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With the way everyone was talking about it, Hector wondered if this discovery had truly been his own. Sure, it had felt like it was, but as more time passed, that feeling faded, and his mind searched for other possible explanations.
One in particular popped into his head, and it had bothered him enough that he decided to consult Garovel about it. ‘...I can’t be the first person to have ever thought of this,’ he’d said.
‘Why not?’ was all Garovel said.
‘Wh--? What do you mean?! Because I can’t! There’s just no way! I mean, fuckin’... We’re talking about everyone who’s ever lived! It’s just impossible that no one else has thought of this before.’
‘Is that because you think you’re not smart enough?’
‘I... no, well... I mean. Kinda. Yeah. Pretty much. I mean, how many materializers have there been? Like, total? It must be, fuckin’... billions or something, right? ’
‘All throughout human history? Mm, probably not billions. Maybe millions. Maybe. Hard to say. Remember that the number of materialization users is a subset of the number of reapers. And there haven’t been THAT many of us, comparatively. If we’re including all reapers who’ve ever existed, I’d only estimate that number to be around fifty million, at most. And even that might be wildly optimistic.’
‘Fifty million is a shitload.’
‘Not really. Fifty million is one twentieth of one billion. And how many humans have ever lived? That number is in the neighborhood of a hundred billion. At least. So the overall pool of materialization “inventors” is probably a lot smaller than you’ve been thinking.’
Hector wasn’t buying it. ‘I still don’t think it’s possible.’
‘Well, whether or not you think it’s possible doesn’t change the fact that it happened. Maybe you should stop being so hard on yourself.’
‘...Or maybe I didn’t really do anything.’
‘Maybe it was Rasalased who thought of it. Maybe he just planted the knowledge into my head or something.’
‘Ugh, god, don’t even start with that. Just take the fucking credit, please.’