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?
“It’s not as dangerous as it sounds!” said Portage.
“Oh, really?” countered Snap. Her tone and expression made clear to Portage exactly what she thought of his plan.
Though he’d completed the Gateway, that in no way guaranteed its readiness for human testing. There was a proper order that needed to be followed: first, robots to gather data; then organic, non-living specimens; then living specimens; and then humans. Throwing the cookie into the portal had been a wildly impulsive gesture that not only skipped step one, but cost him his beloved companion.
“You know,” said Portage, “minions should NOT speak to their superiors this way, Ms. Decision.” Chastising his employee didn’t cheer him up at all. Without Mrs. Bumblefrost, his heart just wasn’t in it.
Sometimes he wondered if he was meant to be evil at all.
He had the pedigree; he came from a long line of villains known for both their horrendously inappropriate names and their proportionally evil shenanigans. Grandfather Pansy had invented the first pair of fluorescent bell-bottoms, and Portage’s own father, Mary McPeeve, had popularized the hit tune, ‘I don’ wanna wash my hands before dinner,’ – single-handedly increasing the cases of food-born illnesses more than any other villain in history. Yet, though these grand accomplishments weakened the general populace both physically and psychologically – making them easier to manipulate, they did not come close to Portage’s own recent accomplishment.
Portage had come closer to true power than any of his predecessors.
With the Gateway Manipulator, he could observe the way life evolved in different universes, the way the deck was stacked throughout creation. He could retrieve other technologies to use in his domination of the Earth, and later, all other worlds throughout the multi-verse. The possibilities were endless. With his Gateway Manipulator, he had come farther and closer than any of his predecessors to achieving the dream of every villain – dominating the cosmos.
But what good was the domination of worlds without someone to share it with? Snap had been his friend when he was younger, but she was now his minion – a mere employee. No, their relationship could never be anything but professional.
However, he could lavish all his affection upon Mrs. Bumblefrost and be rewarded with the low, warm hum of her purr. If someone called him on the kindness he showed his furry friend, he always cited studies on animal training. There were no complications. The kitten expected nothing more from him than food, shelter, and the occasional ball of yarn. She even suffered him to put a pink bow on her, something he knew for a fact that Snap – even as a minion – would never let him do.
“Look, I’m only viewing worlds she might have wandered into, not jumping into them myself.”
“That’s what you say now,” countered Snap, “but I know how you think. When you find her, you’ll just take off.” She glared. “Don’t bother denying it.”
Portage merely looked at the steaming cookie sheet. What had he done?
Snap chewed one of her ponytails, lost in her own thoughts. “How do you know-” Seeing the expression on Portage’s face broke her heart, but she continued, “How do you know she’s still alive? I mean, she could have jumped into the vacuum of space or landed on an ice planet or-”
“The sphere was fluctuating, it’s true, but within the parameters I’d already set: namely, alternate Earth’s or human-habitable planets… and I should be able to trace her molecular signature. I have plenty of cat hair here. I can feed the data into the machine.”
“But what if you find her? How are you going to get her without going through yourself?” She shot him a knowing look. “I know how you think, Portage.”
He gave her a warning look, but she ignored it.
“My calling you ‘Doctor’ is the least of our concerns right now, so listen.”
Portage sighed but said nothing. He didn’t have enough heart left to reprimand her for not knowing her place.
“Portage, even if we find her,” said his minion, “do you think you can lure her here without crossing through the portal yourself?”
The scientist looked at the cookie sheet again. “Well, she jumped through chasing a cookie. We could use some to lure her back, warm them up when we find the right universe so we can use the scent as bait.”
“I could use a robot, send it through with a cookie, then have her chase it through the Gateway.”
“I don’t know… Couldn’t you just have the robot catch her? Or send a trap, then bring the trap back?”
The thought of his poor little kitten trapped in some cold metal automaton gave Portage shivers. Besides, she was too intelligent to fall for something so obvious. But cookies were her weakness…
“I have to try,” he said.
“I know.” Snap knew she had no say in the matter; he was as stubborn now as when they were in high school. “What do you want me to do?”
Portage’s smile was melancholy, the type of smile that doesn’t so much warm the heart as keep it from freezing over.
“When I do go through the Gateway, I need you to operate the machine-”
“I can go with you.” The words were out before she could stop them.
“No, I can set the machine to operate while I’m away, but it’s still a prototype. If there’s a glitch and no one here to catch it…” He let the implications sink in.
She chewed on one of her blond ponytails and watched him.
He sighed. “Do this for me, please?”
“OK.” He smiled again. “Let’s go find my cat.”
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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.