“Super-Evolved Death Birds With Yellow Throats”

Ben Case

All rights reserved by the author

 

Sprogger Krinklemaster, a toad-like man, was experimenting to create wormholes in his backyard.  It doesn’t really matter when he was doing this, just that he was.  He thought he had just done it, created a wormhole that is.[1]  But he couldn’t see it.  He had the energy right, his math was right, and he was pretty sure he was going about it the right way.  But he couldn’t see it.  He pushed the start button again, just to make sure.  Nothing.  Sprogger though to himself “maybe I forgot to plug in the power source.”  He walked over to his Naboobularium generator, Naboobularium being the element that replaced Hydrogen as the element of choice for nuclear fusion, and checked it out.  Not only was it plugged, but…there was no power left in it.  The K-Man began to wonder, “Where have all the power gone??”  If the energy was there when he started, and it was gone now, then it must’ve worked.  Sprogger needed a drink.  He went inside and made himself a Naboobulan Twister, sorta like a Shirley Temple but less girly.  He picked up the phone and called his buddy Luminos who lived across the way under an awful nice big tree.  Luminos was a bit odd for the times, he liked the wear sandals and play croquet.  But he was a good guy all around.  Three rings in, Lumy picked up:

“Hello?”

“Hey Lumy, its Sprog!”

“Hey Sprog! How’s it hangin?”

Eh..Been better, been better. You?”

Im right as rain.  What can do for ya?”

“O nothing much, just wondering if you happened to see a wormhole like object or something around.  Have ya?”

“Nope, sorry man. Why? What’s up?”

“O nothing special, it seems I’ve misplaced one.  You sure you don’t see it? Maybe out back? or maybe up in the sky somewhere?”

“Hmm...lemme go check.  Hold on.”

thanks!”

“……………”

“……………”

“Sprog?”

“Yea Lum?”

“Sorry man, no luck here.”

“Alright, thanks anyway.”

k, later man.”

ciao!”

 

Thoroughly flummoxed, Sprogger finished his drink, poured another and back outside to check his equipment.  Double checking the equipment led nowhere: his power source was the same as he left it, some critter had taken one of his bags of salt and vinegar chips, and his wormhole was nowhere to be found.  “Shit” exclaimed the K-Man.  “Where’s my damn wormhole??!!”

 

            The Harbingers lived on quaint little ranch out in Wyoming where life was quiet and times were good.  On this particular day, the sky was blue without a cloud in sight.  The sun was high overhead and little Davy was up his tree house playing doctor with the new Malibu Barbie and Spaceman Ken that his mommy had bought him yesterday over at Earl’s Emporium.  He could hear his parents in the house talking about the big trucks that had being coming through lately and spreading the funny smelling dirt around.  Davy liked big trucks, and he wanted to go play in the funny dirt.  His daddy had said no.  Davy didn’t understand when his daddy told him it was bad dirt.  After all, how could anything that came in neat big trucks and smelled funny be bad?  Especially when the Davy could see the gophers that lived near by playing in it all the time.  Davy like liked gophers too.  They were cute and made funny faces.  One time Davy’s mommy caught him feeding Larry, his favorite gopher, chocolate and told him not to play with strange little animals.  But Davy knew Larry, and Larry was his friend.  Larry had a super-cool mark on one of his little arms.  It looked just like the scar that the kid in that Harry Potter movie had.  Davy didn’t like that movie, even though the scar was cool.  He agreed with his best friend Bobby who said it was gay.  Davy didn’t know what gay meant, but it must’ve been true because Bobby was real smart.  Once, he heard his mommy telling his daddy how bad she felt for Bobby because Bobby’s parents were white trash.  Davy didn’t know what that meant either, but Bobby was his bestest friend.  He wasn’t home today though; his project made it to the finals in the science fair and the judging was today.  He was about to go and ask if he could call and see if Bobby was back when he saw the coolest thing EVER…TWICE! 

Behind Davy’s house there was forest, Davy knew the forest really well.  He went exploring all the time, even at night when it was scary.  Well, there was a big clearing a little ways into the forest, and that was where Davy saw the coolest thing ever, twice.  It looked like a big sideways tornado, but blue.  The small end started above the trees and magically appeared out of nothing.  It got bigger and bigger till the big end, like the part of a tornado that’s in the sky, was real close to the ground.  Davy thought he saw something fall out of it, but he wasn’t sure.  A couple seconds later it disappeared and Davy was left wonderstruck until another sideways blue tornado-like thing appeared at the corner of the forest where the stream turns and heads toward Davy’s house.  Davy could swear he saw some jump off the ground into it too before this one closed too, but he wasn’t sure.  Double wonderstruck, Davy almost didn’t hear his mommy calling for him from the porch, it was 1:00, and that meant lunchtime.  Davy liked lunch.  He was climbing down from the tree when he saw something on the horizon.  It looked like a dust cloud hundreds of feet wide; it was moving toward them.

“Mommy!!”

“Yes cupcake?”

“Mommy, what’s that?”

 

*Davy points at the dust cloud*

*Davy’s mom looks the dust cloud*

 

“I dunno honey. Never mind it, come on in, its lunchtime.”

“But its coming this way mommy!!”

“That’s just silly Davy, What’d I tell you about lying?”

Its not a lie! Look mommy!!”

 

*Davy’s mom looks again*

 

“Wait here Davy.  I’m going to get your father!”

 

By this time, Davy could make out that it wasn’t just a dust cloud; something was running on the ground.  Davy went back into his tree house and got the binoculars his Grammy gave him for his birthday last year.  What he saw excited him more the when his daddy brought home a puppy 2 years ago.  Davy had wanted to name it Karl, but his mommy said she wouldn’t abide a dirty communist living under her roof.  Davy didn’t know what a dirty communist was, but it sounded like a bad thing, so Davy named it Ruff.  What Davy saw through his binoculars was the biggest herd of gophers he had ever seen in his entire life.  And there, at the front of the herd, was Barry, Davy’s other favorite gopher.  Barry was coming to play, and he was bringing his friends.  Davy’s parents came out of the house and his daddy called up to him, telling him to stay put.  As the gophers got closer and started to dig under their wooden fence, Davy thought they looked different somehow.  They were angry, yipping and barking and biting each other.  Davy’s parents ran for the car as hundreds of wild gophers flooded under the fencing and raced towards Davy’s house.  Ruff ran out of the house barking.  Davy screamed as they swarmed over him tearing flesh from bone, silencing Ruff’s screams and turning towards his parents, leaving the bloody ruins of Ruff.  Davy, tears flowing from his eyes, screamed again as they reached his father and leaped at him, shredding cloth from flesh and flesh from bone.  As his father’s body, streaming with blood, fell lifeless to the ground, Davy heard his mother scream and saw Barry leap at her throat tearing apart her jugular. 

            With everything on the ground dead, the gophers moved on like a sea of furry death, wild and frothing across the fields to the open grasslands of Wyoming.  Davy Harbinger, eyes stained red from tears, climbed down from his tree house and made his way passed the mess of fur and blood that was Ruff, to the torn carcass of his father and the nearly untouched body of his dead mother.  He swore to undo what had been done and take his revenge upon the raving horde of gophers that had savagely murdered his parents and his poor dog Ruff.[2]

 

 

            It was a beautiful summer day sometime in the far future.  Exactly when doesn’t really matter.  Hobarken Spriteminer was out in the west field behind his farmhouse with Alexis, his childhood friend.  Lately Alexis had been different.  Nothing big, just little things.  He caught her looking at him at odd moments; she found excuses to be close to him, he noticed her arms or legs caressing him here and there now and then.  Since they were young, Hobarken had always been attracted to her, but to Alexis he had always been just that best friend she had always known.  Now as they lay together in the tall grasses, as their hands wandered and he softly kissed her, everything felt different, more alive, more excited.  The gentle kisses and soft touching became passionate and urgent.  A decade of pent up emotions flooded out of Hobarken, taking him over.  Their passions growing, hearts racing: Alexis, unable to contain her passion, gave in to her primal urges.  This was what Hobarken had been waiting for his whole life. And then………. BWAAARRRAAANNNNGGGG!!!!!!!!  A giant wormhole materialized and Hobarken was sucked into the massive swirling vortex of space and time.

            Hobarken Spriteminer, the first person in the history of the universe to actually travel through a wormhole, had the sensation of being pulled through something water-like at an incredible speed, while at the same time feeling like he was standing still.  Several seconds later, he was back in normal space, lying on his back after being dumped out of the wormhole some 10 feet above the ground.  He looked left. Grass and some trees.  He looked right.  More grass and a stream. And with that he stood up and with a great deal of anger towards someone exclaimed, “Why the hell is this always happening to me? And where the hell am I?”  He never got the answer to that question because shortly after deciding to follow the stupid stream, and just after making a turn around some trees and spotting a small village, a small gopher popped its head up from behind a rock, winked at him and…another massive wormhole opened and Hobarken was again sucked into a massive swirling vortex of space and time.

            The first person in the history of the universe to actually travel through a wormhole more than once, Hobarken found himself on a line of massive trees separating the open plains in front of him from the biggest forest he had ever seen.  The trees behind him were huge, hundreds of feet high and five times thicker than any tree he’d ever heard about.  Mumbling something about gophers, he started to walk along the tree line towards another stupid stream that he saw off to the left.  Getting to the stream, he was about kneel down for a drink when he tripped on something and falling back, sat on a rock and heard a small crunch followed by a loud screech.  “God damn it!”  The crunch came from the rock. The rock had a nest on it, and the nest had fist-sized eggs in it, and Hobarken had sat on two of em.  The screech came from behind the rock.  Behind the rock was chicken bird, or something like it.  Hobarken couldn’t really tell what it was, except that it definitely looked like one of those Coccabos things from that Final Fantasy MMMDCCXXIII game he got for his 10th birthday, except this had a rather interesting yellow patch of feathering across its throat that made a striking contrast to the solid black of the rest of its feathers.[3]   Now, somewhere in time, with broken egg goo all over his brand new pants and an enraged chicken creature squawking at him, Hobarken decided that this was in fact the absolute worst day of his entire life.  He kicked the chicken creature.  He kicked it again.  He kicked it in the face.  He kicked it till it stopped squawking and lay there twitching.  With absolutely no flipping idea what to do next, and an absolute certainty that life couldn’t get any worse, Hobarken flipped a coin, turned towards the grassy plain and started walking.

 

 

            As he got to Lumy’s house in afternoon three days after his wormholes disappeared, Sprogger noticed Lumy was playing a little croquet in his backyard.  Lately, he had been playing a great deal of croquet in preparation for the Olympic Croquet Qualifying Matches.  Sprogger called over to him and they both made their way to Luminos’s open porch where Lumy’s butler was just setting out some tea.  Breaking the ice with some chit chat about Lumy’s upcoming match and how his game was progressing, Sprogger was about to sip his Orange Zinger tea and ask about his wormhole again when everything around him seemed to shift.  The world became lucid and the whole room started changing, moving from reality to something else.  He saw his clothes change and fade from the bright orange jumpsuit he’d been wearing to a stained and torn yellow version.  He saw Lumy’s paisley socks melt away, his knee high wrapped sandals twist to rags wrapped around his feet, his blue and yellow checkerboard polo shirt meld into a shredded indistinguishable copy of itself.  Luminos’s house became nothing more than pile of rubble barely concealing them from the sky above.  That’s when they heard it.   A screech more terrible than anything either of them had ever heard.  It was the sound death.  They looked up and saw it.  It was massive beyond words, teeth like razors, wings the size of city blocks. They watched it fall from the sky and land on Trumpy Fogglespockon, pinning him to the ground with claws of steel and tearing him in half.    The bird-beast was black as night except for a medium sized yellow patch on their throats.  Sprogger seemed to recognize the bird monster from someplace, but he couldn’t remember where.  The beast, finished with poor Trumpy, thundered into the air and flew off toward the city.

            Sprogger and Luminos could hear more of the beasts to the west and north. Stepping out from the ruins of Luminos’s house, they surveyed the area and saw for the first time what the world had come to.  There was a building standing as far as the eye could see, Sprogger’s house was completely obliterated.  The forest that used to extend behind Lumy’s house for miles was charred to the ground.  Nothing was left.

            “Sprogger?”

            “Yea Lum?”

            “What the hell was that?”

            “It looked a super evolved death bird with a yellow throat.”

            “I could see that dumbass.  What is going on? Why are there super evolved death birds with yellow throats flying about killing everything when 5 minutes ago we were having TEA!!??

“O that, I don’t really know.  That change that happened to us before, that felt like a temporal shift of some sort.”

What?? How the hell would you know what a ‘temporal shift’ feels like?  Have

you ‘temporally shifted’ before? Have you ever done ‘temporal’ anything before???”

            “Well no…”

            “Then why are you saying it felt like one?!”

            “Well what do you think it was?”

            “I have no fucking idea! I play CROQUET!  You’re the scientist!”

            “Exactly, and I say it was a temporal shift. So that’s what it is!”

            “Shut up! This is your fault anyway.”

            “What the hell are you talking about? How is this my fault??!”

            “You said it was a temporal shift right?”

            “Yea, so?”

            “Well, what causes temporal shifts? Hmm? I’m guessing changes in the past.”

            “So?”

            “How do you change the past?  Travel back in time, right?”

            “So what?”

            “Don’t wormholes go different places in time? Didn’t you just lose 2 of em?”

            “……shut up.”

            “Don’t give me that.  How do we fix this?”

            “Well, first we gotta find what was changed.”

            “….Sprogger…I’m not sure you noticed…but there are GIGANTIC FUCKING SUPER EVOLVED DEATH BIRDS WITH YELLOW THROATS FLYING AROUND KILLING EVERYTHING!!!!”

            “Not that stupid, I mean what exactly was changed that allowed these super evolved death birds with yellow throats to exist.”

            “Somebody around here has to know.”

            “Hope it wasn’t Trumpy…”

 

            Who they ran into was none other than Marto Leduis Klondew himself.  Sprogger recognized him of course, since just about all his equipment was bought from the Klondew Corporation.  He, and most of the world, except of course for Luminos who was too busy playing in more Croquet tournaments to know who anybody was, had been under the assumption that he was dead.  Dead for thousands of year in fact.  Mr. Klondew had apparently discovered shortly after a horrendous fertilizer accident some time ago, that he was an immortal, like the in that movie with Christopher Lambert.  He claimed that the only way he could be killed was by losing his head.  Luminos and Sprogger weren’t quite sure they believed that.  However, given their current situation, they weren’t about to say anything was impossible.  Klondew also told them the story of Penny Popinhopper, the photographer that discovered these super evolved death birds with yellow throats.

Ms. Popinhopper was sent out by the Audubon Society to investigate the drop in the yellow throated warbler population following the first temporal shift.  Popinhopper found no traces of the once widespread little bird with the yellow throat.  What she found in its place was a small, very cute version of the giant creatures flying around now.  She spent several days documenting this new species of bird.  Its body and wings were black with no other coloring but a small patch of yellow at its throat.  Unlike many birds, it had sharp teeth lining its beak and its claws were huge, maybe a quarter the size of its whole body.    After several days of careful and meticulous note-taking, Penny decided it was time to capture one of this new species and bring it back to show the birding community and the rest of the world.  She was sure there would be a great deal of yammering and hee-hawing from different corners of the community if she didn’t have proof of what she had discovered.  The last thing she wanted was to be the next Anna Bouise.[4]

So, knowing she needed to bring back a specimen, Popinhopper trekked back into the forest to where she had been observing these new birds and went about picking one to take back.  After finding Sampson, the bird she had named a few weeks ago for being much larger than the rest of his kind, she quietly walked towards him and in a single deft movement, caught Sampson in a net and thrust him into the plastic cage she had brought along.  The blood curdling screech that followed from Sampson made poor Penny fall to the ground when she should have been running, because mere seconds after Sampson call for help, there was a great thundering from within the forest.  She had been wondering why it was that Sampson was so big when all the other adults were so small.  As the thundering got closer and its source came into view, she knew the answer.  They weren’t the adults, they were just hatchlings.  Before her was death, a death bird to be more precise.  And that’s when it happened.  Memories older than time flooded into the yellow-throated birds as they laid eyes on Penny Popinhopper, the human.   They saw an odd chicken creature being viciously beaten.[5]  They tore Penny Popinhopper apart and went in search of more vengeance.

Klondew went on to explain that those experts not killed in the initial bloodbaths concluded that the temporal shift must have been the affect of someone altering the past and splicing the evolutionary path of the yellow throated warbler and leading it to the bizarre super evolved death birds with yellow throats bent solely on extinguishing the life of every living human being.  They assumed that it was a person that had altered the warbler’s evolution simply because the death birds didn’t kill anything else.  They left every other species on the planet alone.  They weren’t’ even carnivores, they like tart berries and sometimes the occasional fruit.  They didn’t eat humans; they just killed them in very large numbers.

 


            It was early May, and David Harbinger had just successfully finished defending his physics dissertation before Harvard’s defense committee.  His advisor smiled as he clapped him on the back as he slid the “Dr. David Harbinger” placard into the socket of his office door.  David, or Harb as he was often called now, was something of legend on campus.  Everyone knew he was brilliant of course.  He was, after all, the only Harvard graduate to ever get bonus points on his dissertation.  What scared everyone so much, and made him infamous, was Harb’s past.  Most people were shocked that he even got accepted into Harvard at all.  After the bizarre events that took his parent’s, Davy lost his mind.  Sometime in the 20th century, there was a science fiction novel entitled “Ender’s Game”.  The protagonist of which is one Ender Wiggen, who while being a kind-hearted boy, saves the world from a misunderstood enemy, the buggers.  David hated Ender.  He did, however, idolize Ender’s older brother, Peter.  There’s one passage in the book describing Peter’s torture of small rodents.  He would stake them out by their feet and skin them.  When his foster parents found Harb’s journal and realized that he had been similarly “toying” with the gophers in their backyard, he was placed in immediate and heavy therapy with the world’s foremost leader in the field, Freck Boblerblock.

            Knowing he could never fulfill his blood vendetta if the world thought he’d lost his mind, Harb suppressed the fires of vengeance and feigned rehabilitation.  When his therapist, the only person to doubt his state of mind, mysteriously caught fire and burned alive at a conference in Florida, the police arrested Bobert McNasty, a young African American man with a penchant for smoking rocks, leaving no one to question him or his motives.  Despite his considerable restraint, there were still days when David Harbinger found himself remembering that horrific day and overcome with hatred beyond anything he could control.  It was on days like these that Harb would disappear for a time and find some twisted way of sating himself.

            The day of his dissertation defense was one such day.  After putting up with the committee’s interrogation of his work on wormhole theory and dealing with everyone’s congratulations, David found himself wandering through the gopher fields 30 miles from town in giant stuffed gopher suit with a flamethrower in his hands.  A small furry head would pop up, David would cook it, another would pop up, David would cook it.  As he reached a farmhouse on the far side of one field, he was greeted by vision from his past.  Out of nothing, what he knew to be a vortex of space and time, and remembered as a sideways tornado but blue, materialized before him.  A toad-like man in a orange jumpsuit and a small remote in his hand hopped out of the wormhole and toddled over to Harb.

            O..Hullo there.”

            “….Hello…”

            Cookin some gophers I see.”

            “Yah well, you know.  Cant abide their deceitful little satanic asses.”

            “Know whatcha mean.  Your David Harbinger right?”

            “…Yea, who’r you?”

            “O yes, me. Name’s Sprogger.”

            “That’s a nice wormhole.”

            “About that…you interested?”

            “In what?”

            C’mere. Look at this.”

 

            *Sprogger shows Harb the remote, moving dials and pointing at the wormhole*

 

            “Yea, that’s how I was gonna do it too.”

            “Huh? What do you mean?”

            “O, I’m trying to design wormholes myself.”

            “O, well…here! Take it! You can have it.”

 

            *Sprogger tosses the remote to Harb*

 

            “What!? Come on, why!?”

            “I don’t want it.”

            “But why?!”

            “That’s not really important now is it??”

 

With that, Sprogger toddled back to his wormhole, hopped back into it and an instant later, it was gone.[6]  Harb was left alone in a giant gopher costume next to a farmhouse in the corner of a field with dead gophers lining the horizon. 

            The fact that he now had exactly what he needed to fix the world didn’t take long to sink in.  Weaving left and right around the countless gopher bodies, Harb sprinted back to his car from the farmhouse and sped home to his apartment in town.  Once inside, he made his way to the roof of the building, deciding that he had better test the remote first to get a feel for how it worked.  Looking over the remote again he gazed passed the two sets of dials Sprogger had been babbling about, noted the blue switch at the bottom labeled “Unstable”, and looked over the power meter on the lower half of the remote.  He found it amusing that the remote was powered by and Energizer battery.  He felt it would be best to test each of the two sets of dials on the remote separately.  The set on the left corresponding to where in time the wormhole created was supposed to be, while the set on the right corresponding to where in space the wormhole was supposed to be.  Spinning the space dials and leaving the time dials be, he pressed the red button.   A swirling mass of space and time opened before him and, having yet to change, jumped into the wormhole still wearing his giant gopher suit.  He came out the other end into a circle meeting of some very odd little gray people.  Recognizing the people in circle as nothing he’d ever seen before, mumbled something about it not being Earth and giving them a wave, jumped back into the wormhole.[7]  This time starting with the time set, spun them a bit and pushed the red button.  His time trial run worked as well and, grabbing a shower and some clean clothes, he set the dials for Wyoming on the day his parents died.  He pushed the red button and hopped into the wormhole.

 

 

Now miles from where the near lifeless chicken creature lay, Hobarken wandered aimlessly across what seemed to be an unending ocean of grass.  He had spotted a massive tree ahead of him awhile back and had started walking towards it.  As he neared the tree, he couldn’t believe what he saw. There was an old man in a loincloth sitting on a stump in front of it.  How could anyone be here?  Hobarken had been sure this was the distant past.  He made his way up to the old man.

            “You there.”

            “Huh? O…what? Hey...what are you doing here?”

            “Uh…Could you tell me where we are? Ima bit lost.”

            “O…yes…well, you see, this in the past.  The very very distant past….do I know you??”

            “No, you don’t know me. I’ve never seen you before in life, how the hell do I get out of here?”

            “No, wait.  Are you sure I don’t know you? I mean, you look awful familiar.”

            “Of course I’m sure! Who the hell are you anyway?”

            “O me, My name is Klondew, Marto Klondew…I think I know you…”

            “Wait! Your Marto Klondew?”

            “Yea… I know yo-”

            “-The Marto Klondew? Founder of the Klondew Corporation?”

            “Yes yes. That’s me.”

            “Well what in God’s name are you doing here?“

            “I’m in retirement…Aha! Now I remember you! You’re Hobarken Spriteminer aren’t you?!”[8]

            “….how did you know that?”

            “You’re the guy that got half the worlds population butchered by super evolved death birds with yellow throats!!”

            “Huh?”

            “That chicken creature you beat up?”

            “Yea what about it? It was pissing me off.”

            “It was supposed to become the yellow throated warbler, but it didn’t.  You beat the shit out of it and changed it so it would evolve into yellow throated death birds, genetically predisposed to slaughtering mankind.”

            “Shit.”

            “Yea, slick move man.  Everyone in time knows who you are.  You’re the biggest fuck up in history.”

            “…God…damn it!”

And so, with egg goo still all over his new pants, and the second wealthiest man in the history of the universe informing him that he was responsible for the deaths of over 4 billion people, Hobarken decided, again, that this was in fact the worst day of his entire life. It was then that a drug crazed psychotic gopher jumped up and bit Hobarken in the ass.  Wailing in pain, he spun to find the same gopher he remembered winking at him right before he was sucked through that second time portal thing.  The little bastard must’ve followed him through without him noticing.  The gopher no longer seemed crazed.  It was just sitting there, looking at him.   Hobarken noticed a small scar on the critter’s left arm.  When the gopher starting talking, Klondew gave it an odd look and went disappeared into a hole in his tree.  Under normal circumstances, something like a talking gopher would have shocked and amused him.  These weren’t normal circumstances and Hobarken couldn’t have cared less.

The gopher called himself Larry.  All and all, Hobarken found him to be the most arrogant person/creature he had ever known.  Apparently, Larry was only gracing him with speech to thank him for ensuring the doom of humanity and clearing the way for the next great civilization to take power.  The gophers.  He mocked Hobarken, laughing at his stupidity and the ease with which he had allowed himself to be setup.  He walked Hobarken through his plan as if he were a child, explaining how he had tripped him at the stream, how he had stealthily followed Hobarken, and let him lead the way to Klondew, who had the time remote he needed to get back to the future, retrieve his army and take his place as the Gopher King, ruler of the world.[9]  Realizing that if he ever wanted to get out this unbearable time and back to his own, he would have to find a way to stop this crazed gopher and undo the damage he had done.  That meant that he needed to get his hands on one these time remotes that Larry was say he had so foolishly led him to, and stop himself from beating that stupid chicken creature half to death.  He lunged at the gopher.  Larry dodged out of the way, circled around behind him, and went for Hobarken’s right calf.  Barely moving fast enough, he pulled his leg away as Larry’s claws slashed his ankle spraying blood.  Larry was good.  Hobarken went low and wheeling off his hands, caught Larry’s left arm in the abdomen with a bicycle kick.  Spinning to the ground Larry grabbed at it and vaulting into the air, throwing dirt into Hobarken’s eyes.  With a screech, Larry came down on Hobarken from above and buried his teeth into the soft flesh of Hobarken’s shoulders.  Screaming in pain, he tore the rodent off of him and hurled Larry at Klondew’s tree.  A loud THUD!! and Larry fell to the ground unconscious.

Hobarken raced into the tree to find Klondew lying in a bed of fresh grass and munching on some tree bark.  Looking up from his snack, Klondew pointed to a woven shelf on the other side of the tree room and motioned for him to bring what there to him.  Hobarken grabbed the time remote that was on the shelf and gave it to him Klondew quickly told him about the different dial sets of the remote, one for space and one for time.  As old man returned to his tree snack, Hobarken ran outside and started moving the dials to create a time portal, Klondew said that it was called a wormhole, to right before he sat on the eggs and beat up the chicken creature.  As he was about to activate the remote, Larry regained consciousness and leaping off the ground, flew at Hobarken, slashing him across the chest and snatching the remote.  Hitting the ground a few feet away and before Hobarken could catch him, activated his own wormhole and was gone.  Leaving Hobarken to curse at the air as he starting walking back towards the place where the wormhole first dropped him here.

 


            Taking refuge in the remains of a collapsed building not far from his old house, Sprogger and Luminos had come with a plan.  After searching through the rubble of his house, Sprogger had found that most his equipment was undamaged by the death birds.  Realizing that wormholes had actually been created, just sent somewhere else had allowed him to discover what he had done wrong.  His equipment had actually worked fine, he had simply neglected to take into account the fact that the wormhole wasn’t necessarily going to materialize right where he wanted it too.  It was bound to his time and space very strongly.  While his particle beam had done the trick and enlarged the microscopic wormholes, it had also moved it, changing where it would be when fully enlarged.  To compensate for this, Sprogger had to simply regulate the power of the beam more carefully.  He felt stupid for not having seen it before.  He also felt like he could use a drink.  Unfortunately, his bar had either been destroyed by the damn death birds or stolen by punk kids looking for a quick buzz.

            After setting up his equipment again, he went to get Lumy and put their plan into action. The idea was to use how far his first two wormholes had been thrown off course by the beam to find where they had gone.  Luminos had volunteered to go through the wormhole so that Sprogger could stay behind and work the machines in case something went wrong.  He found Lumy out back practicing his croquet swing.  He had found some clean clothes and was seeming optimistic despite the fact that he was about to be hurled through time and space in the hopes of ending up in the right place.  But, then again, Luminos always seemed optimistic when he was playing croquet.

            “Hey! Lumy! Its time! Lets go!”

            “Hold on a sec, I’m working on my swing.”

            “Lumy, this is fate of mankind at stake here.  I think your swing can wait!”

            “Nonsense.  Besides its not like the past is going anywhere. I mean. Come on, time isn’t really of the essence right now. So chill, I’m working a bit of slice of my swing.”

            “God damn it! Lets Go!”

            “Yea yea, ok.  I’m comin. Damn.”

 

            Checking his setup and the power readings on the Naboobularium generator he took from what was left of Trumpy’s garage, Sprogger activated the particle beam, this time at a lower more controlled setting.  Seconds later he was greeted by his discovery in all its swirling vortex-like majesty.  Turning to Lumy, he wished him well and shoved him into the swirling vortex.

 

 

            Harb fell out of his wormhole and hit the ground some 10 feet below with a thud.  Standing up, he looked about and recognized the land his parents ranch was on.  He was a bit south of his home and walking towards it when the first wormhole from his past appeared in the clearing of the forest a ways to his left.  He started to run.  By the time he reached his house, the gopher’s had almost made the fence and were about start digging.  He saw his horrified parents; he looked at Ruff, and turned to see himself in the tree house.  It didn’t matter that he had turned in a vengeful psychotic monster that took joy solely in the death and torture of small gophers, because when he was done here, that crazy vendetta driven lunatic would never have existed.  Turning to face the horde of gophers, he spun the spatial dials, flipped the blue switch at the bottom of the remote and pressed the red button.  Millions of gophers flooded into the swirling vortex of space and time, those that would have gone around it or ran in fear were sucked in by the unstable forces he had created with the blue switch.  The vortex closed behind the last of the gophers and wondering if Larry had been in there, Harb walked off towards the clearing in the forest.[10]

            As he neared the clearing where the first wormhole had opened, He was shocked when a third wormhole opened above him and out of it fell an average sized man in a checkered polo shirt wearing knee high sandals.  He didn’t understand, there wasn’t a third wormhole here. Only two. The man got up, dusted himself off and with a surprisingly cheery voice greeted him.

            “Hullo there!”

            “…Uh…yea…what are you doing here?”

            “O, yes, right. Time travel.  That’s my wormhole.”

            “No, not the wormhole, why are you here? Your not supposed to be here. I don’t remember a third wormhole opening.

            “What? O…wait…you saw the other wormholes??!!”

            “Yea…course…first one was right here, few minutes later another opened over there, by the bend in the stream.”

            “O…shucks! I missed the second one an-”

            “-Stop, who are you?”

            “Who me? O…I’m Luminos, you can call be Lumy.  I needed to catch that wormhole!”

            “Well look. This remote’ll open another wormhole.  I’m not gonna be needing it after I open mine, you can use it.”

            “Huh? Wait…what is that?”

            “It’s a kinda like a remote control for wormholes, you can open and close them wherever and whenever you want.  Quickly, look at this!”

*David shows Luminos the remote.  Turning the dials and making hand motions*
”Where did you get this??”

“O, small toadish man came through a wormhole and gave it to me.  Anyways, I to have to hurry, everything is changing. I can feel it.”

“What? O…wait. Sprog…eh…never mind…Go, I need that thing.”

 

Without another word, Harb spun the dials for the day of is dissertation defense and as he jumped into the wormhole, he felt the shift.  As he fell out the other side, he found himself on the roof of a strange building.  What had he just fallen out of? Where was he?  He didn’t think it really mattered.  He made his way down the building’s fire

 

            As the wormhole closed behind the strange man who had given him the remote, Luminos twisted the dials so they matched where and when Sprogger had said the second wormhole had gone.  He thought it was odd that Sprogger, it had to have been Sprogger, would give that guy a remote like this.  But that didn’t really matter.  Pushing the red button, he jumped into the wormhole.

            Falling out the wormhole, Luminos landed squarely on top of a simultaneously pissed and extremely happy Hobarken Spriteminer.  They both got up, dusted each other off, and introduced each other.  Luminos’s disbelief that the horrible destruction wrought on mankind was the fault of a insane gopher was equaled by Hobarken’s elation at the fact that Luminos had another remote.  Since Luminos’s only physicals skills involved croquet, they decided it would be best if Hobarken took care of Larry the warlord gopher and Luminos go back a few hours in time and stop Hobarken from sitting on the eggs of the yellow throated warbler’s ancestors.  They felt that both needed to be done.  Hobarken obviously had to be stopped from bringing about the super evolved death birds with yellow throats that were ravaging humanity in the future, but Larry also had to be stopped.  They could give him another chance at destroying humanity and setting up himself up as the Gopher King. 
            Setting his remote for the Harbinger Ranch, Luminos opened a wormhole for Hobarken and sent him through.  He then, set it for where he needed to go and was gone.

 


            Coming out of his wormhole as Larry came through his, Hobarken flung himself at the rodent.  Seeing him at the last second, Larry back flipped out the way and lunged at Hobarken’s arm.  Pain leapt through Hobarken’s arm as the gopher tore at his tricep.  He beat his arm against the ground until the gopher released.  Larry rolled away and launched himself into the air and angled towards Hobarken.  Hobarken dodging left caught a claw across the face and felt fresh blood dripping down his face.  He went for the bicycle kick again, but Larry saw it coming and vaulted away.  Squaring off, they dove at each other.  Larry went for crotch, but Hobarken did a mid-air turn and brought his elbow down of Larry’s head like a hammer.  Larry dropped the ground twitching.  Hobarken picked up the demented gopher and bound him some rags from his torn shirt.

 


            A wormhole opened and Luminos and Hobarken jumped into a future full of life and lots of little black bird with yellow throats that sang a sweet song.  Leaving Hobarken with the remote so he could get back to whatever time he came from, Luminos walked off towards Sprogger’s to tell him all that had happened.  History doesn’t remember Hobarken as anything other than the guy who was responsible for almost destroying humanity because he was never heard from again and nobody ever found out when he came from.  Sprogger continued his experimentation with time travel and wormholes until he was forced after years of running to give wormholes to somebody else.  Lumy, despite being consider the savior of the universe, didn’t care for it much.  He was really only interested in a little croquet.

            Just after Luminos disappeared over a hill, Hobarken, mumbling something about a girl and it being about damn time, spun the dials on the remote, pushed the red button and was once again sucked into a massive swirling vortex of space and time.

 

© Copyright 2004 by the author

All rights reserved

 



[1] Sprogger Krinklemaster was the first to develop wormholes and thus time travel as well.  His backyard badminton court/ experimental wormhole creation lab consisted of a negative particle beam laser powered by his Naboobularium fusion generator to project an super fine high powered beam of negative energy at a targeting mirror a few feet away.  Near the mirror he had a homemade version of the Klondew Quantum State Viewer.  A device invented a few hundred years before to allow someone a sufficiently magnified view of the world on the quantum level.  The K-Man used this to viewer the find microscopic wormholes within the quantum foam.   Because the negative energy of his particle beam had the unique property of repelling gravity, it could, if used properly, allow someone to force something like a wormhole mouth to grow.  This was Sprogger Krinklemaster’s theory.  He used a computer targeting system and his mirror to lock on to a wormhole found in the viewer and project his negative particle beam directly into it.  Thus making it grow, in this case, to seeable human size.

[2] Note:  It was later discovered that the “raving horde of gophers” responsible for the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Harbinger were not really responsible.  The poor innocent gophers of the Wyoming prairie were actually enraged and frightened by the hallucinogenic properties of an experimental grass fertilizer.  The “bad dirt” that David’s father had told him not to play in was actually a new fertilizer produced by the Klondew Corporation’s owner and president Marto Leduis Klondew.  Mr. Klondew, being rich and easily taken by simple things, was obsessed with grass.  Realizing the almost infinite resources available to him as president of the company, Klondew developed this new fertilizer in an attempt to literally bring the greener grass from the “other side” to “this side”.   One of the unforeseen consequences of the fertilizer’s design was the unusually large amount of hallucinogenic chemicals present, which the gophers and through them the Harbingers fell victim to.

[3] Note: Final Fantasy: The best selling game series in the history of the universe.  After the release of FF MDCCC more than millennia ago, the sales of the game were so high that world leaders realized with some measure of incredulity that over half the world’s population no longer measured the passage time in standard A.D.  Since a version of FF had been released every year for over a thousand years, billions found it easier to keep track of time by following the FF time series.  Thus allowing them the ability to keep track of the year and how close they were to the next release date of the greatest game in the history of the universe.

 

[4]  The Bouise Debacle was one of the most embarrassing moments in birding history.   Anna Bouise was laughed out the birding world when, claiming to have absolute proof in the existence of a new species of bird which hunted its prey and brought it to the ground with powerful “eye lasers”, later found out that her absolute proof was actually a trick of light on the lens of the camera that had taken the picture and only gave the illusion of “eye lasers” incinerating a field mouse.

[5]

[6] The Sprogger mentioned here is a future version of the Sprogger mentioned elsewhere.  One that has had more time to study and refine the equipment used to create his wormholes into the small device he gives to David.  Despite his initial excitement and pride in his discovery, Sprogger later lost all interest in wormholes or time travel.  This change was entirely the fault of a group of angry ex-physicists that had been chasing Sprogger across time.  Before his discovery, they had been hard-line believers in the idea that time travel was impossibility.  With their pride scorched and beliefs crushed, they became enraged psychotics bent solely on avenging themselves by killing the source of their disgrace.

[7] The planet David Harbinger visited on his test of the spatial set of dials was somewhere in the Andromeda Galaxy.   The small gray men he encountered primitive aliens who, right as Harb popped out of his wormhole, were reaching the climax of their Sky God chant.  The misunderstanding that followed is the cause of the second near-complete annihilation of the human race.  The aliens, having never beheld anything resembling a giant gopher, became convinced that Harb was their God, and that this Earth he mentioned was the home of their God.  Realizing that their God was truly out there and knowing where he was, the alien race the entirety of their being to furthering themselves to the point that they might be both worthy and capable of finding their God and beholding him in all his splendor.  And so it was that thousands of years later, the Varduckian High Command, led by Orix, Savior of Varduck and Messenger to God left their home world of Varduck and set course for the planet referred to in their holy writings as “Earth”.  Finding Earth sometime later, the Varduckians found no sign of their God, the giant gopher.  Unfortunately, after scanning the planet, the first data they received was video of Freido Quigglesport, an 11-year-old boy blowing the heads off gophers on the prairie 2 miles from his house.  Enraged beyond words and the mindless murder of the creatures made in the image of their God, Orix and his fleet ravaged the planet, almost killing off the human race.

[8] Late into his extraordinarily long life, Marto Klondew’s obsession with grass began to take control of him.  He was seen running naked through golf courses and sleeping on fairways.  In his son, Melko’s, biography of him, he wrote about the time he had come home from college for the weekend and found that his father had re-carpeted the house in Bermuda’s High Hold Savannah # 5 and thrown out all the beds in the house in favor of Kentucky Bluegrass.  After retiring and leaving control of all his holdings to his son, Klondew decided to fulfill his lifelong dream of living out the rest of his days in some secluded era where there would be nothing but him, his grass, and the small critters that loved grass as much as him.  Since time travel had already been invented, he hugged his son goodbye and popped open a wormhole to the distant past and was gone.

[9] Note: How Larry became a psychotic gopher warlord is not entirely known.  It is, however, considered possible that Larry, after spending more time playing in the hallucinatory fertilizer than any other gopher, had his brain chemistry altered to the point that his mind cracked and he went from the fun loving gopher that liked chocolate and spending time with a young boy named Davy to a demonic and power hungry gopher warlord that would never stop its quest to conquer the world.

[10] Record shows that as David Harbinger opened the wormhole to get rid of the horde of gophers, the exit to it formed high above a massive volcano in Japan.  The locals described seeing a whirlwind, bluish in nature form.