Recipe for Chaos
Pippin blinked. And blinked again. Then, for good measure, he blinked until his eyelids were sore.
And then he screamed.
A moment ago he had been in Gondor. Denethor had been trying to kill Faramir, and himself, as well. Pippin had leapt up on the pyre to try to save Faramir. Then there had been a blinding flash of light, and now this.
He was in an open filed, with short grass as far as the eye could see. The sky was blue, with a few clouds, and the sun was shining brightly.
His scream caught the attention of his only companions -- six strangers who were now staring at him. Then all six of them started to move closer. Pippin turned and ran. He had to get out of here!
But no sooner had he run a hundred feet than he bumped into something. He got up slowly, rubbing his forehead where he had hit it. But there seemed to be nothing in front of him. What had he hit?
Hearing his companions again, Pippin turned around, his back to the wall, and drew his sword. "Stay back!" he shouted, trying to sound more sure of his skill than he really was.
He must have been more convincing than he thought, for they did stay back. At last, he got a good look at them. They were quite an assortment.
On the very left there was a pale man in a long black robe. He had greasy black hair nearly to his shoulders and deep, dark eyes that were at once frightening.
Next tho him was another man. He, too, was tall and thin, dressed in black, with black hair and dark brown eyes. But where the other man's eyes were frightening, his were merely curious, questioning.
Next to him was a tall, thin, pale man. His hair was combed and his clothes were neat, and there was something extremely gentle about his whole expression. Pippin liked him immediately.
The next man was nowhere near as neat-looking. His hair was a mess and his clothes were tattered. But what Pippin noticed first was his leg, or, actually, that he didn't have one. He walked with the help of a crutch, but seemed to have kept up just fine with the others.
The man next to him had already drawn his sword in response to Pippin's gesture. he had long dark hair, with some of it in braids, and on his head was a large, black, three-cornered hat.
But it was the man on the right end that frightened the Hobbit the most. He was white, but not just his face. Everything about him was white, and there was a death-like look about him. He carried with him an assortment of heavy chains that made a terrible clanking when he walked, sending shudders up Pippin's spine.
After a moment of complete silence, the neatly-dressed man stepped forward, motioning to the others to stay back. He came toward Pippin, hands up, palms facing the Hobbit. "We won't harm you," he said gently. "It's all right. We're just as confused as you are."
"Wh . . . where am I?" Pippin stammered.
"Probably a dream, Matey," the man with the three-cornered hat suggested. "A little too much rum, that's all."
"Nonsense!" the man with the crutch objected. "I weren't drinkin' near enough rum to cause all this."
"I wasn't dreaming," the pale man on the right moaned. "I can't dream. I haven't dreamt for seven long years."
"Why?" Pippin asked, amazed.
"Because," the man wailed, "I'm dead!"
"Dead!" Pippin screamed. "No! We can't be dead! I can't be dead! I have to go back and help Faramir!"
The man who had come forward shook his head. "Actually, I might be relieved if that were true."
Pippin looked up. "What do you mean?"
The man looked away. "I'll tell you later."
"No, he won't," said the man in the black robe. "Not unless he has to."
The neat-looking man turned around. "How would you know?"
"That's what I do. I observe things."
"You're a spy," the man next to him said. But, to Pippin's surprise, he wasn't accusing, merely stating.
The man in the robe turned sharply, and Pippin thought for sure that he would object. But he didn't. He simply smiled, a grim sort of half-smile. "You're much sharper than Dumbledore is."
"I'll take that as a compliment," the other man said. He looked around. "Perhaps we should all introduce ourselves. I'm not sure about anyone else, but I know no one here. I'm Doctor Ian Malcolm. I'm a mathematician."
The man in the robe nodded. "I'm Professor Severus Snape. I'm a Wizard."
Pippin looked up. "A Wizard? Really? Do you know Gandalf?"
Snape shook his head. "No, I don't believe so. Who are you?"
"Pippin. Pippin Took. I'm a Hobbit."
The neat-looking man smiled. "A Hobbit?"
Pippin nodded. "What about you?"
"Doctor Henry Jekyll."
"Jacob Marley," said the ghost.
"Captain Jack Sparrow," said the man with the hat.
"Captain?" asked the man with the crutch.
Jack nodded. "Captain of the Black Pearl."
"Gentleman of fortune, are you?"
"Pirate. It's easier to say."
"Well, then, it's good to know you. Captain Long John Silver, though at the moment I haven't a ship or crew."
Jack nodded. "We've all been there, Mate. What seems to have caused yer troubles?"
"A boy, actually, a little boy called Jim Hawkins."
"You don't say . . ." Jack's voice trailed off as the two of them started to walk away.
"Well," Ian shrugged. "Those two get along well."
"Are we trapped in here?" Pippin asked.
"Well, I've already been looking for a way out," Dr. Jekyll assured him. "The area is wide, but it is all fenced in by this material." He put a hand up against the wall, then removed it. "Strange."
"What?" Pippin asked. "What is it?"
"It's not glass. My fingerprints should have left a mark. May I borrow your sword?"
Pippin nodded, and handed it to him. Dr. Jekyll struck the glass with the sword. Nothing happened. There wasn't even a sound. "This shouldn't be possible," Jekyll mumbled, handing the sword back as he began pacing.
"Scientists," Ian Malcolm sighed. "Obviously, it's possible, because it's here."
Jekyll turned. "What do you have against scientists?"
"Oh, it's nothing personal, Doctor. It's just that they're always poking their noses in where they don't belong, messing with things they shouldn't, and, eventually, chaos erupts."
"You should like that," Snape pointed out. "Chaos is your speciality, isn't it, Doctor Malcolm?"
"Then again," Malcolm sighed, "scientists aren't the only ones who put their noses where they don't belong."
"And some of us," Marley moaned, "don't put our noses where they do belong."
Everyone turned to stare at the ghost, but before anyone could ask what he had meant, Dr. Jekyll fell to his knees, clutching his chest in pain. "No!" he cried. "Not here! Not now!"
But already his voice was changing, becoming hoarse. His face, constricted with pain, was changing. He seemed to become shorter, younger, before their eyes. "Malcolm!" he cried, gasping for breath. "The formula! For God's sake, Malcolm, help me!"
Malcolm ran forward to help, but at that moment, the doctor jumped up, threw off his coat, and began running. He was laughing with joy, but the laugh was terrifying, and Pippin, in spite of everything he had seen recently -- the battles, the destruction, the sheer carnage of war -- in spite of all this, he was horrified.
But Malcolm had already grabbed the doctor's coat and was rapidly searching its pockets. At last, eh found what he was looking for -- a small bottle with a potion in it. "Catch him!" Malcolm shouted.
Jekyll, however, was already out of control, running into the walls, screaming, laughing. Jack and Silver came running back to see what was going on. Malcolm ran after Jekyll, but the doctor turned and threw him to the ground easily. Jack and Silver tried to catch him, as well, but were treated the same.
Snape shook his head, muttering something about what he would do if he had his wand. Meanwhile, Pippin was creeping closer. "Doctor Jekyll?" he asked timidly. "Is that you?"
"Foolish young thing!" the creature that had once been Henry Jekyll roared. "Jekyll is gone! I am Edward Hyde!" And with that, he grabbed Pippin by the neck.
Suddenly, a shot rang out. Hyde dropped Pippin, who fell to the ground, gasping for air. "Hurry, Ian!" Silver shouted. "I only hit his leg! He'll be up an second!"
Malcolm rushed over, and the others pinned Hyde down. Malcolm uncorked the bottle and poured the liquid down the creature's throat. Hyde broke free, but at once bent over, clutching his chest. Slowly, painfully, he became Henry Jekyll once more.
For a moment, no one spoke. "Well," Ian Malcolm said at last. "It looks like I was right again, I'm afraid. Am I correct in assuming, Doctor, that this is some scientific experiment gone to chaos?"
Jekyll nodded slowly. "I used to be able to control the transformation, to change only when I drank the formula. But now Hyde is out of control. I can never predict when he will take me." He turned to Pippin. "That is what I meant earlier, my little friend. I would rather be dead than be forever trapped as Edward Hyde."
Snape nodded. "Interesting, very interesting. Potions are something of a speciality of mine, but I've never seen anything quite like this."
Jekyll nodded. "I don't doubt it; it's my own mixture. And I hope you never see it again."
Malcolm nodded. "Yes, I would rather not see that again if you don't mind, Doctor. But as much as I dislike scientists, it is usually not their intention to cause harm. I doubt that the intent of your experiment was to create such a creature as Hyde."
"You're quite right," Jekyll agreed. "It was my intent to split the dual nature of humanity -- good and evil. Unfortunately, it was the evil side that appeared." He sighed deeply. "So far, I've been unable to discover my mistake."
"No, no, this is not a mistake," Malcolm objected. "A mistake is when you say someone has a cute cat when actually it's a funny-looking dog. When you ask if a woman is with her daughter it's actually her little sister, that's a mistake. This," he gestured to the doctor's torn clothes and bleeding leg. "This is not a mistake. It's a growing problem with science everywhere, and it's not going to stop until scientists realize that they can't go around playing God."
"But if we could improve humanity for the better--"
"Does it look like you're improving humanity for the better?" Malcolm demanded. He sighed, took off his jacket, and, picking up Pippin's sword, cut it in two. "Here," he offered, kneeling by Dr. Jekyll. "Let me help you." He tied one piece around the doctor's upper leg, to stop the bleeding, and used the other to bandage the wound.
"Thank you," Dr. Jekyll smiled, studying the mathematician. He got to his feet slowly, hesitantly. "I think the two of us can agree to disagree, Doctor Malcolm."
Malcolm nodded. "The important thing right now is to find a way out of here and get us all back where we came from, preferably before you change into Hyde again; I used all of the formula this time."
Pippin looked around. It seemed so hopeless. There appeared to be no way out, and they couldn't even tell what was holding them in. What if they never found a way? They could be trapped forever, and he'd never see any of his friends again. He would never see Gandalf or Merry or Strider. He would never know if Faramir was safe.
Pippin began to sob. He wanted to stop, but he couldn't. Dr. Jekyll knelt down and took the Hobbit in his arms. "It's all right. It'll all be all right. We'll find a way."
Pippin buried his face in the doctor's shoulder. "I . . . I just wish . . . I wish I knew if Faramir was all right."
Suddenly, there was another flash of light. Pippin looked up, and there was Faramir, looking bewildered and disoriented, but otherwise quite fine. He looked around. "Pippin?"
"Faramir!" Pippin ran over and threw his arms around Faramir.
"How did we get here?" Faramir asked.
"I don't know. I just said I wished you were here, and . . . wait! I wish Merry were here," he tried. Nothing happened.
"Oh, it's not quite that easy, little Pippin," came a voice, "though you're on the right track." There was a brilliant flash of light, and a man stood before them. He had short, black hair and wore a red uniform. A mischievous grin was on his face, a grin Pippin liked immediately.
"You brought us here?" Faramir asked.
"Why? Who are you?"
"My name is Q. I brought you here to give you all what you want. You each have the chance to ask for one thing that your heart desires. Just say, 'I wish,' and consider it done."
Jack Sparrow spoke up immediately. "I wish my ship was here, the Black Pearl."
"And I wish for a million treasure chests filled with gold," Silver chimed in.
Q shrugged and snapped his fingers. Instantly, a huge ship appeared in the middle of the field, with funny boxes scattered all around it. Both pirates immediately ran for it, Jack leading the way, with Silver close behind.
"Well, that takes care of them," Q grinned. "Anyone else?"
Marley groaned. "I wish I could be free of these chains. Can you do it?"
"Ah, that will require tampering with the laws of death, will it not?"
"I suppose so," Marley moaned. "Because I only cared for myself in life, I am doomed to wander through the world for an eternity. I wish I could do it all over, relive my life. But that isn't possible."
Q grinned. "My dear friend, of course it's possible." With that, he snapped his fingers. In a flash of light, the old ghost was gone, and in his place was a tiny screaming baby.
"What have you done?" Jekyll demanded.
"What he asked. He can now live his entire life over -- from the beginning."
"Are you insane?" Malcolm demanded. "Yes, maybe you are. Maybe you haven't thought about what you're doing. How's he going to grow up here? How are any of us going to live here? There's no food! And on top of that, what good is that ship going to do here? There's no water! And what can gold buy you in the middle of nowhere?"
Snape shrugged. "I think you've got it all wrong, Doctor Malcolm. He's not insane at all, and he knows exactly what he's doing. Those two rushed into their wishes, and they got what they wanted. Marley now has what he's wished for for seven years. And he doesn't have to worry about anything; he's just a baby. He's our problem now. And being here in the middle of nowhere isn't all that bad. At least I don't have to put up with Potter. Or Dumbledore. Or any of the others, for that matter."
Q got a twinkle in his eyes. "I could bring them here if you wanted."
"No!" Snape shouted. "No, don't! I wish I never had to see any of those idiots ever again!"
"Granted," Q grinned. He snapped his fingers, and Snape staggered back a pace unsteadily.
"Are you all right, Professor?" Dr. Jekyll asked.
"I . . . I can't see. What did you do, Q?"
"You said you never wanted to see any of those idiots ever again. Now you won't have to, and as a bonus, you never have to see any of these ones, either."
Snape actually smiled at the joke. "I did say that, didn't I?"
Just then, Jack and Silver came running back. "Q, there's no water here!" Jack shouted.
"Brilliant, Sherlock. What else have you discovered?" Q asked sarcastically.
"I can't get the gold out of here!" Silver complained. "The gold's no good if I can't do nothin' with it! I can't even bury it, because I've got nothin' to dig with!"
Snape smiled grimly. "It looks like the rest of you will have to choose your wishes more carefully."
"What happened to you?" Silver asked.
"And where'd the baby come from?" Jack added.
"The baby is Jacob Marley," Snape explained. "It seems I made a little mistake phrasing my wish; Q is rather literal."
"You're taking it better than the others," Dr. Jekyll noted.
"Well, I know when things are my fault."
Faramir blinked. "Pippin, is it just me, or did I appear right in the middle of something? What's going on here?"
Pippin grinned. "That's Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Silver, Ian Malcolm, Professor Snape, and Doctor Jekyll, and the baby's Jacob Marley."
"We should have introduced ourselves earlier," Dr. Jekyll apologized. "You are Faramir?"
"Pleased to meet you." The doctor held out his hand.
No sooner had Faramir taken it than Jekyll collapsed to his knees in pain. Faramir knelt by his side, but the others knew what was happening, and they started to back away.
"Malcolm," Jekyll gasped.
"There's nothing left," Malcolm shook his head, holding the empty bottle.
"What's going on?" Faramir asked in horror.
"He's changing," explained Snape, who had obviously picked up on that much. "There's only one person who can stop it now."
"Q!" Jekyll called, his voice hoarse from the pain and from the change. "Q, free me!"
"You didn't say . . ."
"Q, I wish for you to free me! I wish for you to kill Edward Hyde!"
"Done." Q snapped his fingers, and Doctor Jekyll, already half-transformed into Edward Hyde, fell to the ground, dead.
"Q!" Faramir shouted.
"It's what he wanted," Snape explained grimly. "You weren't here, so you wouldn't understand. Edward Hyde is a part of him, a part that a chemical formula brought out and made stronger. By asking Q to free him, to kill Hyde, Jekyll was asking Q to kill him."
"Only a part of him," Faramir insisted. "Surely if Q could bring Marley back to life as an infant, he could dispose of the evil side without destroying the good."
Q shook his head. "There are some rules of this universe that I don't ignore, Faramir of Gondor. There is good and evil in every one of you. Your friend Henry couldn't live with that. He wanted to play God."
"So now you're playing God instead?" Malcolm demanded. "Bringing one man back to life, killing another, blinding a third, and giving the other two useless treasures?"
"I simply gave them what they asked for."
Malcolm knelt beside Dr. Jekyll's body, tears welling in his eyes. "I wish for you to bring him back."
"Sorry, Ian, that conflicts with his wish. Edward Hyde will always be a part of him, a part that he wants dead. But I will do this for you." He snapped his fingers, and the body turned to that of a complete Dr. Jekyll. Hyde was gone.
Malcolm slowly closed the doctor's eyes, wiping the tears from his own. "Which of us doesn't want our evil side dead?" Malcolm demanded.
"If you want yours dead, I can kill you, too," Q offered. "Well, actually not, because you've already used your wish. I'll be going now, I suppose."
"Wait!" Faramir shouted before Q could snap his fingers. "I realize I came late, but, unless I'm mistaken, I'm entitled to a wish, as well."
Q grinned. "Very well. This should prove entertaining. What does a rejected son of the Steward wish for, I wonder? For his father's acceptance? To bring his brother back from the dead? For victory over Sauron?"
Faramir shook his head. "No, Q. Any acceptance that you would force my father to give me would never be real. He is who he is. Boromir died a soldier, the way he would have wanted. And I believe that victory over Sauron is something we shall achieve on our own."
"What, then, is your wish?"
"I wish that you had never brought any of us here."
Q considered this for a moment. "But their wishes . . ."
"Will never have been made. So mine does not contradict any of them. Do as you promised, Q."
Q grinned. "Very well." He snapped his fingers.
All of it was gone. The field. The sun. The sky. But they could still see Q. It was as if they were floating in oblivion, the three of them: Pippin, Faramir, and Q.
"What will happen to them?" Faramir asked.
"Oh, their lies will go on, because I will not have interfered. They will have no memory of this."
Faramir shook his head. "That's not what I meant. What will happen to them? Will Captain Silver ever get his treasure, and will Marley ever be free, and will Jekyll forever be Edward Hyde?"
"You care about these people?"
"People whom you barely met, and who will not remember you at all?"
"Yes," Faramir nodded. Pippin nodded his agreement.
"Very well. Our dear Henry Jekyll will live the rest of his life as two men -- himself and Edward Hyde. Jacob Marley will never be free of the burden that he bears. Ian Malcolm will continue to be one of the most interesting mathematicians I have ever seen, and Severus Snape will still be one of the best spies. Captain Sparrow has his ship and a fine crew, and Captain Silver will find adventures beyond his imagining. Does this satisfy your curiosity?"
Faramir smiled, somewhat sadly. "That's quite an assortment of fates, my friend. Is that why you chose us? Because we are so different?"
"I didn't choose you, Faramir," Q shrugged. "Pippin chose you. And he chose well."
Faramir smiled. "I think we're ready to go back."
Q grinned, and snapped his fingers.
Pippin looked around. He was surrounded in flames. He coughed, but managed to find Faramir. He rolled him off the pyre and began to stomp out the flames.
Denethor came up to try to stop him, but Gandalf was there in an instant, and knocked the Steward backwards into the flames. Pippin looked away in horror as Denethor was engulfed by the fire.
Pippin looked up at Gandalf as Faramir was carried out of the room. The wizard managed a smile. Faramir was safe.