Today in Fun Facts, a series of articles about characters and plot devices I’ve used in my stories, I’ll be talking about Brad Xyl.
Brad Xyl – the villain in “The Time Saving Agency” (Quantum series book 2) – lived in some distant future time beyond the setting of these books! In fact, being a co-inventor of time travel, Brad Xyl was one of the founding members of the Time Saving Agency (T.S.A.) – the aforementioned Agency being established to protect the timeline and to police it in order to prevent any other users of time travel technology from altering the timeline for their own benefit.
According to TSA lore, for reasons that are not quite clear, the formerly admired and heroic Brad Xyl went rogue. In fact, he went completely off the rails, and one day boarded a time-jump platform and disappeared – escaping into the time-stream to cause all sorts of chaos and mayhem! Brad Xyl merrily romped through Time and Space, setting himself up as Absolute Dictator here, and Emperor For Life there, sparking a few minor cases of genocide and wantonly declaring unnecessary public holidays. Sorting Time out again took some, well – time, and it took pretty much all the dedicated agents of the TSA about 20 years to repair everything – after which they finally managed to capture him and throw him in the slammer!
The TSA have a kind of inter-dimensional prison into which they deposit Time Offenders – what they call Time Terrorists, people who try to alter history for whatever reason. Committing someone to the Limbo Practicale is essentially irreversible – it’s a one-way trip. Engineers of the TSA view the Limbo Practicale as escape-proof: once you’re in, you’re in, and there’s no getting out again. Thus it was the case with Brad Xyl – a man who ironically enough, helped to invent time travel technology and who helped establish the TSA in the first place!
The inter-dimensional prison is called the Limbo Practicale, and it’s a really, really escape-proof para-dimension where Time Offenders are sent by the TSA on a permanent basis to teach them how not to mess with Time again! It’s not really as inhumane as people might expect, such as in contemporary prisons, where inmates get to form social clubs with their own tattoos, attend square dances (the kind where they enthusiastically shiv each other with modified cutlery) or educate themselves to become worse criminals. In the Limbo Practicale, the environment is such that any inmates inserted into it automatically are rendered unconscious and drift about in a dream-like state. What they dream about is anybody’s guess, but it has been postulated that they might be forcibly reliving their lives over and over again – a process which has the effect of slowly and inexoribly driving the inmates irreversibly insane.
Brad Xyl however, was no ordinary prisoner. For some as yet unfathomable reason, his exposure to time experimentation may have exposed him to forces which allowed him to overcome, bend or otherwise flout and disregard ordinary laws of chrono-spacial physics. After some time spent drifting essentially unconscious in the Limbo Practicale, he somehow learned to influence his environment – and to escape it!
To say that the Time Saving Agency and the powers that be, er – were, were a little flustered would be a gross understatement! Alarms were sounding around the TSA complex rather loudly and insistently! Panic isn’t the word – Brad Xyl – the worst, most dangerous time terrorist of them all – a man who was already mad and dangerous when he’d gone in – had somehow escaped from a place there shouldn’t have been any kind of chance of escaping from! That was like a naked convict somehow escaping from a room without any openings at all!
The intrepid Mr. Xyl had a few more shenanigans up his sleeve however – and his time in the Limbo Practicale and his means of escape exert remarkable changes over Brad Xyl! Unlike agents of the TSA, Mr. Xyl no longer needs to use Remotes to zip through time, or to perform an array of impressive time-distorting tricks Agent Scrooby can only dream of! In addition to all his new powers, Xyl is now also even more around the twist than before – which means agents at the TSA are making sure they pack brown pants into their mission gear! Xyl’s somewhat unexpected arrival in normal space disrupts a Puritan church service as well as Atro City traffic, all while brazenly inviting fines for Walking While Shedding Sparks and Leaving A Trail Of Smoking Footprints In Public!
What was Brad Xyl’s self-defined mission? Playing at dictator wasn’t at the top of his list of things to do anymore! No, he might be as mad as a hatter, but he had a very clear mission in mind: To return to his home world at a time just preceding his birth – to destroy it utterly in order to prevent that most inauspicious event! Not the sort of person to underachieve or known for doing things by half-measures, he builds a device which would destroy not only the small Terran colony of Deanna, but probably a large slice of the universe as well!
To do this, he enlists the help of a local naïve and accident-prone quantum physicist called Dr. Gleichstein, and although his misguided plan to blow up Deanna and the Universe ultimately fails, Brad Xyl does finally find his long sought-after little place in the sun – er, Ramalama. Right at its center.
If you want a taste of the Quantum Series, you can read these free sample short stories that include material not seen in the rest of the series:
Where can you get “the Quantum Series“?
For South African readers, Kobo lists all available titles in South African currency!
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All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.