The Steampunk Community has been left shaken by recent news that a certain Professor closed voting on his nemesis-to-be, along with the vague promise that a reliable simian butler would select a winner on a whimsy. What really happened though? Risking his life, this wholly anonymous Smugglepunk author conducted an in-depth investigation to reveal the ugly truth.
DISCLAIMER: The author would like to stress his total ignorance of creations by Ian Crichton, Paul Alborough, Alexandra Minns, Rob Stephens, Nicholas Floyd, Nigel Charles, and others. This means, ad per definitum endo of, that technically he hasn’t stolen a thing, nor can you prove it.
It was a dark and stormy night. Our intrepid hero, a gallant and splendidly savvy inventor of exquisite exemplariness, stopped walking and addressed his companion.
“More of a misunderstood and sub-acknowledged deity really,” Herr Döktor remarked, conveniently completing the author’s insufficient description of him. “Don’t you think so, Minion?”
The inventor’s companion beeped an answer but seemed more preoccupied in maintaining the stability of its magnetic levitation as gusts of wind whipped the seafront. The contraption that hovered a few feet over the ground was the size of a bucket and shaped like an elongated egg. Its metal hide was coloured a cheerful yellow and blue but its two bright glowing eyelights and the four arm-like appendages that ended in razor-sharp blades suggested the contraption was best avoided.
“My mistake,” Herr Döktor said. “I didn’t invent you for your conversational skills.”
He looked around disdainfully. The seaside resort town was considered beautiful by some. People even paid money to holiday here, but then, fools and their money were always easily parted. Herr Döktor certainly wasn’t particular to the place.
Firstly, it was dark. The fact that it was night didn’t excuse the absence of daylight, only a fool would see fit to offer such a feeble excuse. Last-but-most-certainly-not-least, the whole place reminded him of an elderly country squire too bloated to get out of bed, suffering from self-afflicted gout after a life-time of excess consumption, intent only in the last weeks of life to eat more, drink more, fornicate more – more, more, more – but already mostly deserted by exasperated staff resentful of having to continually clean his filthy aristocratic posterior and change his diapers.
“Each to their own,” Herr Döktor declared magnanimously. “Yet it is no surprise that this is the place where HE chooses to live, in a den of sleazy and cheap pleasure. The cretinous impostor is a man of inferior tastes, is a fair objective conclusion to draw.”
The minion beeped angrily at a greedy-eyed seagull that ventured too close in its exploration of potential edibles around the uncommon pair by the railings of the promenade. One egg-shaped and floating, the other human, dressed in tight-fitting knee-length boots, breeches, double-breasted waistcoat, gentleman’s overcoat, and stovepipe hat – his profession hinted at by the distribution of various mechanical gadgets—
“—Not to mention a gentleman’s neutral countenance that cannot hide keen and observant eyes that betray a remarkable, if not unique intelligence,” Herr Döktor added.
He didn’t necessarily want to break the suspense of disbelief for you, faithful reader, but was irritated that the author had not begun the description with Herr Döktor’s remarkable mind. It was only one of his many impeccable attributes, Herr Döktor had to admit, but certainly one deserving of some recognition at least.
He sighed and looked at the dark beach, and the many spectacularly lit piers extending into the sea.
Herr Döktor shook his head. Typical of the place. It was stylish to have a pier, but in their enthusiasm the locals had proceeded to build about half-a-dozen more. The exact number varied because a good winter storm was apt to wash away one or two of the flimsier specimens. The whole ill-conceived pier business here was much like the haphazard approach that HE used to accidentally stumble across the odd semi-useful invention. Crass, tasteless, unprofessional.
Minion beeped as if he had read Herr Döktor’s thoughts, a useful literary tool of happenchance to speed the story along.
“Yes,” Herr Döktor snapped. “You’re right, he’s famous. Unprofessional, as useless as chicken faeces encrusted on an airship’s rudder, yet…renown.”
He gnashed his teeth, pursing his lips slightly – the only sign on his otherwise impassive expression that he had given in to an emotion.
Enough of such weakness. Herr Döktor furrowed his brow as he studied the gaudily lit seafront.
HE was an instinctive showman and would never settle for an unwitnessed confrontation in a shadowy twitten in the slums behind the luxurious seafront palaces.
No, not HIM.
Not Professor Ilestmentale.
A few veins popped up for fresh air on Herr Döktor’s forehead.
Professor Ilestmentale would use any opportunity to seek undeserved limelight. Herr Döktor would only be mildly surprised if it turned out Ilestmentale had invited the press along to sketch and scribble the impending confrontation for their broadsheets.
In a normal seaside resort, that would have made the town’s pier the prime destination but with so many piers here that would be far too ordinary for Ilestmentale’s insatiable need for spectacle.
Minion beeped a suggestion.
“Did I ask for your opinion?” Herr Döktor asked sharply. “I don’t recall programming you to be impertinent.”
He made a mental note to dissect Minion and poke its innards with a screwdriver to fine tune its behavioural programming. Her Döktor was proud of his invention but ready to acknowledge it had yet to reach a stage of perfection.
Then again, Minion hadn’t made a bad suggestion. “Very well though, let’s have a look at this band stand you speak of, I have to admit it does seem a fitting stage for the grandstanding showmanship Ilestmentale is so fond of.”
Minion uttered a series of whistles and activated its tiny thrusters to start making its way along the promenade.
They were not alone. Even if Herr Döktor’s eagle-eyes hadn’t spotted others moving towards that distant bandstand – on the pavement, across the street, on the beach, on the sea even – the vermin alert recepticator discreetly tucked away in his hatband hummed and buzzed like a malfunctioning half-assed invention by Professor Ilestmentale, who presumably awaited them all at the band stand.
Just about clever enough to don clothes, yet insistent on wearing light tropical khaki in the midst of a miserable English winter. That was all you really needed to know about Ilestmentale, although it would be improper not to mention the man’s apparent obsession with small furry creatures.
“The Prof has been outwitted by mice in his own home, for crying out loud! Not to mention burgled by squirrels. Can you even begin to imagine a rodent issue in my house, Minion?”
Minion, which had been programmed to aim its miniature flamethrower (currently neatly tucked away) at any living creature large or small which dared to descend upon chez Döktor uninvited, beeped an appropriate answer.
The closest rival, who had slowed down ahead of them, turned around triumphantly, aiming a red ray gun at Herr Döktor. The man wore the blue uniform of a police constable, but his helmet was distinctive. A high blue pith helmet, festooned with blinking lights, antenna, and communication devices. The man had a neatly trimmed moustache that ran into his meticulous mutton chops.
“You’re nicked,” the man announced triumphantly. “No funny business with the walking stick, Herr Döktor, I’m wise to your wily ways.”
“Doubtless,” Herr Döktor replied, studying the man’s badges. “A Time & Space Constable. However, before I meekly submit like the law-abiding citizen I am, might I be so bold as to enquire to the nature of my transgression?”
“Within Time and Space jurisdiction,” Herr Döktor continued. “And, of course, I have a right to first inspect the T&S Apprehension Warrant as required per the Temporal Displacement Act, Chapter Five, Sub-Section 7B(iv), clause Papa Romeo Oscar Foxtrot Echo, 6.4.”
The T&S Constable’s eyes narrowed in anger. “I’ve got a ray gun.”
Minion, which had been slowly drifting forward, peeped in alarm and sank to the ground, all four of its small blade-ended arms raised in the air as a sign of surrender.
“I commend you on your amazing powers of observation,” Herr Döktor told his would-be apprehender. “It’s my strong belief that science lost a great researcher when you chose your current career. Ready?”
“Ready?” the T&S Constable repeated in confusion.
Minion beeped, a low humming sound originating from its nether regions.
Herr Döktor pointed to his left, speaking the hated name. “Ilestmentale! He’s headed straight for us.”
“The Prof!” The T&S Constable spun round, aiming his ray gun at a great deal of emptiness over the beach.
Minion rose into the air again. With its magnetic derriere activated and supplementary thrusters at full power, it effortlessly lifted a great round iron manhole cover of the size and weight that would have left half-a-dozen labourers struggling and hauled it up six feet.
Herr Döktor had, of course, not remained inactive. Quite by accident, perhaps in the confusion of the moment, he extended his walking stick behind the T&S Constable’s legs and hollered, “BEHIND YOU!”
The T&S Constable spun round. At the precise moment his balance was at the apex of vulnerability, Herr Döktor swung his walking stick – which appeared to spout spinning razorblades out of nowhere – towards the sea. “Oh my, look there, a seagull.”
The annoying man tumbled headfirst into the manhole, landing inside with a loud splash.
“Whoopsie Daisy,” Herr Döktor said, keeping half an eye out on the other nearest rivals. One was still plodding along the beach. The other had begun to cross the street ahead of them and would soon pose a problem on the seaside promenade. He couldn’t leave just like that though; he was a gentleman after all.
“I do apologise for my clumsiness,” he told the manhole, as he triggered the mechanism that withdrew the whirling blades back into his walking stick. “Inconveniencing what was no doubt a delightful stroll. I do like to be beside the seaside, don’t you?”
“CLUMSINESS?!” The T&S Constable poked his head up through the manhole. He had lost his helmet and was covered – absolutely drenched – in enough noxious goo to make Herr Döktor quite forget his manners and wrinkle his nose at the sheer stench that wafted from the lawman. “That was, that was—” The befouled T&S Constable began to haul himself out of the manhole, but then paused to retch.
“How rude, try not to do that in public,” Herr Döktor advised him, before glancing up at Minion. “De-activate.”
The humongously heavy manhole cover landed in place after the briefest of flights through six feet of space. Nothing could have stopped it from settling, in exquisite perfection, on its usual bed with a thunderous clang. Certainly not a T&S Constable. All that was left above ground were gory smears – mostly shades of red but some whirls and swirls of greyish-pink matter suggesting the T&S Constable had indeed been equipped with brains – and two severed forearms, all the fingers still twitching.
“How splendid it is to have a Minion!” Herr Döktor exclaimed with genuine pleasure.
The T&S Constable had dropped his gun far from the once more covered manhole, mercifully clean of the dreadful muck that the man had clumsily managed to get all over him. Not a gentleman at all.
Herr Döktor picked the gun up out of professional curiosity.
He ignored both Minion’s sudden urgent beeps and the renewed activation of the vermin alert recepticator, completing his analysis of the weapon first instead.
“Mass-produced. Cheap. Limited durability. Dubious power source. A crude weapon for crude folk.”
Two street urchins appeared out of the night. Both girls shrieked as they hurled themselves at Herr Döktor, to veer away at the last moment and then hide behind his back. They were being chased by five youths. To judge by their apparel they were from the slums like the girls, but considerably older, broader, and duller. They stopped in their tracks.
Minion peeped shrilly at the sight of them and then quickly hummed over to join the girls behind Herr Döktor’s back.
The girls began to hurl insults at the youths of the type that would have made an aviator blush, but the lads were focused on Herr Döktor – more specifically the gun he was holding. It was just about the least lethal item the inventor was carrying this night, but he didn’t feel compelled to tell them that.
He waited until the youths began to grin, the surest sign that they had slowly worked through complicated mathematic calculations to conclude it was five against one. They began to spread out, hands reaching for their belts behind their backs.
“Despite my disdain of this particular type of ray gun…,” Herr Döktor started conversationally, before aiming the gun and pulling the trigger. There was a crack, followed by a prolonged zazoom, and then the oddly silent but colourful ball of bright light that announced the physical disintegration of one of the youths. The aim was a touch off – typical for cheap junk – and some bits of the lad escaped total destruction.
Herr Döktor continued speaking. “…their end-results are always a delightful sight to behold. Look there, draped over that gaslight post, I think that’s a leg. And, oh dear, those seagulls there seem to have located another piece.”
The seagulls screamed blue murder at each other as they fought over scraps of disintegrated bully. The four remaining youths had turned as white as frozen H2O and began to edge backwards.
Minion hummed into sight and flicked its blades at them triumphantly in what very much looked like a common rude gesture, whilst blooping a victorious series of bleeps.
Herr Döktor turned around, drawing his pocket watch and glancing at it. He had to hurry.
“Here,” he said, holding the ray gun out. “Why don’t you two run along and go even the odds somewhat.”
The girls’ eyes grew wide as the dark one took the ray gun. Then the fair one’s eyes narrowed. “They’re legging it.”
“Best hurry,” Herr Döktor advised them, and stepped aside as the girls took off after the youths, whooping loudly, the ray gun waved about wildly as trophy. Seagulls flew in their wake, possibly anticipating more treats. Catching sight of the birds, Minion chased after them, beeping angrily all the while.
Herr Döktor smiled. Contrary to popular opinion, he quite liked children and was always happy to encourage them to pursue useful educational activities. Unlike the regular dullards that populated school classrooms, Herr Döktor tried to devise interesting lessons. He was entirely confident that the girls would never forget this encounter with the practical application of scientific advancements in the construction of death ray weapons.
“Have you gone mad?” a scratchy voice behind him asked.
Herr Döktor glanced at his watch again. Precisely on the schedule – if he was a less modest man he might have lauded himself. Instead, he turned around.
“What a remarkable pleasure and surprise to meet you here, how do you do, Tiberius Marnival?”
Marnival was encased in a machine, a steam powered Octospidernaut. It was propelled by powerful steel spider-like legs. The boiler was stoked, engine run, and guns manned by the arms of an octopus, the nerves of which ran into tubes in the back of the vehicle’s occupant’s head, connected to whatever remnants of brain Marnival had left.
The man himself – or rather those bits of him he hadn’t carelessly lost, like an eye, his nose, his teeth, his legs, and his sanity – would have been a sight to see even without the Octospidernaut. His missing eye had been replaced by a red-lensed bionic contraption. Whatever had taken out the eye (oh yes, Herr Döktor recalled: Professor Ilestmentale’s tennis racket) had also permanently shorn off his eyebrow, leaving a bare patch of pale skin that formed a sharp contrast with Marnival’s remaining eyebrow, a frumious wilderness painted woad-blue. His wide moustache, last locks of hair (just around the ears), and beard were of the same bright colour, forming perfect camouflage for the two hissing blue snakes that grew out of Marnival’s jowls. His missing nose was covered by a scrap of rusty iron and his jagged false teeth were made of the finest stainless steel.
Marnival looked at Herr Döktor with astonishment in his remaining eye. “Did you just give a gun to children? Someone could get hurt.”
Both he and Herr Döktor cocked their heads when they registered the distant crackle and zazoom of a ray gun going off, followed by the briefest of agonised screams, and then the cacophony of gulls diving onto the resultant smorgasbord of seagull-treats.
“Someone did get hurt,” Marnival said accusingly. “You have gone quite insane.”
“If my sanity were up for discussion, you would certainly be the last… roboticanimalman eligible to comment, Marnival. Getting hurt is an essential component of my curriculum. I am certain everyone involved is learning a useful lesson.”
“You’re dafter than that fellow from Maine who keeps babbling on about teaspoons, tentacles, and vampires, I assure you,” Marnival grumbled. “Anyhow, I’m not here to exchange pleasantries. Ilestmentale is mine. Do you hear me? Mine.”
Herr Döktor sighed. It was far better to maintain an objective perspective and have sound scientific reasons for wanting to murder Ilestmentale, rather than act out of compulsive obsessive motivation like Marnival. Nonetheless, Herr Döktor had to win some time and he knew just how to tickle Marnival. He asked, “What right have you to derive me from the long-awaited pleasure of terminating Ilestmentale?”
Marnival obliged eagerly, launching into a soliloquy that would have shamed Hamlet.
Herr Döktor only half-listened to a woeful tale about a search for penguin butlers that had involved severe frostbite and being left for dead by Ilestmentale, who had skipped out of their camp on Antarctica with a big hand net, claiming he had spotted butterflies dancing between snow flurries.
Herr Döktor nodded politely at a desperate wail of despair from Marnival, a small smile on the inventor’s lips as he heard – faintly – a familiar hum, as well as an activated magnetic derriere and supplementary thrusters.
Herr Döktor made a mental note to cancel his previous mental note regarding Minion’s programming. The level of independency displayed by the machine could be a bother, but it had advantages. He took a few precautionary backward steps.
“Then, then…” Marnival pointed the tip of an octopus arm at his teeth, “The Prof took up amateur dentistry as hobby—”
Other than a brief rush of air, there was no warning and it was all over rather quick. Marnival’s Octospidernaut lay crushed and mangled beneath a great heap of splintered mahogany wreckage, tangled wires, and ivory keys.
“What an unfortunate mishap,” Herr Döktor told the wreckage, before turning to Minion who came gliding to lower altitude. “Where on earth did you find a grand piano?”
Minion beeped repeatedly.
“Splendid, well done,” Herr Döktor told the excited little machine. He retrieved his spy glass and trained it on the jolly boat that was being rowed toward the bandstand.
Herr Döktor let out a low whistle of appreciation. His weaker rivals had more intelligence than he had given them credit for – they had united in common cause and were working together, which certainly transformed them into a more powerful factor.
They were all there, that fancy aristocrat named after a coffee, that anti-steam electrical fellow, the red herring, an elderly dinosaur, and the tea-totaller who wanted to abolish tea.
“Minion,” Herr Döktor said, and that was enough for Minion to go zooming seawards.
“Damn and blast!” Herr Döktor cursed when he came close enough to the bandstand to see that someone had beaten him to it. Professor Ilestmentale wasn’t alone, someone had confronted him and there appeared to be a tense stand-off.
Furthermore, the rival who had been walking on the beach below now climbed up a stairway to amble onto the promenade and place himself between Herr Döktor and the band stand.
It was Mandrill Friday (Mark I), the first prototype ape butler ever devised by Ilestmentale, who had a thing about monkeys. The baboon was dressed shabbily in frayed and patched green breeches and a listless brown coat, clutching a pipe between the steel pincers that formed the extremity of his shoddily constructed artificial metal arm.
“Well met, Friday,” Herr Döktor greeted the baboon. “I had presumed you dead many years ago.”
Mandrill Friday wrinkled his impressive red and blue nose, baring his fangs. “Laughing gas and dirigibles don’t mix well. I told him so. He’s mine, Herr Döktor, my grievances against Ilestmentale far outweigh yours.”
The baboon brought the unlit pipe to his mouth, an anthropomorphism that irritated Herr Döktor.
“Need a light?” He asked curtly. He raised his left hand and activated his skull and crossbones ring. The skull’s jaws parted and jetted out a stream of Greek Fire.
It was just a few burning patches of clothing and fur first, but the flames quickly spread. Dropping the pipe and dropping any pretence at being a human, the baboon fled back down to the beach, floundering brightly over the shingles towards the sea, screaming, shrieking, and hollering like a deranged monkey – which was fair enough, all things considered.
Herr Döktor hastened towards the band stand where Ilestmentale was now on his knees, staring dejectedly at the decking.
A bright flash over the sea announced a loud rolling boom, as something, quite possibly a jolly boat, erupted in a spectacular explosion.
Herr Döktor made his way onto the deck of the bandstand to be greeted by the paradoxical sight of simultaneous exactitude and anomalitative contrast.
With all other rivals inconvenienced, Herr Döktor wasn’t surprised, of course, to find that the man facing Professor Ilestmentale was Nigel P. Anonymous.
Herr Döktor had never beheld the two together before. He knew that many years ago Ilestmentale had subscribed to a postal course in cloning for dummies and had impatiently decided to skip the more boring parts of the instructions in order to conduct his own experiments all the quicker. Predictably, disaster had struck. Rather than being identical clones, Ilestmentale and Nigel P. evolved into direct opposites of each other. The so-called professor, as you well know, becoming a wild and unpredictable creature of manic habits, murderous curiosity, and miraculously short attention-spans. Nigel a sensible creature of responsible habits, meticulous lists, infinite planning, and stolid reliability – in other words, exceedingly dull.
The two men managed to look both alike and utterly different – and whilst Nigel P. appeared undaunted by this, it had reduced Ilestmentale to quivering jelly.
Ilestmentale was in his usual khaki, pith helmet and all. The helmet did not hide his unkempt hair, and his cheeks and chin were covered in stubble. The expression on his face was one of desperation – a man exposed to unbearable torture.
Nigel P. seemed not to notice, calmly talking in a dull monotone. His face was clean shaven, short hair neatly combed, and bifocals set sternly on the bridge of his nose. He stood with a slight hunch, and wore a clean shirt, red tie, and a beige Mac. He was quite possibly the most boring man in the world to look at – and in the process of boring Professor Ilestmentale to death.
“Another reason,” Nigel P. declared. “That you should be more like me are my sensible shoes. They have orthopaedic insoles, you know. Much better for the posture. As is drinking less beer.”
“No!” Ilestmentaile groaned. “Not the shoes again. Not the shoes.”
He clutched his ears and rolled onto the ground, in obvious pain.
“Sensible shoes – regularly shined and maintained – would lead to an improved average score in your monthly performance review. I have seen this for myself, in my weekly shoe sole inspection. I have since laboured over calculations that reveal the extra life-span of shoes – properly maintained – has an accumulated effect over the years that lead to a savings of four shillings and sixpence per fiscal annum.”
“Nyaaaargggh,” Ilestmentale cried, terror on his face. “Stop. Just stop.”
A discreet beep told Herr Döktor that Minion had returned from its voyage out to sea.
Nigel P. heard it too and looked up. “You’re too late, Herr Döktor.”
“I brought you a present, Nigel.” Herr Döktor fished a small bag out of a pocket and held it up.
“Navy beans.” Herr Doktor opened the small bag and upended it. A rush of dried beans, white and oval in shape, cascaded onto the band stand’s decking.
Producing another such bag, Herr Döktor continued. “These are cannelloni beans, see?” He opened the bag and pinched one of the beans between his fingers. “A slightly different shade of white, and just a tad longer.”
It was difficult to tell if Nigel P. paled, as his face didn’t seem to be regularly exposed to natural daylight at all, but Herr Döktor reckoned it did grow a shade paler.
“You wouldn’t!” Nigel P. exclaimed, the same terror he had inflicted on Ilestmentale now in his own voice.
“Oh yes I would,” Herr Döktor assured him.
“No, please, Herr Döktor, I beg you, don’t.”
Herr Döktor upended the second bag so that hundreds of beans joined the first scattering on the deck. While Nigel P. stared at the resultant mix in horror, Herr Döktor brought out his last bag and sent the content flying down. “Black-eyed peas as well. I was feeling uncommonly generous.”
He stretched out a boot to start mixing up the beans on the decking even more.
“NOOOOOO!” Nigel P., showing almost human animation, dropped to his knees and started scrabbling at the peas in panic. “They must be separated! Order! Order!”
“Too easy,” Herr Döktor said, secretly pleased that his secret weapon had worked to perfection. Sometimes it was best to keep things simple. He whacked Nigel P’s head with his walking stick and the clone went out cold.
“Splendid! Well done, old chap.” Professor Ilestmentale appeared to have made a remarkable recovery once released from the spell of Nigel P’s dreadfully dull voice. He was scrambling to his feet, grinning from ear to ear. That grin faded fast when he recognised the newcomer. “Oh, it’s you. Splendid anyways, love to stay and chat for a while, but I could use a cup of tea.”
He strode towards the walkway at the landside of the bandstand, but halted when Minion swooped into view, hovering halfway along the walkway, eyes balefully bright and all manner of small lights blinking patiently.
“I say,” Ilestmentale said. “This flying egg – or is it a Christmas tree? – appears to be barring my way to a well-deserved cuppa. Has it never heard of my fabled fighting trousers?”
“Minion would only do that if it’s quite confident of a successful outcome. Why not stay for a chat.”
“Of course!” Professor Ilestmentale took a few wary steps away from Minion. “I suppose some of the others may be here soon, though. Something to keep in mind.” He tapped the side of his pith helmet.
“They are all…inconvenienced,” Herr Döktor said. “None will show.”
“I’m inconvenienced a lot too,” Ilestmentale commiserated. “You wouldn’t believe what traffic is like these days.”
“Terminally inconvenienced,” Herr Döktor specified.
Nigel P. groaned and tried to prop himself up.
“Almost all,” Herr Döktor corrected himself. “Come to think of it, a scorched baboon may yet present itself. Minion? See to Nigel P. please.”
Minion beeped happily and hummed over, all sorts of contraptions on steel attachments folding out of its body. Some gleamed like scalpels, some glowed like red-hot iron, one sparkled with blue flames; there was even a green tentacle of sorts.
Herr Döktor placed himself between Ilestmentale and Nigel P. – as the latter began to scream rather dreadfully.
Ilestmentale was wide-eyed. “You’re completely insane.”
“I get that all the time,” Herr Döktor said. “But it’s irrelevant. What matters is that I am your Nemesis.”
“Bat-shit crazy,” Ilestmentale shook his head. “Just to have a song made about you? To have your name on an album? What did you do to the others?”
Herr Döktor waited until Nigel P. stopped rudely inconveniencing the conversation with a series of high-pitched shrill shrieks.
“Song? Album?” Herr Döktor asked, irritation in his voice. “Do not seek to distract me with your nonsense.”
He pulled a tattered paperback from a pocket. “I read this. Every word of it. How dare you?”
“Dare what? Good grief man, we were looking for something fun for the new album, not an army of nutcases intent on murder!”
“I worked years,” Herr Döktor hissed. “To rise in the rankings of lethal scientific advancement. Years.”
Nigel P. gurgled wetly, indicated his capacity to contribute to their conversation was fast nearing its end.
Herr Döktor raised a finger and wagged it at Ilestmentale. “It’s not about quantity, but quality. It is an art form, nothing less than that. And along comes a rank amateur, a bumbling idiot, who somehow convinces the masses he’s a man of science and astounds them all by inventing things that go awry and accidentally kills hundreds of people all told. ACCIDENTALLY. Not to mention stuff with goats. You sir, are an amateur with beginner’s luck. Enough of this. It ends here. I am your Nemesis.”
Ilestmentale stared at Herr Döktor with open mouth. “By Assam, but that was just a book. A story. Don’t you understand? A tale for entertainment.”
Herr Döktor shook his head resolutely. “You might as well stop trying to confuse me, it won’t work. I’m on to you and have sworn to combat pseudo-science.”
“Have a competition, they said. It’ll be fun, they said.” Ilestmentale growled. “I’m shutting down the voting, Herr Döktor. I’ll award the Nemesis posthumously if necessary. Did you mention a scorched baboon? I like monkeys.”
“You can’t just put an end to all this because you don’t like the outcome. It doesn’t work that way.”
“Depends,” Ilestmentale said, as he began to glow blue. “On the dimension. And on the multiple dimension front, I dare say I’m better equipped than you are.”
He began to cackle gleefully as the glow around him shimmered into a blinding beacon, which even Minion couldn’t look into, and then faded away, leaving no trace of Professor Ilestmentale, other than the echo of his mocking laughter.
Herr Döktor was left with the empty victory of being king of the band stand. He frowned and allowed himself ten seconds of disappointment, before he began plotting his revenge.