In tonight’s Tales From Switch City, Jimmy finds himself pulled into another world by an evil science experiment. But he’s not about to just let this happen without trying to foil the big evil plan.
Tales From Switch City
Meanwhile, in the abandoned warehouse district of Switch City, a nefarious science experiment was being undertaken by none other than the nefarious Dr. Mutagen. The creator of armies of evil half-human, half-animal hybrids, he constantly uses them in his quest for world conquest. Unfortunately, there were two things that often thwarted his schemes. One of them was those sickeningly sweet, goody two-shoes groups that called themselves the Justice Champions. The other was that not every person he converted into a half-animal hybrid agreed with his world domination plans. If he wasn’t being thwarted by one of those caped losers, he was having to put down a rebellion that often ended in him losing control of his entire army. Where were they even moving to anyway after they left his secret lair? Was there some island paradise out there where all his former minions chose to live?
But this time it was going to be different. For, being the super scientist that he was, Dr. Mutagen had discovered the true nature of Switch City. Switch City was in fact not one location, but an infinite amount of locations. It was a nexus point within the multiverse, an infinite number of timelines and an infinite number of possibilities. Some of them didn’t even have superheroes or villains! If he wanted to, he could open a portal and move to one of those timelines. Taking over one of those worlds would be like child’s play! But, that would be too easy. And running away from the Justice Champions with his tail between his legs was a defeat he would not suffer.
However, that didn’t mean he couldn’t bring someone from another timeline here. Because the walls of reality were so thin in Switch City, there was a phenomenon known as a Reality Shift where people crossed between the different universes all the time. With his newest invention, he could force a Reality Shift to happen on purpose.
The people of his world had grown wise to his antics, and were prone to rebelling… But if he pulled someone from another universe, they would have no place they belonged in this universe. No place to run off to. He would be their only hope of support, and he’d have a minion who had no choice but to be loyal to him! To ensure extra loyalty, this time his transformation serum had a secondary effect. Whoever he pulled into this universe would not only be turned into one of his mutant warriors, they would also be reduced to the state of a child. Sure, a child wasn’t the best combatant, but if he raised them as their father figure, they were more likely to stay loyal to him. Not that he had time to raise kids, oh no, he’d invented a pod for that: the impressively named, ‘Indoctro-matic 3000!’ It implanted false memories and sped up the aging process. If everything worked as planned, he’d have his first new mutant soldier combat ready within two weeks! Once he knew it worked, he could start pulling people from other universes in mass to build an entire army! And finally… FINALLY- he would defeat those Justice Champions and conquer the world!
The only thing standing between him and total global conquest was the simple pulling of a lever.
Well, that and the several months it would take to reraise all his victims to adulthood in his special Evil Mind Control Maturity Pods. But really, he was going to need that time to come up with a battle plan anyway.
The device that would lead to his victory was a glorious thing. It stood at twenty feet tall, composed of two giant slabs made from various metal alloys with tons of wires and blinking lights covering both of them. Truth be told, not even Dr. Mutagen knew what all the lights and wires were for. But they made the thing look more sciency. And that is almost as important, if not more important, than the machine actually functioning.
And now the hour of his victory had arrived. Just one lever pull away. Just had to pull the lever. That was all he had to do. No one could stop him. One lever pull and he was on a fast track to world domination. Just that.
“Seriously?” Dr. Mutagen looked around the lab, confused as to why no one was stopping him from pulling the lever. “This is usually the spot where someone breaks down one of my walls and attacks me. And then insurance never pays to repair the walls after they leave!” Dr. Mutagen looked around nervously. He rubbed a hand through his messy white hair before putting them in his lab coat pockets clearly expecting something to happen. But nothing did. “Oh, ok. I guess I actually get to do this then.” And with that he pulled the lever.
In another reality that more closely resembled our own, A young man named Jimmy was up late sitting at home on his computer, going over his digital card game deck in preparation for the new season that would begin. He was pretty happy with it, but he couldn’t stop himself from tweaking the deck despite needing to be in bed several hours ago. He was so engrossed in what he was doing that he didn’t even notice the giant black hole that had opened up in his room behind him until it started sucking things in.
“What the!?” Jimmy gave a shout as his laptop flew right off his desk and into the black hole. “But I just finished my deck!” He whined, clearly having his priorities in order. Jimmy’s chair was dragged out from under him and Jimmy himself tried to grab onto his desk as he felt he too was being pulled in. This was certainly a strange situation. Typically you would expect to hear about black holes opening in people’s homes on the news or at least social media first before it happened to you.
The dark skinned man did his best to hang onto the desk but the pull from the black hole only got more intense. His pajama bottoms, the sole garment of clothing he was wearing, started to slip off his body. Without thinking about it, he released one of his hands from his desk to hold onto them, which ended up being a crucial mistake. His one-handed grip did little to prevent it from pulling him in, and as his grip weakened, he lost control of both as Jimmy, his desk, and his now free PJ bottoms flew separately into the hole.
The next thing Jimmy knew he was in a high-tech looking lab that felt like it belonged in a comic book. There were giant glass spheres filled with bubbling liquid, tubes full of sparkling plasma, and more glowing lights than the PC Gaming section at a MicroCenter decorating the place, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out what any of them did. He also seemed to be defying gravity as he found himself floating up in the air above a strange machine. He looked around, seeing his computer, his desk, various items from his den and even his pajama bottoms strewn across the floor while he remained stuck in the air.Standing on the ground beneath him was a wild, white haired scientist wearing a lab coat over… what Jimmy was pretty sure was a second lab coat.
“I… Have questions.” He couldn’t even figure out where to start with everything he was seeing.
“And you shall have answers!” Dr. Mutagen shouted back, “Now, we pull the other lever!” He quickly reached towards another. The machine that Jimmy was floating above shot out a ray of bright yellow light, rapidly enveloping him in its warm embrace. Then Jimmy began to change.
He was getting smaller, his features becoming softer, younger, exactly as Dr. Mutagen had envisioned it. But of course, those were only the beginning of the changes. Black fur began to cover his entire body. A very small and short stubby tail protruded from his spine while conversely, his ears elongated to an enormous size in comparison to his head. But the biggest change was around his arms. A thin membrane formed between the length of his arms and body. When Jimmy held his arms out wide to try to look at what was happening he realized that they were now wings. His face pushed outward, forming a snout, and soon his eyes were entirely colored blue instead of just the irises.
The changes seemed to slow, yet still he continued to shrink and get younger. He remained humanoid, though his feet now had small claws on them resembling paws. He continued to look over himself trying to process everything that was happening. He was some kind of man-bat hybrid. A bat man of sorts if you will… Though, considering how small he was getting, more of a bat boy. He continued to shrink and regress smaller and younger until he was only about five years old.
And then without warning, gravity became a thing again, and Jimmy felt himself falling down with its pull.
“GAHHHH!” Jimmy gave a shout and flailed his arms wildly as he fell. Thanks to his new wings, this created a small updraft that lifted him upward, preventing him from crashing. He darted around erratically in the air for a few seconds before he realized he was flying. From that point, he focused on controlling his wing flaps until he was hovering in place above the ground.
“Oh… Cooooooool.” Should Jimmy have been afraid? Probably. But… It was hard to feel any fear from the situation considering the fact that he had just turned into a literal bat kid with actual wings that let him fly!
“IT WORKS!” Dr. Mutagen shouted. “You will be the first of many! Soon, we shall conquer the world!”
“I’m sorry what?” Jimmy looked down at the clearly mad doctor. “Look I was just trying to play a card game online and now I’m a bat, and, like, a toddler? Actually, could you explain what’s going on?”
“I have been waiting my entire life for someone to ask me that.” Dr. Mutagen wiped a tear from his eye.
“Suddenly I regret asking.” Jimmy muttered.
“You are the first of an elite army! For you see, you are not in your universe anymore. You have been snatched up from your mundane, boring life and brought here, to an alternate universe! And now that you’re here, you should know that there’s no way back, so I’m the only one who can offer you shelter here in your new form!” Dr. Mutagen struck a dramatic pose with his chest puffed out and a single gloved hand held high in the air. “And for that reason, you will return the favor of giving you shelter by helping me take over the world.”
“It doesn’t sound like you did me a favor. It sounds like you kidnapped me.” Jimmy muttered. “But… I really do like the wings.”
“Well, yes, I kidnapped you… but then I did the favor of giving you shelter!” Dr. Mutagen explained. “And I will grab others from other universes and transform them into beast children as well! Wait, does ‘Beast Children’ sound intimidating enough?” He scratched under his chin for a moment, “Eh, I’ll workshop the name later.” Returning to his ranting, “And then I’ll have an entire army SO THAT WE CAN TAKE OVER THE WORLD!” Somewhere outside a bolt of lightning struck, releasing a loud roar of thunder.
“Uh huh- sure…” Jimmy rolled his eyes. “But why kids? I’m not really gonna complain at being given a second childhood, but it feels like adults would make better soldiers.”
“Well they would…” Dr. Mutagen rubbed his neck. “But the last time I turned an adult into a bat creature, he grabbed me by the neck, flew up to the ceiling and dropped me. Kids aren’t strong enough to do that. And to top it off, I have created special education pods to indoctrinate you so that you’ll grow up completely loyal to one and only one person— ME!.”
“Yeah, no, I’m not going to do that.” Jimmy shook his head.
“What do you mean you’re ‘not going’ to do that?” Dr. Mutagen flailed his arms angrily.
“I’m not going into some brainwashing pod that makes me your slave. I’m just not doing it. I mean I’d have to be stupid to do it.” He stuck his tongue out at the scientist.
“Hey! That’s enough of that young man! I am the adult and you are the child and you will do as I say!” Dr. Mutagen demanded, stamping his foot and emotively pointing at the Indoctro-matic 3000. “Now get into the pod so I can brainwash you!”
“Or what?” Jimmy asked.
“Or um erm…” Dr. Mutagen hadn’t planned this far ahead. He had just assumed that children listened to adults. This was a fact he could have easily learned was false by speaking to any parent or teacher, or trying to interact with any children in general, but the only person he’d listened to in the last several decades was himself- and certainly not his court-mandated therapist. “Or you won’t get dessert tonight!”
“But if I’m in the pod, wouldn’t I not get dessert anyway?” Jimmy asked.
“Erm- well- uh- you got me there.” Dr. Mutagen scratched his head. How was he supposed to kidnap people, turn them into beast children, and then indoctrinate them if they were going to be difficult about getting in the pods?
“You get in the pod right now young man or your mother will hear about this!” Dr. Mutagen tried.
“My mother is in another universe.” Jimmy retorted.
“Well- then um…” Dr. Mutagen tried to think hard. He was good at building machines, not managing children. He thought this would be simple. Why was the new bat child making things so difficult for him? “Then- you’re grounded!”
“No I’m not!” Jimmy flew upwards to the ceiling and found a rafter. He grabbed onto it with the claws on his feet, then hung upside down from it and folded his wings around himself. “I’m on the ceiling.”
“That’s not what I meant and you know it! Why are you being so difficult!?” Dr. Mutagen jumped up and down.
“Why do you want to take over the world?” Jimmy asked.
“Well- that’s um- because…” He paused and considered. “I, uh, never really put much thought into it. But you know how it goes… you build a giant evil lab and you just… kind of want to use it. It’d be a waste to just have it sitting there, so you go and take over the world.”
“Why did you build a giant evil lab?” Jimmy giggled.
“Because they’re cool!” Dr. Mutagen shouted at the top of his lungs, crossing his arms before pointedly NOT looking at the petulant bat-child. Was the good doctor… pouting?
“Well…” Jimmy looked around the giant lab. “I suppose you got me there. But I’m still not getting in the pod.”
“GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Dr. Mutagen threw up his arms before proceeding to bang his head against a wall. “Ok, kids like candy, would you go inside for some candy?”
“How much candy?” Jimmy asked.
“How much will it take?” Dr. Mutagen smiled coyly, his voice suddenly turning hopeful.
“I dunno. You’re asking me to give up my free will and all here.” Jimmy rocked back and forth while he hung upside down thinking, “I’d say… you’d probably have to… sell all those pods to be able to afford enough candy to get me into one.”
“DEAL!” Dr. Mutagen shouted. “I’ll just… WAIT A MINUTE!” He pointed at the bat kid. “You’re trying to trick me! If I get rid of the Indocto-matic 3000, I can’t brainwash anyone at all!”
“I mean, trying would require a bit more effort than this.” Jimmy giggled to himself.
“You dare laugh at the mighty Dr. Mutagen!? Well– fine! I’ll show you! Take um… THAT!” The scientist took off one of his shoes and threw it at Jimmy. It didn’t even reach half the height needed to hit him.
“Did you just throw your shoe? Was that seriously your best idea?” Jimmy asked.
“Well– um, I was just warming up is all!” Dr. Mutagen insisted. Though he frowned as he looked down at the floor. “But now my foot is cold.”
“Maybe you should throw a lab coat at me next. It’s not like you don’t have an extra or anything.” Jimmy teased.
“NEVER!” Dr. Mutagen shouted back. “No self-respecting mad scientist would ever part with his lab coat under any condition. It’s how people know we’re scientists. And evil.”
“I’m pretty sure more than evil people wear lab coats.” Jimmy shrugged. “Speaking of which, do I just, like, not wear clothes now?”
“LIES! Everyone who wears a lab coat is evil! At least that’s what my dating app says.” Dr. Mutagen paused at the second question. “And I don’t know, I had planned on some kind of military uniform, but I didn’t know how big you were going to be when you came out of the pod. So, the faster in the pod the faster I can make you a uniform!”
“Nah I think I’m good like this!” Jimmy flapped his wings playfully. “I mean it didn’t really even feel like it counts as being naked when you’re covered in fur.”
“I tire of your childish mockery!” Dr. Mutagen shook a fist.
“You’re the one who turned me into a child!” Jimmy retorted.
“Doesn’t mean you have to act like one!” The doctor replied snidely. “Fine! Just stay up there! I’ll find… A broomstick… Well– like six broomsticks no… seven? Eight… eight should do it. I’ll get eight broomsticks and tie them together to make one really long one then poke you until you come down.” Dr. Mutagen ran out a door into another room of the lab.
“Yeah good luck with your broom thing, I’m sure it’ll go as great as your other plans!” Jimmy let himself hang loosely from the rafters. “Man, this is fun. I have no idea what’s going on but I’m having a blast.”
Jimmy was left alone for over thirty minutes. He actually started to wonder if the evil doctor had given up and wasn’t coming back. But finally, the door slammed open and the doctor returned. He was, noticeably, lacking in broomsticks.
“So I notice you don’t have any-“ Jimmy started.
“The cleaning staff already went home for the day, okay?!” Dr. Mutagen cut the bat kid off. “And this place has like a thousand closets! I couldn’t find the utility closet. But that matters not… Because I found… THIS!” The doctor pulled from his lab coat what appeared to be a comically oversized ray gun. It looked like the type of plastic toy you would see in a toy store. It was so ridiculous.
“And that is?” Jimmy asked slightly nervously.
“THE ITCHY INCONVENIENCE LASER!” Dr. Mutagen gave a triumphant and maniacal laugh. “One hit from this and you’ll have a really bad itch on a spot of your body you just can’t reach no matter how hard you try.”
“WHY WOULD YOU EVEN MAKE SOMETHING LIKE THAT!?” Jimmy dropped from the rafters and flapped his wings, taking to the air for evasive action.
“Well, I actually made it in high school, it was my first evil invention but that doesn’t matter! Get down here! Or ready yourself for the discomfort of a lifetime!” Dr. Mutagen began to fire the ray at Jimmy without even waiting for a response.
“Whoa! Hey! Watch it!” Jimmy quickly weaved throughout the lab avoiding the beams. “That one almost hit my ear!” Jimmy complained.
“Yes! Flee! Flee like the caged animal you are! For now, there is no escape! And you will have no choice but to go inside the pod!” Dr. Mutagen continued to laugh maniacally as he continued to fire the gun.
“I mean it’d be really annoying but don’t think it’d get me in there.” Jimmy muttered as he flew behind the machine that had brought him here and transformed him.
“Oh you say that now, but when the annoying itch never goes away you’ll give in!” The doctor fired again, this time hitting the machine. Suddenly, there was a low whistling noise.
“How concerned should we be about you zapping your own machine?” Jimmy quickly moved to a far corner of the lab away from the machine.
“I don’t know…” Dr. Mutagen admitted. “I mean, it’s just an itch ray, not like, a death ray so it might not-“
And then the machine exploded, blowing the entire roof off of the lab. Jimmy was far enough away that he was able to avoid the blast. As for Dr. Mutagen, he was stuck near the center of it, and soon completely covered in soot after the blast was clear.
“-Explode.” Dr. Mutagen coughed several times.
“Hey, no roof, I’m free.” Jimmy grinned.
“Now don’t you dare!” Dr. Mutagen quickly shook the soot off him. “My machine is gone so you’re the only soldier I have and-‘”
“NOT SO FAST EVIL DOER!”
There was a loud crash and one of the walls of the lab was blown open. Standing in the center of the now gaping hole was a man whose body was best described as 80% abs dressed in blue spandex, adorned with a red cape and a blue mask. “I, Captain Smash, have come to stop your wicked ways!”
“Oh come on- the roof was already blown off!” Dr. Mutagen waved his arms. “Did you really have to take down one of my walls too?!”
“Don’t worry, the walls are still perfectly fine where you’re going! Prison!” Captain Smash shouted and then quickly ran across the room, punching Dr. Mutagen in the face and knocking him into the opposite wall. “KAPOW!”
“Ohhhhh– am I seeing an actual superhero battle now?” Jimmy grinned. “Wait, is he making his own sound effects?”
“BOOM!” Captain Smash picked up a table, throwing it at Dr. Mutagen. The mad doctor quickly ducked out of the way, but while he himself escaped harm, there was now a second wall with a hole in it.
“Yes, it’s a thing he does. It’s really annoying… And…” Dr. Mutagen turned around and saw the hole in the wall. “OH COME ON! Seriously!? You know my insurance doesn’t cover Costumed Justice!” He threw up his arms, “You know what?! That’s it! I’m done with this. Today is a wash. I’m going home and eating a bucket of ice cream.” Dr. Mutagen stepped out of the hole and slowly walked away into the night.
“Once again, evil has been defeated by the mighty wings of justice!” Captain Smash shouted.
“Do you mean my wings?” Jimmy flapped down and landed on the ground just across from Captain Smash. “Or was this just a general metaphor.”
“My gosh! Dr. Mutagen has been experimenting on children now? The fiend knows no end to his depravity.” The hero looked sickened.
“I mean, I was an adult before he started messing with me…” Jimmy shrugged.
“Wait, what? So why would he turn you into a kid?” The hero was confused.
“I really don’t think he thought it through that much himself, if I’m being honest.” Jimmy shrugged.
“Well worry not! Our top scientists will have you back to normal in no time!” Captain Smash posed heroically, the light of the moon weirdly glistening off his spandex suit despite the fact that it was overcast outside.
“Actually, you know, I think I’d rather stay like this. If that’s ok.” Jimmy took a step back nervously.
“You– want to stay a bizarre animal hybrid?” Captain Smash raised an eyebrow.
“I can fly and I get to be a child again.” Jimmy responded flatly.
“Fair enough! You know kid, you’ve got gumption! And if you can hold your own against a dangerous opponent like Dr. Mutagen, you have real potential. The Justice Champions are always looking for new talent for their sidekick division. If you’re going to stay a kid anyway, what do you say? Want to sign up for the Superhero Sidekick Academy?”
“Hmmmm.” Jimmy folded his wings around himself and thought. Fighting supervillains sounded pretty dangerous. On the other hand, that Dr. Mutagen had honestly been a complete joke, and a ton of fun to mess with to boot. Sidekick was just one step away from being a superhero in their own right. What kid, or adult, or adult turned-into-a-kid wouldn’t want that? “You know, I think I would be interested!”
“Wonderful! Now, what is your address! We will fetch your things and have them delivered to the academy dorms.” Captain Smash shouted, his voice echoing through the metallic ruins of Mutagen’s lab. It seemed he only had two volumes. Loud, and louder.
“Uh- funny thing about that… I’m kinda-sorta from a different universe, so that might be hard.” Jimmy wasn’t sure if the guy was going to understand. He didn’t seem much brighter than the evil doctor, and that was a low bar.
“Great news! You now qualify for a full scholarship!” Captain Smash shouted enthusiastically. “Universal Crossovers are like, really big hits, so we give full rides to anyone from another universe. Nearly a full third of the Justice Champions are from other universes. This, honestly, happens a lot.” He sounded confident, which was weird for a man who preferred to walk through a solid wall instead of jumping in through an open roof. “We have everything streamlined. We’ll get you a social security number in this universe and get you registered as a citizen! You know, make it so you actually exist and stuff, and then you’ll be at the academy training with the best in how to defend the world from evil!”
“Really? It happens that often? Huh.” Jimmy smiled amused. “Well, I guess I’ve got no reason to object then. I’m ready to join.”
“Wonderful!” Captain Smash shouted. “Now follow me! To the academy- to sign you up as a new student! And to justice!” Captain Smash proceeded.
“Sure whatever you say!” Jimmy flapped his wings and flew after the captain. He had a feeling he would like it here.