The saga continues..........greenspun.com : LUSENET : FRL friends : One Thread
..............STEP RIGHT UP LADIES AND LURKERS............
Direct your attention to the stage curtain and hold onto your popcorn securely with both hands. The original and famous Frelian perfofming arts troup is proud to present this very night, a collaboration of, not one, not two, but THREE celebrated authors and certified prevaricators, for your enjoyment.
So you kiddies move back from the front, parents find yourself a comfortable seat, and everyone prepare to be mesmerized by the magic of grease paint and footlights. And now, for your pleasure and edification, the continuing saga of old clowns, beavers and monsters among us......................................
-- Lon Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 01, 2001
Than Nguyen yawned and pinched the bridge of his nose. It had been a long couple of days, but the refrigerated hold of the “Carol Dupree” was already half full of late season shrimp. Mostly the large 10-15 size, with more than a hundred pounds of 8’s. The 10-15 size meant there would be ten to fifteen per pound, and were always popular for boiled shrimp cocktail. But the eights were a premium to the better restaurants, and meant a bonus for the boat crew.
And Than Nguyen could use a bonus right now. Like most new immigrants, he had gone to work on a Vietnamese boat, owned by his uncle. But when the old trawler of his uncle’s had coughed up the guts of it’s transmission, he knew it would be at least three weeks before it went back out. And in three weeks the season would be mostly over.
So Than had been lucky to find a deck hand berth on Jeremy Dupree’s boat. Fifty-two feet in length, and built of cypress in the old style with a half-circle pilot house, the “Carol” had always been a popular craft, tied neatly to the old Sabine docks in Port Arthur.
The other deck hand on the Carol was a man of light-coffee complection, who seemed to have no other name than “Smokie”. Perhaps because of this, he had a penchant for bestowing nicknames to anyone he came in contact with.
“Hey Winner, Cap’n wants to see that t’ing. You know, the t’ing you found in dis mawnin’s trawl.”
He grinned to display a full set of yellowed dentition and held out a gnarled hand, palm up.
“C’mon on, fetch it out here, and I’ll take it up to him. Cap’n says.”
Than looked narrowly at the older and darker man for a moment before reaching into the pocket of his yellow slicker and handing over the still-damp object that caught his attention in the first rays of the morning sun as he culled the by-catch from the huge green shrimp net.
Smokey rolled the thing in his palm, then held it up against the flawless noon sky. He whistled a little shrill note between rotting front teeth.
“Now, I tell ya boy, I seen evert'ing come up in those nets, from dead men’s eyeballss to the nuts of ole Davy Jones, hisself, but I ain’t never seen nothin’ like this. No sir. No siree, nothin’ like this.”
-- Lon Frank (email@example.com), November 01, 2001.
Julie looked down lovingly at Pat and scratched the soft fur behind her ears. They were both enjoying some time off from their work at the Advanced Defense Research Organization (ADRO). Her boss, Helen Bee Mebs, had given them a week off. She had also given Lucky, ADRO’s chief scientist, some time off. God knows they all deserved it after what they had been through.
Julie thought back to her last conversation with Helen and Lucky. She remembered what Lucky had said; that he and Alexander had been the Planet’s Two Keepers, appointed by the Aliens in the role. Over time, Alexander showed himself to be more and more evil and dangerous and eventually was abducted by the Aliens for either destruction or rehabilitation. The latest information was that they held him safely on a planet in their own star system, but were making a rehabilitated clone of him for return to Earth – and to his duties as the second Keeper. Nobody knew if the ‘new’ Alexander was going to be good or evil, or even if the Aliens would bring him back to Earth at all. The only thing that Lucky was sure of was that a second Keeper was needed – and soon.
Undoubtedly, their next assignment would have to do with all this. Julie sighed. It would only be a matter of time and they would be off on their next adventure. Little could Julie have realized that her vacation was about to end so soon -
this very day.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2001.
Kit was furious. "WHICH research hospital? I've never heard of the one he's sending you to. Why does the boy need to go to a research hospital anyway? There's nothing wrong with him!"
"Maybe they can figure out a way to teach him speech." Adam continued packing without looking at his brother.
"The boy doesn't have any trouble making himself understood," said Kit, "and besides that, why do trust our dear brother with his welfare? You didn't even want him to know about his son, and now all of the sudden HE'S in charge of all us. I don't like it!"
Adam continued packing without a word until Kit gave up and stomped out of the house. In truth, he didn't trust their half-brother. He didn't know where he stood with the boy now that his mother had returned. All he could do was make sure he was with the boy wherever the boy's father sent them.
He opened his top drawer and looked thoughtfully at the weapon within. It had been years since he had used it. He had come back to this tiny community to avoid ever using it again. Sighing, he strapped it on under his arm and donned his coat.
It was almost time to pick up the boy and his mother.
-- helen (email@example.com), November 02, 2001.
The heat waves rose up from the narrow blacktop of the Interstate east of San Antonio, their waves appearing to ripple the underside of the red 1967 Mustang GT which was indeed flying low as if it were some alien craft. The driver, a woman of “respectable” age, wore outsized sunglasses decorated with pink rhinestones and sang loudly along with a vintage eight-track tape:
“Help me Rhonda, HELP, HELP me Rhonda; help me Rhonda, YEAH! get her outta my mind”
Her passenger, a sun-worn and lanky man wearing a sweat stained straw Resistol cowboy hat, grinned with admiration and gripped the dash as they swerved over to blow past a tan nondescript sedan with government plates.
To a casual observer, the sedan would appear to have no driver at all, but gripping the wheel with both hands, and straining to see over the dash was man who’s physical appearance belied the stature of his character. Recently decorated for valor by the secretive organization he worked for, Agent Robert Redford squinted at the speeding Mustang and reached over to poke his partner on the arm.
“Hey, Aggie, did you see that? Wudden’t that.......you know, wudden’t that.........?”
Agent Agnes Maggart briefly opened her eyes and then immediately shut them again against the glare of the south Texas sun. Although she was the agent-in-charge of their partnership, she had let Redford drive, even though this always caused her to fold her long legged frame into an uncomfortable and unchangeable position in the reduced passenger space of the bench seat.
“Listen you pint-size pugilist, just because you took a bullet for me, doesn’t mean you can punch me when I’m asleep, OK? And we’re on duty, so it’s AGENT MAGGART. You got it?”
“But Aggie,..... I, I mean Agent Aggie, didn’t you see...?”
“I didn’t see, and I don’t WANT to see anything, until we get to Port Arthur. I don’t know just what this thing is, or what the hurry, but if the director of ADRO calls me at four a. m., I just kinda assume it’s important, you know. So keep your grimy little fists on the wheel and wake me when we get there.”
Agent Redford squirmed a little higher in the seat and pushed the accelerator towards the floor. He muttered in his best Bogart impersonation:
“Yeah, well, you rest those gorgeous eyes, doll, and leave the drivin’ to me.”
Agnes turned her head slightly towards him and drew back her lips in a snarl.
“Play it again, Sam, and I swear I’ll shoot you.”
-- Lon Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2001.
It was Helen Bee Mebs first visit to the Oval Office, and though she had been to the White House before, this time there was an anticipation building in her that she could hardly contain. Her meeting with the President was also a first. To say she was excited would have been an understatement.
After clearing security, she was escorted through the hallways of the West Wing, as they turned to the southeast corner where the Oval Office was. Upon entering, the President rose and shook her hand, somewhat more firmly than expected. A special agent of the President’s security detail stood at attention by the door.
Helen couldn’t help glancing around. The President smiled. All visitors did this and it always amused him.
The first thing Helen noticed was how spacious the room actually was. It was impossible to discern this from the usual television views we are all used to seeing. You had to actually be there to see just how large a room it really was.
The President sat down behind the large desk that Queen Victoria had presented to President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880 and watched Helen silently for several seconds.
In those few seconds, Helen looked down and noticed the large oval rug, with turquoise rosettes on a pale gold ground that was specifically designed for the room. She also saw the beautiful mantelpiece, made of marble, and adorned by two matching antique Chinese covered vases. Presiding above the mantle shw saw the portrait of George Washington in dress uniform, painted by Charles Willson Peale.
She knew that the décor of this room changed with the different administrations, but she also knew that the flags standing behind this very special desk always remained in their traditional places. To her left was the Presidential Flag, and to her right, in the position of highest honor, the flag of the Unites States of America. Before sitting down, she was able to glimpse the Rose Garden, which was outside the Oval Office.
Helen looked directly towards the President and smiled nervously. He grinned back at her, saying: “Welcome to the Oval Office, Director Mebs.” Then he smiled outright. “May I call you Helen?”
With this, the President took the Director of ADRO completely off guard, which was his intention.
“Yes Sir, Mr. President!” She shifted to a more comfortable position in her chair, and for the first time in what seemed like forever, actually relaxed a little.
Seeing this, the President smiled. “We only have about ten minutes.” With that, the President started talking, and after ten minutes, he looked directly at his Director of Advanced Defense and Research, smiled, and stood up to signal the meeting was at an end. A split second after he rose, a door opened and a security agent stepped into the room, obviously there to escort her back out.
As she left, Helen began thinking furiously. Now agents Maggart and Redford’s report would be more crucial than ever. She could hardly wait to hear from them. And she would have to call Julie too.
-- (email@example.com), November 02, 2001.
Wow! More story!! What a pleasure!
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2001.
Hi Trish! Hope you got a comfy chair, this one might take a while. Actually, I don't know if we can pull it off or not. You know how these stories work; we don't really tell each other what we are planning (mostly because we ain't got no plan), so now we've got to mesh three stories together somehow. I think Rob has some idea where we're going, but I am somewhat clueless, and Helen is absolutely hopeless.
I got a feeling that the aliens are gonna end up with Mike mule before it's all over. But, I hope it'll be fun for all of us.
PS - if you got any plot ideas, don't be afraid to just shout them out, we're ad-libbing anyway.
-- Lon Frank (email@example.com), November 02, 2001.
What are you talking about? I have hope.
-- hopeful helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 02, 2001.
Hey Lon, I know you was only funnin, but now you be nice to Helen!!!! Anyone who could put up with either of us, never mind both, deserves tremendous respect and admiration (and probably a drink or two ;-) !
-- (email@example.com), November 03, 2001.
Captain Jeremy Dupree held a 12 gauge pump shotgun across his forearms, and wouldn’t let them come aboard until Agnes and Robert showed their identification.
“Sorry, sorry, but when the Sheriff told told me the Feds were interested, well, I just got a little little nervous-like, you know. Just, just what is, uh, the Advanced Defense and Research Organization, anyway? I’ve, I’ve never even heard of it.”
Agent Redford held steady eye contact with the older fisherman for a second before pushing past the shotgun’s muzzle.
“Yeah, that’s right, you never heard of us, Ahab, and we never came here.”
Agent Maggart was dressed in a green mid-thigh skirt which she now realized was much too tight to be hopping across dock side moorings. As she glanced down at the gap of water between her and shrimp boat, the captain reached out and hauled her aboard by her elbow. Agnes grabbed the railing with one hand and her suddenly elevated skirt hem with the other, and gave a little embarrassed smile.
“Thank you, Captain Dupree. ADRO is a, well, a rather classified agency, and it really wouldn’t do to talk about our visit, OK? Now may we see the item you found?”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s in the wheelhouse. Come, come on.”
But, before he turned toward the rounded pilot room at the front of the boat, he clutched the shotgun even tighter and looked both directions down the deserted docks, as if expecting men with overcoats and dark sunglasses to be hiding behind the rusting bollards and piles of nets.
“Well, well, here it is. What, what first caught our attention was that it doesn’t have any corrosion. I, I mean we get things up from the bottom, bottom of the ocean alla time, but never something shiny and clean like this.”
He held out what looked very much like a small soup can, open at one end, and made of a smooth silvery metal. Around the outside were geometric figures and marks resembling the ancient runes of the Norsemen. It was perfectly clean, no rust, no barnacles, not even a stain.
Agent Maggart held out her hand, and then juggled and nearly dropped the cylinder when Captain Dupree placed it in her palm. He grinned as if it were a friendly joke.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s light; weighs nothing, nothing at all. And and, look here, I found out some other strange things about it. That’s, that’s why I called, called the Sheriff.”
He took back the cylinder and then plunged it into a bucket of sea water sitting on the deck. Even though one end was clearly open, no water entered, and when he pulled it back out the inside was bone dry. Agnes again reached for it.
“Wait, wait, there’s something else, and this’ll blow your your mind.”
He unsnapped a pouch on his belt, drew out a large pocket knife, and thumbed the single blade open with an audible click which sounded startlingly loud in the little room. Agent Redford’s right hand slowly moved up the front of his shirt towards the concealed butt of a little Smith and Wesson .38, and Agnes gave an involuntary gasp as the fisherman laid the glistening blade against his own forefinger. It was razor sharp, and with just a twitch, he opened a half-inch cut which began to bleed immediately.
“Oh, my God, what are.........”
“Just, just wait. And and, watch real close.”
He held out the bleeding finger in front of each of them, as if he were a side show magician about to pull an elephant out of an empty top hat. Then he stuck it into the hollow of the cylinder through the open end. Enjoying his little trick, he winked at Agnes and jerked his finger out again after four seconds.
Agent Redford grabbed his wrist and brought the finger close to his face.
“Oh yeah, this does it for me; I’m definitely creeped-out now.”
The shrimp boat captain grinned a waved his finger around, flexing it like one of the crustaceans that were his prey.
“See, see, no cut, no scar, no, no pain. Good, good as new!”
Agnes slowly reached out and picked up the cylinder.
“Of course, you realize this has got to go with us.”
The sun-burnt fisherman nodded sheepishly and stuck his hands in his pockets.
“Do, do you think there’ll be a, a reward? Or, or something?”
Redford held out a plastic evidence bag, and as Agnes placed the little cylinder in it, something caught his eye. They had not noticed the etching on the closed end.
An etching of a little stylized desert bird.
-- Lon Frank (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
Of course, Agents Redford and Maggart had been to ADRO headquarters before, but they hadn’t expected Helen Bee Mebs to demand they bring the cylinder in person. As they stepped off the private courier jet at the agency hanger, a black limo waited on the apron.
Robert had to almost jog to keep pace with his tall counterpart, but caught her at the limo’s side. He punched her lightly on the arm.
“Yow, baby! Look at the wheels they sent. I told you that we’d be treated different since I got that medal.”
Agnes rubbed the spot on her arm, and glared down at him.
“I told you NOT to poke me! And if you call me “baby” again, or Aggie, or dollface, or anything but Agent Maggart, I’ll have you neutered, understand? And if you do ANYthing to embarrass me in front of the director again, I’ll do it myself.”
“Yeah, yeah, I wonder if they got any booze in this yacht?”
He opened the door, but rather than wait for his female companion, he immediately started to climb in, then stopped with his head in the door and one foot raised. He turned his head and glanced back at Agnes, who bent stiffly at the waist and peered inside. In the shade of the interior sprawled an elderly man holding one of the cut glass tumblers from the little bar. He smiled at the surprised pair and held his hand out to Agnes.
“Hi there, gorgeous. I see you still have your munchkin.”
Agnes pushed her way past Robert, and landed her long arms and exquisite legs in the seat beside the old guy like a flesh-colored pile of pick-up sticks. She hugged him briefly about the neck and tousled the little wisps of hair on the sides of this head.
“Lucky! I had no idea you would come to welcome us. It is so good to see you again.”
Agent Redford climbed into the smaller rear-facing seat and pulled the door shut.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s great to see you, too. Did they give you that drink, back at Happy Acres, or is there one for everybody?”
Agnes still carried the little cylinder in the evidence bag as the trio walked along the mezzanine in the front office of the agency on their way to the office of Director Mebs. Suddenly, Redford gave a little whistle and stopped to look down at the lower-level entry court.
“Now, there’s something you don’t see everyday. And he’s just your type, Aggie.”
Agnes considered her rebuke, but before she could speak she saw what he was talking about. There below at the first security check point was a small group of people, one of which towered over the others, a misshapen giant covered with soft wavy hair. As Lucky likewise leaned on the railing to look down at the spectacle, the giant lifted his strangely beautiful eyes, and locked onto the old scientist’s stare. After a moment, he trilled softly. Lucky let the papers he was carrying slip from his hand to the floor, and said in a hoarse voice to no one in particular,
“Well I’ll be dipped and deep-fried. It’s him.”
-- Lon Frank (email@example.com), November 03, 2001.
(W-w-what? Am I ON??)
-- helen chugs the last of her beer and attempts to save the situation (ack@ACK.ack), November 03, 2001.
(Just hold on for two hours, ok? Just two hours. Please!)
-- helen sees blurry keyboard (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
Sure, sure helen. We'll wait. Just take your time, dear; nobody's rushing you. Finish giving Mike his pedicure, and tell the chickens a bedtime story. Take a long hot bath with a glass of nice chablis and some soft cheeses. We'll wait. No rush. None at all.
-- Lon Frank (email@example.com), November 03, 2001.
Captain Jeremy Dupree was sweating. He kicked the covers and thrashed in his bunk, suddenly sitting bolt-upright he was awakened by his own scream. As he peered around his tiny stateroom behind the pilot house, he called out in a panic-stricken voice, but already he realized it had all been a nightmare.
“WHO’S, who’s there? Is is anyone one there, there?”
He was definitely wide awake now, though still trembling. He reached a shaky hand out toward the nearby light switch, but froze suddenly as a dead cold terror seized his spine and paralyzed his arm in mid-reach. In the darkness of his small cabin his forefinger throbbed with a luminescent green glow. And Captain Jeremy Dupree knew that it had been more than a nightmare. Somehow, somehow, more than a nightmare nightmare.
-- Lon Frank the bayou liar (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
Annie was quietly furious as she helped the young giant pack. His mother had inexplicably taken off, leaving Annie to explain to the boy why he had to leave. She didn't think there was any reason to let him be poked and prodded like an animal. How dare that woman come back here and start telling everyone what to do?
The boy understood only that Annie was angry, and it had something to do with him. He trilled sadly as she latched his small suitcase shut.
"Oh! Don't worry about this, honey," Annie soothed. "I'm just going to miss you. I wish you would stay here with me. You don't have to go anywhere you don't want to go, ok? You don't really want to go, do you?"
The boy shrugged his shoulders and looked away.
"You want to please your mom, right?" asked Annie. "Honey, I know you want to be with her, but you're too old to have your mom decide what you need. You can decide that."
"Annie's right," Kit said quietly from the doorway. "I don't think you should go. In fact, I can think of a lot of reasons why you should stay right here." He held out a small satchel. "This is yours. Adam has been trying to get you read the papers in here, and now you'd better do it."
The boy shook head and turned his back on them.
"Listen," said Kit. "I'm your father's brother. And if you don't believe me, read your granddaddy's papers."
Annie gasped. The boy turned slowly and looked at Kit in disbelief.
"It's true," said Kit. "Adam is on his way over here to take you away. You need to know that Adam is your father's brother too. Did your mother ever tell you your father's name? It's all in here," he said, shaking the satchel, "and if you don't read it soon, you may never get another chance."
Annie stared at Kit with wide eyes. "Adam? YOU? I don't understand."
They heard Adam's car rattling up Annie's rough driveway. "There's no more time to talk," Kit said quickly. "Just take this with you and don't let anyone know you have it." He stuffed the satchel into the boy's suitcase. "READ it! I don't understand why you're being sent away, but I know who is sending you away and that's bad enough."
Adam slammed his car door. There was no more time. Kit grabbed the boy by his massive shoulders. "If anything weird happens, RUN!"
Adam tapped on the door. "Hey! We're late already! Let's go!"
Annie gave the boy a quick kiss. "I love you. Don't forget. If you can't run, SING."
They rode in silence. Adam tried the radio, but it was an irritant and the boy wasn't paying attention anyway. "I guess your mom went ahead of us to get your new room ready?" he ventured.
The huge, miserable lump of humanity in the other seat shrugged.
"I thought she was going to ride up there with us. I guess she changed her mind." Adam was trying to find something the boy was interested in. "Hey! I'll bet she's got a lot of fun things for you do."
The boy raised his massive head and gave Adam a sorrowful look.
"We don't have to do this, you know," said Adam. "Let's go home. Your mom wants the best for you, but she may not know what the best is. Let's not do this."
The boy pointed ahead and let his perfect hand fall back to his lap.
They pulled into the parking area a little before dark. Adam stretched his aching back and pretended to be sleepy. He was afraid. The guards at the gate were solemn, serious fellows, and Adam felt mounting alarm. This was no ordinary place.
The young giant pulled his small suitcase out of the back seat and trudged to the gate with Adam. He had never experienced a checkpoint before, and he didn't understand the process. He felt that they were being watched. He raised his head and found his eyes locked with those of an old man. Was it his grandfather? He felt a surge of hope and trilled without thinking. He realized almost at once he was wrong.
He knew this man. Of that he was certain.
-- helen (email@example.com?), November 03, 2001.
Nope, Helen. Now it's Rob's turn to rush ;-)
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 03, 2001.
Julie put her cell phone away and turned to Pat. “Well pooch, it looks like our vacation is over. Helen called and we need to go back to Washington right away.”
Pat wagged her tail and barked softly.
Julie thought about the short conversation. Helen had been in the White House! Something Big was happening. All Helen would say over the phone was that it involved something very unusual that Agents Maggart and Redford had found. Julie began packing up. They would be leaving first thing in the morning.
Helen sat down in her office and looked at the odd can-like thing that Agents Maggart and Redford had just dropped off. She re-read their report for the third time and shook her head. Even her chief scientist, Lucky, had no idea what the thing was. The only thing they were sure of was that the ‘can’ was Alien in origin. Agents Maggart and Redford, their immediate job done, left the office to grab a bit to eat down at the Pentagon Mall. Helen put the ‘can’ in her office safe, along with the agents report, and turned to Lucky. “Well, what do you think, Lucky?”
ADRO’s chief scientist cleared his throat. “None of us have a clue what it is. But maybe Julie and Pat can help. They’ll be here tomorrow. But there’s something else. Before we came into the office, I saw something, I mean someone, and it shook me up right bad. I had the oddest feeling when our eyes met. I sensed that he felt it too. He was a giant of a boy, misshapen, with strange yet beautiful eyes. It was his eyes that held me. This may sound bizarre, but I somehow got the impression that he was somehow connected with us. Do you know him, or why he’s here?”
Helen smiled before answering. “Yes, Lucky, I know him. I had him brought here. His name is Angel. He’s my one and only son.”
Lucky’s mouth gaped open as Helen’s smile faded. She looked thoughtful now, and almost pained. “Yes Lucky, it’s true. It’s been my deepest, darkest secret and the haunting failure of my whole life. I… I hate to admit it, it still hurts, but I was so young then, and confused, and really scared. I left him to run like an animal in the woods, and thought he was dead. Fact is, all these years I thought he was dead. You see, I know for sure that he was unaccounted for after I left him. I kept checking. My conscience made me. But he was missing. I didn’t find out he was still alive until just the other day. Now I’ve got to make it all up to him.”
Helen started crying. Lucky went over to her and held her. Several minutes passed before she regained her composure. Lucky sat back down. Helen blew her nose and looked directly into Lucky’s eyes. “He’s special, Lucky, that’s for sure. And you may be right that somehow he’s tied into what we are working on. I have so much to make up to him for. So I’m keeping him with me from now on. In fact, maybe he should be here when Julie and Pat arrive tomorrow morning.”
Lucky nodded his head. It was a lot to take in all at once. He turned to Helen and smiled. In a gentle voice he said; “It takes a big person to admit what you’ve done, and a bigger one to accept the responsibility for it and try to make things better. I’ll help anyway I can, Helen.”
At that, the Director to the Advanced Defense and Research Organization started crying again.
-- (email@example.com), November 04, 2001.
Well! A monster named Angel with Helen for a mother! This story has more twists and turns in it than a corkscrew ;-)
Keep it up, all.... this is great!
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 04, 2001.
Helen and Lucky were down in the ‘vault’ of the Pentagon waiting for Julie and Pat to arrive. Angel would also be joining them. Helen had brought the ‘can’ from her safe, along with agents Maggart and Redford’s field report, which Lucky was currently reading through.
Helen was thinking about her son. As the time passed since he had been brought here, she sensed that Angel was getting to be more comfortable around her. While nobody could understand his strange trilling, they could sense and see from his facial expressions that Angel was not as afraid anymore. If only he could talk, Helen thought.
Suddenly Lucky looked up from the report, an expression of surprise on his face. “Helen, what’s this about a strange bird sign on the bottom of the ‘can’. I don’t remember seeing any sign!”
Helen took the can over to where Lucky was sitting and handed it to him, closed-end up, so he could see the sign that the agent’s report referred to. It looked like an etching of a little bird. Lucky took one look at it and turned pale. Helen saw his reaction. “What is it Lucky? Does it mean something to you?”
“Yes! This is our sign! I mean... it is one of the signs of the Two Keepers - Alexander and myself. There are two signs, one for each Keeper, though this 'can' only has one of them. Each sign is a bird. If put side by side, the two birds would face each other: one looking to the right, the other to the left, watching each other. This sign looks to the left. It signifies The Healer - Alexander’s sign.”
Helen looked confused. “But what does it all mean?”
Lucky’s eyebrows arched slightly. “This healing object or can or whatever it is can only be used by one of the Two Keepers, the one that is the Healer - specifically, Alexander. The fact that the can has been found at this moment in time means that either Alexander is going to be brought back to us soon, or someone else will be appointed by the Aliens to be the second Keeper in his place.”
Helen shook her head. “We all know Alexander, but how would we recognize the new Keeper?”
Lucky put the can down. “Easy. Only the Second Keeper, the true Healer, will be able to use the healing can-object safely. Nobody else could do so, not even me.
They both were mulling over this latest development when the vault door opened. In stepped Julie and Pat. Helen hit a button on the phone and asked that Angel be brought down to join them.
Helen and Lucky were finishing bringing Julie up to date when Angel arrived. The massive boy stood in the doorway, hesitant to enter at first, until Pat ran across the room, tail wagging, and began licking him as if they were lifelong friends. The massive boy bent down to receive Pat’s attention and pet the golden retriever with his perfect hand.A smile spread across his misshapen face.
Angel stood and walked into the room with Pat following. Then the strangest thing happened. Julie, Helen, and Lucky watched with complete fascination as Angel trilled softly to Pat, who seemed to just sit there listening to every incomprehensible sound Angel made! This went on for several minutes. Finally, Pat went over to Julie, who felt a tingling sensation at her temples, signaling a vision from Pat was imminent.
Angel couldn’t talk, but evidently he could communicate directly with Pat! And now Pat was going to tell Julie what it was that Angel wanted them all to know. . .
-- (email@example.com), November 05, 2001.
I sea Than is a Nguy'en these stories.....
-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 05, 2001.
Wow! I have a LOT of catching up to do. THREE writers? What a treat! :-)
-- Gayla (email@example.com), November 06, 2001.
Yeah, Gayla, I can sit around eating snacks and goofing off 2/3 of the time now!
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 06, 2001.
Helen, how come the next segment is Rob's too??? Why aren't you pulling your load??? ;-)
I like pulling your leg, does that count?
-- Tricia the Canuck (email@example.com), November 06, 2001.
The next segment is Rob's because ... well ... because ...er ... he's so GOOD at this and ... I don't have anything, ok? Please don't make me write anything tonight. The moon is waning ...
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org.Angel), November 06, 2001.
All eyes in the room were on Julie, who was sitting down rubbing the side of her head, as Pat began sending her the message he got from Angel. The images came like a flood. Helen, Lucky, and Angel watched Julie intently, each sitting on the edge of their seat. Julie closed her eyes and started speaking slowly.
“It’s night. There are trees all around. I see Angel. He’s running. I think he’s scared. Now I see a light somewhere up ahead, deeper in the woods. It, it seems to be, yes, the light is definitely getting brighter. Now Angel is in a small clearing with the woods all around and this light is getting closer. It’s very bright now. Oh! A ship… It’s THEM! The light is coming from their ship. It’s hovering over the clearing, over Angel, and now, Oh, there’s a bluish light beam or something shining on him. He’s floating off the ground and going up into their ship! The light went out. Wait. Everything’s dark now. I, I think that’s it. No, wait... wait. There’s more. I... I don’t know what I’m seeing... wait. Oh! There’s Angel lying on the floor surrounded by bluish light. It’s hard to see him. Wait, the light is fading and I can see more clearly. Boy this is weird! He’s not on the floor. No. He’s a foot off the ground resting on this thing. I don’t know what it is. Oh my God! Two of THEM just came up out of the floor and they’re examining Angel! One of THEM is holding a shiny thin tube-like thing and, oh , this is disgusting, uh, they put it in his nostril, I... I don’t know what they are doing. This is really, really strange. I... I can’t even describe it. I... I don’t feel so good. Uhg. I’m getting... I’m dizzy. I... I... Uhg.”
Julie fell off her seat and onto the thick carpeting of the vault’s floor with a muffled thud.
Lucky and Helen nearly jumped off their seats and ran over to Julie, while Pat began licking her face. Julie did not respond. She was totally out of it.
Unnoticed by everyone, Angel went to the table by where Helen had been sitting and picked up the mysterious can-like object. Pat left Julie’s side as Angel walked over to where Julie was and placed the can gently on her forehead. A dim green light suddenly enveloped Julie’s head, seemingly coming from the mysterious empty can.
Julie began to stir. She opened her eyes and looked at Angel, who stood up and calmly walked back to the table to put the can back as if nothing unusual had just happened. Helen and Lucky exchanged glances and looked at the massive misshapen boy with awe.
Lucky was the first to speak. “Angel is the Keeper, the Healer! He used the can and it worked!”
Pat left Julie’s side and went over to Angel and started licking him again. The boy smiled and stooped down to pet his newest friend. Julie laughed out loud.
Helen ran over to Angel and hugged him tightly, planting a kiss on his cheek. “My son, my only son. You were abducted by the Aliens! That’s why I couldn’t find you when I came back for you. But we’re together now and I love you. I’ve always loved you. Can you ever forgive me?”
A single tear slowly trickled down Angel’s smiling face. Perhaps it was a trick of the light, but Julie thought it seemed to be just a little less misshapen.
-- (email@example.com), November 07, 2001.
This is awesome! I'm still not caught up all the way, but just wanted to add my encouragement. You guys are amazing! :-)
-- Gayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 07, 2001.
Captain Jeremy Dupree was in bad shape. The strange green luminescence on his finger wouldn’t go away, and the throbbing relentlessly continued. It was making him crazy. What the heck was that can thing any way? He was crashed out on his bunk in the “Carol Dupree” when Than Nguyen popped his head through the doorway and said he had visitors.
Agents Maggart and Redford stepped into the captain’s cabin, followed by what the captain thought looked like something out of a late-night horror movie. The monster was holding something in a perfectly normal- looking hand and went over to the Captain, who grew quite alarmed and started to raise himself up off the bed in a vain attempt to run away.
The rotund Agent Redford put his hand none to gently on the Captain’s shoulder. “Easy now, Captain Hook. Agnes and me didn’t come all the way back here to Port Arthur just for grins. We have a test, I mean a job to do. Someone’s with us who can help you.”
Agnes’s lips curled in what had become an all to familiar snarl. “I told you before Redford, it’s Agent Maggart! Not Agnes, not Aggie, nor darling, babe, or honey. You got that? If you keep this disrespect up I won’t feed you lunch. That won’t hurt you much, but it’ll be pretty tough on the farmers!”
The captain relaxed a bit and regarded the monster dubiously. He looked at the normal hand and realized what it carried. “It’s that blasted can! Take it away. Get it outta here. NOW!”
Agent Maggart sat on the side on the captain’s bed, stretching her long and shapely legs. “Now, now captain, we’re here to help. Trust us. Besides, you have no choice. That green stuff on your finger isn’t going away is it? And it probably hurts too. Just sit still and close your eyes. It’ll all be over in ten seconds. Then you’ll be ok again.”
Captain Dupree wasn’t happy about any of this, especially the monster holding that damn can thing, but he realized that Agent Maggart was right about him not having much choice. He resignedly took a deep breadth and closed his eyes tight.
Agent Redford nodded to Angel, who walked over to the captain and placed the can gently on his forehead. A green light instantly spread over the captain’s body, working it’s way from the head downward, until a green mist covered him. In only a moment or two, Angel stood up straight and put the can away. It was over in seconds, as Agnes had promised.
The captain opened his eyes and looked at his finger. It no longer throbbed, and the strange green luminescence was gone too. He looked closely at Angel who had a slight smile spreading across his misshapen face. Then the captain looked directly at Agents Maggart and Redford with an expression of mixed gratitude and confusion.
“Who the hell are you people?”
Helen Bee Mebs hung up the phone. Agents Maggart and Redford related all that had just happened on the shrimp boat. Angel passed the test. He was indeed the Healer - the new Keeper, as Lucky had thought.
The President, who had given her the mission to identify the new Keeper, would be pleased. Not only had she identified who the new Keeper was, but Angel was actually one of the family, and now a member of ADRO. She sighed at the thought of her son being productive, being protected, being by her side, being loved.
It was time to report her progress. Helen dialed the special number that only a handful of people had. She smiled as she waited. Not far away, the phone on the desk of the President of the United States rang softly.
-- (thesonofdust@ketchup.Gayla!), November 08, 2001.
(Uh...is this my cue?)
-- helen thinks fast (email@example.com), November 08, 2001.
Good job, Rob!
Sure, Helen ;-)
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 08, 2001.
Adam had run out of medicine, and no one in this government nuthouse kept it around. He was feeling more uptight and unhappy every day. The boy was changing psychologically. The shy, nervous manner that had endeared him to the Nowhere Culture Club was entirely gone. Adam rarely thought of anything to say to him these days. They had almost nothing in common now.
The rest of the government freak show didn't seem to notice the boy had changed physically. Adam, who had only the boy to focus on, was certain his awkward, misshapen trunk had straightened. His face was more symmetrical, and his gait was smoother. Every new change had been preceded by the boy's use of the strange can with the bird markings. And no one else seemed to notice. The others cared more about the can than the boy.
The comforting weight under his jacket kept him steady in the face of a dry spell. Adam was surprised at how easily the old habit had begun to feel normal again. He didn't dare leave the boy long enough to restock his supply of medicine, but the weapon gave him at least some measure of control over the situation. Things were getting screwy, and Adam hated it. He had moved to Nowhere to get away from this kind of life, and he intended to go back to Nowhere…but not without the boy.
The boy was busy. His mother kept asking him to do things, and he wanted to please her, but he was growing tired of tests. The old man, Lucky, had stumbled onto his educational level. The boy hadn't been given a day of rest since. Lucky had insisted on intelligence tests, college placement tests, and psychological assessments. The boy had begun to resent Lucky because of the testing, but he especially resented Lucky when Julie was around. The boy did not wish to be a science project in Julie's eyes. He had hidden his anger from Pat, but he couldn't hold out much longer. He intended to leave. He wanted to take Julie with him.
-- helen (email@example.com), November 09, 2001.
The boy shook his head violently.
"Just one more time," said Lucky. "We'll stop after that."
Adam was angry. They were testing the boy with the can again, and the test they had just finished had been done with an injured dog. The boy was stressing out, and Adam had seen enough. "He's done," Adam snarled. "Leave him alone."
Lucky had been irritated from the beginning by Adam's refusal to leave the boy alone. Now he was angry too. "Why don't you go home? He doesn't need you now that he's back with his mother." He turned back to the boy and tried to soothe him. "If you need a rest, maybe your mom could arrange to give you a vacation on a beach somewhere. You'd like that, wouldn't you? We can go ask her right after we finish one last test."
The boy shook his head again, and Lucky sighed. "Ok, we'll stop for today." He casually reached for the can. The boy stepped back and gripped the can more tightly. "Angel," Lucky said quietly, "that can doesn't belong to you. Now give it back."
Adam chuckled. "He knows how to use it … and you still don't know how it works. I think it's time he had a vacation. I'm going to make sure he gets it." Lucky made a grab for the panic button near the door, but Adam was faster. The gun in his hand was pointed at Lucky's heart. "When you call your goons, make sure they have a car with a full tank of gas in front of the building. We'd better not see anyone outside either, or we'll smash that can to smithereens."
He crossed over to the wall and pushed the panic button himself. He kept the gun pressed into Lucky's chest while the old man instructed the guards.
The boy was alarmed, but he wanted to get away. He wanted Julie too, but he didn't where she was. He had no way to tell Adam. Suddenly he realized what he could do. He closed his eyes and thought hard at Pat.
"Let's go, son," said Adam. "Let's go home." He pushed Lucky away from the door. "Tell his mother we're going home. She doesn't have to look anywhere else. She left him, and now he's leaving her. If she makes a move against us, we recycle the can. Understand?"
Lucky nodded. Adam opened the door and motioned the boy to go first. He heard a startled exclamation in the hallway, and a muffled bark. The boy had Julie by the arm and was tugging her down the hall with him. Adam glanced back at an obviously concerned Lucky and smiled. "Two more hostages," he said softly. With that, his old life was restored. He chuckled again as he gently closed the door and headed down the hall behind the boy, the girl, and the dog.
** ** The car died without so much as a sputter. It simply ceased to function. Adam looked into the rear view mirror at the young people in the back seat. "So we walk. Get out."
The boy was confused by the change in his uncle. Adam had always been gentle with him before. The man in control now was a stranger. He realized Julie was in grave danger. He trilled softly under his breath to Pat. Pat remained silent, but very alert.
They left the car and headed into heavy brush. The ground sloped down, and soon they were completely invisible from the air. Adam's eyes were glazed. "Jake," he said to the boy, "we have to keep moving as fast as possible. They probably tracked the car. They rely too much on technology and not enough on simple horse sense. We'll make it out this time. I promise I'll get you home this time."
Julie looked at the boy worriedly. The boy's grip on her hand tightened, but he made no sound. She was getting tired. The boy could easily keep up with Adam's frantic pace, but Julie began to stumble more often. Soon the boy was half-carrying her. Pat followed them closely.
When they came to a small clearing, Julie called out to Adam. "Please stop for a minute! I can't keep this up!"
Adam stopped. His eyes were wildly searching the sky over the clearing. "There's no time. If you can't keep up…" He looked at her with the eyes of a stranger and slowly pulled his gun out from under his coat.
The boy stepped between them as the first shot rang out. Julie screamed. A furry ball of muscle hurtled through the air at Adam's gun hand. The boy stumbled toward Adam, the can held out in front of him. The boy and the dog brought him down hard, and Adam lost the gun. Julie scrambled across the rough ground and snatched it.
The boy was a healthy young giant. He pinned Adam down easily and held the can on his forehead. The greenish light enveloped both of them. Adam stiffened and screamed. The boy cried out once and collapsed. The light pulsed and glowed far brighter and for far longer than Julie had ever seen before.
She crept closer to them, warily clutching the gun. The light faded slowly, leaving them both motionless on the ground.
"Angel?" she said timidly. "Adam?"
She gently pulled the young giant over on his side and gasped. He had changed. He was beautiful. He was magnificent.
A high pitched buzzing sound and bluish light enveloped all four of them. Julie realized what it was a split second before she passed out. The aliens had returned.
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 09, 2001.
(Between work and school, looks like it'll be Tuesday before I can get back. Have fun, boys!)
-- helen (email@example.com), November 09, 2001.
Very cool, Helen!!
I guess it must be Lon's turn now?
(Who me? Impatient? Whatever gave you that idea?)
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 09, 2001.
What a twist in the story! Oh my! Tricia was right.
So, as the boy helps to heal others, he is being healed himself? I like that! (The Bible says to 'pray for one another that YOU may be healed'. No mention of a can, though.) ;-)
I really like the way you guys have tied this all together. Rob, that scene with Helen and Angel was very touching!
I can't imagine what ideas Lon will conjure up when he reads it. Is he back from his latest trip?
-- Gayla (email@example.com), November 10, 2001.
Let's hope so! I'm out until someone else picks up the alien ship part.
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 10, 2001.
The three bodies lay motionless on an elevated platform in a cold and otherwise empty room aboard the spaceship. A tall man, well over six feet, slowly circled them. His skin was a sickly pale white and was totally devoid of hair, his hands as smooth as his bare and dully gleaming scalp. His face emotionless, his nonexistent eyebrows steady over deep set green and sparking eyes. He spoke aloud to himself, or perhaps to unseen listeners.
“So, this is what they were going to replace me with, huh? This, this,...... kid? Just drop him in and fly away, I guess. What were they thinking.....they know I couldn’t let that happen.”
He stopped and pried the cylinder out of Angel’s clenched hand, then gave a disgusted little single sylable laugh.
“Heh, looks like he’s been using it to “heal” people. Well, Heaven help them; I wonder if he knew what he was doing.”
Alexander Lawless took a deep breath and sighed gently.
“Maybe he did know. Maybe he just wanted to be normal and beautiful.”
He walked towards a concealed doorway which appeared in the shining metallic wall.
“Like I did, so long ago.”
The moon was just rising over the Gulf of Mexico. It was one of those rare, full golden orbs that come up early and seem to take up the whole eastern horizon, turning the wave tops to hammered copper. Than Nguyen and Smokey were tired. They had been out three days, already, and were pushing themselves to take advantage of the exceptional lunar light. Their arms ached as they culled the bycatch of the last trawl.
Suddenly, both men shifted their weight as seamen do, and looked up as the boat changed course, dead into the rising moon. Smokey scowled his displeasure at this change in routine.
“What the Hell? He’s heading out; there ain’t no shrimps out deeper; what’s he thinking about? I better go check, maybe he’s moon-touched.”
Smokey had been around shrimp boats since he was thirteen, and knew that you didn’t just holler at the Captain at the end of a long day. So he stepped quietly into the pilothouse and closed the door before speaking.
“Cap, we seem to be fallin’ off a little, .....”
Suddenly, his eyes bulged with disbelief and terror as he lurched back against the closed door. A huge hand shot out to grab him by the neck and effortlessly lifted him eight inches off the floor. The deckhand flopped and struggled like a gaffed flounder as he fought to gasp a breath of air, his eyes already glazing from lack of oxygen. Captain Jeremy Dupree turned his massive, hair covered head, and lifted his grotesquely twisted face close to the older coffee-colored seaman. And trilled softly.
Three weeks later, the Coast Guard Cutter Liberty, out of Miami, came alongside the Carol Dupree. They had gotten reports from local pilot of a “dutchman”, a floating derelict, with no obvious crew.
It was in that strangely glowing half-hour before sunrise, when the wisps of sea fog float just above the waves like errant souls of storm-drowned sailors, and the gulls are just starting to cry for the rising sun, that the two men on the bridge of the cutter studied the shrimper through their binoculars. It’s rigging trailed in tatters and it’s deck was littered with lines and unused trawl boards. In the eerie light through the open pilothouse door, they could see the engine controls still set in full forward position. The midshipman held his voice to a hoarse whisper.
“How’s a Texas shrimper, gone missing nearly a month ago, end up here in the Bimini Roads? With no power and no crew.”
The older man, an ensign, would file a report later, much edited, which would make thin allegations to drug-runners, prevalent currents and seasonal winds to explain the little cypress boat now floating off his port bow. But he knew there was no real explanation. No reason that this vessel would come seven hundred miles from it’s port, with no fuel and no crew, to founder here. Here in the heart of the most mysterious water in the oceans of the world. Here in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle.
But now he held steady his glasses, and whispered back a remembered snippet of childhood poem, his voice soft as a funeral prayer:
“Day after day, day after day,
We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
Upon a painted ocean.”*
*S. Coleridge, “The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner”, excerpt
-- Lon Frank (email@example.com), November 11, 2001.
Welcome back, Lon.
More twists! My head is spinning! ;-)
I knew Alexander Lawless couldn't be trusted! What did he do to Angel?
I'm going to be gone again for awhile. I'll check in when I can to see what on earth (or not) ;-) has happened to all of the characters.
Take care all.
-- Gayla (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 2001.
(Take care, Gayla!)
-- helen (email@example.com), November 12, 2001.
I thought we got rid of that no good Lawless man forever. And here he is back?!?! And living down to his name, no doubt. More nail biting again....
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 12, 2001.
It's not MY turn, ok? Lon? Rob...?
-- helen got nuthin just now (email@example.com), November 13, 2001.
The Head of the Advanced Defense and Research Organization was embarrassed and pissed off. “Yesterday, I called the President of the United States and told him we had found the new Keeper, as he had ordered. Now we’ve lost our new Keeper. The President is not very happy. And I don’t like it - any of it.” Helen looked disgustedly at Lucky and threw the field report from Agents Maggart and Redford down onto her desk. She glared at her chief scientist and spoke slowly, with a quiet menace. “Let’s go over it again.”
Lucky cleared his throat and frowned. “Ok. After Adam kidnapped Julie and Angel at gunpoint, he headed back to Nowhere. Maggart and Redford followed their trail and looked for them but struck out. We haven’t a clue where they are. But at least the agents found Pat – alone. Julie never would leave Pat voluntarily, and Pat would never leave her. So something is up and that’s for sure. Maybe Pat can give us a clue.”
Helen perked up at that idea. “You think so?”
“Well, I was able to communicate with Pat once before, remember?”
“Yes! You did. That’s it! Even though Julie isn’t here, we can try having you work directly with Pat. It’s worth a try, and right now, it’s the only chance we have of finding out what happened to Julie and Angel – and for that matter, Adam too.”
Helen called Agent Maggart, who had Pat in her keeping temporarily. Pat would be joining them later today. The golden retriever was their only hope.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 14, 2001.
Agents Maggart and Redford had dropped Pat off as their boss requested. Helen talked with them briefly before they went off on their next assignment. The pooch was sitting comfortably on the carpeted floor of Helen’s office when Lucky walked in. Pat rose and went over to Lucky, wagging her tail.
Helen looked up and smiled at them. “Let’s get started.”
Lucky sat down and Pat followed, standing by him and looking at him expectantly. “You’re a smart pooch. You know exactly what Helen and I want to find out from you, don’t you?”
Helen and Lucky laughed out loud. They knew that one bark meant ‘yes’, while two meant ‘no’. Maybe this would work after all!
Lucky straightened up in his chair. “Ok Pat, we need to know where Julie and Angel are. Can you show me what happened?”
The images started coming to Lucky almost immediately. He slumped in his chair and rubbed his temples before beginning to speak.
“I see them. I mean I see Julie and Angel and Adam. Pat’s there too. They’re outside and I see Adam’s gun. He’s raising it. He’s going to shoot! Pat’s jumping at him and the gun went off and there’s Angel wrestling with Adam. I see the healing can and there’s a greenish light surrounding them. Julie’s on the ground nearby... she’s got the gun now and is crawling toward them. Why, Angel looks different! He’s changed. I mean, he looks kinda normal, not so misshapen anymore. The image is fading. Wait. There’s a blue light. It’s THEM! The light is surrounding them all, except for Pat who just ran away quickly to the side. The blue light is getting brighter. It’s engulfed them. Now it’s buzzing and floating up off the ground. Now it’s flying up fast... faster and faster... it’s gone.”
Lucky shook his head as Helen gazed down at Pat. The Head of ADRO was about to speak when Lucky continued.
“Wait. I think I’m getting another image. Yes. They are on a spaceship. I see Julie. That’s strange. She looks different somehow. Maybe it’s the light or something. And there is... is that Angel? Wow! It is... at least I think it is, but he looks so different! The image is changing. Now I see someone else. It’s Adam talking to one of THEM! I don’t know what they are saying to each other. Hey! Adam is being returned! I mean he’s not on the spaceship anymore. He’s back on Earth. I see him by a building. He’s stark naked! There’s a sign next to him... I mean in front of this building. It says “Nowhere Culture Club.” I hear singing from inside the building now and he’s just outside, naked as the day he was born! The singing is getting softer. The vision is fading fast. It’s gone. Wait. A new image... back on the ship... Julie and Angel are still here on the ship. There is another person here... it’s not one of THEM. Shoot Fire! Can it be? I don’t believe it! It’s him! Alexander!”
The visions from Pat stopped. Helen jumped up and ran over to Lucky, who suddenly collapsed, exhausted, in his chair. They had solved the mystery of where Julie, Angel, and Adam were. But in doing this, new questions and mysteries surfaced. Why did THEY abduct Angel, Julie and Adam. And why did they then return Adam? And what was Alexander up to? And what were these changes in Angel all about?
-- (email@example.com), November 15, 2001.
So ANSWER the questions already!!!
Sheesh, here we go nail biting again, and I'm gonna be out of computer range for a few days :-( My fingers are gonna end up shortened several centimeters at this rate!
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 15, 2001.
Why indeed?! Are the aliens allowing Alexander to do whatever he wants now? I thought they were 'good' guys? What have they done to Angel?
How come poor Rob's having to write the whole story himself? ;-)
You're doing an excellent job, Mr. Michaels. Please continue. :-)
-- Gayla (email@example.com), November 16, 2001.
Thanks for the encouragement Gayla. I hadn't planned to do another post just yet but what the heck. . . I'll think up a couple answers soon, especially since our Sweet Princess is in danger of destroying her digits :-)
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 16, 2001.
After a while, Lucky came to and was feeling much better. But Helen was exasperated. She turned to him in the hope of getting some answers. He saw the look on her face, wiped his brow, and started speaking slowly.
“I think I know at least part of what is going on, Helen. The Aliens abducted them because things were starting to get out of hand. Evidently, Angel is the new Keeper, because he is able to use the healing-can. But we also know what happened to those fellows on that boat who he used the can to heal. You see, the healing can has side effects, and Angel isn’t completely ready to use it safely. He needs something else. Something only Alexander has. That’s why the Aliens captured Angel.”
Both of them looked over to Pat and laughed. They had forgotten that the pooch was there. Helen looked confused. “I’m sort of following you, but what exactly do you mean?”
“Only Alexander, the previous Healer and Keeper, has the knowledge to use the healing-can absolutely safely, without side effects. The Aliens must be planning to give Angel Alexander’s knowledge so that Angel can begin his new responsibilities.”
“But how will they do that? Another brain transplant?”
Lucky pet the golden retriever lightly on her head. “Pat’s right again. They are going to perform a type of operation, but not a transplant. They are going to do a Thought Transfer of the special knowledge from Alexander to Angel. Then they will be able to return Angel to us to become the Healer and new Keeper. After this is done, Angel will be able to used the healing-can with full power, and safely.”
Helen smiled. This was more like it. “What about the changes in Angel?”
“Those are the side effects I mentioned before. Julie looked different to me also. She may have come into contact with the healing-can herself. The changes can be reversed when Angel’s knowledge becomes complete.”
“But why did they abduct Julie and Adam too.”
“Like I said before, things were getting out of hand. Adam drew his gun and fired. Anything could have happened next. I think that Julie and Adam just went along for the ride. The Aliens were planning to come and get Angel anyway. Looks to me like they picked one hell of a good time to do it. And remember that they already have returned Adam. Maybe they are keeping Julie there with Angel to keep him company until the thought transference is done. They seem to have been growing fond of one another.”
Helen Bee Mebs' smile grew. “Thanks Lucky. I had so many questions before, and even though I still have some, at least now we have some answers too.”
With that, the Head of ADRO picked up her Secure Telephone Unit and dialed a very special number – a number belonging to the President of the United States of America.
-- (email@example.com), November 16, 2001.
Well, that's it for now. I've had a lot more free time during this story than Helen or Lon so that's why I've been posting more. But I think that Helen is conjurin' up something for youz guyz, and Lon should be back soon too.
-- (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 16, 2001.
Uh... yeah, getting right on that...
-- helen scrambles madly for the keyboard (email@example.com), November 16, 2001.
Thanks, Rob!! I don't think my fingers coulda handled getting back here after my hiatus to find everything still on the brink.
Helen, I grok that bit about night shifts. I'm hoping that yet another job will open up for me soon. My body is complaining ever louder about switching back and forth from nights to days to nights again.
-- Tricia the Canuckian nightworker (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 20, 2001.
Adam found himself lying on his back surrounded by clucking old members of the Nowhere Culture Club. He could swear he felt grass on his bare buttocks and then decided he was having one of those awful dreams of being naked in public. All eyes were focused on a point below his waist.
Adam sat up and saw what they were looking at. He fainted.
The aliens had left him a present.
(That's all until Saturday out of me, boys, but have fun with it!)
-- helen (email@example.com), November 21, 2001.
They painted his toenails?
-- LindaMc (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 21, 2001.
Well... Remember Pat and what's so special about her/him? Maybe the aliens don't have our sexes down pat and kinda oopsed?
-- Tricia the Canuck (email@example.com), November 22, 2001.
(I was thinking he could be entirely covered with soft pink fur from navel down, but I don't have time to do it.)
-- helen (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 22, 2001.
The members of the Nowhere Culture Club had quickly covered up the naked Adam and brought him back to his nearby house to rest. How he had just appeared, stark naked, outside the club that evening would be a topic of conversation among the locals for years to come. None of them would forget what they had seen. . . the totally hairless body below his waist, the soft-looking bright pink skin – almost like that of a newborn. And none of them would forget his seemingly incoherent ramblings about a spaceship, and aliens that told him about anti-matter propulsion drives, gravity amplifiers, and other outlandish and utterly incomprehensible things. The poor man was obviously in dire need of rest. They dropped him off and then all went home themselves, shaking their heads the more they thought about things. It was something that every member of the Nowhere Culture Club would remember for a very long time.
Pat was sitting down by Lucky as Helen hung up her office phone. “That was Brooks. Julie is back! Evidently, the aliens had just dropped her off by Golden Lake and she called Brooks on her cell phone. He picked her up and they went to his house, where they just called from. Julie confirmed what you had seen, Lucky. Alexander and Angel are still with the Aliens. It looks like they need to transfer information that Alexander has to Angel, in preparation for Angel assuming the role of Keeper. Anyway, Julie will be here tomorrow to get Pat. I’m so glad Julie's back!”
Pat stood up and wagged her tail.
Lucky looked down at Pat and pet the golden retriever’s head gently. “Well Pat, that’s one less thing to worry about. Looks like you won’t be away from Julie much longer. We’re all glad Julie’s back, but none more than you. Right Pat?”
With that, Helen and Lucky laughed out loud. Another crazy adventure had come to a conclusion. Though what would happen with Angel and Alexander only time would tell.
-- (email@example.com), December 05, 2001.
LOL, Helen. I see you got tired of waiting. Very well done :-)
-- Tricia the Canuck (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 08, 2001.
I didn't do it! I was all set to have him find his fur changing color with his mood, even going argyle once in a while. I swear a woman can't go on an extended bout of housecleaning and neglect her writing for a month around here without somebody getting antsy and ...
-- helen rants (email@example.com), December 08, 2001.
-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 08, 2001.
Argyle? What kind of mood is argyle?
-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (email@example.com), December 08, 2001.
Argyle? What kind of mood is argyle?
Now, if you could figure out a reason for it to turn plaid ........
-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 08, 2001.
Well, Robert, placid is just plaid with an extra c, so it would be a nice mood match ;-)
-- Tricia the Canuck (email@example.com), December 10, 2001.
I cee, I think. Lake Plaid, eh?
-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 10, 2001.
I just had this mental picture of a guy wearing "mood" fur...
-- helen (email@example.com?), December 10, 2001.