Persons of the Dialogue
Socrates, Fred Weasley, the (11th) Doctor, and Percy Jackson
A small coffee shop somewhere in town
Percy Jackson: You're back already? You just left!
The Doctor: Actually, we made a few stops along the way…and we may possibly have broken an ancient and priceless family heirloom of some poor bloke on Aractus in the thirty-eighth century…
Socrates: He got distracted on the way home.
Dr.: It was sparkly!
Fred Weasley: Your execution was stalled because the Doctor saw something sparkly?
Soc: In his defense, it was quite sparkly. It is good that we have returned, however, as I wish to continue our previous conversation.
Percy: Again? We just finished! My headache hasn't even gone away yet! Literally, you just walked out the door!
Fred: He's got a point, mate. My brain's a bit fried, and I'm pretty sure you passed yourselves going out when you came in.
Percy: I had a question, though.
Fred: You? You had question? Floo the press! Seaweed Brain has a question!
Percy: Shut up. Socrates, you worship the Greek gods, right?
Percy: Then aren't your gods and my gods the same?
Soc: No. The reason as to why is quite simple. Anyone?
Fred: You're from different worlds. There was a Socrates in Percy's world, but you're not him. He's got his gods, and you've got your own gods. Right? That's where the whole fourth wall thing comes in. Alternate realities.
Dr.: Right. The gods are very similar, but still different, because they're alternate selves of each other.
Fred: Are there alternate versions of me and George? Imagine how mad Mum would be if I came back with thirty of us! Everyone would go completely spare!
Percy: Dealing with two of you would be a nightmare. But wouldn't the gods work the same way?
Soc: Not necessarily. To start with, we'd have to determine exactly what you mean by 'work'. Do you mean how they exist? If belief powers them? If they continue to exist throughout the millennia? If they are still immensely powerful entities?
Percy: Uh…all of that?
Soc: I am not familiar with the detailed workings of the deities of my universe. However, I feel it is safe to assume that they are still powered by belief. Belief, after all, is what ensures they have followers, sacrifices, and are remembered at all. It would be very hard for beings as powerful as gods to exist without anyone remembering them or even knowing anything about them. I am sure countless thousands of gods and monsters have disappeared due to lack of belief and remembrance. One reason why your world is different than the one we are in is because the gods were able to still thrive, even though many humans lost their faith, correct?
Percy: I guess. From what I've heard, it was pretty much the demigods that kept them around for so long.
Fred: Because the demigods believed in the gods, the gods could have more kids to keep believing in them…wow. Perce, you're like a generbator, providing all the power! If it wasn't for you lot, the gods wouldn't exist! You're providing all the constant belief! They mustn't like that very much.
Percy: Generator. You know, that reference doesn't really work quite…and do you even know what a generator…? Never mind. Anyway, no, they don't. It's part of why they try and kill us so much.
Fred: Wait, what? You're responsible for their continued existence, and they keep trying to kill you?
Percy: I think living for so long has really screwed with their heads. Either way, they've all got huge tempers, even the nice ones. That's mostly the problem. No one can hold a grudge like a god.
Dr.: Trust me. Gods are not alone in that.
Fred: Hold on. Belief was brought up before, when we decided that it couldn't save me and Socrates. So why can it save the gods?
Dr.: The gods are beings that are meant to survive on belief. You're human, and therefore you survive on different things, like food and sleep. You don't need to constantly depend on how many followers you have or how many maidens are sacrificed to you to stay alive. Besides, while they need it to survive, it still won't change their story line.
Percy: The gods don't need sacrifices anymore. We just give some because it's nice.
Soc: Are you so sure? The gods may not normally need sacrifices because as the years passed they have shrunken from the beings they used to be, and do not need as much spiritual nourishment as they once did, but they still rely on them. For instance, if you ask something of them, would you not normally offer a sacrifice?
Percy: Yeah, I guess you're right.
Fred: What kind of sacrifices? Just food, or they still do the whole helpless-maiden thing?
Percy: We give them food at the camp meals, but that's an offering, not a sacrifice. Uh…I normally give spoils of war, like I did with the Nemean Lion coat, but sometimes it's just the gratitude that counts. Man, I'll never forget that look on Bacchus' face…
Soc: It is usually the thought and intent that goes into the sacrifice which counts. Indeed, that is what makes it a sacrifice in the first place, the feelings associated with giving something away. Those feelings, when directed towards the gods, act like belief, in that they provide power.
Fred: Is that power what they use, then? To do whatever you gave the sacrifice for in the first place?
Soc: I imagine they would, as it does make sense. I do truly have no idea, though.
Fred: So…think there's any gods in my world?
Dr., Percy, and Soc: Why?
Fred: Do you think Merlin would be able to bring me back to life if George sacrificed him some Nosebleed Nougats?
Percy: You're still on about that?
Soc: I applaud your dedication to life, but I think it would be more likely that your brother would have to sacrifice all the—what was it? Nosebleed Nuggets?—you have and the recipe. A much heavier cost for a deed such as resurrection.
Fred: I notice you didn't say no.
Soc: Immortal gods! It is very rare for a human to be returned to life once dead. It is a deed which can only be done by a deity of some sort—Doctor, don't you start. I am well aware of your regenerative abilities, I said human, not Time Lord. Fred, there may or may not be gods in your world, but there is one thing I know.
Fred: Yes? The suspense is killing me here.
Soc: Your afterlife.
Fred: What about it?
Soc: As we are unexplainably aware of the existence of the fourth wall, we are also aware of the contents of each other's stories. Your brother's friend, Harry Potter, becomes the master of death in the last book, does he not?
Fred: Yeah, but you know he can't bring people back to life. Just himself, and that was only because You-Know-Poo's horcrux gave him a ticket out.
Percy: How angry do you think Hades and Thanatos would be if someone found out how to make horcruxes where I come from?
Dr.: Very. They'd probably blame you.
Percy: You're right. Darn.
Soc: As I was saying, Harry was able to stand at the crossroads of death. In terms Percy can understand, that would be like standing on the edge of the Styx, but not quite in Charon's boat yet.
Percy: So he was…no way. Not possible. You're not seriously thinking that, are you?
Fred: Thinking what?
Dr.: Do they make sparkly donuts here?
Dr.: What? Don't look at me like that. You asked what I was thinking.
Percy: If he was at the threshold…he could leave.
Fred: I know that. So?!
Soc: If other people had just died as well, there is a small chance that they'd be there as well, if in another part of it.
Percy: We know that Dumbledore was there, and I know from experience that it can take a while for spirits to fully cross over, so obviously others could be waiting.
Soc: If Harry were able to find those others, he could theoretically use his powers and take them back with him to the land of the living.
Fred: You—you're saying he could—bring me back?
Dr.: I doubt it. Your spirit would be inserted right back into your body, which was too badly injured to be able to sustain you.
Fred: But it was an explosion! Wasn't it just, you know, the shock? It'd be ok, right?
Percy: The explosion didn't kill you, man, it was the wall falling on you that did it.
Soc: Besides, even if you did manage to successfully resurrect yourself somehow, you would still be subject to the rules of the author. If she wants you dead, then dead you will be. If she wants you to be miraculously brought back from the grave, then brought back you shall be. No amount of plotting on your part could change that.
Fred: So you guys can do it!
Fred: You lot aren't bound by the restrictions of Rowling, because she didn't create you. So if the Doctor were to pop over into my universe, he could use his sciency stuff to bring me back.
Dr.: I can't just hop between universes like that, even fictional ones. I could rip holes in several universes. It wouldn't matter anyway, because I'd need the written consent of my creators to cross over to stop you from crossing over. Really, the only one of us that could do it is Socrates, because he's not bound by any author/creator restrictions.
Percy: Are you saying he's the only one who's real? I thought we had this discussion.
Fred: I'm not sure we finished it. But if Socrates is the only real person here, then what are we?
Dr.: Fiction. Fantasy. Sci-fi. Rom—
Fred: If you even suggest romance as a possible genre, I'm hexing you.
Dr.: What's wrong with romance? Everyone needs some proper romance.
Fred: You're mental, mate. I am not in a romance novel. Sorry to disappoint. Anyhow, if we are only fiction, by which of course I mean words on a page and characters in a book, how are we able to interact with Socrates, who comes from the real world? Wouldn't we be on a different—I dunno, plane of existence, or dimension, or something? Why does Socrates have to live in the real world anyway? Just because he wasn't created by an author of some sort…
Soc: The simple existence of the fourth wall is what bypasses those planes, dimensions, and universes and allows us to interact, however temporarily. I believe I do in fact live in what we are referring to as 'the real world', however, the world is more real than any of yours because it happens to be the one your creators all live in. This brings to mind the question that it is actually controlled by an anonymous creator, just like all of yours.
Percy: Ours aren't anonymous.
Soc: I meant in general. They are ordinary people who are unaware that the world they are creating is actually being created on an actual level of existence.
Dr.: Are they aware, I wonder?
Percy: Dear gods, I hope not.
Fred: That 'anonymous creator' you have there sounds like another god.
Soc: And therein lies the question. Are we nothing but a pile of universes stacked within piles of universes, each created by the imagination of a person in one of those other universes, all of which are created by another person from yet another universe?
Percy: I feel so small when you talk like that.
Fred: But there'd have to be an end somewhere. I can't imagine they'd just go on forever. Someone would have to have made the first one to start the chain. There's obviously other factors too, like the fourth wall. Who or what made that?
Percy: It sounds like we're starting to talk about a God now—that's with a capital G.
Dr.: The question of the fourth wall was puzzled over by Time Lords for generations. It seems to be one of those things that simply exists and yet doesn't, like the void.
Fred: There's that too. Are all the parallel universes in your world actually part of the same universe because they're a part of your story line, or are they parallel worlds like where we come from? Is the void also part of your world?
Soc: This is beginning to sound like science far out of my grasp.
Dr.: In terms of fiction worlds, all the parallel universes that pop up in Doctor Who are actually a part of my universe. If we are talking about science, then they don't. The same goes for the void.
Percy: I have no idea what we're talking about anymore.
Fred: So…is Socrates real compared to us? Are we all real? We have to be on some level of existence, at least.
Soc: I am most definitely real—
Percy: We can't believe you.
Soc: Why ever not?
Fred: You're biased.
Soc: I am not! As I was saying, I am most definitely real—
Soc: Because my universe was created first, and therefore I must be real!
Fred: How do you know yours was created first?
Soc: [Takes a deep breath] All of your creators live in my world. Therefore, my world was created first, because your worlds could not have existed before your creators.
Dr.: He has a point there. It would cause a paradox.
Fred: But why is your world realer than ours?
Soc: The fourth wall.
Percy: [Groans loudly] Not that again.
Fred: And now we're going in circles. Percy, hand me a pastry before you eat them all? Doctor, you yourself said that time is just a big ball of wibbly wobbly stuff, so why can't it just go in circles and have something be created before its creator?
Dr.: Wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff. Time can't do that because it would upset the timey wimey stuff.
Percy: That makes no sense.
Dr.: Of course it does! Now, I bid you all farewell—
Dr.: But we really must be off now, or people will start wondering where Socrates is.
Percy: You have a time machine. You could wait for three years, and no one would know.
Dr.: That wouldn't be right.
Fred: See you in five minutes, then.
Soc: That's not funny.