A Matter of Time

Somewhere in the ever so infinite expanse of The Backrooms, lies a clockwork laboratory. The sounds of pistons and cogs releasing steam into the air boiled by the minute. It was a place so full of cogs and oil moving at once, one might find it hard to traverse. This is the domain of The Gearmaker, The Keeper of Time himself, spending all of eternity on his grand machines of paradoxes. It was an enigma across all of time and space itself. His greatest creation. However, this day may differ from the rest.

Over time, he realized something was wrong. This linear, unilinear path he calls “time” is seemingly having issues, being untangled at every tick. This is a situation that needs to be resolved as soon as possible. The Gearmaker opens a portal to The Time Hall. Here, he will meet with his colleagues and discuss how to take matters into their own hands.

The Time Hall was a glorious and impressive structure, beyond the reach of time and space - beyond The Backrooms itself, perhaps. Gathered within its walls were the Time Keepers, an order of beings dedicated to preserving all timelines of The Backrooms in the Multiverse. Their thrones and tables seemingly float in the air, as if held by the forces of time itself. This was their annual meeting to discuss the matters of their native realities, and coordinate plans.

With the striking of the gavel, the meeting had begun, as well as the role call. "C#o¥πsπi^÷! I call forth your presence." The Gearmaker exclaims.
An elderly man covered in a large cloak emerges from the left of The Gearmaker and takes his seat. “Present…” The old man stated.
The Gearmaker then turns to his right and says "N-£u¥π, I presume is the same?"
A woman made of stars and galaxies gracefully walks towards her seat. "Hello!" she happily states her presence.
"Hello indeed." The Gearmaker replied. He looks at the two, ready to go on about the routine of their council. "Now that we are all here… I suggest we shall start with the status of our timelines. I'm sure they are all near and dear to our hearts."
The woman smiles and nods. "Indeed, very near and very dear…well, I think C#o¥πsπi^÷ should be first to discuss."
The old man looks at the others, with a fairly bored look on his face. “Everything seems functional on my end.” he claimed.

The Gearmaker, surprised, looks at him with confusion. "Hmm, surprising for the mess that it normally is, being chaotic and all that nonsense. And you N-£u¥π? How is your timeline functioning?"
The woman smiled warmly. "Unlike C#o¥πsπi^÷, mine is not so chaotic. Though…my little spiders tell me that it has certainly become ever-desolate. Things are quiet - too quiet. And how about yourself?" The woman says enthusiastically to The Gearmaker.
"Ahh! Well, thank you for asking. My web of a mess has been a pain in the gears as usual. Hard to keep it all nice and linear in an non-linear world. Things always get out of the hands of time, if you will."
The old man looks at The Gearmaker with a smirk on his face “That was a well-timed joke.”
The Gearmaker slowly turns to the man "Ha…" he replied in an almost sarcastic monotone voice.

The woman made of stars stifled a snicker. Though, despite this, there seemed to be an invisible tension lingering in the air. A concern they all shared amongst themselves, but did not yet mention. The Gearmaker looks up at all of them, knowing that what will be told may frighten them all. "Well, I feel as if now is the time to mention the real elephant in the room. The true reason why you were all called here today."
The woman's smile faded, though it still struggled to remain. "Yes, I feel the same. I have seen ill omens in the web of destiny. The path of my timeline does not seem to bode well. In fact, it seems as if it is soon to…split. Fracture, if you may."
The old man realized things may not be as peaceful as they seem. “I concur. Things have become slightly more… random here, even after accounting for fluctuations.” he said.
Everyone looks towards The Gearmaker. "I'm afraid it is the sad truth of our… broken realties. Grandfather and I have found that your timelines in particular have been slowly leaking into ours. Grasping at all the ropes it has left, which is coincidentally mine." The clockwork man looks around the court to gather opinions. "I know it is not us at fault here, far from it. However, I wonder what all of you think about this realization." He states in an attempt to comfort the others.

The old man looks down to think for a moment in silence. “I fear that somebody’s attempting to mess with time. This was inevitable—bound to happen sooner or later.” he stated.
The woman of stars was silent for a moment, then looking back up at Gearmaker. "I am unsure of the significance of this event…but I think we may know who is involved. I have observed one being in particular as the one nexus point shared in common between all split fragments. And I am sure he may be familiar."

The Gearmaker looks back at all of them, with memories of the Nexus flooding back into his piston-motion mind. "I see, I see. Isn't there a erm… a Keymaster held within The Nexus?" The man of clockworks looks back at the two with confidence that he is correct.
The woman sighs for a moment. "Indeed. I don't know how he will effect my timeline, but considering that he has been involved with the forecast of yours, and C#o¥πsπi^÷'s as well, I have reason to believe a bigger scheme may be at play." she worried.

The Gearmaker looks down in deep thought, attempting to think of a plan to mend the situation at hand… but comes out empty-handed. "I for one am clueless as to what to attempt. This is even something The Shavic himself cannot fix." The Keeper of Time slowly glances at the rest of the council. "This is why we all must put our creative minds together to create a plan." Everyone looks at each other and nods in agreement. "So… where shall we start?" The Gearmaker eagerly states.

Everyone seemed silent, unsure of what to do. Despite the overall agreement to act upon the situation, nobody seemed to be volunteering. "Well, we all agreed to come up with something, isn't that right? We cannot run around like headless chickens. We must assist this immediately by the clock. Tick, tick…" The Gearmaker states ominously as he stares at the others with a disappointed look.
"Well, I feel This Keymaster fellow has not yet seemed to have taken action yet. So, when he does, we approach the situation with caution. How we deal with him will determine the stability of, quite possibly, the multiverse itself - not just our own timelines." The woman grimly stated at her sudden realization.

The old man turns to the woman of stars and asks, “What makes you think he’ll approach us?”
The woman giggles as she states, "He is at the center of this possible calamity. This calamity relates to time. We are the keepers of time. A matter of simple deduction, sir."
The old cloaked man chuckles for a moment. "Ahh, right."
The Gearmaker sets his eyes towards the woman and replied, "Mmm, not bad." as he smirks.
The woman giggled. "Thanks."
The old man, worried that this plan may go wrong, replied with another question. “Do you expect hostility?” he crosses his arms, waiting for a response.
The woman leans down to the table, placing her head in her hands. "Mmm, I am not sure…that man is a real wild card. Unpredictable in nature. Regardless, we should be prepared for any event, and respond accordingly."
The old man raises his eyebrow, as he knows not to take The Keymaster lightly. “I suggest we not underestimate his power.”.

The Gearmaker quickly intervenes in an annoyed manner. "Yes yes, caution at all times shall be well agreed upon."
The woman nodded. "I am in agreement." The old man stays silent, leaning back against his floating chair.
"Well then…" The Gearmaker groans as he proceeds to stand from his seat, floating in the courtroom. "With that in mind, once he does approach us, we will then have him answer his wrongs, and fix this mess before timey-wimey shenanigans start to commence forth." The Gearmaker starts to walk away from the council, believing there is all that needs to be said. The Gearmaker is a busy man, and needs to tend to his beloved machines immediately.
However, the old man sighs in disappointment. “I’m afraid those shenanigans have already begun.”
The woman nodded to the old man. "Indeed. As for my personal course of action, I may possibly consider…neutralizing him. Before matters get too out of hand for my timeline."

The Gearmaker, wanting to take the more pacifist route as an extra step of caution, turns around and replies to the statement very quickly. "Well, let's not get too far with our morals, but if absolutely necessary, I do not see a problem with such actions."
The old man agrees with The Gearmaker. “I do not believe neutralizing him is…even possible.”
The Gearmaker sits back in his chair, floating in the ever so timeless courtroom. "You may be right. If so, then we have a much larger issue on our hands."
The woman looks to The Gearmaker, worried about the safety of her timeline. "I know you tend to be judgmental of my decisions at times, Gears, but you must understand that my variant is a ticking time bomb. Even if he does not pose a threat to the timeline, he could collapse beneath his own unstable power and destroy my domain."

The Gearmaker turns towards the starry woman in response. "I assume there are ways around this? Hmm?" He looks at her, tapping his metallic wooden fingers on the table impatiently.
"Perhaps…" she concedes, looking down. She then looks back at the old man, Even though they are almost indestructible, the woman knows the severity of this task at hand. "Nobody is truly immortal, C#o¥πsπi^÷… not even ourselves. If we can die, then so too can this Keymaster."
The old withering man looks back at the woman made from stars and slowly replied, “I still would not condone neutralizing him, even if we could. This would, by itself, cause major issues in the timeline.” he explained.
Impatience filling in the mind of The Gearmaker, he responds, "May I remind you two that this is only if it is our best option. If these Keymasters are open to reason, then we would have a much easier, and less of an immoral experience."
Disappointed, the woman replies, "Perhaps, but we will all have great difficulty in taking the long route."

"I suppose so…" The Gearmaker thinks for a moment, and came to the realization that these Keymasters act differently throughout the timelines. He then looks towards the old man in search of answers. "C#o¥πsπi^÷! How does your Keymaster behave exactly?"
The old man pauses for a moment. “Not aggressively, I’ll say. Though he is certainly conceited.”.
The woman looks to them all, stating, “Regardless, I know from experience just how quickly a ripe apple goes rotten”.
The Gearmaker scratches his clockwork head. "Hmm, if we could all handle this properly, we should succeed without issue, correct?"
The woman turns to him with a worried, but acceptive look. "I guess." she sighs.
The Gearmaker stands from his seat once more, eager to return to his machines. "So… are we all in agreement for our course of action?"
Reluctantly, the woman of stars nodded. "Yes.".
The Gearmaker turns and stares at the elderly man.
“Yes. I accept.”.

"Very well then." The Gearmaker states enthusiastically. "When I call our next meeting, I would like to see progress. You know how I am when I am disappointed… You know how Grandfather is when he is disappointed."
"Indeed." said the woman, wincing at the implications.

"Well… tick tock… We are running out of time."

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