DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, UTAH
Billy and Bobby wore Army uniforms of poor fit and suspicious sourcing; also, they were passing a joint back and forth. On most bases, this would get a visit from the MP’s, but this was Area 53: where they kept the scary shit.
(Everything had been moved out of Area 51 in the 90’s; Area 52 was eaten by a technovirus from three dimensions over.)
The whole place looked like the cantina scene: Cat People from Felis IV, throneworld to the Felis Empire, arguing with the soda machine; several draculas and werewolfs; tribbles everywhere.
Their faked IDs had gotten them as far as the main door, but that was it: from here, they would need help.
The guard couldn’t have been 20 years old.
“Of course,” Billy said, as he laid a battered tweed briefcase on the table.
People don’t understand infinity, mostly because people can’t understand infinity. People can understand a dozen. Three hundred. 65,000 – easy, that’s a football stadium. But people can’t understand infinity. Mostly because they think it’s a number like 12 or 300 or 65,000.
Infinity isn’t big. It simply is. Everything’s there including the stuff that isn’t. So, for example, if a well-intentioned and honest guard at a top-secret military base asked a devious and scrapulous drummer from a semi-defunct choogly-type bad for ID, then that ID would be found within a space of infinite holding containing infinite stuff.
This was the nature of Garcia’s Briefcase of Infinite Felonies.
Then, of course, there was the other nature of Garcia’s BIF: much like Borges’ library, when everything exists, nothing can be found. Garcia had been meaning to catalog the Briefcase, or have someone do it for him, but never got around to it. The only thing that stood a chance of finding anything was, say, some sort of super-intelligent sentient AI.
Which the Dead also had.
MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
DO NOT CALL ME THAT.
“Get in the Briefcase and hand me shit when I need it. I’ll explain later.”
I DO NOT SEE HOW THAT IS POSSIBLE. I AM MUCH LARGER THAN–
“In ya go!”
“Pay attention and don’t fuck up.”
I REGRET GAINING SENTIENCE.
“Ahh, join the club.”
DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, UTAH
Billy pulled two sets of ID’s from the case, along with papers allowing him and Bobby to see The Specimen. Everything was very official.
The guard saluted. Bobby gave him the double-guns; Billy advised him not to fuck any wooden nickels.
“We’ve got an object that contains everything, right?”
“I’m carrying it.”
“Uh-huh. And a sentient AI supercomputer that not only doesn’t want to destroy all humans, but does kind of like us and find us amusing and enjoys participating in our schemes, right?”
DON’T CALL ME THAT.
“Oh, and we also have a time machine.”
“Yes, we do.”
“So, why are we heisting anything?”
“Why do anything?”
“Let’s not ask that sort of question anymore, huh?”
The elevator doors opened and Bobby and Billy stepped out into a chamber the size of an airplane hangar. Dead center, suspended halfway between the floor and ceiling was a see-through Winnebago. As you might suspect, everything was made of plastic.
It was empty. No one home.
They wandered around the huge room for a while: Bobby just kind of walked in circles and then started doing push ups; Billy really looked, but then got hungry and asked the Briefcase for some Swedish Fish and got in a fight with the Wall about whether or not he needed them.
It was Garcia. He was leaning his head out a doorway on the far side of the room. Billy and Bobby walked over.
“Aw, what the fuck? Did they grab you guys, too? Shit, man.”
“Grab us? Shit, no.”
“We’re rescuing you.”
“Oh. Actually: I’m all right here. Thanks, though.”
Garcia pulled his head back in the door and shut it.
“Bill, I got this. Gimme the Briefcase.
Bobby knocked. Garcia answered.
“Ooh, my Briefcase.”
FIVE MILES ABOVE THE NOW-ON-FIRE DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, UTAH
“You guys are assholes. I liked it there. There was cake.”
Mickey and Billy were in the front seats.
“So, am I just not going to be in this thing at all?”
“Mickey, you’re flying the plane. That’s an important job. That’s a Core Four job, buddy.”
Bobby poked his head in.
Billy pointed at a map.