“AH! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!!”
Gumball woke up screaming that, and he wasn’t entirely sure why. The last few hours were a total blur. The last thing he could remember was being in the TARDIS console room with Cara, Darwin, and Anais. Snake Plissken, their most recent occupant, was elsewhere in the ship; he tended to keep to himself most of the time, possibly still processing losing his world to the Daleks.
But, now, he wasn’t in the TARDIS.
He was inside some sort of futuristic cab with a driver – a smiling robotic mannequin in an old-fashioned cabbie’s uniform – with Darwin sitting to one side of him. Sitting at his other side was a pretty teenaged girl with short, wavy blond hair and wearing a black dress shirt and a pink yoga pants. It was an odd combo, but not as odd as the fact that she was barefoot.
“Bad dream, sport?” He heard the robot driver ask him.
“I…can’t remember,” Gumball replied, which was one of his odder responses – though this one was more justifiable than others in the past.
His screaming woke up Darwin and the girl. “Where are we?” his brother asked, before he glanced over at the girl and followed, “And who are you?”
The girl rubbed the side of her head, nursing a headache.
“My name’s Quinn,” she told them.
“O.K., Quinn,” Gumball said, “any idea as to how we ended up sharing a cab? And why you’re barefoot?”
“Well, to answer your second question, it’s a fashion statement,” Quinn sounded rather defensive on the topic. “As far as your first question…” She shrugged her shoulders. “Haven’t a clue.”
“Maybe our driver knows,” Darwin suggested. He looked over to the robot driver and called, “Hey, Mister Driver!”
The animatronic driver’s armless body swiveled around to face the passengers whilst still “driving” the cab. “Name’s Johnny Cab, son. What can I do for ya?”
“Can you tell us how we got here?” Darwin inquired.
“The door opened. You got in.”
His vague response did nothing to solve their baffling dilemma. “Well, that sure cleared things up,” Gumball remarked wittingly.
“Do you dream of a vacation at the bottom of the ocean, but you can’t float the bill?” They heard a sophisticated male voice advertise, speaking from the cab’s only television monitor, situated behind the Johnny Cab robot. It broadcasted some sort of commercial with footage that corresponded with the narration.
“Would you like to ski Antarctica, but you’re snowed under with work? Have you always wanted to climb the mountains of Mars, but now you’re over the hill? Then come to Rekall where you can buy the memory of your ideal vacation – cheaper, safer, and better than the real thing. So don’t let life pass you by. Call Rekall for the memory of a lifetime!”
“Rekall…” Quinn pondered the name in reminiscence. “That’s right! That’s where I was before I got in the cab! I was there with my dad, Douglas Quaid!”
“Your dad’s last name is ‘Quaid’?” Gumball asked in interest.
“Yeah,” Quinn warily confirmed. “Why?”
“That makes you ‘Quinn Quaid’,” Gumball marveled. “How quaint.”
She rolled her eyes at his bothersome entertainment over her name. Moving past it, she returned to their primary concern: “Rekall has been notorious for messing up people’s heads. They have to be the reason why we can’t remember anything, like how we got into this cab.”
“So, let’s go to this Rekall place and get our memories back!” the determined Gumball proclaimed, punching his fist into his palm. He then reflected on the gesture, “I’m not sure why I did that. I’m not actually gonna fight these people, not after watching that nice commercial.”
Quinn ordered the Johnny Cab to take them to Rekall, Inc. headquarters. Once there, Quinn and the Watterson boys stormed in. “We want to speak with a representative right now!” Quinn demanded.
The secretary at the desk outside salesman Bob McClane’s office was digitizing the color of her nails at the moment Quinn and the boys entered. One look at Darwin and Gumball and she immediately started screaming. “Get those filthy mutants out of here!” she specifically told Quinn.
“Mutants?” Gumball uttered the term with an eyebrow raised in curiosity. “That’s a new one.”
“Wasn’t that perception filter thing Miss Cara put on us supposed to keep everyone in other dimensions from getting freaked out when they see us?” Darwin asked.
Gumball shrugged. “Meh. Must be on the fritz.”
Suddenly, the videophone on the secretary’s desk rang and a bespectacled, bird-like woman appeared on screen. “Tiffany! It’s Dr. Lull!” she screeched. “Get Bob on the phone! We got an emergency happening in the memory studio!”
Tiffany (the secretary) transferred the call. Within seconds, Bob McClane rushed out of his office and to the studio. Quinn, Gumball, and Darwin chased after him, in spite of Tiffany ordering them not to. They entered the studio to see a man shouting and thrashing about in a chair, violently struggling to break the straps that held him down.
“That’s my father!” Quinn cried out.
“Mr. Quaid! Calm down!” McClane urged him.
Quaid managed to break the strap holding his right arm and grabbed McClane by the throat. “My name’s not Quaid!” he menacingly stated. He nearly almost killed McClane had Dr. Lull not intercepted, using a syringe gun to fire dose after dose into Quaid’s thigh until his grip on McClane’s throat weakened and he passed out.
The entire scene horrified Gumball and Darwin, but no more so than Quinn. “What did you do to my dad?!” she confronted McClane.
Gagging, McClane finally noticed her and the Watterson boys standing in the studio. “Security!” he summoned. A pair of muscled, black-suited guards immediately swarmed in. “Get this girl and those mutant freaks out of here!”
“Again with the ‘mutants’ thing!” Gumball grumbled irritably. “Does this dimension have some sort of infestation or something?”
No one gave him a direct response or even bothered to listen to what he had to say.
He, Quinn, and Darwin were consequently tossed out of Rekall, Inc.
“Ugh!” Quinn flew into a raging fit. “I knew those creeps were shady! As soon as my mom hears about this, we’re gonna sue them for every credit!”
In her ranting, a vehicle sped through their area. When it passed in front of them, something was thrown out through the passenger side window and landed at the bare feet of Quinn, Gumball, and Darwin.
Looking down, the trio discovered it to be a suitcase.
“Well, that was weird,” Gumball perceived of the circumstance. He noticed Quinn picking up the suitcase and taking it to the nearest dark alley to pry open, much to Gumball’s disdain. “What’re you doing?! There could be a bomb in that thing!”
Quinn didn’t heed his warning and opened the suitcase to reveal its sole content: a miniature videodisc player/TV set. She turned it on and the first thing that popped on the screen was Quinn’s own smiling face. “What up, girlfriend,” she spoke in a rather spunky tone. “Now you’re probably askin’ yourself, ‘Why am I watchin’ this video of my own gorgeous face?’ Well, that’s because I am you.”
“No kidding,” Quinn muttered.
“Or, more particularly, we are one person – Neas the Gladiator of Gallifrey,” the video Quinn elaborated.
Gumball and Darwin’s attention sparked at the name. “What the what?!”
“Listen, Quinn,” the video message said, “the memories you have aren’t real. Douglas and Lori Quaid are not your parents and you’re not from this dimension. You are a Time Lord from another world and you’ve been travelin’ the multiverse for over 100,000 years. Insane, right? You came here to investigate a conspiracy surrounding Mars but were caught by the Agency and sent to Rekall to have fake memories implanted. You have to follow Douglas Quaid, but don’t let him know you’ve found this video. His memories have also been tampered with and he may not be who he appears to be either. Good luck and keep our booty from imminent peril!”
The video message ended there, leaving Quinn, Gumball, and Darwin in awe.
“You’re Neas?!” Gumball said to Quinn.
“N-No!” she stammered. “I don’t even know who the hell that is!”
“She can’t be Neas,” Darwin disputed. “She’s just a kid like us. And she probably doesn’t even have two hearts like Miss Cara does.”
Quinn’s face froze in distress at Darwin’s description.
Gumball detected it straightaway. “Do you have two hearts?”
The teenaged blonde hesitated to answer. “I…I was born with more than one heart. My parents told me never to tell anyone about it, or else everyone would think I’m a mutant and send me to Mars. Only now…” She gazed on the videodisc player inquisitively. “…now I don’t know what to think.”
“Well, I think we should do as you – or the video version of you – say and follow your dad…or the guy who you think is your dad…” Gumball felt a headache coming on. “Man! This is all so confusing!”
“There’s her dad right there,” Darwin said, pointing a flipper towards the Rekall, Inc. entrance where the secretary and two of the technicians from the memory studio were dumping the unconscious Douglas Quaid into a Johnny Cab. Displeased to see her father treated like dirt to be swept under the rug, Quinn hailed another Johnny Cab to follow the one Douglas was in.
By night, they arrived at the Quaids’ apartment complex, albeit a few minutes late due to their Johnny Cab taking a shortcut that wasn’t as short as he claimed.
When they crossed the central plaza, they were met with a haunting display:
Douglas standing over dead bodies with a gun in his bloodied hands.
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