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?
“What’s the protocol here, buddy?” asked the ferryman. He placed the yellowed parchment inside the folds of his red tunic, then scratched himself. His eyes followed the lone figure portrayed inside his friend’s crystal ball. “I mean, death is your department.”
Says the one who ferries the souls of the dead to their eternal resting place, observed Thanatos. He fingered the crystal ball he held in one bony hand before making it disappear again. But yes, it’s clear we must do something.
“Again, what?” asked Charon, his voice full of pity.
“Don’t ask me,” said Thanatos, deigning to resort to mere speech to accentuate his triumph. “You’re the one who just lost.” He gestured to the cards spread on the table.
Charon’s brow knit in confusion, then his eyes widened. “You don’t mean-” protested the ferryman.
“Nicholas should do nicely as your backup while you fill in collecting souls,” said Thanatos.
“I was talking about the dying dude! I mean, UN-dying dude…”
Terminology is irrelevant to the outcome of our wager, thought Thanatos. Don’t try to change the subject.
“Change the subject? This is a crisis, dude! I mean, it is… Right?”
“First things first,” said Thanatos. Speaking annoyed him, but it was useful when he needed to make a point. “When would you like to start filling in for me? There’s this cruise I want to take. The ship even has a swimming pool.”
“Why can’t Nicholas just fill in for you?” asked Charon.
You are more of a people person than he is, answered Death.
“Now, wait a minute,” began Charon. “When we started playing, there was no mention of UN-DEAD. I mean, even you don’t know what to do with that one; right?”
It’s not unprecedented, conceded the Reaper, but it is very, VERY rare from one universe to another. He paused, sighed (a remarkable feat considering he didn’t have lungs), then continued. But NEVER in Hades before. Dammit. You’re right; I can’t coach you through this. I’ll have to handle this myself. He turned his glowing eyes on the ferryman. Come with me.
“Why?” asked Charon. “Did you get a look at that guy?”
Says the man who deals with the dead and-
“Yeah, but again, not UN-dead. This is your department, buddy.”
“No,” said Death. “It’s ours.” The grin of the skull never changed, so it was impossible to tell if Thanatos enjoyed his friend’s discomfort. “You lost, and I’m calling in my winnings.”
“What about your vacation?” pointed out Charon. “If I do this, I’m not filling in for your later. This wasn’t part of the original bargain. What about your Caribbean Cruise?”
“We’ll see,” said Death. He whipped his long black cloak around them both, and soon they stood before the horrified Doctor.
“What the-?” cried Portage, from his prostrate position on the beach’s black sands. “Oh sweet mother! Thank you, Snap, for coming and uh…” He struggled to make sense of the dark hooded figure. “Snap… did… send…?” He stopped talking when Thanatos pulled back his cloak, revealing the relatively normal-looking ferryman as well as his own skeletal form.
Charon shot Thanatos a dirty look before turning his attention to the mortal. “If you don’t mind me saying, you look a little worse for wear.” He chuckled nervously, noting the man’s torn and bloody clothes. “Not that most people don’t when they arrive here, but you aren’t exactly typical; are you?”
Portage’s eyes flitted from one to the other. Both towered over him, though Charon’s humanoid figure clothed in a dark red tunic was easier on the scientist’s eyes than that of Thanatos. Death watched him with lit eyes set in his grinning skull. The crystal ball had reappeared again, and Thanatos casually tossed it from one bone-hand to the other.
Portage preferred to focus on Charon. “You’re criticizing my appearance?” he said, hysterical laughter erupting from his chest, vomiting panic and fear into the already pungent atmosphere.
Thanatos let his companion do the talking.
“Well, yeah,” said Charon, taking in the scientist’s haggard form. The mortal’s eyes started wildly, his skin had a pasty, translucent sheen, and his hair looked like it was trying to flee his scalp. Charitably, the ferryman restricted his comments to other matters. “I mean, you were attacked, right? You were bitten?”
Portage covered the already coagulating bloody bite with his hand. “It’s nothing. I was… in a fight.” He giggled again, peals of insane laughter bubbling to the surface. “Not that it matters for long.”
“Because you think you’re going to die?” Charon glanced at Thanatos, who remained silent. The ferryman sighed and continued, “I hate to tell you this… What’s your name?”
“Portage,” said the scientist, sobering. “Doctor Portage McPeeve.”
“I hate to tell you this, Doctor Portage McPeeve, but you’re not going to die.”
“I’m not?” Portage looked questioningly at the figure of Death. Though he had never bought into the opium of the masses, he was familiar with mythology. He looked once more at the dark sand and still waters. Thanatos made no moves toward him, but somehow that seemed more sinister. “I’m not.”
“No,” said Charon. “I’m sorry, but you won’t be that fortunate.”
“Not that it matters for long anyway,” cried Portage between fits of giggles.
“I just told you,” said Charon, putting a hand on the man’s shoulder. “You are not going to die.”
“But I won’t be here long,” said Portage, then disappeared-
taking the ferryman with him.
Dammit all to Hades, thought Death. I knew he’d find a way to welsh on our game.
**All episodes listed here.
**Look for the next exciting installment of Pinholes next Tuesday, same cat-time, same cat-channel… uh, blog. I mean, blog.