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?
“Did you see that?” cried Portage, turning from the portal’s glow.
“I don’t believe it,” said Snap. She grabbed one of her thin ponytails and chewed the ends frantically. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
“It was Mrs. Bumblefrost!” cried Portage.
“Are you out of your mind?” said Snap, fumbling with the ends of her now moist ponytail. “We just saw a frikkin’ mummy come to life, and you’re still focusing on your cat!”
“Kitten,” said Portage. “She’s just a baby.” He returned Snap’s accusing glare. “It’s another universe, governed by other physical laws-”
“But you said the GM was only programmed for Earth-like and human habitable planets!”
“That doesn’t mean they follow exactly the same physical laws, there may be… variations,” said the scientist. “But there are other implications here.”
“Like the undead rising from the grave?”
“We don’t know it was a grave. If it parallels Earth then it might be-”
“Do you realize what this means? What if all those ‘supernatural’ stories stem from alternate universes? Could creatures be bleeding through?”
“Well, I was about to-” began Portage.
“What if the answer is no? This can’t be coincidence!” Snap’s mind raced. “We could… our world – this world – could be teeming with ghosts, mummies, whatever that- no, but then why wouldn’t they have already taken over our world? And if we could explore, capture a creature and study it-” The possibilities for discovery were staggering. Aliens, genetically modified versions of lifeforms from earth, and ordinary humans she had been prepared for; the supposedly ‘supernatural’ she had not.
“My kitten!” said Portage, dancing back and forth. “We need to focus on the rescue. She could be anywhere-”
“Mrs. Bumblefrost just vanished,” said Snap, “like she turned and walked through a door, but…” Snap paused, considering. “-but one we couldn’t see.”
“It must be because…” Portage hesitated, then said, “She didn’t seem in any distress; did she?” Concern showed plainly in the deep brown eyes he now turned on his assistant.
“No, no, she was playing!” said Snap. Stupid cat’s having the time of her life, she thought. “But that’s… why would she disappear?” Usually, she wore her professionalism with easy grace, but sometimes you had to address an evil genius by his personal name. She needed him to think straight. “Portage,” she said, putting an unsteady hand on his shoulder, “I’m sure she’s fine.”
Damn cat! she thought, not for the first – or last – time that day.
“It must have something to do with her molecular signature,” said Portage. His errant brown hair simultaneously covered his scalp and seemed to flee from it; he ran his hands through the tangled mess. “She may be slightly out of phase with the other universe, so her molecular signature resonates at a different frequency than…” He turned to gaze at Snap, and she froze. “She’s going to keep passing through them.”
“What! What them?” she asked.
“Other worlds.” Portage leaned heavily against the work table.
“Are you saying… she can travel without the Gateway Manipulator?”
“I was afraid of this.” Portage grabbed one of the now cold cookies from the tray on the table’s edge.
Snap’s expression spoke volumes.
“That’s why we observe first! That’s why we have testing stages! Robots always go before organic creatures!”
Snap crossed her arms and glared again.
“I didn’t tell you, because I didn’t want you to-” Portage caught himself. Future Rulers of the Multi-verse didn’t concern themselves with whether their minions worried about them. “I didn’t want to explain all the technical details.”
“I’m your assistant-”
“-minion,” corrected Portage.
“And I have several degrees in physics.”
Portage paused. “Yes, but it’s more that the… Look, this is exactly the discussion I didn’t want to have.” He sighed. “Mrs. Bumblefrost is out there, alone in the multi-verse, without even her fluffy bird toy.” He sniffed, then straightened. “If I’m right, and I’m never wrong, and that’s what’s happening, then anyone from this universe should be able to pass through the thinner dimensional walls of non-home adjacent universes. Luckily, the GM was tuned to Earth-like environments, so she shouldn’t wander into a black hole or anything…”
“So did she get pulled into another universe, or did she find a thin spot and wander through?”
“I’m not sure,” answered Portage. “We’ll just have to keep looking.”
Snap clenched her fists and breathed deeply. He could have told her all this crap ahead of time. She foraged ahead anyway. “So,” she said, “once we leave our universe-”
“Yes, our home universe-”
“Sure, okay, whatever. Once we are in another universe, meaning not this one, we could potentially fall through into others.”
“We could pass through the thinner dimensional walls of-”
“Could? or WILL?… whether we want to or not?” She watched Portage’s face carefully.
The scientist grabbed one of the cooled cookies from the cookie sheet and examined it before answering. “There’s no way to know for certain without further testing,” he said.
“No way to know, Mr. I’m-never-wrong?” She sighed, forcing herself to remain calm. Ambivalence tugged at her soul. She wanted to hug him and hit him at the same time, because she knew – she KNEW with absolute certainty – what would happen. Despite all his protestations, no matter what she said, he wouldn’t be able to resist going through. Finally, she asked, “And if you decide to go after her?”
“Hopefully I can catch her quickly enough.”
-without falling through the universe yourself, thought Snap, or running into any monsters. She chewed her ponytail and brooded over their next move, while Portage chewed on his stale chocolate chip cookie.
**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.