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The President of the United States of America, Robert Finch of Park City, Utah, has his hand over "the dial". Had Robert known he would be sitting in the War Room, forced to end billions of lives, he never would have taken part in that contest. He didn't even like "OutRag3 Powerdrink", and had inadvertently grabbed it after mistaking its purple hue for his usual grape soda. There it was, right under the cap. "CONGRATULATIONS! YOU'RE PRESIDENT!"
The Secretary of Reality places his hand on President Finch's shoulder. It would be a welcomed bolstering of his resolve if said hand wasn't drenched in sweat.
"Now, Mr. President!" calls out a General who nobody had even recalled meeting before this incident. Truth be told, this was his first time in their midst after Generals Martin, Thrush, Craine, and Sapsucker fell into disrepute due to an incremental series of completely unrelated sex scandals.
"Now!" The General repeats.
President Finch wonders what the dial does. He's heard talk up to this point of the Ultimate Dimensional Dispersal Ray, or UDDeR, but has no actual idea of what the thing is capable of. Apparently, decades of research with Bozo Particles and something about a Large Hairdryer Collector made it possible. All the science talk made the President's head spin, and he had been sure they would never really ask a contest winner to use such a thing.
"Now!" The General has gotten up from his chair.
President Finch sets the dial to 1. The power in the War Room dims, and everyone in the room tenses up. They were already tense, but now even more so. Someone to the back of the room passes gas.
An atrocious odor invades the President of the United States' nostrils.
Everyone waits quietly as a scientist by the name of Fischer studies a series of orange and white numbers flickering across a tremendous black screen. None of them can make heads or tails of it... save for Fishcer and his buxom blonde assistant, Polly.
"Did we do it?" President Finch asks, meekly. His words echo through the War Room in a harsh, cutting manner befitting the embarrassing squeak of a non-entity.
Fischer stares at the screen.
"Again!" Fischer suddenly screams, much like a woman. Polly seems shocked by the shrill tone of his voice. She had thought so much more of him. "Higher!" Fischer demands, "Higher!"
In one smooth and decisive motion, President Finch spins the dial to one hundred and fifty three thousand. He lets out a soft whine that is barely audible over the clacking of the dial as it passes its tick marks.
The War Room goes black. The War Room shakes. The War Room does several other things it shouldn't, like momentarily being a sort of jelly.
Something howls. It's something big and very, very surprised. Miles beneath the Earth, everyone within the War Room can see the teeth this howl passed through, and they are thankful it is only within their mind's eye.
Everyone above ground is now dead. Since the dial had been set to one, most were dead, some were dying, and a very few were a bit dismayed. Now, though, they're all blackened corpses. UDDeR tends to do that.
Fischer is studying his crazy orange and white numbers again. There are more orange ones than white ones, and everyone is hoping that's good.
A hand touches President Finch on the other shoulder. The President of the United States screams because the hand belongs to nobody in particular.
Everyone in the War Room is screaming.
Something in the corner is gnawing on Secretary of State Crowe and in the middle of the room there's a lively game of "Tug o' War" going on between the unknown General and someone who just happened to appear. Someone with an exoskeleton and human faces for hands. Also, having no rope to speak of, the Tug o' War seems to focus on the General's intestines.
The General has lost. The Secretary of Reality, along with several others, seem to take on the properties of paper-mâché, keeping their overall appearance while slowly collapsing under their own weight.
"Again!" Fischer shrieks as Polly smolders away for some reason, "Again! Again!"
President Finch ignores the stray hands on his shoulder, his head, his foot, and his thigh. In a stunning display of grace under pressure, he turns the dial to eight million, four hundred and seventeen thousand, eighty four.
For the briefest moment, nothing seems to exist except for CIA Director Herman R. Ravenwood, who feels a deep sense of loneliness before almost immediately exploding in the vacuum of empty space.
President Finch surveys the state of the War Room and determines that, while almost everyone around him is dead, this is preferable to being covered in wayward severed hands emerging from anus-shaped holes in reality.
A second howl from above shakes the War Room.
23 - 15
Fischer explains that it's angry, and he doesn't know if there's any hope, but it's worth trying UDDeR on its highest setting. It might end existence in total, but either way both he and the President are "fucked".
President Finch reacts to the word "Fucked" with surprise, as he hadn't heard anyone use it since taking office.
13 - 11
President Finch slowly inches the dial up to its highest setting, absolute infinity. He knows that this should not really be possible, yet there is the tiny infinity-symbol right in front of him. Who is President Finch, he wonders, to argue with science?
For the span of what seems like seven hours, both President Finch and Fischer relive their respective childhoods, fully aware of their adult selves yet unable to break from past events. History, it would seem, cannot be altered. Fischer marvels at this scientific discovery as his ten year old body is pummeled into pieces by a group of schoolyard bullies. He considers the fact these men are now among the aforementioned blackened corpses, and this gives him a sense of inner peace.
President Finch looks down at his fingers gripping the ridged outer circle of the dial. His hand is shaking, but then again so is everything else, so who's to know? The room is nearly pitch black, lit only by the spinning cluster of lime green sparkles which freely entered through the east wall.
A sustained din from above gives the distinct mental image of about seven thousand angry lions being beheaded with seven thousand rusty chainsaws. Neither Fischer nor the President of the United States of America have ever seen a lion beheaded by a rusty chainsaw, but nonetheless they're each positive about this.
All is quiet. Nothing moves that shouldn't, and everything that shouldn't move doesn't. Given what has just been experienced, these are separate things now.
Fischer studies the screen again. All the numbers are orange, and he seems cautiously optimistic. The back of his head is marked with a bloody X, but President Finch decides to refrain from pointing this out.
President Finch gets up from his chair, if for no other reason than to avoid the unpleasant sensation of reclining in one's own feces. As he does so, Fischer turns to him with a wide smile.
"We did it," Fischer mumbles, "We actually did it..." He seems very surprised.
2 - 1
President Finch and Fischer clasp hands, then pull each other into a celebratory hug. Two of the last human beings left in existence weep on each other's shoulders. They are now part of a species that numbers in the double digits.
President Finch shakes his head as the two men part, "I can't believe we all prayed to that thing."