"Hey, what would happen if we used the dull knife on a portal? Would it cut the portal, or would the portal cut it?" Sophia asked.
"Well, the knife is magically *unable* to cut anything, and not magically strong, so I assume the portal would just cut it. There's no paradox involved," Fezzik responded. "I guess it couldn't hurt to try."
So she tried! And to everyone's surprise, the knife *did* cut the portal, sort of -- it deleted the weave holding the portal open, but didn't get rid of the portal itself hanging there, half open, with no obvious way to close it since it there was no weave opening it anymore.
"Well, a permanent portal is cool," Kanwei said, "But it's too small to actually use. I'm going to try to stretch it open farther."
Reality started fraying apart from the torn edges of the portal, rapidly spreading across the room. Fezzik tried to fix it by opening another portal on top of the mess, hoping that tearing reality open again would fix it being torn open the first time, but that didn't work. Sophia suggested that Fezzik could fix the problem by using Balefire to destroy the dull knife that had screwed up the portal in the first place, since balefire burned things backwards in time and undid things they'd just done. Fezzik was desperate enough to try it... and to use about twice as much power as he was normally capable of, mana-burning himself slightly, to make sure he burned it far enough back.
Unfortunately, between that and his new angreal, he burned it *way* farther back than he'd intended -- in particular, he burned it back far enough that they'd never made copies. So now *all* the knives were gone, and they had nothing to use to fix the cracks.
AND the whole Black Tower -- they'd been experimenting on this stuff in the Black Tower -- was now rushing towards them to find out who'd used Balefire. Fezzik fled into the dreamworld as fast as he could, not wanting to face the mandatory capital punishment for the use of balefire, which did not, in fact, have a 'just saved the world' exception.
"And the worst part is, we just saved the world, which uses up the whole inevitability thing from the first gate -- so now we might fail or die fixing the real problem we've been working on."
"Maybe if we go to Hideo's world we can undelete it or something?" someone suggested. So, since they'd sent Hideo to Cairhein, they headed there through the dreamworld, which at least was no longer all paintingy.
And found themselves in what looked like 1970s New York City. They were in the TRON world -- in the 'user' world, which corresponded to the dreamworld there. No teleporting, but they were able to take a taxi to the abandoned military base where whatsisname was 'watching' their ter'angreal. And affixing little price tags.
"I thought you said you guys already looted this place? You suck as treasure hunters -- I've been finding all sorts of stuff."
"We took out as much as we could carry, and were chased out by trollocs and darkfriends, remember?"
Technology was more advanced, although it was still nominally the TRON universe -- in particular, at the military base they were Men In Black. Agents H, F, S, and K. K being an alien in a human suit.
K did manage to undelete and make new copies of the dagger, at least, this time making sure to give them different GUIDs so they wouldn't all be deleted at the same time if one of them was. This was good, because the estimated time limit before the world was destroyed was somewhere between 3 days (when the largest cracks penetrated the Earth's crust) and 8 days (when they bisected the planet).
Using the computers at the MIB base with H's special ability to spot reality-shifted people (which was equipment in this world apparently) they were able to quickly scan Cairhein for anyone who seemed to be putting out reality ripples.
"Okay... it says it found 216 anamolous readings..."
"What the heck? I thought we were talking, like, seven."
"...on the first block it scanned."
It turned out that everyone who came out through one of the big cracks was reality shifted to a minor degree. Since the cracks were very large and blocked all sorts of major thoroughfares, a good portion of Cairhein was reality shifted by now.
"So, we *need* to fix these cracks. But what do we do, just kill random people?"
As MIB, that was within the scope of their duties. And since it was the TRON universe they were talking about, they could always copy the people before they killed them.
So F and H borrowed some zoomers from the MIB garage and zoomed into the city, to one cluster of anomolies. There they disguised themselves as cops and 'arrested' one of the patrons, and copied him. The copy wasn't anamolous, so they killed the original, by shoving him through a... well, by using their laser-scanner to transfer him to the user world as a hologram, then stabbing him with a dull knife through the window.
FSSH, he derezzed, and all the nearby cracks glowed and sealed shut. It worked!
As a control, they picked someone who wasn't anomolous, copied them, and killed the copy. Nothing seemed to happen, but the people in the control room were able to tell them that more nearby cracks had closed, just not the really big ones which were the only ones in line of sight of them (since the first person had closed all the nearby small cracks) and which were the actual danger.
K (or maybe S) also had the idea of using the dagger on one of the cracks, which... had an effect -- it turned the crack into a person radiating a new reality, which made more (initially tiny) cracks. Killing the newly created person just turned them back into the original crack, though.
K: "Well, that was useless."
F: "Why don't we just stab the really big cracks to turn them into people, to keep them from destroying the world? I'd rather create life than destroy it."
S: "We'll have to keep creating more and more of them because they'll keep making new cracks, though. And reality will get really confusing."
F: "It's not like we're going to run out of daggers. If we stay on our toes, we should be able to keep the universe from being *destroyed*. It'd just be kind of chaotic."
J (the guy who'd hired them): "I hired you to get rid of the cracks, not to create new ones. Stick to the original plan!"
So, back to the original plan:
Someone: "The degree of being anomolous doesn't seem to matter, just the importance of the person killed. We need to kill someone really important to the pattern to seal the big ones."
J: "You had a beef with Dr. Doom, right F? Whose real name is Pedron Niall?"
F: "Right! He'll probably work, he's really important. Or maybe a ta'veren? I bet that would fix *everything*."
J: "Do you know a ta'veren?"
F: "Well... yes... but we kind of like Ontae..."
Agent S decided to contact her father, Magneto, and work with him to take on Pedron... er, Dr. Doom and his anomolous cohort, the sentinal-maker. Magneto didn't care about Dr. Doom either way, but any plan that got rid of the sentinels was one he'd get behind, so they officially promised to join forces in order to kill the both of them in that special way, along with Sark maybe. They'd attack as soon as Sark was separated from the others, since he was hard to manipulate -- Magneto would draw Dr. Doom away from the sentinel-guy, and then they'd jump in and take him out, then swing back to get Doom too. Nightcrawler was the key to the plan, since he could teleport around at will -- the dreamworld didn't work for that when it was the 'user world', since taxis were relatively slow.
S also met Lucrecia again, who taught her the actual teleport weave, and suggested that if they needed to kill more people, they could kill the 'True Lord'.
"Do we really *want* the Dark One incorporated into the pattern?" F asked (since they were all in communication with each other, since everything was high tech of one sort or another). "Won't that sort of let him control everyone from behind the scenes?"
"He's doing that already," Lucrecia countered.
But before they could argue about that more, Sark was located orbiting around the city at a far enough distance that he wouldn't be able to interfere, so Magneto declared that the battle was on!
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