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Studio 60 - Jordan

The Principalities - Episode 2.3 - LF:HPLTSWACATIT

Posted on 2008.06.18 at 22:26
Current Music:: Coldplay - Amsterdam
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Episode 2.3 – Liquid Fox or: How Powergrando Learned To Stop Worrying About Causality and Travel In Time
(see the preface for information)

Previously: Powergrando discovered he had the ability to travel to different dimensions via focusing on a RIAO (Random Interchangeable Arbitrary Object) and simply willing himself into an alternate dimension. He was shanghaied onto a boat where he met an old man called Siegfried. They made their way via an alternate dimension to an island just off the coast of the Principality of Fenrir. As he swapped back to his original dimension he passed out and had a vision of a beautiful woman made of golden energy who asked for help, telling him she’d been trapped forever.

Powergrando awoke lying in on a thin mattress in a small metal room. Siegfried was sat up against the wall opposite him. The room was only just long enough to contain the bed and a little walking space to the side. There was a heavy metal door shut at the end of the room.
“What’s going on?” asked Powergrando. Siegfried looked up at him.
“Good morning.” said Siegfried. “Did you sleep alright?”
“Could you for once in your life answer a question?” asked Powergrando.
“Fine.” said Siegfried grumpily. “You passed out when you were shifting us back from the other dimension. Are you all right by the way? I would have said that it looked like you were absorbing some kind of temporal energy, which was responsible for you passing out. That’s just my opinion though. You can take it or leave it.” Siegfried paused.
“Yes.” said Powergrando. “I’m fine. What are we doing in this place?”
“You sure you don’t feel any older or anything?” asked Siegfried. “If you want I can throw you a birthday party. I still have my accordion and everything.” Powergrando sighed and stood up. He walked, slightly groggily to the door and attempted to haul it open only to find that it was locked. He turned to Siegfried.
“This door is locked.” he said. “We’re locked in here.”
“Yep.” said Siegfried. “That appears to be the case.” Powergrando turned his back on Siegfried and started pounding on the door. “Tell me Powergrando, have you ever considered time travel?”
“Excuse me?” asked Powergrando. Siegfried shrugged and turned away from Powergrando. The door opened and a man with longish blonde hair, the beginnings of a beard and clothes so worn they looked like rags stood there. He was pointing a gun at Powergrando.
“Well?” he said.
“I was wondering precisely what is going on.” said Powergrando tentatively.
“Why don’t you ask your compadre over there?” the man suggested, slamming the door on them.
“I’m not with him!” yelled Powergrando in vain. He turned back to Siegfried. “Let’s hear it then? What has happened?” He sat down on the edge of the bed and focused on the old man.
“Time travel is just a matter of manipulating temporal energies.” said Siegfried. “Typically everyone can do this to a greater or lesser extent. You know how some days seem to drag on while others tend to fly by. That’s your basic time travel skill in action.”
“I’m not talking to you till the world starts making sense again.” said Powergrando sulkily.
“It just takes a bit of practice. Most people however die of old age before they’re able to do any serious time travel.” said Siegfried.
“Right so you’re capable of time travel then are you?” asked Powergrando.
“No.” said Siegfried.
“But you just said you were.” insisted Powergrando.
“No I didn’t.” said Siegfried.
“You heavily implied it.” said Powergrando.
“I didn’t.” said Siegfried. “I’m just talking about the possibility of time travel. We can talk about something else if you like.”
“Okay.” said Powergrando. “How about what the hell is going on?”
“We were on the beach. As I’ve already mentioned you passed out, probably due to absorption of temporal energy.” said Siegfried. “I thought I’d come and ask these nice people the directions to the nearest post office and they locked us in this room down this hatch in the ground.”
“Directions to the nearest post office.” asked Powergrando. “You really are a piece of work.”
“Don’t ever let anyone tell you not to follow your dreams PG.” said Siegfried.
“I can just imagine it now.” said Powergrando. “You turning up in town talking your nonsense and before I can even wake up everyone is so sick of you that they’ve locked you to rot in a hole in the ground.”
“Firstly we’re still on that island so it wasn’t exactly like turning up in town.” said Siegfried. “It was more like turning up in a campsite and secondly they locked us down here because they thought we were something called Others.” Powergrando stood up and started banging on the door again. After a minute the door opened by the blonde haired man with the gun.
“This better be good. I’m about five pages from finding out who killed Mr. Ratchett.” the man said impatiently.
“Hello Mr…?” said Powergrando.
“Finn.” said the man. “Just Finn.”
“I’m Powergrando Expressicks Hofrodginson Uskavick the third.” said Powergrando. “I’m not with this man. I’m not an other, I don’t know about this guy though. He’s weird and starting to get on my nerves so he’s probably an other. But I’m not. You can please let me go?”
“Powergrando Expressicks Hofrodginson Uskavick the third?” asked Finn. “Pull the other one. It’s got bells on it.”
“I know it’s a stupid name, but that’s not my fault. It’s my parent’s fault, or possibly my grandparent’s fault. Either way, it’s my name and I’m not an other.” said Powergrando.
“Like I’m supposed to believe that you’re PG the third.” said Finn. “You’re aware he vanished without a trace fifteen years ago? You gonna tell me the old man’s Lord Lucan?”
“Of course not.” said Siegfried. “My name is Siegfried… Siegfried… erm… Smith.”
“Okay Powergrando the third and Siegfried Smith, if you don’t mind I’m just going to head back to where everyone isn’t insane.” said Finn. “Seeya.” He slammed the door. There was a massive pause.
“Did it sound to you like he’d heard of me?” asked Powergrando.
“Maybe.” said Siegfried dismissively.
“Vanished?” asked Powergrando. “Fifteen years ago?” Siegfried was silent. “What’s going on?” Powergrando demanded. “You were just talking about time travel. And you’ve been talking about temporal energy. That’s time energy. You even offered to throw me a birthday party.” Powergrando grabbed Siegfried by the lapels. “I think you’re having a joke at my expense. Tell me what’s happened?”
“Don’t worry.” said Siegfried. “You didn’t get fifteen years worth of temporal energy. You just got about a weeksworth, monthsworth tops. You shouldn’t notice too much of a difference so long as you aren’t exposed often.”
“Exposed to what?” asked Powergrando.
“Temporal energy of course.” said Siegfried. “You’re going to be famous, so long as you live through this little encounter, a genius hailed in your own time. Then you go missing in about 1989. You haven’t been missing for fifteen years. This island is outside of time. The people living on it were travelling on a plane in 2004 when they crashed. To them you’ve been gone fifteen years.”
“So how do we get out of this hole and off of this island?” asked Powergrando.
“That’s the easy part.” said Siegfried. “I told you I’m a sorcerer right?”
“I don’t recall you mentioning it.” said Powergrando.
“Well I am.” said Siegfried. “Also for future reference I’m also a rock hard punk and a genius inventor.” He made a ridiculously showy gesture with his arms, which appeared to be leaving purple trials in the air and suddenly they were stood out in a forest. As Powergrando looked around his vision began to blur at the edges and everything went almost completely black. A voice inside his head hissed “help me!” then the next thing he knew he was on his knees coughing.
“Are you okay?” asked Siegfried.
“Yeah.” said Powergrando. “Just stress probably.”
“Well I have heard that stress can age you.” said Siegfried. “I’d have it seen to if I were you.”
“Nevermind that.” said Powergrando, standing up. “If you could teleport us out of there all along then why didn’t you?” asked Powergrando. “We could’ve been off this island by now.”
“First I had to tell you about time travel.” said Siegfried. “Now all we need is a boat, which is easy. If we follow a compass bearing of 305 then we’ll be back in the Fenrir Docks before lunchtime. After that, well, if you don’t listen to what I’ve got to say then you’ll be dead of old age before the end of the day.”
“What?” asked Powergrando. “I’m listening.”
“I’ll tell you later.” said Siegfried. “Didn’t I say that getting a boat and getting off of this rock was first?” Siegfried turned in a seemingly random direction and started walking. Powergrando followed him.
“What was the deal with that whole thing about Others and everything?” asked Powergrando.
“I’m sure it’s nothing important.” said Siegfried.
“What about that place we were being held then?” asked Powergrando insistently. “Why is there a place like that on a desert island?”
“There was probably some kind of electromagnetic accident or something.” said Siegfried. “If I was a betting man I’d say they have to type a bunch of numbers into a computer every 108 minutes or all the electromagnetic energy will be released.”
“What would happen then.” said Powergrando.
“Nothing serious.” said Siegfried. “Probably some ants would try and stand on each others heads and attempt to walk around like humans but life would just carry on as normal for everyone else.”

As it turned out Powergrando and Siegfried were in Fenrir Docks by lunchtime. The boat had been easy with Siegfried’s powers of sorcery and the journey off the island had been largely uneventful. They were currently walking through the streets of the Principality of Fenrir looking for a restaurant to have lunch in. This was Siegfried’s idea. Powergrando was rather more concerned over Siegfried’s earlier warning.
“So.” said Powergrando. “Perhaps we could dispense with all the mystery.”
“I’d rather sit and have a meal while I tell you about it.” said Siegfried. “Magic in the morning gives me such an appetite it’s not even funny.”
“Here’s a restaurant.” said Powergrando. “The Scrumptious Scarab. It looks pretty popular.” That was true. There was a crowd of people clamouring to get in, however when Powergrando looked closer at them he noticed that all of them looked the same. That in fact all of them looked like the soldier Von Bullet. Siegfried’s gaze briefly flickered from the clones to a group of people stood inside the restaurant.
“I wouldn’t recommend that one actually.” said Siegfried. “Those clones are out to kill anyone from Jormungandr.”
“Come on then.” said Powergrando. “Why don’t you just tell me what’s going on; why I’m going to die in a week. I’ll even pay for an all you can eat buffet afterwards.”
“Fine.” said Siegfried. “In that case it’s off to the post office.”
“You can’t be serious.” said Powergrando. “Why are we going to a post office.”
“That dream you had before.” said Siegfried. “The golden woman who wanted you to rescue her. That wasn’t a dream. It was a message.”
“Okay putting aside for the moment how you know about that,” said Powergrando. “What are we going to do? Send her a letter?”
“No.” said Siegfried. “Have you never stood in line at a post office before? It seems as though you’re waiting there for longer than you actually are, right?”
“So she’s trapped in a queue at a post office?” asked Powergrando.
“No.” said Siegfried. “I’m trying to illustrate the fundamental nature of post offices.”
“Oh.” said Powergrando. “Then by all means carry on.”
“The point is.” said Siegfried. “That you are there for longer than you actually are. Time is very unstable around post offices. I’d like you to think of a post office like that you might get in long hair.”
“Will that help?” asked Powergrando. “Should I get a comb?”
“I mean in terms of time.” said Siegfried insistently. “Time is all tangled up. It’s coming apart at the seams. You can walk into a post office one day and then walk out tomorrow, or yesterday or in a hundred years time. You can bump into yourself on the way in.”
“So?” asked Powergrando.
“So a post office is a remarkable gateway to where she is trapped; the void.” explained Siegfried. “The infinite void outside of time and space. Where there is no time. Where there is no space. Where an instant is eternity and eternity is an instant. It’s like hell in there… So I’m told.”
“And that’s at the post office?” asked Powergrando. “Is that where all that lost mail goes?”
“Sometimes.” said Siegfried. “But I’m afraid you’re missing the point.”
“No.” said Powergrando. “I get it. This woman is trapped in this hellish void outside of time and space and we have to rescue her.”
“Do you remember what I told you before?” asked Siegfried. “About time travel?”
“You said we didn’t really travel in time. We just arrived on an island which was outside of time and accessible from all times.” said Powergrando.
“Before that.” said Siegfried. “I said that everyone can travel in time. They move temporal energy around all the time, making some days seem shorter, other days seem longer. Everyone can do it but we don’t live long enough to do it properly.”
“Yes?” asked Powergrando.
“This woman has been trapped in the void for an eternity.” said Siegfried. “She’s lived for an eternity. She can control temporal energy… she can travel in time.” Powergrando stopped in his tracks.
“Wow.” he said. “I did miss the point.”
“I think you still might be missing it to a certain extent.” said Siegfried. “I’ve been telling you that you’ve been absorbing temporal energy.”
“Yes…?” asked Powergrando.
“That’s her.” said Siegfried. “When you had that vision of her in the forest you aged by about a year. She’s not doing it on purpose. She isn’t fully in control of her powers yet. The more she tries to talk to you like this the more you will absorb temporal energy. If you don’t hurry up and rescue her then you’ll be dead by the end of the day.”
“Then why the hell are we hanging around chatting then?” demanded Powergrando. “Where the hell is the nearest Post Office?”
“That’s the spirit.” said Siegfried gleefully.

“So this is the conclusion of the big exciting rush to save my life?” asked Powergrando. “We wait in a queue and hope we can get lost in time in time?”
“It does some like somewhat of an anticlimax doesn’t it?” asked Siegfried. “Especially after all that running through the city, dodging patrols of Von Bullet clones and everything.”
“It does somewhat.” said Powergrando. “I don’t suppose you’d like to tell me how you know all this about time travel and everything would you?”
“Not yet.” said Siegfried. “Now is not the time.”
“I didn’t suppose it would be.” said Powergrando huffily.
“Timing is everything you know.” said Siegfried. “Get the timing wrong and it doesn’t matter if you’ve done everything else right.” They waited in silence for a while. Someone else was served and the line shuffled slowly forward. The room started spinning and everything went black and gold for Powergrando. The woman’s voice inside his head echoed: “save me, please. Eternity burns the soul.” Siegfried was holding him up. Powergrando held up his hand to show that he was alright and then turned to Siegfried.
“How do I look?” he asked.
“About two years older.” said Siegfried. “It’s going to get worse as she gets more desperate. Soon she’ll be dumping entire decades of temporal energy on you.”
“Forget this.” said Powergrando striding out of the line. “I’m a man of action you know.”
“I know.” said Siegfried with a massive grin, as he strode after him.
“It’s time for some action.” said Powergrando. He strode up to the employees only door and kicked it open.
“Help me!”
All Powergrando could see now was a golden trail in front of him. He staggered after it, Siegfried’s unseen hands helping him stay upright as he attempted to follow it through the blackness. He ran through a set of doors, only able to tell they were there by feeling them as they opened and he was suddenly there. She was there in front of him. Perfect and flowing with golden energy. He ran forwards and grabbed her hand. Everything went black.
“Thank you.”

Siegfried sauntered down the last corridor and into the sorting office, which Powergrando had clattered. Powergrando was sitting against the wall at the far end, unconscious and clutched in his hands was a ball of golden energy: a time machine known as Light Fast and a woman known as Liquid Fox. Siegfried smiled and sat down next to Powergrando and waited for him to come around. There wasn’t much left that he had to do here. Then he could rest.

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