By J.R. Smith
John Streck was mad. His dimension traveling machine
was malfunctioning again. This was the fifteenth time in
the last four months. It first was a loose microchip. Then
it was a laser's lens being misaligned. What was it this
Ahh. He found it. A frayed cord. He decided to do a
complete repair check. John was sick and tired of repairing
things one at a time. He decided that if anything had even
the slightest chance of screwing a trip up, he would fix it
before it could do so.
John found five problems that would have been
disastrous-if he had not found them this early. He prepared
for what he thought was his first successful trip to
another dimension. But, alas, John missed a fatal problem.
The laser beam collision point was not centered. This
wouldn't physically hurt him. No. The results were much
John began the trip sequence, oblivious to the
complete catastrophe he was about to cause. The computer,
ever pessimistic, asked, "What is this, the sixteenth time
you've tried this? It's never going to work." John shot
back, "Oh, just shut up and start the countdown." "Okay,
okay! Geez! 20, 19, 18.," replied the computer.
When it reached 15, John realized his terrible
mistake. He immediately tried to stop the countdown "Stop
the countdown now!" screamed John. The computer's reply was
a laugh in the middle of 8 and 7 and a smile on the plasma
monitor. "You imbecile! The laser beams aren't colliding at
the center! That will cause a dimensional flux!" he yelled.
The plasma monitor's smile was gone in a microsecond.
There were five seconds left. "I'm trying to shut it down,"
declared the computer. ".3, 2, 1, WARP!" droned the
countdown. Having not been in the right bodily position at
warp time, John was knocked out.
When John stirred, he found himself outside. Not
outside the lab. Not outside his home. In the outdoors. The
outdoors of another dimension. He walked around in a daze,
cursing his computer. If he ever got back home, he would
take out the computer's personality chips.
Suddenly, John saw a blur. There was something
watching him. He called after it in every language he knew.
Then he chased after the mysterious smudge. Soon John
realized he would never catch it. Then he asked himself,
"Do I have a jet pack or do I have a jet pack?" John hauled
out his high-tech propulsion system from his "endless"
pocket and resumed the chase.
By now, there was but a few feet between John and what
he had recently realized was a young elf. He now knew the
elf was fooling with him because he had yelled Elvish. He
caught up to the little hooligan, grabbed him by the scruff
of the neck, and screamed, "Where am I?" John realized the
kid didn't have a clue what he just said. He was about to
repeat it in Elvish when he heard an enormous boom and save
a blinding flash of light.
By now, there are things that require explaining.
Well, one thing. What the heck is a dimensional flux? Well,
the thing that results from a flux is uncontrollable
portals uniting and melding dimensions together. This
causes problems. For example, ghosts are just stories,
right? Right! In our dimension. Things like vampires can
terrorize us after this event. The enormous boom and
blinding flash of light was the first dimensional flux
ever. Oh, yes. The way the "endless" pocket works is that
everything in it is reduced to numbers. Namely, ones and
John was paralyzed with fear. He had done it. He
caused a dimensional flux. He was screwed.
The elf slipped out of John's grasp and went into a
sprint, screaming profanity in Elvish. John mumbled, "I
agree with ya, kid." He then screamed and followed him with
all the speed the jet pack had.
John followed that little sneak into a forest. This
forest was massive and overgrown. John considered the fact
that the kid was trying to go home. He followed the little
rascal to a glittering, shiny collection of tree dwellings.
The runt climbed up a collection of vines with John close
behind. He went into a dwelling, and John followed.
The kid started screaming, "There was a large
explosion and a man grabbed me!" John discussed what
happened with whom he assumed were the elf's parents. Then,
suddenly, they had this weird glint in their eyes. John
sensed evil. He grabbed the kid and ran. He did not have
fire in his eyes. The parents called after them in evil
voices, "You shall die!" "Fat chance, losers!" replied the
ever-defiant John. However, he realized that he was being
followed by demons. He activated his jet pack and flew to a
safe distance. Leaving, he saw the houses again, deformed
and spouting fire and brimstone. The homes, no longer
glittering and shining, gave of a hellish glow. The forest
began to burn.
The elven child demanded to know what was going on.
John could sense he was a smart kid, so he gave it to him
straight. "I built a machine," John informed the child,
"that can travel between dimensions. I made a terrible
mistake on my laser alignments. This caused the first
dimensional flux ever. That boom and flash of light? It was
the flux. In a flux, the dimensions meld and fuse together.
It believe that your parents, the other elves, and your
homes were corrupted by demons from another dimension. This
would not have happened without a flux. It is my fault.
However, you have to trust me. We're the only ones left."
"Okay, I guess," answered the elf. John asked, "What's
your name?" "Caraborn," replied the elf. "Okay Caraborn.can
you use a bow?" inquired John. "Yes, but I don't have
mine," replied Caraborn. "That's fine," assured John, "are
you any good? If you say you are really good and mean it, I
won't think you're bragging. It's really important." "Yeah.
I'm great!" answered Caraborn. John stated, "Good." John
pulled out a rocket launcher. He added, "This is a rocket
"This weapon isn't that much different from a bow.
However, there are some pointers. First, don't shoot
targets less than 3 yards away. That's what this is for,"
John told Caraborn as he pulled out a 50-cal and mounted it
on a post. "Second, you don't pull a string back. You pull
a trigger," added John. "Okay, I'll try it," replied
Caraborn. He pulled the trigger and in a millisecond, a
tree burst into flames. "Nice one!" yelled John. "Okay,
I'll set up a target!" he continued. Then John zoomed two
miles away with his jet pack. He zoomed quickly back.
"Okay, Caraborn. I want you to hit the target I just set
up. Hit the yellow button," commanded John. This caused a
large scope to come up out of the launcher. "Excellent. Now
look into the scope, find the target, and fire," He told
Caraborn, who blew the target into smithereens.
"Congratulations, you have just graduated weapons
training," declared John.
John sent out a probe while Caraborn slept. The probe
examined the various dimensional portals nearby. None of
them went to his lab. He decided to order the probe to go
to what was the elven forest. He switched to live feed. It
was sickening. There was lava, ash, and fumes everywhere.
John scanned for any elven life readings. There were none.
That meant one of four things. One: Caraborn's parents had
escaped and were free from the demon's corruption. Two:
They were dead. Three: They were still corrupted and were
on a reconnaissance mission for the demons. Four: The
corruption was so terrible it turned Caraborn's parents
John checked the area for dimension rifts. There was
one. It was located in the center of the demon base. John
hopped against hope that that portal didn't lead to his
lab. If it did, it would be the only one and he would never
get home. However, it was. John's reaction: "Crap!"
For the next eight years, John and Caraborn spent
their time doing one of two things. Either they destroyed
dimensional portals by refluxing them or prepared for the
coming battle against the demons. The way to reflux a
portal? Shoot multiple lasers at it and have them collide
Eventually, the pair destroyed almost all of the
dimensional rifts in the dimension. The only one left was
John's ticket home.
In those eight years, John had become a sort of
adoptive father for Caraborn. They enjoyed each other's
company. The kid was now 20 years old and John was 38 years
old. The elf had become almost as much of a "techie" as
John. Caraborn had upgraded John's plasma blaster at least
seven times. John's laptop ran at 3.5 gigs. Not only that,
but Caraborn had gotten better at using weapons also,
having to endure constant demon skirmishes. The problem
was, they kept getting created. The heroes had to destroy
the arch-devil ruler of the fortress and his lava pit to
stop the creation of demons.
"What do you think we should do now?" inquired
Caraborn. "I don't know, kid. I don't know." Replied John.
"I'm out of ideas," he added. "John, this is ridiculous!
You saved my life! You can save your livelihood! You should
probably send out a probe," Caraborn yelled. "You know kid,
you're right. I'll send out a probe on live feed," John
said with a wide grin.
"Let's see now. Oooh. Perfect. You see that gate?"
asked John. "Oh yeah," replied Caraborn. "That's our
entrance. How do you think we should blow it up?" John
asked again. "Well, doesn't the probe have a burrow-and-
self-destruct mechanism?" wondered Caraborn. "Yeah,"
answered John. "We'll use that. We'll get all the base
angles and weaknesses then have the probe burrow," added
John decided, for the first time in eight years, to
empty his pocket. He had several cans of "Brick-wall-in-a-
Can", a few unmarked test tubes of purple liquid,
dehydrated water (just add water), some miniprobes, and a
bolt-action rifle. He also had samples of all elements,
including man-made ones.
"John, give me the elements samples, I've got an
idea," announced Caraborn. He mixed the uranium and
plutonium, along with a little iron for stability. He then
encased the mixture in a rocket tube.
"Nuclear weapon?" asked John. "What the range on the
rocket launcher?" inquired Caraborn, ignoring his friend.
"Two miles, not enough for a nuke without the launcher
dying," replied John. "We'll have to build a missile,"
decided the elf. And with that, the two took what they had
and began to build the propelling cylinder.
The two friends finished the missile and were loading
the rocket tube when the first demon attack in months
occurred. They ravaged the outpost that John and Caraborn
had painstakingly set up. Then the evil creatures stole the
"Great. Just great. Now we can be turned into a
billion pieces of dust," Caraborn whined several hours
later. "Shut up. I'm thinking," John shot back. "We'll try
making an EMP wave," he added. "You think we can divert the
nuke?" asked his friend. "Yeah, and then we can fight the
demons, leave the nuke there, and detonate it from the
other side of the rift," answered John. "So you think that
we can not only divert it, but retrieve it?" asked Caraborn
incredulously. "Yes. Now let's get working," commanded John
through his teeth.
The pair labored on the electromagnetic pulse gun for
weeks. This took all the materials they had. All that was
left of the "base" was the machine guns and rocket
launchers, without stands. The gun actually misnamed.
Although it had the same effect as an EMP gun, the weapon
John and Caraborn built worked differently. A small nuclear
reaction generated a beam of light and heat, focused by a
glass lens and fired at a pre-selected target. The heat
fried the target's circuits.
John wondered, "How long will it take them to learn-"
"Missile on radar!" interrupted Caraborn. "Don't fire the
pulse yet," commanded John. "Wait for it. Wait for it.
The photon of light zoomed out of the lens and towards
the thermonuclear weapon. The two friends prayed the pulse
would hit. They both knew they only had one shot at it. It
hit. "We did it!" screamed John and Caraborn in unison. It
wasn't over yet.
"John." said Caraborn in a shaky tone. "What," replied
John, still smiling. "The missile is still coming toward
us," answered Caraborn. "Crap! Run diagnostics on that
missile. Hurry!" demanded John. "Diagnostics scan complete.
Wait! The detonator was damaged. That means." began
Caraborn. "That means the nuke won't go off! However, it
will still explode, just not with a mushroom cloud. Grab
the weapons and run!" yelled John.
The nuke hurtled at Mach 0.6 towards the comrades.
They dashed away as fast as they could, but not quickly
enough. The now non-nuclear, but still lethal, missile
slammed into the ground and sent John and Caraborn flying.
John ended up 100 feet away from the blast, Caraborn some
50 feet farther. John looked up. The kid wasn't moving.
"Caraborn?" he called out. The answer was silence. "Kid?"
he yelled again, desperately. "NOOOOOOO!" John cried in
despair. Caraborn was dead.
John limped towards Caraborn's lifeless body. He was
stunned. The kid was gone. It was so unbelievable that he
half-expected the elf to pop up and say, "Just kidding!
Scared ya, huh?" The man kneeled there for hours, crying
his guts out. John just couldn't believe Caraborn was gone.
"It's my fault! If I hadn't screwed up my trip, I wouldn't
have created any dimensional rifts. If there were no rifts,
there would be no demons to corrupt his parents and kill
him!" John sobbed to himself. "Now I'm ticked. They are
gonna GET IT!" he screamed.
John picked up his weapons that lay scattered in a
500-foot radius of the blast. He figured he wouldn't last
five minutes. Then he remembered that he had "Brick-Wall-
in-a-Can"! John read his label on the aerosol can. It read:
"Makes 3 12x12x1 ft. wall sections." That meant he had
enough for a brick fort with almost 1300 square feet of
space and 12-foot-high and 1-foot-thick walls. He could
throw the mini probes. They were heavy! He also had a bolt-
action rifle. That could come in handy.
However, John couldn't figure out what the purple
substance was. There were no markings on the test tubes He
had decided, "what the heck!! I'll pour out a drop and see
what happens. If I die, who cares?" You can tell he was
still depressed over Caraborn's death. The drop seemed to
take hours to plummet to the ground. Suddenly, there was a
hiss. John jerked his head around. Then he realized it was
the liquid. "Alright! It's acid!" John yelled.
He decided to use one of the miniprobes to map out the
demon's lair. It turns out, the structure had several inner
walls, and in the center was a large keep. Haunting
screamed emanated endlessly from the evil rampart. About
five dozen demons patrolled the top of each wall, three
dozen between each pair of walls, and roughly a hundred
inside the keep. So that meant about five hundred demons,
plus one all-powerful arch-devil. "Well," John said to
himself, "I figure my odds are one in a thousand. Better
than the lottery!"
He picked up all he had, started walking, then stopped
in his tracks. John looked at the nuke sitting on the
ground, then walked over to it. The rocket tube was in
tact. He could put the nuke on a timer (he had a watch).
John began to formulate his plan. He would set up the
brick wall fort, battle till he ran out of weapons, then
would rush the rift. He also had his refluxer. He would
attach the nuke to the refluxer. They would run on the same
watch. John would set the watch to 30 seconds. With five
seconds left, he will have gone through the rift and the
refluxer would start working. Then, with the time up, the
portal will have collapsed and the nuke will eradicate any
signs of his presence or the demons.
John started walking in the direction of the demon
base, the fuel in his jet pack having long been used. He
then promptly turned around. He saw Caraborn's body,
sitting there, and felt obligated to bury it. He couldn't
bury it where it laid. He couldn't bury it in the base of
John, for the third time, started walking. This time,
however, the trip was slower because he had a 180-pound
body slung over his shoulder. He started to wonder, "What
does dying feel like?" This gave him something to distract
himself from the long journey. However, this saddened him.
John began to sob. Crying slowed him down, so he wiped his
eyes, shook his head, and continued walking.
He saw a red glow on the horizon about two hours after
he started his slog. That informed him that he was half-
done. John decided to sit for a few minutes. Staring at the
horizon, he suddenly doubted his ability to get back home.
"What if the machine guns, rocket launcher, and rifle have
no effect? What then?" he asked aloud. Then he picked up
Caraborn's corpse and started again.
Almost two hours later, with the glow dominating the
sky, John was first fired upon. He got a small knick in his
arm, but kept going. A few minutes later, beams, fireballs,
and other weapons were raining indiscriminately on the
surrounding ground. He decided to set up his base right
where he stood.
John set up his weapons and the shower of weapons came
from both sides. The demon's first wall shuddered, then
collapsed. About 30 demons died in the great crash. John
was cracking up when three dozen demons charged his brick
fort. He could feel and hear it rumble. He grabbed all his
weapons and jumped the wall.
As soon as John jumped the wall, he flew into a rage.
He gunned down one demon after another. He began to target
the bases of the walls. This saved him a lot of trouble and
ammo. John began to realize this was completely pointless.
He dashed for the keep while punching random demons. He
negotiated the treacherous stairs to the arch devil's
A cruel cackling emanated from the arch devil's mouth
only strengthened John's resolve to escape. However, this
was almost impossible since he was shackled to the wall and
surrounded by demon guards. "You expect to defeat me?" the
devil snarled. "Actually, I did," John shot back. "Well, no
matter. You will soon die!" boomed the devil cruelly.
Little did he know, John had just finished picking the
locks on his shackles and clutched a machine gun he had
hidden in his "endless" pocket.
He burst forward and slaughtered the guard. He held a
50-cal to the devil's throat and retorted, "I don't think
so!" The evil ruler was speechless. "This is for Caraborn!"
John screamed. He then shoved the arch devil into the lava
pit. It began to bubble and hiss as the ground shook. John
said to himself, "I think I'd better run."
John picked up Caraborn's body and ran toward the
portal. He lined up his refluxer/nuke with the fits and ran
wildly as the timer ticked. "Goodbye, dimension," he
announced solemnly, then went to the other side. The rift
collapsed and the nuke went off.
John decided to bury Caraborn in the backyard. He went
there every day. And, true to his word, he removed the
computer's personality chips.