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12.8.2002 Edited by Ben, every Sunday.

Bjorn sat on the deck of Ark, staring down dejectedly with a vacant expression on his face. In spite of having just been rescued from certain death at the hands of notable celebrities, and being currently flying through the earth on Noah’s time-traveling ark, his mind was occupied with thinking about the woman he thought he loved, Jesus.

“It’s not fair…” Bjorn mumbled to himself, “Why do the good ones have to be irredeemably evil?”

It was then that a voice, one that Bjorn didn’t recognize, spoke to him.

“Yarr, Bjorn, ye cannot let th’ lass get ye down, when there are bigger fish we need to be chasin’. The sea we be travelin’ upon be a dark and stormy one. Don’t ye fret though, the worst has yet to be shewn to ye.”

Bjorn glanced up from his intent considerations of the Ark’s deck, to see a large, bearded man in a shabby blue unbuttoned waistcoat standing near the prow of the boat. His beard was long and black, and he has a cutlass the size of Bjorn’s arm hanging from his belt.

“How do you know that I’m Bjorn Lincon? And who are you?”

Noah reappeared from around the corner of the ark. “I see you’ve met Blackbeard, Bjorn. Of course, he’s already met you, but that’s in his past, and your future. He happens to be one of the best members of my crew; I always thought that he was quite famous, even in your time.”

“I’ve heard of Blackbeard, Noah... but I thought that most of the notable people in history had been turned over to Todd’s side already. Every time I show up somewhere, it’s like they’ve been there already.”

“I think Blackbeard can explain that problem to you best.” Noah said, “He does seem to know more than anyone about temporal mechanics.”

“Yarr, Bjorn, ye needs to give up on yer concept of linear time. Ye must start thinking that there arrr many strands of time, different for everybody, like the trade winds blowing in different directions at once. ‘Tis like relativity, says I. Some have been turned to evil already, some always were on the side of evil, and some have yet to pick a side.”

The ark sailed on through time and space, impossible colours swirling and dancing around it. Bjorn looked out into the swirling temporal vortexes, trying to make sense of it all.

“I think I’m beginning to understand… but, uh, Noah, I thought this guy was supposed to have been one of the most evil men in history? No offence, Blackbeard, but aren’t you famous for killing people and stealing things?”

“Nyarr, that be a lie! I was the greatest captain any ship had ever known, and loyal to the crown all of me days! And the rumors of sodomy are completely unfounded!”

“It’s true, Bjorn. All that you’ve heard about the so-called ‘real’ Blackbeard was never done by the man in front of you at all. We rescued him from an assassination attempt by McNohart’s henchmen, and he was replaced by one of McNohart’s robots. The robot then went on to raid English shipping, killing several officers who otherwise would have prevented the American revolutionary war, and caused the whole timeline you’re familiar with to not exist.”

“Oh, come on, Noah, I destroyed one of McNohart’s robots with... uh... liquid... once,” replied Bjorn, “and you expect me to believe that one of them could survive on the ocean?”

“Actually, Bjorn, what you destroyed was one of McNohart’s earlier models. The one he used to replace Blackbeard was a more advanced model, one he created after many more years of refining his technique.”

Bjorn puzzled at this for a moment, “Wait, but how could a robot, that came 500 years before Trump, be more advanced...”

“Yaharr, ye scurvy dog,” replied Blackbeard, “what did I tell ye about thinking in terms of linear time? Ye be shewing the logical of a pre-Socratic, and the physics of an Aristotelian.”

Bjorn wasn’t quite sure what Blackbeard was talking about, but he was fairly certain that he ought to be offended. The mists of time swirled around Noah’s Ark, as if the universe were providing an artistic accompaniment to the swirling confusion in Bjorn’s head.

Noah spoke up. “Enough of this idle chit-chat... Blackbeard, take the helm and make sure we’re on course to the refuge. Bjorn, it’s time you saw where the forces of resistance to Todd are gathering.”

The swirling mists grew thicker and thicker, until Bjorn couldn’t see anything at all through the thick, flashing, multicoloured smoke. He strained his eyes trying to make out shapes in the swirling nothingness, but other than the odd static discharge he couldn’t see anything. Gradually, though, the colourful clouds surrounding the Ark cleared away, and opened up to a vast star field, stretching in every direction to infinity.

“Where are we going, Noah?”

“Look in front of you… there,” said Noah, pointing out to a grey stony asteroid in the distance, “that small asteroid with the art-deco sign coming out of it. Sanctuary.”

Bjorn looked, and as they came nearer to the rock he noticed the size of it, as large as a football stadium. They were sailing towards an Ark-shaped hole in the side of it, with a recognizably 50’s looking sign over the top of the door that said “welcome”.

The large dock for the ark loomed around him as Bjorn stood on the prow of the ship, entering into the docking area of the asteroid. Shining metal girders held the massive chamber steady, and a burnished steel gangplank stretched out to meet the ark as it came in to dock.

The vessel was secured in place, all the ropes were tied to the dock, and Bjorn was led off. Soon he was exploring around the base that was serving as the refuge of all people who opposed Todd McNoheart. After wandering the lengthy corridors, he found Noah again.

“Noah, this place is incredible... I never knew that fighting a war could be done in such style. Where does the money come from to pay for all of this? For that matter, where is this place? Actually, when we are might be even better to know.”

“When you have time-travel at you disposal, Bjorn, compound interest is all the income you’ll ever need. As to where we are, I can’t tell you the exact coordinates, since if you ever get captured I can’t risk McNohart getting the information from you. But as to when, we’re at the last place anyone would look... the end of time. From here, we can review history and see exactly what happened, and take steps to correct it.”

“So, we’re at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, then… next thing you’ll be telling me that Douglas Adams is here, even though he’s dead...”

“Oh, he’s here alright; his books profoundly affect the way some key people look at time, and consequently he affects the invention of time travel. McNohart’s replacement would have had him write a travel guide to Norway and then work as an accountant.”

“But isn’t he dead?” replied Bjorn.

“Oh, he’s not dead yet. Actually, it’s kind of a taboo here to tell anyone how they’re going to die, so try not to bring it up. It gets rather depressing to hear about, after a while. Now Bjorn, the real reason why you’re here... are you ready to see God?”

Bjorn was shocked, “God’s here too?!? And I can see him? If you say so...”

Noah led Bjorn down into the deepest part of the asteroid base. They came to a locked door, which Noah accessed with a wave of his hands. Down another flight of stairs, and Bjorn and Noah were in a giant room of viewsceens displaying all of history, in the entire universe.

“Bjorn, meet YHWH-314159, the most powerful supercomputer to ever exist. All of history is in its memory banks, and all the connections in history are it’s to examine.”

A booming, mechanical voice issued from every direction at once.

“Welcome, Bjorn. We have much to discuss, you and I.”

Patrick Snider

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