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Voyeur's interview with Professor Peculiar


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--20 questions--


"Hi, this is Voyeur — on the scene and looking clean — here to educate and elaborate on all things superhero."


"As most of you who watch my feed already know, the city has a new hero on the street. He showed up a few weeks ago with some rabbit-like refugees from another world in tow. These refugees have been given asylum and are quickly turning into something of a tourist attraction. Borough-made handicrafts are selling like hotcakes — if hotcakes were worth thousands of dollars on Etsy and Ebay!"


"But that's not why were coming to you live right now. I have here the new hero, and he's agreed to speak with your Voyeur. Let's give him the Twenty, shall we?"


[The camera focuses on the new hero. He is of moderate height, with a smooth, bald pate and a van dyke beard. Expensive-looking blast goggles with red lenses completely obscure his eyes. He wears a white lab coat with indecipherable writing sewn along the edges, and oversized black gloves.]


1.       So what do we call you?

Well, my given name is Edward Peck... but I understand that it's traditional for champions of this world to take unique monikers that can refer to their power source, their appearance, or even simply an etymological similarity to their name. I have chosen Professor Peculiar, for reasons I consider obvious.


2.       Woah, you don't mind sharing your real name? We're live, you know.

It doesn't matter greatly. You're unlikely to find me among your clever networked machines, as I am from, ah, elsewhere.


3.       So where are you from, then?

I am from another dimension, much like this one in many ways but very different in others. On my Earth, for example, we developed the science of Arcana, where your people focused on the science of Physics.  To us, magic was simply how things were done, and these clever machines your people developed never happened. There I was a respected scientist, but our science is your magic.


4.       What brought you here?

I lead the Borough-folk here from their world... I sought a world where they would fit in, or at least be accepted. Your people seem to have an almost instinctual affection for the Borough-folk, due to their strong physical similarity to "rabbits".


Another reason I love this world... your candy!


[Peculiar grins at this point and takes a lollipop from his coat pocket, unwraps it, and sticks it into his mouth. It's an incongruous sight, as he looks like a stereotypical mad scientist but with a lollipop stick jutting from his lips.]


5.       Our candy? Don't you have candy where you're from?

Oh certainly... but one would have to go to certain disreputable parts of town to acquire it, and the expense! It's an illicit activity, you see, and viewed as deviant behavior. Yet on your world it's seen as completely innocent. You even allow CHILDREN to eat it! I love it here!


6.       So how would you describe yourself? Are you a hero?

I am a man of science, first and foremost. I study our multiverse to better understand our place within it. Yet sometimes one cannot simply observe, and must take a hand. When you see the weak suffering under the boot heel of an oppressor, or a child crying due to a lack of food, who could stand back and do nothing? It doesn't take heroism to do these things, it just takes a conscience.


7.       What would you say is your greatest strength? Your greatest weakness?

That sounds like two questions in one, Rich. However, I must say my greatest strength is my unwillingness to give up. You'd be amazed at what you can achieve if you're unwilling to settle for anything but success.


As for my greatest weakness? Ah...


[Peculiar purses his lips a moment]


... my unwillingness to give up. I could have saved so many more people if I'd accepted that I couldn't save them all.


8.       What do you love? What do you hate?

I love a well-made crossword puzzle. I love the feeling you get when you change someone, not with force but with logic. I love seeing the world become a better place than it was.


What do I hate? [Peculiar chuckles] I hate black licorice.


9.       What is your greatest ambition?

I think I would like to understand. Yes. I would like to understand everything. That's not too much to ask, is it?


10.   Do you have any prejudices? How do you get along with others?

I try not to judge anyone before I understand them... but of course, that's the trick, isn't it? Can you ever really understand anyone? No no no, you can't judge people, really, but you can judge ACTIONS.


As for getting along with others... entirely overrated in my opinion.


11.   Where do your loyalties lie? In what order?

Oh, I'm not a fan of allegiances. All that swearing oaths and solemn vows. That just gets you stuck into rigid thinking, it does. No, I'd rather just do what's right and damn the flags and songs and whatnot.


12.   Do you have a family? What's the relationship there like?

I have a family, I do. Not that I've seen any of them in a good many years. I imagine they're all doing quite well for themselves. We're an intellectual lot, my family. Writers, philosophers, teachers, even a space explorer or two, though I think I've got that lot beat by now. I was the only one to go into pure science, though.


We used to stay in touch, back before I left home. The occasional letter, how are you, that sort of thing. We even suffered through the dreaded family gathering, though rarely. Mother never saw the need, really, and Father couldn't be dragged away from his workbench. Always a competition, it was, to see who had achieved the most.


13.   Why did you leave your home world? Not enough candy?

Hah. No, it was more serious than that. I... ah... I dabbled in forbidden science. More than dabbled, really, I explored it, mapped it out, planted flags, built a summer home in forbidden science.


You see, my home world developed dimensional science around the same time your clever tinkerers invented the telegraph. We thought we were so clever. We learned to open doors to other universes, never considering the dangers. We sent out flares into the night of the cosmos, inviting others to come visit. Come they did. Our world was nearly destroyed in two massive wars that reshaped the continents. We only just survived.


Naturally, all research into dimensional science was outlawed. Treaties were signed, oaths were sworn. The barrier between our world and the rest was strengthened, to prevent further incursions. My people feared the Great Beyond, and had firmly shut the door.


Then I came along and decided I knew better, didn't I? I wasn't even alive during the horrors of the dimensional wars, though I'd read about them well enough. They were so terrified of life from other dimensions, so convinced that everyone else out there was pure evil, I just knew it couldn't be true.


When I published my research, I showed them that I had made contact with GOOD people out there... that there were entire worlds that had never known any sort of war, that lacked a word for it in their language! No one listened. I was set to be imprisoned for life, forbidden to practice science, my portals sealed forever.


[Peculiar pauses, apparently lost in thought]


14.   So what happened?

HAH! That's a separate question! You thought I'd forgotten that two-fer you snuck in earlier, didn't ya?


I escaped, of course. They hadn't studied dimensional science, remember? They had no way to stop me. I left and, well... I haven't been back since.


15.   Alright, Professor. Let's switch to a different subject, though I suspect I already know the answer. How spiritual are you? Do you follow any religious practices?

Am I spiritual? I'd say so, yeah. I've seen a lot in my travels through the dimensions, and one thing I've come to understand is that the religions? THEY'RE ALL TRUE.


16.   All of them? Even the ones that directly contradict each other?

Especially those.


I don't understand.

I don't think we're meant to.


17. I'm not counting that last one as a question, Professor. Tell me what you fear the most.

I'm afraid we'll never reach the end of these question, Rich.


I'm waiting for a serious answer.

Very well. My biggest fear... I'm afraid that the hateful bastard with a speech impediment  that nearly wiped out the Borough-folk may find out he didn't quite get them all.


18.   You mean some extra-dimensional warlord might come to our world to finish off what he started?

It's a remote possibility. Very, exceedingly remote. I doubt it. Unlikely. Probably not. 50/50 chance at best.


That's the other reason I've settled here. To keep an eye on the people whose world I failed to save. One of the reasons I chose this world is because it has so many wondrous defenders. If he ever comes here, I won't be standing alone to stop him.


19.   That's disturbing. Have you chosen a team to stand beside you when/if that time comes?

Not yet. As you know, I'm still new here and I'm still learning who the other heroes are and what groups they have already formed. When I figure it out, I'll let you know.


20.   Ok, last question Professor: Are you married, or have some kind of life partner?


[Peculiar grows quiet for a moment]




"No more questions. We're done."

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