There was a satisfying clink as the Laird set the tea tray down upon the table in the E/N Room. The fire crackled over in the corner of the round room, throwing its warmth and light around the sphere. Sitting down, the Laird opened the steam powered world machine that George had given him. The semi-translucent man was over beside the fire singing away to himself.
“Bell, book and Candle. Candle, book, Bell”
That was the thing about Everywhere and Nowhere rooms. Easy to set up when you knew how, they catered for the individual user experience and when the radio was turned on, you would only hear music that you liked. The Laird was listening to Kate Bush while George was evidently listening to some mid 80’s Thrash Metal band. At least that was what the Laird thought, the lyrics had awoken a memory from deep within him. A memory made of flexible vinyl discs and white dwarves, edged with long, permed hair.
It was a comforting memory at least.
The machine hissed and sighed on his lap, displaying a very detailed version of the map of the multiverse that he had collected. You had to hand it to the technology of the Agency with no name, it did what it was supposed to do and did it well. It just was not always as user friendly as it could be. Almost as if while being designed, someone decided to knock off five minutes early. A minor annoyance but an annoyance none the less.
The pink plastic key slid snugly into the allocated slot that had formed for it and the world machine hummed slightly louder as it assimalated the information from it. George was laying out travelling supplies for them both. He was the guide and he knew his place. It was a shame that he had fallen victim to the curse of the knowledge just beyond the mirror but it was not as if he had not been warned enough times. Ths song had changed as George sang about being fed up of the whole town. Music was essential for his work though, the vibrations it produced appearing as physical objects that he was able to manipulate to form the items they would both need for the job in hand.
The Laird poured the tea into the china cup and sipped while he read the screen of the world machine. It was struggling slightly to keep up with his reading speed but otherwise was coping quite well. The instructions were as vague as Ted Rogers could have made them but a lifetime of working for the AONN had allowed the laird to be able to translate almost instantly.
So that was what was needed? Unusual and certainly not anything he could have come up with on his own. The world machine whirred as the screen cleared itself and then displayed just one word.
It was not what he had hoped for.