Sidella Solston has decided to skip work for a couple of eons. In fact, while she's at it she might as well just hop out of the universe. She's tired of her job, tired of people, but mostly just tired. Relationships haven't panned out, she isn't really 'feeling' her job, and overall the whole planet seems unsatisfying. Frustratingly enough, only astronauts and billionaires normally get to leave the world behind.
However, a hundred crack-pot ideas and some experimenting with gadgetry lets her find another way off the big green rock. Sidella hijacks a room in her university's museum to build a mad-science project that sends her somewhere else entirely.
Unfortunately, that somewhere else entirely proves to be inhabited by a rather interesting crowd. Their leader, DirNaut, finds it rather odd to see Sidella, a strange new addition to the SyncPoint. That's because, usually, no one means to arrive on that weird little ball of junk. Show Less
“Leo! What’s going on?”
Leonard glanced at her. “Oh, good, you’re awake,” he said unhelpfully.
Sidella glared, but quickly decided a better use of her gaze would be to process her surroundings. For while she seemed to be in the cafeteria of DirNaut’s base, it had somehow undergone extensive remodelling. Courtesy of an interior designer who would have been much happier pursuing a career in surrealist art.
She and Leo were on the right hand side of the room, perched on mushroom shaped bar stools at a broken coffee table. Facing them, central to the room, was a wooden park bench. It had been given some new armrests, as liberated from a 747. Next to it was a large, open box, made entirely out of lego, except for some saloon style swinging doors which would allow a person to enter.
Another table, slightly shorter, mirrored theirs on the left hand side of the room. Yet it had doilies on it, so Sidella was rather hoping that by ignoring it’s existence, it would decide to disappear. Unfortunately, she couldn’t face the front of the room for much longer either, as the disjointed way in which the different lego colour blocks had been put together was making her mildly nauseous. So she turned around.
Behind Sidella, seated in - and around - rows of church pews, she saw most of the beings she’d encountered at SyncPoint. But the few individuals she knew personally weren’t sitting close by. Worse, one being she knew VERY well seemed to be making his way towards the front of the room to join them. And the roughly twelve foot tall bird in the green robe inspired nothing but horror.
“It’s DirNaut!” Sidella said, her fingernails sinking into Leo’s arm. Her eyes scanned the room for the nearest escape, or failing that, a weapon to use.
Leo patted her arm in a way that was not at all reassuring. “It’s okay,” he said. “It’s fine. I got DirNaut’s probability implant to advise him that this was the only way to beat us.”
“What? What way?”
“In a court of law.”
“Loser gets the death penalty. Don’t panic though, I have a plan.”
“You can’t tell me not to panic unless you have a towel! We don’t even have a degree in law. ... Do we?”
Leo frowned. “I don’t, but we might have become lawyers in another reality.”
DirNaut reached the table with the doilies and slapped down an attache case with his talons. He peered into it with his empty black eyes, then pulled out a sheaf of papers.
“Besides,” Leo said, freeing his arm. “This is SyncPoint. We’re smart, we can handle a kangaroo court.”
A marsupial bounded out of the crowd, sitting himself down on the park bench before banging a rubber mallet against one of the armrests. “Court is now in session,” he declared. “The honourable Harold Stone presiding. We shall now proceed with the bench trial of DirNaut vs the Solstons.”
“Bench trial? We don’t get a jury?” Sidella called out to him.
“Don’t insult the judge,” Leo advised. “And remember, I have a plan.”
“Your last plan involved me being shot at.”
Leo chewed his tongue. “Mistakes were made.”
“DirNaut calls Rena Gallas,” the avian announced, interrupting them.
The tall, green woman emerged from the pews and approached the lego box. Sidella saw that Rena didn’t seem to be wearing her armour, and that her former roommate’s nasal spots were shifting colours in a way that made it hard to pinpoint a mood. Even assuming Sidella knew how to do that, which she didn’t.
“Rena,” DirNaut said, loping around his table. “Please explain to the court how the Solstons killed Dwayne Johnson, a pillar of this community.”
“Objection!” Sidella protested, jumping to her feet. “Who says he’s dead? Hell, he’s a multidimensional creature, how could anyone kill him?”
“I’ll rephrase. Rena, please explain to the court how the actions of the Solstons prompted an assault on this base, causing the deaths of many innocent humans who merely wanted a home for themselves.”
“You just explained it yourself,” Rena pointed out.
“How about you ALSO explain how DirNaut likes to toss people into the Nothing,” Sidella suggested.
“Objection,” DirNaut countered. “This is not your witness.”
Judge Stone banged his rubber mallet on the armrest. “Sustained.”
Sidella looked to Leo. “When do we cross examine?” Leo merely kept chewing on his tongue.
“Seems like nobody needs me, you’re all explaining things to each other,” Rena decided. The saloon doors squeaked as she left the witness box.
DirNaut looked back down at his papers. “Very well. In that case, I call Doctor Julian Rippante.”
A shout of “Get bent!” came from the back of the crowd.
Sidella spun, and after a moment, she spotted the Pomeranian technician sitting atop a filing cabinet. The object boosted the dog being high enough in the air to be seen over the pews, not to mention over the other occupants of the room.
“Pardon?” DirNaut said.
“Ya heard me!” Rip continued. “I ain’t testifyin’. Yer whole case is ridiculous.” To help get her point across, Rip lifted a hand, waving a middle finger.
“Alice, try to include that gesture in the minutes,” Judge Stone requested.
Which brought Sidella’s attention to the court stenographer. An alarmingly normal looking brunette woman, who was sitting in the front row, bashing away at a typewriter. The only abnormality there was in how the machine was being fed by a scroll of paper containing little holes, implying that it would have more properly spooled into a dot matrix printer. Upon realizing that she was being observed, Alice offered Sidella a little wave.
Sidella realized she was chewing her tongue. She stopped and sat back down, reaching again for the arm of her male counterpart. “Leo, tell me your plan.”
DirNaut stopped shuffling papers and looked back up. “DirNaut calls Bridget.”
Sidella felt her pulse quicken. “Okay, plan is a go. Do it NOW, Leo.”
He shook his head. “Can’t. Bree’ll be fine. I’m more worried that DirNaut could have found a reality where our departure screwed her over worse than usual.”
Sidella frowned. Leo had a point - which Bridget would this be? She watched as her roommate, slash lover, slash anchor to reality was led into the room by a couple of DirNaut’s goons.
The redhead was wearing tight jeans, a long shirt, and purple boots. So odds were good that this was her Bree. The tired smile on her girlfriend’s face as she passed their table clinched it.
“Never normal with you, huh Del?” Bridget said.
“We’re all hallucinating on account of some glowing bacteria,” Sidella offered. “Roll with it.”
The woman in her late twenties passed through the swinging doors, into the witness box.
“Please explain to the court,” DirNaut began anew, “How the Solstons destroyed your life, along with the lives of your companions, Rebecca and Daniel Reis.”
DirNaut needed a moment to process her response. “Can’t, or won’t?” he said at last.
“Can’t. Because Del didn’t destroy our lives. She made them better.”
DirNaut glanced around the room, then back to the witness box. “Please explain how being here at SyncPoint is ‘better’ than being tucked away in your own reality.”
Bridget moved her hands to her hips. “Do you understand love? Or any emotion at all?”
“Those words are irrelevant.”
“Oh, no they’re not,” Bridget said, jabbing her finger at DirNaut. “No way.” The redhead flashed a quick smile at Sidella. Sidella hoped she wasn’t blushing.
“What your bird brain seems to have rendered you incapable of understanding,” Bridget continued, “is that even if someone drives you a little crazy sometimes, it can be a good kind of crazy. The kind of crazy that has you motivated to come home at the end of a long day. Or to not come home! To stay in bed all day instead!”
“I do not appreciate being called--"
“After all, in the end, none of us are normal, right?” she said, ignoring DirNaut’s protest. She leaned forwards, raising her voice. “And can any being in this room truly say they’ve never gone a bit out of their mind for someone? I mean, sure, maybe it’s not the ‘track down versions of your lover’s ex in order to jump dimensions’ kind of crazy, but everybody has SOMEONE out there that they’d go to the ends of the Earths for, right?”
The crowd began to murmur. Sidella couldn’t pick out individual voices, though she did sense the thought ‘What’s a mind?’ being broadcast from a collection of gasses near the ceiling.
“Aw, you know what I’m talking about,” Bridget asserted. “Even if you don’t. That’s why I’m saying Del here has made my life better, not worse. In all her incarnations. Because she makes me realize things, about myself and about the universes, that I wouldn’t otherwise know. And in the end, that’s why I’m perfectly happy to be right here! The same place as she is.” She pounded her fist on the lego box for emphasis.
Sidella didn’t know what to say. Around her, the murmurings grew louder, until Judge Stone banged his mallet. “All right, enough,” the marsupial said. “DirNaut, further questions?”
The avian looked down at the pages clutched in his hands, then back up at the redheaded woman in the witness box. “Yes. Please explain to the court how such emotionalism is served given the presence of what some would colloquially call a ‘Love Triangle’.”
Bridget’s smile vanished. “Fuck off.”
DirNaut looked to the judge. “I rest my case. The Solstons, while claiming to worship order, associate with obstinate, irrational, chaotic beings. They should be terminated before allowing their special brand of mayhem to infect other realities.” He sat down on a doily.
“Noted,” said Judge Stone. He looked towards Sidella and Leo. “Do you have any witnesses to call before the verdict?”
“Oh, heck yeah!” Sidella said. She glanced at Leo. “We’re calling The General, right? Zhe’ll vouch for us, if zhe’s here.”
Leo cleared his throat. He rose to his feet. “Solstons call Bugsy to the stand!”
The crowd gasped. Sidella felt her jaw drop. Everyone began shuffling off to the sides of the room, making way for the giant crab being, who began edging sideways down the centre of the cafeteria. The creature stopped at the front row of pews. Although Bridget had emerged from the witness box, there was no way Bugsy would fit inside.
A melodic bass voice echoed around them. “You summoned me, hoping for victory by invoking the writers?”
Leo nodded. “Pretty much my plan, yeah.”
If a crab could shake it’s carapace like a head, Bugsy was doing so. “So unfortunate.”
“What do you mean?” Leo asked. Sidella didn’t like the worry in her alternate’s tone.
“Because,” the crab sighed, his antenna shaking as his voice rumbled around them. “Right now, the writer is one of the Gregs.”
Sidella flinched. She couldn’t believe that anybody where she’d once worked was capable of writing anything more creative than “Guidelines for ladder training safety”.
But before she could fully process the ramifications of that revelation, reality seemed to shear left. Within moments, the entire room was sliding off into a rip in the fifth dimension, created due to an unhealthy amount of self-awareness.
The last thought Sidella had before she passed out again was that she should keep the screens down on all lab bacteria colonies in future, whether they were glowing or not.
No no no! LIghts lights lights.
That is not how this goes!
NOT CANON! This, interlude? You’ve just read is part of some Serial Fiction April Fool’s Day Swap. The gag... Sham. Lie if you like. Was written by Gregory Taylor a.k.a. MathTans. Normally they write ɛpsilon Project at https://mathtans.wordpress.com
J.A. Waters created tomfoolery as well! For Graham Harrington's Hotfoot at https://whyknotzoidberg.wordpress.com/
What weird joke this is. Handing off reality like some baton. Marvel may do so, DC, Disney. Yech! Participants in blahs-phemy Be wary of those.
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