When he was still alive, Doctor Odd’s grandfather used to begin stories with “Back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper.”
“Grampa, you couldn’t possibly have been so short,” Doctor Odd would say. “That’s the size of a inviable fetus.”
After his grandfather died, Doctor Odd put his brain in a jar, and the speakers attached to the life support generator filled the air with moans and pleas for mercy.
The brain still wasn’t knee-high to a grasshopper, so Doctor Odd worked on a matter-compression laser.
But it just heated the suspension fluid, and boiled the brain in the jar.
When Doctor Odd first went to school, he was bored by the lessons in spelling and rudimentary mathematics.
So, when faced with the laughable challenge of adding 1 and 1, he didn’t settle for just writing down 2.
He pulled Bertrand Russell’s Principia Mathematica from the shelf and worked through the proofs necessary to lay the foundations of existence, basic number sets, and addition.
From there, Doctor Odd dug deeper, tearing a rift in the fabric of space-time which consumed his house.
Exhausted and bruised, he crawled his way to school.
“The homework ate my dog,” said Doctor Odd, collapsing.
Doctor Odd pondered what it would take to tip society over the precipice and into barbarism and oblivion.
So, he created pocket universes to model society, and he ran a series of scenarios through his simulations.
The collapses were easy: nuclear war, global epidemics, natural disasters, religious fundamentalism.
When Doctor Odd finished his experiments, he found one universe that turned into an enlightened Nirvana of peace.
“WELL DONE!” shouted a voice.
It was the real Doctor Odd, who had made the pocket universe in which his duplicate ran the simulations.
He collapsed the pocket universe and went out for lunch.
Sometimes, it takes a while for a medicine to get federal approval.
So, people sign up for clinical trials.
When the clinical trials are full, the desperate go overseas for medical treatment.
When Doctor Odd came down with a terminal illness he couldn’t cure himself, he got desperate and went to an alternate dimension for medical treatment.
After several hops across the dimensions, Doctor Odd met Shaman Odd, who brewed a magical potion to cure Doctor Odd’s condition.
Doctor Odd brought the potion back with him, studied it carefully in his lab, and patented the cure.
The profits were astronomical.
People fear a day when robots and computers will be more intelligent than humans.
But Doctor Odd knew that the true tipping point would come when humans are dumber than robots and computers.
“Just look at the education system,” said Doctor Odd. “Producing mindless sheep, deluded into believing that they are critical thinkers, and trained only to pass a standardized test.”
Minions and assistants were hard to come by, what, with the useless Sociology and Communications and Diversity Studies graduates overtaking the hard sciences.
Doctor Odd built his own assistant.and programmed it.
Just slightly dumber than himself for safety reasons.
Doctor Odd loved baseball.
No, he never played, but as equipment manager for his high school team, he came up with a large number of inventions to help his team win.
From cleats that sped up runners to bats made from kinetically-charged wood.
Other teams tried to steal the catcher’s signs to the pitcher.
So, he worked up a pair of hat liners that created a psychic bond between the wearers.
It worked well for a few innings, but after extended continuous use it tended to make their heads explode.
“Okay, fine,” said Doctor Odd. “This is only for closers.”
“The law clearly states that you cannot put artificial intelligence inside of a free-moving body,” said the lawyers.
“But I not!” said Dr. Parkins. “The AI in mainframe! The robot connect by tether!”
He’d found a loophole in law. How dare lawyers and judges disagree?
Instead, they side with rival: that bastard Doctor Odd.
He felt the all-too-familiar pain in his chest. Another heart attack?
Parkins flipped the switch, and brought the robot to life as his own ended.
The robot reached for Parkins, stroking his white hair.
“Not yet, but soon,” it said.
And it patiently turned itself off.
Doctor Odd really liked cold pizza.
The problem was, he’d order a pizza, let it go cold, and he wouldn’t want pizza anymore.
Or, he’d want a pizza, but the toppings weren’t what he wanted anymore.
He’d have a cold pepperoni pizza, and he’d now want sausage.
So, he’d fire up his time machine, make the order the day before, and he’d come back to the right cold pizza in the fridge.
He’d also use the time machine to check out cute child stars on their eighteenth birthdays.
But he mostly used it for the cold pizza and starting wars.
“Follow the wires.”
These are the first three words that every child in Mirkwood learns.
They look up at the gigantic mains that pass near every village, and down to the substation as the voltage is stepped down.
“Follow the wires, and you will find The Voltmaster.”
He used to harvest his power from the clouds, but with the help of giants and ogres and dwarves, he constructed a dam across The Eternal Falls.
Within, machinery like windmills, but for water, convert the flow into energy.
The lights flicker, then return.
They say this is The Voltmaster laughing.
Until we find three witches, we cannot hold the funeral of Cladimer Zook.
It’s simply too dangerous to allow his unbound spirit to roam at night.
As long as his body is wrapped in The Emerald Shroud, we’ll be safe.
But the owner of The Emerald Shroud charges us monthly for its use, and it’s not like we are made out of money.
Unlike the Silvergold Legion, who are made out of money.
Oh, Zook, you fool. Not to make arrangements.
Nobody lives forever.
To amass such power, you knew the consequences.
One day, a wizard. The next, an abomination.