On with the story - Part 2

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This story, as with all of the author's previous related stories, is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious way. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.


Helen Bee Mebs, the Head of the Advanced Defense and Research Organization (ADRO) sat at her desk and looked out the window towards the Potomac. Nobody would have guessed that the thin strips of 'decorative woodwork' crisscrossing the glass were high-strength metal bars - protection against entry attempts from the anyone outside. The windows weren't exactly what they seemed to be, even when you looked directly at them up close. The Head of ADRO sighed as she thought that there was so much she had to deal with that was exactly like these windows - things that weren't what they seemed to be.

The only thing that was absolutely clear was her goal. She needed to account for the person she replaced - to get the missing Alexander Lawless back from the past by using the Teleporter, and to do this she needed to find the one person still alive who knew how to get the machine to work: the missing chief scientist on the Teleporter project, also known as Lucky the Clown.

But where was he? Only Julie and Pat had had any success in tracking Lucky down, due to their telepathic connection and Pat's psychic ability. Unfortunately, this special ability had not been working lately, with the only possible clue why being the unexplained and mysterious fact that the dog was now pregnant. That was another example of something that looked ordinary on the surface but in reality could turn out to be anything but ordinary.

Helen shook her head. Julie and Pat would be arriving here at the Pentagon tomorrow morning, and she had to arrange for a vet - the best available - to examine the pooch and hopefully get some answers. Particularly, just what on earth was the dog pregnant with?

There was also the matter of finding Lucky. His trail was getting colder with each passing hour. She had to do something, and do it fast. But before she did, there was something else that needed to be done - something even more urgent than finding Lucky - a 'delicate' job that couldn't wait. Helen managed a smile. She had just the right agent in just the right place to handle it. If the Aliens were involved with Pat's pregnancy, as she suspected, then she couldn't take any chances. She had to act fast.

Helen pressed the buttons on her desk phone unit, waiting impatiently for the secure connection to be established before speaking. The agent on the other end listened attentively to the Head of ADRO's soft voice. "I have a mission for you requiring immediate execution. Do you remember that local vet, the one who gave Pat its two golden teeth?" Helen didn't pause for an answer. "Pat was not feeling well, and so Julie brought Pat there earlier tonight for some tests. Unfortunately, the vet did a blood test. From this, she concluded that Pat is pregnant. We have good reason to believe that there could be national security complications for the doctor should she retain possession of any physical evidence. The mission is to go to the clinic, find the blood sample, and sanitize it. Report back to me directly when you are done. A bonus will be in the usual place after you successfully completing the mission. Any questions?"

"None," the experienced agent answered. "I'll call as soon as it's done."

-- (sonofdust@part.two), May 21, 2001



After leaving the animal shelter, Julie went home with Pat, made herself some hot chocolate, and thought about what she had just learned - that Pat was pregnant. She also thought, briefly, about how tired she felt. It had been quite a day.

Julie knew she could trust Dr. Gold, had wanted to, but because Pat was involved with her classified work at ADRO, she couldn't volunteer much in the way of helpful information to the doctor. The young agent wondered, not for the first time, if the doctor suspected that Pat the beaver was actually now Pat the golden retriever. Both were androgynous -something that Julie knew was quite rare. No way, she thought to herself, shaking her head. It is too impossible. It wouldn't make sense. No normal person would ever even think such a thing. Dr. Gold would just think it a very odd coincidence. There was no other 'conventional' explanation. In this, Julie was quite correct.

Julie was sure that Pat hadn't been with any other dogs. So how could the pooch be pregnant? Helen's guess, that it had something to do with the Aliens, was the only thing that made any sense. Julie looked down at Pat who was stretched out on the floor by her feet. "I wish we could communicate with each other again Pat," she thought for the hundredth time. Pat gazed up at her slowly, yawned, and rested its head on its front paws. The dog probably missed their special communication as much as she did.

Julie's thoughts turned towards tomorrow. She would take Pat back to the Pentagon, and Helen would have another vet examine the pooch. Maybe there would be some answers. Dr. Gold may 'only' be a local vet, but Julie learned quickly when she worked with her that the doctor was a competent professional. She wasn't sure why Helen had wanted another vet to examine Pat, other than maybe to get a second opinion. And there was also Pat's safety to consider. Helen was sincerely concerned with the pooch's well-being and thought it best that they both were back in Washington.

Julie continually wondered about the pregnancy. How did it happen? What was Pat carrying? Would she be able to communicate with Pat again after the birth, the way it was before? This was all so frustrating! Julie wanted, no, more than that, she needed answers. But there weren't any. And there wasn't anything she could do about that right now, other than pack a fresh set of clothes and supplies for the trip to D.C. in the morning. Julie trusted Helen, or rather, Helen had earned the young agent's trust. If anyone could help Pat, Julie thought to herself, it would be Helen.

While she was right, what she had forgotten, temporarily, is that it was always Pat that she relied on the most. And it would be Pat who, in this case, knew exactly what needed to be done - and would do it.

-- (sonofdust@chapter.two), May 21, 2001.


Dr. Gold was indeed a professional. It was due to this as well as her innate curiosity that the she decided to stay at the clinic and run some further tests, despite it being several hours past both closing time and dinner. There could be no doubt that the animal was pregnant. The blood tests confirmed this beyond any doubt.

What had confused the doctor though were certain anomalies that couldn't be attributed to the pregnancy. She re-ran the diagnostic tests and waited, only to get the same odd results. Perhaps, as Julie suggested, the anomalies in the animal's blood were due to Pat being different to start off with. Androgynous animals were rare. Ones that became pregnant were almost unheard of. This case would be one for the professional medical journals that she sometimes was published in. It had all of the makings of something the professional community would sit up and take notice of.

Dr. Gold had in fact never seen any thing like this before. Frustrated, she turned on her desktop computer and started searching carefully-selected Internet sites to see if there was any new medical information about the subject. An hour passed and she found nothing even vaguely related. She decided to try a different approach and clicked out of where she was, then navigated to a different site. Once there, powerful search engines executed the instructions to look for the data she needed based on the advanced search criteria she entered into the search parameter box. This time, she came up with too much information. The search results were many pages long, filled with link after link. But none of it, based on the titles and their truncated descriptions, was directly related to what she was after. She had basically found nothing.

The growling of her stomach became more urgent and she suddenly felt very tired. She turned the desktop off. Next, she shut the lights in the lab after checking that the blood sample and associated case documentation were all properly stored. She turned off the lights, locked the door, and started off for home. She was at a dead end and knew it, but she wasn't a quitter. Tomorrow, she would pick up where she left off. Her intuition told her that there was a clue here somewhere. And it was only a matter of time before she would eventually find it.

- - - -

Detective Brooks sat patiently in his car waiting, just down the street from the animal shelter, as he watched the clinic. The doctor was evidently still in the damn lab and there were no signs she was going to leave anytime soon. An hour passed, and then another.

Finally, he saw the lights in the clinic go out, and the silhouette of Dr. Gold in the doorway of the building, her back to him, as she locked up. He watched her leave and then waited, observing the scene for another ten minutes before exiting his car. He had a mission to accomplish.

- - - -

The detective was not the only one with a mission this evening. Several miles away, as Brooks approached the clinic, Julie was already asleep - exhausted from the long day's events.

Pat can hear her regular, rhythmic breathing. The dog feels the slight tightening in its abdomen once again - only stronger. These feelings are happening more often too. Pat stands up and looks over at Julie who is sleeping deeply. There! The feeling comes again.

It is time.

Pat gets up, pads silently over to the kitchen, exits the house via the small swinging opening at the bottom of the door that's there for just such a purpose, goes down the porch steps, enters the small yard, and looks up at the stars shimmering in the velvety blackness. . .


-- (sonofdust@chapter.three), May 21, 2001.

Helen Bee Mebs smiled. Brooks had just called to inform her that the mission was accomplished already. That meant Dr. Gold was no longer in possession of anything she shouldn't be. That's one less complication, Helen thought to herself. Then the Head of ADRO's thoughts focused on tomorrow. Julie and Pat would be here, and so would the veterinarian. Pat would be examined. The remote viewer would also be working with her team to try and get a fix on Lucky. It would be another busy day. She needed a break and decided to surf over to the FRL Friends bboard for some humor. As always, she was not disappointed.

- - - - -

Pat didn't have to wait long. The unearthly ship hovered soundlessly above, as a blue light-beam came from its underside and 'floated' the pooch aboard. The operation to remove the fetus took only minutes. Afterwards, Pat was returned safely to the yard. The dog went back into the house and checked on Julie, who was still sleeping deeply, without even a change in her position. Now it was Pats turn to rest. The pooch jumped up onto the bed next to Julie and slept.

But the Aliens weren't resting. After returning Pat, they placed the fetus into a cylindrical liquid-filled tube for the next journey. The ship raced east then south across the night sky to its destination - almost the exact middle of what some refer to as the Bermuda Triangle. It entered the ocean and moved underwater very much as it did through the air. This ship was unlike any other ship that Pat or Julie had been on, in that it was not exiting Earth and returning to space. Instead, it was heading directly for one of only two places on the planet where wormholes existed and were used to travel across 'curved space and time' to their distant home star system - one so far away it had not yet been detected by even the most powerful human technologies.

Humans had, however, discovered the wormholes - which only existed for a small fraction of a second as we measure time, and there was much speculation about them by scientists. But the Aliens measured time quite differently, and what for us was an opening in the wormhole of only a fraction of a second, was to them an opening long enough to travel billions of light-years across space. And travel they did.

The ship, unseen by human eyes, entered the wormhole. The only visible sign of entry was a luminescent, greenish fog that enveloped the area for several miles and hovered just above the surface of the sea, soon to dissipate altogether without a trace. Strong magnetic anomalies in the area lasted even less time. The ship was on the way 'home' with the fetus.

The fetus was special. Indeed, very special. It had developed inside of Pat for a short time and now needed to be brought to maturity in their time, not human time. In short, what would have taken over 50 years to do if the fetus was born and grown here on Earth would now only take a few weeks. The matured fetus would outwardly look exactly like the person who it was a clone of. But in fact it was that person's exact molecular opposite in every respect - one was matter, and the other was anti-matter.

When matter met anti-matter an explosion powerful enough to vaporize the Earth would rip through the universe, and the person would cease to exist in the future's time continuum. The universe, in the Aliens opinion, would be a safer and better place as a result. For this particular human was a growing threat not only to his own planet but also had the potential for becoming a threat to others. That threat had to be 'neutralized', which is why the Aliens removed from Pat a perfect anti-matter clone of the human that they needed to erase from all existence - a human named Alexander Lawless.

-- (frustratedwriter@nybody.home?), May 24, 2001.


A clone of Lawless! Well, an anti clone of Lawless. But how come Pat didn't blow up?

Picky, picky, I know :-) And I love your story... all your stories. So no more on that.

But how're the aliens gonna get Lawless back to where they can bomb him? And are they gonna blow up the earth at the same time? And what's poor Dr. Gold gonna think when all of a sudden Pat's not pregnant?

Chewing my nails again...

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), May 26, 2001.

(Been in California for a week) Woohoo! A story! :-)

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), May 27, 2001.

Hi Tricia. Yep, it was an anti-matter Alex clone. Hoped this was a surprise ;-)

Pat didn't blow up 'cause it wasn't an anti-matter Pat clone. The matter and anti-matter Have to be for the same person. For an explosion to happen, both people have to be identical, even in age, and then meet in person. Lawless is over 50. The anti-matter Lawless baby-clone needs to be matured to the exact same age (by the Aliens). Then if they both are brought into Direct contact with each other there'll be a big Kaboom!

-- (welcome@back.Gayla), May 27, 2001.

Helen shook her head in total confusion. The vet had examined Pat and there was no doubt that the dog had been pregnant, but there was no fetus! She looked at Julie and then down at Pat, who was resting comfortably on the Pentagon vault's carpeted floor. She looked expectantly at Julie as if the girl somehow knew the answer. Julie felt as though she had to say something.

"Well," Julie began, "if Pat was pregnant but isn't anymore, then there is only one possible explanation. It was THEM. We suspected that They were the ones to somehow make Pat pregnant - that was the only thing that made any sense. It follows that They would come for the fetus when the time was right. Since Dr. Gold examined Pat yesterday and there absolutely was a fetus there, as expected, They must have come sometime after that and taken it. It had to have been last night."

Before Helen could answer, a single loud "woof" reverberated in the room. Both woman turned to look at the pooch. Helen turned her gaze back on Julie and said "It appears that now that Pat's no longer pregnant, the pooch can understand you again. Can you communicate like before?"

Julie frowned. "I don't know Helen, I haven't tried lately! Let me try now."

Helen was excited as she said "Think of Lucky. We need to find Lucky. See if Pat can help. If it works, we won't need the remote viewer today after all."

Julie turned to Pat and gently asked "Ok, poochie-woochie, how about it? Can you help us find Lucky?"

Pat growled playfully then barked once. Helen's excitement grew. Julie shifted in her chair and began feeling the familiar sensation in her temples. Pat was sending her a vision. She saw a black lady, and what looked like a black knife - only it was oddly shaped, some kind of antique knife maybe, and then she saw a lobster - no, it was smaller than a lobster and differently colored, it was a crayfish, and there, surrounded by children, was Lucky the Clown!

Helen listened intently to Julie's descriptions and came to a quick conclusion. She picked up the secure line and dialed her field office in San Antonio. This was an assignment for Maggart and Redford. They would pick things up from here.

-- (your@turn.Lon), May 27, 2001.

A threat to his own planet? That Alexander Lawless sounds like a really bad guy! This reminds me of an old Star Trek episode, but much more creative! Rob, Gene Roddenberry (sp?) could have used you! :-)

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), May 28, 2001.

Roddenberry coulda used him, but what a waste of creative energy... the Pat story is a very unique creation. And Lucky the Clown was a oner too! (Do we get to meet him again?)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), May 30, 2001.

Roddenberry? Wow!!! I always enjoyed Star Trek too - watched some of the marathon on TV a couple days ago. Geez, youz guyz sure have made me feel good! Thanks! Maybe I should take a writing class one of these days, find out about all the rules I'm surely breaking :-) Uh, Tricia? What did you mean by 'waste of creative energy'? I DGI.

As far as meeting Lucky, we'll have to be patient and wait for Lon to join in.

-- (sonofdust@not.Roddenberry), May 30, 2001.

A small, dark, wet-spot was spreading on the seat of the tan government-issue sedan where a thin trickle of drool escaped from the open mouth of Robert Redford. As Agent-in-Charge, Agnes Maggart had opted to drive, even though it meant a long night trip into the low country of Louisiana from their operations center in San Antonio. As usual, Agent Redford had whined about the inconvenience of their departure time, but the late afternoon call from Helen Bea Mebs had left no doubt as to the urgency of their mission.

Redford swallowed in his sleep, and began making tiny mewing noises as his lips puckered repeatedly against the soft fabric of the seat cover. Agnes glanced over at the sleeping little man, and suddenly felt a twinge of tenderness for her partner of the last two years. She knew that life had been neither easy nor kind for him, and she silently acknowledged an endearing admiration for the pluckiness and courage of the diminutive agent. She started to reach out and smooth the shaggy hair of his eyebrows, but abruptly checked herself, and again clenched the steering wheel. Looking again at the wet spot on the seat, she inhaled to give her voice all the volume she could.


Agent Redford bounced on the seat like a furry beachball, as his sudden awakening propelled him against the shoulder harness of his suitability, which in turn jerked him back into the newly damp recesses of upholstery.

“Wha.... WHAT?”

Agnes barely managed suppress a smile, but returned immediately to her professional demeanor.

“Just because I said I would drive, doesn’t mean you can gnaw holes in the car.”

“Aw geeze, Agnes, I was only resting my eyes, that’s all.”

“Yeah, sure. And what disgusting little dream were you slobbering over this time? Not the one where you’re the official taster at the Betty Crocker Open, I hope. Or was it more like the one where you are shipwrecked with all the contestants of the Miss Nude Universe Pageant, again?”

“Actually, this time, I was the official taster at the Miss Nude Universe Pageant, if you just gotta know. Wanta make something of it?”

“You really are disgusting. We’re on duty, you know.”

“Yeah, like you never take a little snooze, Miss ‘Always-on-Duty’. How about that stake-out last week, where your snoring tipped off the bad guys a block away, huh? How about that?

“I do NOT snore!”

“Yeah, well then there musta been somebody in the next room, cuttin’ up a car with a chainsaw. Wonder how I coulda missed THAT!”

“Just shut up and stay awake. It’s already nine o’clock, and we better get to Jeanerette soon and find that old geezer again, or Helen Bea Mebs will send someone to cut US up with a chainsaw.”


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), May 31, 2001.

shoulder harness of his suitability

I think that was "shoulder harness of his seatbelt". My spell checker is so danged smart, I'm gonna let it write the next story by itself.


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), May 31, 2001.

It was almost noon when they finally located the fairgrounds outside Jennerette, where the annual crawfish festival was in full swing. They pulled the government sedan into a parking place just vacated by an ancient rusting pickup with faded green fenders and a Navajo blanket seatcover. As they walked towards the main gate, they could hear sirens in the distance.

A crowd was gathering at one end of the midway, and people were running in every direction, as if they each were on some urgent errand. As a young boy who was possibly 19, but looked 14, ran by wearing the blue uniform and badge of a rent-a-cop, Agnes grabbed him by the arm and flashed her ADRO identification card.

“Federal agents, officer. Can you tell us what is going on?”

The boy hardly glanced at the offered ID, which was good, because like most everyone else, he had never heard of ADRO, and knew nothing of the secret agency. But the calm authority in her voice told him that Agnes was somehow in charge.

“Yes Sir, er, M’am, I mean. It’s Judge Williams; he’s been stabbed and I gotta go lead the ambulance in!”

He was gone before he finished the sentence, and the two agents looked at one another. They had never heard of Judge Williams, but somehow they just knew this concerned the old clown and their mission. Agent Redford had to trot to keep up with the long strides of Agnes Maggart as she made for the fallen Judge.

As they elbowed their way through the group of rubber neckers, Agnes could see a man sitting on the ground, leaning back against a concession trailer which advertised “Cajun D-Light Crawfish Tacos”. As strange as crawfish tacos seemed to her, it could hardly prepare her for the man himself. Although he was holding a roll of paper towels against a spreading blood stain on his left shoulder, his ears were what caught her immediate attention. Somewhat oversized, and standing out at 90 degree angles from his head, they reminded her of twin handles on a head-shaped pottery vase, like those hawked in flea-market stalls.

Agnes was struggling to kneel on one knee, then the other without success, when Robert plopped down beside the wounded man. Nodding toward his leggy partner, Agent Redford showed his own ID card.

“Agents Redford and Maggart, ADRO. Are...are you Judge Williams?”

The bleeding man managed a surprisingly brilliant smile,

“Folks around here call me Wingnut Williams.”

“Yeah, figgers. Well, Judge Wingnut, what happened, exactly?”

“I don’t rightly know. I was on my way over to talk to the clown who always comes to the festival every year, when this old, and I mean old, woman steps out in front of me. She yells something at the clown that sounded like, I don’t know, like ‘Painted Man!’. Well, they must have known each other, because the old guy was doing some juggling, and takes one look at her and drops his balls on the spot.”

Redford turned pointedly and looked up at his partner,

“Yeah, well, I know just how he felt.”

Agnes shot him a look back that any kid with an older sister could interpret as “I’ll get you later, you little creep”. Then she pushed him aside and just squatted in front of the magistrate, her knees out at 45 degree angles and her hands demurely holding the hem of her dress.

“Judge Wingn....uh,”


“Judge Williams, this woman, the old one, was she by chance an Indian?”

“Well, she might have been. Yes. She was dressed funny-like, with a shawl and head scarf and all. Anyway, she says to the clown, ‘Still Water Woman knows who you are. Still Water Woman has come for you.’ Then, she holds out this black knife, chipped like an arrowhead, you know, only longer. It was about then that I put my hand on her shoulder and got this to show for it. Man, but she was fast, like a cat, but her face was as wrinkled as a wadded up newspaper.”

Agent Redford had somehow procured a bright red candied apple while the Judge was talking, and now spewed little bits of gooey pink on the wounded man’s otherwise blood stained shirt.

“I knew it! It was that pot smokin’ old broad from the desert.”

For once, Agnes didn’t tell him to shut up. Her face was beginning to get a worried look of comprehension and as she asked the next question, she already knew the answer.

“What else, Judge, what else did she say?’

“Well, by that time, I was pretty busy bleeding, but she said he had to come with her now, and she grabbed him by the arm, with the knife by his throat. He said ‘Where?” and, I don’t know exactly, you know the kids were goin’ ape-shit by then, and squealin' like stuck pigs, and I’m sittin’ in the dirt, bleeding like one, but it sounded like,.. like ‘white shampoo”.

As the paramedics wheeled the wounded judge, still waving to the crowd, into the ambulance, Robert shook his head sadly.

“Well, I guess, that’s that. We might as well go home and call old Iron Knickers and tell her we lost him. I’ll let you tell her that the old Indian broad beat us here, and now has taken the clown for a wash-and-a-cut. And what the Hell is white shampoo, anyway?”

Agent Agnes Maggart had already started walking for the car.

“I swear, if brains were dynamite, you couldn’t blow your nose. It’s not ‘shampoo’, nimrod, it was ‘shaman”. She’s taking him to the White Shaman.”

Robert grabbed her arm, spinning her around, and stopped among the still swirling crowd.

“But the White Shaman.......isn’t that,.... isn’t that what she called...

Agnes finished the thought for him.

“Alexander Lawless.”


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), May 31, 2001.

It was her usual; thick crust, extra cheese, green olives. No sausage, no pepperoni, no other topping but green olives. As she lifted a cold, half-eaten slice from the delivery box, she took a moment to reflect on the choices she had made in life.

The valedictorian of a prestigious prep school, a Rhodes Scholar with numerous scholastic awards, published while she was still in Harvard Law School, and at thirty-six, an accomplished insider within the D.C. Loop. Now at forty-something, she was the head of one of the most quietly powerful agencies on earth, but at what cost? Cold pizza instead of a romantic candle-light dinner, stacks of research data rather than photos of grandchildren, pacing the floor of a dimly lit office rather than a moonrise stroll on the beach.

But tonight she had work to do, so Helen Bea Mebs took another bite and filed her musings away for other rainy nights. Agent Maggart had called in her report earlier that afternoon, with the distressing news of their near-miss on Lucky the clown. Who would have guessed that the old Indian seeress could have found him ahead of ADRO, with it’s resources and the psychic abilities of Pat and Julie?

And who could have known the role Still Water Woman had chosen to play? How did she know the clown as the “Painted Man”, and why did she call Lawless the “White Shaman”? And most of all, where was she taking Lucky, and why was she taking him to Lawless?

As she absentmindedly put the remaining pizza slice back in the box, her hand knocked off a large book with little red and yellow sticky tabs attached to various pages. It was titled “Ancient Art of Texas Rock Shelters”, and was one of a half-dozen tomes a research assistant had brought earlier in the day. Perhaps it was her melancholy mood, or perhaps it was the frustration at losing the old clown, but instead of picking up the book, Helen Bea Mebs swore softly and soundly kicked it right on the spine.

As if it were some prop in a magician’s act, the heavy cover of the book popped open to a page in the tenth chapter, previously yellow-tabbed by the young assistant. Shocked at her own display of temper, Helen bent to pick it up and was suddenly startled by the photograph which took up most of the left-hand page. It was a large painting of an abstract male ascending the rock face with wide spread arms. It was white. The caption read:

“Majestic figure, often associated with bird symbols and other ‘flying’ figures. Pecos River Area, Period 1. Always painted in white with outlines of red or black. Archaically known as the ‘White Shaman’.”

Helen Bea Mebs grabbed an enlarged photo from another pile on her desk and dropped to her knees on the floor beside the book, without daring to touch it. The picture she held was one from Julie’s photographic report of the pictographs in the little hidden mesa to which Luca Sanchez had led them. She laid the photos side-by-side and then gave a little whistle.

“So that’s where she’s taking him.”


Agent Agnes Maggart was still sleeping off the long road trip to Louisiana and back. As in all her dreams, she was only 5’2” tall, and very amply endowed. She wore the ruffled costume of a Bavarian beer hall maid, and was delighted in serving endless tables of grinning men who shouldered each other aside to peer into the magnificent recesses of her cleavage.

She had kicked all the covers off the bed, and as usual, her feet stuck out six inches past the end of the mattress. Her fingers twitched in anticipation of delivery of another armload of tankards, and her open mouth emitted a contented snoring rasp.

Then the phone rang.


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), May 31, 2001.

What a treat to come back to more story!

Go, Lon, go! :-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.ent), June 02, 2001.

“Hey listen lady, my hands are startin’ to go numb.”

“Still Water Woman is sorry.”

Lucky’s wrists were lashed behind his back with a thin but tough rawhide thong. He was positioned on his knees in the passenger floorboard of the old truck, his red rubber nose resting on the faded Navajo blanket seat cover.

“Yeah, yeah, well ol’ Lucky is sorry too, now why don’t you just drop me somewhere and we’ll call it even?”

“Still Water Woman is chosen.”

This was the same statement she had used to answer all of his protests during the long drive westward. The Louisiana police had gotten a late start in their pursuit, and by that time, the rusty pickup was safely hidden in an abandoned garage outside New Iberia. With the coming of darkness, the old woman had tied Lucky in his position on the floor and headed along the southern highway through the little fishing towns of Grand Chenier and Johnsons Bayou, across the old drawbridge at Sabine Pass and into Texas.

They had traveled all night and were now in the high mesquite country of the Edwards Plateau. They would reach the desert mesa by evening. Lucky had tried to remain calm, but by now his patience and the skin of his knees were wearing thin.

“For cryin’ out loud, ya old coot, just WHAT is it that this ‘Still Water Woman’s’ been chosen for? And what does it have to do with ME? ”

To her credit, the old Indian did look remorseful, or perhaps just weary of her journey. She placed a hand on her beast and said in a softer voice.

“Still Water Woman.”

She looked at the old clown to make sure he understood before she continued.

“The Grandmothers have told the daughters of my family for many many lives, the old story. Since the first gift of quiet waters to the ancient ones. Since the spirits were painted in the hidden mesa, we have kept the secret and watched for you.”

“For me? Why me?”

“The story told of the shaman that came from the sky with skin of white and eyes the color of summer grass. He brought death and blindness to the People when they had fed him. The waters tell the prophecy of the Painted Man who will come to bring back the evil of the White Shaman. You are the painted man, and you must not be allowed to do this. Still Water Woman is chosen.”

“Wait....just wait a minute here, you think I’m gonna bring back this guy? I don’t even know no shaman. And just where am I s’posed to bring him back FROM?”

Still Water Woman looked for a long moment at the grease paint smile and shaggy orange hair framing old eyes that seemed even yet to sparkle like the wind in winter skies.

“Time, Painted Man. From time.”

Lucky stared into the face of the faded Yei dancer that stretched across the back of the seat, as if he suddenly recognized an old friend. Or an old adversary.

“From time. Holy Mother’s bunions; Ysandr, it’s got to be Ysandr. Man, I wish I’d never seen him in the first place, or worked on that consarned machine.”


The sun lingered in the west over the dry outcrops known as Antelope Ridge, as though it would finally defy time and order, and permanently reside in the desert sky.

The tan sedan had been speeding west from San Antonio for most of the day, it’s occupants unknowing that the old truck with green fenders and the captive clown was now only 100 miles directly ahead of them. Both vehicles were heading for the same lonely spot of desert, and for the same moment in the wavering river of time.

Agent Redford was driving, and even though he wore cheap, but dark Italian sunglasses, he held up his hand to shade his eyes from the ferocious slant of the sun.

“Geeze, Agnes, don’t it never get dark out here? That sun has been in my eyes for two hours.”

Agent Agnes Maggart had, for once, worn a pair of crisply starched khaki shorts, her magnificent legs drawn up in front of her face, as her posture was dictated by the tiny amount of legroom left her when Robert drove. Her cheeks were pink from the glare through the windshield, and she wearily leaned forward to rest her forehead on bare knees, her unbound dark hair spilling down over incredibly long thighs. Robert momentarily put a stubby hand on her shoulder then pushed a plastic bottle of water on the seat towards her.

She took a sip, but her voice was still softly dry:

“Yeah, partner. It’s just our luck, I guess. Today’s the longest day of the year; the summer solstice.”


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), June 02, 2001.

Well, if this is SF, it isn't set very far in the future. Summer solstice is rapidly approaching.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 02, 2001.

The point of the obsidian blade was incredibly sharp, and Lucky’s back was oozing blood already from several small pin pricks. His size 47, lime green clown shoes were not exactly the ideal footwear for hiking through the desert, and Lucky had stumbled and fallen often in the growing darkness. Prickly pear and ocotillo spines were lodged in his hands and forearms, but the old woman only urged him on with the point of the black knife.

“Cryin’ crawfish, lady! I’m turnin’ into a pin cushion here, and all you can say is ‘hurry hurry, get up’. Just what’s the rush, anyway? Do they roll up the snakes at midnight?”

Still Water Woman looked at the still starless sky.

“It is the night. The chosen night. You must come now. Come fast.”

“Oh great, I shoulda known. The chosen night. And the chosen ol’ biddy with the chosen knife pokin’ me in my chosen butt. Ain’t I the lucky one, now? Let me tell you again, I ain’t got no intention of bringing back Ysandr no how, so what’s so special about this particular night, and where are we goin’ anyway?”

The seeress pointed to a sheer rock face rising before them, illuminated in shades of blue by the already-risen desert moon.

“It is the long-day. Here the People brought the White Shaman. This night he rose to the sky. This night the light brought blindness and sickness to the People. Come now, fast.”

She pushed him towards the small opening at the base of the cliff face, and motioned for him to wiggle through. One lime green shoe became irretrievably wedged, and when Lucky pulled his foot free, he felt the point of the black knife on his thread-bare sole.

“All right, all right, I’m out. Stop jabbin’ me, will ya? What now, you gonna watch me all night to make sure I don’t do no hokie-pokie magic or somethin’?”

The moonlight had begun to filter into the little enclosure, and the Indian woman silently pointed at the walls above their heads. Lucky’s mouth fell open as he slowly turned around, and as the figures seemed to leap from the rock face with the steady sweep of moonlight. Hunters crouched among crevices, stalking long-legged antelopes that leapt in terror at their shadowy approach. Camps emerged with lodges, children laughing among women laboring over cooking fires and feathered creatures flushed away from the frantic grasp of a red panther.

Finally, a great white figure suddenly seemed to thrust itself into the moon’s glow. A long, pure white body with arms outstretched and reaching for swirling heavens punctuated with lightning and smoke.

Still water woman pushed the old clown to his knees in front of the figure and stepped behind him as if he were a docile sheep waiting to be sheared. His red rubber nose had been pushed aside to his left cheek and one orange suspender had slid off his shoulder, allowing his baggy waistband to expose a flabby crescent of flesh.

“Still Water Woman sorry. Still Water Woman is chosen. Painted Man is chosen. Here the People tried to stop the evil and died. Here, Still Water Woman will stop the evil. Here Still Water Woman will die. Here Painted Man will die. The story of the People will remember this night.”

“Now, wait, wait just a minute Miz Still Water. I mean, can’t we talk about this a little? You know I never liked ol’ Whitey either; been darn glad he disappeared in fact. Do you know any other old stories? Maybe one where we live happily ever after. Maybe? Huh?” Oh, fer cryin’ out loud.”

She stepped closer to the old clown and placed a firm hand on his forehead, pulling his head back. The finely chipped edge of the ancient blade, darker than the night around them, glittered in the moonlight as she brought it up against the skin of his throat.


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), June 02, 2001.

So, gentle reader, will the old crone prove to be a cut-up? Will Agnes finally lose her head over her stalwart little partner? Will ol' Lucky prove not to be so, and just lose his?

Will the anti-Lawless make the earth go kabloom? Will Helen find happiness with the pizza delivery boy?

Hang on to your popcorn and don't hide your eyes now, Trish. You asked for it!


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), June 02, 2001.

Wow! I have some catching up to do! Thanks, Lon. :-)

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), June 02, 2001.

Even in shorts, it was awkward for Agnes to get on her hands and knees, so Robert was the first to enter the little passageway into the hidden mesa. By the time Agnes had likewise wiggled her way through, he was nowhere to be seen.

Agnes thought to herself, “Great, just grrrrrr ate! Where has that little weasel gotten off to this time?” As she moved softly along the painted walls, she saw a shadowy figure almost in the center of the opening. She eased closer and saw that it was two figures, one kneeling and one standing over it. Then she saw the glitter of the blade as it was lifted to the throat of the kneeling man. She didn’t dare take time to think, and strode as rapidly as she could, up behind the two people, the dusty sand making her movement totally silent. She was barely six feet away when she pointed her .38 caliber Lady Smith revolver at the old woman.

“Federal Agents, drop the knife and step away from the bozo.”

The old woman turned her head slowly, until her eyes locked with those of the young willowy agent. The two women stared at one another as thought across a gulf of time, one of the ancient world, one of the modern; one withered and bent on death, the other firm and demanding life; each determined in her cause. For a long moment their eyes held, then a cloud covered the face of the moon.

Agnes thought it was the strangest sound. A long high wail bouncing from one figure to another along the curtains of painted ancient stone. Pitched and tinted with pain and confusion, it echoed and whirled about her head.

She had never heard herself scream.

The cloud passed the moon and the sound stopped as Agnes forced her mouth to close. She felt something warm on her left thigh, and looked down at the handle of the black knife protruding from the shining expanse of flawless skin. She was even more startled to find that her hands were empty and hanging useless at her sides. Her eyes started to scan the ground for her gun, when she realized the old woman was holding it, leveled at her chest.

“You are too late. Still Water Woman is chosen. The Painted Man will die. Still Water Woman will die. You will die.”

“I don’t THINK so!”

Agent Redford stepped from the shadow with his own gun drawn and pointed at the old woman’s head. He positioned himself directly in front of Agnes, and in the strange light of the moon, seemed suddenly as tall as his thin partner.

“You see, this lady and me are a team. And I, I care for her. A lot. And if you think I’m gonna let you shoot her just so you can get your voodoo merit badge, you better think again, babe.”

When Agnes had screamed, Lucky had lost consciousness, and fallen sideways out of the grasp of Still Water Woman. When she had stabbed the agent and jumped back, the old woman had unknowingly positioned herself so that her feet straddled the clown’s head in the sand. Now her finger tightened on the trigger of the little revolver, and things began to happen very quickly.

Lucky opened his eyes and stared at a centipede just crawling over the edge of his still-askew rubber nose. Living in the low country of the bayou land, he should never have been so afraid of bugs. But he was, incredibly and irrationally so. As he literally leapt, flat-bellied, from the sand, Lucky’s head came up perfectly between the old Indian woman’s legs.

As he lifted her into the air, perched on his shoulders like some Indian-costumed clown assistant, her gun went off, and Agent Redford crumpled to the ground.

Oblivious to the woman on his shoulders, Lucky hopped around furiously trying to get both hands on the centipede which by now had perched on the bridge of his nose, directly between his crossed eyes. On the third hop, the old woman flailed the air like some unfortunately inept rodeo cowboy, and made a slow motion back flip off the clown’s heaving shoulders.

Or at least, it would have been a back flip, had she been a little higher. As it was, she landed squarely on the crown of her head, and her body dove on past her with a sickening crunch as the bones in her neck snapped. Her feet came down toes first into the sand, and for a moment she was balanced there, her butt pointing skyward like a human tripod. Then she slowly rolled over, her open eyes staring at the equally lifeless and equally ancient ones of the painted White Shaman.


The bullet from Agnes’s gun had hit Robert almost squarely in the center of his forehead. Maybe the load was just defective, or maybe he had his head turned just right, or maybe the spirits of the mesa just didn’t want him coming along right then, but the bullet ricocheted off his skull and embedded itself in a side wall, permanently defacing a painting of a female shaman holding a black knife in one hand.

Lucky had tightly bound Agnes’s leg, and had used her cell phone to call for help. She sat in the dust among the moon-lit paintings, and cradled Robert’s head in her lap as she dabbed the dribble of blood from his forehead.

“You took a bullet for me, you know that?”

“Yeah, well it seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess.”

“And you said you cared for me.”

Yeah, yeah, it sorta just came out, you know.”

Agnes gently placed a delicate long-fingered hand on his cheek, where a wayward tear had just landed. He touched her thigh.

“How the leg?”

She did not take her eyes off his as she whispered,

“I think we’ll both live. Partner.”


By the time help arrived and the medics had carried out Agnes, Lucky was turning in circles and pacing rapidly around the painted walls. He suddenly grabbed Redford and lifted him to his feet.

“Look. Look here; see all these marks chipped into the rock. This is a moment-print; a map along the horizon of time. Only Ysandr could have done this; he actually was here.”

Robert tenderly touched his throbbing eyebrows.

“Wait, wait. You mean that he was here and somebody read his time-map, or whatever, and came and sucked him up into the sky, like the old broad said? But who? Who could’ve found him?”

“Well, I could. I mean if I still had the time machine, I could. But I don’t.”

Robert looked closely at his feet for a moment before meeting the old clown’s eyes.

“But we do. Back in D. C. Found it in a bunch of old junk, but nobody knows how to make it work. Nobody except the scientist who helped build it with Alex Lawless.”

The old clown carefully took off his rubber nose and gently pinched the dust from his pale nostrils.

“So, that’s why you came for me?”

Agent Redford’s eyes focused over the old man’s left shoulder, and on the wall behind him; to the magnificent and malignant being, rising into tortured heavens, and to the little figures crouching in terror at his feet.

“Yeah, old man. I guess we want him. We want him back.”

-- back to (you@robbie.now), June 02, 2001.

Well, Rob has the aliens with their anti-Lawless. Maybe they'll be the ones to suck the monster up into the sky. (I always thought that monsters went the other way...)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 03, 2001.

I forgot to tell Lon (again) how much I like his writing. Think he's forgotten from the last time yet? ;-)

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 03, 2001.

Thanks, Trish! Rob and I are really glad you're enjoying the story. And I gotta say, the admiration is mutual - I am always inspired by your poems and even go back into the archives to hunt for them over and over again. I know I could save them somewhere, but that would take the fun out of it, and I often find other things I'd forgotten (like your fairy mushroom snapshot!)

I know Rob's fertile (futile?) brain way ahead of me, and he's ready to go at it again, but in the meantime, why don't you (and Gayla, and Aunt Bee, and Kritter, and Robert and Gene, and everyone else still lurking) post a little something on new thread, also? :-)


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), June 03, 2001.

Two days had passed since Agent Redford notified ADRO of Lucky's whereabouts. Both he and Agent Maggart were recovering from the wounds at the mesa. Lucky agreed to go to the Pentagon. He knew he was needed. He shed the clown clothes and painted face and became once again the scientist that he previously was. After arriving in Washington, he went directly to see Helen Bee Mebs.

Helen, Julie, Pat, and Lucky all sat around the conference table in the Pentagon's vault. Lucky was pleasantly surprised to see both Julie and Pat. Now it was time for some answers, and Helen hoped that Lucky had plenty of them. She knew that being 'Lucky the Clown' was only a cover. He was actually ADRO's Chief Scientist, the person in charge of the Teleporter project. Helen looked over to him, not knowing where to start with all of the questions she had. She decided to summarize things first.

Helen cleared her throat and began. "Our mission has been to get Alexander back, or to at least account for him. People that important aren't allowed to simply disappear forever! We tried remote viewing, but that didn't work at all. Then we had Julie and Pat join us, and they were able to remote view successfully. The difference, we came to learn, is that Alexander is somewhere in the past - not in our present. The remote viewers can only work in the present, but Pat is able to view the past too. That's how we eventually found the mesa and the pictographs that we thought were the missing sequence for getting the Teleporter working. We decided to chance an experiment with the machine in the hopes of using it to go back in time and get Alexander."

Helen grimaced as she recalled to Lucky the Teleporter experiment that followed and the horrible results when they tried teleporting the rat. "We came to the conclusion that you were our only hope to get the Teleporter working, and so we began looking for you again, not knowing where you had gone after the escape with Julie in the time machine. We finally found you at the crayfish festival in Louisiana. There are so many things we need to know from you!"

Lucky shifted in his chair. "Shoot fire, woman! Ain't you learned nothin while I's gone?" He looked at Helen's startled face and began to laugh. "Sorry Helen, I'm only kidding - just trying to break the tension. As Lucky the clown I'd speak and act quite differently, but now that I've returned as ADRO's Chief Scientist, I'll dispense with my Clown role and try and answer your questions as best I can."

Julie was astounded at how easily Lucky seemed to shift between his two roles. She looked down at Pat, who was evidently interested also, as the pooch lifted its ears and directed its attention on Lucky. He got up from his comfortable chair, walked over to Pat, and rubbed the pooch behind the ears. "I remember you and Julie so well, and all we went through in our previous adventure." Pat let out a 'woof' and they all started laughing. Julie looked fondly at Lucky and remembered how they just narrowly escaped Alexander by using the Alien time machine.

The chief scientist now looked serious as he said "You did indeed find the last instruction sequence for the Teleporter. In fact, you didn't realize it, but since then you've had almost everything you needed to get it to work! You were missing one piece of critical information though - it can't work successfully in the lab. Alexander tried it and that was what resulted in the lab explosion. I never told him this part because I didn't trust him. But I trust you, Helen, and also Julie and Pat too. And I'll help you to find him and bring him back."

Lucky stood up and went over to the large globe in a corner of the Pentagon's vault. "The machine is ready to be used right now, but it can only be used in one of two very specific places. One of these places is off the coast of Japan." Lucky turned the globe to show the far east and pointed to Japan. "Now to find the only other place, all you need to do is imagine a long pencil going through this spot off the Japanese coast and coming out the other side of this globe."

Julie got up and walked over to the globe. She carefully looked at where the imaginary pencil would come out. "Why, it looks like it would come out right here - just about the middle of the Bermuda Triangle!"

"That's right Julie," Lucky replied. "The time machine you and I were in only moved us from one period in Earth history to another. But the Teleporter can move across both time AND space, using something called wormholes, and these wormholes only exist on the Earth in the two places I've shown you.

That is the secret Alexander never learned. I think that Alexander wanted to become the first person to travel across both time and space. He became obsessed with this, which is why I began to distrust him. He tried that final instruction sequence with disastrous results, the lab explosion, and realized he was missing something critical.

So he thought the only way to get the Teleporter to work was to use the Alien time-machine that you and I traveled in, Julie. He planned to go into the future with it, find out the secret to making the Teleporter work, then return to the present and actually use the Teleporter! I guessed what he was going to do and managed to stop him just at the last moment by damaging the time-machine slightly. He went into the past instead of the future, and the machine is broken."

"Wow!" exclaimed Julie. Pat let out a 'Woof' indicating complete agreement with Julie. Helen just stood there, deep in thought. Then the Head of ADRO's expression changed, as she smiled at Lucky and said "That explains a lot, thanks, Lucky. But there's even more we need to tell you."

Helen looked at both Julie and Lucky, then motioned to the chairs. They all went back and sat down. Julie looked down at Pat, and then looked at Helen. There was a question on Julie's pretty face. Helen saw the glance, and nodded her head as if in silent reply to go ahead.

Julie turned to Lucky and told him of Pat's mysterious pregnancy, and also of the disappearance of the mysterious fetus. Lucky grew visibly distracted as Julie explained these latest events. She also told him of their conclusions about the Aliens being somehow responsible.

Lucky folded his hands in his lap and looked at the floor. He shook his head, as if remembering, and said "I was afraid of this. You are right in your assumptions about the Aliens being responsible for both the pregnancy and the removal of the fetus, as Pat confirmed for you already. But what you do not know is what the Aliens are planning.

I believe they see Alexander as a threat now, due to his complete obsession with the Teleporter. It could take him places where he could do much harm, not only here on Earth, but elsewhere. They cannot take the chance. I think that they must be planning a way to stop him. There must be a connection with the fetus somehow. I'll have to think about that.

In the mean time, I can alter the Teleporter to act as just a time-machine, and then we can use it to go into the past and find Alexander. But he is still dangerous, and more obsessed than ever. We need to come up with a plan for how to handle him once he's back here. At all costs, we need to keep him from actually finding out about the wormholes. We really need to think this through before doing anything, Helen. And it would be good to try and understand what the connection is with Pat's fetus before we proceed."

At that, Julie felt her temples starting to tingle. Helen and Lucky both looked at her. Pat was sending her a vision. "I see a ship, one of THEIRS, and Pat's inside, and THEY are doing something to Pat - wait, I see, THEY are taking - Oh My God - THEY are removing a fetus from Pat - but I can't see, wait - There's only one - Yes, I see it now - Oh! - How can that be? No! That can't be! It's --- it's, Oh My God, a human-looking baby!"


Helen and Lucky looked at each other, and the expression on their faces was the same - one of disbelief.

Julie shook her head clear and asked "Why a human baby? Does that make any sense?"

Lucky turned to her and said "Since they are doing it, then Yes, it must make sense - at least to them. What we need to do now is understand why it makes sense."

Helen got up out of her chair and asked "Well, what is it that they are interested in?"

"Not what, Helen, but WHO!" Julie exclaimed.

That was it! They all looked at each other now with the same answer on their lips. Lucky was the first to say WHO it was out loud: "Alexander Lawless," he whispered.


Lucky slumped down in his chair as many memories all flooded back to him. They filled his brain until he felt almost like fainting. He must still have had some amnesia - right up until now! Suddenly he realized what the Aliens were planning, and the reason why. This changed everything! How could he even explain it to Helen, Julie, and Pat? But he had to try. He covered his face with both hands and began to cry.

-- (wasting@creative.energy), June 03, 2001.

No, no, Rob! You'd be wasting creative energy if you were writing for Rodenberry, not doing this! After all, with Star Trek, the characters are already developed (mostly). With this, it's all yours. And mine to enjoy. Thanks!

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 03, 2001.

(Still catching up) Lon, I'm impressed! The way you can take so many characters and events and tie them together is impressive! And btw, you're funny, too! :-)

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), June 04, 2001.

Helen and Julie watched in silence as Pat went over to Lucky, who had finally stopped sobbing. The pooch looked up expectantly at him then rested its paw on his lap. It was just what Lucky needed at the moment. He managed a slight smile. "You know, Pat, you're the only one that can save us."

Pat wagged its tail but did not bark. Helen and Julie looked at Lucky, waiting for an explanation.

Lucky blew his nose and cleared his throat. "It's a long, strange story. One seldom told, but now it must be told so you will understand.

My name is OleLon. Alexander's name is Ysandr. We are the Old Ones - the Two Keepers, appointed by the Aliens with the task of maintaining the delicate balance for Earth. We have worked together for centuries. Every civilized world has Two Keepers appointed.

We were given a time machine to help us with our task. Unfortunately, it was destroyed when Ysandr traveled back in time and ended up in the southwestern U.S. - with the Indians, centuries ago. Since he had no way of coming back to the present, the Aliens retrieved him. He rose into the summer sky and was immediately declared to be the 'White Shaman', and was immortalized in their stone carvings.

When the Aliens returned Ysandr to our present time, he wanted to replace the time machine, but with a Teleporter instead. He became obsessed with this. We had strong disagreements. I felt we only needed to replace the broken time machine, not build a Teleporter. The Aliens were also dead set against Ysandr making a Teleporter. It is a very powerful and dangerous machine. Remember that it can be used to travel across both time AND space. Ysandr decided to try and build it anyway. At first I helped him, hoping in time to guide his thoughts and change his mind. But then he tried using the prototype while I was away!

The result was the disastrous lab explosion. Knowing what happened, the Aliens came and got me. Eventually they dropped me off in the desert. I still have no idea how long I was gone. I had amnesia. That's when all of you became involved in trying to find me. But Ysandr was hell bent on finding me first. He became convinced I knew the secret of getting the Teleporter to work.

The Aliens had a plan to change Ysandr's mind. They believed he wouldn't want the Teleporter if he got a new time machine. While aboard the Alien vessel, I was told about a second time machine that was hidden in a crypt. It was a replacement for the broken one. I was instructed to go and find it, and lead Ysandr there. But the plan didn't work. Despite finding the new time machine, Ysandr was intent on completing the Teleporter. He still is, and the Aliens know it.

That brings us to where we are now. We have one hell of a problem. But first I need to tell you another secret. Because we are the Two Keepers, Ysandr and I are different from other humans - altered genetically by the Aliens. We do not age as you do. More importantly, we cannot be killed - at least not as you know it. There is only one way for us to die, and that is for us to be unmade. Like us, Ysandr is made of regular matter. But the fetus Pat was carrying is an anti-matter clone of Ysandr. If the Aliens decide to unmake him, that is what they will use."

Lucky paused for a breath and saw the look of confusion on Julie and Helen's face.

He smiled kindly at the two of them. "This is tough to explain. Let me try an example with numbers. Think of our Ysandr as +1 and the anti-matter Ysandr as -1. When you add them, or put them together, you get zero. That's how the Aliens plan to unmake Ysandr. If matter and anti-matter meets there will be a tremendous explosion - unlike anything we've ever seen before. If the Aliens bring both Ysandr's together here on Earth, it will destroy the whole planet. We will all be zeroed.

Ysandr doesn't yet realize this peril. We must find him and make him understand the Aliens intent. He alone must choose. Either he comes back to destroy the Teleporter or he will be unmade."

Helen frowned. "Why not destroy the Teleporter so he can't use it?"

Lucky let out a long, slow sigh. "Because eventually he will just build another. His only hope is to convince the Aliens that he has changed his mind - that he will not use the Teleporter - EVER. There is only one way to convince the Aliens. Ysandr must destroy it of his own free will, by sending it into the wormhole - empty. And only Pat can travel to the past and tell Ysandr of the choice he must make."

Julie bolted out of her chair. "Why only Pat?"

Lucky shook his head. "I can modify the Teleporter to be just a time-machine,temporarily, but it will only fit one person inside, with room for Pat too. So if Ysandr decides to come back to the present, the machine will fit only him plus Pat. But there is another reason. Pat can communicate with Ysandr's mind directly, as the pooch does with you, Julie. Pat alone can show Ysandr the images of the ship, the Aliens, and the anti-matter fetus. Ysandr will understand these images better than any words we could say. He'll clearly realize his peril and his choices - return to the present and destroy the Teleporter, or stay in the past and chance being unmade."

Julie was really worried now. "What if he chooses not to come back? Will Pat get stuck in the past? I don't like this at all. Is Pat willing to go on this dangerous trip? I insist on asking Pat!"

They all looked at Pat, waiting for the pooch's answer. The dog stood up slowly but didn't bark once for 'yes' or twice for 'no'. Instead, Pat just stood there - silently looking down at the floor. Ysandr wasn't the only one with a decision to make.

They waited.

-- (okTricia@nowIgetit.duh), June 04, 2001.

Yippee! Still more story :-) Unfortunately, I think I see the end in sight... whatever will I do? I can't handle more story withdrawl...

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 04, 2001.

I'm all caught up now. What a story!!!!! You guys are terrific! I think you could sell this and make a movie. There's even a love story between the two agents! I think we should cast FRLians in the roles. :-) Lon's part is easy, he's the brilliant scientist/clown of course. Am I tall enough to be Agnes? I'm 5'8" and have fairly long legs. I also have a .38 handgun. I don't care for green olives on my pizza, though. Can I have pepperoni instead? ;-) (I think we should make Robert be Alexander Lawless after that remark on the gas thread!) LOL

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), June 04, 2001.

The seconds passed as if they were hours. Helen was actually holding her breath. Finally, the pooch turned to look at Julie, and then Lucky. A soft "woof, woof" echoed through the Pentagon's vault. Pat's decision was made. The pooch wasn't going.

Julie let out a sigh of relief.

Helen exhaled.

Lucky looked directly at Pat. "If you're not going, then what are we gonna do?"

Pat looked at Julie again and then back at Lucky, as if trying to make another decision. All of a sudden Lucky felt a tingling at his temples. Much to everyone's surprise, he was getting a vision from Pat! Nobody else besides Julie had ever got a vision from Pat before. Julie stood next to Helen as they both watched Lucky with excited anticipation. They didn't have to wait long.

Lucky couldn't get over how clear the vision was. There is Ysandr and Pat, coming out of the time machine. Next, Lucky sees himself - he's modifying the machine to make it a Teleporter again. The scene changes instantly - as if this was a TV and someone just flipped the channel. They are on a large boat in the ocean. Somehow, Lucky knows with certainty that they're in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle. The Teleporter is on deck, by the guardrail. Helen, Julie, and Pat are also on deck watching as Lucky makes the final modifications to start the Teleporter. In only a moment the job is done. Ysandr stands next to Lucky, ready to send the empty Teleporter to its destruction in the wormhole. The machine makes a loud humming noise. It is ready to go. Lucky reaches for the launch switch and presses it.

Suddenly Ysandr pushes Lucky aside and rushes past him and goes into the Teleporter - just before it disappears inside the wormhole. Lucky falls down and hits his head on the slippery deck. Before he blacks out he realizes the horrible truth - clearly - that Ysandr has tricked them all!

The vision faded. Lucky blinked his eyes a few times before realizing that he was back in the vault. He brought his hand to his forehead and wiped away the beads of sweat that had formed there. Lucky was about to tell Helen and Julie about the vision when he noticed Julie putting her hand to her temple and rubbing it. Pat was sending Julie a vision now! Helen walked over to Lucky and helped him into a chair as images began to flood Julie's brain.

Seconds later Julie began to speak. "I see the Aliens in their ship. But they are underwater, not flying in space or air. Now I'm seeing inside the ship. There is Ysandr! He's on a table-like thing with THEM all around. There are 6 of them. They are - Oh, this is really weird - they are changing. Wow! They are getting out of their skin! No, that can't be. They are getting out of these impossibly tight-fitting skin-suit things. Now they turn and face Ysandr. Oh! They are doing something to him - it's a test or operation of some kind - on his head. Maybe it's not an operation. It's not clear. They have this thing by his head. Two of them are holding it - one on each side. I don't know what it is. It's some kind of donut-shaped machine and they put his head in the hole. I can't see his head now - it's inside the donut-shaped thing. He isn't moving at all. Oh! The machine is glowing now - and turning different colors. This is soooooo weird. It's dark all around except for the light-machine thing surrounding Ysandr's head. I can't see anything else. The light-machine is pulsating now. Something is happening! The light has stopped. It's dark. Wait - changing- - - - Now I see a large jar. It's filled with something - water I guess, and there's uhhhhhhh - something floating in it - uhhhhh - it looks disgusting - like coils that are all wrapped up - I think it's something that came from inside Ysandr. I can't see it clearly. I don't know. The image is fading now. Wait. I see - Oh - it's the ship - it's going into something - something like a long tube. It's the wormhole -they are going into the wormhole!"

Julie collapsed in her chair.

Pat sat on the carpeted floor, stretched out, and rested.

Lucky, Helen and Julie all looked at each other. They had the same thought:


-- (sonofdust@two.visions), June 05, 2001.

"Well," Lucky said, "I think I understand why Pat doesn't want to go get Ysandr now. He would trick us. He would come back here to the present after promising to destroy the Teleporter. But when the time came he would take it for a ride instead. That about right at?"


Helen looked at Lucky with admiration. "How did you ever figure that out?"

Lucky smiled. "Actually, it couldn't be anything else if you think about it. What I mean is that I saw all of us plus the Teleporter on a boat in the ocean. Now we know that has never happened in the past, and we know it isn't happening right now in the present. That leaves the future. Somehow, Pat showed me a vision of what would happen in the future if we followed our plan to bring Ysandr back here."

"Woof!" (and a wildly wagging tail ;-)

Helen and Lucky laughed.

Julie looked confused. "But what about the images I saw, Lucky?"

Lucky thought before answering. "I'm not sure Julie. I thought our plan was the only chance to avoid the anti-matter problem. But it looks like I was wrong about that part. The Aliens had another option to deal with Ysandr. That's what you saw. And it was happening as you saw it - right now - in the present. They have Ysandr now and are doing something, but it's beyond me what that something is. Maybe it will become clear in time. The important thing is that they took him away - he's still alive and all, but he's gone through the wormhole to their world - at least for now. Our Planet is safe."

Helen shook her head. "I never thought it would end this way. We did accomplish the ADRO mission - we're able to account for the missing Alexander Lawless - er, I mean Ysandr."

"True enough," Lucky said, "But only the Aliens know if he'll ever come back. And remember that there must be Two Keepers. If they don't bring Ysandr back, another will need to be appointed."

Julie smiled at Pat. "We're out of immediate danger, but I guess it isn't over yet. Right?"


-- (sonofdust@The.End), June 05, 2001.

Yippeee!! It isn't over yet!

Now if only I could learn to quit chewing these nails while I wait for installments....

-- Tricia teh Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 06, 2001.

But... but... I don't want it to be the end. :-(

I'm trying to find a way to load a cool picture of the real white shaman so I can post it here. (With Lon's permission of course! :-)

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), June 06, 2001.

Hoping this works...

-- Gayla (privacy@please.com), June 06, 2001.

Thanks Gayla!

I just thought that it would be interesting to show the real White Shaman from Panther Cave down by Pecos, Texas. It really is a recognizable character from the Period 1, Pecos River Style. It was a lot of fun imagining a story around it.


-- Lon Frank (lgal@exp.net), June 06, 2001.

Wow! A real place. Another one to add to my list of places I want to visit.

-- Tricia the Canuck (jayles@telusplanet.net), June 06, 2001.

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