[SG]: Paradigm Incorporated, #7: Schroedinger's Girl
brism at adelphia.net
Mon Jan 23 11:47:39 PST 2006
From: paradigm at pdi.com
To: "W. M. Perry, Jr." <wmperry at perryindustries.com>,
"W. M. Perry, III" <bigboss at pdi.com>
Subject: Current Assignment
On your grandson's orders, I followed the chain of robberies which have
plagued your company over the last few weeks.
This trail lead to one Victor Viola, a brilliant, but unarguably
cracked, would-be world conqueror.
In keeping with certain agreements previously stated, I will not here
reveal Mr. Viola's plans, save to state they have been stopped.
The equipment can be recovered from Captain Elliot Shaw, of the
Cleveland Supercrime Department, as soon as he has finished his
I realise you would have preferred to keep the local authorities unaware
of your recent misfortunes, but Viola's thefts affect more than Perry
Industries, and as such, it was necessary to involve Captain Shaw.
Further questions can be directed to your grandson, who will pass them
on to me.
I remain, your obedient servant,
Fifth Infinity Productions
#7: Schroedinger's Girl
By Brism Wanor
Jessa smiled sleepily, as she remembered last night's dreams. She'd
have to tell her parents, they'd get a real kick out of Viola's absurd
plan. Or maybe, she'd save it, and use it in a Superguy plo--
Jessa's eyes shot open, and she stared wildly around the room. The
very unfamiliar room.
"This ceiling," she muttered, "is strange."
Well, no. Actually, it was a very ordinary ceiling. It just wasn't
the ceiling over her bed, in her parents' house, in her world.
They had talked, for hours it seemed, until the coffee shop had
closed down around them, and they'd been kicked out.
He'd offered to take her to a hotel, then, she thought the generosity
had surprised him as much as it had surprised her, he'd offered to let her
stay here, in his home.
She sprang out of bed, without thinking, then remembered that she
couldn't do that sort of thing. Well, she hadn't been able to do that sort
of thing, until yesterday, until getting transported into the Superguy
"Altiverse," she corrected herself, aloud. "It's called an
Then, whistling gaily, she headed into the lavatory, to get ready for
a new day. A day of adventure and excitement, a day where she could be a
When she came downstairs, it was to find Paradigm just replacing the
"That was Shaw," he told her. "He'd like to see us both this
afternoon. Coffee or tea?"
"Would you like coffee or tea with breakfast?"
"Oh, tea, please. I thought he wanted us there tomorrow."
"He did," Paradigm agreed, "but that was before Viola and his
violence escaped. Eggs? Bacon? Toast? Muffin? Sausage? Waffles? I could do
pancakes, if you prefer?"
"Um, toast, bacon, and if you're having eggs I-- What do you mean
"Just that," he said, pouring tea. "They escaped last night."
"That's a pretty poor jail, then."
"They escaped before that. Shaw chewed out the cops who got careless,
then chewed the furniture for a while. When he felt civil, he called me.
"With the toast?"
"Oh, sure. Or, do you have marmalade?"
"Sorry, no, can't stand the stuff myself."
"Oh well. Butter's fine, I guess."
"I've got some honey that's still good, I think."
"Great. I think the eggs are burning."
"No, that's the bacon. Minute, please."
"Sure. When does he want to see us?"
"Like I said, this afternoon."
Jessa spread butter and honey on the bread, then chewed thoughtfully.
"I don't see what more we can tell him," she admitted.
"Oh, just a formal statement, I expect," Paradigm shrugged.
"You don't seem worried about Viola's escape," she noted.
"I'm not, really." Returning to the stove to check the eggs, he
added, "Viola's crazy, not stupid. We've got his equipment, we'll find a
cure for his virus, and that'll ruin his plan."
"So, he'll have to come up with something else," concluded Jessa.
"Right." Half a skillet-full of eggs landed on her plate. Paradigm
dropped the rest on his own plate. "That's the part they always left out
of the comics, you know, drove me crazy."
"Same here," she agreed.
"So, tell me more about this world of yours."
"Not much more to tell, really. Like I said last night, there, all
this is fictional, written for entertainment."
"Hmm," Paradigm swallowed coffee. "And you say that those fictional
events match our real world."
"Well, I think so."
"Yes? These eggs are very good."
"Thanks. Maybe that's why you're not affected by my powers."
"Ever hear of Shroedinger's Cat?"
"The thought experiment?"
"That's the one."
"My dad writes science fiction."
"That'd help. Think you could explain it?"
Jessa gathered her thoughts. "I can try, but I don't see the point."
"OK. Shroedinger wasn't happy about Quantum Mechanics, and he devised
an experiment, a ged... ged..."
"Gedankenschaft, thought experiment."
"Right, where he forced the paradox in Quantum Mechanics to an every
"Well, in the experiment, you take a cat, and stick it in a box. You
also put an atom of a radioactive element, and a detector in the box. If
the detector is triggered, it releases poison into the box, killing the
"Yeah. Anyway, the argument goes something like this, if I remember
After refilling her cup, Jessa continued, "the decay of a single atom
is a quantum level event, and completely unpredictable. The reaction to
this unpredictable event is a definite. Either the cat is alive, or dead.
But we don't know until we open the box. Could I have some more toast?"
"Since we don't know, the quantum answer is that the cat is alive
_and_ dead, at the same time."
As Paradigm returned with another round of toast, she added, "that
was real incoherent, wasn't it?"
"About standard for theoretical physics," Paradigm remarked,
"Umm." Jessa concentrated on buttering, and honeying, her toast.
"What's that got to do with me?"
"I think it's because you're from outside our reality," explained
Paradigm. "You're outside the box, and inside, at the same time. You can
see both states of the cat, without getting confused."
Jessa shook her head. "No, I don't think so," she argued. "If that
were true, then all the characters who've ever travelled between
altiverses would have the same ability."
"How do you know they don't?"
"Well," Jessa hesitated, "I don't think Shadebeam did, or Professor
Backslash, or the Awe-Inspiring Force, or ... Well, no one else ever has."
"Hmm," Paradigm frowned, "Awe-Inspiring was from an inverse of our
world, good become evil, and evil good, if I recall."
"Right, he was their version of Andy Awesome. Same with Backslash."
"And Shadebeam was a twin of Radian--"
"From the SFSTORY milliverse."
"Milliverse, the thousand altiverses that have the same identifying
"Somewhere, somehow, I bet that even makes sense. But that's not the
"Oh, what is?"
"All these visitors exist in your stories, right?"
"Sure, Gary created Shadebeam, I think Awe-Inspiring and his lot were
"No one's writing you, are they?"
"Um, I think I might be my Author's character. An avatar, sort of."
"Oh, a Mary Sue. That would cover everything, wouldn't it?"
Jessa grimaced. "I can't stand those sorts of characters. Anyway, I'm
not like that. I'm... Er..." Miserably, Jessa turned away.
"What?" Paradigm's tone was very gentle.
"I'm stronger, faster. My senses are better than any normal human's,
so good, in fact, that they reach down to the theoretical level. I can see
through the Mask Principle, and I'm immune to your reality shifts. I'm the
self of an Author. God, I am a Mary Sue."
Paradigm laughed. "Maybe. Maybe not. If you start saving the world
every Thursday, you are."
"If I am, just shoot me."
"No, no, no. I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you."
"Call it a feeling, for now."
"I don't just shift reality, as you put it, I sense reality."
"Yes, and you don't match your theory. I don't know what you are, but
I know what you aren't."
"Hmm? That doesn't make any sense, at all."
Paradigm grinned. "I know. Annoying, isn't it?"
"Want anything else?"
"Oh no, I'm full."
"right, let me just get the dishes dealt with, and we can pay Shaw a
As she helped carry dishes to the sink she added, "hey, Paradigm?"
"No problem. Oh, by the way," he turned, extending a soapy hand, "my
friends call me Lee."
"Hi," she grasped the wet hand, "I'm Jessa."
They exchanged smiles, and Jessa realised that she had made her first
friend in a new world.
Drew awoke at a time compatible with his nature, a time that had
nothing to do with morning classes, demanding parents, or morning glory
friends. A time which turned out to be shortly after noon, courtesy of jet
One visit to the lavatory, two cups of coffee, and a hot shower
later, he was feeling vaguely human, and a bit hungry.
Grabbing key card and wallet, he set out in search of lunch.
"Does your last name start with a 'C'?"
"This scarf you lent me."
Jessa wandered back into the kitchen, and showed Lee the scarf. "See,
here, in the corner?"
"It says: 'LC'. I figured that was you."
"No, not me."
"Well, it was a gift from my grandmother, or rather, a bequest."
"Oh. I'm sorry."
"So am I," Lee agreed, "you'd have liked her. Actually, you remind me
of her. Always looking for adventure."
Jessa blinked. "Was she...? Was she one of the Mystery Men, from back
in the Second World War?"
"Hmm," Lee frowned. "I'm not sure. She never said anything about it,
"Oh, nothing," he laughed, "it's just that it's the sort of thing she
would have done."
"And this was hers?" Jessa flicked the scarf.
"No, more likely bit belonged to a friend of hers. It's a bit ..."
"Yes. You don't mind, do you?"
Jessa snorted. "Hardly."
"Right. Well, if you're ready, we'd better go."
"I just wish I had more of a costume," Jessa remarked, as they
climbed into the car.
"Well, it's just... I wore these clothes yesterday, too."
"Yes. That reminds me, I must take a close look at your clothes
"Why?" Jessa's eyes narrowed slightly.
"Well, you told me you'd woken up in an alley, and those aren't the
cleanest places in the world."
She looked down at her sleeve, then the rest of her shirt, then her
pants. "Not a mark," she said.
"No. No wrinkles either. Then, there are your shoes."
"What's wrong with them?"
"Nothing, and there should be."
"Like, if you run sixty miles per hour, like you claim--"
"I was passing cars!"
"Exactly. So, that's a mile a minute, yes?"
"Riiiggghhhttt," Jessa drawled.
"Which comes out to about 90 feet per second."
"Your math's a little shaky."
Lee shrugged. "I'm making a point, not a proof."
"Go ahead then."
"You're about, what, five-six, five-seven?"
"Mmm, I guess so. I'm taller since I got here."
"Well, that's a safe guess. Either way, it puts your stride at, say,
two and a half feet, at most."
"So, running stride is about the same, or a bit less. Which means
your feet were hitting the ground thirty or forty times a second."
"Fifteen or twenty, per shoe," she shot back, teasing him. Then, she
"Exactly. Your shoes shouldn't be able to take that kind of stress.
Your skeleton, either. Although--"
"There was a paper I read," Lee broke off, to concentrate on avoiding
a rushing sports car. "Idiot," he muttered at the oblivious driver. "A
paper I read several years ago, that said most speedsters were really
low-level telekinetics, using their power for acceleration and protection
from normal physical laws. They don't really _run_ that fast, they _think_
themselves that fast."
The traffic light stopped them, and Jessa turned to glance out the
window. A rather ordinary-looking guy, a few years older than her, waved
to her. She smiled and waved back, before turning back to Lee.
"Interesting. Who wrote this paper?"
"A Dr. Allen, I think. No, West Garrick-Allen, that was it. What?"
Jessa laughed helplessly. "Well, if that's who I'm thinking of. Never
mind. I'll credit the source though."
"Ohhh," Lee's amused glance caught and held her. "Something you know
from your _reading_?"
"I will get it out of you, sooner or later."
"Oh, probably. Anyway, my bones aren't calcium, exactly. I'm, sort
"Oh, I see, I think."
"But you're right," she went on. "These clothes--" she plucked at a
sleeve, thoughtfully. "They look normal, feel normal. But, I've only
looked at them, not--" she broke off, at a loss.
"Yeah, that's a good word. I haven't analyzed them."
"Maybe later," Lee said. "Meanwhile, put on your hero face. We're
Jessa wrapped the scarf around her face, then climbed from the car.
Looking back at Lee, she was shocked by the change in him. He hadn't
changed, not physically, at least. His hair, his eyes, his face, they were
all the same, but his manner, his stance, those had changed.
"Let's go," Paradigm suggested.
Drew shared the elevator with a shabbily dressed middle-aged man, and
a young, well-endowed, scantily-clad girl. Drew gaped at the girl, who
ignored him completely (story of his life, really) while crawling all over
the other guy.
Finally, the guy said, rather sharply, "Mitzi, behave."
"But, Jack," she whined.
"I can't," she pouted, "you made me bad."
Drew had to get out of the elevator at that point, so missed the rest
of the argument.
After a glance at the in-hotel restaurant's prices, he decided to eat
Two minutes later, strolling down the block, he caught sight of a
little girl, about to run out, into the street. Leaping forward, he
grabbed the child, pulling her back, just as a sports car roared past. The
driver, who looked like the guy from the elevator, didn't even notice.
Drew released the girl, just before her mother, who hadn't noticed a
thing, could tear herself away from a shop window, and demand to know what
he was doing to her child.
Stopping at the end of the block, he noticed another car, and the
pretty girl inside it. He smiled and waved, and she smiled and waved back,
before the car drove off.
Grinning after the car, he noticed the sign on the back, "Speeding
WAS THAT WHO WE THINK?
IS THE AUTHOR GETTING TOO CUTE?
CAN WE GET BACK TO THE GUARDS AND THE MERCENARIES?
THEY WERE FUN?
ARE EVENTS STARTING TO CONNECT?
WILL THE NEXT EPISODE BE SIX MONTHS AWAY?
You know the drill.
Superguy, where the smart people go
Brism Wanor, Lord Dougl, Keeper of the Eighth Echo
brism at adelphia.net
END OF LINE
More information about the superguy