The Avalonian science laboratory was absolutely packed with equipment and other implements of science. Scattered around were the scraps of previous experiments, ones that the owner Avalon Centrifuge insisted were not failures, but as he put it, "In progress."
The Alliance had gathered within the largest test chamber in the entire world, having been built after the Negativitron's destructive rampage several months ago. Larry Da Vinci, Victoria von Bathysphere, Clive Handforth and Eve Silva Paragorica were all in attendance along with the world's Creator Curator himself.
Alongside them all also was another member of the Alliance, the Sackperson known as Ivan, the Hero of the Alliance and the Saviour of Craftworld. Having first defeated the nefarious Collector he surprised everyone who knew him. In nearly every way possible he was nothing like a typical hero.
Ivan wasn't particularly strong, nor was he particularly brave. Funnily enough he had lived in the Wilderness not far from where the Collector had set up shop and even though he was a soldier, he'd earned the nickname Chicken Sack. He hadn't minded too much though. His cheery attitude often made him oblivious to the dislike his fellow soldiers harboured, who were more aggressive in nature than he.
His body was of a white knit material, covered by a grey winter overcoat. Pinned onto it was a small white flower, a token of love he had received from his girlfriend back home and one he treasured the most. Atop his head was a unique black coloured ushanka and on his feet were black winter boots. Altogether, he looked like any other soldier. Yet he had been chosen by the King and Queen of the Gardens to set forth on an important task, one his girlfriend Julie had insisted he not go alone on. Together they helped out all kinds of different people throughout his homeworld and eventually defeated one of the greatest threats the pair had ever faced.
Ivan's black eyes blinked as he sat listening to Avalon giving one of his ego-boosting speeches, his own ego of course. Ivan hadn't exactly wanted to be there, nor be the poor fool testing out the "latest, greatest invention", but no one else was available (or were just conveniently away today, proof Sackbots were smarter than they let on). His fingers idly fiddled with the petals of the flower he always wore on his right torso and felt a pang of guilt. Ivan hadn't told his girlfriend about the experiment, he didn't want to worry her. Whilst he was timid and gentle, she was upfront and determined, and knew she'd kick up a great fuss about it, or kick Avalon's backside.
Currently he was situated next to his old nemesis The Collector (now dressed in a small labcoat), who looked equally ready to fall asleep. The small Creator's eyelids drooped, occassionally snapping open only to slowly repeat again. They swivelled to the sight of Ivan flicking specks of dust off his coat.
"Was I ever this bad?" he asked Ivan groggily. He and Ivan had become good friends after his defeat in the Wilderness, unlike Julie who wasn't quite ready to forgive him. He'd help build their new home though, and after making a kind gesture he soon became her friend too. Though not officially a part of the Alliance, his creation skills were well respected.
"Not really." answered Ivan honestly. "You never made any speeches as such, you just got on with it." The Collector quietly chuckled as Avalon rambled onwards.
"...and thus, thanks to my scientific genius we are ready to begin our very first test run of the Interplanetry Teleportation Machine!"
"Ah-hem, I do believe we all played a specific part in all this," complained Da Vinci as he stroked his beard. "Were it not for my gift at mathematics and my Sugar Cake...erm I mean Victoria's mechanical expertise we wouldn't have reached this stage."
The apple headed Eve spoke up next, "Not to mention the work Clive and myself put into this." to which Clive just nodded absent-mindedly, his thoughts occupied on some other subject.
Ivan shook his head and smiled. "Seeing as I'm the test subject for this, I think I'm on the list as well."
Avalon was unfazed. "Well I'll admit you've all contributed, but I could have easily managed this task alone."
Da Vinci opened his mouth to retort but Ivan waved his hand. "Larry, we'll be here all day."
"Yes, the sooner this test is over with, the sooner I can attend to my patients." agreed the nurse. "Shall we begin?"
At the moment, Craftworld mainly relied on slow methods of travel between worlds, either via spacecraft or pods, a sort of personal spaceship for Sackpeople mostly. Travel from one planet to another often took a few days and although usually safe, accidents were not unheard of. On the planet's themselves though things were different. Unlike space, each world still required some transportation, however they used a unique checkpoint system, or as some called them, mini teleports. Able to teleport anyone from one place to another they were technological marvels, but sadly limited in where they could go. The Alliance had been steadily building the very first intergalactic teleporter, which if successful would mean instant travel to other worlds.
Everyone began taking their respective positions, either monitoring the teleport's equipment or operating the machine itself. Ivan made his way to the small glass booth built into the middle of it. Before stepping in a hand held him back. It was Larry, holding a device Ivan had never seen before.
"Ivan, whilst we have the upmost confidence in both our own calculations and Avalon's technical wizardry, we agree it would be best to keep this handy with you incase you land on an infected world." He was of course referring to the minions of the Negativitron dubbed the Meanies, who still existed on some worlds in enclaves. Ivan gingerly accepted the device, which almost resembled a Paintinator minus the large paint canister on top, and was considerably slimmer and less bulky.
"Looks similar," he said outloud, accepting a couple of packets containing tiny darts.
"It's not quite the same as the Mark II Paint Expulsion device, but it works on similar principles." explained the old scientist. "YOu see, rather than splattering an opponent with paint, the Dart Pistol fires a small yet accurately deadly dart which will enable you to quickly dispatch an enemy. In other words, it shoots electric darts capable of overwelming an enemy. It should make short work of any Meanies...should you in the unlikely event come across them."
Ivan tucked it within his coat and stepped inside the booth, which hissed shut behind him. For once, he wasn't afraid or nervous. In fact he felt quite excited in spite of his earlier reluctance. The small speaker inside crackled as the booming voice of Avalon filled it.
"Right Ivan, are you ready?"
Ivan could faintly overhear the Collector and his former prisoner the scientist discussing in scientific jargon he couldn't hope to understand. They too had fast become friends, given they had a lot in common.
The scientist was waiting in a facility on his home planet in the Wilderness along with Dr Higginbotham, who after Ivan teleported would check his health and the condition and results of the teleporter itself.
I hope I get back before Julie notices I'm gone, he thought. Outloud he told Avalon he was ready and gave a thumbs up to confirm.
"Excellent. Begin sequence."
A large screen with bright red numbers began in a countdown, from the number 20. Everyone was literally on the edge of their seats, waiting in apprehension to see how successful the test would be.
But then, as the numbers flickered to 5 alarms suddenly started blaring. Lights and monitors flashed erratically before them, all displaying warning messages. Meanwhile a bright, white glow had started to engulf Ivan, who was desperately trying to open the doors.
"I changed my mind! I want out!" he cried to no avail.
And with a whip-like crack and an intense flash of light he was gone. He flew, or at least he thought he was flying through a black void, with all kinds of strange sights and sounds flashing by him so quickly he couldn't take it all in. It felt as if it was slowly squashing him and he rather hoped the stretch noise wasn't his own stitches.
Julie's not going to be happy.
Just as he felt ready to burst it stopped. Everything suddenly when dark and quiet as he continued to float downwards, or upwards, he couldn't tell. Then without warning the ground popped up in front of him, telling him he was indeed falling. His body smacked against the hard concrete with a resounding THWACK!
"Owww", his voice muffled. He then frowned. He was damp and cold. Ivan slowly picked himself up and looked around in confusion. He could see the path he had landed on was huge, though not nearly as wide and long as the river he laid eyes apon. Above him was a dark and ridiculously high ceiling, which had stalacties and vegetation growing off it. Along the wall next to him were large pipes, and spaced alongside the path were openings that no doubt led to other places. There was also a smell of drainage water, it seemed logical then he had ended up in the sewers of some planet's city.
He quickly remembered the advice the Collector had given him not long before the test. "Ivan, if you end up somewhere unfamiliar, check your Popit device and bring up the map." Simple advice, but no less important.
Ivan pulled back his left sleeve, revealing a watch-like device. The Popit, or Personal OPerating Interface Terminal by it's official designation allowed users to interact with the environment (usually in limited ways of course) and communicate. It also came with a complete map of Craftworld, with only a few planets unmapped.
With a tap of a finger he tried to bring up the map, yet was astonished to see nothing happen at all. He pressed it again, then again. He even checked it's power supply for any damage or other problems with it, yet found nothing at all. It simply refused to work.
"What is going on..." he thought slightly panicked. His thoughts were interrupted by a low-rumbling growl, and mustering all his courage he slowly pivoted around to face the source. His entire body began to shake at the sight of it. It was a large, grey, furry creature with sharp looking teeth and a long tail. It looked like a rat, albeit a far more vicious looking one than any he'd ever seen. Ivan then remembered the dart gun Da Vinci had given to him.
"Stay back!" he cried, pulling out the gun and firing one shot at it's head. His eyes widened in shock, noticing the creature didn't seem to take any damage at all. It hissed angrily, removing the offending object with it's forepaws. It then began to charge towards him fiercely, and with a terrified scream Ivan ran as fast as he could in the other direction. Once or twice it had nearly caught him, the image of it's yellow eyes filled with a feral rage burned into his mind. Finally though he managed to elude his pursuer by crawling into a smaller pipe just above him and staying still and quiet, and after deciding it had indeed lost it's prey the rat scurried off into the distance.
Ivan just sat in silence, trying to grasp what had just happened. It was obvious he wasn't on any normal planet, but his exhaustion overruled his curious mind. He checked the pipe to see how far it went, but found after just a few steps a thick patch of wire mesh preventing going any further. He walked back and sat down against the pipe wall. Removing his hat he propped his head with it, and with one final thought about his Julie he closed his eyes, falling asleep within moments.
Meanwhile back at Avalonia, the Alliance (including a rather reluctant Avalon) were all loudly asking the Collector what had happened. After several minutes of trying to explain the tiny scientist took control.
"SILENCE!" he yelled, quickly adding a small cough he began to explain. "Judging from these results, which are very strange indeed, I have reached only one possible conclusion. Ivan is no longer within our world, no longer within our planet system. In fact, he's no longer in Craftworld at all."
"What!" cried Clive. "What do you mean no longer in Craftworld? You're not saying he's de-"
"No no no no no, of course not," he reassured, then frowned. "I theorise he's in a completely different universe, one we could never hope to imagine."
"What are we waiting for then!" rallied Eve in her strong Spanish accent, "Let's get after him!"
"No no no, you don't understand!" said the Collector. "If he's not in our universe, it could very well mean he's stuck there."
Clive's eyes suddenly widened, then he looked above at a spot behind the Collector. "Err, Collector..."
"Should we try to follow him, which is impossible at the moment might I add without further researching the teleport's results, we could end up trapped there as well."
Eve and the others had looked up too, "Mr Collector..." she said quietly.
"In fact, as much as I hate to say this about my dear friend, I take back my earlier comment. Ivan could very well be-" he trailed off as he noticed them all looking up at something behind him. He slowly turned around and his face dropped. "Oh..." he uttered feebly.
Julie was standing on the balcony above, and had heard everything.
I've always wanted to make a LBP story (even if this is a short one) but never really had an idea of what the story could be. Having played an interesting level set in the sewers I came up with the idea of my Sackboy Ivan ending up in our world. This is a short story, one I may or may not continue. Please rate and review, it would be nice to see what you think.