“No, no. 1/4 plus 1/4 equals what?” Papyrus said at the table as he tried to teach his youngest son, Maritime Sans, fractions. Of all his children, he was the one born more with his mother’s human wits. He looked over toward Sans, his brother, relaxing at the table eating steak. “Try this one then. Half of your Uncle Sans’ steak is gone.”
Maritime Sans looked toward him.
“And about another quarter disappears in a few minutes,” Sans said. “Seconds.” He bit into his steak. “Yep, it’s gone.”
“Sans!” Maritime’s father scolded him. “That probably confused him. Maritime struggles in the math department, you should have only eaten 1/4. That just confused him.”
Maritime shrugged while his older brothers, Tempus and Perpetua came in the room.
“No, it didn’t,” Tempus said. “Uncle Sans plus steak equals zero very fast.” He chuckled. “Uncle Sans should be used to teach about time and velocity.”
“Hey yeah, I could be a lesson for your kid,” Sans agreed. Great excuse for extra food. “I’ll get more steak.”
“No, no,” Papyrus said to Sans, knowing what he wanted to try. He went back to trying to teach his son.
Skeletons were priviledged monsters, they were naturally born with a higher intellect. Sans was smarter than he let on, Papyrus was smart, Tempus and Perpetua were smart guys, and Gaster was so genius he was famous among monsters. There was also something that infringed upon the ability to think though. Cross breeding. It didn’t happen very often, but Papyrus’ passed wife was a human. While Tempus and Perpetua had some human traits, Maritime Sans was the one who held the most. He even had a nickname that they all used to call him more often, when Chora, Papyrus’ wife was still alive. Marty.
A more human name. Maritime liked the comparison while his mother was alive, but with her gone, everything just went down further for the kid. Tempus and Perpetua seemed to deal with it okay, but they were older. They were in college, and not even living there anymore, just visiting for break. Papyrus dealt with it too, in his own way. They all dealt with it everyday, because her soul was still there with them. Right behind Maritime.
Sans warned his brother once that keeping his wife’s soul while she was technically dead wasn’t a good idea for anyone, but he wouldn’t move it away. He just let it be, saying she would leave if and when she’s ready. But a whole year later now, and Chora’s soul was still there. He watched as Papyrus sighed exhaustively, getting tired of Maritime’s lack of understanding, and moved over toward the soul’s glass.
“Good morning, Choramanda,” Papyrus said. “Do you want to leave today?” He opened the glass casing and gave it a full minute before closing it again. It was a ritual by now each morning for him to do that. “Okay then.” He closed it back up, and then went back to sitting down again. “Tempus Sans, don’t forget to get some breakfast.”
School. That was something else wrong with his youngest nephew. He was below average level of understanding for an eight year old skeleton. Until his grades raised again, Papyrus and Sans were teaching him at home. It was seriously time to talk to Papyrus again about Chora’s soul. Until it was gone, he had a feeling Maritime just wouldn’t get better.
While he was thinking about what he’d say though, Gaster showed up in the kitchen. Waves of nerves were coming off of him. Sans didn’t even bother asking, every skeleton there could feel it. “What did you do?”
“Why do you have to start with it like I’m the one responsible for everything?” Gaster said as he grabbed some food. “Have you heard from Alphys?”
“Why are you asking about her?” Papyrus asked. “Sit down,” he said firmly. “Take a load off. Eat. Relax.”
“Yeah. Relax,” Sans continued also firmly. “If you don’t have anything to hide.”
“I don’t have anything to hide,” Gaster answered back. “I just, I must go away for a few days. Some corrections needed to a problem. Good luck everyone.” Gaster grabbed some of the snacks on the table, lingered on Chora’s soul briefly and then went on his way.
That was another reason Papyrus had to do something. Not only was it affecting the kids, it was affecting Gaster. When they were slightly younger, Papyrus and him lost their mom who was Gaster’s sister. Gaster and his human, Chora, came to live with them since Skeletons liked to live with family. It worked out great. Gaster had time to make inventions, and his human wasn’t lonely with Sans and Papyrus. But then . . . it was more than just a friendship with Papyrus. It was subtle at first, he simply added onto her original name for a nickname, saying Chora wasn’t nearly sweet enough for her. But after that, things just escalated.
Gaster and Chora were technically never married in a ceremonial monster way because they never had children. He simply owned her. Sans never got the details, nor did he want them. However, Papyrus and Chora got along so well that they accidentally produced Tempus Sans, making Chora Papyrus’ wife.
Gaster. After that, he really pulled himself into his inventions. Even all those years later, Gaster was still more involved with inventions and creations than just living.
Chora passing on hit Gaster hard too. It was hard for Sans to even see his old Uncle at the table in time to eat anymore. “Papyrus, we need to have a talk.”
“Later, Sans. I have to get some work done first,” Papyrus said. “Can you take over the lesson for Maritime? I’m sure you know where we are at.”
“Yeah, better get going to.” Tempus Sans nodded toward Perpetua. “Only so long for break. Come on.”
“Yeah, no problem.” Sans watched Tempus and Perpetua take off too. He was all alone with Papryus’ only young kid now. He came over with a chair to Maritime Sans.
“What page do we start on?” Maritime asked.
“I don’t know, Marty. You tell me.” Sans called him by his nickname. Maritime didn’t need math lessons. He needed life lessons.
“I don’t know either,” Maritime said as he looked at the pages. “I hate fractions.”
“Life’s not always about whole,” Sans said. “If you don’t get your fractions down soon, Marty, life’s gonna get tougher. You get fractions down and maybe you’ll even get into a regular school again,” he said, trying to urge him on. “You just, you got too much going on in your skull,” his Uncle Sans said. “Too much emotional cobwebbing up there. If you get yourself under better control there, I bet that intellect will finally shine through. Until then, at least you can still be a smart alec.”
Emotional cobwebbing. “Um.”
“I know that’s not the words I should have used,” Sans said, “but I see it as I see it. I know you miss your mom. It’s been almost a year though, and you still got a lot of grief dwelling in your eye sockets. You need to find a way to deal with it like everyone else.”
” . . . yeah.” Maritime Sans’ eye sockets glanced back at the soul.
“Grieve,” Sans warned him. “That soul isn’t going to get up and talk to you. It’s not going to hug you ’cause your blue. It’s just a soul. More of a tombstone. It’s not your mom. She’s gone.” Okay, that was probably too hard. “You are my family, so I’m telling you for your own sake.” He got up. “Your birthday’s in a couple of months. Almost nine now. Whatcha want for it?” He decided to change the subject to something a little kinder. He couldn’t get any further without Papyrus.
Maritime became shy. “I don’t know.”
“Well, think about it later than.” Sans moved past him, slightly noogying his skull as he passed. Papyrus would be back soon, and then he could take over with- The? Ooh. Chora’s soul was gone? Did Gaster just take it?
“Sans, terribly horrible news!” Papyrus said running into the room. “Come. Now.”
Sans followed him making sure Maritime wasn’t tagging along. It sounded serious. “What?”
“The wish. That terrible wish using the humans souls?” Papyrus asked him. “Did you hear more about it?”
Human souls could be absorbed by monsters. It could strengthen them, heal them, but above all? They could wish with them. Even humans could wish on souls that no longer had bodies, taking the energy of that soul and pulling it into a wish. The more souls one collected, the stronger the wish. “The four timeline monster.” A dumb monster that gathered many, many souls and actually wished for four stupid timelines to be pulled together. It took some massive rework and sacrifice to get it fixed, but the humans and monsters couldn’t have been more against each other after that. Relations were tense, and monsters tended to stay in their own kingdom area.
“Humans are fighting against us,” Papyrus said.
“What else is new?” Sans asked. Humans and monsters rarely got along.
“And with us.”
“What?” That didn’t make sense. Papyrus handed him his phone. Sans took it and checked it out. Headlines were everywhere. “Da hell?” They were fighting each other. For the monsters. Against the monsters. The humans were fighting themselves for whether they should be on the monster side or not? “Humans wouldn’t be on our side.” Sans flipped his phone back to him, Papyrus catching it. “That’s magic somehow. Who manipulates minds?”
“We read them.” Papyrus tried to think. “Banyans manipulate emotions, but they are too weak to do something like this.”
“Yeah, we’re talking serious magic.” It was clear some kind of monster was trying to get something going. Either get humans changing their mind, or enjoying the show of humans killing themselves.
Sans grabbed Papyrus’ phone again and called up Gaster. “Hey, you.” Silence. “Don’t. You’ve been hiding something. Does it got to do with the humans murdering themselves in the name of monster rights? Gaster?” No answer. Dial tone. Stealing Chora’s soul from the container. Not good.
Gaster hung up the phone on Sans and looked back toward Alphys. “I’m sorry.” She was still grieving over a little burlap sack. “I’m very, very sorry.”
“I-I-I don’t blame you completely,” Alphys said. “W-we all did it. We all did it. We all tried it,” she said softly. “We all lost control of the situation.”
Gaster stared at the little burlap sack. “Is that it?”
Alphys tried to temper her crying as she opened the sack for him. Inside was a crying human. Considered little, even for a human. Perhaps four or so. She closed it back up. The wind, blood, dirt and dust wasn’t good for it.
Gaster couldn’t say much. War was already starting to break out, and in more than one direction. “I never should have made it.” Banyans used feels magic, emotions, as their strength. They could manipulate emotion that was there, and increase it. Gaster had made an invention that strengthened that power of theirs, but it was too much. Emotion was just too strong to pair with magic.
Humans that fell for the ‘make love, not war’, message Alphys and her kind were sending out, wanted to forgive and help the progress between human and monster.
Those that didn’t share that sentiment, did not wish for progress. And while they were not loudly spoken at first, the magic on the pro monster humans was powerful. Slaughtering for the right side ensued. All the Banyans tried to stop it, to correct it, to reverse the magic but it was too late. Emotion and souls were too strong.
Even Alphys. She had entered a small village, with plans to help the same way. It was just emotion, just something they already felt increased. She couldn’t have predicted what would happen. The massacre was large and brutal, everyone was killing everyone. All she managed to save was one tiny child. Alphys had found her lying next to her passed on parents, and grabbed her.
She was the only one who survived. “Banyans. We did this,” Alphys said as she put the burlap bag over her back gently again. “It was supposed to turn out good. Things were supposed to get better. And now. Gaster?” Alphys looked back at him. “What will happen?”
“The magic is strong, but not long lasting,” Gaster said almost in a whisper. “Everyone will figure out what we did. Humans and monsters alike will want to kill us.” He was used to screwing up and getting blame, but this wasn’t a small error. Humanity would probably go to war against the monsters, believing them to be in charge of manipulating humans to kill each other. “Monster or human. We are doomed both ways,” Gaster confessed. “I am sorry, Alphys. I wish I could say something positive.”
“We’re going to be killed!” She moaned, trying to dry her eyes. “My kind, even if we do survive this epic war coming, it’ll be killed for treason.”
“I am not off the hook either,” Gaster told her. “We could go back home and explore different dimensions to live if you wish, but there are prices to pay. Both ways will change you forever.”
Alphys wiped her eyes again and blew her nose. “What’s the price?”
“The first is being split apart,” Gaster said. “Down the middle, half your soul here, and half your soul there. The other is being turned into a small creature which tends to take travel easier.”
“A pet,” Gaster said.
“Pet or a split soul?” Alphys continued to walk. “I don’t know. Right now. I. I have to find this little girl a new home. I can’t take care of her but someone has to. I need to find her human parents. It’s. It’s all I can deal with right now, Gaster! Just let me deal with this one thing.”
“Right now, going into a human domain will surely get you killed.” Gaster saw it in her eyes though. She knew that something terrible awaited her in some form. Either a pet, a split soul, or death while she did the right thing.
Alphys continued to walk on. Gaster continued to walk beside her.
This was his mess. He was used to big messes, but he just caused the biggest mess of all. Humans would not show leniency. This would lead to all-out battle with winner take all. Monsters were a little aggressive but the human soul was quite strong.
Three days later.
Sans and Papyrus headed out to where they finally picked up Gaster’s magic signature. It was tough, he was far, and there was great emotion in the air for many monsters of all kinds. People started saying the monsters were manipulating them, and they threatened to invade the kingdom. They needed to know what happened and how they could fix it. There was only one monster out there that could do that.
Gaster. While he was good at causing problems, he was brilliant at fixing them too. Leaving the kids safely in the trust of Undyne and the older ones, Papyrus and Sans risked everything to get to him. While they were out though, they were quick to notice that the sand and earth on the blowing winds wasn’t just soil. It was saturated with the smell and taste of monsters. Knowing there was no choice but to find Gaster, they kept pursuing until they finally reached him. Spotting him over a clearing with Alphys, they both teleported down to them.
“You’re like family!” Sans said to Gaster through the dust blowing around. He finally explained what he was hiding. “So is Alphys! I don’t care what happened, let’s just get out while we can!” Papyrus was right behind Sans. “Let’s just go! It’s dangerous here, Gaster! It’s too close to the humans!”
“If I’m caught, King Asgore will kill us!” Gaster shouted back. “He might kill you too, for being with us! It’s best you go on without us, Sans! If I get caught, I will deal with the consequences!”
“Sans, we have to get going, Brother!” Papyrus said, ready to give up. He still had his children at home. If Gaster couldn’t help, then he needed to get back to them and figure something else out.
“Oh. I got a bad feeling about this,” Sans said to him. “I think you should come with us, Gaster! Our chances of escaping, I know they’ll be higher together!” He looked toward Alphys. “Come on!”
Alphys just shook her head repeatedly.
“He won’t do it, he won’t kill you!” Sans said. “Alphys, it was war! I’m sure King Asgore will understand!”
“We got monsters killed, in the name of humanity!” Gaster said to Sans. “All of them! So many killed! Their remains, you can taste them on the wind!”
“You didn’t know what would happen! It was just a mistake!” Sans yelled over the dirt and wind.
“It was my creation! My fault, Sans!” Gaster yelled. “I can’t make up for it! I can’t make it up to Alphys either! Except, to help her with her problem now!”
Alphys uncovered a child that was in a burlap sack. She had been keeping it out of the rain. “It’s the only survivor of its village!”
“Are you kidding me?!” Sans complained through the roaring dust winds. “After everything humanity is doing, you’re saving one?!”
“It isn’t it’s fault, Sans!” Alphys tried to shelter her eyes and covered the child back up. “I can’t leave it to die, I just can’t! This is my fault! All my fault!”
“No, Alphys, it’s my fault!” Gaster said. “Your race of monsters never would have had such powerful feels magic if it wasn’t for me! Humankind are wiping you out because of me!” He gestured to the child. “Alphys and I are heading the opposite direction, Sans! Papyrus! I hope you all find the others!”
Sans went quiet. He grabbed onto Papyrus’ bony hand and they started to head away. They weren’t going to get them to change their minds. “Protection?” It wouldn’t do good forever, but just in case something happened, and it probably did, the house should be safe. There was a small magic wall around it. Someone would have to really want to get inside, and with so much else they can access, the kids should be safe.
“Gaster was so far,” Papyrus said. “So far, we went so far.”
“He bit it too big this time,” Sans said to his brother. “We gotta do what we can do to save the kids.” He groaned. “I’m not splitting my soul, that was terrible what happened with that.”
“The safest option then.” Papyrus sighed and followed him. “I feel drained of power.” Trying to find and locate Gaster over a number of days drained them. “This isn’t good.”
“We just need to rest up. We’ll be fine,” Sans answered.
“We didn’t tell him anything about-”
“He already knows,” Sans said. “He probably knew it would happen the day he came and took off.” The battle. All monsters were supposed to be a part of it.
“I don’t like how this is all going, Brother,” Papyrus said as he looked out toward the horizon. “Numbers are very few.” Sans looked out toward it with him. “I don’t have a good feeling about today’s battle.”
“Oh. Uh. We’ll be fine.” Sans patted his back. “We can uh, move back more.”
“What good will that do? Eventually, the humans will come for all of us.”
“Stay out of the dusty zones. Chances will be better,” Sans said. “Just keep having hope. We’ll get our power, we’ll get back home, and we’ll get out.”
“Moving back further, Brother?” Papyrus said gloomily as they kept their pace. “I miss home.”
“I do too,” Sans said as he looked backward. Across the horizon, it was covered in dust blowing all over. Monster dust.
“We won’t survive,” Papyrus said bluntly. “We’re just detaining the inevitable. They’ll eventually get us.”
“Each day is a new day,” Sans said to him. “A new possibility for something different to happen. A new joke. A new friend. Maybe even the end of this battle, Papyrus. Just, keep moving back, Bro. I’m not losing you just cause the current days aren’t all that great. Okay?”
“All of the monster dust in the air, it’s stagnating our power,” Papyrus said. “We can’t teleport.”
“Yet. We’ll get there. Just, don’t battle humans, and don’t get involved. Don’t let others see us,” Sans reminded him. “We’ll do fine. We’ve been fine. We’ll get home and find a new one out there.”
“But a different dimension is needed or we’ll be doomed,” Papyrus agreed. ” If we can make it. I guess . . . small creatures travel best.”
Before Sans could really answer that, he could feel it. He stopped. “We’re surrounded.”
They couldn’t teleport.
It was over.
Sans looked inside the hole of the mountain. He had been in a long line of the last monsters. Not as long as a line as it should have been. Royalty had finally compromised with the humans. A thousand years beneath the mountains, and no more monsters would be hurt. They even worked out the system in which they would be freed, and how. Humans were responsible for working on ways to somehow guard against soul stealing, keeping magic at bay, and making sure one day they would all live in peace, while the monsters continued to thrive below.
Sans looked toward his brother right in front of him. “Hey, I told you something different would happen,” he tried to comfort him. “Uh, I didn’t say it was going to be a great different. Be out in about a hundred years, or 500 or a thousand years, right?” Papyrus didn’t even respond.
Sans felt himself getting poked in the back by a human, making sure no one got away. He could have taken it out easily. He could have bolted and tried to run, but every monster there knew it would corrupt the only plan they got. Being sealed up in a mountain until they could be released was bad, but it wasn’t entire extinction. Monsters would go on. They would survive.
He looked up at the sun, blazing above him. Last time he might ever see it.
Gaster stayed with Alphys for hundreds of miles. As the child cried for food and water, they tried to find some. They tried to stop when they could. But eventually, it was weighing down on them.
“Alphys.” Gaster answered back as he managed to find water in another abandoned village. “I don’t know how much longer we can keep this child safe. It has needs, and we can’t take care of them.”
“I can’t walk up to a human and say ‘watch this child’,” Alphys insisted as she gave it some water. It hungrily took the water. “They’ll kill us, and I can’t leave it. It’s family is dead because of me. I couldn’t control it. You can go. You should go. You can still . . . be a little creature or something.”
“No. No, I promised that I wouldn’t leave you behind,” he stated. “A break is good. Let it walk around if it’s old enough.”
Alphys sat it down on the ground. It came out of the sack again. “I think it can. She can talk, but i-it’s shy.”
“If it watched its family and friends getting slaughtered, I’m sure it is. Probably scarred for the rest of it’s short human life.” Gaster bent down to look at it. “Hello! Greetings,” he said in human. “Do you speak, human?” It nodded. “Good. What’s your name?”
“ . . . Frisk.”
“It’s name is Frisk,” Gaster said looking toward Alphys. “We need to figure out how to find it a home, without . . .” It was pulling on Gaster’s trenchcoat. “I say, what is her problem?” Then he remembered. “Oh dear, I forgot to give it back to Papyrus.”
“What back?” Alphys asked.
“He told me to take Chora’s soul from the house before I left,” Gaster lied. He took Chora’s soul so the humans wouldn’t find it and hurt it. Keep it as a collection piece. He had lived with Chora as his for several hundred years, giving her some of his power for that. They were friends. They felt like something more. But then. No. Everything was ending. Best not to dwell.
“You have Chora’s soul?!”
“She didn’t leave. She refused to leave this world. I’m sure a part of her knew what would happen one day.” Gaster moved away from Frisk. “Must possess the same kind of spirit. She is drawn to it.”
“It probably doesn’t matter. I don’t think we’ll ever go back to our kingdom.” Alphys picked up the child and put it back in its burlap sack. “Not after this.” The child whined, kicking. It didn’t want to go back in. “Sorry. You have to go back in. We have to keep moving before we can’t move anymore.”
“I wonder what happened to them,” Gaster said, looking out across the horizon. “Papyrus’ kids. Papyrus. Sans.”
“The other two were old enough to take care of themselves. I don’t know what they did. Hopefully they got out,” Alphys said. “Gaster. If we’re caught, King Asgore will kill us.”
“Most definitely. So, we will not get caught. Is the human secured?” Gaster asked.
“It’s bobbing around, but yes.” Alphys started to carry her on their journey again. “You really should leave me. You’re so smart, I know you could avoid getting caught.”
“No. No, I can’t avoid fate any more than you,” Gaster said. “I am responsible too.”
“You just helped us increase our power,” Alphys said. “I’m the one who used it on the humans. Trying to get them to leave monsters alone. I didn’t know it would be that powerful. None of us Banyans did.”
“At least you did not kill any monsters,” Gaster said.
“I was responsible for a village.” Alphys held onto the burlap tighter as tears started to fall once again. “I was supposed to make them turn for us. I didn’t know . . . I-I didn’t know they would start slaughtering each other when not everyone could be turned.”
“Some had a little faith. Some had no faith,” Gaster said. “With no faith, came war against faith.”
“And the faith killed the ones with none. And then I just, I couldn’t control it! My emotions, with what I saw, they got wrangled in there, and then everyone was just . . .” Alphys looked in the burlap at the tiny human. “This is all I could save, and then I just ran. I just ran, Gaster. So, I can’t give this Frisk child up. I just can’t. I have to watch over it, keep it safe.”
“We’ll find a way. Someone suitable. If I have to risk my own life to get it somewhere, I will, and we can be saved if it comes down to it.” Gaster reached into his trenchcoat and pulled out a small, strange device with syringes. “I call it ‘restart’. We’ll inject it into us and anything between you and I would restart. Another chance. It’s untested, but we can try it. If you want?”
Alphys shook her head. “No more. I don’t want to relive my mistake a thousand times.”
“Okay.” Gaster put it back away. “Then we will have to do what we can the first time.”
Shortly after they found humans who would care for the human child, they were sent away too Underground. However, Toriel had known of the display and thus they were not harmed for their crimes. However? Their world was just beginning again, and there were no good signs for it.
Underground . . .
“Food should be placed first. Find the . . . best cooks,” Toriel said quietly. She noticed several citizens lining up. Alphys stayed near her. How in the world was the queen of the Underground not getting any say? “Alphys. Why are you beside me and everyone else leaving?”
“For the safety of the Underground,” Asgore said coming toward her. “We must try something risky. There are perhaps 600 of us left here. If even,” he said as he gestured outward. “We won’t break for many years. If we have dwindling numbers, by the time we are even freed, monsters will be extinct.” He gestured to the infamous Gaster. “We need protection.”
Protection? Toriel looked toward Gaster. He held some kind of injection in his hand. Even though he was a skeleton and it was hard to read his face, he seemed disturbed. Even his bones were a little rattled. “What is that?”
“Restart,” Gaster said softly. “Queen Toriel. It is untested but-”
“If we fall, we can be brought back, over and over,” Asgore said. “For a possible future, we need to do this. Everyone will be injected with his serum, and their power will be used to amplify the effect.”
“Restart?” Toriel asked. “Gaster, explain.”
“Theoretically.” He used that word firmly. “If anything happens down here, then the area of the magic circumference of what we are gathered in will essentially restart. Giving us all another chance. However, it has not been tested. There isn’t really a safe way to test this.”
“The kingdom,” Asgore said to him firmly, “is this. This many. This is all that remains in the entirety of the world, Gaster. We are lucky to even be alive, but many monsters will not make it at this rate. We need extra protection. Especially now. I am sure many souls feel vulnerable.”
Gaster nodded, slowly. “You must understand that my inventions can be very life-changing. There is no guarantee this will work, or that something else disastrous may happen instead. It could affect our memories. It could possibly shatter-”
“The whole of the kingdom is 600 strong, instead of 600 million!” Asgore warned Gaster. “All conquered easily through the human souls! To not take a chance is foolish.”
“600,” Toriel said softly. “We are almost gone.” She nodded to Asgore. “Agreed. We must do what we can to preserve what is left, to hope that we can break free one day again.”
Gaster sighed. “Okay. Then, I will start the restart.”
Surface . . .
“I can’t find dad,” Perpetua said as he grabbed Maritime from his coloring book and crayons at the table. “Uncle Sans. Uncle Gaster. They are gone.”
“I can’t feel their signature,” Tempus Sans said. “They are far, real far away.” He looked out the window. “A lot of monsters are on the move. I don’t understand. Where’s Undyne? Dad said if anything happened- aah!” He looked away from the window. “There’s battle out there! We should hide!”
“Hide where?” Maritime Sans asked. He felt himself being picked up and carried to a pod.
“Uncle Gaster makes these things ultra secure,” Tempus said to Maritime. “You stay in here while your big brothers figure this out.” Tempus sealed him in the strange green glass container. “Okay, let’s find one for us two. We can hide and discuss strategy.”
“Where’s Undyne?” Perpetua asked again. “She needs to trigger the defense on the house and come protect us.”
“I think that was before the whole battle in the kingdom,” Tempus said. “Trust me, don’t look out the window! Come on, we’ll find something to-”
“Wait!” Perpetua went over to the machine they had placed Maritime in. “Oh no, he’s gone!”
“Teleported?” Tempus came over to check it out, but stopped. Frozen. “I feel weird.” He looked at his skeletal hand. It seemed to thump energy. “Perpetua?” That wasn’t good. That was never good.
Maritime screamed as he quickly returned back home, shutting the glass door again. Whatever his brothers did, his dad was going to be upset about. Although, he strangely didn’t seem like he was concerned about it all too much.
When he opened the door, things just became weirder.
A human stepped out of the machine. He seemed just as weary. “Why do you look like me?”
“What? I’m no human,” Maritime Sans said to it. They held their hands out to each other.
“Oh, human?! Oh, this is scary. Oh no. This is Uncle Gaster’s thing, isn’t it?” he asked Maritime. “It tore me in two? No, no!” He covered his head. “I’m so scared!” He stared at his hands.
“Mm. Tore my soul in two.” Interesting. “Look, half and half of mom and dad. My other part is human. Neat.”
“Neat?!” The human cried out to him. “This isn’t neat, I don’t want to be here! This isn’t right! Daddy!” He yelled. “Mommy!”
“Mommy’s dead.” Maritime said it so clearly, and yet, he seemed a little better with it. “Everyone dies.”
“What do we do?” His other self asked him. “How do we fix this?”
“With hammer and nails?” Maritime joked lightly like his Uncle Sans would.
“Um? This isn’t a situation of building with actual tools,” his other self said.
” . . . that was a joke.” Clueless? “Can you do magic?”
“Nuh uh.” He looked at his hands. “I feel numb. I. I don’t know what to think of everything.”
“I do,” Maritime Sans said. “We were pushed into Gaster’s machine and it split the soul. Brother must have turned it on in his hurry to find shelter.” Logical. His other side seemed to be missing that. “1/4.”
“1/4 was the answer on the last math question I did with dad,” Maritime Sans said. “I can think in fractions now.” He looked toward his other self. “Maybe because I am a fraction now.”
“We need to find them. We need to reverse this.” The other him moved away from the pod and then screamed as he looked out the window.
Maritime Sans looked out the window. Humans and monsters alike were screaming and in vicious amounts of pain. “Their skin. Their bones.” He watched the gruesome display of bones, muscle, skin, scales, and everything else that made them along with their souls rip away like something was plucking it off. As soon as it ended, another shedding began. “That’s unfortunate.”
His other self was so emotional, but Maritime Sans found himself doing quite well. Not only that, he had heard a beeping some ways away. He headed to the source and found it. On the screen of a computer was a message. “100 new found.” He looked at the controls. He pushed down and watched it scroll down. “Oh.”
“Oh w-what?” His other self asked. “We need daddy!”
“He’s not here anymore.” Maritime Sans gestured toward the screen. “100 new dimensions have just come into being according to the machine. Considering what’s happening outside, I would say everyone here is getting shattered.” He held up his bony fingers. “1/100th. I am getting better at understanding fractions.”
They heard the screams for some time before it all went dead silent. No one was left. Nothing was left, except for burned out buildings. Humans. Monsters. All gone.
“1/100th. Getting into the machine and splitting the soul at the exact same time of the dimension fracturing must have saved us,” Maritime Sans noted. “We live.”
“But everyone else? We’re kids, we can’t just live on our own.”
His other self was getting annoying.
“I don’t want to live alone. Alone in a dimension for all time,” his other self whispered. “No, it’d be some kind of hell. I don’t want to live that way!”
“Hm.” Well? “We need to figure out how to reverse this, but we are just kids.” Maritime tried to think. No emotional cobwebbing from his mother. Her warm face and gentle touch, it couldn’t help him right now. “Wait. Yes it can.”
“She could hold us. She could be here.” Maritime looked at the computer. “If we could find her, eventually, then we could bring her back.”
“Bring her back?” His other self grabbed his arm. “No, no!”
“Momma still had some of Gaster’s smarts,” Maritime said. “Plus, she could coddle us so we won’t get emotional and cannot think straight.”
“That’s the worst reasoning in the world!”
“Lots of signatures, lots of flesh, lots of bones, lots of numbers.” Maritime scrolled through it all. “Hm.” He hit search. “Soul.” He got hit with lots of results. He hit search again and advanced. “Soul. Solo.” He got his result from one new dimension already. “There she is. See? It has to be her. Mankind doesn’t want souls used for wishing anymore, and it even caused war. The only one out there must be mom.”
“It won’t be perfect, I’m a kid,” Maritime Sans said to his other self. “But I’ve got some power, some skill, and enough to conjure something as simple as what we need.”
“It doesn’t matter,” his other self said. “It’s more than magic.”
“Look what humans did,” Maritime Sans said. “It’s only right to sacrifice one for momma. We need her. We need momma.”
He did it. The other me. While I felt fright and fear about everything happening, wondering what happened to my brothers and everyone else, the other me? He just seemed to be fine with it. He just said logically we needed one caregiver and we’d be fine. Logic. I felt like logic was gone. How did we end up like this? Where did everyone go and why did they all divide like that?
I wanted to believe that momma could make me feel better. She used to. She looked different, her original body gone. I held my arms out to her, hoping she was okay. Hoping I was okay.
She didn’t hug me. She stared at me. “No magic.”
“We were split evenly it seems,” the other me said as he came toward her. “He’s an idiot. He has no magic. His intelligence is gone.”
I wasn’t an idiot. I just looked at mom, hoping she’d defend me. She just stared longer before she moved away. I followed her along with my more uncaring side and we watched her head to the big computer again. Momma had lived with Gaster for hundreds of years. She would know a little something about his tech.
She chuckled. She typed on the luminescent keyboard patterns. She started to sob while she continued, and then she mumbled incoherently as she stared blankly at the screen.
Scary. The warm, loving mom I once had seemed more than bizarre. She was creepy. She should be creepy. There was probably a reason daddy never brought her back, and why Uncle Sans wanted the soul to leave. This. Chuckling, crying, bizarre woman. It just couldn’t be . . . “momma?”
“Gaster.” She finally spoke. “Ah. You idiot.” She started to type on the keyboard again. “The unknown. He tested the Restart.”
“The reeeeeestart.” The woman held her fingers out to him. “Imagine, dying, and getting a second chance at life. A third? A fourth? Maybe, a hundred?” She giggled and pointed at the screen again where it still showed the announcement of 100 new timelines. “There was no way to test it. He kept it for years. Only in the most dire of emergencies, he always said. Ah.” She tapped her chin. “Hm? We’re going to be dead soon.”
“Idiot,” she said to me. “We will be dead soon. The universe is like a teacher. It knows the rules of survival. 100 different parallel timelines it didn’t create? Yep. We’re all dead.”
“Mathwise, it makes sense,” my other self said almost casually. “Gaster didn’t create a restart, he created multiple dimensions by fracturing this one.”
“Correct, and that cannot exist. Not for long,” she said. She glanced back toward me. “The only way to repair it, is to destroy every timeline but one.”
“It can never come together,” she said. “Son.” She sounded more like a snake as she said the word. “They are all separate, now experiencing separate feelings. Separate times. Separate ways. It will be 100 timelines jammed in a head even if it were possible now.” Her eyes looked me up and down. “Make do. Destroy them all. Save one, like it’s supposed to be.”
“But if it’s all fractured.” Math. Math wasn’t his strongest area. “It’s still technically them. So 100 worlds. It’d be like killing 99 of dad. Uncle Sans. Of all our friends. Of-”
“Everything. It’s just copies. Just tiny little fractions of the bigger whole,” she said. She looked toward the other me. “It’s the only way to repair it.”
“Makes sense,” he said. “How would we do that?”
Makes sense? Kill 99 worlds? My eyes were probably just as big as saucers, trying to put together what was going on.
“I need more power. You pulled a piece of me,” she said to my other self. “A tiny, 1/100th piece. Sacrifice for the greater cause.” She reached out her arms toward my other self, the way I tried to reach out to her. “You understand, don’t you, son?”
“Yes, momma,” he said as he got a hug from her.
“I felt something. I need something. I need more than just my soul.”
“More bodies?” My other self asked her as she lovingly patted his head.
“No. I need power. I need more determination. I know.” Her eyes darted from side to side, almost like she was lost in a thought. “Frisk. I need the baby Frisks.”
“You need a fractured copies bodies?” he had asked her, like it was not the greatest deal.
“I will need sacrifices for mine, but not her body. Just, assistance. I need assistance to get this done. I will give you all the motherly love I can,” she whispered softly to him, deepening the hug as she chuckled. “While the other parts of my soul save everything by destroying 99/100ths of the mistake.”
“How, momma?” He had asked.
Then, her eyes. Her almost creepy eyes focused, straight at me. “Help me create our guinea pigs. We’re making mother-son science projects. Beginning with making your inferior half more beneficial.”
What? She grabbed me! My other self did nothing as she dragged me back to the pod. My other self only tagged along. She thrust open the door and put the safety belts on me, but kept the door opened. “Momma?”
“Son. Son, son.” She laughed wickedly. “Momma needs a favor?” I watched as she hit something on the side and . . .
I beated on the doors. “Don’t, don’t! Too much stuff and you get DNA corruption!” I yelled. I may not know fractions, but related to scientists, I knew the do’s and don’ts of things! “You’ll be killing me!”
“Just duplicating you. Just, a lot.” That. Look. “Just making you useful, son.”
Split me once, shame on you. Split me twice, shame on me. Split me three . . . four . . . five . . .
“It’s not you,” she said to Maritime Sans as she stroked his skull. “No magic. No math. Just a regular human. Don’t feel bad about him,” she said to Maritime Sans. The half she left alone.
“I am useful,” he said to her. “I have math skills, momma. I have magic. I deserve to be here. That other self. It’s just . . .”
“Useless,” she said to him as he hummed. “Now, look at him.”
He stared at what used to be his other self. Split once, his other half was an emotional oddity. But momma had split him, and split him, and split him . . .
“The first ones will be the most useful,” she said. “They still think, walk, and talk. They still feel. They just aren’t you. One-dimensional slaves. The thinking will be on a much lower level. Their brain capacity and usage low. Nowhere near as special as my little monster, Marty.”
His nickname. He smiled at her. He remembered that nickname. He loved that nickname.
“First, we are going to take all the copies we make, probably a hundred or so by the time we are done,” she said casually, “and make him watch the other worlds. You can watch his progress in them. Be a real scientist, like your daddy had been.”
“I’ll be even better,” Marty smiled. “I am going to be saving everyone.”
“Yes. Everything is fractured, and we are going to fix the universe.” She picked him up and carried him around. “First of all, my fractured other souls need bodies. Find my souls the same way. I may be a fraction, but I am the fraction who will love you. That makes me special.”
“Of course, momma.”
“New Choramandas, they will each take their place in our play.” Her eyes darted back and forth lightly. “No, that’s too monster. More human.” She smiled. “Chara. We will name my other selves, Chara.”
“That will fix the universe?” Marty asked. “New you’s joined with another?”
“Yes.” Her odd smile. “I won’t let them be as intelligent and wonderful. They will be dark, more dumbed down. With the right bodies, we can make that happen. We will be like a symphony and you will be the conductor.” She hummed and put him back down. “It won’t be quick my sweet little boy. My lovely little boy. My reason for living. My reason for dying.” Odd stares. “Getting rid of extra timelines doesn’t just happen. I’ll have to get a hold of the soul of the other. My determination will have to become more than hers.”
“I don’t follow the logic,” Marty said. “Why momma? How do you wipe out timelines? I don’t believe Uncle Gaster ever said it has been done before.”
“Everything has an ending,” she said. “You just have to have enough determination.” She spread her arms out, and oddly started to dance around. “First, we’ll put our pawns in place. Find a dark urchin for my souls . . .” She moved around and around. “Continually take out the timelines, and the ones that misstep in the dance and survive . . .” She stopped, and started to dance in the opposite direction. ” . . . we’ll make sure they don’t come out from Underground. The more control we have, the better. The less Undergrounds that survive, the better. Not to mention, Gaster dear will always be counted on to do his part.”
“Absolutely. He must tinker. He must create, and I know he’ll eventually get back to the path he was on. When worlds start to collide?” She grinned mischievously. “It’s almost over. He’ll start his parallel line projects or he’ll start his wish projects, or now? He will probably have barrier projects.” She laughed oddly, then chuckling madly added, “I know where they will be. I know where they will be. We’ll make sure it all goes down. The barrier will take most of them out. Do you rhyme, Marty? Or to that scene, are you tardy?”
“Mm?” No one said bringing her back from the dead would leave her okay. He would have to get used to the oddities.
“This project of mother and son,” she giggled as she went to the computer. “This project will be so much fun! Let’s identify the worlds that way. There’s only one rule you need to remember.” She started typing out on the computer. “Our fun project is Fun Levels 1-100.” She continued typing. “No more, no less. One by one, taken out like the inferior parts they are. Masquerading as real parallels.”
“Yes.” Still. “It feels . . . a tiny bit bad. I know they will not be important, but I still feel bad for them.” Emotional cobwebbing.
“I have a use,” she said picking him back up and dancing with him. “I will raise you. I will feed you. I will train you. The other thinned out souls of the fractures? They are nothing. Simply walking and talking fractured copies of this world.”
“Nothing.” He needed to remember that. “They are nothing.”
“Nothing but sheeps that need to be slaughtered to make a fine meal.” She stroked his skull again. “Everything will be fine my little monster. Momma will take care of you as you slaughter the worlds with me.”
“As you save the world with me,” she seemed to correct herself. “As we become heroes of the cosmos. Which, we will be. They are all just pieces. We only need one piece to survive to stabilize it again.”
“But, which piece, momma?”
“One. Any one. But, just one.”
“Out of 100? Just one?”
Surface . . .
A little girl, four, held out her cup to a person walking by, but it was from her expression she didn’t really want the money. She was just trying to look ‘cute’ so her family could eat.
“Hm.” Marty walked up to her. Easy to pull away. Unhappy. Dark life, dark heart. Exists in most other dimensions. “I will give you money for your child. My mother wants her.”
“You are but a child,” the little girl said.
“Yes, but I have money and so I can have control over you.”
“Take her for good money,” the human behind her handed her to him. “Pay.”
Marty took out the currency his mother gave him, to buy a new ‘mother’. He was in one of the random Fun Levels, 12 or 13, to find the first urchin for his mother.
After he bought her, he found the darkest soul he could in that world, and sacrificed it along with the current urchin’s soul. He took his new ‘mother’ away and gave her some of his monster, enough to understand the Underground. He told her lies about humanity, and how much better it was Underground. Lies upon lies upon lies. His real mother watching, smiling. She was so proud of him.
She moved down into the Underground, and Marty went to another fun level, to pick up the same urchin. Do the same thing. Funny. Many things in the worlds were almost the same, sometimes just a little different. His mom said influences inside each time were almost the same, but small little things, random things that could have gone one way, went another, and it created new circumstances. So, each Underground was a little bit different. The longer they were different, the more they became spaced apart. While some followed almost the exact same path. Funny.
And the urchin? Everyday, he picked up another one. He usually tried to use the same dark soul, but sometimes he had to use a different dark soul. He tried to keep his words and actions the same as he gave some of his monster away again and fed his new ‘mother’ lies again. More lies, to start the trigger reaction. The urchin? It always needed to find the king and queen, and love monsters so much that it died trying to take out the surface.
It was fascinating, human determination. Leave it up to a human to devise a way to be free. She kept killing herself, each time, over and over so that her brother could take over. In almost every setting, except a few. Sometimes, her brother wasn’t born. And so, it did no good for Maritime to put a shattered piece of his mother’s soul down there. He just left it alone.
Perhaps, not having an Asriel, would make it a world that lived.
Once Asriel died though, ‘Chara’ lingered, as his momma predicted. Only, there was a small problem. They needed what was left of Chara to join with Frisk when she went down. That was where the real plan started. They needed to move the Underground characters around, like pieces on a game board. So, Marty spread some of Gaster’s tech around into the other dimensions, set himself up into good spots, and turned the barrier into a wonderful game to play.
With control of the Underground, Toriel was made to bury Chara beneath flowers she planted a long ways away from her home.
In almost every dimension with an Asriel, it worked. In one, it didn’t. Perhaps that would be the one that survived?
With the new setup, Marty set out to regain a Frisk. Those were easy. A little manipulation of a shattered Gaster’s tech, and she was set to be perfect. He usually letted the parallels age a little, but sometimes he could get her when she was fairly young. It worked okay, but she was better when she was . . . well, his age when his mother and him set out to save everything. Eight. Once Underground and joined? The determination of mother’s fractured soul and the extra determination of what she had called ‘baby Frisk’? Ah.
Marty often sat down in the front of the computers of the barriers, where he could watch the manipulations. He didn’t mess with anything, just watched. The result was always the same, yet, different. Exciting. When would she turn? When would she start to turn? When would the fractured piece of his mother gain control completely over Frisk and end it all? When he sensed that things were getting too rough, he always had to leave. If it didn’t mean his death, he would have loved to see what happened next.
Over and over. Beautiful. Same events, slightly different. Different triggers. Even Marty changing who was hired from dimension to dimension to oversee the barrier caused massive changes inside of it. Some? Even let Gaster’s mind run fully to it’s optimum status, meaning new inventions were created that weren’t before. His mother had been right. Gaster did create new things. For wishes and for barriers.
But how did a wish, meant for one dimension, that was suddenly fractured into 100 . . . how did it go? What ripples would it create? Oh, the discoveries!
Marty repeated his path, watching everything, and ‘playing’ here and there to see what would happen if he did this, or if he did that. But his biggest weapon? His one dimension other selves. Inserted here and there. Sometimes he would interact to keep them under his thumb. Other times, he wouldn’t and just left them on their merry way until he needed them.
But? Then came a Frisk. A random, fractured Frisk that was joined with his mother’s fractured soul. And, something happened. Something that had never happened before.
Sans. A part, a fractured soul of his Uncle Sans, actually fought her, and used the restart. Again. On just her.
The effects to that weren’t really seen right away, and Marty tended to forget about it. After all, it was just to a human. It’s not like it would split the dimensions into 100 pieces again, and his Frisk was still going. Which was wonderful, he loved that Frisk. She took down 60 timelines all alone.
That Frisk. That Chara combination. That was something special. He never wanted her to end.
Yet, while Marty did all of this for his mother, and to try to save the universe from exploding? Well, he felt . . . incomplete. Different. He didn’t get better with time, he got worse. He tried joining with a part of his other self again, but it wouldn’t work. That part of him? Well, it was split over 100 times by his mother, to be used only for their projects. He tried multiple ideas, but nothing worked.
And worse? His lovely project of Frisks. They were failing. She . . . was starting to save the Underground. Terrible. Yet, he left the little savers alone. They weren’t of use, but he didn’t need to dispose of the fractured souls. That was just mean. He left them all be, except one in particular.
One of the Frisks, had something wrong with her determination. He helped when she needed help, but otherwise left her alone too. He also left the rest of the Chara’s alone. He just focused on certain things, letting everything else progress the way it wanted to. No reason to mess around.
Well, except for Gaster. Once Mary could get his new tech, he got rid of them. Often. Deliberately. The dumb monster that caused everything wrong, he deserved to die. Over and over and over.
It was almost over. Not only the ending of 60 timelines, but several timelines couldn’t take the distortions of the wishes that were also granted over them. That was meant to be in a full dimension, not fractured pieces. Yes. There was probably, maybe, twelve left? He was getting closer though. It had been a long, long time. He was nowhere near the cute little monster he used to be, but he’d almost done it.
One of them, would be home. For good. Which one, it was still anyone’s guess.
But, like all things, with the good came the bad. The Frisks he decided to leave alone, were coming back to haunt him. Marty watched Gaster raising and manipulating her, trying to make her think the Underground was all fake, but it did no good. The Frisks that survived, grew up.
Including the Frisk that had something wrong with her determination. Each and every one of them?
Went back down into the Underground. They each triggered the dumb Reckoning effect, which in turn caused new events to happen in their worlds, with most triggering the only proper way to open the barrier safely. The effect was so great that the shattered souls were starting to cross, and Sans was actually trying to ‘help’ his parallel selves with Gaster’s technology. What a riot!
Uncle Sans. The one that criticized his math skills at fractions! Well, he just couldn’t get the problem right either. None of the Sans’ could, and crossing around so much, they were all just helping to make the timelines disappear that much faster.
Marty’s involvement was minimal now. Now, he mostly just watched a couple of things. A couple of his next Frisk projects, especially his littlest one who also had a problem with her determination. He never understood it still, but it didn’t matter. These were the last ones.
They would decide it all. Out of 100, most now gone. Which shattered dimension would be allowed to survive, and which would perish for good so that the universe could continue?