Cocoa and Nebula set up tents in the backyard. There was no way all four children would fit in Penelope’s room and Penelope saw it as a continuation of their unconventional camping trip.
“It’s funny how everything was so familiar on Sixam – the smells and colors and sounds. They were very different. But everything is just as familiar here.”
“It’s a twoness” onezero said. “We are two from two places. Each half is home.”
Penelope agreed. But despite her exhaustion, sleep came slowly . She was listening to the familiar cicadas just outside and to the rush of wind in the cacti and onezero’s comforting breathing. But it was an familiar sound in an unfamiliar place that called her attention. A shiny swirly sound that didn’t belong in the desert night. Curious, she crawled out her tent just in time to see a beam of light engulf Cocoa.
“Father!” He was gone before the words left her lips. What did the mommies want with him this time?
Cocoa didn’t remember much from his abduction. It was as hazy as the first time it had happened. But he was certain he’d explained about Free-Jon and Emelia and how they were trying to get back home. And he remembered working with them to try to figure out how to find how to tune molecules to time as well as space. Half-finished equations danced in his mind when he returned.
He worked all night trying to recapture his thoughts. It was dawn before he knew it.
Emelia entered the upstairs laboratory the next morning to find Cocoa muttering over the analyzer.
“Have you figure out how we got here?”
“Oh, yes,” Cocoa said. “That was easy enough. Sixam is only half on any hard drive. So I’m fairly certain you traveled to the Sixam in your last place and that connected you to here. Not many folks are in Sixam at any given time, so you were probably pulled here because we were there.”
“Can we use Sixam to travel to CathyTea’s world then?”
“No, she hasn’t gone there herself so you wouldn’t be pulled to her harddrive. Plus there’s the time paradox. Since time didn’t exist in the loop you left, you can’t get back to it. You still want to get back before you left, right?”
“I think the portal’s your best bet, but finding out what time to tune the frequency to. That’s delicate and I don’t want to get it wrong. Ending up old is the least of your worries then.”
“Can I help?”
“Of course, how familiar are you with Godel’s work? Ah, well, there’s several books on the shelf you can read. Let me know if anything comes to you.”
Downstairs, Free-Jon was having a personal dance party to cheer himself up. All this traveling around. He was starting to get a little homesick. And dancing always made you feel better, right?
“We should go to the park after lunch.” onezero said sensing a distraction would do him good.
“Yes! The park! I’ll be the intergalactic space cheese mailman. You all can be my crew.”
It was agreed. Nova took them all while Cocoa continued to work.
“Look out onez!” Free-Jon cried. “There’s a space monster at 1 o’clock.”
onezero frowned. “It’s already past 1.”
“It’s a … a… pink freezer bunny come to attack you and steal your cheese,” Nova cried, leaping from her hiding spot.
“Turning left!” Penelope cried out to avoid the monster.
While the kids were out, Cocoa called CT back.
“Hi CT. We’re getting closer to figuring it out. We just need to find the correct time frequency for when they left…Oh? Yeah if the summer camp is closed, it’ll have be earlier than that. No, that shouldn’t be a problem. We’ll need to start time here again, but Halloween’s just around the corner anyway and it would be good to meet it on time.”
He laughed. “Yeah, you should definitely come for a visit Penelope and onezero will be going trick or treating. Okay, see ya, CT.” He hung up the phone just as the kids were coming back. Perfect.