The Collected Adventures of The Fractal Rangers.
Featuring Perfesser Prof, Princess Pop, Archetype Amigo, and others...
A ship hangs in the void where whole universes smear into each other, an interlude in an infinite regression of stories, in which our heroes Perfesser Prof (the brains of the operation!), Probability Pop the Power Princess (the brawn!), and Archetype Amigo (uh… comedic relief?) await their next adventure!
A ship pops into existence, echoes rippling into the chaosphere. It signals itself as the Mandelbrot This, Bitches!
Prof: They’re requesting communication.
The screen flickers to life, showing an Archetype Amigo… changed. Battle scars raked his already unhandsome features, an eye rolling pale grey in its socket shifting the wires that run from his retina to a hissing—hmm, steam-powered, remarks Perfesser Prof— camera system grafted scarry-like on his cranium.
Archetype Amigo: Wow. This must be me, a badass from another reality.
Archetype Amigo 2: No. This is you from the future.
Probability Pop: (giggles)
Archetype Amigo: (Jaw crashes to ground)
Archetype Amigo 2: In fact, a future very rapidly present. It looks like I was too late to warn you. Shoulda known that my presence would blindside you to the true threat—
A salvo of lasers from a mysterious direction attacks the Prof’s ship! The hull is rent asunder and AA is flung akimbo into the cold claws of pure vacuum! The prof and Probability Pop hang on for dear life! The Mandelbrot This, Bitches! swoops in, tessellating space!
As the hull repairs itself,
Probability Pop: Wow. That happened really quickly. I guess it’s true that nobody can hear you scream in space.
Meanwhile, on the Mandelbrot This, Bitches! the past and the future collide when Archetype Amigo snaps awake with the almost instant vertical orientation of his once prone torso, thus causing his face to violently coincide against that of the future Archetype Amigo’s face. Archetype Amigo Present screams through his bleeding face and the Future Archetype Amigo gestures with his robotic arm and remarks to himself, “Shoulda known not to stand that close. That’s how I, uh, you lost the eye and got the scars.”
Upon seeing the hydraulics and electronic cabling bulging in place of skeleton and muscle on his doppelganger’s arm, Archetype Amigo’s screaming increases a decibel. He stops long enough to catch his breath and query, “H-how? Do I dare ask when that happened?”
“The way it went,” the doppelganger sighs, “is right after you asked that question, I somehow tripped and ripped your arm off into an airlock in some freak accident which caused it to be ejected into space, lost forever… yeah, like that, I’m really sorry!”
Archetype Amigo’s hand has abandoned his howling face—the other having entirely absconded with most of the limb attached—to fly to his gushing stump. “Your leg! W-w—,” he bleats. The Future Archetype Amigo looks down at the bellows powered unicycle attached to where the right leg used to be, looking very much like a steampunk pirate. His grey eye squawks. The doppelganger chins his hand and ponders for a moment before finally saying, “If memory serves me, I accidentally removed the leg as I was working on fixing your arm…”
“No! No! Was I even injured before you picked me up? Who shot at us?” Archetype Amigo, in the throes of panic, stumbles about in the cramped cockpit bristling with controls and falls right over the crèche onto the console, to inadvertently trigger an array of switches and buttons.
“What have you done?!” The doppelganger screams, the ship winking out of Time into the past, remaining only long enough to release a salvo of erratic laser fire onto the unsuspecting Prof’s ship. Suddenly back in the present, Archetype Amigo is still flailing about, screaming, “Somebody save me! Perfesser! Princess Pop! Save me from myself!”
“Don’t worry,” the Future Archetype Amigo says with a set and determined face, “I’m going to save you! I’ll fix it all!”
Not too far into the future, Archetype Amigo returns to the Prof’s ship and sulks past the jaw-shattering astonishment of his fellow Fractal Rangers. “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” he grumbles, clumsily making for his quarters on an unicycle, where he finds the sale of a ship, Mandelbrot This, Bitches!, on Kriegslist. I can fix this, he thinks. I can!
Perfesser Prof shakes his head and Probability Pop shrugs, turning to the controls. “Full fractal ahead,” Perfesser Prof says, and Pop throws a switch, the fractal drive eschering a downward drift. Under its tessellating exhaust is lodged something that looks suspiciously like a severed arm…