LNH20: Bite-Size Tales of the LNH v20 #20: "Independent Research"

Drew Perron pwerdna at gmail.com
Fri Dec 28 00:33:07 PST 2018

"Ahem," said Library Lad. "The three previous tales in this sequence were all 
fully in-character. However, this one's characterization is highly 
metafictional. Please be advised."

He turned away from the audience and slumped down in a thick library chair. Ugh. 
He hadn't expected leading multiple independent lives in multiple independent 
universes to be so... *inconvenient*.

All right. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and thoroughly research the 
situation before taking action.

Library Lad had an entire Dewey Decimal category of memories in his head. 
Memories of being Andrew Robinson, a young autistic boy who went into the foster 
care system when his parents were kidnapped by evil roboticists and kicked 
around until a living improbability generator from the 124th century showed up 
and awakened his memories of being an incarnation of an Egyptian god. Memories 
of being Panoute Elrashidy, and going to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina only to be 
visited by the spirit of the Internet Archive, becoming aware of his existence 
as a divine incarnation that way. Memories of being Thoth, archiving and 
maintaining the universe, spreading himself along many selves to document 
existence. Memories of being created ex nihilo as a fictional character in 1996 
and abandoned until much, much later.

And the thing that linked them all was the Library. He remembered wandering down 
the corridors as usual, enjoying the different textures of spacetime as 
different genres and subjects bent and folded it, and coming to a bend in the 
path that absolutely hadn't been there the time_period before, and walking down 
and coming out the other end on Earth-20, into a history that fit him like a glove.

It had been nice. It was a nice life and a pretty good history, and besides 
that, it was nice to feel like you fit. In-character, he and Weirdo Boy had 
never quite felt like a part of the LNH, and out-of-character, they had always 
felt like an appendage to history, skimming along its surface without really 
being part of it.

Of course, that was the problem. There wasn't a matching spot in Looniverse-20 
and his life-20 for Weirdo Boy.

There probably would be, eventually, when inspiration hit, that ah-ha "this is 
perfect for that" moment. But for now, his other self, the other half of a 
youthful personality that had grown with age into an entire garden of selves, 
was only in half of his life.

And now even that was locked away. "Most irritating" didn't really cover it.

Library Lad knew he was, and was proud of being, a support character. An 
administrator and a researcher. He wasn't the hero of any of these stories. He 
was just the one who set it up so others could be. And he didn't mind - he 
*liked* supporting people, he *liked* making stories happen and getting to see 
them play out.

But now the story was happening to him. The people he cared about were caught up 
in it.

Well. All right. What did a researcher and administrator do when they had a 
problem in their administration, in their field?

They took the book of rules, and they climbed the steps, to the office of a 
higher authority...

Drew "I don't know where this is going, he's in control now" Perron

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