This is today's freebie, prompted by my_partner_doug. It's a crossover between Schrodinger's Heroes and Girl Genius (which is also crowdfunded, and most highly recommended). It also fills the "canon related freestyle" square in my 6-10-14 card for the Fanbingo fest.
The Teflon Tesseract had been misbehaving all day.
Computers sputtered and then crashed.
The overhead lights blinked out.
The gate function fluctuated.
Then Schrodinger trotted into the control room
holding something that was obviously not a mouse.
"Well, that's never a good sign," Alex said
as her cat deposited the trophy at her feet.
"What did you catch this time, mighty hunter?"
"It looks like a woolly mammoth," Ash observed,
picking up the thing by its tail. It squeaked.
"It's two inches tall!" Alex protested.
"Yeah, ain't those things supposed
to be ... bigger?" said Chris.
"Nine to eleven feet fall, according
to the fossil record," Ash said.
"I have a bad feeling about this," Bailey said.
"Chris, help me pop the panels
off the hardware banks."
Inside they found a number of woolly pests
pushing wires aside with their tiny tusks.
"What do we call these critters anyhow?"
Chris asked, shooing one away.
"Mimmoths," Ash suggested. "It's shorter."
"I wonder where they're coming from."
"I've got a vector," Alex said. "It's off in that region
of dimensions that tends to throw a lot of weird science."
"You don't say," Chris drawled,
pulling another mimmoth from the wiring.
"Let's arm up and hit the road," Kay said.
"It's bound to be easier to solve this
from the other end of the problem."
This turned out to be not quite the case.
Alex and Ash found themselves
in an Escherscape edifice that
announced itself as Castle Heterodyne.
Ash hacked into its operating system
and pronounced it "crazy as a clown."
The rest of the team was nowhere to be found.
There were, however, a great many mimmoths,
clanking robots large and small, and the
Jägermonsters who looked ferocious
but turned quite friendly when they got close.
"You schmell nize," the tallest one said,
snuffling over Alex and then Ash.
"Not so much as Miz Agatha, but ... nize."
Ash pushed his tusked face away.
"Cut it out," she said. "I'm asexual."
The Jäger huffed but obeyed.
Another of the Jägers disappeared to find
the aforementioned Miz Agatha, who looked
not unlike Alex with the same blonde hair and glasses,
the same sparkling intellect and nose for trouble.
"Your dimension is spilling tiny vermin into ours,"
Alex explained. "We're calling them mimmoths."
"We call them mimmoths too!" Agatha said, grinning.
"Great minds work alike," Ash said.
"So what were you working on this morning?
A better mousetrap -- well, mimmoth trap --
or something that could tear open the dimensions?"
"We were working on a portal device,
but the activation sequence failed," Agatha said.
"Are sure it failed altogether?" Alex asked.
"Maybe it just seemed to fail, but actually
did something else altogether."
"Hmm," said Agatha. "Hmmmm..."
What started out as an ordinary hum
soon developed into something far more complex.
Ash had no trouble following along with a shamanic drone,
and after a few fumbles Alex picked up a note of her own.
The castle became remarkably cooperative after that.
They took a while to scan through the vast and
complicated structure of the castle, but eventually
they found the mimmoth-sized portal that had
opened inside the portal machine.
As they were debating how to solve the problem,
several Jägermonsters arrived with Kay and Quinn.
One of them was wearing Kay's flak jacket,
and Quinn had evidently shaved his head
the better to show off his splendid new hat.
"The castle suddenly stopped trying to kill us,"
Kay announced. "I take it that means
we can go home now?"
"We're working on it," Alex said
from inside the machine.
Two more Jägers and a human man
appeared with a limping Chris draped
carefully between them and Bailey holding
a monkeywrench as long as he was tall.
"I love this thing, Gil," said Bailey.
"I am never putting it down."
"Keep it," said Gil. "I'll trade you that
for the tiny automatic screwdriver!"
So they shook on it.
With Gil and Bailey added to the group,
the work went faster. Neither Agatha nor Gil
wanted to smash the machine (Chris' suggestion)
or short it out (Kay's suggestion) so they had to
figure out how to shut it down safely.
While the sparks worked, the rest of the team
stood around and swapped stories about
their adventures avoiding the death traps.
Kay and Quinn had saved a Jäger
from a gigantic mechanical crocodile.
Bailey and Chris had battled a rampaging blender
that had gotten loose from Gil's kitchen.
Then Pat showed up, along with Schrodinger
who was holding tails with a large white cat.
"Just what we need, evil!Schrodinger,"
Chris complained, drawing his gun.
Pat waved him off. "This isn't evil!Schrodinger,"
he assured them. "Meet Krosp, the Emperor of All Cats."
Krosp turned out to be useful for slipping inside
the tight spaces of the machine, while
Schrodinger kept the mimmoths at bay.
Finally Agatha and Alex found the right combination
of tweaks to turn off the portal. "Ah, now that we've
done that, how will you get home?" Agatha asked.
"Remote control," Alex said, pulling it from her pocket.
"Never leave home dimension without it."
First, of course, they had to go over
all the exchanges they'd agreed upon
while working on the gear together.
"Correct formula for tread gunk?" Agatha said.
"Check," Ash replied. "Introduction to ternary code?"
"Check," Agatha said, moving down the list.
"Schrodinger wants the recipe for mimmoth-on-a-stick,"
Krosp added, licking his new friend's ear.
By the time they actually made it home,
the sun was just coming up and
everyone was exhausted.
Bailey dropped his wrench on the floor
and said, "I think I'll just crash on the couch."
When he flopped onto the cushions, though,
something that was not a spring
squeaked underneath him.
Pat chuckled and extracted a mimmoth
from the innards of the couch.
"Why don't I make breakfast first," he said.
"There's a new recipe I'm just itching to try."
* * *
Mimmoths are tiny woolly mammoths variously depicted as the size of a mouse or rat. The mention of mimmoth-on-a-stick is also canon. Woolly mammoths are much bigger.
Castle Heterodyne has intricate structure similar to Escher's surreal sketches of impossible architecture. Ash is comparing the castle's strange mind to a sacred clown -- another figure of great power but baffling behavior.
Agatha Heterodyne is the hera of Girl Genius. Heterodyning refers to a kind of humming that she uses to enhance her genius skills.
Jägermonsters are constructs who serve as warriors. They use elaborate hats to show rank and respect. They are attracted to the scent of Heterodynes in particular, but plausibly also other sparks and intelligent people.
Gilgamesh Wulfenbach is another spark who is very fond of Agatha.
Krosp is the Emperor of All Cats, not that it does him much good.