"And Tuddrussel absolutely ruined the mood that night, it also didn't help that the Duke thought it was hilarious and joined into throwing tomatoes at the performers- Sophie was humiliated. On the plus side, it DID add fuel to the young princess' cause. . ."
Larry smiled as he wrote his memories down. He secretly loved his own handwriting, which was old-fashioned in its elaborate cursive style. He had the ability to create any font he wanted and was talented in calligraphy, but he favored this distinguished and graceful look that he adopted long ago. As he wrote, he rested his chin on his knuckles, deeply entranced as he poured his thoughts down, getting a certain pleasure out of writing from his expensive, special ink pens that drew out the words with fast, effortless ease.
A dull roar of music began playing, distracting Larry's work. A blot of ink splashed on the diary page, irking him. "Oh blast," Larry muttered, frowning as he hesitantly put the pen down in the Inkwell.
The music got even louder, he could tell it was some kind of rock and roll and presumed that Tuddrussel decided to mess with the radio in the kitchen.
It was after lunch, and Otto and Tuddrussel were amusing themselves in the kitchen. Unsupervised by Larry's watchful eye, Tuddrussel had turned on the radio and played the music on full blast. In the meantime, Otto had discovered that the chairs had a really neat trick; they could drive! He moved around the kitchen, giggling and spinning circles around Tuddrussel. The guy beamed as he looked down on the kid with amusement. If he had known that it'd make Otto so happy, he would have told him they could move sooner!
Larry was already annoyed by the loud music and had to be bothered from his break to tell them to stop, but when he walked in to see this sight he grumbled at the unnecessary tomfoolery. Oh great, thanks for teaching him how to ride the chairs like they were bumper cars, Tuddrussel!
"Ergh- Tuddrussel! Tell him to stop before he knocks something over." Larry asked.
Tuddrussel scoffed at the request. "Lighten up, Larry. Let him have some fun."
Larry waved him off, walking past him to turn off the radio.
'CLICK' went the dial.
"Aww man, I liked that song," Tuddrussel said.
"Don't you two have to be somewhere? Perhaps teach Otto how to properly make purple nurples?" Larry sarcastically asked.
"Uhh- you even know what those are?" Tuddrussel asked, trying to hide a snicker under his breath.
"No," Larry said, cringing as he realized that maybe he said something that was a little too crude. "A drink? I don't know but whatever it is, can you two behave like normal people and do that?"
Tuddrussel rolled his eyes. "No, we won't be doin' that. Sorry to disappoint you, Larry."
"Did he really ask us about purple nurples?" Otto asked while scooting past them.
"Stop mocking me, you ingrates!" Larry said.
Larry walked over to Otto and being the killjoy that he was, pressed the button in the back of the seat that made the hovering chair sit back down on the floor.
"Aww man!" Otto complained.
"Why don't you two run along and play in the domisphere? Where you can burn off all that energy you have." Larry suggested.
The guys both let out an exasperated huff and gave each other a knowing glance.
"Fine, Larry, we'll do something "productive" or whatever," Tuddrussel said.
The two got out of the kitchen in a hurry, wanting to be rid of Larry's daunting gaze.
"Good riddance," Larry said, picking up the chair by the back and scooting it over to its proper place at the table.
Larry had only a few things to do that afternoon, and while the guys had disrupted his break, he thought that he might as well get some of the chores done in case of a surprise mission later, which if his instinct were correct, they could expect another one within the next hour or so. That's what always happened if they got called to a mission that happened to only take a few hours of their time and they got back relatively fast, for time travel that is. This morning they had to see Leonardo da Vinci, which was simple as pie to complete. He just needed a muse, in the form of a mysterious looking barista.
He opened his computer to check his to-do list and saw that he needed to do maintenance work on the air conditioning system. He knew that if he didn't do it now, it would only get worse if the guys were away for a few days and would come back to a space station that was hot from all of the computers running with no relief.
After that incident, Tuddrussel decided to workout in the gym with Otto tagging along. Otto listened to Tuddrussel's chatter as he pumped iron, and read a comic book to pass the time but had grown restless and looked for something more interesting to do. So in the search for something to occupy his time with he wandered out beyond the main living quarters, and discovered the many hallways and rooms that Tuddrussel had not shown him yet. Comfortable with believing that he was alone, he happily burst into running around these endless hallways, rebelling against the rule Larry had just implemented for 'no running in the halls'; it felt great to just zoom down the empty space, listening to the sound of his echoing feet.
He stopped running for a moment to catch his breath. Looking around him, he realized that had entered a hallway with a few doors along each side. Curious, he went up to one of the doors and was surprised by its stoic insistence on remaining shut. On tiptoe, he reached for the button on the side and pushed it. A glowing blue sign appeared on the bottom, "PASSWORD?" it read. Otto frowned and left it for another door. But the same result happened again when he tried it too. "Huh. Weird…" Otto muttered. He didn't understand why there would be a need to keep all these doors locked when there were only three people residing here.
Growing challenged to find SOMETHING worthwhile, he walked further into the satellite. He noticed that the further he went down, the less artwork and rugs and other objects of domestic civilization there were. Clearly, nobody actually came down to these parts of the satellite. He rounded the corner and noticed that at the end of the hallway was what appeared to be a darkly lit looking passageway on the other side. Curious, he ran down the hall towards it, wanting to get there faster. As he ran towards this new passageway, he could start to see a sign with two red arrows pointing left and right, the left reading COR-150 and the right reading COR-160. He wondered what that exactly meant, but he didn't have a lot of time to think as he looked down and saw something that made his heart sank as he got close. The floor was gone! He abruptly stopped, just barely making it before he fell off the edge. Otto was amazed at the sight of where the floor just dropped five feet down in front of him. In the middle of this steel and concrete tunnel was a small track, and Otto wondered if this was like the satellite's subway system. Looking around, he saw a set of stairs that lead down into the tunnel. He wandered on down, enticed by the call to adventure.
Larry stood up from the floor. He wiped off the black oil from his hands with a rag, smiling with satisfaction as he admired his handiwork. He had been repairing the air conditioning system, and the quiet time working on the machine kept him in a relaxed mood. He picked up the toolbox and tossed the rag inside, and quietly made his way back to the main quarters of the satellite. He walked down the tech wing and chose to cut around back to walk along the old, unused express-rail.
He could've used it if he wanted to, but he absolutely hated riding in it due to how fast it went and it felt so unstable and rickety as it drove on the tracks that he was afraid that the thing would combust. Suddenly the silence was disrupted by a soft, screeching echo that rumbled down the passageway.
"Goodness me, it can't be what I think it is," Larry said as he stopped to turn around. The sound grew louder, till finally out of the shadows a blur of a small person in the chair zoomed up and a tuft of red hair raced past Larry's eyes. Larry's eyebrows furrowed in anger. He marched up to a button on the wall that read "Emergency Brakes" and smacked it. Otto's chair stopped with a groan, and the boy lunged forward and then slammed back hard on the seat. He seethed in pain, rubbing the back of his head and wondered why the chair stopped like it did.
"Hey, you!" Larry snapped. He walked over to Otto and with a scolding wag of his finger. Otto drooped in anxiety, as the robot gave him a disapproving glare. "Get out of that chair, this instant!"
Otto unbuckled his seatbelt and slowly got down the face him. "I'm sorry," Otto said, looking down at his feet. He didn't enjoy the look Larry gave him when he did something that the robot didn't approve of, and would rather not meet his gaze as Larry went into telling him off.
"This area is not a place for children! This track is so old and beat up that it's in desperate need of repairs! This hunk of junk can't even go without threatening to fall apart, you could have hurt yourself. And furthermore, what were you doing here anyway? You'll get lost around here if you're not careful," Larry said. He glanced around Otto, expecting to see Tuddrussel in the vicinity but was disappointed that he wasn't there to scold too.
"Alright, where's Tuddrussel?" Larry asked, suspicious.
"He's working out," Otto replied, glancing up at him now.
Larry sighed and he crossed his arms in thought. His frown eased up a little, and his anger subsided back to plain annoyance. He had the good sense to know that he couldn't blame Tuddrussel for influencing Otto into doing reckless things THIS time. But Otto's own childish ways was just as frustrating for him.
"So, what are you even doing out here?" Larry asked again.
Otto fidgeted his hands from behind his back, visibly nervous. "Just exploring," He admitted.
"Humph. Well, don't go getting into mischief like poking your nose in things where it doesn't belong." Larry warned. "You have no business being here. Come with me, back to the main quarters where you can play around just fine."
Larry walked away from the scene and turned only once to see that Otto had hesitantly started to follow. "Hurry up," Larry called out impatiently.
Otto quickly caught up to Larry's brisk walking. He looked at the toolbox that Larry carried with him and wondered what he was doing here if people didn't actually use this wing of the satellite.
"What were YOU doing here, if you don't mind me asking," Otto said cautiously, trying to not sound nosy.
"Just doing some maintenance on the air conditioning system," Larry said.
"It's crazy that you have to go so far to do that," Otto replied, wondering about his new home with astonishment.
"Larry, if this satellite is so big that you have to worry about people getting lost, and it takes forever just to get anything done why did Time Squad send you guys to live here in the first place?" Otto asked.
'Because they wanted to send us far, far, away.' Larry darkly mused to himself.
"Well, this government satellite is actually a repurposed one," Larry said. "It's big because not only was it a government-owned monitoring facility for Earth, but it also provided housing to the people who worked here and their families. Hundreds of people lived here before us, but that was a good many years ago. "
"Woah! That's really cool!" Otto exclaimed.
Otto followed Larry out of the darkly lit passageway and they entered a hallway that must be closer to the main living area because Larry's personal touch of carpets and paintings started to become frequent sights.
"Yes but now we just see it as a mere ghost of what it once was," Larry added dramatically. "Of course, when you have only one person," Larry pointed to himself, "That's been trained to care and repair this place, it must not be a surprise to you that things are constantly falling apart around here."
"I haven't noticed..." Otto said meekly.
"Well, once the buzz about living here wears off you'll see," Larry insisted. "I wish they would move us to another place, whether it be another space station or one of Time Squad's apartments on Earth. I'd kill for one of those!"
He ushered Otto into a doorway that the boy definitely knew as being the corridor that leads them to the control room and kitchen.
"And give up living in outer space?" Otto asked.
Larry laughed. Of course, Otto didn't see a problem with it!
"I'd give up my supply of right arms to be able to live on Earth again! But, of course, that's not my decision. " Larry said bitterly.
They walked into the kitchen, where Larry lugged the toolbox down on the counter.
"Now, promise me you'll actually stay close by this time? Why don't you color or read?" Larry insisted. "This is the second time I've asked that you'd do something quiet or productive and it's getting old."
"Yes, Larry," Otto answered quietly. The boy looked at him with disappointment.
Larry sighed; he wasn't trying to harp on the child. But he could see plainly that that's how Otto felt about his advice. His intention was to be helpful and practical. But Larry didn't really know how to do it without being critical and stern about it. In his eyes, it was better to be stern than to just baby this kid.
"Because I suspect that's how you get a man like Tuddrussel to be born." Larry thought. But a pang of guilt hit him as he saw Otto wilt at his tone, he didn't like how he caused him to look so down.
"Oh, I know," Larry said, trying to be kinder, "You should be much happier playing video games in the living room, why don't ask Tuddrussel if he'd like to join you?" Larry suggested.
Otto perked up a little bit to the suggestion, but it wasn't a real satisfying solution to the problem. But, to get Larry out of his hair, he agreed to try to do that and went off to grab him. Larry nodded approvingly and went off on his own course to try to make it back to his room with the intention to relax and watch his unwatched soaps.
Larry wanted desperately to catch up on his soap operas. He had recorded many episodes of different programs but had no real time to enjoy them as of late. When he entered his room, he sat in his cushy purple chair and turned on the tv. Like a giddy teenage girl, he excitedly played the last episode that he had to pause at and was immediately enraptured by the drama and the beautiful, and glamorous characters that filled the screen.
"I'm afraid that your aunt Gertrude needs a lobotomy, Mrs. Kensington."
Larry stifled a tear. "Don't you dare believe it, Jackie! Think of what happened to your sister!"
"Next time, on Downtown Gardens-
"What?!" Larry screeched, waving an open hand at the screen desperately. "You can't just end the episode there! What about Gertrude?"
He fumed as the credits rolled on the screen. And of course, this episode had been the last of the little binge that he had indulged in, and he would have to wait until next week for the conclusion. "Ugh- whatever. I should be doing something else with my time anyway!" Which was not particularly true. But Larry was willing to trick himself into thinking that that was the case.
'Maybe I'll see what I can cook for dinner, Tuddrussel has been awfully fussy about food lately...' Larry thought.
Larry's attention turned to the ceiling, where he heard the sound of an unusual alarm. Red lights flickered on in the room, and the alarm blared obnoxiously, making Larry sick with new worry. That alarm NEVER goes off! Larry thought. The floor started to shake, making him start to panic. "And its never done THAT before!" Larry yelled. His mind raced to the conclusion that there's something dangerous heading their way. He trembled with fright at the mere thought of their doom.
He jumped from his seat and ran out of his room to see what was happening.
Trying to dash down the hallway without falling from the shaking was difficult, but he managed to do it. Fortunately, for whatever reason, the tremors did subside as he made it to the door that leads to the control room more directly. He raced down the corridor, almost making it before getting the wind knocked out of him. Larry fell to the floor and was utterly confused by the collision. He immediately lifted his head to see what stopped him. Otto looked back at him, and was just as equally frightened and confused by how he had not seen the other coming.
"What's happening, Larry?" Otto cried out. Larry bolted up; panicking as he stood this did not help soothe Otto's own fears.
"Oh! Something has activated the satellite's emergency alarm system!" Larry said. Otto's mouth dropped in shock, hanging on to every word.
"Maybe meteors! Or Asteroids!" Larry guessed. "A Meteoroid?!" Larry lost it. He screamed in terror and ran down the hallway. Otto followed, hoping that it wasn't anything like that. Larry opened the door and came across a sight that was far, far worse than a life-threatening space rock.
It was just Tuddrussel.
He sat at the control panel, having a marvelous time messing around with the satellite's buttons and making all sorts of obnoxious sound effects and pretending to be following some sort of police chase? Larry didn't really know. Fear melted into seething anger, his eyes burning red.
I can't leave him alone for one afternoon! Larry mentally screamed.
He stormed right up to him. "What are you doing, you idiot?" Larry scolded. He slapped his hand, making Tuddrussel yelp at the sting. "Hey . . ." Tuddrussel complained. Man-child. Larry thought. He pushed him out of the way and started to turn off the alarms and set everything back to normal. "Are you trying to get us killed? This is a government satellite, not some Chucky McRocket video arcade game." Larry said.
"Oh- will you calm down?" Tuddrussel said, rubbing his hand. "Can't a guy have any fun? Besides, you robots aren't supposed to get mad. Especially at their masters."
"Master?" Larry whipped back to glare at him. "Ha! If you weren't such an irresponsible hot bag of wind, I'd probably be more happy to serve you."
"Well, la-dee-dah," Tuddrussel said mockingly. He pointed his finger at Larry in an authoritarian way. "Lookie here, Jeeves, I'm the commanding officer of this outfit and you'll do whatever I tell you to!"
"Well maybe I would if you weren't such a horrible leader," Larry replied.
Tuddrussel gasped. In the corner of his eyes, he saw that Otto stood there between them, silently watching. Larry caught this and saw that he was going to try to make Otto take his side. Ha! Not on my watch, Larry thought.
"OTTO!" They yelled in unison, pointing at each other.
The boy looked at the adults that stood before him, looking so silly as they pointed fingers at each other like kids and expected HIM to referee, again.
Otto shrugged, smiling nervously from being at a loss of what they expected him to do this time.
They both waited, expecting Otto to take their side. But the alarm interrupted the moment, just in the nick of time. Otto blew out a breath of relief.
"I didn't do it!" Tuddrussel exclaimed.
"It's the history instability alarm, dummy," Larry said.
"Oh, uhh yeah. . . I knew that." Tuddrussel replied.
Larry facepalmed hard let out an exasperated sigh. How did he get past the entrance exam again?
"Guys, look!" Otto exclaimed
The computer started to put together their suspect.
"Wow, Julius Caesar!" Otto started to spill as the information for Julius Caesar, Circa 46 B.C., Rome dropped to the screen.
"While he ruled Rome it was one of the greatest cities that had ever existed. He was a remarkable leader, you two should get along great, Tuddrussel!"
Tuddrussel a great leader? Fat chance.
Rome, a city that should have been a legendary empire in 46 AD was found to be in ruin. It resembled a shantytown after a great fire, and its citizens suffered greatly under Julius Caesar's negligence. Larry tried to find some humor in this by saying that it looked like the city really was built in a day. It was unfortunately accurate. The Time Squad had a lot of work to do if they wanted to build the city back up to its glory.
Julius Caesar, the disgraced former Emperor bit his lip in concern as he saw that construction was being done on the Coliseum, which Tuddrussel had destroyed just a few days earlier. Everyone had seemingly abandoned him for the strange visitors who had won the match against the lions. They didn't seem so bad at first; he had been persuaded by Otto's kind words. The boy had said that they'd help him get back to ruling and would teach him all they knew. And they did keep their word, for a couple of days. Larry, Tuddrussel, and Otto had tried to educate him early on, but after a while, they started to work on other projects, and give talks to other people. And now, they were acting like they ruled the empire themselves. It was so bad that Caesar couldn't even get inside his own house, instead his former guards would turn him away every time. These betrayals left the slovenly man deeply depressed. He had been watching from a distance, like a ghost- invisible to the rapid progress that the Time Squad made. Citizens walked past him, no longer caring who he once was. They talked about Tuddrussel in front of him, mostly about how much good he had brought to the empire in such a short time. He looked upon the new construction of the sustainable housing and infrastructure with great sadness and jealousy, for he had planned to do all of that . . .eventually. The senators who used to talk to him have now left him behind, and have discussed in public about the new social programs being implemented by the order of these people and the brilliant inventions they gave them.
"Have you heard of a sundial? Claudius said it tells the time!"
"What? That's genius!"
"Yeah, and it's all thanks to Emperor Tuddrussel!"
Caesar let out a pitiful sigh. He walked down to the palace, his former home. The Time Squad had gotten their hands on that too, and now the residence of the emperor looked beyond magnificent. A large crowd was gathering in front of the palace, pushing past Caesar and began to chant their praises to the new "rulers" of Rome.
"Please send this letter to Senator Marcellus, " Larry said to the messenger. The man bowed dutifully and left in a hurry. Larry was quite proud of himself. This mission had started off so roughly, what with Rome being a total pit of despair and Julius Caesar made the unsightly impression of being a lazy oaf who let Rome get that way. But with his artistic abilities, and sense of diplomacy, he helped raise an empire back into shape in a manner of days. Of course, Tuddrussel helped with the military, and Otto was useful in helping with the re-education of the Romans. But Larry was the backbone of this mission; he made sure things were getting built, that the economy was shaping up and that culture was being held at a higher standard.
He walked into the bedroom of the emperor. It was a lavishly decorated room with Persian carpets, velvet curtains, and fine pieces of artwork and furniture tied the whole room together. In the corner of the room, was the hot tub, made out of marble. Tuddrussel was enjoying himself in the huge tub as multiple women doted on him. Larry's mood darkened at the sight of it. Tuddrussel had been acting like a real jackass as of late; giving demands as if he were the leader of Rome or something . . .Larry scowled at the idea.
Otto stared from the second story window, amazed at the attention that they were receiving. Larry walked up from behind him and stopped to look at the crowd too. He scowled at the scene, having to grown to hate the fans as of late. Not that he didn't love doting attention- he would have welcomed this fanfare if it were for HIM and his accomplishments to improving their lives, but this was all for Tuddrussel and he coldly knew it. In fact, he wondered why these people didn't have anything better to do than to stand around all day in the sun in the hopes to just gawk at Tuddrussel's stupid face. Otto glanced up at him and noticed his particularly sour disposition.
"Can you believe this?" Otto asked, "They've been here all day!"
"Humph. We should make it illegal for people to trespass on government property," Larry said.
"They just want to show that they love us," Otto said quietly.
"No, they love Tuddrussel." Larry replied. Not wanting him or Otto to look any further, he quickly snatched at the curtains and drew them shut. Otto nodded, looking over to Tuddrussel in the corner of the room.
"We're just Tuddrussel's "lackeys" to them!" Larry said with utter disdain.
"Yeah. . ." Otto reluctantly agreed. "Well, we all helped build Rome back up to its glory. I don't think Tuddrussel means to take advantage of the perks." Otto tried to reason.
Larry cackled, "Of course he does!"
Otto frowned, becoming silent to Larry's bitterness. Larry waved him off, tired of dealing with his childish optimism. He went off to prepare for tomorrow's work and sat at a desk that had been imported from Egypt just hours ago. On the desk lay drawn out plans for the renovations of the Circus Maximus written in parchment. Larry took a quill pen and started making notes for the architect that he was planning on meeting in the morning.
Otto stood there in deep thought and watched Larry as he worked. Larry had been working hard on this mission for days now. He figured that maybe the stress of rebuilding Rome was becoming too heavy to handle. He glanced back to Tuddrussel, who was starting to admittedly act a little obnoxious. Like an emperor…Otto rolled his eyes at the idea. The REAL emperor was around here somewhere. But they hadn't seen him in a good while. Where was Caesar, anyway? Otto wondered. He drew his attention back to Larry, who was acting so intensely wrapped up in the mission that maybe, if Otto had to guess, that because of all of this stress of rebuilding Rome, Larry might have forgotten the true point of the mission as much as Tuddrussel had. Sighing, hoping that Larry would see things his way, Otto walked up to the desk and stood by Larry's side as he wrote.
" Larry, I feel really bad about something," Otto said.
"Hmm. Why's that?" Larry asked dryly, not bothering to look up from his writing.
"We've kind of let Julius Caesar fall behind. We haven't seen him in days, ya know? And I've been thinking, we should really be getting him back into power before things get weird around here." Otto said.
"Don't be ridiculous," Larry said, giving him an incredulous look. "We haven't even shown the Romans how to build their roadways, or their bridges or sewers. There's so much time left before we introduce that lazy excuse of a man back into power. "
"Yeah but he should know what we're handing him back," Otto said, crossing his arms. "He has every right to know what's going on around here!"
"And we will tell him. No need to get pushy about it!" Larry snapped.
He felt as if Otto was biting at his ankles over this issue, and he began to grow impatient with him. "Why don't you do something useful and teach something?" Larry added dismissively, shooing him away.
Otto stared at him coldly. Larry stared back, and for a moment there was an uncomfortable silence between them.
"Well, fine," Otto said, dripping in discomfort. "But we really should-
"But nothing!" Larry interrupted. Otto jumped in surprise. Larry stood up from his seat, and with his hands on his hips, he gave a particularly intimidating glare as he towered over him.
"I think you've forgotten your place. Who's the one that's been doing this job for years? It's certainly not you. I have the experience to know just when to bring back a sad, poor excuse of a ruler back into power after I had to help fix what they had let go to ruin. Don't you dare tell me how to do this, especially when you have only been at it for not even a month!" Larry pointed to the doorway, "Go on, shoo! Do as I say!"
Otto opened his mouth to argue further but caught himself. Larry watched him with a cold, ominous glare that proved too unnerving for him to follow through with an argument. Something about it said, "go on, try me." And that struck a cord in Otto, and he chose to back down for the moment. Instead, with brewing anger, he quickly turned away from Larry and stormed out of the room and slammed the door shut. Larry flinched at the sound. Grumbling, Larry shook his head as he sat back down and continued to write on.
"Insufferable little know-it-all," Larry said under his breath. "Trying to tell me how to do MY job, a job that I was literally programmed to do!"
When Otto got out of the room and away from Larry's hearing he vented out his frustrations. He let out a frustrated growl and clinched his fists. "Why don't you do something useful and teach something?" Otto mimicked. He kicked at the door, a little too hard for his own good. "Yeouch!" Otto hopped on one foot to hold his injured one for a second.
In the room, Larry heard a small THUD come from the doorway. He raised an eyebrow to the commotion and got up from the chair to see what that was about.
"Oh, Larry?!" Tuddrussel called.
Larry turned his attention away from the door and sighed as he saw Tuddrussel dressed in a clean toga robe that covered his uniform. He was walking up to him with two blonde women waving fans behind him.
The whole scene made Larry wish that he had a gag reflex.
Like who does he think he is? Larry thought.
"Can I help you, your highness?" Larry sneered.
Tuddrussel didn't notice his tone. Smiling he asked, "I've got a few ideers for you, wanted to run by ya with them."
Larry raised an eyebrow to the statement.
"I'm rapturously all ears,"
Outside, Otto leaned against the door and could hear the some of the conversation. He reflected on where his life had gone as he stood there, cast out and alone.
These people had kidnapped him; both happily and begrudgingly and under the sole condition that he'd help them do their job. It wasn't a bad deal; he had a home to go to, and fun things to do when not traveling through history. But, under the current situation, he felt that going back home would be a long ways off at this rate. And, on the bitterer note, it was becoming a struggle for Otto to help them out because he was still figuring out HOW to help out exactly. They certainly didn't make it easy, and in this case, it was becoming clear that he had to do something soon before they completely derail the mission! When the mission first got started he had high hopes that he'd work with Tuddrussel and Larry the same way they had with Napoleon; sure there were some minor setbacks involving Napoleon's wife, but they at least all worked together as a team and never abandoned the person they were supposed to help. But this time, Larry's cynical viewpoint and Tuddrussel's selfish wants for power were ruining the whole point of the mission, Otto wholeheartedly believed.
Well, if they were too busy to help Caesar, Otto thought glumly, he would do it by himself. Luckily there wasn't much left to do, all he needed was to bring Caesar up to speed on what they've accomplished, and set him back as emperor. Then they could just go home. He put on a brave face, determined to do the job that he had been picked up to do. Otto left the palace in order to find Caesar himself and set things right.
"I want more statues of me, and I think this place could use a bowling alley and a bigger pool inside of the dining room-"
"Stop." Larry curtly interrupted. "Tuddrussel these requests are not only ridiculous, but they're totally out of the question! I will not help you do any of this, we're here to rebuild Rome, and not so you can play dictator."
Tuddrussel pouted, folding his arms. "Can you at least make me a hamburger? I'm starvin' for some real food!"
Larry scoffed at the request.
"No, I will NOT make you a hamburger!" Larry said.
"But I'm hungry!" Tuddrussel interjected.
"Ohh, Emperor Tuddrussel, I'll make you a- a-a whatever you want!" One of the blondes said in a seductive voice.
The utter sight of this woman fawning over Tuddrussel made Larry deeply sick. And now he was glad that Otto wasn't in the room for an entirely different reason!
"May I leave? I don't wish to be a part of . . .whatever the hell this is." Larry swished his hand, gesturing to them. Tuddrussel scowled, he aggressively pulled his arm away from his lady attendant and grabbed Larry's neck.
"Larry, get with the program!" Tuddrussel ordered. He gripped Larry's shoulders tight and got inches away from his face.
"Who's in charge here? Me!" Tuddrussel said, shaking him. "You see these babes falling head over heels for Caesar?"
"You think I care?" Larry asked.
"You're supposed to be on my side," Tuddrussel said.
Larry squirmed his way out of Tuddrussel's grasp. "I would be if you acted sensibly, now unhand me, you brute!"
Tuddrussel shoved him away, making Larry fall on the desk.
"God, I wish you'd just turn off whatever it is that makes you so freakin' pompous."
Larry shot back up and stood spitefully proud in front of him. He would never let Tuddrussel have this way. " You know, I've realized that your problem is that you try so hard to be worth my time that it's downright pathetic," Larry said, glaring at him. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to send a letter. Have fun without me!" Larry brushed past him, leaving before Tuddrussel tried to stop him.
Tuddrussel watched his partner leave the room and slam the door. He let out a deep gravely huff, wondering why Larry was always, without fail, a difficult and stubborn robot whose wants came before any human's. Why can't he be like everyone else around here? He wondered. Everybody here worships me but him! A smooth hand touched his bicep, and for a moment he let the argument go as Cassandra pulled him back toward her.
Larry walked down the torch-lit corridor and handed a letter to a servant who stood at the entrance to the Emperor's apartments.
"Please, have this sent to Mr. Tiberius." Larry said.
The servant nodded and walked off to perform their duty. Larry's shoulders slouched in a moment of sadness. The servant reminded him of what Tuddrussel had wished and expected Larry to be, totally subservient to his commands and whims. That will be the day! Larry raised his eyebrows to the very idea. "Me, follow Tuddrussel's every command like he was an authority figure and I was his confidant? Never!" Those days of servitude to politicians were over, and even if he were still involved with that purpose, he would NEVER work for some ungrateful ignoramus like Tuddrussel!
He began to walk back aimlessly, not wanting to go back to the room where he was sure that at that very moment Tuddrussel was happily getting his way without his help. He replayed the memory from moments ago-
"Larry, get with the program!"
"Who's in charge here? Me!"
"You're supposed to be on my side."
Tuddrussel's words were pathetic and silly. 'He thinks himself as so high and mighty, as if he does lord over me. . .'
That is when Larry's legs trembled uncontrollably. His hands shook with anxiety and his head spun around for a moment before he took a firm grip of it.
"That can't be good," Larry said. A green dot appeared in the left corner of his vision. Larry gasped, realizing that his internal programming had made a decision for him. "Don't you say it," Larry hissed.
"ACTIVATING: PROGRAM CODE 5902- SERVICE TO AUTHORITY ENGAGED"
"NO!" Larry screamed.
His vision went black, and then his terror, his anger, and protests seemed to slowly smother down into a calm serenity.
And then he was silent.
His personal thoughts and all other traits were crushed down, and replaced with an assortment of uncomplicated ideas that left him cold, dull and blandly agreeable.
Larry's vision came back and he stoically stood straight and rigid. He couldn't remember why he was putting up a fight about his new situation. This was fine, he thought. Larry turned his head back to the room where at that very moment Tuddrussel was ordering his legion of servants around. He had to go back to that room- he needed to perform the duty he was designed to do. It was his job to serve the emperor.
Otto had been gone for a few hours now. But neither Larry nor Tuddrussel noticed. Tuddrussel's inflated ego made him forget about him for the time being. He had thought about him briefly once before, assuming that the boy had been teaching some Roman citizens about the wheel or some shit. And Larry. .well the robot had no time to put any other thoughts on his mind that didn't involve serving Tuddrussel and his interests.
With a neutral look on his face, and without any sass Larry worked with Tuddrussel's demands. He ordered the artists and architects of the palace to decorate and remodel everything to the "Emperor's" liking, and in a few hours, the entire palace had Tuddrussel's name all over it, figuratively and literally.
Now, Larry doted on him in the grand lobby of the palace, fanning him with a steady rhythm. His other servants also kept him "entertained"; playing soothing music and fed him grapes as a master artist that Larry hired sculpted Tuddrussel's likeness to that of a Roman god.
Otto entered the room with a hopeful gleam in his eyes. He had found Julius Caesar after a long search and tried to explain all there was to about the new Rome, giving him notes and pointers about how he was supposed to rule and encouraged him to come back to the palace with him. He told him to wait for a moment while he talked to Tuddrussel and Larry, believing that this time he could persuade them to put Caesar back into power and go home. He walked up to them, noticing with amazement to the huge statue of Tuddrussel that was being chiseled in front of him. He turned his attention to Tuddrussel, who lazily acknowledged him with a sluggish wave of his hand. Larry didn't acknowledge his presence.
"Well guys, it looks like we completed our mission," Otto said cheerfully.
Tuddrussel's head shot up in alertness to Otto's statement. Larry noticed the sudden mood change and uncomfortably glanced at the boy.
"Rome is now a great city, and Caesar is going to be just fine. So, I guess we should be getting back to the satellite." Otto added.
Boy, you must of lost your damn mind. Tuddrussel thought.
"Leave? Are you kidding me? Just look at this place, man! It's great!" Tuddrussel exclaimed. He pointed to himself, his mood shifting to a serious one. "And I made it this way. Not Caesar!"
Tuddrussel's acidic mentioning of the true emperor's name made Larry pause in surprise, the first real emotional response in hours.
Tuddrussel noticed the lack of a breeze and turned to see that Larry had stopped fanning.
"Did I tell you to stop fanning?"
"What? Oh- sorry sir!" Larry said, and he immediately began fanning with even faster speed than before.
Otto frowned, raising an eyebrow to Tuddrussel's behavior, which had seemingly gotten more arrogant and rude. And what was Larry doing, just letting Tuddrussel order him around like that? What the heck happened while I was gone? Otto wondered.
"And I'm not going to just turn Rome over to some big sloppy wiener!" Tuddrussel said. He abruptly got up from his seat and walked over to the nearest window.
"Look, the people of Rome love me!" Tuddrussel exclaimed, ripping the curtains open to reveal the massive crowd that did in fact worship him.
Otto was stunned by the sheer audacity Tuddrussel had. He knew that the guy was, of course, selfish at times, but this was going too far. This was messing with history! He watched Larry silently walk towards Tuddrussel and just as before, started to calmly fan him again.
"Have you gone nuts? What about your mission to keep history on track? We can't stay here," Otto argued. He turned his attention back to Larry, who seemed uncharacteristically unfazed by all of this. He had thought that despite their own disagreements, he felt that he could've at least counted on Larry to object to Tuddrussel! "Larry! Why are you going along with this?" Otto asked, outraged.
"Sorry Otto, " Larry said sympathetically. He really didn't feel anything for Otto, but like a good robot, he was required to be understanding and pleasant to all humans, but not too easily swayed by emotions or conflicting agendas.
"But as you know, I was originally designed to assist kings and diplomats, and now that Rome has achieved its full potential, and Tuddrussel has become so popular, I'm finally able to fulfill my destiny as the doting lackey of a great leader."
Otto blinked. Not sure what he had just heard. When it finally registered to him that now he was really, truly alone in this his frustration boiled over.
"Oh, brother!" Otto yelled. "I can't believe you guys!"
Everyone watched the boy yell at Tuddrussel, interested in what would be said next. Tuddrussel snorted a huff, annoyed at Otto's protests. Before either of them could speak, however, a loud crying fit echoed out into the lobby, making everyone turn to look at who was coming. Otto watched Julius Caesar run down the hall, blubbering like a baby.
"Now see what you did?" Otto scolded. Too angry with Tuddrussel and Larry to continue arguing, Otto dashed off to comfort Caesar before he ran away again.
Larry watched him go with a blank expression. He couldn't understand why Otto would be so upset at Tuddrussel, or him, for that matter. They were only doing their jobs. Well, their jobs according to Tuddrussel, anyway.
"Wiener," Tuddrussel said. The man didn't understand it. He knew Otto as the kid that knew how to have fun. But he wasn't being fun. He was being annoying. Like, annoying in the way that Larry was. He glanced over to Larry, who silently fanned him still as he had been commanded to. Now, why couldn't Otto get straight with the game as Larry had finally? And Otto's willingness to run after Caesar and take his side was a painful blow to Tuddrussel's feelings. It made him embittered, and miserable. He slouched in his seat and gravelly sighed a breath of frustration.
"Man, what's with that kid?" Tuddrussel asked.
"Give him time, Tuddrussel," Larry said, "I'm sure he'll come around,"
That night, Otto left the palace with Caesar. Tuddrussel was too busy partying to notice that he had gone, and Larry was too busy being a mindless lackey to see that he had gone missing. Caesar bought dinner for himself and Otto and they sat together on the side of a fountain near the palace. They watched the party unfold from the windows, it was looking to be quite the extravagant evening and that made Caesar slouch in misery. That could have been my party, he thought to himself.
"Say, Otto, are you sure this plan is going to work?" Caesar asked timidly.
"Trust me," Otto said through a bite of bread. "Tuddrussel maybe a good fighter, but he's not going to know what hit him."
"Boy, I hope so," Caesar said. In the window, they could see Tuddrussel and Larry together, and the sight of them made Caesar become angry. His teeth clenched as he stewed in wonder over their selfish actions.
"You know, those guys are real jerks," Caesar said.
Otto watched his friends party without him, and for a moment he felt that they probably didn't even remember that they had picked him up from a 21st-century orphanage recently. But, he would get them back to their senses, somehow!
"Yeah, but they're my jerks," Otto said. "And they're not always like that, they've just gotten a little . . .carried away."
They looked up at the palace and saw from the second story window several partygoers were having a fantastic time dancing as the live music played.
"Aww, that should be ME throwing decadent parties in my palace," Caesar moaned. He looked back at Otto and his eyes narrowed as he suddenly thought of the fact that Otto was probably supposed to be with them right now instead of with him.
"Wait a second, do they even know where you are?" Caesar asked.
"They know I'm with you, " Otto said, rolling his eyes. "Whether they care or not is a different matter though."
"What are you to them, anyway?" Caesar asked.
"Their uhh- I'm their friend," Otto said, unsure.
"Well, if you ask me, you're too good for them," Caesar said,
"Say, why don't you just stay with me? I can make you a senator, and you can have your own palace with servants," Caesar said. He patted Otto on the back and playfully leaned in to mutter, " And not to mention all the food you can eat. That's the best part if we're being honest here."
Otto smiled, it was a kind gesture from the guy. But he knew, with a small frown from the realization that he couldn't possibly live here. "Aww, thanks, Caesar. That would be so cool, but I can't just do that. " Otto said.
"Why not?" Caesar asked.
"Look, Tuddrussel and Larry aren't always good and they mess up more than they fix and sometimes they're not very good at their jobs. But that's why I'm with them. I can't just stay here while they fail to keep history on track, they need me to help them!"