[The Two Fates]

Chapter 10: Chad and Jon get the Blues

From: Jon
To: Chad
Subject: The Two Fates Chapter 10: Chad and Jon get the blues
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 1999 00:38:40 -0500

The Two Fates, part 10: Chad and Jon get the Blues

I dash into the jungle towards the point where I was ambushed by Demona, leaving the giant mechanized creature with only a handful of dirt. The Decepticons may have loaned you one heck of a powerful robot, but luckily for me they still managed to rip you off. Devastator is their oldest model, and the Gestalt Linking Protocol used to combine the six consciousnesses into one is an ancient and buggy version, requiring that all six component minds agree on the same action before Devastator will react. They all agree that they want to kill me, but each of them has a different idea of how to go about it. Therefore, Devastator pauses for a moment, deciding what to do next, allowing me enough time to dash into the woods. Waspinator, disgusted at the large robot's stupidity and clumsiness, darts after me and promptly smashes into a tree, blacking out. I run to where I fought with Demona and begin desperately searching for my last hope, the laser pistol I shot out of her hand. Then I remember the distress beacon hidden in my mouth, disguised as a false tooth, the one piece of equipment that you hadn't taken from me. I press it just as I hear Devastator behind me, crashing through the jungle and scanning for me with the sophisticated thermal sensors contained in Scavenger. I find the weapon, dented by my bullet but otherwise in working order, and take off further into the jungle, hoping to find a more strategic battleground. Devastator catches enough of my thermal image through the thick vegetation to follow me, but not enough to allow a weapons lock. I dash into a clearing and make for a hill on the other side, it's highest point at where the jungle begins again. As Devastator enters the clearing, laser fire erupts from the hill, reflecting off his body and causing the impact points to smoke fiercely. Such small ordinance wouldn't be much use against his thick armor plating. All the same, he pauses to consider what to do next. Just as he's moving his arm to fire at the hill, a deafening roar is heard from overhead. He and I both look to the sky to see a large spacecraft, gleaming metallic and shaped like an arrow, screaming toward the clearing out of the sky.

"HQ never said we had one of those!" I think, assuming that the impressive craft has been sent by my agency in response to my distress signal.

"There will be no rescue for my prey" Devastator bellows, also assuming that it must be some kind of rescue ship. He levels his twenty-foot long weapon at it, aquires a target lock, and squeezes off a beam of thermal energy hotter than a nuclear blast.

Just as the beam hits the ship, Waspinator, apparently having regained consciousness, buzzes into the clearing crying, "Wait for Wazzzpinator! He kill human!" The craft explodes and quickly drops toward the tops of the trees, flames licking from the sides as chunks of the hull and wings arc away from it. One particularly well aimed chunk of wing (who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?) smashes right into Waspinator and both he and the chunk fly back into the jungle (his fate is, however, uncertain. He's survived worse, so I've heard). The craft now crashes into the jungle, blasting a wave of dirt and plant matter into the air. It skids into the clearing and comes to a stop halfway across. For a moment there is a calm, as both Devastator and I stare in amazement, and both the ship and Waspinator smoke. Then a door opens in the underbelly of the craft and a figure staggers out. From what I can see across the clearing, the figure is a tall, well-muscled woman with sky blue skin, limping mildly. She is strikingly beautiful, but uniquely so, not at all like someone from the cover of a superficial magazine like Cosmo or something. She is clad in a dark brown full body flightsuit (she's apparently found out that the typical thong worn by most of today's female superheroes falls off too easily. Either that, or she just doesn't like them) and carrying a weapon eight feet long and larger around than a telephone pole (Hey, you have Britney Spears. I at least get someone comparable). She does _not_ look happy about being shot down. She yells something in a strange tongue and levels her weapon at him. The laser blast severs his left arm, and it crashes to the ground. She clearly _wasn't_ from the agency. Or even this planet. What's left of Devastator staggers, unbalanced by the loss of his appendage. He raises his weapon, ready to reduce her body to ashes, but another blast cuts right through his chest. He stumbles back and another hits his right leg. A final beam lances through his head, destroying his power system and sending him crashing to the ground.

The battle now over, she looks at a device in her hand and begins walking toward me, oversized laser rifle aimed at my position on the hill. I figure that the thing in her hand is probably a tracking device locked on to the signal from my distress beacon. I quickly switch it off. She does not stop, though, and continues toward were the signal was. I dart to another point on the hill and peer over the crest, laser at the ready. She sees the movement and fires off a (thankfully) low power beam in my direction, which hits my gun and causes it to explode in my hands. I fly back several feet and lie dazed but otherwise unhurt. Satisfied that it's now safe, she proceeds quickly over to where I am and places her foot firmly on my chest, to hold me down just in case I was still dangerous. She says something in her strange tongue to which I reply with "Who are you? Where did you come from?" She nods as though she was expecting this and then reaches down and takes my hand. An electric shiver goes up my arm, then my spinal cord, and into my brain when our hands make contact. I feel an odd, tickling sensation inside my head for a couple moments, and all of a sudden images, sharp, clear, and evidently controlled by her, burst into my head. A telepath. First I see her starship, the one that Devastator shot down, blazing through the solar system toward Earth. It enters orbit and begins a decent toward Japan. Suddenly, curved lines that I assume to represent my subspace distress signal emanate from Brazil. The ship alters course, seeking the source of such an unusual broadcast from a technologically inferior planet. Then the whole scene of the attack, crash, and subsequent events replays. The images stop for a moment and she looks expectantly at me, as though waiting for my story. Supposing that if she can project images inside my head, then she can read the ones I think of, I proceed to quickly remember my whole adventure so far, from when I first confronted you in the valley that I had tracked you into, through my capture here in the rainforest, the release of Devastator, and her arrival. She looks satisfied with my story and helps me up. I still have a few questions about her story, but first, names. I point toward myself and say "Jon".

"Jon" she repeats shakily, unused to the alien syllable. She says her name in her alien tongue, but I'm afraid human letters can't express it. I stumble over it a couple times, mangling it badly, and she shakes her head. I point to her and say "Blue?" asking if that would be a suitable name. She nods, but rather unhappily.

That over with, I still have some questions. I think for a moment and then begin putting my questions into images in my head. No response. I look at her quizzically. She does the same. Then she realizes something, chuckles, and takes my hand again. The same electric shiver and tickling in my brain. Then an image of her appears in my head. I assume that to mean ok. I first think of her ship in space, draw an arrow toward earth, and superimpose a question mark over the whole scene. My mental picture goes white, and images of her and a yellow man appear there, floating side by side and facing me. The images move toward each other, overlapping completely, and then move apart again. Then another image comes out from behind her, that of a small baby the color of a pine tree. Her daughter. My view zooms in on the baby until I can see it much more clearly than her or the father. The child proceeds to age in a time-lapse fashion, as though I were watching years stream by in seconds. When the child looks about three, the yellow man vanishes. She was a widow then (that is, if her species' social structure is like ours). Fierce (and I know what you think I'm setting up here. Well, I haven't decided if I'm gonna or not yet, so there). The child stops aging and she now looks about ten, with black hair, the same green skin, and a full length red tunic ornamented in places with thin gold chains and the like. Then the view shifts again, and the child is now piloting a small scout starship or fighercraft through our solar system, passing by Earth. Suddenly, a much larger starship appears overhead, long, flat, and gray with sweeping wings and a needlelike nose. The top and bottom of the craft slope together as they approach the edges of the body, forming a razor looking edge all the way around. It fires on her ship. Red lights flash in the cockpit and she looks worried. She throws open the throttle and speeds toward Earth, entering orbit and descending toward the surface. The large ship follows, but the smaller ship descends more quickly through the atmosphere. The large ship loses contact and begins to overheat, so it breaks off pursuit. Now I am seeing through the daughter's eyes. She looks at a counter display that is flashing symbols in a repeating pattern, quickly becoming all the same symbol. She again looks concerned, and begins searching for a logical place to land. For some reason, a point in Japan is flashing out like a beacon. She heads toward there, and the vision of her ends. I now see Blue in her spacecraft. She receives a distress call from Earth and heads toward there at full speed, breaking away from a large battle with the same kind of ships that had shot down her daughter. The vision ends. I now think of the ship that attacked her daughter and zoom in until I'm inside it's cockpit. I place a question mark in the pilot's chair. She imagines a creature like an angel, it's leathery wings fully spread. Only this angel is a very dark gray and wearing a gray trenchcoat from under which a well-built body and long thin tail can be seen. It is also wearing mirrored sunglasses, black leather gloves and boots, and carrying a large gun of some sort. There is also a broadsword strapped to his side. Next I imagine her and myself in Japan searching for her daughter and place a question mark over us. She nods approval. Then I put us in her ship flying there, and she shakes her head. Too heavily damaged apparently. I think of my helicopter and then zoom out to show how far away it is. She thinks of a bay inside her ship, lined down each side with several short range skiffs somewhat resembling jetskis with flattened bodies. I nod in agreement, and soon we are whizzing through the jungle with our skiffs, her tree-sized laser weapon and a long knapsack slung over her shoulder, and a smaller laser gun for me, the author very thankful to be through a difficult and wordy visual telepathy sequence.

When we arrive at the clearing the helicopter is in, I slide underneath the body and tap a security code into a hidden keypad. The copter opens up and begins warming up the engine. We load the skiffs, her laser and knapsack, and climb in.

Inside, I check the locations of the trackers in my gear that you took and the two in Barney, the one on his wrist and the tiny one you didn't know about that I made him swallow. My gear is all in the same place, but unfortunately that place happens to be the bottom of the ocean. While I don't rule out a base on the sea floor, I look for the beacons in Barney. The wrist tracker has been destroyed, but the one in his gut is still functioning. It is located in central Africa, in what a spy satellite image reveals to be a large trash dump. I figure you probably killed him and left him in a dump near your next headquarters. I set the autopilot and take off.

Blue has been watching, and now she takes my hand. Same electric shiver. Her telepathic abilities are apparently limited to tactile contact. A globe appears in my head with a question mark in central Africa. I proceed to explain that my agency suspects that you are trying to take over the world, and spies inside your organization have confirmed a very real threat, though they haven't been able to say exactly what. She looks unhappy, and thinks at me that we should hurry. She is worried about her daughter. I reassure her that, as soon as is possible, we will go looking for her.

Before we have gone twenty miles, the console flashes and a message is displayed requesting that I return to headquarters for an emergency meeting. She notices the immediate change in course and takes my hand. A question mark appears in my head. I, after a couple moments of thought, visually explain to her the situation. She nods, then yawns. Being tired also, I set the autopilot, offer her the cot in the middle compartment, and proceed to go to sleep in the pilot's chair.

Several hours later, a buzzer in the cockpit wakes me up, informing me that we've arrived at HQ. The copter has already landed on our concealed pad, and I stiffly climb out of my seat and fall through the curtain separating the cockpit and the sleeping area. Blue is already up, staring out the window. She chuckles at my awkward entrance.

"Hi Blue," I say, "cramps". We then disembark and head into A.R.C.A. headquarters.

Inside a tiny entrance room, I get my thumbprint scanned and the armor-plated door unlatches, swinging open silently. We head inside and I lead her to the conference room. Inside sits J.T. Barman, the head of the agency, and several other very large men, each of whom makes Charles Atlas look like a first grader. They are of varying nationality and include Michael Arch, his chief assistant, Tal, the head of security, and several other top aides. Everyone starts when Blue walks in except J.T., who, always calm and collected, looks like he actually expected her.

"Who's your, uh, friend, Jon?" asks Michael. The others in the room listen with critical interest, awaiting an explanation of this rather incredible event, except J.T., who leans back and listens intently, a slight smile crossing his lips every now and again.

"Allow me to introduce Blue. Her real name is..." Here, I attempt to say her name, and maul it thoroughly. Blue looks annoyed and corrects me. "But it's kinda awkward, so she lets me use Blue." Michael turns to her.

"That's a pretty name, ..." he says in a friendly manner, and proceeds to pronounce it exactly. Blue chuckles. "Do you speak English?" No response. "Espanol?" Still nothing. "Francais?" He tries several others, too.

"She doesn't speak any human language that I know," I say. Michael turns back to me.

"Have you found out anything about her?"

"Well, I'm not sure where she's from, but she's obviously alien, and she's here looking for her daughter, who was forced to land somewhere in Japan by a warring alien race. I'd imagine she's an excellent fighter too."

"Uh, how'd you learn all that if she doesn't speak a human language?" interjects one of the other aides.

"She's telepathic, but only through images, and only when she has her hand in yours. It's kind of a pain when you're so used to communicating with words. That, and we were both tired, and slept on the way back. Busy day."

Tal chuckles. "Knowing that much about her, you're lucky she didn't suck out your brain while you slept." he says.

"I suppose she's lucky I didn't suck out her brain during the night, either." I reply, realizing just how illogical what either of us had done was.

"Alright," laughs Michael, "how'd you two meet up?"

"Chad caught me while I was tracking him through South America," I explain, "Apparently, he has some kind of pact with the Decepticons, because he sent Devastator and Waspinator after me. I was stuck with only a small laser rifle and my subspace distress beacon."

"We registered that call," says Tal. "We sent out a team to retrieve you, but called them back when your helicopter reported that you had returned to it and that everything was ok. We also picked up some kind of unidentified spacecraft in that area, which we also sent out a team to investigate. I assume it belongs to your friend here?"

"Yup. The laser rifle I recovered wasn't doing anything to Devastator's armor plating. Then from nowhere, her ship blasts out of the sky, looking ready to deal death to Devastator. I thought it was some kind of new rescue ship you guys acquired, and he must have too, 'cause he shot it with his thermo-gun and brought it down in flames. Waspinator was flattened by debris from the explosion, and her ship crashed. She came limping out and, uh, repaid Devastator with several shots from a huge laser weapon. We then took a couple of skiffs back to the helicopter, because her ship was too heavily damaged, and started toward central Africa, where one of the trackers in the Barney I used as bait was still functioning. Only I got the request for an urgent meeting, and we came back here instead."

J.T. now speaks. "Interesting story, but it's been a busy day here at A.R.C.A., and that isn't what this meeting is about. Several large, heavily armed super-sonic transport planes were picked up heading across the Atlantic early today. We couldn't get any agency in any government to admit to owning them, and the planes themselves wouldn't respond to requests for identification. They shot down one of our fighters, tho the pilot survived, and the transports escaped at mach 3. Our fighters couldn't follow. A report was received five hours ago, just before we requested the emergency meeting, from one of our contacts in central France. He said he had seen the planes land, and trucks full of what he said were dinosaurs disembark, heading toward Paris. We need you, one of our best agents, to make a side trip on your way to Africa and check out these trucks. We obviously suspect some kind of terrorist activity."

"Alright, chief. I'll check it out."

Now, to the surprise of everyone present, including Blue, J.T says a couple words in her alien tongue. She looks puzzled, but walks over to him and takes his hand anyway. They stay that way for a couple moments, apparently speaking telepathically. Then J.T. drops her hand and turns to me. "Blue has agreed to go along with you, but you are to go searching for her daughter as soon as possible. Any questions?"

"Nope. I guess we'll be off then, right?"

"Yup. You'll find the copter freshly supplied again. Oh, and she liked that part about sucking out her brain, too. Tal, your team might want to hear what we've learned about the ship they're investigating. That, and I have some security codes and such Blue gave me that I need to send them. They're to repair the ship as well as they can and then guard it until Blue returns. The meeting is adjourned."

With that, we head out to the chopper, take off, and head for Paris.

Many hours pass as we fly over mile after mile of ocean. We chat with images for a long while, but not as much is said as you'd imagine, for while she's rather proficient at communicating through pictures, I'm not. It takes me a while to get used to it, and a great many things get resaid several times. Eventually we tire of talking, and end up playing a game on the console computer.

Just as Paris becomes visible over the horizon, Blue jumps up, evidently very excited about something. She takes my hand and then I'm seeing through her eyes. Somewhere in Paris is a point of light, shining like a beacon. I recall the image she had showed me earlier, of her daughter searching for a place to land while high above the Earth. Specifically, I focus on the flash of light that directed the daughter towards Japan and place a question mark over it. She nods. She imagines an underground base occupied by her species somewhere in Japan, to explain what her daughter thought she saw. She goes on to explain that a base would have notified her if her daughter had been safely recovered there. Now we would get to find out what that light really was. She then sits down in the copilot's chair and stares out the window at the rapidly approaching coastline, hoping we would find her daughter somehow.

Twenty minutes before we arrive in Paris, we receive a message from headquarters. Two of the six trucks that came off the transport planes had just appeared in downtown Paris. They proceeded to spew forth sixty or seventy oversized, incredibly strong Barneys, each with razor sharp claws and a superhard monotooth capable of slicing through steel with ease. As the last few minutes tick away before our arrival in Paris, we listen to the local news broadcasts with horror as they tear up the city, shredding police barricades like so much confetti. They seem to be chasing one woman in particular, say reporters. The woman was apparently fighting back in a fairly incredible way, using a variety of supernatural powers to keep herself safe, and had already killed several Barneys. Blue and I agree that that's where we'll head, and try to stop the Barneys. We are over the cityscape now, and we watch the chaos of cars trying to get out. A buzzer sounds. The autopilot has taken us as far as it can. I now take over, and follow a series of destroyed buildings and barricades to the current trouble spot. I bring the chopper down on the top of a ten-story apartment building in the heart of downtown. The chopper blades brake to a halt and the engine shuts down. In the new silence, we can hear the sounds of fighting coming from below. We exit the chopper and head around to the tail cargo door and quickly equip ourselves for battle. She unzips the knapsack that she brought from her ship (They have zippers on other planets. Cool, huh?) and pulls out an impressive looking sword, the sheath gleaming in oiled leather and dark-blue metal inlay. She unsheathes the blade and reveals that what I thought was an impressive sword is actually an incredibly beautiful one. The long blade, slightly curved and razor sharp, stunningly reflects the light from the sunset in the west. I whistle. She smiles, understanding my whistle by the movements involved, and reaches into her bag again, bringing out a sword like it. She presents the magnificent thing to me. Taken aback, I take her hand and ask why. She thinks of the image of me making my way toward your camp in Brazil, chopping at the brush with my sword. Then she gestures toward my side where it had hung before you stole it. Huh. A fellow warrior had lost a valuable tool that had probably meant a lot to him, too, and she wanted to replace it. Cool. It's quite a gift though, and I briefly think at her that I can't take it. Then I decide I will, if not just for a little while, as I would probably need it while fighting with the Barneys. Something on the sheath catches my eye and I briefly inspect what appears to be a picture of a very ornate cross formed by part of the metal inlay. We then finish equipping and I activate the security mode on the helicopter.

Peering over the side of the building we see a swarm of Barneys filling a park, surrounding one of the trees, but keeping at least ten feet from it's base. Blue grabs my hand and through her eyes I see the same glow that caught her attention while flying in to Paris. Suddenly, Barneys start streaming out of the park and around the build we are on. Only a few remain around the tree. We quickly discover where they were headed, as a wave of purple bursts onto the roof on the far side of the building. So much for a surprise attack. They must have heard the chopper. Blue and I unshoulder our weapons and I pick off a few of the charging horde. Blue is somewhat more effective, using some sort of wide beam setting on the huge gun, and cutting down large chunks of the wave all at once. Before we can do too much damage, though, they are upon us. It would be foolish to fight so many here, though, and both of us realize it. Metallic climbing claws, one of the goodies loaded on the chopper at the last resupply, click out of their sheaths on our arms and we descend the building, Barneys in hot pursuit. On the ground we find some of the Baraneys that had stayed around the tree have come over. Unsheathing our swords we begin dispatching the fowl monsters. With five of them freshly dead, and each of us already bleeding in several places, the first of the Barneys from the roof reaches the ground, and we are mobbed and separated, desperately fighting for our lives. Every now and again, I catch a glimpse of Blue through the sea of purple, a whirlwind of flashing sword and laser fire. An excellent fighter indeed. A warrior even. I dash around a tree to protect my back and a swarm of the corpulent beasts surges around both sides, seeking me. Blue eventually fights her way over to my tree, and there the last of the Barneys fall.

With all the enemy now dead, we turn our attentions back to the tree the Barneys had encircled, which was some distance from where we had made our stand. A woman, clad in a green suit of some sort, drops from it.

"Thank you for your rescue." she says in a suspiciously silky voice. As she approaches, a realization strikes me. It's Circe. Much to the displeasure of mythology buffs worldwide, I'm sure, it isn't _exactly_ Circe from Roman tales, but instead one slightly modified and updated by DC Comics. Crime against literature most horrid, I know, but mythologically accurate or not, a millennia old enchantress, seductress, and sorceress is something to reckon with. I hope you know who you're dealing with. On second thought I hope you don't know exactly the scope and demonic nature of who you're dealing with. Otherwise there would probably be no chance at all of ever regaining my friend, who had some years ago, and through unknown circumstances, changed from a nice guy to a madman and began building a vast criminal empire.

Blue takes my hand and I see the same beacon that she showed me on top of the building, shining out of a small bag tied around Circes waist. She seems to sense something is wrong, too, as she releases my hand and reaches for her sword. Circe sees the motion and says something in an evil sounding tongue. Blue flies backwards (realistically, not like on Hercules or Xena) twenty feet as though struck and lands on her stomach, writing like she was being crushed. She slowly rises to one knee and remains there, head bowed and moving her mouth, though I can't hear words.

While I was watching Blue, Circe had been creeping up behind me, and while Blue is still on her knees, she spins me around to face her. She studies my face for a moment.

"You're Jon, aren't you? The one who's been causing my boss so much trouble," she says sweetly. As my mind reels from the disarming magic she mixed in with her words, it strikes me that that means she's working for you. "Why do you try so hard? We're going to win in the end." I won't print what she says next, but suffice to say she offers me a _conciderable_ temptation to join your side. I shake my head to try and disperse the effect of her magic. Somehow a clear thought manages to get through, and I growl an answer.

"Sorry lady. You've got me confused with a normal secret agent. I try _not_ to be sidekick to my dick." I punch her (she's not a lady, so she's ok to hit) and she falls, countering with a kick to the aforementioned area. I double over, mourning for my descendants. Suddenly a shiver of cold and panic sweeps through my spine. Two huge hands grip my arms and hold me upright. I look down and see no hands, but only monstrous imprints where the fingers press into my arms.

"It does not matter," she says menacingly while getting to her feet. "There are other ways to handle _you_." I look desperately to Blue for help, but she is still crouched on one knee, fighting a battle of some kind. Just before I can shout, another pair of fingers, long, bony, and ice cold, snake their way around my mouth and turn my head back toward Circe. I was in trouble, trapped by a couple of her attendant demons. She beings chanting in a strange, unholy language. The only thing left that I can do is start praying. Both pairs of hands begin to loosen. The chanting continues and I get an unholy urge to root for truffles.

Just then there is a shout from Blue that seems to shake the whole park. I see her leap toward Circe with sword drawn. It may have just been Circes half completed spell messing with my mind, but a tongue of fire seemed to rise from Blue's shoulders and envelop her head. Both pairs of hands release me, and two horrid creatures, visible not by the light they reflect but the fact that they don't reflect any, instead soaking it up like black sponges, dart toward her. Blue slashes at the bag at Circes waist, tearing it open and sending an orange and yellow ball rolling toward me. I briefly see six stars before one of the creatures darts in and grabs it. A dragon ball. A wave of horror washes over me as I realize what your plan is. And chances are that there was only one left, besides this one, for you to collect. I start a run toward the fight, but the demon that grabbed the dragon ball smashes me over the head and I black out.

I am shaken awake by Blue, inside the helicopter. As I begin to set right reality, she takes my hand and briefly replays what happened. The fight hadn't lasted much longer, as the remaining four trucks full of Barneys had pulled up, delayed for an unknown reason, and issued forth their deadly, but somehow sickly humorous cargo. Circe used the confusion to escape with the dragon ball, and Blue, recognizing insurmountable numbers, had climbed, with me slung over her shoulder, back up to the copter and deactivated the security mode with my remote. Leaving me on the cot in the middle section, she lifted the chopper off and destroyed the Barneys and their trucks with its weapons. She had apparently learned more about me through her telepathic powers than I had originally realized, and I didn't know how thrilled I was about that. She then landed the chopper on another building and woke me up. I think of Japan, viewed from orbit, and the flash of light her daughter had seen. Then I imagine the dragon ball beside it. She nods. I briefly explain what happens when you get all seven dragonballs in one place, and we agree to head to Japan, hoping to find the last dragonball before you do, and her daughter as well.

Deep inside your secret hideout, you sit impatiently. Lunch has long since been over, and the sixth dragonball still has not arrived. Smythe enters, breaking the silence.

"Sir, you're wanted in sector 17B."

"17B? That's an unfinished aircraft hanger," you say crossly

"Yes, sir, but there's a foreman down there with a question, I believe."

"Alright Smythe, let's go," you sigh.

"If you'll excuse me sir, I have business elsewhere."

"Go ahead then." Smythe exits and you head toward the elevator.

When the elevator arrives, the doors open to a cavernous room with bare concrete floors and walls. It is completely dark. You step out accompanied by several Velocibarney bodyguards. A voice speaks from the darkness. It's Smythe.

"Hello, sir. Glad you made it."

"I thought you had business elsewhere."

"I did sir. It's done now, though." With that, he steps into the light from the elevator, holding the suitcase containing the five dragonballs.

"What are you doing with those, Smythe?"

"Giving them to him, sir."

"What are you talking about?" You advance toward Smythe, ready to take back such precious possessions with force, if necessary. A deafening, feral roar stops you in your tracks. All the lights flick on, and you see one of the most terrifying sights you've ever beheld. Before you stands a twenty foot tall robot that resembles a cross between Barney and a T-Rex. Around him are a pack of Barneys like the ones that attacked Circe, though you don't know yet that she was attacked.

"Smythe," you exclaim in horror, "how could you work with, with, THAT?" pointing to the B-Rex.

"That can be explained, sir." His face and body begin writhing and split apart, revealing another Barney, though smaller than the others present and unclawed.

The B-Rex speaks. "I had heard that you ended up with my Barney Lawler. Then my scouts started seeing some of your Velocibarneys, robbing stores and such. I figured you must have perverted my work and created them, though I think you'll find the original model quite superior. I sent one of my scout Barneys to infiltrate your organization. Little did I know I would find something so interesting as five dragonballs, and the locations of the last two."

"What have you done with Smythe?" Good help is hard to find you think, and he was good.

"Smythe is alive, but he's my prisoner. Though I don't expect you'll be able to do anything about it."

"You'll regret this. Velocibarneys, attatck!" Your bodyguards rush forward, eager to do your bidding. One tears the smaller scout Barney to ribbons.

"Noooooooooooooo!" cries the B-Rex. "My creation! Kill those retched things!" His Barneys charge forward, and true to his word, make short work of your smaller, weaker versions. One retrieves the briefcase from the dead scout Barney.

"You," he snarls, "I will leave alive so you can see ME rule the world! As we speak, your agent in Europe is being relieved of her cargo. The next time you see me, you will be on bended knee, hailing me as ruler of the world!" The whole crowd then exits through a large door in the far wall, climbing into a supersonic aircraft and blasting off through access tunnels, and away from your base. Swearing, you climb back into the elevator and head back to the control room. There you find all of the weapon and radar systems dead. Smythe had done his work well. You punch out a handy monitor screen as you think about what just happened. Your dragonballs were gone and so was Smythe. You activate the comm system and call the repair chief.

"Chief, check the weapon and tracking systems and get them back online as soon as possible. Inform me if there's any way we could stop the plane that just left." A stream of obscenities issues from the speaker.

"Sir, the control computers for those systems have been totally wiped. It'll take hours to get them reloaded. And it was all done so that no one would notice. We have a spy in your organization."

"That much I already knew. Get back to work," you snap, "and send someone to fix this monitor." You sink into your chair, wondering what to do next. Suddenly your secretary rings you.

"A woman to see you sir."

"Show her in." And in limps Circe, bandaged in several places, but with a small bag in her hand.

"I was ambushed by..." she pauses to shudder, "a huge pack of Barneys. Jon and a strange blue woman came and killed the first wave. I then confronted them, because I didn't think they would let me just escape, but several more trucks full of Barneys showed up, and I managed to get away in the confusion. The blue woman is trouble. Watch out for her. I was able to save this, though I'm afraid he now knows we're collecting them." She dumps the sixth dragonball on your desk. A smile spreads across your face. The B-Rex was missing one of the balls, and the Velocibarneys could be re-engineered stronger. There was hope yet.

What do you think of that?

Shalom, Ahav, Y'shua (peace, love, Jesus),
|\ |
| \|ightshade -|---
email: nshadez17@crosswinds.remove.for.non.spam.net
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