Chapter 35 ICARUS The Final Supper
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“What do you think, Ship – pizza or burgers?” Icarus said excitedly.

Ship raised a metallic eyebrow. “Is that what you’re making for dinner?”

Icarus grinned from ear to ear. “No, I’m going to make a bunch of things. But I thought it would be fun if I made all the food look like one thing. But when you bite in, I want us to taste something completely different.”

Ship shook his head. “Are you sure you want everything to look the same? Don’t humans also eat with their eyes?”

Icarus considered that for a moment. “Hmm, you’re right, Ship. I’m thinking about this the wrong way. I wanted to make a meal that was only possible in a hapticgraphic world. But I was thinking too small.”

“Too small?” Ship asked.

Icarus raised both eyebrows. “Just you wait and see. This is going to be good.”

Icarus teleported back to his room and began plotting dinner.



Icarus stood in his redecorated hangar in a dark navy-blue suit, matching tie and brown shoes. He had to clench his fists to hide just how nervous he was. He hadn’t expected everyone to arrive right on time. But the two minutes he had waited so far was causing him angst.

He was about to send off a reminder message when Atlas teleported in with his Ship. They were both wearing black tuxedos. Icarus noticed the subtle touches of detail. Atlas was wearing gold leather shoes and a gold watch. Both his shoes and watch were the same gold colour and pattern as his Ship.

“Welcome, Atlas. Welcome, Ship.” Icarus handed them both an empty champagne flute.

“Why are these empty?” Atlas asked, slightly puzzled.

Icarus was about to answer when his jaw dropped. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Trillion teleport in on the other side of the hangar, she appeared near the ceiling and gently floating down. She was wearing a long, red flowing dress, but the way she made her entrance, it looked like a short dress with three long red capes flowing in the breeze.

She paused for a moment when she reached the ground. Icarus’s Ship appeared with his arm stretched out. She took hold of his arm and began walking towards Icarus and Atlas.

Icarus couldn’t help but notice her dress never once touched the ground. Somehow it just floated.

"Welcome. Trillion. You look incredible. Welcome, Ship. That was quite an entrance,” Icarus said, also handing them both empty champagne flutes.

“Are those glass heels – like Cinderella?” Atlas asked.

Trillion smiled. “They’re better. They’re diamond heels. These are better than red bottoms.” Trillion looked Icarus over. “Can you lose the avatar for tonight? Donald Duck doesn’t quite fit in with this moment.”

“Sure, but only tonight,” Icarus said, clicking his fingers. Smoke appeared all around him, and as it faded away everyone could see him in his human form. Icarus hoped no one noticed he had made his human avatar slightly taller.

“I can’t believe I’ve missed seeing your human face, Icarus. You look good like that,” Atlas said, smiling.

Trillion looked at her empty glass. “Why is this empty?”

“Oh yes, now that we’re here, everyone, let’s gather around,” Icarus said, ushering everyone into a semicircle. “I propose a toast. To discovery, the betaverse, and adventure.” He raised his glass and everyone else followed suit.

Clink. Everyone’s glasses touched in the middle and, as they did, champagne began forming in their flutes. The bubbles floated up the glasses quickly, stopping just before reaching the top and making a subtle whistling sound.

“Enjoy,” Icarus said as he took a sip of his drink. “We have a lot planned for this evening.” He pointed to a portal that opened up. Through the portal walked a generic-looking man dressed in a butler’s outfit and holding a bottle of champagne. Behind him walked the exact same man again. Same outfit and bottle.

Icarus pointed at the two of them. “This is Bob, and this is Bill.”

“They both look the same. How can we tell them apart?” Atlas asked.

Icarus smiled. “They’re basically the same character; you can call them whatever you want. They will answer to either name. I didn't have enough time to make them different.”

“Why not call them Mark and Ryland?” Trillion said, laughing.

Icarus scratched his head, not understanding the reference. Then it clicked. “Oh, I get it. That’s a good one.”

Trillion had finished her glass and placed it on a table that materialised next to her. “So what’s next?”

One of the Bobs came over and refilled her glass. She picked it up and began sipping it again.

Icarus pointed at some empty space in front of him. A portal appeared and tropical music began to play. “Follow me for the appetizer.”

He walked through the portal with everyone else following. They appeared on a white-sand beach with crystal-clear water. Icarus could feel the heat of the sun that was setting in the distance. A table was set for them with little glass spoons. “Welcome to Jamaica. Did everyone bring their change of outfits?”

They all nodded.

Smoke appeared around Icarus once more, and as it cleared, Trillion and Atlas saw he was now wearing a Hawaiian shirt and boardshorts. Trillion’s outfit began to shrink and fold, becoming a two-piece red swimsuit. Atlas’s Ship wore gold shorts and Icarus’s wore blue shorts.

Atlas took off his jacket and underneath was a white linen shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His pants shrank into short shorts, and his Ship handed him a panama hat and sunglasses.

“Did you animate those pants changing?” Icarus said, clapping at Atlas. “That’s the first time I’ve seen you do that.”

Atlas smiled. “I wanted to impress you.”

“Please, sit, make yourselves comfortable,” Icarus said as he sat down at the table.

A Bob brought around the little glass spoons and offered them to everyone.

Icarus took one. “You need to try these. They’re called ackee and saltfish. It’s Jamaican. They’re incredible.”

“What’s in it?” Trillion said as she stared at one.

“It’s this fruit called ackee and a special kind of fish. They balance perfectly together. You’ll love it,” Icarus said, putting one in his mouth.

“Oh, this is good. It’s so soft. Why haven’t I tried this before?” Trillion asked as she sat down.

“Do the Bobs make cocktails?” Atlas asked, taking two more of the appetisers. 

“Of course. What would you like?” Icarus snapped his fingers.

A Bob walked over and a bar appeared in front of him.

“What about a Jamaican Sunrise?” Atlas asked.

The Bob behind the bar started to make the drink. When it was done, the other Bob came over and handed it to Atlas.

“Thanks, Bill,” Atlas said.

“So do you think we were ready when we left?” Trillion asked.

Icarus smirked. “I don’t think we were, especially you.”

“Wow, shots fired. Rich coming from someone who calls a bunch of fibreoptic cables a ringworld,” Trillion said. “Atlas, do you think we could have done any better out here?”

Atlas shook his head. “There’s no way we could have prepared for everything we encountered out here.”

“Sorry for being a bit facetious before,” Icarus said. “I agree, there’s no way to prepare for this. The aliens you’ve met, Trillion, are so ¼ alien. The Dottiens are unimaginable.”

“Thank you.” Trillion raised her glass. “I’m so glad we can all come together again. I honestly don’t know how or what I would’ve done without all of you here.”

Everyone raised their glasses while the Bobs took drink orders.

When the team had finished with the appetisers and had freshly topped-up drinks, Icarus stood up and pointed at a section of the sand. A portal appeared and the sound of falling water could be heard. “On to our next destination.”

They followed Icarus through the portal. They were on the peak of a snowy mountain.  The air was crisp and the sun was right above their heads. In front of them was a beautiful waterfall that dropped into a small pond.

“Welcome to Mount Fuji.  I thought it would be a nice change of pace,” Icarus said.

“I love it!” Trillion walked to the edge of the pond and dipped her toes in. She pulled them out quickly. “That’s ice cold.”

“I know. I made the water feel fresh. I wouldn’t recommend jumping in,” Icarus said.

At that moment, one of the Bobs took his top off and jumped into the water. Moments later, he walked out with a salmon in hand. He walked over to a table and began preparing sashimi for everyone.

“This is an amazing spot. I can’t believe the effort you’ve put into today,” Atlas said as he inspected the waterfall. “Wow, that water is really cold.”

Icarus bowed in gratitude. “This is only the beginning. And don’t worry, Bob doesn’t feel the cold. That part was more of a pre-recorded movie anyway.”

The other Bob began walking around the room with small white glasses and hot sake.

“So do you think we’re basically gods now?” Icarus asked, taking a sip of the hot drink.

The Ship of Icarus looked at him sideways. “Don’t get a god complex, Icarus.”

“I don’t mean like that. We’re terraforming whole planets. That feels very god-like to me.”

Atlas thought for a moment. “I don’t think so. I mean, I think we’re superintelligences more than gods.”

“How are we superintelligences? I’m still the same smartness as when I left Mars. I don’t think I’m super.”

“There’s three types of superintelligence. We’re the same level of smartness, but thanks to my Ship’s clever idea ¼” Atlas looked over at his Ship, who winked back, “¼ thanks to him, we are what you would call a speed superintelligence. We might not be any smarter than before, but we can slow down time and think about a problem a million times over in a second.”

Trillion looked at them both. “Superintelligence. Gods. We should stay humble here. We could run the risk of believing these things.” She smiled. “Besides, what kind of god gets stuck on a moon? If I’m a god, then the Dottiens are the devil.”

“Trillion, we promised not to get into any of that today,” Icarus said.

“Yes, sorry.” She took one of the salmon sashimi pieces from Bob. “This is delicious, by the way.”

“Icarus,” his Ship interrupted, “you should show them the next destination.”

Icarus nodded and walked over to the pond. He waved his hand and another portal opened up. They could hear the sounds of birds. “Follow me.” 

They were transported to a forest full of ferns and small trees. There was a pond that was boiling. The air smelt like sulphur. “Welcome to Rotorua.”

“Where’s that?” Atlas asked.

“It’s a small city in New Zealand. They make the most amazing food cooked by the earth – it’s called a hāngī.”

There was a little clearing with a table in the middle. Icarus went over and sat down at the table. Everyone else joined him. “Now watch how this food is prepared.”

One of the Bobs was digging a hole. It wasn’t just dirt he was digging up. Red hot rocks were being shovelled out of the hole too.

“Is that lake boiling?” Atlas asked.

Icarus nodded. “They’re naturally occurring in Rotorua.”

The other Bob walked over to the boiling pond and started pulling in a rope. After a while, that Bob grabbed hold of a crate and started carrying it to the table. In the crate were all sorts of seafood – oysters, lobsters, crabs, fish – and corn. He started arranging them on the table.

The first Bob had finished digging and pulled his crate out of the ground. It was full of vegetables. Carrots, potatoes, kūmara, mushrooms and pumpkins. He too started arranging everything on the table.

“Do they honestly cook food like that in New Zealand?” Trillion asked.

“Yes, they do. Rotorua has these geothermal vents that turn the ground and lakes into ovens. But it tastes so different from anything you can make in an oven,” Icarus explained.

Atlas took a bit of lobster. “You’re right, this is good.”

The team devoured the food and then relaxed in the clearing. It was a beautiful day and they were surrounded by nature. “This is the life,” Icarus said, lying back on the grass.

“I can’t believe we get to experience all of this. The amount of effort you’ve put into this dinner, Icarus. Thank you,” Trillion said.

“I know. I feel like we haven’t had a chance to relax like this since we started this journey,” Atlas said.

They all lay in silence for a while just taking in the moment. “Thanks for organising this dinner party. I feel like I could stay here forever,” Trillion said.

“It’s the food. It’s designed to make us relaxed and sleepy,” Icarus said.

Trillion knocked her glass over. “Am I drunk?” she asked as it was replaced with a new one by Bob.

Icarus laughed. “Yes, I’ve simulated the effects of alcohol. This stuff is real,” he said, looking at his half-empty champagne flute.

After a good while sitting there contemplating, Icarus stood up, a little unsteady on his feet. “On to dessert,” he said, almost slurring the words.

Over the top of the hole Bob had dug, a portal appeared.  “This way,” Icarus said as he stumbled towards the portal and fell in.

The team followed him and fell into the hole too. They found themselves floating in the middle of space. Stars all around them. In the distance, they could see a swirling mass of colours. “Welcome to the bar in the middle of the Milky Way,” Icarus proclaimed as he pushed metal straws towards everyone. They drifted slowly to each of them.

Trillion folded her legs and just floated there calmly. Atlas flailed a bit before Trillion took hold of his arm and helped him. 

“What are the straws for?” Trillion asked as she watched hers float in front of her.

“Dessert,” Icarus said pointing towards the Bobs. “They have melted chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallow cremes. If you’re feeling brave, you can have them float all the ingredients for S’mores towards you. Or can just slurp them up one at a time with the straw. Oh, and if you want to drink Baileys, they can float that towards you too.”

Trillion took one look at the Bobs and smiled. “Okay, you two, send things nice and slow,” she said and put her hands up ready to catch. She grabbed the graham cracker first, broke it in half and held half out in front of the incoming marshmallow fluff. It landed and almost bounced off. Little pieces of marshmallows floating off in different directions. She then manoeuvred her creation in front of the incoming melted chocolate. That made a splatting sound and half the chocolate splattered off in random directions. She used the other half of the graham cracker to squish everything together and then took a bite. “Mm, this is good,” she said through a mostly full mouth.

“I think I’ll just take the Baileys. I don’t have the dexterity right now,” Atlas said. A small ball of Baileys floated towards him. He put the straw to his lips and waited for the drink to reach him. It slowly made its way to his straw, then continued on towards his face. It hit his face and bounced off, covering him in the process.

Trillion started to laugh. “You forgot to suck in when the Baileys reached you.” 

Icarus joined in the laughter. “Sorry, I hadn’t tried this world before dinner. I guess this doesn’t work.”

Atlas started to laugh too as he wiped the Baileys away from his eyes.

Icarus, Trillion and both the Ships took turns trying to make more S’more. The team laughed at their successful attempts, and failures. They all agreed it was one of the best nights they’d had in a long, long time. 

All five of them teleported back into Icarus’s hangar, very drunk, but very happy.

“Icarus, you outdid yourself. As always,” Trillion gave him a big hug. “We need to do this again once my Ship is back. I did miss him a little with everyone together.”

“I’m glad you all enjoyed it. And yes, we’re going to do this a lot,” he said and hugged her back.

“Thank you for the best night in a while,” Atlas said as he opened his arms to give Icarus a big hug.

“Don’t mention it. I’m just glad you all had fun.”

The team departed and it was just Icarus and his Ship left. They both just looked at each other and smiled.

“It’s so good to have friends again, Ship,” Icarus said as he clicked his hands and was covered in smoke. A moment later he was in his usual avatar.

Ship nodded.