Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes
There was a battle, but Will wasn’t there. After Fictive Kindle escaped with the survivors of his assault team, Attorney General Herald ruled in favor of The Realm and affirmed it was, indeed, a land outside the bounds of the Copyright Accords. A temporary alliance was formed, signed by General Isme on behalf of The Realm, and the new allies defeated the forces of the Copyright Coalition. Most of the lawyers surrendered, but a few joined their leader in exile among the Patent Trolls in the Northern Wastes.
“Good riddance,” was all Bug would say regarding their defeated foe.
Oscar had left the group as soon as the pass was opened up for travel. While he wanted to return to Redmine without delay, Isme had ordered him to travel to Firewall Control and apply his patch.
“We’re at peace *now,” the General had said. “Who knows about the future?”
The dwarf had tried to enlist Nobody to travel with him, but the gnome refused saying, “Oh no, things are much more interesting here right now. You go on, I’m sure you can figure it out. You are reasonably intelligent, after all.” Frustrated, Oscar settled for taking Grimby and Fineflin with him instead. Some Coalition stragglers remained in the mountains, and security was still a concern.
“We’ll see you back at the Throne,” Grimby said with a grin. “After Mr. Nerves finishes uploading his patch.”
Fineflin was less enthusiastic about their ordered side-trip. “I just want to get back to civilization. I’m filthy.”
They’d left three days ago, and now the rest of their group was also about to return to The Realm though the open pass. Isme was travelling with them, along with the party which had accompanied him to The Bar’s camp. Also accompanying the group was Roy Stevens, who’d been appointed the first ambassador to The Realm. He was tasked with negotiating an official treaty between his people and The Realm. Since his appointment he’d been pestering Will with questions about “real people,” and the teen had finally decided to avoid the lawyer altogether. Will wasn’t looking forward to traveling all the way back to The Empty Throne answering questions like, “What does a real sunrise look like?” and, “Is the moon really just a projection on the inside of a giant bowl?”
“Don’t worry, kid,” grinned Bug as they approached the transports which would carry them back into The Realm. “I made sure Stevens travels with the General and Sills. It’s just you and me with the Professor and Sindy in our car.”
Will beamed his relief. “How does agent Sills feel about that?”
Bug shrugged. “She didn’t have much of a choice, Isme ordered her up front. Frankly, I’m done being liaised with. After all this is done, I’m heading back to Great Roll and helping the Prof get his snack empire started up. Sills is great and all, but leave me out of official business. Thank you very much.” The gnome looked up at his friend and continued, “How about you? Ready to go home yet?”
“No, not quite yet. I need see what happens.”
“Well, I guess I can’t argue with that logic.” Bug pointed toward a nearby transport. “You ready?”
“Uh, yah,” replied the teen as he looked over the staging area.
“Something wrong, kid?”
“Well, it might seem silly, but I thought Mr. Finch would have been here to see us off.”
“AG Finch? Nah. He chatted a bit with Isme this morning, I was there when he came in,” the tone of pride in Bug’s voice let Jeremy know his friend wasn’t quite as annoyed with “official” business as he let on. “He said he’d be busy with disbarment hearings all day, whatever that means.”
“I think he’s kicking out all the Coalition lawyers, or something.”
“He can kick ‘em out of existence for all I care. Just as long as they don’t come back.” Pointing to the transport a second time, Bug declared, “Now, let’s go. I want to get home.”
Will smiled and followed his friend to their waiting vehicle. Bug climbed into the driver’s seat next to Sindy, who was smiling at her husband. It was such a rare site the teen wished he’d have thought to bring a cell phone along with him to The Realm so he could have taken a picture.
“So, my boy, we’ve had excitement indeed! I knew you were the one we needed to bring with us on this trip. Now, with the war over I can get back to exploring the highest endeavor to which Applied Imagination can be applied!”
Will sighed. “Snack chips?” he guessed.
Nobody beamed with joy. “Yes, indeed! I’ve determined that Applied Imagination, when set to the task of developing new snack flavors, is able to calculate permutations so quickly it actually creates a self-generating imaginative field. Who knows what will happen when I get my snack business up and running full steam!”
“I’m sorry, Professor. You’ve lost me.”
“Oh. Hmm…” Nobody’s brown creased as he attempted to adjust his excitement into lay-person speak 2. “Well, each use of Applied Imagination uses a certain amount of Imaginative Energy, which we measure in Pennies per hour.”
“Right, I remember that. Somehow.”
“Well, the creation of snack chip flavors actually creates a surplus of imaginative energy! And the more unpalatable the flavor, the more energy the process creates!”
“So… wait. All those weird flavors you were offering us…”
“…were created for the express purpose of creating Imaginative Energy!” The academic reached into his back and pulled out the first bag of “Snack Like Nobody’s Business” chips he’d seen in days. Holding it out to the teen he asked, “Honeysuckle and fried oyster?”
“Uhh, no thanks.”
Nobody’s smile didn’t falter, but his tone was a bit fallen. “Ah, well. These aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I think it’s the barley crisps, to tell you the truth. They’re a bit dry.” As he stowed the chips back into his bag the gnome continued, “I can’t feel to sad, though. This was the flavor which allowed me to complete the calculations which would have enabled me to make the Penny Ore detonator!”
“O…K…,” Will replied. As the transport began to move he leaned back into his seat and said, “I think I’m going to sleep a bit, Professor. OK.”
“Oh yes, splendid idea. You have a busy day ahead, after all 3.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Will leaned back in his seat and had almost nodded off when something about Nobody’s statement began to bother him. Sitting up once more, he turned toward his companion.
“Yes, my boy?”
“Did you say ‘would have enabled’ you to build the Penny Ore detonator?”
To Will’s surprise, the gnome blushed. “Ahh… you caught that, did you?”
“You mean, you didn’t actually build the detonator?”
“Well, I was going to. It was the contract, after all. But then I had an insight, which I shared with Bug.”
“Leave me out of this, Prof” Bug called back. It was too late, Sindy’s curiosity had been stoked.
“What insight?” she demanded, as she spun around on her father.
“Ahem. Well, I realized creating an actual Penny Ore detonator was a rather antisocial thing to do. So I… decided to not make one.”
Sindy’s eyes widened. “You didn’t make the Penny Ore detonator?”
“Ah… no. I did create the idea of the Penny Ore detonator. And, really, that was just as good.”
“I’m not sure the Board of Governors would have agreed.”
“Oh, well. Perhaps not, dear. But it was the idea of the detonator which gave the lawyers pause, so in the end it was just as effective as if I’d actually made one. And now I can use all the surplus energy I’d been generating to help with The Realm’s recovery efforts!”
Sindy stared at her father with unblinking wonder, causing the academic to shuffle on his seat in discomfort.
“Was that OK?”
His daughter shook her head in wonder as a smile formed on her face. “I think it was the most wonderful idea ever. I knew you weren’t a mad scientist!”
“I’m not?” Nobody replied as he frowned. “I guess that means I need to turn in my ID card.”
- Will didn’t know it at the time, but “What happens next?” would go on to be engraved on on monuments dedicated to him all throughout The Realm. The Darned Elves depicted him as a staunch supporter of the Sock currency standard. ↩
- That is, anyone who was not him. ↩
- Nobody’s insight into Narrative sometimes alarms me. ↩