Phyllis Esposito: Interdimensional Private-Eye #220

I spent the next few hours acting as Henricks’s very own nanobot-powered 3D Printer. The nanobots could construct anything I could imagine, but as it happens, we were limited by my imagination.

Fancy lamppost? Sure, where do you want it? Carved marble statue of you as a circus ringleader? Sure, do you want classic top-hat and red coat or something French and avant-garde?

Build a sophisticated device designed to detect a one-square millimeter sized hole in space-time from a range of several miles away? I didn’t know how to tell the nanobots to do that.

We started by crafting a few simple tools and a workspace, using each new tool to help construct the next. The nanobots could replicate anything that they had already consumed or from blueprints, but it was still a lengthy process of gradual upgrades and design. Being able to reproduce an accountant’s laptop, complete with hard drive contents, was both exhilarating and unnerving, but I couldn’t make any modifications unless I knew all the relevant details.

By the time the sun was rising, we had only managed to irritate each other with our lack of progress.

Then a familiar voice called out from behind us. “Are you ready to accept some assistance or would you prefer to remain stubborn for a few more hours?”

I turned, expecting to see the Sorceress, here to gloat.  Instead, I saw a portal to the Taskforce Headquarters. Through it, Fox, General Greensleeves and Eddie Truth watched us impatiently.

Eddie stepped forward, arms folded and eyebrow raised. “I know you made it a big point of pride that you could do all this without help, but waiting for you is getting tiresome.”

“Eddie?” I asked. “How did you know…” Then it clicked, and I rolled my eyes. “Oh, right. All-seer.” I gestured at the rudimentary dimensional energy detector that Henricks and I constructed so far. “We could have done it, you know! I’m not making any bargain for this.”

“No need, my dear,” she said, unimpressed. “Bought and paid for by the Department for Interdimensional Affairs.”

The General nodded. “Ms. Truth has filled us in on the events that transpired over there. Your government owes you a debt of gratitude. Why don’t you come on through, we’ll get you debriefed, and get the book closed on all of this.”

I’d already taken a step toward the portal, but then the hair stood up on the back of my neck. I looked at Fox, Eddie and the General, and then looked at the borders of the portal.

I remembered their trick when I tried to portal back to the base last time; showing the destination I expected but dropping me into the containment cell instead. Did I see a subtle distortion around the edges of this new portal?

“That sounds great,” I said. Then I looked at Henricks and Ms. Moon. “We just have to finish up some things here first. As Eddie knows, I promised to make sure there were no nanobots left in this slice before I left it. I need to make sure we get them all, and some of them might have been left on the other side of the ocean. You think you guys could send us some gear to help out with that?”

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