NINE - JANE SOUTAINE VII
"Tell me, what do you know about the number 42?" Jane asked. She tried mentally conjuring a basket of strawberries on her left. And the strange thing happened: the floor opened a gash and a basket of red, juicy strawberries emerged from beneath. She picked up one, smelled it and licked it, hoping it wasn't anything poisonous.
"It's edible," the Traveller nodded. "I know about the significance of 42, but it was you who found out another meaning of 42. Impress me the thing you found on Sahara years ago."
"Your number 42 refers to an ancient literature about the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything written by a guy from twenty or twenty-first century. His name is Douglas Adams, I think. He wrote a book about science fiction and there is one huge computer computing the answer for that ultimate question, and after millions of years of calculating, the number just pops up 42," she bit onto the strawberry. Juice began to dribble down her chin. She wiped it hastily with a napkin provided.
"And go on..." the Traveller seemed amused.
"And there poses a larger question: what's was the question for the 42? And Earth was being used as a computer to calculate it. But it was destroyed by an alien before the answer is finalised," Jane said. "But my 42 has nothing to do with it."
"Of course, but your 42 is actually an anomaly existed in your research, am I correct?" the Traveller smiled.
She was taken aback. "How do you know?"
"It was an indication that 42 square kilometres of land vanished. Or should I say the Earth has shrunken as the 42 square kilometres of land was taken away?" the Traveller leaned to her. "Your 42 really has something to do with the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
"What do you mean?"
"The Earth is a computer designed to collect numerous data. I did not make the Earth. Someone superior has made it. Someone's power so great and vast that there is no match. It's an alien so intelligent that we could never see how it look like. It designed this computer and we are the couplets carrying information packets from one individual to another."
"As information travels from one person to another, some people are doomed to forget and some are doomed to remember. The computer model is simple but yet very, very complex. Everything you perceived through five senses are actually data retriever through five realms of data. Each combination gives you a special feedback. That feedback is going to be perceived by another as only either one senses. And he will couple it up and to send to another as another feedback."
"I don't follow you, Traveller."
"Take this example: You ate an apple. You saw it, you tasted it, you smelled it, you touched it and you even heard the crunch of the bite. Five inputs of this data is entered to your brain. And now, as the chain theory goes, you must affect other things, but one of the strongest things you can find is another human. You approach me, for example. Then you tell me the qualities of the apple you ate. I only hear you say, therefore only one input, at the same time I might be drinking juice. The other sensory inputs will combine with your apple input and form a new output. Then I find another to tell this two inputs. The process goes on and on until..."
"Until there is only one who gathers all the inputs," Jane spoke softly.
"Yes. We call that the information gatherer. And somehow this superior being wanted this information badly. So they need to harvest it," the Traveller said.
"Why? What is the significance?"
"I am not one of them, Jane," the Traveller shrugged.
"So the videos you showed me, the humans are forgetting stuffs and they become slower and slower, and some even lost their ability to speak. Is it because the humans are deteriorating because more and more information is passed on to the one higher up in the hierarchy? Until to a point that there is only one left while the rest is left with only empty shells with no souls? Is this the end of humanity as you named it?" Jane shuddered at such thought.
"Unfortunately, yes. Humans have no more knowledge and information to take care their young. They don't even know how to have young. The knowledge killed them, Jane. There's nothing you and I can do," the Traveller said sadly.
"You could have told everyone!" Jane burst out.
"I only knew when I stepped on the mirror and felt everything around me," the Traveller said apologetically.
"That was years before you know me!" Jane said angrily. She could have saved someone. Maybe she can bring someone out from Earth or put them into cryogenic sleep so that no more information can be passed to them, She wanted to have her DNA spliced and reintegrated to create more individuals since humanity is going to end. She didn't want this to happen.
"Something strange will happen if I were to tell them," the Traveller said.
"How strange?" Jane stood up and threw the basket of strawberries away in great fury. The fruits smashed into pulps and gradually dissolved onto the grey floor. "How strange could it be to just tell people?"
She heard a click at the back of her skull and something hard and metallic was jammed on to her scalp. "Hello, Jane," a voice spoke out.
"How strange? This strange," the Traveller crossed his legs calmly.
The person behind the gun - most probably a gun - was her most fear.
"You knew too much," the voice said.
It was Dave.