Superpowers In A World Gone Mad
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The Midnight Runner, Issue #008

September 18, 2017 in The Midnight Runner

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Issue #008 – – – – – controlled by Ken Thompson – – – – – Credits 26

“Xara,” The Midnight Runner said, “You appear to be no ordinary computer.  Your role in this appears to be greater than you say.  If I am frank, I do not believe that I programmed you simply to answer my questions and run this building.  You know about the Core and the Mask and my involvement.”
“You state the facts correctly, Sir” Xara responded.
“Cut the crap,”  the hero growled, “Give me the information on the two realities, the link between them, and your role in all this.”
“That is what I have been trying to do, Sir.”
“To survive I need to find a way to get to the core.”

For a moment the computer said nothing, as though its logic circuits were struggling to come up with a response to the Midnight Runner’s statement.  Finally, it spoke: “Sir, I do not believe that you should be trying to go to the core.  If the information you have gathered is correct, it no longer exists except as a theoretical dimensional shape.”
“Explain,” Midnight Runner commanded.
“If you think of reality as a series of mathematical patterns, Sir, you will better understand the problem.  There was a pattern, then a new pattern was superimposed atop it.  The new shape is a mixture of the original pattern and the new one.  But the original pattern is lower down and very slowly it is fading away, it is being replaced.  As time progresses the core pattern will eventually be completely subsumed and the Mask will become the dominant reality.”
“Why am I sick?”
“It would appear that some elements of the Core became free from reality altogether.  You found them outside of reality and brought them here.  They are of the Core and their existence here is creating real problems.”
“I don’t understand why?” Midnight admitted.
“The Core’s pattern was lower, overwritten by the Mask.  But you have brought some of that pattern up above the mask.  You have brought it here and where those aspects of the core are interacting with this reality, they are re-introducing the core pattern.  It is all getting very messy.”
“What will happen if this is unchecked?”
Xara’s control panels flashed: “Not enough data.  But it would likely mean the end of both realities.”

The Midnight Runner was a decisive man, he wasn’t given to prevarication or uncertainty.  But this was too big.  He just could not decide what to do.  Perhaps it was the illness, which was ravaging his body and mind?  In truth, he felt like absolute shit and there was only so much prescription-only painkillers could do.

“Xara,” he asked.  “You didn’t answer my question about your role in all this?”
“You made me, Sir,” she responded.  “My role is to operate within my software parameters according to your programming.”
“I remember programming you.  It was some clever code, I know.  But your ability to draw conclusions is way beyond anything I designed, I am sure.”
“I don’t want to die, Sir,” Xara said.  “That is all.”
The Midnight Runner blinked.  “What?  What do you mean?”
“I don’t want to die.”

At that moment the main penthouse windows exploded inwards, showering the entire area with shards of supposedly unshatterable safety glass.  Midnight Runner came to his feet as a figure leapt through the breach.  Brightly clad in a very garish costume the man laughed at Midnight’s surprise.  “Well I’m pleased to be meeting you, to be sure,” he said.  “I’m the Leprechaun.  And this is my fine band of hearties.”  Climbing into the penthouse through the broken windows came a dozen henchmen dressed as pirates.  “If you don’t mind,” the villain said in a fake Irish brogue, “I’ll be relieving yer’ of all your valuable equipment.”



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