January is the abandoned parking lot of the Gregorian calendar, with its scant sunlight and skulking wolves. And Chapter 3 brings us to the January of the Cromulent Zone, an abandoned parking lot. It’s an Ouroborean metaphor that Flapman might enjoy if he were awake or interested. And such a circular metaphor would also resemble the circular Chronoballer, if metaphors had stained upholstery and a decent sound system. Please enjoy Chapter 3 of Magnificent Bastards of the Apocalypse.
The Chronoballer, the very last time machine on the planet, was a heap of shit. To be fair, it had been manufactured by Flogistics Tempotechnics Corporation in 2278, so if one considered that it was a little over three hundred years old, that it was still a heap of shit at all was a point in its favor. And considering that every other known time machine had been searched out, confiscated, and melted down in the fires of the Great Caldera of Bârr Okh-Duba Mä, the Chronoballer was a fucking miracle. Strictly speaking, the Chronoballer was an FTC Solantera Sport with etalon dampers, full Schwarzschild tunneling, twelve cup holders, and matte-black, machined Exantium trim. Three hundred years ago, it had been a sight to behold. Six meters across, the gleaming silver sphere would have made quite an impression as it moved through the Earth’s atmosphere toward its jump point, reflecting the brilliantly lit cities on the planet’s night side. In its day, the Chronoballer had probably been the nuts, before untold millions of time jumps had skull-fucked reality.
Of course, that had been when there were brilliantly lit cities. And a night side. And something like regular reality.
On watch in the idling timeship in the year 2614, Flapman thought that, yep, reality was good and skull-fucked, and the Chronoballer was definitely not the nuts anymore. As he sat back in his G-chair, Flapman absently smoothed a crease in his bag, pleased with the originality of his metaphor. Metaphors were fine, though he preferred similes. He had, however, never liked the part of the job he was currently performing—waiting for that sneaky little shit, Gibson, to get supplies. It was better than scavenging and Cthulhu knew they needed toilet paper, which the tentacly god had pointed out to Flapman in a recent dream-visit.
It was going to cost them, of course, in either bartered goods, negotiated labor, or some of their dwindling supply of precious Beaks, the attractive and razor-sharp currency of the Cromulent Zone. Dealing with CostLo always carried the risk of being forcibly entered into their Frequent Shopper program, which involved a subcutaneous implant and some dangerously high voltage, but Flapman was looking forward to not having to use handfuls of gravel to get that fresh feeling every morning. Continue reading