MidReal Story

Parallel Realms: Secrets of the Universal Time Administration

Scenario: The story of a mysterious Universal Time Administration has spawned many people and things in parallel universes
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The story of a mysterious Universal Time Administration has spawned many people and things in parallel universes
I'm Alice Johnson.
I'm a time traveler.
I'm currently on the run from the Universal Time Administration.
To be clear it's not that I don't want to work for them, it's just that they're kind of trying to kill me now.
I mean, okay, maybe they have a point.
I did just break the UTA and unravel the very fabric of time and space.
But it's not like I did it on purpose!
Let me back up a little bit.
I was working with my partner Jack Thompson on a routine investigation of a phenomenon that was spiking on the UTA's radar.
We were on the lookout for any anomalies, and let me tell you, this one was definitely an anomaly.
At first we thought it was just a glitch in the UTA system, but then we found out that no, it was actually a huge malfunction that was affecting the balance of parallel universes themselves.
And what malfunctioned, you ask?
Oh, nothing much.
Just the code that keeps people and things from spewing out of one universe and into another.
The code that makes time travel possible in the first place.
We found out that someone deliberately turned off those safeguards, so that people and things could start spawning all over the place.
Every time they went back in time to try to fix it, the problem got worse, because there were just more people and things spawning everywhere!
It took us a while to figure this out though.
Because the UTA itself is actually a huge series of failsafes designed to prevent parallel universes from crashing into each other and causing chaos.
Or at least, that's what we thought it was for at first.
Now we're not so sure.
Because some very shady people have been using it to do very shady things.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
So there we were, standing in front of the computer monitor at UTA headquarters, looking at a bunch of blinking red lights and going, "Well, crap."
"I think I broke it," I said sheepishly.
Jack gave me an incredulous look.
"You think?"
It was kind of hard to miss the fact that we had about a hundred million more people than we were supposed to have. And that was just counting the ones who lived on Earth! We hadn't even begun to tabulate all the other people who had started spawning out of thin air across the universe.
The UTA officials who had been monitoring our progress stood around us, looking at each other like they had no idea what to do next.
Because they didn't.
Nobody had ever seen anything like this before.
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I remember Jack letting out a long, slow breath.
And then he said something that would later turn out to be extremely ironic.
"How hard could it be to fix?"
"How hard could it be to fix?"I asked.
Jack and I had been poring over the UTA diagnostic logs for hours and hours.
My head was starting to spin with all the numbers.
"It's a lot harder than I thought it would be," Jack said.
I still couldn't believe it was really happening.
It was like something out of a bad sci-fi movie.
No one ever thinks they're going to break the UTA.
It's supposed to be impossible.
But as we stood there in front of those blinking red lights, I realized something terrible had gone wrong.
And it was up to us to fix it.
At least, Jack had said it was up to us to fix it.
I wasn't so sure about that.
"Hey," I said.
"This isn't our fault."
Jack turned toward me with a disbelieving look on his face.
"Of course it is," he said.
"We were the ones who let them in."
He had a point.
I was the one who had dug up the log files, and Jack had been the one to stumble across the whole mess in the first place.
We had been investigating a strange signal emanating from the heart of the UTA system, and we had come across something that looked very much like a glitch.
At first, we thought it was just the UTA doing its job, maintaining balance among parallel universes.
After all, that was what it was designed to do.
It was supposed to be an impenetrable fortress that stood guard at the edge of time and space, keeping the universes from breaking down and crashing into each other.
It was supposed to be invincible.
So you can imagine our surprise when we found out what was really going on.
It turned out that someone had deliberately inserted a glitch into the UTA system.
This glitch allowed entities to create and manipulate universes at will, using a simple set of commands.
These commands allowed them to make copies of themselves and their creations, and then spawn those copies into different universes.
It was an incredibly powerful ability, and it was being used for incredibly nefarious purposes.
As we dug deeper, we realized that the malfunction wasn't just a random error in the code.
It was an act of sabotage.
Someone had deliberately inserted a piece of code into the UTA system, and then turned it off, for the express purpose of spawning chaos and disorder across the universes.
And as we stood there in front of the computer monitor, trying to figure out what to do next, someone else came striding into the room.
"Jack, Alice," the voice said.
"I must say, I'm disappointed in you two."
It was Emily White, one of our colleagues at the UTA.
She had been working on the same anomaly as us, and she had been in the middle of her own investigation when the malfunction occurred.
That was why she hadn't been there with us when everything went wrong.
"I thought I told you not to touch anything," she said.
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"I'm sorry, Emily," I said.
"We didn't have much of a choice.
The system is malfunctioning at an alarming rate, and we need to fix it before things get any worse."
"Too late for that," Emily said grimly.
"We've already spawned nine copies of ourselves into nine different universes.And the glitch is getting worse by the minute.
If we don't do something now, we're going to lose control of the entire system."
"I know," I said.
"That's why we need to find out who's behind this."
"I'm afraid that won't be possible," Emily said.
"Why not?" Jack asked.
"Because the glitch is blocking our access to the mainframe," Emily said.
"It's like someone has put up a firewall around the entire system, and we can't get through."
"I know," I said, looking over at Jack.
"Which means we need to go in there and fix it ourselves."
"Are you sure about that?" Jack asked.
"We could end up making things worse."
"I know," I said grimly.
"But we don't have much of a choice, do we?"
"No," Jack admitted.
"We don't."
The three of us spent the next few hours trying to fix the glitch, but no matter what we did, the system just kept spawning more and more copies of ourselves into more and more universes.
It was like trying to put out a fire with gasoline, and we were starting to get desperate.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, we managed to get the system back under control, and we thought our troubles were over.
But then something strange happened.
The glitch came back, even stronger than before, and an army of copies started pouring out of the mainframe.
At first, we thought they were going to attack us, but then they stopped in their tracks and turned to face us.
And that was when we realized that they weren't copies at all.
They were us.
Or at least, they looked like us.
But there was something different about them, something cold and empty that sent shivers down our spines.
"Who are you?" I asked, trying to keep my voice steady.
The leader of the army stepped forward and smiled.
He was a tall man with blue eyes and a shock of blond hair, and he was wearing a long black coat that billowed around him like a cape.
"My name is Jack," he said.
"And I am The Watcher."
"The Watcher?" Jack repeated, his eyes widening in surprise.
"What are you doing here?"
The Watcher smiled again, but this time it wasn't a friendly smile.
It was a cold, cruel smile that sent shivers down our spines.
"I'm here to take control of the UTA," he said.
"To take control of everything."
"But why?" I asked.
"What do you want?"
The Watcher's smile turned into a sneer, and he took a step forward.
"Because I can," he said.
And before we could respond, he vanished into thin air, leaving us standing there in the control room, staring at each other in stunned silence.
"What just happened?" Jack asked finally.
"He hacked the system," Emily said grimly.
"He must have been the one who put that piece of code in there in the first place."
"But why?" I asked.
"Why would he do that?"
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"I don't know," Emily admitted.
"But we need to find out."
And with that, the three of us set off to track down The Watcher and stop him before it was too late.
We were in the middle of a routine briefing with our UTA superior, going over the latest mission reports, when we suddenly noticed something strange happening on the screens.
Every few seconds, a new version of one of the officers would appear, and then another, and then another, until there were dozens of them covering every monitor in the room.
"Sir, what's going on?"one of the officers asked, looking just as confused as we were.
"Why are there so many versions of me?"
The superior frowned and reached for his phone, but before he could call for help, all the screens went blank, and the room fell silent.
"We're not sure," I said.
"But we think it has something to do with the glitch."
"The glitch?"the officer asked.
"What glitch?"
"The one that's been spawning copies of us into different universes," Jack explained.
"Every time we try to fix the system, it just gets worse."
The officer stared at us in disbelief.
"You mean you two are responsible for this?For all those extra versions of myself running around?"
"We're not responsible for it," I said quickly.
"We're trying to fix it."
"Well, you're not doing a very good job,"the officer said indignantly.
"That's because we're not the ones who caused it," Jack said.
"We're the ones who are trying to stop it."
The officer scowled and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Well, you'd better hurry up and fix it," he said.
"Because I don't like the idea of there being other versions of myself out there.And neither do the higher-ups."
"We know," I said.
"And we're doing everything we can to stop it."
"Good," the officer said smugly.
"And when you do, make sure you let me know."
And with that, he turned and marched out of the room, leaving us standing there in stunned silence.
"Well, that was interesting," Jack said finally.
"Yeah," I agreed grimly.
"But at least he didn't try to arrest us this time."
"That's something," Jack said with a smile.
"But we still have a problem on our hands."
"Yeah," I said, looking over at the screens.
"They're back."
"And there are more of them this time," Jack added.
"Yeah," I said grimly.
"And they're not going away anytime soon."
For the past week or so, the UTA system had been malfunctioning at an alarming rate, and no matter what we did, we couldn't get it back under control.
It was like someone had put a virus in the mainframe, and no matter what we did, the system just kept spawning more and more copies of us into more and more universes.
At first, we thought it was just a computer glitch, but then we realized that it was something much worse.
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The UTA system had been compromised, and if we didn't do something about it soon, all hell was going to break loose.
After the officer left, Jack and I decided to take matters into our own hands.
We knew we weren't supposed to leave our post, but we were both too curious for our own good, and we couldn't resist taking a closer look at the glitch that had been plaguing us for so long.
So we snuck out of the control room and made our way through the labyrinthine corridors of UTA headquarters.
The building was enormous, and it was a veritable hive of activity as people from all over the multiverse came and went, traveling between parallel universes on various missions and errands.
It was a fascinating place, and Jack and I had spent many hours wandering its halls, exploring its nooks and crannies, and getting into all sorts of trouble.
But this was the first time we had ever snuck out of our post without permission, and it was a little bit nerve-wracking, to be honest.
As we made our way through the hallways, we tried to act as inconspicuous as possible, so as not to attract any unwanted attention.
But it was hard not to gawk at all the amazing things we saw along the way.
There were transporters everywhere, zipping back and forth between universes at breakneck speed, and the walls were lined with screens displaying all sorts of weird and wonderful universes that we never even knew existed.
It was a little overwhelming, to be honest, and I couldn't help but wonder what it would be like to visit some of those places for myself.
But that was a question for another time.
Right now, the only thing I wanted to do was get to the control room and figure out what was going on with the UTA system.
And as luck would have it, that was where we were headed next.
When we finally arrived at the control room, the first thing we saw was the scowling face of the system operator, an old man who looked like he would rather be anywhere else.
"What are you doing here?"he demanded, glaring at us over his glasses.
"We're here to take a look at the UTA system," Jack said smoothly.
"We think we know what's causing the glitch, and we want to see if we can fix it."
The old man snorted derisively.
"And just how are you planning to do that?"he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"We don't need any more amateurs mucking around in our system."
"We're not amateurs," Jack said indignantly.
"We work for the UTA, just like you do.And we're not going to muck anything up."
"Just let us take a look," I said, trying to sound as persuasive as possible.
"We'll be in and out before you know it."
The old man scowled and crossed his arms over his chest.
"No way," he said firmly.
"I'm not letting you anywhere near my console."
"Come on," Jack pleaded, flashing him a charming smile.
"It'll only take a minute, and I promise we won't touch anything."
The old man hesitated for a moment, and then reluctantly stepped aside and motioned for us to enter the room.
"You'd better not," he grumbled, but Jack and I were already halfway inside, and he didn't have much of a choice but to let us go.
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We spent the next few minutes examining the control room's technology and logs, trying to figure out what had gone wrong with the UTA system.
It didn't take long to realize that someone had been remotely manipulating the system—a fact that the old man had somehow overlooked during his own investigation.
We quickly traced the signal back to a hidden terminal that had been set up in a remote location far from UTA headquarters.
That terminal had been designed to send a signal to UTA headquarters, which authorized duplicates to be spawned across parallel universes.
And that was how all those people and things had appeared out of thin air.
But why would someone want to do something like that?
What could they possibly have to gain from creating all those duplicates?
And more importantly, how had they managed to pull it off without anyone noticing?
There were so many questions, and no easy answers.
But we weren't about to let that stop us.
We were going to get to the bottom of this, no matter what it took.
After examining the logs, we found that there was a signal coming from somewhere inside UTA headquarters that was being sent to the remote terminal.
And that meant that our enemy was closer than we thought.
But before we could figure out exactly where that signal was coming from, something happened.
An alarm suddenly started blaring in the control room, and both Jack and I jumped back in shock.
"What's going on?"Jack asked in a panic.
"Someone is trying to breach our security," the system operator snapped as he frantically typed something into his console.
We watched in horror as one of the terminals exploded in a shower of sparks and flames, and then everything went white.
The next thing I knew, I was lying on my back on the floor of what looked like a dimly lit chamber, surrounded by armed guards who were aiming their guns at us menacingly.
I groaned and put my hands up in surrender, hoping that they would take pity on us and not shoot us on sight.
"You can put your hands down," a deep voice said from somewhere behind us.
"We're not going to kill you—at least not yet."
I turned around and saw a man dressed in black standing at the other end of the room, watching us with an inscrutable expression on his face.
He was tall and muscular with short-cropped black hair and piercing blue eyes that seemed to see right through me.
There was something about him that made my skin crawl, and I couldn't help but wonder if he was responsible for everything that had happened so far.
The man smirked and stepped forward, his eyes gleaming with malicious amusement.
"My name is The Watcher," he said, his voice dripping with condescension.
"And I'm the one who's been pulling all the strings this whole time."
I felt my blood run cold at the sound of his name, and my heart sank like a stone in my chest.
This was bad—really, really bad.
The Watcher was an ancient being with the power to observe and manipulate across timelines, and it was said that he had been around since the beginning of time.
If he was involved in all of this, then there was no telling what he might be capable of.
But Jack wasn't so easily intimidated.
"What do you want?"he demanded, glaring at The Watcher with unconcealed hostility.
"Why are you doing this?"
"I'm doing this because it's fun," The Watcher said with a shrug.
"I've been watching you for a while now, and I have to say, you're not nearly as boring as I thought you'd be.
You've got spunk, kid.
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I could feel the color rising in my cheeks, and I resisted the urge to slap him across the face for calling me "kid."
"Of course, fun is all well and good, but sometimes a guy's got to make a living," The Watcher continued with a sly smile.
"And let's face it, this little operation of yours is cutting into my profits."
"What does that have to do with anything?"Jack asked, frowning in confusion.
"Why do you care about money?You're practically a god—you could do anything you wanted to."
"That's true," The Watcher said with a nod.
"But money makes the world go 'round, and even gods have to eat."
He turned to one of the guards and nodded his head, and the guard stepped forward and handed him a small black device that looked like some sort of remote control.
The Watcher flipped a switch on the device and pointed it at the console in the middle of the room, and we watched in horror as the screen flickered to life and we saw the system operator frantically typing something into his console on the other side of the glass.
"I told you that I could control reality," The Watcher said with a smirk.
"But don't take my word for it—see for yourself."
He turned to Jack and me and gestured towards the console, and we watched in horror as the system operator suddenly froze in place and then collapsed on the floor, completely motionless.
"No!"I screamed, rushing forward and banging on the glass with my fists.
I could see that he was still breathing, but he was completely unresponsive, as if he had been put into some sort of trance or stasis.
"You son of a bitch!
What did you do to him?"
"Relax, he's just taking a little nap," The Watcher said with a chuckle.
"But if you want him to wake up, all you have to do is ask nicely."
"Like hell we will," Jack growled, clenching his fists at his sides.
"I'm not going to beg you for anything, you bastard!"
The Watcher's eyes narrowed, and I could see that he was getting angry.
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"Fine, have it your way," he said, pointing the remote at the console once again.
He pressed another button, and the console beeped twice and then went dark, and I knew that something bad was about to happen.
"Goodbye, my dear friends," The Watcher said with a mocking smile.
"It's been fun, but I'm afraid our time together is up."
And then, in the blink of an eye, everything went to hell.
I could hear the guards shouting and screaming all around us, and I could feel the heat and pressure building up in the room like we were about to be consumed by an explosion.
I turned to Jack and saw that he was watching The Watcher with grim determination, and I could tell that he had no intention of backing down.
I took a deep breath and nodded my head, and then I turned to the system operator and made my move.
I reached out and grabbed his hand, and then I closed my eyes and concentrated with all my might, trying to repair the damage that had been done to the console so that we could send a signal back to The Watcher's terminal and shut him down for good.
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That's when I discovered something amazing—I realized that there were two different sets of controls on the console, and that one of them was connected directly to the printer in the next room, which meant that we could use it to spawn people and things across parallel universes just like The Watcher was doing, only without all the bugs and glitches that were threatening to destroy the system.
I was so excited by this discovery that I reached out and grabbed the controls so that I could make a few adjustments, and then I hurried over to the printer in the next room so that I could press the button and print something out.
Unfortunately, my excitement was short-lived—I quickly discovered that the printer was still producing pages with strange serial numbers on them, which meant that the bugs and glitches were still present in the system, and that it would be impossible for us to use it in its current state.
That's when I realized something else that was even more amazing—I realized that the UTA system had a history file, and that we could use it to learn more about its origins and purpose.
I was so excited by this discovery that I ran back over to Jack so that I could show him all the files that were stored on his screen.
"Wow," Jack said as he scanned through all the different files on his screen, looking for any information that might help us solve the mystery of the UTA system.
"I never thought we'd find anything like this when we started our investigation—did you?"
"No," I admitted with a frown as I watched him work.
I was still having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that our reality could be nothing more than a simulation, and the thought made me feel more than a little uncomfortable, which was strange considering how much time I'd spent traveling through parallel universes with Jack, but then again, I'd never really stopped to consider the consequences of our actions until now, when we were faced with a reality that seemed to be more fragile and unstable than anything we'd ever experienced before.
As Jack and I continued to work, we quickly discovered that the UTA system was created by humans rather than gods or higher beings, which only raised more questions than answers about its origins and purpose.
Was it created by the humans in our universe, or was it created by humans from a parallel universe?
And if it was created by humans from a parallel universe, then why would they create such a system, and what did they hope to achieve by doing so?
"Maybe they're not so different from us after all," Jack suggested optimistically as he scanned through all the different files on his screen, looking for any information that might help us solve the mystery of the UTA system.
"I mean, sure, they might be a little bit more advanced than us—but that doesn't mean they're all bad—right?"
"I'm not so sure about that," I admitted with a frown as I watched him work.
"If there's one thing I've learned over the years, it's that people are people no matter where you go—and that most of them are only interested in themselves and their own well-being."
"Hey," Jack said defensively as he turned to face me so that he could look me in the eye.
"You don't really believe that, do you?"
"I'm not sure," I admitted with a shrug as I turned away from him so that he wouldn't see the look of guilt on my face.
"But then again, what do you expect from a species whose only purpose is to consume and reproduce in order to ensure their own survival?"
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