Rority howled with laughter. “You want me to be a what?”
“It isn't funny,” Rula replied. “If you become a protohuman your brain won't be big enough to understand how to synthesize the Lysergic acid hydroxyethylamide in such a way that it's nontoxic. It's only a single muon's difference in a single atom of one of the carboxamides out of every third molecule. Exact precision is needed. Here, read the report.”
In 68 AB a fungal epidemic would have wiped out two years' worth of the north American continent's entire corn and soybean crops. Had it been allowed to do so, the world's food supply would have been in jeopardy, and its already existing monetary recession would have become a global depression of unprecedented scope. The mathematicians said that it would have resulted in the entire timeline being disrupted, with catastrophic results for the present, ten million years later. Humans would have become extinct. Rority would have to use the modified C18H21N3O2 to combat it.
“So I won't really be a Sasquach,” Rority said, mulling over the report. “I'll be human with a nobot covering that just makes me look like one. Hmm... this one might interest Gumal; he hates having his cells repositioned and their DNA restructured, but he's gotten very interested in the far ancient past ever since I brought that beer back. It might not be easy to control the nobots, though; my feet won't even reach the ground.”
“The nobots will handle it,” Rula said. “I'll ask Gumal if he wants in.”
“He's inside getting us a beer... here he comes now,” Rority said as Gumal walked out of the “house”.
“Oh, Hey, Rula! Are you here are are you a nobot simulation?”
Rula grinned. “I'm slumming, you reprobate! I have a new assignment for you and Rority.” She handed him a copy of the report, which Gumal promptly read.
“Want a beer, Rula?” Rority asked.
“No thanks, I have some stuff to do. Besides, Gumal's too busy reading to give me one. I'll take a hit off your stratodoober, though.”
“So, you want Rority and me to be Bigfoots?” Gumal asked. “In Illinois? Kind of, um, unbelievable to the folks at the time, isn't it?”
“Here, look at this,” she said as the nobot report reassembled itself into an ancient newspaper, looking every bit the paper and ink they had used those millions of years ago.
Gumal read out loud. “Messing with Sasquatch may not be such a good idea, by Kevin Tremain. ‘There's something amiss in the backwoods of Chatham, something potentially big. Lately there's been talk around certain areas of town of an unusual howling and screeching sound as well as evidence of some very large footprints.
‘Since June there have been at least five to six instances of residents discovering or hearing evidence that the infamous Bigfoot may be lurking somewhere in the Chatham community. One case in particular has garnered some attention from local police, as well as a few proclaimed Big Foot experts.’
“You gotta be kiddin' me! This is a real newspaper?”
“Yep, it's a copy of the Springfield State Journal-Register, or an exact nobotic simulation anyway. Speaking of nobotic simulations, what happened to your Butler, Rority?”
“Gumal lost a bet. He has to fetch beer for the next week.”
“You two can be so childish!” Rula exclaimed.
“Well hell, Rula,” Rority replied, “I'm only five hundred years old. I'm barely grown! And Gumal's only fifty years older!”
“Well, are you guys taking the assignment?”
“Sure,” said Rority. “How about it, Gumal?”
Gumal laughed and handed beers to Rority and Rula. Rula repeated “No thanks, Gumal, I have some stuff to take care of.”
Gumal said “First we're little green men from Mars and now we're Sasquach! Hilarious, I'm in.”
“One more thing,” Rula said. “This isn't in the report, but the math boys said that the time distortion that you two are going to go back to fix shouldn't have happened in the first place, but did in fact happen. Someone has distorted the timeline, and we don't know who, what, or when they are and are from, or why they did it. The number guys say it could be something or someone from another dimension, or even from our future. They might not even be human.
“We just don't know, the numbers are wrong. Like rounding errors, which are impossible in real life.
“This one looks easy, but you guys could run into trouble.”
“Oh hell,” Gumal said, “no big deal. Rority can have the nobots turn him into a protohuman when we're done and he can get more beer. We've only got a couple of cases left.”
Rority laughed. “Nice try, asshole, but I don't need to be a protohuman to get beer. I have nobots. I get my beer invisible. Where's my stratodoober?”
|11 - Assassin
|13 - The Hacker