You then, with mild prompting and as few digressions from Archivist as possible, explain what they told you about the situation.

Daniel pauses, thinking before asking his next question.

DANIEL: “So, what’ll happen if your siblings notice what’s going on? That you’re alive?”

ARCHIVIST: “Um. It depends? My dear brother will probably try to kill me, my dear sister… I’m not sure, and my dear sibling will probably stop my dear brother from wringing my sorry neck?

JACQUELINE: “A functional family, then?”

ARCHIVIST: “You’d think so, wouldn’t you? You’d think the oldest beings on all the Earths would have figured out their family dynamics by now.

ASH: “Oldest?”

ARCHIVIST: “Yes, well. I think so? I don’t quite remember my earliest memories, but I do recall that we’re older than the cold of the Earth.

JACQUELINE: “I’m not sure what that means.”

ARCHIVIST: “Hmm. Well, there was that time when your Earth was hit by another planet. That wasn’t so long ago, but it did kick up enough stuff to form Earth’s natural satellite. That was pretty impressive.

SAM: “Still not ringing any bells.”

ASH: “Sounds old, though.”

JACQUELINE: “We’re missing an important detail. What do you plan, going forwards. You’re going to get us all out of here alive, yes?”

Archivist looks decidely uncomfortable.

ARCHIVIST: “Funny thing about that… My siblings are all evenly matched with me, Strength-wise. If more than one of them disagrees with getting you out of here, you’re not getting out of here. And I’d love to say that, er, you’re all going to be fine, but I don’t like making promises about things that aren’t certain.

There is a brief silence.

DANIEL: “Welp. We’re doomed.”

ARCHIVIST: “I will try my best to avoid that eventuality! I even have the vague seed of a plan! Admittedly, it is mostly a plan to fix the Location and the systems it oversees, the power it routes and so forth. But, as a side-effect, it will make releasing you back where you came from a trivial matter, once the relevant systems are repaired. Optimistically, it’ll take an hour or so of your subjective time.

DANIEL: “Pessimistically?”

ARCHIVIST: “We all die, the Location collapses, and every living thing on every Earth from mauve through to apricot dies, and it takes a few thousand years for me and my siblings to pick up all the pieces.


DANIEL: “I reiterate my previous statement about us all being doomed.”

> So, when does the plan start?