That's what the Regent insisted. The white tiger bristled as he pointed a claw at the machine.
"It's an emergency time shunt!"
"But it is housed in a 20th century video game cabinet!" I countered.
"That's because I have to keep it isolated from the rest of the chrono-network! I even decorated it with radiation and biohazard warnings and monster stencils to...oh."
I crossed my arms. "Are you familiar with the term 'attractive nuisance?'"
He brushed a mote of dust off of his pastel jacket. "Alright, I see your point. So Koen thought this was a video game, started fiddling with the buttons..."
"And the joystick."
"Yes, that too...and shunted himself out of the timestream."
"Koen does still exist, correct?"
"Oh yes of course! He's in that zone where the remnants of destroyed civilizations go."
"Remnants of destroyed...you mean the WASTELANDS?"
"Well yes, that's what the locals there might call it..."
I grabbed the joystick and began navigating through the interface. "Very well. I must invert the reactivity of the shunt and..." I was cut short a pulse of energy that scrambled my neuroreceptors. I fell to the ground with a loud crash.
The Regent peered into the console. "Ohhhh...It’s reading a Paradox Error. It seems you’re already in there!"
"Yes..." I rose to my feet. "I was stranded in the Wastelands before...I was fortunate that a Time Lord followed my emergency beacon and rescued me."
The Regent looked down, adjusting one of his ruffles. "A Time Lord, eh? I wonder if it’s anyone I know...So you can't go back in. Maybe that Qlippothic can rescue him."
"Hardly..." I leaned my forehead against the console. "I shut down for lack of fuel. I might still be there if someone hadn't repaired me."
I saw a reflection of a familiar blue planet in the screen. I turned and scanned the panorama of space through the observation window.
"Something is not right..."
"You mean the quantum signature differential? Yes. That will equalize eventually. A hundred years or so."
I ran the equations to calculate how much energy would be required to phase an entire planet.
"You mean to tell me you tesseracted your homeworld into this other universe?"
"Yes. Our native dimension was collapsing. I couldn't have done it without you and your...our family."
"But Regent...your Earth is out of position for this date. The orbit is stable, but it should have been...” From behind the corona of the Sun I saw the gentle curve of another planet come into view. Another Earth. “...There?”
The Regent huffed as he ambled towards the liquor cabinet. "Oh that...well I had Xavael scout nearby dimensions. I told him to send me the coordinates of the first one he found with no human life in the Sol system. We were in a race against time, you see. So that's a dead world over there." He scratched his chin. "When the Space Race hits they'll probably recolonize it. Say, where is Xavael, anyway?"
As I began calculating the chances of two Earths remaining stable in the same orbit, the deck of the Regent’s timeship flooded with light. Another voice rang out. "REGENT!"
We turned in alarm to find the angel. His white robe was torn and stained with bloody handprints. He held the body of a pale demon with shredded red wings.
“Founder!” I screamed. “What has happened to you?”
Xavael spoke, anguish souring his otherwise pure voice."Forgive me, Regent. I followed your directions too closely! The native Earth you see has no one living, but it is not uninhabited. That world has fallen to the Undead!"
"Koen..." The demon drew a tagged breath as he lifted a trembling finger at the Regent. "You rescued your world from Oblivion only to deliver it to a fate that is far worse..." Bloodwing's body began to crumble in his beloved's arms. "I had imprisoned Darien in Steelhed... but now he is free..."
I stepped back as the full extent of his dying works sank in.The Founder's uttered his final words before decayed into dust. "The Darien Mason of my world has made Steelhead a Necropolis...and soon your world shall fall to his insatiable hunger for flesh!"