Friday, June 20, 2014

Tom and The Wizard-12

The Wizard sat in a room, alone, seated at a round table. Four featureless walls surrounded him, with a non-descript interior door the only portal to be had. Then the door opened, and in came a woman and a man, both attired much as he was- professional, if a bit dated.

"Madam," The Wizard said, "and Sir."

"The others are decided." the woman said, "They are satisfied."

"You fulfilled the expectations for this operation." the man said, "Exactly so."

"Too exact." the woman said.

"Well," The Wizard said, "I can't go about showing up everyone else in all things now, can I? That doesn't do well for morale."

"You executed a complicated, risky, and uncertain operation with naught but yourself and what resources you personally procured in a fraction of the time that should ordinarily be the case." the man said, "If I did not know better, I would be suspicious that you'd kept these Nazi holdouts stashed away someplace for just this sort of occasion."

"I had a plan." The Wizard said, "I paid attention to the situation, and I adjusted the plan as necessary. Nothing more than just paying attention, and knowing what to do in the moment."

"Your humble bragging is unbecoming." the woman said, "We have good reason to believe that your report is neither complete nor comprehensive on the matter."

"You asked me to clean up one of your messes." The Wizard said, "I did, and at a fraction of the time and effort that your own proposes involved. I would like the compensation I am now entitled to receive in return for those services rendered."

The woman and the man looked at each other and sighed. "It's in the main hall."

The Wizard got up and took his leave of them without so much as a wave goodbye. Walking down equally featureless hallways, he made his way up from the interior of this place to the main hall. There, in a bright--but mundane, dispiritingly so--great hall of dull, washed out light colors and no decoration stood a single structure like a smooth shining (but short) marble tower or cylinder. He walked up to it, smiled, and knocked on it approvingly.

"Come on, old girl." The Wizard said, "Time to make amends to a lovely boy." A door in the tower opened, revealing an interior space seeming larger than should be the case, and in he went- closing the door behind him. Moments later, the tower disappeared in a series of blinks that slowly--silently--phased it out of sight.

* * * * *

Tom and Longfellow stood in the middle of Longfellow Hold's courtyard and watched as the shining short cylinder blinked into view and solidified. They stopped talking to each other and watched, and smiled as they realized what this meant. The door opened, and out came The Wizard.

"Still mad at me, Thomas?" The Wizard.

"No." Tom said, "Longfellow explained it all."

"Though dumping him on me on short notice was quite the caddish thing of you." Longfellow said.

The Wizard approached and embraced both men in turn. "I am now able to say that this should never happen again. I truly regret my deceptions, despite their necessity, because powers greater than I can contend with compelled me to do this."

"And?" Tom said.

"I can now properly take you home." The Wizard said, "As for you, my old friend, I have something you need."

The Wizard handed a baton to Longfellow, who opened it and saw the schematics to a machine.

"At last, we can connect to the surface world on our own terms." Longefellow said, "Much thanks, old friend."

"As for you, Thomas, care to see some sights on the way home?"

"Such as?"

The Wizard leaned in close. "How about Mars?"

Tom blinked. The Wizard nodded affirmatively.

Tom hugged Longfellow. "Well, off towards home I go. Maybe someday in the future?"

Longfellow smiled. "Maybe."

The Wizard grabbed Tom by the arm. "Did I mention that I knew Burroughs? His whole series of books on Mars started when I took him there. There was a small mishap on the way there, and we ended up off-course, but that just added to the whole adventure of it. You know, I hadn't told this story since I mentioned it to a BBC man at a dinner party in the early 1960s..."

Tom and the Wizard entered the tower, and moments later it silently blinked out of existence, and towards a new adventure.

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