Help Poly solve mysteries, uncover strange plots & go behind-the-scenes

at the Wonderlens Amusement Planet!

A new clue is added DAILY, Monday – Friday


Start here, at DAY ONE.

New clues are added daily to the BOTTOM of the page.

PolyBlog also appears daily on Lycos at http://poly256.tripod.com/PolyBlog/



Want to know what REALLY goes on behind the scenes here? Sweetie-pie, have I got some stories to tell you!

 We may have built the hottest theme park in the galaxy, but NOTHING is going the way we planned. I mean, how COULD it?

 The whole place is built with alien technology.

 Heck - half the buildings ARE aliens! I just saw a RESTROOM walk off to take a coffee break. Try to explain THAT to the tourists!

Oops - I gotta go. Another big tourist transport just landed. That means it's showtime for me! I really DO like giving tours…

 I just hope no one needs to use the RESTROOM.

I'll be gone for a few hours, but If you want to have a look around the park, go ahead. Uh….do me a favor and try to stay out of sight.

 We're still not OFFICIALLY open to the general public.

 If anybody asks, just tell them you're a VIP guest from...hmmm...let's try to pick someplace obscure. How about "Earth" - perfect! Tell them you're from Earth. Is that even a real place? Doesn't matter - it'll keep 'em confused.

Good luck! Just use my secret employee entrance at:

Wonderlens Secret Back Door

  30 March 2003 11:22 AM PST

Psychic Tourists - What Next?

Yesterday's tour went ok - a little ODD. Nice people...er...ok, not technically people, but a nice bunch. Here's a group photo of us.

They're a species called Palm Gazers. They're all psychic - most are telepaths. I never know what to say to these guys. I mean, if they're already reading your mind, is it rude to speak to them?

Or maybe it's rude NOT to speak. It's so confusing.

But, like I said, they're really pretty nice. We have a few Palm Gazers on staff here at Wonderlens already. Most of them work in the gift shops - psychics usually do pretty well in retail.

There was one slightly unfortunate incident. Our group dropped by the Castellar Cafe for lunch. Chef Fugu came running out of the kitchen and tried to GRAB a coconut off one of the Palm Gazers.


Note to self: those aren't coconuts...they're eyeballs! Whoo, were we all embarrassed!

Chef apologized right away. His shipment of coconuts arrived on the next cargo ship. Don't worry - we checked - they really were coconuts. They failed the eye test.

So we have fresh coconut cream pie at the Cafe today! Sadly, the Palm Gazers won't be joining us for lunch. Turns out they don't eat! They explained how they convert brainwaves into energy instead. I'm not sure I really understood the whole thing and now I'm wondering if they weren't just kidding. Telepaths - I never get their jokes!

Well, it's almost time for my next tour group to arrive, so I'd better sign off. I just got the strangest message from their ship's captain - something about half the ship being on fire? Maybe I misunderstood him. There was a lot of static on the line.


Still, I'd better check it out.

What IS that weird smoky smell in the hallway?

Oh - almost forgot - in case you want to buy something, here's a free Wonderlens Doubloon. It'll buy anything at the Prizes & Surprises Shop

Take me to the Prizes & Surprises Shop

Have fun!


31 March 2003 3:52 PM PST

Why yes, that WAS smoke...

Is it Monday already? What a night! The S.S. Vulcania docked last night...on fire!


I could smell the smoke from my room.


Well, at first I thought it was just another of Chef Fugu's BBQ experiments, but once I saw the fifty-foot flames...well, that pretty much ruled out another Luauu Night gone wrong.

I rushed down to the docks - besides being a tour guide, I'm also on the volunteer fire patrol. Actually, all of us are...it's not all that voluntary. Something is always catching fire around here!


Well anyway, by the time I reached the ship, the captain had run off! (I suppose you can't really blame him - he turned out to be a Papyrusian - they're an extremely intelligent species, but being made of paper, they're quite flammable).

Luckily, my buddy Max Darkstar was already on the scene. That guy has nerves of uber-titanium. He leapt through the flames to try to rescue the passengers. We could hear them shouting. There were a lot of voices - they sounded desperate.

I messaged for help. I could see the fire patrol heleporters lifting off, but it seemed like they were moving in SLOW MOTION. Then I remembered - it was Sunday - they really WERE running in slow motion.


Time itself runs slower on Sundays, in all non-essential areas of the amusement park! It's part of our time-space-energy conservation effort. Darned Time Protection Agency - the TPA is always on our case about WASTING TIME!

By then, the air was black with smoke and the HEAT was starting to singe my paintjob! I couldn't imagine how Max could possibly survive in that inferno.


But then I saw him - coming back through the flames.

What happened next was just crazy.

Max came walking - no strolling back towards me with a huge wall of flame following right at his heels! Then he leapt from the ship and...this is where it gets weird...the flames followed him.

One by one, balls of flame hopped off the ship and plopped onto the dock next to us.

Turns out the flames were the passengers! Well, technically speaking, the flames were part of the passengers. They're Vulcan Peebles, flaming volcanic rock-like creatures. Apparently they're almost always on fire -it's a part of them - like a hairdo.


In fact, Max said it's customary to greet them by complimenting their flames, so we spent a good half hour doing that while the rest of the fire patrol extinguished the dock and fireproofed the guest quarters where the VPs will be staying.

Oh...and it turns out the voices I heard before - when I thought the passengers were shouting "Save us! Save us!" Max says they were really shouting "savooz, savooz". Turns out "savooz" are something like marshmallows - they were just yelling for their waiter to bring some.

Well, now it's a new day at Wonderlens. The suns are shining. Birdfish are singing. Most of the flaming wreckage has been hauled away…

I've been thinking of brushing up on my offworld languages. You never know when you'll need to know the difference between the english word for "help" and the vulcan word for "marshmallow."

Max introduced me to W.A.T.R. - the Wonderlens Alien Translating Robot. He's supposed to be the language whiz around here -plus yow! What a cute 'bot! Anyway, I'm going to head over to see him after my next tour group. Why don't we meet up?

I won't be long - at least I hope not. I just have to give a tour to a small group of Fungila Monsters. How tough could that be?

I'll join you as soon as I can.
Here's the entrance to a shortcut that leads straight to

Just turn right when you get to Robot Row.

01 April 2003 1:55 PM PST

April Fool? yup...that's me

What a day! I almost didn’t make it here in one piece – literally! We had a little problem with the teleporters and several of my favorite body parts got transported out to the parking lot!

I know, I’m just a robot and I’ve got plenty of spare parts, but that is SO not the point! It took me all morning to track down my right hand – my favorite one too – the pink one with the built-in mouse. I finally found it – get this – in the trunk of one of the Grey’s spaceships! The Grey said he was just about to take my hand over to Lost & Found…yeah right.

And I’ve got a nice swampy nebula I can sell you for real cheap.

Anyway…I’m back in one piece again. No thanks to the miracle of teleportation. Actually, that was my fault. I let one of the Fungila Monsters from yesterday’s tour group “calibrate” teleporter #2.

Well...he claimed he could HEAR that it was out of alignment. I guess I should have noticed those Fungilans don’t have EARS.

Hmmm….and it was odd that as he was making repairs, the thing kept catching on fire. Maybe that’s NOT a standard feature after all.

Luckily, I ran into Max Darkstar later in the Robot Cantina and he explained the whole thing to me. Fungila Monsters are very enthusiastic about fixing things…they’re just not any good at it.

Max says not to feel bad. He swears he once let a couple of Fungilans “repair” his ship when he was stranded in their galaxy. When he opened the ship’s hatch to go back inside, he found the whole interior melted.

When he mentioned this to the Fungilans, they happily assured him that his “toaster-oven” was fully repaired and capable of heating Pop Tarts in record time. (yeah – we both thought it was kinda weird that they have Pop Tarts out in the Fungilan Galaxy)

So we live and we learn. Well, technically I don’t live (hellooo…robot!) but I am capable of learning.

Speaking of learning, did you get to meet W.A.T.R. ? I swear that hot ‘bot must know a gazillion languages! And such a cutie!

AND, he’s in a band! Well, not officially, but I hear he jams with the Battle Slugs down at the Wonderlens Amphitheater sometimes. You wanna go check them out? I’ve got a couple of  BACKSTAGE PASSES

Go ahead. They’ll let you walk right in – maybe even let you sit in on the jam session! Hey - do you play drums? They’re always looking for a new drummer.

I’ll catch up with you in just a nanosec. I have to swing by the Robot Cantina first. I got this really bizarre-o message from my friend, Astral. Do you know her? Astral Geode – she works over in Humanoid Resources. Anyway, she sounded pretty freaked out, so I’d better make sure she’s ok. Probably nothing. Oh shoot – I hope she didn’t try to use teleporter #2!
Gotta go.


02 April 2003 12:05 AM PST

The plot thickens...
Hey there!
Sorry I never made it over to the Amphitheater, but I hear you guys were pretty awesome. SO...did the BATTLE SLUGS officially ask you to join their band? Everyone is saying you were GREAT!

I had a deeply strange afternoon. Remember how I said I was going by the Robot Cantina to see my friend Astral? Well, she wasn’t there. I even asked the bartender, Ving Nutt if he’d seen her and he said offworlders had been asking about her all morning! They even flashed a photo of us!

That’s Astral on the far right. Ving is the big lug on the far left.

Ving didn’t recognize the offworlders– but he was sure they weren’t Wonderlens employees – he says they weren’t even robots!

Well, we see ALL types in the Cantina – even organics, like Astral, but Ving says these guys were definitely a shady bunch…Lampyresliving shadows. I hate to say this, but they do make my circuits crawl.

I can’t think why a bunch of Lampyres would be looking for Astral. I suppose they might have been just looking for work. But why would they be snooping around the Cantina? That’s supposed to be off limits, except for employees.

Well, I’m going to head over to the Casteller Café next. Maybe Astral meant for me to meet her there? We usually have lunch at the Café on Wednesdays. Chef Fugu always comes up with something uh…unexpected.

Yeah – she’s probably already there…chowing down on fried Cryo-Mari strips. Mmmm…that sounds pretty good. Why don’t you come along?

C'mon. I'll buy you lunch


03 April 2003 6:53 AM PST



I guess Astral never made it to the CASTELLAR CAFE either. This is starting to get spooky. Astral NEVER misses our Wednesday lunch! It’s the only time we get to gossip about …I mean discuss work.

Luckily, I’m not designed to panic (PANIC 2.0 is part of my next upgrade package – I haven’t even downloaded it yet. After I installed that stupid Procrastination patch I never got around to…oh never mind)

I am becoming deeply concerned, however. I’m going to head over to Astral’s office. Hopefully she’s there. Or if not, maybe we can figure out what’s going on.

I should warn you, Astral works over in Humanoid Resources. That whole department is in an alternate dimension.

It’s not really so bad – it’s close to the restrooms, at least. You’d better follow me, though. Sorry, but we'll have to use the teleporter to get there. Don’t worry. I mean...they MUST have fixed that teleporter problem by NOW...right?

Here we go…teleporter #2...just step right inside and...

No WAIT! I just remembered. This is your FIRST time using the teleporter, right?

You'll need to get an ID wristband first. It'll store all your DNA information...just in case we need to uh...reconstruct you later.

It's just a safety precaution...REALLY!

We hardly ever loose anyone. Well, not permanently.

Just make sure the thing is securely fastened to your wrist BEFORE you teleport.


04 April 2003 12:07 AM PST

Good to go

Have you got your WRISTBAND securely fastened?
Well then, I guess we’d better get moving.

Remember...once you step inside the teleporter, you might experience some minor...side effects.

Nothing to worry about. Really.

Well...you might black out for a moment, but that’s what the padded walls are for. Never mind the drain in the floor…that’s just for uh...maintenance.


Man, I hope that worked.
oh...sorry...I thought you left already.

Ok, fine...we'll leave together...

05 April 2003 3:09 AM PST


In the dark
Oh good – you made it back from ASTRAL GEODE'S OFFICE!! I thought I’d LOST you.

I’ve NEVER seen Astral’s office so dark! Actually, I’ve never seen any of the offices go dark at ALL. Technically, it’s impossible!

The whole amusement park is patrolled 24 hours a day by Illumoths – a giant moth species with naturally luminous wings. They’re terrific security guards and a very powerful light source. Just don’t tick them off –they can give you a nasty sunburn.

So WHY was Astral’s office so dark? It’s almost like something was sucking the light from…...wait a sec...Lampyres!

Astral’s office must have been full of Lampyres! They can suck the light right out of anyplace.

Good thing we both made it OUT of there! Ick.

But I don’t GET it. Why are these Lampyres looking for Astral? And where IS she?

I DID manage to grab something off her desk before we ran. Looks like a BOOK? It’s a journal – it’s Astral’s holo-blog!

I was SO jealous when she got this thing!

All she has to do is THINK about what she wants to post in her blog and it appears right here on the pages! It’s odd that she left it behind – she never goes ANYWHERE without it!

If I can just figure out how to unlock it...

Oh shoot – I have a tour group arriving - I can see them gathering down in the lobby already. Greys – that’s just perfect. Can this day get any better?

I’ll be gone for a few hours. Why don’t you sneak back over to Humanoid Resources and see what you can find. FORGET about Astral’s office. It must be crawling with Lampyres by now.

If ONLY we knew which alien species have visited recently. Hmmm...see if YOU can get into the W.A.R.P. archives. It’s a restricted area, but you can use my access badge to get in.

I’ll meet you back here as soon as I can.


Be careful!

07 April 2003 12:04 AM PDT

Blind Luck
Finally, a stroke of LUCK!

The Greys postponed their tour on Saturday. Turns out was a MAJOR holiday for them. I really do try to keep up with all the alien cultures, but shoot, there’s only so many nanoseconds in a millisecond!

For future reference, April 5th was St. Flatulent’s Day. No really. The Greys take their practical jokes VERY seriously.

Apparently, St. Flatulent is their patron saint of whoopee cushions and rude noises. It’s a day of feasting on legumes and...you really don’t want to know the rest.

But the GOOD news is that I had all weekend to ponder the mysteries of Astral’s holo-blog. I ran it through my most wicked decryption tools. It took forever, but I finally broke it! Not the password – the lock. I got a nice bendy coat hanger and just pried the thing open.

You’re just in time – let’s open the holo-blog up and read it!

WHAT the…? The pages are all BLANK!I can’t believe it!!!! Of all the...oops, sorry...

Guess my anger-management upgrade didn’t take.
Tell you what, let’s go grab a couple of nice cold Besmou Colas and maybe we can figure this thing out.

I saw a bottle or two back in ASTRAL’S OFFICE.

Those Lampyres must be gone by NOW...right?
Uh...no,no…after you!

08 April 2003 12:01 AM PDT

Dumb Luck

Mmmm, nothing like a nice, cold Besmou Cola to...



My bad.

I think I knocked over my bottle of cola onto your shoes. That might leave a stain. Or maybe your shoes were already neon purple?

No, huh? I guess that also explains why they also look two-dimensional now. That’s a little side effect of Besmou Cola. It makes everything it touches temporarily 2D.

Haven’t you ever seen the commercial?

“Take a sip - it’s a trip - it’ll leave you in tizzy…
Your body goes flat but the soda stays fizzy!”

Great. Now THAT little jingle is going to be stuck in my head all day.

HEY! Look at the holo-blog!

There ARE words on the pages!
Everywhere the cola dripped onto the blog, Astral’s words are starting to appear!

Hey - Besmou Cola is Astral’s favorite drink. She SAYS it makes her look like an anime character. I’ve never been a big fan of the stuff – honestly – don’t you think it makes me look a little flat? No – don’t answer that.

BUT...since Besmou Cola briefly turns anything two-dimensional, maybe Astral planned all this. Maybe she’s been using some kind of 2D ink that’s invisible when it’s 3D!

I guess Astral finally found a way to combine her two hobbies: anime & paranoia.

Well, it’s kind of messy, but now we can read her blog!

WAIT! Somebody’s coming!
Quick – HIDE!

09 April 2003 12:07 AM PDT

 A Hidden Message
Whew! THAT was a little too close.

That was a Sentient Sentry, kiddo. NOT to be fooled with. Luckily, I don’t think he saw us. Until we know what’s going on and who we can trust, we’d better steer clear of the Sentries.

You don’t want to mess with them – they’re highly skilled bouncers – trained in the six deadliest forms of door-to-door combat!

Now...let’s see if we can read Astral’s blog.

Dear Poly – I can only hope you’ve discovered my holo-blog. I think I’ve discovered something…unbelievable. You’ll have to see it for yourself – otherwise you’ll just think I’ve gone insane.

WAIT! The words are fading! We need another bottle of Besmou Cola! We’d better split up – we’ll be able to cover more ground. I’ll try the kitchens and the vending machines.

There might be another bottle in ASTRAL’S OFFICE., but I’m not sure it’s safe. I thought I saw a Lampyre or two when we snagged the last two bottles.

Try checking THE ATTRACTIONS There’s got to be some Besmou Cola somewhere!

Meet me back here. Do NOT breath a word to anyone!



10 April 2003 12:07 AM PDT

In the Dark
Did you have any luck?

Great! I found an extra bottle of Besmou Cola too! We should be able to read the rest of Astral’s holo-blog now.

Poly, I may be gone for a few days. I need to be 100% sure I’m right about all this. You’ll soon understand everything– believe me! Until then, try to cover for me. I’m counting on you!

And for now, don’t say anything to any one! This thing I’ve stumbled onto – it’s amazing, but not everybody is going to be happy to have this secret revealed! I’m sure I’m just being paranoid (oh – stop laughing) but I could swear I’m being followed.

Just my imagination, I’m sure. Still, I just can’t shake this creepy feeling that I’m being watched. All I see are shadows, though. Lots of shadows…it’s strangely dark here. Isn’t that odd?


11 April 2003 12:12 AM PDT

A Message from Astral...continued

Oh Poly…I hope you’re reading this! I’ll keep sending you messages through this holo-blog, but there’s no way for you to get a message back to me. I don’t even know if you’re out there Poly. For all I know, you’re sitting at the bar at the Robot Cantina making goo-goo icons at Ving Nutt! Or that cute robot from the language lab. What was his name…WATR?

Well, with any luck, I’ll be back in a few days – then I can tell you everything! Take care, kiddo and keep checking my blog! I’ll send you a new message whenever I get a chance.

I’d better keep moving. This place just keeps growing darker! It’s like I’m surrounded by shadows.
Astral Geode – out.


14 April 2003 12:12 AM PDT

Into the Shadows

Now what?! Did you HEAR what Astral said – she’s surrounded by shadows? The Lampyres must have found her. How can we warn her? How can we find her before...

WAIT a sec...

What was that CRACK about me making goo-goo icons at W.A.T.R. ?

I NEVER...oh sorry. Where were we…oh right! We have to find Astral!

I’ll head back to the ROBOT CANTINA and see if Ving Nutt can tell me anything else. You head over to THE SHOPS and see if they have any supplies that we can use.

Here's another Wonderlens doubloon. It'll buy you anything at Prizes & Surprises, but it's no good at The Souvenir Shop.
I’m not really sure where we’re going or what we’ll be facing. All I know is that we have to find Astral!

Meet you back here. Thanks so much for helping! I’d hate to be doing this on my own!

14 April 2003 6:55 PM PDT

Strange Sightings

Ving wasn’t much help. He’s a sweet lug, but not much in the way of processing power, if ya know what I mean. I think he was originally a dishwasher – no, not the GUY who washes dishes, but the actual dishwashing machine.

Guess that's why he always smells so lemony fresh.

Of course, I’m a recycled soda machine, so who am I to judge? A few major upgrades, a cute new chassis and now I’m a tour guide! And just between you and me – I still make a killer cup of crushed ice.

Sooo…did I tell you that I ran into Max Darkstar? There he was, smoldering good looks – no really smoldering. He’s been having quite the tough time putting out the fires the Vulcan Peebles keep setting off. It’s not their fault, of course. They don’t mean to set things on fire, but when you’re a superheated volcanic life-form, things are bound to get...toasty.

Despite being a fire hazard, they’re really a fun bunch – quite the partiers. They do this hilarious thing where they toast marshmallows over their flames and then shape them into funny shapes – kind of like balloon animals. But edible. And on fire. Maybe you had to be there.

Anyway, the Vulcan Peeble tour group is getting ready to leave Wonderlens, so Max was picking up some flame retardant champagne for their Bonfire Voyage party. I imagine it’s been a tough week for Max, but he was looking chipper as always. His eyebrows have almost grown back, too.

I was SO tempted to tell Max about Astral. We could really use his help, but Astral said not to tell anybody else! Plus, the Cantina was awfully shadowy...there might have been Lampyres lurking around.

Max did say something interesting though. He told me that last week Astral came running into his office and demanded that he remove one of the photos from his STRANGE SIGHTINGS bulletin board. But before he could ask her which picture she wanted removed, she ran off! He never did find out what that was all about.

Well, if he never removed any of the photos, there may be a clue still up on Strange Sightings.

Something Astral didn’t want anybody else to see!

We’d better check out STRANGE SIGHTINGS


16 April 2003 6:55 PM PDT


I’m not sure if I saw any CLUES, but I DID notice that Anita Nebula posted this photo of me coming in to work late!

The nerve!

I’m never late…well…hardly ever.

And you can see from the photo that traffic at the wormhole onramp was AWFUL! Plus, I think maybe I picked up a little virus that morning...

And come to think of it…if Anita took that photo – well, she must have been getting to work even later than me! Hah! Take THAT Ms. Nebula!

I wonder if that’s the photo Astral wanted removed? Funny, Astral never talks about Anita, even though they both work in Humanoid Resources.

Hmmmm…maybe it’s time for me to pay Ms. Anita Nebula a little visit.

Hey look! Astral’s holo-blog is glowing. She must have posted a new message.
Dang! The pages are blank again.

Do me a favor and snag another bottle of Besmou Cola.

Watch out for Lampyres!

17 April 2003 12:07 AM PDT


You did it! The BESMOU COLA must be working! Words are appearing on the pages again.

Dear Poly,
I never imagined it would take me this long to work things out. I think I’m losing track of time. How long have I been gone? Two weeks? More?

I thought I planned this expedition perfectly, but everything has gone wrong. I’m almost out of food and water. All my supplies keep vanishing! I know how crazy that must sound…maybe I AM going crazy.

The worst of it is, I’m almost out of air. I wish I could tell you where I am, but I know you’d just try to find me and I can’t let you risk it. This whole situation has gotten out of control.

I have to keep moving. I still haven’t seen anyone, but I feel certain I’m being followed. If only it weren’t so dark down here!

I’ll contact you again soon.
Astral Geode – out

18 April 2003 6:53 AM PST

Down Here!



“Down here?”

Down WHERE?!

Where IS she? The only places around Wonderlens without air are the space ports, but those are…well…UP in space! Orbiting the planet. That’s not exactly a “DOWN here” kind of place.

Wait…there IS one other place…but that’s crazy.

Oh Astral, what have you DONE?

The only other place without air is UNDER us…under the ocean. This whole place – the Wonderlens amusement park - is one giant hovering, flying saucer.

It was the only way. This entire planet is covered with water. Really DEEP water. Filled with really BIG creatures
with really GNARLY teeth!

And those are just the guys on the zoning commission! I hear the building inspectors are REALLY scary!

So we didn’t BUILD. We uh…floated.

But why on earth…well…why on Wonderlens would Astral go under the ocean? And how?

I’m sure she didn’t swim! Besides being deep and infested with zoning commissioners, the ocean on this planet is deadly acid. It eats through almost anything…or any ONE.

Astral wouldn’t DREAM of diving into that! She just had her hair highlighted, for pity’s sake! You do NOT mess with highlights!

Come on...let's check the photos at STRANGE SIGHTINGS. again. Maybe there’s something we missed?


19 April 2003 1:53 AM PST

Strange Sight
Well, Max won’t be thrilled, but I snatched one of his photos off the Strange Sightings bulletin board. If he asks, just tell him it uh…caught on fire. That’s been happening a lot lately.

Check THIS out – it’s an aerial shot of the whole Wonderlens park. In the distance, you can see the towers of the office buildings and the attractions. And those dark specks – those are ships arriving and departing. I know – the traffic is a nightmare. It's nuts! That's why we invented the Wonderlens. So nobody would have to bother with traffic...not to mention travel time and the lousy food at space ports and don't EVEN get me started on what low gravity does to your hairdo!

But it turns out, some species just like to travel the old fashioned way, by plain-old intergallactic lightspeed propulsion. Tourists. Ya gotta love 'em.

Sorry – back on topic - the big green dome in the center is the Aquarium of the Aliens viewing chamber. That’s our main attraction, right?

But what got me thinking, were the small domes circling the viewing chamber. THOSE, are artificial wormholes. We created them to transport building materials. But now that this Wonderlens park is almost complete, the wormholes are being recalibrated to link up to other locations. Some are going to be used to transport tourists, and SOME are going to become THRILL RIDES.

Hey – don’t laugh. We did a lot of market research – most species love thrill rides and we’re about to unveil the best one ever…the Black Hole Bungee Jump!

Strap in and be hurled forward in space and back in time…or was that backwards in space and…well in any event, it’s supposed to be quite the rush.

Not that you’ll ever catch ME riding it – I have very delicate circuits. Plus, I happen to know that the Black Hole’s chief engineer was…well…a Fungila Monster.

That's him on the far right.

He's a sweet fellah and smart as a whiplash, BUT...

...remember the "incident" with Teleporter #2? Well...he's the same guy who FIXED it. Last time I tried to teleport, I wound up in the wrong galaxy. Took me two space shuttles and a cruiseship to get back home. And I never DID find all my spare parts.

THAT kind of excitement, I don't need. Me, I prefer to keep all my body parts within the same general time zone.

But here’s what I’m thinking: if the Black Hole Bungee was calibrated just right, well maybe the wormhole could fling you under the ocean.

Maybe that’s where Astral is now! And maybe she can’t get back!

We have to at least check this out. I have to cover Astral’s morning shift, but I’ll be free in an hour. Meet me at the BLACK HOLE BUNGEE JUMP


22 April 2003 9:01 PM PDT

Pop Tarts

Soooo…the BLACK HOLE BUNGEE JUMP is closed for “routine maintenance”...? Not likely. The place looked like it was hit by a platoon of flaming Vulcan Peebles and it reeked of burning Pop Tarts.

Didn’t I tell you? Turns out the Fungila Monsters don’t EAT the Pop Tarts – they BURN them as fuel. Something about the gooey filling – if you burn enough of them, when the core reaches a critical temperature, it opens a wormhole!

Yup – the whole technology behind our patented, ultra-stable wormholes is based on burnt toaster pastries. Go figure.

So judging by the stench of charred strawberry jam, I’d say somebody opened a wormhole pretty recently. And did you notice the glass of milk sitting on the control panel? It was still ice cold.

Now, Astral NEVER drinks milk – she’s lactose inflammable. Milk products actually make her burst into flame. It’s not fatal, but it’s fairly unappetizing. Trust me.

So if Astral wasn’t the last person to go through the wormhole, who was? And why were they following her?

Wait. Did that shadow just move on it’s own?


23 April 2003 5:41 PM PDT
Shadow Boxing
NICE WORK! You caught a Lampyre!

I didn’t expect them to be solid enough to grab hold of!

But then, I never expected to see a Lampyre drinking a glass of milk, either.

Lampyres drink milk?

I think he’s trying to talk to us. Do you speak Lampyrian? Well, I HAD to at least ask, right? I’ll keep our shadowy friend here while you get help. No…wait! Let me just record what he’s saying and I’ll message it over to my buddy W.A.T.R.

He can translate. I’ll tell him we’re just watching a scary Lampyre movie and we can’t read the subtitles.

While I do that, why don’t you check out the OPERATING MANUAL for this wormhole generator. We’re going to have to figure out how to use it, if we’re going to follow Astral.

...YES, I'm serious!


24 April 2003 10:59 PM PDT

Interview with a Lampyre

Any luck with the OPERATING MANUAL?

Well, don’t worry about it. I just downloaded a Lampyre translating patch from W.A.T.R.

Hey...I think we’ve got this all wrong!

This Lampyre says his name is Noir.

He SAYS he and his cousins came to Wonderlens two weeks ago to PROTECT Astral!

Noir says they tried to make contact by performing a traditional Lampyrian greeting of shadow puppets.

But Astral thought it was just her contact lenses acting up.

Come to think of it, I do remember her complaining about seeing dark spots shaped like geese and bunnies.

Anyway…they’ve just been following her around all this time, trying to get her attention!

Noir says that two weeks ago, when Astral opened the wormhole here, his cousins followed her in.

He’s been waiting here ever since, in case they need help getting back.

Now here’s where it gets weird….ok…weirder.

Just a few hours ago, a bunch of goons ( I mean thugs…not Gunes from the planet Guneskwaadia – they’re not as bad as everybody says) came rushing in here and they opened their own wormhole and went after Astral!

Noir didn’t get a good look – he says they were dressed in dark shrouds – disguised as Lampyres. He says they got the shoes all wrong, though.

Now, I’m still not 100% sure we can trust Noir, here. We only have his word.

Plus, he’s been living off Pop Tarts and milk for two weeks now, so his blood sugar is pretty whacked. Still…he does seem to have an honest…shadowy lurking quality.

Noir says if we want to find Astral, he’ll open the wormhole for us and we can…dive in.

Yeah. What could POSSIBLY go wrong with THAT plan?

What's this?

Noir says he has a MAP!


25 April 2003 9:06 PM PDT

Lampyre Humor
Okaaay...I guess that WASN'T a map.

Noir says he was just kidding around. He got the fake MAP
over at the Gift Shop.

Now, don't get all panicky. We don't NEED a map, right? I mean, we'll just zip right through the wormhole, find Astral and bring her back.

How tough could that be?


Noir says there’s a 46% probability that everybody who’s already gone through the wormhole has just wound up at the bottom of the ocean and drowned.

Thanks, Noir. That's really helpful.

(Hopefully it’s just the Pop Tarts talking.)

Well, I'm not going to lie to you, kiddo. This is going to be pretty dangerous. Even if we survive the trip through the wormhole, we still don't know who...or WHAT we're going to find down there.

All I know is, I HAVE to go. I HAVE to find Astral.

Are you with me?

Noir...go ahead...



27 April 2003 4:19 PM PDT

Under Pressure
Uck. Remind me never to ride this thing when I have a full tank of…anything.

Watching the universe IMPLODE from a core of super-heated Pop Tart jam is not the start of a perfect breakfast.

So where the heck ARE we? Some kind of tunnel? It’s damp. Smells funny…oh shoot…that’s me.

Sorry. My flame retardant foam dispenser just went off. Geez –how embarrassing. There must be a high level of atmospheric pressure down here. Do you feel pressure in YOUR ears?

Well, I only ask because some of us don’t HAVE ears.

Sorry…didn’t mean to get all snippety there. This place kind of creeps me out.

I thought it would be darker than this. I guess the Lampyres aren’t here.

WaitAstral’s holo-blog is glowing. She’s trying to contact us.


29 April 2003 5:46 PM PDT

Astral Projection

Dear Poly,
I just felt a huge jolt shake the tunnels. PLEASE tell me you didn’t open a wormhole and follow me down here! Oh heck – what am I saying? I keep forgetting you get space-time travel sickness.

You’re probably reading this from a cushy booth at the Castellar Café. What’s Chef Fugu’s special of the day? I hope it’s BESMOU BAKED ELASTEROID. I know that’s your favorite. Love those Besmou 2D foods!

If you’re reading this, you must have already figured out that the words only appear in 2D. Did you find the Besmou magic wand I keep in my desk drawer? You must have – I’m sure you figured out how to use it to get my holo-blog to work.

Either that or you’re splashing my blog with Besmou Cola – hah! That would be pretty funny.

Uh…you’re NOT pouring Besmou Cola all over my state-of-the-art holo-blog ARE you, Poly?


Never mind. I’m getting close to finding what I came for! In a little while this whole nightmare will be over. You won't believe what I have to tell you! This news is going to change EVERYTHING.

WAIT…I hear something coming down the tunnel behind me.
I’ll get back to you in a nano.
Astral Geode – out


30 April 2003 6:12 PM PDT

Remember Earth?
I know. It looks bad.

It’s been over two hours and we haven’t heard back from Astral. There’s nothing to do but keep moving as fast as we can and hope we catch up with her before…before whatever else is down here finds her FIRST.

And how the HECK was I supposed to know NOT to pour Besmou Cola on the holo-blog?

I mean, it worked, didn’t it?

Astral has a point, though. We only have a couple of bottles of Besmou Cola left.

Once we run out, we won’t be able to read Astral’s messages. Not unless we come up with a magic wand. Hey! No problem! I’m sure these subterranean tunnels are just lousy with magic fairy wand shops.

Come to think of it, what ARE these tunnels doing here? This planet is supposed to be a Classification:NHI. That means No History of Inhabitants. If NO ONE ever lived here before us, where did these tunnels come from? They look old. REALLY old. Definitely not part of the recent construction work.

I’ve seen holograms of a place like this...somewhere.

I've GOT it!

In tour guide college (yes…there IS such a thing). We studied tourist destinations on different planets.

This place looks like something from Earth. Ever been there? Oh sorry - I keep forgetting - you're FROM there. You're the first Earthling I've met. You guys don't get out much do you?

I just can't quite place why this all looks familiar, but it does. I think. Maybe? Honestly, I never thought I’d need to know any of that stuff once I got out of school. Guess I should have done the reading assignment on this one.

Now it’s going to bug me the whole time we’re stuck down here. That and the stupid, stupid song from the NEW Besmou Cola commercial.

Besmou Cola for you and me!
Take a drink! In a blink, you can be 2D!

GAH! I hate that song!

Although…it does make me wonder what’s IN the Besmou Cola that makes things 2D.

I have a pocket version of the W.A.R.P. archives. Let’s see what they say about the Besmous.

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