An echo talked to a mirror stood in the shadow of a man that was now little more than a rumour.
The cameraheads were swarming and the parrotgraphs were flocking and pictures and other forms of reportage were happening at a rapid rate.
Most broken realities were not together enough to track an Engineer ingress point, let alone take pictures of it and simulcast it across their known universe. This place was running on automatic for the most part, with a low degree of sentience in the informational ecosystem that was rattling around documenting the visitors. The cross-network share was immense, and the intelligences that were moving their minds through space to be in the right place was likewise staggering.
Ferghal Standish’s toggle-goggles almost fritzed when at least fifty AIs and a flotilla of robot ships appeared in the localspace at the same time.
‘What are you doing?’
‘Fitting solutions for situations.’
‘And what does that mean?’
‘It means that we are witnessing the birth of a Reality Engineer just for you.’
‘That’s your solution?’
‘What else do you suggest? The first thing we always do is tailor our response to the place that we are trying to help. That more often than not means reading the reality and writing someone into existence that is answer to the question being asked.’
‘What’s its name?’
‘Who are you?’ they all asked in unison.
‘Unum is my name.’
‘What are you here to do?’
‘I am here to fix what is broken, and once it is fixed I am here to make sure that it maintained. I am both engine and engineer. I am something other than the Reality Engineers that have existed before me, but then that is true of each of us that are created as something special to answer a certain problem.’
‘OK, and this one?’
‘He will leave us soon. I am the hardware that he has created and the software is something I am generating now.’
Ferghal’s evaporation was something to behold, but it was nothing in comparison to the Databurst as it came to be known — that superpositional reset truth that made the universe anew. Forever after it would be sacred data — all moments the now.