All safe places
"Of all safer places to be, I don't think this is one."
~Winnie the Pooh
It was one of those days, you know, those that never really happen and therefore can be labelled AU at will. The Star Destroyer Poohnisher orbited a small green-and-blue planet, as yet unaware of it's sudden change in spelling. From now own, the day was also a crossover, and the readers ran for cover. (Thanks for reading up 'til here, anyway.).
Aboard the Poohnisher Darth Vader was pacing. For better effect, he was pacing right on the bridge, where his angry behaviour incited more fear and nervousness. And there was reason to be nervous. The contact to the Emperor had been broken, in the middle of one of his more endearing rants, and all efforts to contact either him or Coruscant in general, even the Empire in general had failed. Right now the crew was systematically calling everybody in the intergalactic comm-files. That took time and until now nobody could be reached, but it gave the crew something to do besides dropping out of their chairs for fear when the Dark Lord paced by.
It seemed as if the whole galaxy had suddenly vanished and left nothing but the planet they orbited and a lot of rubble flowing preordained courses through space. Under normal circumstances, Vader would have released his frustration by choking a subordinate, but considering that getting replacement might be difficult if they were indeed on their own, he decided not to. Which only served to frustrate him more.
"Lord Vader," Captain Piett approached his superior with as much caution as military etiquette and crispness allowed. "We finally have made contact."
"A bounty hunter. He has just emerged from behind the planet.
"A bounty hunter," Vader rasped. "Nothing else?"
Piett swallowed hard. "No sir, all other attempt to communicate have failed. We suspect that the only reason we could contact him is because he is where we are. Wherever that is."
Vader nodded curtly. "I'll talk to him. Keep trying to communicate."
In his private room next to the bridge, Vader settled down to talk some sense, or preferably fear into the bounty hunter. Or just vent some, it did not really matter.
"Bounty hunter, respond," he ordered into the comm. It was not as satisfactory as force-choking, but if the scum bag proved expendable, that was at least a welcome option.
The screen blinked to life, revealing a completely armoured Mandalorian. At least as far as the image reached. The rest is up to fangirls' imaginations. Though Vader believed he recognized it, but the person under the armour was too bulky to be Boba Fett. Which lifted the Mandalorian in question one step up on the expendable scale.
"I am Jango Fett," came the filtered voice, doubly mechanical with the transmission's statics, cursing the already rather overloaded story with the 'timetravel' label. "And you are?"
That was a real jump towards expendable. Vader seethed and was beginning to really look forward to terminating the conversation. First, though, he'd have to teach that bounty hunter a lesson or two.
"I am Darth Vader."
Jango Fett did not seem impressed at all. The reaction should at least have been recognition, Vader decided and added another lift towards expenditure.
"You are in charge of that ship?" Fett wanted to know.
One more of those, Vader decided, and I will finally get to choke somebody.
"It is a Star Destroyer," he informed the ignorant bounty hunter, "and I am in charge of the whole fleet of the Empire." If he could, he would have huffed now. Eat that, scum.
"Empire?" Fett's voice was doubtful. "What happened to the Republic and how did you get Chancellor Palpatine's job?"
"Where have you been buried the last twenty years?" Vader wanted to know. "The Old Republic fell ages ago and -" Suddenly the name struck home. "You're dead," the Dark Lord proclaimed.
There came a thoughtful silence from the other end of the connection. "I do not feel dead. Besides, if I am dwelling in the thereafter, where would that put you?"
Vader had to admit that he did not like the implications. "Mace Windu cut off you head, I was there."
"I. Am. Not. Dead."
Not. Yet, Vader decided. A message appeared on another screen informing him, that dwellings, however rudimentary, had been located on the planet. "I will meet you below, coordinates are being transmitted."
He broke the connection without waiting for an answer, a Dark Lord simply was not disobeyed. The he returned to the bridge where Piett already stood to attention waiting for the next move. Vader levelled a gloved finger at him.
"Bring my shuttle! No wait, it won't fit onto the bridge. Alert it to my arrival then."
"But, sir," Piett replied. "Would it not be safer to send a reconnaissance patrol first?"
"No, I must go myself. I have felt it in the force."
Piett swallowed. When Vader was hearing voices again, there was little one could do; especially, if one wanted to survive. "Yes, sir, immediately, sir!" He saluted crisply and made a mental note to ask the medics to raise Lord Vader's medication. Again.
They met on a clearing in the forest.
Sounds romantic, but if you took into consideration two still ships smelling of hot metal and charred plastic, as well as two completely armed and armoured men - well, forget romantic. Vader and Fett approached each other warily. Their only greeting was a curt inclination of the helmets, acknowledging the presence of the other.
"The dwellings are located half a mile south of here," Vader announced.
"Neither advanced technology nor life-signs can be traced, though," Fett replied. It was clear that neither wanted to give the other an advantage. If there was to be a leader of this expedition, both would be it. But we know how guys can be so that doesn't come as a surprise.
They had almost reached their destinations, when they came upon a small and very pink creature that was collecting acorns. When it saw the to towering figures approach, it dropped its goods with a squeak and ran. Not very far though, as Vader reached out with the force and brought it up into his grip.
"What. Is. That?" Vader held Piglet up to Jango's visor at the scruff of his neck.
The small animal scrambled around in the air wildly. Finally, in his scared effort to get away from the intimidating black shadow, he managed to wrap his arms around Jango's helmet and hold on tight. Covering the eyes with his ears, he hung there, a quivering pink mass of hyperventilating panic.
"My sensors analysis makes it to be 60% cotton, 30% polyester and 10% elastane, and identifies it as," there was a pause, "a stuffed animal."
"Hello, Piglet," a voice came from the height of Fett's knee. "What are you doing up there?"
Piglet lifted one ear from an eye and glanced down. "Oh, H-hello, Pooh."
Before he could explain anything, though, Jango pried him off the helmet. Dangling several feet over the ground again, Piglet immediately put the ear over his eye and resumed quivering, while Fett scanned the newcomer.
"Another," he stated.
Vader turned his mask to face the cuddly yellow bear with a red shirt. After measuring it for a moment he levelled his finger at it. "I find your lack of pants disturbing."
Pooh cocked his head to the side and scratched himself behind an ear, considering the remark. Of course, that took some time.
"Why?" he finally replied.
Unused to such a stupid degree of insubordination, Vader finally let his anger free and force choked the yellow bear. Not that it showed much of an effect. Pooh scratched his neck absent-mindedly, still regarding the cowering Piglet. It's pretty hard to suffocate a stuffed animal. Finally, the Dark Lord left off, feeling a little better, even though the object of his endeavours was not squirming in pain at his feet. If he wanted squirming, he only had to look at Piglet anyway.
"The sensors still detect no sign of life," the bounty hunter stated, poking the pink animal.
"Piglet, I don't think your new friends are very nice," Pooh spoke up again. "where did you find them?"
"I-I-I was just gathering haycorns," Piglet replied, frantically scrambling to escape a sampling apparatus, with which Fett tried to poke some holes into his hide. "When they came out of the woods. You, you don't think they might be Heffalumps, or, or Woozles?"
"Too much casing for those," Pooh mused. "Maybe they're a new kind of tortoise?"
"In that case they are certainly doing a good job of taking revenge for the invention of tortoise soup," Piglet said. Then he went limp. "I wish Christopher Robin was here."
"Fett, leave the pink thing. You can take samples later," Vader ordered. "First we need to find a way back. Is that Christopher Robin your leader?" He asked Pooh.
"He is the oldest and most wisest in all the Hundred Acre Wood," Pooh confirmed. "Except for Owl, maybe."
"Good, take us to him. He has some things to explain."
Since teddy bears in general tend to have very short legs, and Vader's temper is know to be even shorter, it did not take long for the Dark Lord of the Sith to be completely annoyed by Pooh's slow progress. He bent down and grabbed the yellow bear, tucking it under his arms. Pohh will of course complain, but first he'll need some time to realize what happened.
Jango had already stuffed the unresisting Piglet into a chest pocket, obviously considering him as his property. Maybe he was even considering to give it to his son to play with, which is, in general a good idea. I don't think either of them had enough fluff in his life. And thus, while the birds sang and the butterflies fluttered, two men in menacing body armour marched through the forest, each with a plushie about him. Savour the view, it's one in a lifetime.
After a short walk (using long legs) the group arrived at Owl's house. Nestled into the top of a tree, it was difficult to reach for the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood who could not fly. Vader and Jango simply took up positions at either side of it, and peered into the windows. They leaned forward perfectly synchronously, and, as if pushed by the approaching forces, Owl came fluttering out of the front door as the helmets all but touched the windows.
Jango's head snapped around, as he set his sensors to work on the latest discovery. "Still no signs of life," he stated. Then he turned his attention back to analysing the tree house
"Piglet!" Owl exclaimed, when her realized whose arms and head were sticking out of the strangers chest pocket. "How did you get into this strange predicament?"
"Hello, Owl," Pooh called from under Vader's arm, before Piglet could try to explain. "I am glad we found you at home."
Vader raised the yellow bear to his face. "I thought you said we were going to Christopher Robin, he rasped menacingly.
"Hmmm, sure," Pooh hummed, not the least impressed. "But, don't you know he is at school?"
"When will he be back?" The Dark Lord demanded to know.
"I-if he's smart," Piglet stuttered, "not be-before you're gone-e."
"Of course, he will be back," Owl began. "Though the exact time of his return is difficult to determine because of the wilful nature of time." He clasped his wing on his back and paced on his porch. "As you most certainly know," he lectured on, "the four dimensions we experience on a day to day basis are not the only dimensions, not by a long way. So if we assume now, that while it is now here, it might very well be then there. Or in other words…"
Vader and Fett would have exchanged meaningful (or exasperated) glances now, but since they wore helmets, that is up to discussion. They were facing each other, though, while Owl ranted on happily, with Pooh and Piglet as a grateful audience.
".. so you can not fail but to realize that even if he should be back in a moment, we might not realize it until Last Tuesday." Owl stopped and looked at the newcomers. "Of course, your presence here only complicates things. There has to be a severe disturbance in the time-space continuinuinuum to allow you here.. Rifts, wormholes, it might even have been caused by-"
"Shut up!" Vader ordered. "This nonsense is getting us nowhere. In one sentence, what happened?"
"Well," Owl took his time for looking really thoughtful, if not even wise. "The trousers of time have gotten all knotted up with the shirts of space and everything is kinda gone fluffy during tumble drying."
"Stringtheory has not brought us to where we are today," Vader objected, levelling his gloved index finger at the pert bird.
"Strings," Pooh mused, "that have gotten all knotted up. Can't we just un-knot them?"
"That's a good idea," Piglet chimed in, ready to try anything to get the scary visitors away. "I have some string at home, we could use that."
"Wonderful!" Owl exclaimed. "I will draw you a map. This will be another great adventure!"
Remembering the last time, Owl had sent them on a grand adventure, Piglet put his ears over his eyes and tried to hide completely in Jango's chest pocket. "Wh-wh-whatever. Oh dear."
"This calls for a grand plan in many steps," Owl announced. "First you must locate the exact place of the anomaly, then you will have to find a way to undo it and get yourself sorted into the right fictioverse at the same time. And let's not forget the hordes of Heffalumps, Woozles and other monsters on the way."
"Wormholes should be in the ground," Pooh argued. "We should ask Gopher for help. Maybe he has seen one lately."
"Do we have to put up with this nonsense?" Jango wanted to know.
"I am afraid so," Vader replied. "Nothing in this place is making sense, but if we want to return, we must follow the rules here."
"The Force telling you that?" Jango asked suspiciously.
"I am strong in the Force, and no amount of fluffy silliness can change that, "the Dark Lord huffed. "And if you have a better idea than to listen to the Force, you better speak up now." His hand moved closer to the lightsaber fastened at his belt.
"No, no plan," Jango shrugged. "But if you should feel like having some Thorzine, just tell me, right?"
Owl had meanwhile used the time to get a pen and pencil. With great enthusiasm, he drew a complicated apparatus and accompanied it with formulas that made as much sense as e=mc². Only that he used a lot more letters, powers, radical signs and even more radical signs.
"Give this to Gopher," he said, thrusting the paper at Vader. "He will know just what to do."
Automatically, Vader took the paper.
"I would so like to join you on your big quest," Owl said, already withdrawing into his house. "But I have some research to do." He banged his door shut.
"Can we stop at Rabbit's on the way to Gopher?" Pooh asked. "I'm feeling just a tiny little bit hungry, and he is always so accommodating."
Guided by the force, and an overdose of Thorzine, Vader managed to avoid rabbit's house. Which was all for the better. Really, who'd want to spend the rest of this update watching Pooh eat? Of course, Pooh was not as happy about it and he had still not given up hope.
He hummed happily, until Vader held him up to his face mask and poked his black-gloved finger into his nose.
"If you don't stop that this minute, I will-"
That's one of the things when you are not looking where you walk. But we can look, and there is one thing lying on the floor, that is most likely already missed by a grey inhabitant of the Hundred Acer Wood. It lay with the pointy bit up. Of course, boots that look as hardy as Vader's should not care, but for the sake of humour….
Vader suddenly dropped Pooh and pulled up his right foot, clutching his leg tightly. While the Dark Lord of the Sith desperately tried to keep his balance on the other foot, Jango peered at the strip of cloth that dangled under the boot. One end was a black tuft of hair that was tied together with a pink ribbon. The other end was stuck neatly into Vader's foot with a nail.
"Primitive but effective," the bounty hunter commented and plucked the nail out of the Sith Lord's boot. "It does not seem to be an intended assault at your life, though," he added scrutinizing the item.
"Intended or not," Vader growled, as well as he could with that vocalizer of his. "Any attempt on my person will be poohnished and -"
The dark figure stopped itself. "Did I just say that? Poohnished?"
Jango nodded. "This country is obviously affecting you, maybe us. I suggest we get out as soon as possible."
"I-I-I agree," Piglet stuttered, amazed that he should agree with this fearful figure.
"Does poonish mean you have to stand on one leg?" Pooh wanted to know, looking up at the still raised foot. "If that is so, I know a very poohnishy game. I like it, even though you have to jump around on one leg and pick up the stone and that is hard work." He put a paw at his mouth. "We cannot draw the fields on the grass, though, so I am afraid we cannot play it here."
Lost in thought, Pooh did not notice the icy atmosphere suddenly descending right with Vader's foot. The dark Lord had tried to follow the bear's thoughts and was not quite sure where that led him. Which is no surprise, following Pooh's train of thought is something you do at your own risk, crashes inclusive. But let's consider the image of a hopscotch playing Vader for a moment.
Jango was meanwhile busy, pinning Eeyore's tail to his right shoulder plate. The pink ribbon did stand out a little, but the rest harmonised well with his armour's colour scheme.
"It, it, it is nice of you, to keep the tail for Eeyore," Piglet ventured. "he will be ha-ha-happy to have it back."
Fett looked from the pink ribbon to the pink piglet on his chest plate. Probably wondering whether adding even more pink things might turn him into a girly guy. With regards to the audience he should refrain, because pink does rather grain on your visual nerves.
"The way to Gopher?" he asked, ignoring Piglet's disguised question.
Sagging, Piglet pointed his small paw.
Pooh had been tucked under the arm of a disgruntled Vader again. The Sith Lord was thinking hard to think of another for foe poohnishing, but somehow poohsecute did not sound any better. It was a sad place, indeed, when a Sith Lord could not attend to his own pleasure without being endangered of poohification.
"To return to the idea of having a break at Rabbit's…" Pooh tried again.
This time he was not interrupted by Vader, but an orange and brown lightning ball that shot against Vader's chest plate. Instead of toppling over, as usual victims of this attack, the attacker bounced back in a flurry of movements.
"Hey, this is not, how this should go," Tigger complained as soon as he had sorted himself again. He raised a fist at Vader. "This is not fun, if you don't play along…"
"Another." Jango sounded almost bored.
Only then, Tigger recognised the second figure. "Oh, coming in packs, huh?"
"Hello Tigger," Pooh and Piglet chimed in, making him look from them back to Vader and Jango rapidly.
"And taking hostages, too! Don't worry I will rescue you. Rescuing is what Tiggers do best!"
He jumped at Vader gain, hitting his chest plate with his fits when he was up, going for the Dark Lord's knee caps when he was down. The effect was - an annoyed Vader.
After resetting his switches after another attack by Tigger, his free hand shot out and grabbed the feline by the throat. "Do you wish to die?"
"Ooh," Tigger considered for a moment. "What are the other options?"
"You could get lost," the Dark Lord offered darkly.
"Or tell us where Gopher is?" Pooh suggested. "I am starting to feel hungry, and we really should get this over with before it is time to eat."
"Gopher?" Tigger stroked his chin in though. "I have seen him at the bridge. I think he was trying to put some improvements on it."
"My sensor pick up running water a few yards in that direction," Jango put in.
"Good," Vader dropped Tigger and strode off, the bounty hunter following.
"Tiggers don't like extortion," the striped feline, pouted for a moment, his arms crossed in front of his chest. Then curiosity got the better of him and he bounced after the small group.
He caught up just in time to see the Dark Lord of the Sith, and currently Haunted of the Practical Joke, step into Gopher entrance hole next to the bride. Of course, it was the same foot he had previously stepped on the nail with. Darth Vader was not amused. He was also surprised, when a small grey rodent with a glaring orange helmet pushed his foot up.
"Fffith is not fffe way to introduce youselfff," it wheezed at the Dark Lord. It would have wagged its finger, too, if it had not needed both hands to keep the boot suspended.
Vader was rather tempted to just squash the gopher, but they had been sent to just such an individual. It would be rather inconvenient to have the key to escape stuck underfoot in a gooey kind.
"You should teafff your fffriend some mannefff, Pooh!" Gopher went on. And he would have held a lecture almost as impressive as Owl, if Tigger had not chosen the very same moment to enter the scene in his unique tiggerish way. He jumped at Gopher, dislodging his grip on Vaders foot in the process and throwing both out of balance.
A good result from a Tigger's point of view; a heap of Vader, Gopher, Tigger, and Pooh, for the others. And since it's such a nice image, the end of the post for everybody else.
It took some time to knot arms and legs and get everybody into a vertical position again. For once, Piglet was happy to be with the intimidatingly armoured stranger, if only because he was in no way involved. From his lookout, he could simply watch the amount of gratuitous violence going own. Amazingly enough, all his friends got out of the mess in one piece, though the filling of Tigger's right leg had been squeezed out completely.
While the feline tried to restore the filling to the right places, Gopher whistled at him indignantly.
Vader stooped and scooped the angry rodent up. "Are. You. Gopher?"
"Well, yes," Gopher replied. "But fiff iff no reason to -"
"Build this!" Vader crammed Owl's plan into Gophers hands.
Immediately, the rodent stopped complaining, obviously captivated by the daring machinery depicted on the paper.
"Fiff should be no problem," he finally told the Dark Lord. "I just need some materials, and a little time." He stared at Vader.
"How long?" the Dark Lord wanted to know.
"Ffe longer, ffe longer I dangle up here," Gopher stated flatly, still sating at the impenetrable mask.
Vader let go of the plushie, which dropped to the ground and immediately vanished in its hole. "Just a fffecond," his voice sounded from the tunnel.
"One." Jango counted, pointing his blaster at the entrance hole.
But Vader pushed his hand down. "Figure of speech, and we still need him."
The bounty hunter shrugged. "Your rat, your rules."
They did not have to wait long, until Gopher returned tail first. He pulled hard at whatever it was that stuck in the tunnel and made whistling noises.
"Don-don't you want to help him?" Piglet volunteered.
Two helmeted heads turned to glare at him, and he tried to sidle down further into the pocket. "J-j-just suggesting," he said.
With a shrug, Jango leaned down and pulled hard on the busy rodent. For the longest moment, nothing happened, than something broke free with a soft 'plop'. A huge amount of materials, that should not be able to fit through any gopher tunnels anywhere, hurtled out, toppling Jango and half burying him under planks, boards, nails and an odd assortment of everything.
"Fffanks a lot," Gopher whistled, while he dug his way up though the heap. "Iff you would movve thiff afide, I will bring ffe reft." And he vanished into his tunnels again.
Pooh took the chance to help Piglet up and led him from the huge figures. "Your friends are really strange, Piglet. Do they never get hungry?" He rubbed his belly. "I feel, we would better go about this with our stomachs full."
Piglet nodded, simply happy to be away from Fett. "I just hope that whatever they do, it works and they go back."
"Won't you miss them?"
"I- I-," Piglet stuttered. "I am not sure they are my friends, Pooh."
"Oh." Pooh put one paw to his mouth. "Is it like Kanga and Roo again? But they were friends, too, even if we did not believe it at first."
"But they don't know Christopher Robin," Piglet objected.
Pooh took his time to contemplate this, and while he was still thinking, Gopher returned with another heap of stock.
"Ffif if it. Now, let'f ftart. You," he pointed at Vader, "get those long planks and you," now he indicated Fett, "get me those pipes." Gopher dived headfirst into the materials, not waiting to see if the two men would follow his orders.
Since both were not used to being ordered around by rodents, both hesitated, and seeing that the other was complying, regarded it beneath them to act either. Instead, they glared at each other, which they were very good at, despite their helmets. When Gopher returned from the depths of the heap they still stood like that.
"Well, ifff you don't want to cooperate, neiffer will I," he stated. Before anybody could react, he hopped through his hole and was gone.
"Now that went really well," Jango commented.
"And who's fault is that?" Vader snapped back.
Pooh and Piglet tried to slide away backwards, away from the upcoming argument, and, if Pooh had any say in this, towards Rabbit. Unfortunately, the way to Rabbit led right through Tigger.
"Hoohoo!" He laid an arm around each, pulling them close. "So where are we going now?"
Of course, his loud 'hoo'-ing immediately caught the attention of Vader and Fett.
"You are going nowhere," Vader said flatly. He put the plan down and levitated Piglet towards him, setting him down on a corner as a paperweight. Then he pointed at Pooha dn Tigger. "You will do as you are told. Come here!"
The dark Lord commanding voice worked perfectly. Even before they realized what they were doing, the two plushies moved to Vader. They almost saluted, too.
"We are going to build and," he peered at the plan, "a EMS now. Follow your orders to the letter or suffer the consequences."
"Which would be?" Tigger asked.
"And the other options this time?"
"No other options this time." Vader crossed his arms over his chest.
"Can't we go over to Rabbit's first and-" Pooh began.
"No!" Vader shouted. He was not used to have his orders questioned and circumvented. And he could not even punish the insubordinate plushies, because they didn't feel it. If only he could take his anger out on the bounty hunter.
"I think, I will do the welding," Fett said, raising the arm with his flamethrower. "Though some of the charts look as if you needed to weld through time and space."
"Then let's see how good you are at that, hunter," Vader grumbled. He took another look at the plan. "This does not look too difficult."
Soon the meadow was filled with the noised of sawing, hammering, hitting one's own thumb and Tigger bouncing into the others with his arms full. Sometimes the hiss of Fett's flamethrower rose over those, or the rumbling of Pooh's empty stomach. Piglet watched the busy bustle, not daring to get up. He did not feel as if he was a great help to his friends, and that made him sad. With a sigh, he put his chin into his paws.
Even without the help of Piglet, the EMS took shape quickly. Not that it looked like anything useful in separating merged universes or anything, but it looked like an EMS. Finally, Vader and Fett took a few steps back and regarded the object.
"Does not look like the solution of all our problems," Jango said.
"It does look like -" Vader paused, "a huge notice board."
"And the instructions for how to leave will just mysteriously appear on it, right?" Fett sounded cynical.
They took another step back, coming to a stop besides Owl's plan. Peering at it from above, they looked back and forth between the paper and the board.
"Says 'EMS' there, no mistaking."
"Wh-wh-what is an EMS?' Piglet stuttered, not sure whether asking, or not knowing would be worse.
"An Emergency Schedule," Fett explained. "This certainly qualifies as emergency in my book, but that-" he waved his hand at the panel.
"I am sure you misread the instructions," Vader said. "I did everything as described."
"Maybe we didn't observe the Avogadro constant?" Jango countered. "It might be inherently important to know about the number of entities in the mole -"
"He's a gopher," Vader interrupted him. "Nothing to do with Avogadro's moles."
Piglet stood up, getting tired of being used as a paper weight, but also to get out of the line of fire between the two towering figures.
"Checking on the laws of physic is a reasonable first step, considering we are stuck in a completely foreign environment. We cannot simply assume that they are still the same," Jango pointed out. "Also, there could be more to this - board than we see right now."
"Sure is," Vader growled jabbing his index finger at the bounty hunter. "Because with that slit in the helmet, your eyesight is close to that to the moles you mentioned."
"As if the black-o-matic in your system brought any better results," Jango bit back, ignoring the Dark Lord's obvious ignorance. " I don't see-"
"No, obviously not," Vader interrupted him. "There, see," Vader pointed accusingly at the spot Piglet had just deserted.
"I see, it would not have been necessary to put him there since the paper stay flat any way, but I didn't want him wandering around," the bounty hunter shrugged.
"No, the 'm'."
"Which - oh."
Under Piglet, the letter 'm' had been hidden, turning the EMS into MEMS.
"Now this changes everything," Vader stated.
"So," Jango scrutinised the plan, "are we sure that the wriggle in there is not an 'e' and we are supposed to build some memes?"
"I already am one," Vader huffed. "And now we build this huge space-time warping micro machine!"
"What are we supposed to do with 'micro' though. How can that help us get away?"
"Have you looked at the sizes on the plan already? I do not think that ten feet counts as 'micro'." Vader was losing his patience fast. Once he had made his mind up, everybody else was just supposed to stop thinking. That had never let him down so far. Still, he had to admit that the bounty hunter had a point. The Dark Lord was not willing to take any chances.
"We need the gopher," he announced.
"I'll get him," Pooh offered, already planning a circumspect rout passing Rabbit's on the way.
"No, you never fit into the hole," Jango objected. "He'll go." He grabbed Piglet and stuffed him into Gophers entrance. "Hurry. And remember: I. Will. Find. You."
Piglet hurried of with many 'oh-oh-oh-dear's and legs that seemed a blur.
While he was gone, Pooh had to realize that those two would not use the free time for a nice break with honey and biscuits. Instead he had to help them disassemble the EMS again. Which was difficult, because he could not hear himself thinking over the rumbling of his empty stomach.
Tigger was as usual a great help, turning neat stacks into rubble and bouncing off the body armour of the two men. Still, he was having fun. At least until an unnerved Vader floated him to the next tree and made sure he stayed where he was using staples. Vader had again to mourn the fact that the inhabitants of this world seemed unfortunately immune to pain. The feline pouted as long and loud as he could before finally falling silent, muttering something about Tiggers not liking staples.
Without the help of Tigger, tidying up was done in a heartbeat. Pooh was already considering to suggest a visit a Rabbit's when Gopher exited the hole, looking indignant. Piglet followed, carrying a small parcel.
"Fo you are not able to follow simple instructions, huh?" Gopher said, wagging a finger at Fett and Vader. "Can't you read wiff those buckets on your headf?"
While Gopher was arguing with Vader and Fett, Piglet went over to Pooh. He held the parcel up.
"It's Gopher's winter stock," he said. "He was not happy, but said he would probably not get to sleep anyway with those two," he lowered his voice, "blockheads around."
Eagerly, Pooh opened the parcel, though to his utter disappointment it did not contain any honey. A few nuts dropped into his paw and he eyes them intensely, as if wishing them to be honey would have a positive effect on them.
The arguing in the background had risen, but was now decreasing again. Dreading the prospect of more work with not even nuts in his belly, Pooh gobbled them down hastily.
"Thank you Piglet," he mumbled. "That was very considerate of you."
Gopher waddled up to them and put Pooh to work sorting a mess of wires. Then he turned to the two towering figures again. "Let'f ftart ffen."
"Is there nothing I can do?" Piglet asked hopefully, hopping along behind the rodent. He did not feel like being a paperweight again. There just had to be another way for him to help his friends.
"Well," Gopher was peering intently at the plan. "You could assemble this bit." He pointed at a small drawing in the top left corner.
To Piglet's relief, the bit looked simple enough, and also small enough to be made by such a small being as himself. He ran off to get a pipe and wires.
"Efffrybody liffenf to my command," Gopher called to the others, clearly in no mood to be disagreed with again. The fact that Vader and Fett did not even manage to build a house-sized MEMS had lowered his opinion even further.
"You, grey one, get ffe logf from over there, and you, black one, get a hammer."
As ordered Jango went to work, Vader on the other hand turned around.
"Get going," he demanded. "I will not have myself watched being ordered around by a helmeted rodent." He approached with huge steps, grabbing the pad from my han- - -
After some circumspect approaching, the narrator managed to get a clear view of the scene again, and can testify, the Dark Lord of the Sith was taking orders from a gopher! And work proceeded very well. It is impressive to watch a time/space warping MEMS the size of a mini-van is being built from logs and pipes.
Tigger kept a running commentary on the process, but even Gopher seemed reluctant to free him from the predicament he was in. As a result, building the MEMS took only half as much time as getting the EMS up. And the latter was of a much easier construction. From time to time, a pink lightning darted through the group, grabbing tiny bits of metal and wire from the stacks. Whenever Vader or Jango came to close to the place he had chosen as his workbench, Piglet would have to stop working though, as his hands were shaking to badly to achieve anything.
After a while, Gopher picked up his plan and held it up. The drawing resembled that machine standing in the clearing by no means, but the rodent nodded satisfied. He compared as few details and nodded some more whistling softly through his teeth.
"Looks perfffect." He finally stated.
Vader walked up and looked from the drawing to the apparatus. There was some similarity between the two, namely that they both had vertical and horizontal lines. Somewhere.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" he wanted to know, cocking his head sceptically.
"Offf course, it will work," Gopher whistled indignantly. "My ffingf always do, befidesf, we're clofe to our half hour limit of ffe show."
"Trust the gopher?" Jango suggested.
"Do we have a choice?" Vader looked at the tangled bit of technology in front of him. It seemed decidedly out-dated, and in no way able to twist anything, except maybe the nose of a careless passer-by.
"Peffffimiftic fiffiief," Gopher grumbled approaching his masterpiece. He grabbed its handle and pulled it down.
He started some more attempts and added some furious kicking and hissing.
Still, nothing happened.
"Ma-maybe, you need this to make it work?" Piglet volunteered holding up the cylinder he had built.
"Try," Vader ordered.
Piglet carefully held the object out with both paws, then he tilted the switch. With a snap-hiss, a tiny pink blade extended from the metal. But before anybody had the chance to comment, the MEMS did it's job. It began as a dark rumble, built up power and momentum, then, the whole place seemed to explode. Dirt and debris flew off in all directions.
After a blinding flash, followed by thunder so loud you couldn't hear it since you were already deaf, before it reached you, silence returned to the clearing. As did all the dirt that had been thrown into the air, as well as several branches, twigs and a shower of leaves. Unable to protect his head, since his arms were still stapled to the tree, Tigger sputtered, coughing on the dust and spitting out lumps of dirt.
"Tiggers don't like explosions," he stated finally.
"Thif should not have happened," Gopher replied thoughtfully. He scratched his chin. "Ffere muft have been an error in timefpace."
They looked at each other, then glanced around. Though Eeyore's tail was lying in the newly formed crater, there was no sign of Pooh and Piglet. They did also not drop from the sky with the rest of the debris. Gopher scratched his chin some more, still looking up.
Thus he did not see ass the two entered the clearing. They looked, dirty, almost torn and rather tired. Pooh's shoulders slumped, and though Piglet tried valiantly to keep straight, he could not disguise his exhaustion. The two looked around confused.
"What happened?" Piglet wanted to know.
"Well, " Tigger began, "you should have been there! We built this huge machine and when helmet-head turned it on, it went all boom! and bang! and boing! The ground was suddenly all over the place and - hey!" he caught himself. "You were there." He tried to put accusingly. "Why do you ask then?"
"But- " Pooh began, but Piglet elbowed him into his stomach. He looked at the bear meaningfully. "Just don't, they'll only worry. And ask stupid questions."
"Oh, right. That." he said then, looking around. "Well, we better get going, right?" He went over to Tigger and began pulling the staples out of the tree trunk, the tiny lightsaber dangling from his wrist.
"Going where?" Pooh asked. He looked at Piglet.
Piglet pulled the last staple out, keeping the abounding Tigger at bay with his right paw. "Rabbit, I guess. We could need some strengthening."
"Great idea, Piggeldiggel!" The feline finally managed to grab Piglet and toss him into the air. There was an almost inaudible sigh, as the small figure plunged back down. "You have no idea how exhausting it is, being stapled to a tree."
Piglets shoulders sagged visibly. "No I don't," he shook his head sadly. "But I'm sure you'll tell me everything about it."
"I can't remember the last time I had real hunny," Pooh chimed in. "Must be ages at least."
"Tiggers love hunny," Tigger added, bouncing up and down on his tail.
"If I am no needed anymore, I need to reffill my winter stock," Gopher whistled looking pointedly at Pooh and Piglet. Then he jumped headfirst into his hole.
"Everything back to normal, I guess," Piglet whispered almost inaudibly. Then he braced himself. "Let's go then."
Tigger bounced around them as they left, refraining from jumping on anybody, though. His excited chatter about the trails of being stapled to a tree resounded followed the group, only interrupted by an occasional 'whoohoohoo!'.
A short while after the merry group has left to ravage Rabbit's stocks, Eeyore entered the mayhem. Of course, nobody would think about tidying up the messed up woods, gravity and time are known to do all the work for those who can wait.
"Well, look at that. This must have been a lot of fun." The donkey spotted his tail lying in the crater. Slowly he walked up to it, shaking his head in dejection.
"It is not fair, that even my tail should have more excitement than I do, oh no." Eeyore picked up his tail with his teeth and began to look for somebody who might graciously attach it to his back side again.
So peace and quite have returned to the Hundred Acer Woods. Everything is back to normal, or at least as back as it can. A shrink has already been ordered to get Piglet back to his normal frightened self.
And Jango and Vader?
Well, I guess they will keep their mouths shut about this incident.