Timothy was at the park with Holly, Mordecai and Grace. Jordan was at the mall with his family and Cody was still sick, so Timothy was left with his current group for the day. He, Mordecai and Grace were telling the story again of how they met James and had included their venture the other day to Wisconsin.
"Limbo? Like that party game?" She had asked in confusion.
"No, limbo, like a suspended state of being," Grace sighed. Holly had asked the same question multiple times, but no one could really blame her. It was all complicated to explain to anyone who wasn't there to see it themselves.
"Alright, Limbo is that weird space place, I got it. Have you checked up on James? Maybe talk to him a bit more?"
"Well yeah, we went to Wisconsin with him yesterday," Timothy replied.
"I wouldn't really consider that hanging out. You should schedule another date with him!"
"I suppose it couldn't hurt, but we've already asked yesterday," Mordecai mentioned. It was a concern they'd be annoying James if they asked again to go do something with him. Timothy often thought about that with his friends with the exception of Jordan and Grace, they were extremely close friends with him. So close in fact that they would go to the ends of the universe to help him.
"Alright, I'll ring him up," Timothy said, pulling out his cellphone again and dialing the number. Several beeps sounded before someone answered.
"Hello, this is Tonik speaking, who is this?"
"Timothy. We were wondering if you guys would like to hang out...again, except maybe this time we'd go somewhere you guys would like to go?"
A loud bang was heard in the background of the call, and the sounds of a dog barking and cursing in Spanish followed.
"Did Matty mess with the generator again?" Tonik called, speaking away from the phone.
"I told you we need to put it in the workshop!"
"It's fine, Matty will get it eventual- Matty!"
Again, explosions. It seemed like everytime Timothy called this happened.
"Yeah, I'll come pick you up, Tim. We'll bring you over to the apartment so we can go get something together."
The call was cancelled, and Timothy put away the phone. Around him, everyone seemed pretty calm except for Holly, who looked concerned.
"Is that normal for them?" She asked, noticing how everyone was unreactive to the call.
"We assume so. Speaking of which, do you think James knows Spanish?"
"If he knows all those fancy words, sure. We'll ask him when we- Agh!" Jordan was saying before there was a loud crack next to him, followed by light. It passed away, revealing a lone Tonik. The robot gave a friendly wave to the kids, nearly making Holly pass out.
"Woah, so you really are a robot!" Holly exclaimed in fascination.
"In the steel and circuits," Tonik said, knocking on his chest and producing a loud clang. "Anyways, you kids are ready, right?"
"Yeah, let's go," Timothy said, walking towards Tonik. Everyone followed and gathered close to the robot.
"Teleporting in 5!" Tonik stated. Just as stated, in 5 seconds there was a crack and bright light, and they were gone. Timothy opened his eyes and saw the same gray void, empty.
"Hey mate," A familiar voice said next to him, that of a teenager's. It sounded deep and depressed.
"Cody?" Timothy asked, turning around to see the boy. The dark haired boy was indeed standing there, wearing a black jacket and equally dark pants. He also had a necklace around his neck. "How did you get here?"
"Timothy, I know almost all the secrets of the entire universe, of course I'd find a way in here," Cody replied, his voice echoing across oblivion. He raised his hand and flicked it, producing frost molecules to float in the void.
"I come here sometimes to think about life, and to get away from… Nevermind, what are you doing here?"
"Well, long story, but basically I'm off to hang out with this guy called James and his robot friend Tonik."
"James? You mean Carlos?"
"Carlos? He said his name was James."
"Carlos Avalos, but he renamed himself later to James."
"How do you know all of this?"
"Timothy, I know *cough* almost everything."
"Whatever, anything else I should know about this guy?"
"Sure, he's over 100 years old, he was the first ever to develop AI systems that could continue to advance and have consciousness, made a deal with the Devil, adventures across dimensions, makes a mean carne asada. Should I continue?"
"What?! He's over 100? Made a deal with the Devil?"
"Look, I can't explain everything, just go ask him alright? He'll tell you."
"How do you know he'll tell me?"
"Timothy, do I really need to *cough* continue?"
Timothy opened his mouth to respond, but nothing came out. He silently shook his head.
"Just *cough* trust him."
Cody suddenly clutched his head and dropped to the ground, groaning.
"Are you okay?"
Timothy tried to bend down to help him, but he was suspended in place, as always in Limbo.
"No, but I'll manage… I think I should go now, get *cough* some rest…"
"You're getting worse mate, I think you should see a doctor."
"So they *cough* can do what? Give me a false diagnosis so they can give *cough* me bad medicine? No, they don't know what I have…"
"They'll find out what's wrong, they got those fancy doctorates for a reason you know."
"Heh, the things *cough* you don't know Timothy, it could fill a warehouse."
Timothy got the sudden sensation of coming back into existence.
"Tell Holly I said hi," Cody said before Timothy heard a loud pop and came back into existence. Timothy looked around and saw that he was inside an apartment living room. It was furnished quite well, with a leather couch, a recliner chair, a large TV across the room, and more.
Around him was Tonik, Holly, Mordecai, and Grace. Tonik walked to the couch and took a seat, plopping down. The couch groaned under the sudden weight.
"James, I'm home!" Tonik called. From another room in the apartment, a voice called back in Spanish.
"Yeah I got the kids."
James walked into the living room, covered in soot and his hair singed. He always seemed to be like that. Following behind him was a young and excited labrador.
"I was sparkly clean earlier but uh, Matty here might have blown up my second Cato-gun...again," He apologized, rubbing the soot off his face.
"I told you to stop leaving your stuff lying around the workshop."
"Yeah, my bad. Anyways, you kids came to see ol' James and Tonik, eh? We'll take a seat in my humble abode!"
The recliner chair collapsed in a heap, making Tonik and the kids laugh.
"I forgot that my furniture was like a thousand years old… well take a seat on the intact furniture then, I'll get myself a chair from the workshop."
James walked back into the hallway, leaving the dog with the kids. Holly and Mordecai walked over to pet the dog while Grace and Timothy went to sit at the couch.
"Aw, he's so cute!" Holly said, rubbing the dog's back.
"So… I got some questions for James… more personal insight one," Timothy said, this statement more of if he was allowed to. Tonik looked at him with concern.
"What do you mean?"
"Well… let's say a friend of mine just so happened to find a way into Limbo and said a few things about James."
"This friend would have to have extensive knowledge to do this."
"He went to the 4th dimension, does that count."
The couch broke in half, causing Timothy and Grace to tumble down in a heap. They got up and saw that James had returned in a floating recliner chair, but he was looking at Timothy.
"What did you say?" James asked, hovering forward.
"My friend went to the 4th dimension?" Timothy said with curiosity.
"He went to the 4th dimension!?" James and Tonik said together.
"What's the big hubba bubba about it?"
"That place is full of knowledge beyond our reach man! Those who go there learn everything and more, they know what consciousness means and what they really are," James explained.
"In other words, they know the truth," Tonik simplified.
"What is this truth?" Grace asked from the floor, now curious.
"That this is all a lie."
"This is all a lie, our existence is fake, we don't exist."
"That's impossible, how do we exist if we don't?
"Simple, we are simply the thought of something else, words on paper, puppets in a play."
"You're scaring me," Timothy said, now starting to get nervous, but why?
"That doesn't make sense, it's all philosophy and guesses," Grace countered.
"Of course you'd say that, it's because you can't process that information. Your mind is limited to its boundaries," James further explained. "But people who go to the 4th dimension, their minds expand tenfold and they can then comprehend the idea that it's all just fiction."
"So how can you say that then without breaking down?" Timothy asked. "You're telling us this but nothing is really happening."
"Simple, someone who does or doesn't understand the logic of the universe can tell you it's all a lie, but your mind won't truly believe it. Sure, it'll stick with that logic, but eventually it will wear off and you'll be back to normal. You can say that it's all a lie, all a story, but you have no way to truly know it without being there to experience it firsthand."
"And for those who know the truth?" Timothy asked.
Tonik and James looked at each other before explaining.
"They become broken, only the strongest minds can go through that without breaking down into fragments. We've investigated almost everyone who's gone to the 4th dimension, and all of them are depressed, broken, or dead."
A note of silence hung in the room, leaving Holly and Mordecai to continue playing with Matty. All of this information didn't even seem to faze them.
"What's up with them?" Timothy inquired, interested that Holly and Mordecai had not even noticed their conversation.
"I'm not really sure, perhaps some sort of tunnel hearing or something. It seems to happen a lot whenever the topic of the 4th dimension is brung up."
Again, silence. Tonik decided to break the silence then by making an extremely loud cough, or at least it sounded like one. The smell of gasoline hung in the air.
"Aw man, did you just let one rip?" James complained.
"Used fuel discharged in gaseous form," Tonik replied. James sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose between his eyes in annoyance.
"Why did I design you to do that again?"
"Because you did. Anyways, Timothy wanted to ask about… you."
"What does he want to know? My name is James, irresponsible guy, adventures all the time, I make a mean carne asada, what else do you need to know?"
"He wants to know before that."
James's face changed to one of more serious nature, unlike the more playful one he wears naturally.
James got off of his hover chair, which was quickly occupied by Holly.
"Where do you want me to start?"
Timothy thought about it to himself. He didn't truly believe James would sit down and actually tell him about himself, or at least more than before. Cody's words ringed in his head, and he decided to ask the first major question he had.
"How old are you?"
"I'm… 15, or at least my body is. Listen, I've been around for awhile, it's difficult to remember how long I've existed. I think it was, what, 153 years give or take?"
"You're 15 but you're also 153?"
"That brings us to our next question, what is this story?"
"Well, basically when I still lived in Mexico, before I ended up leaving my family, I made a deal with the Devil."
"You were born in Mexico?"
"Yes, I'll tell you about that later. Anyways, I was in my tattered bed one night and poof, he was just there next to me. He looked tall and pale, but I could tell he was him, Satan. He gave me a deal, I would be young forever, able to go out and complete my dream; I could adventure as much as I wanted 'till the sun exploded."
"What was the catch?"
"I have to live 200 years before this effect of immortality would permanently set in. If I die, then the Devil would take my soul and play a game. If I won that game, I would be free. I lose, I am forever lost."
"Jesus, why did you accept?"
"For one, I was young, and young people do dumb things sometimes, though what I did was beyond that limit. Two, I believe, and still do believe, I can cheat him out of his game."
"How in the world would you do that?"
"Easy, get to the 4th dimension. There, time passes very fast but doesn't actually age your body, only your mind. I could cheat out the Devil by skipping years there. Furthermore, from what I've gathered from various sources you are granted a single wish when you leave. I would use that to cheat myself out of the Devil."
"So how come you haven't done that yet?"
"Kid, I just said it is impossible to get there. Think of it like a closed, locked door. You can't open it on one side, you can only get in if someone on the inside unlocks it and lets you in."
Timothy thought over this for a moment, thinking of a solution. Grace was first to come up with one.
"What about your ATM? Can't you just make a wormhole there?" Grace suggested.
"I tried that. It didn't work. The barrier known as Limbo guards all dimension's borders, including the 4th dimension. The ATM can penetrate Limbo in weak points, but to the 4th dimension there are no weak points," James responded, nodding off the idea.
"Ugh, this is giving me a headache," Timothy grumbled, rubbing his temples. This was so much to take in, too much information. He wished he hadn't asked now. He decided to ask a new question.
"Moving on from this. James, you travel dimensions?" Timothy asked, trying to relax.
"Yeah, I gotta do something for these 2 centuries. I catalog and archive almost every adventure I take up. I even got souvenirs from them," James said, making it apparent he too wanted to switch the topic from the time stuff.
"Cool, where do you keep it?"
"In my workshop, follow me."
James led Timothy and Grace to his workshop, leaving Tonik with Holly and Mordecai, who were still playing with Matty. They couldn't really be blamed for it, they both loved dogs. James stopped at a door down the hallway of his apartment and turned to the kids.
"What you are about to see might make your heads explode in ecstasy, so avert your eyes! Avert them!"
Timothy and Grace chuckled before looking away from the door. On the wall, they saw light slowly creep onto it, and from behind them, James said,"Okay, you can look now."
They turned around and viewed the workshop, an impossibly big room the size of a warehouse. Inside were rows of tables filled up with scrap, tools, and random junk. At the back of the workshop was a massive collection of various items, some on display cases while others were just piled up in corners.
There were also work benches, a large contraption next to a terminal, and a massive computer screen that stated in big, bold letters- SEARCHING FOR MATCH.
"You use Tinder?" Grace asked, looking at the screen.
"What? No, I don't use that, I don't date too much now. That, my friends, is what I use to track Timothy's dad," James explained. Timothy respected James a little more after hearing this, seeing that James had kept his promise. James led them through the workshop, showing them everything up to the trophy section.
"Here is where I keep my collectables and vast amounts of trophies that I did not steal," He had said. Timothy scanned the sea of items before picking up a glowing grapefruit.
"Where did you get this?" Timothy asked, examining the fruit.
"I got that from a dimension full of little, tiny pixies and unicorns. Turns out they hate humans, but I got a sweet grapefruit from it," James recalled. Grace picked up a strange, white device from the floor. It was difficult to describe what it was exactly. On one side it had 3 appendages and had a operational end to it, glowing orange and blue.
"What does this do?" Grace asked, discovering that the device had a trigger.
"That is a portal gun, I got that from a crazy robot lady thing. She's pretty nice once you get to know her."
Grace fired a portal to one wall, then one to the ground below her. She disappeared in a flash, re-appearing at the end of the room where she had fired the portal.
"Just don't make a loop!" James called to her before turning back to Timothy.
"This is pretty sweet, and you go on adventures all the time?" Timothy asked, looking around the workshop.
"Yeah, Tonik and me go around dimensions all the time. We can go on one now with you guys if you want."
"I'll tell you when we get there, but do you want to?"
James grinned before leading him out of the workshop and back to Tonik, Grace soon following them. Inside the living room, Holly was still playing with Matty, but Mordecai was now sitting on the couch talking to Tonik.
"Tonik, we're going on an adventure!" James proclaimed. Tonik looked to him and nodded.
"We're going to 'that place'?"
"Yes, we are going to 'that place', my bubbly friend."
"Ok, just don't call me bubbly."
Tonik got up and began shaking slightly, starting to make a hum.
"Warming up ATM, the dimension we're going to is a little far in regards to dimensional space, so I have to charge up the system better," Tonik explained. James excused himself to the workshop to go fetch something, leaving Timothy alone with Grace, Mordecai, Holly and Tonik.
"We're going on an adventure?" Holly asked. Grace and Timothy filled her and Mordecai in on what had happened as to catch them up to recent events.
"Huh, well let's do it," Mordecai said, supporting the idea of an adventure.
"Yeah, why not." Holly added, visibly excited. Holly, that reminded Timothy of something, something… oh yes.
"Cody says hi," Timothy said to her. She looked at him with confusion.
"Cody says hi."
"Um, tell him I said hi as well."
James came back into the room carrying a small leather bag and a custom made revolver loaded with 6 rounds and on safe.
"Let's go," He said.
"Do we need to bring a gun?" Grace asked, concerned about the dangers that would lie ahead if they truly needed a gun.
"Only a precaution," James replied, spinning the barrel of the gun. He turned to Tonik, now spinning the gun around. He would make any gun safety expert have a heart attack doing that. "Systems ready?"
"Yeah, whenever you dudes are ready," Tonik replied.
"Activate teleport sequence."
Everyone walked to Tonik, with the exception of Matty, who barked twice before retreating to the hallway.
A flash, a loud crack, and boom, they were gone, off on an adventure. A faint beep resonated from the workshop, coming from the massive computer. On it's large screen read Warning: Detecting puncture through Limbo. Limbo status: unstable, more punctures might cause complete rupture of fabric of existence!
Oh yeah, just to explain something here: Cody has more knowledge than what most realize, but you can know more about he knows just about everything and why his friends are so calm about it by reading School Days, it should make sense then, sort of... Also this story happens after School Days, just in case it wasn't apparent by now.
Anyways, hasta luego, see you next chapter.