By the time Marty got past the stupor – even with his healing ability, imbibing from a filling station could get him pretty blitzed – the penguin from the Tux Brigade had slid off into the night. It looked to him like the toonworlds were starting to bleed onto each other more than usual. They’d already been porous at the borders anyway, and there was a lot more travel going on now. It was probably going to be fun!
Still, the place was straining even HIS suspension of disbelief now!
Kevin, meanwhile, had visited a few parents.
The individual reactions had varied of course – but given that they hadn’t been able to keep the kids from wandering off into the Manifold in the first place, and the general hostilities that could be found there, the returns from death and temporary indenture looked like a pretty good deal to most of the parents – especially since the kids got to keep the powers once the contract ended.
The regular messages home had defused any potential fits, although they wanted a few demonstrations – and they kept demanding having a way to get messages through and to visit the Thralls when they WEREN’T on missions. It wasn’t like they had any hope of restraining them; the shapeshifting-and-orbital jump demonstration was enough to eliminate that idea.
Well, arranging visitation was easy enough; all they needed to do was to forward the messages to Kadia and to drop by when they got responses that their kids were in.
Overall, they weren’t entirely happy with the situation – but if their kids INSISTED on going adventuring, it looked to them like signing up with Kevin might be among the best possible ways of doing it, even discounting the public-service aspects of rescuing planets from the nova-shockwave and similar projects.
On the side, sending another wave of Thralls back into the Linear Realms to help maintain order – and making offers to the syndicates to get them to help as well – was straightforward enough. The setup for a trip to the Anthropomorphic worlds was underway, even if it was mostly getting some idea of what social roles and customs would fit in properly.
The search for the Singular kids was underway as well – even if it was mostly a gate-mapping project at the moment and an attempt at probability analysis (unless one got killed; they’d show up in Kadia then and could give the staff some idea of where they’d all wound up).
The data from the Singular military base/refuge had been collected, and was now being compiled – and they still had to look into those contacts that Master Tindale had recommended that they look up.
Finally, on the information-gathering and investigative side, they had a new emphasis on Merlin and the Commonwealth.
Meanwhile, with his headache, Marty was looking into lawyers for a custody battle. He had to go to Los Angeles.
At least his care was done drinking – even if it smelled a little drunk and looked shinier.
(Marty) “Pew! Let’s take you through a car wash, or sentient police cars will pull me over!”
The nearest car wash was a sentient fire hydrant running a a street side business.
(Marty) “Hey, can you wash the ethanol off this guy? He overdid it a bit.
(Hydrant) “Sure thing, the ethanol should come right off, of course we could light it on fire first and then let me douse it. I’d do it for free then!”
(Marty) “Nah, I’ve got the money. Besides, he’s never this shiny back home. Too much soot!”
(Hydrant) “Awwww, I never get anyone to let me set their stuff on fire. Oh well, when I earn enough money I can then buy stuff to burn. Or join fire-fighting school (the hydrant looked quite proud as it said that).
(Marty) “Well, I hope you make it in!”
(Hydrant) “Thanks, now either roll up the windows or stand back, cause I am going to wash it!”
Marty gunned the power windows – and barely got them up before the fire hydrant suddenly took a deep breath, grew to the size of a large van, and expelled an enormous gush of water at his car. The buffeting was intense, the car was sent flying, to come to a stop against the opposite curb – although many of the other cars in the floated away, some getting sucked down the storm drains down the road.
(Marty) “Now that’s why people shouldn’t drive compact cars!”
Marty paid the fire hydrant and headed off to LA! This was going to be exciting! He’d never driven in a city where every non-surface street was a road rage lane!
He managed to avoid the racecar-policecar chase running along one of the highways, although the helicopter nearly clipped him as it dived through the tunnel next to him. He managed to successfully negotiate the bridge span over the Mississippi river where they’d built the ramps, but not the middle section of the bridge. He even managed to avoid hitting anything in the Dakotas when he fell asleep at the wheel… He was getting good at this long-distance travel thing! It had to be all the practice out in the Manifold, it was hard to get much longer-range than that!
(Marty) “Dammit, couldn’t they at least put up a few ramps? Geez… Hey Limey! What do you think about the wastes of Flyover Country? I’m sorry about the lack of easy Wi-Fi!”
(Limey) “It’s alright! I managed to get a hold of your cell phone contract and am now data roaming over the 3g network!!! I blew through your 4 gigabyte limit in minutes. I am so proud!!!”
(Marty) “We’re going to California, little buddy. That’s where they make Macs!”
Soon enough the sky became clouded in eternal darkness, the air burned with smog, and the sound of sirens became omnipresent.
Ew. No wonder Corrigan had moved – although it wasn’t like New York was much better!
Now where was that law office? Hm… According to the GPS, it would appear to be that enormous black tower with the giant burning eye at the top.
Marty took Limey along. You never know what lawyers had up their power suits!
As he entered the front door he was confronted with the ridiculous sight of an orcish female wearing the most unflattering dress behind the desk. She appeared to be chewing something at the moment, and he could see a phone cord hanging from her mouth. Had the Balrog been expanding his business interests?
(Marty) “Hi! I need to make an appointment.”
It was a bit startling to hear her speak with a perfect southern belle accent.
(Secretary) “Sure thing sweetie, let me check when the next opening is.”
Could this be the source of the Orcish restaurant franchise? Operating out of Battling Business World?
The secretary pulled out a clipboard, frowned, pulled out an axe, screamed something quite primal, chopped the clipboard in half, then hammered it to another clipboard in a most disgusting display of poor carpentry skills that Marty had ever seen.
(Secretary) “Sorry it seems that the printer forgot to include Tuesdays on the calender again. We should have an opening after lunch if you would like to wait.”
(Marty) “I will, thanks.”