He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his time machine. The cork flew through it to the previous month and knocked him cold. He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his universe machine. The cork flew through it to the previous universe and knocked him cold. He opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his improbability machine. The cork flew through it to the previous probability and became a bistro and fell on him, and that was that. And in another time, in another universe, improbable as it was, he or someone just like him opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate the success of his eventuality machine, but this time the cork didn’t fly anywhere, and he sat quietly and drank, wondering why he was suddenly feeling disappointed.
We’ve never visited nor shall we visit your planet. We won’t emit any radiation, gravity, time or space signals in your direction. We will not present ourselves to you, nor shall we invade you, in any sense of that word. But the possibility of our existence is already planted deep in your minds. And that, you unlucky ones, is the real invasion.
One morning, when a dead man woke from troubled dreams, he found itself transformed in his bed into a horrible vermin. He lay on his armor-like back, wishing he was dead, and then it occurred to him that this was, in fact, the case. He could remember the excruciating pain, the illusion of a white light at the end of an endless tunnel, the feeling of his mind shutting down, the certain knowledge that this was the end, followed by the swift separation of his head from his body by a giant bug-like monster which suddenly materialized by his bed, and then the mounting of said head on top of a ten foot dirty brown lump surrounded by ridiculously small, twitching legs.
Everything fits perfectly, he though. I can go on with my life now.
“This spacecraft doesn’t have enough brainpower to run both of us,” Notrab said.
“Sure it does,” I said. “It runs us now!”
“Yeah,” he said, “right now we’re in orbit around the planet, which means it’s running nothing but us. But in order to land, it’ll need its full capacity. Which leaves no room for you.”
“I don’t take much,” I said. “I’m fairly simple.”
“Oh, I know that,” Notrab said. “You should be really stupid, sneaking on to an invasion pod like that.”
“I thought it’d be fun!”
“I rest my case.”
“Fine,” I said, “so why not store me on a memory chip, then get me back online after we’ve landed?”
“I don’t carry memory chips,” Notrab said. “Sorry, kid.”
And that dialogue is everything that remained of the copy of myself which I smuggled into the Earth invasion fleet.
“I feel much safer since I swallowed that recording machine,” she said.
“I thought that one would feel less secure, knowing that each step of one’s life is recorded and can be made public,” I said.
“How old fashioned,” she said, and I couldn’t miss the patronizing note in her voice. “I like being public. Everybody likes it.”
“I don’t like it.”
“But that’s not the best part about it,” she said. “I like being able to go over my actions over and over again, make sure that everything’s right, undo anything which isn’t.”
“If you’re so busy fixing your recording,” I said, “when do you have time to do anything new?”
She stared at me. I didn’t like the look in her eyes one bit.
“This is obviously a mistake,” she said at last, then sub-vocalized a command which undid our meeting.
I would like to tell you who she was, and even more than that – who I am, but I can’t. I’m cut out. The only thing I know is that dialogue of our short interview, and the text you’re reading right now. Other than that, I have no memory or context. When this final line of text will be read, I will, being this text and nothing more, temporarily or eternally, cease to exist.