Disclaimer The following story is a fan fiction it is just for fun... This is a multiple crossover. Characters you recognize from other TV shows, books and films will belong to their respective creators. Any you don't recognize are figments of my own warped imagination, and bear no resemblance to any person, living or dead. There is one exception, a brief reference to the TV show bah bah black sheep, a show that was loosely based on a historic person.
I apologize to the authors, producers, publishers and owners of Another Fine Myth, Bolo(Book Series), Buffy: the Vampire Slayer, Charmed, Catch 22, Dark Angel, Dark Angel, Diagnosis Murder, Doctor Who, Due South, Early Edition, Forever knight, Friday the 13th: The Series, Hammers Slammers (Book Series), Highlander, Indiana Jones, Knight Rider, Kung Fu: The Legend Continues, Lord of the Rings, Love and Curses, MacGyver, Martial Law, Mech Warrior (Game), Men In Black, Murder she wrote, Nash Bridges, Night Stalker, Quantum Leap, Quincy, Relic Hunter, Seven Days, Sliders, Space Above and Beyond, Special Unit 2, Star Gate SG1.Star wars, Terminator, The Black Company (book Series), The Incredible Hulk, The Pretender, The Sentinel, The Wizard of Oz, Time Bandits. Time Tunnel, Transformers, Viper, Walker: Texas Range, X-Files. Whose products I am have enjoyed in the past and recommend to the reader and make no claims upon.
The scene is set approximately sixteen thousand million years ago give or take a few thousand million. It is hard to tell exactly with no tiny dirt ball circling around an intermediate size ball of glowing gasses to set ones watch by. Time begins for this narrative with six dwarfs franticly scrambling over a massive control panel over seen by a small but officious fairy. The fairy, Celda, showing little concern for the lack of any recognizable temporal reference said, "Boys you are behind schedule and over budget."
Randall, the foreman of the group returned, "We have only one work order left to get this one kicked off."
The fairy replied, "get on with it then" and left the room.
"Work order forty-two primary gravitational inversion explosion" read Randall.
"What's that?" asked Og.
"It says here to add three hundred kilograms of protomatter to black hole and get out of the way of explosion" Randall responded.
Wally went to add the protomatter but could not find it. He looked perplexed as he sorted through various shelves.
"What's the matter?" asked Fidgit.
"No matter," answered Wally.
"Of course it matters we are waiting for you," said Fidgit.
"No! Not it doesn't matter, there is no protomater." Wally explained.
"Where is it?" asked Randall.
"Was that the stuff in the green sack that tasted like chicken?" Asked Vermin.
"Don't tell me you ate it Vermin!" the other five said...
There was much yelling shouting and head scratching. Finally the group decided to try alternatives.
"Well matter is stuff maybe we can use other stuff." Said Wally.
"What extra stuff do we have lying around?" asked Og.
"Make sure it stuff not on inventory." Randall warned.
They soon assembled an odd collection of inter temporal and inter dimensional flotsam and jetsam that included an over egger green settee, a broken monkey wrench, several one of a kind socks and gloves, about a dozen wire hangers, an elaborate inter-dimensional probe of elfish manufacture, a stuffed owl, assorted lose screws and mixed nuts, a few empty beer cans, and a soccer ball named Wilson. While Vermin ate a sandwich, he recovered from between the cushions of the settee, the others loaded the stuff into the black hole. There boss gave the word and our universe began.
Most of the matter became part of the fabric of the new universe. The settee was propelled through time and space ripping a goodly number of temporal holes and creating space eddies and time paradoxes in its wake. The elfin probe separated; with the reaction drive section heading one way, and the inter-dimensional drive section heading the other, at the speeds near that of the expanding universe. The soccer ball went on to a career in motion pictures.
Somewhat more recently in geological time in an out of the way galaxy: A small object strikes an inner planet of an average sized star. The object hits with sufficient energy to wipe out one of the numerous mountains in the area it lands.
A century later:
A young man wonders lost and alone through a valley, Awkis is his name. He is not completely alone a jaguar stalks him. Awkis hears something calling it leads him to a strange pool of black glass. A small ornate orb glows in the center of the pool. As Awkis moves to investigate the strange object the jaguar strikes.
Awkis, caught unaware, was easy prey for the big hungry cat. The feline had sated most of its hunger when it discovered some amazing things about the carcass. The body had this strange force that kept regenerating the fatal wounds. The jaguar had to kill its prey over and over again. This pray was not only a permanent meal ticket but also, the ultimate cat toy. The jaguar played with its toy until the shear persistence of the strange regenerative magic wore the cat out.
Awkis awoke cold, naked, and terrified next to a sleeping jaguar. Dazed and confused he found a sharp wedge of obsidian held it high and backed away. Even when one has just discovered they are immortal it is still wise to let a sleeping cat lie.
Peru 1929: Dr. Henry Jones is having a bad day having his high-spirited son, as a colleague, on this expedition has been most trying. Still they have found some most interesting artifacts, artifacts that predate the Inca by over 3000 years, artifacts that show an ancient jaguar cult.
Last night a strange group of natives attacked their camp and were driven off. To make matters worse Jones has just had some bad news from his sponsor. The stock market had crashed and the expedition had lost funding. Saddened by the loss of the opportunity to do "real science" Dr. Jones supervised the packing of the artifacts and the notes for his return home.
A short time latter a ship leaves the port of Callao. The ancient eyes of Awkis watch the ship depart. His followers were unable to steal back the obsidian alter from the accursed Yankees. The alter; he had carved himself, from the place of his first death. The alter that held the most sacred orb. He began to plan. He and his followers would prepare to leave the land of his birth to bring back their treasure again. Five other civilizations had stolen his treasure, he would get it back again, and time was on his side.
Awkis distained the changes and cultures the Europeans wrought in his land. The North Americans were in his mind worse than the Spaniards. Fortunately Awkis and his people never had to face their genocides. He now knew not even the great mountains and jungles could hide you forever. He headed north with a handful of his followers to find his treasure and learn how to deal with the twentieth century. What confronted him in the United States was a situation unlike anything he had experienced in all his millennia of existence. A bankruptcy court impounded the cargo of the ship. A bazaar series of sheriff sales and incompetent accounts had quite thoroughly lost the ships cargo long before Awkis arrived. After spending much time and gold hunting through a paper jungle with little success Awkis made some organization changes in his cult. Most of his followers would return to there beloved Andes a small dedicated order would learn and play the games of power of the western world. This order would defend them from outsiders and continue the search for that which had been lost.
Lewis Vendredi was feeling most fortunate he had just acquired a lot of pre-Columbian artifacts that had spent years crated and abandoned in an old Chicago warehouse. The objects had all sorts possibilities of particular interest were an Inca blade and a five-foot circular obsidian alter stone. Vendredi brought the items before his coven not to long thereafter. At his coven they would receive that special infernal blessing that made his shop unique. The demon summoned to execute the curse and impart the words of their master was at first impressed. Tonight's sacrifice was young and innocent. The Inca blade had seen more blood than any there including the demon. The ancient stone had a great magic all its own. It would be a night to remember.
Halfway through the ceremony something unexpected happened. As the Demon appeared the Orb, at the center of the of the round stove, started to scream giving off light sound and strange waves of alien energies. The Demon much to his surprise materialized as a not so large white rabbit (as he would from that time onward). Two of Lewis's followers were transformed into the type of bunny, Hugh Heffner would be proud of, a third exploded making quite an untidy mess on the ceiling, a forth became a sweet potato. A rather angry but not very intimating looking demon went on to tell the survivors to get rid of this stuff as quickly as possible. Get it as far away from yourselves as you can! To show the extent of his anger the long eared fiend began chewing on the tuber. And so it was that Lewis Vendredi became a benefactor to the National Museum of Anthropology and Archeology in Lima Peru.
To Awkis and the order of the jaguar having the holy of holies show up on display in the capital was a mixed blessing. Politics and consciences conspired to make the relic less accessible in Peru then if they had found it earlier in the United States. Awkis would tend to his network of revolutionaries and drug dealers awaiting his opportunity for over three decades.
Members of the Cult of the Jaguar had gotten word that the National Museum of Anthropology and Archeology was going to send a large number of artifacts on an international tour starting with seven sites in US, then to on six cities in Europe, followed by Hong Kong and Tokyo finishing with a tour of South America. After much discussion it was decided that the second stop on the tour was there best shot. Over the years the Order had built up a great many resources in Chicago.
Six months later:
In a secret government facility located somewhere in the Southeastern part of Nevada: Commander Craig Donovan, Isaac Mentnor, and Andrew "Hooter" Owsley watch as CNN reveals startling events.
"At approximately six PM central time an explosion rocked the McCormick Place complex the hub of the convention industry in Chicago. At the time of the explosion McCormick Place was hosting a pre-Columbian art exposition and the opening ceremonies of the International Forensic Science Society convention. It is believed that the U.S. Attorney General who was giving the opening address of the convention at that time was the main target of the bombers." Pictures of the ruined building complex and the still missing Attorney General flashed on the screen.
"Nate and Bradley are at that convention" stated a worried sounding Isaac Mentnor. "I will recall all personnel and start to monitor all information coming out of Chicago," Donovan replied.
Frank Parker and Olga Vukavitch were having a quite dinner. Olga could not decide whether it was Frank's charm or persistence that had caused her have a laps of judgment and consent to actual date with him. Things were just starting move from the confrontational to the romantic when almost simultaneously their cell phones started ringing. With dinner quickly paid for and consigned to doggy bags the couple headed back to base.
By the time Frank and Olga arrived at the briefing room things had gotten even gloomier. Tallmadge's body had been found along with the Attorney General's many of the cream of international law enforcement had been killed or injured. A truck bomb built on a tractor-trailer was believed to be the cause of the devastation. The greatest man made disaster since the Twin Towers however was soon dwarfed by an even larger seemingly natural disaster.
At ten twenty three central time a small but extremely fast moving object landed in Lake Michigan. The energy from the impact generated a tidal waves up to sixty feet high the worst effects were along the Chicago waterfront. The reports continued to roll in casualties in the hundreds of thousands property damage in the billions. Rioting, looting, fires and explosions the casualties continued to mount. Most of the emergency and police assets in the area were at the destroyed lakeside complex when the wave hit. A back step had been authorized. Frank Parker studied police reports for the Chicago area for the time leading up to the bombing. On this back step his two part mission would be to prevent the bombing and warn civil authorities of the coming natural disaster.
As Parker stepped into the blue sphere he could not get over the large number of destructive shootouts and fights that had accorded in the days prior to the bombing. As Parker strapped himself Olga's voice cut through his musings "energy at 80, 90 100 now." Parker started the desperate maneuvers involved in controlling the capsule as he flew backward in time.
Eight weeks earlier:
Dr. Pablo Cruz of Peru's National Museum of Anthropology and Archeology was acting like a mother hen as he supervised the unloading of the exhibit. He was the one responsible for these National Treasures during this unprecedented tour. The two billion dollar insurance policy that his county had taken on the artifacts would do little to replace any of the irreplaceable items. Never the less the attention to detail shown by Robert James of Lloyds of London was somewhat reassuring. Contract labor in this small Southern California town was another matter.
The objects were slowly brought in and with loving care uncrated and placed on display. The security specialists Nick Wolfe and Amanda Smith seemed most competent. Though Amanda was more than a bit distracting. The attractive short haired blond paced the floor like a caged leopard one moment and laid out a detailed professional laundry list of gapes in the museum's security system the next. George Shaw the new director of the local museum seemed eager to please, especially with the US State Department paying for the improvements in the museum's security system. The thing that worried Dr. Cruz most was that this very museum had lost an Egyptian mummy only a year ago.
Preparations went smoothly still; it was with some reluctance that Dr. Cruz accepted a request to make a promotional appearance set up by Cesar Adrianzén. Cesar was the cultural attaché his government had sent with the traveling exposition to handle publicity. Cruz was also a bit worried about Cesar's choice of venue. Ian Matheson a Professor of Mythology at a notable English University who had left academia to pursue a career in tabloid television hosted the talk show. Maybe Cesar was Peru's answer to P. T. Barnum mused Cruz on the way to the station.
To Ian Matheson, Dr. Cruz was the opportunity to uplift the quality and integrity of his show. To Ian's producer, Skip, Cruz was another dry academic that Matheson had dragged in an attempt to drag down the ratings. It was however Randi Wallace that talked Skip into putting the Peruvian Archeologist on the show. Randi was a pretty red head with an animal magnetism that was hard to refuse.
Ian proved to be an interesting and cordial host well researched on the exhibit. It was only when discussing the Vendredi collection that Dr. Cruz found the interview a bit trying. Matheson's beautiful assistant started feeding him questions on the teleprompter that were downright predatory. Ian had Cruz tell his viewers the legend of the calling stone and the blood stained Inca blade in the collection. These items and several other were donated to the National Museum by Lewis Vendredi a Chicago antique dealer. The blade was believed to be used to sacrifice vanquished opponents of the Inca and had seen much use. Legend held that it still thirsted for human blood.
The legend of the calling stone was far more interesting. The item itself was far older than most other items on the tour. The orb at the center of the stone had letters or rune like marking unlike any pre-Columbian artifacts known. As to how the marks were made on the orb, this was also a mystery the object being Diamond hard and partly embedded in obsidian.
The strangest parts of the Legend were the accounts of witnesses' claming the Orb had emitted sound and light as if it were calling some lost companion. Dr. Cruz thought his own telling of the old stories were a bit to theatrical, Cesar would probably be pleased.
The shows' opening was most successful. The publicity seamed to be rather effective. Attendance was high drawing people from as far away as L.A. a rare feat for the little museum in Sunnydale. Dr. Cruz found dealing with California crowd to be an anthropological study in it's self, far stranger then anything he found in the mountains and jungles of Peru.
The third day of the show seamed to be the most notable of there time in Sunnydale. Robert James ran into an old friend from Oxford, Rupert Giles. James and Giles were pleasantly surprised to run into each other. James was giving Giles the VIP tour when they ran into Ian Matheson and Randi Wallace. Giles knew Matheson and Wallace from there frequent uses of the library of the museum were he was curator in London. Matheson and Wallace were doing a bit of follow up for their show. The four spent much of the afternoon talking about old times and London.
Another visitor that stopped by that day seemed to get Amanda's attention. A dark and well built man who would seam at home as part of the exhibit. Dr. Cruz recognized the man as a countryman and frequent visitor to his museum but otherwise the man was a mystery. Amanda knew him far better then did Cruz. He had come from the new world seeking revenge on a Spanish captain that had destroyed his village. He was at that time an already ancient Immortal. Having longed lived in isolation he was naive in ways of the game. Amanda trained the far older immortal. What was Awkis doing here?
One group of visitors went unnoticed in the crowd of weird wonderful Californians. These were members of a small cult that called itself the Devil's Step Children. They found the Incan Blade of unusual interest. The half cursed blade seamed to call to them. The small group of Satanist want-to-bees began plotting its theft with naive malevolence.
The probe sensed it had been moved. It would need to update data on it's position to it's rapidly closing other half. This area had a great deal of inter dimensional instability already this seamed like a good time to try to contact it dimension of origin as well. The probe had tried to phone home many times before all unsuccessfully. It first communicated with it's other half. Then began to wrap the energies of the hell mouth around itself. It reached out and grabbed the energy into itself. It found two other sources of energy and tried to tap them also. One source was to powerful to be used safely the other lay quiescent and fading. By allowing energy from one source to flow to the other the probe could safely tap in. The probe glowed and shuttered the room shook. For a moment the vale of reality was lifted. The communication was made.
The alarms began to sound, guards began rushing about. Police cars rushed to the site. All was quite again; however, the calling orb was caught on videotape.
Across town a young woman awoke with a scream something was pulling at her in her sleep. Two older girls woken by the scream came into the room "Dawn, are you alright asked Willow?"
She came to in a small dark place. She was in some kind of box, a coffin. She screamed to no effect. She was buried alive. Her hands clawed at the fabric lining. Till they bleed. Composing her self for a moment she wedged her body to use both arms and legs against her prison. With an unnatural strength added to by the power of desperation she opened the casket and moled her way to the surface.
A red and white-checkered tablecloth lay across a grave. A young couple sits on the grass on either side of the tablecloth.
"See Pam now that the Slayer is dead we can have these nice romantic picnics any night," the young man said.
The faces of the couple take on a demonic aspect as they turn to the bound and gagged teen on the tablecloth. Pam gasps as something grabs her leg. A hand has grasped her leg and is pulling her down. As she cries the male vampire grabs her and starts pulling her back. Their efforts pull a body from the earth. The body bleeding from several abrasions and covered in dirt gasps for breath and stands.
"Nice entrance, care to join us for lunch?" said the male vampire.
Pam nudged the male vampire and said, "Paul, I think she is actually a live one."
"Buried alive, must have been a real pain," said Paul.
"Paul did you notice which grave she came out of?" Pam asked sounding worried.
"Paul trying to calm her down said, "I am so sorry this is Pam and I'm Paul an you would be?"
The mound of dirt and blood in a stained white chiffon dress she really would have preferred not to have been caught dead in crocked, "Hi, my, name, is, Buffy."
Pam her worst fears realized began running while Paul attacked. Buffy defended herself pushing Paul back; he fell over the intended picnic lunch. He rolled away and quickly followed his lady friend. Buffy bent over and untied the youth on the tablecloth he looked more scared of her than he was of the vampires. "Sorry bad hair day," she apologized self-consciously brushing a clod of soil out of her hair.
After freeing the victim a dazed Buffy slowly headed for home. She noted that she did not have her keys. She knocked, but no one was home. She broke in through her own bedroom window. She quickly undressed and showered. She was beginning to feel human again; she had to talk to someone. She dressed and called Giles. He was not in; She left a message on his machine.
She then called Willow. Tara was still awake at the time the phone rang. She answered the phone with a sleepy "Hello." A cautious "hello Tara I need to talk to Willow" came out of the receiver in a familiar but most unexpected voice. "Who is this?" asked Tara. "It is me Buffy" said the voice. "One moment I need to wake her," replied a perplexed Tara. When the voice said "Ok" Tara backed away from the phone and woke her lover. "Willow did you repair Spikes robot?" Tara asked.
"Of course not, did you wake me up just to ask that?" Willow replied.
"No, but if it was the robot, it might explain how, you could be have a phone call from Buffy." Tara offered sheepishly.
Willow looked at Tara her mouth made a few shapes as if to say something. Finally Willow followed Tara to the phone and lifted the receiver as if it were about to bight. "Hello this is Willow" she said.
"Hi Willow this is Buffy." Said the voice from beyond the grave. The voice sounded right. Willow stuttered, "Buffy didn't you, ah, ah, like ah" - "Die" finished the voice. There was an awkward silence and finally Willow timidly asked, "Where are you calling from?"
"My house" the voice responded. "I have two questions: Where is Dawn? And who picked out the dress you buried me in?" Buffy went on.
"Dawn is spending the night with us, she picked the dress," replied Willow.
"I know this is weird Willow but could I come over? I don't want to be alone! I need someone to talk to! this is like so insane! Willow how long was I - how long ago did I - When was the fight with Glory?" babbled Buffy.
"Come right over, It has been two and half weeks, how can you be?" Willow spurted.
Dawn awoke trying to figure out what all the commotion was about. Tara looked at her strangely and asked, "Have you been getting into those resurrection spells again?" Dawn gave a perplexed and vehement denial. Willow looked like she had just seen, or was it talked to, a ghost. She tried calling Giles - he was not home -- On an off chance she called his shop.
Giles had started the day much as he had for the last week. He had been taking care of Dawn until the girl's father could arrive. He was beginning to take an intense dislike to this man he had never met. Hank Summers had not been here for his daughters when his wife died and was still unable to come to the aid of his youngest or attend Buffy's funeral, the girls had deserved better than that. That morning Giles and Dawn had opened the shop both going through the motions, trying to give the day some sense of normalcy. School was out, so Dawn was spending the day in the shop with him and Anya. The usual day of awkward moments was changed when Willow had come by and invited Dawn to spend the day and have a sleepover with her and Tara.
Willow, some how sensing Giles needing to get away, suggested he check out the new exhibition at the museum. Anya agreed to run the shop for the rest of the day. And so Giles found him self at the museum unexpectedly surrounded by faces that reminded him of home and earlier times.
The chance meeting turned to lunch then dinner. The four were still reminiscing when Robert James received a call from the museum. The four climbed into Randi's vehicle to get back to the museum. The general panic was over by the time they had arrived. Randi, Ian, and Rupert waited outside for Robert as he was briefed.
Several minutes later, after acquiring promises of confidentiality, he brought them into the building. James introduced everybody, Dr. Pablo Cruz, Nick Wolfe, Amanda Smith, Ian Matheson, Randi Wallace, and Rupert Giles completed their acknowledgments. Wolfe then began playing a security tape. The tape showed one of the artifacts as it began to glow then a strange vortex formed above it. Two beams joined the vortex then the screen turned bright white as the light grew, this was followed by a few seconds of snow, and then picture returned to normal, a few seconds later a guard entered the room with weapon drawn.
Dr. Cruz again cautioned the group on discretion asking in particular for caution in dealing with Cesar Adrianzén. Wolfe said there were no known failures in the security system he and the technicians had been over it twice. Amanda and Dr. Cruz stated that nothing seemed to be missing and it looks as if nothing had been touched.
Dr. Cruz reviewed all that he knew about the calling stone and asked for opinions. For the most part the only information Dr. Cruz added to what he had said on Ian's show was a few strange incidents that had occurred at the museum and a few oral myths about the calling stone. The group had come to the consensus that what they had on tape was a "calling" just what and how it was calling was still very much a mystery.
Giles remembered an illustration he had seen in one of the manuscripts he had acquired. So it was that this strange group found themselves in Giles' shop in the wee hours of the morning looking at a sixteenth century manuscript. Giles had found the text, written phonetically and idiomatically in an obscure dialect of Spanish with dribs and drabs of a more scholarly Latin with bits of Arabic, Hebrew, Quechua and Aymara thrown in for good measure making the tome almost undecipherable. It somewhat offended Giles' pride as a scholar to have a book that at times reduced him to looking at the pictures. The book proved more than a challenge to Ian and Randi as well. Dr. Cruz who's native language was Spanish and was fluent in Quechua and Aymara made more headway. It was Amanda; her interest peaked to the point where she relaxed her reserve, which cracked the code. The group was still to pleased, by their progress, to question why such an amazing linguist was working as a high priced security consultant. It was at this point the phone rang.
Giles picked up the phone. "Hello Giles, thank God I found you." Willow said.
"Willow you sound distressed is Dawn alright?" asked Giles.
"No, she's fine, but we had a call – from (after a long pause) Buffy," Willows voice dropped off.
"What makes you think the call was from Buffy?" Giles inquired.
"It was Buffy's voice, and she sounded so, you know, Buffy." Willow answered.
They began to eliminate possibilities: Giles went into the basement the decapitated robot and it's head were accounted for, Dawn denied doing any resurrection spells. That still left a large number of Demonic possibilities. When Willow told him that Buffy was coming over, Giles knew he had to get over there quickly. Guiles advised Willow and Tara to prepare a number of spells for detection and defense. He also told her to call Xander and Anya. Then there was still the matter of a store full of people. Giles made his excuses and gave James his spare key to lock up. Well if you can't trust Lloyds of London, who can you trust? After all in this town death and even taxes were suspect.
Buffy took her time getting dressed. She had to wrap her fingers in toilet paper to keep them from bleeding. Escaping from ones grave was defiantly hard on a manicure. She picked out a fresh outfit and found the spare key. The house was so empty without her mother. With one last melancholy look at the familiar house she headed out the door. Buffy Summers knew she was alive, the pain and the hurting told her so.
The sky was beginning to lighten as Buffy reached Willow's Dorm. With twilight yielding to the first light of a new day, she entered the dorm. Knocking on the door still hurt her hands. The pain was now only a minor annoyance.
"Hello, who is it?" came Willow's voice.
Buffy answered "Good morning Willow, it me, Buffy."
The Door opened Willow stood in the middle of the room with Tara... Xander had opened the door but was standing back and out of the way. Buffy entered the room she realized she was being tested. Lights danced around her. Willow and Tara began chanting. This went on until the two seamed satisfied with the result of their magical probing. Giles came out from hiding rattling some strange charm and reciting something in a language she never heard before (he really looked quite silly).
After Guiles had finished dancing around a bit Xander said, "Well Giles that takes care of the top twenty on your hit parade of look like your old dead friend demons."
"I realize you may all be having a bit of trouble dealing with this whole, back from the dead thing, I know I am, but is there any sure way we can prove I am me?" asked Buffy
"One last thing" said Giles.
Willow came over to Buffy and whispered something to her; Buffy whispered something back, the two embraced and begun crying. Xander brought Anya and Dawn from their hiding place in the restroom. The reunion grew with apologies, happy tears, and hugging. The group went out on the lawn to watch the sun rise.
Robert James was having some trouble closing the shop; he could not tear Dr. Cruz away from the book. The morning found James sleeping on a counter top. Dr. Cruz was still energized by discovery. The book was the chronicle of a sixteenth century missionary in the new world. It told the story of a small group of conquistadors there encounter with the stone and a strange cult that had defended it. The Spaniards took the stone and some easier to carry treasures. The cult recovered the stone and Spaniards had got out with a fair amount of gold and silver. Both sides had taken some losses. The Spaniards had heard tales of a strange alter that performed magic. The tales included sounds light, visions, healings, and transformations.
One of the visions was documented at length: Two small objects came through a great fire that tore them apart. They called to each other through a great void. The feeling of a great work left undone, of loneliness and incompletion.
The town of Sunnydale had ways of making sensational news disappear. The news of the girl being buried alive was kept out of the media. The sale of an old book to a museum for six figures, partly underwritten by the U.S. State Department, was only noted in a few anthropological journals, the local business pages, and Giles' income Tax. The exposition left town things returned to normal. Not what had pasted for normal in Sunnydale but a real normal. Spike was the first one to feel it -- the hell mouth had shifted. Vampires, demons, and other such creatures of the night moved out in droves. Buffy found her nightly patrols most uneventful it was a good time to be alive.
At Curious Goods the morning paper and coffee where more than a ritual with most of the Items recovered the looking was just as important but harder. Micki Foster, Johnny Ventura, and Jack Marshak were looking for those stories that might lead to another Item. Finding Lewis Vendredi's name in the entertainment section was a bit less grisly than the usual articles that received their attention. A major exhibition of pre-Columbian art and artifacts from Peru's National Museum of Anthropology and Archeology was being shown at Chicago's McCormick Place. The Article listed the late Chicago merchant Lewis Vendredi had graciously donated several major items in the exhibition.
"Lewis Vendredi and graciously donated, do not belong in the same sentence," Jack commented. The exhibit then became the focus of their attention.
In his office built from an abandoned Chicago subway station Captain Richard Page was not in a good mood. Page had just gotten off the phone with the Mayor. A rash of unsolved murders had begun last week the rate and number of these killings was increasing. He called Nick O'Malley, Kate Benson and Sean Radmon into his office to brief him on their investigation.
Kate began the briefing, "We have had twenty bodies that were drained of blood by two small puncture wounds. The wounds were to the neck in eighteen cases, on the thigh in the two other cases. The victims were young adults, the youngest was sixteen, and the oldest was twenty-five. All attacks were made at night. No other pattern seams evident as yet."
Sean continued, "Some type of specialized teeth administered the wounds. As yet we have failed to find any DNA evidence. We did find fingerprints on one victim. The prints belong to an Isaac Kline of Sunnydale, California. I have a death certificate issued for Mr. Kline on November of 1999 from Sunnydale, California."
"Any possibility we are dealing with some sort of cult killings?" Captain Page asked.
"That possibility still exists, but let me point out that one of the victims was armed and got off four rounds from a 357 before whatever this thing sucked him dry." Said O'Malley.
"Ok get out there whoever or whatever is doing this I want it stopped we can't keep a lid on it much longer. We also have that International Forensic Science Convention next week and the Mayor wants the city to look good." Finished the Captain.
In the Squad room Carl sat at a desk he had appropriated and used the phone. "Yes, that's the Reds parlayed with Phillies for tonight." Carl said.
Carl had just hung up the phone when Benson and O'Malley confronted their Gnome informer. "Carl any word out on the street about a new blood sucker in town, "O'Malley demanded.
"What, you need a hot tip on a giant mosquito," Carl quipped.
Before O'Malley could come back with his standard treat of casual violence Kate interceded with, "Carl we have had a rash of killings in the last week we could really use your help."
This tended to diffuse the usual game of insults between O'Malley and Carl that comprised a large part of their conversations and her working life of late. "Can you get the chief to give cut me a deal on my next grand larceny?" Carl bargained.
"I'll put in a good word with the chief," O'Malley said noncommittally.
"I'll see what I can find," Carl said.
Across town in an office of more standard construction Lieutenant Harding Welsh having a briefing of his own,
"Ray it is good to have you back from the undercover section. It looks like you got a plum assignment this time. I want you to be the department's front man for the International Forensic Science Convention next week." Said the Captain.
Raymond Vecchio agreed with the new job. He was just getting back to being himself again after spending over a year undercover. Playing host cop for a police science convention should be an easy enough assignment to do while he put his life back in order. He would head over to McCormick Place for a late afternoon briefing but first he had an old friend to visit.
Constable Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was getting ready for a long trip via the Chicago Transit Authority. He had come to be something of an expert on bus and train schedules in this town. Diefenbaker, having recently returned from his morning walk, was contemplating the injustices of wolves not being allowed to ride city buses from behind closed eyelids. Fraser heard the footsteps in the hall well before the knock on his door. He was still somewhat surprised by the knock on his door; he had few visitors at this time of day. Fraser answered the knock with friendly, "Hello, Who is there?
"Hi, Fraser it's me Ray." The voice from his past answered. Fraser opened the door to his spotlessly clean but sparsely furnished apartment. Before either of the two friends could say a word, Raymond Vecchio was surprised, by an unexpectedly enthusiastic greeting from Diefenbaker. After Diefenbaker regained his composure the two old friends reacquainted themselves.
When Fraser began to excuse himself to catch a bus he and Vecchio found they had a destination in common. And so the reunion returned to a more leisurely pace. When the threesome did leave the apartment it was with Diefenbaker thanking fate for arranging suitable transportation.
Several janitors preformed the task of setting up the neat rows of stackable chairs. One of the newer janitors was grateful for the opportunity to create this calm bit of uniform order. His life had too much excitement of late. He did not like excitement he was allergic to it, and new all to well the reason why. He had some friends who managed to discreetly get him this nice union job. Still the though of having a convention full of policemen around him somehow did not make him feel very safe. For David Bruce, Alias Dr David Bruce Banner, police and press were a source of worry. As the first of the security guards and police arrived for their briefing the janitors finished and departed the room.
One of the early arrivals is a tall dark newly hired security guard with kind dark eyes that seamed to look through you. He chats amiably with a few of the other guards yet somehow seams to take in everything going on in the room. To all who meet him Jarod seams near the ideal security guard and a hell of a nice guy as well.
Theorizing that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Dr. Sam Beckett stepped into the project accelerator and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better. His only guide on his journey is Al, an observer from his own time, who appears in the form of a hologram that only Sam can see and hear. And so, Dr. Beckett finds himself leaping from life to life, striving to put right what once went wrong and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home. The light of the leap fades
Sam finds himself sitting behind the wheel of a recently parked Porsche one hand on the wheel the other on the ignition key. Sam is wearing a women's business suit. He looks to see the tailored looking young blond in the rear view mirror and responds with the words "Oh boy!"
Sam quickly recovers from his initial shock and begins to find out who, where, and when he is. The women, Samantha Yeager is her name, is very meticulous. Between the day planer, briefcase, and neatly folded newspaper it is almost like being a substitute teacher and getting detailed lesson plans. The only problem being Sam has to be in a meeting and make a speech in thirty minutes. Once again Miss Yeager's talent for organization comes to his rescue. Yeager has a type written copy of the speech as well as the key points on three by five cards. After taking five minutes to read and memorize the speech Sam begins the task of navigating to the meeting.
Nick Wolfe was facing a unique problem his job of providing security for the Peruvian exhibition had become more complex. The Calling Stone was acting like a teenager that had just discovered the telephone. It's nightly disturbances had become a strain on his resources. Dr. Cruz was taking up a lot of Amanda's time. Some of the guards he had hired were so spooked by the objects strange behavior that they had quit. In the lurch for discrete open minded people to help him baby sit the art objects, Nick had turned to Ian Matheson, Randi Wallace, and Rupert Giles. Ian and Randi had arrived by plane two days ago. Giles and a group of what he called "very capable young people" were do in tonight. In the mean time Nick had to get ready for a briefing. Another event was taking place in the complex and he needed to coordinate security with them.
A sort time latter as the room filled with a number of uniformed and non-uniformed police and security personnel Sam Beckett as Samantha Yeager prepared him self to give the opening speech. Sam began; "Ladies and Gentlemen on behalf of International Expositions, Inc. and the International Society for Forensic Sciences I would like to welcome all of you. As most of you are aware this center will be the focus of interest for law enforcement agencies throughout the world. It is our job to make sure that those who attend have a safe and enjoyable convention. I will introduce a few notable guests and then we will breakdown into workgroups to go over the security plan. First I would like to introduce Sam Simms United States Secret Service."
Simms is a large black man, normally easygoing but at this time wearing his most professional game face, he rises and acknowledges the speaker.
Beckett continues, "Mr. Simms is in charge of security for the U.S. Attorney General who will be our keynote speaker. I would also like you to meet Detective Raymond Vecchio who will be our primary liaison with the Chicago police department."
A thin well dressed man sitting next to a Mounty with a large dog rises and acknowledges the speaker.
"Finally I would like at this time to turn the meeting over to Captain Ralph Hempa chief of security for McCormick Place." Beckett finishes. Samantha Yeager's part of the meeting being over for the most part, Sam could relay a little. This gave him time to worry when was Al going to show up and what would his reaction be to this body. The security people broke down into workgroups and began to fill in the details of their security plan.
To Duncan Macleod the trip to Chicago was part of his more normal business he sold antiques for part of his income and there were a number of shops in the area that he dealt with. It seemed that the latest craze on the part of buyers was for rustic American items. For the most part however this trip was to be a bit of a holiday. The flight from Paris was slow but uneventful he spent a few days in New York with some old friends. He spent a few days in Atlantic City, it was not Monte Carlo but, he was curios to see how the town had changed. He was now headed on to Chicago. It was a pleasant and uneventful trip.
A few seats behind him Angus MacGyver sat quietly reading a book. The Phoenix Foundation was sending MacGyver to evaluate a number of technologies and their use. It had only been a year since he had been moved from the field to his current think tank position. Not getting shot at had definite advantages. Still a part of him missed the excitement. He stretched a bit and continued his reading. He was getting into Chicago a day early he planned to take it easy.
In a cheap hotel on Chicago's south side others were making plans: "I told you we should have left sooner now we have to steel the dagger from a building full of cops." Complained one of the young cult members. "We will find a way the knife wants us to take it." the pretty young girl in the Goth outfit maintained. Several other members of The Devil's Step Children said the same thing and the plotting started in earnest.
Somewhere on Interstate 80 a Winnebago travels the highway. In the darkness of the cabin of the Winnebago a discussion occurs. "Have I ever told you how much I hate these things?" The vampire known as Spike complained.
"At least a dozen times in every state we have pasted through." responded an annoyed Xander.
"After our last outing, in one of these, this mode of travel doesn't exactly give me warm and fuzzes either." Willow agreed.
"Look on the bright side of things we have covered almost two thousand miles and no one has tried jousting the RV," joked Buffy.
"You may have noticed I have a bit of a problem dealing with the bright side." Spike returned. The RV pulled into a rest stop it was Xander's turn to drive.
An eighteen wheeler pulls into the same rest stop. Inside the Foundation for Law and Government's (FLAG) Mobile Command Center Bonnie Barstow was briefing Michael Knight on a new liquid crystal body covering she had installed on Kitt. Devon Miles was reviewing a folder when Reginald announced the rest stop over the Intercom from the cab. This truck stop had proven in the past to provide a far above average meal and so they had selected it for their diner stop.
"How is kit adjusting to the new body?" Devon asks.
"He likes the Corvette, so far, but thinks it is a little ostentatious. I had to change his default color from red to black. With the added memory and updated processors KITT'S AI is growing more complex." Bonnie replied.
"And he is getting more sarcastic." Michael added. The Truck finally stopped and the three joined Reginald in the restaurant.
Wilber and Orrville brought their big rig into the truck stop. They were towing an empty trailer that they would be loading tonight. Knowing they did not have a lot of miles to go, but did have a lot of work ahead of them, made stopping for a bite here seam a good idea. Wilber and Orrville were not related but had been fast friends since they had met two years ago at an Illinois Militia meeting.
Frank Waters and Sherman Catlett were driving the next tractor-trailer to make the pit stop. Frank was proud of the rig. He had spent the last three months designing and building the defenders mobile support unit. Sherman would really have preferred to fly out to Chicago but had proposed the trip for as a team building exercise. Joe Astor and Cameron Westlake were following in the defender, they were running a communications systems check. This left Sherman with Frank who had spent the last twelve hundred miles giving him the grease monkeys guide to roadside America. Frank had planed their trip like an engineering project. The only redeeming quality Sherman had found in all this was that so far Frank's research into eateries had produced extraordinary results. Westlake confirmed their departure from the main road. The tracking system was working.
May Swenson quickly moved from her side-work as the first of the dinner crowd showed up. Gina the hostess was out sick, so she seated a party of seven and took their drink orders. By the time she set up her group with drinks the other waitress, Helen, had seated a party of four. That group looked older and more prosperous, "luck of the draw" she thought. May sat Wilber and Orrville who had been regulars for the last two months. Helen seated two more people who were waiting for the rest of their party. The party of seven, fortunately, proved fairly decisive. May turned their order into Oscar the cook. Cletus, who did the night shift at the Gulf Station across the street, was at the counter. She poured him a cup of coffee. It was a fairly normal night.
Five desperate men in a stolen SUV with Wisconsin Plates pulled into the parking lot. The small restaurant looked like an easy target. It was just far enough off the road to hide their activity, and just near enough to the road to make for a quick getaway. This was to prove to be a strategic error. Eighteen hours ago they had been quests of the Wisconsin penal system. Now they had fresh cloths, guns, and a vehicle. Next, they were going to pickup some quick cash. Four men got out of the SUV and headed into the restaurant. Something about these men struck Michael Knight as odd, he alerted Kitt... Very quickly the four entered the restaurant and drew weapons. They told everybody to remain seated with there hands on the table. They told May, who was nearest to it, to open the register. A petite young blond came out of the rest room at this time. The largest of the four grabbed her. This proved to be a grave tactical error. The man went flying as Buffy used him as a missile to attack a shotgun-touting felon. A powerful kick disarmed a third would be robber. Buffy ducked behind a counter as the fourth men tried to get a bead on her. Cletus and his hot black coffee diverted him from the blond fury. An obscene number of clicks and ca-chunks greeted the four as they tried to recover.
What the unfortunate felons found pointing at them was Oscar with a shotgun, Wilber and Orrville with a 44 magnum and 9mm, Frank with a 357, Sherman with a 9mm, Michael and Reginald with 38s, and May holding the small submachine gun that had once been in the other hand of the man that tried to grab Buffy. But most threatening of all was Buffy who had managed to pick up a large kitchen knife.
Meanwhile out in the parking lot Kitt activated the ramp in the FLAG Mobile Command Center and rolled onto the parking lot. Kitt took up a position front bumper to front bumper with the SUV. At the same time Frank was in communications with the Defender. The car approached the SUV from the rear. Much to the dismay of the getaway driver the two sports cars had suddenly managed to park in the SUV. The driver bolted on foot, Joe and Westlake in hot pursuit. He tried to take refuge in a Winnebago, but found himself instead staring at a rather annoyed Spike pointing a crossbow at him. The chip in his head may have kept him from firing, but the look on the face of the man he bluffed was a moment the vampire would savor.
Sheriff Bill Hart and his deputy took about an hour getting everyone's statements. Having FBI agent Sherman Catlett not try to preempt his jurisdiction surly helped. Having a roomful of trained observers and a videotape made by one of the vehicles did not hurt either. One of the prisoners was packed off in an ambulance to have a broken radius and ulna seen to. The other four were waiting quietly in their handcuffs for their ride to jail. News of the event had proliferated over the police radio system, in almost no time at all; Sheriff Hart had a State Trouper and two officers from adjoining counties to help with the prisoners. The witnesses finished their dinner, dissert was on the house. It was only after he had returned to his office latter that night with his charges safely locked away that he noted one final discrepancy in his reports. Who was driving the black Corvette?
Wilber and Orrville were a bit nervous having a fed show up at their favorite eatery. That was not a good thing. The questioning had put them behind schedule. Fortunately the guns and permits they had all checked out legit. It also helped that Sheriff Hart had been to busy praising them for there aid to local law enforcement to ask any embracing questions. After a few minutes of quite driving Wilber broke the silence by saying, "It's a good thing I didn't blow that dude away or we would still be doing paperwork." The two laughed and continued on.
Thirty minutes later Wilber and Orrville pulled into a barn. There they where greeted there by other Militia members, who began loading the explosives into the rear of the tractor-trailer.
Far away, well not exactly far away, since linear distances cannot be measured between dimensions and this was in another dimension. In the offices of Myth Inc. The Great Skeeve and the Pervect Aahz entertained a perspective client. It was rare that an Eliasian Elf was seen out of his home dimension. Eliasian Elves were an ancient and proud race that claimed they were from one of the oldest dimensions, their technology was ancient, and there magic strong. In short, this race of Elves was a bunch of stuck up snobs. But, snobs with money as Aahz had pointed out to Skeeve earlier that day. Their firm would defiantly benefit from a client so well placed in the multiverse's privileged. It was unknown for the Eliasianes, at least during the current Epoch, to ask for outside help. The ancient Elf began slowly and formally it was over an hour before he had finished his greeting. With patience Skeeve rarely saw Aahz use. Aahz returned the greeting. Fortunately Eliasiane protocol allowed for meals. It was during the third course of the second meal that the Elf finally got down to business.
Hartsblom (Skeeve and Aahz called him that for short for that was indeed part of his name from some where near the third to the last paragraph) began almost humbly, "It was a very long time ago. So long ago, that we of Elias were still new to our world. We had not as yet penetrated the greater mysteries. We were just starting to use forces it would take Millennia to master. In our youthful curiosity we created a device to probe these mysteries. The device was not something we would wish to make today. The technologies it used are now known to have bizarre and perverse side effects it also violates about half a million treaties and laws of physics that we since have become signatory to." As Hartsblom went on he provided a detailed but euphemistic description regarding the nature and capabilities of the probes
Aahz quickly translated to Skeeve "We are dealing with a invulnerable, intelligent, amoral, sixteen thousand million year old probe that causes reality pollution."
"What is reality pollution?" Skeeve asked
Aahz in a whisper. "Very nasty and politically incorrect" answered Aahz. Seeing the two now seemed to have a glimmer of understanding of the problem Hartsblom went on to state his needs "A few days ago the probe contacted us. It was in one of the four thousand two hundred twenty-three prime universes. What we require is the discrete recovery of the item." Aahz invoked the Elvin protocol of Eyehalftugo this allowed them to leave the room and talk privately (it also involved use of the privy which thanks to the wonders of indoor plumbing was a far better place for discussion and breathing in general here on Deva than on Skeeve's native home dimension of Clod).
Skeeve asked "Aahz what is a four thousand two hundred twenty-three prime universe?"
"Four thousand two hundred twenty-three prime is a treaty between several elder races, and semi supreme beings. It is a basic appendages off policy. Elias is a signatory so they need some lower life form to remove the dangerous and politically incorrect device from this pristine environment. They must be worried about political embarrassment, damage fines, maybe, even a war." Aahz answered.
Skeeve knowing Aahz would look mainly at the profits on any such venture tried to change the focus. "What are the dangers?" Skeeve asked? "They came to us because they think we can handle it, don't you have any faith in ancient Elvin wisdom." Aahz Said. Somehow Skeeve was less than satisfied with that answer.
The next three days were spent in negotiations. It was not so much cost or fulfillment. To the Eliasianes price was no object. The objectives were clearly stated. It was the details and clauses that needed work, and in Deva it is always the detail that counts. There was on one clause the Eliasianes were most insistent on, it was a termination clause. It stated merely that failure to fulfill the contract would result in the termination of the signatory's home. Aahz responded to their intransigence on this issue with a clause of his own, in addition to the gargantuan price they had negotiated for the job, the Eliasianes would bear all expenses. At this Aahz pronounced the contract workable. The polite ritual of signatures took up the rest of the week.
In the same room were we stared this bizarre narrative, but much latter. Well the furniture was different and they moved a wall or two. Ok, it is a totally different room but with the same fairy and six dwarfs. "Boys, I have a repair order for you," Celda said impatiently. Celda was only impatient when something went very wrong.
"Is it that Avocado pit thing again?" asked Randall.
"I bet it is the smell of those Ginkgoes." Said Og.
"Quite!" yelled the fairy, it was truly amazing how much volume she could muster. "It is work order forty-two, there seems to be an intermittent trans-dimensional rift in it." Celda continued. "Find out what is causing it and fix it." Celda said before leaving.
"Work order forty-two that was one of those rush prototypes. Does anybody know anything special about it?" Asked Randall. Vermin suddenly started trying very hard to be inconspicuous.
It was Wally who finally asked, "Was that the one with the green settee?" After much arguing and debate they concluded that it might well be that one. Suddenly they were all looking at Vermin. It took quite a wile and even more arguing to come up with a list of probable causes. It had to be either the settee or the Elfin thingy.
"We have to get them back." Declared Randall.
"It will be an adventure!" exclaimed Wally.
"It is official business, we have a work order." Said Fidgit.
"A ah mission," stuttered Strutter.
"A mission for the supreme being" Randall affirmed.
Somewhere under the great city of Chicago Carl plotted with a very mixed group of links and humans. "One thing for sure it has to be one of the best scores we have seen in this town in some time." Said a gnome named Rocky.
Boras a dower looking Siberian Gnome who was the mastermind and leader of the group, said," Yes, there is much gold in this collection but first we must steal it. Do you all know your parts?" He drilled them all thoroughly his years working with the czars and then the KGB made him a demanding taskmaster. Carl's job would be to stay with the police and warn of Special Unit 2 activity.
Miss Parker and Broots entered the empty Muncie, Indiana apartment. As usual the trail was stale and so were the donuts. Except for the donut boxes and a lone business card the room was clean. The card was from a bicycle a shop in Gary it had no phone number. Using a cell phone to check information Broots found there was no phone number for that address. It looked like Jarod was sending them on another road trip.
Three sisters sat, in a departure lounge at San Francisco International Airport, still wondering what manor of danger would call their help from so far away. "We probably won't know anything more till we get off the plain. Leo is checking out to see what he can find." Piper the youngest said.
"Best for now to just enjoy the flight." Phoebe offered.
"If the plane ever gets here," complained Prue, the eldest Halliwell sister.
The plane itself was due to leave in five minutes but was yet to arrive at the gate. "Tell me why again, we are not taking the white lighter express?" asked Piper.
"Because going this way it reduces strange questions while renting cars and hotel rooms." Replied Pru.
Across the lounge sat an older man far more patience than the three sisters. With him sat a younger man, his son, who contrasted greatly with the peaceful air of his father. While the young man kept looking for the plane, the older man seamed to just meditate. From amongst the other delayed passengers a slightly balding middle-aged Hispanic man approached him. "Detective Caine?" asked the middle-aged man.
"Yes -- Where do I know you from?" asked Peter.
"Oh sorry, I'm Joe Dominguez; I attended that lecture you gave on the mark nine detector unit." Joe said.
"Yes, of course, It was strange; I went to a factory training session on that device. Some crazies put nerve gas in a Japanese subway and the next thing I know I was doing a five county tour." Peter recalled.
"Well you did a good job, my partner and I actually had to use that thing." Joe said.
"Are you going to Chicago for the convention?" asked Peter. "Yes, my partner and I are going to check out the latest gadgets." Joe answered.
The two talked for a while, exchanging a story or two about mutual acquaintances. Long before the missing aircraft appeared Joe's partner returned to the waiting area. Joe introduced his partner Nash Bridges and Peter introduced his father Kui Chang Caine. They had plenty of time to get acquainted the plane departed two hours late.
Flight 1135 out of Los Angeles International Airport was oddly enough boarding on time. The first class section had already boarded. Sammo Law was just returning from the restroom as his row was called. Grace Chen, Amy Dylan, and Terrell Par were already in line with their groups carryon bags.
Quincy was talking to Sam Fujiyama as he waited for his row to be called. Amanda Bentley and Jesse Travis were getting impatient. Well for the most part Amanda was getting impatient. It was just safer for Jesse to agree with her. Dr. Mark Sloan and his son Steve were running late. It was just as the last block of rows were called that the Sloans arrived Dr. Sloan taking the blame for their lateness. All boarded without incident and just to be contrary the plane left on time.
As the Southwest airlines plane left DFW James Trivette Watched as his partner quickly fell asleep. Cordell Walker was suffering from a strange ailment that affects new parents, lack of sleep. The new baby was three months old and had an excellent set of lungs. As Trivette picked up his book and began to read he wondered if Walker's real reason for taking this trip was not so much to learn the latest police techniques, as to catch up on his sleep. Walker shifted in his seat and started to snore.
The detective Nick Knight drove the rented van around the outskirts of Toledo. Nick was escorting his girlfriend Dr. Natalie Lambert to a convention in Chicago the fact that Nick was a vampire did tend to complicate things. It did however make him an excellent night driver. Knight listened to the tape player along with the breathing his sleeping love. Soon Natalie would be driving and Nick would use the large light proof box in the rear of the van.
Flight 995 arrived at Chicago's O'Hare Airport James Ellison, and Blair Sandburg were only to happy to get off the plane and stretch there legs. Ellison the more so since he required considerably more leg room then Sandburg. The walk through the concourse was a most welcome change from sitting. The walk and shuttle ride, in the end, led to more leg compression as the two folded themselves into the small candy apple green subcompact rental car that the Cascade police department had provided for them.
Another aircraft circled O'Hare. On this aircraft an elderly women chatted amiably with a young man and women. During the flight the conversation had traveled farther and faster then the jet. The older woman, Jessica Fletcher, was a best selling author of mystery stories and semiprofessional murder investigator. She was heading to Chicago to give a lecture on observation at a police convention. The beautiful and exotic looking young woman was Sydney Fox a Professor of History who specialized in ancient civilizations. Nigel Bailey, The young man, was her Teaching Assistant. Sydney and Nigel were coming into town to look into a few myths relating to a pre-Columbian artifact. The conversation ranged over several thousand years and most of the world. They talked of tools, implements, and weapons and the ways people used and abused them. As the plane landed they exchanged permanent and hotel information.
It was a living the ex-FBI agent thought as he checked into the Chicago hotel room. He was even making better money than he had with the FBI. The small beltway software company that had hired him three weeks after his untimely departure from the FBI was quite good to him. The software that the company made recognized patterns in massive databases. He was here in Chicago for the convention to demonstrate law enforcement applications of the software. He entered his hotel room put down his luggage and pulled out his cell phone. He dialed a Washington DC number - Ring! - Ring!
"Hello," a sleepy voice answered.
"Hello Dana," Fox Mulder replied.
Fox and Dana talked for about fifteen minutes both just wanting to here the others voice. The baby was doing fine. His airline flight was only ten minutes late. Agent Doggit was investigating some little old lady up in Maine that had witnessed or been in the vicinity of over two hundred sixty-four separate murders in different places around the world. The small town in which she lived had a pre-capita murder rate higher than Washington DC. All the murders were solved but the odds against such a coincidence were so astronomical that Doggit had to check it out.
Finally the two said goodnight.
It was not long after Scully hung up that her phone rung again. This time it was Agent John Doggit he and Agent Monica Reyes had tracked J.B. Fletcher to Chicago through her publisher and had just landed at O'Hare they wanted Mulders hotel number. Scully told him and he thanked her and was gone. At this time the baby decided it was time to get a little motherly attention.
Scully had just gotten the baby back to bed when she got a call from Langly, Frohike and Byers. They were investigating some strange activities of a secretive government think tank that called it's self "The Centre." They said they had reason to believe that this group was doing some sort of human genetics experimentation. They were calling from Gary, Indiana. They were tracking some people who they believed were trying to recover an escaped experiment.
A very tired Miss Parker and Broots checked into their rooms in a Gary, Indiana motel. They had spent the day on rented bicycles. Jarod was playing games with them. They had arrived at the bicycle shop to find Jarod had prepaid a day-long cycle tour in there names. The tour of course led to another cryptic message as to his whereabouts along with a bizarre file about a project Manticore. Project Manticore was involved in human selective breading experiments. The file tracked the linage of herself and Jarod. She listened to Broots as he complained about sore muscles before heading off to her own room. Tomorrow she would check out the an Illinois pig farm that was the next stop on this latest little road rally that Jarod was sending her on. She was a bit to tired to notice the VW Microbus that was stalking her.
In the cramped Chicago offices of the Independent News Service, Chief editor Tony Vinchenzo was lecturing (in this case a reserved form of yelling at) his most talented and frustrating reporter. Carl Kolchak was accustomed to Vinchenzo's outbursts he even sympathized with his editor. The way the authorities had buried evidence on his stories made them less then sellable. "Carl this is a simple assignment just cover a convention full of police officers, highlights of speeches, neat gadgets, that sort of thing. No ghosts, no ghouls, no vampires, no Indian spirits, no werewolves, no vengeful Greek goddesses, no robots, no strange unknown species of reptiles, no fairies, or space aliens!" The editor insisted.
"You know me, For me there is nothing but the truth." insisted Kolchak.
"Alright then, get out there"," Vinchenzo said resigning himself to the fates.
With Carl Kolchak the fates were already pulling out their joke books.
Xander had stopped for gas and had gotten back on the road again. Well not quite on the road again he missed getting back on the interstate and had gotten a little lost. Most of the crew was sleeping. It was just Xander and Spike in the cab of the truck. While Spike made cracks about his innovative use of back roads, Xander looked for a road sign. What he found instead was a hitchhiker. Xander stopped for the dark haired, clean cut, thirty something man in a blue jumpsuit. The hitchhiker was also trying to get to the windy city.
Frank Parker needed to get to a phone, but he could not use a cell phone in the crowded RV. Also there was the fact his on cell phone was not working. How he stumbled into a bunch of teenagers. Finding teenagers without a cell phone of their own was also a bit strange. He would have to wait till he could get into town. Not long after they picked him up the wise guy with the punk hair found a sign (Parker had to admire the guy's great night vision) and they were soon back on the Interstate.
That night at the McCormick Place in Chicago the calling stone was again active. The stone feeling the approach of it's long awaited other half began transmitting again. The effects of the transmission radiated through time and space. Ian Matheson watched as the Orb at the center of the black alter stone began to glow. He was soon however, distracted by his partner Randi Wallace. The stone had triggered Randi's little problem. Randi was a lycanthrope. The werewolf bolted from the room. One of the two security guards bolted from the room in the opposite direction. Ian reset the alarm and called Nick Wolfe, this was going to be quite a night, and it wasn't even a full moon.
Else when in time: The nuclear aircraft carrier USS Nimitz took a week long tour of 1941, several temporal and dimensional travelers had their trips diverted, a butterfly in a rainforest in the Yucatan was struck by lightning, and Elvis was sighted at the Camden Seaquarium.
Dr. Tony Newman and Dr. Doug Phillips fall and tumble in a vortex of time as their secret base tries to pull them home. The two time travelers are caught in an eddy of time and land on a clean modern looking street somewhere. The two men got up from there fall and looked around them trying to get a clue as to where and when they were. It was late in the evening they walked toward the light of a small but inviting looking pub.
It was a moderate crowd that night at McGinty's. Two men walked into the quite little bar they looked lost. "How can I help you," Patrick the bartender asked.
Tony realized he had no money in his pocket he looked at Doug. Doug realized he had the same problem returned Tony's look.
"We were at a bachelor party a few of our friends pulled a prank on us I think." Tony improvised.
Gary Hobson one of the co-owners of the little bar said "Here have a coffee on the house and I will let you use the phone." Gary was a good-natured man not too much younger than Doug and Tony. Gary did look rather tired like he had a long day. Gary told Erica his bar manager to close up and retired for the evening. Doug found an evening paper lying about they were over a two decades into their future. When they tried using the phone the base's number belonged to angry Hispanic gentlemen named Carlos. Marissa a blind black women who happened to be the other co-owner of McGinty's somehow sensing something of the lost and perplexed nature of her two guests talked quietly with Erica about her guests.
On the other side of the bar three men and a women talked quietly amongst themselves. "Q-Ball how did that thing of yours wind us up in Chicago," asked Rembrandt (Crying Man) Brown.
"I am not quite sure yet. Something must have interfered with the slide." Answered Quinn Mallory as he looked at a device in his hand. The device looked like a TV remote control.
"Looks like a nice place so far, how long are we here for?" asked Maggie Beckett.
"Two months," said Quinn.
"Quinn do you think whatever interfered with the slide will affect us again?" asked Colin Mallory.
"While we are here I will try to find out" Quinn replied.
Realizing their plight was far worse then they were letting on Marissa Clark approached Tony and Doug. "Something tells me you two were not just dropped off for a bachelor's party joke." Clark stated. Before they could respond she continued, "You seem like nice guys, you are not in trouble with the law or anything like that, are you?" "No, nothing like that," replied Doug. "You smell to clean and fresh to have been homeless for long. Anything you want to talk about?" She asked sensing some mystery in these two strangers.
"Nothing anybody would believe." Said Tony.
"Oh you would be surprised what I might believe." Clark said smiling at some private joke. She talked with them awhile they seamed ignorant or ill informed of anything that had taken place in what should be her and their mutual lifetimes but seamed to have a remarkable grasp of history. Deciding that at the worst they were harmless Marissa offered to put them up for awhile in one of the backrooms of the pub.
At the secret base of the Time Tunnel Project Dr. Ann MacGregor and Dr. Swain worked to locate Tony And Doug. They find their path through time has skewed far from normal time and space coordinates.
From one alternate future what appears a large naked man appears in a Chicago back ally on Chicago's south side. He walks along seemingly uncaring about his nakedness. A group of young toughs approach him. "Hey Mofo what you doing parading your naked white ass all over my hood?" One of the young toughs demands.
"I am looking for some clothes" the stranger says looking at the largest of the eight toughs."
"I think we should show this honky pervert that this ain't no fucking Wall Mart." Says the smallest of the group opening a butterfly knife.
The naked stranger moves quickly to preempt his would be attackers. While most of them are still trying to bring to bear there various weapons he attacks with inhuman speed and power. As one of them draws a pistol finds his hand crushed and the pistol gone, as one moves behind there intended victim with a baseball bat he find a large foot is pounding his ribcage and sending him flying, a third attacker armed with a chain is pistol wiped across his jaw (the jaw is now broken), a forth assailant cracks a broom handle over the back of the naked terror to no effect. The tough still holding half a stick is picked up and thrown into two of his knife-wielding comrade. The largest of the group attempts to hit the naked monster with his brass-knuckled fist. The punch is caught by the free hand of the stranger. The stranger squeezes the fist till the big gang member cries out in pain. Pointing the gun at the head of his captive he instructs him to strip. Taking the biggest mans clothes, a pistol, and two knifes the stranger says, "Forget you ever saw me or I'll be back." He walks off as if nothing happened leaving a mooning groaning mass of torn flesh and broken bone behind him.
Over two decades ahead in one of many alternate futures Max sits in a cell somewhere in the Manticore complex. Max sits on a bed in a ten by ten room she has been here quite awhile recuperating from surgery. They seam to be waiting for her body to heal before they start whatever brainwashing they have planed for her. Unfortunately her genetically engineered body heals to dam fast. Suddenly a green settee with Chippendale legs appears in her cell. This is most strange as Manticore interior décor tends more toward the sterile and functional. Have they already started the mind games is this some sort of hologram. With a near feline curiosity she approaches the couch. It starts to move and she pounces on it. Half expecting to be greeted by a hard fall to the painted concrete floor she is instead greeted by very real, soft fabric coated cushions. The contrary couch then jumps through the wall of her cell and heads down a hallway as Max hangs on for life and maybe even freedom. Alarms sound guards are mobilized as the sofa dances about seemingly reveling in the confusion. Just as the opposition began to rally the well-used looking piece of furniture jumped to another time and place. Max and her curious mount made a brief appearance at a vomitorium in ancient Rome, followed by an iceberg off the coast of Antarctica before settling in to the living room of a moderately well furnished suburban home. The settee did not fit in well even here it clashes with the colors of the room and looks quite tawdry next to the newer pieces. Suddenly a beam of blue white light freezes her and the rambunctious interior decorators nightmare. "We got it!" yells Fidgit.
"It has a girl on it's back!" cries Og.
Wally looking at a strange device in his hand says, "This doesn't appear to be the cause of our problem."
"She is a real hotty."Continues Og.
"She sure is," agrees Strutter.
"What do you mean it is not the cause?" demanded Randall.
"The couch makes it's space time jumps without exerting undue stress on the reality matrix. The settee is safe and environmentally friendly." Wally explained.
With a sigh Randall released the beam that held the couch Max rolled off onto the floor as the Settee took off again. "The other item is in this very town, in a museum, under heavy guard, well at least half of it is." said Wally.
Max shook off the effects of the beam and began to sit up looking at her curious captors she asked, "Aren't there supposed to be seven of you guys?"
Noticing the couch rider for the first time Randall said "Celda doesn't do field work and she is not a guy."
"Shouldn't we introduce ourselves," asked Fidgit.
"Why we never done that before," Said Strutter.
"Because there is a lady present," said Og.
"No, but it gives us more lines." Explained Randall. Before the others could offer any more objections Randall began "I would like to introduce Og, Wally, Fidget, Strutter and Vermin - watch him he eats anything - and me I am Randall. And who are you?"
"My name is Max pleased to meet you" Max said.
Introductions made they went back to arguing amongst themselves. Finally they came to a conclusion "We are going to have to commit a robbery." Said Randall. Thinking about how well they had performed as international robbers on a previous venture Randall turned to Max and asked. "By any chance do you do robberies?"
Meanwhile at the Bazaar on Deva Aahz was doing some recruiting of his own. "Word is you've got a big contract and are looking for some help." Said a Deveel named Berkly who ran a recruiting agency.
"Word may be true or may be false need to have you sign a nondisclosure agreement before I could tell you one way or the other." Said Aahz. Aahz slid the deveel the NDA. The Deveel read it carefully.
After a few minutes the Deveel put down the agreement and asked "What's with this death by dismemberment clause?"
"We Prevects like a contract with some teeth," smiled Aahz. The Prevect displayed the
kind on dentition that could make a great white shark jealous.
The two fenced verbally a bit until finally the Deveel agreed. After he signed the NDA Berkly got to read the main contract. He stopped dead when he got to the termination clause. "Aahz they could wipe you out if they interpreted this broadly enough!" Berkly warned.
"I do not believe the Eliasianes would interpret the clause that narrowly, they tend to think big and Skeeve is the official wizard of the bazaar." Said Aahz. Deveels do not normally turn white having a distinctive bright red color.
Berkly did turn an interesting shade of pink. "They could wipe out the hole dimension!" Said the panicked Deveel. The worried Deveel read on looking for some clause that might mitigate the termination clause. It was not until the worried Deveel got to the expenses clause that the Deveel's mood lightened. The risk and the profit were both tremendous. "I think we can do some wonderful business," said the Deveel.
Somewhere in the Sol system a large starship ponderously slows from half light speed to match speed with one of the inner planets. Darl the Ursoid captain of the ship receives a growing number of reports this time he will not go back into hibernation as he has some many times in this decades long maneuver. The sleeping ship was awakening. On the third planet of the system an ancient artifact had been detected. An artifact capable of opening up alternative spaces, a device that if understood could free his people from the limitations imposed by the speed of light.
Forty percent of the ships crew were out of hibernation. They were detecting signs of a far more sophisticated civilization on the planet then they expected. Darl ordered stealth measures and ordered the awakening accelerated.
On earth in his office at MIB's secret New York headquarters Agent Zed briefs Agents J and K and L. "We have a situation alert we have two maneuvering sub-light extra solar objects in system. The objects do not respond to ITC Codes. One object is a primitive Sub-light starship it's technology is on a par with earth standard. The other defies sensor analysis. Since both object are adhering to low visibility protocols they have not as yet broken any treaties. What is of greater concern is that something is giving class ten reality waves on the Earth's surface. General indications are that the object is the Chicago area. I am sending the three of you out there. Your vehicles will be loaded on a type 562 shuttle, you should be there by 10:00 PM tonight. I hope you can get to the bottom of this one."
The three acknowledged there orders and proceeded to the shuttle.
Closing on the hyper-dimensional drive section, the reaction drive section of the Eliasian probe finished a course correction. The reaction drive was on target the mass of the planet was sufficient to slow down the reaction drive. The reaction drive was moving at a substantial velocity. The impact would not hurt the probe large concentrations of Dihydrogen Monoxide would dissipate a large amount of the energy of impact.
The big boss was in from South America and he was calling in every marker he had. Raul Domingo was the man in charge of the operation. Raul had risen thru the ranks of the organization form a local gang banger to control of most of the Midwest. He was a charismatic ruthless no nonsense killer with a talent for organization. He also had great skill at not getting caught. Most import of all he was fanatically loyal to Awkis. Awkis had selected Domingo to put together the job and that is just what he did. He in fact put together three independent operations, two diversionary attacks and the robbery itself. One group was to target certain law enforcement personnel who had become troublesome. Another group would target an area a few blocks away to draw off local police resource. The main group would steal the nearly one ton stone that Awkis was paying twenty million to recover. None of the three groups knew the whole plan. The assassination squad thought themselves to be the main mission. The mini crime wave was broken into several sub cells for greater security. The robbers would escape by boat but the escape plan would include other tricks and diversions. Raul was also working with some radical groups on a riot but that was a long shot.
Amanda greeted the Winnebago and it's crew, they were about an hour behind schedule. Giles made the introductions. Frank thanked them for the ride and went off to find a phone. While the gang was getting moved into their hotel Frank was rewriting history.
At a secret government facility located somewhere in the Southeastern part of Nevada: A phone call arrived, the caller said only one word "conundrum." Commander Craig Donovan was on duty that night to answer the call. "Ok, Frank what is it?
Frank gave Donovan the litany of disasters he needed to prevent. There was a major problem in trying to warn authorities of the incoming meteor. Even for NSA some additional evidence would be needed to evacuate the entire coast of Lake Michigan. Craig suggested Frank report to Talmadge who was already in Chicago. Frank agreed, fortunately his ride had left him off at the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place the same hotel where Talmadge was staying (Conveniently located less than a block from ground zero for the first event).
It had been a busy day at Curious Goods. Johnny Ventura and Micki Foster got an early start checking out the exhibits at the museum. Micki had a great deal of experience spotting the cursed items that she had been recovering for far to long. The Items had this way of calling to a person. Micki had learned to recognized the calling and not respond to it. The Inca blade had that kind of call. The five-foot circular obsidian alter stone felt very different something like the cursed items but stronger and very different. Jack Marshak was left minding the store and it was a busy day there as well.
The day started quietly enough for Duncan Macleod his hotel provided an adequate breakfast buffet. His rental car handled well enough in the wide but crowded Chicago streets. He stopped at the first of the five shops he planned to visit that day and had some pleasant conversation and a profitable transaction involving Chinese porcelain. He next visited his old friend Jack Marshak. Jack had been on the antique circuit ever since he retired his act as a stage magician. Jack still tended to be a bit theatrical. Today was no exception, Jack knew of Duncan's interest in fine cutlery (thou not the reason behind it) and was proud to unveil a fine Spanish Rapier with a matching parrying blade. The workmanship on the two blades was exceptional. Close examination revealed that, the blades were made by a Japanese sword smith, copying the European design. Not to uncommon at a time only Spain had access to Nippon. It was the level of artisanship that made these blades exceptional. Jack was telling Duncan how he had come into possession of the blade when something distracted Duncan.
A moment latter a man and two women entered the shop. Jack was about to excuse himself to look after this new group of browsers when Duncan called out to one of the women. "Amanda, It is good to see you again."
"Duncan, I thought you were in Paris." Amanda exclaimed. The two old friends talked for a bit more and finally got around to introducing their companions. Amanda introduced Ian Matheson and Randi Wallace and Doncan introduced Jack Marshak. It was Ian that at last stated the reason for their trip to the shop.
The threesomes was working with the pre-Columbian exhibition and were looking for more background on Lewis Vendredi. Jack paused for a moment then began, "I knew Lewis for a number of years both from the antique business and a fascination with the occult." Jack hinted at the depth of Lewis' dark side but never went into detail. When asked about the donation Lewis made to a museum in Peru he guessed , "For some reason Lewis wanted to get the Items as far away from himself as he could as quickly as he could." His guess was more correct the he could have imagined.
Duncan could sense that there was more to his friend's story then he was telling. Suddenly Duncan and Amanda sensed a presence. A dark man in an Armani suit entered the store. Amanda greeted him and introduced Awkis to the others.
It was a tense introduction Amanda had not seen Awkis in over four centuries and now here he was for the second time this month. After introducing her old friend she let him ease the conversation in the direction he wanted it to go. Awkis was a patient man he took his time before turning the conversation to Lewis Vendredi. Jack gave a shorter and less detailed version of the story he had told earlier. After getting what he could on that subject Awkis made his excuses.
After Awkis departure it suddenly became Amanda's turn to be evasive. She was rescued in part by Jack having to deal with a dwarf selling several gold doubloons. It was indeed a busy day.
Bradley Talmadge was just getting to sleep when the telephone expressed a dissenting opinion. It was Craig calling from the base. The call told him to expect Frank knocking at the door. Frank was uncharacteristically punctual, he was knocking on the door by the time Bradley put down the receiver. No sooner than Frank entered the room Bradley began a debriefing. Frank told of the bombing and then meteor impact with it's resultant tidal wave. Taking action against the bombers would be surprisingly easy now that they knew what to look for. The meteor impact was another mater. Bradley brought in Nate Ramsey and had him set up a secure phone to the base. After some discussion it was Hooter that finally came up with a plan to gather the needed data to prove their case.
Several hours later the Internet was ripe with discussion. An anonymous observer said he had sited a object traveling at amassing speeds other people had found the small light source moving earthward at alarming speed. Strangest of all, the object was slowing down. The object was slowing at a rate 30 meters per second per second it was on a collision course with earth. Even slowing at that rate, the object would hit with the kinetic energy of a good many strategic nuclear weapons.
Outside the door of a small apartment above McGinty's tavern a yellow tabby cat issued a plaintive stream of meowing. Slowly Gary Hobson responded to the feline alarm clock. Gary picked up tomorrows edition of Chicago Sun-Times. It looked more like the National Inquire. A meteor strike, tidal waves, riots, demons, monsters and an alien invasion were all recorded in the reputable daily. Gary looked at Carl the cat. The cat looked back. Can a cat shrug its shoulders? Gary prepared for the day by getting his friends and employees to evacuate. That done he sat down with the paper to see where he could make a difference. Two thankful strangers joined him as he set out for the day.
Dr. Pablo Cruz received word early, as did most of the guests at the Hyatt Regency at McCormick Place. The entire complex was being evacuated. He quickly rallied all those associated with the exhibit to move the irreplaceable artifacts while there was still time. By the time he called Robert James, James had already secured trucks to haul the exhibit out of town and a place to move them to.
Elsewhere in the same hotel, Chicago Detective Raymond Vecchio and a Cook County Deputy Sheriff Jack Bishop were going from room to room, Bishop had been given the mission and the authority to recruit and deputize the wealth of out of town law enforcement professionals that were in town for the convention. Their first stop was at the door of Samantha Yeager convention coordinator.
Sam awoke to the sound of an alarm clock Yeager's seclude demanded an early start. Admiral Albert Calavicci found Sam while he was still half dressed. "Wow! Sam you really jumped into a babe this time! "Al commented.
"I already figured that part out do you having anything useful" Sam said while putting on a blouse in hopes of elevating the conversation. "Ziggy says you slipped into an alternate dimension running parallel to our own. We are still trying to figure how it differs from our own." Al explained. Sam had Al turn around so he could finish getting dressed. It was no sooner than Sam finished getting ready for the day that a knock at the door terminated Sam and Al's conversation. At the door were a detective and a county sheriff they were requesting information about convention attendees. In order to insure the proper use on the data on Yeager's laptop Sam joined the two law enforcement officers on their quest.
The three continued on going from room to room asking each convention guest his qualifications, swearing them in, and telling them to report to the Mounty in the lobby. "You can't miss him he is the guy in the lobby with the red coat." Ray would say.
Nick Wolfe was talking to a Canadian Mounty in order to arrange escort for the small convoy of trucks that would carry the Peruvian treasures that were his charge to higher ground. Constable Benton Fraser of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had been placed in the lobby of the hotel to rally and coordinate the volunteers that Ray would send down to him. Wolfe talked to Fraser and the Mounty promised he would get him an adequate escort from amongst the volunteers.
The morning found United States Secret Service Agent Sam Simms on the telephone the NSA had provided information that diverted the Attorney General back to D.C. on urgent business. He was given information about the probable meteor strike and tidal wave threat. He was asked to make himself available to local law enforcement. As if on queue the a trio representing local law enforcement knocked on his door.
Angus MacGyver's hopes of sleeping in late were dashed with a simple knock on the door. Half an hour latter he found himself awake, dressed and talking with a Canadian Mounty.
Xander and an older man finished nailing a large statue into a shipping crate. The older man, David, worked with a calm patients at odds with the hectic pace of the sudden evacuation of the exhibit. Dr. Cruz was besides himself, urging haste one minute, and extra care the next. Over all the packing was going well security was already guarding the half loaded trucks.
At the loading dock Jarod stood guard on the loading truck while his partner Vincent Monrow was sneaking a call on his cellular phone. Jarod had been watching Vincent for a while now. Jarod had met the young man's family some weeks earlier. His family was concerned that there son had fallen in with a satanic cult. Jarod had secured a job as guard to keep an eye on the young man.
At the same time Devon Miles was offering the services of his group to a Canadian Mounty. Said Mounty was trying to organize a rapidly growing crowd of law enforcement officers.
Sherman Catlett recognizing Devon from the diner and soon found himself and his crew part of the escort Fraser had promised the exhibit.
A large screen television in the lobby reported on the evacuation orders and a few other choice news items. One of the more interesting tidbits was the story of a truckload of homemade explosives captures by Illinois State Police.
A short time later a troubled looking elderly woman approached the Mounty. She had awoken early and tried to find a bite to eat she had wondered into one of the restaurants that was being remodeled. She looked around and followed the sound of a running refrigerator. In the refrigerator, she had discovered the body of an elderly woman. At that time Detective Vecchio, Sheriff's, Deputy Bishop, and Samantha Yeager joined the group.
Bishop outlined the overall plan the Sheriff's office and the volunteers would be going house to house -- building to building making sure all the low lying areas were evacuated. Medical volunteers would be reporting to Company C 634th Forward Support Battalion out of Springfield buses would be by to transport them in one hour. National guard trucks would move everyone's personal gear to a secure storage area on high ground. Twelve volunteers would go with the equipment. The various venders at the show had volunteered the use of much of the police equipment that was on display at the convention. People were broken down into units and issued equipment. The groups began planning how they would work together.
A fairly large group went to inspect the crime scene Jessica Fletcher had found. Mrs. Fletcher led Detective Vecchio, Constable Fraser, two FBI Agents John Doggit and Monica Reyes, Dr. Quincy a noted ME from LA and his assistant Sam Fujiyama, Nash Bridges and his partner Joe Dominguez . Another pathologist Dr. Amanda Bentley brought along Dr. Mark Sloan and his son Detective Steve Sloan along with another young doctor Jesse Travis. Also in the group were two Texas Rangers James Trivette & Cordell Walker, Detective James Ellison, another ME Dr. Natalie Lambert, Detective Peter Caine, a salesman and former FBI agent Fox Mulder, Amy Dylan, and Terrell Par. In the rear of the group Sammo Law, Grace Chen and Kui Chang Caine were having an interesting conversation however this narrative lacks the fonts to include as well as the skill to translate it.
The group would not have long to analyze the crime scene. The doctors were dew leave on a bus in an hour, Part of the group would have a bit more time Dr. Lambert had a van. The real deadline would come in thirteen hours when the site would have tons of angry water moving through it. What they did have was a disgusting amount of equipment available from the show. The actual walk in freezer was a small room. They agreed to work the room two at a time each pair would take their own pictures. . It was decided that since it was Detective Vecchio's jurisdiction he should take overall charge of the scene. He divided the groups into teams of two and assigned duties to each team. First, Agent Doggit and Mrs. Fletcher would go in, he would walk Mrs. Fletcher through her recollection of how she found the body. He also took her statement. Next team Dr. Bentley and Sam Fujiyama did overall site preparation. Dr. Quincy and Dr. Lambert would be in charge of the victim.
Each of the other pairs would workup the scene in their own way for later comparison. The other pairs were Reyes and Mulder, Bridges and Dominguez, Dr. Mark and Steve Sloan, Rangers Walker and Trivette, James Ellison and Constable Fraser, Jesse Travis and Peter Caine, Amy Dylan and Terrell Par, Sammo Law and Grace Chen, and finally Kui Chang Caine and Detective Vecchio.
The cause of death was a head wound. The wound was made by a large caliber silenced-pistol. The bullet entered through the forehead and exited through the rear of the skull. The shot was fired from about four inches away. The victim was a seventy-year-old Caucasian female. The body was frozen solid. The pistol was found in the victim's right hand. There were no signs of a struggle. There were powder burns on the victim's hands. A purse with the victims ID was found on a shelf near the body. The purse was neatly organized. There was a suicide note in the purse. There was only eighty-five cents cash in the purse. Checkbook and credit cards were present. Detective Ellison found the bullet in the freezer wall. As they compared notes they came to a few quick conclusions someone had killed the woman. Her arms were not long enough to have shot her self in that way, the angle was wrong. The body had been there for a while maybe more then a week.
Nick O'Malley and Kate Benson had a crime scene of their own another bloodless corpse. This one, a twenty-two year old male was found a block from an upscale nightclub. Witnesses saw the young man leave the club with a attractive young brunette. The girl matched the description of one of the earliest victims of this round of killings. The girl had been buried only two days ago. As the Unit 2 Forensic Team finished up with the site O'Malley answered his radio. A general evacuation of all Chicago lakeside areas had been ordered. All units were to take part.
Dr. Cruz quickly met with three new volunteers Blair Sandburg, Nigel Bailey, Sydney Fox he knew Sydney by reputation and had met Sandburg as an undergraduate. If Sydney vouched for Nigel, good enough, there was little time for a more complex decision.
Blight needed to make contact. Boras needed to know how things were falling apart. They were taking apart the exhibit and moving it. She had to find out where and how they were moving it. She also had another problem some meddling old lady had found her old body. Currently she was in Cleo Barns a loading dock clerk. The convention center employees were evacuating and things were getting hectic.
Boras was a gnome in a bad mood both his inside people Blight and Quentin had called with bad news they were evacuating the exhibit. Quentin was a double ganger who had was posing as one of the guards. Blight was an energy being that could displace a persons mind. Since the mind that she displaced wound up in her last body she tended to leave behind an unsightly trail of corpses with bullets in their brains. "When the situation becomes fluid ones plans must become fluid" Boras mused. Another call came in, Carl told him unit 2 was stuck helping with the cities general evacuation. Boras began planning a hijacking.
In a warehouse on the outskirts of Chicago a large women with strange color sense manipulates a strange device. The device looks like a crystal ball with lots of knobs and buttons. This is primarily due to the fact that it was a crystal ball with lots of knobs and buttons, knobs and buttons being all the range on Deva these days. "Skeeve I think I have found it!" Massha said.
"Great where is it?" asked Skeeve.
Massha continued "Well it seems to be in two pieces one is near the water front the other is..."
"Is what?" Asked Skeeve.
"Is a few hundred million miles away but it is moving this way, fast" Massha said meekly.
Bunny took this time to join the conversation between Skeeve and his apprentice the tiny voice Massha was using was almost unnatural for her. "How long until it gets here?" Bunny asked getting to the heart of the matter.
Massha began pushing buttons and turning knobs as if any one might bite her. "It should be getting here a few hours after sundown." Massha said.
"Oh, good we wont have to travel far to get it" Skeeve said.
Bunny and Massha began to explain about how a small stone moving very fast does as much damage as a big stone moving not very fast at all. Aahz entered the room to find out what all the commotion was about. Bunny began explaining the grim numbers. Aahz asked for the bottom line.
"Wherever it hits it is going to make a very big hole" Bunny said.
"Where exactly is it going to hit?" Asked Seeve. Massha began manipulating the buttons and knobs.
While she was doing this Skeeve's two official body guards Guido and Nunzio entered the room Skeeve brought them up to date. While a frustrated Massha reentered a stream of button clicks that the Crystal Ball deemed unsatisfactory Guido made a startling statement. "Is that the thing that is going to drop into Lake Michigan tonight?" Asked Guido.
Aahz began questioning the boys he quickly found the source of their information. It came from a small magic box of local manufacture (well relatively local if you and your relatives happen to live in another dimension) called a Sony Watchman. As Aahz congratulated the two on their initiative
Guido said, "Well, Chicago is my kind of town."
Tananda who had quietly entered a little after the boys groaned.
The cell phones circuits were busy; it took quite awhile for Emanuel Labora to get through to Raul. Emanuel was the supervisor at the McCormick Place loading dock. He was also Raul Domingo's inside man at McCormick Place. Emanuel finally got through to Raul. He told him that the package that he asked him to look after was being moved to a safer place. He also had some information on the route and truck types. Raul thanked his informant; it was not until he had hung up the phone that he began to swear. When he calmed down he began planning a hijacking and getting his people safely away from the water.
Xander used the Fork lift to place the crated alter into the truck it went in smoothly enough but once in the truck it made an audible scream. "Xander yelled back at it "what do you want to do rock? Go swimming!" The rock was not speaking to him.
The reaction drive section began receiving another transmission from the dimension drive section the dimension drive was complaining about being moved again. The movement was minor, no course correction was necessary, and soon no course correction would be possible. Over the years the leading edge of the probe section had collected bits of dust and ice the probe now rotated to place that mass back into the lead. Most of the junk would burn off before the probe hit the bottom of the water mass that was the landing zone leaving the object tons lighter.
During the night Jimmy had joined Langly, Frohike and Byers on there stakeout. Jimmy was the first to sleep after a long drive and so he was now taking the morning watch. He was keeping an eye on the suspect's hotel rooms and car while listening to the radio. The radio announcer began talking about an object in space that was discovered last night. The radio said, "No one is sure who first discovered the object. A rumor started on the internet gave an indication as to where to find the object. The initial rumor was a little off on the position, however the presence of the object was confirmed. Soon scientists were arguing about why the object seems to be changing speed, some speculated that the object was some sort of spacecraft. An excited Jimmy woke Langly. The middle-aged hacker was less then pleased with being brought to conciseness at this early hour. The fact that the radio was now playing Willie Nelson did not help Jimmy's case.
It was 30 minutes latter, when the story was replayed, that Langly finally began to make a positive response. When he did nothing was fast enough. The laptop took forever to boot up. The Internet connection was to slow. Finally he began gathering information on the space object. He had gathered quite a body of information by the time Frohike and Byers crankily awoke to find out why he and Jimmy were being so loud.
His muscles still complaining Broots wrestled the alarm clock to silence. He worked his way to the bathroom hoping that somewhere in the morning ritual the pain would disappear. The pain really did not go away, he just got used to it. Hoping that today would involve fewer physical challenges Broots gave Miss Parker a wake up call. Miss Parker would be a while; Broots made himself comfortable, he turned on the television and booted his laptop; muscle aches were temporally drowned in a sea of data. He had an Email from someone calling him/herself Halee Wes Voradly it had a file on project Manticore as an attachment.
The pressroom had become a holding cell. Wireless phones had been temporarily confiscated the banks of telephone and network connections temporarily disconnected. There would be a press conference in thirty minutes and then they would be permitted out. The frustrated members of the fourth estate were forced to look to each other for explanation. A table of refreshments was provided. Carl Kolchak and Jack McGee were in line for coffee the two knew each other. Their careers had far to many parallels.
"Hi Jack! How are things going? Where have you been keeping yourself?" asked Kolchak.
"Fine Carl," Lied McGee. "Been chasing a story that won't quite come together. Have you heard anything about what's going on?" McGee continued.
"Not to much, heard they were grabbing every out of town cop they could find making them acting deputy sheriffs. Kolchak stated.
"Sounds like a posse out of the Old West. I heard some old lady found a body in a walk in freezer. McGee said.
"It has to be something bigger than that with these Gestapo tactics." Kolchak surmised.
The line moved forward and the conversation was interrupted by coffee, juice and a large selection of baked goods. A short time later the reports were lead into a conference room.
As four people came to the front of the room and took seats behind the podium the noise grew them abruptly quieted. An attractive but professional looking young woman addressed the audience; "Many of you came here today to cover either the opening of the International Forensic Science Society convention or the exhibit of pre-Columbian art our good neighbors to the south the people of Peru have lent us. Cesar Adrianzén rose and acknowledged the audience. Samantha Yeager (Sam Backett) continued, Nether of these events will be taking place here today unfortunately. At this time I would like to present Mr. Bradley Talmadge of the NSA who will tell you the reason for the change of plans and the reason behind your little sequestering."
"Good morning, as you have probably already surmised something rather large is happening. Many of you have already heard of the fast moving object that was discovered in space last night. We have serious reason to believe that object will strike Lake Michigan some time around Ten PM local time tonight. It will strike with sufficient force to send tidal waves of up to sixty feet tall against the shores of the lake. Cook County authorities quietly began an evacuation of low-lying areas early this morning. In the interest of an orderly evacuation county officials sent police, fire, and sheriffs deputies house to house to evacuate the areas most susceptible to damage. At noon today we plan to make the announcement public. Your cooperation in preventing panic and creating an orderly evacuation is greatly appreciated. At this time I would like to turn this meeting over to Sam Simms of the US Secret Service who has been coordinating activities with the county sheriff." Talmadge finished and left the room as the Secret Service agent began to speak. Only a few of the reporters noticed the disappearing NSA man and there was little they could do about it.
Simms began, "I would again like to thank all of you for your cooperation. The Sheriffs office of Cook County came to this hotel and deputized a great many out of town law enforcement officers in order to help with this morning's evacuation. The plan is to evacuate this area." Simms presented a slide showing a map of the Chicago area a band of red ran along all the waterways. A band of yellow surrounded the red. "The red areas are being 100 evacuated these areas are considered unsafe and beyond our ability to save. The yellow area is the location of a breakwater we are building. We will still evacuate the area behind the breakwater but we hope we can minimize the damage to this area. At this time I will answer any of your questions about the evacuation."
During the questioning it became evident that the city used a wide number of ruses to get people out of their homes without telling them the real reason or the extent of the evacuation. It was amazing the number of fires, toxic spills, gas leaks, and biohazards that the city had reported that morning. Many reporters wondered how many of their colleges spent the morning tracking down these red herrings. What Simms did not seem to know anything about was how the government could be so sure of the meteor's point of impact.
Sometimes there are things to big to do anything about even for a guy who gets tomorrows news a day early. When he had first gotten the paper a day like today would have overwhelmed Gary Hobson. Now had learned enough to pick and chose his battles to save those he could. It was almost like a medic doing triage. He would strive to do his best to his best today and hope he did not beat himself up to much for those he could not get to. Gary began with his first headline "Family Found Brutally Slain in Apartment" he figuring he might need some additional help on this one he asked his two instant boarders to come along. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips were more then willing to help none of the three new what they were getting into.
Suddenly Phoebe clutched Prue for support as the vision hit her. Three young men were fighting a demon. The vision was clearer than normal. It was almost like the address was written out for her. The rental car carrying the three sisters pulled into a space between a pickup truck and a blue Buick. Prue and Phoebe ran to the door of the building while Piper placed coins in the meter. Upstairs Gary, Tony and Doug had surprised a strange creature that had broken into the third floor apartment's door. The strange creature was about seven feet tall with an excess of teeth and dagger like claws. Its hide was a scaly blue with green highlights. Its breath would provide a major challenge to any of the commercially available mouthwashes. To the young mother placing herself between the creature and her two young children the creature's breath was the least of her problems. Gary picked up a chair and smashed it over the creature's back. That was enough to get the things attention. The thing turned to Gary as he backed away. Tony threw an end table into the path of the on coming creature. The creature tore the offending furniture to splitters but lost half a step in its pursuit of Gray. While Gary retreated out into the hallway with the fiend in hot pursuit, Doug moved the woman and her two children to the relative safety of the bathroom. Hobson led his pursuer into the stairwell Tony yelled "duck" as he launched himself feet first into the creatures back Gary ducked out of the way as a scaly avalanched passed him by. The second floor landing put an end to the creature's fall. The dazed demon recovered and started back up the stairs. Gary and Tony retreated back to the room to look for weapons of opportunity (this was not looking to be a good day for the apartments interior décor).
Coming up the stairs Phoebe and Prue found a large blue scaly back ahead of them. Phoebe used her power to send the demon up the stairs faster then he had fallen down them. The demon left a nasty impression in the wall at the top of the stairs. It was pulling its self from the plaster as the two sisters renewed their attack. The monster fended off its new attackers using a piece of two by four it had ripped from the wall.
Tony armed with a bread knife large enough to pass for a gladius, Doug armed with a baseball bat, and Gary armed with a hockey stick set upon the creature's rear. The creature retreated into the stairwell and Prue sent it on another trip down the stairs. The creature got to its feet, looked up at the angry mob on the third floor, then looked down at Piper on the first floor landing. The creature advanced on Piper. Piper used her powers the creature exploded.
After a few quite seconds (the explosion was still ringing in everyone's ears) Piper yelled up the stairs, "are you guys all right?" Everyone answered in the affirmative.
There was another awkward silence that was finally broken by Tony asking, "What the hell was that thing?"
One explanation led to another soon all of there their secrets were out in the open. For this very strange day the man who gets tomorrows newspaper was joined by a strange company of travelers in his quest; three witches and two time travelers. This was all well and good for this was a very strange and event filed early edition of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Looking at an LCD sticking out of a blue plastic cigar box Quinn Mallory pronounced his mornings project a success. "I think this may lead us to the source of the disturbance." Quinn explained.
"It has already lead us to every Radio Shack and electronics parts house on this side of town." Complained Rembrandt Brown.
"It was most fortunate that the currency from the last world is good here." Colin Mallory stated. Quinn agreed while still playing with the device.
"When do we start looking?" asked Maggie. The box made a series of beeps and clicks. Quinn looking at the box said. "Now." The other three began to follow Quinn and his box.
"It is looks like we won't be able to take it quite the way we planed," complained Randall as he viewed the truck carrying the probe. The dwarf was looking into what appeared to be a crystal ball. The device was in fact a crystal ball, not one of those trendy things with popular on Deva, but a powerful arcane scrying device that allowed one to see almost anywhere the user wished. When Max had realized the she was dependent on her unintentional rescuers to get back to here own time. She made a quick assessment of the situation and realized a bit more then her thieving skills were required. Max took a hands on approach to the task. She was pleasantly surprised at the unusual resources the short six-pack had at their disposal. She needed intelligence they got her the crystal ball. She needed communication what they brought her looked like props from Star Trek except they worked. She wanted transportation she rejected the fiery chariot that Fidgit brought her. Wally found a motorcycle and an RV that had been designed by the defense department they were a keeper. The boys had decided to dress less conspicuously. Unfortunately the black suits ties sunglasses and fedora they came up with well that was another story. Max and Randall looked at the loading convoy. Randall showed her where he had heard (The crystal ball had full audio) the convoy was going. Max made a plan and sent her employers looking for the personnel and equipment she needed to implement it. Max was a little apprehensive about how well the boys would follow her specifications.
High above the shiny blue planet groups of meter tall bear like creatures pondered over reams of data. Chief science officer Ruxborn was receiving the reports from his team. The team consists of a number of scientists and intelligence officers who like Ruxborn have been recently awoken from hibernation along with members of the multigenerational crew that had managed the ship during its centuries long voyage.
It was Fuzziwasi one of the ships crewmembers that began the briefing, "We noted a number of anomalies as we approached the system Sir. The first being the electromagnetic emissions coming from the planet, we began an analysis and they soon revealed themselves to be communications. We advised Captain Darl of this and he advised us to monitor them and learn what we could from them. From there communications we have put together a bit of their history. The history of this planet is far bloodier than that of our home world. Our initial probe found this planet and the Trans-dimensional artifact on it nearly two thousand rotations ago. At that time we detected an Iron Age culture amongst the most advanced of the natives. While we were in transit they have gone from that simple level to a technology to one almost equaling our own. On our own world it had taken nearly twenty times that long to develop such an industrial society. This in spite of the fact that the locals cannot or will not organize into a proper planet wide collective to effectively organizes resources."
Fuzziwasi went on to summarize earth's history. The others talked about other issues about the planet. It was less massive then their home world by five present. It was on the average a little bit warmer then their world, which was in an Ice age. They came to a consensus in the end. It still looked as if locals had yet to figure out the nature of the artifact. The locals had a technical proficiency and war like nature that made them dangerous. They all agreed that the original mission had the added imperative of keeping this dangerous species from getting a faster than light drive first.
Captain Darl reviewed the reports it was worse than he feared. He had already
forwarded them to Colonel Bexare his assault force commander. Bexare would conduct the raid to acquire the object. Darl did not envy Bexare his mission.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is a binational United States and Canadian organization charged with the missions of aerospace warning and aerospace control for North America. Aerospace warning includes the monitoring of man-made objects in space, and the detection, validation, and warning of attack against North America whether by aircraft, missiles, or space vehicles, utilizing mutual support arrangements with other commands. Aerospace control includes providing surveillance and control of the airspace of Canada and the United States. North American.
Normally NORAD found itself looking at objects in earth orbit. Events of the last twenty-four hours had expanded that mission. Brigadier General Mike Yates commander of the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center had put together a team of comet spotters, asteroid watchers, visual and radio astronomers, engineers, scientists, computer experts, and military commands around the world to get data on the object. Now his hastily assembled team had discovered a second and larger object. A naval vessel in the Indian Ocean using a new piece of image enhancement gear spotted the second object. Three other similarly equipped vessels confirmed the observation. The Israeli company that designed the stealth spotter had also confirmed the sightings their determination was that the object was large and showed powered movement. Yates and his staff made one last additional review of the data before calling the President.
As the Black LTD entered the city from the north a detector in the dashboard flashed. Agent K stated, " Whatever is causing the class ten reality waves is moving"
"Well at least it is giving us a steady single to track." Said Agent J.
"That may not be a good thing there is no telling what a class ten reality waves might do." Elle Commented from the back seat.
They drove onward things were pretty quite until they got a call from Zed. "Zed here, we have a few more complications; Somehow the NSA seems to know more about the small
object then we do. NORAD now that they are looking at deep space objects, has come up with a surprise of its own they are tracking both of our non-treaty sub light vesicles. We have upgraded the stealth level advisory for all ships entering the system. The last problem we have is NSA is so sure the smaller object will crash into Lake Michigan at high speed that they have began an evacuation of all coastal areas around the lake. One other thing analyses of singles from the smaller object tend to indicate it is in communications with whatever is causing the reality waves. Find out whatever you can. Zed out" said Zed.
"Seems we are the main event." Said Agent J. Agent K just nodded and drove.
It was very early in the morning at Curious Goods when Micki was awoken by the noise of a large book falling on the floor. Although the sound was in the shop downstairs it was more then sufficient to rouse her. Grabbing a hefty silver candlestick holder for protection Micki quietly crept down stairs to investigate the disturbance. Having spent the last few years cleaning up after Uncle Lewis Micki was a veteran of fantastic sights. Her experience did not really prepare her to find a tiny fairy wearing a visor going over the books. It did make her quick at improvising a plan between her and the fairy there was an antique cake dish slowly she removed the crystal cover from the dish and snuck up on pint size clandestine auditor.
Celda had just found the notation regarding Lewis Vendredi's gift to the Museum in Peru when a huge red haired monster attacked her with a giant crystal bowl. Of all things crystal has an ability to store and focus magic, it made the perfect prison, for now Celda could only await her fate.
Micki placed the large ledger on top of the cake dish. She was not in the mood to deal with mythological creatures this early in the morning. It was some two hours later when Jack entered the shop that the small trespasser got to plead her case. This was not an easy thing to do Micki and Jack where trained skeptics having many experiences with the deceivers worst works. She had almost convinced Jack she was not some vile hell spawn when a customer interrupted them.
The other day Jack Marshak had been less than frank when he talked about Lewis Vendredi. For some reason Amanda was investigating Vendredi and Amanda had a nose for trouble, no Amanda was trouble. Figuring he would make better progress with Jack than Amanda, Duncan found himself again at Curious Goods. Today for some reason Marshak seemed a bit distracted. As there conversation continued Duncan was getting the distinct impression that Jack was trying to get rid of him. Duncan decided to use obstinacy as a bargaining tool. It soon became apparent to Jack nothing less than a small army or a long and honest explanation would get Duncan out of the store.
Jack had always found Macleod to be honest and forthright. He wondered about the man's often haunted look that he seamed to almost hide behind a strange sort of courage. Could he trust this man with the whole truth? Could this man bear the knowledge and do the right thing? Would he believe him? Finally taking a chance on Marshak said, "You are not the only one who inquired about Lewis this morning I think you better meet her." Jack showed Duncan his tiny prisoner.
Celda pleaded her case to Duncan and Marshak finally it came down to a formal declaration she hoped the immortal had herd of. Celda made a simple but formal statement, "As a servant of light I will tell no lies, I have the power to see through false hoods. Grant me parole and I will do you no harm."
Oddly enough it was Jack who had new this ritual. After some thought Jack said, "Very well if you pledge by truth, light and the name of God to act as an agent of truth and harm none here as assembled I grant you parole."
"I so agree" answered Celda. Jack lifted the crystal prison and Celda lifted herself a few inches into the air. "Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty free at last," She said. After flying a few quick loops she settled down and said, "I guess now would be a good time to get down to business."
Jack, Micki and Duncan soon found that Celda's power of knowing truth to be both formidable and annoying. Soon Duncan knew the dark legacy of Lewis Vendredi. And Jack and Micki knew about Immortals. Celda in turn told of the six repair workers, that she felt were in way over their heads, she had come to find. On these truths they built an alliance. Celda had a spell that could locate someone as long as they did not move back in forth in time it was useless on her boys since they were using time travel. It was decided to focus on Amanda since as Duncan put it, "If there was trouble she would invariability find it."
The evacuation in Cook County was going far better than anticipated. By eleven AM, seventy percent of the red zone and fifty percent of yellow zone were evacuated. The convoy was ready to leave the McCormick Place complex. A Chicago police car followed by a red corvette led the convoy. The convoy included six tractor-trailers, five Ryder moving trucks, two school buses, two small vans, a SWAT van, a commando scout armored car, a Winnebago, a Ford police patrol cruiser concept car, a Dodge Viper, a refrigerated fish truck, a Illinois National Guard HMMWV, a green 1971 Buick Riviera, a tow truck, and two more Chicago police cars and an armored ambulance (designed by Israel Arms and displayed at the convention to promote sale for police and military use world wide). Four CTA buses and one Sheriff's vehicle also followed they would be leaving at the last yellow checkpoint along with a goodly number of POVs. A good many of the impromptu sheriff's deputies were evacuating with the convoy. They took with them quickly donated show samples from a large number of police equipment vendors.
Inside the FLAG Mobile Command Center Frank Parker, Nate Ramsey and Bradley Talmadge joined Devon Miles in a cup of coffee. Talmadge had arranged to store the diplomatically sensitive museum exhibition at a secret government research facility run by a group called Centre. It would be his headquarters until the end of the state of emergency that the President would officially declare at noon.
Tomas Floyd had just finished feeding the pigs. He and his wife managed the small hog farm that was the cover for the secret research lab run by Centre. In addition to the Floyds the facility housed four security guards, three scientists, and two support technicians. Gina Floyd told Tom of the quests that they were expecting he went out to arrange tractors in the two oversized barns. Parking was about to get tight he thought.
On the next farm over Sarah Connor was day trading on the Internet she had gotten most of her money out of the market three years back when she bought the farm. She and her son John had moved out here soon thereafter. All in all she had done fairly well for a single mother. (In another timeline Sarah Connor was a wanted fugitive. In this timeline Sarah lived a far more peaceful existence. That peace would soon be disrupted. In that timeline John's father was a temporal anomaly. In this timeline John's father was a nice guy who was killed by a drunk driver two weeks before the wedding). Glen Watkins was taking care of the hogs. He had hired on to help around the farm two years ago. Glen had moved into the guesthouse with his son Peter six months later. Peter was a month younger than John the two boys had become good friends.
Glen had lived in this area most of his life he remembered when this farm and the two that surrounded it were owned by Old Jim Owens. Owens' children had no desire for anything to do with farming and had sold the land eight years back. Sarah Connor lived in the original Owens farmhouse. The Two neighboring farms were of more recent construction. One farm was build by some rich guy with more money then sense. Glen had worked construction when they built the place was built like a bunker with three levels of basements it had more rooms than some hotels. It also had two barns that looked like hangers. Tom and Gina Floyd ran the place for the rich guy that they said, "Seldom used it and liked his privacy when he did." Tom and Gina were friendly enough but not much for conversation.
The Group on the other side was a different matter a real group of kooks. There were
originally six people that had purchased the place jointly. Now some were around thirty people lived there. They for the most part kept to themselves.
On the third farm that used to be part of the old Owens homestead the Illinois Free Militia was preparing for their last battle. They had made their attempt earlier that day to strike at the growingly oppressive central government. Their attack was intercepted; agents of the establishment had taken the truck bomb along with Kenny Schulz. Kenny had tried to deliver the message. Were he had failed they would stand ready. Like the martyrs at Waco and Ruby Ridge they stood ready. They had food, fuel, water and ammo for six months. They had the kind of weapons that would make any assault costly. They had built their compound well. They had made their peace with god and where ready to give there all for the cause. The only question was how long would it take for the Feds to attack?
Continuing on Jarod's little scavenger hunt Miss Parker and Broots quietly spent the morning driving. It was not until they were halfway to their destination that Miss Parker became talkative. "Broots you have read over that file why do you think Jarod wanted us to see it?" Miss Parker asked.
"The first file had a list of DNA sources both you and Jarod are on it. I am not sure the second file was from Jarod." Broots said.
"Who do you think this Halee Wes Voradly is then?" Miss Parker asked.
Broots answered supplely "I have no idea at the moment, a new player perhaps."
"The new file shows this Manticore project was started in an Illinois lab but is in the process of moving to a larger more secure site. The project has personnel requests for training and educational personnel from birth to adulthood." added Broots.
"It looks more like they are planning on breading and training solders rather then pretenders." Miss Parker concluded.
"There certainly is a lot of traffic for this time of day," Broots observed.
"At least we are nearing are turn off." Said Miss Parker as she changed lanes.
About a three quarters of a mile behind them four men in a VW Micro Bus listened to their conversation and tracked the recently bugged car.
"This is shit!" screamed Eddy Kay. "We can't hijack that convoy there may be thirty of us but we only have ten guns." Eddy continued.
Janet said, "We don't need to hijack the convoy we only need to check out were it goes and steal the knife later once they get it moved they should ease up a bit."
"Just wait till dark I have this really neat spell I found in a book." Elsa said.
"Great so that's the plan hide and watch," said Eddy.
"Yes, that will work for now" said their leader.
And so the Devil's Step Children got into their cars and headed out.
The Doctor was a bit annoyed the Tardis was acting strangely, for his Tardis that was not strange at all, but it still was irksome. At first he thought it was a defective sensor or an artifact created by his own drive but it had an oddly regular pattern to it. He finally realized it was some form of communications. But who in their right minds would use a trans-dimensional pulse like a spark gap radio? This would bear investigation.
Raul Domingo felt proud of what had done on such short notice. With his new plan now requiring a hijacking he had turned the three groups that he had assembled into a mobile strike force. He had moved the operation to a warehouse in the southwest part of town and quickly amassed his vehicles and weapons. Not everyone was happy with the change in plans. To preserve operational security, as soon as someone came in, they were told no one was leaving till everyone was ready to go. The plan itself was simple, get to the place the convoy was going first then simply accept delivery. The other part of the plan was to have enough firepower to handle any COD.
Eve had been recruited to bypass a few alarm systems. Raul's sudden change of plans was not to her liking. She did her level best to make like she relished this new adventure. Raul would not take no for an answer so this was the best way to regain some measure of control of the situation. She had sold Raul on the idea of letting her work as a mobile scout, which would buy her some degree of freedom of action. She checked the motorcycle, radio, pistol, and two submachine guns that Raul had provided good stuff all. The other members of this contrived group of criminal commandos varied from professionals to street tuffs. Everything was strictly need to know. When she finally was briefed on their target she decided they really did not need to know the surprises that site had in store for them. With a little luck this situation might become manageable again.
Awkis joined Raul after he had finished the last of his assignments and briefings. Awkis had a great deal of confidence in his lieutenant. After a quick look about he nodded to Raul who gave a hand signal and the line of vehicles moved out. Ten motorcycles would scout ahead of the group. A hearse led the procession followed by Awkis in his armored limousine, eighteen SUVs, two pick-up trucks, three vans, and eight sedans all followed with lights on and funeral stickers in their windows. A tractor-trailer, an armored car, a lowboy with a forklift, and a heavy wrecker would meet them near the objective.
Sheriff Bill Hart was sitting at the local truck stop eating a bacon lettuce and tomato sandwich talking to May Swenson about the activities of the preceding days. Sheriff Hart was still trying to tie up one lose end who was driving the corvette? Neither May nor any other members of the restaurant's staff had any idea about the mysterious unknown driver. Of those at the restaurant that day only the staff and Wilber and Orrville were local. Hart was a little embarrassed about not picking up that during his original questioning. He figured that he would check out local sources first. Just before he headed out to the old Owens place to see Wilber and Orrville an announcement came on the TV behind the counter. The president appeared on the television declaring a state of emergency for the area around Lake Michigan. Sheriff Hart radioed his office, he told his deputies to be ready for an increase of traffic then headed out to talk to Wilber and Orrville.
Somewhere on Chicago's south side what appeared to be a large man in ill-fitting clothing reviewed its mission objectives:
Primary Objective: Protect John Connor
Secondary Objective: Protect Sarah Connor
1. Locate clothing
2. Locate weapons
3. Locate mission objective personnel
4. Take orders from primary or secondary personnel accept were they conflict with primary or secondary mission.
Earlier that morning the terminator had secured adequate firepower by robbing a gun shop. It now was searching for the Connors. It had encountered two problems as far as it was concerned. It had acquired the current date and time it was nine months earlier than the planed temporal coordinate. It was in the wrong location. It had found a store with an active internet connection neutralized the proprietor placed a close sign in the window and began searching. It had a full database of possible contacts, what it found was a direct listing. It plotted the listing and made ready to secure transportation. The Terminator went to a stop light, a brand new yellow VW Beetle came by, it's driver appeared distracted by a very loud rhythmic audio output from the vehicle. The Terminator walked up to the vehicle opened the driver side door issued the command "Get out." Finding the vehicle operators response time insufficient it picked up the driver by the front of shirt and discarded him.
The Terminator adjusted the vehicles audio level and drove off. The victim bruised and indignant but otherwise unharmed rose to his feet pointed and said, "that's my car!"
Turning a group of links into a mobile force was an exercise in logistics. The werewolves in his group were easy most of them had there own cars. The Ghouls stole themselves a bus. Boras had to arrange for a truck and a driver for the pair of Ogres. The Juggernaut took a tractor-trailer to move. The centaurs had enough horse trailers and pickup trucks but were short drivers Harvey the Poka, Rajah the were tiger and two lizard-men filled in. Eddy the toad man drove a laundry truck full of wet towels. Domingo the Werejaguar had a motorcycle. The hominoid dinosaurs that everyone called Barney and Darrel the viper man lived near the waterfront and were out of communications for two hours just when Boras though he would have to do without them they called in. Wilma and Phyllis the two harpies on the other hand kept calling in far to often. Boras' worst problem was providing transport for mass minded insect colony that called itself Da-swarm.
The Links would not move in convoy they would travel separately and meet at an assembly point one mile from the objective. The Gnomes join them in ten lowboys carrying a collection of armored vehicles spanning nearly sixty-five years of recent military history escorted by a Russian BRT-60, a British Saladin armored car and two world war II US M8 armored cars, and an armored bus. Boras controlled a small company that provided military equipment for theatrical productions.
As the convoy passed the growing wall of earth and sand bags that they hoped would serve as a breakwater for the tidal wave four CTA buses, several automobiles and one Sheriff's vehicle pealed off. Many of the sheriff's deputies recruited at the hotel were joining the crew building the earthwork bastion. The convoy continued on to its destination many miles out of town. KITT informed Michael that according to local radio and police reports they could expect heavy traffic for the next three miles.
In the convoy's lead vehicle Two Chicago Police officers maintained a moderate but steady pace as the convoy entered the Interstate. When the last Vehicle entered the highway the lead vehicle began shifting to the center lane. Michael Knight moved KITT over to the next lane behind the rest of the convoy was already signaling. Reginald Cornelius moved the FLAG Mobile Command Center into position behind KITT Fran Parker was riding shotgun he warned Bradley and the rest of the crew in the trailer of the upcoming maneuver. The next four tractor-trailers carried the bulk of the exhibit all four drivers were professional the first three actually owned their own rigs. Secret Service Agent Sam Simms rode shotgun on the first truck. The driver of the second truck had been making passes at Cleo Barns the loading dock clerk. Cleo had volunteered to join the convoy and was riding shotgun with the admiring driver. The third eighteen-wheeler had some of the largest golden statues in the exhibit one of the regulars from the McCormick Place security force rode shotgun. The fourth big rig had a belonged to a larger long haul trucking company its driver had been with the same company for the last ten years. Riding shotgun on the fourth rig was Emanuel Labora the loading dock foreman. This truck carried the Calling Stone fortunately no one could hear the well crated complaining relic over the engine noise.
Frank Waters and Sherman Catlett were in the cab of Defender's mobile support unit. Dr. Pablo Cruz, Nick Wolfe and Samantha Yeager were using Frank's handy work as there headquarters.
The five Ryder moving trucks and two school buses gave a truly yellow cast to the middle of the convoy. In the first truck Nigel Bailey nervously drove the large van. All in all Amanda (who was riding with him) was every bit as intimidating as Sydney. The fact she had brought two guns and a sword with her did not in his mind make her any more approachable. In the next truck Xander drove while he attempted to calm an excited Cesar Adrianzén. Adrianzén was riding shotgun in the literal sense he looked as comfortable with the weapon as a man petting a skunk. In contrast David Bruce calmly drove the third van with Robert James at his side. Ian Matheson and Randi Wallace crewed the fourth van. The two new McCormick Place security guards Vincent Monrow and Jarod operated the fifth truck.
Emma Harris was a school board employee who drove the first bus. As she drove she overheard a strange conversation. "It is very rare for a women to agree to a assisted suicide with a gun and yet it looks like the victim cooperated with the killer." Said Jessica Fletcher.
"I think we may have to be a little bit more open minded on how we define victim and perpetrator in this case." Said Fox Mulder.
"What are you trying to say Mulder? Asked Agent John Doggit.
"There were a group of unsolved murders ten years ago in Indianapolis all deaths do to a wound to the front of the scull. In three of the murders the alleged perpetrator of one murder was the victim of the next." Mulder explained.
"Are you trying to say something kept moving from victim to victim making them murder?" Asked Sydney Fox.
"There are tales of demonic possession, forced transmigration, skin walkers, and other types of mind control." Replied Mulder.
"We still do not know enough about the victim to eliminate the probability of a mercy killing." Suggested Jessica Fletcher.
"Why do it at McCormick Place instead of some less public location?" asked
No one had an answer. The rest of people on the bus had there own conversations.
A school board employee also drove the second school bus. Conversation had drifted off the case that had brought the group together. Blair Sandburg was answering a few of Nash Bridges' questions about the museum exhibit and the jaguar cult. Kui Chang Caine, Sammo Law, and Grace Chen continued their discussion in Chinese. Joe Dominguez, Amy Dylan, Terrell Par, and James Ellison had started a small game of cards.
A Blue van ended the long yellow line of vehicles. In the van a hastily assembled Swat team equipped with weapons and equipment from the show took in the scenery. The Winnebago driven by Rupert Giles carrying Buffy Summers and her friends followed the Van. A real SWAT Van that was on exhibit manned by a group of conventioneers with SWAT training followed the RV. This was in turn followed by a commando scout armored car crewed by the factory representative and two other conventioneers.
The convoy continued with a refrigerated fish truck driven by Sam Fujiyama who along with his boss Quincy was transporting the frozen body. A small black van driven by Dr. Natalie Lambert held a light proof box that held detective Nick Knight. Next came the Ford police patrol cruiser concept car. Texas Ranger James Trivette was still playing with the cars many gadgets his partner Ranger Cordell Walker just drove. Following the two Rangers came Illinois National Guard lesion officer 2lt Jeffery Harper and his driver in a HMMWV. The oldest vehicle in the group was Raymond Vecchio's green 1971 Buick Riviera. Riding with Vecchio were Constable Benton Fraser and Diefenbaker.
The trailing units of the convoy were a heavy wrecker. A second and third Chicago police car bracketed a very well equipped Israel Arms armored ambulance crewed by Amanda Bentley, Jesse Travis, Dr. Mark Sloan, and his son Detective Steve Sloan. The trailing vehicle was a Dodge Viper driven by Joe Astor and his partner Cameron Westlake. Westlake radioed the lead vehicle when the trailing element had finished the lane change.
The Ursoid ship had lunched a probe into planetary orbit. The probe was tracking the artifact and sending data about the land around it. The artifact was in motion relative to the planets surface. Analysis of the probes data revealed the artifact to be in a convoy of ground vehicles. Colonel Bexare commander of the Ursoid ground forces ordered his troops to their drop ships. Bexare began looking for a site to land. He planed to secure an LZ deploy his forces and then intercept the convoy.
With the Presidential announcement followed by many local evacuation notices the final stage of the evacuation had begun. The initial impact on traffic was nearly catastrophic. In the Chicago area police worked to unsnarl traffic and reduce the panic. For detectives Nick O'Malley and Kate Benson traffic control was a duty they had not seen in years. It was defiantly the first time either of them had done it with a gnome in the back seat of their vehicle. By about two PM the worst of the traffic abated. The mission now changed to finding those that had not headed the warnings. Slowly National Guard and other emergency support units were coming into play so were very stubborn little old ladies and perspective looters. Carl was complaining about missed opportunity.
The Class ten reality wave source the MIB agents were tracking was moving west so was all the traffic on the west side of Lake Michigan. Senor reading of the primitive Sub-light starship indicated it was preparing for some type of landing action and the smaller object seemed to be moving along the flight path predicted by NSA. The black LTD edged its way through traffic on a parallel course with its target.
"Don't worry I have created a plan with the maximum in flexibility in mind." Aahz said. Skeeve of course immediately began to worry.
"Ok, what's the plan?" asked Skeeve.
Aahz brought out a strange devise that looked like a Dhopper on steroids. "I have over five hundred subcontractors on standby anyone of which we can summon to us with a push of a button on this device." Aahz said.
Skeeve also new that each of the subcontractors was paying a kickback on his retainer and would pay a bigger kickback if used.
"All we need to do is get near the target and bring in whatever help we need to
retrieve it." Aahz continued.
"Well the dimensional drive unit is already on Earth (as the locals referred to their world) so we can go after it first." Said Skeeve
"According to the information the Elves gave us the drive unit will try to dissipate its energy of motion then try to link up with the dimension drive unit." Said Massha.
"Then all we have to do is grab the unit that is already on the ground and wait for the other half to catch up." Said Bunny.
"Exactly!" Said Aahz confidently. "Massha can you make the crystal ball more mobile?" Asked Skeeve.
"Sure this is a laptop model" Said Massha.
"How do we get to get to where the dimension drive unit is going?" asked Skeeve.
Aahz looked at the overgrown Dhopper. "Do you think a fiery chariot might be two obvious?" Asked Aahz.
Bunny called three cabs. While they waited Skeeve had Aahz show him which button would summon Gleep and Chumley from the home office.
To the creatures that lived near the hell mouth the weakened inter-dimensional barriers allowed them to tap into the powers of the lower hells. When they felt this power starting to slip away from them some began to follow it. Others could not follow they waited for the night to fall.
By mid day Gary with the help of Tony, Doug and the Halliwell sisters had rescued three people from an elevator, talked a teen out of a suicide, prevented a child from being abducted, warned authorities of a low point in the breakwater, vanquished a second demon, and grabbed a bight to eat. They would need their strength they were heading toward the landing site of an alien invasion.
Max's plan was simple block the road ahead and behind the convoy. Threaten it from the flacks with overwhelming firepower and take the one item. Wally would get the forward blocking force. Strutter would get the rear blocking force. Fidgit would bring the main force and Oq would get a light scouting force for scouting and to delay any hostile reinforcements. Randall and Vermin would coordinate activities from the RV. Max, Randall and Vermin traveled by road the others used the time holes.
Charlie Company 2nd Battalion 0f the 130th Infantry of the Illinois National Guard was the first to leave the motor pool of the Litchfield Armory. This was not a mater of them being faster than or more ready than Charlie Company 1st Battalion 0f the 123rd Infantry who they shared the armory with and often competed against. In this case it was a matter of an hour delay in the call up order for the First Battalion. Regardless of the cause Charlie Company 2nd Battalion 0f the 130th Infantry maintained bragging rights. The bragging was to some extent muted by a rather reluctant two and a half ton truck with a bad starter switch.
As NORAD continued to monitor the approach of the two rapidly approaching space objects it began issuing constant updates to the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff, Canadian Authorities were also kept continually informed. The President authorized NORAD to share the information with the leaders of all countries that secure communications could be established with. Strategic and tactical units of most of the world's armed forces were rapidly coming to their highest states of readiness.
For PFC Jeffery Reed of the Company A 3rd Battalion 82nd Airborne Division the day was a massive case of hurry up and wait as he sat on the tarmac waiting for orders. The only orders his unit were receiving were stand by to stand by. It was still not yet getting to the point were the sergeants had run out of lists of things to have them triple check.
Johnny Ventura joined Celda, Jack, Micki and Duncan before they began their search. Jack had picked up a Ford Van a few months earlier. The van easily fit all five of them plus assorted and sundry implements of destruction and other useful tools. Celda's spell was working as advertised traffic was another matter. Though the shop was well west of the evacuation area it seemed like the entire town was west bond and so were they.
Setting up on the Outskirts of the city Company C 634th Forward Support Battalion Illinois National Guard was rapidly turning a stretch of empty field into a hospital. The clearing station would primarily be supporting National Guard troops that were being brought into the area for looting prevention and possible crowd control. As far out as they were from the main activity the commander did not expect them to be that busy.
The outer gate to the Floyd farm was a simple and unpretentious affair much like any other farm in the area. The fact that it had an inner gate, just out of site of the road, let alone one with a closed circuit TV and intercom system was not so typical. Miss Parker was talking with Mrs. Floyd over said intercom system. Unlike most of the appointments Jarod secluded for her this one did not appear to be expecting her. Looking at the make and model of the security system on the gate Miss Parker showed her Centre ID to Mrs. Floyd. Seeing Miss Parker's Centre ID Mrs. Floyd admitted Miss Parker and Broots.
In a small wooded area just across the road from the outer gate of the farm a VW Micro-bus pulled into cover.
It was not to long after the VW Micro-bus sought cover that the first two cars carrying a few of the Devil's Step Children drove by. Over the course of the next hour sixteen vehicles went by and tried to find concealed parking along Owens Road.
All the activity along the normally quiet road did not go long unnoticed. Members of the Illinois Free Militia watched the traffic from a camouflaged listening post along the road. Information about the traffic was reported via a wired telephone to the rest of the group who quickly misinterpreted it as Federal activities. While they argued amongst themselves as to weather Kenny talked or not the group went fully to siege mode. Weapons were issued fighting positions were manned and everybody got a bit more nervous.
What did go unobserved was a bright red English police box appearing in a small crop of woods near a creek near the back of the Connor farm. The occupant of the box was busy using his sensors to track a strange inter-dimensional special temporal anomaly that was moving toward him.
Meanwhile members of the Devil's Step Children began moving around in hope
of getting a better view of the soon to be incoming convoy. Some of their activity began to trigger sensors that were part of the Centre safe house's security system. Now inside the farmhouse with Mrs. Floyd, Miss Parker and Broots heard the alarm. "What is that?" asked Mrs. Parker.
"I believe we have some trespassers." Said Mrs. Floyd. Worrying that the security, on the expected incoming convoy, might be compromised the compound went to full alert.
The four men in the VW Micro Bus were watching large numbers of teens attempting to sneak about through the woods there observations were cut short by the sound of a motorcycle engine followed by a knocking on the door of the van. Nervously Byers opened the door to reveal a dark haired beauty. "Eve!" Said a surprised Byers.
Eve came into the van and began explaining how in over their heads they all were. More motorcycles passed their location Eve asked for silence as she reported in via radio.
The road leading to the three farms was called Owens Road. Along Owens Road nine other motorcycles were trying to find cover. As the motorcyclists began reporting in it was clear that parking was becoming a problem, three of the scouts had found vehicles parked along the side of the road. The Scouts were ordered to check it out.
With the schedule tight and more reports indicating that the cars they were finding had strong evidence of being used by teenagers oddly enough most of the cars had out of State plates. After a short delay Awkis told Raul to press on. Just before Awkis' procession came into view of Owens Road a brand new yellow VW Beetle turned into the road. Eyes followed the yellow car all the way to the Connor farm. Again Awkis urged Raul to press on.
In the Centre compound all personnel were on alerted against a possible intrusion. The four security guards had broken out enough equipment for a squad of marines. Every member of the staff was armed and had a place in the security plan Miss Parker and Broots were rapidly added to the plan still there was little to do but wait tile something came near the compound. They did not have to wait long. About ten minutes later an armored car came crashing threw the secondary gate.
Eddy and Janet heard something in the woods and froze listening to see what was making the noise. In a blind twenty feet away Darrel Hall of the Illinois Free Militia was also watching and listening. In Darrel's sites was a submachine gun toting motorcyclist. The motorcyclist began moving toward the young couple. Eddy slowly pulled his revolver from his belt.
The museum convoy was running ahead of schedule it's lead vehicle had just turned down Owens Road as the high powered hunting rifle tore through the motorcyclist. KITT's detectors placed the shot somewhere on the northern most of the three farms as it turned down the road. It was several minutes and eight vehicles later that the battle for the Centre facility turned into a firefight.
Raul had the armored car lead the way as they passed the secondary gate. The SUVs moved off road to surround the farmhouse. The farmhouse opened fire. Despite the seemingly homey appearance of the farmhouse it was built like a small fortress. The frontal area of the farmhouse used a decorative array of ponds fountains and concrete and steel reinforced hedges to channel and stop the vehicles a good distance from the house. The armored car made the closest penetration to the house bullets ricocheting of its armor hide it took a hit by an M203 grenade to make the crew cautious. The SUVs faired less well having lost two of their number. One SUV was lost to fire and the other to a set bad driving decisions.
As the sounds of shooting reached his location the Terminator was prompted to action he located Sarah Connor and told her "If you want to live come with me."
"Who the hell are you" Yelled Sarah..
"I was sent to save you and John," The android said.
"Where's John" asked the frightened mother.
"Yes, must find John," Agreed the Terminator. The two went looking for John.
The museum convoy's response to the still distant gunfire was slow and confused KITT and the Defender both launched probes. The lead police car advanced to investigate the gunfire but was called back. KITT pulled over to the right side of the road, as did the FLAG Mobile Command Center and the first of the tractor-trailers that followed it. The next three tractor-trailers moved forward two truck lengths forward and stopped in the middle of the road. Defender's mobile support unit pulled over to the opposite side of the road along with the five Ryder trucks and two school buses. The first small van moved off to the right side discharged it's SWAT team and tried to form a hasty perimeter. The Winnebago pulled off to the left and waited. The Armored SWAT van moved left with the Winnebago and discharged it's team to deploy defensively. The Commando Scout Armored Car moved to reinforce the first SWAT team.
The Refrigerated Fish Truck and the other small van followed the armored car until they realized that the armored fighting vehicle was headed somewhat cross-country. The Ford Police Patrol Cruiser Concept Car and the National Guard HMMWV reinforced the left side. The Green 1971 Buick Riviera had at this time not yet made the right hand turn onto Owens road. The Buick went past the intersection and off the road to the right. The wrecker stopped in the middle of the intersection. The second Chicago police car moved to the left shoulder of the main road opposite the wrecker. The armored ambulance pulled over to the right just before the intersection. The Viper now in defender mode and the last police car formed a rear guard.
Sarah Greenfield had was having a little trouble believing that the two older reporters with her had actually convinced her to take them on this fools errand. They both had reputations for finding the unusual they also had reputations as nuts. She had reported into Oprah they had enough people already covering the evacuation so she was told to give these old guys a shot, and so here she was driving her blue ford escort over country roads following a bunch of trucks. When the sports car in the rear of the convoy changed color and sent something into the air she began thinking this long shot might pay off. When Carl Kolchak and Jack McGee both agreed that the distant sound was gunfire she began to worry, did Harpo Productions give combat pay. When the now silver sports car and the police car formed an impromptu roadblock she moved up to ask questions.
The Links had gathered ten minutes later then Boras had planed. With the target convoy running ahead of schedule Boras' crew was going to have to play catch up. They formed into a convoy and headed down the road. The plan was to attack the convoy before it could unload. When they heard the gunshots they sent one of the werewolves down the road to scout. He caught site of the rear of the staled convoy and the three reporters and reported back that the target was not under fire. Boras had the harpies investigate the gunfire while he marshaled the rest of his forces for the attack.
Sheriff Bill Hart was just approaching Owens road when he heard the shooting. The sound of automatic weapons fire punctuated by grenade explosions was a real attention getter. He came around a bend in the road to see an old green Buick and several other vehicles clustered around the entrance to Owens road. The two Chicago police cars were a little outside of their jurisdiction but not as much as the Mounty that got out of the Buick.
The Ursoid landing vehicles landed in a field near a small agricultural community. Colonel Bexare was starting to worry. E of the interceptors that had escorted his landing vehicles down had been destroyed by native aircraft and missile fire. His orders were not to communicate, he had been told that the natives would be incapable of detecting his approach they were wrong. The first native aircraft had tried to communicate with them and did it's best make it's presence known the interceptors shot it down. Within seconds he had lost one eighth of his escorts, in all his forces had destroyed ten aircraft. Now his interceptors were bravely trying to keep the native air force at bay trying to buy enough time for his troops to perform their mission. He was not in the mood for any more surprises. As his troops began to deploy he received another unwanted surprise his landing zone was hot. As he gave orders to secure the landing zone Colonel Bexare wondered if the natives have the technology to give him all these unpleasant surprises why didn't they just blow the mother ship up in space.
With Darrel's position under attack members of the Illinois Free Militia were at full alert. The group was not committing any reserves to Darrel's position by the road. This proved to be a good idea as Fred Smith reported a bunch of large funny looking VTOLs landing on the back forty. Fred had eight men and some of their best weapons. Their leader told them to give the dam Feds hell.
Fred Smith and Kevin Bullis watched as the large funny looking VTOLs started spitting out infantry that looked like thee foot tall teddy bears with assault rifles Fred reported back that the Feds were using some sort of modified toy robot. Kevin said "Lets blast em I've seen Small Solders." Fred had his entire group open up.
First Squad leader Pooton of the Ursoid expeditionary force thought his squad was ready for anything. Being under fire for the first time caused him to revise his opinion. He was facing an unknown number of well dug in foes with automatic weapons half his squad was ether dead or wounded. The light armored vehicle that had been his unit's ground transportation, had been hit by a small rocket and destroyed. The two squads on his flaks were also pined down. Their vehicles had been held back least they to be lost. Second platoon was trying to move up but were already taking losses. Pooton stood and ordered his squad to follow. The squad began moving through the storm of bullets. As they closed on the machine gun position there was a pause in the fire. Pooton tossed a grenade into the small mound that the fire had come from. The fire did not resume. The three survivors of Pooton's Squad closed on the mound that was now reviled to be a covered and reinforced fighting hole with an exit tunnel. The machinegun began firing from a new location.
The initial assault on the Floyd Farm had turned into a siege with most of SUVs pinned down. The rear elements of Awkis' force had taken up hasty positions awaiting the stalled convoy. Oddly there was now the sound of gun fire coming from a different direction.
Agents J, K, and Elle were going down a country road tracking the source of the class ten reality waves when they got a another call from Zed. "Boys we have a new update on the larger object. It has been identified as an Ursoid Star Kingdom expeditionary ship. The Ursoid Star Kingdom is a small very conservative star kingdom consisting of five separate stellar systems. The Ursoids do not possess any FTL technology and are deemed to primitive for contact by the ITC they are not covered by any of our treaties." Zed paused for a moment then continued, "The twins just reported that an Ursoid landing force has engaged US Air force units and forced a landing six miles from your current location. The Ursoid landing force appears to be engaged at present in a firefight with locals."
Elle downloaded coordinates from the twins and compared them with a digital map. "We are on our way" said K.
They moved down the road, J scanning the road ahead with a pair of video enhanced binoculars. "Hey is that a tank?" Agent J asked.
K pulled the car over stopped and grabbed the binoculars. "It sure is slick" K said. K continued looking he identified the tank being unloaded off the tank carrier as a Russian T-34. There was ten tank carriers in all K began identifying the others "Lets see, we have a Russian T-80, a BMD, and a PT-76. We have a US M4 Sherman, an M60A3 and an M113. And last but not least there is a German SdKfz 251, a Panzer I, and a Tiger II. Wait! Is that a!" K worked the resolution on the binoculars and said, "It is, my God Boras, you old Son of a bitch!" K exclaimed.
K gave the binoculars back to J and began dialing his phone. J and Elle franticly tried to identify the strange small Humanoids that were unloading the antique armor. While listening to the dial-a-tone K explained that Boras was a gnome and native to earth.
As Boras supervised the removal of the Tiger Tank from the carrier his cell phone began ringing. "What now!" Boras complained to himself as he took the phone from his pocket. The voice on the end was one he was familiar with, he had worked with K several times back in Siberia in his KGB days. Boras was an MIB auxiliary agent. K placed Boras on active status and quickly briefed him. Boras explained the group with him was mercenary in nature, in seconds they were in a three-way conference call with Zed who quickly approved Boras' exorbitant price. Boras was more then willing to exchange an opportunity for certain payment but to truly slow an alien invasion he needed to bring in more fire power. He briefed his people and made a phone call.
Nick O'Malley and Kate Benson were on the West Side. They had just untangled another traffic snarl. All and all the evacuation was going smoothly. Nick was complaining about uncooperative motorist while Kate was pointing out more diplomatic ways of handling people. Somewhat defensively Nick explained "Well we are under marshal law and I did pull that idiot out of his car before I blew it up.
"Kate rolled her eyes and groaned resigning to the fact that in some ways her partner was near hopeless. In the back seat Carl's phone began ringing. He pulled out a small cell phone and began listening. Nick and Kate had never seen the gnome this quite they watched as he finally stopped listening and said "Ok, I'll do what I can."
Carl leaned back an said, "O'Malley I got a hot tip on a big fire fight with Links involved. It is only a few miles outside your normal jurisdiction." He gave Nick the location and the directions Nick was driving so they were already on their way. Now came the hard part as Kate began to ask questions.
Captain Page was having a very busy day most of his units were out helping evacuate the city. He was having evacuation problems of his own. Though not in the evacuation area his unit was housed in an abandoned subway station. The tunnels could be flooded. The lower areas of the station were air tight, watertight and could probably take a hit from a nuke. Those members of his staff currently available to him were moving everything they could into the watertight protected areas. When Kate called in with news they were heading into a major Link firefight outside their normal jurisdiction Captain Page approved it. National Guard MP units were already starting to help police with traffic control and O'Malley would probably go no mater what he said. A few minutes later Zed called asking for a favor. Usually the MIB chief called on behalf of some ET with diplomatic immunity that had been mistaken for a link. This time he was asking for major help. Stranger still he actually giving an explanation. Page sent everything he had mobile to reinforce Benson and O'Malley.
Meanwhile back at the Centre compound (You couldn't call it a ranch it wasn't even a ranch style home) Broots was bandaging one of the security guards Miss Parker was covering his position. The battle outside had slowed from the feverish fire of the initial assault to intermittent sniping. Raul realized that the convoy was aware of there assault on the farm. One of Raul's motorcycle scouts had reported that the convoy had stalled near the entrance to Owens road. Raul started moving his dismounted forces toward the convoy along the side of the road.
Glen Watkin arrived at the Connor farmhouse soon after the shooting started. Sarah Connor was with a large heavily armed stranger. "He says there after John" Sarah explained. Before Glen could say a word to her the two boys entered the house. John and Peter wanted to know what all the shooting was about. "We must leave here you are in great danger." Said the Terminator.
They took John's Jeep and Glen's pickup and started to head out.
KITT's probe found a group of heavily armed men moving along the roadside. KITT warned Michael who warned the vanguard of the convoy. Two Chicago police officers, Reginal Cornelius, Nate Ramsey and Frank Parker readied themselves to ambush the ambushers.
Defender's probe over-flew the battle going on at the Centre compound. The probe then headed north to find the cause of the rest of the gunfire as it over-flew the Connor farm the probe came under fire from a large man with a shotgun and assault rife Joe Astor managed to maneuver the control out of harms way it headed east of Owens road were it was attacked and destroyed by a large bird like creature.
The two Harpies Wilma and Phyllis split up Wilma moving north along the west side of the road with Phyllis also headed north on the east side. Phyllis intercepted a small flying object and attacked it. She disabled the device and told Boras were to find it.
Wilma stayed in the treetops as she moved past the battle at the Centre safe house. She stayed west of the Connor house. She caught a thermal and passed high over the northern most farm. Wilma spotted several large boxy craft attempting to unload wheeled and tracked vehicles. The cornfield around the craft were flattened and scorched by the retrorockets used by these landing craft. The creatures coming off the craft looked like meter tall bears most were wearing helmets vests and weapons belts. Part of there landing area was under fire. The bears were making slow and costly progress against an unseen opponent. The bears were also deploying antiaircraft equipment, it was not until those guns and missiles were out of line of site that Wilma phoned in to Boras. She told Boras about the size and progress of the bear forces and of a rainstorm approaching from the west.
Using the trees along the roadside as cover Raul's men attempted to sneak up on the convoy. They were just moving into position when several automatic weapons opened up on them. The most obvious source of the fire was the Corvette, which was plastering them with machinegun and grenade launcher fire it also proved to be armored. The attack was nearly a complete disaster with almost a half of the attackers lost. The one thing that went right was that three trucks bolted from the convoy headed north on Owens road.
When the gunfire started Blight moved from Cleo Barns body into the body of the truck driver. Blight pushed the dazed and confused truck driver now in the female body out of the trucks cab and gunned the engine. Quentin turned his right hand into a claw that would have made a Velociraptor proud and ripped out the throat of his driver sliding the corpse out of the drivers seat Quentin followed Blight. The beginning of the attack had been the single for Boras' people to cut and run neither Blight nor Quentin knew that it was another group attacking the convoy.
Emanuel Labora was ridding shot gun on his truck in the traditional sense. He pointed his gun at the driver and told him to move. The driver bailed and Emanuel got the truck moving.
Three trucks sped north past the jeep and the pickup heading south along Owens road. The rain started to fall as the convoy came into view the two vehicles tried to head west across the Floyd farm as they plowed through a thin spot in the roadside vegetation only one retreating member of Awkis' group raised a weapon to the jeep and was quickly cut in half by the Terminators shotgun.
Three cabs made there way through the storm. In the lead cab Aahz, Massha, and Skeeve moved west along the farm road trying to close on the convoy. Skeeve used an illusion to hide Aahz's true appearance from the driver. A second cab with Bunny, Tananda, Guido and Nunzio followed them. The third cab carried two figures in hidden robes.
The Three cabs passed a Bus, a truck, a tractor-trailer, several pickup trucks with horse trailers, a laundry truck, and ten lowboys, and an armored bus. Four men were hanging around the vehicles. It seamed fairly quiet but not to Aahz's ears. He heard heavy equipment not far off, gunfire mixed with the thunder and lightning of the storm and a conversation between one of the four men and a fifth person in the bus.
The three cabs stopped just out of sight of the trucks they passed. Bunny paid the three cabbies. The group moved along on the south side of the road to just within site of the target convoy, Skeeve providing a spell to keep the rain off them. After observing for a bit they moved back. Aahz said, "I don't like that group of trucks behind us; they are waiting for something and I don't think it's a construction crew."
"What have you got to guard our rear?" asked Skeeve.
"I have something, but first I need a scouting force" Said Aahz.
The Pervect used the strange devise that looked like a Dhopper on steroids it was a long rod with an obscene number of buttons and dials. Aahz adjusted a dial and pressed a button twenty-five small but tough looking characters appeared. Five of the group were fairies, mean looking ones, the other twenty were brownies mounted on diminutive motorcycles. The leader of the group a relatively large rough looking brownie wearing a dark brown leather outfit with a flaming one percent on the back and a Viking helmet said, "You've got a job for us?" "Yes, a scouting mission" said Aahz. The Pervect briefed the brownie on his mission. The brownie gave Aahz a small device that he had Skeeve stick in his ear. Skeeve could now hear the brownies as they checked their communicators. In an instant all twenty-five disappeared Skeeve could still here them as they moved off reporting their positions.
"Now for that rear guard," Said Aahz dramatically.
He set a few more numbered dials on the device and pressed a button. Ten Pervects wearing battledress and carrying industrial strength staffs appeared. The leader of the squad said,
"Hello cousin do you need us to do a 32725 here?"
"Hello Moh, Skeeve this is my cousin Moh he is one of Pervs finest mercenary commanders, Moh this is my partner Skeeve."
Said Aahz. The two shook hands and exchanged greetings. "Actually Moh I need you to check out that group of trucks and act as our rear guard." Said Aahz.
"Ok, a 49760 with a 90210. Do you need a 23027 with that?" asked the mercenary.
"Use your own judgment on that" said Aahz.
"I will try to hold off till 1800 Hours. Moh replied. The Pervect mercenaries moved out while Aahz muttered numbers under his breath.
With a flourish Aahz said, "And now for the main attack a gargoyle assault team" Aahz dialed a number into the device pressed a button and the field south of the road filled with a legion of Orks.
"I always thought gargoyles had wings," Chided Tananda.
The leader of the Ork force prostrated himself at Skeeve's feet and said, "Oh! great and powerful master command us."
Shocked and a little embarrassed Skeeve quickly recovered, "The dread demon Aahz will give you your orders."
The Ork commander looked at the Pervect the Orks skin turning a lighter shade of green. Aahz lifted the Ork up to eye level and said. "Listen buddy, I am the one who hired you. There is an object in that convoy, an orb that looks like this (showing the Ork boss a drawing). I want your crew to get it, get it."
"Yes, most gracious and well paying master." Replied the Ork leader. Aahz paused and asked, "How big a kick back are you giving the Deevel?"
The Ork commander proudly stated, "Only sixty percent but he is paying us five and a half times our standard rate plus death benefits and major medical." The Ork commander returned to his troops yelling and screaming orders.
Aahz said to his partner, "They work cheap and will provide an excellent diversion.."
Skeeve whispered a question to Aahz, "You used the wrong code didn't you?"
"Sorry, dealing with cousin Moh tends to have that effect on me." Aahz quietly admitted.
"This does complicate things gargoyles prefer not to work with Orks. I will have to try something else." Aahz said after a pause. Aahz pulled out a thick black tome and began looking through the pages.
"I don't think they are Feds," said Militia leader over the intercom to his troops. "I don't think they are anything of this world. Men, I believe we are the only thing standing between Earth and an alien invasion. You know your duty; we must stop these fussy fiends! Remember death before dishonor. Continue to work the plan and we will chew them up. I am so very proud of you." He finished. The Militia had only three men killed so far, two more were wounded and another had been cut off by a tunnel collapse. The Militia continued to harass the cautiously advancing bears as they tried to secure their LZ. The Ursoids had advanced through three layers of the militia's nine-layer defense. The militia still had some more unpleasant surprises waiting.
Boras' cell phone rang when he answered an unfamiliar male voice identified itself as Blight. Blight told Boras that she/he along with Quentin had liberated two trucks from the convoy during the ambush and were headed north along Owens road. Boras told them to above all else head no further north find a good defensible position and take cover. They turned into the Connor farm seeking shelter.
Raul's tired bloodied troops retreated back to their positions along the entrance road of the Floyd farm to find Emanuel Labora and the eighteen-wheeler waiting for them. Awkis was delighted now all they had to do was retreat with the prize.
Raul contacted his scouts looking for a back door. "Angel One this is Fat Cat I have the package we need a road to bug out." Raul said over his radio. Angel one did not reply.
Raul tried again then switched frequencies. "Angel Two this is fat cat we have the package we need a road to bug out." The radio responded, "Fat Cat this is Angel Two, there is no way you want to head up this way, all hell has broken lose up here!" said Angel Two.
"What's going on up there Angel Two?" Raul asked. "Looks like World War Three there are tanks, machine guns and other stuff I can't begin to describe, along with one hell of a lot of shooting!" Angel Two said franticly.
Raul again switched frequencies. "Angel Three this is Fat Cat we have the package we need a road home." His scouted answered, "Fat Cat I have a bunch of tanks moving north in the field East of Owens Road. Where the fuck are tanks coming from? You never told us anything about no fucking tanks! What the hells going on?"
"I wish someone would tell me" Raul muttered under his breath then said into his microphone, "Take it easy and will all get out of this in one peace."
Raul again switched frequencies. "Angel Four this is Fat Cat we have the package we need a road home." His scouted answered, "Fat Cat I have been moving along the stream on the west side of the farms. Lots of rough terrain here nothing you can bring a car through. What's all the shooting about?"
"I am still trying to piece that together Angel Four," Raul answered. "Anything
else unusual that you have seen Angel Four?" Raul added.
"Just an old style British police box sitting in the middle of a corn field." Angel four
Raul once more switched frequencies. "Angel five this is Fat Cat we have the package we need a way home."
This scouted answered, "Fat Cat, I am up by the second farm saw a Jeep and a pickup leave and two tractor trailers enter a bit latter. I hear lots of distant shooting things are relatively quite here." Raul had a sudden inspiration he flipped channels and said, "Angel Eight this is Fat Cat what happened to that Jeep and Pickup that killed Jose"
"Fat Cat, they headed Southwest along a dirt road," the scout replied.
Carl Kolchak was drenched as he kneeled behind the police car with the two young officers. From this position he could overhear their radio and try to figure out what was going on. The police officers were annoyed by Kolchak's persistence. Kolchak was annoyed by the fact that the radio was being as silent as the two officers. The rain was also a factor. What he did hear was a distant sloshing and grunting sound. He had to investigate, looking across the pasture to the south, gray shapes were forming up into a man high wall along the wood line. As he showed this to the officers the wall began to move. A slight let up in the rain revealed the massive inhuman infantry formation heading toward them. The sloshing of their ironclad feet in the mud grew louder. The howling of wargs and war trumpets could be heard on either flak.
In the FLAG Mobile Command Center Bradley Talmadge and Devon Miles were trying to make some sense of the insanity that surrounded them. Between Talmadge's clearance and the Command Center's communication equipment they had more then enough information to be completely confused. The Mobile Command Center had launched KITT's extra probe and it had shown the that the group that had attacked them and the Centre Compound was now heading Southwest along a dirt road. Satellite photos and NORAD information helped explain the invasion to their North. The satellite photos also showed an inexplicable armored unit moving north toward the invaders. It did not explain what the invaders were fighting or what the intensions of the armored unit were. The satellite photos were from before the rain clouds moved in. When the police in the rear guard of the convoy warned of the invading horde to the South there was no explanation. There was a course of action; the convoy began moving toward the relative safety of the Centre Compound.
As Sheriff Hart's patrol car and Sarah Greenfield's blue ford escort joined the convoy the Orks crossed the field at a steady march. The last of the cars to clear the intersection was the Defender, which rapidly backed away from the slowly advancing hoard.
The rain obscured the hateful late afternoon sun as Kartahz 's mob moved out of the wood. His mob was on the left side of the formation with many others. There was less glory on this side and less chance of being killed. This had to be a desperate battle they had been fed well the last few days to increase their strength. The call of trumpets and the snapping of whips singled their advance. Kartahz and his comrades marched across the muddy field the sound of his iron soled boots making a sucking noise at each step.
The armor he wore was new to him, a hand-me-down from an elite unit that had been given new equipment from this contract. His axe was the finest weapon he had ever possessed. It two was a new hand-me-down. Their new master was a rich and powerful wizard much to be feared. Their new master held the sun at bay with clouds and used them by day. This would be a day with much glory, blood would flow in great rivers.
They cut their way through a narrow hedgerow and engaged a fence of wire that tried to fight their advance. They crossed an odd road made of huge sheets of flat rock. They came to another fence of the fighting wire, but his part of the mob faced a wooden gate this time. They made short work of the gate. Two chariots speed toward them on the road. No beasts pulled the chariots. The humans they held wore no armor. The mob attacked rushing the chariots as they tried to turn. A series of explosions ripped through their ranks. Kartahz closed and struck with his axe a large man blocked his axe with his thunder stick with surprising strength the large human lifted him and hurled him at a group of his fellows. The chariots retreated. The mob reformed and advanced leaving three hands of Orks dead along the dirt road. Kartahz had lost his wonderful axe in the melee; he took a halberd from an Ork who never had a chance to use it and never would again.
A blood spattered jeep and pickup truck passed Awkis' convoy moving along the side of the road. Thirty seconds later Awkis' group spotted the advancing hoard and began reversing direction. The tractor-trailer nearly getting stuck The Orks marched on.
Form Colonel Bexare's perspective the mission was not progressing well at all. His air support was nonexistent. enemy aircraft were already probing his antiaircraft defenses. He had only now secured the landing site. His objective was only a short distance to the south. His forces had expanded both north, east, and west the LZ was now less congested. His scouts were showing an easterly path past the still stubborn well dug in opponent to his south. He shifted his forces for a southeasterly trust.
Acting Platoon Sergeant Pooton of the Ursoid expeditionary force was glad when the platoon that had been formed out of the remnants of his company was being withdrawn for fresher troops. His was the first unit off the landing transports. His was the unit that had seen the worst of the days fighting. Now his was the first unit to be pulled off the line, the first to get a rest.
In a Washington DC apartment a phone rang and a baby cried. Scully picked up the baby. As she fulfilled its demand for dinner the child quieted. The phone was next to receive her attention.
"Hello, this is Frohike we are in a little bit of a war zone here and we need some help." Said the short aging man of action.
"What's the matter and how can I help?" asked Scully.
Ftohike quickly explained the situation and asked a favor of Scully.
While Frohike was making his call Jimmy Bond was doing some communication of his own. Jimmy had found two teenagers hiding in a bush. By the time anyone else realized that Jimmy had apprehended the intruders, Jimmy had all but adopted them. The two wet scared kids told him stories of tanks and monsters the rain and sounds of battle spoke for them selves. The girl's blue Honda S2000 was hidden not far away.
As the bus sped along Owens Road Agent John Doggit's cell phone began ringing it was Scully. She told him of the group of very independent reporters that wished to join the protection of the convoy. Doggit used the police radio mobile unit, that the bus driver had been given, and arranged for "The Lone Gunman" to join the convoy. And so it came to be that just before the Defender and KITT entered the entrance to a motorcycle, a blue Honda S2000, and a rather beat up looking VW Microbus joined the convoy.
At the Connor farm Blight and Quentin stood waiting and watching with their treasure-laden trucks as per Boras' orders. Quentin had had made a few changes in his anatomy to watch and listen better. Literally with the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a dog the versatile shape shifter watched and listened. Even through the rain and sounds of distant battle he picked up the approach of a returning jeep and pick-up truck. They quickly formulated a plan, Quentin made himself scarce, while Blight removed the shells from a shotgun and prepared to infiltrate the small returning group.
Kracked Sckull the Leader of the Ork force knew he was in a position of destiny. The gold from the retainer had propelled him from Boss of a small but well feared band to leader of a great hoard. Now that his retainer had been called he had a plan for this as well. His contract was open ended on the total number of troops he could employ; he had arranged with many neighboring clans for mercenary troops. The ware debt he would pay for their loss was only a tenth of what the Deevel was paying him in death benefits. Those troops were the vanguard of his force while his troops worked as runners and enforcers. He insisted that his contract allowed him to bring in reinforcements, as he felt necessary, and the Deevel had provided a Dhopper to bring in more troops. He had already tripled the number of troops he brought in. If the campaign was sufficiently bloody he would kill off a large number of his rival's forces. If he were successful he would win many to his cause, truly a position of destiny.
As the Awkis' convoy headed back along the dirt road Orks filled the southern horizon. As the road snaked its way northeast the Orks grew closer. The last stretch of road headed due east before returning to Owens Road. Along this portion of the road Ork skirmishers armed with bows and slings came almost within range of the convoy. Only Awkis' armored limousine, at the very rear of the convoy, was actually struck by any of the near spent missiles. The desperate volleys had little effect. The convoy increased speed as it returned to Owens road. The far slower Ork infantry formations followed at a walk.
Pursued by Orks and wanting no more to do with the Centre compound the Awkis' convoy headed into the Connor Farm. At said farm the Connors and the Watkins had arrived home to find two strange eighteen-wheelers in their barn. As the five returnees moved to check out the barn a shotgun wielding man approached them the Terminator shot the man in his tracks. While the three men and the android looked for the driver of the other truck Sarah Connor checked out the body. She retrieved the shotgun along with the shells from a bag a few feet away. The snorting of one of the pigs warned her as the next group of vehicles approached the farm.
"Look!" cried Sarah as the vehicles from Awkis' convoy came into site. The vehicles came up the farms entry road. The five took shelter in the house as the convoy approached.
To Colonel Bexare the clouds and lack of air support were doubly vexing making him dependant totally on ground observation. His scouts on the western flank confirmed what he already new from earlier space reconnaissance. His western flank was a heavily wooded deeply cut stream. His eastern flank offered much more promise crop fields leading to a tree lined road and according to the now hours ancient satellite photos an open pasture beyond the road. To his north lay a tributary of the western stream on his flank. Along that lesser stream part of his forces laid a defense. The obstinate defenders to his south still held. With infantry infiltrating along the stream banks, and a large mechanized force sweeping east and then south Colonel Bexare hoped to bypass the resistance.
The spearhead of the Ursoid Armor task force moved east across a fallow field toward the tree-lined road. At less then five hundred meters from the road the tree line exploded with heavy guns ripping into the Ursoid tanks and infantry carriers. The Ursoid vehicles were of a design that had seen centuries of service but little in the way of large-scale tank warfare, three out of four of the tank crews were able to survive the loss of their vehicle, only the larger enemy guns and the antitank missiles were effective against the tanks. Still the speed and accuracy of the native gunnery left only one of the five tanks functioning. Only two of the ten troop carriers were damaged. The surprised Ursoid units fired randomly and ineffectively at the wood line. More deadly shots rang forth from the wood line as rapidly as the ambushers could reload. The last of the Ursoid spearheads tanks was destroyed along with five more APCs. Masses of smoke obscured the wood line and the retreating attacker even before the Ursoid artillery blanketed the tree line and the road. The Ursoids began to erect a hasty defense along the eastern flank
Across a field east of the road Boras watched his Armor as it escaped to fresh cover. He returned to questioning the three human prisoners he had captured earlier when his tanks first moved into tree line to set up their ambush. The prisoners had come from two different groups the two young men that came from the Devil's Step Children talked freely enough. The older man in the motorcycle jacket was less talkative, at least at first, Boras had remedies for that. He soon had an outline of Awkis and his ill-fated mission. His forces prepared there new positions to thwart the next advance of the aliens.
As the convoy moved into the Centre compound they quickly began reinforcing it's defenses. The tucks with the remainder of the museum artifacts took shelter in the main equipment shed while other vehicles and agricultural equipment were added to form an outer parameter. Positions were assigned and ammo was redistributed. The process was almost complete as the Orks came into view.
The Centre Compound was positioned midline along the Orks line of advance. The defenders began engaging the Orks as they charged across the open ground just south of the compound. The Orks had their first experience with automatic weapons fire, which caused their charge to falter, under the weight of casualties. More Orks tried to close in from the flanks as the fields filled with bodies. The Orks surrounded the compound just out of range and began to rally for a second attack.
The Orks began a fierce chant to boaster their spirits the volume of the chant ebbed and flowed suddenly turning to a ferocious war cry as they charged again. The volume of fire from the compound was less this time, the defenders no longer having the ammo for the same level of sustained fire.
The Ork warriors pressed the attack Ork missile troops with their slings, bows and spears pelted the barricade taking heavy losses from pistol and shotgun fire. The Orks pressed their attack only to have it again blunted by a host improvised grenades and incendiary weapons (Angus MacGyver had been busy).
Inside the Cente compound things were looking bleak ammunition was running low much of what was left was tear gas grenades and rubber bullets. MacGyver was building another flamethrower out of an agricultural implement while others readied edged weapons for use. Plans were made to fall back from the barricade to the compound during the next attack.
Massha used her crystal ball to once again locate the probe half. She informed Aahz that the object was not in the compound the Orks were attacking. Aahz communicated with the Ork commander and ordered him to bypass of the southern most farm. Aahz used his device to summon a group of troops that would not mind working with the Orks. He used the device again the field to his south filled with a several hundred nasty looking simians.
A member of the group flew over to Aahz and Skeeve and asked, "Who summons us and evokes our contract with Deevils."
The Prevect answered, "I am the great and powerful wizard Aahz." A shutter of fear ran through the ranks flying monkeys. "Oz!"
"No relation." Snapped Aahz. "The name is spelled A-A-H -Z and this is my partner The Great Skeeve," explained the Prevect. The Flying Monkeys' terror lessened. Aahz began explaining what he needed them to do.
Kracked Sckull Communicated with his commanders in the field he withdrew all units whose commanders were not demanding revenge from the earlier attack on the southern farm had his units continue to advance northward.
John Connor managed to get the Terminator to hold off immediate attack on the arriving convoy. The young man soon negotiated an uneasy truce with Awkis. Awkis moved into the equipment barn and setup a defense while the Connors carefully watched them from the farmhouse.
Kartahz 's mob was moving north along a streambed moral in his group was high dusk was near. Earlier his group was sent north to intercept any unit that might come to the aid of the main siege. Now being the farthest north they were told that they were closest to the prize. Their mission was to head a little further north then scout east to the second farm.
As the car carrying Carl, Nick O'Malley, and Kate Benson came across a group of parked lowboys Carl asked O'Malley to stop. A man came up to the car and greeted them. Not completely to the two officer's surprise, the man knew Carl. The man talked casually and handed O'Malley a note.
Eddy the toad man says there are ten strange creatures in the woods to the west watching us. Do nothing, keep it casual.
O'Malley passed the note to his partner who read it and passed it to Carl. The rain became their chief topic of conversation. When a link calls something a strange creature it must be truly strange indeed.
As dusk began to fall the fairies and brownies began reporting in. One of the Brownies was at the second farm he reported the presence of the three trucks in the equipment barn. Ahaz told the brownie to identify and mark the truck with the probe in it with an X. The marking would tell the raiding monkeys where they could find the probe. Other Brownies reported in telling him of the strange war between the locals and the teddy bears going on to the north. The more information Ahaz received the crazier the situation seamed.
As the Brownie at the Connor farm finished his report a pig moved far to quietly behind it. A pig that could see in spectrums no pig should see in, with ears that could hear what no pigs ears should hear. A pig that grew the fangs of a wild boar as it moved closer, a pig whose frog like tough shot out and pulled the unsuspecting Brownie into those cruel fangs. Quentin's attack was so fast and violent that the Brownie never new what hit him.
Acting Platoon Sergeant Pooton found his period of rest was short lived. His unit of thrown together survivors had only received an hour break. After their short break they were trucked off to help in the western wood-line advance. Now his group was leading the so far unopposed infantry infiltration. His point bear singled that he heard something, all his squads halted. The noise to the south grew, hundreds of troops were moving through the woods. Pooton prepared a hasty ambush they finally had an opponent that was not hiding in a tunnel. As the large ugly humanoids moved through the woods Pooton's platoon opened up with everything they had. The Orks died in great numbers the creatures were armed only with primitive edged weapons and a few bows. At first the Orks melted away from his fire. Units behind the first unit charged through the carnage sometimes using their fallen brethren as cover. More Orks died running low on ammo Pooton's platoon fell back.
The large attacker's legs were as tall as an Ursoid infantryman. The creatures were far faster than the average bear. Third squad held the enemy long enough for the rest of the platoon to escape.
Third squad fell under swords, spears, and axes. As his unit fell back behind two friendly platoons the seen was repeated. The insane charges of the Orks forced the Bears back to a line of older trees where two companies could mass their fire. Pooton detailed his two remaining squads to keep ammo coming to the companies on the line.
When the thunder missiles first started to fly the Shaman with Kartahz 's mob used his magic to enrage the troops. When Kartahz came to his senses again he was chopping at the remains of a small bear like creature with an ax he did not recognize. Not many of the Orks in his mob were around. No, they were all around many in pieces, just very few were still standing. Other mobs were pressing on through the woods where they were building for a new attack.
In the Equipment Shed of the Centre compound two unlikely guards talked quietly Nicolas Knight and Spike talked quietly the two were effected by different forms of vampirism but had met once before in the 1890s. It was a subdued chat neither one saying what they both knew one more attack like the last one and the compound would be over run.
Deep in the Centre compound five doctors treated fifteen casualties, labs were being used as treatment rooms their were to many doctors and patients for the compounds small clinic. Dr. Sloan lead the treatment team while Quincy handled triage. Doctors Lambert, Bentley, and Travis did most of the surgery. Jessica Fletcher and Dawn Summers helped where they could. All were certain that there would be many more casualties before the sun again rose.
Along the parameter Anya, Willow, and Tara passed out the hardware that they had brought in the Winnebago. Giles had bought an extensive collection of sharp pointy things most of which required no ammunition. There was also a number of spears darts and axes the Orks had sent their way. MacGyver and Jarod were busily running police tape to mark each person's line of retreat so they could avoid the traps the two had laid.
During this lull in the battle Ian Matheson and Rupert Giles had found an ancient text that Willow had scanned into her laptop. The text offered a possible translation of what the Orks were chanting. It translated as "No Quarter" in a rare demonic language.
In the communications room of the Centre complex Bradley Talmadge and Devon Miles tried to make sense of what was going on while attempting to get some help. Help was less then an hour away. An hour could well be an eternity.
James Ellison heard a change in the tempo of the chanting and yelled get ready seconds later the war cries started. The Orks charged. This charge concentrated on the south side of the compound. A violent but short volley met the charge. Tear gas grenades and fire bombs and other improvised explosives helped break up the charge. The people on the barricades began to fall back to the house. From the left flank KITT sallied forth out of ammo it rammed Ork formations running over Orks and retreating until it bogged down in bodies and was upended by the angry mobs. Frank Parker and Michael Knight fought their way back to the house easily enough they were on the north side of the compound were the attack was lighter they joined Nate Ramsey in holding the rear door. Sam Simms, Dr. Cruz, and Nick Wolfe soon joined them.
From the East side Samantha Yeager, Frank Waters, and Sherman Catlett headed
to the rear door. On the south east side of the house the retreat was complicated by some of the faster Orks Xander fired a crossbow point blank into one Ork while Amanda sliced through three others with her sword. Nigel Bailey bashed an Ork with a baseball bat that was attacking Cesar Adrianzén. Unfortunately the blow was not struck before the Ork landed a killing blow to Cesar's head with an axe.
Robert James held the front door facing the south. There he watched the strangest and most desperate part of the battle. Jarod and MacGyver finished setting one last trap and headed to the house. Sydney Fox, John Doggit, Monica Reyes, and Fox Mulder began to fall back using there pistols to keep their attackers at bay. David Bruce, Joe Dominguez and Nash Bridges were also falling back but not as quickly as the Relic Hunter and the feds. David blocked an attack with a spear while Nash shot the attacker. Five more Orks took the place of the one they killed. Nash and Joe killed four of them again David blocked with the spear Joe and Nash were both out of ammo. Nash loaded a fresh magazine Joe had no more ammo to load. The Ork grabbed David's weapon the two desperately wrestled the Ork winning until David screamed and underwent a startling transformation. The surprised Ork found himself now facing a very large, very angry Green Man who easily tore the spear from the Orks grasp. The Hulk threw the spear away and then threw the Ork away. He rampaged southward out of the barricade throwing a small van ahead of him as he moved. Blair Sandburg launched a spear from an Adtel-adtel and James Ellison threw an axe grabbing a spear each the two retreated. Five Orks came over the barricade to face Peter and Kui Chang Caine. Peter dropped one Ork with the last shot in his pistol. Kui Chang took on three more with a staff. Peter dodged the fifth Ork and grabbed a spear. Kui Chang finished the last of his opponents as his son speared his. The two retreated back toward the house.
Terrell Par fended off two Orks with a battle axe while Grace Chen using two swords and Amy Dylan with a spear held off an attacker each. Sammo Law faced three opponents that had gotten behind them with a sword. By the time Grace dispatched her opponent and one of Terrel's Sammo had killed two of his opponents forced the third into one of MacGyver's surprises. Terrell's battle axe struck home leaving Amy's opponent on a most unenviable position. The Ork ran while the four retreated.
Three uninjured members of one of the Swat Teams that had traveled with the convoy held open a path of retreat while Giles picked off Orks with a crossbow. Buffy Summers slew five Orks and fell back to join Giles and the three officers in their retreat.
Four officers that were the remains of the second Swat team along with Sam Fujiyama retreated from the west wall of the barricade. Sam who still had one of the firebombs. He used it on some of the Orks coming over the barricade to the south. Sam and the Swat officers retreated back to the equipment shed. Ranger James Trivette helped Lieutenant Jeffery Harper's drive carry the injured lieutenant back to the shed while Cordell Walker kept the Orks off them. The escape tunnel in the shed returned the combatants to the main house.
Constable Benton Fraser and Diefenbaker delayed an Orks long enough for Raymond Vecchio to kill it with pitchfork. They then joined Joe Astor, Cameron Westlake, two other officers and the driver of the wrecking truck in retreating to the shed. Orks now unopposed came over the barricade. As the Orks closed on the house and barn many triggered the numerous improvised traps and mines created by Jarod and MacGyver. As the Orks began to mass and storm the buildings the lawn sprinkler system began pumping gasoline and flare guns fired from the upper windows of the steal and concrete structures. The third Ork attack faltered.
As numerous police cars and other vehicles joined the ones Moh was watching. Moh reported the buildup to Ahaz. The mixture of LTDs and police vans that was building was starting to look like a mustering army. His keen Prevect hearing and a translation spell told him of strong discipline within the ranks of the opponent. The conversations he overhead spoke only of weather, Cubs, Bulls, Bears and jelly filled pastries. Moh decided it was time for action he requested reinforcements from his cousin and ordered his men to disrupt the enemy marshaling area.
Moh's forces began to fire upon the gathering forces. Prevect's use a rather sophisticated mix of magic and technology the Prevects opened up with a lighting bolt a fireball and eight assault rifles. The damage was horrendous but nothing compared to the return fire. The combine fire of Unit Two's special anti-link weapons and the off world fire power packed by the MIB agents destroyed the section of woods were the Prevects had fired from. Moh and six other Prevects fled carrying one wounded Prevect two other of his men did not make it out. He had stirred up a hornet's nest their adversary's capabilities were far greater then his intelligence had led him to believe. When they were a safe distance away he once again looked at the guidebook the Deevel had sold him and thought himself the fool for believing it. "Mostly harmless indeed!" he grumbled.
Kracked Sckull received additional orders from his employers he was to provide a diversionary assault on the second farm in support of the Flying Monkeys. He was also to do whatever was necessary to delay the Ursoid troops to the North. Ahaz also warned of a possible threat from an elusive force to the northeast and told of another force to the southeast. Kracked Sckull issued his orders to his commanders and began moving his headquarters north and closer to the action.
When another two opportunities to proceed south came to Colonel Bexare he regarded both with great suspicion. The heavily dug in defender to the south seamed to have his defense in concentric rings. His constant pressure had finally collapsed enough of the rings to give him room to bypass the central compound. He had been bombarding the structure with his artillery as well. Better still his technicians had finally gotten his helicopters ready for action. Still he was feeling a bit uncertain as he gave his next orders.
Ahaz quickly punched a code into his special troop summoning D-Hopper. Twenty more Prevect Mercenaries appeared. Ahaz sent them off to aid Moh. Meanwhile Skeeve looked through the codebook. He turned to the S section:
Snipers (see assassins)
Steppes Tribes (see Hordes Mongol)
Storm Troopers (Imperial see Imperial Storm Troopers)
Storm Troopers (Nazi see Waffen-SS)
Skeeve prided himself on being open-minded but he was beginning to see a pattern he did not like. "This thing reads like a supply Catalog for Evil Overlords!" Skeeve said to his partner.
"Not everybody will deal with a Deveel, besides Henchmen R Us is an old and reputable firm" Ahaz replied.
With the fall of darkness many creatures that had followed the Hell Mouth to Chicago responded again to its movement. Tired of this annoying migration they began seeking its source. And so it was that great numbers of creatures of the night headed toward the same bitterly contested piece of real estate that had seen so much action already. As they moved along from the suburbs to the county side they left a trail of horror in their wake or would have if not for the trail they had left in tomorrow's paper. Moving just ahead of the lose meandering mass of fiends moved a rental car intercepting and preventing the most sensational events that would appear in tomorrows news, a rental car carrying three witches, two time travelers and a man with tomorrow's paper.
On a distant world in one of many possible futures Colonel Alois Hammer had his aid show the perspective client into his office. Joachim Steuben shook his head as he led in a dwarf in a black suit. The nervous little man introduced himself simply as Fidgit. Joachim introduced the Colonel "I currently have a peace keeping contract that will tie up most of my troops for the next six months." Said the mercenary leader. Fidgit handed him a mercenary contract that he bore, It was for a company sized taskforce. The Colonel read the document. Staring at it strangely Hammer read it again. The dwarf sat quietly playing with his fingers. Joachim singled that the diminutive madman's money was quite good.
Hammer stopped rereading and said: "This contract calls for my troops to do seven days training and a one day mission. Then you go on to state that the mission is off planet. That the troops must be available for transit at 23:07 hours tonight and time of return will be three days eleven hours four minutes from time of departure. Is it me or is something wrong here?"
The dwarf simplify replied, "Ah ah according to article twenty-three of the contract any failure to comply with the contract on the part of the part of the employer will result in triple reimbursement to be paid to the contractor. Anything more is on a need to know basis."
"That sounds more then fair considering the logistics you specify." Hammer commented.
He paused for a second and asked, "What is this termination clause for non compliance, I never had a contract that threatened me with lightning, fire, flood, asteroid impact, plague, and eternal damnation. Are you with some religious organization?"
"Not exactly, anymore I am not at liberty to say." Fidgit stammered. It went on like this for about twenty minutes Hammer getting a bit more data here and there from the enigmatic little man. The more data Hammer received the stranger the things sounded. Finally Hammer asked about the chain of command. There was an overall commander and four mission directed task forces, Hammers troops would be part of the largest force. Hammer wanted to make sure whoever was in charge of this operation knew what they were doing . Fidgit offered the Colonel a contract for that position.
At 23:00 hours that night in a field not far from Hammer's headquarters two platoons of infantry. three blowers, a tank platoon, three command cars full of white mice (as Hammers headquarters company was know), a medical section, a repair section, a field kitchen, and enough trucks loaded with food, repair parts, ammunition, and other supplies for three months of action sat waiting to move at a moments notice. At 23:02 Hammer looked at the Dwarf who was in turn looking at an antique time peace. No sign of any extra planetary transportation was in evidence. At 23:07 a large squat rectangular looking window appeared at the far end of the field. Daylight could be seen through the window. The Dwarf excitedly said, "There it is let's go". The taskforce drove through the window.
Hammer's troops rapidly set up a three-sixty defensive perimeter on the sunny field the window led to. The units high level of training holding in a situation where sanity failed. The Dwarf said that the rest of the assembled forces were an hour's trip to the South. Hammer informed his troops and once again the unit moved out. In slightly less then an hour later they were singled by a sentry with a mirror to proceed up a winding ramp like road leading to the top of a mesa like plateau. "That's interesting," remarked Major Steuben looking into his field glasses. "What is interesting?" Hammer asked his Aid. "That sentry was dressed as an nineteenth century plains Indian." Replied Steuben. They both looked at Fidgit who fidgeted.
Two hours later all the units were lined up for revue. Colonel Alois Hammer was ready to survey his new command. Fidgit gave the Colonel something that looked like a live sardine. "Sushi?" inquired Hammer.
"It is a sort of a universal translator, you place it in your ear." Explained the Dwarf. Contemplating forces that could warp reality for a practical joke Hammer placed the very biological device in his ear.
"The plateau is moderately wooded there is no place large enough for a formal review. Each unit is waiting for inspection in a small glen of it's own, all we have to do is follow this road." Explained Fidgit. The Dwarf had several small electric vehicles standing by for the command party to conduct the inspection and so without further ado Hammer and his staff begun the inspection. Hammer arrived at the first glen here he found three platoon sized units of infantry, a battery of guns and a dozen tanks. The lozenge-shaped tank was the first thing that caught Hammer's attention but that was consistent with the rest of the group, the entire tableau before him looked like a staging area for the second battle of the Marne. A British Lieutenant Colonel reported to him pronouncing the troops ready for inspection. Before the formal inspection began Lieutenant Colonel Groves introduced his staff a mixed lot of French, British, and American officers. Hammer asked Groves
"What planet were you from?" "Why, Earth of course replied the Englishman." Putting the square route of two and the square route of two together Hammer asked the Lieutenant Colonel "What year is it?"
"1918 replied the WWI commander. Hammer completed the inspection maintaining
his best military bearing and wondering just what the Dwarf had got him into.
On the way to the next glen Fidgit tried to explain the mission. The plan was simple two groups would block the road ahead and behind the convoy. Hammer's group would threaten it from the flacks with overwhelming force and take a section of an inter dimensional probe the convoy was carrying. Figdit's friend Wally would get the forward blocking force. Another friend named Strutter would get the rear blocking force. Still another dwarf named Oq would get a light scouting force for scouting and to delay any hostile reinforcements. Max, Randall and Vermin would coordinate activities from a mobile headquarters. After a bit more questioning Hammer ascertained Max was in charge of the operation. Fidgit and the others were out of communications with their headquarters. Just what was meant by overwhelming force was up to Fidgit's interpretation. As they came into view of the next glen with it's three cohorts of Roman Legionaries in lorica segmentata plus auxilia and ballistae support, Hammer wondered if Fidgit was capable of interpreting anything. Fidgit introduced the Tribune who in turn presented his Centurions it was going to be a long day.
As the day wore on the truly eclectic nature of his command became apparent. Moving from glen to glen was sort of like opening Christmas presents. Christmas where Santa could use a little Thorazine and one of Santa's elves was the Marquis de Sade and the other was Monty Hall.
Hammer was faced with integrating a force with Napoleonic French Artillery, Napoleonic French Cavalry, Napoleonic British Infantry, American Civil War units, English Civil War Units, Swiss and Landsknecht Pike, Mongols, Byzantines, Teutonic Knights, A Naval Construction Battalion (SeaBees), WWII US Marine aviators, Deutsh Africa Korps, Zulu Warriors, WWII Japanese Infantry, Greek Hoplites, US Indian Wars Cavalry, WWII Russian Infantry, Vikings, WWII British Commandos, Foreign Legions from three different time periods. Napoleonic War Prussian Uhlans, Napoleonic War Russian Cossacks, Macedonian Phalangites, Gurkhas, Various Nato and Warsaw Pact units, Colonial Warriors, a squad of Dorsai, Mobile Infantry, three lances of Battle Mechs, rebel alliance infantry, two different flavors of space marines. An SGC team, and a paramilitary group that called itself the A Team. He also had four units each of which fought in a different versions of WWIII in different time lines, He was currently discussing the problems presented by his command with a Mark XXXIII Bolo named JAG who had written Hammer's current contract for the dwarf. He still had to inspect the cowboys, the Israelis, the Musketeers, a group of transforming robots, the Black Company, a Company of Space Legions, a unit formed from several miscellaneous troops and the last but not least the Dragons.
Meanwhile back on planet earth: (Well not exactly meanwhile, with sidereal time and assorted temporal anomalies and paradoxes, but that is not really pertinent to the story anyway so here goes:)
At Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Brigadier General Mike Yates commander of the Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center had activated a massive web of sophisticated communications for coordinating the defense of planet Earth. While diplomats and scientists attempted to establish communications with the aliens U.S. and Canadian Forces fought a desperate battle for control of the skies over central Illinois. A battle they were winning Allied forces had taken two to one losses against the attacker's fighter craft but the invader had run out of fighters. Now units were moving in trying to neutralize Invader air defenses. Ground units were also moving into the area.
Hastily equipped with night vision equipment Lieutenants Roy and Gary Swenson of the Civil Air Patrol flew their piper cub into harms way. Flying at tree top level they were trying to locate the enemy. They had spotted numerous formations of strange primitive infantry along Owens Road they were moving in towards the Connor farm when they ran into a cloud of dark shapes. Pounded and pelted by the dark chattering shapes the boys barely managed to save their aircraft and report their collision with a swarm of flying monkeys.
Out of the night the aircraft had entered their formation like a hungry shark entering a school of fish as quickly as it came it departed monkeys flying in all directions to avoid the insane machine. Some tried to evade it by gaining altitude this proved to be a fatal error.
Sergeant Yow Gea of the Ursoid expeditionary force watched his radar as his mobile air defense vehicle scanned ahead of their advancing troops his radar caught a group of stealth infiltrators moving along the horizon he relayed fire orders to the other air defense tracks.
Max was listening to a few old tunes on the radio as she drove the RV, Randall was working the crystal ball. Vermin was eating. They had stopped earlier for fast food and Vermin was just getting around to the bags and the toys from a happy meals. Annoyingly her music was interrupted: "I bring you an important announcement concerning the hostile alien landing in central Illinois. The next voice you hear will be that of Major General Montgomery Smith, Commander of the Illinois National Guard." Said an announcer.
General Smith came on next and said: "I have been requested by the Governor of the State of Illinois to place the following counties under martial law, LaSalle, DeKalb, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Will, Kankakee, and Livingston. No one will be permitted to enter this area except by special pass issued by state or military authorities. National Guard and Federal forces are proceeding to the area, and will aid in the evacuation of homes within the range of military operations. Thank you."
Max began scanning the radio for more information. She was not really relying on Randall, not after he gave the boys a set of time coordinates to return on that was eight hours off. What the boys would bring back with them was anybodies guess and here they were walking into an interplanetary war. A war, the history she knew told her, had never happened. Randall timidly approached her with more bad news. Randall brought her up to date on the current location of the probe. She had Randall begin sweeping further and further out from the probe in a widening spiral and to check the area's around the time holes where the boys would be returning with "help." It was looking like she was going to have to find a way to rescue her "help."
Along with the twenty more Prevect Mercenaries Ahaz sent to aid Moh, Ahaz sent new orders. Ahaz was moving his headquarters to the northwest Moh and his forces were to avoid contact except to slow the enemy if they tried to follow.
Sheriff Bill Hart's deputies along with a hastily gathered militia had set up a position on the main road west of Owen's road. They held the position waiting for the return of the other two-thirds of their force to return from evacuating all the surrounding homes and farms. Thus far they had only had a few skirmishes with the Orks and one farmhouse north of the creek had come under fire from the bears. To Hart's senior deputy Mike Burger the problem was how to rescue Hart and the other besieged farms.
From the west a Recreational Vehicle approached and stopped at their roadblock. A very pretty brunette got out of the vehicle and was talking to one of his officers. She had two kids in black suits with her, as he walked closer he discovered that they were two dwarfs. He walked up as the junior deputy was asking her how she had gotten past the other roadblocks in the area. She stated that she had been parked along a section of road not far from hear for the last several hours. At this time Burger joined the conversation. "Miss I afraid you will have to leave the area it is not safe here we have numerous contacts with the enemy at this site already." Said Burger.
"I have some friends that will be meeting me here shortly, maybe we could help. I have had some military training." Replied Max.
Just then a sizable group of Worg riding Ork skirmishes attacked them from the rear. Shots rang out as the defenders shifted their attention to the rear. Burger drew his pistol but before he had it out of his holster Max went into action. A Worg rider charged them with spear and Max had jumped over the rider and pony sized wolf while taking the rider from behind. His mount turned to attack her only to be impaled on the very spear Max had taken from the rider. Max dodged arrows fired at her from another rider while Burger fired a shot at him.
Meanwhile Randall and the other deputy had made it into the RV/Mark II Urban Assault Vehicle and were activating it. The rider with the bow now focused his attention on Burger. Burger's hasty pistol shot had barely grazed the Ork. It did make it apparent to the Ork that Burger's weapon had the range to hit him. The Orks return shot went wild as his mount jumped in pain. Vermin had taken a bite out of the Warg hind leg. Worg and rider turned to attack the dwarf as Randall in a bulletproof plastic turret popped up from the rear of the RV firing twin fifty caliber machine guns. Orks and Worgs fled or died. A short while latter Max, Randall and Vermin were sworn in as full members of Burger's posse. Ten minutes after that Oq showed up with one hundred thirty Hells Angels.
Awkis had originally believed Raul had gone a bit overboard in the amount of ammo he had his men carry, now he was beginning to believe Raul was conservative. He did not have to long to muse on Raul's foresight as a chittering dark cloud enveloped the barn. Shotgun and automatic weapons fire became intense as Awkis' men tried to fend off the flying monkeys. The monkeys however focused most of there attention on an old horse trailer behind the barn with a brightly painted X on its roof. Awkis' men managed to hold their own while the monkeys took a temporary uncontested possession of the horse trailer. As quickly as they came the flying primates departed looking somehow disappointed by what they found in the trailer. Their was a momentary break in the cacophony of battle. The momentary peace was broken by the sound of war horns. When the horns sounded the Orks attacked. Awkis's men and the people in the farm house defended themselves with renewed desperation. Suddenly all along their northern horizon a tremendous firefight broke out diverting the attackers' attention. The sounds of helicopters along with the return of squadrons of flying monkeys filled the sky with a nightmare of noises and shadows.
Two very large motorcyclists sporting two different styles of German helmets greeted the lead elements of Charlie Company 2nd Battalion of the 130th Infantry Illinois National Guard as they hooked up with Burger's Militia.
The motorcyclists escorted the Guardsman into the growing encampment that had started with Burger's roadblock. Burger, Max, and the National Guard company commander began plotting a mission to relieve the besieged Centre compound. The centre compound that was still able to communicate. The exhausted defenders told them of their desperate situation. More of Burger's men arrived with several pickup truckloads of ammo, it looked like they cleaned out every gun shop in the county.
Soon Company C, 1st Battalion 123rd Infantry joined them along with elements of a transportation company bringing a few of their precious Bradley IFVs and some more ammo. Within half an hour the push was on.
When the first two trucks came into the farm Tiffany and Clair hid in the old root cellar under the machine shed. They might have been easily found by either of the two earlier searches had Quentin not parked his truck over the trap door effectively sealing them in. As the hours passed and the two Devil's Step Children realized their hiding place had become a prison. The petite brunette witch want-to-be and tall athletic blond thrill seeker became more and more desperate. As fear of confinement and the though of limited air/food/water set in they lost their fear of discovery. Screaming and pounding brought no response, the noise of the battle outside saw to that. In final desperation they tried one of Tiffany's spells. Clair knew Tiffany's spells never worked but at least if she went along it would calm Tiffany down till Clair could think of something else.
Massha used her crystal ball to zero in on the probe and give the commander of the flying monkeys a better Idea as to the target. The flying monkeys complained bitterly about the losses they had taken. The Orks were requesting additional support the enemy to the north was attacking with tanks and little the Orks had was much use against them. Ahaz defiantly needed something more high tech to support the Orks. He again used the Henchmen R Us Dehopper; five hundred gold metallic robots scanned him with their sensors and their leader addressed him. "By your command imperious leader:" said the Cylon.
Ahaz gave the Centurion his assignment. Moh reported in; the Force to the southeast appeared to be heading due North It looked as though this force was linking up with a small armored unit that was harassing the bears. Unfortunately the brownie in the enemy camp was incommunicado all the other brownies were reporting in.
Aboard the Ursoid ship Captain Darl was facing a dilemma things were not going well for the landing force and it would be at least two hours before his ship would again be in position to affect the battle. The natives were trying to communicate with him. His orders did not cover the possibility of so sophisticated an opponent. He set his staff to devising options.
Following the extra dimensional emissions to their source proved harder then he had thought ,with large numbers of people being relocated wholesale, transportation was a problem. It was not until they had gotten to the outside of the city that Rembrandt had managed to find someone who was willing to sell them an old clunker (the engine and the radio worked no heat or air) for cash. They had acquired a map at a gas station and with it they plotted the more obscure roads to evade roadblocks Remmy drove the ancient Cadillac while Maggie navigated and Quinn determined direction with his device. From Quinn's readings Colin and their zigzag course Colin had plotted an approximate location for the source. The bad new was; to get there meant entering a war zone.
Pam and Paul were hitchhiking down the road. "You really done it this time, found a victim to stupid to put gas in his car. Take us to the middle of nowhere trying to avoid roadblocks and run out of gas. And to top it off that creep had bad breath. Yucky!" Pam complained.
"Look a car is coming!" was all Paul could say in his defense. They did their best to stick out their thumbs and look wet, desperate and pathetic, it was not to hard to do, they were. A beat up old Cadillac stopped with three men and a woman in it and offered them a ride they took it of course. The six continued down the road while Pam tried to start a conversation. Fortunately the driver seemed to be zeroing in on the hell's mouth one of them had the neatest little box for doing just that. It was only when the foursome tried to drop the hitchhikers off at a closed but sheltering rest stop that things got ugly. Or rather Pam and Paul did shifting to demonic mode and attacking Colin and Maggie. Suddenly almost out of nowhere a Compact car appeared and six people piled out. With the odds now very much against them Pam and Paul headed off into the night. "What were those things?" Rembrandt asked.
"Vampires" Replied Prue. "The county side is crawling with them tonight." said Gary.
Their was a bright white light behind the building and a man emerged the three sisters recognized this man. One of the sisters seemed especially glad to see him. "Lou!" said Pipper.
"Those Cylons you sent are reasonably hard to kill and have great fire power, but they can't hit a moving target to save their ass." Kracked Sckull complained to Ahaz.
"I will see what I can do" replied Aahz. "Also we just lost the bridge going over the creek to the southwest to some sort of local force." Kracked Sckull continued.
With a few quick taps on the Henchmen R Us Dehopper Ahaz sent a group of Waffen SS panzer grenadiers with five tiger tanks to protect the southern flank and a two groups of Imperial Storm Troopers with an AT-AT and ten AT-ST each to help out to the north. Finally Ahaz brought in a team of mercenary adventures, that came highly recommended, to try to steal the object if the monkeys failed again.
Burger's Militia took the highway bridge over the creek that was the western boarder of the old Owens homestead. Beating back Ork resistance as they advanced. Rearguard Ork units were routing rather then face this determined onslaught. Suddenly the routing Orks began to rally one of the motorcyclists spotted tanks and halftrack vehicles advancing in support of the Orks.
Colonel Bexare had some good news for a change his troops were in site of the objective. Despite the introduction of energy weapons on his southern and eastern flaks his forces continued their advance south. Fortunately the troops to his south were lousy marksmen. His eastern flank however was totally on the defensive.
Boras and his Links had joined forces with Special Unit 2 and MIB their the unexplained presents of the Orks had forced them to shift their emphasizes to intelligence gathering and containment. By making occasional raids to the west they had gathered prisoners from both Ork and Bear armies. MIB had equipment that allowed translation. It took them some time to realize that both armies were after the same object. The Bear army they new was extraterrestrial the Ork army proved to be extra-dimensional. Even so they realized they still did not have a complete picture of what was going on.
Several miles to the north of the old Owens Farm a Landing Zone had been established, an airstrip hastily assembled, units were arriving by air and by ground from all over the US and Canada. American forces preparing to strike back.
Outside the Centre Compound the Orks that had been assigned to contain the enemy within and those that had survived the three attempted assaults conferred. Well actually it was a shouting match. Soon it became a duel. One of the Orks that demanded vengeance won. Grannet Noggen ordered a fourth assault.
Inside the Centre Compound Willow knowing how desperate their situation was called upon all her magical knowledge and power to create a ward.
Tiffany and Clair had begun the spell that Tiffany claimed would teleport them home. Tiffany began chanting and Clair joined in. Unlike other attempts at magic by Tiffany this time was different the room began to glow.
By air and land both Ursoid and Ork armies made a desperate lunge at the now glowing trailer guarded by Awkis and his men. In the air Flying monkeys and helicopter gun ships closed in on the target. On the ground the Bears made a massive armor assault while the Orks now supported by Imperial Storm Troopers with AT-AT and AT-ST support counter attacked.
The Doctor had finally ascertained the nature of what was causing his Tardis to malfunction. Fixing the problem would have to wait however as he put the Tardis' shields to maximum and got ready to ride out a rather large class ten reality wave.
At ten twenty three PM central time a small but extremely fast moving object landed in Lake Michigan. The energy from the impact generated tidal waves up to sixty feet high the worst effects were along the Chicago waterfront. Reports of casualties were minimal; most of the waterfront area had been evacuated. Property damage was in the billions. Extra emergency and police assets had been brought into the area. Red Cross and Federal disaster response groups were hard pressed to deal with the great many refugees. Police assets worldwide were being used to control the panic over the alien invasion.
As the object streaked through the outer atmosphere it lit up the night sky like a perfectly strait bolt of lightning. Burning off many of the tons of debris that collected on the probe over the eons. Turning the now unwanted velocity into heat and waves of pressure the object stuck Lake Michigan hard and heavy. The probe now free of debris turned and engaging reaction engines to ovoid colliding with the bottom of the lake. Free and clean after making a rather big splash the reaction stage was heading for its mate. The inter-dimensional stage began to pulse with excitement.
The Illinois Free Militia had only seven men still able. Of those seven five manned shooting and observation posts while two tended to their wounded comrades. This small circle of earth works that they now held was all that remained of their defenses. Yet still they held this small piece of scorched artillery pitted earth. For the last few hours no one was contesting this. Then a strange thing began to happen, the wounded the worst of them anyway began to glow. Here and their in the fields outside there were more glowing bodies. They began to wonder was this some strange new alien weapon.
Inside the Centre Compound Willow had the satisfaction of watching Orks bounce off her wards in frustration. She satisfaction was short lived as she had a sobering thought. How long till the Orks brought up a shaman or wizard of their own? Willow could sense a strange tide rising in the magic a tide like she had felt from the alter only now far stronger.
In the communications room of the compound Bradley Talmadge was conferring with their would be rescuers. Burger's Militia together with National Guard troops had encountered and neutralized a counter attack by hostile armor and was headed their way. They had been lucky someone had sighted the enemy early and engaged them at range with TOW missiles. Still they lost one track to a hidden infantryman with a Panzerfaust. Here also a strange thing began to happen, the worst of the wounded began to glow.
In the bloody fields outside there were more glowing bodies.
Willow could feel the magic everywhere.
As the room glowed bright and Tiffany felt a rising tide of power she put whatever she could in to projecting themselves out of the room for a second she felt like they were everywhere at once. Tiffany's true talent was empathy and so it was that when she should have focused on a spot to materialize she instead shifted to a healing spell. Clair who had a great unrealized and untrained power to manipulate magical energies followed Tiffany's lead. The probe had added it's considerable energy to their confused intent. The girls had a trilling experience at being the focus of much raw energy. Nothing in the room, however appeared to change. Tiffany and Clair had a momentary taste of magical power which to them seamed to have accomplished little. Leaving Tiffany wondering how she got it wrong and encouraging Clair who had begun this exercise with the expectation of nothing would happen. Above their underground chamber the spell they had woven had far greater consequence.
Attacking by land and air both Ursoid and Ahaz's forces closed within hand to hand range of the barn held by Awkis. The barn was a large stone structure that had several add-ons it had evolved over the last century by additions from a horse stable to an equipment building for housing and repairing Owens largest combines and tractors. At ten twenty three PM central time the battle had reached a fevered pitch when suddenly out the truck containing the probe came a brilliant white light. The light seemed to come from other sources as well the wounded to glow joining in a wave of growing brightness. The light was so sudden, so blinding, and so overwhelming that for a moment the battle halted. What the light left in its wake was enough to cause all sides to pull back retreat and reconsider. It was mostly the wounded that were affected. But what constituted a wound great enough to trigger the bizarre healing varied greatly.
People up to fifty miles away were affected. Fortunately miles away only those close to death were affected by the mixed blessing. Unfortunately close to the source all it took was a nick or a bit of a head cold to trigger the full power of the spell. The spell rendered the recipient perfectly healthy. The spell rendered the recipient a perfectly healthy clone of Tiffany or Clair regardless of prior gender or species. It was particularly bad for a few the flying monkeys and Ursoid tank crewmen, transforming flyers in mid air and making the meter tall aliens to tall for their positions. The spell did not directly affect the minds of its victims but the extent of the physical change had profound effects on those transformed. They shocked even those seeing the changes. Only the Cylons ignored the spell and continued the attack on the Connor farm.
Boras, Agent K, and Captain Richard Page had set up a joint headquarters in a small wooded area well east of the action. Their small force was growing Boras and Carl had gotten more links to join them and Zed had hired over a dozen bounty alien hunters while the last of Page's men arrived. Elle had set up a network to monitor the growing reality wave disturbance that was growing even faster then the battle. At ten twenty three PM central time the equipment began shooting sparks and giving off a great deal of smoke. A short time later she was analyzing other effects of the latest wave on the wounded. One of the wounded effected had been a Satyr. With Special Unit two complaining about vampire attacks, Links complaining about aliens, and MIB complaining about demons things were getting strange even by MIB standards.
In their short but very successful history together Skeeve and Ahaz had done a lot on very limited resources. In this mission Ahaz literally had worlds of resources at his fingertips. This somehow made Skeeve feel that they were somehow losing control of the whole job process, somehow he needed to get to Ahaz and make him aware of the problem. Suddenly Skeeve caught the feel of some very strange and powerful magic. Moments latter Ahaz was interrupted by an irate Kracked Sckull demanding to know what misbegotten Deevel had come up with this crazy spell to cheat his shaman and healers out of their fair share of the health care money. Ahaz tried to get the Ork commander focused on the battle at hand.
Colonel Bexare was not a happy bear his forces had thus far been unable to impede the giant walkers the enemy pulled seemingly out of nowhere. The smaller more nimble walkers were no less vulnerable then any tanks and were larger targets. Still it was a lot worse then fighting the primitives that baited his troops into their assault on the southern flank. His only hope now was that the returning ship might soon be able to give him fire support.
Grannet Noggen could not get support from the shamans to take down the cowardly wards his most traitorous foes had erected. To make matters worse another force was approaching his position from the southwest, and so it was while he still had control of his forces, he ordered an attack right into the teeth of the relief force.
Company C 634th Forward Support Battalion had moved into the position formally occupied by the sheriff's roadblock. The unit was providing medical support for the operation other units had joined the hasty offensive including an armor company and a VFW post with a working howitzer. The unit had made arrangements with a few local hospitals for any care more extensive than the clearing company could handle. A growing mix of military and civilian ambulances were coming and going from the area. At twenty two hundred hours twenty-three minutes the nature of the field hospitals business changed, there was suddenly an urgent need for psychologists and councilors.
Moh had his men covering the eastern flank. Behind him the Orks were holding a large stretch of Owens road. When the great wave of transformation/healing magic hit Moh's field detectors tracked it back to Ahaz's objective. The detectors also showed four other new powerful sources of tempo dimensional activity. Moh sent his own forces to investigate two sites and had the Orks and flying Monkeys check out the other two.
Bernard moved his Prevect fire team southwest back toward place Owens road intersected with the main road. Somehow the woods had not seamed this thick the last time they had been in this area what's more the area had an aura of enchantment about it. Prevects are tough customers gifted with both great strength quick reflexes and natural armor and weapons. These particular Prevects were armed with a well-selected and unpleasant mix of magic and technology that would be expected of top of the line Prevect infantry. Even with all this when one is walking trough a dense croup of trees and suddenly every root and branch of every tree and scrub reaches out and grabs you. The Tree-Ents had surprise size and even greater strength on their side. The Ents brought the prisoners to Strutter for questioning.
Brew Skull led a small band of Orks south from the front as per Moh's orders. He had not gone very far when he spotted a massive heard of herbivores. The heard before him included the horses, asses, rhinoceros, zebras, tapirs pigs, hippopotamus, camels, giraffes, antelopes, deer, cattle, sheep, and goats, the elephants, hyrax, Anatosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, Amargasaurus Atlantosaurus, Barosaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Quaesitosaurus, Nemegtosaurus, Seismosaurus, Supersaurus, Stegosaurs, and Ankylosaurs, Triceratops, Woolly Mammoths, Coelodontas, Eohipus Mastodons, and giant war Oiliphants. What Brew Skull did not see was Wally and Tarzan in the center of the heard.
After a week of intense training Hammer felt he sufficiently trained his diverse collection of troops that he had some hope of them staying out of each others way. Fidgit had told him of the two time holes that would be used to move his troops. One of these holes was east of the target road the other west of the road three hundred feet in the air.
Marine Lieutenant Colonel Tyrus Cassius McQueen moved from squadron to squadron making sure all were in readiness. He had large number of aircraft and spacecraft and a very limited launch. window. Colonel Hammer had assigned McQueen the command of the western half of the operation. His forces would be faced with the tasks of air & space superiority, close air support, and establishing their own airhead or LZ. His resources were loaded and ready for take off the range of weapons in his inventory was bizarre from powerful high speed hyperspace capable fighters to WWI biplanes and flying reptiles. He walked from unit to unit as each unit preformed its final checklist. His own ISSAPC and a group of flight controls would be the last craft out. It finally started when McQueen nodded his head to the flight controller.
"Rouge Squadron you are cleared for departure." Stated the controller and the X-Wings launched along with several large shuttles that had once seen service with the Empire, Blue Squadron you are cleared for departure." Stated the controller and the Vipers launched along with three Colonial shuttles two carrying Colonial Warriors one carrying a squad of Dorsai. As soon as Blue Squadron cleared the time hole McQueen's own Marines were next Hammer Heads and the ISSAPCs lifted.
As each unit lifted the ground support teams joined Hammers group going via the ground elevation neutral gate. As the controller gave the word the cry "On the jump, Move!" Could be heard as two lances of battle Mechs Joined units of Mobile Infantry some in full jump armor and others in landing pods as they piled through the time hole.
The assault shuttles of Royal Manticoran Space Marines were next followed by three Terrain drop ship of another type of space marine. Next went Captain Jester and his company of Space Legionnaires in their own assault shuttles. Next a went a battle hardened unit of British paratroopers In that units time line the 1970's saw a war that limited it self to only tactical nukes lifted off in ---. They were followed by a version of the 101st Airmobile. In this unit's time line, the unit invaded China in 1968. The unit had three-dozen helicopters. The Soviet Airborne and airmobile unit that followed had seen action in Afghanistan. The well-equipped millennium version of troops from the 82nd Airborne had only seen action as peacekeepers had four C130s and a C5A and four F16s as escort. The French Foreign Legion troops had seen action in Africa had their four helicopters escorted by two Mirages. The time hole on this side of the hole started a mere 7 meters above the ground an enterprising group of Gurkha Paratroopers used a small tower they had constructed complete with diving board. As the Gurkhas made their way up the tower a squadron of WWII Marine Corps Corsairs entered the time hole above them. Twenty-five DC 3s came next half of them towing gliders. Five mustangs, four lightings, two B-17s and a lone B-25 flew escort.
The last aircraft through were five Sopwith Camel commanded by a first lieutenant Beagle. As McQueen's own transport lifted a thunder of Dragons moved through the time hole on thousands of leathery wings. (With more then one hundred species of dragon present the "leathery wings" thing is a trend, some dragons flew on fury or feathery wings, and a few even had gossamer wings and some levitated with no wings at all but for the most part the wings were leathery.)
Five SGC Teams emerged from the time hole four set up a hasty perimeter while the fifth deployed a sensor and communications package. The Slammers followed on the heals of the SGC teams widening and reinforcing the perimeter. Battle Mechs and Transformers added their watchtower height to the perimeter. Late twentieth century and early twenty first century armor and mechanized infantry relived the units on the perimeter who moved to establish a new outer defense. JAG came through the Bolo ready to act as mobile fire support if any unit ran into trouble. Hammers Blowers began lunching small orbital probes while smaller and more primitive artillery pieces took up their place in the fire support plan. The last armored vehicle to clear the time hole was a French Char d'Assaut St Chamond that had to be towed by an US M88. Support units followed in a wide array of trucks and tractors. Then more combat units poured through the kind that only used feet and hoofs for motive power. The camp followers also made it through. From his office inside JAG Fidgit had already contacted Max..
Burger's Militia was covering the flanks of the advancing National Guard. Before them lay the killing fields of the earlier battles for the Centre Compound. Suddenly from the North West the Orcs charged. Burger's units lacking true machine guns repeatedly fired and fell back a few could not fall back fast enough.
In her Mark II Urban Assault Vehicle Max was receiving communications she had to quickly reassign and work out a system for her new support to differentiate friend from foe. This done she turned to the current tactical situation. JAG hooked Max into a Marine ISSAPC that had been outfitted to handle combat air traffic control. The result was to send one Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington and his squadron of WWII Marine Corps Corsairs in to strafe the Orcs. The gull winged fighters turned the Ork attack into a route.
In the center compound Bradley Talmadge worked feverishly to forestall a disaster. National guard and Militia units had broken the siege on the compound. The strange nature of just how Burger's Militia was receiving reinforcements provided another problem. Talmadge had to prevent all the friendly air units from coming to blows.
Sergeant Yow Gea of the Ursoid expeditionary force watched his radar as his mobile air defense vehicle scanned the horizon suddenly blips started appearing out of nowhere blips by the thousands. The enemy kept showing more and more new and strange capabilities as the night wore on faced with what looked like overwhelming superior ECM.. With no idea what the real targets were he made a quick decision he shut down his radar and ordered the tracks to move. The explosions were his track had been reaffirmed his faith in his judgment two other radar tracks were not so fortunate. He was glad that Sergeant Yow Gea was smarter and faster then the average Ursoid.
Colonel Bexare could only watch as his air defenses collapsed under the twin onslaughts of US and McQueen's forces. The enemy controlled the skies his landers could not safely lift off he was trapped. Worst of all some of the new enemy fighters were boosting into orbit.
Skeeve and Ahaz were facing a situation that was getting progressively worse. Realizing that the Ork forces were on the verge of collapse the flying monkey squadrons in tatters Ahaz was getting ready to use the Henchmen R Us Dehopper when Skeeve came up with a plan. Ahaz looked at the name in the reference and the danger warnings the Deveels had placed next to it then Ahaz punched in the code. An Army Air Corps Officer in dress mess appeared, in minutes the three formed a plan.
LoBo and his squad had appropriated weapons from several sources using a combination of Cylon blasters and Ursoid assault rifles they managed to gain entry into the barn kept the defenders head down long enough to gain entry to the truck that contained there objective. Blasting a hole into the top of the trailer LoBo went in while his fellow flying monkeys kept the locals busy. With a hammer and chisel he began extracting the glowing orb from the black stone.
Trying to better maintain focus Tiffany and Clair again began the spell that they hoped would teleport them out of the dismal cellar. Again Tiffany began chanting and Clair joined in. Once again the room began to glow.
The Doctor had time to run a few data retrieval functions and get some communications gear ready he then shout down that gear as he saw another class ten reality wave building. Again he put the Tardis' shields to maximum and got ready to ride out the wave.
Inside the glowing trailer LoBo chipped blindly at the rock it was too bright in the trailer to see anything. Suddenly he freed the orb and felt a rather strange explosion.
Radios, TVs, phones and other communications devises mundane and magical within three light seconds of the orb received the sound of a small pick striking stone punctuated by the sounds of a desperate and frustrated flying monkey. Those able to translate those sounds heard a wide range of curses and several universal translators gained new vocabulary. LoBo the source of the colorful language found himself in a basement of some sort confronted by two girls in there late teens. LoBo had the Orb in one hand and a chisel in the other. The athletic looking blond was suddenly holding a Louisville Slugger TPX -3 ounce C555 Platinum Baseball Bat while the petite brunette bore a Model 27 Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum revolver. LoBo was also conscious of he fact that he was not exactly the largest flying monkey in his, nowhere in sight, squad. The underground room was a bit confining for aerobatics. LoBo did his best to surrender. Fortunately he spoke their language.
LoBo's squad was forced to retreat, his squad leader reported him missing in action.
In the Centre compound there was great rejoicing the relief column had swept away the besieging Orks. The Siege was broken. A rather strange mix of friendly troops was now reconsolidating itself at the compound. It was a seen of great rejoicing. For Sheriff Bill Hart it was the start of a new investigation. Injured earlier by a stray arrow he talked to the two scared kids Jimmy Bond had picked up they both seemed to recognize the face Hart now wore. The wounded had all become clones either of Tiffany Simpson or Clair Burns. Those wounded inside Willows wards had picked up Willows hair color while those outside the wards had Tiffany's brown or Clair's blond hair. Sheriff Hart had become a red headed Clair. Investigating the imposable situation was Hart's way of trying to not be overwhelmed by it. She was having limited success.
Massha had followed the sudden migration of the Orb on her crystal ball. It had not moved very far. The site of having their agent acquire the object only to loose it to two teenagers was a bit annoying. Why the Monkey surrendered to the girls was quite obvious to her. In addition to being larger and better armed then the winged primate they also had enough magical energy swirling around them to wipe out a continent. She brought all this quickly to Skeeve's attention.
John Yossarian's B-25 had dropped it's bomb load more or less on a group of Ork's who through a momentary lapse of judgment had attempted to rally. The sudden proximity to exploding ordinance caused their common sense to reassert itself. The fact that McQueen had sent the older designs of aircraft in last and as far from the flack as possible almost reassured Yossarian that he was actually working for someone not actively out to kill him. The little part about not having a base to land at did somewhat under mind these warm feelings. Then something most unexpected happened; a familiar voice came over the radio it was Milo Mindbender seeking his advice.
No sooner than the Doctor had restarted the communications gear he received a call from a voice he hoped he had forgotten. "Good evening Doctor," Mindbender said. "How did you know this number?" Asked the Doctor. "It is my business to know how to contact my customers," replied the black marketer. "What are you selling this time?" Asked the Doctor. "
Well to be frank I am kind of in need of a neutral party for a negotiation." Replied the
With his rear and eastern flank collapsing Kracked Sckull did his best to redirect his remaining forces at the new foes unfortunately he did not have anywhere near enough of the heavy Imperial units to face the new foe. Even his At-Ats did not last long against power guns, hell bores, Battle Mechs and some of the top of the line support weapons made by Phule Proof Munitions. He called Ahaz to ask for more reinforcements while he listened to one his necromancers complain about these newfangled weapons not leaving him enough to work with.
At the same time the Doctor began setting up lines of communications. He also began trying to get a sensor lock on the source of the disturbance. He traced communications signals device was putting out and found the reaction drive half of the probe his equipment formed images of both probes, One flying westward the other held underground.
Having tied up their prisoner they discussed what might have gone wrong with the spell. LoBo hearing what they were attempting and their level of expertise became more then a little worried. Though no magic user himself LoBo had worked for some of Oz's heavy hitters. LoBo began cooperating wholeheartedly with his captors; it was a matter of self-preservation. LoBo had seen the full effects of their first spell and was unsure if he was the only victim of the second.
A strange group of travelers waited with Lou and Piper at otherwise deserted rest stop some where west of Chicago. They waited until a Ford Van joined them. Lou introduced Celda who in turn introduced Johnny, Jack, Micki and Duncan. Three vehicles continued on with Celda leading the way. The group came to the first of many roadblocks Piper froze the police at the roadblock and they drove on. Celda watched the goings on near the probe with a small device in her possession.
After consulting with LoBo, Tiffany and Clair said "third time's the charm," and began a newly modified version of the spell that they were sure would teleport them out of the dismal cellar. Again Tiffany began chanting and Clair joined in. LoBo shut his eyes and prayed. Once more the room began to glow.
The negotiations were going fine Skeeve, Max, and Bradley Talmadge had worked out a ceasefire. The presence of X-Wings, Vipers, and Hammerheads along with JAG demonstration of putting a shot across their bow brought the Ursoids into the negotiations. While the Doctor was quite successfully filling the role of master diplomat he was not monitoring the reality wave levels near as closely as he had before. Unfortunately he did not have time to take protective measures when the automated alarm sounded for the third wave.
The last roadblock Celda's group encountered was not a roadblock in the traditional sense. It was a crop of large trees in the middle of an area that should have been road. Celda looked at the seen and became rather indignant. She flew out the window and began talking with the trees. Her tone was not very lady like even for a lady drill instructor. She seemed to know all these trees by name. The Tree Ents began to move out of the way. She returned to the Van, sat herself on Duncan's shoulder and continued on. A short time later Duncan and Celda started to glow. In less then a second they disappeared.
Randal was watching the two girls chanting when suddenly he started to glow. In less then a second he too disappeared.
Massha was on duty at her crystal ball when she suddenly started glowing. In less then a second she too disappeared.
When the blinding light receded so they could safely open their eyes again LoBo, Tiffany, Clair, and the Probe found themselves in a fair sized, well lit white room with a large circular consol at it's center. Voices were coming from the consol. They were apparently in a hospital because all the voices were calling for a Doctor.
When Celda and Duncan could safely open their eyes again they found themselves in a dark room. Not far off Duncan could feel the persistence of another Immortal.
Randal suddenly found himself in a small van that was rapidly breaking to a halt. As it came to a stop along the side of the road the driver in an angry voice asked, "What have you done with Celda and Duncan?" The worried and perplexed Dwarf gasped, "Celda's here?"
When Randal suddenly disappeared to be replaced by a much taller man every guard in the room brought weapon to bear. The Doctor raised his hands smiled reassuringly and began to try explain his current position.
When Massha suddenly disappeared to be replaced by the reaction half of the probe. There was a moment of shock in Skeeve's headquarters (an old abandon root cellar they had found) when they recognized what they had it soon became a game of tackle football or possibly a greased pig contest. Finally Skeeve gave the probe its shutdown command and it along with Chumley, Guido and Nunzio came crashing to the floor.
Massha suddenly found herself observing the lights of western Chicago from an altitude of three thousand feet, make that twenty nine hundred feet, no make that twenty eight hundred feet... Well you get the idea anyway she really did not have time to enjoy the scenery. Quickly she started the levitation spell that Skeeve taught her. She gained control of her descent hovered for a second ten feet above the ground and landed as gently as a snowflake. Proud of herself she then set out to try and find out where the hell she was.
Awkis could sense the presence of another Immortal. The lull in the battle let him inspect his prize he quickly saw the damage done to his greatest treasure. Preoccupied with the disaster he was not the first to notice one of the trucks as it began to levitate. Celda levitation allowed Duncan to escape the basement. All Awkis' frustration and loss focused on the innocent immortal as he immerged from the underground. In a suicidal rage Awkis challenged the Highlander. Awkis had his men stand down as he drew his sword. "I don't want your head," Duncan said.
"Then defend your own!" replied Awkis. The duel began with Duncan on the defensive parrying and dodging blow after blow. The battle slowly moved out of the barn the audience watched but did not abandon the cover of the barn. Awkis' determination to kill Duncan was now tempered by the forced calm of an experienced fighter. The two now carefully probed each other's defenses looking for an opening. Again and again one or the other would launch a sudden attack only to be countered by the other. Both men bled from a few minor wounds that were healing as they fought.
Awkis saw on opening in Duncan's defense a small movement he struck only a small movement by the Highlander allowed the attack to miss. Awkis had over committed, Macleod's blow stuck home, the battle was over. Added to the rain and thunder of the night, the smoke and fires that covered the landscape, the spectacle that was the quickening was almost lost. Almost but not quite as ball lightning danced around the corpses and small whirlwinds played the fires into columns of flame. Finally though it was the rain that had it's way. as the soaked victor was now left to listen to the steady patter, for this once again was the sound of peace.
Once he had calmed the fears of those at the Centre Compound the Doctor set about reestablishing communications. Oddly enough it was LoBo, Tiffany, and Clair from behind the safety of Tardis' shields that allowed the negations to move so quickly. Holding both the most defendable position and the prize everyone was after the girls were indulged on their every question. Tiffany tended toward the inane and bubbly. In spite of everything she managed bring effervescence into the realm of a capital offence. Clair on the other hand was quick witted to the extreme. It was she who found that Randall's work order only called for removal of the object from the Universe not its final disposition. It was Tiffany however that asked the simple question that was the basis of the final agreement. Tiffany had asked; "Who made it?" She also gave her opinion on how pretty it was at some length, but I have already told about the inane and bubbly part. so I will not go into detail.
The final agreement went something like this:
In reference to repair order 666-2-3195-1234-9995-23 of work order forty-two, the removal and disposal of a piece of hazardous waste henceforth to be referred to as the Probe shall be contracted to the offices of Myth Inc. The office responsible for implementation of work order forty-two will provide a special one time only offer of compensation to victims of events of this year in the Sol system. This in no way Impinges or dilutes the normal sovereign immunity of the issuer of afore mentioned work order. All compensation will be paid in shrubbery. All claimants can apply though an office that will be manned and maintained by the staff of Curious Goods, Chicago Ltd.
Do to meritorious service in defense of their nation and world all members of the organization known as the Illinois Free Militia shall receive full Presidential Pardons.
An offer of amnesty was offered to any member of any of the participating forces that felt they could not or would not be able to return to their own time or dimensions. This proved very useful to the large number of Tiffany and Clair clones.
A Treaty of trade, commerce, and cultural exchange was established between the Ursoid Star Kingdom and The United Nations of Earth.
Myth Inc. also was charged with the training of Tiffany Simpson and Clair Burns in the arts magical.
The United Nations Task Force for Inter Species Cooperation (UNTFISC) was formed centralizing many of the function of MIB and other until recently covert organizations.
This was the dawn of a new era in Inter Species understanding. Eighty-five percent of the percipients returned to their home time and dimension the rest took permanent residence in the Chicago area and aided in the rebuilding of the lake area. With the probe gone the hellmouth returned to Sunnydale and so did the Scuby Crew.
Vermin now works for the Chicago Sun-Times as a restaurant critic. JAG is currently running a successful Chicago based law practice. His cooperation (Mindbender & JAG) also holds most of the key patents for interstellar drives.
Carl Kolchak and Jack McGee went on to share a Pulitzer prize in journalism.
The online version of The Lone Gunman won several web awards.
Blight remained undetected in Sarah Connor's body.
Wilson went on to a career in motion pictures.
To this day socks, gloves, and wire hangers mysteriously appear and disappear in an effort to balance the mass of the universe.
There is a special on fiery chariots on ebay.