Darkness still prevailed within The Magic Man's vision; it had been this way for what seemed an eternity throughout the great fall, and now without light, it was impossible to tell if it was day or night… The feeling of pain and soreness returned to his body, robbing Mok Swagger of all the possibility that he might be dead. His body was protesting against a feeling of itchiness being pressed upon his entire left side, as well as the chills of a bitter wind passing over him.
The last thing to return to him was his vision; the pitch black color under his eyelids had now faded to a mellow orange, which is what you normally wake up to in the mornings if facing an open window. For a moment, Mok was afraid to open his eyes, afraid of what he would find considering that his memory was still in full tact. But as his pointed, cat-like ears returned to their proper positions at the sides of his head, Mok's curiosity eventually became too much when strange unearthly noises reached them from all around him. He opened his eyes.
The first thing that met his brain receptors was three red-colored blades of what Mok guessed was grass; ever so slowly, Mok lifted his head an inch off the strange ground he was lying upon to fully observe where exactly he was. Though, the word "exactly" had become more of an overstated word once Mok got a good view of his surroundings:
The legendary rocker found himself lying in a field, an endless field of dead-looking orange-red "grass"; the valley was hilly, rolling along like the waves of a suddenly petrified sea of some sort.
Mok's tall, lanky body was in a crumpled heap, with his long arms and very long legs lying out like a wooden dummy's would. He had quite a few scratches, scuffs, and bruises on his body, and his [slightly effeminate] neon orange Glam outfit had small tears in some places. Mok finally sat himself up in a sitting position, sore, and briefly looked over his hands: the white glove on his left hand was shredded around the fingers and bits of it were handing off from where it had been torn due to Mok trying to hold on to the lip of the Vortex. He looked down ay his tight, high-heel go-go boots but found they were still in tact.
Hmph…good. He thought to himself, At least I won't have to purchase a new pair of those…
Mok looked up and squinted his eyes; he was just able to make out what looked like a mountain range far off in the distance. Mok heard a rumble and turned his head sideways to stare up into the sky, which was a deep maroon in the surrounding areas, but thirty feet right above him was what looked like a huge black hole.
What the…dear God!
A sudden jolt of fear singed him as The Magic Man stumbled to his feet, his "precious" high-heel boots not helping. He trotted backwards a few feet until he was out from under the wide black hole and stood away from it, all the while staring up at it with wide eyes. It didn't take long for Mok to study the empty blackness to decide he must have fallen from it.
Then Mok remembered something.
He reached into a small pocket inside his performance outfit and pulled out a ring that looked like it had a computer chip attached: it was the same ring his supercomputer designed for him to seek out the special voice needed to raise the Beast. Along with that, Mok was also able to communicate with his computer thought this, which is how he knew where to look when he was on his "world tour/talent search". Working the tips of his claws to turn a tiny knob at the side, a light began to blink and there was the sound of fuzz.
Then a cool feminine voice came through: "Greetings. Mok."
"Computer! Where am I?" Mok ordered sternly. "Tell me where I am located."
"Locator activated. Searching now."
There came very mystical computer sounds from the little ring on Mok's long finger, and a bright light gave a flash as the computer's reading worked. Mok found himself frowning into the small object while tapping the tip of his boot upon the grassy ground in impatience. All the while, Mok's wide, pointed ears twitched every so often to the little noises around him; he was not in a familiar place, and didn't trust his surroundings.
However, Mok figured he had just been transported by the Vortex to another part of the States, so the musician figured he could just have his Airship come by and pick him up, albeit that would take some time.
There was a beep and the computer's voice spoke: "Locating complete, Mok. Location identified."
"Well? Where the hell am I?" Mok's scratchy voice said. "And how soon can you send my Airship to pick me up?"
There was a small moment of silence before the computer answered: "Airship transport impossible. Location unreachable."
"What?!" Mok barked, his ring hand now in a fist. "What do you mean "location unreachable"?! It can't be that difficult for you to find me in the middle of the States!"
"The Locator indicates you are not in the United States."
Mok froze. "…I'm… not in the country?" He quickly took off the ring and held it within both hands, his long fingers grasping the object like spider legs. Mok's ears perked forward to listen intently to the computer's voice:
"Location: not in the village of Ohmtown."
"Location: not in the state of Nuke York."
"Location: not in the country of America."
"Location: not in the Western Hemisphere."
With each passing word of his supercomputer, Mok could feel himself falling apart: his heart began to race, his eyes grew wider and wider, and he began to sweat as his mind caved.
"Location: not on any known continent."
"Location: not on any known island."
"Location: not on this planet."
Mok dropped to his knees.
"Location: the other Dimension."
Mok lost it: "No… no…NO…NO! You're wrong! This can't be! How could I be in the other Dimension and still be living?!"
The little ring spoke: "System unable to decipher…"
"Well, what do I do?!" Mok yelled into the ring.
"System unable to decipher…"
With a screech, Mok suddenly wrenched the ring off his finger and violently threw it into the ground; he began screaming terrible profanities as he beat the grassy floor with his fists.
"TELL. ME. WHAT. TO. DO! You infernal machine! Don't give me your excuses! I want answers and I want them NOW! You hear me?! ANSWER ME!"
But despite his screaming and threats, the computer's cool voice recited the same answer: "System unable to decipher."
By now, Mok's energy was still low from the traumatic time he had back at the Ohmtown Power Plant stadium, and soon he became too tired to beat the ground any long; the Magic Man fell over on his side like a wounded animal and began to cry. Now normally, Mok would have had much better control over himself in times of stress (save his slight verbal abuse against his servants), but because the older creature was still reeling from the long fall through the dimensional hole, and because there was no other souls around, Mok allowed his black tears to run freely over the curvature of his face and onto the dry, prickly grass under him.
"(Sob, sob) ...Gawddammit, computer... Please…please… help me (sob)." Mok's large lips quivered as he spoke to the little ring lying next to his head. "… I don't know what to do. I don't know where to go… please, just tell me where I can find an exit (Sob)."
There was a moment of silence (save the chilly winds that rode gently across the red valley) until there was a "bleep, bleep" sound, and the supercomputer spoke:
"Other exit located. Go East."
Mok's pointed cat ears pricked up and he opened his eyes; he immediately grabbed the ring and sat up, eagerly speaking into it: "East, you say? But I do not know which way is East! Every direction looks just like the last." He said as he turned his bald head to look around himself shortly before staring back down in his hands.
"I have now activated the Compass of my systems, Mok. Hold the ring out in front of you and it will guide you." The robotic voice spoke.
And so Mok got up with a grunt and placed the ring back on his bony middle finger. He held it out in front of himself and turned himself around in a gradual circle; he continued to do this until he could feel the ring vibrating on his finger when he came to face in a certain direction.
"East." Mok said out loud to himself with little emotion, just a stern glare as he looked out across the plains and rolling hills until his excellent eyesight met with the long distant mesh of deep twisted foliage: a jungle.
And so with a deep breath and then a sigh, the amazing rock star Mok Swagger began walking, keeping his arm out in front of him to allow the ring (and his supercomputer back on his ship) to do their navigational work. He had no idea what he would find in his pathway to home, nor did he know how long it would take him; but whatever was there was to overcome, Mok knew he among all others could do it, he could accomplish anything that anyone put in front of him.
He is The Magic Man, after all.
The screeching of large tires could scarcely be heard every so often on the long, cracked runways outside the very tall, thick windows of a quiet terminal lounge area. Montana International Airport was normally busy this time of night; it was Saturday at 9:00, Eastern Pacific Time, and the terminals were a buzz with all kinds of business folks and tired vacationers all making their ways around to their rightful flights or outside to waiting taxis (and there weren't very many of those to the outskirts of the small town of Ohmtown, one might add).
But a few yards away in a lounge area of the airport, there was a quaint coffee bar to the front and across from that was a roomy, lit area with a few comfy seats with magazines on the tables and TV sets hung upon the iron bars of the windows. The TV's were on low frequency and one of them wasn't even getting reception, but that kind of drawback was common in this mostly poor community. Outside the tall wide windows was mostly nothing but beautiful night sky (the pollution here was not so bad) save for the forms of large aircraft coming upon the runways full of passengers.
All of the chairs were empty except for one which was closest to the windows; in this chair sat a woman of very small stature: she looked to be around four feet five inches tall, also quite thin with slightly wrinkled bluish-green skin. The woman wore over herself a black hooded sweater, a pair of dark blue jeans and a pair of girl's sneakers. Her face was the only thing that seemed out of place: it had a clear complexion with bright blond hair and thin eyebrows, which rose slightly every so often whenever she found something interesting in the magazine she was casually reading.
After a few minutes of calm silence (save the coffee's bar TV which was playing college football to three patrons), the woman's pointed ears picked up on the approach of someone coming around the corner of the bar to where she sat. But rather then turning her head, she simply waited to see if it was the person she was waiting for; sure enough, a shadow was cast over her from behind, and so with her eyes still to her reading, the small woman spoke.
"I'm guessing the flight must have been a tad behind, Monica. I thought you'd be back sooner."
The other person named Monica spoke with a shrug, "Yeah, and the electrical storms we've been getting in Nuke York haven't helped…"
Then Monica came casually over to the first woman's side, finishing her sentence, "…but it beats taking those mutant-infested trains."
The little woman in the chair finally looked up from her magazine to the one she had been waiting for: at first glance, it was not hard to tell that Monica was a person of rat decent; her large, round ears and pointed snout were the giveaways. The short fur that covered her was dyed a soft lavender color like most of the young folks those days had it, while her hair was jet black and spiked out at the front. She wore on her long, baggy military pants and a gray shirt with Mok's Satanic goat-head logo on the front. Apart from her curvature as a female rodent, Monica was also rather strong-looking for one as well, with signs of muscle build in her arms and torso as well, though not to such an extent where it would be noticed from even a short distance.
Monica spoke, her rodent buck teeth showing through slightly as she did, "Say Gina, why did you pick that mask to wear? It doesn't match your skin color at all!"
The little woman stood from her chair and abandoned her reading material as she replied, "Yes, this mask may not match my natural skin coloring very much, but that is why I am wearing this heavy clothing, not just because this airport is freezing. Which reminds me: let's get the hell out of here before those noisy tourists with their brats take up all the taxis in this town."
And so, Monica followed Gina out of the quiet lounge area and through the rather shabby airport, keeping a stern grip on her luggage. When they eventually made it outside, they were lucky enough to squeeze into an old, rusty taxi which the other crowds seemed to ignore (perhaps for good reason out of fear that it might break down). Monica's combat boot bottoms squeaked on the metal of the cab as she slid in with Gina, who gave the dog-man at the driver's seat money to get them into town. As the taxi pulled away from the large, loud airport, Gina turned to Monica and spoke,
"Well, I'm guessing your trip to visit your sister went well, tuts'?"
"Ah, yes, very well." Monica said with a grin. "My sister had the nerve to ask if I was still with 'my rock star boyfriend'. Ha! [She's jealous]. But of course I am, and I have to say, I have missed him a ton."
"Yes, he has missed you too, very much in fact." said Gina.
"Its funny, though," Monica said as she gazed out the cab window into the night sky, "Mok didn't seem to miss me that much when I left…" The rat-woman's smile faded away.
"Well, normally by time I leave and get halfway to wherever it is I'm going, Mok would call me at least ten times throughout the whole trip. And most of my trips are only short flights away."
Gina looked away and thought about this. "You know, Mok has been keeping to himself quite a lot recently… actually, he did mention something about a little 'seclusion time' he was going into, but I never thought Mok would actually go through with it."
"Really?!" Monica laughed as she folded her arms behind her head for a makeshift pillow. "Mok? In seclusion? Ha! Mok's never liked being away from his adoring fans! Hell, he doesn't even like to be alone! You know Mok: he just has to be the center of attention, all the time!"
The two women laughed at this.
Gina noticed Monica's smile fading again, and so she offered up a good word: "Ah well… look, tuts'," (Monica looked jadedly over to her.) "I may not be able to tell why Mok's been locking himself up the way he has, but there is one thing I can tell you is this: Mok loves ya', girl. He's always loved you very much, just like he loves and cares for all his 'little ladies'. And if there is anything in the world he would kill himself over (besides his music) is you and the others."
Monica sighed. "Yeah… I know. But it just seems like he's lost track of his life, ya' know? I mean, all the 'papers in Ohmtown report Mok's never even left his mansion in, what, six months? I'm just afraid of what I'll find when I get to his place…"
Gina opened her mouth to object, but only found herself closing it as she began to imagine all the terrible things that could and have befallen reclusive celebrities in the past: drug self-poisoning, accidents, depression, and suicide just being a few. It terrified her just as much as it did Monica, that Ohmtown's great mascot and the world's icon could very possibly fall into that breakdown.
Eventually, at the sight of Monica's increasingly saddened expression, Gina threw her own worries aside and spoke,
"Listen, Monica. Mok is a passionate man; he absolutely loves what he does for a living, he loves his art. It is his life, and sometimes when some artists love something that's important to them too much, they tend to forget about the other important things in their lives as well, such as loved ones. And they can even forget about the welfare of themselves.
Gina paused for a moment to look up at Monica; the strong rat woman looked less upset and more thoughtful now, which was what Gina was hoping for, so she continued:
"Now, Mok is like this (I admit)… but not for all the wrong purposes: an important part of it is Mok just doesn't want to be forgotten. I imagine he'd developed that fear due to his tramp-mother abandoning him as a kitten-pup. Another thing is that Mok has a lot to live up to: he is 'The Magic Man' after all, and 'the greatest icon in music history', and you don't just get handed those titles by doing little, you know…"
Monica nodded in agreement as she kept her eyes out the window of the taxi cab.
"Well, the list goes on, but the main thing here is Mok is a passionate man, and he cares deeply for the things he loves. Sure, he may slip up once in a while and forget to give time to another object of his love… like you…"
Gina placed a wizened but caring hand over Monica's as she finished,
"…But I'm sure that once Mok has realized what he's been neglecting, he'll jump at the first chance to make things right… just like he would for his music."
Gina waited slightly nervously for Monica to respond, still with her hand upon hers, and eventually Monica did look back down, only this time with a satisfied smile.
"Yeah. I guess your right; Mok always told us he'd never forget his 'little darlings'!"
Both ladies enjoyed a hardy chuckle.
"By the way, tuts', I hope you and your sis' haven't been throwing Mok's name around the NY while you were away. I'm sure Mok has had to tell you of all the calls he's received from angry Nuke York Police officers about mobs of his fans going nuts thinking he'd be there. Hmmmmm?"
"Yeah, right. I know; Mok has already had to remind me of that a few times, heh." Monica said with a guilty half smile.
"Oh, and one more thing, tuts': don't be so free with my real name either once we reach further into town. I've got a few enemies in the deeper regions of Ohmtown, so once we get there, refer to me by my nickname."
"Sure, no problem um… Whatza'… er, Whatzo…Hmmm…" Monica struggled to remember it.
"The name's What's-Her-Face, tuts'." The other woman said with a smirk.