Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos studied his maps. His plans to take over Zimbabwe and thus assume his rightful place as the world’s preeminent scientific mind needed adjusting. Mozambique looked like an easy way in on first glance, but with each subsequent pass, the Professor reconsidered.
Now, to some, it might seem odd that taking over a small African nation would confer superior scientific status upon an individual, but Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos knew that he was right. He generally was, if you only looked to him for the current score. If anyone had asked, the Professor would have explained that due to his recent time travel problems, he had ended up being revered for his genius – no matter what havoc he wrought. He enjoyed it at first, but grew to despise the fawning and interruptions. So, instead, he would show the world who was boss – quite literally.
Respect was good. Respect was key, even, to the Professor’s mind, but too much of a good thing turned out to not be such a good thing after all. Regardless, Pfah!, the Professor settled on Zimbabwe as his target. Once he controlled a country nothing could stop him.
He discarded the Mozambique plan and settled on an air-based attack strategy. Everything went according to plan. It was, the Professor thought, quite simple, looking back. Step one was the hardest, building an aircraft capable of flying over Zimbabwe while simultaneously spraying the entire country with a shrinking liquid. Covering the country quickly enough, and in a proper pattern was key. Without managing that everyone, their buildings and possessions would have shrunk unevenly. Lumpily, even.
Once the plane shrank the country the Professor stepped in, carefully – so as not to step on anyone, and swept up. Literally. The Atomi-broom gently, but emphatically, gathered up the buildings and people and extraneous pets into a holding unit. The unit itself was the size of a compact car, and within it, tiny robots went about pushing buildings into place. The robots, though tiny, were easily the size of busses, to the people now in the holding unit where they would live and prosper, albeit shrunken to the size of insects..
Zimbabwe taken care of, the Professor turned his attention to setting up shop. The world raged, but the Professor ignored them. Their respect quickly turned to horror and the Professor merely smiled. This, he felt, was more like it. Sometimes a certain state of mind is required for the best creative endeavors and, after achieving what he thought was his goal, the Professor had learned the true mindset needed for his own abilities. Certainly the success of his recently-trashed status was accidental, but it was still his, was it not? And as such, it was also his to upend gloriously, as befitting a genius.
And so Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos settled in to his new home. Populated by robot minions, curious wildlife, experimentations, twelve monkeys that were working on the recipe for perfect fried chicken, a collection of harmonicas and the Professor himself, the country felt perfect.
Until that one fateful day. A thundering noise shook the countryside. The Professor awoke from a dream and fell off his bed while trying to work out what could have possibly exploded. No one dared attack him, not after the first time the U.N tried to invade. They were still trying to find the attack force they sent in. And good luck with that, the Professor thought as he pawed around for his glasses. Good luck indeed, trying to find an attack force that was currently nothing more than scattered atoms on the wind.
Whatever attacked him now would certainly suffer the same fate. The Professor grabbed the Imagi-fire helmet, the same thing that reduced the monster Gargantua to less than a problem, and strapped it on. Outside the robot sentries ran in terror, screaming something or the other that the Professor couldn’t make out. He made a mental note to redesign the robot’s vocal chips to convey English when they panicked instead of binary. Binary screams were quite annoying and went on far too long, he felt.
In the distance, but growing quickly closer, he could see a large shape. It waddled as it approached, yelling and booming. Something about the shape looked all wrong. It looked for all the world like a badger given energy form and physical mass. Perfectly impossible. The Professor unleashed the power of the Imagi-fire helmet, a helmet fueled by the strength of his own imagination, and then turning that power into atomic fire. The energy-badger absorbed the blast without slowing down.
Soon the energy-badger was upon and he could see, in the center, floating and wearing a tiny helmet, was Harry. Harry the badger, the lab animal left being when the Professor first launched his campaign against Zimbabwe. Harry the badger, who never showed any promise of heightened intellect, now stood on the very land the Professor called his own.
“Harry! My word, the experiments took! Let us work together!” the Professor tried.
“Not a chance!” roared Harry, “I shall crush you and then claim Zimbabwe as my own. Your time is through!”
Well the Professor would have none of that, thank you very much. Still, Harry’s energy/mass field would be able to resist almost any attack thrown at it. No, the trick, the Professor realized, would be to extrude the badger from his burrow, as it were. Running back into his lab, an action Harry mistook as cowardice, Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos set to quick work.
He would have to grab Harry from his womb of energy and them keep him still long enough to remove his helmet. Yes. Some suction, some… yes this would work! With only minutes to spare the Professor gathered up his invention and aimed it out the door toward Harry.
“This is your last chance, Harry,” the Professor told his once-and-possibly-future-subject, “power down and we can work together. Refuse and be dealt with.”
In response, Harry threw two monkeys, still holding fried chicken, at the building. Well, that settled that. The Professor threw the switch. A giant wind started to form, sucking everything it could in through the door. It howled and raged and sucked. Oh, how it sucked. It sucked up plants and fallen monkeys and their fried chicken. It sucked the dirt from the ground. Finally it sucked one hyper-intelligent badger from his energy womb.
Once inside Harry found that he was stuck to the sides of the device, other debris whizzing past him to stick along other bare spots on the wall. Turning the machine off, the Professor reached in and plucked the tiny control helmet from Harry’s head. The energy creature outside dissipated and the badger frowned.
“How did you have time to create this?” he demanded.
“The Bubble Yum Wind Tunnel,” the Professor said archly, thinking up the name on the spot for a machine that sucked things with wind and was also sticky and pink-walled, “is a simple application of my boundless imagination, you tiny fool. Like a spider with a straw against its web, I have trapped you.”
“And now you’ll kill me?”
“No,” the Professor said, “I truly would like to work with you. But you are too dangerous and wish to kill me. Still, Harry, I am sorry I left you behind, before.”
“Because I am now a threat?”
“Because you were never deserving of abandonment in the first place.” Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos cleared his throat. “If I have one regret it is turning you into an enemy by mistake. I have found that I need to think these things through a bit more before I go ahead with my plans. Wouldn’t you agree?”
The badger sniffed. “I would. But do not think this makes us even.”
“Well, how about you take Zimbabwe?” The Professor offered.
“For my own?” Harry squinted and struggled against his sticky prison.
“Including the robots,” The Professor said.
“But what will you do?”
“Mozambique might be nice.” The Professor said, realizing he truly meant it. Zimbabwe was nice and all but it didn’t have a “q” in the name. A “q” might be fancy to have.
“Aren’t you worried I will attack you?”
“Worried? I look forward to it! Why, I have already begun to think up a schedule for when each of us could attack the other! Working together, attacking each other, we should each advance our science by leaps and bounds! It will be glorious!”
Harry the badger thought Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos a loon. But having a friend to play with would be nice. And between the two of them, the world would come to regret many, many things.
Except fried chicken. The remaining ten monkeys did work out the world’s perfect fried chicken recipe, Professor Ezekiel Alphonse Horatio McFlurryphontos’ final gift to humanity before he resumed blowing things up for science. With a friend.