Chapter 12: The Results Are In

A/N: From now on, I'm going to stop apologizing. I'm lazy, and we'll all have to get used to that. Here are two new chapters to compensate. Also, I've removed the vague summary because it wasn't vague enough.

"Alright," said Calvin, zipping up the bag of supplies. "I think that's everything we'll need to find the last couple pillars. You ready, Hobbes?"

"Yeah, I'm almost done packing the sandwiches," said the tiger, attempting to cram a thirty-eighth sandwich (tuna on rye) into a plastic bag labeled "Hobbes's". A second bag lay beside him on the bed, labeled "Calvin's"; it contained only two sandwiches; one was cheese and one honey-and-marshmallow. "What're you bringing?"

"Let's see," said Calvin, peering into the bag. "I have the transmogrifier gun, a miniature submarine that expands to full size in water, some comic books, a GPS, a portable TV, some pants, a toy truck, an old banana, some glop that Mom served last night in a bag, a tennis racket, a partially-deflated Calvinball, a photograph, some popcorn, a couple cans of alphabet soup, an alarm clock, half of a credit card, a magnet, some batteries, a brick, a tiki torch, something I found on the street, a jacket, some light bulbs, some plastic Eggs, another portable TV, a moon rock, a smoke detector, some old doodles, a doll I stole from Susie and tried to set on fire with my mind, more comic books, sunglasses, and a plastic yak." He looked up. "That's what's on the top of the bag," he added. "I was just kind of throwing things in willy nilly."

Hobbes blinked, realizing something. "Hey Calvin," he said in confusion. "Exactly how long did it take us to pack all this stuff?"

Calvin considered for a moment. "A couple of hours," he said. "Why?"

"I don't know," said Hobbes, shaking off that feeling. "It feels like we've been packing for, like, months."

Calvin blinked and turned to his friends. "You know, Hobbes, you say the strangest things sometimes," he said. He turned back to the bag. "Anyway, I think we're ready to go now."

"Wait!" said Hobbes. "You never even told me where the other pillars are! You just said 'We've got some work to do' and then immediately started packing! Shouldn't we be getting into the time machine?"

"Nope," said Calvin, hoisting the bag on his shoulder. "I've determined the location of the last two pillars, and we don't need the time machine for either of them. One of the pillars appeared about 100 years in the past, but it's in a... remote location and it's still there today, so there's no need for time travel. As for the other one, apparently it's going to materialize about five minutes in the future not far from here, so we can easily get to it in time."

"Gee, could you be any more mysterious?" muttered Hobbes, rolling his eyes.

"Look, do you want to find these pillars or not?" asked Calvin, hoisting the duffel bag.

"No," said Hobbes, but they both knew he was lying. Despite Hobbes' cowardly nature, he wanted to know what was going on with the pillars just as much as Calvin did. In any event, they had started the quest together, and they had to finish it together; anything else wouldn't have been right.

"Fine," he sighed. "Where next?"

Calvin's face was grim. "It's not good, Hobbes," said the six-year-old. "Our next mission may prove to be one of our greatest and most dangerous yet. Indeed, we might well not survive, but I am afraid we have no choice if we wish to retrieve the pillar."

"Where is it?" asked Hobbes fearfully. "The zoo? The sewers? Inside a live shark? Where?!"

"No, Hobbes," Calvin said. "Nothing like that. This is a different kind of danger. For this mission, we're going to have to brave the ultimate danger: we're going on a secret mission behind enemy lines."

Hobbes finally got it. "You can't mean..." he began.

"Yep," said Calvin somberly. "Hobbes, grab the water balloons: we're about to embark on a journey to the center of Susie's house!"