TIME WARP (4-7-95)

Part 1

Once upon a time, there lived a princess of France, heir apparent to the throne. All was well, until one day the princess's life was threatened by an evil magician who stole something very valuable. (The identity of what he stole must remain a secret for reasons of state security.) The magician sent this item into the past, thinking that it would be out of the princess's reach forever. He did not, however, take into consideration Her Highness's Royal Group of People Who Can Travel Back and Forth in Time; namely, Sir Devin of Patteran, Sir Daniel of Dry Oda, Lady Audra of Felinus, Lady Angela of the Minor family, Grand Duchess Cary, and Hippiechick Jennifer.

The location of The Item was pinpointed at six years in the past, so the RGPWCTBFT set their Royal temporochronometers for the fourth grade. Lady Audra, Hippiechick Jennifer, and Grand Duchess Cary infiltrated one of the fourth grade classes, masquerading as new students and blending in with the hope of discovering clues to The Item's whereabouts. They did not become fourth graders themselves, but using secret technologies known only to the RGPWCTBFT (and to Douglas Adams), they were able to convince the people of that time period that the fact that they were *not* fourth graders was simply Someone Else's Problem.

The Duchess discovered that one of the students in the class which the three of them had infiltrated was the younger Sir Devin of that time. The paradoxical dynamics of temporochronometric travel being what they are, the Duchess was sorely tempted to reveal their mission to the future PWCTBFT, so that after their mission, she could ask Sir Devin if he remembered the incident from his childhood. Her better judgment prevailed however, and, following the Rules and Regulations set forth for just such encounters, she refrained from informing him of their purpose therein. To satisfy her temptation while remaining within the R and R, she instead leaned toward him across the desks and sang the title line of a certain little song from Rocky. What? Sylvester Stallone? No, not that Rocky. The other Rocky. How does it go? Why it's just a jump to the left, and a step to the riiyiiiyiiiiyight... "Let's do the Time Warp again!"

During the attempted recovery of The Item, the RGPWCTBFT encountered a fourth-grade member of the Pro-active Pacifists for the Proper Petitioning of Permission. The child was a new student at the school, and as per his religion, he devoutly asked permission before using or borrowing ANYTHING which did not belong to him. After a number of queries from the boy, such as 'I kindly request permission to use this stapler', the teacher began to lose patience with the child and in exasperation asked him, "Are you just crazy, or are you one of those Permission Petitioners?"

While the SEP fields employed by the RGPWCTBFT are generally faultless in hiding all things problematic, they do - upon extended use - begin to fail in their duties. Such was the case when the Duchess Cary, upon sitting through half a day of Art, English, and Multiplication Tables, felt that Call of Nature to which we must all at times attend. Cursing her handicap of Directional Impairment, she was forced to ask for directions to the restroom, an action which remained in the inquiree's mind as being an Odd and Unusual question for the fourth-grade Cary of that time. While availing herself of the facilities, the Duchess encountered a shift in the space-time continuum, revealing a personage from the future at the hand-dryer, calmly airing out her wings. Shaking her head at the peculiarities of temporochronometric travel, the Duchess washed her hands and went in search of her fellow PWCTBFT. Perhaps they would gain a lead on The Item's location during lunch.

Lady Audra joined the Duchess and they proceeded to the cafeteria. On their journey, they passed one of the school's teachers... a teacher who knew both of them quite well in that Time. The teacher's remarks were yet another sign that the SEP devices were beginning to fail and that the RGPWCTBFT needed to reclaim The Item as quickly as they could or else risk breaking every Rule and Regulation ever written when their SEP fields died horrible sputtering deaths from overuse. What remarks? Oh, yes. The teacher's muttered words of "I know *she* can't be, but *she* almost could" can easily be deciphered using a standard Acme Translation Device™. Quite simply, the Duchess Cary did not look enough like her fourth-grade counterpart to *be* her fourth-grade counterpart, but the Lady Audra looked too much like *her* fourth-grade counterpart to be coincidental. Jarred by the knowledge that the SEP's were beginning to fail, the two PWCTBFT hurriedly made their way to the cafeteria to join in the search.

Upon reaching the cafeteria, the Duchess experienced a moment's anxiety that she did not have upon her person any money with which to purchase food. If she returned to the classroom to fetch some, the odds of her SEP field failing and the hall teacher realizing that something was amiss were quite good. However, a frantic search of her many pockets and pouches revealed a comforting $2, and disaster was averted.

The entire assembly of PWCTBFT convened at one of the many cafeteria tables and began to discuss strategies for recovering The Item and returning with it to their own time.

Part 2

For reasons of state security, as stated in Part 1, the identity of The Item must remain secret, and therefore so too must the identity of its location 6 years in the past. Let it therefore be said only that the RGPWCTBFT recovered The Item in due course (but before their SEP devices failed). Their mission now was to return to their present time with The Item and restore the safety of the Princess of France, heir apparent to the throne. For the return trip, they chose to employ a Basket Attachment for Large Leaps Of Necessity, also known as a hot air B.A.L.L.O.N.

Unfortunately, some passers-by had mistaken the device for a hot air *balloon* and attempted to take a ride in it, perhaps envisioning a picnic among the clouds. Fearing the ramifications of this act, the Duchess Cary ran to the device and grabbed its rope, pulling it quickly back onto the earth and removing the unwitting thieves from its interior. Assessing the situation, she discovered that the basket was packed with sandwiches. They had to be removed at once or The Item would not fit in the BALLON for transportation. The other members of the RGPWCTBFT arrived and began to aid in the removal of sandwiches. As they worked, one of them noticed that their surroundings seem to have shifted. No longer in front of a school building, they were instead in front of another building and a rather sinister-looking army/van/jeep/car was parked nearby. Chalking the discrepancy up to those pesky peculiarities of temporochronometric travel, and fearing further delay if they were seen, the RGPWCTBFT attempted to complete their departure preparations.

Suddenly, Sadie, Princess of France and heir apparent to the throne, came running from the building with proclamations of gratitude for the RGPWCTBFT. Amidst the confusion, the RGPWCTBFT ascertained that the BALLON's temporochronometric drive must have been initiated by its brief ascent into the air, and amidst the removal of sandwiches, the BALLON had transported them all, and The Item as well, to their temporochronometric destination.

As the RGPWCTBFT followed the Princess Sadie into the building, the evil magician produced one last attempt upon The Item. Emerging from the army/van/jeep/car and leading a mob of his followers, he charged at the RGPWCTBFT and the Princess, who ran for the building and its Royal Safety from All Things Evil. As with all good fairy tales, they reached the interior with only (relatively) minor injuries, and they all lived happily ever after, with the possible exceptions of the evil magician and of the passers-by who lost both their lunch and their balloon ride.

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