nɘbiɒӘ ƨmɒbA mɒƧ = nediaG smadA maS
Featuring art by Coffintime and Carpdime
And with apologies to Grant Morrisson and Jeff Parker
“Hewwo! Nyu fwen?”
You blink your eyes. The astronaut is clearly talking to you in fluffspeak. You understand what he is saying, but it seems unnatural.
“I see. So your natural manner of thought is not in a stunted version of a hominid language developed for use by a sentient variant of Equus. I managed to fine tune the language parameters to a Germanic language with a rich inflectional morphology, based in a setting where an Empire, that named itself after a Germanic tribe, had conquered most of the known world, resulting in a primary language that is widely-spoken in various forms, but I had to be certain “which” variant it was. It clearly wasn’t the variant from a tiny island at the tip of Peninsular Malaya, nor was it the variant utilized by various tribes of the Dark Continent.”
You have no idea what he is talking about.
“Of course. All this would be too much for you to take in. Perhaps we need some introductions.”
Alright then, you think.
You are a housewife from Texas, and you were previously at the age of 29. You were previously married to the boy next door, but the two of you divorced after it clearly wasn’t working out (and he cheated on you). After a short stint of being a housewife, you decided to become a career woman again. You have lost an interest in most men, and have spent more time with fluffies.
No, that’s not me.
You were an unemployed Catholic man at the age of 30 from Majipore. You have lost your previous job, and are currently looking for a new one. Before you obtained your new job, you spent a lot of time at a fluffy café, and, on one very lucky day, a job offer you sent from your laptop at a fluffy café, while hugging a fluffy, led to your current job. You have been devoted to fluffies ever since.
No, that’s not me.
You are a broken man in your 40s from England. Your wife has left you, and you never had children, despite your longing for one. You have worked most of your life on the farm, though you have also worked in various odd jobs. You’re currently working as a tech support for a local IT firm. Although they are unlike livestock, you love and care for fluffies the same way you do for all animals.
No, that’s not me.
You are a man from India who has undergone FTM treatment after you have come to realize that on the inside you truly are a Man. The process has not been easy for you as you have to take certain treatment and medications to deal with the changes in your body. During this time, you have developed an affinity and an appreciation for softer things, such as fluffies. A therapy fluffy had been your companion at various points.
No, that’s not me. And how are you doing this? Get out of my head, stop invading my thoughts.
“Perhaps, but it could be you,” says the astronaut, “and I have met many people from different backgrounds. But one thing remains the same, within the context of what I’ve been focusing on – you all grew up knowing the author Squeakyfriend, who wrote “The Unicorn who flew.”
“I read that as a kid!”
“Yes. And you all know Samuel Adams.”
“Yes, I know Sam.”
“Samuel Adams, the real estate mogul who, with his vast fortune, founded the Advocacy for Biotoy Adoption as Pets. Due to his wealth and wide network, he had developed many friendships throughout the English diaspora, with various residential properties in any developed or developing country with access to a good nightlife and not too many cultural restrictions. However, he had been looking for someone who shared his passion and interest in the animal genetically engineered by Hasbio inc. And therein lies a problem.”
Feeling frustrated, and wondering why a man in a weird astronaut suit is talking to you, you bluntly say, “Look, I don’t know who you are, but I have just been attacked by three different fluffies, described by Sam as being of the impractical breeds, and now I have no idea where the fuck I am. On top of that, I’m being talked to by a weirdo inside some kind of something.”
You look around, and the interior does look like something from the interior of spaceships you’ve seen in Star Trek, Star Wars or even real-life spaceships, with the various controls and complicated instructions you cannot understand.
“Besides, where am I? What is this place?”
“It’s a ship. My ship. And I suppose I should show you around.”
“Show me around? But you got me tied-“
And it is at this moment when you wave your hands around, and realize that actually, you were not being restrained.
“This here is the living quarters. It is normally only occupied by myself, but there are times when I have had to house an additional person or two.”
The astronaut that has been showing you around is wearing a suit that looks nothing like the conventional suits you’ve seen, nor anything out of science fiction. You’re not even sure if a space suit, but you notice that the mirrored sphere of its top, as well as a complicated breathing system on his back indicates that this is a suit designed for survival in an airless environment.
“And this here is the gallery. Through my various travels, I come across some interesting things. Maybe I should show you some of the things I have found.”
The gallery is a thin space, flanked by walls of drawers, each with a keypad. The astronaut dials a secure number, and unlocks one of the drawers.
That unmistakable sound. A fluffy foal, holding a ball.
However, as he pulls the fluffy out, you see that it has a powerbank attached to it by a USB cable plugged into its back.
“This is a Samsung Galaxy F5 Fluffy Pony Foal biotoy. It is running on Android version44, but can upgraded to 60. It comes complete with interchangeable versions of open-source Fluffspeak, depending on region or culture. This model is about 95% water-resistant, as long as the USB port is covered up securely, otherwise he will drown. He used to have a self-sustaining bioelectric organ, but he’s quite old, so I have to use this powerbank to keep him charged.”
While he keeps talking, the little foals keeps playing the ball, bouncing it slowly.
“This fluffy is an electronic? I thought fluffies are animals!”
“There’s no one type of fluffy. This is one of the rare biotoy types I’ve come across.”
Upon saying this, he then pats the head of the foal, as he gently whispers, “Daddey will put you back in your housie.”
“Otay! Guud tuu see yiw, daddeh!”
Upon closing the drawer, you ask “Doesn’t he get lonely?”
“Each drawer suffices as a virtual reality habitat for the specific type of fluffy I’ve encountered. There are some I need to ferry back to my superior. That Samsung, though, that’s mine.”
He then goes to a drawer of a purple colour. Pointing at it, he says, “This, on the other hand, is a fluffy I need to bring to my superiors.”
Upon unlocking the drawer, you hear a unmistakeable loud scream.
What da FWUFF did ‘ou do to fwuffy’s haiw?!!”
The fluffy that says this has a pompadour, much like those from the 80s era of yankii shounen anime and manga. However, the voice reminded you of a certain character you had seen many years ago.
“That, that fluffy like Josuke Higashikata. From Jojo Part 4.
And why the hell is his head broken?”
True enough, in the little glass enclosure that the Astronaut is holding him in, the fluffy’s ehad is detached from its body. As its body flails about, you noticed that the surface of each broken area resembles that of an unpolished diamond. Somehow, this Josuke fluffy is a literal, living diamond.”
“Yes, this fluffy here is an actual diamond.”
“How the fuck is that even possible?!”
“Oi dummeh! Hewp fwuffeh get ou’!!”
Sighing, the astronaut says, “Relax, I’m bringing you to see the doctor soon.” As he says this, he places the fluffy back into the drawer, than proceeds to lock it.
Remarking at the phenomena you saw, you then remember something you saw not too long before.
“That reminds me of the Elemental Inkie Pies!”
“Oh, so you have seen those?”
Bringing his hand to the bubble of his head, in an attempt to stroke his chin, he thinks aloud,“ It seems to be I have reached a different point than I intended.”
“Let me try to jog your memory.”
Samuel Adams and you are currently outside a shelter. Just recently he had introduced you to Joseph, the Squeakyfriend. Currently, he’s with Joseph and Maurice.
“Right,” you say, “So what you can tell me about Mutagens?”
“Well”, says Sam, “this shelter here is one of the last shelters to have the Mutagen breed of fluffies, as well as the KMEB breed. Both breeds were experimental breeds released early in the development of fluffies, when their development was suddenly halted due to their respective engineers leaving Hasbio. KMEB left early, after producing a huge batch of fluffies, while Mutagen left a bit later. Because both breeds were developed so early, we have little to no understanding of them.”
“But fluffies from both breeds are here, aren’t they?”
“They’re very watered down. Much like the Buwwito breeds I introduced you, any remaining KMEB or Mutagen is either a mixed-breed descendant of the original, or very old.”
“Alright, so who goes in first?”
“After you, laddie.”
You’re a natural. You’ve been to different fluffy shelters to volunteer, and you’re more than eager to interact with fluffies at the shelter. However, upon opening the door, what greets you is not the owner of the shelter, nor is it a happy smiling fluffy.
It is a black void, like none you had seen before.
As your body spins around, a figure of Sam and his fluffies with their forelimbs outreached grows distant, as you plummet down the endless void……
No, you think, as you shake your head. And you openly say, “that’s not what happened.”
“It’s not? That’s how I remembered it.”
“No, this was how it actually happened.”
Behind you, is a wooden door. And in front of you, are three fluffies. One Inkie Pie, one fluffsplosion, and one Fillialcacophony
As the three fluffies come closer to you, you put your hand in front of them, as you fall down, your back against the door. You yell out, pleading for mercy, “STAY BACK!”
The fillialcacophony fluffy gives you a smug look. A pair of sunglasses falls neatly into place on its face, as it says “Deaw wif it.”
As all three fluffies attack you while chanting the word Sketti, you reach for the door know, in a desperate attempt to escape,
However, in doing so, the door fucking shatters, into a black hole. You feel your body dragged into the black hole, and turning into a literal spaghetti as you for helpppppp....
“What do you mean, odd? That’s exactly what happened to me. After he introduced me to the Squeakyfriend breed, I was watching a special about the Emotional Support Fluffy breed. Then and the following day, I was exposed to the Fluffsplosion, InkiePie and Fillialcacophony breeds, and then I find myself in this ship talking to some wierdass astronaut.”
“I feel like I have gone to the wrong time. I’m so sorry that this had to happen to you.”
Because you have seen Time Cop, Back to the Future and Sliders, you grit your teeth in exasperation and squint your left eye in a dumfounded expression.
“Oh of course. This is some timeline or parallel universe bullshit. Sam talked about it. And now I’m experiencing it.”
“I’d thought you’d be more surprised.”
“This shit became ridiculous ever since we started have teleportation and fluffies breaking the laws of physics. Hell, I’m not going to be surprised if you’re some alternate version of Sam or myself.”
As you say this, the astronaut gets a little annoyed. Removing the helmet, you see a mirror image of yourself, but affected by the ravages of various adventures through a multiverse.
“Damn, you figured that out pretty easily, huh?”
“You sort of gave it away where you showed those different fluffies that weren’t animals. And I just experienced a world where the locations of Hasbio and ABAP had switched. There’s some time tomfoolery going around.”
“You tell me.
I came from a world where fluffies did not have special powers. Fluffies were 100% normal genetically-engineered animals developed by Hassenfeld, which set up the company of Hasbio. It just so happened to be that poor population management and excessive supply led to an overabundance of fluffies, which is why they had to be culled.
However, and after various governments across the world came to realize they couldn’t completely remove them, and there was an outcry against excessive measures used against them, a policy of population control as well as proper pet management was instituted to ensure their happiness and wellbeing.”
“That doesn’t sound too dissimilar from my world.”
“I think you missed the part where I said ‘they did not have special powers.’ There was no teleportation, no laws of physics, none of that shit. Fluffies were just happy silly little creatures that spoke in a childish manner, love spaghetti, and can be a nuisance if you have anger management problems.”
“Alright. Then how did you land up in a ship like this?”
“Like I told you. Sam was going to introduce me to the Mutagen breed, then I fell into the Void.”
“Oh, so that’s what its called.”
“That’s one of its names. It has many. The problem with alternate timelines and parallel universes is that there is an infinite number of possibilities, and not only is it easy to get lost, it is very possible you might never get back.”
“So I take it you’ve been looking for your home? Or the closest thing to your home reality?”
“I have. But so far I have not succeeded. Somehow and in getting lost, I seem to keep encountering the timelines where fluffies did have special powers, but not the ones where they are “normal”.”
While he’s narrating his backstory, you observe the interior of his spaceship. Picking up on that, he feels obliged to give a further explanation.
“If you’re wondering how I got this spaceship, I fell endlessly through that void when a much larger craft, similar to the one we’re in now, found me. There, I met a version of Sam Adams and a version of Avocado. Both of them were from very different timelines but they too got lost, and that Sam started the organization that I’m now a part of.”
The “astronaut you" approaches you and shows you a patch on his left sleeve. However, it only shows a minimalist drawing of a fluffy.
“You won’t be able to see it, but its supposed to represent a fluffy going through the multiverse. However, the proper logo can only be perceived by extradimensional perception.”
“Extra-dimensional perception, huh? So you’re like Galactus or something?”
“Not exactly, but I have fluffy DNA in me.”
Your eyes swell up.
“Fluffy DNA? But wh-“
“How else do you think I was able to talk to you in fluffspeak?” he grins. “It hasn’t affected my intelligence though, and the one thing we’re relying on is the natural ability of certain fluffies to quantum their way into unusual circumstances.
There’s a larger ship out there, commandeered by that Sam, and various other people. Some exactly like myself. Some with completely different identities. I don’t know how many of them there are. Some are like myself, trying to find a way home. But I’ve encountered some who are completely fine with just travelling endlessly through the multiverse, exploring the different possibilities. And there might even different versions of a time-displaced Sam out there.”
“How long have you been like this?”
“I don’t know,” says the Astronaut you. “Its been so long that I cannot remember what my own parents look like. Sam says that time doesn’t exist in the Void, so for all I know, I may have been travelling for centuries, or even millennia. All I know is, if I spend too long in a timeline, I will age at a normal rate, so I don’t spend too long.
There’s no set way to enter a timeline. Certain parameters can be guessed, utilizing a tech that Sam had discovered from one of the universes he visited, but its very tricky. Every time I feel like I found home, something may be off. Like my parents are both dead. Or the US lost the Cold War. Or Arnold Schwarzenegger is president of the US.”
“I guess we’re both really lost to time, huh?” you lament.
The astronaut you is not forlorn. He’s currently looking at one of the displays on the ship.
“Perhaps there is a way.”
He walks up to the monitor. Observing the version numbers and readings, he turns to a large manual located near him. Upon reading it, he looks back at you.
“I may not be able to find your home. But, your people should be able to.”
“What do you mean?”
“You come from a world where fluffies can bend the laws of physics, right? Perhaps a fluffy from your world could figure out where you’re located, as long as you’re anchored to an “actual” reality, and not in the middle of a void like we are now.”
“Anchored… so like, you’re just going to dump me off at any timeline?”
“Yes. It’s a bit risky, as you’ll be jumping out of the ship.”
“But, I’ll be placing this device on you.”
He says this holding, holding a device that looks remarkably like the hugtoy marketed to fluffies.
“If my theory is right, you’ll lose memory of this encounter for a while, but you’ll be able to land in a definite timeline, utilizing this device. The device will dissipate upon entry, but you’ll be fine. Since it will be a timeline where fluffies have “powers” theoretically, either a fluffy in that reality, or a fluffy from yours, should be able to locate you.”
“That’s a big fucking risk. What happens if they don’t find me?”
“Well, you could stay on this ship if you want to. Help me find my homeworld.”
You think for a moment.
“I get it. You’re right.”
“Before we go, though, could we chat?”
You don’t how long you’ve talked with the alternate you. But it feels like a lifetime. You mention the memories you had as a kid, and you mentioned your school days. Your friends. The love interests you pursued. The parents.
And slowly, your alternate self starts to remember. After a while of continuous reminiscing, he starts to cry.
“Please don’t be,” he smiles, despite the tears, “I had forgotten all about my home. My family, my friends. Meeting you has helped remember all those memories.”
You let out a breath of relief. And then you remark, “and to think this is all because of fluffies.”
“Well, fluffies we know of are capable of altering timelines by virtue of their presence. One person I talked to remarked that they chaotic entities by nature, and in a worlds where they have the ability to quantum their way into inexplicable trouble, luck or just unusual circumstances, we’re going to be affected by more instances like this.”
“They really seem to be a lot of trouble.”
“I’d argue that Humanity is capable of such trouble as well. And that Humanity, too, is a chaotic entity by nature.”
“Oh come on, you can’t seriously mean that.”
“But I do. There’s no definite origin to humanity.”
“Bullshit. Any kid whose not a Creationist will tell you that we’re hominids that evolved after millions of years.”
“Ah, see, you mentioned Creationism. I’ve seen it.
I’ve actually seen a world where humans were born, shaped from the Earth by Divine hands. I have also humans that came from trees, like in the case of Ask and Embla from Norse Mythology. I’ve seen Prometheus shape humans from clay, then defy the gods in order to give fire to them. I’ve seen humans be the products of interference from mighty space gods.
And I’ve seen a world where humans are the fictional figment of the imagination of an advanced fluffy race.”
Your stare at your alternate self for a good while.
“Are you serious?”
“When you have travelled as long as I have, nothing feels certain. In a way, it is good to meet you,” he says, slapping you on your shoulder blade. “It helps remind me who I originally was.”
You’re at the doorway of the ship. Your alternate self is about to let you go. Thinking about everything you’ve discussed, as well as his own longing for home, you turn to him.
“Why don’t you follow me?”
Smiling, he softly says, “It won’t work. Your parallel universes are different from my original one by virtue of its fluffies.”
Lingering on this moment, and out of empathy, you openly wish, “I hope you find your home soon.”
“I hope so too. But chances are, we’ll meet again.”
He then gives you the thumbs up, as he encourages you with a, “Good luck.”
Taking in a deep breath, you jump out of the ship. From the outside, you see that it resembles the US space shuttle in design. As you plummet through the endless void, the light of the ship glowing dim, your mind goes blank, as you give in to the nothingness……
Your eyes are heavy. Your vision is blurred, and you try your best to stand up. You slip, as you land on all fours. You crawl on the ground like a toddler, slowly learning how to walk. Grabbing a nearby object, you hoist yourself up. You regain the feel of your limbs. Your legs and arms feel like they are on pins and needles. You are not sure what is causing this paresthesia, but it hurts like hell. Slowly, you can feel your limbs move normally, and the blurriness gives way to clarity.