"I would be a liar if I claim to be God, but that's the short answer"
The man in the cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirt said to me, he was rather calm despite my sense of panic, I had awoken to find him watching me sleep, he had spoken with no prompting from me, although the thought of who the fuck are you had entered my sleep addled brain. Now I was looking for a weapon that would be easy to get too.
"You won't find one kid, even if you did it wouldn't do you any good, besides I aint here to harm yah"
That's creepy I thought, but obvious, who wouldn't look for a weapon upon finding someone in their room? And kid, this guy looked in his early 20's, at least 15 years younger than me, what I managed to stammer was
"look kid, I mean you no harm, and yes I am reading your thoughts, and next despite my looks I am far older then you think, as for the next question the who, what and why, I'll just tell you since I don't have all day ... well I do actually that was just a figure of speech"
I just stared at him dumbfounded
"Look kid, ill dumb this down for you, real k-12 level, I know you aint up on your astrophysics, and I know you flunked out of college. So basically kid you exist in a multi-verse, think of it as billions upon billions of universes, you've seen sliders? OH wait you haven't it never got picked up after the Pilot in this verse, well Ill fix that"
I had no idea what he was talking about Sliders had been one of my favorite shows
"Actually I have seen it; I have always liked Jerry O'Connell" I said The guy laughed
"No you haven't until this moment you only knew him as the fat kid in stand by me, You see kid that's the jist of it I have full control over this multi-verse thing I was telling you about, In fact for the sake of speed I will make you believe me"
And you know what? I did, I knew he could do all he said, but then I began to panic, was he a demon? A genie? An angel?
"No, No, and lastly no, although they all exist somewhere in the multi-verse, some of them can be very dangerous, never tangle with an angel boy-o, I am still trying to remove the stains from my favorite shirt and all because I thought it would be funnier for David to smack goliath in the nads instead of the head. Like I said, I happen to have a good handle over this whole multi-verse, I know what you will ask before you do boy, and again NO I am not God. Although I'd love to chat with him, sooo many questions"
"So back to the point, the verse's are all lined up like a deck of cards you see, but even the cards in the deck don't touch really"
And there floating in front of me was a deck of cards, then they exploded growing in size until I could see space in-between the cards on an atomic level.
"So near, yet so far" He shook his head sadly
"See, some beings can travel to and fro between these verses, them Angels for one, Demons sometimes, and a variety of other such interlopers, some even humans with technology, some with magic, it's all very detailed and involved"
My mind was spinning at what he was telling me.
"Relax, don't panic kid, it's not that bad, I don't know the why of it, you will have to ask the big guy one day. Anyway back to me, it is my favorite subject, You see I was like you once, human, ordinary, trapped on a playing card existence, but something happened to me you see, something that allowed me to slip free of the bonds that tied me to my verse. Trust me when I tell you it was madness, I fell into the space between, somehow I had jumped verse and was stuck in the nothing, but no time exists there kid, I was there for countless millennia before I started to figure things out, and even millions of years more before grasping the power I had somehow gained"
I sat in bed eager to hear more.
"You see kid, people don't jump verses unaided, and that's why I got stuck, not enough power to get to the next card you see. Well the thing that made me able to do that in the first place, allowed me also, with enough time that is, to harness these powers. In that middle space, time doesn't exist, it's like forever and nowhere at once. When I was able to jump again, I found that no time had passed from when I left. I also found I could alter the verse itself with the same ability' I sipped my coffee while listening to him, never once considering I was now fully dressed and at my local star bucks.
"I didn't know it then, but that power was well beyond any of the other beings that roam the verse, SURE some can do it a little bit, Even tech and magic can accomplish it on a small scale, hell there was this alien company in one verse that sold little boxes that tore through verses to alter people into what ever they wanted that was fucken crazy, anyway the bigger the change the harder it is"
I sat watching the ocean as he talked; now I was attired like him, and reclining on a beach chair, my coffee was now a fruity drink
"well that's the big part of who, the how, and now the what kid, you see, I have forever, I can pop in and out of these verses, hell I can even create some of my own, intentionally not through splitting of verses either or through natural means, hell you can do that, just make a choice and you add a card in the deck, don't go to work and there is a verse where you did, and one you didn't, as well as a billion more! NO I can willfully construct one, say one where the cockroach rules? There I just did, soon they will discover dimensional travel and spread out, IT'S going to be HALARIOUS when they invade and discover humans in the nearest verse to them, imagine finding a being 1000 times your size and all your tech means shit to their boot"
He sat there chuckling for awhile
"Oh like I said I am not God, you see I can't create a whole new multi-verse, it's all interwoven, I figure that's what makes him God, he can come up with a whole multi-verse with a fart, just like I create verses"
I now stood on a mountain top somewhere watching the sun rise with him
"Don't get me wrong kid, there are things I can't do, some you would never even guess, can't whistle yep sad to say, also can't carry a tune oh I can make you think I can but deep down I know ill never have that rock band, oh and like I can't make another me for example, Oh I can make a pretty good copy but no powers, in fact there are BILLIONS of me out there, none of them with my power, it's almost like I managed to remove this me from the rules of the system"
I was on a boat now, watching dolphins swim by I started to wonder when he would get to the point
"yes yes, always direct, you see kid, I get bored. Forever is a long ass time, it's like when you play GTA and get tired of the missions and decide to go see how many places you can fit a helicopter into. That's kinda what I do. Sure I have projects I work on, like the planet of the cockroach! That was a whim a few minutes ago, or that one kryptonian I saved from his planet and sent to earth. OH that's another thing for some reason there is often a lot of bleed over when ever verses are near to each other, Usually it plays out in your fiction, you know video games, comic books, novels, and movies"
It occurred to me I had not spoken through most of his speech
"like I said kiddo, not needed, so, kid here is my next little project, This verse, the one we are on, is among the most plain Jane out there, no magic, no super powers, not even any really cool tech, nearest alien contact at least a million years off, hell even contact with the spirit world is limited here, it is about as vanilla as you can get ... although I do like that Iphone, I took the liberty of exporting that idea across any verse I visit, BOY you should see when I hit the luddite verses! 'here Merlin play with this'"
With that he started laughing again.
"oh man that is funny, I gotta visit Steve while I am here. Where was I? oh yeah boredsville population you. So kiddo this is why I am here, talking to you. I am giving you, yes little old college drop out you! The chance of a trillion lifetimes, I am going to let you pick what I change about your verse. You want magic? DONE sure it will take time to discover and figure out, boy that can be hilarious too! OR how about this crashed alien space ship in the 50's that leap frogs technology here, humanity would have the stars in 100 years! That don't do it for you? How about super heros? NO? then elves and fae? You want vampires? Kid look the choice is yours and WIDE open, anything you want kiddo, anything at all."
And then it hit me the enormity of it all, and before I could voice a protest he spoke up
"this is how it will work kid, I will visit you in a week, one week to decide the fate of this realm, and then I let the chips fall however they will, Ill be watching, but purely for my own amusement and nothing more, and as for why you, simple, remember them billions of me I mentioned without powers? You got it kid, You are one of them"
I looked at him stunned he slowly morphed into my mirror image, no longer youthful, and his eyes held the look of a man who had seen it all.
"and so you won't waste this week thinking you're crazy, I just made it so you will only seriously consider the choice, and so that I'll be surprised I have blocked the knowledge of your choice from my own mind, I'll be just as surprised to watch it all unfold as the rest of this planet. Tell you what I even stopped reading your thoughts ... NOW heh, I want to be surprised kid, see you in a week"
And with that I was alone in my bed, the first thing I did was call off work for the week, it seemed pointless, I stayed in bed all day wondering, pondering the enormity of what I had learned, it made my life seem so small, so meaningless.
By day three I hadn't left my apartment, I was trapped in thought, Sure it was all pointless, my life and everyone else in this universe meant nothing if some egotistical version of me could change it on a whim. But then I thought, maybe, just maybe it could mean something, Maybe with this offer I could make my life matter, I could make it all worthwhile, I could be a hero.
So I waited, in my apartment, waited for him to show up again, sure enough he did. On the seventh day he was there before me, smiling ear to ear.
"SOOOOO Kido you ready to rock this world?" he looked at me imploringly Oh right he can't hear my thoughts "I was wondering if I could ask some questions?"
He smiled "sure kid shoot"
Ok now was my chance "you said one day this earth would make alien contact? As in it can happen, because they exists?"
His smile grew "I like where this is headed kid, YES yes it will, but not for perhaps a million years, of course you can change all that"
I pondered for a while longer before I asked my next question "you said the spirit world exists right? And you said there is a God right?' He looked a little confused "oh boy kid you got me thinking, BUT NOOO I wont look in that head of yours, so Yes and yes, But like I said the God thing is my own personal observation based on what I have seen, I can't give you a 100% on that one"
I nodded slowly "okay, is dimensional travel a natural progression in science?' He looked even more confused now "well not really, it takes some very specific discovery to make it happen, to make it move beyond theory at-least, also on some verses the physics just don't work, at least to do it by tech, magic works more often then not in those cases."
I nodded "you said there is no magic in this verse right?"
He smiled "not unless you want it here?"
Again I pondered "okay so you will do anything I ask for, no questions asked?' He frowned "kid if you ask me for some kind of endless orgy I will be greatly disappointed, but yes ill abide by that"
I smiled; it was as I had hoped "okay, here it goes. I would request that you leave this verse and never come back, I want it so you can never even look at this realm, I want it so you can not alter anything after our conversation is done, I want you to make it so that this realm will be barred from any of these other verse travelers"
He furrowed his brow thinking " you know kid, I can change your mind and you would never know it right?"
I nodded "I am counting on you carrying the same code of honor I do"
He laughed and slapped his knee "Boy-o you sure surprised the hell out of me, I would of never thought of that one, and again that's all I asked of you is to provide me with entertainment, and ill say you sure have. Now last chance, you sure?"
I nodded grimly He smiled "ok kid, it's done, and with that Ill will bid you good day sir"
The next moment I awoke in my bed "nah" I looked at my watch, it was a week earlier, in fact it was the exact moment I had woken up to the stranger in my room
"It couldn't have been a dream"
I looked at my night stand, and there was a note, it simply said "it wasn't" and was signed with the letter A.
Somewhere in the void between realms the author floated
"well how do you like that, first try at bat and I hit a home run, I sure hope the next few billion realms will be able to hold up to that"