The space inside the Air Door was bizarre. It looked like the Enies Lobby that they knew...but everything was green-tinted, and the space was, for lack of a better word, wavy. It looked almost as though they were looking at it through the surface of a pool of water, except that the ripples that passed through physical objects were real, not optical illusions. The seven members of the Ninth Cipher Pol were the only exceptions, bastions of normality seated in a circle, with Lucci lying, unconcious, at the center.

"This place gives me the goddamn creeps," Jyabura said.

There was a general noise of assent from the other conscious members of the team, except for Blueno, who simply shrugged. He didn't find the Doorspace particularly unsettling, but he could understand how others probably would.

"I mean seriously," Jyabura continued, pointing off into the distance, "look at that! What the hell is that supposed to be?"

The others turned to look where he was pointing. They had to squint to make it out; it wasn't all that far from them, but the eye seemed to refuse to focus on it. It was floating about three feet off of the ground, and they were all quite certain that whatever it was, it didn't have an equivalent back in the real world. They could see an eye, a fin, a few tentacles...

"Looks like some sort of octopus, almost," Kaku commented.

"Yoi yoi! Cleeeeeeary it is sooooooooooome form of creeeeeeeature native to this plaaaaaaaaaaaace," Kumadori said.

Kalifa adjusted her glasses, and then wondered aloud if perhaps they should capture it and bring it back to the world government for study.

"I would appreciate it if you would refrain from looking around," Blueno said, his deep baritone voice rumbling out of his chest. The others immediately looked away from the bizarre creature and focused their gaze on him instead.

"Why?" Kaku asked. "It's not like there's anything better for us to do until the bombardment stops."

If one had been paying very close attention, one could have caught Blueno sighing quietly. He had not wanted to explain this; He knew it would not end well.

"We need to continue looking at each other, or we could vanish completely with no warning," he said. "Doorspace does not possess ontological inertia like normal space does."

The others looked at him blankly. They had understood the first part, but 'ontological inertia' had flown directly over their heads. Blueno counted backwards from five in his head, and then elaborated.

"You are all familiar with the concept of inertia, I assume?"

"Of course, chapapa," Fukurou chimed in.

"That's just basic physics," Kaku said.


The others all turned to look at the one who spoke: Jyabura glared back at them, as if daring them to make something of it.

"Typical," Kalifa said, her voice dripping with disgust. "Well, for the benefit of the imbeciles among us, the law of inertia states that any object that is set in motion will remain in motion, unless a force is applied against it."

Jyabura considered that for a few moments, his face stretched into a frown as his brain turned that over. Then he opened his mouth and, as usual, something incredibly stupid fell out.

"That's bullshit," he said.

There was a short pause before Blueno responded: "Oh?"

"Yeah," Jyabura said. "I mean, I throw someone through a wall, they stop on their own. Fuck inertia."

He looked so smug about it that the others had no choice but to conclude that he was, in fact, being completely serious. Kaku groaned and covered his eyes with his hands, and Kalifa's expression was so twisted with annoyance that she was hardly recognizable. Even Kumadori rolled his eyes.

"Jyabura, stop talking," Kalifa said. "Blueno, please, continue."

Blueno did. "Well, the law of ontological inertia is similar. It states that any object that exists, will continue to exist unless something happens to cause it to cease existing. We take this for granted: If you set a pencil down in a room, leave, and when you return it is missing, you assume that somebody took it, not that it simply stopped existing. But Doorspace has no such law. At any given time, any object in Doorspace can simply stop existing, including us."

Jyabura might not understand the concept of inertia, but he understood that last part. His jaw dropped, and he made a kind of wheezing noise of terror. Even the more rational of them were somewhat unsettled by Blueno's statement.

"What the hell, man?" Jyabura finally said. "Open that fucking door right now, I'll take my chances with the battleships!"

"Is it safe here?" Kaku asked, looking around nervously, as if counting to make sure nobody had gone missing.

"Mooooooooother!" Kumadori pleaded to the heavens, "Prooooootect meeeeeee!"

Blueno held up a hand to appeal for calm. "Don't worry, we're perfectly safe as long as we continue looking at each other. It relates to Doctor Vegapunk's famous Cat thought experiment--"

"Oh, I know that one," Jyabura interrupted, now significantly calmer.

The others turned to look at him again. "You know of the Vegapunk's Cat thought experiment," Kalifa said disbelievingly.

"Of course I do," Jyabura said. "That's the one where they stick a cat in a box, and then gas it, right? Now that's what I call science!"

"That's close enough," Blueno said while the others rolled their eyes. "In any event, the conclusion of the thought experiment was that until the lid of the box was opened, the cat was dead and alive at the same time, and it was the act of observing the cat collapsed one of the possibilities and made it one or the other. A similar principle applies here: as long as you are being observed, the observer is confirming your existence, and you are in no danger of vanishing. It is only objects and creatures that are unobserved that are at risk."

"I see," Kalifa said. "So we should just sit in this circle, and continue looking at each other until it's safe to leave, there should be no problem."


"Well, that's not so hard," Kaku said.

They sat in silence for perhaps twenty seconds, and then Kalifa got up from where she was seated, and began kicking Jyabura in the face.

"Ow, ow, fuck! Get off me, you crazy broad! What the hell did I do?"

"Sexual harassment," she said simply.

"What," he asked as he tried to fend her off, "do you want them to vanish? Ow, ow, fuck, stop it!"