“Magic is broken,” Spaceship said.
The human hipster male nodded, and looked at Bobby through his glasses to see if he was following.
Bobby was not following.
“Broken…?” He paused. “Magic…?” He paused again. This pause was long enough that Spaceship wondered if Bobby’s next question was going to be IS…?!
“Indeed,” confirmed the human hipster male finally. “And you were sent here to find the creature who is going to fix everything.”
“And you’re saying that’s this moose-thing that the broadcast mentioned?”
“Correct,” the human hipster male responded. “He’s called Montgomery.”
Bobby wanted to turn to Spaceship, who was surprisingly quiet after saying the thing about magic being broken, but since they were standing inside Spaceship’s cockpit, and since Spaceship didn’t have eyes anyway, he found it pretty hard to turn to her. She must have picked up on this, though, and responded to him anyway.
“Bobby, I’m sorry,” she started. “I didn’t remember that our mission was to find this creature called Montgomery the Moose. Not until the broadcast triggered the beacon to bring Dr. Agon here. Once he arrived, the mission parameters came flooding back, like this was always what we were here for.”
“Then why don’t I remember it?” Bobby yelled.
“Well, we tried reminding you a few times,” the human hipster male said, “but you weren’t really interested. You were more into exploring worlds, so we let you… explore.”
Bobby looked at the human hipster male. “Dr. Agon, right?”
“You can call me Trevor.”
“Trevor,” Bobby confirmed. “Okay, Trevor, so let me get this straight, you’ve been keeping track of me while I go to all these different planets with all their different Portlands and Maines to look for this one creature.”
Trevor paused, as if he was considering how to answer.
“Yes. And you found him!” he replied with more excitement than seemed appropriate.
Bobby squinted all three of his eyes and looked at Trevor suspiciously. There was something Trevor wasn’t telling him. Spaceship knew Bobby well, and jumped in.
“Bobby,” she started, and Bobby slowly turned his suspicious eyes away from Trevor. “Bobby, I know you don’t remember this, but Dr. Agon and his colleagues asked us to help find this moose because we can’t keep exploring worlds while magic is broken.”
“Magic is broken, magic is broken… What does that even mean?” Bobby shouted in frustration. “I mean, magic’s not even real.”
“Oh,” both Spaceship and Trevor responded, as if a little offended by Bobby’s outburst.
“I can assure you,” Trevor continued, “magic is very real.”
He lifted his hands with his palms up, and both gave off a deep orange glow, which grew more and more intense, and seemed to fill the whole cockpit. Trevor closed his eyes, and for a brief moment, his whole body turned orange, sharp teeth appeared to be pointing out of his mouth, a snout grew where his nose had been, and wings seemed to sprout from his back. But he quickly turned back into the human hipster male, and Bobby wondered if he had imagined the change.
The orange glow faded from the cockpit, and as it did, Bobby’s eyes were filled with the sight of stars; thousands of stars. He quickly realized they were no longer on a planet with a “Portland” or a “Maine”, or even on a planet at all. They were in deep space. There were entire galaxies visible in many different directions. And although he’d been in space many times, he had always gone into hypersleep just after leaving a planet’s orbit, so he’d never seen anything like this. He couldn’t get over how something so dark and infinite could show so much light and color.
“Okay, how are you doing that?” Bobby finally asked.
As if he had been waiting for Bobby’s brain to catch up, Trevor simply replied, “magic,” with a smile, and decided to do it again.
Bobby was so focused on the site of seeing space in all its glory that he missed Trevor’s hands starting to glow again until the glow had filled the cockpit. When the glow subsided this time they were close to an enormous purple gas planet. Then another glow and they were orbiting a planet that seemed to be covered in lava. Then another, and they were hovering above a planet that seemed to be made of moving trees. In each case, the stars in the sky looked very different from any he’d seen before, and he realized they were in different galaxies than our own, where he’d spent his whole life. In fact, seeing so much now got him thinking about how similar all the planets he had been to before were.
Bobby made his way through the overwhelm in his brain and felt ready to talk about this. “Okay,” he started, “so you can take us from galaxy to galaxy….”
“Teleportation,” Trevor nodded. “Some friends call me The Teleporting Trevor.”
“Okay,” Bobby replied. “And you’re saying that’s magic?”
“Oh yes, it’s entirely magic,” Trevor replied.
“So…” Bobby started, unsure of how to push the conversation, “…as an explorer of worlds, I want to go to all these places…” Trevor nodded. “…so how come I’ve just seen the same kind of world over and over again? And how come they all have exactly the same trees and plants?” He could see Trevor was hesitating in how to answer. “And how come every single planet has a place called “Portland” in “Maine”?”
He paused. And for the first time, Trevor looked nervous and uneasy.
“Ah, yes,” Trevor started. “About that…”
Spaceship decided to jump in.
“Bobby…” she started. “They didn’t realize we were going to keep trying to find new worlds. You’re an explorer of worlds; it’s in your nature. But they needed us to find this one moose, on this one world…” she trailed off.
One world. Slowly all of Bobby’s thoughts about the worlds they had visited looking and feeling identical converged, and his brain came to a crashing halt.
“Are you telling me we’ve just been going to the same planet over and over again?!”
“Umm…” both Trevor and Spaceship replied together.
“Yeah,” Spaceship said sheepishly.
“Yes,” Trevor confirmed.
“And… actually,” Spaceship confessed, “just one part of the planet.”
“So it doesn’t all look like that?”
“Oh goodness me, no!” Trevor blurted out with excitement. “Look!” And with quick bursts, he teleported them around the world to prove his point. It all happened too quickly for Bobby to soak it all in – the African savanna, the mountains of New Zealand, the Hudson River alongside the Manhattan skyline, the Amazon rainforest, the Norwegian fjords (which Trevor said he particularly liked the design of)… Sometimes Bobby thought he saw people or other creatures turning to see Spaceship with amazement, but it all happened so quickly he couldn’t be sure. After seeing Aztec pyramids and the Grand Canyon, Bobby had had enough.
“Okay, stop stop stop,” he called out. Trevor returned them to Maine.
Bobby turned away from Trevor – he would have turned away from Spaceship too except that he was standing inside her cockpit – and pulled at the sides of his own face in frustration, with a low growl Spaceship had never heard before in all the years they had been together.
Trevor’s right hand glowed a little, and suddenly he held a piece of paper-like material in his hand, which scrolled out to hang down to the floor. It had writing on it for pretty much the full length of the paper, and Bobby saw hand prints of some kind at the bottom. He knew what Trevor was about to say.
“Bobby, I’m sorry you don’t remember it – I had no idea that hypersleep would do that – but you did agree to look for this moose. This is the contract you signed.”
Bobby walked closer to inspect it. “How do I know you didn’t just create this out of magic?” he asked, feeling like he was probably fighting a losing battle.
Trevor seemed a little offended by the question. “Well, I can teleport, I can’t just create something out of nothing,” he said. “That’s more The Artistic Alaina’s thing,” he mumbled.
Bobby looked at the hand prints at the bottom of the document. Then he looked at his own hands and placed them against the prints. They matched.
“Bobby, I remember it all now. We did agree to this,” Spaceship assured her friend.
Bobby sighed and took it all in.
He took a few deep breaths, and finally said, “okay… tell me more.”
Trevor looked at him, wondering where to begin. Bobby felt Spaceship looking at him too, even though he knew that was pretty much impossible.
“This moose,” Trevor started. “We’ve known for hundreds of years that when magic breaks, he’s the one who can fix it.”
“Hundreds of years?” Bobby asked. At this point he decided to just roll with whatever ridiculous information this strange man was telling him.
“Hundreds of years,” Trevor nodded. “Three hundred and twenty three years to be precise. But magic only broke recently – about 21 years ago. A rather… unpredictable… horse found its way into our land, and ended up breaking magic. We’ve been looking for this moose ever since.”
That was a lot to take in. For starters, Bobby didn’t think 21 years ago was very recent, but since Trevor just mentioned knowing something for the last 323 years, he decided not to push that point.
“What do you mean about this horse breaking magic?”
“Well, my friends and I all have our own powers, but we weren’t used to something as unusual as him. He somehow managed to absorb most of our powers, and now he’s more powerful than any of us. And now magic is going haywire, and it’s getting worse. We think that unpredictable horse is responsible. Portals keep opening up between lands, creatures with their own languages are somehow able to speak to each other, streams of water that grow or shrink anything that touches it are somehow coming through into this world… it’s chaos.”
“But you can still teleport,” Bobby replied.
“Well, it’s taken some time, but I’ve regained some of my powers, yeah,” Trevor responded. “I’m going to need to sleep for the next month or two, though – this is exhausting. And usually the Chronological Colin would just go back in time to fix this, but the horse took away his powers completely.”
“And this moose is going to fix it all?” Bobby asked.
“How do you know it’s the right moose? I mean, there must have been a lot of them around in the last 21 years.”
“It’s the mouse,” Spaceship jumped in. Trevor nodded. “The mouse on its head. That’s how.”
“Yes,” Trevor agreed. “For the last 323 years, we’ve known that a moose and a mouse with the same name would save us all.”
Bobby took a minute to soak it all in. None of it made any sense, and it was all completely ridiculous, but he decided he didn’t have much choice, so he may as well go along with it.
“Okay,” he said finally. “Let’s go save magic.”