“Thank you for volunteering, Mr. Bear,” Annalisa intoned as she tightened the straps on her old highchair-cum-time machine. “You will go to places and times undreamt-of by stuffies everywhere.”
She picked up her parents’ iPad and swiped to the Kids Corner folder. Building an app that controlled a time machine and hiding it from Mom and Dad was almost more difficult than building the time machine in the first place, given that they had to authorize all installs, but her partners in Africa built a workaround.
After firing up “Count With Me, 1-2-3,” Annalisa waited for the smiling ducks to stop singing and then selected Settings>Read EUA. Nobody ever read those.
The EUA appeared, stayed on the screen for ten seconds, and then vanished. Its replacement was a simple control panel. Not the one Annalisa wanted, but she had the fingers of a four-year-old human. It didn’t matter that she could think in eight dimensions if her body couldn’t perform the necessary movements.
It was a shame that she had to use Mr. Bear for this assignment, because he was the cuddliest of all her stuffies, but he was also the only one large enough to contain the messages she was sending home. They were encoded on polyfill, but there were so very many she had no other options.
The tears started as she thought of never seeing his smile and big dark eyes again, and Annalisa wrapped her arms around him for one final hug.
It was go-time.