The Galactic Galleria

57 9 10

Time travel in a Cadillac convertible with the top down is a dumb idea. Ivan Chimpanov confirmed this.

"We shoulda put the top up first!" Ivan gritted his teeth as he white-knuckled the edge of the backseat. His voice was barely audible over the noise.

"I know!" Ace shouted. "Jeez, look at this stuff flying around us! It's all a swirly mass of color and insane darkness. It's like the stuff contained in the timedrive we have in the trunk of the Cadillac!"

A hard wind blew at them from all directions like they were under a thousand giant hair dryers. Hank added to the din by letting out a series of long howls.

The wind's temperature oscillated between sweltering to frigid, and the scent of baking cookies permeated the air. Ace's stomach grumbled. He couldn't remember the last time he ate.

All around them swirling masses of colorful light and insanely dark anti-light exploded in a mindnumbing display of havoc.

"Yeah!" Ivan said. "I think we're seeing the fabric of space-time itself!"       

Ace tried his best to keep his eyes focused on the inside of the Caddy. The readouts on the dash displays were complete gibberish, but based on the icons he saw, a little purple dot moving closer to a large green dot, Ace guessed they were making good time and would be arriving at their destination in a matter of minutes.

In the back seat, April looked around like a kid in a candy store with a huge smile plastered on her face.

"Well, I think it looks cool as shit!" April said.

"Say what you want, girlie!" Hank howled. "It's freaking me the fuck out!"

A few minutes later the Cadillac came to rest, and the real world began to materialize, like a dense fog suddenly melting away.

"You have arrived at your destination," the pleasant computerized voice said.

The Cadillac turned itself off. All the instruments and readouts on the dashboard went dark. It was eerily quiet, with only the wind and Hank's incessant panting audible.

"Looks like we're in the middle of a forest or something. Where are we?" Ace asked Hank.

"I dunno," Hank replied. "I just knew there was a panic switch under the dash. I don't know where it takes you."

A chime sounded out from the dashboard, and the computer panels sprang to life. Text and images flew by too fast for Ace to read. Every few seconds the displays would pause, and he was able to guess the computer was running through some sort of boot sequence.

A beat later the words, "Total system rebuild in progress. Please stand by..." appeared on the computer display.

"Hey," April said, standing up on the back seat to get a better look around. "I think I recognize this place."

"You do? Where are we?" Ivan asked.

"Yeah," April said. "These trees look like sugar maples. I'm pretty sure we're in Tennessee."

Hank sniffed the air and said, "Yeah. It kinda does smell like Tennessee."

"You can know where you are based on smell?" Ace asked.

"Listen, dipshit. I'm a Basset hound, and Basset hounds have the best sense of smell of any hound out there."

"Yeah, yeah," Ace said. "You've mentioned that."

"Maybe we should get out and look around," Ivan said.

A tritone chime sounded, and the computer screens stopped scrolling. The complex ultra-advanced Valdovian 4-D control systems sprung back to life.

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