THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE 2: A NEW BEGINNING
A "Great Mouse Detective
" Fanfiction By The Mouse Avenger
Otherworldly CircumstancesPart 1Saturday, August 22, 1897
Not much time had passed after the Flaversham Case; in fact, it had only been a month since the great feat of Basil Of Baker Street. Pias Nestor coughed on the dust & dirt that filled the air, which was thick & heavy in the stifling summer heat, as he limped through a sand-saturated quarry in the West End of London. The quarry, which had been closed off to humans, was only barricaded by barriers of rope, which made it easy for little critters like Pias to sneak in when they wanted to take a shortcut to Regents Park. Being crippled in his right leg, Pias couldn't walk very welllet alone for overly-long distances& the street he was on provided the quickest way to Regents Park; through this
avenue, he could walk from the Mouse Gypsy Caravan to the park in a quarter
of the amount of time it would take to use any other road! Not even the humans' construction work would stop Pias from reaching his destinationthe middle-aged Mouse Gypsy was going to get to that bloody park, by Gods, & he was not
going to inconvenience himself by taking any of the longer routes, because his crippled leg couldn't take that kind of strain...& quite frankly, neither could he
Doing his best to avoid the crushing feet of the human workers (along with any objects that fell to the ground), Pias tried to maneuver his way through the quarry, as fast as his legs & wooden walking cane could carry him. All the while, however, he continued to cough on the dusty air, hoping he could get out of the sandpit before he completely lost his ability to breathe! Thankfully, after a few minutes, Pias was able to make his way out of the quarry, & as soon as he stepped out onto the cobblestones lining the street, he took a deep breath of air...& nearly gagged on the noxious stench of coal, oil, & other chemicals that was wafting from the nearby mouse factories. Gods, how much Pias yearned to breathe the fresh, clean air that once filled the atmosphere! How he wished he could go back to a time when the sunny skies of Mouse London weren't filled with smelly stenches & suffocating soot!
That infernal Industrial Revolution was to blame...It, & it alone, was the reason why Mouse London was being so dirtied up! Not to mention that it was causing a lot of social problems, as well! All the stories he had heard about mouse orphans being forced to work in sweatshops, about factory-made products causing injury & harm to consumers, about industrial labor being used as a way to exploit the rodent natives of faraway countries...it was almost too much for Pias to stomach. There was no doubt in his mind that Mouse London was well on its way to a dystopian future; next thing he knew, they would be making awful war machines, rodents who worked in simpler trades (including farmers & gardeners like Pias) would all be put out of business, & the desire for industrial progress would wipe out all desire for social
progress! And those things weren't even the worst
of what Pias feared would await the mouse world...
...but, as he stepped onto the grassy green of Regents Park, the Mouse Gypsy gardener's frown changed into a smile, as he took another breath...& smelled fresh, clean air, for once! Pias couldn't resist smelling that air over & over again, as he walked across the park green, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine & the sight of the flowers that filled the landscape. All around him, he could see rodent children playing togethera sign of the better
changes that were sweeping through the mouse worldwhile their mommies & daddies watched on lovingly from their seats on pint-sized park benches. Clowns & other entertainers performed for the pedestrians & park-goers who passed by, while proud parents paraded their babies down the cement walkways in stroller-type carriages, & teenagers tried to sneak kisses with their lovers behind tall trees. The scenes that were playing out in the park were pleasant to behold, indeed...but Pias really
had his eye on one particular area, right next to a large hedge maze.
This part of the park was known to local rodents as the "Pigeon Patch"; the reason it got its name was because a multitude of pigeons flocked here every day, & although there were also plenty of pigeons in Trafalgar Square (where the Mouse Gypsy Caravan was), Pias liked to come to the Pigeon Patch, because it was in a nice little part of Mouse London, he really liked the atmosphere, & it was a lot safer to wrangle a pigeon here
than in Trafalgar Square, what with all those humans walking around...
Every day, Pias would come to the Pigeon Patch to look for a specimen to take back home; there, he would enlist the pigeon's help in plucking the worms out of the Mouse Gypsy Caravan's garden, where he grew fruits & vegetables for all his friends to eat. Not earning any money for his work (unlike the street performers & craftsmice who lived in the caravan), Pias could not afford to buy gardening gloves...but touching dirt & soil with the bare paws was against the Mouse Gypsies' code of cleanliness, & Pias didn't want to get in any trouble with the council of elders (much less risk getting banished from the caravan!). 
That, & the fact that plucking a worm by paw was an extremely
disgusting job...So, Pias always went to the Pigeon Patch to seek the help of a fine flying friend in getting the worms out of the garden. (Hey, as long as a pigeon did the job, it wasn't technically against the Mouse Gypsy Caravan's rules, right?)
After reaching the Patch, Pias began looking around for a good specimen...& before too long, he found the perfect pigeon to help him out in the garden! Pias smirked craftily, as he reached out his arms, & prepared to wrangle the pigeon...but no sooner did he make a huge leap to grab the bird by his leg, than the pigeon became startled, & started flying around the Patch in a mad frenzy, cooing fearfully as he tried to shake Pias off of him. Pias, undaunted & undeterred, tried his best to maintain his holdon the pigeon, but he found it becoming increasingly hard to do so with each second that passed. At one point, Pias managed to look up, & saw a moustached mouse in motley-colored clothing approaching him on a unicycle. It was one of Mouse London's local street performers, a Frenchmouse affectionately referred to as Flip Le Bouffon. He must be entertaining at Regents Park today,
Pias thought when he saw the clown coming his way. But if he's come to strike up a chat with me, he's picked the wrong time to do it! I need to concentrate on wrangling that bloody pigeon...
Flip gave his characteristic smile, as he waved a friendly paw to Pias in greeting. "Bonjour, mon ami!
" he said in French, before adding in English, "It's a pleasure to see you today, Pias! I hope you're..." Flip suddenly halted in mid-sentence when he saw his Mouse Gypsy friend trying desperately to hold onto the leg of a large pigeon...& from the looks of it, he didn't think Pias was going to be able to keep his grip for much longer. Wondering if there was anything he could do to help his comrade, Flip asked in concern, "Pias, are you having some trouble with that pigeon?"
"Don't worry, Flip," Pias tried to assure the clown, struggling to keep from being bucked off that bloody bird he wanted to wrangle. "I'm fine! I can handle it myself!"
"Are you sure
you don't need my assistance?" Flip asked warily, dubious about Pias' assurances.
"No, no, Flip," Pias insisted, "it's all right...Really!"
To be perfectly honest, Flip wasn't sure that he should entirely believe Pias...but he went along with him, anyway. "Oh, très bien
," he finally said with some hesitancy, "fine...if you say so." After a beat of silence, Flip added, "Well, I best be going, Pias. My public awaits." Pivoting around on his unicycle, Flip began pedaling away to join the other street performers at Regents Park, & as he made his exit, he waved "goodbye" to Pias, & said with a merry smile, "Au revoir et adieu
for now, Pias! Hope to see you later!"
"Yes, yes, of course, adieu
, Flip!" Pias replied, before turning back to his business at hander, paw. The struggle between Pias & the pigeon continued for several minutes...until the pigeon finally ended up winning, & flew away, leaving Pias sprawled out on the grass. After letting out a minced oath, Pias reached for his cane, then got up onto his feet, & began looking around for another pigeon to wrangle...but before he could spot another specimen, Pias paused to listen to the sound of faint whistling. When the Mouse Gypsy gardener looked up towards the sky, in the direction that the sound was coming from, he saw something most unusual. Something that looked like a glowing green comet or asteroid...& it was heading right for Regents Park!
Pias scrambled to get out of the way, & after dashing madly across the green, he dropped to his knees on the ground, & covered himself protectively with his arms, bracing himself for a potential collision...but, thankfully, the comet-type object did not hit him; instead, it landed into a bush that was a few mouse yards away from the Pigeon Patch, with a plume of gray smoke rising in its wake. Slowly, timidly, Pias got back up onto his feet, with his cane in paw, & started to make his way towards the bush, curious to see what was going on...but, suddenly, he stopped in his tracks, as his ears perked up to a strange sounda haunting, hollow, almost-liturgical moan that sounded very much like it was coming from a chorus of disembodied, monotonous voicesthat was carried in the air around him, filling his soul with a deep, unsettling feeling...Pias...Pias...
Upon hearing his name being called by a faraway voice, the elderly Mouse Gypsy took his cane, turned around, & began running out of Regents Park. He ran down the street he had travelled earlier, passing through the quarry, & did not stop until he reached Trafalgar Square. When he got there, he wasn't surprised to see a sea of humans strolling across the sunlit square, dressed in the height of Victorian fashion from head to toe, as they paraded through the plaza in their usual pomp & circumstance. Pias had to be careful not to get crushed by the humans' feet, as he made his way through the crowd to reach the destination that lay not too far ahead of him...
At the base of the towering statue known as Nelson's Column, unseen by the humans, was a small group of differently-painted covered wagons. This was the home of the Mouse Gypsy Caravana Bohemian band of outcasts, oddballs, outsiders, & other rodents who lived at the margins of mainstream mouse society, managing to make ends meet (&, yet, living by their own means) as they travelled from city to city, town to town, village to village, in eternal search of a place they could collectively call their home...but to many fursons, it seemed that these Romani rodents had, indeed, found the home they'd been looking for. For the past several decades, the Caravan had remained at the base of Nelson's Columnnever once leaving the spot it was fixed in& ever since their arrival into London, the Mouse Gypsies had lived & thrived on the cobblestone-lined grounds of Trafalgar Square, even after their human counterparts left for another land...& unless something drastic forced the Mouse Gypsies to change their minds, they intended to stay here for the rest of all eternity!
There were several reasons behind the Mouse Gypsies' permanent plans to remain in Mouse London, but one in particular had to do with the fact that they had become part of the citizenry, officially &
unofficially; they continually interacted with the micefolk of the city, they were usually treated very kindly by the Englishrodents, they were being included in the annual mouse census, & Queen Mousetoria had even given the Mouse Gypsies a royal order of protection from acts of racism, ethnocentrism, or bigotry. 
And with the recent passage of Her Majesty's Code Of Social Ethics, Tolerance, & Brotherhood, the acceptance of the Mouse Gypsies by the British community was destined to never waver...Yet another sign of the positive social changes that had been sweeping through the mouse world for the past few decades! But Pias was beginning to have his doubts about how long this stage of progress would last, for if his fears turned out to be true, & the Industrial Revolution was
bringing mouse society to ruin, then all those attempts to instill tolerance & brotherhood would amount to nothing!Hopefully, Madame Ratburn can provide some answers to my questions,
Pias thought to himself, as he made his way onto the grounds of the Mouse Gypsy Caravan. The place was a busy, bustling hive of activity! The air was alive with melodies of old Bohemian folk-tunes, as sounds of laughing, chattering, talking, & other noises resonated through the summer breeze. Mouselings in traditional Gypsy clothing were running about, chasing each other, playing with toys & games, & getting into mischief, while teenagers flirted, joked around, & gaily socialized with their friends (mostly conversing in their native Romani language, but with a few adolescents speaking English, as well). Many of the youths' fathers, mothers, & other adult relatives worked diligently at sewing, painting, sculpting, weaving baskets, & numerous other forms of labor, which they performed with great craft & care. And still other Mouse Gypsies juggled, did song-&-dance routines, performed magic tricks, & put on impromptu skits for the crowds of rodents that gathered around to watch them. Yes, it seemed that all of the Mouse Gypsies were out today...all except for one...(CUE MUSIC: "Neptune", from Gustav Holst's "The Planets")
At the back of the caravan grounds, where Pias was headed, was a cherry-colored wagon. The outside of said wagon was decorated with mystical emblems (including stars, a stylized sun & crescent moon, & a rainbow, among others), along with brilliantly-colored paw-painted images of tarot cards, a crystal ball, & other fortune-telling items. A set of wind-chimes (crafted from pieces of stained glass) dangled from the eaves of the wagon cover, the tiny tubes tingling lightly as they swayed to & fro in the gentle breeze. A mint-turquoise sign outside the door of the wagon boasted the name of the place with ornate magenta text that said, "Madame Elizabella Ratburn, Gypsy Psychic, Fortune-Teller, & Agent Of The Otherworldly
The inside of Madame Ratburn's wagon did not look nearly
as elaborate as the exterior did; the one-room dwelling displayed humble furnishings, with no paint or paper covering the walls, & no carpet or tiles adorning the bare wooden floor. The only items of furniture to be found in the chamber were a sleeping cot, an old mahogany desk & chair, a small dining table, a makeshift cooking area, a big bookcase, & a small, cloth-covered table (with a crystal ball placed on top of its surface) that was flanked by two plush chairs. With the curtains drawn over the wagon's single window, the only light that was visible was the dim glow of a melting candle. But Madame Ratburn needed no light to see; she knew exactly what she was writing. In her seat at the desk, the old sage sat, writing on the parchment pages of a big book with leather binding. As Madame Ratburn relaxed in her chair, she "mind-moved" a quill pen, psychically dipped it in ink, & began to write a most ominous poem...The winds of change are flowing, strongly blowingThrough our little townOur lives keep going, never knowingOf the danger lurking 'roundThe seeds of happiness are sown,And loving hearts unite us all,But there's a presence threateningTo bring about our utopia's fall...
A sudden rapping on the door brought Madame Ratburn out of her deep trance, & the pen dropped from the break in her concentration, landing on the open pages of the formerly-blank book she was writing in. Turning her head aside to face the entrance to her wagon, Madame Ratburn addressed the visitor who was standing outside: "The door's unlocked, Pias. You can come in." The door to the wagon then swung open with a creak, & Pias stepped in, supporting himself with his cane as he walked into the room, & approached Madame Ratburn.
"You called, Madame Ratburn?" Pias asked, as he limped towards the elderly psychic.
"Pias, do take a seat, if you wouldn't mind," Madame Ratburn said, getting up out of her desk chair as she telekinetically scooted one of the plush chairs up over to Pias, so he could sit down in it. "I have to discuss some very important matters with you."
Pias, deciding to make himself at home, took his seat in the chair that Madame Ratburn had offered to him. "What kind of matters?" Pias wanted to know, as he made himself comfortable in his friend's house.
"Psychic matters, of course," Madame Ratburn replied, sitting down in the plush chair opposite from Pias'. The crystal ball on the table was now juxtaposed between the two rodents, its glass surface illuminated by the gentle glow of the candlelight. "For the last month," Madame Ratburn told Pias, "I have been receiving a wide variety of visions, & they're telling me that changes are in the air. The mouse world is about to be twisted, transformed, warped into something much more different than it is right now, though whether it will change for better or worse has yet to be determined...
"The improvements in society that have been slowly, but surely, developing throughout the last few decades are only stepping stones to the start of this new era that awaits us. There is much more to come in the days ahead...but I am not entirely certain as to whether we should consider those things to be good or bad, for it all depends on how Mother Fate plays her proverbial cards. I may be able to predict the future, Pias, but I cannot always do so in a clear-cut fashion; sometimes, I can tell you all the details about everything that will happen on an exact date & time...& other times, I'll only get vague vignettes of visionslittle snatches & snippets of things that might happen, but not exactly in the way my inner eye sees them...The paranormal forces are quite fickle & finicky, & they can be very
selective about what information they choose to provide me with. It all depends on otherworldly circumstances..." 
"Well, after taking the effects of the Industrial Revolution into account," asked Pias, "what direction would you think our world is heading in?"
Upon hearing this question, Madame Ratburn's expression became somber, & she said in a solemn tone-of-voice, "I have long feared that a movement like that would have detrimental or deleterious effects on mouse society. Ever since the Industrial Revolution kicked into high gear last month, we've been struggling & striving to bring our civilization into the future, but it appears that we are making a tremendous sacrifice for our ambitious endeavors to enter a new stage of existence, for our great city is slowly languishing in the process of industrialization...& that's not the only negative change that's afflicting our society. A bigger gap is being wedged between the lower & upper classes. Quantity of work is being valued more highly than quality of work. The land, air, & water are being tainted by pollution from city factories. Business-owners & employers are falling prey to the vices of power & corruption. Uncontrolled urban development comes with problems like overcrowding, poverty, & the spread of diseases. Women are receiving less pay than menno matter how hard they work, or how well they do their jobs. I could go on & on, Pias, but doing so would just make me feel even more
distressed...& also make me feel less hopeful about the future, when I have no real reason to be.
"Despite these troubling signs I've mentioned," Madame Ratburn continued with an optimistic smile on her face, "I am quite sure that there's still a ray of hope shining through the dark clouds that hang over us now! Perhaps, the poker game of life will turn out in our favor...but we must remember that, sometimes, it is us
not Mother Fatewho are blessed with the winning cards. Thus, I am determined to make things better for my fellow rodents, & I will do whatever I can to make sure that happens! While an industrial revolution, in & of itself, is not an entirely-negative thing& doesn't have to bethe problem is finding a balance between industrial & social progress...but how can I find that balance without everyone having to pay such a hefty price for the desire to move forward?"
"Don't worry, Madame Ratburn," Pias replied with an assuring smile. "I'm sure that you'll think of a way to do it."
"You may be right, Pias," Madame Ratburn said with a nod of her head...before adding, "But you didn't just come here to hear predictions...There's something you've been meaning to tell me, am I correct?"
Pias nodded in reply, then took a moment to take a deep breath, before exclaiming excitedly, "Madame Ratburn, something strange has hit London...in Regents Park!" No sooner did Pias say this, than he saw his friend grinning from ear to ear...& lifted an eyebrow in confusion. Normally, the Gypsy psychic would consult her tarot cards or her crystal ball whenever he gave grave news like this.
Madame Ratburn, however, didn't seem to think that the news was all that grave, for the broad smile never left her face for one second as she proclaimed joyfully, "Pias, this is the very sign we've been waiting for! This is the sign that will determine what direction our society will be heading in& I've got a gut feeling that it's going to be a positive one!" Without wasting a moment, Madame Ratburn grabbed Pias by the paw, shouting merrily, "Come along, Pias! And quickly! We haven't a moment to lose!"
After disappearing in a cloud of purple smoke, Madame Ratburn & Pias teleported to Regents Park, where they reappeared in the same place Pias had been earlier. The pigeons were still flocking together in the patch, cooing & fluttering about as they paid no attention to the world around them. Turning to face Pias again as she took her paw off of his, Madame Ratburn asked, "So, this is where you saw the strange sign, right?"
"Right," Pias answered, nodding his head in affirmation. Then, gesturing to a far-off spot with his cane, he added, "And it landed...right over there." Madame Ratburn soon realized that Pias had witnessed the faraway object make a crash-landing in the depths of the Black Foresta large grove of bushes that were so clustered & crowded together, that they seemed to resemble the German woodlands they were named after. The "forest" was notoriously thick & dense, & no sunlight could ever filter through the leaves of the "trees", leaving nothing but shade & shadows to fill the undergrowth (& this made the moniker of the Black Forest even more appropriate). Along with the Pigeon Patch, the hedge maze, & several other attractions, it was considered by rodents to be one of the most-renowned places in Regents Park, but those who dared to venture into its depths, only
did so during the daytime...for if one went into the Black Forest at night,
they might never
find their way back out!
Pias couldn't help but feel a little nervous at the thought of going into the Black Forest, but when he felt the gentle touch of Madame Ratburn's paw on his shoulder, his fears began to disappear, & he felt less uneasy about accompanying her in the search for the strange sign. "Lead the way, Madame Ratburn," Pias directed, as he followed his comrade to the entrance of the woods. After telekinetically pulling back a big branch, Madame Ratburn gestured for Pias to enter the Black Forest, & she soon went in after him, as the branch snapped back into place behind her, sealing the two rodents off from the outside world.
Once they had taken a few steps further into the Black Forest, Madame Ratburn & Pias began their search for the unusual object, hoping they could find it before noon. With Madame Ratburn's teleportation powers, leaving the Black Forest wasn't much of a problem...The problem was all the trouble that Pias' crippled leg gave him whenever he did extensive walking or exercise. And Pias had a feeling that that was precisely
what he was going to be doing...much to his chagrin. Wherever this infernal sign is,
he prayed, I hope it can't be too far away!
* * *
About 30 minutes later, Madame Ratburn & Pias were still continuing their search through the Black Forest. However, Pias' weak leg was starting to feel heavy, & he didn't know if he could keep moving for much longer. "How long do you think it'll be until we find that bloody sign?" he asked in a haggard & weary voice.
"I think...we may have just found it!" Madame Ratburn replied with a confident grin, as she placed her paws on a couple of big branches jutting out from the "trunks" of two bushes. Pias went over to help Madame Ratburn pull back those branches, & after they'd moved them a good bit, the two rodents looked into the space that the limbs had once obscured from their view. Right in front of them, standing in a small clearing, was a tall, thin teenage mouse, positioned next to a strange vehicle that looked like something straight out of a Jules Verne novel.
Madame Ratburn & Pias gazed curiously at the stranger. She was covered in tan fur from head to toe, & her blazing red hair was tied in a large ponytail with a mint-turquoise silk ribbon. Her facial features included a prominent pink nose, a big white bucktooth, & a pair of bright green eyes that sparkled with a youthful gleam. She was dressed in a most-unusual ensemble that wouldn't have been considered appropriate for a young lady of the Mousetorian Age to weara pair of blue goggles was worn over her hair like a headband, while a matching pair of billowy blue "pumper-pants" covered her lower half, & a short-sleeved mint-turquoise dress with a golden waistband adorned her upper half. But she was wearing no corset, bustle, petticoat, or shoes! When they took notice of this, Madame Ratburn & Pias' facial expressions switched from those of curiosity to those of shock & surprise. The stranger, however, didn't seem to mind the looks she was being given. She just smiled, & said in a cleverly-counterfeited British accent, "Hello, old chaps! Lovely day in London, isn't it?"
For the next several seconds, neither Pias or Madame Ratburn said a word to the stranger...until, at one point, Madame Ratburn finally broke the silence, & asked, "Who are you?"
With a merry, melodious laugh that resonated through the air, the mysterious mousette sported a playful grin on her face, & countered Madame Ratburn's question with one of her own: "The question is, 'Who are you?
Upon determining that the stranger meant no harm, Madame Ratburn gave a friendly smile, as she went over to approach her. After stopping to stand in front of the teenager, Madame Ratburn gave a grand bow as she introduced herself: "Madame Elizabella Ratburn, famous psychic, fortune-teller, & agent of the otherworldly, at your service!"
Much to Madame Ratburn & Pias' surprise, the stranger began circling the former, stroking her chin thoughtfully as she glanced her over, scrutinizing her with every step she took. After a few seconds, while continuing to walk around Madame Ratburn, the foreign furson finally said to her, "You're 89 years old, you're a Mouse Gypsy who originally hails from Cairo, you're a mouse-rat hybrid, & your favorite colors include green & purple...Am I right?"
Madame Ratburn could barely contain her astonishment! The stranger had guessed correctly on every point! "Why, you're entirely right!" she exclaimed. "You know, now that I think about it, you remind me of an old friend of mine...Basil Of Baker Street, the..."
Before Madame Ratburn could finish the statement, the stranger beat her to it: "...Great Mouse Detective? Of course, I know all about him! My grandfather told me all sorts of stories about Basil & his adventures!"
"Your grandfather?" Madame Ratburn echoed. "I think I know who he waser, is! Jacob DeWalters of the Mouse Detective Agency?"
" the stranger chimed cheerfully, before playfully poking Madame Ratburn on the snout as she added, "Right on the nose!" She couldn't help but giggle at her own joke...before finally composing herself, clearing her throat, & introducing herself, as well: "OK, so you know my last name is DeWalters, but my first name is Anya, & my middle name is 'Very Pleased To Meet You'!" Anya extended a paw to heartily shake Madame Ratburn's, as she added, "Well, all right, that last part was a joke...but I really am very pleased to meet you!"
"As am I, Anya," Madame Ratburn replied with a warm, pleasant smile, as she shook hands with her new acquaintance. After finishing & finally pulling her paw away from Anya's, the elderly psychic asked, "So, my child, what brings you here to Mouse London?"
"Well, if you must know," Anya answered, "I'm a stranger from the future..."
"Thank you," Madame Ratburn piped in, "but I already figured that out by your style of dress, your Verne-esque vehicle, & the fact that you mentioned Jacob DeWalters as your grandfather, even though he has yet to be married with children
...But enough of my rambling! Do carry on."
"All right," said Anya. "Anyway, I'm a stranger from the future, & I've traveled to 1890's Mouse London in order to conduct an...experiment, if you will. You see, I want to find out whether or not creating a new technology for the Mousetorian Age will alter the future for better or worse. But I need someone to help me make all the wonderful inventions that rodents of my time use..."
Madame Ratburn gasped in delight. This was her chance to seize the opportunity to change the mouse world for the better! Quickly stepping over to Anya, Madame Ratburn said with a wide smile, "I would be more than happy to help you with your experiment, Miss DeWalters!"
"And your assistance would be greatly appreciated!" Anya replied, firmly clasping Madame Ratburn by the paw to give her another handshake. "We can get started right away, if you want! Just let me get my Time Car started up, & we can travel to your caravan at Trafalgar Square in no time flat!" 
"I look forward to that!" Madame Ratburn exclaimed excitedly, her eyes brightening at the very thought of it.
With that, Anya donned a pair of elbow-length golden gloves & a cream-colored pilot's scarf, before pulling her goggles down over her eyes, & going over to the vehicle she had used to transport herself to Mouse London. The Time Cara blue-colored vehicle with a rather sleek designactually looked a lot more like a rocket ship, with an open cockpit & passenger seats, a pair of large doors on either side, & jet-propelled turbine-boosters in the back. Anya opened the doors, allowing Madame Ratburn & Pias to make their way into the passenger area, & after taking her own seat in the cockpit, Anya took the controls. When everyone had buckled their seatbelts, Anya turned to face her new friends with a huge smile. "Everybody ready for take-off?" she asked. When Madame Ratburn & Pias nodded in affirmation, Anya's grin became more adventurous, as she turned her head back to face the dashboard, shouting, "Then let's sally forth!"
Almost immediately after Anya had pressed the "start" button on the control panel, the Time Car whirred to life, & lifted off, crashing through the canopy of the Black Forest as it ascended into the air. Madame Ratburn & Pias both braced themselves as they became introduced to the sensation of flying, feeling the rush of the wind against their fur...but after they got used to the ride, the two rodents both smiled as they looked out over the scenery whizzing beneath them, dozens of mouse miles below. Mouse London seemed so small from where they were, & the fursons & objects on the city streets looked like little toys. To Madame Ratburn, this was the greatest thing she had ever experienced in her whole life! Even with all the psychic powers she had at her disposal, Madame Ratburn could never have imagined that, decades from now, rodents would be making vehicles like the one she was riding in! And Anya said that she had all sorts of wonderful inventions to create for the new technology...Madame Ratburn simply couldn't wait to find out more about them, as soon as she & her friends got back to the Mouse Gypsy Caravan! In the meantime, however, the old sage was perfectly content to enjoy the ride home with Pias & Anya, throwing her arms up in the air with childlike glee, as she hooted & hollered happily all the while...
* * *
A half-hour later, Anya landed the Time Car in Trafalgar Square, & made her way onto the main grounds of the Mouse Gypsy Caravan with Madame Ratburn & Pias, who were eager to introduce her to their "family". After getting to know the other Mouse Gypsies, Anya finally bid them "farewell", & followed Pias & Madame Ratburn into the latter's wagon. After she & her friends had all entered the one-room chamber, Madame Ratburn magically produced a third plush chair, which joined the other two at her table. Then, she, Pias, & Anya all went over to sit down at said table, getting comfortable in their seats, while Madame Ratburn provided herself & her guests with a humble, but delicious, breakfast of steak, eggs, fruits, cheese pancakes with maple syrup, yogurt, & baked pastries (with glasses of chocolate milk to wash it all down). "Now," Madame Ratburn said to Anya as everyone began tucking into their morning meal, "why don't we begin our discussion about this new technology you have in mind?"
"Sure," Anya replied with a nod of her head, before continuing (with occasional pauses to take bites of her food), "& we can start with basic descriptions of all the inventions & concepts of modern conception! While we're eating, I think I should launch our 'meeting of great importance' with the topic of kitchen appliances, & then move on to other appliances, before discussing all the other inventions & stuffI'll show you my diagrams & manuals after supper. Anyway, first, we have what's called a 'microwave'. Basically, it's like a small oven, only you use it for heating
food & drinks, as opposed to baking. The microwave has a heating device built into the machine, & there's a big plate inside that you put the food or beverage on. It has a big door with a little keypad on the side, & you can punch in the number of minutes &/or seconds that you want the food or beverage to be heated up by the microwave. The keypad also has programmed settings for things like making popcorn. But another thing you should know about microwaves, is that you should never
put metal silverware in it..."
And, so, the conversations continued, as Anya went on to explain the wonders of "talkie" films, Technicolor, CDs, color pictures, boom-boxes, stereos, radios, PC computers & laptops, IPods, airplanes, rollerskates, skateboards, bikes & mopeds, electric lights (& electricity in general), automobiles, toasters, running water, indoor plumbing, videos, VCRs, DVDs, DVD players, processed food, preservatives, new kinds of musical instruments, & a whole bunch of other things too numerous to list...Before Madame Ratburn & Pias even knew it, it was already noon when Anya had gotten to the last invention she planned to introduce to Mouse London! "And, last, but not least," she said, "there's television, also known as 'TV' or 'the telly'. It's basically like a talking box with moving pictures, & it has different channels that play different shows or movies. You can manipulate it manually via the dials & buttons on the console...or you can be lazy, & use what's called a 'remote control', which has a bunch of buttons that you can press to enter the number of a channel, change the channel, change the volume, mute the volume, turn the TV off or on, & other things of that nature."
With the quill pen & notepad she held in her paws, Madame Ratburn made sure to write down every last bit of information, as she had done ever since the meeting started (although she did have to ask Anya to repeat her explanation of the microwave). After jotting down a few more facts & figures, Madame Ratburn finally asked Anya, "So, basically, as part of your time-altering project, you're saying that we will be both be required to invent TVs, talking movies, CDs, radios, color pictures, boom-boxes, stereos, computers, & all those other things that you've mentioned to me?" When Anya nodded in response, Madame Ratburn's face lit up with yet another big grin, as she exclaimed, "Those things are perfect!
Just what we need for our new technology!"
"Well," Pias said with a smile on his own face, "if your experiment turns out favorably, I look forward to tasting the fruits of your proverbial labor! I simply can't wait to see how these changes will improve the lives of the micefolk of London as never before!"
"Don't forget the entire United Mouse Kingdom, along with the rest of the mouse world," Madame Ratburn told Pias with a waggle of her forefinger. "They're going to receive the same new technology as we are."
"Oh, well, congratulations to them!" Pias added pleasantly. "I only hope it won't take you very long to accomplish your goals."
"With the help of a mystical mouse with magic powers, the finest inventors of the Mousetorian Age, & an inventor, scientist, & engineer from the future," Anya replied with a wink, "not to mention feedback & suggestions from citizens, it shouldn't take more than a month for us to get the new technology started. Of course, this will be an ongoing
process, & we can anticipate that the aforementioned technology will be eternally evolving & developing as time goes on..."
"Well, what are we waiting for?" Pias blurted out, practically hanging on the edge of his seat with excitement. "Let's get to work!"
"And, so, we shall!" Madame Ratburn declared in determination, sealing her new partnership with Anya with a hearty pawshake. Today was going to be the dawn of a brand-new era in the mouse world, that was for certain!To be continued...
Like their human counterparts, the Mouse Gypsies have their own fursonal code of cleanliness & hygiene that they must follow; it's similar to the Jewish kosher laws or Islamic rules of purity. (If you're interested to learn more about the Gypsies' sanitation regulationsor anything about Gypsies in generalyou can find out additional information in the mirror of the Patrin Web Journal at the Geo.Cities archive site.)
In previous versions of many of my GMD fanfiction stories (including this one), I have described the Month Of Change as having affected technology & society. It did, indeed, have an impact on both things, but steps toward social progress in the mouse world actually began long before the events of my sequel. I will make sure to emphasize or explain this in future chapters of GMD 2, along with any new GMD fanfics or updated versions of old stories I may write in the future.
(And, for that matter, I also have plans to write an essay about the changes & developments in different aspects of Mousetorian society in the decades leading up to the time of the original movie & the sequel; this essay, "Overcoming Differences", will be published on my GMD website [linked to my profile page], so keep an eye out for it when it's finished.
Yet another one of the limitations of Madame Ratburn's powers...
Whenever Jacob DeWalters told his granddaughter stories about his life in Mouse London, he would sometimes tell Anya about Basil's occasional trips to the Mouse Gypsy Caravan to enlist Madame Ratburn's help on cases.