The brilliant scientist, Portage McPeeve, does not want to take over the world.
He’s discovered a way to travel the stars, using them as gateways into other realities. With his Gateway Manipulator, he hopes to rule all the worlds of the multi-verse with an iron fist. However, when his beloved kitten becomes lost through the machine, he does not hesitate to cast plans for multi-world domination aside; instead, he follows her through the cosmos – encountering zombies, higher education for Supers, Greek gods, and killer ninjas along the way.
Will Portage find Mrs. Bumblefrost before it’s too late?
Everything was back to normal.
That is to say, the ‘Sewing for Supers’ class had ceased to simultaneously exist as an alley occupied by bloodthirsty ninjas and the bodies of their victims. However the class had suffered its own casualties, though the injuries were minor. The unconscious bodies of the vanquished ninjas vanished when the shifting stopped; presumably they had returned with the stabilization of their own universe. The supers, both heroes and villains, stood bedraggled and torn in the once-more stationary classroom.
Alice, cowering inside a dumpster in the shifted world, now huddled in the corner of the classroom. She had escaped physical injury, though her mental state was another matter. She stared at the corpse of Doctor Portage McPeeve.
Metallic Fury, now fully charged, automatically turned herself back on and unplugged herself from the wall. She viewed the ruined classroom. The blackboard hung askew, machines and tables lay scattered, and unidentifiable pieces of metal lay strewn across the floor. Her internal sensors began analyzing air samples, tachyon emissions, and other minutia. “What happened? Status report.”
“We kicked butt,” said the Red Queen, adjusting her tiara and patting down some hair that had escaped its clutches. “Though it beats me where those guys came from.” Her appearance was less pristine than she liked; her beloved red taffeta had torn when she used it to asphyxiate one of her opponents. Still, she puffed with pride, remembering the fight and ignoring her ruined dress. Her grin widened as she flourished her blood-stained pink flamingo.
Idly, she wondered if her minion, Hedgehog, had survived the fight. She had lost track of him in the ensuing chaos, but then he wasn’t the best of employees anyway. She mostly kept him around for laughs.
“I called for an ambulance,” said Feminist, entering the classroom. “They should…be…” She trailed off, taking in the devastation.
“Were you injured in the fight?” asked Metallic Fury, noting Feminist’s disheveled hair. The woman adjusted the shoulder pads in her power suit and swiped at her smudged lipstick with the back of her hand.
“What fight?” asked Hedgehog, peeking into the classroom. His face bore red marks, and several of his quills had broken off. The Feminist reddened under the other supers’ gazes, turned, and used her sleeve to wipe lipstick from Hedgehog’s face.
Metallic Fury turned to the woman, Alice. “Were you injured?”
“More importantly,” said Vegan, “what the hell just happened? It was like the whole world just… moved!”
Supers prided themselves on their ability to adapt to the weird and the wonderful, but having the world shift under their feet tested even their capacity to adjust to unusual circumstances. Throughout the classroom, speculations were uttered as they examined injuries and took stock of casualties. The twins, Raw Power and Armed Justice, swept debris from their spandex. Vegan brushed herself off and collected her scattered pamphlets from the classroom’s littered floor.
Knitizen Kane stared at Feminist and Hedgehog in shock. “What do you mean, ‘What fight?’” he asked Hedgehog. “Where the heck have you been?” His eyes bore holes into the disheveled duo.
Feminist straightened, pulling down her rumpled power suit. “I went to call the damn ambulance,” she said. “I would have been back sooner, but I got… distracted.” She glanced at Hedgehog, and the little man reddened like an overripe tomato.
“Distracted? DISTRACTED,” Knitizen fumed. “A man was dying, and you-”
“Called the ambulance right away,” said Feminist.
“Hurrying back would not have helped matters,” added Hedgehog. “Neither of us has medical expertise. We don’t take the first aid course until NEXT semester.”
“We? Next sem- what the hell?… oh, damn-DARNIT! What’s going on here!” said Knitizen, too shocked to censor his speech properly, even with ladies present.
“These events support my hypothesis,” said Metallic Fury. “The tearing around these two individuals has formed localized pockets where particles…” Remembering her audience, she said, “pockets of space-time have thinned around these two individuals. My analysis of the air samples, combined with my other observations, support the idea of another reality bleeding into our own.”
The distraught supers registered shock on their awestruck faces. A few punched walls or tables in their frustration. They would financially reimburse the school later for the damages.
“But what about those two?” Knitizen motioned to Hedgehog and Feminist. Hedgehog was trying to hold her hand, but she kept pulling it away.
“They were not in the immediate vicinity of the tear, near Alice and her attacker, so they did not experience the altered reality.”
“But look at them!” insisted Knitizen.
Feminist tried to retain her dignity despite her haggard appearance, while Hedgehog scanned the room – beaming with love and pride.
All the supers turned to look at them, then at Knitizen. Metallic Fury said nothing.
The expression on Knitizen’s face went through several changes at once: shock, anger, denial, acceptance, sadness, then shock once more. He didn’t believe in the stages of grief, and he refused to give them credence, much less follow them in the order they were supposed to go. He absolutely refused to bargain, even with himself, as he felt it beneath a superhero’s persona.
Breaking the unnatural silence, Vegan asked, “So what should we do? Have you figured out a way to stop these, these whatever-they-are-”
“Reality shifts seems a suitable term,” said the android.
“Fine, whatever, but how do we FIX this?” She had finished retrieving her pamphlets and now fidgeted with one of the sewing machines. It wasn’t clear why.
“Maybe you’d better cover him up or something,” said Raw Power, gesturing to the rapidly cooling body in the freshly-knitted polyester, acrylic and cotton blend net.
Knitizen Kane looked unwilling to touch the man again, dead or alive. Once was quite enough. “I’m not really good with bodies,” he said, turning away in disgust.
Feminist stared at the body, horrified. “You mean he’s…?”
“He was already dead,” said Knitizen, in response to the unspoken question in her eyes. “Like you said, you couldn’t have done anything.”
The woman quickly regained her composure. She stated, “Maybe the android should figure something out before the ambulance gets here.” Looking at the body, she continued, “It’s not like I can call and cancel.” She mimicked an air phone with her fingers. “Oh, hi. It’s me. I know I called awhile ago about a sick guy, but nevermind. He’s dead, and his body will disappear on its own soon anyway.” She mimicked hanging up. “See? Doesn’t work.”
The supers stood in silent agreement, mulling over the complications and delays involved with informing the authorities before they fully understood the situation. Police and ambulance drivers were everyday heroes, but the supers had no time for delays of any sort. The situation was deteriorating rapidly. How many more times would reality shift before their world was destroyed?
Knitizen Kane began to speak, but Feminist beat him to the punch. “I get it, ok? The man died while I was on the phone. But an ambulance is on the way, so what should we do?”
“Is a more permanent quarantine possible?” Knitizen asked Metallic Fury. “I mean, we don’t want to overload your system-”
Vegan spoke up. “I think the bigger question here is whether or not a quarantine will do any good! Could this guy’s death be what caused the last shift?”
“An ambulance may transport the body to my homebase, where I can construct a stronger, more permanent stasus beam,” said the android, ignoring Vegan’s question. “We need to find a way to prevent the body from traveling from this world to another, possibly making matters worse.”
“Possibly?” asked Raw Power.
“Probably,” answered Metallic Fury.
“Construct? You don’t have a stronger machine already built at your lab?” asked Knitizen.
“There has never been a need,” stated the android.
“Shouldn’t we just move the body ourselves before the ambulance gets here?” asked Feminist. “We could use someone’s car-”
“I took the bus,” said Vegan, shrugging. “It’s greener to use mass transportation.”
Knitizen looked around the room. “Hey, Feminist’s got a point. Does anyone have a car?” Sheepish looks were his only reply.
“What about yours?” asked Feminist.
The balding super mumbled something incomprehensible.
“My mom dropped me off,” Knitizen said.
“I flew,” said Metallic Fury. No one cared to look at the rocket packs located in her posterior. “However, direct contact should be minimized.” The android addressed the balding super. “Knitizen, please adjust the body. Perhaps you could improvise your previous handiwork.”
Knitizen Kane looked unhappily at the battered, discolored features of the dead scientist. With obvious distaste, he went to adjust the material around the corpse’s head.
The scientist’s eyes opened wide. The dead man bit down hard on the super-skilled Knitizen Kane, taking a chunk from the tips of two fingers.
“Craptastic!” swore Knitizen. Jerking his hand away, he recoiled as the scientist, the brilliant Doctor Portage McPeeve, reanimated. Growling, what remained of Portage leaped at the super with surprising agility. Knitizen defended himself. He reflexively stabbed the undead scientist through both eyes with his silver plated, titanium knitting needles.
The brain of the brilliant scientist was extinguished for good. Doctor Portage McPeeve, potential ruler of the multi-verse, cat lover, and Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder sufferer, died.
This time, the Doctor was truly dead.
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**Look for the next exciting installment of Pinholes next Tuesday, same cat-time, same cat-channel… uh, blog. I mean, blog.