"Hey, uh, hey, Lam." Alk whispered over the edge of a thick book.
"Gosh, let me guess you wanna get a drink, no, that was the last five times so I assume you have to piss again." Lam said without bothering to look away from the pages of an even thicker book.
"Well, yeah, it's just something in this water, shit goes right through me."
"Your forty-seven, you don't need my say-so to use the bathroom."
"That's a yes?" Alk said as he backed away from the table.
"Yes, go." Commanded, Alk spun around and headed for the bathroom. "And on your way back you can pick out another stack from the "J" section." Lam shouted after Alk who had already rounded the corner.
Alk moaned when he heard the demand and then pushed open the restroom door. For him this room was more interesting then the actual library which housed it, simply because he had never seen anyone put so much work into things people would be shitting in. It was a room filled with olive-green tiling and bronzy metal work all of which had a tranquil glow as they reflected soft, flickering candle light. Alk was alone in the silent bathroom and felt at ease. He made his way to one of the bronze contraptions on the wall, unbuttoned his shirt, and relieved himself.
"I'm assuming you'll wash your hands in the toilet then?" Someone spoke up.
"The hell? When'd you get in here?" Alk asked.
"Oh, I just popped in when you started pissing in the sink. Janitors not gonna appreciate that you know."
Alk hastily buttoned his shirt and turned to face who ever it was.
"A human, never thought I'd see one out this far from earth. Were you abducted or something?" Alk asked.
"That's a bit of a touchy subject you know, not the thing to ask if your trying to make a good first impression."
"I'm not here to impress you, and I know your not here just to tell me I screwed up."
"And what makes you think that?" He asked and then stared at Alk with a challenging gaze.
"Considering the fact that you just magically appeared out of fukin' no where I'm pretty damn sure your not a human, or just not a normal one anyway." Alk said.
"Your right on the mark with that, and I thought you'd be stupid." He said with a chuckle. "Wellp, since you guessed that right, wanna take a stab at why I'm actually here?"
"What? Oh, I'll bet your after Lam's research. Not the first time some body hunted us down over it. They've never said why though, course I did kill them all before they had a chance to spill." Alk paused and stared at the man thoughtfully. "Am I gonna have to kill you? I'll take any way I can to not spend another six hours in this fukin' library."
"Wrong on both, well maybe not so much the first thing." He said undaunted by the threat. "You see Alk-"
"How'd you know my name?" Alk spat.
"If you'd let me finish I'll explain that. Back on topic: what I need are folks with interesting stories, a lot of them in fact. I've been drifting though the cosmos and a few places I hit up looking for help mentioned a pair of lizard aliens that paid them a visit. The first time you two were brought up I didn't think much of it, but the fifth got me interested so I looked into it. That's how I know your name."
"You writing a book?" Alk asked.
"Not so much writing as saving one."
"Hm, and you wanna interview with Lam or something?"
"Pretty much." He answered with a smile.
"Sounds shit loads more fun than reading." Alk said. "Follow me and don't do anything hostile like 'cause I'll have to kill you if you do."
Alk and the man left the bathroom and hurried back to Lam who was still buried in a black-covered book.
"Lam." Alk called, but was unheard or ignored.
"Lam!" Alk shouted and Lam's head shot up with her sucker scowling as much as one can.
"Alk! were in a library." Lam shouted quietly. "Who's that?"
"Some guy I met in the bathroom."
"what'd you drag him out of the bathroom to see me for?"
"I'm pretty sure he's magical, bastard showed up out of thin air."
"Just poof, eh? Not a chance he happened to be in a stall taking a shit?"
"Well, um, I know that ain't it 'cause-"
"Feh, so whatsereface, are you magical or not? Cause if you aren't we don't have anything to talk about."
"I'm one-hundred percent magical miss, just let me demi-"
"How'd you know I'm a miss?" Lam asked.
"See, magic!" Alk exclaimed.
"Hush up, you." Lam said and gave Alk a cold look.
"Can I get on with proven I'm magic or are you to just gonna keep beatin' each other up?" The man asked.
"Yes, yes get on with it I'm sure we won't be having any more distractions." Lam said. "And no card tricks."
"Wasn't planning on that. What I need is a thing, anyone gotta thing?" He asked.
"I've got this clicky pen I stole from the admissions desk." Alk said and dropped the pen on the table.
"ALK-49!" Lam said in a scolding tone.
"Well she stole my guns."
"She didn't steal your- you know what, I've been over this twice already and I'm not doing it third."
"By the sound of it neither of you have a weapon." The man interrupted, stopping the argument.
The man picked up the pen from the table and then showed off each side of it with the obligatory hand gestures. He then clicked the pen and it flashed brightly, to be bright to be seen. When the light faded the pen was still in his hand, but it looked completely different.
"Now it writes and shoots lasers." The man exclaimed Lam was flabbergasted and Alk was bubbling over with joy.
"Holy shit." lam said.
"Le' me see that." Alk said and grabbed at the pen, but Lam snatched it away.
"No, can't have you burning the place down!" Lam said and stuck the pen in her pocket. "What's your name, you never mentioned it"
"What's your name?" Alk demanded as he bumped the man in the side.
"Alk, be nice or I'll let him blow out what little brains you've got."
"Aw, Lam, that hurt me on the inside, not like my squigelom, but, you know, my feelings." Alk said in the most pathetic voice he could muster.
"lets just let the man talk, alright?" Alk nodded and crossed his arms
"My name's Mudd, and I need to ask you folks a favor." The recently identified Mudd said.
"Were kind of busy to be doing anything small time." Lam said.
"Alright, so, your after information about the origins of life in your folks universe."
"Yes, all true." Lam agreed.
"And you haven't been having much luck?"
"Also true, unfortunately, but what are you getting at exactly."
"Well I happen to be one of the care takers to a certain magical book that has every story ever written inside of it." Mudd stated.
"And you want something from me in exchange for reading it I'm guessing? Been their twenty-seen times already." Lam said.
"Well, here's the part you haven't heard, the books tearing its self apart so if you want a chance to read it your gonna have to fix it."
"I don't know a thing about magic and nobody I know who dose is likely to help with this sort of thing."
"No know-how required I just need you and your bruiser to come with me."
Lam pondered all this, but just for a moment. "Fine, well help you."
"Great, now both you come with me I already set up the portal when I came in." Mudd said and began to head for the bathroom.
When they got into the restroom Mudd opened one of the stalls to reveal a shimmering vortex.
"Oh, the irony." Lam mumbled and received confused glances from her companions.
"What do want us to do when we get where we're going?' Alk asked while staring at the portal.
"It's all self explanatory, now get in there, doesn't hurt or anything." Mudd replied.
Alk took his word and stepped through with Lam close behind. Everything went white.
Seeing again, Alk and Lam found themselves in a desert, not the kind with sand dunes, but just miles of flat dry land speckled with rocks and sad looking plants. Mudd was no where to be seen.
"What's that?" Alk said hearing something rattle near him. He looked around until he spotted the source, a long limbless critter coiled up on the ground.
"It looks a bit pissed off." Alk said as he reached down to grab it.
"Don't do that, it'll probably poison you. I can't have you dieing not three minutes into this." Lam said.
"Well , hand over the pen."
"Yup. Haven't shot anything all week an' I wanna see if that things got any ass."
"Whatever." Lam said and then handed Alk the pen.
"The snake won't bite you, there is no need to kill it." A lady-like voice said.
Alk had the pen pointed at the snake, but put it to his side and began to look for the source of the voice.
"Behind us, Alk" Lam said. Alk spun around to see what looked like a head-sized, oily-black satellite hovering in front of them.
"That's a figment." The voice from the black machine said. "it will only threaten you, not bite because that is not part of the story."
"That sounds pissing me off either way." Alk said.
He twisted around, pointed the pen at the snake, and clicked the top. The pen fired an inky black laser that shot the beast asunder with the two halves of it thrashing reflexively. Alk grabbed both halves, being careful to hold the head away from him. He offered a half to lam who turned it down with a sneer. Alk shrugged then yanked the head off and sucked down both halves like noodles.
"I-I'm not even going to acknowledge what I just saw." The lady said.
"Ain't you by saying you aren't?" Alk questioned.
"Just let me talk so we can get out of each others-well. Judging by that pen I can safely assume Mudd brought you here."
Alk was going to continue the conversation, but Lam waved her hand to shush him.
"Yes, he wanted us to help him fix a book and promised we could read it after, then said everything would explain its self and dropped us here." lam explained.
"Lazy bastard, of course he would let this whole thing be left to chance. I've been going around picking up his slack for days." The lady said. "It's much more complicated and severe then he lets on, though I suppose he's smart for not telling you everything since it could have scared you off."
"Did he screw us over or something? Is there a book or not?"
"Yes and yes, there is a book and it is beginning to homogenize its self, I assume he told you that much?"
"Well he probably left out the part that as book combines all of its stories it combines all the worlds those stories came from, not worlds as in planets, but whole universes, like your own. Worst case scenario is that all of existence comes together with unknown effects."
Lam stared ahead as the statement bounced around her head without making any connections
"That's a lot to take in." Lam said. Her mind was buzzing. She looked over at Alk who was standing like a monument to her simple command. "Alk?" He shifted his feet.
"How the hell are we supposed to fix some magical book we don't know shit about." Alk asked.
"For starters your in the book." The lady said.
"You'll have to excuse me not being surprised. It doesn't quite stack up to learning that the universe is going end in a cluster-fuck 'cause some story book is throwing a hissy fit."
"What are we supposed to do, miss-"
"Miss ink?" Lam asked.
"Right now we've come up with a plan. There are trillions of stories and the majority are still intact. The homogenizing is only occurring in one part of the book, but spreading into the rest like ripples on a pond. We think that if the stories closest to the problem area can be stabilized it will stop the destruction from spreading further, like a damn of sorts. The rest can be fixed more conveniently then."
"How are we supposed to stabilize it?"
"Every story has a sort of ultimate climax to it, you need to make sure it reaches that point no matter what the book dose."
"What's a climax?" Alk whispered while nudging Lam.
"The biggest event in the story, the final fight or something like that." Lam responded.
"Right, unfortunately though, I do not know every story by heart. You two will have to figure out the climax of this story by yourself. All I can tell you is that right now the story is just beginning." Lady ink explained. "Do you two need anything else? Right now I have a lot to do and very little time, if you can spare any nitpicking I would be more than pleased."
"Not a thing miss, I'm ready as I'll ever be for this freaky shit." Alk said
"Then I'm off, hopefully nothing happens that we have to meet again."
"I'm thinking the same thing."
The satellite transmitting Lady Ink's voice flew off into the air leaving Lam and Alk alone in the desert as far as they could tell. Alk held his hands above his eyes like a visor and scanned the area slowly.
"Hey Lam, I think I see some sort of water tower."