Slipping in undetected, I tapped the confirmation code on my Morse transmitter. Outside the compound, Travis Read and Codex responded by cutting the power and setting the contents of twelve garbage bins aflame. Next, I—
WHOA! Maybe I should slow down and explain myself.
Hello, all! My name is Gyrobo, a colorful rogue from a far-flung future where time travel is practical but highly unethical. I’ve been to virtually every period of historical importance, hence my many bumper stickers. Due to the bungling of some British interlopers, I’ve lost my ability to navigate the multiverse, becoming trapped in your frame over 80 years ago.
I have now decided to pursue a life of crime, in the service of the inestimable Doctor… well, let’s just say he wouldn’t like me handing out his name to just anyone.
Travis Read is the doctor’s right-hand man, wanted in Canada for his unspeakable hypnotic horrors. A former Black Cheddarist, Travis knows more about hypnotic domination and infiltration than anyone else alive.
As for the other one… nobody knows Codex’s origins for sure. Some say he was the unwanted child of two archaeologists who took it upon himself to continue his parents’ work, regardless of cultural taboos. Others say he came from a good home but had sociopathic tendencies and a penchant for tomb raiding.
One thing everyone agrees on is that he got his nickname translating an unknown Mayan codex he found at a garage sale. They say it predicted future events… and that what he read drove him mad. He occasionally clips articles from newspapers and arranges them in patterns that only he understands.
“Travis,” I tapped onto the pad, “is the Panda cage clear?”
That’s right, the dragon ball the three of us had sworn to retrieve was at the Linkin Park Zoo, deep in the heart of Chicago. We had scoped the park out earlier, tracing the location of the ball to the panda tanks, where those glorified raccoons swung from branches all day (or whatever is is pandas do, I’m not a bionomist).
The one thing I do know about pandas is that they don’t like it when you try to take their eggs. And their eggs look just like — you guessed it — dragon balls.
“All zoo personnel are tied up at the moment,” Travis texted back. Whether this meant they were preoccupied with the fires or physically incapacitated was a question best left to the philosophers.
What followed was a series of digits: the security code to the pandadome. One or more of the guards was clearly under Travis’ hypnotic influence; as with all his victims, they would spend the remainder of their natural-born life thinking they were chicken.
A pretty explicit calling card, to be sure.
With the radar as my guide, I made my way past the Sasquatch pen and the Microstani mini-Hulk display. Squealing in trepidation, I entered the ill-gotten code.
Bracing myself for the stench took a minute. Pandas are among the nation of Earth’s most filthy creatures. Pigs look upon pandas in disgust (at least they did in the future, when pigs were bipedal but still nude).
Kicking open the unlocked door, the interrogation began. “Which one of you has my quarry?!”
The two pandas in the room ignored me, pretending to be asleep. At the far corner of the room was an egg clutch. Jackpot!
Before the pandas could rend me limb from limb (my good friend Benita had been a panda trainer and supporter until one balmy summer day deep in the Amazin’ Rain Forrest, she was eaten by a superpanda), I chloroformed them remotely. Paintball guns have 101 uses — and possibly many more. Paintballing had a place in Mayan culture unparalleled in modern society, Codex says.
Grabbing the dragon ball, I smashed all the eggs out of spite. “That was for Benita!” I screamed at the dripping yolks.
The whole situation had a surreal quality to it: me, in a panda cage, smashing panda eggs while Travis and Codex used hypnosis to transform the Chicago PD into a nonstop party machine à la Jim Carrey in Mask.
“All of my victories seem empty,” I sighed, tucking the dragon ball under my arm and racing to the exit.
Racing to the zoo’s only exit at breakneck speed isn’t something that should be done by amateurs. I’m a trained professional, ma’am.
Codex greeted me at the gate. Travis was at the front of a department-wide conga line and couldn’t be disturbed.
I laughed: “That mad hypnotist!” Operation: Black Cheddar had not only bestowed upon him the godlike powers of hypnotism, but had made him, hands down, the life of the party.
“We should…” Codex quickly checked his palm. There was something written in hieroglyphs. “…return to base. Travis knows the plan.”
Simultaneously, we activated our JimmyLegs™ jet packs and took off.
Best. Heist. Ever.