Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

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Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2007-01-12 09:25pm

For those that have ever wondered just where my name comes from or why I use it, I present to you all the following original work of Fiction.

Tales From The Crossroads
Chapter 1 Boiler Duty

“Where were you last night?” Mort yelled, though his question was drowned out in the rusting grind of nearby gears and pistons. The clanking sounds echoing off the walls in the short dingy passage he occupied.

“WHAT?” Zonker hollered back as he dodged a down rushing piston near the entrance of the passage, grabbing his grey metal hard hat off from a rack.

“I said, where were you last night!!” Mort bellowed again as he tried to shout above the mechanical din of the unceasing noise, Zonker flicked an ear as he strained to listen.

“Oh man! Would you believe I got stuck fixing a code 28 in sector 7-G?” Zonker responded, strapping on his hard hat as he joined Mort in hoping down the passage away from the entrance, minding a recently repaired hole in the flooring.

“You’re kidding! Holy Shnazbutz, it was you that got stuck fixing that rip in fractal space I heard about? Sheesh brutal!” Mort said, laughing slightly as he stopped to don his own protective gear and hardhat.

“You’re telling me Mort! I tell ya, sometimes I don’t think we get paid enough for all this! You know I keep saying we can contract some of the work to the interns and give us a break!” Zonker said jokingly.

“Right Zonker, Oh I’m sure the boss would just love that idea.” Mort barked as they entered the Factory Core of the Crossroads Central Control Tower.

No matter how many times Zonker entered into the central room it always gave him a thrill. Now being an employee at the Crossroads certainly had its drawbacks. The pay was lousy, working conditions were not what you could call ideal. Yet every time Zonker looked up at the nearly infinite space within the tower, he felt a thrill of incredible proportions. After all, how many other people got to say they spent their day fixing the fabric of the Cosmos.

Entering a service corridor, the two hopped down it as clouds of steams slipped by. Gears and pistons moved and whirled around them as other employees passed back and forth. Looking toward the end, Mort spied a lift at the end of the corridor. Zonker hopped, ahead flagging down the operator who was just about to close the doors.

“Hey wait up! You’re not making me walk up the stairs” Zonker from the forges as he and Mort slid inside. The gated metal doors closing with a clattering clank as the lift operator turned, his hand pulling back a slightly dingy brass lever. The lift giving a shudder and a creak as it began its ascent from the central level.

“Ha! Not my fault you two are overdue today! What kept you guys, up too late playing poker at the Pub?” The lift operator jeered before he recognized the two as Mort recognized him.

“Hey now, lay off him Zootz! Our little Zonker here helped fix a code 28 last night!” Mort barked back to Zootz, swinging his oversized wrench about dramatically. The other employees in the lift turned as they caught the comment.

“Whoa this guy was one of them blokes that fixed that rip in fractal Space? Kickin!” Said one nearby Employee, slapping Zonker on his back appreciatively.

“Is that true Zonk’s? Way to go rookie!” Another added as the rest began to whistle and voice their congratulations. Between the backslapping and cheers of those in the lift, Zootz turned to Mort.
“So where are you and Mr. Celebrity going today?”
“Level 3,297” Mort responded drolly.
“Oh ouch, boiler duty” Zootz said, shaking his head as he adjusted the speed on the lift. The small lift creaked as the engine driving them began to propel it suddenly upwards at an astonishing rate. Though flying up at hundreds of feet per second, messaged against the vast size within the tower, their progress seemed sluggish.

Eventually the lift neared its destination for Mort and Zonker. Zootz pulled the lever back, adjusting a knob on the side as applied the breaks, slowing its velocity in a practiced, measured way until the lift stopped at the needed factory floor. The gates squeaked once more as they parted, letting Mort and Zonker disembark. Zootz turned and gave them a final yell as they hopped away.

“Hey Mort! Some of the metal workers and I are getting together for a party at Sterlings’ later tonight. You and Zonker care to join us?” Zootz hollered as the lift began to descend back down.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world!” Mort said as he looked at the day’s assignment of repair jobs, inspections and clean up duties; Zonker right behind him, peering over his shoulder to see what was up.

“So what part of the boilers we have today Mort?”
“Lets see… Says here we have to go through Beta Sector 9-F today.”
“Ah the Good’ol Milky Way Galaxy! How is that run down rust bucket anyways?” Zonker jokingly chided
“Well, why don’t we go take a look and find out?” Mort said as slipped a keycard down to open up a tool locker next to the duty roster. Picking up a tool belt, his favorite monkey wrench and a Quantum Spammer, Mort followed Zonker over to the thirty-story furnace, subsequent boilers and drive engine that represented the Milky Way Galaxy.

Zonker plodded along behind Mort. His gaze moving this way and that, looking at huge chugging engines, long strings of gears whirling against one another. Hopping through the accumulated debris and rusting parts that had piled up since the area’s last inspection, Zonker stopped and suddenly thought aloud.

“I wonder why machines?”
“Huh? Excuse me Zonker?”
“Machines, why did the boss choose to represent the cosmos in its entirety as machines? Think about it Mort, every piston, furnace, gear, cog and camshaft in this place represents some part of the universe!”
“Yea, and your point is Zonk’s?”
“Well, why did the boss pick machines? Why not plants in a garden, or maybe represent everything in music from instruments, some sort of cosmic orchestra? There could be hundreds of different ways of doing this! I mean, not that I’m complaining, but you have to think about how the boss came to decide this aspect as the final representation!” Zonker said, his hands waving up in the air as he finished. Mort paused and seemed to simply stare at him before beginning to snigger.

“What? What’s so funny Mort?”
“Oh MAN Zonker! I never picked you as the philosopher type! Come off it, do you really think we could spend our days tending to a garden? Or playing instruments and tuning them? Zonker, we’d all go batty! But this, THIS” Mort said motioning out to an open part of the wall looking out into the main shaft of the factory.
“This is tangible, a true reflection of what the cosmos is! Man Zonker the universe isn’t peaceful! We got stars blowing up pulsars quasars, and the occasional Gamma Ray Burst to shake things up! Its chaos! Pure maddening chaos! But it is from the chaos we do our part! Tighten a loose screw fix a dying sun, oil some motors? Keep the gravitational field of a black hole in that tiny space that keeps it balanced. If you think about it how else could you represent the fabric of the cosmos” Mort finished, breathing a bit heavy from getting so worked up. Taking his time before going back to cleaning out some of the junk from out of the walkways and storage closets in the area.

“Rookie” he thought silently to himself as he went about his business.

“Ohh” Was all Zonker said after a long pause, reaching down to pull out a clip bored and pencil. He hopped down with Mort to begin working in the vast spaces of the boilers of level 3,297.

The rest of the day was spent cleaning and oiling the machinery around the boilers. Nebulas were attended too, as Mort and Zonker tightened bolts and installed some new pipes. The odd pulsar was adjusted put back running on time, and a few new stars were stoked and heated inside the huge furnaces that fed the boilers of Beta Sector 9-F. It wasn’t until the end of the day was nearing that Zonker, near the edge of their work area, heard a noticeable ‘Thunk’ from an overhead pressure pipe.

“Whoa, that ain’t right” he thought to himself as he turned his head to shout down a hallway. “Hey Mort, ya hear anything?”
“Only your infernal jabbering Zonker.” He barked back, putting down a large wrench.
“Hey, I’m serious Mort! Something isn’t right.” He said, flicking an ear to filter out some other noises.
Mort watched him, and tilted his head. Twitching his ear Mort listened in to a distant noise, catching a noticeable ‘Thunk’
“Whoa, that ain’t right,” He said. Jumping down from his perch atop some gas valves, Mort hopped off; follow the source of the noise.

“Hey, were ya going? Wait up will ya Mort!” Zonker yelled as he leaped and began to hop after him. Chasing the sound through the pipes, Zonker noticed the noise getting louder as he watched Mort plunge down a condemned service shaft.
“Are you nuts? Were not allowed in there it’s out of our jurisdiction!” He shouted as he watched Mort disappear into the shaft.
“Jurisdiction nothing!” Mort yelled as he now realized where this pipe was headed. “I think that boiler in Sector 70 is ready to blow!” Zonker stopped abruptly in his tracks staring straight ahead and cursed.

“Oh Flarg! I do not need this on my watch!”

“I don’t think we have a choice!” Mort shouted as he reached the boiler he knew where the noise was originating from. Seeing it, he feared the worst. Reaching the bottom of the shaft, he hit the floor with a plop! He got a cold shiver from the sigh before him. Fire belched from the furnace bellow the boiler, steam was hissing from every rivet and pipe as a power current arched back and forth from point to point.

“Remember those wonderful Gamma Bursts I mentioned?” Mort yelled in the increasing din and squeal of steam. Zonker descended down the shaft now, slipping down a rattling unstable ladder.
“Yea Mort?” Zonker bellowed back as he put his hands over his small ears
“I think we’re about to have one!”
“Oh Flarg!” Zonker cursed again as Mort raced over and pulled an alarm, shortly followed by the sound of a class 17 siren.

The Boss didn’t like Gamma Ray Bursts; they were messy and took a great deal of effort to clean up. But it was far harder to fix one from going off, then to clean up after it, no matter how long that took. And right now Mort and Zonker both knew they were only moments away from this one blowing.

Warning klaxons rang out as the alarm sounded; employees from near by stations began to race toward the site. Chaos broke out on nearby levels as employees rushed and crowded together, trying to squeeze into lifts and passenger ships to take them to the sector of the impending disaster. As they approached, the boiler grew from red hot, to white hot, to an eerie incandescence as for a short moment the metal seemed almost transparent.

FLARG!!!” Mort cursed one last time before a deafening explosion erupted. Time seemed to slow down in direct proportion to the enormity of the explosions as the metal boiler began to distort with ripples across its glowing surface. Time ground to a halt as the metal warped, bulged then all at once seemed to go from solid, to liquid, to gas. The fireball of super heated plasma that was spawned from the explosion of the boiler could be seen almost a full thousand levels away. The slow, rolling expansion of it consumed pipes, columns and structural plates as it sent debris flying across an untold area of the factory space. Yet as was measured by the standard time, the whole event from alarm to explosion termination was less than 6.5 seconds.

Mort and Zonker twitched nervously, both covered in a black layer of charred soot, a nearby pipe rattled, grabbing Morts attention, as an employee slid out. Mort spied him first and gave him a look.

“Oh, it’s You Bob” He said dryly as the rest of crew began to arrive.

“Damage Control!” a manager yelled, breaking the stare between the two. In moments the devastated area became abuzz with activity as crewmembers pulled out fire hoses and doused the remaining flames. Others began to seal off the area, making sure any dimensional damage caused by the burst wasn’t permanent. Employees flew back and forth across the void which the explosion had blasted, carrying steel beams and quickly welding them to creaking and half melted structures. Reinforcing the weakened fabric around the burst, Zonker helped direct a group as Mort began rebuilding a shattered gas main. Over seventy employees had now descended on the spot, franticly fixing the ravaged area. Mort began to recognize some faces as the emergency fire crew arrived.

“Terp! Turk! What are you two doing here? He asked as he stepped out of the way as an employee dashed by to catch some loose black holes.
“Hey Mort! I could ask you the same thing! You know this isn’t your jurisdiction!” Turk said as he began to survey the progress made by the others.
“Yea Mort, what’s the matter? Did this thing finally run out of duct tape to hold it together?” Terp commented as he pointed to the crackling void were the boiler had been.
“Seems that way! Speaking of which!” Mort said as he tossed a roll of the tape to the two. “I need someone to help me stop this radiation leak over here! Give me a hand will ya?”

“No problem, Mort” they said as the two hopped over with Mort to a large set of hissing pipes and began applying the duct tape. Zonker meanwhile had finished overseeing the structural repair to the area and was now mopping the floors. Crews gathered up remains and sent them down to the slag heaps. Working long into the night, repairs were finished shortly before three am. By that time many had simply stayed in the tower and slept at their posts.
The next day Mort awoke to the sounds of the morning bells. Rubbing his eyes he got up and stretched, sore from sleeping on a pile of discarded gears. Making morning rounds as the tower was opened up for the day’s first shift, Zootz wandered by and spotted him.
“Hey! Mort! Where were you last night?”
================================~Fin
Last edited by Crossroads Inc. on 2007-01-15 11:11pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2007-01-15 05:06pm

I do have about a half dozen more stories folowing this universe.. though if no ones interested :/
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Postby Enigma » 2007-01-15 06:08pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:I do have about a half dozen more stories folowing this universe.. though if no ones interested :/


I enjoyed it. More. :)
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Postby Master of Cards » 2007-01-15 06:41pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:I do have about a half dozen more stories folowing this universe.. though if no ones interested :/
MORE!!

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Postby darkjedi521 » 2007-01-15 09:43pm

Definitely different. Definitely something I'd like to read more of.
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Postby HSRTG » 2007-01-15 11:36pm

Crossroads Inc. wrote:I do have about a half dozen more stories folowing this universe.. though if no ones interested :/


This is well written and amusing. I wouldn't be opposed to seeing a bit more (Gimme gimme gimme).
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Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2007-01-16 12:38am

I am not sure when I might write the next chapter, I have had a lot of new ideas for other stories.
Last edited by Crossroads Inc. on 2009-05-27 04:14am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Redleader34 » 2007-01-16 01:48pm

This story seems to be like the time squad of the universe. just some barley copipment people fixing things before they goo boom and explode.
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2009-05-27 04:18am

Tales from the Crossroads
Another Perspective


I posted a new chapter in my other Novela, but no one ever seemed interested in that or responded, SO i got around to finishing another of my Crossroads stories. This one from a different point of view
============

Crossroads
By Eric Fischer

If you asked me if I ever thought I’d get lost in the Bermuda Triangle I would have laughed my head off. Thousands of ships every day, public and private pass through the territory off the islands of the Bermuda cost, the actual numbers of ships lost there is no higher nor lower then any other area in the Caribbean region.
As such, I had little if any misgivings when I left four days ago on my annual fishing trip. I owned a humble 40ft yacht that spent most of its time in dock in Bermuda. Once a year I took two weeks off from my business practices to sail out into Caribbean, relax, fish, and otherwise forget the troubles of the world. I never in all my thoughts would have asked to be totally removed from the world.
Two days out from the marina, late Tuesday afternoon, a heavy fog rolled in, a short time after that, my motor died, then my radio died. I will admit, I was more upset than worried when all this began. That it all happened at once was equally disconcerting. No motor meant you could radio for help; no Radio meant you could sail for home. The absence of both put me in serious trouble however. Sails, I never thought I would regret getting a yacht without sails.

All of this was rather beside the point though, I have no doubt I would have been picked up by a passing ship, the area was crowded and eventually I would have been rescued. No what really threw me was when late Thursday evening, through the darkening clouds and fog, a Waterspout headed straight for my craft.

I cannot fully describe the peculiar sensation that accompanied being lifted into the ocean bound tornado. My ships and I were lifted, if only momentarily, into the Swirling vortex of water. Time slowed somewhat as I distinctly remember the cracking of lightning around the funnel cloud, then came that one, brief instant when it felt as though the ocean itself vanished, as though I were suspended with the Waterspout in a void. An instant later I was plunged back into the water, shocked by its sudden coldness. I emerged breathless, thrashing about as the storm moved on, even if the fog was thicker then ever.

It is strange what our minds grasp onto in such moments of shock. I remember thinking to myself at the time that insurance policy for my Yacht would thankfully cover damage under such circumstances, and I could probably get about $450,000 for my now capsized ship which I could barely make out through the fog. My thoughts quickly though began to grasp the enormity of what had just transpired. I may have been stranded before, but now I was without ship or safety.
My thrashing hands eventual grasped across a large, rusting buoy, the brass bell atop it clanging loudly as it bobbed back and forth from my weight. As I floated there in the cold waters, beginning to make several pacts I could never possibly keep with the man upstairs, my eyes begin to perceive a row of lights off in the distance.

My initial response was to immediately cry out. I began to shout loudly, fearing I might loose what could be my only hope of survival, I realised my grip from the rough metal of the Buoy and swam for all I was worth toward the row of lights. At the time, as I propelled myself forward furiously, I had not quite realized that the row of lights seemed oddly steady on the horizon, almost unmoving. Of course at the time I was burning every last bit o strength I had to reach what I could only assume was safety of some sort.
It wasn’t until my eyes made out the dim outline of a stone façade that I realized what I was looking at was not shipping lights, but lamps of some sort. A stone wall going down into the water stretched out before me, about a hundred feet or so before it seemed to dead end into immense steep cliffs. I heaved myself up onto a carved stone dock coming out from the main brick wall, a set of what seemed to be marble inlaid stairs led up along the wall. As I lay gasping on the dock, I remember realizing for the first time that the lamps along the wall were oil lamps, simple metal reflectors behind them.

I gathered myself for a while, checking myself for the necessities, wallet, identification, cell phone, I went down the checklist of things I would need upon finding proper authorities. As I slowly regained my breath and some strength, I took in my surroundings a bit more closely. The fog was still thick, which struck me as odd as fog is not something one usually finds in the Bermuda area. And then of course was the whole stone dock and wall. I went through my head of various hotels in the area and could think of nothing that had such a structure, indeed the closest I remember seeing such a waterfront was the Themes in London.
Eventually I hauled my wet dripping self up toward the stone staircase. I had already checked my Cellphone, which had no response, but as soon as found a phone shop I could salvage the simcard at least. That was about as far as my thoughts got as I came up to the top of the stairs at last. What greeted me was not tropical huts, or shops or a hotel, or any sense of where I should have been. What greeted me was a cobblestone road, lined with three or four buildings that once more didn’t just look as if they were from London, but London around the turn of the 19th century.

The road on both sides seemed to end into brick walls that lined the area, the buildings between them. Curiously a set of tracks ran through the middle of the road. My mind, whirling and not fully comprehending what was going on, initially followed the tracks into what seemed a tunnel that passed through either brick wall. Actually entering into the tunnel I found thye deadened themselves less the ten or twenty feet back.
The analytical part of my brain was more and more failing to keep up, I walked back out to the main road, determined to find someone, anyone who could explain where I was and where I could get some assistance. I moved toward the second largest building along the road, mostly because I could find no visible door along the largest building. Coming to the front, I continued to take in the detail of wherever it was I happened to be. The building indeed looked like an Old English pub from the turn of the Century. The clangs of glasses music and laughing echoed inside, the outside was mostly wood with stone along the foundation. Over the door hung an ancient looking wooden sign that said simply, “Crossroads Hall and Tavern”.

I reached for the door, determined to find answers, and it was at that moment that the door opened an instant before me and out tumbled an odd orange, thing. I looked down, aghast, as a creature, no less then three or so feet tall tumbled out, clearly drunk, waving an immense beer stein around. It had orangish skin, and odd beakish face and wore what seemed oil stained rags with a dented and well-used hardhat.
We both looked at each other suddenly, each appearing to be equally at odds with the appearance. The odd little thing jumped up to its feet, which, oddly, seemed to be half the size of its small body. It seemed to have almost no legs, just huge, sneaker clad feet that attached directly to its body. It squeaked and shook me from my stare.

“OI! You’re not supposed to be here! Oh BOSS! You are NOT supposed to be here! This aint right, Oi I’m on break, I get a break shift for the first time in ages, and YOU show up!” I stood aghast, my poor brain trying to formulate words.

“Ex-Excuse me, where exactly am I, how could you possible know who I am! What is going on!” The creature held up a four-fingered clawish hand and snapped.

“Not you, I don’t know who YOU are, but, well you, you’re an Ephemeral, a non-employee, your kind don’t belong here. Ungh, not that that stops you in the past; paper work still a mile long on getting rid of the last batch of you. Always showing up, no sense of dimensional networking at all! Couldn’t sense a rift with a map and a.” I truly did have to interject here. It was jarring, I was an immensely powerful person, I was used to being the one in charge, of getting what I needed when I wanted how I wanted. And this, creature, which spoke in a horribly heavy New York accent, seemed to simply dismiss me at every turn.

“LOOK! I’ve lost my Yacht I am without communication or any sense of where I am and I find myself talking to a, a whatever you are, talking as if you grew up on the East side of the Bronx! Please can you simply give me information!” The creature at last seemed to show pity on me, I would have to give it credit, I would learn later he had had to deal with interlopers like me hundreds of times before.

“Ok bub, look, you, however it is you did, got kind outside your dimensional space, you aint on your planet you aint in your galaxy, you really aint in your own Universe, you’re kinda, well, in a little Pocket dimensional, little place the rest of us like to cool down when off duty ya see.” I looked down at him glaring as best I could in my still dripping suite.

“And you would be?”

“Ah! Mort my good man, First rank Ployee Mortamor, Subsection 24,578, levels 3275 through 3324, best BOSS damned levels in the Crossroads proper.” He said, doing an odd sort of salute, his vice full of pride. I sat down on one of the benches just outside, looking over my shoulder at the singing and figures inside the tavern. My mind whirling, trying to grasp what I was being told.

“Sorry about being snippey earlier, just, we Ployees don’t get a lot of off time, keeping da Universe in working order an all, gets on a mates nerves ya see.” I smiled finding myself accepting the immense beer stein he had as he offered it to me. I know I should have had water or something more revitalizing, but the rich smell of the beer seemed wonderfully inviting at the time.

“Fixing the Universe? It needs fixing often does it?” The little creature threw up its hands.

“Oi Mate, ya have no idea, terrible thing, so few of you Ephemerals have any real idea of what a rush job the physical state of the Cosmos was, takes us nearly round the clock to keep it operation, all sorts of stuff going wrong ya see. And if it aint the Universe it’s the rookies; oh I have the Worst Rookie, newcomer, real basket case. Our CEO says he has a lot of potential, but I ain’t seeing it.” I smiled internal, the beer warmed me, and the talk of managerial and business monkey business seemed oddly settling to me.
I remember at that moment hearing bells ringing in the distance, it was the distinct hour chime of Big Ben, coming from a much smaller clock tower atop the second, large building.

“Pardon me a moment, ah, Mort. But if we happen to be away from my planet, outside of my universe, in an abstract dimension, could you explain why, the place where we are now, bares such an immense resemblance to buildings from my worlds past?” The creature chuckled and slapped its knee, or where knees would be, as it seemed all foot.
“It’s our current CEO, visited your world hundreds of times, seems to have a real soft spot for this kinda stuff from your little rock. It changes ya see, its all how ya perceive it. The buildings our factory, could be trees an shrubs for all it maters, though I’ll be honest, I’ve grown kinda fond of this form of the reality myself.
I nodded and passed him back the beer stein. Sighing as I let the full weight of things in on me.

“So, I suppose this is where you tell me I am stranded here, that I can’t get home or that I am stuck in this little dimension of yours?” The creature looked up at me, giving an odd sort of look.
“Eh? Well, no no, not less ya want too, I mean, I kin get ya home an all, just the paperwork is a real hassle, like I said! Best if ye Ephemerals didn’t come here in the first place!” I gave the first chuckle in a while, the mention of paperwork making me laugh. It would seem no mater where you where in the Universe, paperwork was always the eternal enemy. Still the prospect of having to wait made me wilt. I felt cold inside, the beer wearing off. The creature looked at me, placed a claw on my hip and rumbled.

“Tell ya what, Lets get ya inside, get ya a change of clothes, something warm, dry ya out a bit.” He said as he hoped down, proceeding to hop back to the door. I looked at him and smiled.

The door opened and a wave of heat, smoke and smells hit me. Beer, meat, food, my wet and aching body leaned into it as he pulled me inside. I shielded my face, the glare inside giving my eyes a bit of a jolt as it took me a while to become accustomed to the brightness inside. The inside was immense, I looked up, making out what seemed like eight or ten stories of wooden and stone rafters of the Tavern, to the right of me an immense bandstand stood, a group of quickly moving figures danced amid music that sounded both otherworld, and oddly Scottish. I remember watching the shape of the creature hop up on a table and begin pounding a beer stein.

“Your attention! OI! Your attention you lazily scuzz buckets! We have ourselves yet another poor shmuck who seems to have got himself unstuck in the universe!” A choirs of jeers and laughs went up form the figures out in the tavern as I felt just the slightest bit out of place. Sitting down at a table, I listened to my chagrin as Mort continued.
“He’s a good fella from System 32576, sure many of you folks are all familiar with THAT lousy rock.” Again more laughs and jeers. I felt I should say something in defense of Earth, but being not exactly sure back then what they were commenting on, I felt best to keep my quiet.
“Now as you ALL know, its gonna be a bit till the paper work clears up, os I want all ye folks ta show him the best time our Dimensional Nexus can show!” Another loud roar of cheers, clinking of glasses and steins as I sat back; my eyes had begun to adjust by now, and I took in with more detail my surroundings.

For the most part the tavern seemed filled with the odd little creatures, over a hundred or so on the first floor along. They all seemed to hop about, moving with quickened speed here and there, all with oily rags, all in rough little hard hats. That the inside seemed to stretch cavernously largely then the outside was something at the time I simply seemed to ignore. My brain had enough troubles for one day.
Moving amid the hoping bouncing little employees, which in truth is the closest you could come to given their ‘race’ a name, I saw others moving, taller larger. Aliens. Which is really all my brain could have responded.
In a few moments I took in almost a dozen different species. Most of them seemed to be waiting tables, a few sat down with the others, drinking and laughing. There were small green aliens, complete with antenna, others I remembered seemed wolfish or catlike. I looked toward the stage and realized the band that was playing seemed to be made up of Dragons, or, dragonish people at least.

It was funny, the little creatures with huge shoes and hardhats, didn’t seem to phaze me at all. But the others, aliens, different species, I remember it as one of those moments when you realize you are part of something larger. I was jarred suddenly as a ‘women’ who seemed vaguely human like, but had scales all down her head and back, almost like an Echidna, placed a plate of steaming hot soup and bread down in front of me.

“Courtesy of the Tavern.” She said in an odd wispy voice as I watched her walk away. Mort seemed to catch my befuddled look.

“I know it’s a bit much, ye get used to it you know. They’re all like you, different worlds and different people but all of’em have become Unstuck as it were. There’s cracks in the universe all over, its why we keep working ya see. But every so often some poor shmuck falls through a crack, ends up here. Some go back, some stay. You have to realize, from here, ya can go anywhere, any world. We do it all the time.” I listened to him, nodding, famished and deeply enjoying the hot soup, I remember not having enjoyed food so deeply in a long time. All the 5 star restaurants and the finest meals served by my private cooking staff didn’t compare to the comforting effect of warm food after being soaked in a cold ocean.

Time wore on, as much as I perceived it anyway. There was no real day or night, no sun or moon in this small little universe. Just an eternal twilight dim light and a forever fog that encircled the small asteroid like rock the tavern, street and small body of water resided on.

The ‘night’ ended with me in a room, a fire going full bore, my clothes wallet and other personal goods drying on an beautiful hand carved wooden desk, as I lay back in bed I felt I’d never get up from. I heard the door open and mort hoped inside.
“I really can’t thank you enough for all of this, I don’t know what you use for money, but when I get him, I can assure you I’ll repay you anyway possible” I said, barely moving from my spot on the bed as the fire crackled. Mort closed the door behind him and chuckled.

“Ah, you kin keep it, we don’t really use money here. Well, We get paid an such, but nothing like what you have in terms of ‘money’” He said as I noticed him locking the door. I leaned up, curious.
“I’ll tell you what though, as far as you getting home, I want ta do something about that. Yer a good bloke, I’d offer you a job here, but some how I think you’d never go for it.” I smiled a shock my head.
“I am afraid I have a Financial Empire to maintain, and there are certain people I would like to see again.” I said with a good-natured chuckle. The Employee nodded, getting out a series of what I am still sure where punch cards.
“Aye… And that’s why I intend to send you home.” I tilted my head.
“And the paperwork?”
“As I said before, Its all how you Perceive things.” He said, holding up the punch cards. “There’s no real papers, not like what you got, its all how things are done here ya see, the act of doing something.” He said, shuffling the cards, examining each one with an intense gaze. I gathered up my belongings, and packed my old cloths into a canvas bag one of the Dragon people below had offered to me. As I prepared myself, my heart racing at the prospect of returning home, I still recall the curious sight I saw when I looked back at Mort.

His arms seemed to be moving with a strange speed, swishing cards about in the air, there seemed three, four, five arms. I am still not sure if he simply sprouted more, or if they were moving at such speeds it simply seemed he had so many. His form shimmered, as if here and not here and he pulled card after card from some hidden location, swishing them about in the air.

Suddenly there was a great crackle of light as a Card seemed to slice into the Air.

“Oiya! That be the one! System card 32576! Did take a bit of doing, quite a bit of ‘paperwork’ after all ya know.” I looked at the whirling vortex before me a tad bit apprehensive.
“That is home then? Step into that and I go home?” I asked, my heart racing as I approached holding my bag. Mort nodded.

At the moment, knowing what I know now, I am still not sure if I would have changed my mind. Perhaps if I had stayed a few extra ‘days’ at that curious place, perhaps if I hadn’t been so eager to return to the business world I had left behind. But then again, had I changed things, would I give up what I have now, for I used to posses?

I write these events, as far as I can recall, five years after they first took place. The world I returned to was Earth like, very hospitable, but was not my home. I found a new world there; a love that like me also was unstuck from her home world. I raised a family, built a new business as it were and found myself trading with a race that I have always maintained look like a cross between a flying fish and a crustacean.

I have always been a Businessman and for the past five years I continued on in that regards, growing a new business. I never would have imagine where I’ve ended up; I have a ‘sorcerer’ for a daughter, a Pirate and Military Cyborg as friends, and am about to lead a group of soldiers and ex merchants, traders and most of all, business men, into combat against a superior force.

I am not sure if this is the last time I write, but if it is, if nothing else, I know I would do it all over again. Somewhere, there is an Employee I want to buy a drink.
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby LadyTevar » 2009-05-28 08:45pm

How did I miss this? This is great!
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2009-05-28 11:57pm

Thank you! Oh blessed thank you! I didn't think ANYone was going to respond.. Did you catch the other ongoing work of mine down Below? Its not as funny but ive been enjoying it.

Really Ive watched it, people HAVE been reading it, the view count keeps climbing.. still its nice to Have Some one actually respond. Let me know what they think, give feed back comments.. good for an authors ego.,
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2009-05-29 04:02am

HOLY SHITBAGS THIS IS AWESOME! I can't believe I never saw it before, but BRAVO! Really, these read like some of that classic, golden-age scifi that was originally published in magazines and now gets stuck into high-school english textbooks for culture. It has a real earnest, timeless quality. I see that you said you had more stories, I would love it if you could post more.

Also, by any chance do mechanics ever steal blueprints of the universe and go exploring through holes in time? :-P
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2009-05-29 10:53am

CaptainChewbacca wrote:Also, by any chance do mechanics ever steal blueprints of the universe and go exploring through holes in time? :-P
Yes, but that was quite some time ago you see and since then THE BOSS has done away with blueprints as a whole seeing as how he doesn't really need them.

As for others stories, most of them I wrote back in high School and I have been slowely "Updating" them to make them a bit more readable and enjoyable, expect more soon.
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2009-05-29 02:02pm

Tales From the Crossroads
IN
It's The Wrong Duct Tape Grommit!!!

As Written by Eric Fischer
============================

Same’ol Same’ol.

It was just another standard day at the Crossroads.

As Mort stepped out of the Lift, he grumbled as he flicked his ears and checked the time. Traffic was always a hassle in the mornings and Mort didn’t especially liked getting into the Lift crammed together like Sardines. He wasn’t going to be late. No, he was never late, but he wasn’t going to get there early enough to properly yell at Zonker, and he hated missing that. As it was he heaved a sigh of relief as he exited from the lift.

“See ya tonight at the Tavern again Mort!” Zootz shouted from the lift.
“Wouldn’t dream of missing it Zootz! I hear the Terrible Tuckers have the Band stage tonight.”
“Aye mate, Dat should be a real interesting show!” Zootz laughed before pulling on the Lifts operators, the cage doors closing before the box sped away at impossible speeds.

Mort hopped out on the loading docks of Level 3293, a good honest and well-rounded part of the universe he thought. The immense towers of machinery, boilers and massive drive pistons whirled to a deafening din that was music to the Ployee’s ears. Everything seemed to hum in perfect working order, well almost everything. Mort heard the one thing that struck a discord in all of the pounding heavy machinery. Somewhere in the labyrinth of subsections, Zonker was singing again.

“OI! Zonker! What the BOSS’s name are ye doing, aint ye ever NOT in a cheerful mood.” He asked as he hopped down from one of the upper section to where he spotted Zonker, grabbing one of his favourite two foot long Screw Wrenches from his pocket as he landed.

“Morning Mort!” Zonker responded, as always annoyingly pleasant. “And why not Mort? We have the best job in the whole universe! Sure the pay is lousy an all, but it’s a heck of a thing! Working with the cosmos an all. It’s a blast!”

As if on cue, a large section of pipes behind the pair exploded in a blinding flash of quickly melting metal before a secondary explosion vaporized the molten remains.

Mort crawled out from under the debris and glared at Zonker as Klaxons went off.
“The best job in the world Zonker would not have us blown up on a regular basis!”
“Be fair Mort! We can’t actually get hurt or nuthing.” Mort just rolled his eyes as he wiped some still liquid metal from his oil-stained rags and leapt up to organize repairs. Ployees working in the area converged on the spot in moments as adjacent pipes were shut down, debris cleaned up, and repairs begun.

High above the scene Mort was on the horn with the Manager of the Levels just below his.

“How should I know why it blew, things always blow up around here I wouldn’t be belly aching bout it too much ye louts.”
“Oh so it’s MY fault ye didn’t have back up gas mains to ye Boilers? That’s standard unwritten laws these days ye know, ye should have done that ages ago.”
“Don’t blame me for ye troubles buddy, I gots enough of those up here!”
“Well Sames te you!” Mort slammed the receiver and took off his hard hat rubbing his forehead
“Oh BOSS, its gonna be one of Those days” he thought to himself as he hopped down. A quick look made him shake his head yet again. The blast damage was largely cleaned up; the structural plates reinforced and patched over, but the pipes, the pipes where in a terrible state. Mort did a quick tally of who was still in the area and barked.

“MERF! TERP! TURK! FLAN! KLEM You useless louts, head down to the quartermaster and start hauling up replacements for those gas mains, the folks down on level 3179 are rather particular about getting them up an running again.” Merf, who was almost a bit too eager some times to help out, saluted and gave a goofy grin.
“You can count on me Mort! I wont yet you down buddy!” Merf said in that unnervingly high-pitched voice before bounding away.
Flan and Klem who were unnerving in their own way for rarely talking at all, gave a disturbing almost identical grin to one another and bounded off after Merf. Mort brought his attention to the others.
“And what about you two? There is still a lot to be done around here! And you all need have something to do!” He said, eying Terp directly, who he knew was going to weasel out of this.
“Do it yerself yer goody too shoes, Iz gotz bigger problemz ta deal with!” Terp snapped as he glared up at Mort.
“Oh really now, what would those be?”
“Problems! Lotz of’em! All over der place”
“But not here, dat it?” Turk , who at almost four feet tall towered over both Mort and Terp fumbled a bit.

“Ah gee Terp, ya sure, I mean we could help out a bit.”
“Quiet you!” Terp snapped “Lets get going” he said, turning and hoping away in that double quick hop motion only Terp seemed capable of. Mort made a note never to challenge him to spiriting at the next company picnic. He mostly felt bad for Turk as well, the big lug was usually ok, but couldn’t help himself hanging around with Terp all the time, couldn’t be helped really, Mort had other concerns.

“Alright, now where’s Zonker…”

Zonker, as it was, was far down the corridor, inspecting some of the large gas mains that hadn’t ruptured, but nevertheless needed quite a bit of patching and fixing up.
“This is a job for Duct Tape!” Zonker said aloud as he grabbed a roll from his pocket, half a moment later, a metal floor plat lifted up as Bob poked out.

“OH! Its you Bob! What can I do for ya?”
“Zonker! The Boiler works on 3179 want to know just when their pipes are getting fixed!” Zonker fumed.
“OH! 3179! 3179! I hate the Ployees on 3179!” Bob looked up incredulously,
“For the last time Zonker, I told you not to go on ‘snipe hunts’ with that lot.” Zonker just mumbled and shook his head.
“in any case it’s not my fault those pipes spontaneously exploded! They shouldn’t come crying to me.” Bob tilted his head and gave Zonker an exceedingly long “oh REALLY now” look, that was a very tricky thing to do behind his Armani sunshades.

“Spontaneous? Zonker you have been working on those pipes all week, if you had been doing your job right they would have burst a bit, maybe even done a slow burn and popped a few connections, but never a spontaneous explosion!”
“Look, I’ve done everything by the book, they were covered in almost 3 layers of Duct Tape when they went.” He said, waving around the roll in his hands. In an instant, Bob leapt from the Storm drain he was standing in and snatched the roll.
“Hey!”
“Let me see that.” Bob’s ears flicked widly as he stared at the Tape intently.
“DUDE! Zonker! This isn’t standard issue approved Duct Tape this, this is Ephemeral stuff! They sell this at local QuickyMarts!” Bob howled as Zonker went pale.

“Oh Flarg”



News of the illicit Duct Tape spread like wildfire. Zonker was picked up by a pair of Managers and hauled off. “I didn’t know! I didn’t know!” he wailed over and over as Mort simply shook his head. “Rookie…”

It was the next day when the bored of inquiry looking into the incident brought Zonker in to answer charges against him. “Duct Tape” was a powerful tool in the Crossroads, it was order personified and helped bind virtually any tear, any rip and any disturbance the Cosmos had to offer. As it was, mixing up standard issue Duct Tape, with, say, something perched on a planet within the normal bounds of reality, would invariably meet with disastrous results.

A great stone gavel crashed down on the judge’s table as the courtroom filled up. Zonker cringed in the middle, a single light on him, as thousands of other Ployees had gathered to watch the spectacle. Overseeing the affair from behind the judge’s table was the Lord High CEO himself. Mort, who sat near the bottom where he could get a good view on things, thought this curious. The Lord High CEO didn’t much like personal appearances, usually if he was out something very bad was afoot, and that usually meant lots of shouting and the clouds of fire and brimstone that went with it.

“YOUR ATTENTION! ZONKER! PLOYEE NUMBER 62542! YOU ARE ACCCUSED OF USING INFERIOR DUCT TAPE IN THE LINE OF DUTY! HOW DO YOU PLEADE!” Zonker held his hard hat in his hands, grovelling with the best of them.

“On my hands and knees oh great CEO’ness!”

“A SURVEY HAS FOUND IMMENSE SYSTEMICAL FAULTS THROUGHOUT YOUR JURSIDICTION DUE TO A CHORNIC LACK OF SUTIABLE DUCTAPE! THIS IS INTEROABLE AND CAN NOT STAND!”

“Oh Great Lord High CEO! I am innocent I swears it! I got the tape form the quartermaster, it should have been standard issue!” The great crowd looked intently… it wasn’t often anyone actually pleaded their case before the CEO, usually you sat, tried to do a good job of looking mournful, and if you were lucky you escaped usually only partially on fire. Mort turned to look at the CEO, something was up…

“INDEED, UNDER NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCE, WERE YOU TO ACQUIRE ILLCIT DUCT TAPE, SUCH ACTIONS WOULD MEET WITH THE HARSHEST OF REPREMANDS. BUT, CAREFUL INSPECTION HAS FOUND THIS TAPE… HAS BEEN MASKED.” The crowd murmured suddenly, Mort gripped the railings and leaned over. It couldn’t possibly be true…

“THIS TAPE HAS BEEN MASKED! EVEN IF IT WASN’T ZONKER WHO PICKED THIS UP, MANAGERS HAVE FOUND THAT A STANDARD GLANCE WOULD SHOW THIS TAPE TO BE STANDARD ISSUE. PLOYEES! THIS IS SABOTOGE!!!”
Zonker looked around wildly as the great hall burst into commotion, Ployees and Managers began barking back and forth. Had they used it as well? How where they to know? Who could have done this? It was all too soon before someone pointed a finger.

“It’s the furnace workers down below the 1000 level! I be sure of it maties! Dat scurvy lot always got an ax to grind against anyone abov’em!” Shouted a Manager from the 7364 district.

“No no! It not so! I say it is those of above! Always look down on the rest! They do this to make us look bad! Laugh at us! It is they who should be punished!” howled one of the furnace workers, about a hundred or so of his compatriots glaring up.

“Oh that’s horsehocky! You darn better believe its some numbskull, prolly got drunk last time he went on shore leave outside the factory, prolly bought a whole heaping lot of the stuff as a joke or something. Bad taste I say, won’t stand for it myself! Something must be done!” A stout Ployee from the 4900 district barked.

Across the great hall leagues of different Ployees began to bicker, old grudges and rivalries flared up as they vented one another. Everyone glared, everyone was shouting, pointing, accusing; everyone, except for a single pair of black lidless eyes that stared from deep down below. The eyes looked up from a hidden grate in the floor, in the shadows where no one noticed. It watched and hissed in delight…

A thunderous hammer strike echoed in the hall as the CEO brought down his gavel.

“ENOUGH OF THIS, ENOUGH OF THIS CHOAS! NO EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE DONE THIS, NO MATER HOW BITTER, IT GOES AGAINST THE ORDER, AS DOES THIS POINTLESS BICKERING! HOWEVER IT GOT HERE, WE WILL FOUND OUT HOW AND PUT A STOP TO IT. IN THE MEAN TIME… ZONKER!

Zonker looked up suddenly, he had almost been able to slink out of sight amid the confusion and shouting, but quickly scurried back to the central podium.

“WHILE IT SEEMS INDEED YOU ARE NOT DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ACQUIRING THE SUBTANCE IN QUESTION, IT IS STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE TO SCAN ALL TOOLS BEFORE USE.” Zonker looked up aghast, no one actually did that, no one had time, he almost, almost was about to protest, but the clouds of fire billowing from around the CEO already put his tongue back.

“AS SUCH, I AM SENTANCING YOU TO REAPIR “ALL” AREAS DAMAGED BY THE EPHERMIAL DUCT TAPE” He said, crashing the gavel down once more. Zonker for his part played his best.

“Oh great Lord High CEO! You are surely fair and just! Oh thank you for this magnanimous show of mercy from your greatness!” The CEO looked down, the amount of grovelling passing his inspection for now.

“COURT AJOURNED!” He bellowed, striking his hammer a final time before disappearing in a ball of fire and smoke.

The great crowd slowly filed out of the courtroom. Mort met up with Zonker, steadying the wobbly footed Ployee.

“Come along now, looks like ye got off relatively light on the old fire an brimstone eh.” Mort said, passing a drink to Zonker as the two of them sat.
“Still, I am just glad its over, thing can get back to normal around here!” Mort raised a big bushy eyebrow at Zonker.
“Normal eh? Someone tried te sabotage us Zonker, that aint normal. That’s down right, chaotic that is. It’s a wonder those pipes lasted as long as they did, just sitting there with Ephemeral tape on them, Ephemeral, think of it!” He said shaking his head. “Well, at least that’s the end of that bussines for now.”

Zonker looked down, twiddling his fingers… Mort hated when he did that.
“Ah yeah, right, good that stuffs all gone huh…”
“Zonker… What happened to all the tape you had personally? I know the rest was confiscated.”
“I, well I but I, I kinda threw it away, down a condemned service shaft. I didn’t want to be found with it! And, well, no ones going to find it down there, right, right!” Mort looked at him.
“Oh?” he said, in a way that in a simple utterance conveyed an infinity of contempt and disappointment in the Rookie.

At that moment, far away in the depths of Section 3292, a hardhat crashed through a series of metal bulkheads.

“Hey! Terp! You ok down there? You took a terrible tumble!” Turk bellowed from high above. “Whats going on? What do you see down there?” Terp looked up, rubbing his sore posterior as he looked into the condemned area.
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Kodiak » 2009-05-30 12:30pm

This is top-notch stuff. Your writing has dominated my break time at work for the past 2 days. Keep it up.
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby Crossroads Inc. » 2009-06-17 06:45pm

Well I WAS hoping for a bit more feedback before posting the next bit.. but alas... Hope this one is more well recieved.

Tales From the Crossroads
IN
Nexus Duty!!!

As Written by Eric Fischer
===============

Another Day another Roll of Duct Tape.

Mort slept fitfully on a bed of discarded gears, old pipes and an oil stained blanket he usually kept in his pocket. As the morning Klaxons roused him, he contemplated the fact that it was rather more comfortable then other places he had slept before.

He tried to ignore the morning bells, and the noise of the incoming. Usually he would have succeeded, but someone had ferreted him out.

“Hey! Mort! Where were ya last night?” Zootz bellowed as he hoped by swinging his lantern. Mort just squinted through his eyes and snorted.

“Trying to sleep you Glack head” he grunted before turning back over.

“Mort, Mort! Come on ya lug! Where were ya? We wus waiting for ya all night down at Sterling’s! Ya never showed ya bum! What kept ya?” Zootz barked as he switched off his lantern, the factory lights coming on for the day shift.

“Urangh” Mort said profoundly before continuing. “Me, Zonker and most of the crew from Level 3297 where stuck fixing that boiler that finally blew in Sector 9-G.” he mumbled, rolling his short arms around, his joints aching as he still felt the concussive impact from last evenings explosion.

“Ay-Yah! Ya and Zonker where dar when it finally blew? Ah! I saw the shock wave that produced on the telly at da bar, dat couldn’t have been fun!” Zootz finished as Mort, resigned now to the land of the awake, tucked his blanket into his pocket and pulled his hard hat out form his other.

“Yah, it was Zonkers first code 1. I’ll tell you Zootz, he may be a Rookie through and through, but he handled himself well last night.”

Zootz paused on this as he was reminded of something. “Ah, yah, Ima glad on dat,” Zootz said, his voice suddenly rather pensive as he pulled a large scroll from his pocket. “I-ya kinda glanced over da new duty rosta before it got out. Der was a few, eh, ‘changes’ ta it ya an Zonker should know about.”

Mort glared at Zootz. Zootz was one of the few managers Mort really liked. One of the reasons for this was he had a tendency to tell Mort about orders made by the higher ups; and usually ones that the ‘higher ups’ didn’t feel like telling him about until right before they needed to be done. The down side of this was he was rarely pleased with said orders, and as of now, Mort new what ever Zootz had, he wouldn’t be happy with it.

“Come on you talley! Out with it, whatever it is it aint something I haven’t done before, you know me better then that Zootz!”

Zootz simply sighed and passed over the scroll. Mort promptly snatched it up, unfurled it and began to skim down. 3/4th of the way, he let out a shriek that had the smelters on lvl 1285 wondering what was up.

WHO PUT ME ON NEXUS DUTY??? He bellowed the largely rhetorical question. He knew full well whom had given the orders as well as why. It was the timing however that had his short tuft of orangish hair ruffled up.

“ZOOTZ! I just went on Nexus duty not too long ago! Shortly before Zonker got here! What is The Boss thinking sending me out again with a Flargin Rookie!” Mort shouted as Zootz, desperate not to attract unwanted attention, tried to calm him down.

“Ay-Yah! I know Mort I know! Ya an I both know howeva da Boss only wants a few Ployees ta know about da Nexus. Dar not be many others ta pick from!” He said as Mort continued to fume.

“B-BUT Zonkers, H-He’s a Rookie! I don’t need a Rookie tagging along on something that just doesn’t affect the Physical Universe, but every reality in existence that’s hooked up too it!” Mort hollered as Zootz began to twiddle his fingers; this was usually a bad sign.

“Ah, maybe ya kin use da extra help?”

Internally Mort fumed, snarled, grimaced and thought of a couple of different ways to vent his rage. Externally, he grumbled, tossed the scroll of orders over the pads on his shoulders and huffed.

“Well, we might as well find Zonker.” Zootz sighed in relief and stopped twiddling his thumbs as he felt himself ease out of Morts Wrath. Mort for his part stormed off in search of Zonker. He was still trying desperate to figure out why he had been assigned Nexus Duty so soon when The Boss knew he’d have to bring Zonker along. A part of him had some small speculation, but he had dismissed it out of hand.

Hoping quickly through the level, Mort and Zootz travelled a few miles before Mort began flicking his ears.
“Con-found it, I know he’s around here somewhere, I just know it, I can feel it!” He mumbled as Zootz looked around as well. Flicking his ear he spotted a lump hanging from a hissing stem pipe.

“Ay! Dars Zonker, Right over der!” Zootz said as Mort turned quickly.
“There he is… And He’s got a PILLOW?” Mort shouted suddenly as quickly hopped the distance between he and Zonker.

“Oh Zonker, WAKE UP TIME!” He bellowed right into the sleeping Employees ear. Zonker awoke suddenly, falling from his perch atop the pipe with a hard ‘thud’ the pillow vanished almost instantly as Mort looked down angrily.

“Argggg!! Who? Wha? Where? What pillow? I’m Up!” he sputtered out as Mort shook his head. He’d have to ask him where he had conjured that bit of inter dimensional flotslum up from later. For now at least, there was where more pressing issues.

“Come along Zonker, we have Nexus Duty.” Mort said rather nonchalantly as Zonker picked up his size 56 Wrench and hardhat.

“Nexus duty? What’s that? Sounds like fun!” Zonker spoke eagerly as Zootz simply cringed.
“Wha? What’s Nexus… Ay-yah! Mort! I wish ya Da luck of Da Boss! Ya gonna need evera bit of it!”

Mort simply sighed as he hopped down the hallway, Zonker happily following after him. The two walking for quite some time before Zonker began to question their progress.

“Hey Mort, where are we going? It’s still early, the trams and lifts are all really busy right now! Shouldn’t we get in line or something if we need to get to this Nexus thing?” Zonker chirped as he idly twirled his wrench.

Mort gave him a long look as he found his way to a dusty service locker.
“Not going to need a lift, not today Zonker” he said as he opened up the locker. Inside was a rather impressive cast iron vault with a single keyhole. The vault looked as aged as the Crossroads factory itself and covered in rust and layers of dust. Not even a fingerprint lay upon it as Mort fished a huge Iron key from his pocket.

“No Lifts? Where we going Mort? We always need a lift! Or a tram, a tube, a Zepplin…” Mort cut him off with a wave as he opened the vault, fishing out a box of what appeared to be punch cards.

“No lifts today Zonker. We’re going to need a Keycard.” Mort said as he picked up a card, swishing it about. Zonker looked on a bit dumbfounded.

“Keycards? Mort ya silly. We only need Keycards to travel outside the Central Tower, and there isn’t anything outside the tower that we work on!” he said, though his voice began to trail off even as he spoke. “Right Mort?”

“Nothing you’d know about” he said swishing another card about… He skimmed through them, checking the numbers on each. He picked up one which seemed to be a it more tattered then the others. Carefully he lifted it, and gave it a swish.

As he brought the card downward, the tip seemed to cut through space. Within a fraction of a second, the tip of the card ripped a glowing arch, emitting a loud “SWISH!” as it left a glimmering tear in the fabric of the cosmos. A half second after he swished it, a nice neat hole of light danced in front of them.

“Ah, there we are now, now come along Zonker, you’re going to have some fun today.” He said as he vanished through the hole.

Zonker paused on the other side, he hadn’t been outside the Tower since he was first hired, and he had no idea where the hole may lead. But He was an Employee, and work was work. Dashing head first, he squinted his beedy eyes as light flashed around him. He seemed to stumble through the nothingness as he exited the Tower and entered, someplace else.

Zonker blinked, looked up, and swore for the third time in his service as an Employee. “Sweet Holy Flarging BOSS! What in the Towers name is that?” Mort smiled.

The ‘that’ that he was referring to, as he looked out a rather massive window from a large room, was another room; a massive one. It was easily several hundred miles tall and at least three hundred across, forming a massive cylinder. Occupying the center of the immense room was a glowing sphere a good hundred miles in diameter. The sphere was something that, where anyone other then an Employee looking at it, would have driven a person mad. It was impossible to fathom physically. It occupied both Fractal and Quantum space at once. Immense towers of negative energy, hundreds of metres tall, erupted from it constantly at the pace of tens of thousands of a second. Likewise, bottomless holes would open with an equally quickened pace across the ever rippling surface.

“Welcome Zonker, to the Crossroads Continuity Nexus.” Zonker gawked, then gawked more. He didn’t fully understand what he was looking at. As an Employee, he could fathom it, he could understand its principals and the way it seemed to permeate the universe. But there was more too it then that; It wasn’t just one universe, but several, hundreds, thousands. Zonker flicked his ears a bit as he felt a strange curious sensation. He tried to probe into what he was seeing and found what he anticipated, a fractal mobias equation bending back on itself.

“M-Mort, ah, eh, rh… Th-This thing exists in every universe in existence! All of’em, at once!” Zonker suddenly shouted out as he dropped his wrench in excitement. Mort looked at him and tried not to smile. It took him his first day to work that out. Mort tried acting nonchalant.

“Of course, you Rookie… It’s a Nexus, TheNexus that The BOSS uses to monitor and alter the infinite realities within the netherverse. You know that the The BOSS keeps track on the infinite realities within the universe while we keep watch over the physical universe itself, right?” Mort chirped as Zonker realized the true purpose of the sphere.

“Ah, yeah Mort, bu-but I thought this thing was still kept in check by the BOSS? Why in the Towers name are we even here?” Zonker spoke, still a but dumbfounded by what he was looking at as Mort began to gather up supplies and tools within the small room they occupied.

“Well, the BOSS did automate it, but that was a while ago toward the beginning of things. With each new reality the Nexus keeps getting bigger, and finally The BOSS decided to make it manifest” Mort finished as he stood for a moment in from of the window that separated him from the next room. He admitted to himself, looking at it made even his eyes hurt

“So, then why are we here, I, I mean where not going to have to, work on it?” Zonker asked hesitantly.
“Work, on it? OI! Boss’es name no no… It takes care of it self for the most part. But the bigger it gets an more complicated, well, everything ELSE round here needs te be maintained and upgraded every so often te keep up ye see.
“Then we are still going out THERE? Out into the room with the Nexus!?” Mort smirked.
“Naturally.”
“But, but realties changing constantly out there! If, we go out there, our forms are going to be in a constant state of flux!”
“Oh, it’s not so bad..” Mort said as he slowly pushed Zonker toward the Airlock.

A moment later Zonker found himself trembling, holding his bag of tools as the door in front him opened up.
“Well! This is it, here I go, Just going to take one step outside, yes! Going to go right now! Just going to—“

With a mighty Boot from Morts’ Massive shoe, Zonker found himself unceremoniously kicked into the next room. Within a span of a few seconds, his physical form changed shape a half dozen times.

“Oh BOSS! That’s going to be a pain!” He gasped, holding the shape of a four armed draconic creature at the particular moment he said it. Mort dashed out a moment later, moving between what appeared to be a large round dog, and then suddenly Gracho Marx.
“Different realities different shapes! You’ll get used to it, now grab ye tools an lets get te work!” He said before launching himself up into the air with a mighty POING from his feet. Mort looked down, fumbling to even pick up his tools as his hands went from four, back to two, then inexplicably became crab claws.

“This is Infuriating!” he shouted before he followed after Mort, close on his heels. The two of them leapt along the vast twisting maze of pipes and valves that comprised much of the surface of the immense ever-stretching cylinder that housed the Nexus. He flicked his ears to check the internal maintenance schedule with Mort, though as the forms shifted by, he didn’t always have ‘ears’. Zonker found himself moving endless as the myriad of realties twisted and zipped by him, his mind ticking off the changes as they happened, tails, legs, four eyes, two eyes, arms, psudopods. Psudopods? Zonker’s mind was working fast enough now that, for the 3.2 seconds he existed as it, he realized he had become an amoeba.

“MORT!” Zonker shouted as he turned his wrench with a series of tentacles “ This is highly Infuriating You’ve done this before, how in the Boss’s name did you ever tolerate this!” Mort looked down from where he hung as some sort of adolescent blue war machine and chuckled.
“I didn’t, it’s still infuriating ye Rookie! Just follow de pattern an keep workin!”
Zonker gave a deep grumbling “humf” and continued after Mort, stopping where it was needed to perform maintenance on the vast array of pipes and valves.

As he continued to follow Mort, he slowly began to sense a pattern to the changes, not any sort of repeating pattern to it, but as it went on, he began to realize, half an instant before he’d change, he knew what he’d turn it. He’d reach for a wrench with a five-fingered hand, knowing he’d be pulling back with a prehensile tail.
“Well now, this does change things!” He thought to himself as he launched himself up to another series of pipes miles above primary Nexus core. Zonker grew more and more to anticipate the changes as they happened, it wasn’t long before he even began to perceive exactly WHAT He was shifting into.

“Mort! MORT! Look! I’m a theoretical from planet 172951!” He shouted as Mort look back to spot for a half second a Zebra striped, winged, tailed, three-eyed creature. Mort paused; just barely long enough to see Zonker before he shifted again, this time appearing to become a stout Beer can shaped Robot.
“I’m an Inorganic from planet 32576! I can belch fire! This is Brilliant!” Mort paused from yanking a series of worn gears and camshafts from an engine assembly along the wall and stared at Zonker.

“Just when I think I’ve figured that Rookie out, well he’s full of surprises aint he. HEY ZONKER! If ye having so much fun in all this, well get up here with me there’s only a few bits left te do in here” He barked back down as Zonker shot himself up.

“You doing good so far Rookie, almost done for the day, so think ye can handle a few more maintenance spots?” Zonker caught up to the level Mort was it, shifting a few more times as he grabbed his favourite Hexal Wrench.
“Anything Mort! I feel I can take on anything!” Mort grinned.
“Perfect, then grab some rope and an anchor, we got some work on the Nexus itself.” He said with a tad bit much smugness.

A few moments later, Mort found himself and a now shrieking Zonker, dangling only a few hundred feet above the writhing surface of the Nexus. Naturally they weren’t doing work on the Nexus directly, but a series of small monitoring boxes that orbited very close to the surface. Mort could feel the titanic sucking pull of the Nexus each time a void opened across its surface. Like Gravity singularities opening and closing at a frightening pace, the Nexus pulled with a fierce force as Mort worked on the monitoring station, his faith firmly in the rope and Anchor that held them tight. Zonker on the other hand was less reassured.

“We are going to get FLUXED!” he shrieked.
“We’re going te be fine, just calm down.”
“We are doomed! We’re going to be pulled into Oblivion, or even further!”
“ZONKER! Don’t Panic! I am almost done working here and then we can go. Theres an Anchor holding us in place, it has a direct tie back to the Tower, trust me, nothings is going to go wrong.”

Naturally in the next moment, the Anchored shattered, a spray of iron shrapnel flying out form where it had been. As the two were pulled down into an opening void, Mort had just enough time to regard that they seemed to be currently in the form of two large tomatoes.

“Personally I’d rather be fishing right now…”




Back at the mighty Crossroads Central Control Tower, things we continuing on as ‘relatively’ normal as an average day in the Tower were. A group of regulars from the 3275 district had gathered for a midday get together.

“Ok everyone! Lets get this Preliminary pre-meeting meeting under way!” Merf said in the oddly high-pitched voice most found annoying. There was about a dozen or so Ployees gathered around a large slab of steel that served as a table. Zymn looked up at the others and tapped his head with a size 59 Thumbern Wrench.
“Wait wait, hold a sec everyone, we be missing some peeps, where be Zonk and Mort? I aint seen’em all day!” Terp looked around quickly, snapping his head back and forth from where he stood on the table (too short to sit with the others)
“Well well, looks like goody too shoes and the Rookie is actually late for a meeting!” he said with a slightly cackle and then just as suddenly looked toward the others.
“That just aint natural… Much az I’d love to wallow in anything he might mess up, he iz never late. An if he ever was, I’d know’em enough he’d bloody say something about it!” Everyone suddenly began to look at each other with a slightly worried expression.
“Alright…Wherez Zootz…”

A few moments later Zootz stood before the assembled, a firing line of glares upon him.

“Ok Zootz! Out with it! Wherez Zonk and Mort! And no fibbing! I’m king a that round here so don’t think ya can get by with it!” Zootz fumbled a bit, he was a manager, he wasn’t supposed to be glared at by Employees, he was supposed to be doing the glaring, it was in his job description! Never the less he found himself fidgeting with his fingers, which everyone knew was a sign of some sort of horrendous news.

“He an Zonker, well the two of’em, they got assigned Nexus duty this morning.”
The group stared in shared silence, at least until Merf interrupted.
“Whats Nexus Duty?” Terp shot a glare around the others before looking back to Zootz.

“OK ye all herez how itz goona to go down…”

What followed was a surprisingly thorough breakdown of likely places Mort and Zonker might have ended up if lost in the Nexus. Terp gathered the dozen or so Employees at the meeting together and organized them into search parties. IN a short amount of time, groups left with handfuls of keycards checking small pockets of time and space.

While Zootz tried to keep things largely under wraps, rumours none the less spread about the mysterious disappearance of the Mort, and evidently Zonker was gone too. Zymn Merf and Tyrm found themselves searching several of the more esoteric pockets of space, while Turk and Terp spent several hours as abstract equations in Fractal Space. SO it was that, in a far away corner of the Tower, where no one would have thought to look, a small rip in Quantum space began to tear open. It fizzled popped and burst open, spitting out a pair of dishevelled Employees.

Mort and Zonker stared ahead blankly for a moment. Their cloths were torn and weathered; stitched patches a few of the larger holes in their robes. Their helmets were pitted and pockmarked with dents. They both smoked lightly, a small ember still faintly burning on zonkers shoulder…

“Sweet Holy Boss it actually worked!” Mort spoke at last.
“Yup” Zonker replied blankly.
“We actually made it back.
“Yup” The two stood silent aging, blinking rapidly.
“You realize we can never tell ANYone what happened.”
“Oh HELLS yes” Zonker said as he dropped a small bit of pasta and fibres optic cables he seemed to be holding…

It wasn’t until much later in the day that the news of their return spread to all corners of the tower. Zonker fled immediately, exhausted and thinking only of sleep, he pulled his coveted pillow from his pocket and curled up next to a radiation exhaust pipe. Mort for his part found himself being hounded by Zootz.

“Yah need ta be debriefed der Mort, It’s regulation! We got ta know what went wrong an what happened to ya!”
“Look Zootz, I told you earlier, I don’t want to talk about…” Mort said turning around. Zootz fumed.
“I’mma Manager Mort! I don’t often like ta pull it up! But I am, an I can order ya under Tower Law ifina ya don’t tell me what happened.” Mort turned around slowly. He gave Zootz a curious glance. It was indeed few and far between that Zootz ever threatened to invoke his managerial status with Mort, and Mort respected him too much as a friend to force his hand.

“Look, I will say this, we were almost done, we had to do some maintenance near the Nexus, and our anchor chain broke.” Zootz boggled
“It broke? Your Anchor broke? Dat, dats just impossible, Anchors are something held together stuff from the factory, it’s a powerful organized thing anchors are, how could one possibly break?”
“I don’t know Zootz, it was a Chaotic thing that happened and it’s got me worried.” Zootz nodded and looked up.
“And after yah got pulled in? I checked ya internal chronometers Mort, You an Zonker where gone for almost 7 standard months. What in the Bosses name happened to ya?

Morts gathered himself up and gave Zootz a glance, one of the rare deep piercing glances that Mort used in circumstances where he knew he had an upper hand.

“Zootz, my dear and trusted friend… If ever there comes a time, when the Tower itself is collapsing around us and the universe is in danger of collapsing upon itself…” Zootz lept in,
“You’d tell me?”
“I’d, think about…”
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CaptainChewbacca
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby CaptainChewbacca » 2009-06-17 10:49pm

Good God DAMN these are fun to read! Where'd they go? Will we find out?
Stuart: The only problem is, I'm losing track of which universe I'm in.

You kinda look like Jesus. With a lightsaber.- Peregrin Toker

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LadyTevar
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Re: Stories from Mechanics of The Universe

Postby LadyTevar » 2009-06-18 05:57pm

Someone down in the sewer is playing Da Boss.
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