Today I have for you some good news, and some bad news. The good news is that Source Bradford just sent me an email with an update on his situation.
The bad news? The contents of the message. Here it is in full:
From: Source Bradford
Date: Jan 25, 2014 9:38 AM
Subject: Strange Things
Sorry to bother you, but this is pretty important. I had first tried to post this on the Al Gene Updates blog, but it appears to have been deleted, and I could not reach Harry. So you were basically my last resort. Anyway, here is what was so important:
A couple weeks ago I awoke to find myself in strange surroundings. I had fallen asleep at the Founded Union’s secret base, where Dr. Gene had just returned from being captured by a mad scientist, but I was clearly not there any longer.
I stood up (which was remarkably painful) and looked around. It seemed to me that I vaguely recognized the dimly-lit place.
I rubbed my eyes. I was apparently outside, and it was night. Nothing was making sense! Then I saw my old stunt bike, and immediately knew where I was – my junkyard. It was in far worse condition than when I’d seen it last, and the shabby clothes I had on seemed to match my environs pretty well.
How had I gotten here? Where was everyone else? What was going on?! I looked to my surroundings for answers, but found none.
Not knowing what else to do, I decided to pay a visit to ALpha Industries (Dr. Gene’s weapons company) the next day. On my way, I found a discarded shirt and some pants in a dumpster, and changed into them before entering the ALpha Industries headquarters.
I walked up to the receptionist’s desk and explained that I was a friend of Dr. Gene’s. She looked concerned at this and asked me to wait a few minutes while she made some calls.
I took a seat and waited. A man soon approached me, introducing himself as the CEO. He invited me to walk with him, so I did.
As we walked, he explained that the company was currently undergoing a takeover, which surprised me.
“Surely you can’t just sell the company without Dr. Gene’s permission?” I questioned.
He responded, “It’s really a moot point, kid. We entered bankruptcy, and there was simply no way for us to go on.”
He sighed, and continued, “Besides, we’ve been completely unable to reach Dr. Gene since July last year. The board concluded that we most likely never will. Even now, selling the company will only serve to pay off our debts, but it’s better than burdening Dr. Gene’s family with them.”
“Wait, last year? As in 2012? Because I was sure that he…”
He gave me an odd look. “Last year was 2013.”
“Huh? Bu- oh, right; silly me.” I was now very confused, but I tried my best not to show it. This was beginning to seem like some kind of monstrous nightmare. How could it be 2014 already? And where had those months gone?
“Anyway,” he reached to his jacket pocket, “here’s my card. If you learn anything about Dr. Gene, please let us know.”
I thanked him for his time and left. I found a nearby deli and bought a few sandwiches (with some money I’d found in the dumpster pants) to cure my hunger.
As I ate, I thought about my situation. I knew I had to get to the Black Forest and find out what had happened. The problem was that I had no idea how to get there with the $10.59 left over from what I spent on my meal.
Then an idea hit me. When Dr. Gene first started adventuring, he had found a dirt-cheap plane ride from some airline company. Maybe they had flights to Europe? (Sure, Dr. Gene’s plane had crashed, leaving him stranded on the wrong continent, but that was probably a rare occurrence. Besides, having only $10.59 to my name, I was in no position to be picky.)
I did some research on a library computer and discovered the company was named Stupid Cheap Airways. Unfortunately the library kicked me out because several other people apparently complained that I smelled like a dumpster.
Luckily I had found the address of their offices by then, so I went there and bought myself a one-way ticket to Germany. It was economy-class, and though I’m not normally one to complain about such things, it was extremely uncomfortable and ultra shady. If I hadn’t been so pressed for time, I probably would have mailed myself to Germany instead. I’m 99 percent sure it would have been a better experience. But I got there, and I guess that’s what counts.
When I finally arrived at the Black Forest, I headed straight for the Founded Union’s hideout. But when I reached the place, there was nothing there. In fact, there was no sign that anyone had been there in a very long time.
And yet there was no denying that this was where they had once been. I recognized the trees, but where had their hideout gone? I was at a loss.
For the rest of that day I looked for something, anything that might give me a clue. But there was nothing. There was simply no trace of the Founded Union. I gave up when it became afternoon, having searched for seven hours.
As I walked out of the forest, I noticed a cemetery on the roadside. I don’t know what caused me to pass through those gates. What I do know is that I was not ready for what I found.
Upon one of the gravestones … was the name Alexander Gene.
I stood in shock. Next to it was a wooden cross with the name Dan Dirtie. The year of death on both was 2013.
Absolutely stunned, I realized my worst fear had been confirmed: Dr. Gene and Dan Dirtie were dead.
I’m back from Europe now, and trying to figure out what I should do next. Although the rational part of my brain is telling me to play it safe and get a job like a normal person, I think I’m going to go adventuring again instead.
It’s what Dr. Gene would have wanted.
What could have happened? How did Source end up back in his junkyard, and what happened to the Founded Union?
Finally, what will we ever do without Al Gene and Dan Dirtie?! 🙁