"So, wait, what you're telling me is that for every decision we've ever made, like whether or not to take a client, there's another universe where we made the opposite decision?" Maya asked, head tilted curiously.
"Well, yeah. That's what I think, at least," Phoenix said, rubbing the back of his neck. "I was reading a Scientific Japanafornian about it once, they call it the multiverse theory. Something to do with quantum mechanics, I didn't really understand the details. Just that every choice, or every random event... happens somewhere, in another universe. They said if you flip a coin and it lands heads here, then in another universe it landed down."
"Huh." Maya nibbled the ends of her hair thoughtfully. "How big does the decision have to be? Like, does it have to be something as major as defending a client, or could it be something smaller... like whether to get burgers or ramen?"
"Well, I'd think it probably applies to any decision," Phoenix drummed his fingers thoughtfully. "Little decisions can have big consequences you don't expect, in a sort of chain reaction. Like, say you eat a burger that's undercooked, and get food poisoning... so that opens up a new decision, like whether you get something from the drugstore or just hope you get better on your own."
Maya nodded. "And there's a universe where we had ramen instead, but forgot the chopsticks, so we had to decide whether to go back, or use our own spoons."
"Pretty much. And a universe where we had the ramen, but then we tripped on the way home."
"Or... like, we tripped, but the ramen did spill, or didn't spill, or only mine did, or..." Maya cast about. "Or maybe we made different decisions when we were kids, and now you're a famous actor, or where they didn't cancel Space Samurai, or where the new War of the Stars movies don't suck..."
"No, I'm pretty sure those are terrible in every universe," Phoenix said firmly. "And I'm pretty sure Larry's incapable of keeping a girlfriend for more than a month in any universe."
Maya chuckled. "Like, a law of nature or something? Although... hmm. I bet there's a universe where you asked Franziska out on a date somehow and she decided not to kill you, or Gumshoe is dating Edgeworth, or I'm dating Franziska, or..." Maya cast about. "Or you're Batman! Oh, no wait, Edgeworth is probably Batman. You'd be Robin."
"How come I have to be a sidekick?" Phoenix grumbled.
Maya rolled her eyes. "Duh, Nick, didn't you ever read Batman? Mia was a huge fan, you know.... okay, how about this? In some universe you did porn in college, and became really famous!"
"Maya!" Phoenix wasn't sure if he should be flattered or offended.
"...and there really is a monster in Gourd Lake, and Gant was secretly banging von Karma..." Maya fidgeted with the ends of her sleeves. "Or you and Edgeworth go to cabins some weekends for BDSM sessions...heh, I bet he tops, but, like, you're totally topping from the bottom. And I bet there's a universe where he gains a lot of weight and gets super pudgy..."
"Um... technically, yes, I suppose there are universes where all of those things are happening," Phoenix said, bewildered and more than a touch embarrassed. BDSM cabins? Where did Maya get these ideas? "I mean, if you're going to look at it like that, then there's probably a universe where everyone is, um, with anyone else."
"Like Luke Atmy dating Ron Delite?" Maya made a face. "Or I dated a rock star! Or you had another assistant who dated a rock star. Or Godot falls in love with a professional pianist in jail. Or maybe there's a world where you're a girl instead of a guy?"
"Probably? Genes are just like fipping a coin, after all. And it's genes that make you a boy or girl. Probably also one where instead of Pearl being born, Morgan had a son..." Phoenix rubbed a hand through his hair. "Probably one where I was just enough of an idiot in college that Dahlia poisoned me, too," he added glumly. "Although I'd like to think there's one where I didn't date her at all."
Maya put a thoughtful finger to her cheek. "So there might be one where Jack Hammer never got murdered, either, or because he was dating Will Powers somehow he was poisoned instead of stabbed. Or, um..." she cast about wildly. "Where you had hot courthouse broom-closet sex with Edgeworth and got pregnant as a result! As a guy."
Phoenix reddened. "I'm pretty sure that's not possible."
"Oh, no, it has to have happened somewhere, right?" Maya replied cheerfully. "I bet there's a universe where Mr. Armando pissed off my ancestors spirits while visiting Kurain with Mia and got pregnant, too. Or one where he never drank the poisoned coffee, and so we never met him as Godot." She tapped her cheek. "Do you think there's one where von Karma didn't tase us?"
"Given that happened because we showed him the evidence... yeah, definitely." Phoenix rubbed his arm, the memory of the pain ghosting across his skin. "Or he tripped, or the taser misfired."
"And..." Maya hesitated. "There's a universe where Redd White tripped when he was attacking Mia, or he missed, or didn't hit her quite so hard... and she's still alive."
Phoenix was silent for a moment. "Yeah. I hope so," he said, finally, around a sudden lump in his throat.
"And where Pearly's dad didn't leave, and.. and.. where Edgeworth and his dad took the stairs instead, and DL-6 never happened. So the police never needed a spirit medium, and my mom didn't leave us." She rubbed her eyes with the edge of her robes. "And Edgeworth got to grow up happy with his dad, and became a defense attorney."
"A world where everyone lives happily ever after?" Phoenix asked softly. "Yeah. I like to think that happens, somewhere. Maybe not all in the same world, you know-"
Maya nodded. "Yeah, if DL-6 hadn't happened, Franziska would have grown up alone, you know?"
"Yeah," Phoenix sighed. "So maybe not everything is happy everywhere. But somewhere, everyone gets to be happy."