growth, seeds, & death

Five years later Immortal Octopi was complete, an infinite number of Jerricks were members. It turned out Jerrick 637 had devised time travel, and so the day after Jerrick 1 recruited him, a fifth of an infinite number of Jerricks were contacted by another fifth. (This was possible because of the pioneering work of Jerrick 45 in the field of Chepookish Specific-Abstract Mathematics, which for some reason is called "Smack" for short.) The fifth who did the contacting set out from different times, quasi-causality-wise, at any rate. Over the next five years more fractions of Jerricks were contacted by various other fractions of Jerricks, as their schedules vis-a-vis other pet projects, and obviously their own respective recruitments allowed.

After that there was of course no more recruiting to be done, but there was still contact to be maintained with each other and with the coordinating directors of the organization, which was an immense task. For the most part, Jerricks simply volunteered their time as coordinators whenever they felt like it, although the first 600+ Jerricks (who had been recruited by Jerrick 1 over the course of a few years prior to the start of the major recruitment drive by all Jerricks of all Jerricks) felt it somewhat incumbent upon them to act as a higher level of coordinators, of the information passed on to them by the dabblers, who had themselves gotten information from all Jerricks everywhere. A few of the first 600+ were higher still, and passed on information to Jerrick 1, although he also personally gathered information at all levels of the process. Even so, even he couldn't possibly be aware of all ongoing projects, especially considering how many never went anywhere, and even those that were completed successfully were often relatively unimportant. Plus, he had more of his own projects to work on besides ID travel and organizational coordination.

One day Jerrick 32 took time off from counting stars in a starless region of a galaxy that hadn't been discovered yet to ponder a thought which had just struck him, which was that he hadn't thought of a name for this project. In the course of his pondering it soon came to him that many of the project names he'd heard of, of late, were not the slightest bit cryptic, that they made perfect sense, and not just to a Jerrick, but they would do so to anyone. And so he ID-mailed a message to that effect to Jerrick 23.

Jerrick 23 replied that he hadn't had much RP work to do in the past couple of years for just that reason, and had himself been wondering if there was some reason for it. But he'd been keeping himself busy with other projects, including being one of the first tier of organizational coordinating directors under Jerrick 1. But now that someone else was taking an interest in the matter, perhaps it would bear looking into.

And so they started a joint project of investigating the matter, as well as a sub-project of trying to decide whether it was ironic that no name came to them for the first project. But neither project bore much fruit, and so they were forced to put it on a back burner and concentrate on projects which did. Still, they came back to it from time to time.

In the meantime, Jerrick 1 died of an overdose of pinkness. It is a rare thing which captures the attention of all living Jerricks, but that certainly did. They were all saddened by the loss, which was generally considered the most tragic of all Jerrick deaths to date. And yet, they could still maintain a certain stoicism which came of the understanding that projects could often be fatal, and it was just the price one paid for trying to improve the world. Although, some said, the real tragedy was that non-Jerricks seldom benefited from the wisdom Immortal Octopi garnered, such as knowing the limits of pinkness that human beings can endure. Others said it seldom mattered, as few people would ever get close to that level of pink, nor engaged in such activities as did Jerricks.

Jerrick 637 became the new Prime Coordinating Director (PCD) of Immortal Octopi, but naturally carried on with other projects, including the invention of a device for the detection of ID travelers. He called that Acerbic Contagion. Jerrick 23's best guess was that contagion referred to the possibility that there might be more such travelers than Jerricks (although of course even very few Jerricks actually traveled between dimensions anymore, although they all communicated between dimensions, via the technologies developed by Jerrick 13). He wasn't sure if other travelers would have acquired the ability through any kind of contact with Jerricks, but figured "contagion" could be metaphoric in some abstract or non-traditional way, as was frequently the case with project names. As for "acerbic," the best he could come up with was that most Jerricks seemed to look upon the device rather disdainfully, considering it a waste of time, since obviously there were no other interdimensional travelers. He was not at all satisfied with that answer, and felt his talent had atrophied from lack of usage. He spent a night drinking and talking with Jerrick 32 about this.

Meanwhile, in his own dimension of origin, Jerrick 637 quickly discovered another ID traveler, a woman named Jade Irepan, who turned out to be a member of an organization called Squid Grrlz.

part five