Week 29.2 – The Cluster

Previously: Metalord tried to capture Twain after Digger was sent on another trip through time, where he met a man in black leather. And now…

“Holy crap!” Digger exclaimed. “Caveat?”

This was too much crazy, too fast. Just a minute ago, he’d been waiting outside a mansion in Mongolia for Twain to show his face again, and now here he was, more than 15 years and half a world away, at a flea market in Berkeley with at least three more versions of himself inside, talking to a younger Caveat Maldictor in an early version of his familiar costume. And his wig was really itchy.

“Are you a man?” Caveat eyed Digger up and down, the tight Chinese dress and the heavy make-up, with obvious distaste. “I know this is Berkeley, but I still didn’t think I’d see one right out on the street.”

“Get over it,” Digger said. “Come to think of it, I need your help.”

“Do you know me?” Caveat’s eyes were confused behind his black mask. “Because I think you’re mixed up. My name isn’t whatever you said a second ago. It’s Dark Justice.”

“Of course it is,” Digger said. “But that’s kind of dull, don’t you think? And a little too cute. ‘Dark’ is awfully close to ‘Derek.’”

Caveat–Digger could never think of him as Dark Justice–turned grim. He grabbed the front of Digger’s dress. “Where did you learn that name?”

“From you,” Digger said. “In the future, when you stopped calling yourself Mister Boring and called yourself Caveat Maledictor.”

“Evildoer beware,” Caveat said, letting Digger go. “I like that. But I can’t use it.”

“Why not?” Digger asked.

[blockquote type=”blockquote_quotes” align=”left”]Everything you do alters the future…[/blockquote]“Because if you learned it from me, but I just now heard it from you, then who actually came up with the name?” Caveat asked. “Won’t it cause some sort of cosmic imbalance if I give myself a name that nobody actually thought up?”

“I don’t know, dude. I’m not a philosopher,” Digger said. “Besides, you could just as easily call it a cosmic inevitability. The universe wants you to use that name, which is why it sent me back here to give it to you.”

“But if I change my name because of information about the future some time traveler, wouldn’t I be changing the timeline? Irrevocably altering the future?”

“Everything you do alters the future,” Digger said. “And frankly, a future with some generic douche named Dark Justice is not the one I want to go back to.”

“You have a point,” Caveat said thoughtfully. “You said you needed my help. What’s that about?”

“There’s something I need you to keep safe,” Digger said. “Come with me.”

They went inside and threaded between booths. Suddenly, a running man came around a corner and nearly collided with Digger. Digger recognized himself, newly come from that motel room where Twain had escaped. “Go,” he whispered to himself.

“What?” the other Digger asked.

Digger grabbed the lanyard  and whipped the crystal up toward his doppelganger’s face. “He’s getting away.”

The other Digger disappeared as the crystal touched his cheek.

“What the hell is going on?” asked Caveat from behind him.

This is turning into kind of a mess. Hope it doesn’t get any more complicated. Be here for the next exciting episode to find out!

To read from the beginning, click here

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