Disclaimer: The characters are owned by Stephen J. Cannell and ABC.
Summary: While at a bookstore, Ralph makes an unusual and unexpected discovery.
AN: I would like to thank candyflosskillr and htbthomas for their much needed betaing skills. This story takes place sometime after season three.
Found and Lost
It had been an interesting past couple of years, at least it seemed that way to Ralph Hinkley. He finally married girlfriend and attorney, Pam Davidson in a some what unorthodox fashion which was due to his association with FBI agent Bill Maxwell. But that was not really Bill's fault it had to do with a certain red suit that was given to him by aliens to right the wrongs that were happening.
Truth be told, Bill was just as reluctant in the whole suit affair as he was because the little green guys, as Bill had dubbed them, brought the two of them together as partners with the suit. Adding Pam to the mix, the trio had had some incredible and unique adventures.
The real surprising thing was that Ralph was the only one of the two who could wear the suit which granted him powers far beyond those of mortal men. Unfortunately, he had little to no control over the suit's abilities. The main reason for this was because he did not have the instruction book the aliens had given him with it. Ralph had lost the instructions shortly after his encounter with the aliens.
Without that book, using the suit's powers was difficult but not impossible. Ralph was able to fly, albeit erratically. Other powers from the suit came about by sheer coincidence or by the situation that he was put in.
All this reminiscing brought a small smile to his face as Ralph reached his desired location, a local used bookstore. I hope I can find something for our anniversary that Pam will like, Ralph thought to himself as he entered the store.
Deciding to browse, Ralph walked the aisles to see if something would catch his eye.
"Can I help you sir?" a store clerk generously asked.
"Just looking around, thanks," Ralph replied thankfully.
"Well, if you find something or have a question, don't hesitate to ask."
Ralph nodded his head in answer.
Before the clerk left, she gave this suggestion to her perspective customer, "You may want to take a look through our used book section. We have several unique selections over there."
"Thank you," Ralph told the clerk as she pointed out the section she had mentioned.
Ralph was then left to his browsing once again. Just like the rest of the book store, the used book portion of the establishment was marked off in different sections like fiction and non-fiction. So, Ralph took his time looking.
During his search, he found a couple of books that he thought Pam would be interested in. Just when he decided to pay for his selections, a book caught his eye.
"How in the…?" Ralph mumbled to himself, very startled at what he had found.
He picked it up and on its cover was the same crest that was on the suit he wore beneath his clothes. Or as Bill liked the call them, the magic jammies.
Disbelieving, he realized that it was an exact duplicate of the instruction book for his suit. When opened, it had the unreadable writing on the pages just like the last time the aliens had given him a second book. There was only one way to be sure that it was the real McCoy. Luckily, Ralph was wearing the suit underneath his clothes which would aid him in finding out about the book. He took a look around to make sure no one was looking his way and exposed one of the sleeves to the suit.
Ralph put the book in his hand that had the revealed part of the suit. As if by magic, the lettering turned to English. To say Ralph was pleased would be an understatement. Ever since he used the last book of instructions to shrink to the size of an ant and returned to normal without the book in hand did Ralph think he would get another one.
I just can't believe this. Bill will be so pleased. He covered his suit sleeve back up and went to the register to pay for his books. While the clerk was ringing him up, Ralph asked while holding up the instruction book, "Do you happen to know where this book came from?"
The cashier, who happened to be the same lady that Ralph had talked to earlier answered, "The guy that brought it in didn't say. He said he found it out by Palmdale lying on the ground and that book has been sitting on that shelf ever since. That's probably why I remember, because no one was really interested in it."
It must have been found shortly after I lost it, Ralph mused. "Did you ever try to read it?"
"Just after I got it but there were all these symbols that I didn't know what to make of them. I hope you do."
"I have a friend that may be able to help in translating this for me."
"Good luck with that."
The sales clerk gave Ralph the cost and he eagerly gave her the money for his purchases. Wishing the clerk a good day, he left the store and found the nearest pay phone and called home to his wife.
"Hey, Pam, you wouldn't believe what I have just found…"
Minutes after talking to her husband, Pam heard a knock on the door and went to answer it.
Before uttering a greeting to whomever was on the other side, Bill marched into the Hinkley residence with a, "Hey there, Counselor. The Kid here?"
Closing the door, Pam answered sarcastically, "Hello to you, too, Bill. Ralph's not home but he should be soon."
"All right, I can't wait to show 'im this. It's the Bureau's recent newsletter. That missile case we worked on a couple of weeks ago made the Bust of the Month. Ha ha."
"Good for you, Bill, Ralph will be glad to hear it. By the way, he's bringing something home that you might find interesting."
"What is Ralph bringing with him?"
"I think it would be better is Ralph told you."
"Oh, come on now, Counselor, if it's something really important, you can tell me now. You don't want to leave good ol' Uncle Bill in suspense now, do you?"
"Bill, just be patient. Ralph should be here any minute now."
Before Bill could say another word, Ralph arrived home. First he went over to Pam and gave her a kiss on the cheek and spotted Bill over on the living room couch. "Bill, I didn't think you would be coming over this soon," Ralph told him as he placed the books on the nearby table.
"That doesn't matter, kid… Pam here tells me that you have something to show us," Bill stated, eager to find out what Ralph had brought home.
Ralph with an expression of wonder on his face continued, "I never thought that I would come across or see another one of those books again."
"It's not some egghead kinda book now, is it Ralph?"
"No, it's not one of those books, Bill. This book is very – how I can put it – out of this world."
Bill looked from Ralph to Pam and back again, not fully understanding what Ralph was getting at. "I ain't getting any younger, Ralph, and I don't feel like guessing – so you might as well show me what ya got."
Seeing how irritable Bill was had gotten, Ralph pulled the instruction book out of the bag and handed it to him. "Does this look familiar to you, Bill?"
Bill was stunned silent while he held the book of instructions to Ralph's suit. He thought that they would never see that book again, especially since the second copy they were given was less than the size of a grain of sand.
When Bill finally found his voice, he asked, "Where did you find it?"
"At a bookstore of all places. The clerk told me that someone had found and brought it to the store. Ever since then, the book's been there."
"Amazing?" Pam mentioned, finishing Bill's thought.
"No, it's just our luck that the book was found and we weren't't able to find it until now. Think about what we could've been doing with the suit if we had gotten that book sooner."
"I have a feeling that you have hundreds of scenarios running around in your head, Bill…"
"Of course there are. We can clean up all of LA with that little book and then the sky's the limit after that."
"Hold on a second, Bill. Remember the last time we had the instruction book…?"
No one said a word because they all knew what happened the last time. A chance encounter with the aliens granted them a new instruction book. Shortly thereafter, they went out to the desert to use the book and see what could be done with the suit. Ralph then chose a random power to try, punched in some numbers in the book and then shrank to the size of an ant. Unfortunately when he returned to normal size, the book of instructions was left on a grain of sand.
"Yeah, we don't use any shrinking powers and lose this book," Bill said as he gestured toward the book.
"Always the one track mind, right Bill?" Pam asked.
"What's wrong with that?"
"Bill, we'll take things easy this time and that way we can make sure that we won't lose the book." Ralph did not want to drag out this discussion any longer than he had to.
"All right, first thing Saturday morning we go out to the desert and find out what other powers we can use with the suit," Bill suggested in a way that sounded like an order that should be obeyed.
"Well, Pam and I had made plans for…"
"Aww, for crying out loud. Ralph, we really need to find out what that suit can do. The sooner the better."
"I was kidding, Bill. You're probably right, we should find out more about the suit's powers."
Bill gave a sigh of relief. "Now with that settled, what's for dinner?"
Over the next several weeks, Bill and Ralph worked together in finding out what the suit could do. Ralph even honed his skills on the powers that he already knew how to use, but not that well.
His flying had improved immensely but the landings were still off. Ralph's holographing was as good as ever especially with that kidnapping case he and Bill worked on recently. The use of invisibility and telekinesis were as sharp as ever with the instruction book.
One of the new powers Ralph was working on was teleportation. He thought that teleporting would be much better than flying but he was finding it difficult to get the hang of because he could teleport no further than a couple of miles.
Another new power Ralph was using was for him to pass through solid objects. This phasing ability was one that he and Bill were working on during their latest practice session.
"Let's try this again, Ralph and this time try not to get stuck in the trunk of the car," Bill told his partner. It had taken him several minutes to finish phasing through and Bill did not want to tell his boss at the Bureau, Carlisle, about what had happened to his car. He had not damaged a car in months and he wanted to keep it that way.
Ralph frustrated and a bit tired said, "Can't we just take a break or even call it a day? We've been out here since the crack of dawn. I'm exhausted and hungry. If we go now, I'll spring for lunch. What do you say?"
"Just once more, Ralph and then we'll be done. Oh, and you're still buying lunch."
For this attempt, Ralph started from the rear of Bill's car. He then followed the instructions from the book and concentrated, slowly, passing through the rear end of the car. This time, he made it through the trunk without incident and continued forward.
"Looking good, kid, looking good," encouraged Bill, excited that his friend was mastering this new ability.
Ralph stopped his forward motion and gave Bill a dirty look. It was difficult enough exploring what else the suit could do but with Bill yapping, it could easily break his concentration.
"Sorry, please continue," apologized Bill.
With a nod, Ralph reaffirmed his efforts of phasing through the vehicle. Taking his time, Ralph completed his task as he passed through the front of the car.
"Now can we go get something to eat?" Ralph implored.
"Sure, once you take care of one more thing."
"And what would that be, Bill?"
Bill gestured to his partner to take a look at the front bumper of his car. They both saw one of the boots from the suit firmly stuck in the bumper.
Two weeks later…
Ralph and Bill were not given much time to try out some new powers with the suit when a major case file happened to fall into Bill's lap. Four missiles had been stolen while in transit to Edwards Air Force Base. If those missiles were given nuclear warheads, not only would that constitute a threat to national security but a threat internationally as well.
With Ralph and the suit's help, Bill was getting closer to whoever was in possession of those missiles. One night, they had found someone close to the operation and were able to interrogate them in the usual manner.
"You ain't gonna make me talk… especially with some space cadet with ya," warned the man that Bill had wanted to get some information out of.
"Well, I wanted to do this the easy way, but if you insist, the hard way it is. Ralph…" Bill said, acting slightly disappointed.
Ralph picked the man up, threw him over his shoulder and told him, "Hold on tight, this could be a bumpy ride."
Three quick steps later and Ralph was airborne with his passenger who was screaming bloody murder. As this went on, Bill laughed and waited for his partner to return with some very important intel.
Ralph took his reluctant passenger and deposited him on the ledge of a nearby building. It was very narrow and would do the job that he intended. Ralph then situated himself on the ledge above the man.
"Nice view, isn't it?" Ralph asked, getting the ball rolling.
"Are you freakin' crazy? Get me down from here!!" the man asked, pleading that his request would be granted.
In a blink of an eye, Ralph was seated right next to his charge. "You know I can't do that until you answer agent Maxwell's question."
Ralph gave the guy a slight nudge which made him teeter back and forth on the ledge.
"All right, all right, I'll talk. Just get me down from here!"
"Ask and you shall receive."
Ralph put a hand on the guy's shoulder and with but a thought, teleported both of them down beside the waiting Bill Maxwell.
"Since you are back, I assume that you are ready to talk?" Bill asked with a slight smirk.
"I'll tell you anything, anything at all as long as you keep this guy away from me," the guy said as he gestured towards Ralph and cowered beside Bill.
Roughly a half hour later, Bill was on his way to the missles' location – he hoped Ralph was already there. Ralph, he knew, would be able to handle any situation that arose by himself but any extra help would be great.
"It took you long enough, Bill," Ralph said as he suddenly appeared beside his friend.
Startled, Bill quickly stopped his car. "Jeez, Ralph, I hate when you do that. Why aren't you at that warehouse?"
"Sorry, Bill, but when I arrived, I found out that there wasn't just a warehouse there. It's an abandoned air field."
"Damn, that means they don't have to cart those missiles by truck."
"My thoughts exactly and it so happens that there is a fighter jet in the hangar and don't ask me how or why they have that in there. I thought you should know."
"Good thinking, Ralph, I'll make a Fed out of you yet. Oh, we'll be having back up on this one, kid."
"That's fine by me. Continue on down this road here for a couple of miles and we can get close to the hangar on foot without anyone spotting us."
Bill put the car back in gear and headed in the direction Ralph told him to.
"How many guys are there?" Bill asked, wanting to be prepared in case of a gun fight.
"A half dozen at least, maybe a few more," answered Ralph as they reached the end of the line by car.
"Let's get a closer look then. Ralph..."
Placing a hand on Bill's shoulder, Ralph teleported them just outside the hangar. A swift look around confirmed Ralph's count on the men involved at least on this end of the operation. Bringing the operation down might lead the Bureau into finding out who is all involved. That was the least of their worries because there was a lot of activity going on – and much of it centered on the fighter jet.
"It looks like they're going to move the missiles by air. I guess we can't wait for back up. Get in there, kid and don't let that jet get off the ground," Bill instructed as cocked his gun.
Ralph told his partner, "Not a problem. See you inside." And then Ralph immediately disappeared.
"Jeez, I'll never get used to that." Bill cautiously entered the hangar, gun in hand. "All right, everyone, freeze it right there. This is a federal bust. Drop what you're doing because you are under arrest," shouted Bill as he flashed his ID.
"I don't think so," one of the men stated pulling out a gun of his own and firing a couple of shots at Bill.
Ducking for cover, Bill returned fire at the shooter, "Ralph, I could really use your help now!"
Ralph appeared out of nowhere, grabbed the gun, bent the barrel like a pretzel and then tossed the man into a group of his associates. Unbeknownst to them, one of the men got into the cockpit of the jet and prepared for takeoff.
While the pilot was busy with the plane, Bill and Ralph were slowly getting the situation under control. Ralph's use of his new powers came in handy as helped round up all the men.
Bill had taken care of the last of the men as he tied him up with the rest of the captured men. They heard the roar of the jet's engine as it was making its way out of the hangar.
"Ralph!" Bill exclaimed over the noise.
"I'll get him," Ralph answered as he took off for the plane.
Unfortunately for Ralph, the fighter jet had enough of a head start that it was able to take off, but he was in pursuit. As quickly as he could, Ralph began to make up ground. The pilot realized that something was following him but did not know what it was. So, he turned the jet and fired its guns at the incoming object.
The gunfire did not bother Ralph in the least due to being bullet-proof. Covering his head, the bullets harmlessly bounced of him. The pilot could not believe what he was seeing and that was not just due to the fact that he was in a dogfight with a flying man.
Seeing that bullets were having no effect, he decided to fire a missile at his air bound adversary. This gave Ralph little time to react as he deflected it out of his way. He took a glance where the missile went and grabbed his communicator from the suit's sleeve.
"Bill, can you hear me?" he asked from several miles in the air.
"Ya, Ralph. Everything is taken care of down here," replied Bill as he kept an eye on the captured bad guys.
"Good because whoever is flying that jet just fired a missile at me that I deflected. It's heading your way. Sorry."
"Thanks for the heads up, kid, now just get that guy."
"I'm trying, Bill, I'm trying."
It was a good thing that Ralph warned Bill as the missile came down not far from where he was.
Ralph refocused his effort of bringing the jet down. He flew as close as he could to it and then teleported into the cockpit's co-pilot's seat.
"Excuse me, may I see your license and registration for this vehicle?" Ralph asked the pilot from behind him.
Stunned that he was not the only one in the jet, the man replied, "How did you get in here?"
"I just popped in. Now, how about setting this bird down?"
"Nothin' doin', bozo. You can do that yourself."
The pilot pressed a button, the canopy popped open and he ejected from the plane, leaving Ralph to fend for himself. Swiftly, he got himself out of the plane and went to the nose to slow its decent. It took some effort on his part but Ralph was able to safely put the jet and the remaining stolen missiles into the ocean and he would tell Bill their location so the military could retrieve them.
His job was not over as he saw the pilot floating down to earth in his parachute. Making a beeline towards the parachutist, Ralph caught up to him and snagged the top of the 'chute and headed back towards the hangar. Ralph dropped the guy off for Bill to take care of as sirens made their presence known.
A couple of days later…
"Once again the world is safe from the hands of evil courtesy of Ralph, the suit and yours truly. Ha ha ha," Bill stated triumphantly as he entered the Hinkley residence.
"You're rather chipper today, Bill," Pam told him as she closed the door once he was inside. "Is this because of that missile case that you and Ralph wrapped up the other day?"
"You bet your legal briefs it is, Counselor. I'm in line for a commendation and Carlisle didn't bat an eye this time when I told him what happened to my issued car."
"What happened to it, Bill? You didn't't lose a door from it again, did you?" Ralph asked as he came in from the shower and gave Pam a kiss on the cheek.
"You remember that missile you warned me about?" Bill asked as Ralph nodded that he did. "Well, it turns out that sucker blew it up."
Ralph went white suddenly, and plopped himself in a nearby chair with a disheartened look on his face.
Both Pam and Bill noticed his reaction.
"What's the matter, honey?" Pam asked a little worried.
"Yeah, kid, what's up?" questioned Bill.
"The last time we were out training with the suit… I left the instruction book in your car…"
AN: Please feel free to leave a review so I know what you thought of this story. Constructive criticism is always welcome but flames are not.