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"Professor Aldwin? Are you in there?" A young man in a tweed suit pushed open a glass door that lead to a scientist's lab. Several desks lay around, with mounds of scrap metal, blue prints and various food wrappers heaped on them.
"I am over here, Intern Johnson." An elderly man in a starched white lab coat sat at one of the cluttered desks, his back to the intern.
"You know I don't like being called an intern. How about assistant or even aide?" Johnson walked over, holding some envelopes in his hands.
"I call it like I see it. Anyway! I finished my newest invention! The Parallex!" The elderly professor stood up in triumph, holding a small, matte black orb with a single silver button on it over his head.
"What does it do?" Johnson asked, making space on one of the desks for the mail.
"It alters the fabric of reality, allowing the user to travel between dimensions! More accurately, it shifts from one dimension to another!" Professor Aldwin placed the device carefully back onto the desk.
"Does it work?" Johnson asked, skeptical.
"I don't know."
"I don't know! When the Parallex activates, it automatically corrects any paradoxes. Hence, the user and the world around him do not realize they have shifted realities." The Professor walked over to the mail, and looks it over.
"I see...anyways, Professor Aldwin, the Global Organization for Scientific Inquiry has sent you another summons." Intern Johnson pulls out a large envelope with bright red words spelling out "Urgent" on both sides. The Professor grabbed it and then threw it onto a desk nearby.
"Those GOSI morons just want to steal my ideas! Steal my inventions! They've been trying for years to get their hands on my Cool Fusion Power Generator and take all the credit!" Professor Aldwin began to rant and rave, and Johnson started to edge away.
"I'm going to get a soda. Do you want one?"
"Sure, whatever." Professor Aldwin sat down and began mumbling to himself as he looks over the rest of the mail. As Johnson closes the door behind him, the motion stirs the room a bit, and the resulting gust of wind flings an envelope at the Parallex, bumping into and clicking its silver button.
The rough wooden door is gracelessly opened by the booted foot of Johnson. He made his way in, holding two heavy flagons of ale.
"Here you go, Alchemist Aldwin. Your ale." Johnson placed the large drinking vessel on a nearby desk, covered in all sorts of tomes, quills, and scraps of paper.
"Thank you, Squire Johnson. Much appreciated." Alchemist Aldwin sipped at his drink as he looks over a hefty book.
"So, do you really think your invention, this Parallex, works?" Johnson asked,as he looked at the small black orb with a silver button that lay next to several odd apparatus.
"Of course the Parallex works. We just don't know when it does!" Aldwin said, rolling his eyes at the ignorance of his squire.
"Seems like a design flaw, don't you think?" Squire Johnson asked, pressing the point like a spear to a wild boar.
"Perhaps, but so what! People thought it was stupid to make a powder that exploded when heated, but now they use it in their newfangled cannons!" Alchemist Aldwin stood up again, and straightened his robes. "Someday my inventions will be accepted!" Squire Johnson just stood and nodded, while sipping his ale. A thought occurred to him.
"Alchemist Aldwin, I heard rumors down at the pub that the Kingdom of Gosi has begun to mobilize its army. Do you think there will be war?"
"Of course there will be war. Just like there will be Summer after Spring, or drunken fools in a bar. But I did receive a letter from the Kingdom of Gosi. They demanded that I help build weapons for them. But I refused! Let some other man build for war. I want to build for the aftermath of such things." Squire Johnson was a bit surprised, but silently pleased as well.
"So, do you want another ale? I see you are finished with that one." Alchemist Aldwin looked down at his empty flagon, and chuckled a bit.
"Why not? Make it another round for me and you! And then we can try and create a new way to use Minotaur dung!" Squire Johnson laughed, not entirely sure if Alchemist Aldwin was joking, and turned to the exit, slamming the heavy wooden door behind him on his way out. Alchemist Aldwin sat back down, unaware that the slamming door had shaken the Parallex, and it now wobbled over close to the edge of the desk, and fell, landing on its button.
The blank metal doors slid open with a barely audible "whoosh" sound, and Ensign Johnson rushed into the room, carrying a tea tray with two small cups, and a startled look on his face.
"Master Technician Aldwin! I've got bad news!" Technician Aldwin looked up from where he'd been messing around with some gadget on his stainless steel desk.
"Slow down, you'll spill the tea. Is it Algondian blend? I do so love their flavors." Technician Aldwin looked at Ensign Johnson with a bemused expression as the latter swept some data-slates and star charts off a nearby desk to place the tea tray.
"Tea is not really important right now! The Gosiian Collective just warped several battleships into our sector! The local defenses don't have enough weapons or ships to stop them!" Ensign Johnson was practically shouting, his fear obvious. Technician Aldwin stood up so fast that several things in his lap went flying across the room, striking the far wall.
"Alien bastards are after my technology! I suppose I should have known when I found a Gosiian spy-drone outside my window last week..."
"We need to get out of here! We need to get to a shelter while local government contacts the military! And then wait behind several tons of reinforced battle-steel and mega-crete!" Ensign Johnson scurried around the room, and gathered up what he thought would be useful items, while Technician Aldwin went about at a more leisurely pace.
"Why aren't you panicking?!" Ensign Johnson demanded, as Technician Aldwin looked over some notes on a desk.
"The Gosiian fleet will not reach us immediately. We have a good day before their ships reach the planet. Also, it's my policy not to run or rush. You get crappy results with both." Ensign Johnson made a noise somewhere between a high pitched squeal and a grunt, and grabbed Technician Aldwin by the hand and dragged him out of the room, causing them to bump into several things on the way.
The Parallex, innocently forgotten by both, wobbled a bit on the floor, then rolled around and hit its silver button on the edge of a table.
Here is a short story/script for a possible Animation feature...
Once, long ago, there was a magnificent city, built on the banks of a mighty river and filled with tall and graceful buildings. As with all cities, there were many statues and monuments to various people and things, but none were as grand as the Prince, a large, golden statue with emeralds for eyes and three diamonds for his coat buttons. The Prince overlooked the nicest parts of the city, shielded by a pavilion of marble pillars. But as far as the gilded statue could see, the Prince never could view the poorer districts of the city. In life he had loved all his people, peasant or plutocrat, and had helped anyone who needed it.
Now one day in the late summer, a flock of birds flapped their way into the city to rest before beginning the migration south. The members of the flock took the best sites in the city to eat and sleep at, but one bird, a straggler, was not so lucky. He was smaller than his fellows, and had trouble keeping up with them. Since all the good spots were taken, the smallest bird alighted on the shoulder of the Prince.
The Prince felt the presence of the little bird, and through force of will, spoke to the avian through the still lips of his body.
"Little bird, little bird, can you help me?" At first, the bird was startled, but quickly settled down. How could an immobile statue hurt him?
"I will help in any way I can. What do you need?"
"Oh little bird, I cannot see beyond the manicured lawns and hills of this place. I wish to see the farther sites in the city, but I cannot move. Will you be my eyes?"
The small bird agreed, and flapped his wings to the far end of town. First, in the apartments of the poor side, he saw a young mother sewing up clothes for her Lady, unable to take care of her son who lay at home crying for water and fruit to cool his fever. She had to finish these dresses, or else she would not be paid, and without money, how could she nurse her son? The bird flew around to a prison, where a debt-ridden man sat on a cot of filthy straw. He was pleading with a guard to let him out so he could take care of his frail father and mother, but the guard refused, saying he had to pay to leave. Finally, the bird circled a cemetery, where a group of children stood as both their parents were lowered into the ground. Without anyone to take care of them, they would be taken to an orphanage, unless they could pay someone to take care of them.
The little bird returned to the Prince and spoke of what he had seen.
"A poor mother wishes to take care of her sick son, but has not the money, while a debtor begs to be free so he can help his aging parents. A group of four children have no one to help them, for they too have no way to afford kindness." The Prince was silent for a while, and the small bird settled down to sleep. In the morning, the Prince woke the bird with his voice.
"Little bird, I have decided. Take my buttons, and give them to the three people you saw yesterday."
"But without you buttons, you will not be fancy! And fancy is important!" Said the bird, who knew the importance of plumage.
"What good is fancy when I have nowhere to go, and no one to impress?" That said, a quiet cracking sound filled the air, the three diamond buttons dropping from the Prince's statue body.
Little Bird took the diamonds, one in each foot and one in his mouth, and flew to the city once more. To the woman and her son, he dropped the diamond onto the woman's lap, and she looked up, seeing him fly off. Next, he spat the second diamond down into the debtor's cell. As he wonderingly picked it up, he too saw a glimpse of Little Bird in the distance. For the final group, he had to circle the city before locating the sad children. He dropped the last diamond into the pocket of the eldest boy, and flew off as the children exclaimed at their good luck.
The small bird returned to the Prince and perched on his shoulder again.
"The mother can now buy her son water and apples to sooth his fever. The Debtor can be free and help his parents. And the children need not worry about suffering any longer."
"Thank you, Little Bird." That night was quiet, as the Prince thought and the bird slept.
Early next morning, the Prince asked Little Bird, as he was preening, to go into the city again to see the poorer district. Little bird agreed, and so flew off. He came across a poor old man driving a mule up the road, when he was assaulted and mugged by cut-purses. Leaving him broken and penniless, the old man begged for help, but he had no money to pay for a doctor. Then, Little Bird saw a little girl in a wheelchair. She was reading a book in her room at a hospital while her father argued with a surgeon to perform an operation on his daughter so she could walk. But the surgeon refused, saying they had no money for such a procedure. It was getting a bit colder, and so Little Bird returned to the Prince.
"Mister Statue, I have seen a helpless old man beaten down, yet none will help him for he has no way to compensate. I also saw a young girl who could not walk because she had no way to pay for an operation." The Prince was silent, then said,
"Take my eyes, and give them to the people you have told me of."
"But without your eyes, how can you see?!" Little Bird knew the importance of sight, relying on it heavily.
"What good are these eyes, if I cannot see those in need?" that said, there was a popping sound, and the emeralds tumbled from his face. Little Bird took the eyes, and flew off to the city.
He flew above the old man, and dropped an emerald into his cupped hands as he begged for help. Startled, the old man looked up, catching sight of his savior. Then, Little Bird came to the girl, and landed on her windowsill, depositing the emerald onto the open pages of her book. When the girl turned back to her book, she saw a beautiful gem, and squealed with delight. She would soon walk again! Little Bird was getting cold, yet he flew back to the Prince to report.
"The old man will be saved, and the girl will walk once more. You are kind beyond reason and necessity, Statue," Little Bird said.
"You have done well. Thank you, my friend. But it grows cold, and you should head south with your flock." But the small bird shook his head, and settled onto the Princes shoulder.
"You gave your eyes because you wanted to help others, and I took them for you. You gave your buttons to those who needed them, and I delivered them for you. It is too late for me anyways. My flock has flown, and I would never make it anyways. I shall now stay with you, as your eyes and your friend."
If the Prince could have cried with joy, he would have, but alas statues cannot shed tears. For many days Little Bird stayed with the Prince, even as the sky grew cloudier and the weather grew colder. Soon, snow began to fall. The Prince sensed it, and asked his friend a question.
"Little Bird, will you do me another favor?" Little Bird nodded even as he shook with the cold. "Will you fly across the city, and see how the people are?"
And so the chilly bird flew into the air, awkwardly flapping his numb wings.
Little Bird flew around the city, and saw huddles of homeless and poor people shivering in the cold. They had little clothes, and many were frostbitten. Little Bird flew back to his friend with the news.
"Many people, young and old, are shivering in the cold snow, because they have no homes or clothes." The Prince thought this over, and told Little Bird,
"Take my skin. Shower it upon those who need it, as you saw today."
"But without your skin, you will be frozen!" Little Bird protested.
"No more so than you, Little Bird." And with that, a ripping sound echoed in the pavilion, and soon all of the gold on the Princes body flaked off, reveal a body made of nothing more than cheap tin and lead. Little Bird gathered up the mounds of golden flakes, and carried it to the city. As he flew, flecks of gold fell onto the masses of the destitute, and they looked up with exclamations of surprise and joy! Circling the city three times, Little Bird delivered the gold to those who needed it.
Upon his return to the Prince, Little Bird landed tiredly before his immobile metal feet.
"I am sorry, friend. I can fly no more."
"Then rest. You have earned it. But...might I ask one last request?"
"Anything," Little Bird replied.
"Sing to me. I cannot see, I feel naught but cold, but I wish to hear you sing, at least once."
And so Little Bird opened his mouth, and he sang. It was a song of love and life, of kindness and caring. It echoed through the Princes very form and was carried on the wind into the city. A young mother with her son looked up and thanked God for their health. A man who was supporting his parents on his arms as they walked in the snow stopped and thanked God for his freedom. A group of children, tucked away in a warm house, sipping hot cocoa, looked out the window at the snow and thanked God for their home. An old man, feeding an old mule with hay, looked out at the white blanketed city and thanked God for his life. A little girl, jumping and frolicking in the snow along with her father, stopped and silently thanked God for her feet and legs. And all across the city, men and women, young and old, clothed in warm winter jackets and mittens and scarves and hats, looked up into the sky and thanked God for their fortunes.
And Little Bird sang for hours, until his voice faded and his breath stopped. And as his friend passed away, the Prince's face cracked, right along where tears would drip, and a chunk of lead and tin fell off from his chest. And peace and quiet descended.
A few days later, a group of rich and important men from the city council were strolling the frost covered lawns of the nice district, when they came across a hideously ugly grey and cracked statue with a dead bird at its feet.
"Goodness me! What is that?"
"I have no idea! Let us remove this eyesore quickly!" And so the statue of tin and lead was torn off its pedestal and tossed into a junk heap along with the stiff carcass of the bird.
`Up in Heaven, God looked at his angels and told them this;
"Find me the most beautiful things from Earth, on this, the anniversary of my son's birth." So the angels streamed out of the Eternal Kingdom, to seek God's wish. That night, as family's gathered in their homes for Christmas Dinner in a magnificent city with lovely buildings, an angel walked up to a trash heap and picked up a chunk of lead and a small frozen bird from among the refuse.
The young angel returned to Heaven, and presented his finds to God. Among the gold, silver, and jewels the others had brought, these two seemed out of place. But God picked up the lead and the bird, and said,
"These are the most beautiful objects in the World; the heart of man who never stopped caring, and the form of a friend who never stopped helping. From this moment forth, the Prince shall walk in a body of silver and gold, and Little Bird shall sing in my Paradise forever."
And so saying, Little Bird's body began to move, and he flew around God's head singing a wondrous song, while the lead grew into a body of gold and silver. And now the two friends live together in Heaven, chosen because of their love.