Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 193,049,732 Issue: 676 | 16th day of Sleeping, Y17
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Of Time Machines and Banana Cookies


by opossumman

--------

"So all this time when you were telling me, 'Oh, that's just science fiction, it can't POSSIBLY have real world application,' and, 'Oh, matter can't go past the speed of light, which would be necessary for time travel to work,' you were lying to me?"

      "Not lying, Stealth. I didn't want to get your hopes up if it didn't work. Time travel's already a proven concept, it's just incredibly hard to pull off. I believe the only known case of it was that one Wocky in Tyrannia back in Year Three, but he's long since left Neopia. Or at least, this time, anyway," Jacob explained to the Eyrie.

      "And it's taken you how long to build this, exactly?" Stealth asked.

      The Kacheek just wiped his brow and continued turning the wrench in his hand. After defogging his goggles, he said, "Not long. Once I found that one part, it was a simple project, if I'm being honest." He once again began turning different knobs to test their functionality. "Just had to head to Tyrannia and search for years at a time for remnants of the Time Machine's fuel supply. Luckily, some of the now-fossilized residue was recovered by a colleague, who then gave it to me in an attempt at replication."

      "That's a lot of stuff to process, you know. So is it really bigger on the inside?" Stealth asked.

      "Stealth, just because time travel is possible doesn't mean that the laws of volu-"

      BOOM.

      "My cookies!" Stealth cried as he hurriedly made for the kitchen. Upon arrival, he had seen that his batch of Banana Cookies had been destroyed, resembling a black primordial ooze seeping from a deep sea trench. "How... how did this happen?" Stealth asked through sobs.

      Jacob, covered in grime and grease, made his way into the kitchen and saw his friend deep in mourning. "Stealth, I can just run and get more ingredients. It's really not that big of a..."

      "We need to use your time machine."

      "...deal." The two just stared at each other for a moment. "We don't even know if it's stable yet!"

      "And as a science-y kind of guy, shouldn't you want to test it?"

      "But Stealth, there are ethical concerns, and if you mess with the time stre-" Jacob began before Stealth grabbed him and flew toward the machine's cockpit.

      "Which button makes us go backwards?" Stealth asked.

      "It's the one on the left, but it's a bit more complic-"

      Press.

      Within an instant, the duo were... right in the same place.

      "I suppose it didn't work after all," Jacob said in a disappointed tone. His thoughts were interrupted by a loud wailing sound, almost like a police siren, but choppy and less high pitched, coming from the kitchen. It almost sounded like... Stealth sobbing. Jacob watched, transfixed, as he saw himself get out from underneath the time machine and rush to the kitchen. The realization hit him like a ton of bricks. "Stealth, we did it! We managed to go back in time! Sure, it was only about two minutes back in time, but still! We're alive, and we've achieved a scientific breakthr-"

      And then Stealth pressed the button again.

      When the duo reemerged, they stared straight into the horizon. For whatever reason, Stealth noticed that they weren't in Moltara anymore. Surprisingly, he cared enough about this over his cookie calamity to notice.

      Jacob put his hand over the button to prevent Stealth from testing it again. "Now see what you've done? You hit the lever next to the button and adjusted not only the year of the destination, but also the arrival coordinates. According to the time machine, this area should be the area right around Neopia Central. The year reads... Before Neopia. Stealth..." Jacob began. "We're now predating history itself! Do you understand the scientific implications here? We can now have more concrete evidence as to how Neopia was created!" Jacob noticed what looked like a stream of light emerging from the sky, and out popped what looked like... a Shoyru. Could this be? The arrival of the first Neopets? Suddenly, a small JubJub also appeared. This was going exactly like the entry in the Neopian history book stated! To finally have confirmation, Jacob thought, would be...

      Press.

      "Stealth, I swear, if you..." Jacob started before the two zapped out of existence again.

      The two emerged right as the cookies exploded, with the loud boom resonating for two different reasons within the friends' beings. For Stealth, it was a reminder of his grief over his baked goods. For Jacob, it was a reminder of Stealth's complete disregard for common sense and scientific discoveries. Stealth continued to press the button again and again. Jacob wasn't sure how much time had passed, if any at all. After all, Stealth hadn't let him test these sorts of queries without immediately rebounding the duo back in time.

      Jacob had had it. "Stealth, STOP," he yelled as he pushed the eject button on the passenger side, causing Stealth to fly out and land on the floor. Jacob hopped out of the machine to speak to him. "Why are you doing this?"

      "Jacob, I can't let that... tragedy... happen again. You need to understand..." he began.

      "No, Stealth, YOU need to understand. You're disrespecting my machine, and by extension, me. I poured endless hours each day over the past year getting this machine put together, and you've done nothing but give me something akin to... to... temporal whiplash!"

      "But Jacob... those cookies cost me a whole seventy Neopoints to make!"

      Jacob had no words at this point. Eventually, he managed to utter some words. "Stealth, you have a baking problem. It's not healthy."

      "On the contrary. I only used all natural ingredients in those cookies."

      "Not what I meant."

      "And besides. I'll let you click the button this time. You'd surely know when the opportune time to get the cookies would be," Stealth said. "What do you say... friend?" Stealth held out his paw to Jacob.

      "Well, okay. Honestly, I've had enough with time travel for now anyway. Let's do this, Stealth."

      As the two climbed back into the cockpit, the duo couldn't help but notice several duplicate copies of themselves arriving at the time. They sure were traveling a lot. Jacob set a precise time and coordinate destination and hit the button. "Let's hope this works," he said.

      When the two opened their eyes, they glanced over and saw themselves.

      "So all this time when you were telling me, 'Oh, that's just science fiction, it can't POSSIBLY have real world application,' and, 'Oh, matter can't go past the speed of light, which would be necessary for time travel to work,' you were lying to me?"

      "Not lying, Stealth. I didn't want to get your hopes up if it didn't work. Time travel's already a proven concept, it's just incredibly hard to pull off. I believe the only known case of it was that one Wocky in Tyrannia back in Year Three, but he's long since left Neopia. Or at least, this time, anyway."

      The two stood in amazement for a moment. They were eavesdropping on their own conversation! But they didn't have much time. The cookies would explode a few sentences later. Stealth for once held a serious expression as he flew as fast as he could toward the oven and turned it off. He put on some oven mitts, and out popped what looked to be the most perfect Banana Cookies he'd ever baked. A tear trickled down his face.

      "They're... beautiful..." he said to himself.

      "Um, Stealth?" Jacob called from the other room. "Remember the two other versions of us? They just disappeared. I have no idea what this could mean. Their version of the time machine is gone too."

      "We still have ours though, right?"

      "Yessiree!" Jacob said, patting his machine in a proud manner. "This machine will get us out of debt for certain, too! We'll have a fortune to work with!" Jacob stated. "So how about some of your famous cookies to celebrate?"

      "Great minds think alike!" Stealth said as he carried the tray over to the time machine. In his excitement, though, he lost his footing and tripped. In what seemed like slow motion, Stealth watched his cookies fly across the room and land in the time machine, and Jacob watched in horror as one of the cookies made direct contact with the button. In an instant, the cookies and the time machine were gone.

      "My... time machine..."

      "M-my... c-coo-cook..."

      And many wails were heard all across Moltara that night.

      *

      "Milord, morale's been dropping in our army," stated a Draik guard. "The war against the Darigan Citadel's forces shan't be an easy task without proper encouragement."

      "I'm sure you can come up with a reward," Skarl said. Suddenly, a loud crash was heard outside. Amidst some advanced-looking wreckage, there lay a plate of perfectly-preserved cookies. The Draik proceeded to taste one, taking in the almost-overpowering Banana flavor.

      "Sir, I think we've found just the thing."

The End

 
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