Billy doesn't really know what the hell just happened. What he does know is that things were actually going according to plan, right up until he fired his latest ray gun - but instead of doing anything to Captain Hammer, it dropped a couple of people who look like they should be at a French Renaissance fair or something into the fray.
He's only saying French because that's what the other guy is shouting in, as best as Billy can tell. All he knows for sure is that Captain Hammer's best retort is that the other guy should start speaking English or shut up. The other guy's responses have a similar cadence, which has Billy a little glad they've got a language barrier keeping them from doing any bonding.
The girl just watches Captain Hammer and the other guy for a few minutes, then shakes her head and says something.
The girl smiles, and tries again; it's slow, but it's English. "I... think they would like each other, if they could understand each other. Perhaps it is better this way, no?"
"Definitely. Definitely better. It's bad enough when I have one manly idiot beating me up - I don't need two."
"What is that--" She finishes the question with a French word that Billy doesn't recognise, but she's eyeing the ray gun in a way that makes it clear what she's asking about.
"That's a very good question, from the looks of things. It wasn't supposed to bring people here, I can tell you that much."
"You sound like my father."
"Oh?" That, and the fact that she dismissed the other guy for being similar to Captain Hammer, is giving Billy some hope that this isn't a complete disaster.
"He builds things. Often they do not work as he thought they would, when he started."
Billy grins. "I know that feeling. Anyway, I'll get this figured out as quickly as I can. I'm inclined to say your... friend's on his own--"
"No friend of mine, I assure you."
"Good to know. Anyway, if you need somewhere to stay until I get this figured out, I have some space."
"I would not want to impose," the girl says. "But neither would I want to be alone here. I..." She casts a glance at the skyline, and says something else in French. "It would not end so well, I think."
"Probably not." Billy's worried about leaving the other guy alone, in his way, but if he's that much like Captain Hammer, it probably won't be too much of a loss to the world. Anyway, if he doesn't know enough English to at least say 'slow down,' Billy's not going to wait long enough to find out what he's like.
He almost gets distracted trying to make a Translator Ray, but the girl - Belle, her name is - stops him.
"I will find a book," she says. "If the problem fascinates you so much, worry about it later. Now, you have people who are not home."
"...You have a point." He still jots down the notes in his head about the translation problem - otherwise, they'll be lost to the ages, and it is a pretty cool idea - but then he puts it aside, and tries to work on the problem at hand.
It would be a lot easier if he knew why it had done that in the first place. It was just supposed to put up something similar to a force field, not randomly pull in people from another dimension and/or the past.
Of course, maybe it's not so random, given Belle's observation that the guy who showed up with her and Captain Hammer would probably get on like a house on fire, if not for the language barrier. And the fact that she's familiar with something like mad science. But the fact remains that it's not at all what he set out to do, so he's got to figure out how to get them home, now that they're here.
Something's gone weird in the reaction chamber, he finally concludes. But he can't figure out what until his supply line opens up again, and it's always best to wait a week or so after going up against Captain Hammer before he tries a heist.
He can work with that, and he thinks Belle can too. He just hopes her... not a friend doesn't get himself killed or arrested in the meantime.
Belle likes the idea of staying in Los Angeles for a while, though she's torn on the thought of more sight-seeing than she got the first day.
"It is... much to take in," she says, and looks dissatisfied with her word choice. "Perhaps after a few days, if you have not fixed your machine."
"All right. I can work with that." Billy pokes at the reaction chamber; it needs a good wipe-down, but there are bits of charred Fantabulum stuck to it, so he's got to scrape that out first. "Let me know, all right?"
He can say this much for Belle, she's a fast learner; with a few days' constant reading, her English improves dramatically. He's shocked as all hell when she actually offers to help him with a project (the Trans-Matter Ray, by that point, since he's done all he can on the Force Field Ray), but he sees no reason to say no. After all, if her father invents stuff, she probably knows to ask questions before she goes poking at things.
With her help, he gets the Trans-Matter Ray up to a hundred percent. It makes up for the frustration of having to wait on the other problem.
Billy does take Belle around town a little bit, the day before he plans to go on the heist. She's more than a little overwhelmed, so they don't do a whole lot, but she still says she enjoyed it.
"Are you sure? You looked a little... full."
She smiles. "Well, yes, of course. It is much changed from what I know. But... it is an adventure, yes? I like adventures."
"Well. All right then."
"And do not think you are going alone tomorrow."
Billy frowns. "It's... probably not going to be very safe."
"I will be careful. And perhaps you will need the help."
He can't really argue with that logic too much, so he doesn't. Her insistence proves handy, too, since - as usual - Captain Hammer shows up just when Billy thinks he's going to make it home unharassed.
But before Billy can do so much as curse about it, Belle smiles. "I will handle him," she says, and steps out of their cover before Billy can stop her.
It works like a charm, though; Captain Hammer's too busy trying to flirt with Belle to notice Billy grabbing what he came for (which is fine with him, since it means he doesn't get beaten up). After he's got the case, he just stands back and watches as Captain Hammer hits on Belle and she smiles and nods.
Before long, Captain Hammer puts an arm around her - it's all Billy can do not to blow his cover - and says, "So, you want to come over tonight?"
Belle smiles, and says something fairly long-winded in French as she ducks out from under Captain Hammer's arm. "So you see, I think I will not. Good day."
Captain Hammer stalks off, muttering something about all these French people who've been around lately; once he's safely gone, Billy steps forward. "Do I want to know what you told him?"
"I told him I am sorry, but I prefer those who have testicles to those who feel they must act like they have them." Belle smiles. "I have wanted to say the same to Gaston for years, but he would understand the words, and perhaps remove his clothes to prove me wrong."
Billy almost hurts himself, trying not to laugh.
After a couple of days, Billy thinks he's got the Force Field Ray - or whatever the hell it actually is, at this point - good enough to send people back to where they should be. Now all he has to do is find Belle's... definitely not a friend, if she wants to tell him to grow a pair.
Fortunately, Belle's discovery of the television makes that a little easier. Billy tends to avoid the news as a rule, since they have a bad habit of talking about Captain Hammer nonstop, but Belle's curiosity knows no such bounds - and she happens across some breaking news about Captain Hammer having a pissing contest with some idiot dressed like he should be in a French Renaissance fair.
They don't phrase it like that, of course. They like Captain Hammer too much. But it's the answer they need.
"We'll have to be careful," he says. "If I show up on camera, they're going to think I'm behind this somehow. But we know where he is, and if he's having a scrap with Captain Hammer, he'll be there for a while."
"You are not going to try to stop me from going along, this time?"
"Of course not." He doesn't say that this might be her ticket home; at this point, he's not sure he wants her to go. But he won't keep her from the adventure either way. She wouldn't appreciate that.
It's about a fifteen-minute walk from Billy's apartment to the park where the pissing contest is taking place. He takes advantage of the crowd that's gathered to watch to set up shop and take his aim. It's a little complicated, since Captain Hammer and the other guy keep moving around, but he does finally get a clear shot, and he takes it.
The other guy disappears, and Billy makes a break for the back of the crowd before Captain Hammer can figure out what happened. Sure, it means Billy won't get the credit he's due, but that's beside the point. If it saves getting beaten up, he'll take it.
Belle's waiting for him at the edge of the crowd. "Did it work?"
"I think so. He's not here anymore, in any case."
"Good. We should perhaps go, before people find us to ask questions."
He realises, when they're halfway back to his apartment, that he probably should have zapped Captain Hammer too, while he was at it. But he's not looking for that kind of attention today, and anyway, there's no guarantee it would even send him anywhere. Not when the point is putting people who belong in France back in France.
They get through dinner without the topic of the ray gun coming up; Belle doesn't mention it, and Billy doesn't want to have to ask. So it's selfish, but he's gotten used to her company. Not to mention, it's nice having someone around who can help with his projects, and won't ruin the equipment just by standing there.
Moist is a good friend and henchman, really, but there are some things he's just not cut out to do.
Anyway, they get through dinner, and then Billy's trying to write out schematics for his next big idea when Belle turns off the TV and says, "Do I have to leave?"
"I... don't know. Did you want to stay?"
"Well. If there is some way to let my father know what is going on, I would like that. But this is a far more interesting place, and... I would miss you."
Billy blinks. "You would?"
"Oh. Um. I'd... miss you too. If you left."
Belle smiles. "Then perhaps I should not leave, yes?"
"Perhaps. I mean, I'll work on something so you can tell your father, but - for now, I'm not sure if this is a one-way trip or not, and that would kind of defeat the purpose."
"It would, a bit. We can work on it."
Billy grins. "We can. And I know some people who can set you up with legal identification, so that part won't be a problem."
He has no idea exactly where this is going, but... well, he's definitely looking forward to finding out.