Scrooge got up and walked out of Gyro’s office, followed by Gyro, Fenton, Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda. Scrooge turned one way toward the elevator up to his inner sanctum and the other turned the other way deeper into the labyrinth of Gyro’s laboratory. They eventually stopped in a large central workspace. Work benches with computers and various scientific instruments lined the walls. A large magnetic coil sat in an alcove by itself.
Fenton turned to the four teenagers. “This is a quantum resonance imager,” he said. “We can use this to scan you to establish a baseline for determining your individual quantum frequencies. Once we’ve done that we’ll move on to additional testing.” He surveyed Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda. “So who’s going to go first?”
In the end, Zack volunteered to go first and Fenton handed him a heavy lead apron, which caused his shoulders to noticeably sag. Fenton walked over to a computer on a stand next to the quantum resonance imager and input several commands. The interlocking magnetic coils spun around, realigning themselves with a series of whirs and loud metallic clunks. At the same time, a stretcher slid from the centre of the machine and Zack slowly lay down, as if he was fighting his claustroavoidance again.
“We’ll start with ten passes,”said Fenton. He pushed a button and a blue light shone from the centre of the machine. He turned a second monitor and a generic outline of a humanoid body appeared on it with a series of cascading readouts in the bottom right corner. Fenton pushed another button and the quantum resonance imager began to execute a series of pre-programmes commands. Clunk! Clunk! Clunk! The magnetic coils began to rotate around Zack in a slow, methodical fashion. The generic humanoid form on the screen was slowly filled with a multicoloured spectral image as the quantum resonance imager probed Zack’s body at the subatomic level. It took an hour to complete the ten passes of Zack’s body with the quantum resonance imager, and another hour each for Melissa and Amanda. Performing a full scan of Milo took a full three hours because Murphy’s Law kept causing the machine to experience unexpected and highly improbable but not impossible breakdowns, which resulted in the machine having to be completely reset on three occasions, but eventually Gyro and Fenton were able to built up initial datasets for Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda. From there, over the course of the next week, the four teenagers were subjected to an extensive battery of tests, ranging from molecular imaging to brainwave analysis to tissue samples and fitness tests. They subjected Milo and his friends to absolutely every test they could think of in order to build up the most complete picture possible of their quantum state in order to have the best chance possible of sending them back to their own dimension. Late in the day at the end of the week, Scrooge came down to check on their progress.
“Well you haven’t blow up the Bin, yet,” he said jokingly. “That’s encouraging.” Gyro and Fenton both nodded. “We’ve been able to isolate their quantum frequencies,” said Fenton. He brought a series of graphics on his computer.
“Accurately isolating Milo’s was difficult because of Murphy’s Law.” He nodded at Milo, who shrugged.
“The machines kept shorting out,” he said. “The quantum resonance imager crashed three times.”
“But you were able to get what you needed?” asked Scrooge.
Gyro nodded. “The next step will be to properly calibrate the generator in order to ensure a stable event horizon at the right temporal and spatial co-ordinates.”
“That’s not something You four will be able to help us with,” said Fenton, with a shrug, “Sorry.” Despite his initial suspicions of the four teenagers, he had grown to thoroughly like all of them and would be sorry to see them go.
Eight days later, Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda stood garbed once again in four matching clean room smocks. Milo was slightly nervous and he impulsively fingered the quantum inhibitor on his wrist. He couldn’t help but feel a strange sense of déjà vu. The last time someone had tried to send him through a wormhole, everything had gone disastrously wrong and he has been pitched headfirst into an unstable wormhole and ended up in another dimension with a concussion and a cracked rib. Without realizing he was doing it, he pressed his hand to his right side.
Melissa noticed the unconscious gesture. “Milo, are you OK,” she asked, a look of concern on her face.
Milo sudden realized what he had been doing and shook himself. “I’m fine,” he said slightly more adamantly than he had intended. He did feel mostly fine he told himself, he felt a dull ache in his chest, but that was just his broken rib bone knitting itself back together.
“Are you sure?” asked Zack, overhearing their conversation, “Scrooge did offer to let us stay for awhile, until you got better.”
It was true, Milo reminded himself, Scrooge had been very generous with them. As there had nothing that Milo, Zack, Melissa and Amanda had been able to do to help Gyro and Fenton recalibrate all the generator’s equipment in order to give them the best chance possible of returning to Danville, he had arranged for Milo and his friends to spend some time in St. Canard, New Quackmore and Cape Suzette with Della and Huey, Dewey and Louie. Milo hefted the heavy soft cover book that Huey had given him as a parting gift. He looked at the front cover again, the title read The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook. He let the thick, heavy book fall open in his hands. He looked at the heading of the section that the book had fallen open to. It was titled was “Alien Abductions.” His mouth twitched slightly. That would have been helpful a couple of months ago, thought Milo. He turned from the page that the book had fallen open on to the table of contents and ran his eye down the long list of topic headings. They ran from hike planning, knots, canoe handling, rafting, setting up camp, identifying edible plants, mountain climbing and first aid to time travel, killer robots and tracking cryptids. Milo found that he suddenly had a new appreciation for Huey, his brothers and their friend Webby. Milo, Zack and Melissa has spent much of the week swapping stories about Murphy’s Law with the Duck boys and Webby who seemed to have an equally endless supply of stories about Scrooge, Della and their Uncle Donald, who they claimed was world class adventurer in his own right.
Milo saw Zack walking over to him out of the corner of his eye and shut The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook. As he did, he noticed something written on the inside cover. He opened the inside cover. The book had been signed. Milo read, To Milo Murphy, Best Wishes from Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby. He was still looking at the book when Zack appeared at his shoulder, interrupting his thoughts. Milo shut The Junior Woodchuck Guidebook and packed it in his backpack.
“Ready to go home?” asked Zack.
Milo nodded. “Yeah,” he said. Milo paused for a moment and then said, “I do like it here, though.”
“Yeah,” agreed Melissa, coming over to join them. “Duckburg was nice.”
“I wonder if there’s anyway we could come back,” asked Amanda.
“I don’t know,” replied Milo, “We’ll have to ask Cavendish and Dakota.”
“Doof might know,” Zack suggested.
“Possibly,” Milo allowed slowly, “but we don’t see him that often.” He suddenly and involuntarily remembered the conversation he had had with Heinz in his parents’ kitchen at one AM. “His time travel research keeps him pretty busy.”
Scrooge came over to the four teenagers, interrupting their conversation. “Fenton and Gyro have informed me that everything is almost ready,” he said. He looked as though he was debating whether or not to ask them to stay, but instead he said, “You’re always welcome in Duckburg.”
“Thanks,” said Milo. As Scrooge and Milo shook hands, a deep, electric blue haze descended over the clean room and warning alarms blared loudly. Milo nervously fidgeted with the quantum inhibitor on his wrist again. It had been designed specifically for him by Fenton, who had explained that it would lock Milo’s quantum frequency within a very narrow bandwidth and would prevent him from creating another quantum anomaly. Milo took a deep, steadying breath. Gyro and Fenton were both hunched over their computers studying their readouts and data feeds.
Occasionally they exchanged a few terse words with each other.
“Power indicators are nominal”
“Anti-proton levels are good.”
“Muon traps are stable.”
Gyro entered a string of commands into his computer. In between the upright carbon fibre panels, a pair of curved panels began rose up and began to spin rapidly, soon they were little more than a rapidly spinning blur. Tendrils of energy began to play back and forth in the space between the where the event horizon would eventually form. First one, then three or four, then dozens, then hundreds. Milo checked himself nervously. He didn’t feel the same sense of inexplicable immobility that he had felt in Phineas’ backyard.He looked around at Zack, Melissa and Amanda. He suddenly felt as though they were watching him he tried to give them a reassuring thumbs up.
At the same time, a pencil thin beam of green energy shot down from somewhere overhead into the swirling mass of energy. There was a blinding flash of light and Milo instinctively threw his hands up in front of his eyes. When the light faded and Milo was able to uncover his eyes, he saw a what appeared to be a hole in space. The wormhole’s event horizon was rimmed with a writhing ribbon of blue-white energy. The middle was like looking through a window. Milo could see what appeared to be his backyard. He could clearly see Doof’s shed. It appeared to night time. Doof and Perry were clearly silhouetted against the window. He could also see the lights from his parents kitchen. His father was on crutches and his sister was stirring something in a pot on the stove. Diogee was sniffing around her feet looking for scraps.
Milo hefted his backpack and took a step up on to the raised platform. The energy made the air crackle and Milo felt the hair on his arms stand on end. He could sense Zack, Melissa and Amanda following behind him. As he approached the edge of the event horizon, Milo’s vision distorted weirdly as he approached the event horizon. Everything tilted crazily as he approached the event horizon and Milo felt his feet leave ground. He suddenly realized that he was being pitched head first through the wormhole and he tried to curl himself into a ball, but didn’t have enough time and landed in a heap on the back lawn, Milo felt fire in his chest as he landed on his bad rib. At the same time, he felt his backpack pressing uncomfortably down on his spine. From somewhere nearby he heard a series of dull thuds as Zack, Melissa and Amanda hit the ground around him. Thankfully nobody landed on Milo directly this time. He heard the distant sound of Diogee barking, then the back door opening, followed by footsteps and voices.
The next thing Milo knew a long tongue was licking his right ear and snuffling his hair. “Diogee!” he said excitedly. “Good boy!” Ignoring the renewed pain in his chest, Milo pushed himself to his feet. He brushed off the dirt and gave Diogee a scratch behind the ears. He wagged his stumpy tail and barked happily at the sight of his owner. Milo’s mother reached him first. “Hi, Mom,” said Milo.
“Milo,” she said, brushing the dirt off of his shoulders, “what are you doing out in the yard? Why didn’t you come straight inside after you got back from Phineas’ house?”
Milo was suddenly confused. “After I-but Mom, that was two weeks ago.”
“No, little bro,” said Sara, “that was just this morning.”
Melissa looked skeptical. “Are you sure, Sara?” she asked. She pulled out her phone. “Here,” she handed Milo’s sister her phone.”Check the date.”
Sara tapped through the calendar app on Melissa’s phone. Sure enough Melissa’s calendar was two weeks out of synch. “Wizardy,”she said in amazement.
Milo’s father came hobbling up on his crutches.
“Hi, Dad,”said Milo with a wave.
“Milo,” said his father, slightly confused, “what are you doing in the yard? Did you forget that you invited Cavendish and Dakota for dinner?”
Actually, Milo had forgotten. “Uhhhhh, yeah Dad,” he said. He suddenly realized that talking to the two time agents might be a very good idea. “I guess I did.” He turned and walked into the house.