The Time of the Giant

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"Is this thing on? Can you hear me?"

The General stared at the screen where the other participants of the video conference were seen. An affirmative muttering could be heard from them. He was told that they were the smartest men and women in the world alive.

"Hope they're smart enough," he thought. "Or may God be gracious to us..."

"Good. This is Kwasi Agyeman, liaison for the UN and the Project Dodona," he said. "It was a year ago, that the Giant came. One long encoded message appeared instead of every digital and printed text in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. Then the creature popped up in the city centre accompanied by deadly frost and electronic storm. It was intangible and indestructible. Then it just faded away and more of them came to our cities all over the world bringing panic and destruction. People said they were heralding the world's end but we knew there was more than meets the eye. First we realized that it was the same creature the whole time, teleporting time and time again. Then it went to the University of Minnesota where they have one of the largest imaging magnet in the world. It affected the creature in such a painful way that gave us the key to striking back. Now we’re ready to stop, contain and maybe destroy it with our mobile magnetic cage. That was where you came in. We must know where it appears next to install the MMC in time.”

"Thats’s why we’re here," one of the participants, a robust curly-headed man said. "But why is that clown Teo online?"

The General looked at the named man. The others were muttering agreeingly.

"What have you been working on recently again?" the interrupter asked. "A journey to another dimension?"

"Parallel universe", he answered quietly, "but you know that, you were there."

"Yeah, wasting my time. Did you open a portal since then?"

"Only a pinhole."

"More thinking, less fighting, Mr. Kiss," the General interfered. "Have you made any process?"

"Sure, optimization of our computer is almost ready. Hopefully, we can start quantum annealing this evening," Kiss proclaimed proudly.

"What about the others? Mr. Teo?"

"6th of October," he said, and the others laughed.

"I mean the city. Near Cairo, Egypt," he said and the laughter died away.

"Sou you're telling me to evacuate that city and send the troops with the trap there?" the General asked.

"No. Set the trap in Danang, Vietnam. It's the creature's next stop."

Kiss doubted it.

"So you already extracted the solution for not one but... How many qubits does your computer have at all?"

"The Worm 144 has 100 qubits."

"No way you could pull this off with mere 100 qubits!"

"I'm warning you Teo," the General added, "if this is a sick joke... There will be consequencies. Can’t believe you’re such an irresponsible..."

"Problem is, he isn’t," Kiss said confusedly. "So you're calling it the Worm?"

Teo nodded.

"Only a pinhole, huh?"

"Yep."

"You sonuva... You did it, didn't you?"

"What?!" the General bursted out.

"Let's say our small wormhole is still big enough for quantum entanglement."

The General heaved a deep sigh. Kiss helped them out.

"He interconnected his quantum computer and those of his parallel universe versions, building the universal quantum computer. Maybe you should warn that city.

* * *

"I was told that the city of 6th of October was almost empty when the Giant came," the General said. "So you got in touch with those parallel worlds... can you also communicate with them? Do they, too, have a Giant-problem?"

"Actually, they have the same problem."

"Did the machine compute those giants' next coordinates, too? How many qubits does this beast have?" Kiss asked.

"It didn't have to. They really have the same problem. The creature appeared on the very same spots."

"What's the chance of that? It's impossible! Except it's the very same creature in every world at the same time... What the hell is this?!"

* * *

"The guys with the giant flypaper just told me that the creature was succesfully trapped in Danang," the General said, smiling. "We are saved! Or are we?"

"There are only two possibilities: yes or no," Kiss said.

"Or maybe more," Teo added.

"Now what?"

"The Worm completed computing."

"Computing what? More coordinates?" Kiss asked.

"No, it gave me three more after I'd told you about Danang. It's the message."

"Which is…?"

"'Run!'"

"What the…?"

"This word was encrypted. Well, sort of," Teo added. "Actually, it’s a list containing this word in 12213 different languages."

"There are about 7000 known languages."

"Add to that the extinct ones and those we never knew existed..."

"...and we get a threat in every human languages ever," Kiss finished.

"How do you mean it’s gone?" the General exclaimed, listening to his earpiece. "They say," he said to them, "the Giant vanished. There was a big flash and... My God, was everything in vain?!"

"Next stop?" Kiss asked. "Teo…?"

"Budapest, Hungary. Your campus…"

"So sorry my friend…" the General whispered.

"You shouldn’t be," Teo said.

"How dare you?!"

"No, he’s got a point," Kiss said. "We’re still talking. What did they say?"

"There was a flash and…"

"That’s new."

"It always faded before vanishing," Agyeman continued. "A threat in every language and now it ran away...?"

"I wonder why," Kiss muttered.

"Because we defeated it? Hello?"

"We decoded the message," said Teo.

"Would've it come to give it to us in the first place? Like a flamin’ ghost?" Kiss asked.

"But what could’ve possibly been a thing while alive that has a ghost of this size and power? Did a minor god go and died?" the General asked.

"Or an angel of sort? But the question is, what could possibly kill a being like this? Because it looks like its unfinished business was to warn us and it can mean only one thing: its murderer is coming this way."

About the Author: 
Hello, my name is Tamas Dobos. I live in Hungary and for my Love, our cat and the writing. The latter maybe doesn't requite my love but I cling to hope.