By “pilot the ship in” he meant just hang out and let the library do all the work. The inside of his ship had no controls, only four recliners facing a blank wall. Dallas waved at the wall and it became transparent. We were gliding in to one of the vast chasms that crisscrossed the outer hull of the library. We came out into an open area that extended off into invisibility.
“How big is this place?”
“I don’t know.” Dallas said ” I don’t think the Library even knows. It extends into multiple universes.”
“Yeah…Still not getting the multiple universe thing.”
“I’ll let the Librarian explain that.”
” She is the Avatar for the Library. Sort of an interface.”
“It’s a she?”
“Well it looks female even though ‘she’ is twelve feet tall, naked and hairless. You’ll see. She wants to meet the entire ship, but wants to meet with you first for some reason.”
We dropped through another hole and into what seemed like a stream of traffic. Thousands of strange ships were moving in all directions.
“All these ships are from all sorts of different worlds,” he said ” and everyone of them has an area in the Library suited to there needs. I think our turn off is coming up soon.”
We kind of drifted into silence for a few moments as we took in the sites.
“You know,” I said ” You never did tell me how you ended up here.”
“I don’t have much of a memory of it actually.” he said ” From what the Librarian told me, the critters that kidnapped me tried to crash the gate lineup, which I guess is a great universal no-no. The gate basically tore them and their ship a new asshole at a quantum particle level. The only thing that made it through was me and my little glass box. The only thing I remember is being terrified and barfing all over myself.”
“I think we can all relate to that!” I said reminiscing.
“Dude, I don’t know why of all the billions of people on Earth they grabbed me. I’m just a surf bum coffee jockey.”
“How long have you been here?”
” I don’t know… Ted! how long have I been here?”
““GOUDAGOUDAGOUDAGOUDA” Ted replied out of nowhere.
” Really? That long? Doesn’t feel like it” He looked at me “Ted says I’ve been here about 80 years.”
” Shit, you look great grandpa. ” I said ” What year was it when you were taken?”
” I think it was 2009. Spring time. The tourist were just starting to show up and we were getting awesome spring surf” He sighed wistfully, ” I really miss Tofino. You ever been there?”
” Sadly, the time that I’m from, Tofino is totally submerged. The surfers are still on whats left of Vancouver Island though, waiting for your return apparently.”
” Bummer.” he stated then suddenly brightened up ” Dude check this out! This thing is actually alive, but lives in a time zone so slow that it takes tens of thousands of years to even notice any movement.”
I looked at this thing that looked as if the library had grown around it. It didn’t seem to have any features that one could describe as head or face, but id did look organic. And it was huge. at least several hundred kilometers across.
“I call him ‘Ziggy’.” Dallas said.
I watched enthralled as we drifted by it. It took about half an hour at our speed.
“Okay, “Dallas said, “Here is our turn off.”
The ship spun and headed down into another hole. The light changed and I gasped when I saw where we were heading.
“I know! Right?”
” This is just the section to house Oxygen dependent life forms” Dallas said ” You should see some of the other areas. Makes this look like the projects”
We drifted for what seemed like hours closer to this ” City” I didn’t know what else to call it.
Ted floated into the room. “Hey little buddy!” Dallas said. Did you have a nice play date with Alice?”
Dallas giggled a bit. ” He thinks Alice is funny.”
“Are you funny?”
“In a sarcastic “want to rip your spleen out and beat you with it” kind of way.”
“Yep.” I said “still normal.”
“Lets go grab a beer while we’re docking.” Dallas said, ” My ship will change shape during the docking procedure and it can be a trifle disconcerting if you’re in there.”
The pub was busy. Juliette was running the bar and Nichol and Arney were dealing with the tables.
Every one was looking out the ports or watching the landing on a view screen, discussing all the possible ways that things were going to screw up and how we were all going to die horrible deaths.
Just a typical day in the pub.
Juliette handed us a couple of beers and we sat at a table.
“The thing to remember,” Dallas said after a hefty swig, ” is don’t try and lie to the Librarian. She has a way to see through you. It’s quite unnerving.”
“When Am I going to meet her?”
“Don’t worry, she will summon you when she’s ready.”
Apparently she was ready.
The pub faded out and I was suddenly in a silent white room, sitting at a table still clutching my beer. There was no walls or floor or ceiling that I could discern. Just me, the table, my chair, and my beer, which I immediately chugged.
Then she was there. First to materialize were two amazing blue eyes. Then a smile appeared then the rest of her materialized.
She was stunningly beautiful. She was bald. She was about twelve feet tall, and she was naked.
“Holy Crap!” I gasped. My voice was way louder than I expected.
Then she did what millions of Librarians have always done through history……. she put a single finger to her lips….”Shhhhhh”