The Time Factory Unknown Time
'Where should I go today?' A cat with striped orange fur wondered.
Upon first glance, most would wonder why a cat was standing on two legs and was wearing a bright blue, high neck jacket with red pants, goggles, white steel-toed boots, and white gloves. However, this was no ordinary cat. This cat was a Time Sweeper. But not just any Time Sweeper. This was the famous Blinx who successfully defeated the Tom-Tom gang singlehandedly and saved world B1Q64 from being destroyed. Well, he's famous among the other Time Sweepers and an annoyance among the higher-ups for all the paperwork they had to deal with because of his disobedience.
'Maybe I'll head to the Hourglass Caves. Always something interesting to find there. But I'll have to deal with sand in my shoes. Perhaps I'll visit the Forgotten City. There are some great views, and the Sweepers there could always use an extra hand. Then again, I don't want to get blown up by the obscene amounts of bombs there. Eh, I'll just go to Deja Vu Canals. It is my day off, and a nice trip down the canals would be nice.'
Having made up his mind, Blinx began looking around for the B1Q64 entrance. Unfortunately, he was still a while away as he was still passing through the A worlds. Knowing that this would take some time, Blinx pulled out his sweeper and began inspecting it while listening to the reporter giving the daily news.
'...fortunately, there has been a decrease in glitches in time. And from the reports we have received from the overseers of each world, time monster sightings have been at an all-time low. Good job, sweepers. But don't forget, this weekend, we'll be looking over each sweeper's status reports. Lastly, the Tom-Tom Gang has yet to be seen since Blinx defeated them, but this does not mean you can let your guard down, sweepers, so stay alert.'
'Maybe I could make some time to meet up with the princess again.' Blinx thought as he put away his sweeper. But then he groaned when he remembered what inspections meant. 'Right. I have to get those reports in; otherwise, Catherine will have my tail.'
While most worlds and their citizens were unaware of the Time Factory or the Time Sweepers' existence, those who knew about them thought they only sweep time crystals and defeat time monsters. However, that was not the case as there was a vast amount of paperwork they had to do as well. And since Blinx was a team leader, he had more paperwork than the average sweeper. Furthermore, inspections meant that he had to send reports about his and his team's sweepers. Thankfully, his team only had one sweeper each while; unfortunately, he had eleven sweepers.
"At least I have until the end of the week to send the reports in." Blinx said as he moved onto a different conveyor belt once he entered the B worlds. But it would still take a few moments until he reached B1Q64 as he was only at B1P73.
"HEY, BLINX!" A voice shouted behind him. Blinx smiled when he turned around and saw his friend NecoJi running toward him.
"Hey, NecoJi. Need something?"
"Well, yes, but first, I wanted to thank you for helping out with those time monsters the other day."
"Hey, no problem. We Sweepers have to look out for each other. Now, what do you need help with?"
"I finally managed to secure the date for my honeymoon with Catherine. And I'm wondering if you could take over my night shift in World B3G20 during the weekend. It's only one night, though, and it's just making a routine sweep of the area."
"First, congratulations. And second, sure. Is there anything I need to know about world B3G20?"
"Well, there are some areas where the floors are unstable and could collapse at any moment. But we have them all sealed off with warnings posted around, so there is little chance of that happening."
"Alright. I'll take over your shift. Just enjoy your honeymoon with Catherine."
"Thanks, Blinx. You're a lives saver." NecoJi said with a sigh of relief. "But enough about me. What are you doing today since it's your day off?"
"I'm heading to the Deja Vu Canals of World B1Q64. Planning on enjoying a relaxing trip down the canals and maybe sightseeing a bit."
"Why not head to the Forgotten City? I heard they have some great views and even better food stands?"
"They do, but I don't feel like getting blown up today."
"That's true. Anyway, it was nice talking to you, Blinx. But I have to go now as I have to get my reports to Catherine. Otherwise, married or not, I will be losing a few lives."
"Alright, see you, NecoJi. And tell Catherine I said hi." Blinx said as NecoJi ran off in the opposite direction. "Ah, love cats. Those two make the perfect couple."
Blinx smiled and looked toward the gates and saw that he finally reached the one to World B1Q64. Hopping off the conveyor belt, Blinx entered the gate while moving to the side to allow other Sweepers on duty to pass. Once inside, he went he the nearby table and signed himself in on the attendance sheet. Usually, Sweepers didn't need to sign in as they were registered into the database every time they used the gateway. However, that changed during the Big Crystal incident, which resulted in a substantial loss of valuable data. And now, every sweeper must sign in with what world they plan to visit. It was a hassle, and it took some time to become accustomed to it, but it quickly became part of the sweeper's daily lives.
Once Blinx finished signing in, he began climbing the absurdly tall staircase that led to the gateways. While he understood why it was like this, he still felt the height was unnecessary, as most rookie or novice sweepers would become exhausted when they reached the top. Even some veteran sweepers needed a moment to catch their breaths after climbing the stairs.
'Damn these stairs.' Blinx thought as he caught his breath.
"HEY, BLINX!" A voice shouted from the side. Turning to it, Blinx saw that Eugene, the technician, was waving him over. Blinx smiled before running and jumping into Eugene's workstation, where he oversees everything.
"Hey, Eugene. What's up?"
"Not much. Just making sure everything runs smoothly. But I do need a favor from you."
"Sure, what is it?"
"I can't leave my post as my replacement called in sick. And I was supposed to guide some fresh recruits to their first testing zone in the Time Square. Think you could take them there?" Eugene answered, causing Blinx's ears to flatten against his head. As much as he liked helping recruits learn the ropes, he wanted to enjoy his day off as much as possible.
"Alright. I'll take the recruits to Time Square."
"Thanks, Blinx. Let me go get them." Eugene said before hopping out of his workstation. "I'll be back in a few moments."
Twenty Minutes Later
"Okay, we're back, Blinx. Sorry for the wait. Jimmy wanted to give them some new sweepers." Eugene said as he arrived with the four recruits behind him.
"It's fine." Blinx said as he put away his sweeper. "Now, who are the recruits?"
"This is Team Painite."
"We like studying jewels in our spare time. Painite just so happens to be our favorite." The red striped and black-furred cat explained.
"Right. This is Akiko, the team's leader." Eugene sad before pointing toward the yellow-striped and black-furred cat. "This is Mina."
"Good afternoon, Blinx." The white-striped and light blue-furred cat greeted.
"Don't need to be so formal, Kristol. Lighten up."
"And this is Neve." Eugene finished, pointing toward the white-striped and black-furred cat reading a book.
"Um, hello." Blinx greeted, unsure, only to get a nod from Neve before she returned to her book.
"She's a quiet one and prefers not to talk unless needed." Akiko explained, with the others nodding.
"Good luck, Blinx. And thanks. I'll try and find a way to make it up to you later." Eugene said before hopping into his station again.
"Alright. So, your first test is in Time Square, right?" Blinx asked as he motioned toward the gateway that would take them to Time Square.
"Yes, sir." Akiko answered.
"Just call me Blinx. We all only use sir during important missions or talking with the high-ups. Aside from that, we just use our names around here."
"Yes, sir. I mean Blinx. I mean, legend, I mean- I'll stop talking now."
"Sorry about Akiko. She always wanted to become a Time Sweeper and always idolized heroes, especially you, Blinx." Mina explained, walking next to him.
"I take it you two are related?"
"Yeah, she's my younger sister."
"That's nice. Always good to see family members working together."
"Um, Blinx. How exactly do we use these gateways?" Kristol asked as she peered over the edge.
"Simple. You just jump." Blinx answered, smirking before leaping off the platform and aiming for the gateway. Team Painite seemed nervous but quickly jumped in after Blinx.
"That was disorienting." Neve said as she dusted herself off before picking up her book.
"Is it always like that?" Akiko asked.
"Only the first few times. Afterward, you get used to it." Blinx explained as he pulled out his sweeper. "Anyway, where is your testing zone?"
"It is in area 1 dash 4 of Time Square." Kristol answered.
"Where you fought the Dust Keeper." Akiko added.
"I remember." Blinx said before pulling out his TS-X7 Supreme sweeper. "Luckily, I know a shortcut."
"Wow. Is the legendary TS-X7 sweeper?" Akiki asked, mesmerized.
"Yup. I still can't believe I managed to get one." Blinx answered as he began leading the recruits through the streets. They did receive a few stares but ignored them as it was a natural response from the people. Well, only a few of them now as they all remember that the Time Sweepers saved their lives.
"I heard you must complete some insane task for the sweeper even to show up." Kristol said as they reached an alleyway. However, a 16ton weight was blocking the entrance. Yet, the weight proved to be no match as the TS-X7 sweeper quickly sucked it up.
"You do. But aside from the challenge being insanely difficult, no one knows what you need to do for it to appear." Blinx said as they resumed walking.
"I also heard that it was crazy expensive." Mina added, causing Blinx to stiffen momentarily but quickly regain his composure.
"Yeah, it was. Let's not talk about that." Blinx said with a wince as he recalled the 90,000 gold the sweeper cost him to buy it. While Blinx already had a hefty amount in the bank, and the gold he found along the way certainly did help, he almost bankrupted himself by buying the TS-X7 sweeper. "Anyway, what's your test going to be on?"
"Time controls and how to best utilize them against time monsters."
"Here's a little tip then. Pause is your best friend in many cases as it allows you to get a free shot on a time monster. But that doesn't mean you should use it all the time. You can waste it if you use it while certain monsters are in their invincibility form, as they will retain it through the pause."
"Then what should we do?" Akiko asked.
"Record and Slow are more useful in combat than some Time Sweepers give them credit. All the time monsters fall for the recoding of you, and Slow will make them easier to hit and give you extra time to get out of the way, line up your shots or get to the monster's weak side."
"What about Rewind and Fast Foward?" Neve asked.
"Rewind can be useful to get the Time Monsters away from you, but it's not meant for combat. Fast Foward falls into the same category, but it can allow you to tank a hit if you find yourself cornered."
"Noted. Thank you." Kristol said, writing down what Blinx had told them on a notepad.
With that said, they continued walking toward their destination in silence. And aside from the occasional question and thanks from some people passing by, it remained that way. Although, Blinx did have to put away his Sweeper as Akiko did try to swipe it a few times. Luckily, despite being the team leader, Mina still had some control over her sister.
Ten Minutes Later
"Finally." The Time Sweeper in charge of the test said before turning around. "THE RECRUITS ARE HERE! STARTUP THE TEST!"
"Good luck, guys." Blinx said. Team Painite nodded their thanks before heading off to begin their test.
"Hopefully, they didn't cause you any trouble Blinx." The test director said, walking over to him after starting the test.
"Nah. They were alright. Why?"
"They sometimes constantly argue and have difficulty dealing with some of the more advanced uses of time control. But they have made more progress than any other Sweeper Team this month."
"The arguing is a problem, and so is the time control handling. But that is common among new teams. They'll grow out of it. And if not, there is the counseling and tutoring available."
"That's true. Depending on how this test goes, I might need to send them to take some classes." The test director said while pointing to his clipboard. "Anyway, are you going to stick around?"
"No. I'm heading to the Deja Vu Canals. It's my day off, and I want to make the most of it."
"Why not the Everwinter world?" The test director asked, smirking.
"Ha, ha, ha." Blinx said while rolling his eyes. "I much prefer the warm weather, and I don't feel like freezing my tail off."
"True. Anyway, thanks for bringing the recruits. I'll be sure to inform Eugene about this."
"Thanks. See you." Blinx said before leaving the testing site.
Deja Vu Canals
'Now, this is the way to relax.' Blinx thought as he lay in a canoe going down a canal. The pleasant weather and low winds created a soothing atmosphere. It was rare for Blinx or any Time Sweeper to get a day off, and Blinx was determined to get the most out of his day off. Yet, it seems that sometimes life doesn't want him to enjoy his vacation time, for as soon as Blinx closed his eyes, the Time Factory operator of World B1Q64 came onto the comms.
'Attention all Sweepers station in World B1Q64. There has been an unknown surge of time glitches detected. Time Monsters are appearing at an alarming rate in the Forgotten City, Temple of Lost Time, Everwinter, and the Deja Vu Canals. All Time Sweepers, be on alert and eliminate any Time Monsters you encounter.'
And as soon as the operator cut off comms, twenty Time Monsters appeared near Blinx. Six Keroppers, two Dust Herders, three Molegons, four Typhoon Dragons, one Fire Lizard, one Water Lizard, and four purple Octoballoons.
'Damn it. Well, there goes my day off.' Blinx thought as he stood up and pulled his goggles over his eyes. He then took out his TS-X7 Supreme Sweeper and got ready. "Just another day in the life of a Time Sweeper."