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?
Once he returned to his surveillance spot on the laboratory’s roof, Hephaestus adjusted his cape over his overalls and settled into his newly assembled camping chair. Experience is the best teacher, he thought. With his workspace properly organized, he lay back with the chair’s canopy shading his eyes and peered at the two scientists through the building’s upper window. Whatever dastardly deeds they were planning needed to be foiled.
They were arguing again. During his drive back, the hero had tried to follow their conversation via audio equipment, but traffic distracted him. Apparently Mrs. Bumblefrost was – of all things! – a cat, and she had been spotted again. All this commotion over a cat? He shook his head and continued to monitor the situation below.
“I should have gone after her,” said Doctor Portage McPeeve.
Hephaestus mused on the villain’s unimpressive name. Why couldn’t his nemesis have a more imposing moniker? Doctor… He thought Well, Doctor Something-Pretty-Darned-Impressive-that’s-for-sure. Hephaestus had chosen to name himself after an Olympian god, the mighty craftsman who forged bolts of fearsome lightning, a name calculated to strike fear and terror into the hearts of evil doers everywhere. He sighed at the villain’s lack of reciprocity. Was it too much to ask that his nemesis have an equally imposing title? Whatever happened to professional courtesy?
Well, Hephaestus mused, I suppose that’s villainy, for you. Lack of manners. After all, bullies never say please when they shove you in the water fountain.
The hero’s features darkened at the memory. No, they certainly did not. Grade school had been a torment to him, first as a gawky lad in elementary school and later – as hormones cruelly set in – as a pimpled, gangly teen who couldn’t get a date to save his life. In college, he had taken refuge in his studies, though he hadn’t progressed as far in advanced physics as the notorious Portage McPeeve or his attractive friend, Snap Decision. Instead, the would-be hero had struggled with theoretical concepts but did very well in other physics and engineering classes. What fascinated him most was the practical application of scientific principles – not only in advanced machinery but in simple tools like levers. In fact, he preferred the simple elegance of tools uncluttered by electronics. He enjoyed using his muscles, and he was a wizard with a wrench.
“Are you crazy?” cried Snap, snatching the chocolate chip cookie from Portage’s shaking fingers. “Gone after her?” She shot a crazed look at the glowing sphere that had revealed Mrs. Bumblefrost’s latest location in the multi-verse. “You saw that thing; right?”
“Of course, I did!” said Portage, grabbing another cookie from the steaming cookie sheet. Snap always baked when she was nervous, and he was going to take full advantage. Besides, they calmed his nerves. He brought shaking fingers to his lips and took an enormous bite of the chunky confection. “That’s why I should have gone! What if that, that, that-”
“Vampire?” answered Snap.
Portage stopped masticating. Little crumbs fell from his mouth as he answered. “NOT a vampire. Don’t be ridiculous.”
“What then?” continued his assistant, refusing to let him avoid confronting reality. “The guy had fangs, bit the woman, killed her, then left.”
“Psychopath,” said Doctor Portage McPeeve. “There’s no need for a supernatural element. It’s just as likely that he’s familiar with vampire lore – as is evidenced by the rest of what we’ve seen of that world, it’s fairly common. Even if it isn’t, he could be acting out some weird fantasy. People in this world do it; doesn’t mean there are such things as supernatural creatures sucking blood to prolong their lives. In fact, the term ‘supernatural’ makes no sense. There is nothing outside the natural, physical laws of the universe!” The floor around him was littered with crumbs.
“Yes, but this is a different universe; isn’t it?” countered the woman.
The scientist, Portage McPeeve, said nothing. They were all different universes. He was remembering the previous encounter that they’d witnessed, a set of ghostly limbs that had possessed their former owner. That, too, had been another alternate universe. And before that there had been the mummy, which he had chalked up to special effects, but Mrs. Bumblefrost had fallen through to that scene as well.
Could the kitten have a sixth sense for allegedly ‘supernatural’ phenomena? What was the common element? Could she be attracted to ectoplasm, the substance hypothesized to be created by spirits to effect the world of the living?
For all Portage knew, she could simply be attracted to the bandages. The mummy had been wrapped and then unwrapped. The amputee was recovering and had bandaged stumps. Was it the cloth, some chemical element common to the supposedly ‘supernatural’ beings they’d observed, or something else entirely?
**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.