1 (ぼさぐちゃ)
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☦An ending.☦
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1。

That was the current population of beings inhabiting the entire, extended multiverse. One single sapient being lay sleeping on the last patch of solid matter, topped with the last gas left from what once was. To the left of the being sat two items; one, a small rusted water bottle filled to the brim with water; the other, a small cardboard pizza box belonging to a human shop that had long since been forgotten and destroyed. The entire scene existed within a sphere only ten meters in diameter, with another human construct - a strange machine designed specifically to ensure the continued existence of this place - located at the exact centre, lighting it all in an azure glow. This was all that remained, existence began and ended here.
それは、拡張された多元宇宙の全域に存在する者の数。最後に残された一塊の個体の上に、かの時代から残存する最後のガスに包まれ、一体の知性が横になって眠っていた。その傍らには二つの品があった。一つは、注ぎ口まで水で満たされた、古く錆びついた水筒。一つは、遥か昔に忘れられ、失われたピザ屋に由来する、小さなピザボックス。その情景を収める、半径にして高々10mの領域の中心には、もう一つの人工物があった。それはこの場所の存在を保証する為に作られた奇妙な機械だった。それは真の中心に置かれ、アズールの光を発していた。残された物はそれだけで、存在はここに始まり、ここに終わっていた。

It awoke and rose. It felt as though there was no lapse in awareness, no significant feeling designating that it had awoken from a slumber, nothing. It went directly from unaware to aware, and wasted no time in obtaining the bottle of water in an appendage and pouring its contents into a certain orifice designed to receive such. After a time it was satisfied, turning its attention to the ham, mushroom and pineapple pizza located within the last pizza box in existence, and began consuming it slowly, savouring the taste as it looked at the boundaries of its home.
それは目覚め、起き上がった。明晰性の欠如があるようには感じられない。惰眠を終えた瞬間に特有の感覚は全く無かった。無意識から意識へと直接移行し、一時も無駄にすることなく、前肢で水筒を掴み、内容物を適切な開口の中に注ぎ込んだ。満足を覚えると、それは最後のピザボックスの中に収められた、ハムとマッシュルームとパイナップルで彩られたピザに注意を向けた。それは徐にピザを消費し、味わいながら、自身の住処の境界に視線を移した。

It followed the lines and cracks of the bleak lunar stone, out to where they began to blur and fade, and then beyond. To say there was nothing but pure black darkness there was to imply there was darkness there at all, which there most certainly was not. It looked out (Out? At? Through? Into? It wasn't sure what description could be used, if something such as this could be described) to the void of nonexistence that permeated and ruled supreme beyond its home, silently waiting beyond invisible boundaries to complete its invasion. It lazily, vainly searched for another speck, a sign of anything within the formless form of its timeless enemy, but it knew it would find nought. Even if by some immense chance, an astoundingly convenient stroke of luck ensuring that another such device preserving its home somehow became synchronised with the timeline and remnant spatial rules with that of its own, it would never be able to detect it; even mere centimetres away, there were no rules of physics or logic in the space between them, and thus nothing through which light, sound or even thought could travel through to reach each other.
吹きさらされた月の石の溝やひび割れを辿り、それらが掠れ、消えていく様を見る。純粋な暗闇だけが存在した、と述べることさえ、暗闇の存在を仮定した不正確な表現と言えた。有り得ない仮定だ。それは住処の外部を埋め尽くし支配する、非存在の虚空の方向を(そのものを?中を?向こうを?仮に表現が可能だったとして、どれが正しいかは判然としなかった)眺めた。不可視の境界面の向こう側から、虚空は侵略の機会を伺っていた。それは漫然と、時間を超越した敵の形無き形の中に、何らかの徴を見出そうとした。何も得られないことは端から分かっていた。途方もない確率で、凄まじい幸運によって、同様の装置で住処を維持している存在があり、物理法則の残骸と時間軸に適合したとして、検知することは不可能だ。ほんの数センチ離れた場所にいてもなお、両者の狭間は物理法則や論理法則を欠いており、光や音、思考でさえ、伝える術が無い。

It paused on its current slice of pizza, idling before it had taken its first bite. It moved its food away from its orifice, out towards the edge of the island of existence, stopping with the tip of the slice flopping lazily just before the edge. The entity knew what would follow, but it enjoyed doing it nonetheless; there was little else to do here anyway. With a slow motion the slice was forced half-way beyond the boundaries of existence, before being withdrawn to reveal that all exposed to the void was gone, having been erased well below the subatomic level, below the quarks, beyond even the level of simple, raw energy. It was gone forever, erased from reality forever, impossible to recover by any means. With no interest in continuing the half-wasted slice, the entity carelessly tossed away the remaining piece, watching it briefly before it vanished.
それはまだ一口も食していない一切れのピザを動かす手を止めた。それは食物を口から離し、存在を保つ島の縁に近付けて、ピザの先端が縁を越えてだらしなく垂れる所で止めた。それは次に起こることを理解していたが、それでもなお動作を続けた。この場所で、他にやることがある訳でもない。それはゆっくりとピザの半分までを境界の先に押し出した後、引き戻し、虚空に晒された部分が失われていることを、素粒子に満たないスケールで消し去られていることを確認した。クオークどころか、単なるエネルギーまでもが失われていた。永遠に現実から除かれ、如何なる方法でも復元し得ない。半分が無駄になった一切れを食べきる気も起きず、それは無造作に残存物を放り投げ、境界の先で消失する瞬間を見届けた。

The sight reminded it of a story formed by a human many eons ago. The entity was not new to the universe, oblivious to the degree at which reality had been perverted; no, it was old and timeless, hiding beyond the view of watchful eyes, reaching out and listening quietly with its mind, learning of all that happened within its reach. Even as the holes began to tear open wider and wider, birthing untold new horrors and mysteries that could never feasibly be explained, it listened and learnt how these things had come to be, and planned for the inevitable time to come. It waited until the time was right, and took the three items it needed - items which once would have been protected and revered had lost importance and lay discarded by their owners, lapsing from their minds.
その光景は、幾星霜も以前に人類が作り出した物語を思い起こさせた。それがこの宇宙にやってきたのは最近のことではなく、ただ現実が損なわれた頃を思い出すことも困難であった。それは古から在り、時間を超越し、好奇の目から隠れながら、手を伸ばし、意識上の耳を研ぎ澄まし、届く範囲の全てを知った。穴が穿たれ、大きく開かれ、妥当な説明を与えられない新たな語られざる恐怖と神秘を生み出した。その傍らで、それは時が来るのを待ち、必要な三つの品を手に入れた。かつては保護され、畏敬の念を向けられた品々は、既に所有者に棄てられ、彼らの意識からも除かれていた。

The first was the pizza box - a simple little thing, capable of generating endless supplies of food whenever closed and opened once more. The limitation of such food always being a form of pizza was acceptable, especially considering how the generated food had eventually come to be randomised when the entity grew bored of the same repetitive flavours.
一つ目はピザボックス。至極単純な代物で、蓋を開閉するだけで、食物が無尽に供給される。得られるものが必ずピザの形式を取ることは許容可能だった。それが単調な味に飽きるに従い、ピザがランダムに生成されるようになったことも助けになった。

The second appeared as simple as the first, a mere canister forged by the humans that had slowly yielded to time and age, but still retained its ceaseless supply of water that required only a motion to utilise. The water was good too, the mindless bottle ensuring that only liquid fit to nourish and sustain a jewelled regal flowed from its neck.
二つ目は同様に単純で、人間によって製造され、経年劣化を受けた水筒に過ぎない。しかし無限の水で満たされているのは変わらずで、たった一つの動作で機能させることができた。水の品質も好ましく、意思を欠いた水筒でありながら、宝石を着飾った王族の喉を潤すに相応しい、最上級の水のみを生み出した。

With endless nourishment ensured for the entities' own health, only one item remained; something with which to protect the final vestige of reality, an anchor to hold the ship of logic and sanity steadfast in the storm of chaos and destruction. The machine was used frequently by the humans to try and save themselves, but overuse and recklessness weakened them until they could do nought but bow beneath the foot of the invading destruction. This one, however, stood strong and alone. Though it never ceased function, endlessly grinding away to hold the spokes of physics together around it, its own solitude strengthened it tenfold as it used the force of nonexistence to hold the small sphere together in spite of it. With these three items the entity knew it could survive indefinitely and as such waited until the inevitable time came when their use was necessary.
健康を維持する為の無限の飲食物を手に入れたそれの前に、残る一つの品があった。現実の最後の痕跡を守る為の、混沌と破壊の渦の中で論理と正気の舟を沈ませない為の、錨に等しい物。人間は、彼ら自身を守る為の試みとして幾度となくその機械を用いてきたが、その効力は過剰使用と無理解によって弱められ、果てには、彼らは浸食する破壊を前に頭を垂れることを強いられた。対して、ここにある機械は、単独で強力なままだった。決して休むことを許されず、周囲の物理を束ねる為に身を削り続けていたが、その機械は非存在の力を用いて小さな球体を維持していたので、孤立はその作用を十倍にも強めていた。これらの三つの品があれば無期限に生存が可能であることをそれは知っていて、それらが必要となる不可避的な瞬間をじっと待ち構えていた。

The entity recalled the story it brought to mind; one of a single, lone human fighting against a seemingly unstoppable force to save the universe from it. A perfect acid known only as Nothing, capable of consuming and erasing all it touched regardless of what it was, but capable of being used for endless possibilities to be achieved. It recalled how the tale had ended, with the human seemingly failing in their endeavour, becoming the final remaining component of its existence but being granted the power to undo almost all the damage that had occurred. The entity gave its closest analogue to a smirk, realising how similar the story was to his own predicament.
それは、頭に浮かんだ一つの物語を思い出した。一人の孤独な人間が、阻止することは不可能にも思える強大な力に反抗し、世界を救おうとする話だ。"無"という言葉でのみ知られる究極の酸は、触れた物が何であれ、その全てを食らい、消し去ると同時に、無尽蔵の利用の可能性を秘めていた。それは物語の終わりを思い出した。一見したところでは人間は賭けに敗北し、存在を残す最後の要素となったが、彼らの手には、引き起こした破壊を無かったことにする力があった。それは、薄ら笑いに近しい表情を浮かべ、その物語と自身が置かれた状況の類似性を思った。

But such were mere stories - such a rebirth was impossible here. Who was left to serve as the new architect? Nobody had made it but him.
しかしそれは単なる物語に過ぎない。この場所で、再生は不可能だ。誰が新たな創造者と成り得よう?残されたのは彼一人だけなのだ。

The dreamwalkers? They didn't make it, mischievous and cunning as they were. The bastard tricksters had likely realised their realm was crumbling around them and pulled some sly trick to try and preserve themselves, perhaps by sleeping themselves. But there is only so much of itself an ouroboros can eat before there is no more to feed on, and so the dreamwalkers would have died, taking the dreamlands with them. Dreams were no longer empty for the entity; there were simply no dreams.
夢を歩く者達は?彼らは生き残れなかった。狡猾で賢しい彼らだったが。あの忌々しいトリックスター共は、彼らの住処が崩壊の一途にあることを知り、彼ら自身を眠りに就かせる等の狡い手段を考え付いたのかもしれない。しかしウロボロスの腹は到底満たされるものではんかう、彼らは住処となる大地と共に餌となったことだろう。最早、空白の夢を見ることも叶わない、夢はそもそも存在しなくなったのだ。

The priests of steel and bone? They didn't make it. They were too blinded by their furious rage for each other, trying to resurrect their own deity while destroying the other to think of their solutions to the problem. Even if the two had miraculously cooperated, worked together to birth and forge a combined deity of unrivalled might, it would have been unable to prevent the reverberating destruction that approached it. The entity wouldn't have been surprised if the two religions finally died with their leaders in each other's arms, clutching at the daggers each had pierced the other with.
鉄と骨の司祭達は?彼らは生き残れなかった。互いへの敵意に目を曇らされ、問題の解決を図ることよりも、それぞれの神格を蘇らせることに心血を注いだ。奇跡的に彼らが協力したとして、両者の力を合わせた比類なき神格を作り出したとして、残響しながら迫る破壊の波を斥けることは不可能だったろう。双方の指導者が相手に短刀を突き刺し、互いの腕に抱かれながら宗教が終わりを迎えたとしても驚くに値しない、とそれは思った。

The Factory? It didn't make it. It likely never considered destruction as a threat, just a way to turn a greater profit before it was finally killed. It certainly made sure its walls didn't fall unnoticed, producing more and more flaws and errors in logic and causality as the end approached its borders, screaming louder and louder as the distance shortened until its maw was finally silenced like it should have been long ago. Perhaps the Factory was a small part of nonexistence, working to further its own spread? It didn't matter now - none of the Factory's machinations or products stood anymore.

The Toymaker? He didn't make it, but he helped lessen the pain. While he was viewed as warped and insane by others, his motives were pure hearted and true, wishing only joy and happiness to those who needed it. Even as their parents became unspeakable monsters right before their eyes, the toymaker ensured they had some pleasant item to think back to before their end came. Not just children, no. Any who saw the wave approaching and were despairing were serviced by the toymaker, getting gifts of impossible puzzles and helpful dolls and the like. And though even the Toymaker met his end eventually, he passed peacefully remembering the smiles he granted to those who suffered.

The sisters? They didn't make it. No number of fathers, timelines, events or plans had saved them in the end. No magnitude of revenge was enough to scare the destroyer from them. No desperate pleas brought divine protection to them. No, they passed without a thought or heed, their own secrecy preventing their story from being brought to mind, even by their father.

The librarians? They didn't make it. Endless access to unlimited knowledge, countless burrows and trapdoors to sneak through, infinite supplies to anything they wished, and yet still they too fell. Their books shattered like glass, their legacy melted like their bones, and within moments they were gone as though their own book had been burnt. They knew what was coming and how it was coming, and so they knew more than any other how futile it was to resist a primordial force without mind or emotions. Their stories remained though, remembered by the few who encountered them and remained, and were told as legends and myths to entertain the babes and wives. But even they fell in time, knowledge itself becoming corroded and worn with time.

The godslayers? They definitely didn't make it. In a way they were the lucky ones, being spared from viewing what their thoughtless actions had wrought. The entity didn't entirely know what became of them - were they slain early and mercilessly? Or did some of them remain long enough to view the feedback of their mindless destructive nature consume them whole? Did they see as their rivals became powerful and corrupted in their obsessive motives and involuntary actions? Could they scream as the world shattered and melted like ice around them? Did they hear their legacy crumble and burn beneath the weight of their sins? The entity did not know. It had been too fearful of its own demise to connect with them and learn.

The Foundation? They didn't make it. They thought they were the stonework, the base of what would be normal and not paranormal. They thought they were the ones who could be depended upon to preserve their world from the horrors beyond. They thought they knew enough to turn the inexplicable into tools, to use them to save the world. They thought they knew how to abuse certain flaws in logic to further their goals to protect everyone. They thought they would be the steadfast ones, the reliable ones, the justified ones, the ones that could and the ones that would.

But they weren't. They had lied to themselves until they thought it was true, but inevitably it was still false, still a lie. They never realised what was happening when the foundation beneath them buckled and crumbled. They never realised how warped and distorted they had become from the madness of the world. They never realised how badly their machines and tools were treated, rendering them useless. They never realised how badly they had failed not just themselves, nor their world, but all life. Even the legendary Foundation had fallen, the supposedly prophesied saviours. Even they didn't make it.

Nobody didn't make it, but the entity did.

Alone.

Only the entity remained to rebuild the universe, but it knew it couldn't. It didn't know how to, or what to do. It didn't have the cunning of the dreamwalkers. It didn't have the passion of the priests. It didn't have the audacity of the Factory. It didn't have the hope of the Toymaker. It didn't have the determination of the sisters. It didn't have the knowledge of the librarians. It didn't have the focus of the godslayers. It didn't have the resolve of the Foundation.

It had nothing but itself, a bottle of water, a box of pizza, a section of stone and the machine preserving it all.

There were no tools.

There were no guides.

There was no hope.

Time had long since run out. There were no days, no hours, no minutes, no seconds. There was no undoing or redoing. There was nothing but now and there.

The entity turned to see the familiar machine and moved its form for the first time in a long, long time.

It remembered the button.

It relocated itself to have the large, bright red button conveniently accessible to its appendages.

It remembered what the button does.

It gently rested an appendage against the button.

There was nothing left to do.

The entity consumed the final slice of pizza it had, and cast the box out into the hungry abyss.

There was nothing left to see.

The entity consumed more of the water, then cast the bottle into the abyss with the box.

There was nothing left.

Thoughts of its ageless lifetime raced through its mind. It remembered everything within an instance, searching vainly for anything it could possibly do other than the inevitable.

There was nothing.

The entity pushed the button, ordering the machine to stop.

With one final silent motion, the jaws of the rat snapped shut.

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  1. portal:3769872 ( 20 Jul 2018 14:41 )
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