The Time Backwater III
There was no pop as no re-routed time travellers appeared on the re-routing pads of precinct 19. That would be no popping today, if today meant anything in a folded time space sort of way. But no popping on a single day was quite unusual, there was always somebody trying to get somewhere in time at the same time as too many other people, but not today. The various work droids stood in their positions motionless, like extra dummies in an Indiana Jones film just before the nuke went off and he escaped in a fridge. That is if you have seen the film and you are not a time traveller from the early noughties. Otherwise this statement means nothing to you. It can’t have been Christmas that stopped them, droids were not working on the electrics therefore re-routing people to one of the other 23 precincts, and there was nothing special going on like a time war or an interdimensional war. No, things were just very quiet, a bit like a backwater really.
Splob the gnome patriarch popped his head round the corner of the fridge. He looked warily at the chef droid which stood there, standing still. This sounds a bit like an Ultravox song that sometimes played in the pneuma lifts, what a sad man the author was to have thunk this into existence. While he was trying to think of something funny to say Splob darted across to the food storage and transfer area. He stood by one of the food transfer machines and programmed it for fish and chips for 50. The machine started to grab orders of fish and chips from different time frames and different dimensions, some wrapped in paper, some in foil, some in card, some in polystyrene and some in vuminium. (Have you ever thought you had done something, like wrap up fish and chips, only to find that they weren’t wrapped? This is where all the food goes that you forget about or misplace.) He piled ten portions into a sack and skedaddled over to the open access tunnel grate and lowered the food into another pair of small hands. He then went back for some more, but while he was piling another ten portions into another bag a maintenance droid went past, this caught the motion sensors of the chef droid who looked back at the moving object. The chef droid’s line of sight fell upon a half filled bag of fish and chips on the floor near the food transfer machine. It went over to the bag, looked at it, picked it up then took it over and dropped it into the waste disposal machine. It then went over to the food transfer machine and started to take out the other portions and pile them into sacks to throw away. When it had filled one sack it started on another. Splob swapped sacks for others filled with baked bean tins, he did this another three times. The droid put one of the bean tin filled bags into the waste disposal. The tins grunched and ground on the machinery. The droid emptied the 3 other sacks of tinned baked beans into the machine until it ground to a halt. The droid pushed the start button but the machine had clogged up, like Marlon Brando choking on wads of cotton wool while making The Godfather. It warbled over to the ‘Call for maintenance droid’ button and pushed it then waited near the waste disposal machine.
Splob snuck the other 3 sacks of fish and chips out to the grate. While the two droids were concerned with the bean tinned state of the waste disposal he programmed another ten portions, bagged them and slipped down into the access tunnel pulling the grate over his head. The other gnome had started on a portion of fish and chips. Splob glared at him and collected two other bags and started off down the tunnel. The other gnome wiped his lips, re-wrapped his food, picked up two sacks and followed Splob.
At one minute past midnight there was nine loud pops and nine time travellers appeared on re-routing pads then headed toward the cafeteria for a snack between adventures, they saw an electronic sign displaying the words, ‘This cafeteria is unable to serve food at the moment due to unforeseen circumstances’. They looked for another food outlet.
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