Mr. Angkarn took a moment from scrubbing his crate. Earlier he had come by to find that some prankster had painted over it with a bright shade of purple. He had almost gotten the paint removed when a second attack had left both the crate and himself colored with the violet mess. From inside he heard a beeping…
He had programmed his scanners to alert him the next time a chroniton spike was detected. He stepped inside, shut off the alarm, and grabbed the homemade timey-whimey detector he had put together. The cleanup would have to wait.
Mr. Angkarn glanced at the scanner. While it had not locked onto the source of the chroniton emissions, he could. Tell this had been the largest collection of them yet. He punched a few buttons on the crate and watched as it slowly began to collapse into itself, until it more closely resembled a briefcase. Mr. Angkarn picked up the case and the timey-whimey detector and set off in the direction of the emissions.
As he walked through town, he thought that perhaps it would be wise to seek assistance. He had heard that there was a man, Mr. Henly if memory served, who was tracking these emissions as well. Mr. Angkarn found one of the town children out causing mischief.
“Boy, do me a favor and go fetch Mr. Henly. Tell him that there has been another sighting.”
Mr. Angkarn tossed the boy a shiny copper coin, and he was off running. Orpheus continued down the street until he saw what he had feared most. It shouldn’t have been possible, but then again, lots of what happened in New Babbage “shouldn’t” have been possible. A hole hovered in the air, swirling as it sucked air in. It looked as if a tear had been ripped in space itself. Mr. Angkarn kept his distance. He circled around, trying to see what came out the other side, only to find nothing! There was only one way into the hole, and no way out it appeared.
Suddenly he realized the hole was getting bigger! Orpheus checked his scanner to see that as he had gotten closer to the rip, the emissions had gotten stronger as well. “The case!” he shouted. “The case is attracting the particles.” Without warning, the rip tore open violently, its swirling maw sucking air in. Orpheus tried to run, but it was too strong. He felt himself pulled in. Everything went black. He could not see where he was being pulled to, nor could he see the rip seal itself shut as he passed through it.
Not another one! Better not be the Antarctic this time! Brr!
Mr. Angkarn slowly opened his eyes. “How long had he been asleep” he wondered. Surely that must have been a dream.
It was not a dream. Orpheus slowly looked around to realize that he was laying on a cold wood floor, and that it was slowly rocking back and forth. He slowly pulled himself to his feet. He was on an old sailing vessel, one of antiquity. There was no boiler, no engine, no steamwork of any kind! The only propulsion seemed to be provided by the massive sails.
Mr. Angkarn put his things down. “Hello?” he shouted. “Is anyone there? Where am I? Hello?”
A cold rain fell, and the ocean churned violently. Orpheus could find no sign of a crew on board. He looked over the side of the boat. The lifeboats were gone, and a swarm of those vicious sea snakes circled the craft. He took the wheel, fighting to maintain control of the vessel. He had no idea where he was, or how he had gotten there, but he was sure not going to die at sea. He would find land, and then figure out how to return to New Babbage to warn them of the rifts. Hopefully Mr. Henly had not fallen to the same fate, and could perhaps seal them himself.