Jhamed remembered a time when Manfred had given him this talk. They had learned much more since then, of course. They had gone on a Quest for Knowledge with their fledgling Hero, Simon Redhead. They had experienced joy and sorrow and tasted success and failure. Now Manfred and Simon were both lost; somewhere in the Cosmos. Manfred was presumably with the lost city of Elannort. Simon was who knew where. Simon’s son, Alexander, had been taken by the Great Old Ones, taken back in time to use his special genes to seed humanity. Simon’s wife, Julie, the source of half of those genes, had curled up and died, leaving their baby daughter alone.
Never alone, thought Jhamed, not while he still lived.
Jhamed looked at the fiery young woman who sat beside him. Like Alexander, she carried the Hero genes of her father – her red hair and left-handedness confirmed that. Like Alexander, she carried the gentle genes of her mother, from a long lost time before humanity wiped out the first hominid inhabitants of FirstWorld, – her different coloured eyes, one grey and one green, confirmed that.
“Your father and Manfred long postulated on the extent of the multiverse and posited that it could not be infinite,” Jhamed said.
Leonora looked up from polishing her sword. “You have travelled far and wide. Surely you know.”
“I have never encountered a boundary, but that does not mean there isn’t one.”
“Why did my father think it so?”
“For the multiverse to end and a new Cosmos to be formed one of two things must happen. Either one of Law or Chaos must control every dimension or Time itselves must decide to reboot the Cosmos, which would require an extreme situation to occur. Your father and Manfred believed that the universe, before the multiverse was formed, had a beginning – the big bang – and therefore must have an ending. They theorised that an infinite multiverse could never end.”
“Because in an infinite multiverse every conceivable and inconceivable dimension must exist. Every fiction every written must be a reality somewhere. Every decision ever made has its opposite outcome and the consequent differences spread from that like the ripples when a stone is thrown in a pool. Neither Law nor Chaos could win in an infinite multiverse. Perhaps that is most salient fact.”
“I find infinity is difficult to get my head around,” Leonora said. “That means there are an infinite number of me and you having this same conversation, or a slightly different one.”
“No, that’s the strange thing. FirstWorld is special because it formed part of the original universe. I was a baby when the multiverse was formed – and your father had a big hand in that. Even so, there were multiple versions of me after the Sundering. They are all gone now and I am the original and unique.” He smiled at the thought, though once it had caused him anger and grief to see his counterparts killed.
“What about my father?”
“Simon is unique too, although there were many versions of him that were similar. Only he is the true incarnation of the Everlasting Hero. I met several other versions before we found him.”
“Do you think he is still alive?”
Jhamed saw the sadness in Leonora’s eyes and how her shoulders slumped when she asked the question.
“I’m certain he is. And he’s the only version of him still around, so we won’t have any difficulty recognising him when we find him.”
“Looking for one man in an infinite multiverse makes looking for a needle in a haystack like a cake walk in the park.”
Jhamed had to smile again at Leonora’s mixed metaphors, but she had a point.
“I want to extend the infinite multiverse theory.” He said changing the subject.
“I’m starting to get a headache,” she said.
“We now know that there are five dimensions, six if you count Limbo. What if each of those dimensions is infinite? Space goes on forever in three dimensions. There are an infinite number of realms in the fourth dimension. And time is infinite in the fifth dimension. Scientists in many fourth dimensions have demonstrated that space is infinite, yet they still struggle to explain the big bang and the start of everything. The theory needs a finite expanding universe and someone or something to set it off. That’s why we need so many gods.”
“I have read about the big bang,” Leonora said. “We know it happened, so it destroys your theory. Time cannot be infinite.”
Jhamed laughed and scratched his head, disturbing his hat and his curls.
“You forget the second cause – Time itselves giving the Cosmos a reboot.”
Jhamed watched her closely. He could sense her thinking. He knew she wouldn’t disappoint him.
“You mean that while time is infinite and had no beginning, it can be rebooted so appearing to have a beginning.”
“And indeed an end,” Jhamed said. She had her parents’ brains too.
“Leonora, the time has come to share one of my secrets with you. Your father and I were there at the end of time. In fact, Simon caused Time to perform the reboot. It prevented Gadiel from taking control of the Cosmos.”
“You mean he gave his life to save the Cosmos?” Leonora said angrily. “You have been lying to me all this time.” Her sword gave a warning murmur, sensing her anger, and Jhamed shivered, remembering a man called Enkidu.
“No, you misunderstand. Time rewarded Simon by reuniting the four of you and hiding you in a dimension where you wouldn’t be found.”
“That worked then,” she said sarcastically.
“If we can understand why it didn’t work, then maybe we can trace your father. I know that’s the most important thing to you, but you must listen to the rest of my theory. Everything is interlinked and has a bearing on our search.”
“Very well, she sighed and sheathed her sword. Jhamed couldn’t hide a small sigh of relief.
Leonora didn’t miss it. “You must never fear me,” she said.
“On the contrary, I must always fear you. It is part of what I am. I love you and fear you in equal measures. It is part of the balance I must maintain.”
“Always the Balance,” she muttered.
“It is the Balance that we serve,” Jhamed said, “And it is the Balance that protects the multiverse from absolute Law or total Chaos. It is the Balance that will lead us to your father, when the time is right.”
“You are sure of that,” Leonora asked.
“I’m positive,” Jhamed said. “However, infinity is a long road, so I caution you to be patient.”
“Tomorrow can we discuss good and evil?”
“Your father struggled with that. It is the burden of the Everlasting Hero to work for good but fear that they are doing evil. If you have a headache today, you will have a bigger one tomorrow.”
“In an infinite multiverse it is certain that both good and evil Everlasting Heroes must exist.” Leonora stated and Jhamed had no counter argument. But he did wonder how many reboots there had been and how many of them he had been involved in.