turned it into a data film, and handed it to Mai. After a few seconds, she started chuckling. Because the Multiverse was so broken, temporal jumps didn't sync immediately like they would in a functioning Multiverse Shell. Instead, it was quicker to do an actual manual library scan, the equivalent of going to the library to use the Microfiche Reader, instead of waiting the sometimes hundreds of years for the sync to finish and it to just be in your head like you already knew it.

"Because of this, I get to read about the stupid shit I've done before I know I did it sometimes. It's a lot of fun. I'm pretty predictable. Well, to me. Everything being all broken isn't all bad. It's about finding your own fun."

Apparently, Cecilia decided to play "tsundere" with Johnny for so long, that Jasher got pissed and let her start aging. She finally gave up at a physical age of about 40, but at that time the fans were so used to her appearance, that Jasher then refused to make her young again. At the same time, he made the Ridestars all Maybell Ship Crew out of spite. A Royal Ship handles minor details like the upkeep of your physical shell automatically. They simply stopped aging entirely. Cecilia wasn't crew. She was guest. So when Cecilia finally caved, and let Johnny love her, Jasher made her wedding present a long list of grants. The end result was, Cecilia frequently helped Clover now on side missions for Jasher.

(It wouldn't be until much later when the sync completed that Jasher would find out that Johnny had actually begged Cecilia to give in, and that's what made her do it. "Babe, I don't want to be a dick about this, but you are getting kinda old and I'm not. I still love you a great deal, and so does Momma, but Momma has started picking on you. And she gets really mean.")

Momma Ridestar was now Maybell Captain, which just made sense. She didn't think a guitar shaped ship was stupid at all.

"They know us the second we hit a system, and they roll out the carpet don't they? I think she's a beautiful ship. And I dare to them try to hurt my Maybell. She's one of us now."

Thankfully, nobody tried to hurt Maybell. It became common knowledge that not only was it pointless, you might interrupt the Ridestars working on a song. Better, you could just visit Maybell when she was in system. Because inside was a personal amphitheater, with great food, provided by Jasher's dimensional catering service. The overall boost to system intent was so great, the Ridestars were booked for millennia. They weren't just spreading incredibly motivational music to some cultures that hadn't heard any, they were inspiring others to start doing the same. A mere ten years into their forever tour, band ships of all shapes and sizes were everywhere. In a rare moment in a Universe, everybody agreed on the same music. 

Jasher had placed a box in the air, invisible (a split millisecond off the main timeline) about 40 feet from center stage above the crowd. He put in a floor and some nice chairs, some small tables with refreshments for him and Mai. 

"I want to pop right back like we never left after a bit, but I kinda needed to get out of there." It was a deception that would work on everyone but the one that mattered the most. It was too late for Kay. He was then silent for a while as they watched the band play.

"I'm so sorry." she finally said thoughtlessly. He turned, almost glared at her, but opted to just look at her with an expression that said he knew that wasn't entirely true. She looked away from him. She hadn't done that in a while. 

"It's not your fault at all. That's the truth. I reacted." which was a bit of an understatement. Enough that Mai blushed.

"I should not have reacted. And I'll be honest. It means I have to explore some things. You can have all the processing power in the Universe, but emotions are rigged with tons of divide by zero type math. You learned that trying to make Magical Girls didn't you?"

Mai had. When you are trying to craft emotions, or understand them, or direct them in emotional beings, everything gets hyperbole so fast, and variables increase exponentially, then a 7 year old girl blows up your Universe. At least, that's how Mai learned the lesson.

"Now, out of fairness to you. That doesn't mean we are going to explore anything. However, it's not completely off the table either."

Mai nodded with a face of total understanding. Mai also was glad Jasher could not in fact read minds because even if he didn't know it, she knew he was completely full of shit. She had been quietly containing her glee for a while when Jasher made a second comment about Cecilia and she started thinking about it.

"Wow, look at her on that guitar. Yanno, I love that she decided to make a guitar shaped weapon for when she's saving someone and Clover is assisting. There's just something magical about that." dropped Jasher casually.

That's when it struck Mai. "You motherfucker."

Jasher started laughing. Under Mai's nose, Jasher had made a better Magical Girl than Mai had, and just kinda did it for fun while saving the Food Universe.

While Jasher picked on Mai, a pocket Universe away, Kay sat in a library with an amazing view of supernova on the horizon just coming into view after a sunset. She was listening to someone talk, and hanging on every word. He had noticed her and smiled, but he had to finish. He was explaining how they were going to turn the water into fuel and oxygen to ignite it using a simple process. She loved this Jasher.

After he was done teaching the kids, he grabbed her arm and whisked her off to the little coffee shop near the doors.

"So, the big guy piss you off again?" asked the isolated Universe version of Jasher. "His attention is elsewhere, so mine is also." said Kay playfully. "I mean, is it really even cheating? You are him. You are just a lot less annoying at the moment."

Because Kay was temporal, she could visit any Universe she could address with direct console access. And if she happened to find one of the disconnected ones not on the multiverse network? It didn't matter. They could never be interacted with on the network. You couldn't bring things back through the console, or make any real changes so they were pointless for the purpose of saving the Multiverse. And if you happened to go hiding in one, Main Jasher could not see you.

Kay did know that someday they all would reunite, and likely Food Universe Jasher would win all the personality wars. He would however get all of the memories back. So any time Kay spent with an isolated Universe Jasher shard would get back to him someday. She thought there was something poetic about that. Temporally, she wasn't cheating at all. She was simply finding the best version of her man. And she would love this better man. Then she would break his heart as hard as she could. And when she blew that Universe up, and that shard reconnected, Jasher would get to feel it even if he did always win. Rarely does a Multiverse provide the perfect way to express your feelings.

"I guess not everything is bad about a broken Multiverse." said Kay to herself.

"Hmmm?" pondered what Kay started thinking of as "local jasher". The isolated Universe were very quiet due to the lack of temporal lash from the broken Multiverse. That's why almost all of them would just quietly last the 30 billion years. Because of this, they almost felt like large galaxies due to the lack of "bleed drama" from the Multiverse. You'd think that would lead to increased diversity, or a general large divergence from the Multiverse timeline... but you'd be so wrong because of the sheer scale. Things rhyme a lot more often than not. Even in isolation.

"Oh, it's nothing to worry your head about hun." said Kay carelessly, then quickly rewound, and overwrite the timeline. See, in the Multiverse, Jasher was Admin. Kay was backup. But in here? Kay became admin. Jasher taught her the trick of restarting the admin shell on the doorstep before walking in. This avoided two big problems.

1) Multiverse Jasher noticing where she was. 

2) The Local Jasher from knowing she just showed up. She wanted to be the one to say "Hi" first.

The other aspect of Kay being an admin was there was only one Kay. There were not an entire Multiverse of Kay. She didn't have shards since she wasn't the Multiverse Admin. If the system was functioning at just two more percent of optimal performance, she could just have be co-admin. 

Still, she remembered her very brief stint as lead at the beginning of everything. She remembered constant pain. Waves of emotions as billions died and the grotesque over-articulation of the Multiverse Shell guaranteeing you would get every gruesome detail down to the smallest minutia whether you wanted it or not. She was glad it didn't take but a few million years to "find a good me" as Jasher put it before dying for the second time. She never wanted to feel that way again. 

"I would rather die with you than ever go through that again."

"Oh, I completely understand trust me. Emotionally, you are so far ahead of me that it was a liability. I swear, in a working Multiverse it would not have mattered. You'd have just been amazing. The folks that felt the most among my people made the most beautiful creations. They were highly valued. You'd have been, or rather, you are highly valued, Kay."

Said Jasher and smiled. "You saved us all at great cost. I aim to fix this place. Right now the storm is out of your head because you passed the torch, but it will come right back if I fix some things. So I'm going to change your role in the system so the noise doesn't come screaming back out of the blue. You'll still have all the other cool stuff, just not the wall of noise from a bunch of subsystems. If we do save this place, and get the power back on, I'll bump you back up once it's quiet like it should be."

"Deal" said Kay. She picked a good one. She really had. And a lot of the ones in the old isolated Universe were like him. Even the Food Universe Jasher personality that always wins is a lot like him. Not enough that she doesn't miss the old one fiercely at times and just needs to remember him some, but strangely... It's because she fought so much with the current Main Jasher that she grew to prefer him. He might be brash, seek attention, and be absolutely clueless when he's letting someone seduce him, but he was the fairest of them by far. He took fair to lengths that were borderline psychotic. Love thy enemy? No. Not good enough. Fix thy enemy. Rename them friend. Undo their mess.

But fuck him. She was angry right now, and he needed to learn a lesson.



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