Don't Die Before You're Dead, Sally Wu

Don't Die Before You're Dead, Sally Wu

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2015 WINNER: Runner up, Open Category

by Andrew Neil Gray

April 1, 2027. MUnet sysadmin message.
Please, please (please!) stop using the multiple-universe message system for relationship advice. This is a serious scientific endeavor we are engaged in; every day it costs millions to keep the wormholes open. If you're going to chat, use it to find ways of justifying the expense.

April 5, 2027. Sally Wu (U103).
What if we conduct clinical trials for new drugs? If we use the same patients across several universes, we can dramatically expand the total trial size. Even better, a patient could take the placebo in one universe and the active drug in another. Contact me if you'd like to work on a grant application together, especially if you're a Sally Wu.

Also, my cat Mindy is missing here in Universe 103. Is she missing in yours? Anybody found her? I miss the old scamp already.

June 12, 2027. MUnet sysadmin message.
To everyone sending winning lottery numbers to your other selves: Professor Naidoo's paper in PLOS Many Worlds in May conclusively proved that laws of probability apply uniquely to every event in each universe. Your odds are just as small as they always were. So quit it! Remember, these wormholes are minuscule and bandwidth is limited.

July 1, 2027. Frank Crane (U9023).
Other Franks: what the hell? How many of you are divorced? What happened? Did you do something wrong? Did Barbara? Send me a PM. I thought she and I were happy but now I can hardly sleep.

July 17, 2027. MUnet sysadmin message.
Okay people, dial it back. Traffic analysis shows personal communication is taking up over 60% of network resources. We've been fairly relaxed about this so far, but now we have commercial and government users, and they need reliable service.

August 1, 2027. Mary Walshe, FBI multi-universe office (U299). Private Message --> Mary Walshe (U-All). Urgent.
The extremists in the Tempe compound have a fertilizer bomb wired to the back door. Do not try to breach the compound. It will detonate. The Mary Walshe in U1022 brought in Murphy's sister and she managed to talk him into surrendering. If you do this, tell her to remind him of his daughter Tayla.

We lost good people in Universe 299 today. Keep them alive in yours.

September 13, 2027. MUnet sysadmin message.
We're scientists. We tried to make a time machine and instead, we proved the many-worlds theory. It's a Nobel-worthy discovery. But when our colleagues use the wormholes for personal gain it brings the whole project into disrepute. I will not name names, as only some of your other selves have done this, but the people who are selling public access to dead loved ones who are still alive in other universes--you have to stop. This is why ethics boards were created. Make a proposal first.

October 1, 2027. Sally Wu (U103).
So I didn't get funding. Sigh. Thanks to the other Sallys who did for your kind words, and for promising to share the research results. This gave me an idea: I'm going to propose that the drug regulation bodies in each universe accept the decisions of their alternate-universe counterparts. It only makes sense. Could you all email your Member of Parliament / Congressperson today?

Also, I forgot to thank you for the cat advice. At least I got Mindy back safe and sound, as did 92% of us who lost her. There's a list for condolence e-cards if you want to send some to the 8% who didn't. Poor wee thing.

November 8, 2027. MUnet sysadmin message.
Urgent. In light of the alarming news about comet C/2027 U1, we are dedicating all system bandwidth to information sharing and planning for deflection missions. Let's pull together on this one, people. We have access to ten thousand parallel universes, and we can share good ideas from any one of them with the rest. We'll make the Manhattan Project look like a primary school science fair.

January 7, 2028. MUnet sysadmin message.
Thank you for your many weeks of hard work. Final comet deflection mission decisions have now been made in all connected universes. We know the odds are sobering. A lottery for all of us. Good luck.

February 10, 2028. MUnet sysadmin message.
Today is the day. As results from the redirect missions in each universe come in, please forward them to the clearinghouse for analysis and evaluation.

February 11, 2028. MUnet sysadmin message: all users.
My name is Jayden. I'm the person behind the sysadmin reports. I just wanted to say that my heart is breaking for everyone in the universes where the redirect missions failed. The final tally shows that 98.8% of the attempts were not successful. We're opening up the message system for people to say their farewells now.

February 26, 2028. Sally Wu (U103).
To the hundred or so lucky Sallys who're going to make it. Most of the engineers and scientists have gone home now to their families. Just a few of us antisocial loners keeping the system up. I brought Mindy here. Silly old lump doesn't have a clue what's coming.

I know some people in your universes are saying the wormholes were a mistake. They just made everyone sad for all the people they never would have known about who are now going to die. But that isn't true. Those clinical trials are going to save lives. There will be other ideas too. I can't speak for everyone here, but I actually find it comforting knowing that you, the other versions of me, will carry on.

Almost time now. My last words? You got lucky, so now you have to do something with it. Don't hide from life. Don't die before you're dead, Sally Wu.


About the Author: 
Andrew Neil Gray is a writer and educator who lives on Canada's West Coast.