Chapter 1

All the World’s a Stage

Olive and I were sitting in the living room, snarfing popcorn and watching TV. It being near Halloween, we’d decided on some holiday related cartoons, the real classics. Which means we wound up watching, among other things, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. One of my favorites, but I always feel a little sad thinking about poor Linus sitting out there in the cold, dark pumpkin patch.

Olive looked at me. She knows me, and I’m beginning to understand just how much. It’s taken me a while to really see that, but I accept it now. I also keep poking at her, trying to get her to tell my future, but she’s been pretty steadfast in denying me, just a few tantalizing bits here and there have slipped out.

“We could fix this, you know.”

I glanced over at her. “Fix what?”

She pointed at the screen. “Linus.”

I snorted. “You can’t fix Linus, he’s a cartoon character and he’s probably copyright protected out the ying yang.”

She rolled her eyes at me, something that’s so built in to her that I don’t even know where to go with it. “I don’t mean change him, I mean, give him the Great Pumpkin.”

Staring at her, I had to admit it sounded a little interesting.

“You mean, like make a pumpkin patch that actually has a Great Pumpkin scarecrow or something?”

She shook her head. “Jane, you’re still thinking like this is the normal world. Remember, this is a simulation that you completely control.” She looked around the room and sighed. “And here we sit watching TV. We need to take your ship and jet out to the Asteroids and have dinner with Arla. Or something.”

Thinking about it more, I said, “So, you mean actually have the whole thing come true. Linus actually sits waiting and the Great Pumpkin rises?”

“Yeah. I mean, you’d probably have to spawn another instance of a world off your existing world, kind of like Kit did with his little prison world. You’d give it cartoon characteristics and …” 

I could see the moment when I lost her to thought, and she turned off her voice processors to put her entire concentration on it. I sat back and watched some more classic cartoons. After a surprisingly long time, she came back. Like seven minutes later, which is an eternity to a fast computer. Or maybe it’s just a simulation of a fast computer. All these worlds in worlds are confusing!

Olive had a look on her face like she’d just eaten the the cat with the canary inside. Mm… no, that’s not a very good metaphor. But you get the idea.

“Ok, all set.”

I blinked. “All set?”

“Yeah, I have us a place.”

Flabbergasted, I blinked at her again. “What?”

She smirked. “You’re so cute when you’re confused, Jane. I’ve built a world, a cartoon world. It’s right next door, wanna explore?”

I whined, “I wanna watch the end of this show!”

She rolled her eyes again and punched me in the shoulder.

I said, “Owww! Ok, you talked me into it, what do we do?”