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 in the name of mighty Zeus was that?” cried Hephaestus.
“Obviously, Mrs. Bumblefrost disappeared again,” said Snap, pushing some buttons on the Gateway Manipulator. “I need to adjust these settings in order to trace her new location.”
“No, no, that’s not what I mean,” said Hephaestus. “I mean, what the hell- ah, heck was that?”
“It’s another universe,” said Snap, pushing her glasses up her nose, then leaning down to examine the mechanism. “We shouldn’t be surprised when we encounter differences… especially after all the previous differences we’ve discovered.” She stood up. “Ok, it might take a few minutes to trace her new location, but I’m documenting everything via remote cameras. We can review the other videos in the meantime if you like.”
“I mean, that old woman…,” began the super.
“You know what she made me think of?” said Snap.
“One of those granny dolls with the head made from a shrivelled apple?” said Hephaestus.
Snap waved the suggestion away. “No, not that,” she said. “But you have to wonder, was she suffering from a disease? Radiation exposure of some sort? She didn’t seem to be in any pain. If it was a natural phenomenon, what purpose would it serve? ” She brightened. “When everything is set up properly… later on, we should collect samples. I’ll make a note of the location.”
“Is that all you can think about?” said Hephaestus. “Taking notes?”
“What should I focus on, Frank?” said Snap. “The things I have no control over? The very real possibility that, that…” She couldn’t bring herself to put her worst fears into words. Instead, she sniffed and went back to fiddling with the machine. Violently.
Hephaestus was hurt. Her emphasis on his given name, not his superhero persona, cut him like a knife. It reminded him that she might not think he was as tough as he thought he was, especially since she had kicked his ass when they first met.
“Hey,” he said. He took the wrench from her before she broke something and began tightening the bolt she had been wrestling with. Then, because he didn’t know what else to do, he said it again. “Hey.”
“Sorry,” said Snap. “I’m just worried. And all this over that stupid cat. Why couldn’t Portage McPeeve be a dog person? Like me?”
“I’m a dog person,” said Hephaestus.
Snap considered this. “Hmmm,” she said, “you know who else is a dog person?”
The super leaned in closer. Snap smelled wonderful, like chocolate chip cookies mixed with the antiseptic scent of the laboratory. “Who?” he said.
“Hades.” Snap smiled, then snickered, a wicked sound that gave Hephaestus the shivers. “I mean, three-headed dog, right?”
“Welllllll…, just because he uses a guard dog, doesn’t mean he loves them… uh, it,” said Hephaestus. He adjusted his red cape and gave his tights a tug. They were beginning to ride up his crotch.
“Well, it’s worth a shot, right?” said Snap. “I mean, I’ve been collecting data, but I’m no closer to a solution than before. If Mrs. Bumblefrost comes back here, then I could bring Portage back too…” She paused to concentrate on her rapid train of thought. “But I don’t know how I should contain him while I develop a cure. However, if I bring a three-headed dog here? That should- no, that’s stupid. Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
“What?” asked the super, grabbing her by the shoulders and shaking her until her long blond ponytails bounced. “What’s so stupid?”
“Well, I was going to suggest the dog…” She paused again.
“Snap,” said the hero, “if it’s that stupid, you wouldn’t have thought of it.”
Snap looked at him. “Oh, please,” she said. “I know I’m not stupid. That particular idea though-”
“What made you think of it?” asked Hephaestus. “There must be a reason.”
“Of course there’s a reason,” cried Snap. Her eyes were puffy and red. “In many of the other universes, the supernatural elements seem to find cats – or at least Mrs. Bumblefrost – distasteful. Cats are often featured in mythologies about death, and since many dogs can follow a scent, perhaps Hades’s dog might be able to sniff out-”
“Hey, that might work!” said the hero.
“But it’s all supposition and guesswork!” she said. “There’s nothing concrete to go on, not enough time to gather solid data. We don’t know exactly how screwed up we’ve made things, so what if we make it worse?”
“Do you think Hades would exact some terrible price for asking to borrow the dog?” asked Hephaestus.
“How would I know?” Snap fumed. “Until recently I thought the Olympian gods were myths! I saw what looked like the Grim Reaper, but who knows? I haven’t seen any gods, or maybe I have and didn’t recognize them. Give me something concrete, not all this supernatural crap!”
“Ok, ok, but what if Hades is real and agrees to lend Cerberus-”
“Cerberus, the three-headed dog.”
“See? See what I mean?” Snap was almost hyperventilating with anxiety. “I don’t even know the dog’s name. How the hell am I supposed to fix things! I’m not used to being in the dark like this, but now, I feel like I’m floundering-”
“But if Cerberus came here-”
“Who knows what that creature would bring to our universe!” countered Snap, tears beginning to spill onto her reddened cheeks. “I mean, you’ve heard about outbreaks when people from another continent bring their disease to native peoples? Well, what if we’re looking at that sort of thing on a multi-verse scale? Who knows how many people Portage and his stupid cat may have infected. The common cold could wipe out entire planets!” Tears streamed from her eyes. She dipped her fingers beneath her thick black frames to wipe them. “It’s so screwed up! What do we do? I just don’t know.”
“Wait, wait,” said the super. He tilted her face up, removed her glasses, and wiped the wetness from her cheeks with his ungloved hand. “It’s going to be ok. Everything will be all right.”
“I don’t need platitudes right now,” she said fiercely. “The last thing I need is a bunch of cliche’d-”
He bent down and kissed her.
At first she pushed him away. She glared at him, tears still streaming; then she grabbed the back of his head and pulled his face to her own. She kissed him again, hard and long.
He thought she tasted like chocolate chip cookies.
Finally, they broke off. “Uhhhhh,” said Hephaestus. He had to adjust his tights again.
“Yeah,” said Snap, sniffing and wiping her eyes. “Uh huh.”
“We should maybe… uh,” said the super. He picked up his hard hat and held it below his waist.
“Yeah, yeah,” said Snap, not making eye contact. “Yeah, good idea.”
“It was?” asked Hephaestus, thoroughly confused.
“Yeah, of course,” said Snap, wiping some cookie crumbs from the counter and depositing them in a nearby trash bin. “I mean, we’re both dog people.”
“Uh,” said the super.
“So, um… Hades should understand, right?” said Snap.
“He can help us catch that damn cat, maybe loan us his hell-hound-”
“Three-headed dog,” corrected Hephaestus.
“Whatever,” said Snap. “Or at least point us in the right direction.” She sighed. “I’m almost at my wit’s end, frankly…uh, Frank.” She reddened, then added, “At this point, the only thing we do know is that we’re running out of time. I’m willing to try a little divine intervention.”
“How do we- what do we do?” asked the super.
Snap wasn’t sure if he was referring to their kiss or her plan. She choose to answer as if he meant the latter.
“Simple,” said Snap. “We send a message.”
**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.