However, the Pinewood Derby did not make it far. Several minutes into the flight, Baby Intelligence saw the gauge pointing directly at the 'E.'
"The fuel tank.." he said nervously as they were halfway across town. "It's almost empty!" Just then, he sighted a junkyard. "We'll have to land in the junkyard."
With the last ounce of gas, Baby Intelligence landed the Pinewood Derby through the fence and in the backyard. Stacks of parts towered around the car.
As they entered through the backdoor, a thin man with a white shirt and crazy hair walked up to them. His name was Albert Herrington. "Good morning. What do you need?"
"I need fuel for our transport," Baby Intelligence replied.
"Ah, yes. We have lots of that." Albert turned to the back door. "Tyler! Get your arse in here!"
A baby standing upright and wearing modest rags ran inside. Who's that? Baby Intelligence wondered. Another mutant baby?
"What took you so long?" Albert asked.
"I was cleaning your parts," Tyler replied defensively.
"Never mind. Watch the store, I've got business to do." Albert turned to Baby Intelligence. "Come out back with me. You'll find what you need."
Baby Intelligence followed Albert out the backdoor. As he passed Lindsay, he pointed a cautionary finger. "Don't touch anything!" he said firmly.
Tyler sat down and started polishing a piece of metal. "Hello. Are you Lindsay?"
"Why yes," Lindsay replied. "How did you know?"
"I saw you in the news," said Tyler. "You joined the S.M.S.B. a month ago, if I'm not mistaken. And personally, I think you're adorable."
"Thanks," said Lindsay. She sighed. "You're right. It was a month. Are you a slave?" The last sentence didn't sound likely to her, but she had to know.
"Yes," said Tyler. "When I was a newborn, my mother was killed. Albert saved me from being killed as well, and he said I was now his tool. In return for a home and a guardian, I work here for him. It's not as bad as you think. I must say he is surprisingly kind for a slavemaster."
Lindsay was shocked. "What's your power?"
"Telekinesis--the ability to move things with my mind. I can focus on an object, and through secret practice can make it move at will."
Lindsay's jaw dropped. "Outstanding!"
"Here it is!" cried Albert. "The gas. Guess you're in luck. How are you going to pay for it?"
"I have 18 pennies," Baby Intelligence replied, though he doubted it would be enough. Through his whole career he had used a 3D printer to print out what they needed--food, sewing materials, those things. But he had picked up any pennies he'd found on the ground and kept them stowed in his car.
"18 pennies?" Albert said. Is this some kind of joke? "That's not enough. Is not nearly enough. No money, no fuel! And no one sells fuel for 18 cents, I promise you that!"
Ahead, a rumble of thunder was heard. Baby Intelligence turned and left. "Come on, Lindsay. We're going. Maybe we can walk home and print some--"
"Wait!" Albert called after them. "You'll never reach the MBH in time. Would you like to stay here with me? The Queen-size bed in the guest bedroom should be more than big enough. I'll make dinner for all of us. I've always wanted to dine with an S.M.S.B. member."
Baby Intelligence turned. "Yes," he said, hardly believing his luck. But there's still the NoHeads to deal with. Oh well. We'll find what we need and go.
Dinner got off to a good start. Whammo made 6 sandwiches, and invited Tyler to join them. But then the conversation turned to slavery. Baby Intelligence said, "I can't believe there's still slavery out here. The law says--"
"Tyler is on my hands, not the police's," Whammo replied. "I feed him, clothe him, and provide a home for him. All I ask is for him to help clean it."
Baby Intelligence was still confused as he took a bite of his tuna sandwich.
"Tyler said he has powers," said Lindsay. "Right, baby?"
"Yes," said Tyler. "But I thought Baby Intelligence already knew."
"Actually, I didn't," said Baby Intelligence. "But I'm not surprised. What are they?"
"They're kind of like yours," said Tyler. "I have telekinesis which issues from my eyes, not hand. It's a great way to avoid warning your enemies of your next move. Can I join your group?"
"Heck no," said Albert. "You are my worker, not his."
"But--I didn't know why I had powers," Tyler tried to explain. "Maybe this is the reason."
Albert scratched his chin. "We'll let fate decide. It has come to my attention that you have built a skyracer in your spare time. I will organize a race. If you win, I will free you, and you can join them. And the S.M.S.B. will get their fuel for free." By now, he had finished his sandwich, but the others were still chewing.
Albert broke off. For a moment everyone ate in silence. Finally, Tyler could stand it no longer. "You mean it?"
"I do," said Albert. "But if you lose, you will never be allowed to join them. Ever."
Tyler understood the stakes. "Baby Intelligence, do you think I should?"
"It is up to you," said Baby Intelligence. "The choice has been placed before you."
"I want to do it," said Tyler. "When the storm is over, I'm doing a maintenance check."
"It's a go, then," said Albert.
The remaining details were settled quickly. Now that he was committed to the race, Albert was even willing to let Tyler spend the rest of the day getting his skyracer ready. Baby Strength, Lindsay, and Force Baby all helped Tyler work on his plane, while Baby Intelligence and Albert watched from above.
Tyler had never felt so happy. His skyracer worked--well, he never doubted it, but was still relived. With a sigh of contentment, he sat back to look at the stars, Baby Intelligence was with him.
"...see the cluster of stars hooked to two more?" Baby Intelligence said. "That is the Big Dipper. And see this one resembling a hunter? That one's--"
"Orion?" Tyler finished.
"You catch on pretty quick," Baby Intelligence said with a smile. "These are all called constellations."
"Tyler!" Albert shouted from inside. "Bedtime!"
Tyler hesitated. "I've never seen so--"
"Tyler, I'm not going to tell you again!" Albert's voice sounded cross.
Tyler still had a lot of questions, but Baby Intelligence gestured him inside. "Go on. You have a big day tomorrow."
Grown-ups! Tyler rolled his eyes. But there was no escaping it. He slid down from the rail and ran into the house.