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Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« am: 18. Mai 2012, 12:39:18 Uhr »
General Martin Wade of the Federal Security Agency was just busy giving one certain Thomas Adalmar Richards the Third another well-deserved roasting about his chronically disregard of Agencyīs regulations concerning secrecy, when he suddenly found his victim totally absentminded, languid grin gone from his face in a flash. The condition didnīt last long, just about a minute, and then Richards shot wild glances to all sides, with an alarmed expression as if he expected enemies to attack any second.
"Damn. General, there was something - somethingīs coming!" he said as he jumped up from his seat, cane ready to fend off anything that tried to come at them, the activated matrix in the caneīs hilt flashing blue light. "Might be a psionic shockwave - "
Wade knew that Richardsī abilities in fore-telling psionic shocks were limited to just a few minutes. He also got up to meet anything that might happening soon standing on his own legs, ready for fight or flight. And indeed, he didnīt have to wait long. There was a little shaking of the building like from a weak earthquake or from a distant explosion, just one time and then it was over.
"Itīs gone," Tom said after a few minutes of waiting for more to come. "It felt like a wave that passed through anything without causing actual harm, not even in my delicate mind. But something that produces space-time-premonitions needs to be checked out. General, please--"
Wade nodded and called his secretary in the outer office, while Richards concentrated on his matrix to find out the reason of the shake they had felt. Not knowing the reason, he had difficulties making his matrix to pinpoint on the information he was looking for, it was like fishing in muddy waters.
"Mr. Raynes, please direct all information concerning the shock we just felt to me," he heard the General saying. "Was it a natural event or an explosion of some kind? And where did it come from? Please put all available hands on it, this might be really important!"
They waited, and it didnīt take the Federal agents long to feed first information to their boss.
"Seismographs all over the world have gone haywire. It was a shock that was felt all over the world though it was very weak. It caused tsunamis on all coasts, with average heights of a few inches, give or take some. No reported damages. Scientists are already busy finding out if it might be the beginning of a new polar shift, or if the Earthīs crust has come loose for a split-second. All available hands are working on it. Data from satellites tell us that all of them have moved. Not far, but all of them changed their positions for a few meters at exactly the same time. That means that the whole planet Earth has moved a bit in correlation to its satellites and the other planets in the system. While the owners of said satellites are all of a dither right now, astronomers are doing measurements to find out more, especially trying cross-bearings to see from where exactly the movements came, they are speculating that maybe a gravitational wave has hit us, the first discernible forewarning of a star nearby dying. Since it seems to have shifted the whole planet at once at about the speed of light and didnīt repeat itself the effects were minimal, a little moving of water masses and atmospheric disturbances, a little quake... a few volcanic eruptions and smaller natural quakes went off immediately after as a result, but all of them were weak and overdue anyway, so there were no big losses. While the scientific world is reeling, most of the people never noticed the event at all, the rest thought it to be a weak quake, the result of heavy traffic, a distant explosion or simply a delusion or a fit of nausea. For the time being, the other governmental institutions find it best to leave it with that. No reason to cause panic by saying īSorry, something just stopped Earth for a split-second, but we still donīt know what it was or if it will repeat itself again, and maybe worse this time.ī Other theories are that the planet got hit by something, maybe a huge meteorite that crashed somewhere in the ocean, but thereīs no sign of an impact anywhere, our satellites didnīt pick up anything, no blast, no fireball and no smoke trails, and an impact at sea would have caused huge tsunamis at all surrounding coasts by now."
Agent Howart whoīd been tasked with outlining the collected information about the incident presented them the first resume about one hour after the quake.
"It canīt have been a meteorite. It was a shockwave of some sort, going through anything at the speed of light," Tom commented, "probably even faster than light or I wouldnīt have felt it before. Weīre lucky it was so damn fast, because if it had lasted more than a split-second it would have destroyed the planet. But we have to determine the source, and quickly. We have to make sure it doesnīt repeat itself."
One of the first thing heīd done while sitting in the Generalīs office and waiting for more information to drop in was to call his hospital. He had ordered Paul Forrester, the alien from Algeiba in a human body, to cancel all healings for this day in case he would need him to help with this new problem. "Did you feel it?" he had asked his apprentice. "Yes? Could you make out where it came from?"
He turned to the General. "He says the sourceīs got to be close, but he couldnīt sort out details. With an Algeiban that means it could have been about everywhere on Earth. I guess we have to rely on the scientists to find out more."
So they waited. Wade used the time to finish some paperwork. Now and then agents or his secretary entered the office, bringing reports or files or taking them away. The phone rang repeatedly, and Wade got on it. Tom had refused to leave the office as his momentarily main source of information but gone deaf and played around with his matrix, still trying to find something worthwhile while generously ignoring the commotion around him.
Then, when another hour had passed, they got news. "First calculations, Sir, based on the displaced satellites," Howart announced after entering the office. Together they studied the pages he presented to them, fresh from the fax machine. The note came from the Pentagon since Wade had made clear there with one of his first calls he was interested in getting information about the supposed position of the souce even if it was still unconfirmed because heīd use his own methods to check them out for their accuracy. He knew that the data coming from scientific institutions would take more time; scientists used to make sure of their calculations first before they would give them on, which in this case meant a waste of precious time.
The new data told that the source was not somewhere far outside or deep inside the planet as Tom had already feared. In fact, it was on the outside of Earthsīs crust, somewhere at the eastern coast of the North American continent-- somewhere in the area of Washington, D.C.??--
Tom took a foot rule and a red pencil from the Generalīs desk and started to draw lines on the fax copies that all showed a map of the States in different scales, from the whole continent down to the closer area of Washington, filled with single and double numbers that told of the strength of reported and recorded phenomena. They had been all very weak, the low numbers told them, but everywhere at the same time... Tom soon found a centerpoint for most of the lines he made, somewhere in the city.
The General understood at once as he looked at it.
"East Potomac Park!" They stared at each other.
« Letzte Änderung: 18. Mai 2012, 13:23:46 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #1 am: 30. Mai 2012, 12:57:08 Uhr »
"The bombs you blew up there--?"
"No way. Those things were strong, yes. Each of them had the equivalent power of a small nuke, sufficient to destroy a good part of the city, but they were no way strong enough to cause a shock wave able to shake the whole planet. Such an aftershock would require more than the power of all the bombs combined. No, I think something else has happened - but I need to go there and see for myself. Now. And I think you better give me my trained team. Smith, Wylie, Fox--"
"Smith is not available today. But the others are here. Weīre under ground alert, you know. Iīll get you a helicopter."
"But first, one last call." Tom called his hospital again, to tell Forrester to immediately head for East Potomac Park.  "Weīll meet there," he said and hung up. But he refused to return his red adorned fax page. On the way to the roof with its landing space for choppers he made a beeline for the photocopier in Wadeīs outer office. Handing back the original to the General, he kept the new copy. Some of the lines heīd drawn had not met in the centerpoint at East Potomac Park but somewhere else in the city. As soon as they met with the agents Fox and Wylie in the lift he showed them the page. "Does this other marked spot ring a bell with you? I know itīs not the Mallingard building, but itīs not too far away from it either."
The agents huddled together over the paper, then looked at each other. "Thatīs close to the place where we met your self from the future for the first time, it could have been the spot of his arrival. After that, we went to that Italian restaurant, and then, the Mallingard building--," they consistently told him just as the lift door opened to the roof.
"You think that the time traveler--?"
"Maybe, General. Maybe thatīs why Monherva, the inventor of that time machine, never used it much for all we know. Or, maybe, thereīs another, unknown factor. Without more data I wontīrule anything out."
Wade watched as the helicopter took off. He had to stay back at the headquarter to collect more information, to coordinate whatever needed to get coordinated, and to stay in contact with his superiors at the Defence Department and at the White House. Once again he had to trust in Richardsī vast experience and his powerful tool, not to mention his own agents who by now had had some training in dealing with weird situations. They were his best team he had for such occasions, so his conscience was at ease when he returned to his office. Especially since he knew all other agencies and institutions of the government to be none the wiser.
The helicopter took Tom and īhisī agents to East Potomac Park. The traces theyīd left at their last visit there had long vanished, first probed and combed carefully by the specialists of the FSA who had picked through the meagre leftovers of the battle fought there, and then plowed up and covered with tons of fresh dirt and planted with sod. Of course the wardens of the golf course recognized them immediately and didnīt look happy because they remembered what had happened when this group had been there for the last time. And the damages to the place they had left behind. The blue flashing of Tomīs matrix that had begun already in the chopper when it hovered over the small island in the stream and didnīt weaken since told the agents that the blond īwizardī was already busy with something.
The manager of the golf course also came on, ready to give them a piece of his mind. "Iīm afraid youīll have to close a part of your course again, Sir," Tom started mercilessly, without giving the man time to say a single word. "I was certain the Benu had closed the place here up from beyond too, but this seems to be a mistake on my part. Thereīs a damn dimensional rift right at the place where the truck has been, wide enough to swallow everything thatīs getting close. And I guess you donīt want your customers to disappear forever into foreign other dimensions, or do you, Mr. Crabbe?" he asked the manager.
"A dimensional rift?" Fox and Wylie asked in unison, startled. So thatīs why Richards had made the pilot to avoid this certain spot when they got closer, the small rise on which once a big FSA truck had been parked and destroyed, and which still showed the imprinted dent of a crater on its back despite the efforts to fill and cover said crater with fresh soil.
"Iīm afraid so."
"Could such a rift be powerful enough to make the earth stand still for a split-second?" Wylie asked, proving his familiarity with science fiction terms once more. Mr. Crabbe just stood there, mouth wide open but already understanding that, once again, there was much more going on than he could imagine. He, too, had felt the quake shock just a few hours before and heard from the news about its world-wide effects. But to hear now that it had probably originated from this very place...
"Iīm afraid so," Tom repeated. "To learn more I have to examine it. But I want to wait for Paul before we both go for it. Until then weīll start by securing the place. Gentlemen --"
He led on, towards the rise that now got secured by a high fence of finely woven wire around it in the otherwise quite fence-less golf course. Danger signs warned of quicksand and underground holes in that spot, making entering a dangerous and potentially deadly venture, and a growth of young stinging nettles covered it not by chance but as an additionally and very purposely measure of the FSA to keep people away from this special spot. Fence and signs and nettles seemed to have done their work against the casually searchers of lost golf balls, no traces on the ground and in the young weeds indicated that somebody had gone close to where the invisible rift was now. Tom surrounded the enclosed area once, concentrated on his working matrix and followed by the carefully watching agents and other men. When he had completed his round he stopped. "Well, thereīs good news: it doesnīt look like itīs intending to spread, at least not for the time being. Thereīs an interesting structure here which looks very stable. Take a look at that!" And out of his matrix crept an image consisting of lines of white-blue light that hovered in the air above Tomīs cane and looked at first glance like a well shaft disappearing into unfathomable depths, making visible for all onlookers what only Tom could see before in his matrix-powered aura-sight.
"Is this a dimensional doorway, like in the stories of Lovecraft?" Wylie again.
"I guess itīs more than that. To make our planet Earth stop just like that, it needs to be connected to some very big and heavy opposite. As big and heavy at least as another planet. Just look at those structures." He singled out a part of the wall of said well shaft and magnified it, until they all could take a closer look at it. "It looks like a tube, no, more like a huge sock woven from billions of heavy steel cables which all by themselves consist of billions of thinner cables. Such a structure might be powerful enough to chain two worlds together. This rift is two things at once, a doorway in its hollow midst and a connecting and very strong tube-like chain on its outside. But how to create such a thing and to what means - I still havenīt got a clue. Maybe weīll learn more when Paul is assisting me - well, there he comes."
They looked up and saw the approaching men, Paul Forrester, the alien from Algeiba in his human body, and Larry Kiromoto, his most trustworthy bodyguard. Paul Forrester was a dark-haired, handsome caucasian mid-forty, his bodyguard a small and slender and very attentive half-Japanese who for most of the time acted more Japanese than any true-bred son of the Land of the Rising Sun.
"I felt it when it happened," Paul said to Tom when he reached them. "So I prepared, knowing youīd call. Scott is with Jenny for now." Paulīs wife, Jenny Hayden-Forrester, was heavy with their second child, so Paul had left their first son Scott behind to assist her in case of need. Of course they werenīt alone, they both had their own bodyguards and caretakers. So Paul could come here in good conscience, knowing his family was as safe as they could be.
"Please, Paul, take a look at this and then tell us what you can make out of it," Tom said, pointing towards the enclosed rise with its nettles and the still visible dent in its peak. "Iīll check if something has come out of it in the last hours. Thank the Existing Gods there seems no imbalance in energy levels or atmospheric pressure between our world here and the other one itīs now connected to, or weīd feel the effects already."
Paul nodded and brought out his own Algeiban sphere which also came to life in blueish light. Together they wandered around the fenced hill, concentrated on their tools and still not intent on entering the dangerous zone with the invisible but very real dimensional breach, faithfully followed by the rest of the men who were waiting eagerly for the results. 
"What are they doing?" Mr. Crabbe asked the agents, since he didnīt want to disturb the man with the long horsetail and his dark-haired companion.
"Theyīre taking measurements with their tools," Wylie answered helpfully. "Donīt ask us how, thatīs for experts like them only. It takes many years to learn how to use those tools they have, you know. And most of us would never get it because weīre lacking the necessary psychic abilities to control them."
Paul stopped. He exchanged a look with Tom, and then took him by the hand. īTheirī agents knew what this meant - they were exchanging some telepathic messages.
Tom stood like petrified when he got - and understood! it. But after overthinking it for a moment, he nodded. "I think youīre right," he said aloud. Then he turned to the agents. 
"What is it? What did you find?" Fox asked with an unobstrusive move towards the manager and his men as if asking to send them away first. Tom just smiled, which meant they were allowed to stay, and Fox obliged.
"Paul has found out that the ends of this dimensional connection are interlocked, and he got some pictures from the other side. Small amounts of data are permanently running from one end to the other and back, and he says that the surrounding of the other end looks just like an exact copy of this place here. Meaning this chain probably connects either two parallel dimensions or two different timelines of this very place here, and thatīs why there are no indiffences which Iīm glad about. But it still doesnīt explain who created it, and with and to what means."
Fox overthought it for a moment and then wanted to speak but got beat by Wylie. "You - want to cross over into the other dimension, time or whatever?"
Tom smiled. "If we can find an answer there... but not without a little safety test first, of course."
The powers of his matrix pulled a clump of grass out of the ground, complete with roots and dirt and an angry wiggling big earthworm clinging to them, making the manager grunt in dismay. The clump including worm hovered before them in mid-air, but just for a moment. A slightly blueish glowing force-field suddenly engulfed the clump like a big soap-bubble, and then it moved on, flying weightlessly over the fence towards the invisible dimensional breach where it suddenly vanished into thin air.
"Iīve programmed it to come back in a few minutes," Tom explained. "If that doorwayīs working two-sided and if the passage is harmless for organisms it should return unharmed and un-changed. If not, itīs better to sacrifice part of our flora and fauna than one of us."
The agents nodded in agreement. īMadder than a march hareīRichards made perfect sense, as always. They waited. And then, a few minutes later - there it was, the soap bubble with its living but non-sentient contents, appearing seemingly un-changed and flying towards them.
"Paul? Would you please check it? Especially for breaches and fissures in its cells and genetic makeup the passage might have caused." While the Algeiban received the bubble which opened up for him and he went to work with his sphere, Tom explained to the others. "Iīve read an old SF book once, one that will come out in a few years. It was about time-travel. The people in that book couldnīt do more than a few time jumps because each jump caused temporally rifts and ruptures in their bodies, so one jump too many would cause deadly wounds. Thatīs what Paul is to check out right now, among a lot of other things. One can never be too careful, you know."
"And if he finds nothing - youīll try? Just like that?"
Tom made a face. "That connection is there for a reason, and not a good one, I guess. We know itīs not of natural origin, and it already caused some damages even if they were weak. I wonīt wait for heavier ones to come. What piece of equipment would you want to take with you to deserve a grace period, a nuke? All I need is right here," he tapped his cane. "And I hope my bubble has brought additionally information, like, if itīs really a parallel dimension, or maybe our own world just in another place or some time later. If it was sooner Iīd have felt it already," he hinted at his ability to feel space-time resonances a few minutes before they actually happened.
« Letzte Änderung: 30. Mai 2012, 15:13:05 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #2 am: 14. Juni 2012, 09:27:18 Uhr »
They noticed that Forrester suddenly wore a very strange expression. He turned to them. "Iīve checked the pictures your bubble has monitored, and Iīve seen Scott and Wylie sitting in a car not far away from here, and George too. But Scott isnīt here, and we donīt intend to call him here!" He looked very puzzled. Tom reached out, and the Algeiban gave him the pictures telepathically when their auras touched.
"Itīs not something that happened here last time," Tom said when heīd received the few pictures his bubble had taken from its otherdimensional surrounding before it zoomed back into the doorway, "they are wearing different clothes. And what are they doing? Is Scott sleeping in the car?" They had only a few pictures of the scene, like snap-shots done in a few seconds, because Tom had programmed his fisheye-camera-bubble to get a 360 degree view and not especially to focus on people who happened to be there.
"Well, time for us to find out, isnīt it?" he said. "If thereīs nothing else--"
The Starman shrugged. "Plants and worm look quite well and healthy to me," he said. Tom nodded and carefully made the clump including its unwillingly passenger return to from where heīd taken it. Then he turned to the others. "Paul and I will take a look. Larry will stay here and guard the place, and call relief if it will take longer, but the place is to be guarded till our hopefully safe return. Mr. Crabbe, its our job to investigate such phenomena, so please donīt look at me that way now. Itīs probably dangerous to cross over there, so I wonīt allow you or your men to come with us." Then he said to the agents: "To you two I canīt give orders, youīll have to decide for yourself."
"And miss another dimensional voyage? Not a chance in hell," a visibly excited Wylie replied. Fox sighed. "Then I have to go, too. Canīt leave you alone with him, you know, the General would have my hide," he said with tragically expression.
"Fine." Suddenly the fence before them opened, the wires cut apart by an invisible force that had come from Tomīs matrix. "Letīs roll."
Slowly they walked through the thriving nettles towards the dent at the peak of the small rise left by an atomized truck. They didnīt see or feel anything unusual, until - suddenly Tom at the lead disappeared. Paul didnīt slow down his pace and disappeared in the next second. The agents had stopped and looked at each other, until Wylie shrugged. "If Paul can do this..." he said, and went forward, to vanish into thin air. Fox let out another sigh, and followed.
And all that was then still there was an empty rise, surrounded by a cut fence, with traces in form of trampled nettles which lead towards the almost concealed crater but didnīt lead back.

x

Scott who was lying on the back seat of the sedan sighed. Not long, and he would be fully awake again. Wylie looked at him. He would never admit it, but he felt sorry for the boy. Other than Mr. Fox heīd already understood that Paul Forrester was in fact a benign and harmless being who just wanted to be with his human family instead the threat and spearhead of an alien invasion Mr. Fox believed him to be. But, orders were orders. And Forrester was still an alien, and still could prove dangerous sooner or later, maybe even without wanting to. Shortly he pondered the thought of giving the boy another dose of that sedative to save him the fear and hopelessness and helpless anger over his renewed confinement which were bound to come but then decided against. Mr. Fox might have other ideas that included the boy to be awake. Wylie gazed around, and, behold! there he came. But he wasnīt alone.
"So heīs found him at last," Wylie murmured to himself. Too bad for the boy, now. And his progenitor, of course, because the agent knew what would happen to those two, and he really felt sorry for them now. The General certainly wouldnīt want a repetition of Peagrum, so security in the safehouse theyīd end in would be much more tight this time, no chance in a living hell to break out from there.
As the three men closed in, Wylie noticed that Forrester didnīt wear handcuffs or other bonds. Fox wore an unusually friendly expression, almost a concealed smirk, and he barely looked at Forrester who was walking besides him. There was no trace of that hate, disgust and visibly fear Fox normally showed anytime the alien in human disguise was close to him. But maybe this had to do with the third man who was with them, a stranger in an expensive suit, carrying a fashionably silver cane he surely didnīt need for walking because he moved as light-footed as a trained dancer. Wylie also noticed the unusually long mane of naturally blond hair of the man which was was bound to a ponytail, giving him the looks of an eccentric artist or fashion designer. Maybe it was this man who held Forrester in check for Mr. Fox, with other means than handcuffs or a gun --
"Dad!" Scott Hayden cried out from the car. Frantically and almonst panicking he stared at his father walking besides the accursed Fox, believing nothing else but that his Dad had actually sacrificed his freedom and - in the long run - his life just to be with him, his son, for whatever amount of time the governmentīs goons would still allow them after that. Forrester immediately quickened his pace and passed the agent to get at his son, and neither Fox nor the stranger did anything to stop him. So Wylie thought it would be okay on his part to let the meeting happen.
"Scott! Are you okay?" Forrrester asked, with visibly worried expression. He saw that the boyīs hands were bound behind his back, and a reprimanding look went at Wylie, while his hands touched Scott as if to calm him.
"Yes, I am. But you - you shouldnīt have come. Now theyī ve got us both!"
"Donīt worry, Scott. Itīs okay." Of course, the boy didnīt believe him, and Paul was almost sorry he had to keep up the charade for a few additionally minutes. But he knew that his companions were having fun, and since there would be no lasting harm for Scott --
"Mr. Wylie. Would you hand me the keys, please?" Fox asked, having also arrived at the sedan.
"You pocketed them yourself, Sir." As if his superior would leave him with both the boy and the keys to safeguard, when Forrester was still loose and could try to con him into freeing Scott again as he had done at least once before.
"Oh yes. I almost forgot. " And Fox brought them out, secretly wondering if they would indeed open the handcuffs, proving that there were more things identical here than just the people.
Agent Wylie only hesitated, surprised, when Fox asked on: "And I need you to give me your gun."
Wyle stared at Forrester who stood definitely too close for the taste of a trained agent to bring out his gun comfortably.
"Itīs just for safekeeping. As soon as this is over youīll get it back, of course."
Now Wylie really felt peeved. What did Fox take him for, an imbecile? He had successfully passed the reguarly training lessons for agents in field work, and he knew the regulations, just as much as Mr. Fox himself! Was he really thinking Forrester would be able to steal his gun? And, damn, right now Fox was giving the keys to Forrester who used them to free his son - what the heck was going on here?
Wylie drew his gun but not to hand it over to Mr. Fox. No way the elder agent would have acted like this just two hours ago when he went off alone to search for his quarry. The only thing that made sense was that the alien had caught Fox after that and brainwashed him ---
"Sorry, I canīt allow that," the blond stranger mixed in, and Wylie felt the little pain of an electric shock in his hand that made him let go of his gun in reflex. At the same time he saw a small flash of blue light coming from the hilt of the strangerīs cane, and he knew that said hilt had to contain something like the spherical tool of the alien.
"Sir, heīs --" he started, totally flabbergasted now, seeing his gun landing obediently in the hand of his superior.
"I know. And no, heīs no alien. His fivehundred-times-grandfather was one, about thirteen thousand years ago," Fox answered to his big surprise, now smiling widely.
"Nice to see you finally got it," the stranger grinned at Fox. Who - unbelievably for both Wylie and Scott -- smirked back, and quite happily at is seemed. Those two, Wylie realized, knew each other, and not just since yesterday. Then the grin of the stranger went even wider as he took a look back to where they had come from. "George, donīt turn around now. And you, Wylie, please stay quiet. Donīt ruin the Kodak moment, please."
Wylie didnīt understand at all. But his look went beyond the men around him, and his eyes went wide. He looked back at the Fox who was standing directly before him - but just as he wanted to act he felt something gagging him, he found himself unable to utter a single sound.
"No prompting, please! This will be a little surprise for your Mr. Fox," the blond man grinned, and the Fox standing with them mirrored the grin, not turning around not to destroy the surprise.
Forrester did turn around, he didnīt have to hide his face, just as Scott who was too astonished now to say a single word. With wide eyes he stared at the second George Fox who was approaching them --

« Letzte Änderung: 14. Juni 2012, 10:25:38 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #3 am: 28. Juni 2012, 10:34:13 Uhr »
"Mr. Wylie! Whatīs going on here -- what!" And the second Fox stopped, still a few meters away, and suddenly drew his gun, realizing the scene with an uncuffed Forrester here and two strange men in suits close to his inept assistant looked just too suspiciously. But he didnīt fare better than Wylie. A small blue flash again, and Foxīs gun flew through the air towards the other Fox who plucked it quite incidentally from mid-air, still without turning around. And Wylie still wasnīt able to warn his colleague --
when the Fox directly before him finally did turn around.
+Here+ Foxīs face fell apart.
Mouth gaping wide open, he stared, quite speechless, at his perfect twin who smirked at him.
Wylie felt the invisible gag suddenly disappearing, and was finally able to cry out: "Sir, watch out!"
+Here+ Fox found his tongue again. "You - youīre --" he gasped.
"No, youīre mistaken, Sir," the blond stranger said with the accent and pose of a true-bred English gentleman. "Heīs not an alien doppelganger, but in fact a human doppelganger from another dimension. You can come out now, Ben!" he then suddenly shouted, laughing.
And from between the other parking cars appeared another person wearing a dark suit and laughing all over his face as they could see when he came closer. It was Agent Wylie - a second Benjamin Wylie.
Both +here+ agents Fox and Wylie stared at their identical twins, still too astonished to believe it.
"And before youīre getting funny thoughts now, this Forrester is our version," the stranger continued quite mercilessly, "so if you want an alien you have to catch your own. Sorry, Scott, but this isnīt exactly your Dad, heīs his otherdimensional twin," he added towards the boy. "So please donīt rough him up now, because our version is a real nice one, just like yours as I suppose."
The boy just stared alternately at him and his not-Dad, unable to bring out a single word.
"Flee, Mr. Fox!" +here+ Wylie shouted, but when the disarmed Fox tried to retreat and do as advised, he found he couldnīt move.
"Sorry, canīt allow that," Tom Richards repeated who had created a little force field around the agent to prevent him from hightailing it. "We need you both. And in good health, so please calm down, Mr. Fox. We donīt intend to hurt any of you. But weīre not here for fun either. Did you have here something unusual a few hours ago, like, a small quake? One that wasnīt strong but felt all over the world, and displaced all of your satellites?"
"Donīt tell him anything, Wylie!" +here+ Fox shouted at his assistant, but Wylie had already said: "Yes?"
"Fine. Or not so fine, because that one was felt on our world, too," Tom continued. "It was caused by something that created a dimensional bridge between our worlds, enabling us to cross over here to explore the phenomenon. We wouldnīt like it to repeat itself and with far more devastating results next time, you know, and are here to stop whatever caused it. And you will help us with that, because your world is as much endangered by this phenomenon as ours is. Did you get that, Mr. Wylie, Mr. Fox?"
"Donīt believe him, Wylie! Heīs an alien, an invader!" Fox answered immediately. Wylie ignored him, taking a little bit more time to digest the information and to think it over.
"You did bring your Paul Forrester along?" he asked then, aiming his question at his twin who just sighed and shrugged, pointing at Tom behind his back with an odd expression.
"Our Forrester is on our side," the strange Fox answered instead. "We thought weīd need any help we could get, and heīs been useful to us before. Looks like youīre still after yours, arenīt you?"
"Yes, they definitely are," Scott answered instead of Wylie and in a sarcastic tone. He wasnīt the only one to notice that the blond stranger suddenly looked absentminded and distracted, as if his mind was suddenly elsewhere. Carefully he looked around as if searching for something, and the blue crystal in the hilt of his cane flashed again --
"What is it?" the +other+ Fox asked him.
"Just before we left I created a few little traps to catch anything that might come through on our side, just like Siwa and I did before, remember? I can feel that here are traps of the same kind around this end of the dimensional doorway. We didnīt trip them because they got created by a matrix that is identical to mine, and I gave us all a permit. But since I didnīt create these traps here, they still gave up a signal--"
Suddenly Tom looked up and started to laugh out loud. "Well, will you look at that!" he snorted. And laughed on.
They looked up, too, and saw something burning brightly in a blueish-white fire, like a flaming meteorite, coming from the sky right at them -- the creator of said traps, probably.
"Now youīve got it coming!" +here+ Fox gibed, recognizing the phenomenon immediately. "This is Firebird, our only real and existing superhero! Heīll whup your asses for good!"
The flaming thing slowed down and stopped not far above them, and then it hovered there. They all could see now that it was indeed something that looked like a human being wearing an armor-like uniform with cape, but was blazing almost as bright as the sun and burning all over as if it was made of pure, hot fire.
And then the being spoke. It had a voice as loud as thunder, but well-modulated and most impressive.
"Halt, aliens!" it said. "State your business or face my wrath!"
Richards had stopped laughing but still had trouble to keep a straight face, with a wide grin persistently trying to creep out. Swiftly he wiped away a few tears of laughter. Then, with one hand braced on his cane, he raised his empty other hand.
"Parley?" he shouted at the flaming being.
It stared at him for a few seconds that seemed to stretch into small eternities. Then -
"I grant you the right of Parley."
Tom nodded, now wearing a fine, happy smile, and started to walk towards the superbeing. The matrix in the hilt of his cane started spitting blue fire again, and suddenly he, too, was engulfed in bright flames, which burned in a much whiter tone than those of Firebird. He too started to hover, the flames around him taking on the shape of a huge, brightly burning bird - and both fires, the blueish one of Firebird and the white of Richards, ascended into the sky where they almost merged, in a safe distance from the onlookers on the ground, creating the eerie guise of a  new sun in the sky that was blazing half blue and half white.
They all stared up. +Here + Fox flabbergasted, because heīd expected his superhero to battle the intruders, the others in sheer awe. Yes, damn, Tom had told them times and again that his matrix was a powerful tool indeed, but it was one thing to just hear about it and quite another one to actually see it.--
"Paul! Can you listen in on them?" +other+ Fox asked.
The Starman shook his head. "Theyīre emitting so much energy Iīm afraid my head would explode," he answered. "But I can feel that theyīre talking. None of them is afraid or angry, and none of them is in a mood to fight."
A perplexed look from +here+ Fox hit him. "Why arenīt they fighting?" the agent asked, not exactly Paul but the rest of them.
"Because superhero fights work only in comic books," the +other+ Wylie informed him. "Our Tom Richards has too much brains for that, and if your version of him is just half as intelligent --"
Because all of them had realized by now who this īFirebirdī was, and why Tom who had felt it first and from the distance had had so much fun in seeing him.
"Superhero fights are fun as long as they are ink printed on paper or running on cinema screens," +here+ Wylie added, "but if those two are going to duke it out for real I don īt want to be anywhere nearby. We can but hope for the best and wait till theyīre done."
Wisdom from the mouth of children and fools, two Foxes thought in unison.
The interview of the unusual twins didnīt take long. Both fires returned and sank to the ground, exposing one unharmed and still grinning Richards who extinguished the blue flashing of his matrix, the other one dosed down at least until they could directly look at him without squinting all the time. Now they could see that the superbeing indeed bore a baffling resemblance to Richards, but he was still burning, especially his hair that was much shorter than Tomīs long ponytail, and his skin still shone in bright golden light. It was an effect, the +other+ gang realized, much as if they were looking at their own version in aura-sight.
"Iīve decided to assist you in your quest," Firebird said to Tom and his crew. +This+ Fox opened his mouth - but stayed quiet. No way heīd make this superbeing angry at him by yelling at him and questioning his sanity. He would learn about this decision being a mistake soon enough, +this+ Fox thought.
"Still, I recommend to search for this dimensionīs Paul Forrester. We canīt have enough able helpers, and he wonīt be far away," Tom suggested.
"I agree." And Tom and īhisī Paul could feel that Firebird did something, he sent out an open telepathic message addressed directly to this dimensionīs only Algeiban on Earth.
"Tom, why is he still burning?" Wylie whispered. "Canīt he turn it off?"
"No, he canīt, because heīs merged completely with his matrix. I wouldnīt think twice or thrice but a hundred and a thousand times before Iīd do that, but from what I just got from him he didnīt have a choice. Seems like our dimension isnīt the only one thatīs got its extradimensional problems."
"But back to for what weīre here," he reminded the others then. "Paul, did you get additionally readings while we did the jump?"
"Yes, Tom, I did." +Here+ Fox twitched, startled, his gaze again one of sheer terror, when the Starman pulled out his sphere. The agents from the other dimension had it never even seen important to disarm the alien! And Fox had watched more than once how powerful this alien tool which looked like a harmless steel marble actually was, and what the alien could do with it. But once again, Forrester wasnīt intent to harm him. Instead, something like a cloud consisting of a jumble of glowing light lines formed out of the blue light and hovered over the sphere as a glowing image. Forrester worked on the picture, re-arranged all those light lines until the haystack of lines had changed into a much easier structure.
"This is what it would look like in three dimensions," he said. What the others saw now looked... like part of a tree stump, with a few roots still attached to it which went to two opposite sides, most of them of about the same length but some of them ending sooner. The roots going to the left and right looked almost symmetrical. Almost. Some of them were thicker at their ends, some smaller and some tiny, some had strange webbings around their ends, and the place of the stump from which they all originated was only marked with a few lines and almost invisible, visible mostly as a hollow part made out of the nothingness between the stronger lines of the roots.
"I get it," Tom said, carelessly following the glowing lines with his finger. "What looks like roots here are actually the connections between our two dimensions. Thereīs not a single big bridge as we thought before but a whole network between them, holding them together. Those connections did attach everywhere thereīs been a weakness or a breach in the borders between dimensions before, like the roots of a parasite invading the body of a healthy tree in an already weakened spot. This big opening here is our East Potomac Park, because I caused a huge breach there when I blew the alien bombs at the anchor and the fishmen. But the other end of this line is very small, thatīs why we felt that terrible pressure and narrowness shortly before the end of our jump. In this version of East Potomac Park never happened anything at all, it just got some echoes from our version, and thatīs why thereīs no big opening, this small one here we landed through got created just for a better symmetry, I guess." He shook his head, frowning. "I should have known the bombs would create a breach, and asked the Benu to close it off when I had the chance. My bad, Iīve been careless. Something like that mustnīt happen ever again." He looked a bit puzzled over his own stupidity. Again his fingers followed the lines.
"That huge one here close by never reached our dimension. It was targeted at the headquarter of the sect from where I blew the bombs, and where the generators had created a huge opening. But since the Benu sealed the spot, this root thing could never find a target to attach itself there. -- This tiny one isnīt far away, too. That must be the place where the Enemy carrier and Siwa have landed the first time. So time-traveling leaves traces in form of breaches, too. Figures. - Those two webbed roots," he followed the thick lines into both directions with his hands, "are farther away. That must be those which go to Lyonīs Home. I know there are a lot of breaches since ages, but the whole area is sealed off, so again those root connections couldnīt get in contact here. Good to know that the old seals there are still working," he said, exchanging looks with his other self. "This one which starts huge but ends crippled and tiny is probably the place in the New Mexican desert where we had the bubble incidence. This happened here, too, huh?" he asked Firebird who just nodded, while Tom followed said root structure to the other, +here+ side.
"I canīt explain the rest of the connections, but I couldnīt be everywhere a dimensional incident has happened in the last few millennia. Thereīs still a lot left for me to explore in the future, I guess. Those structures to the other side which belong to this dimension I canīt explain, but Firebird probably can." He nodded invitingly at his flaming twin.
"I could, but this would lead too far now," the superhero answered. "Let me just say that I agree with anything you said. That thing that connects now our two dimensions put its claws and tentacles into places in our dimensions wich had been weakened before already. But, Paul, I believe you didnīt show us everything."
Forrester showed his famous crooked grin. "I didnīt because I didnīt think youīd believe me," he admitted. Again his sphere started to draw glowing lines, this time at the place where the invisible ītree stumpī was. It grew longer and expanded beyond its roots, grew appendages and even more īrootsī, but it wasnīt a tree at all---
One Scott, two Wylies and two Foxes suddenly looked really pale when they recognized that strangely familiar, moving and very alive image, much too alive for their taste.
"So, that is it. Itīs a god-damn extra-dimensional leech!" Tom commented aloud what the picture showed them in horrifying glory. "That bastard has attached itself to our dimensions, probably to suck us dry!"
« Letzte Änderung: 28. Juni 2012, 12:18:41 Uhr von DAOGA »

Offline DAOGA

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #4 am: 11. Juli 2012, 15:19:12 Uhr »
Paul Forrester expressively shook his head. "If it wanted to do that it would have already begun, and not in a relatively poor place like Earth. Normally they attach themselves only to places rich with energy like Black Holes or quasars, not to small planets or other dead matter. While in jump, I got some data from it, I felt some of its n-dimensional but still simple leech thoughts. It didnīt do this voluntarily, quite the opposite. Looks like extradimensional leeches never attach themselves to two parallel dimensions at once, because the strain would soon rip them apart. This creature got somehow forced to do that, to create an artificial gateway between dimensions by acting against its very instincts. It - it told me that whatever forced it to must be here, in this dimension." He looked at Tom and Firebird now, knowing them to be able fighters against such machinations. He wore a very earnest expression when he added: "Thereīs somebody sentient behind this. Somebody in this dimenison, on this world. And in ours probably, too."
"Other dimensions. Giant leeches. Psahw!" +here+ Fox spat. "Do you really believe Iīd fall for all this schmokus-pokus?"
"Donīt you offend our experts!" +other+ Fox snapped back. "What you want to believe is your own problem. But for now youīll follow their orders, or Iīll make you!"
They probably would have fought this out in length, at least verbally, but it didnīt take the other Paul Forrester long to show up. He had been close by already, searching for a way to free his son. He looked puzzled when he discovered two Foxes, two Wylies and two other identical men one of whom was literally burning with energy while the other one managed to contain his power inside his human apprearance and his cane, and reacted perplexed to see his own spitting image standing next to his son and feel its Algeiban power. +Here+ Fox held his breath when the alien heīd hunted so long approached - but this time Forester didnīt flee immediately, seeing not one but two agents Fox in one place. Instead, he went for his offspring, wearing a worried expression.
"Scott! Are you okay?" was the first thing he said.
"I am, Dad," Scott replied and hugged him. "Dad, they claim to be doppelgangers from another dimension," he then told his father. "Theyīre almost identical, but their Fox seems to be nicer. And their Paul is just like you."
+This+ Paul nodded and de-attached from his son to face his twin. Both went to apprach one another and reached out with their hands when Tom suddenly mixed in: "I donīt want to be bothersome, but - mind if I play the fly on the wall? Curious primate here, you know!"
Both Starmen simultaneously turned their heads and smiled at him. "Youīre welcome," they said in unison.
So it was three people creating a circle when they took each otherīs hands and concentrated upon the telepathic exchange of information, watched by the others.
"What are they doing?" the +here+ Wylie asked his twin.
"Theyīre having a telepathic rapport. Donīt worry, Tom will give it on to us later. And to you, maybe, if you play along nicely."
"But - isnīt he afraid?"
The other one just laughed. "Heīs not xenophobic like our Mr. Fox was and yours still is. Heīs trained in such things, and two Algeibans wonīt give him trouble. There are worse things than two Paul Forresters, believe me."
Firebird was listening in all by himself. The telepathic abilities the total fusion with his matrix provided him with made it possible for him to overhear without physical contact.
"I understand," he said then, directing his gaze on +his+ Fox when the group of three had finished and de-attached. Since the two Forresters and Richards were also looking at him now, +this+ Fox knew that at least part of that conversation had been about him.
"Maybe this is his chance to learn," Tom said, mostly to Firebird. "If he doesnīt get it weīll take your Forrester and family with us when we return into our own dimension. We just canīt have enough of his kind there."
That was enough. Even if the superhero would decide to incinerate him on the spot with his fiery gaze for his impudence -
"You want to take my alien away?" Fox cried. "You canīt do that! I wonīt allow it!" and once again he fought his invisible bonds with all heīd got.
"This depends on you alone," Tom told him icily. "Our Fox learned to appreciate Paul for all the good he can do, heīs practically adoring him now. You can see how he reacts to your behavior that was still his own a few years ago, heīs ashamed of you. And of what heīd been himself. I consider George a good friend of mine, and I wonīt allow you to torment him by reminding him of his past mistakes all the time. So you better learn fast and for good, or itīs no more nice alien for you!"
Now Tomīs own crew was surprised. Rarely they had heard him to speak with such seriousness.
Then, with one shaking of his cane, Tom deleted the invisible force fields which had held +this+ Fox.
"Nowīs your chance to prove yourself. Behave, learn what you can but donīt interfere, or my twin and I will both take a part out of you."
"But, what do you want me to learn?" The agent wouldnīt have taken Richardsī threat seriously, he was still human after all and therefore not invincible, but there was the superhero, too --
"You will know when you got it. Then youīll be allowed to ask for more."
"Why should I do that?" +This+ Fox proved to be stubborn. As stubborn as the other had been until a few years ago, as they could read clearly from the +otherīs+ sad and resignated mien.
"Because it certainly would prolong your life span."
"Are you trying to threaten me?"
"No, Iīm just referring to your heart condition. Youīll have another stroke coming sooner or later, if Paul doesnīt take care of you. Would you rather die than to put your fear of him aside?"
The agent just grit his teeth. That - these totally strangers whoīd just burst into his life - knew about what had happened at Peagrum -- it was hard for him to swallow. But it was proof that they were indeed from where they claimed to be, a parallel dimension with almost the same conditions as this one.
"Our Fox is fit as a fiddle since we worked on him," Tom hinted at the benefits of collaboration.
"But, is he still..."
"Is he still you, you mean?" Now Tom was laughing all over. "Thatīs for you to find out."
"What about me?" Scott Hayden mixed in, in a low, shy tone, obviously afraid of the possible answer. "Why arenīt I, I mean the other Scott, with you? Donīt I exist there?"
The dimension-travelers all smiled at him. "Of course you exist. But we didnīt take your twin with us because Mrs. Forrester is big with child, and we couldnīt take both husband and son away from her. In case she might need help, you know."
Both Fox and Scott stood there, wide-eyed, but for different reasons. "Mom? A baby?" Scott murmured, his voice almost drowned by the agentīs desperate and startled cry: "Itīs breeding again? And you didnīt stop it? Youīre a deserter, a traitor to mankind! Youīll get court-martialed for this!" He tried to jump his other self but got stopped once again by a force-field Tom quickly created.
+Other+ Fox just laughed at him happily, face to face with his +here+ self.
"Hell, Iīd provide him with a whole harem if I could get him to use it! But unfortunately, Algeibans are strictly monogamous. Or at least this one is. Even our General agreed that we could use more of his kind after he watched some of the stuff Paul can do. So youīd better be careful and learn fast, because if not Iīll gladly take your specimen with me, and make him breeding like rabbits!"
The +here+ Fox was helplessly grinding his teeth, he fought to get on, but he could move no further. If heīd been able to he would have strangled his still laughing other self who was well within reaching distance. Instead he shot a glance at the others. Tom and the so-called superhero were grinning all over. The two Wylies and the boy were flashing red from embarrassment, one Paul - the other one - was shifting a little uneasy, having already done the deed of reproducing once more, while the +here+ Starman seemed to be wondering about the +other+ agentīs future plans for him.
"Weīre still looking for Jenny Hayden," +this+ Paul said then.
"Sheīs told me where sheīs been in the last years," his twin from the other dimension answered. "And now you know about it, too. Youīll probably find her there, somewhere."
"Especially if my other me here lends a hand," Tom added, and Firebird bowed.
"Et Tu, Brute?" +this+ Fox said to him, and suddenly abandoned his resistance. He felt winded, desolate and, damn, they were right. He was no longer strong and healthy enough to resist any longer. So, if they wanted his alien- they could have it. If he just could make sure theyīd never find a way into this dimension again after that, it would be safe enough for his country and his world--
"What are you doing with it in your world? Besides breeding it like mad, I mean," he asked weakly.
« Letzte Änderung: 11. Juli 2012, 15:59:03 Uhr von DAOGA »

Offline DAOGA

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #5 am: 23. Juli 2012, 12:39:09 Uhr »
"Tom is a trained doctor of medicine, among a lot of other things, and heīs got a hospital of his own," his twin patiently explained to him. "Heīs making Paul and Scott slaving there as his personal apprentices. Theyīre doing what I only can describe as miracle healings. They can heal paraplegia, brain cancer, portwine stain and a lot of other difficult stuff our normal doctors canīt deal with. Colleagues of ours who were there to keep an eye on them on the Generalīs order told of eyes and kidneys and other damaged or missing parts growing back. Paul is an expert in cloning, you know, he can teach even Tom a few tricks. But Paul canīt do those things alone. Such a healing costs a lot of energy, and if he was to do it all by himself heīd burn himself out, heīd soon get sick and die. Tom would never take that risk, so heīs searching for others with the same  healing ability, be they alien or human. The more healers are partaking in such a healing the easier it gets for all of them. Heīs already found himself a few human doctors who met his standards of apprenticeship. But weīll not be above taking your alien, too." And again he grinned challenging at his other self.
+This+ Fox still looked grim but heīd begun to think. Damn, these doppelgangers practically belabored him with information heīd have taken weeks, maybe months to get out of +his+ Forrester. Better to play along for now, to listen closely to their constant babble and find out how much of this information was truth and how much was lie.
"Okay. I will help you. For now. Compromise?"
Tom nodded and once again opened the force field that had held the agent. "No, you wonīt get your gun back," he said then when he noticed +this+ Fox throwing a questioning look at his twin. "That would be too much of a concession for now, I still consider you a loose cannon. For the time being itīs safe with your other self."
Fox stared at him icily, then at his assistant who also had managed to get himself disarmed. But - which of the Wylies was his assistant? They looked exactly the same, even wore the same suit and necktie, no way to distinguish them from each other -
"Wylie?" he asked.
"Yes, Sir?" both replied in unison. +This+ Fox almost let out a sigh. Still dumb as a stump, both of them --
"How will you make sure you donīt take the wrong one with you when youīre returning into your dimension?" he asked his other self. Not that it would have mattered, stupid would be stupid in every dimension --
The man just grinned at him.
"Thatīs simple. I just need to ask him something our Wylie knows and yours doesnīt. Ben, what do you like to ride?"
That question caught one of the two unaware, he just blinked, unsure what to say. The other one immediately showed a happy smile. "I love to ride dragons," he said, beaming all over.
"Dragons?" Wylie Number One asked, flabbergasted, while Number Two already went over to +his+ Fox.
"Yes, dragons," Ben mercilessly grinned back at his other self. "Living, flying, fire-breathing dragons. Weīve got one, thanks to Tom, and Iīm riding it whenever Iīm allowed to." And he grinned even wider since he could read now pure envy on +this+ Wylieīs face.
"Tom is some sort of zookeeper," Fox explained amusedly. "Aliens, dragons, time-travelers, werewolves, rogue doctors, rejected Yakuza or garden goblins, no matter what kind of creature youīll bring on, he will take them all in."
"I donīt have any garden goblins! They are considered trés buourgeoise, you know!" Tom promptly retorted in a most indignant tone and with visibly stiff upper lip, nose raised to the sky like a true-bred English gentleman in a state of īShocking!ī. But then, with a sudden mischievously grin, he added: "With the rest youīre right."
"Oy. So without the garden goblins. My bad. But now at last I know what to get you for Christmas." Foxīs dry comment caused the others to laugh out loud. Even Firebird had lost his usual no-nonsense expression and was grinning again.  Maybe he remembered what it meant to be mere human, to enjoy the simple funs human beings had.
The only one not laughing was +here+ Fox. He had watched the scene with a very puzzled look. "Are they always like this?" he then asked the +other+ Wylie.
"Positive, Sir. Anytime theyīre together you can watch the sparks fly," the still laughing assistant from another dimension answered. "If one of them was female they certainly would marry."
"Better be glad George isnīt female, with that face of his. But we donīt intend to turn gay either, so donīt send out invitations yet," Tom replied friendly at having heard the remark, causing new laughter while both Foxes inadvertedly made a face, one in a funny way, the other frowning. The +here+ Paul and Scott noticed that the +other+ Fox was a humorous fellow indeed and not above taking an active part in a joke in his own ironical way. And they were wondering now about their own Federal Agent, and what had made him so grouchy. At the same time said version of Fox and Firebird were musingly looking at each other. No way theyīd ever develop such a relationship they thought, each for his own reasons.
"But - dragons?" +here+ Fox asked when he finally turned away, back to the +other+Wylie whom he thought the most believable of the bunch for his mind which he considered too simple to catch much alien brainwashing.
"Yes, dragons. Our General Wade would love to have some of them of his own, theyīre very useful. But they are damn hard to get by. Tom got his from a relative whoīs also got one, but unfortunately that relative is unaccessible most of the time, weīre allowed to call on him only in extreme emergencies. I already volunteered in case another dragon will be obtainable," Wylie told him with visibly pride. "But that decision will be up to Tom."
"Not to me. Itīs the dragon that choses," Tom corrected him. "I could bond to Azure without the choosing because Iīm almost identical with my relative. But with a totally stranger it would be different, and much more difficult, I guess. We have to wait and see how itīll turn out when Azure is reproducing."
"How did you -" they could see the question was burning withing +this+ Fox, he wanted! - to know, but at the same time he was afraid of the answer heīd get - "become so close to each other?"
"Thatīs simple. We evil aliens brainwashed īourīGeorge Fox," Tom grinned without mercy, making the +here+ Fox instinctively retreating for a few steps, more warily - and afraid - than ever before. His +other+ self just sighed and took on a resignated expression, while one Wylie nudged the other in a way that wordlessly spelled īHeīs actually falling for it! How stupid is that guy?ī.
"Youīll never leave that one alone, wonīt you?"
"Youīll still hear about it on your deathbed," Tom promised, laughing widely. "Joke aside," he then told +here+ Fox with a thumb sign towards the +other+, "he forced īourī Paul Forrester into a telepathic rapport. Algeibans canīt lie in telepathic rapport, you know. You would have gotten all youīd ever wanted to know out of your own Paul Forrester if you had ever had the grit to catch and grab him when heīs using his sphere. But I could see youīre still too afraid to do that. So, Paul will be safe from you. Both Pauls."
Fox certainly smelled the carrot presented to him. "Is that true, Wylie?" he asked the other one.
"As true as Iīm standing here. You didnīt see my Mr. Foxīs face back then, I thought heīd eat our Paul alive. He looked really scary. But he got everything heīd wanted to know. Our General did the same later, he filched Paul for military and strategic secrets. After that he decided to leave him in Tomīs care."
"Whoīs also an alien."
"My fivehundred-times grandpa was an alien. One of the Daeniken-gods from the stars, almost thirteen thousand years ago," Tom friendly explained for the umpteenth time. "The rest of my ancestry is as human as can be. And Iīm feeling quite protective about this fine planet Earth and its rightful inhabitants."
"And we all including our General agreed, that heīs better doing that on our side than on anybody elseīs."
"But, youīre --" And Foxīs sideglance at Firebird betrayed his train of thought.
"Iīve had dealings with aliens, nice and not so nice ones, long before I met Paul. If you are thinking an Algeiban or an interdimensional leech are scary and dangerous then youīve clearly never met beings like Benu, for instance. Meeting Benu is nothing youīd do for fun, but sometimes you just canīt help it in our line of business. And by looking at your version of me I can tell heīs done the same."
"Itīs true, Mr. Fox," the superhero confirmed. "Benu are what Iīd call scary. Iīm about to wet my pants every time I meet one of them, but itīs just as my other me here told you. In every job youīll find now and then the need to make unpalatable compromises, and all the more if the fate of the whole planet rests on your shoulders."
"They - aliens - made you the way you are?" +This+ Fox was baffled to learn this secret, but, it sounded reasonable, he suddenly realized.
"Sort of," Tom said quickly before Firebird couldnīt answer. "He got into a difficult situation, and he didnīt have the assistance of the friends Iīve got." And he pointed towards his team members who beamed with pride at the compliment.
"We may be powerful, but We arenīt almighty. Never were, never will be," the burning man asserted. "Having goods friends at your side whoīll know what to do, even if theyīre plain human, can help a lot." Looking at his other self he added: "For this Iīm almost envying you."
"Almost?" Tom asked with low voice, but didnīt dwell on the subject.
"By the way, donīt mistake our constantly joking and wise-cracking for a sign of foolishness," the +other+ Fox warned his counterpart. "Itīs the best way to keep vigilant all the time. Our Tom Richards works like a magnet on anything youīd call weird and dangerous. You need to watch out for the craziest things coming at you everytime heīs around. If you consider this situation strange, let me tell you that this is probably just the hors dīoeuvre. Just donīt ask me what the main dish will look like because I honestly donīt know. I never know before weīre actually getting there, but it always turns out to be some really big mess."
« Letzte Änderung: 23. Juli 2012, 13:31:44 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #6 am: 16. August 2012, 10:11:36 Uhr »
"Well, our course of action now seems quite clear to me," Tom said. "We look for whoever has caused this mess here, kick his ass, free the leech and return home. How to find he, she, it, whatever -- we know that the culprit must be close to one of the breaches and able to reach into the realm between dimensions where the leeches dwell. That already limits our search area to certain places weīve seen in the picture, the places in this dimension where the big roots end. Our opening here is so small itīs almost a dead end, so we wonīt get lucky here. We need to search the big ones. Did you secure them all with traps and cameras?" he asked his twin.
"All which I knew about, but that were but a few, those I came upon in the last years or today in the quake, and I was just busy checking the latter in this area when you arrived here. There will be many more, I guess," Firebird answered. "It might be a very old breach, maybe even a leftover from the last war with the Unknown Enemy, and it could be about everywhere on this planet."
"But one with new activity, that might have registered in the World Quake. Mr. Fox, does your Agency have the data on the centerpoints of the quake?"
The agent looked puzzled again over such a question. "I donīt see --" he began.
"Our Agency had the data, but only because the General was just about to roast Tom once again when the quake happened," +other+ Fox spilled to his twin, "and Tom felt immediately that the incident had no natural source. So our General put anybody to the task of providing information. But since your dimension has different breaches and the culprit responsible for the quake must be here, we canīt use the data of our dimension to pinpoint them, we need to use yours because theyīre more precise. Got that?"
"Our Mr. Fox often acts as translator for Tomīs technobabble," one Wylie expained to the other. "Heīs quite adept by now."
"Why, thank you, Wylie. Thatīs quite a compliment." +His+ Fox smiled at him.
Another difference, the other Fox thought, whoīd never been this friendly to his incompetent assistant. But the other Fox looked somehow -- really relaxed to him, as if constantly being with those aliens actually did him good. Well, they had confessed already that they had brainwashed him, so he was probably sitting on pink cloud number nine right now.
"You want to go to the Headquarter?"
"I think a call will suffice," this twin mercilessly destroyed his quickly hatched plan, once again grinning at him because he knew his other versionīs thoughts exactly, while he already went to the sedan, sat on the driverīs seat and took the phone receiver.
"Hi Edna," he said to +other+ Foxīs secretary. "Are there any new data on the quake this morning? Especially things like seismic centers? - Yes, please, I need them, and fast. - - No, that was definitely no natural quake. Please tell the General there are hostile extradimensional powers at work, and weīre already on it. - No, not Forrester. He and his boy are right here with me. They arenīt strong enough to pull off something like that. - Thanks, Edna." He hung up, looking quite satisfied. Especially because his other version had not even tried to cry out to warn his secretary about the doppelganger. And not because Richards had hindered him again. +Here+ Fox was actually curious to see where this would lead. And, of course, to look for an opportunity to free his twin from the evil influence of the aliens. He felt obliged to do that for the man who was +almost+ himself. 
"it will take a few minutes, she said," +other+ Fox informed the others.
"It might be useful to find us a second transport," Tom suggested. "This car canīt hold us all, except if we stuff one of us into the trunk. We two could carry you all, and if our destination turns out to be farther away weīll have to do that, but I donīt want to draw more attention than we have to."
"Nice try, but thatīs already hopeless," one Wyle sighed, pointing his thumb towards a growing mass of spectators whoīd discovered the flaming superhero hovering over the parking lot and gathered not far from them to gawk, the crowd growing with every passing minute. Right now two police cars arrived, then a third, and the  cops spread out to keep said spectators out of the superbeingīs hair and protect them from anything that might still happen here as much as to, maybe, detain any wrongdoer Firebird might have caught.
"Looks like our transport is here," +other+ Fox smiled, and made a beeline for the police car closest to them.
"George Fox, Federal Security Agency," he said to the cops still sitting on the driverīs seat and showed his badge, while the quickly read the manīs name tag. "Sorry, Officer Bradshaw, we might need to borrow your car for some time. Could you take it over to our sedan?"
"Sir, yes Sir!" the cop immediately replied, leaping at the chance to get a closer look at the famous superhero, Firebird. And at the people who were so fearlessly close to him. He exchanged a few words with his colleagues and then drove after Fox who was already walking back at a fast pace, since he expected the sedanīs phone to ring any minute. As it did.
"Scientists are calling it the īworld quakeī because there were in fact a lot of seismic centers all over the world," Ena told him. "A few of them are in the States. And one of them is in fact right here in Washington, D.C.. Itīs somewhere in Georgetown, close to the waterline." Fox asked for particulars and got an address, and what heīd surmised became reality. Damn, he knew the place, as much as Tom Richards --
"By the way, Sir, we just got a sighting of the superbeing called Firebird. Heīs also right here in Washington, at East Potomac Park," the secretary added.
"I know, Edna, Iīm already there. Heīs agreed to help us fight this extradimensional threat. If weīll need more help, Iīll call again." He hung up.
The cop just parked the car besides the sedan. He left it, motor still running, but hesitated, unsure if Agent Fox would have need of him too, as a helper. Mesmerized he stared up to the silently hovering Firebird who coldly returned his curious gaze. But when he finally managed to lower his eyes he found something else very unusual. Because the people present all seemed to be identical twins. There were actually two versions of Agent Fox here. Two versions of somebody else in a suit, probably another agent. Two men in different casual clothing, if you called two different versions of leather jacket, shirt and jeans as different clothing, but the men in those threads still looked identical. Well, one of them was more rugged and thinner than the other, he was unshaved, and his clothing worn and dirty while the other carried a camera with him like a tourist, or a photographer. The youth who almost looked like trying to hide between them, a handsome boy, seemed to be the only one not to have a twin here, or Bradshaw could see none at least. But the man in the expensive suit with silver cane and long blond horsetail --  Officer Bradshaw glanced upwards again, at the superhero. Damn, he couldnīt believe it. Again, twins! Or almost, since the man with the horsetail didnīt hover or glow all over, and Firebirdīs hair which was flaming brightly wasnīt that long - but at such a short distance the cop could see that they, too, looked in fact very similar, haircut, burning and clothing put aside.
In the meantime +other+ Fox gave on what heīd just learned from Edna. Especially the address sheīd given him.  "Do you understand what this means?" he asked Tom.
"Of course I do. In this dimension the eggs never got sparked, for lack of a time traveler." Because one of the things Firebird had given him in their rapport was that heīd never met with Siwa, and therefore never with Paul Forrester and the FSA agents before. There had been no alien bugs, no Mallingard Incident, no dragon for Tomīs other self...
"Mr. Gandrevaīs mansion is still intact, with the bombs still in the basement," he continued. "They probably never brought half of them to the plumbing company. Or maybe they did, to do their ceremonies there. But something strong has to be at the mansion, or it wouldnīt have registered as seismic center. Something that didnīt exist in our dimension--"
They looked up to see how Firebird reacted to this news.
"Thatīs bad news indeed." he said with his well-modulated voice. "I donīt have a dragon, and you know how badly we fared against the black ones with matrix powers alone. I read from your memory how you dealt with the bombs in your dimension. It was very risky, but you came out triumphantly. I guess weīll have to do that again, somehow."
"Bombs? What bombs?" +here+ Fox asked, startled and, once again, very afraid.
"Alien bombs. Biological warfare. A single one of those things blowing, and you can kiss this planet Earth good-bye, if you canīt stop it in time. And that sect had a damn lot of them, about twenty of those hell-eggs," Tom friendly explained to him. "In our dimension we had the means to deal with them, to destroy them all, but here they still exist. They donīt show on our internal supernatural radar, if you want to call it that, so we donīt know how many of them actually do exist, well hidden in some long-forgotten arsenals from the last Star Wars, back in the times of my alien fivehundred-times-granddad. Only as soon as they start to blow Weīll feel it, and then it might be already too late. A single new-born one of the black monsters that hatch from those bomb-eggs gave us enough trouble in our second fight against them."
"I remember. John puked after that," Firebird unexpectedly mixed in. "I had all but forgotten about it."
"Yeah, right," Tom grinned upwards. "But fortunately Iīve got what it takes to fight them. So, letīs go. Itīs time to make some hell-egg omelet."
« Letzte Änderung: 16. August 2012, 10:51:48 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #7 am: 30. August 2012, 22:43:26 Uhr »
"Do we need him, too?" +other+ Fox asked, pointing towards the cop, while the others already split up on the two cars, or at least intended to. The Foresters and Scott stayed close to the otherdimensional crew, no way theyīd go with the +here+ agents who on their part refused to let go of the aliens.
"You know my position about that. The more the merrier, we can always use additionally helpers, and with some luck heīll learn something from it," Tom smiled at him and, shortly, at the waiting officer. "Remember that the mansion was booby-trapped with bombs of the conventional sort. He can cordon up the streets around the mansion. If half of the hell-eggs are really at the site of the plumbing company, weīll have to split up, to attack both places at the same time. But first weīll have a look-see at the mansion. We have to determine first what is there powerful enough to show as a seismic center. It has to be a dimensional breach of some kind, like the one Kharim created with his damn generators."
Since the Algeibans didnīt seem willing to go with the +here+ agents and those didnīt like to leave them out of their sight once again, Tom had to use his and Firebirdīs authority to split them up. +Here+ Fox, Wylie and Tom himself took the police car with Bradshaw on the wheel while the +other+ three with +here+ Paul and his son entered the sedan. Firebird, as it turned out, wasnīt able to come even close to the cars without making the engines and radios going crazy, he was emitting too much energy. But to him flying was far easier anyway. So they went, on their way to a certain mansion in Georgetown.
"It might be useful if you try to lose our followers," Tom said to their driver as they reached the Interstate and and he realized that some of the spectators had had their cars close by on the same parking lot and now were trailing them, intent on witnessing some real-life superhero action and, maybe, to do shots and make a lot of money with them. "George knows where weīre going, Iīll contact one of the Pauls to inform them that weīre doing a few detours. And Firebird might also lend a hand in distracting our pursuers. We donīt want to have an audience around when weīre entering the mansion, somebody could get hurt. With a house full of bombs the stakes are too high," he added for the +here+ agents. And they could watch that the magical stone in the hilt of his cane came to life for about a minute while he seemingly was lost in thoughts. When the light subsided, Wylie said: "You seem quite used to order your team around."
"Yes, in our dimension we did stuff like this before. And since we all are still alive I think I got it right. Since you both are new to the job of exterminating extradimensional threats you better follow my orders or that of my crew today. For instance, donīt try to hassle with the people weīll meet at the mansion.  Most of them are probably tainted by alien matrix energy providing them with supernatural abilities. They wouldnīt take more than a few seconds to kill you both. So they are for Firebird and me only, you will help the officer and my agents in securing the perimeter and keeping bystanders at a distance. If youīre after some alien souvenirs to take to your General you can search for such things later when we two are done and have secured the place. But you are not to bag anything without Superman or me having a look at it first. The sectarians at the mansion might have purchased other dangerous things together with the hell-eggs, you know."
He earnestly looked at Fox now who was sitting besides him on the back seat. "This is the difference between us. You have been chasing a quite harmless Algeiban for the past years, while I have learned to differ between harmless and really dangerous a long time ago. I have seen things that would make your blood turn to ice, and I fought them successfully. You two are agents trained to deal with common terrorists and other all-too-human evildoers and you may be very good at it, but playing Ghostbusters you better leave to freaky experts like me."
"Gentlemen," the cop said who had listened to them all the time, "we seem to have lost our entourage. Whatever Firebird has done, it seems to work."
The cop waited for a reply, then went on carefully. "Sir, if youīll excuse my curiosity, you sure do look a lot like Firebird, are you related in some way? And do you possess some cool super-powers, too?"
"Yes, Iīm a close relative of him, and I do have a few abilities. But owning superpowers is way overrated. At least I still can get into a car without making the machine going all haywire."
Bradshaw grinned, heīd gotten by now that Richards was a funny fellow and not above chatting with a humble city cop. "Donīt you envy him, even for a little bit?"
Tom sighed. "I know many people dream of becoming a superhero. But if they got their wish they soon would realize itīs in fact their worst nightmare. I know how Firebird became what he is today, and I could do the same if I wanted to. I do possess the means to do it, you know.  But to do that to myself I had to be either very crazy or very desperate, and Iīm neither. When we had contact for the first time I could feel heīs not happy with his situation."
"Would you do it to somebody else instead?" Wylie asked.
Tom smiled, knowing how much +other+ Wylie did envy him, and how much he hoped for a few super-human scraps for himself, like the first offspring of Azure the agent was eagerly waiting for.
"I canīt do it to somebody else, thatīs impossible for certain reasons, but even if I could I wouldnīt. Iīd never willingly and in good conscience condemn somebody to a fate Iīd consider living hell. Firebird didnīt chose it either, he got forced to do it for all I learned from him."
"But a lot of people would do it willingly."
"And most of those for reasons so selfish it would be madness to give it to them. No, no way. Thatīs no option, even if it was possible."
Then they kept quiet, lost in their own thoughts, until they reached their destination, and Tom ordered their driver: "Donīt stop. Go past at a low pace so we can take a look at it first, and stop somewhere in the next side road. Iīll lead the other car to us."
Tom and the agents eyed the building while the police car was passing it at low but still unsuspiciously speed, counted the cars that stood parked behind the fence and tried to estimate how much people might be in the mansion.
"Some of the cars look dusty", Fox commented. "They must be standing here for some time, maybe a week or more. It didnīt rain in the last few days, and that dirt didnīt get collected by driving."
"And the post box is overflowing. Looks like the buildingsīs deserted for some time. But such an expensive place normally has a janitor or at least a home-sitter. Enough reasons to take a closer look, or it will soon get visited by less desirably guests," the experienced cop added as he pulled the car into the next side road as Tom had requested and searched for the closest opportunity to stop, preferrably a place where a parked police car and a group of men around it - including one superhero - wouldnīt raise attraction too soon.
"Iīm getting strange readings from the building," Tom said. His matrix was emitting  a weak glow again. "But I canīt do an active scan yet not to give us away prematurely. Iīm now calling the others here and hope that nobody in the mansion will intercept the signal." He shortly concentrated on his matrix and then nodded. "They will be here in a few minutes."
Soon the black sedan stopped behind the police car, and the rest of their gang poured out. Both Forresters and their offspring, as +here+ Fox noticed with relief, and the otherdimensional agents. And then, suddenly, Firebird was also there, his flames somehow totally dosed down in a strange way, as if he was there and wasnīt at the same time, or as if the eyes of the onlookers tried to refuse to give on to the brains they were connected to what they were perceiving, like a living, moving hole in the fabric of reality that gave away its existence just around its edges --
"I made a detour which led me over the building of that plumbing company, but I couldnīt find a trace of bombs there. Maybe there are none, or maybe the sectarians are using some kind of cloaking device. Of course, I went there cloaked myself. I think nobody saw me there or coming here." he said while slowly losing this strange existence/non-existence state and becoming brighter.
"So, thatīs how you often disappear without a trace. You can make yourself invisible?" Wylie asked, fascinated.
"No, not completely. But with a little additionally diversion it suffices. Most of the time Iīm just moving really fast."
"Man, my kids would love this," Officer Bradshaw said. "But I guess Iīll have to keep quiet about it, yes?"

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #8 am: 12. September 2012, 08:39:30 Uhr »
Two versions of Tom Richards smiled at him. "I donīt see a reason not to tell your kids about this meeting. Just the rest youīll have to keep quiet about. But that will probably turn out so strange  that not even Hollywood would take it," Tom said, before +here+ Fox could start bitching about national interests.
"What are our next steps?" the agent asked instead.
"Next thing weīll do is an active scan, us matrix bearers all together. Our group is strong enough to deal with the hard core of the sect, those with superhuman abilities, we donīt have to sneak in and fish for information like we did in our dimension. Paul and Paul," Tom turned to the Algeibans, "we know you canīt fight if thereīs the danger of having to kill or hurt somebody, so thatīs our part. But you can still act as our backup. You can raise shields, stop escapees and create diversions for instance. If somethingīs coming up use your imagination, if we donīt order you to do something. Scott, since youīre not sufficiently trained in the use of your matrix you have to stay out. Stay with George and Ben and follow their orders as if they came from your Dad or us."
"How do you know Iīm untrained?" the youth asked. Tom smiled at him.
"I can read it in your aura. To trained M-Tecs like us an aura isnīt something you just carry around with you, itīs an additionally limb that can do interesting things if trained properly. The training changes the aura in a certain way which is recogizable. But I guess your Dad couldnīt teach you much about that because heīs never had the human version of an aura before. -- George, as soon as weīre in a little road block is in order. You know how much damage the conventionally bombs did, so set a minimum distance and take care that nobody comes closer. If somebody asks, tell them about a gas leak. Thatīs a good excuse if the house blows."
"Uh, now stop a minute there! You arenīt worried about a house filled with bombs blowing around your ears? Wouldnīt you rather call the bomb squad first?" Bradshaw mixed in, all his cop reflexes shouting at him that this was wrong, to see private property getting damaged if you could prevent it.
"No, we canīt have the bomb squad giving the goons in the house a forewarning. Us two the bombs canīt do harm if weīre careful, and you others will stay out. The other things weīll find in that mansion are probably so dangerous theyīd make normal bombs looking like harmless fireworks. If weīre having to destroy the house and anything and anybody inside to abolish the threat itīs okay to us, that would be a very small price for the safety of mankind. Fox, if you wonder, this here reads to you īalien invasion of the worst kindī, okay? And not of the Forrester-sort!"
"You sound as if youīre going to war." Bradshaw again.
"This is a war, officer," Firebird answered in his calm, no-nonsense way, "and the Enemy is deadly."
"Thereīs a good chance Kharim and his henchmen will notice our active scan, so Iīm giving you your orders now, because as soon as weīve begun we might have to act very fast,and then there wonīt be time for long explanations. Fox, Wylie,you are to follow the lead of your twins for now, since theyīre more experienced in things like that. And by the way, donīt distrub our Pauls when theyīre working with their spheres. You are to protect them instead from anything that tries to interfere, because we two will be getting anything theyīre doing, and to interrupt them could create a distraction for us in a most critical moment."
"And that would read īdangerīto us all. Big time, George!" +other+ Fox made it clear to his twin.
"Why arenīt we to go in there?" the man snapped back, angered by the constantly admonishing, he felt almost like a little kid with this neverending īdonīt step there, donīt do thatī. "We are Federal Agents, after all, and I am not afraid of bombs!"
"We know," his +other+ self made in a long sigh and grinned at him, "but you havenīt seen those sectarians fight. They are totally inhuman, some of them are even able to shape-change. We two couldnīt stand against them for more than a single second. Bravado is one thing, suicidally madness quite another. No, let our experts take care of them. Thatīs what theyīre here for, after all."
"Thanks, George," Tom smiled at the agent. "And now - let us begin."
His matrix flashed blue light, once again. Firebird didnīt seem to do anything at all, but they both suddenly looked absent, as if their minds were somewhere else. +Here+ Fox twitched, when both the Forresters activated their spheres at the same moment. They took each other by the hand, and then they, too, concentrated onto something only they could sense. Well, at least until they noticed Scottīs pleading look. They took him between them, and he also activated his alien tool. Now there was a trio holding hands and emitting blue light.
Bradshaw watched, mouth standing open. When he wanted to say something, +other+ Wylie got his attention with a waving of his hand. "Never disturb them when theyīre working with those tools," he said in alow tone, "those things require a lot of concentration and are potentially dangerous if said concentration gets distracted."
The cop nodded and stayed quiet. He looked nervous now.
"Uh-oh." Tom suddenly said, eyes still staring into nothingness. "Uh-oh," Firebird echoed. Both looked definitely worried now, an expression that swept over to the Pauls. "What is this?" Scott asked, obviously getting something the agents and the officer couldnīt make out.
"Shit! Itīs the New Mexico incident all over again!" Tom exclaimed. "And right in the middle of Washingon! We wonīt be able to use a nuke here!"
"A nuke?" Now Bradshaw was about as worried as the others looked like.
"What is it?" +other+ Fox asked with calm voice.
"Come in, and see for yourself!" Tom was looking at him with clear eyes, and so George Fox knew it was okay to come closer. He took Tomīs hand. After Tomīs approving nod Wylie came to his other side and touched the arm that held the cane, and after another invitating waving from Firebird, the +here+ agents including the police officer were allowed to touch the superhero. The energies the being still emitted didnīt do them harm, they noticed when they risked laying a finger each at Firebirdīs glowing hand, and then they all saw --
something that resembled very much a huge Black Hole, slowly rotating around its own dark center, at the very place where their simple human eyes had seen nothing but a human-built building all the time before --
but it was an image that only lasted for the time they were actually touching ītheirīmatrix-user, and was gone as soon as they lost contact --
"What is this? Is this the dimensional doorway weīre looking for?" +other+ Wylie asked.
"No, this is much worse," Tom answered. "This is a dimensional shaft, reaching directly into the dimension of the Unknown Enemy, our old nemesis. Right now we donīt sense anything alive around it, so if weīre lucky Kharim and the others in the house simply got eaten when that shaft opened to this reality. If weīre not so lucky they survived and found allies there, and we could have an invading army from the other side arriving here any second. We need to destroy that thing, and fast! Pauls, stay in contact!"
Not even Tom did bother now to walk that short way back around the street corner and to the mansion. His matrix still activated, he simply flew off, together with this flaming twin and so fast that they both left a trail of blueish flames in the air behind.
"You know, if this wasnīt so serious Iīd actually enjoy it," +other+ Wylie commented. "Now, to that road block. Officer?"
Of course the cop had what was needed in the trunk of his car. +Other+ Fox remembered how far the debris had flown in that explosion and pointed the safe distance out to the others. While +his+ Wylie stood guard to the Forrester-Hayden trio, sitting on the driverīs seat of the sedan ready to take them where they needed to be, the others went busy.
"Damn, I donīt like this," +here+ Fox griped.
"Less moaning, more cordoning!" his twin reprimanded him, watching another car passing them at the still incomplete road block, the driver looking curiously at them but not stopping despite their wigwagging and quite unaware of the looming danger. "And by the way, I donīt like it, too. But I know I canīt help it, so I donīt waste my breath for complaining."
Lucky for them, this was a rich and relatively quiet area of the city with low traffic volume so it was easy to divert the few cars to one of the side roads. In a quiet moment Bradshaw called his operations center to report the alleged īgas leakī. Because, if the building really would blow, it wouldnīt hurt to cut off the gas mains and other pipelines in the area.
*Other+ Fox was just busy explaining to another stubborn driver why he couldnīt go right now where he wanted to, when the mansion suddenly seemed to jump up and then burst into thousands of smaller fragments that flew in every direction. The sound of the explosion hit their ears with deafening force just a split-second later. And then there was a huge dust cloud drifting over the streets, with smaller particles still raining from the sky, and first flames licked out of the ruins.
"Oh my," was what the driver of the car brought out.
"Now, that was that." +other+ Fox commented dryly. "Would you be so good now and get on your way, Sir? I think the fire brigade will arrive soon, and then theyīll need the space your car is occupying."
The man got the broad hint and drove on. His car swerved a bit as it disappeared in the distance, the driver probably having caught a late fit of the shakes from the shock.
Officer Bradshaw stared at the burning ruin, then shrugged and sighed and took the receiver of his carphone again to report that the building had just blown.
The +here+ agents didnīt get it. "They are dead, arenīt they? Thereīs no way to survive such a blast!"
+Other+ Fox shook his head. "The explosion in our dimension was just as big. Tom Richards is one tough bastard, and the other - well, heīs the other, and probably even harder to kill. I wonīt believe theyīre dead before I see their bodies." He went to the sedan that marked the other end of the road block, with +his + Wylie to stop passers-by and to watch over the trio that had cuddled together on the backseat, still faithfully concentrated at their spheres. 
« Letzte Änderung: 12. September 2012, 09:36:11 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #9 am: 26. September 2012, 12:47:51 Uhr »
"We canīt feel them any more," +this+ Paul told Fox. "But we donīt think theyīre dead. They were well protected, knowing about the bombs. We think they went through the dimensional shaft shortly before it blew."
"They went through?"
"They told us that this shaft was connected to this dimension by the use of a so-called relative field that was anchored to the mansion. They knew about relative fields and also about their weakness. By creating an instablility you can make the field collapse. But they had to do that from the inside, and they didnīt get out in time."
"Does that mean theyīre trapped in that horrible dimension of the Enemy?" Wylie had been there in the so-called New Mexico Incident, inside the bubble the Enemy had created as a valve between the different dimensional time-streams, a place between dimensions and times and occupied by the absolutely deadly, man-eating life forms that probably were the Enemy dimensionīs versions of daisies and mayflies.
"If they are, theyīll search for another way to return. But since time runs much slower in that dimension, it might take some time. Weīve got to wait."
The noise of horns coming closer told them of the oncoming fire brigade and police. +Other+ Fox went to stop them, the danger of some still un-exploded conventional bombs still left under the wreckage was enough to put them off for now. They would make Richards and/or his other self search the ruins for bombs later - if they returned. If not, the bomb sqad would have to do that as soon as the fire had burned down. For now, the fire brigade could only protect the neighboring houses and the cars standing close to the building from catching fire.
"Whoa!" the Wylies went in unison, as another huge explosion within the ruin made debris flying and the men taking cover. But - was this an explosion at all? Because the fire that raged now all over the ruined place seemed to take on a shape, there were most unusual light effects in and around it, and now said lights seemed even to grow bigger and brighter than the fire itself, seemed to develop light-like tentacles which started to grope around, into the air and down to the ground --
"Get going!" the agents from the other dimension shouted at their twins, already scurrying off themselves. No way they wanted to get caught by these tentacles, even if they looked like coming from heaven itself in all their aetherial beauty --
something small and fiery shot out of the fire and straight up into the air like a midget comet, just as one of the tentacles touched one of the fleeing Wylies who had run off into different directions, trying to distract the appendages made from living light from the sedan with is precious freight --
and, just like that! - the fire and light and moving tentacles disappeared, snuffed out like a candle light, with a well audible swooshing noise.
Vanished, together with one Agent Wylie.
The flaming mini-comet returned, and turned out to be one certain superhero. Calm and seemingly unmoved from whatever had happened he hovered for some minutes over the devastated area as if searching for something. Then he went for the agents who just had stopped their flight.
"Have you seen my twin?" he asked them to their surprise. "He was directly behind me when we opened the shaft again. And judging from the havoc we caused on the other side, it wonīt open too soon for another try. If he stayed behind, heīll be in trouble."
"Wylie! It got Ben!" one of the Pauls, the +other+ one, exclaimed. "One of those energy tentacles got Ben! It didnīt kill him, or did it?"
Firebird shook his head. "What you perceived as tentacles made from moving light was in fact the moving borders of dimensions, the event horizon surrounding the tentacles of the leech coming from the other side. It tried to get another hold in our dimension in the breach caused by the shaft but couldnīt attach itself in the short time till we closed the shaft again from this side. The doorway to the Enemyīs dimension is now closed for good, instead the leech is waiting here on the other side, right at our door. And our friends, if they survived at all, are probably sitting right in the leechīs mouth."
"Then, how will we get them back?" If theyīre still alive, but +here+ Wylie didnīt say that part aloud.
"Weīve got to search for another breach with the leech waiting on the other side. There should be more of them--"
Something distracted the superhero. Damn, he knew that scraping noise in his mind, like chalk screeching over a blackboard! --
"Get back!" Firebird ordered the crew. "Theyīve deployed a guardian before they opened up the shaft and disappeared into it - itīs a black one! They must have left one of the eggs behind, and it hatched when the shaft blew!"
"Damn!" Fox had gotten enought of Tomīs and Benīs adventures in the New Mexico bubble and elsewhere to know what danger a single one of the so-called black ones posed. He brought out his twinīs and +here+ Wylieīs guns and returned them to the surprised men. "They wonīt do any good against a black one, but I guess youīll feel better if you can go down armed at least."
"What is that, a black one?" +here+ Fox asked, startled by the sudden earnestness of Firebird and the +other+ crew. Not to mention the reaction of his twin who, as he perfectly knew, still didnīt trust him.
"Imagine the worst demon from hell, and Tom was our only weapon against it. Itīs black, itīs tentacled, itīs eating everything organic it can touch or catch, and as soon as it has added enough mass it will start reproducing. But it mustnīt escape, and it mustnīt reproduce. If it was allowed to do that weīd never be able to stop it from overrunning the whole world, because even a nuke couldnīt do it much damage. We can only combine all our efforts to keep it at bay until we find a way how to exterminate it. And donīt rely on my abilities too much. Those creatures got especially created to resist powers like mine," Firebird gave them the data in a nutshell. "Look! There it is!"
Amidst the wreckage and clouds of smoke and dust something roused. It was dark and long and covered with metallic looking scales and strange small white, fungi-like growths and spiky at its ends, like the leaves of a huge aloe plant. But it moved with the speed and agility of a whole nest of snakes, coiling towards the sky it couldnīt reach, and groping around as if searching for something, prey maybe. 
"Gentlemen, please see to it that the area gets evacuated at once. We need a clear field of fire around it!" With that Firebird went off, towards the black menace.
"Officer Bradshaw, tell your colleagues to clear the space, get the people away and stop traffic in the vicinity. This is a no-go-area for as long as it takes. Wylie, you take care of the Pauls," +other+ Fox ordered. "Take them to a safer distance if needed, but donīt disturb them if theyīre doing things, and donīt let others disturb them. George, you take care of the evacuation. We canīt have bystanders here in case the black monster tries to vamoose. God, I just hope Firebird can keep it away from the waterfront. The black ones love water, and if it escapes there--"
Even he twitched as new fire spread from within the ruins. Firebird was already at work, showering the black thing with white-hot matrix fire which obviously didnīt any harm to it, just made it angry as it seemed. The tentacles reached out to get at him as he hovered above them, stretched like rubber bands to already incredibly length, just about then minutes after the thing had hatched from its shell. And the superhero took care he kept it busy by flying around in mad maneuvres above it, luring the appendages to chase after him in wild moves, as if he was trying to get them into a tangle like in a mad cartoon. But with anything he did he caerfully avoided any contact, well knowing that his amazing matrix-spawned powers wouldnīt protect him from the razor-sharp scales and the myriad of snapping tooth-rimmed mouths the tentacles were covered with and from the spiky ends which went for him like deadly spears. The black one was well protected with matrixpowers of its own which rendered useless the many tricks Firebird tried on it.
*Other+ Fox knew that the best way to get what was really happening was by watching the Forresters, so he went to the sedan, knowing that Wylie would drive them away if the black one turned into their direction. His +here+ twin joined up with him, after heīd given on a heap of orders to the police, the fire brigade and everybody else official who was here right now.
The Algeibans and Scott sat on the back seat of the car and held hands, all their spheres were active, enveloping the small group with their bright blue glow.
"We try to contain it, to hold it tight, but we canīt do anything. Itīs as if our energy is slipping off it, we canīt get hold of it!" one of the Pauls said to +other+ Fox. "And it easily penetrates the shields we created. We can only divert its blows before it can hit something important, but that wonīt take us anywhere. Weīll burn out long before it will tire," the other one added.
"I canīt hurt it either," Scott said who was the only one of the trio able and willing to actually hurt the thing for his potentially violent human half. "Iīm trying but it feels as if itīs made from rubber, itīs tough and constantly evading me at the same time. I canīt get through its skin."
"Think creative," Fox suggested, "thatīs what Tom told me matrix-training is all about. If you canīt get through its skin, go for its other parts, for its eyes and mouths. Try to blind it or rip its jaws apart. If it feels slippery, try to grab it where itsīs hard and spiky, like its teeth, give it some toothache."
Firebird once again showered the creature with hellfire from above, with no more success than before.
*Other+ Fox joined in with the Forresters, by touching each Paul with one hand, in this way establishing a telepathic contact. No, he couldnīt use an Algeiban sphere, never had been able to and never would be, but he could give on telepathic suggestions how to use the energy the Starmen provided more profitably. Connected both to the Forresters, to Scott and to Firebird who had created something like a collective mind to exchange information more quickly he put all the dirty little battle tricks he had learned in his life to good use. In a way that made even +here+ Scott Hayden nodding with admiration. Some of the suggestions he made to the telepathic īhive mindī made Firebird laughing inside, as he/they could feel somehow, but the superhero took them nonetheless and tried them out. In exchange Fox got some memories of the situations when Firebird/the former Tom Richards of this dimension/aka the clone of one Siwa Hendricks from the future/ had fought other black ones before, at NhīNafress and some unknown place in the States, a few centuries from now - and details about what the creatures were able to do, what a whole world invaded by them would look like, visions that made Fox grind his teeth - and he also got the tricks Firebird already had tried in the last minutes, like teleporting the thing into the gravity well of this sun system (which had not worked since it seemed to be anchored), containing it in a force field just like those the Pauls had tried but more powerful (which had not worked either, the black one easily dug itself out of it), to suffocate it, to make it blow from the inside, fry it with sun-like heat, freeze it at absolute zero, hit it with invisible bullets and knifes sharp and fast enough to cut through entire mountains --
nothing of which had worked. 
« Letzte Änderung: 8. Oktober 2012, 13:42:06 Uhr von DAOGA »

Offline DAOGA

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #10 am: 8. Oktober 2012, 13:06:44 Uhr »
+Here+ Fox watched them with puzzled looks. He still couldnīt understand how his other self was able and willing to get into such close contact with the aliens, even work with them in a telepathic collective mind as he was obviously doing right now, eyes closed like those of the others around him, only the  small beads of sweat emerging on his forehead and his tense pose telling of the strain he was under.  So the saying was true that fate made strange bedfellows, +here+ Fox thought. But he wasnīt intent on interfering. Not right now when he could see for himself that there were worse things than a Paul Forrester indeed. May you kill each other, and good riddance to you all, he piously thought.
"Damn," the twin murmured, eyes still closed, and once again: "Damn!" Every time when another one of his nasty ideas to hurt the monster bit the dust, Fox cursed with low voice, marking their growing list of failed attempts. One thing about this black one was unusual, and Firebird got it first. "Itīs not even trying to move, to get away. Itīs stretching to get at me or to avoid our hits but not leaving its place, not even when Iīm getting it really mad. Itīs sitting there as if its anchor works two-sided. Looks like the cultists chained their watchdog to its place. But this doesnīt make sense when the shaft is already closed." And the others got his afterthoughts, clear as day: There still had to be something, something worth a closer look at. Something powerful enough to survive the destruction of the dimensional shaft, and valuable enough to use a black one to keep it safe from thieves or trespassers. Was this what they were looking for, the place where the Enemy had chained the extradimsional leech to this and its twin dimension?
Suddenly a thundering roar came from above, so loud that even the Pauls, focused at their spheres and immersed into the raging fight, opened their eyes. So from two different angles, with their own eyes and those of Firebird they still were connected to, they saw something unbelievable. A huge flying creature with long neck and tail and four legs tucked up to its sleek-scaled body, wide leathery wings beating the air with thundering noises, came straight at the site of battle, eager to get at its Enemy - and then it opened its mouth and emitted a long stream of white fire which hit the black one in full length.
"Whoo-hoo!" +Other+ Fox had left the collective, he had jumped up and now cheered happily, throwing his arms up and almost dancing on the spot. "The cavalry is here! Will you look at that!" Because other than the fruitless efforts of Firebird and the Forresters, the dragonfire left a mark. The black one was burning all over from sun-hot fire that stuck to it like napalm, but it was far from being beaten yet. The multitude of evil little eyes the tentacles were riddled with made out their new enemy, and the creature moved. With incredible agility the tentacles shot around to get at their new target which proved neither easy to catch nor being helpless. With gracefully moves the dragon dodged the pursuing tentacles time and again, spinning and turning in the air with wings closely tugged to its body, often avoiding contact for just a few feet while at the same time releasing a neverending stakkato of firebombs and firestreams at the creature. Anytime the dragon turned to attack its enemy again the onlookers on the ground could see that it was wearing a saddle, and sitting astride was a human rider wearing a dark business suit and an old-fashioned leather helmet with goggles.
Right now the dragon tried another trick, it stopped in mid-air and hovered on the spot, a seemingly easy target. The black monster couldnīt resist the invitation. All of its limbs went for its prey in an instant, upwards and together, stretched like rubber bands to sheer unbelievable length, but just when the ends of the tentacles closed in to their prey from all sides at once, enveloping it, trying to pierce it with thousands of thorns and teeth and spiky ends and squash the remains in their merciless embrace, the dragon suddenly disappeared into thin air, it teleported, just to re-appear out of said thin air a split-second later below at the unprotected base of the tentacles and showering them from beneath with a new long burst of white-hot fire. This treatment made an impact. For the first time the bystanders could hear the creature making a sound, an incredibly loud screeching, piercing and ugly like chalk scraping over a huge blackboard. New fire bathed the body center of the black one on the ground. Firebird took over, aiming at spots where Azure had already hurt the creature and tried to increase the damage. He could feel that the Pauls were trying to back out of the telepathic collective because the black one had started to broadcast its pain telepathically, and that was already more than two true-bred Algeibans were able to cope with. Fox and Scott didnīt have that limitation, they could and would deliver even more pain even if they had to feel it themselves, so they practically took over the whole collective with the Pauls resorting to delivering the needed energy only. "Leave the pain to me. Iīm human, I can take it," +other+ Fox ordered the Forresters, and made them re-direct the black oneīs broadcasts on to him and not stop their attacks even when he soon felt like burning all over himself. But he was a tough old bastard and had survived worse things than a telepathic transmission in Vietnam, he knew that the Forresters were protecting him from suffering bodily harm, their combined love surrounding him like a protection shield of its own when they were no longer able to provide support in any other way, and so their collective could still touch and hold the creature and mess it up further, right where it was already wounded. Those attacks coming from three sides at once, from the dragon, from Firebird and from the collective, even a black one couldnīt resist for long. It grew weaker and weaker, didnīt stretch and reach out for its enemies any longer but contracted into itself, as if to curl up into a less vulnerable ball, as if trying to shrink back into its egg shell --
"Protect your eyes! Itīs down and dying, and it will blow itself in a nuclear-like flash!" suddenly they all heard a warning. Not with their ears but within their minds, spoken to them by a clear male voice that sounded like that of Tom Richards. Just as they obeyed the order it happened, the flash so bright that they could see their own bones of hands or arms right though their closed eyelids. But when the light finally subsided and they dared to look up, trying to blink the afterimages from their eyes and watch out for a shockwave or another aftereffect, they saw the dragon hovering in mid-air again, wings almost folded to its body, carried alone seemingly by lightning that constantly hit it from beneath where the last remains of the black one just dissolved into pure energy in one last but much weaker outburst of light.
And then the last lights went out, and the lightnings ended. The dragon seemed to lose its invisible support, it fell for some meters until it spread its huge wings again and caught the air with new, strong wing beats. Three, four times it surrounded the place of the destruction in a spiral that went wider and wider, obviously searching for some left remains it could destroy. When it could find none it finally spread its wings wider and glided down in an almost lazy move, landing gracefully on the street not too far away from the group of defenders.
"Oh boy. I definitely need to train more in my dragon form," the dragonrider heard the telepathic voice of his mount as it settled down and bent to inspect a few superficial scratches on its tail caused by an near-miss shot of a black tentacle. "Ben! Are you okay?"
"Yes, I am. Actually, I donīt feel sick at all, " the man answered proudly.
"Well, if you still want to change your mind - be my guest, and donīt you worry about it. Our friend John Corner did puke after Our very first fight, you know."
Calmly he watched Wylie dismount with content, confident moves. And he saw the others coming on. +Their+ Fox and Paul with quick strides, looking very relieved because of both the successfully destruction of the black one and Wylieīs and Tomīs/Azureīs survival, the others following more slowly with still unbelieving expressions. The only one not to approach them for now was Firebird who carefully combed the place, searching for a last evil gift the black one might have left behind.
"Ben!" Fox had never been big in expressing positive feelings, especially towards his hopelessly incompetent ex-assistant. Seeing Wylie grinning widely at him as he went over to him didnīt help there either. So he left it at that with an affectionately slap on Wylieīs back. Paul did the same, and so they stood there for a few minutes in silence, renewing their bond of friendship without a single word, overtowered by a huge horned dragon head which hung directly over them. The sight of said head was what kept the others at some distance because it featured definitely too many dangerous, huge and pointed predatorīs teeth.
"Come on, donīt be afraid, he wonīt eat you!" the dragonrider finally said to them. "This is Azure, Tomīs pet dragon I told you about!" And he carelessly patted the lowered muzzle of said dragon.
"But, what will it do now when its master isnīt here?" the +here+ Fox asked who had noticed that Tom was still absent and felt definitely not willing to step within touching distance of the huge reptile. 
"Donīt worry. You canīt part the two of them so easily. His master is always with him."
Seeing that none of the +others+ showed a trace of worry about the still missing man, +here+ Fox stayed quiet. +His+ Paul could feel the relief and joy of the men, as if not one but both of the persons missing and presumed dead had turned up again. And this was the case as he remembered with the +other+ Paulīs memories heīd gotten in their telepathic rapport that Tom and Azure were in fact identical, one being in two different bodies. So, Tom had survived indeed.
+This+ Wylie also was relieved to see his twin alive and well, he greeted him like a long-lost brother.
« Letzte Änderung: 8. Oktober 2012, 13:38:58 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #11 am: 23. Oktober 2012, 21:36:15 Uhr »
"Tom caught me when I fell out of our dimension into the strange space between, shortly after him but maybe a million years later, and he kept us safe with his matrix, inside what he explained to me was probably a part of the extradimensional leech, maybe even its mouth. I canīt explain what I saw there, I still have no words I could explain it with, I guess human beings like us are simply lacking the senses needed to perceive and understand this strange area between dimensions. Itīs a state without what weīd perceive as time or space as we know it, it has other things instead which we donīt have words for. We surely would have simply stopped to exist in that place if not for the n-dimensional powers of Tom īs matrix which kept us safe from the conditions there. He had connected with me so I could follow when he tried to talk to the leech. When he asked it for its size, for instance, it told him that itīs really big for its kind, about half the length of our whole universe - or, in the criterion for inside our dimension, about as long as my arm but as heavy as a super-heavy sun. And both scales are true, for the inside as much as for the outside. Itīs a really big leech, you know." He shook his head, still unbelieving. "Tom talked with it for a long time and promised weīd free it if it brought us back, first here and later back into our home dimension, and the leech agreed, it spat us out through another breach somewhere on this world. Then the rest was easy, since Azure can teleport back here from everywhere on Earth in less than a minute. Looks like we got here just in time." Satisfied he threw another gaze at the place where the black one had met its demise, then a positively loving one at his huge scaled companion. Seeing some excited and eager faces now, the brave dragonrider then had to show his almost adoring twin and Paul and Scott how to climb the dragon and what to heed if they wanted to ride it. The +other+ Fox and Paul watched them with amused expressions, together with Azure himself who was lying comfortably on the ground, showing a toothy draconic smile. They all felt like watching little children under the christmas tree.
Firebird returned from his search. "As soon as youīre done here, Iīve got to show you something," he said, pointing towards the blackened and destroyed area.
"You two can stay put," Azure said telepathically to +here+ Wylie and Scott who just put the comfortable double saddle to the test. "No need to strap in, I wonīt fly, just walk." With slow, carefully moves he got up to see what Firebird had discovered, carrying his two passengers to where the superhero wanted them to be. They all entered the devastated, scorched area the black one had sat upon and where it had blown, the place it had guarded with its very unholy existence, as they discovered now, because of --
They all saw now that in the center of said area were markings on the ground, undamaged, untouched lines made from a gray-blueish metal, like a huge welded ornament consisting of wound narrow iron bars. But it was no iron.
"Donīt step on those lines," warned Firebird who hovered right above them. "This is another dimensional doorway, and itīs still active. You could end up who knows where."
Azure issued an audible sigh. "It was fun while it lasted," he said to his passengers. "But now you need to dismount, I have to change back. In this form I canīt use a matrix."
"Change back?" made +here+ Wylie, uncomprehending, but his +other+ twin urged him and Scott to retreat from the dragon as soon as they stood on the ground, as much as the others. And then the +here+ crew learned about Tomīs secret concerning his pet dragon.
"Ownership of magical creatures is heavily restricted. The more dangerous they are the higher the requirements. And a fire-spitting dragon is on top of that list, meaning its owner has to bond with it completely, for reasons of safety. But there can be only one at a time, man or dragon. One comes, the other one disappears, thatīs the rule. If youīd ever see both at the same time youīd know thereīs something terribly wrong," +other+ Wylie explained to them while they watched the amazing transformation.
"So, heīs still alive," +here+ Fox finally understood when Tom was in human form again.
"Yes, us evil alien-spawns donīt die so easily," Richards grinned at him and went to the dimensional door where Firebird still hovered to examine it.
"Itīs made from Dhyarite," he stated competently. He activated his matrix and tried to get data from the doorway. "Can you read ribbon?" he asked upwards at his hovering other self.
The caped man nodded. "As much as you can."
The blue fire from Tomīs hyperdimensional "Swiss army knife" took on shapes, those of long, snakelike appendages which grew and stretchend and reached upwards for the hovering Firebird, not at all unlike the black tentacles before but peaceful, friendly and brighly colored this time - the ribbon Tom had mentioned. Firebird accepted them, it looked as if the strands of ribbon were caressing him, they were all around him, changing their colors in doing so and moving from Tom to his other self and back again, alive and moving like snakes or tentacles but much more etherial --
"What are they doing?" +here+ Fox asked, amazed of this beautiful display, a snake dance of band-like shapes consisting of pure, colorful light.
"Theyīre pulling data out of the doorway. But those data are encrypted in a hyperdimensional language. In order to take at least an educated guess at their contents they need to be converted into a four-dimensional translation first, and thatīs what they call "ribbon". Thatīs what you can see here," the +other+ Paul patiently explained to him. "Itīs pretty complicated stuff, even by the standards of my kin. I didnīt think any human being would be able to do that."
Still underestimating us hairy apes, Fox didnīt say aloud. But since Firebird and his twin werenīt completely human either -
"Jackpot!" Both versions, the burning and the human one, then said in unison. They grinned at each other, then Tom turned to the others.
"This is what weīd been searching for. Itīs not as much a gateway between dimensions but a seal that keeps the leech chained to this place. As soon as weīve destroyed it the creature will be free and no longer act as bridge between our dimensions. And I guess we caused so much damage on the other side that the Enemy will think twice or trice before trying that trick including world quake on us again."
"But youīll need the bridge if you want to get back into your own dimension," +here+ Wylie stated rightly.
"Does that mean youīll leave now that youīve found the reason for the quake and how to prevent further incidents of the same kind?" +his+ Fox asked, half astonished and half relieved that this should be over in a such short and simple way.
"Well, I talked to the leech, remember? It promised to take our group home as soon a weīve freed it. But it wonīt hurt to talk to it once again before weīre doing that. I donīt trust the simple mind of a leech, and there are still a few things Iīd like to take care of before we return home.
Fox knew what Tom Richards was talking about. The whole thing about Forrester and Its - his - son.
Well able to read Foxīs thoughts without even trying telepathy Tom grinned at him. "Actually, no," he said. "First thing I wanted to do was to inquire about fashion." Grinning even more widely for Foxīs astounded look he turned to his twin who was hovering besides him. Without a sign of fear because of all the energy Firebird was visibly emitting he reached out for him, for the plastic-like body armor Firebird wore as part of his uniform, and tipped on it with his forefinger as if to find out from what material it was made.
"This outfit is tempting me since I first laid eyes on it. I really love the style, you know. You donīt happen to have a spare, do you? I could use something fashionable like that - for coming trick-or-treat season, like." And made himself scarce, laughing out loud, before Firebird could retailate with a friendly nudging which would have driven Tom through the next wall.
Grinning all around. Tom always managed to surprise them with another example of his weird humor.
+Other+ Fox sighed in an exaggerated way. "You know, I do hope we donīt have to stay here for long now," he told his +here+ self. "Having Richards around is pure murder, but two of his kind at once are totally insufferable. We had that when his relative had been with him, it was sheer madness. And you will learn about it too, I guess, if you continue to work with your version in the future."
`I will?ī, replied +here+ Foxīs puzzled expression.
"Well, then letīs talk to the creature, before we destroy the seal. But before you leave, I also have a request to you," Firebird said.
"I already wondered when youīd come out with it," Tom answered, nodding at his other self.
They were cryptically once again, +here+ Fox thought. But both versions of Tom Richards looked very earnest now, so it had to be something important. And when he looked around, he found the Forresters with a similar expression. So they knew what it was, too...? It was some alien matter then, the agent decided. He didnīt ask because he could see that the two were concentrating on the so-called seal again. But this time they didnīt drag etheric stuff out of it. This time they first seemed to do nothing at all for some time, concentrated onto something, probably the talk with the leech on the other side of this seal, eyes gazing empty into nothingness. And then, suddenly, they changed into destruction mode. Powerful blasts of invisible energy coming from one matrix in a caneīs hilt and from one superhero smashed the metallic construction in the ground into tiny bits.
While the dust still settled, the two miscreants examined the remains.
"Well, will you look at that!" Tom marveled aloud. Because they found the complicated structure of alien metal had shattered into a lot of smaller pieces which all were of the same size and form. Not into irregular jagged, sharp and pointy or melted pieces of shredded metal as one would think but into perfectly formed five-pointed stars, each of them about the size of a two-Dollar-coin but thicker, and consisting no longer of iron-like metal but of some gray, porous, sandstone-like stuff, result of an unknown n-dimensional form of alchemy which had occured when the combined matrix energies had hit the seal. Tom bowed down and took one, then examined it closely just as his flaming twin helped himself ot one of his own.
They looked at each other, and then both started to grin in silent understanding.
"What is it?" +other+ Fox asked, but it was +other+ Wylie who got it first when he came closer and saw the gray things.
"Itīs star-stones of some kind. Much the same as the ones Tom gave to you and Agent Smith as weapons, remember? They can be used as weapons against the lesser creations of the Unknown Enemy."
"Thatīs quite right. And you donīt know how hard they are to come by. A stash like the one we have here is just priceless. There are enough here to equip a whole army with them. Looks like there will be some spoils of this business here, after all." Eagerly they used their superhuman powers to collect every star-stone they could find and stash them, for the time being, in the trunk of the sedan.
"Habī mein Wagen vollgeladen...", Tom happily started singing the fitting old German folk song, making his twin grin and the others soon groan for sweet mercy.
Firebird once again scouted the area for things theyīd need to look after, for other remains or evil surprises of the extradimensional Enemy and for leftover conventionally bombs but could find neither.
"The place seems to be clean," he finally told the others. "And the dimensional breach that was here is gone, too. If the leech is to take you home youīll have to use the other dimensional rift from which you returned before."
Tom nodded. "No problem. Azure can take us everywhere on Earth, weīll find a breach. But now --"
Once again they looked at each other in silent, earnest agreement.
Again, +here+ Fox thought that this was about him and +his+ Starman, but again he was wrong.
"Paul and Paul?" Tom turned to the Algeiban twins.
"We could do it everywhere, but with some preparations it would be much easier," one of them said.
"Having some raw materials ready would help a lot. Normally we have to extract them from the air and the surrounding matter. And weīd have to take a good rest first, because right now we both are spent from the fight, " the other added.
"What are you talking about?" +Other+ Fox was a bit quicker to ask than his twin but just as lost by this dialogue. Instead of answering, Tom looked at the superhero. "Some suggestions?"
"I donīt think we would find the privacy weīd need in a common hotel. And I never intended to reveal my private connections by turning up at the homes of my former friends. I regretfully have to confess that I donīt own some nifty fortress of solitude somewhere either, I simply had no need for something like that."
"But there is a place we could use," Tom said with a suddenly very maliciously grin. "Dr. Keller, the head of the scientific staff at +our+ version of the Federal Security Agency, has pestered me often enough about some supernatural morsels for his lab to explore. I think his +here+ version would just love it. too."
+Here+ Fox had become very wary once again. That Tom Richards mentioned knowing Dr. Keller - even if it was the +other+ one - startled him. "You want to invade the FSA of here?" +other+ Fox beat him to it again. And grinned widely himself, the thought seemed to appeal to him.
"Well, we helped out by sealing the dimensional shaft, by killing the black one and by preventing further World Quakes, so a little reward should be in order," Tom grinned back. "And I think this will be the best chance to settle +this+ Paulīs and Scottīs problems once and for all."
"But, what for? What are they to do for you?"
Tom again threw a gaze at Firebird. Who made an audible sigh, and nodded. Slowly, and with a mien that wasnīt too happy. He threw another glance around, to see if there were unwanted onlookers, but those seemed to have gone lost after the fireworks had started, even the helicopters of press and police kept their distance, their flapping audible from the background but still kept away by Foxīs stern orders. But still he came down until he almost touched the ground with his feet, as if trying to hide what he was about to do now.
"Iīm doing a camouflage shield," Tom said helpfully, activating his matrix again. Firebird nodded, and turned to face the others.
« Letzte Änderung: 7. November 2012, 13:10:57 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #12 am: 7. November 2012, 12:35:06 Uhr »
"Thereīs something I didnīt tell you, but my twin here and the Forresters got it through our connection, so I wonīt leave you others in the dark any longer. In one of my past superheroic feats I got hurt. Really bad, my body was beyond any chance of repair. I still tried, time and again, with all means at my disposal, but I failed, over and over and over again. I failed because the same means that kept me alive after being wounded also prevented a successful healing. The only way for me to heal completely was to create a completely new body for myself, but the cells of my own body were tainted and useless, and I never found a compatible donor, not to mention somebody who could help me with the actual transfer of my consciousness, soul, whatever you want to call it, into the newly created body. Well, not until today. Here I have a compatible donor, my twin from another dimension, and two able and well-trained helpers, the Forresters. Iīm willing to take the chance beause I certainly wonīt find anything better than this."
This time +other+ Fox deliberately kept quiet. This was something to which +here+ Fox had the privilege of first question. "But, youīre looking fine to me!" +here+ Wylie promptly took his chance away.
"What you can see is just a merciful illusion I came up with. You wouldnīt like my true look."
"Try us!" +here+ Fox said sternly.
Firebird exchanged glances with Tom again who nodded, because his matrix provided the promised camouflage shield that would leave any curious onlooker outside their little group disappointed. And then - the colorful appearance that had been the superhero suddenly disappeared  and in its stead --
"OMG." After that short comment only a triple retching noise was heard, when two Wylies and one Scott Hayden decided that their stomachs couldnīt stand what their eyes had just seen. Tom and the Pauls had been warned before, they stared at the gruesome sight with the openminded interest of one trained Doctor of Medicine and two aliens from space. The Foxes didnīt puke either, they had seen things like that back in Vietnam, when they had combed the remains of houses that had burned to the ground with people still inside. But still, they looked a bit green around the gills, too. The really horrible thing about it was not as much the sight but the knowledge that this - thing - something that wasnīt even recognizable any more as human being as burned and mutilated and totally devoid of skin and hair and most of its limbs as it was, just with a few last unidentifiable remains of clothing molten into its charred surface, something that could have been as well a deformed, badly burned, skinned and mutilated animal of some sort, the victim of a deadly fire --
was still alive.
Firebird let them take a good look at himself before he again donned the appearance of the bright, un-damaged superbeing. "Now youīll understand my plea," he said.
+Here+ Fox found his voice again. "But - how can you still be alive?" he marveled. He sounded as if his throat was suddenly very dry.
"I told you," Tom answered instead. "Heīs merged completely with his matrix. Itīs the otherdimensional powers of the matrix and the many protection fields and programs heīs created with them which kept him alive since then. In a bodily sense he doesnīt live at all, heīs been in a timeless stasis field since then, caught in the very split-second between life and death. Only his mind is still working and keeping up this appearance you can see. The owner of a Level Five matrix can do things like that, you know. But Iīd definitely prefer if youīd never make me do something like this, and thank you very much."
Fox understood. "You - you want to give him a new body?"
Tom and Firebird both nodded. "In the same way the Forresters created their human bodies, by cloning. But since he is no Algeiban and the Forresters donīt possess enough power each of his own to create one for him, we all will have to work together. We need a nice and quiet place to do that - and thatīs where your agencyīs Headquarter comes in." Once again, Tom grinned. "That will satisfy Dr. Kellerīs scientific needs for a very long time to come."
"Or it will pique them for good," a sceptically Wylie predicted gloomily. "That manīs just insatiable."
"You want my Dad and me to walk into the lionīs den, just like that?" Scott asked. The idea of walking voluntarily into the Federal Agencyīs Headquarter didnīt appeal to him at all, once again he wore that frightened look.
"This is your best shot at settling matters with the government permanently," Tom answered. "Donīt forget, we two will be around to protect you, at least in the beginning. For later times youīll need to get a good understanding of your own. I know +our+ General Wade, heīs not too bad for somebody with the administration, and if his +here+ twin is like him thereīs a good chance youīll make a good agreement, profitable for both sides. It works well in our dimension, I donīt see why it couldnīt work here." He generously ignored +here+ Foxīs new frowning. Instead he looked around over the devastated area. "Itīs nice that our transports have survived, so we donīt have to con a taxidriver out of his fare now."
And he grinned once again when he saw a new round of surprised miens.
"Thatīs one of the things you can determine time travelers and dimension-sliders from, theyīre chronically broke because they wonīt know what your money looks like. Your bucks could wear the face of Tricky Dick or Adolf Hitler for all weīd know."
The faces of the +here+ agents told him how poorly they thought of such a thing, while the others visibly had fun with that idea.
"And how would you have paid for your expenses, if you had to extend your stay here?"
Tom kept on talking while he led on to their cars. "Do you know what Supermanīs doing when heīs broke? Itīs simple. He takes a piece of charcoal and squeezes really hard. And, behold! - " and he showed what heīd carried in his pocket all the time, something that looked like bits of shattered security glass, small, clear, chubby things -- uncut raw diamonds of his own making.
"They are just synthetical but still should be good for a few bucks. In a dimension that has use of diamonds, that is. In another dimension Iīd have had to think about something else. But a matrix like mine is good for many things. Iīd certainly have found a way to make some honest money."
Seeing that the action was finally over, the battle won and the heroes about to leave the place, Officer Bradshaw approached them. As appointed contact between them and the other authorities who had amassed in the meantime beyond the cordon, not only police and fire brigade and a handfull of common bystanders but also members of about every agency and other administrative body in the vicinity - and those were quite a lot in Washingon, D.C. - he could feel very important right now. +Here+ Fox took the chance and gave another round of orders to him, especially orders concerning the securing and cleaning of the combat zone which would have to happen under strict supervision of the FSA and done by the best specialists the agency could get hold of. Just in case Richards and the superhero had overlooked something, something interesting or dangerous, that might be of otherdimensional origin even...
After that Fox quizzically looked at Tom and his collected crew. "Youīre really willing to accompany us voluntarily to he Headquarter? You and the aliens?"
A wide grin announced the coming of another joke. "Of course we are. Actually, I was already waiting, like, forever for a chance to say this sentence: Take us to your leader, Earthling!"
From the others who just entered the cars came an audible chuckling, as +here+ Fox found it suddenly difficult to keep up his cool facial expression. +His+ Wylie, Paul and Scott didnīt mind at all an extended stay of the otherdimensional team since they had proven to be fun. Even when theyīd just dragged them into a hard and dangerous battle. So +here+ Fox just grimaced once again, uttered a resigning sigh, met his twinīs amused gaze and took the driverīs seat of the police car, since it was him who had to verbally clear their way through the circle of agents and cops and firemen and all kinds of vehicles which by now surrounded the battle area.
« Letzte Änderung: 7. November 2012, 13:09:18 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #13 am: 20. November 2012, 15:24:48 Uhr »
Firebird took off into another direction. There was no need to draw even more attention upon the two cars which moved now towards the FSA headquarter, followed by two other cars with colleagues from the FSA and a few stubborn but unstoppable because empowered spectators from other parties, by hanging above them all the time. He would arrive at their destination right in time, directed there by keeping in contact with Tomīs matrix.
"Itīs quite a victory parade weīre having here," Tom laughed from the backseat. "And secrecy is all down the drain. Your general will be chewing nails."
"Are you doing things like this in your dimension, too?" Wylie asked him in a feigned stern tone, and Tom grinned back at him: "Of course I do. Constantly."
"Then youīll know how General Wade reacts to thing like that."
"Yes I do. I never know if heīll reward me with a medal or throw me to the crocodiles. Most of the time itīs the latter." More grinning. "But he knows how important I am to him and the Agency, so itīs rubber crocs only."
Chuckling from Wylie who knew a few people at the Agency who well met the label īrubber crocī.
They lost their unwanted entourage not before entering the lobby of the Agency building where the colleagues of Fox and Wylie retained anybody who was no member of this facility from following them further, even if the strange agentīs ranks in their own companies outweighed those of the FSA agents. Amusedly the crew listened to complaints and shouting from the background when the lift doors closed.
"Firebird isnīt here yet," +here+ Fox reminded them on their way to the generalīs office.
"No, heīs here, somewhere above the building, I can feel his presence," Tom answered. "Heīll enter Wadeīs office superhero-style, through the window, as soon as we are there."
Of course the general was already waiting for them. A superhero, a dragon and a crew of agents and alleged space aliens fighting monsters and blowing a house in the middle of Washington, D.C. - of course this had caused unrest in every single office in the city. Agents secured the floor leading to the office, guns not drawn but visibly unsure how to react to their colleagueīs doubles. Not just Scott but even the Pauls looked worried now. While +here+ Fox and Wylie both wore dignified miens Tom Richards and +his+ agents were grinning openly, seemingly not concerned at all; they seemed to have fun at the unusual situation. The door of the outer office opened when they approached, and they got admitted immediately by the generalīs secretary.
The generalīs office was large but crowded when they all were inside. Face emotionless as usual but surely curious as hell Wade scrutinized his unexpected guests, while his secretary was busy to provide more chairs for the visitors. It was easy to guess that this would be an lengthy interview.
For +here+ Fox this was his great day. "General Wade, Sir, may I introduce first, the Agents George Fox and Benjamin Wylie. Bot are actually visitors from another dimension, a parallel dimension of ours as Iīve heard, as much as Mr. Tom Richards here." He pointed towards Tom, still keeping his dignified expression, but the others could hear the pride in his voice.
"Then here are two aliens from the star Algeiba, both using the appearance and name of the late photographer and Pulitzer winner Paul Forrester, and the boy here is the offspring of one of them, Scott Hayden. One Forrester and the boy belong to our dimension, the other Forrester is an otherdimensional visitor too."
Seeing that suddenly something shining brightly like the sun lighted the room from outside the window, at a time when the sun actually hit another side of the building, Fox continued with just a shrug: "And here is our last guest, the superhero called Firebird," as if taking for granted that a superhero would hover just outside the window of the generalīs office. The window was bullet-proof and couldnīt get opened, put this proved to be no obstacle for Tomīs twin. Without causing the slighest damage or noise he penetrated the window as if he was just a ghost. Tom was silently laughing all over now, both Foxes noticed, as if he found this newest trick of the superbeing very funny.
"General Wade." Firebird said as a greeting. Once again heīd dosed down his bright appearance so they all could get a good look at him, and the General too noticed at once the baffling resemblance to the man Fox had introduced as Tom Richards. +Here+ Fox soon confirmed the impression. "Mr. Tom Richards is the otherdimensional version of our Firebird as you can see, as much as we others have our otherdimensional twins here, and he already accredited the relationship. Only the boyīs twin didnīt come over here, for family reasons."
"I see," Wade said. "But they could be common doubles, here to dupe us and create a sensation. You donīt happen to have proof that theyīre indeed from another dimension, and that these Mr. Forresters here are really aliens from space?"
"Where we are from and what we are is not as important as what weīve been here to do," Tom Richards answered, telling the General that he was in fact the leader of the group of doppelgangers and not the other Agent Fox. "Please tell the General what you have watched and learned in the past hours," Tom asked +here+ Fox to continue his tale.
"Well, it seems to have started with the so-called world quake this morning, Sir," Fox began. Then he told with his own words but astonishingly enough without the slightest hint at the fear and hate and prejudice he normally showed anytime Paul Forrester was around, what had happened after he and +his+ Wylie had arrested Scott Hayden at East Potomac Park. Maybe it was because he was in a familiar surrounding, knowing a lot of his colleagues in the rooms and floors around, all armed and ready to storm the office to protect their boss and the two +here+ agents if they got a signal. Fox proved a good observer, remembering even minor details, an important ability for any good agent. Interestingly enough, he put much importance in the part when +other+ Fox had joined the Forrester-Hayden collective to fight the black one, how he had taken over the telepathically broadcasted emotions of the creature when the Forresters who seemingly couldnīt take any pain had tried to back out. A single deed that had enabled the collective to fight on to victory, and it had impressed +here+ Fox more than all of Richardsīs blather.
The General took a minute to think it over when Fox finally was finished, then asked Tom: "Did I get that right. You do have about the same abilities as Firebird?"
"Not exactly since I donīt have some of the needs he has." Tom had well noticed that Fox had left one thing out of his report, a single point he obviously thought better placed into the hands of the being it concerned.
"But I own about the same power and could do the same, if I put my mind to it."
"Will you tell me why you came here, to my Agency? I donīt believe my agents could make you."
"Youīre right." Tom smiled. "They couldnīt. We came here, first, to settle things between your Paul Forrester and you as decision-making power of the government. And second, weīre here because our pal here is in dire need of medical treatment," he said, pointing at the hovering Firebird.
Wade scrutinized the superhero who not by any means looked ill or suffering. "He looks fine to me," he said then.
"I beg to differ, Sir. In his case, the good looks is deceiving," +his+ Fox took over. Then he turned to the others.
"Scott, Wylies, turn away now!"
Since they knew what that order meant they obeyed immediately. They didntīt want to get sick again from the sight --
General Wade didnīt retch. Just like Fox heīd been in a war and seen his share of bad accidents and therefore was used to such things, and he was one tough cookie. But his face was white and motionless as a marble bust when he slowly said: " I ... see --"
The worst about it was without doubt the knowledge that this poor, wretched, mutilated ... something ... was still alive, in some way --
Once again, Firebird donned the merciful mirage of a brawny, blond and bright Aryan superbeing, and the boy and two Wylies could look at him again without immediately losing what they still had in their stomachs.
"What are you up to, and what do you need me to do?" the General asked then.
"We want to try and create him a new body. In the same fashion our aliens here cloned their Forrester-bodies," Tom explained.
"All thatīs needed is a quiet working room for them and some raw materials your lab will be able to provide, Sir," the +other+ Fox added.
"And accommodations for us to take a good rest before weīre going for it. The last hours were very exhausting. Itīs no use to try before all participants are sufficiently rested and in peak condition."
"You know, when I first heard about you, the idea leaped into my mind that all of you doppelgangers could be new alien clones. What do you make of that?"
Tom just smiled clemently. "Iīd say creating a clone body costs a damn lot of energy. If we all had done that we wouldnīt be able to provide my other me here with a new body of his own. The Forresters are still not able to repeat this deed, and they had four years of time to replenish by now. It will take all four of us to get the work done."
"With four you mean yourself, the Forresters - and the boy?"
Richards shook his head. "Scott is still a beginner. He will listen in to learn, but not take part. The fourth man is my other me here, of course." Well understanding the Generalīs unspoken queries, he grinned again. "Thereīs no use of sedating him, his real body is far beyond that relief anyway. Since it will be his new body of course heīll take an active part in its creation. The only time he might lose consciousness is when weīre transferring his soul, his spirit or whatever you want to call it, into its new housing."
"Why didnīt you try by yourself?" Wade asked the burning man directly. 
« Letzte Änderung: 20. November 2012, 16:07:37 Uhr von DAOGA »

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Re: Dr. Thomas A. Richards Reloaded
« Antwort #14 am: 4. Dezember 2012, 12:43:15 Uhr »
"I did. But all the living cells of my body got tainted with matrix energy when I became as you see me now. All the bodies I created from them were horrible abominations, not one of them looked even remotely human. I had to destroy them all. I first needed to find a suitable donor before I would try again."
"The donor will be me, of course. No way heīll ever find something better because weīre in fact identical," Tom praised himself, grinning.
"A donor. You mean--"
Tom shrugged. "A drop of blood, a hair from my scalp, a bit of saliva - more it wonīt take. Imagine this," he winked at his other self, "born from spit like some demigod in ancient times - youīll never hear the end of that!"
Grinning all around, when Firebirdīs image grimaced in a funny way.
"But, if it will work - what will he then be like?"
"Heīll be just like me, of course." Tom grinned even wider now. One of these days his face would stick this way, he knew it, in ever-lasting grin like the Joker from the Batman comics, but he couldnīt help it. "Mostly human, but still madder than a march hare. To quote our Wylie."
Said Wylie turned red, and showed a not-too-apologetically grin. The others had fun, too, even Wadeīs Fox showed now a quiet smile, looking more relaxed than he had done for the better part of the last four years. Wade hat already noticed that the members of the otherdimensional team seemed to get along quite well, even their Fox with their Forrester which heīd thought unbelievable until one hour ago. And it seemed to spread on to his own men. Well, at least for the time being he didnīt mind, they had earned themselves a little break. Not for finally arresting and bringing in Foxīs alleged Forrester-alien, Wade actually didnīt care much about him, but getting ahold of Firebird counted as a prize catch.
"Whatīs the worst that could happen?"
"He could die, of course. But we wonīt let that happen, weīd stop working on him immediately if somethingīs going wrong. We have a few other options too, but all of them have a lower chance of success. You know, General Wade, the reason why weīre doing this is because I firmly believe that the continued existence of my other me, and a healthy existence to boot, not this horrible intermediary state, could be vital to your dimensionīs future. Iīm some kind of guardian to ours, as our Mr. Fox kindly will confirm," (approving nodding from said agent), "and my twin hereīs the same to you. Thatīs what brought him into his currently state from the start, General, he tried to do the same things I had to do in our dimension, but he almost failed for lack of human back-up. This is also the reason why we agreed to come here. Your world, your men and yourself, General, arenīt so different from the dimension we are from for all we could see, and the General Wade of our dimension is somebody I know I can trust, at least to a certain degree. I wonīt say itīs all roses, we have our quarrels now and then, but most of the time it works out just fine. When weīll be gone you will have to deal with my other self and your versions of Forrester and his son, if I decide it to be safe enough for them to leave them here. If not - well, I told your Mr. Fox already that we have a high demand in Algeibans." Once again, he grinned.
"He said, heīd take them away if I didnīt learn," +this+ Fox confirmed. "And I think Iīm slowly getting what he meant."
"Good for you," Tom smiled at him. "But excuse me if I donīt fall for petty words. You will have to pass a test before weīre leaving."
+This+ Fox didnīt like this statement. He looked at the General, shifting uneasy, then at his other self, but that one was useless, he just grinned at him. "Donīt torment him so cruelly, Tom. Heīs really delicate at heart," the bastard even had the audacity to remark then, with a deliberately blank face that betrayed his amusement.
Seeing his most headstrong and choleric agent was about to go ballistic on his guests, the General interrupted. "I agree to assist you in your attempt to help Firebird. But I have to insist that a few experts of my own will be present."
"No objections there," Tom answered immediately, "if they donīt get in the way. As soon as the process has begun we canīt have any breaks or disturbances because that would compromise everything."
"When do you want to try?"
Richards looked at the others. "The day after tomorrow Iīd say. The rest of today and tomorrow is resting day, we all can use some good meals and nights of good sleep, and I guess your experts will have a few questions for us to answer, too. If nothing more important turns up in the meantime that calls for our intervention, of course."
"Fine, then. Mr. Fox, Mr. Wylie - my version - would you see our guests to their quarters?"
Of course the headquarter of the Federal Security Agency housed a few guest rooms for suspects, fugitives or other special guests youīd rather not put in a common hotel for safety or other reasons. And Wade was really curious what heīd learn from these unusual guests by generously using the surveillance systems said guest rooms were bugged with.
Firebird hovered a bit higher until he almost touched the ceiling. "Sorry, since I have no need of rest in my condition Iīll leave, do do a little bit of superhero-ing. I guess itīll be for the last time for some time to come. Call me when youīre ready."
They watched as he bid his good-bye and left, right through the window which he penetrated like a ghost without causing the slightest damage in the security glass or making the alarm going off.
"A little bit nervous, isnīt he?" Tom commented then.
"Iīd be, too, if I was in his place," one of the Wylies retorted. "You never did this before, didnīt you?"
"Not that Iīd know. But we have the best team I could imagine. If it doesnīt work with us, only a miracle can help him."
+His+ crew knew well that Tom had a respectable score in getting miracles done. They followed the +here+ agents to their rooms. But Tom refused to have them separated onto different rooms, one room for each of them. Rather heīd have the Pauls and Scott together with himself, even if it became really crowded when heīd transported their beds into the largest room heīd chosen for all of them. The two agents were bunking together in the room next to them, but that was nothing new, theyīd done that often enough when they still had been after their own alien.
They got a meal delivered, ordered form a restaurant not far from the FSA headquarter since the agents knew and abhorred +their+ version of the Agency canteen and this one was not better as +here+ Wylie spilled to them. After eating the visitors from the other dimension didnīt do anything else, as the General learned from the pictures of the hidden surveillance cameras in their rooms which got transferred directly to his office, but using the provided toiletries to prepare for the night and going to bed with the chickens, visibly exhausted from this dayīs efforts.

They also went up with the chickens. Just when Richardsīs crew including +their+ agents had finished their breakfast and were making plans what to do with this free day, there was a rapping on the door. It was the General with +his+ Fox and Wylie and a man wearing a lab coat and a very curious expression.
"This is Dr. Martin Keller, our head of research," Wade did the introduction. "Heīd appreciate if he could do some tests on all of you, especially the Forresters."
While the others stayed calm, +this+ Paul reacted worried, Scott even with plain and visibly fear. So Richards talked to them first.
"Donīt worry. Weīve had the same in our dimension, our own General was just as curious as this one. So I already reckoned on something like this. Itīs better to get it over with asap, or theyīll never leave you alone. And today is fine. Iīll be with you all the time. Iīm a doctor myself, you know, so I know what I can agree to and where to rap them over the knuckles."
He nodded to Wade and Dr. Keller and got up. "The sooner itīs over the more recuperation we can still catch today. So lead on."
"'You want us to cooperate, just like that?" the frightened boy cried. Tom just smiled at him assuringly.
"Donīt worry. As soon as theyīre starting their tests on me they will all but forget about you."
"Heīs very fond of himself, isnīt he?" +here+ Fox asked his twin.
"Of course I am!" Tom reacted immediately, literally beaming at him, "Iīm the star of this show, the primadonna of this Swan Sea. Paul is just the friendly alien from the neighborhood."
"Spare-time aliens and wannabes are always the worst of the bunch. No genuine alien with a little self-respect would act up like him," the +other+ Fox sighed. "You want us to come, too?"
"Of course," Dr. Keller said. "My colleagues and I are already burning with curiosity to see if there are differences between the dimensional versions of common human beings. You two, Mr. Fox, Mr. Wylie, are still human, arenīt you?" And he looked very suspiciously now.
"I still was when I looked in the mirror this morning." +other+ Fox sighed again. "No way for an alien to look so miserable." The last day had been very demanding, and he wasnīt so young anymore. But since he knew Richards well he guessed heīd get an unusual chance on replenishing today.
« Letzte Änderung: 4. Dezember 2012, 13:57:27 Uhr von DAOGA »