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A Strange World - Part 8

A guardian angel still has a lot to learn about his real subject matter: the human race

The Mirror Man



A celestial fortress sits nestled amidst massive crystalline peaks protruding upward from a vast ocean of azure-blue water.

The Place: Electra, a giant planet in the constellation Pleiades. The Time: It is the year 7532 P.A.


Shadowy halls are lined with endless stretches of somber, painted faces. An ornate sign states: The Grand Hall of Faces. Around the corner is another hallway, lined with doors running the length of the hall, one which apparently stretches as far as the eye can see. The first door on the right has its own sign above the door: The Perpetual Hall of Eternal Records - Room 101.


The room is stacked full of old books, medieval manuscripts and ancient parchments. A mild-looking, middle-aged fellow, DOCTOR DARIUS MIDDLEFAX, blows off a dusty document and carefully wipes it clean.

NARRATOR: Meet Doctor Darius Middlefax: A Record Keeper of extraordinary diligence and determination. Meet someone who actually seems to love his work. Facts, figures, events, all carefully accounted for, like a grand tapestry stretching out through time…

Darius loves the texture and smell of the vellum paper. He fondles it, cautiously, like some kind of guilty pleasure.

NARRATOR (CONT’D): But what Doctor Middlefax doesn’t realize yet is that he still has a lot to learn about his real subject matter — that rather perplexing collection of creatures called the human race. And whether he wants to or not, even he is about to face the most human dilemma of all, in … A Strange World.

Suddenly, an odd-looking fellow, MISTER ALVIN LITTLEROCK, sticks his head into the room, catching Darius in the act of caressing the parchment.

ALVIN: Doctor? Lost our head again, have we?

Darius smiles sheepishly.

DARIUS: No, Mister Littlerock. Of course not. Just a temporary twinge of nostalgia.

Mister Littlerock nods, apparently satisfied.

ALVIN: As long as it doesn’t interfere with your mission. You already know our standing orders. Duty First! Self Last!

Darius nods back.

DARIUS: Yes, of course, as always: Duty first.

Mister Littlerock smiles back agreeably.

ALVIN: Now report to the Hall of Administrations immediately. The Inspector General wants to see you about a very important matter.

Darius nods again.

DARIUS: Right away.

ALVIN: And don’t muddle things up again. God knows you’ve waited long enough for a chance to make things right.

(…you’re reading Part 8 of a 10-part series. If you like what you’re reading and want to continue, please SCROLL DOWN. Or to read this series from the beginning, go to Part 1…)
Story Continues Below
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Story Continues From Above


Darius stands supplicantly before the Inspector General, who is ominously poised at his podium. Behind the Inspector General are twelve massive television screens, projecting a dozen huge digital faces: THE OVERLORDS stare down at Darius with grim, somber expressions. The Inspector General clears his throat.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Do you know why you were summoned here, Mister Muddlefix?

Darius shrugs innocently.

DARIUS: No, sir … not really. And … the name is Middlefax … not Muddlefix.

The Inspector General coldly eyes Darius.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Yes, well … we will see about that.

Two GIANT SENTRIES step out of the darkness and flank Darius, who timidly looks up at them.

DARIUS: Who … are … they?

The Inspector General then beams forth a most disarming smile.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Oh, there’s no need to be alarmed, my good man. They’re your bodyguards…

Apparently satisfied, Darius relaxes.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): Now, then … Muttlefish. What, may I ask, is your function here on Electra?

Darius tries to act naturally.

DARIUS: What, exactly, do you mean, sir?

The Inspector General frowns.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Your purpose … your reason for being.

OVERLORD ONE: Do you, or do you not, have a purpose in life, Doctor Middlefax?

Darius smiles, somewhat relieved.

DARIUS: Oh, yes, of course, of course. I’m a Record Keeper. I work in the Perpetual Hall of Eternal Records — Room One-Oh-One.

The Inspector General nods.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: I see. Are you sure? You seem very sure of yourself, don’t you?

Puzzled, Darius shrugs again.

DARIUS: Of course I’m sure, sir.

The Inspector General smiles his disarming smile again.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Really. So tell me, then, exactly how long have you been at your present occupation?

Darius scoffs.

DARIUS: Oh, well, that’s easy enough, sir. I’ve worked in the Pepetual Hall of Eternal Records for, let’s see … for twenty-three years now.

The Inspector General tilts his head curiously.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Really … are you sure?

Darius begins to turn pale.

DARIUS: No, wait, thirty-seven years, that’s right. I’ve worked there for thirty-seven years. No, wait, I’m sorry, it’s been twenty, uh … no, no. I’m so sorry, Inspector General. I don’t know what’s come over me. I’m afraid I can’t remember how long I’ve been at my present job.

The Inspector General gazes benevolently at the flustered Darius.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: And would you like me to tell you why you can’t remember?

Darius squints his eyes, trying to decide.


The Inspector General continues slowly.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: You can’t remember because your memory was … deleted.

Darius is stunned.

DARIUS: What? No, that can’t be. That just not possible. I don’t believe it.

The Inspector General shrugs his huge shoulders.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Of course, I understand. Then maybe I can help you refresh your memory.

The pair of giant sentries each take hold of one of Darius’ arms, grasping him securely in their powerful hands. The Inspector General takes several steps forward, holding up a huge hypodermic needle, full of green fluorescent liquid. Darius gasps.

DARIUS: What are you going to do with that?

The Inspector General smiles.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Don’t be alarmed, Doctor. It’s just your own residual memory … contained in this marvelous fluid.

DARIUS: Memory?

OVERLORD TWO: Yes … liquid memory.

OVERLORD THREE: What was taken from you is now simply being returned to you, Doctor Middlefax, that’s all. It’s perfectly harmless … really.

The Inspector General moves the needle closer and closer toward Darius’ left temple.

DARIUS: No, please. What have I done to deserve this? Did I commit some sort of crime? I have no recollection of having done anything to deserve this kind of treatment. I demand to know: What have I done?

The needle is thrust into Darius’ skull.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: And so you will have your answer, my friend.


Darius is sitting at his work desk, contentedly sifting through his pile of dusty manuscripts.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): Until recently, you have been perfectly content working away as a Record Keeper in the Citadel of Chronos. For the last twenty-three years, you have quietly done your job, occupying cubicle One-Zero-One in the Perpetual Hall of Eternal Records, ever since you were promoted for your previous thirty-seven years of consistently ordinary work.

OVERLORD ONE (V.O.): But what you don’t realize is … you weren’t always a simple drone, blissfully ignorant of life’s finer pleasures.

OVERLORD TWO (V.O.): Long before you ever came here — to be condemned as a prisoner of time — you used to be … a Dream Giver.

OVERLORD THREE (V.O.): Do you remember?

Darius continues at his work desk, as if he hadn’t a care in the world.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): For more than four long centuries, you were an industrious and effective member of our Earth Expeditionary Force.

OVERLORD TWO (V.O.): You had quite an auspicious list of credits to your name. When it came to Dream Givers, your success was downright legendary.


A pair of hands work diligently at a cluttered tabletop, teaming with turn-of-the-century electronic parts.

OVERLORD ONE (V.O.): After all, it was you who inspired Thomas Edison to blend just the right mixture of inert gases in his creation of that first light bulb, was it not?


Another set of hands stir a batch a black, rubbery liquid. The dark goo is poured into a mold, and tossed into a nearby potbelly stove.

OVERLORD THREE (V.O.): You were the Dream Giver who finally got Charles Goodyear to accidentally spill his gooey concoction on a hot stove, and just look what happened with that fine mess.


A pair of hands turns the knob on a crude-looking telescope. On the table are several sketches of the Moon.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (V.O.): And one of my personal favorites: It turns out you were the one who convinced Galileo to turn his hand-made telescope toward the Moon in order to measure the shadows he discovered on its surface.

OVERLORD ONE (V.O.): God only knows where Earth history would have ended up if that had never happened.

OVERLORD THREE (V.O.): Don’t you remember any of this?


Darius shakes his head, eyes blank and emotionless.

DARIUS: No. I’m afraid not.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: It got to the point that the High Command had to promote you out of the Dream Givers altogether.

OVERLORD THREE: You became a little too effective; so naturally the logical move came next. You were assigned the job of MessageTaker.

OVERLORD ONE: And like a duck to water, you took to that like you had been doing it for countless eons.

INSPECTOR GENERAL: And so you did your job like a good soldier — for a while, at least — until the temptation became too great, even for you, my once-obedient little drone. Do you still need me to help refresh you?

Darius just stares back, vacantly.

OVERLORD TWO: Is your transgression still just beyond the realm of recollection?

INSPECTOR GENERAL: Let me help you, then … with another infusion of liquid memory

The Inspector General injects another syringe, full of fluorescent green fluid, into Darius’ skull.

INSPECTOR GENERAL (CONT’D): That should do the trick. Do you see it now? Are things getting any clearer for you yet?

Darius’ eyes roll back into his head, and he faints.

So ends this Act of A STRANGE WORLD. To read more, please click on one of the following links:

Read the Next Act of The Mirror Man to see how history can be changed by taking humanity beyond what anyone before has imagined.

Read Driven to learn how some people are driven to greatness, some to degradation, and some are just driven.

Read Snow Madness to meet a man searching for that most sought after prize, power, until one day power dispensed a lesson of its own.

Read A Strange World from the Beginning, to see how we seek the truth, like strangers in a strange land, then when we least expect it, truth finds us.