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?
Charon appeared before his employer with some trepidation.
Most employees of Hades held the god in awe, but when there was an infraction of the rules, they held him in complete and total dread. Still, there was no point in putting off the inevitable, and if he appeared sooner rather than later, he might be able to put a favorable spin on the situation.
“So… you stole a flask of Gorgon’s blood from Chiron,” said Hades, watching the ferryman with inscrutable eyes.
“Yes, sir,” said Charon.
“In order to cure this mortal here,” said Hades, nodding at the man in the lab coat that stood next to the ferryman.
“Yes, sir,” said Charon. He elbowed the scientist, the eminent and fearsome Doctor Portage McPeeve, who was examining the floor of the throne room with interest. It was steaming slightly.
Portage stood up straighter and adjusted his lab coat. He fastened a loose button and did his best to look deferential. He did not succeed.
“All right,” said Hades. “I get that. I mean, you didn’t steal the flask from me, so I’m willing to let that one slide. But what I don’t understand is why you saved him.”
“He would have spread the virus throughout each new universe he fell through,” said Charon. “If I had not cured him, he would have continued to infect and eventually all the living would be undead, and the undead obviously can not die and become your subjects.”
“No,” said Hades. “I get THAT. But the man wasn’t undead WHEN YOU SAVED HIM.” He held up his hand in a ‘stop’ motion at Charon’s open mouth. “No, he became undead, but then he had been genuinely killed, true death, when YOU chose to revive him. You could have just anointed the body so that the virus was destroyed, but left the knitting needles in. No need to bring him back from death.”
“Well… Thanatos hadn’t showed up yet,” said Charon, evasively, “and I thought it would be simpler to… uh, just bring him back?” He shuffled his feet on the steaming floor, trying not to notice the tapping of Hades’ fingers on the armrest of his throne.
“You thought… it’d just be simpler…,” repeated Hades, as though tasting a new dish, “to bring him back… from death.” The floor got a little hotter. “I see,” said the Lord of the Dead.
Portage tried to sneak a peek at the rest of the throne room. Guards in Roman garb holding various weapons, from spears to rifles with bayonets, stood at every exit. Even if he could get out somehow, where would he go? He had no technology. He’d lost everything in his travels, including Mrs. Bumblefrost. A tear slid out of his eye, and despite his best effort, Hades noticed.
“Not quite the hardened villain that daddy always wanted,” said Hades. “Are you?”
In the face of the god of the Dead, and all his other trials, all Portage could do was nod agreement.
“I know a thing or two about fathers,” said Hades, scowling. A wild thought crossed Portage’s mind that if the god had been a cartoon, the animator would have storm clouds hovering over his head, with lightning and thunder going off. Well, he was a god, after all. If it looks like a duck, and acts like a god… no, wait. His brain must have gotten more scrambled than he realized when he had died… twice. But no matter.
In the distance, there were screams of such torment, Portage thought his ears would start bleeding. He winced.
“Oh,” said Hades, noticing the mortal’s discomfort. “That’s just another Professor. Someone who got on my bad side, shall we say, by upsetting the natural balance of the Afterlife… or Afterlives? Anyway, Prisoner of War, he’s in my realm now, and I’ve consigned him to eternal punishment. I haven’t quite decided what yet.”
Portage wasn’t sure if he was meant to speak when the god paused, but Hades nodded, so he began. “Have I gotten on your bad side?” he asked.
“You?” Hades laughed, a thick, booming sound that reverberated throughout the throne room. “But you’re just a mortal!” He calmed himself, but a few snickers still trickled through the fingers covering his mouth. “My dear boy.” Portage visibly sagged, and Hades added, “you’ve caused enough trouble, but I think you may actually be able to fill in around here. ” He looked pointedly at Charon. “Apparently some of my employees could use some time off.”
Another scream reverberated throughout the room.
“And I wouldn’t worry too much about that other Professor,” said Hades. “After all, he was going to hurt your poor kitten.”
On cue, Charles Dodgson walked in carrying Mrs. Bumblefrost in his arms.
“Mrs. Bumblefrost!” cried Portage. He was delighted to finally find his kitten; pulling her from Charles’s delicate grasp,he hugged her close. Then he peered deep into her eyes, pulled back slightly, and asked, “What the hell did you do to me?”
The cat leaned back, affronted.
“So,” said Hades, watching the three of them. “My question to you is this. Do you want to return to your own place and continue your own plans to rule everyone with an iron fist?” Hades raised his eyebrow. “Oh yes, I know about that, but wouldn’t it be simpler just to work for me?”
Portage looked at Charles and Mrs. Bumblefrost, then back to Hades. Everyone succombed to Death in the end. He didn’t want to anger the god and risk his wrath, but Hades definitely had a point. It would be simpler. “What are the conditions?” he asked.
Hades chuckled. “Oh, dear. I wasn’t talking to you, mortal.” He nodded, then turned his attention back to the kitten. “I would welcome the services of such an intelligent creature.” He paused, listening to an unheard voice. “Of course it got away from you in the end, but the best laid plans of cats and men, right?” The god paused again, smiling as he observed Portage’s shock. “Of course, the human may work for me as well, if you wish. I have no objections.”
Portage wasn’t sure, but he could have sworn Mrs. Bumblefrost winked.
Charon shuffled uncomfortably next to the trio. “So, does that mean that I’m off the hook for saving him?”
“Let’s see if they take the job first,” said Hades. “Shall we?”
**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.