"The I.D.E.E.A. Men," Volume 2.
, Instant Size Change Characters:
Brobdnignagian (51 ft. to 100 ft.)Shrink:
Minikin (3 in. to 1 in.)Size Roles:
A Bizarre New I.D.E.E.A.
April 05 2010 Updated:
August 17 2010
1. Chapter 1 by Carycomic
2. Chapter 2 by Carycomic
3. Chapter 3 by Carycomic
4. Chapter 4 by Carycomic
5. Chapter 5 by Carycomic
6. Chapter 6 by Carycomic
7. Chapter 7 by Carycomic
8. Chapter 8 by Carycomic
9. Chapter 9 by Carycomic
10. Chapter 10 by Carycomic
11. Chapter 11 by Carycomic
12. Chapter 12 by Carycomic
13. Chapter 13 by Carycomic
14. Chapter 14 by Carycomic
15. Chapter 15 by Carycomic
16. Chapter 16 by Carycomic
17. Chapter 17 by Carycomic
18. Chapter 18 by Carycomic
19. Chapter 19 by Carycomic
20. Chapter 20 by Carycomic
21. Chapter 21 by Carycomic
22. Chapter 22 by Carycomic
23. Chapter 23 by Carycomic
24. Chapter 24 by Carycomic
25. Chapter 25 by Carycomic
26. Chapter 26 by Carycomic
27. Chapter 27 by Carycomic
28. Chapter 28 by Carycomic
29. Chapter 29 by Carycomic
30. Chapter 30 by Carycomic
31. Chapter 31 by Carycomic
32. Chapter 32 by Carycomic
33. Chapter 33 by Carycomic
34. Chapter 34 by Carycomic
35. Chapter 35 by Carycomic
Semi-needless disclaimer: this story, like volume 1, is a piece of crossover fanfiction based on the canonical stories of Mr_G and DX Machina. Most of the concepts are the intellectual properties of same. And, they are used herein with only the utmost respect intended.
Mandatory recap: two operatives for the Inter-Dimensional Exploration and Enforcement Agency detected a violation of the Treaty of Harrisburg involving the parallel-world designated Earth-DXM. Specifically; the presence of contraband weapons technology. In confronting one of their leads, they panicked him into revealing himself to be a Morpher. One of a race of xenophobic beings that can shapeshift between solid and liquid states of matter, at will.
At the same time, the Growth Triumphant Society has liberated a shrunken man named Barney from the Pentagon. Their main reason for doing so? He first materialized on their world as a mega-giantess named Buffy!
Meanwhile, the owner/operator of an Internet website for conspiracy buffs ("Theparanoidsareright.com") has become targeted for termination by the Sitmobtia; a crime syndicate from a parallel-world called Sizeloa. And, his only hope is Raymond Venn. A private investigator who is also a Sizeloan-in-exile!
Venn has managed to find a temporary refuge for his client. But, now, the Sitmobtia is after both him and an old "show-biz" acquaintance of his. While the two I.D.E.E.A. men were lured into a trap that has left them stranded on a world with an unusual boarding school. One where both the students and faculty are apparently man-eating giantesses!
* * * * *
Dana Schorr-Geraghty looked at the plant life surrounding them.
"Wow! These have got to be the tallest sunflowers I've ever seen!!"
Agent 679 smiled: "Incorrect, miss. These are not Helianthus annuus. They're Rudbeckia hirta; black-eyed Susans!"
Ray Venn ruefully smiled back: "So, in addition to everything else, you guys are botanists, now, too?"
Dana arched her eyebrows, quizzically: "You three know each other?"
Ray nodded: "We first met while I was working on a marine insurance case...involving the Bermuda Triangle! It cost me a pretty hefty bonus to officially declare that case 'unsolvable.' "
"My apologies, Mr. Venn," replied Agent 678: "But, the Brobdignagian pygmy octopus is still an endangered species on Earth-10261726. And, the relocation of all stray specimens is still on-going."
* * * * *
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, EARTH-DXM
(24 HOURS EARLIER)
"And, that is how matters stand, at present, Milord," concluded Etag Thron.
The silhouette on the TV screen was silent for a few moments. Then, its electronically distorted voice finally deigned to reply.
"Continue with the duties already assigned you. I shall contact the Secret Police, on Gromania, and see if they can loan us one of their S.W.A.T teams to eradicate this interloper. And, in the process, retrieve your disruptor."
"What of the human he protects?" inquired Thron.
"Leave that one to me. Just do as I say!"
"Always, Milord. Always!"
And, with that, the screen on the replicated Predicta went dark.
Twenty-four hours later, a dozen sizevamp mercenaries exited through a crosstime warp in Arcadia, California (Earth-MRG). Each one wore a black uniform with a matching helmet and visor. And, each one carried a Steyr AUG in nine millimeter, with a silencer over the mouth of the gun barrel. And, a biometric scanner built into the telescopic sight.
The object of their hunt had been traced here by the disruptor he had confiscated from Thron. And, their orders were specific.
"Kill this Raymond Venn...and anyone else between you and the disruptor."
What they had not anticipated, however, is that Venn would be able to sense their presence and warp his way out! As a result, all they accomplished was to turn Dana's camper into the semblance of a hollowed-out Swiss cheese...and attract the attention of temperamental Sizeloan director, Rontor Drohaw.
"Hey! Who are you you? And, what the blazes...?"
He never lived to finish his indignant statement. Instigating a chorus of panic-stricken screams and shouts from the cast and crew of the CHERUB pilot!
"Adjutant!" exclaimed the sizevamp leader, yelling in order to be heard over that commotion: "What's the reading on the disruptor's transponder, now?"
His second-in-command showed him, using a device that resembled a palm-pilot. The sizevamp leader smiled and nodded.
"Prepare to warp after them on my command. Activate crosstime warp...NOW!!!"
By the time Arcadia's Finest arrived on the scene, all twelve sizevamps were gone.
* * * * *
MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE GIANT SCHOOL...
"So, this isn't Mega-world?" inquired Dana.
"Not the one currently occupied by warring factions of GTS-goddesses," replied Agent 678: "That one, we designate Earth-09082009."
"As opposed to Earth-03312008," added his junior partner: "The mega-hating world decimated by your people, in revenge."
"Skip the geography lessons!" yelled Ray, from atop one of the giant black-eyed Susans: "We've got company coming."
He was referring to Oralia Crammet-Downs, who was heading straight for the garden. With a giant pet ferret on a leash!
Warning: contains some giant animal vore.
* * * * *
The S.W.A.T. team exited from the warp in what they initially took to be a forest. That is; until their biometric scans revealed the "trees" to actually be pansies!
"Dubrovnik?" said the team leader: "You take point. The rest of you? Spearhead formation, behind me. Safeties off!"
The men (following strict protocols for minimal noise in unfamiliar territory) gave a curt nod of affirmation, in perfect unison. Dubrovnik, however, did not remain quiet for long.
* * * * *
Oralia had originally purchased her "dear, sweet Poopsie" to protect the carrots, in her vegetable garden, from wild rabbits. Right now, though, the lovably hyperactive ferret was proving quite invaluable in tracking down the two little men who had escaped from her!
"Good girl, Poopsie. Good girl! You find those naughty little men. And, we'll dine on them, both!"
No sooner had she said this, than the ferret suddenly stopped in its tracks.
"Ooooh! Do you have their scent? Huh? Does My Precious Poopsie have their scent?"
As if in reply, the ferret suddenly lunged forward with an ear-splitting growl. Followed two seconds later by a blood-curdling scream!
Oralia tried to reel her pet back in. But, it was all she could do just to hang on to the leash with both hands! Consequently, she did not get a good look at what Poopsie had been mauling with her teeth before hurling it away, to her right.
"Adjutant! Look out!!" shouted the S.W.A.T. team leader. Yet, to no avail. Dubrovnik's body came flying toward them too fast to avoid it. With half his men being bowled over, like the proverbial ten pins, as a result.
"Open fire! Fire at will," he ordered those still standing. And, they swiftly obeyed. Their bullets, however, merely bounced off this mega-mustelid! So, the team leader saw no other choice.
"Visors up! Fangs OUT!"
The other sizevamps complied; preparing to _literally_ go for the jugular. Before they could be ordered into action, however, their team leader wound up having his molecules disrupted!
And, Ray Venn grinned as he proceeded to similarly disintegrate the team's adjutant. Thereby disrupting the chain of command even further.
"Hello, boys! Looking for this?" he rhetorically asked, pointing at the tube-shaped weapon in his right hand.
"You good-for-nothing sizehu!" swore the team's top sergeant: "I'm gonna..."
"...regret ever using that turn of phrase!!!"
The sizevamp sergeant looked up, and gasped. As did the rest of his subordinates. For, there, stood Dana Schorr-Geraghty...approximately one hundred fifty feet tall! With each of her shoes looking as long as a railroad box car.
It was the shoe on her right foot that crushed the sizevamps into one vast bloody pulp. And Agent 678, observing this from her right shoulder, could not resist commenting:
"Now, _that_ is what I call 'stamping out the opposition.' "
Mostly for Asukafan: no giant ferrets were really/truly hurt in the posting of this chapter.
* * * * *
"Goodness gracious! Where did you come from?"
Dana looked at the mega-giantess before her. The latter superficially resembled the human actress, Rosie Perez. That is; if Rosie Perez were trying to audition for a remake of FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF as the principal's secretary!
"I'm Dana Schorr-Geraghty, Ms...?"
"Mrs...Oralia Crammet-Downs. I'm the home economics teacher at this school."
"Oh! Well, you have a lovely campus, Mrs. Crammet-Downs. And, I was just taking a walk through the woods right behind it when I heard this terrible commotion! I saw what looked like a swarm of bugs attacking your cute little pet, here. And...? Well, I hate to admit it. But, I've never outgrown my childhood fear of the creepy-crawly things!"
"That's my litte Dana!" exclaimed Ray: "She loves hiking in the woods. But, she's deathly afraid of bugs."
While Oralia was still focusing her attention on Dana, Ray had quietly shot up to just over the same height. He now joined the latter in order to back up her story. Literally smiling down on the now-shorter woman. And, Dana--scowling only for a second--gave him a half-serious peck on the cheek before introducing him.
"Well, it was nice meeting you youngsters. But, I have to get back to my kitchen, now. Come, Poopsie!"
Dana waited until the older giantess was out of sight, before slapping Ray in the chest with the palm of her right hand.
"That's for calling me 'little.' "
"Sorry! But, there's no time for idle chit-chat. Shrink back down with me. I've got something to show you. You guys should see this, too."
He was referring to the two I.D.E.E.A. men. The duo had jumped down off Dana's right shoulder, when Oralia had first addressed her. Hanging on to threads of the former's white-knit sweater during the conversation that followed.
Dana now put them back on the ground, before she and Ray shrank down to the same height. The male sizehu then guided them to the remains of the sizevamp called Dubrovnik.
Dana was naturally a little uncomfortable at seeing the bisected corpse. Yet, she quickly overcame this discomfort when Ray pointed out the circular red decal on the lapel of the defunct mercenary's black uniform jacket.
Within that red circle was the figure of a plume-helmeted black knight, up-raised sword in his right hand, riding an equally black horse. The horse's left leg was raised off the ground. And, the horse's head (turned to look outward) had blood-red eyes.
"These were no ordinary mercs. This is the emblem of the Walpurgis Knights. The most elite team of enforcers in the Gromanian Secret Police!"
Agent 679 furrowed his eyebrows in concentration:
"Gromanian (noun): of or pertaining to Gromania; capital nation-state of Earth-04301897. The parallel-Earth ruled by Enorma (dhampir-daughter of Count Dracula and the Russian GTS-goddess Valentina)."
Dana looked at Agent 678, in horrified disbelief. And, the latter nodded, in grim affirmation. He then suggested that all four of them should depart from this particular mega-world without further delay. He received no arguement.
A brief history lesson.
AUGUST 12, 2009
* * * * *
The odd-looking quartet rematerialized inside the lobby of I.D.E.E.A. Headquarters. Several uniformed security guards instinctively reached for their sidearms! But, the two agents quickly flashed their badges, and verbally vouched for their two traveling companions.
Ray, of course, did have to surrender his S&W M-39, along with the molecular disruptor. But, realizing the former was a mandatory security precaution for all non-agency personnel, he was not overly perturbed about it. Thereby disspelling the stereotype of Freudian possessiveness, with regard to private detectives!
When they got to the office of the agency's chief moderator, Agent 678 told the two sizechangers they would have to wait a bit. So, he and his partner could brief their superior, first. He added how the receptionist would signal them when it was their turn to give their side of the story.
"In the meantime, there's a waiting room just behind you, complete with magazines and a water cooler."
Ray and Dana nodded their thanks, and went over to the indicated area. The latter tried to interest herself in some back-issues of SIZELOAN NEWS WEEKLY. She finally gave up, though, and looked Ray straight in the eye.
"Talk to me!"
"About what?" he replied (genuinely perplexed).
"Well, for starters; those sizevamps that nearly perforated us with machine guns. You said you _sensed_ them outside my camper! Sensed them how, exactly?"
Ray looked over towards the receptionist's desk. Then, he leaned in closer to Dana and whispered:
"You might say I_feel_un-dead people. It's another fringe benefit of inheriting my dad's semi-vampirized DNA. A kind of...empathic early warning system. It lets me know when there's a full-fledged sizevamp in the vicinity! Unfortunately, I also have the metabolism of a sizevamp. Meaning, I feel cold when most everyone else is sweltering! The only time and place where the temperature feels comfortable enough for me to take off this black leather jacket...is when I'm visiting the folks back in the Size Islands."
Dana was absolutely flabbergasted.
"Does anyone else know? Outside your family, I mean?"
Ray shook his head. So, Dana then asked if he had any other semi-vampiric abilities.
"Well, I have a limited ability to influence people's thoughts. And, even then, they have to be weak-willed or otherwise unprepared for me. Which is how I was able to get that giant lunch lady to buy our story."
"Speaking of which," replied Dana: "What's the story on this Enorma character? Is she really Dracula's giantess daughter?"
Ray nodded, again.
"There's a parallel-Earth where Dracula was never slain by Jonathan Harker and Company. And, for one simple reason: Quincy Morris of Texas wasn't among them for the final showdown with Drac! On that parallel-Earth, Major Morris (CSA) died during the Battle of the Northwest Angle."
According to Ray, on April 30, 1897, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (led by their counterpart of GTS-goddess Gabrielle) attempted to invade eastern Canada via St. Albans, Vermont. Her reason for doing so? To finally end the funneling of runaway slaves north of the border! She was intercepted, however, by a Yankee GTS-goddess from Indiana, named Katherine Carroll, plus the 1st and 2nd Vermont Cavalries.
"The only problem is," continued Ray: "...that was all just an elaborate feint! The real invasion attempt was to be made, via Minnesota's Lake of the Woods, by the entire Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi Department. Spearheaded by an elite light infantry division called 'Walker's Greyhounds.' Their intention was to march eastward, and link up with Gabrielle's forces at Niagara Falls. But, the Cornfeds got repulsed at the lake by the British army's 24th Regiment of Foot...reinforced by Dame Antonia Banfield. A two thousand foot-tall English GTS-goddess!"
This major divergence (Dana winced at the pun) allowed Dracula to emerge victorious from the climactic battle with Harker and his allies. This, in turn, allowed him to become the ruler of Romania by WWI.
And, when Czar Nicholas II sent the GTS-goddess Valentina to suppress the Bessarabian secessionist movement (a.k.a. "the Moldavian Democratic Republic"), she was met at the Russo-Moldavian border by a sizevamp army led by Dracula, himself.
"The only thing that prevented all-out bloodshed was Drac and Val falling for each other at first sight! Although, personally, I think his vampiric powers of persuasion had a lot to do with that. In any case; Val told the Czar that a marriage of state--between herself and Drac--was the only way to keep the peace between their two countries. And, that's how Romania became 'Gromania.' Eventually assimilating all of central-eastern Europe between Germany and the Ural Mountains."
Dana was nonplussed: "How do you come to know so much about that world?!"
Ray--who had been smiling--suddenly stopped.
"The sizevamp who nearly killed my dad was from there."
Obliquely dedicated to my fellow Michael Caine fans.
GROWTH TRIUMPHANT SOCIETY HQ.
* * * * *
It had taken several hours. But, Sara's websurfing of the schoolboard database for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, had finally yielded positive results.
"There's a William Blefescu whose family just moved to Harrisburg from Atlantic City, New Jersey. His parents are originally from the Wallachian region of Romania. And, get this; the father is a sales rep for Gray Fox Novelties!"
"That's him!" exclaimed Barney, when he saw the student body photo. Specifically, the felt-tip circled head of a teenage boy with black wavy hair and gaunt facial features.
"That's why he was able to get a free advance copy of the new edition of Sizecraft," the youngster added.
Scott tapped his chin with his right index finger for a moment, while he meditated on what to do next. Then, he grimly nodded.
"I hate to say this, especially as it's technically beyond our official purview. But, I think we should send Voyeurman to the Blefescu residence to do some snooping around. Give him the address as soon as he gets back from Catalina."
"I am back," replied a voice from Scott's office doorway: "And, I already have the address! The FBI found it among the personnel files at the Gray Fox clearinghouse. Consequently, Marysue Smith has already used her JTF authority to order a search of their residence.* "
"Then, what are you waiting for?" demanded Sara, half-seriously. Whereupon, the Phantom Voyeur teleported away.
MEANWHILE, BACK ON THE CROSSOVER PLAIN...
"In short, sir?" Agent 678 concluded: "It was an elaborate trap. We were meant to be so stunned, by the enormity of the information we uncovered, that we would be temporarily unable to defend ourselves. And, it almost worked!"
The Moderator clapped his steepled fingers together, as he mulled over what he had just heard from the two agents.
"So, let me get this straight. The Gromanian Secret Police is working with the Sitmobtia to smuggle contraband weapons to other Earths?"
Agent 679 nodded: "It's the only explanation as to how the Morphers got a hold of that molecular disruptor. It's strictly Sizeloan Army issue. And, the only outsiders who can _legitimately_ acquire them are allies of the Sizeloan Commonwealth!"
"An alliance," added his senior partner: "...that, in this case, should have ended when the so-called 'Normal World' was micro-sected."
"Very well," replied the Moderator: "Bring in those civilians. Let's hear how they got involved."
MEANWHILE, BACK ON EARTH-DXM...
No sooner had Voyeurman left, to fulfill his orders, than klaxon alarms began sounding throughout G.T.S. Headquarters.
"Incoming trans-dimensional surge," Sara shouted: "Warp egress here, in three...two...one!"
The beautiful long-haired redhead who suddenly materialized, in the middle of the control room, was dressed in a very eye-catching ensemble. Black thigh-high boots; with matching tank top, mini-skirt, and cape.
Barney looked her up and down, in disbelief: "Samantha?"
"So, here you are! Shame on you, Barney, for deserting your post in time of war."
"My post? What the frig are you talking about?"
"Buffy the Sizevamp-eater is desperately needed on Mega-world. And, I'm here to take you back there!"
"No, wait!" Barney protested. Raising both his hands in a stopping motion. It was no use, though.
In the twitch of a nose, both he and Samantha vanished.
* Joint Task Force (on the Transition to a New World Order): international body formed to oversee Earth-DXM's peaceful co-existence with those who can attain supra-normally large stature.
More notes are compared.
* * * * *
Ray and Dana were brought in, and escorted to the two chairs that Agents 678 and 679 had just vacated.
"So, Mr. Venn!" the Moderator began: "Let's hear your side of the story."
Ray told him about the phone call he had received from "Roger William Maddox" (alias "Jolly Roger" and/or "J-Rog"), concerning the fate of "Doc Kraepelin." About their rendezvous in New York City on Earth-MRG. About Ray's discovery and capture of Vorexia Jones. And, about the subsequent fight with her and her would-be Morpher rescuer.
It was when he got to the part about his reunion with Dana, and the vision shown him by mini-goddess Tina, that the three I.D.E.E.A. men showed increased interest.
"Are you certain she said...Earth-07052009-A?" the Moderator demanded.
Ray nodded: "Why? What's the significance of that particular world? Aside from the Confederacy winning the Civil War."
The Moderator looked at his two agents, who looked at each other before nodding in affirmation, as one.
"Twelve years after that meeting beneath Brown Mountain, North Carolina, General Cross led a coup d'etat, up in Alaska. He and his men captured the territorial governor. Then, they telegraphed the White House, informing Teddy Roosevelt that Alaska was going to secede and become the North Star Republic!"
"When the resident version of GTS-goddess Gabrielle (who had finally conquered Canada) was notified of this, she immediately headed toward Juneau to suppress the rebellion. But, the moment she arrived, she was immediately attacked...by Thunder Child!"
The latter was a mixed-blood Tlingit Indian of the Thunderbird Clan, whose ability to become a mega-giantess had been attributed to her mother being Sedna the Inuit sea goddess! And, the wrestling match that ensued between them ultimately took them southward to Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
"Lying in wait, there, was a C.S. Coast Guard lightship. Aboard that vessel was a device that resembled a cross between a Newtonian reflecting telescope...and a naval dreadnought cannon. And, at the base of that 'cannon' was a huge parabolic mirror."
When it appeared that the lightship was in imminent danger of being swamped, by the waves being kicked up the titanic twosome, Nikola Tesla had ordered the vessel's two spotlights to be activated. This being done, they were shone down upon the mirror. Following which, the device was fired.
"You mean, that whole thing was a trap?" exclaimed Dana.
The Moderator nodded: "And, it was sprung more successfully than anyone could have imagined. You see; not only was Gabrielle destroyed. So were Thunder Child...and the lightship...and Vancouver Island...and the rest of that world!!"
Ray and Dana were momentarily at a loss for words.
"An anti-matter explosion?" the former finally managed to ask. And, the Moderator grimly nodded.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, beneath the Pentagon (on Earth-DXM), Dr. Frances Messimer showed MaryJane Smith one of the items brought back from the Catalina Island clearinghouse of Gray Fox Novelties.
"Basically, it's an electronic version of the Sizecraft role-playing game. And, preliminary analysis indicates it's geared for massive multiple on-line playing!"
"Anywhere from two to one hundred players, at one time! Care to try it with me?"
"No thank you, doctor. You called me just as I was leaving the office, for supper. And, right now, I'm very hungry."
"Oh, I wish you'd reconsider."
MarySue suddenly stiffened, and then shivered, as if she had just been hit by a blast of Arctic wind. Then, with a very blank expression on her face, she replied:
"Sure! Why not?"
Dr. Messimer escorted her to one of two gray-cushioned swivel chairs. And, as she did so, she smilingly cast a side-long glance at the take-out meal she had just finished eating, fifteen minutes earlier.
The white paper bag was decorated with a large green circle surrounding letters in black boldface print.
Here endeth the history lesson.
* * * * *
Dana was momentarily speechless with open-mouthed shock.
"I knew anti-matter was powerful stuff. But, to disintegrate a whole world...?!"
The Moderator shook his head: "Only the lightship, the two GTS-goddesses, and Vancouver Island were disintegrated. The rest of that parallel-Earth was ravaged by super-quakes and tsunamis caused by the simultaneous eruption of every volcano in the Pacific Ring of Fire! There were very few survivors in the aftermath. Among them were two other GTS-goddesses."
On Earth-07052009-A, the Russo-Japanese War had dragged on an extra five years. Partly, because GTS-goddess Gabrielle had ordered the Confederate States of America to remain neutral. And, partly because Russia and Japan were protected by GTS-goddesses of their own!
"Valentina of Russia got tired of seeing so many of her countrymen dying. So, she requested that the Czar allow her to battle her Japanese counterpart; Tanaka Mai. Winner take all! The Emperor of Japan agreed. And, on the same day that Tesla fired his super-weapon, Mai and Valentina were fighting each other in the Tunguska region of Siberia. Somehow, a crosstime warp was opened. Perhaps through a combination of geothermal energy, released by all the seismic upheaval, and fall-out from the explosion. In any event, they wound up on yet another parallel-Earth. The one inhabited by the people that your people call...the Norms!"
Dana could not help gasping, incredulously. Yet, the Moderator assured her he was telling the truth.
"Valentina and Mai continued their fighting, there. Completely oblivious to any differences they might otherwise have noticed sooner between the two Earths. Such as a complete lack of any other regional GTS-goddesses! By the time they did realize it, and depart (via the local version of the Bermuda Triangle), it was too late. The damage had been done. The people of Earth-03312008 now hated all extra-dimensional races not their own. And, they demonstrated that hatred by invading both the Gromanian Empire...and the Sizeloan Commonwealth."
Plans are laid.
* * * * *
Agent 678 apologetically cleared his throat.
"With all due respect, sir, I think we should now concentrate on the matter at hand. Specifically; getting to the bottom of what's going on here!"
The Moderator nodded: "Quite right. The way I see it, these are the questions to which we must find answers. And, the sooner/the better! A) Who's running that shrunken factory complex in Australia, and why? B) Who made the wishes that counterfeited branches of the Wishbone Restaurant on Earth-MRG and Earth-DXM? C) What is the ultimate goal behind it all?"
Dana was puzzled: "What do you mean, 'who made the wishes?' Wasn't it these renegade Morphers, or the Sitmobtia?"
"Morphers don't consume food like most humanoids," replied Agent 679: "Rather, they liquify and absorb it, similar to amoebae. As for the Sitmobtians? It's possible. But, unlikely."
He then explained about the Wishbone Inn on the planet Auwth.
"Lorelai Allen, the super-witch who ran it, was from the Agoura, California, of Earth-MRG. That town is famous for its annual Renaissance fairs. Which is why she felt so at home in the quasi-medieval environment of Truasca. As to its regular patrons? Most of them are all too-real versions of some of your supernatural adversaries from DEMON BUSTERS! In other words; not many full-fledged humans stop by. Ergo; whoever ordered the Wishbone Specials had to resemble one or more of the native Truascans."
"You two," said the Moderator, looking at his operatives: "...can determine that by questioning Ms. Allen, personally. As for the Australian factory? It will take someone with the talents of a sizechanger to infiltrate it, and uncover what we need to know."
Ray Venn frowned: "Your hint isn't a very subtle one. But, I'm afraid that I'll have to decline. I've been gone from New York for over a day, now. And, Dana's friends and co-workers must be going out of their heads with worry, back in Hollywood!"
The Moderator also frowned: "I'm afraid returning to Earth-MRG would be inadvisable for either of you, right now. The Chief Surveillant on that world has informed me that the NYPD have issued a material witness warrant for you, Mr. Venn. In connection with gunfire reported from your office...and a missing person named 'R. Wm. Maddox' (whose luggage was found seemingly abandoned in your office). Worse still, their Los Angeles brethren have issued an arrest warrant for you and Ms. Geraghty, both! In connection with the murder of--I'm sorry you had to find out this way, my dear--Rontor Drohaw."
Dana's horrified gasp was followed by five minutes of gut-wrenching tears and sobs. And, if Ray Venn had been Kryptonian, the angry glare he gave the Moderator would have incinerated the latter four minutes/fifty-nine seconds earlier!
The Moderator shrugged apologetically, before suggesting that--in return for Ray's help--the agency could use its influence to set the record straight with both those police forces.
"That's playing dirty pool, Mister!" growled Ray.
To which Agent 678 replied: "As you, yourself, might put it; 'Desperate times/desperate measures, and all that jazz.' "
THE PENTAGON, WASHINGTON, D.C.
EARTH-DXM (AUG. 12, 2009)
* * * * *
The fight had begun more or less equally. Mai had drawn her katana in traditional "iai" fashion. While Valentina had ducked beneath, using a semi-kneeling evasion taught in Occidental fencing. She had then used the spiked buckler, in her left hand, to parry Mai's attempted right-to-left decapitation stroke.
After that, came a series of thunderous "clangs" as katana clashed with Hungarian saber. That is; until the black smoke from bursting artillery shells (fired by British-made 6"/30 hundred-weight howitzers) made them aware that their duel had carried them all the way to the outskirts of Normal World's version of Moscow!
It was at this point that the gaming screen offered two options.
"A) Do you wish to combine forces against the Norms?
B) Do you wish to call a truce and inquire why they're firing upon you?"
MarySue Smith could not concentrate, however. She closed her eyes, and massaged the bridge of her nose. Then, she looked at the wall clock to her right. She was astounded to see that it was almost 9:10 in the evening!
"Great Scott! I've been playing this game for over three hours? No wonder I can't think straight. I've missed supper!"
"I feel responsible for that," replied Dr. Messimer: "Why not let me treat you to dinner?"
"That's very generous of you, doctor. But, don't think for a minute I'm too proud to accept such an offer!"
Dr. Messimer laughed. Following which, she put the game into "stand-by" mode, and went to get her purse. Fifteen minutes later, they were at the local franchise of Wishbone's Restaurant.
"I'll have the filet-of-blofat sandwich," Dr. Messimer told their waiter: "And, for my friend? The Wishbone Special!"
Marysue was about to protest. But, the doctor smilingly held up her right hand, in a silencing gesture.
"I had the take-out version for lunch, earlier this afternoon. And, it was delicious! Furthermore, I wished that someone would come along, before the day was out, to play that computer game with me. And, you did! So, what have you got to lose? While you're eating, think of something that couldn't otherwise possibly happen. And, when you're finished eating? Wish for it!"
She stared at MarySue as she said this last part. An intense, unblinking stare. Marysue could not tear her gaze away from those green eyes. She was like a bird stupefied by a snake!
"Very well," she finally said, gazing up the waiter: "That's exactly what I'll have...and that's exactly what I'll do."
Thirty minutes later, Marysue was down to the eponymous wishbone of her meal. She then broke it, before haltingly saying aloud:
"I wish...that I could be...a kick-ass giantess...like Tanaka Mai."
The original draft of this chapter was much longer. But, the computer wouldn't allow it! :-(
Something about "not cleared for that function." So, what should have been the central interlude of this chapter will have to be the opening scene of the next one.
EARTH-DXM (AUG. 12, 2009)
* * * * *
William Blefescu climbed the stairs up to the attic of his family's Belleview Park home. But, only after carefully locking the door behind him.
Upon reaching the attic, he went over to a Victorian-style trunk with brass studs. The kind now used mostly by stage magicians for the classic Metamorphosis illusion. He used a separate key, on the same chain, to unlock it. He then lifted the lid and removed something that most antiquarians would have called "almost-as-old."
A globular Philco Predicta television set!
This was not a genuine antique, however. Merely a high-tech reproduction. One of a series of them, in fact; currently manufactured by CTG Enterprises. And, distributed via Gray Fox Novelties.
William activated the TV screen, and knelt on one knee.
"It is I, Milord. Relaying a telepathic message that I have just now received from Dr. Messimer. She has the FBI agent under her control!"
"Excellent!" replied the vocally-distorted silhouette: "Do not become overconfident, though. The Growth Triumphant Society has many powerful adepts. And, the last thing we need, at this juncture, is them trying to thwart us!"
"I will be careful, Milord."
MEANWHILE, BACK ON CROSSOVER PLAIN...
The two agents entered Wishbone's Restaurant. That is; the genuine one. The one now serving as corporate headquarters for all its legitimate offshoots. And, there, they saw her; Lorelai Allen.
The plagiaristic super-witch was bussing tables, now that the restaurant was closed for the day. And, visible beneath her right pant leg was a stagnatanium ankle bracelet. Nullifying her magic powers!
"Ms. Allen?" began Agent 678: "In case, you don't remember us, we're..."
"Fric and Frac, from I.D.E.E.A. Yeah, I remember. How could I possibly forget the two busybodies who got me into this mess???"
"Technically," replied Agent 679: "You got yourself into this mess. Operating a branch of this restaurant without a license? Not very bright, for a super-witch."
"Is that all you came to do, here? Insult me and gloat?"
"Not quite," replied the senior agent (after giving his junior a reproving glare): "We are here to offer commutation of your sentence, in exchange for your co-operation."
"Define 'co-operation,' " she growled.
"Prior to your arrest, who ordered the most Wishbone Specials at your establishment? After all; most of your regular patrons were un-dead! And, those wishes can only be granted to the living. So, answer our question, a hundred-and-one percent truthfully, and we'll persuade Mr. Wishbone to release you from your sentence somewhat earlier."
"Define 'somewhat.' "
The two agents turned to leave.
"Wait-wait-WAIT! Don't go! I agree to the terms."
"A wise decision," replied Agent 679: "Info, first, please."
Lorelai frowned, but did as instructed.
"You're right. My local regulars never ordered the Wishbone Special. It was strictly the were-drakes who live underground, in the nearby foothills."
"Were-drakes?" echoed the junior agent, completely puzzled.
"Well, that's what they're called on Auwth. A subspecies of dragon that's human-sized. Even when they haven't shapeshifted into human form! On other Earths, they're called 'garhu's.' As in, half-human/half-gargoyle!"
Dana meets the folks.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
* * * * *
Ray and Dana exited from the crosstime warp, upon the roof of 485 Madison Avenue. The former checked his Grolex watch, as he deactivated the warp, and saw that it was about nine-thirty.
"Let's see. If I was to warp to Australia, right this minute, it would be about half-past-seven, the day after tomorrow morning. That's assuming I've got the International Date Line-plus-ten-hours thing right."
Suddenly, Dana screamed as she saw a black silhouette dive-bomb Ray from directly above his head!
"OW! OW! OW! OW!" he yelped: "Ed? OW! Ed, cut that out!"
But, the angry fish crow stayed right where he was. Pecking at the center of Ray's gray cap as if Ray were Pinocchio, and he was Woody Woodpecker!!
Finally, though, Ray managed to grab him around the wings, and shrink him to the size of a sparrow.
"OK, buddy! What's the big idea?"
"Uh! Uh! Uh-uh-uh!"
"I'm sorry. But, I got held up by a series of unforeseen circumstances!"
"Uh! Uh! Uh-uh-uh!"
"Yes, I know about the cops. But, how'd you find out?"
"Uh! Uh! Uh-uh-uh!"
"The pigeons who nest on the roof of the courthouse? Well, I guess that proves it helps to have friends in high places."
"Uh! Uh! Uh-uh-uh!"
"Yes, that's also why Dana is here. I need her to stay at Mom and Dad's place, while I do something that'll help clear our names. So, have you calmed down enought to fly us out there?"
Within seconds, Edgar Allen Crow was back to normal size. Following which, Ray and Dana shrank down to one-inch tall so they could climb onto Ed's neck.
Twenty minutes later, Ed landed on the balcony railing of the Statue of Liberty's torch. He issued a few raucous calls, before flying down to the floor of the balcony. Moments after that, two shrunken flashlights were shining up at his passengers.
"Raymond?" said a distinctively female voice: "Oh, my God! Raymond, is that really you?"
Ray and Dana debarked from Ed's neck, so the former could introduce the latter.
"Dana Schorr-Geraghty? These are my parents: Rodney and Kundalina Venn."
* * * * *
"So, you live in the only part of the statue closed off to the public, huh?" observed Dana, while Ray made explanations to his father on the second floor of the dollhouse.
"It's just our summer home," replied the older woman: "We spend the rest of the year on Humanitaria, in the Size Islands."
"Sounds like a very sensible arrangement, Mrs. Venn."
"Please! Call me 'Lina.' "
"Thank you, Lina. I'd like that."
Meanwhile, in the second-floor guest room, Rod pondered everything his son had just told him.
"Morphers and sizevamps? Working together with the Sitmobtia?! Never heard of such a thing, before."
"Neither have I. But, the Doomsday Society might not be so picky."
Rod arched his eyebrows in shock: "The Doomsday Society?!! You really think they could be behind this?"
Ray shrugged: "It's the only thing that makes sense. What's the one thing its members have in common with Morphers and sizevamps?"
"A multiversal hatred for all humans," replied his father.
Ray nodded: "And, if genocide is what they have planned, I have to find out how...and by whom."
The two of them returned downstairs, to the dollhouse kitchen. There, Ray kissed his mother and Dana goodbye.
"Be careful," they chorused in unison. Resulting in their looking at each other in smiling embarrassment. Ray gave a half-smile in return. Then, he climbed back aboard Ed's neck, and took off.
A minute later, they were lost to sight as they warped their way to Australia.
* * * * *
"What you're about to see," intoned the former Chief Surveillant of Earth-03312008: "...was transferred to holodisc from a tri-acetate copy of a 1910 film reel. The original was filmed by Thomas Edison and Frank Sprague from the gondola of a hot-air balloon, tethered by winch-controlled cable to the flagship of the Great White Fleet."
The ensuing three-dimensional images showed what appeared to be female versions of a Cossack soldier and a samurai warrior standing side-by-side in an ankle-deep puddle. The female samurai held her katana upwards in her left hand, while the female Cossack held a saber upwards in her right. Each of their free hands held what appeared to be a large rock. And, the wrists of those hands were connected by what resembled chicken wire made of stainless steel.
The ex-Chief Surveillant pressed the "fast-forward" button, so that a thunderstorm that had been dimly visible in the background, seconds earlier, seemed to instantly materialize over the two women. Following which, bolts of lightning repeatedly struck their swords!
"You'll notice that the chunks of lodestone they're holding are starting to glow. Now, watch what happens next."
A large circle of white light materialized behind both women. Subsequently engulfing them, just before the entire hologram became crackling static.
"That crude crosstime warp resulted in a tidal wave that not only sank the flagship. It also completely submerged the entire peninsula of Florida...and turned San Antonio, Texas, into a seaport! While Edison and Sprague's balloon was torn free, by the accompanying winds, and blown northward. All the way to Newport News, Virginia!"
"So, that's the how the so-called Normal World came to hate GTS-goddesses, in general," remarked Agent 679.
"And, those two in particular," replied the ex-Chief Surveillant: "That's why there was never a Cold War on that world. The U.S. and Russia became permanently bonded by their mutual hatred for giantesses. Well, that; plus Stalin and Lenin being among the fatalities when Valentina and Mai's duel inadvertently trampled St. Petersburg! But, now, take a look at this."
The two agents watched as the sequence of events reversed, before being replayed in slow-motion close-up.
"Look, there. Bottom left corner, near Valentina's right boot."
Agent 678 crouched down to get a better view.
"Saltwater crocodiles? In the southern North Atlantic?!"
The ex-Chief Surveillant smiled and shook his head.
"Nope! They're Eryopsii. A so-called 'mergoyle' tribe from Bayou Ile De Miel, Louisiana. Their shaman-king, Chief Three Eyes, had a vision of this experiment, and sent a scouting party to see what was going on. The tribe was almost wiped out by the seismic chaos that followed. So, Three Eyes took the handful of survivors and emigrated to West Africa. Vowing to someday return and exact revenge on the whole human race. Not knowing the Sizeloans would beat him to it!"
"Heh!" snorted the younger of the two agents: "I'll bet it wasn't much comfort to them. Seeing as how their new home got micro-sected along with the rest of that world!"
"Well, at least we have the proof you wanted," replied his partner: "Possible motive for an alliance of convenience with renegade sizechangers. But, we still have to determine what their ultimate goal is."
* * * * *
MEANWHILE, ON EARTH-MRG...
On a clear-yet-blustery day in New South Wales, Asutralia, a brown-haired man in a flat gray cap and black leather jacket stood outside the Sydney Opera House. Ostensibly, admiring its architecture.
"Beautifully designed, isn't it?" said a female voice from behind him: "No matter how often I see it, it never fails to take my breath away."
"You'll get no arguement from me," said Ray. Then, he turned to smile at Deborah Miller-Law.
Special note: Thomas Edison had a summer retreat in Fort Meyers, Florida, dating back to the mid-1880's. And, Francis J. Sprague--one of his many collaborators--started out as an electrical engineering officer in the U.S. Navy.
"So!" began Ray: "I understand you're married, now? Congratulations!"
"Thanks," beamed the pretty sizechanger, showing him her ring. Then, she frowned, as he changed the subject to the war on Mega-world.
"How's it going there?" he asked.
"Heating up. The GTS-goddesses who took Superia finally crossed the Strait of Mackinac. They now control half the Mitten.* I had to move my warehouse from Sherwood Forest to Toledo! But, even that's only temporary if they decide to pull a pincer movement against Fort Tyranina."
"I'm sorry to hear that. But, it's about Cross Time Gifts that I asked to talk to you about."
"So, you couldn't come to our house in the States?" she replied with a half-smile: "You had to call collect from Sydney?"
"This is serious, Deb."
He then told her everything about his client, and the over-lapping trouble with I.D.E.E.A. By the time he was done, her face resembled that of a surprised anime character.
"You cannot be serious, Ray. The Doomsday Society is just a harmless lunatic fringe group!"
"Isn't that what most people thought about the Nazi Party in Depression-era Germany? And, look what happened there!"
"Alright, granted. And, I'll admit that the plausible-sounding corporate history I had to fabricate, for our branch on this Earth, is somewhat complicated. But, I definitely don't have a branch factory on Earth-DXM! Shrunken or otherwise."
"Then, why don't we look into that, together?"
"How do you propose to do that?"
He whispered his plan in his ear. And, once more, she became wide-eyed and drop-jawed with astonishment.
"That's pretty daring. Even for you!"
"I'm game if you are."
Whereupon, they looked around to see that no other tourists were near them. When this was established to their satisfaction, Ray telepathically called Ed to their side. The duo then shrank down to one-inch in height, and boarded the fish crow's neck.
A moment later, they were warping their way to the Canberra, Australia of another Earth.
* The Mitten: nickname for the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Sherwood Forest: I'm not making this up, folks. It's a genuine district of Detroit!
"...corporate history..." See THE I.D.E.E.A. MEN (v. 1/ch. 20).
* * * * *
It was Sadako Kimura's turn as night-shift communications monitor at G.T.S. HQ. At quarter past nine (Central Time), she went down the hall to a vending machine for some coffee. She came back two minutes later, and retook her seat in the swivel chair. And, one minute after that?
She dropped it to the floor as klaxon alarms began blaring all over the place!
The first thing she did was determine the source of the disturbance. The computer-generated map on the giant flatscreen indicated Washington, D.C. She swiftly followed this up with identifying the nature of the disturbance. Although, she already had a pretty good idea of what it was.
Sure enough; it was a mega-giantess!
So, she immediately picked up her cellular headset to call Sarah and Scott.
"She's a big one, guys! Four hundred feet tall, minimum. Satellite tracking has her moving from the area of the Pentagon towards...the vicinity of the Washington Monument."
In their private quarters, the Kensingtons listened to this with alarm. Five minutes earlier, Voyeurman had been telling them about the conversation he had overheard between William Blefescu and his mysterious lordship. The nature of which was made all the more ominous by the fact no agents from the Pennsylvania branch of the FBI had come to search the house as initially expected!
"Do you have a visual on her, Sadako?" demanded Sarah.
"Not yet. Wait! Yes, I do. Patching it through to your laptop screen...now!!"
All three gathered around it, and gasped in perfect unison.
"Isn't that...?" began Scott.
Sarah nodded: "MarySue Smith of the JTF."
* * * * *
Meanwhile, at the Black Mountain Tower (near Canberra, Australia), one of the dayshift security guards was suddenly distracted from his rounds by an outcry from the ground floor reception desk.
The guard ran to join his co-worker, shouting inquiries as to what was wrong.
"Look for yourself, cobber! It's a newsflash from the BBC in America."
A small throng of fellow employees and tourists began to surround the two guards. And, they, too, were stunnded by what they saw on the portable TV screen. A raven-haired brunette, in a purplish-pink business outfit, was slowly approaching the Washington Monument. In fact, her image was already blotting out that of the monument in the nearby reflecting pool!
The only two who did not seem interested were a couple in their early thirties who had been studying the list of offices near the lifts (a.k.a. elevators).
"We'll never have a better chance," whispered Deborah.
"Then, let's go," replied Ray.
Three minutes later, they were standing in front of a door clearly marked "CTG Enterprises."
"Still think I'm mistaken?"
Deborah shook her head. She then looked to her left, while Ray did the same to his right. There were no on-lookers what-so-ever. So, they opened the door, and ran inside. The moment they were in the waiting room, Ray locked it behind him, while Deborah strode over to the portly blonde receptionist with dyed-blonde hair.
"Here, now!" shouted the latter, springing to her feet: "Who are you? What's the meaning of this?"
Deborah's only response was to give her a concentrated stare. Whereupon, the flustered young woman found herself two inches tall!
Deborah quickly snatched her up, and pocketed her in her trenchcoat. A moment later, she pressed the buzzer that automatically opened the inner office door. Once again, Ray did the closing as soon as both of them had passed through it.
Which was just as well, as she was just too flabbergasted, for words, at seeing the proof of Ray's story before her very eyes.
"Ray, I swear to you, I had no idea about any of this!"
She gestured at the toy-sized factory complex on the green carpeting.
"I believe you. But, now, it's up to me to see who's trying to besmirch your business' good name."
Deborah could not resist a grin.
Ray half-smiled and shrugged: "Always wanted to use that word."
Whereupon, he shrank down to the smallest size he had ever achieved at Nusi Academy. Exactly one-half of an inch tall! Deborah then knelt on one knee and held out her right pinky. Little Ray grasped it, and crawled up on top of it.
A moment later, she was to the right of the tallest building of the complex. So, she carefully leaned forward and deposited Little Ray on the roof. Following which, she saw a stairway access door gently fall into his hands as he shrank it off its hinges.
The rest was up to him, now.
WASHINGTON, D.C., EARTH-DXM
AUG. 12, 2009 (10:05 PM/EDT)
* * * * *
Starr Smith had gone up to the roof of the Watergate Apartment Complex to do some stargazing. Between her own efforts, and those of the U.S. Naval Observatory (it sure helped to have a twin sister in the Justice Department!), she usually had enough astronomical data to formulate some pretty accurate horoscopes for THE NATIONAL INTELLIGENCER.
Tonight, however, her work was briefly interrupted by a strange feeling that washed over her. In her teen years, she would have alluded to it as "a great disturbance in the Force." And, in a tone of voice that her sister would have described as "an effeminant Sir Alec Guinness!"
Shaking it off, Starr continued swinging her telescope around. Gradually turning it in the direction of the National Mall. And, that is when she saw it.
Her sister...MarySue...as a mega-giantess...advancing on the Washington Monument!
"Omigawd!" exclaimed Starr. She looked again, to see if she was hallucinating. She was not. Her prim-and-proper twin was looking at America's most venerated obelisk with a most lascivioous grin!
Meanwhile, out in Riverside, California, Cheryl Baker (screen-name "Alexandra LeGrand") looked at the two young men on her laptop monitor. The one to her left was Mark DoLittle (screen-name "I. DeMon"), webcasting live from his San Diego bedroom. The one to the right was William Blefescu (screen-name "Vlad the Bad"), webcasting all the way from the East Coast.
She donned her wireless headset, and activated her own webcam.
"Can you see me, now?"
They each gave her a smiling thumb's-up.
"Thanks, again, Vee, for using your dad's connections to get us advance copies of the game. It's gonna be The Bomb!* I just know it."
"From your mouth to Macy's Ear," replied the dark-haired youngster: "Now, what's say we play some...SIZECRAFT!!!!!"
The other two literally roared with approval.
As usual, Mark chose to be a demon and Will chose to be a sizevamp. Although, this time, they would have CGI avatars, rather than static illustrations on square pieces of cardboard.
Likewise, instead of the quasi-medieval continent of Ceir-Nathan, the setting would be a more historically recent parallel-Earth. Specifically; the Japanese-occupied Aleutian Islands of World War II. Guarded by samurai GTS-goddess Tanaka Mai, herself!
"I wish to be...Princess Thunder Child. GTS-goddess of the Tlingit tribe!"
Mark's avatar---imagine Count Chocula with horns---smiled. And, its eyes momentarily flashed a fiery red, as he replied:
"Your wish is my command."
* Mostly for the over-39 crowd: "...The Bomb." Equals "explosively popular."
(SEVERAL HOURS EARLIER)
* * * * *
"So, let me get this straight," remarked Ray Venn, as he inspected his S&W M-39, upon getting it back from Internal Security: "Garhus are involved in this, now, too?"
Agent 678 nodded, adding that they might not be endemic to planet Auwth.
"Ms. Allen gave us descriptions of the ones who occasionally stopped in to order her Wishbone Specials. Some of them sound like members of the Sleepy Lizard Clan from Australia's Mount Uluru. Others sound like members of the Kongamato tribe from Zimbabwe. And, according to the brownies on her staff (who apparently love to eavesdrop), they often reminisced about how much they missed their respective homes!"
"Brownies, huh? Talk about uncorroborated hearsay!"
"Precisely," replied Agent 679: "That's why (given the nature of the information we've already accrued) we think they might be refugees from either Earth-07052009-A. Or, Earth-03352008."
"My money's on the former," Ray opined: "There's no way they could have gotten off Normal World after it got micro-sected."
The younger agent half-smiled.
"Never say 'never,' and all that jazz."
"Watch it, kid! Or, I'll sue _you_ for trademark infringement."
"Is that any way to thank us for the gift we're about to give you?"
Ray was handed a small rectangular object.
"We call it a...spring-heel jack," replied the older agent (with a shameless grin): "As it easily surmounts virtually any computer file wall of non-I.D.E.E.A. origin! You might find it useful in accessing that shrunken factory's mainframe."
"Oh, really! And, what are you two gonna be doing while I'm making like Barney Collier from MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE?"
"We shall be talking to the former Chief Surveillants of the aforementioned parallel-Earths. To see if there were any power surges, indicative of crosstime warp activation, just before the ultimate disasters that struck those worlds."
With that, each agent shook Ray's hand before he left to take Dana back to New York City on Earth-MRG. Hours later, the two agents had their answers. There had, indeed, been a massive trans-dimensional disruption, from the Northern Territory of Australia, on Earth-07052009-A, just prior to its inundation by tsunamis. Unfortunately, nothing similar had been recorded from Earth-03352008. However, smaller versions of such disruptions were recorded on Auwth, once a month like clockwork, from the very first anniversary of the former's micro-section.
Cross-referencing that data, with receipts confiscated from Truasca's "Wishbone Inn," proved the small disruptions had coincided with consumption of the Wishbone Specials. And, as Agent 679 put it:
"That's really no coincidence, at all."
The senior agent agreed: "The garhus from Uluru could have wished their Kongamato kinfolk from Normal World to Auwth, in order to increase their ranks. More eating/more wishes!"
"Makes sense. But, before we confront these garhus on their new turf, shouldn't we have some kind of proof to back up our accusation?"
Which is why they had burned a copy of the holodisc shown them by the ex-Chief Surveillant of "Normal World." A copy they brought with them...to the Barony of Pwanethy.
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE is owned/copyrighted by Paramount Studios.
"Sleepy lizard" is one of the many nicknames for the blue-tongued skink (no misspellings, please!).
"Kongamato" is a south-central African tribal term for what many crypto-zoologists think is a remnant population of living pteradactyls!
(AKA PLANET AUWTH)
* * * * *
The seneschal entered the throne room and stamped his cermonial staff three times.
"Announcing Dr. Beaufort Fronkensteen, and Master Froderic, of Gallascais!"
The two hooded men walked in, gazes partially fixed on their feet, and knelt down upon reaching the foot of the throne.
"All hail to Baroness Drysni of Pwanethy," they chorused. The buxom brunette in black (who reminded Agent 679 of Sylvia from the "Catspaw" episode of the original STAR TREK) smiled and gestured for them to rise.
"I compliment you on the thoroughness of your disguises. But, I already know who you are! Some of my spirit guides reside in Truasca. And, they were present the night you arrested Lorelai Allen."
"We were not attempting to deceive you, Baroness," replied Agent 678: "We merely wished to make a request of you in the most private way possible."
Whereupon, Drysni ordered that she be left alone with her visitors. When there was no one else but the three of them, she gestured for Agent 678 to speak.
"We humbly request your leave," said the latter: "...to visit the garhu caves in the Truascan foothills."
Drysni's smile became a feral grin: "Oooooooh! This should prove interesting."
* * * * *
Meanwhile, on Earth-DXM, MarySue Smith was gently fingering the Washington Monument with her right hand.
"They call him the 'father of their country.' So, they commemorate him with a phallic symbol. How typical of these little man-bugs! But, Tanaka Mai will show them the error of their ways."
"You're dressed rather oddly for a self-proclaimed samurai, woman!"
The brainwashed giantess spun about, and saw another giantess just as tall as her! A giantess wearing a wooden mask, patterned after the Native American thunderbird, accentuated by a straw headdress; a musk-oxen hide vest reinforced by glued-together gold coins; and buckskin pants with matching thigh-high boots.
In addition, strapped diagonally across Thunder Child's back was a toggle harpoon of nickel-plated steel. While a quiver full of arrows (doubtless meant for the flat bow in her left hand) dangled from her right hip.
"I merely used the ways of the kunoichi to blend in until the time was right to openly strike. And, plainly, that time is now!"
So saying, MarySue reached into the right-hand pocket of her purplish-pink blazer...and withdrew an egg. One that she promptly threw to the ground.
When both the blinding light and acrid-smelling smoke had cleared, MarySue was clad head to toe in the formal attire of a samurai about to go into battle.
"When I am through with you, gaijin? I will throw you to the ground, roll you on to your stomach, and use that obelisk to bind us in pleasure!"
Thunder Child's only response was to draw her first arrow and fire it. Mai, of course, drew her katana in classic "iai" fashion and halved it in mid-air. General Michalsen of Delta Force, watching this on the p.c. monitor in his private office at the Pentagon, picked up the receiver of a red telephone that strangely lacked any touch-tone buttons.
"Get me the POTUS."
* * * * *
By 9:30 PM (Central Time), most of the dayshift had been recalled to monitor the increasing number of trans-dimensional disruptions. For, while Thunder Child had abandoned her flat bow for her harpoon (using it like a quarterstaff, while trying to impale MarySue/Mai with it), other self-proclaimed GTS-goddesses had begun popping up!
In Canada, there were two of them fighting at the parallel of fifty-four degrees/forty minutes north. One claiming to be Dame Antonia Banfield (representing a Great Britain that had permanently reconquered the U.S. during the War of 1812). And, another claiming to be Dona Ynez Santiago (representing a Spain that had never lost the colonies of Mexico and California).
In China, Lady Shiori of the Black Dragon Society fought Li Rong Niu of the Lin Kuei Tong over a Hong Kong they both apparently believed had never fallen to the British in the First Opium War!
And, on the Eurasian steppes of Russia, a giant female Cossack called Valentina was trying to keep a neo-Nazi German giantess, Johanna Schmidt, west of the Volga River.
"Where the frig are they all coming from?!" Scott Chelgren exclaimed at the top of his lungs. Partly in frustration; and partly to be heard above the clamor of the klaxons that had to be repeatedly turned off after each new disruption activated them.
"Sir!" shouted Sadako (instinctively raising her right hand): "I think this might answer your question."
Scott ran over to her console.
"What am I looking at?"
"I finally managed to trace the t-d energy residue from the first disruption. It's coming from a telecommunications satellite in geosynchronous orbit above Alice Springs, Australia. And, sir? Get a load of its audiovisual feed!"
Scott shook his head in disbelief: "Am I seeing what I think I'm seeing?"
Sadako grimly nodded: "Yes, sir. These are images from an MMORPG called 'Sizecraft.' And, it appears some of the players, currently on-line, have chosen GTS-goddesses as avatars!"
"Yeah," muttered Scott: "Only the avatars seem to have been magically imposed on their real-world bodies!"
* * * * *
Meanwhile, in Canberra, Australia (where it was approximately thirty-four hours later), Ray Venn carefully descended the stairway from the roof of the shrunken factory. He finally reached the bottom step, and began to slowly proceed down a painted gray corridor.
He emerged into a vast storage area. An industrial-strength attic, as it were, with nothing but large packing crates as far as he could see. And, each crate was filled with gaming cartridges marked "Sizecraft."
Twelve gross per crate (according to the black lettering on the exteriors)!
Suddenly, he heard a nearby freight elevator start up. And, if he judged the Doppler effect, correctly, it was ascending to this floor! So, he swiftly ducked behind the biggest, farthest-back crate he could find. His left hand quickly-yet-quietly unzipping his jacket. And, his right hand already grasping the butt of the Model 39.
He heard the elevator stop, and its wooden door hauled upward. This was followed by the sounds of two pairs of feet...and a forklift tractor.
"Where are these going, again?" asked the driver.
There was the sound of paper rustling, as someone evidently checked a clipboard.
"Says here: 'Black Mountain Academy via University of North Carolina (Asheville).' Must be some sort of prep school."
"On this Earth, or the other one?" inquired a third voice.
More paper rustling: "The other one."
"OK!" said the driver: "Which one do I get first?"
"Might as well go sequentially," replied the second voice: "The serial number at the top of my list is...that one! Right against the back wall."
Whereupon, the forklift began heading for Ray's hiding place.
EARTH-DXM (9:49 PM/CDT)
"It's no use, Scott!" exclaimed Steve McDunnough, from the large central monitor in the control room: "No matter how many times we chant the mathemantras, they only shrink about one percent, or so, before shooting back up to their full height. It's like watching time-lapse videography of a lizard regenerating a broken tail!"
Steve was referring to the numerological recitations by which he and the rest of the Society's adepts could alter the size of other people and/or objects. However, the two mega-giantesses fighting it out in Washington, D.C., had been relatively unaffected. In fact, they did not even seem aware of any sizechange having occurred at all!
It was a dubious improvement, at best, that Thunder Child's brief reduction had cost her her harpoon. Prompting her to withdraw a pair of mega-giant ice axes that she instantly started wielding like hatchets! And, when Tanaka Mai was briefly reduced, she was disarmed of her katana. Only to replace it with a wakizashi (literally, "short sword") for her left hand. And, a wooden-handled iron claw for her right.
"I wish to God there was someone who could help us out here," he muttered, half-aloud.
"Be careful what you wish for, Mr. Kensington. You might get it!"
Scott, Sarah, and half of everyone else in the control room turned as one. Standing behind them were two women who were vastly disparate in size. One was of normal height, with reddish-blond hair; about twenty years old (give or take two); and wearing a black cape with matching tank-top, mini-skirt, and thigh-high boots.
The other sat on her shoulder, looking like a close relative of Tinkerbell's!
"Before anybody starts panicking," announced the former (holding up her right hand like a traffic cop): "My name is Samantha, and I'm a super-witch. This is my good friend Natalie. And, she's a mini-goddess."
* * * * *
The sentries guarding the mouth of the cave immediately ducked out of the way as Baroness Drysni came in for a landing. The latter was in her black dragon form, and there was not a garhu in the place that would have shown her disrespect.
One of the garhus--resembling a bipedal hybrid of crocodile and salamander--blew on a conch horn to announce their distinguished visitor's arrival. Ninety seconds later, a giantess who appeared to be half-harpy/half-wyvern came crawling into the entrance hall of the cave. Using her arms to give her added propulsion.
"Greetings, Drysni Darkscale: Queen of the Fire-breathers. To what do we owe this unexpected pleasure?"
"Greetings, Kadroojina: Daughter of Kunapipi and the Rainbow Serpent. I bring two mortals who wish an audience with you. Gentlemen?"
Drysni raised her clawed left foot and carefully removed her two passengers from the nape of her neck. Upon being placed on the ground, the two I.D.E.E.A. agents humbly knelt and introduced themselves (using their aliases).
"Hmmmmmmmm!" mused Kadroojina (left hand on chin): "Their clothing is certainly Galliscain. But, they don't _smell_ like Gallascains!"
Drysni chuckled: "My compliments on your increased proficiency in telling the humans of this realm apart."
Kadroojina nodded in gratitude, then instructed the two men to rise.
"So! Tell me, little ones. What can the Chieftainess of the Sleepy Lizard Clan do for you?"
Agent 678 brought out their portable holosphere and activated it.
"We'd like to know what your connection is to this mortal?"
Kadroojina gasped at the hologram that now revolved in mid-air, before her. A hologram of the Morpher called Yrac Cimoc. And, a gasp that clearly proved she recognized him!
BLACK MOUNTAIN TOWER
* * * * *
The forklift maneuvered its hydraulic-powered prongs beneath the wooden pallet. As it did so, Ray Venn risked peeking around the corner of the crate, to his left. He saw that the leader of the trio (presumably the foreman) had a P.D.A. attached to the right side of his belt.
And, as his hiding place began to ascend, he made a bold move. He enlarged himself from half-an-inch tall to three inches tall. The equivalent, in the real world, of fifteen feet!
The foreman, and the subordinate parallel to him, were naturally stunned speechless by his sudden appearance. Allowing Ray enough time to pick them up and knock their heads together! He then used the worker in his right hand to club the forklift operator out of the driver's seat.
A minute later, Ray was once more half-an-inch tall...and depriving the foreman of his P.D.A.
To his relief, it had a rectangular gap compatible with the spring-heel jack. So, he plugged it in and pressed the button marked "ON." As he did so, he also closed his eyes, and began to concentrate. Subsequently, the data that began to upload into the jack also filled his mind as psychometric images.
Unfortunately, for him, this unauthorized transfer of information did not go unnoticed by the tech-support people in the computer records office.
"File wall breach!" shouted one of them to his immediate supervisor.
"Which one?" shouted the latter.
"All of them!!"
"I can't! We've been locked out."
"Trace the flow."
"Tracing! Download is going to a wireless unit on the storage floor above S&R."
In less time than it takes to tell, men dressed like World War II MP's were headed for the Shipping and Receiving Department. Each one armed with a Sizeloan Army molecular disruptor.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, back at G.T.S Headquarters, in Madison, Wisconsin, Samantha the super-witch entered the Senior Staff meeting room with Scott and Sarah Kensington. She sat down opposite them, with Natalie the mini-goddess still perched on her shoulder.
The latter could not resist giggling at the expression on the Kensingtons' faces when Samantha made a beckoning motion with her left index finger. Resulting in the water cooler in the bottom left corner of the room moving towards Samantha's seat!
"Please gaze into the water, folks. The images you see, therein, I will explain to you, telepathically."
They did as instructed. Almost immediately, they saw a group of women gathered around a trio of sculpted stones that resembled nothing less than the mathematical symbol for "pi."
Each woman wore a hooded robe of charcoal-gray. And, each woman suddenly started screaming as they were suddenly attacked from behind by figures dressed like male Pilgrims from a painting about the first American Thanksgiving!
"What you see," Samantha's voice echoed within their heads: "...occurred on a parallel-Earth where the Cromwellian Dynasty of England was never overthrown. So, Wiccan covens, like this one, had to flee to the New World. In this case, the Mystery Hill region of New Hampshire."
"Those men are Puritan witch-hunters?" asked Sarah (with her thoughts).
Samantha shook her head: "Sizevamps; disguised as witch-hunters. They shrink the mortals they drain dry. In this case? They've been attacking super-witch covens, like this one, across the multi-verse. And, draining their magic powers along with their life-forces!"
"But, to what end?" inquired Scott.
"To give themselves the power to shrink GTS-goddesses," replied Natalie.
Scott and Sarah looked at each other, before turning back to Natalie with blank looks on their faces. So, the mini-goddess explained that part of a GTS-goddess' immortality was their invulnerability to being shrunken.
"And, yet," she continued: "...look what happened near the Rock Lake, Wisconsin, of Mega-world!"
Samantha adjusted her scrying spell so that the Kensingtons could witness a replay of the Battle of Tyranina. Sure enough: some of the good GTS-goddesses battling on behalf of Mega-world's native humans did begin to shrink when swarmed over by the sizevamp mercenaries of the evil GTS-goddesses (or "EGG's" for short).*
"When I saw this," declared Samantha: "...I could hardly believe my eyes! That's why I had to steal Barney away from you. I _had_ to revert him to Buffy the Sizevamp Eater. So, he could, at least, keep the war at a stalemate while Natalie and her fellow mini-goddess Tina did some scouting around. Trying to find out how the sizevamps got this ability."
Meanwhile, within the shrunken factory complex at Canberra's Black Mountain Tower, the spring-heel jack had finished taking in all the information it could get from the factory's mainframe database. At which point, Ray Venn opened his eyes, and removed the jack from the P.D.A. he had confiscated.
The psychometric images he had received were staggering in what they had revealed. But, this was neither the time nor the place to ponder them in greater detail. He heard footsteps running up the stairs paralleling the freight elevator (which was stalled due to the wooden door still being up). He then heard the passenger elevator, at the opposite end of the storage loft, chime its arrival.
Feeling there was no other choice, he abandoned all pretense of stealth. He shot back up to three inches tall and, with a slight amount of effort, lifted the forklift over his head with both hands. He then threw it at the white-helmeted security guards that emerged from the passenger elevator.
"Incoming!" yelled one of them, seconds before he drew his club-shaped disruptor and fired it upward. The resulting red beam enveloped--and halted--the forklift in mid-air. Following which, the latter exploded into little pieces!
By that point, however, Ray had resumed his half-inch size. He then crouched to the right of the staircase's top step. As a result, when the first of the guards using the stairs reached the top, he was tripped by a semi-circular/counter-clockwise sweep of Ray's right leg!
That first guard had not even landed flat on his face, before Ray sprang upward. Kicking the second guard's jaw with that same right foot! The latter's head snapped backward, as the rest of his body collided with the third guard in line. Creating a domino effect.
The first guard, still stunned from his fall, was trying to push himself upward on his hands, so he could clear his head with a shake. Unfortunately, for him, Ray had already reached his side. Whereupon, he delivered a right-handed shuto chop to the back of the guard's neck...using his S&W Model 39 for added weight.
He then transferred the gun to his left hand, so he could fire it at the guards from the smaller elevator. When he saw that they had scattered to hide behind some other crates, Ray picked up the unconscious guard's disruptor and ran for the roof-access stairway. Upon reaching the roof, he momentarily put down the disruptor so he could slam the metal door shut. He then picked up the disruptor...and fired it in a U-shaped pattern around the hut-like structure covering the top of the access stair.
It consequently fell inward and down, temporarily blocking his pursuers with a wall of debris. He then raced to the edge of the roof...and jumped off!
He was back to six feet tall by the time he landed on the inner office carpet, to Deborah Miller-Law's left.
"Ray!!!" she exclaimed, in a shrill voice: "What the frig is going on?"
"No time to explain, right now. Where's the receptionist?"
Deborah showed him that she still had the plump bleached blonde still in her pocket. And, the former was stunned when Ray seized her, re-enlarged her, and chased her off by threatening to do to her what he was about to do to the window!
Seeing the inner office window disintegrate in a haze of red energy dissuaded the receptionist from making any objections. She followed her "instructions," implicitly!
"Ray! Are you out of your mind? Why...?"
"Like I said: no time to explain."
His gun reholstered, Ray transferred the disruptor to his left hand. Then, seizing Deborah's left hand with his right, he dragged her out the window with him.
She instinctively enlarged herself to a hundred feet tall as she fell. As did Ray. And, as they landed, there was a slight earth tremor that rattled other buildings' windows all the way to Canberra's Embassy Row!
Once more, Deborah tried to demand an answer from Ray, as to what was happening. And, once more, he refused to answer. Merely dragging her along with him as they ran towards the west.
So, she tried a different tack.
"W-W-Where...are we...g-going...in such a...h-h-hurry?"
"We're late," he replied: "We're late...for a very important...date."
* See THE I.D.E.E.A. MEN, volume 1 (chapter 7).
AUG. 14, 2009
* * * * *
It was noon when the mega-gigantic fugitives crossed over from New South Wales. At which point, Deborah pulled on Ray's arm, halting him in mid-stride.
"Not...another...step," she gasped: "Not...until you...tell me...where...w-w-w..."
"Alice Springs," he replied: "And, we have to get there, ASAP!"
Ray held up the spring-heel jack: "Because there's no time to bring the info on this to I.D.E.E.A., and wait for them to extract it. The Doomsday Society is already beginning the final phase of their masterplan!"
"Master...plan?" she echoed (still struggling to get her second wind).
"It's the most Machiavellian thing I've ever heard of," he told her: "For the past five years, the Doomsday Society has been using the Sitmobtia to smuggle exiled male Morphers to Earths-DXM and -MRG. Morphers who've had their shapeshifting abilities augmented by---consuming---the shrunken bodies of super-witches!"
Deborah straightened up: "Shrunken by sizechangers?"
"No; by sizevamps. The Morphers can then pass for human without fear of detection by anything except the most full-scale biometric scan. This, in turn, allows them to manage branches of the Wishbone Restaurant...wished into existence by expatriate garhus!"
"B-But; why go to all that trouble?"
"Because, it was the only way the Doomsday Society could get the raw materials they needed for that shrunken factory at Black Mountain Tower. Via wishing! And, what they wished for was the stuff necessary for building shrink ray-guns...and weaponizing Spellbreaker gas."
"And, to make that factory look legit, they made it a branch of Cross Time Gifts?"
Ray nodded: "The Morphers needed Grolex watches, with built-in warp activators, for crosstime travel. So, the Sizeloans running the factory infused the activators with ley-line energy. Relayed from the garhu colony at Mount Kalkajaka!"
"What about the shrink rays and the weaponized Spellbreaker gas? Where do they fit in?"
The expression on her old classmate's face was grim as he paused before answering.
"Military engineers, at Area 51, found a way to combine the two. In order to create a gas-powered super-laser capable of shrinking GTS-goddesses! And, after five years, every satellite in the 'Star Wars' orbital defense network has one mounted on it. Ready to be fired, in deadly unison, the moment the White House orders it!!"
* * * * *
"Yes, I know this one," replied Kadroojina: "I met him exactly one hundred winters after the destruction of our beloved home, beneath Mount Uluru. Following which, I led my children here, where the mighty Queen of Fire-breathers graciously allowed us to live."
Drysni Darkscale grinned and bowed in acknowledgement (which, in her quadrupedal draconic form, was not that easy).
"Do you recall what he gave as the reason for his visit, Your Excellency?" asked Agent 679.
Kadroojina nodded again: "He told us of another world that had been similarly decimated. And, of cold-blood clans--the Eryopsii and the Kongamatos--in situations similar to our own. He said all we need do, to help them, is to partake of a magic meal at the place called the Wishbone Inn. And, simply by wishing it, those displaced ones could be brought here, to our new home! Thus, we did...and thus we have continued to do, for the past four winters."
"A truly noble endeavor, Your Excellency," replied Agent 678: "Do you know where we might find this mortal, now?"
"Yes! He and some of my children have recently founded a settlement near the Mount Uluru of yet another parallel-world. They named it after a beloved daughter he lost, twenty-one winters ago. It is called...Alice Springs."
* * * * *
NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
EARTH-DXM (AUGUST 14, 2009)
The Phantom Voyeur slowly inched his away behind the nearest bank of electronic equipment. He had teleported here, all the way from Wisconsin. And, even at his presently small size, the thirty-four hour time difference still threw him for the proverbial loop.
But, Scott and Sarah needed additional intel. If only to verify what they had been told by Natalie and Samantha. Namely, that the CGI battles in "Sizecraft" had actually occurred!
In Natalie's words: "It had previously been thought that a GTS-goddess could only be killed by being decapitated by another GTS-goddess. After which, the victor would absorb the bio-cosmic essence of the vanquished."
"It sounds like one of those sword fights on the HIGHLANDER series," Scott had remarked.
Samantha had nodded: "Only on a grander scale! But, the sizevamps changed all that. By feeding on super-witches, they gained enough power to feed off a GTS-goddess, and shrink her! Her body could then be assimilated by a Morpher, while her power could be used by the sizevamps to teleport crosstime, without need for a wrist-mounted activator. And, the purpose for all that teleportation? To holographically record genuine GTS-goddess duels throughout the multiverse!"
"The only trouble with that," Sarah had observed: "...is that the websurfers playing this game don't know they're re-enacting these duels in the real world."
"Bingo!" Natalie had replied.
"We've got to shut down these transmissions at the source," Scott had declared.
"How?!" Sarah had exclaimed: "The radar station at Alice Springs is jointly owned and operated by the American and Australian governments. We go in there, guns metaphorically blazing, and the JTF has the perfect excuse to close us down for good!"
"Then, we only send one guy in. Our resident master of subtlety."
And, that is how the Phantom Voyeur had come to be here. Searching for the computer console, controlling the holo-projective satellite; and with orders to sabotage it, anyway he could. Samantha had done some further scrying, in the conference room water cooler, before he left. And, she had told him that he was to look for a terminal being run by a woman with red hair and green eyes.
There was only problem with that, however. The control room was entirely staffed by green-eyed redheads!
Each one of them, a dead ringer for the ex-girlfriend of the Society's founder.
AUGUST 12, 2009
11:00 PM (EDT)
* * * * *
Nguyen Trinh Thi had been the heroine of North Vietnam when she drove the American running dogs out of Saigon, in 1968. Now, she had come to the islands of Upolu and Savai'i (on behalf of her country's East German kameraden) to "protect" their peoples from the Americans on nearby Tutuila And, there was nothing they--the Americans, of course--could do about it!
Then, it happened. SHE waded ashore! A round-eye giantess dressed like an Australian frontiersman.
"Who...you?" she asked, in broken English.
"The name's Olivia Twist. 'Nullaroo Nollie,' to m'cobbers.* And, if you please, Miss? I want Samoa!"
General Michaelsen could not helping wincing at this pun, as he watched the ensuing fight, via NSA satellite link, from the Oval Office of the White House. The POTUS, of course, mistook it for something else.
"I share your puzzlement, General. Samoa?! Those two are duking it out right offshore of Waikiki Beach!"
"It's the rogue transmission, Mr. President. The parameters of this magically-enhanced game have made these two think they're fighting over the Western Samoan Islands at the height of an alternate-Earth's Cold War. But, the NSA have ascertained their real identities. The 'Viet Cong' giantess is actually Kona Mahajopu. President of the Science Club at Honolulu's King Kamehameha High School!"
"And, Mad Maxine, there?"
"Valerie Forbush; a student nurse in Darwin, Western Australia."
The POTUS sighed and shook his head, while simultaneously massaging the bridge of his nose with his left hand. So, Michaelsen took the opportunity to clear his throat.
"If I may, sir? It's obvious the G.T.S. aren't going to be able to contain this crisis. Why, just the pair that started it all have fought their way to the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula! Please, sir! Give me the word. Let me activate...Operation: Teleforce."
The POTUS used a remote control to turn on his regular television set. He looked at the latest CNN helicopter footage of Thunder Child and Tanaka Mai, as their duel carried them through the waters of Chesapeake Bay. Then, he turned off the TV, before swiveling his chair to the right.
"The word is given."
* * * * *
Voyeurman whispered as loudly as he dared.
"Are you getting this, Scott?
"Yeah, Vee. I see it. I just don't believe it."
"Me, either. It's like Liz Anderson went to a Kaminoan beauty parlor, or something!"
"More like somebody has seen one too many re-runs of 'Number 12 Looks Just Like You.' "
"This is not Film Studies 101, gentlemen!" admonished Sarah: "We have a global crisis to manage. Remember?"
"You're quite right, dear," Scott replied: "Vee! Any sign of which console has the satellite controls?"
"I think it's this one."
His cellular vidphone shifted point-of-view. So, that all the personnel in the G.T.S. control room could now see what looked like DVD players stacked floor to ceiling to the right of a radar screen.
Sarah looked behind her: "Well?"
Samantha the super-witch moved closer, and nodded.
"Yep! Those are tulpa-disc players, alright. Find some way to destroy them, and the magic holograms of those GTS-goddesses will vanish. Reverting the game players back to normal."
"Failing that," muttered Scott: "...we'll have to find some way to blow up that TV satellite above Alice Springs."
* * * * *
As it happens, Ray Venn was contemplating that same thing as he and Deborah Miller-Law finally arrived at the Northern Territory town in question. Hefting the club-like molecular disruptor in his left hand, he wondered:
"If I grow to my maximum height, do you think the disruptor beam will be proportionately big enough to reach Earth orbit?"
Deborah squinted in puzzlement: "How the frig would I know? Do I look like Steven Hawking to you?"
Ray half-smiled as he opened his mouth to good-naturedly retort. But, all thought of doing so instantly vanished when he saw HER materialize. An exotic beauty with long, raven-black hair; dark brown eyes; and a golden-brown complexion. In addition, she was scantily-clad in a pink sequined bra and a matching, translucent skirt (slit thigh-high on both sides).
She basically resembled how Jeannie Nelson would have looked if she had been played by Selma Hayek, instead of Barbara Eden.
"Hello, Ray. Long time/no see."
He looked the new arrival up and down: "I see you've changed your ensemble."
She smiled: "I'm a mini-phagic belly dancer, now."
Deborah frowned: "Do you two know each other?"
Ray's reply was semi-sarcastic: "Shame on you, Deb! How could you forget? This is Aetor Bigla's other ex-girlfriend; Ms. Zavia Laryngea!"
NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
AUGUST 14, 2009 (EARTH-DXM)
* * * * *
"You know something?" declared Ray: "It makes a perverse sort of sense that you'd pop out of the woodwork. I mean; five years ago, I kill your boyfriend. Soon afterward, his employers, the Sitmobtia, begin setting up shop on this world. Running guns to the U.S. government, here. And, when some poor websurfing schmuck stumbles across the reason for it, Voracio's other ex-girlfriend tries to kill him, along with me!"
"What can I say?" replied Zavia: "It was the perfect opportunity to combine business with pleasure!"
"Speaking of which," said Deborah: "How did the Sitmobtia manage to build that factory in Queensland without my knowing about it? I mean; I _am_ the CEO of CTG Enterprises!"
Zavia smirked: "Let's just say it was the work of a mutual acquaintance."
"Yeah," added Ray: "The same one who used his family's political clout to help you resign from the Sitmobtia without incident."
Deborah's eyebrows arched in total shock: "You can't mean...!"
"Well, Aetor wasn't the only Bigla working for them. Was he, Zavia?"
* * * * *
NSA satellites continued to feed digi-cam footage of the duel to the President's laptop. And, the mega-giant duelists had just fought their way past Dover, Delaware. Now, their fight was taking them towards the mouth of the Susquehanna River.
At one point, the samurai's iron claw had finally managed to snatch the ice axe, in the Tlingit giantess' right hand, away from her. But, the latter retaliated by quickly whipping out a gold-hilted, walrus-ivory bladed dagger...and impaling the samurai's left hand with it!
As a result, the samurai dropped her wakizashi. Leaving her with only one weapon, now. And, that was enought for General Michaelsen.
He flipped open his cellphone, and called Cheyenne Mountain on "speed-dial."
"This is Brass-1," he intoned as soon as someone had picked up on the other end: "Give me Teleforce fire control."
" 'Uncoil Tesla.' Repeat: 'Uncoil...Tesla.' "
"Authorization code: confirmed."
* * * * *
Now, it was Ray's turn to smirk, as Zavia's face was the one that took on an expression of shock and incredulity.
"It was Jerktor's uncle flying the dimension-hopper that got shot down near Kecksburg, Pennsylvania back in the Sixties. And, losing his father's brother was one thing. But, to lose one of his own brothers to a sizehu? That was the last straw for Jerktor! Wasn't it? That's when he joined the Doomsday Society, and cooked up this elaborate scheme."
Ray's smirk became a smug and toothy grin as Zavia glared at him with undisguised hatred.
"You think you're so smart; don't you?! Well, guess what, Sherlock? It's too late! The White House has just ordered the activation of their Tesla-ray satellites. And, there's nothing you can do about it!!"
"I can still use this disruptor on that satellite dish behind you. No holographic transmissions; no faux-GTS-goddesses! And, no reason for those Tesla rays to be fired."
"I'm afraid I can't let you do that."
The moment Zavia uttered that reply, a small army of bipedal goannas appeared around her feet. Goannas who suddenly grew as tall as the three sizechangers with just one gesture!
"Ray? Deborah? Meet the Kill-bite Clan from Lizard Island, in the Torres Strait."
Special note: "Teleforce" is what Tesla is rumored to have called the energy of his alleged "death ray."
And, goannas are Australian monitor lizards. Relatives of the Komodo dragon, they are smaller in size. But, no less septic with their saliva!
NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
EARTH-DXM (SAME AS LAST TIME)
Zavia smiled as she looked at the Grolex ladies' watch that was nearly camouflaged by all the gold bracelets on her right wrist.
"Oh, dear! I've got another show starting in five minutes. I guess I'll have to settle for watching your demise on tulpa-disc playback."
With that, she pressed a hidden button on the watch, and activated a cross-time warp that she promptly stepped through. Meanwhile, the monitor-like garhus that she had gigantized advanced ever closer. Their pinkish forked tongues flickering in and out and in and out. Almost hypnotically!
"Any bright ideas, Ray?" muttered Deborah.
That was when a familiar cawing came to his giant-sized ears. Prompting him to smile.
"How fast can you shrink to human size?" he whispered: "And, transfer to my right hand?"
"What do you have in mind?"
"An emergency airlift."
That was when Deborah finally heard the bird call, as well.
"No time like the present!"
Seconds later, Deborah was literally in the palm of his hand. A moment after that, he threw her straight upward!
The fish crow flew downward, while Deborah shrank even further. Until she was small enough, in fact, to perceive Edgar's neck as being thick and round as a keg of brandy. She then grasped it in much the same manner!
The Kill-bite Clan, not wanting the other sizehu to escape, began to charge. Giving Ray the perfect reason to open up with molecular disruptor.
* * * * *
AUGUST 13, 2009
"Brass-1 to Teleforce Fire Control," said General Michaelsen: "Status report."
"TFC to Brass-1," came the response: "Firing time is T-Minus 5 minutes/33 seconds, and counting."
The President could not take his eyes off the news footage being transmitted to his laptop by CNN helicopters. Tanaka Mai and Thunder Child were still going at it, hammer-and-tong. Or, rather, ice axe and iron claw! Then, suddenly, he stiffened, as he noticed some hourglass-shaped structures, in the background.
"General! Hold the countdown! Those two viragos are approaching the nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island. If they topple into it, when the beam stuns them, they could cause a worse explosion than Hiroshima and Nagasaki put together!"
"But, sir!" countered Michaelsen: "The simultaneous firing solution is already locked into place. If the alpha targets move beyond calculated range while we're holding..."
"I don't care, General! An American Chernobyl is _not_ the lesser of two evils in this case."
"Sir?" inquired the voice at the other end of Michaelsen's cellphone: "Did I hear correctly, sir? Are we to hold the countdown?"
"Negative," replied Michaelsen: "Maintain countdown."
The President sat bolt upright in his chair, incredulous horror on his face. This inaction was long enough for Michaelsen to bio-electrically stun him into unconsciousness!
"Time to firing?" he asked, with a barefully suppressed hint of glee in his voice.
"T-Minus 4 minutes/59 seconds and counting, sir."
Michaelsen smiled, as he resumed the bald humanoid form all male Morphers found it so much easier to maintain.
* * * * *
"One more question, Your Excellency," said Agent 678: "With all due respect; what was it about this man that made you not doubt his story?"
Kadroojina cocked her head to the right, in puzzlement.
"He told us he was a garhu of the Xantusi tribe. From an island called San Nicolas, on a parallel-Earth ruled by my counterpart, Nekhebuto of Egypt."
Agent 678 looked at his younger partner and said (in their ultra-sonic emergency code): "San Nicolas, in the Santa Barbara Channel Islands. A ley-line convergence point. Just like Mount Kalkajaka in Queensland!"
"Correct," replied Agent 679: "And, Xantusia is the scientific name for one of the indigenous lizard species, there. But, I don't recall any parallel-Earth ruled by an Egyptian GTS-goddess. Do you?"
"Negative. The closest such world, to my knowledge, is the one where Cleopatra VII was mega-gigantized by radiation from the meteoric rock used to sculpt the statue of Ephesian Artemis!"
"Could Yrac Cimoc have used his augmented shapeshifting to pass himself off as a garhu?"
"YOU DARE CALL ME A LIAR?" roared Kadroojina. The two agents looked up, as they realized that their hostess' giant-sized ears had managed to pick up their entire conversation. The snake-tailed mega-giantess sprang from her colossal stone throne, in an attempt to flatten the two little men with her topless breasts!
But, by the time she landed where they had been standing, they had teleported away.
* * * * *
Back in Australia's Northern Territory, Edgar Allen Crow had landed at the foot of the electrified fence surrounding the satellite telemetry building. The former Deborah Law, still perched on his neck, contemplated what to do next.
"Should I use my power to shrink the radar dish? Or, grow giant-size enough to tear it down with my bare hands?"
"Personally, I think it would be more fun to see you do the latter."
Deborah looked to her left, and gaped at the woman standing there. A woman no bigger than her friend's fish crow!
"I'm Tina; the time-traveling mini-goddess. My friend Natalie sent me here, because there's someone already inside. A new ally just as eager to end this global insanity as you and Ray. And, if you'll give me a minute, I can help him cause a distraction that will keep internal security off your back for the precious moments you need."
"Hey!" exclaimed Deborah: "I'm game if you are."
Tina smiled, and gave her a thumb's-up in encouragement.
A micro-second later, she was standing by the side of the shrunken Voyeurman.
"What the frig...?!"
Tina introduced herself all over again. Following which, she explained her plan to the G.T.S. operative.
"Do you really think that'll work?" he asked, when she had finished. Tina grinned.
"I'm game if you are."
Tina then placed herself behind Voyeurman, hugging him just above his waist. Following which, they vanished from where they had been standing. If there had been anyone else their size present, to watch what happened next, it would look like Tina and Voyeurman had suddenly cloned themselves three dozen times over!
In reality, however, Tina was using her time-travel power to teleport them from one tulpa-disc player after the other, nanosecond by nanosecond. Tina keeping them airborne; and Voyeurman pressing the ejection buttons. As a consequence of which, the tulpa-discs (DVD's decorated with Tibetan meditation sigils) came flying out of the players like clay pigeons from a skeet-shooting catapult!
The Co-Ed dopplegangers throughout the control room looked at this phenomenon in slack-jawed confusion. They became even more confused when the tulpas of the GTS-goddesses appearing on their monitor screens suddenly began to dematerialize! Thereby letting Tina and Voyeurman depart completely unnoticed.
When they reappeared by the fish crow's side, Tina made quick introductions. Following which, she told Deborah:
"Time to do it to it, girlfriend!"
Whereupon, Deborah resumed her previous height of two hundred feet tall.
Note: "tulpa" is the Tibetan Buddhist term for a mental image psychokinetically given three-dimensional form and substance.
CENTRAL CALIFORNIA COAST
* * * * *
On most other parallel-Earths, the island was called San Nicolas. But, on this one, it had been given the Greco-Roman name of Nova Butosus. For, it was dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Wadjet, whom the Greeks knew as Buto. And, it was here that Agents 678 and 679 had rematerialized after narrowly avoiding being pancaked by the breasts of Kadroojina!
They had entered the local temple to Wadjet wearing hooded cloaks off-set by togas, sandals, and hook-handled shepherd staves. Once inside, they were immediately surrounded by Knight Lizards--warrior garhus armed with Egyptian sickle-swords--demanding to know the reason for their presence.
"We are Maniots," intoned Agent 678 (in fluent ancient Greek): "We seek a blasphemer who stole a sacred relic from the Temple of Hades in Oitylos. And, we have traced him, here. We wish to search this temple."
Most of the Knight Lizards were naturally awestruck when Agent 679 once more displayed the inanimate holograph of Yrac Cimoc. But, the captain of the guard was not so easily impressed.
"None may enter here without the permission of Cleopatra, herself. Begone...now! Or, face the consequences."
"We will not go without the blasphemer," replied Agent 678: "Or, failing that, the Seed of Persephone. Deny us our request...at your peril."
Needless to say, the two I.D.E.E.A men were soon battling it out with the Knight Lizards. Sickle-swords vs. shepherd staves wielded bojitsu-style!
* * * * *
Meanwhile, on Sizeloa, in the high-priced Club 2 Deth, General Joseph Michaelsen (the real one) glared at his captress as she emerged from the crosstime warp that had suddenly materialized in her dressing room. The anger in that glare could not be disguised by the unkempt long hair and bedraggled beard that hung down through the bars of the hamster cage. The cage that had been his jail since that fateful day, four years ago, when he had discovered how he had initially been duped.
"So, you finally made it back? Too bad! I was hoping you'd be late, for once. If only to provide me the consolation of listening to the manager tell you he was docking your pay!"
Zavia laughed: "Oh, general! I really am going to miss your wit after tonight's performance."
The miniaturized martinet gasped when he heard that statement.
"That's right! We no longer need you to guarantee your impostor's safety. So, tonight? YOU are the one who goes down my hatch!"
* * * * *
Meanwhile, on Earth-DXM, Ray Venn had had to steel himself for his counter-offensive. Namely; turning on the molecular disruptor he had confiscated, back in Canberra, and firing it on wide-beam.
The first wave of gigantized Kill-bites were dismembered by the beam! Everything between the bases of their necks and their lower torsos disappearing in a literal flash. So, instead of attacking him en masse, the second wave warily encircled him. Each garhu feinting a charge, in a potentially self-sacrificing attempt to make him fire again. Thereby, depleting the disruptor's power unit that much more.
Ray, however, knew this. It was why he held his fire. But, the temptation to do the opposite increased when he saw Deborah Miller-Law's head rise up to eye level with the satellite telemetry dish.
The Kill-bites facing in that direction saw her, too. Which is why they told their Clansmen, facing Ray, to turn around and kill the female size-changer behind them!
The latter immediately complied, without a moment's hesitation. Leaving Ray no choice but to shoot them in their reptilian backs. Which, in turn, left his own back exposed to the remaining semi-circle of adversaries.
Note: Maniots are the Greeks who inhabit the Mani Peninsula region of Laconia (of which Sparta is the traditional capital).
ALICE SPRINGS, NORTHERN TERRITORY,
* * * * *
Ray knew there was no time for another semi-circular blast on wide-beam. So, he resorted to the unexpected.
He waited until all the gigantized Kill-bites had almost converged on him. Then, he shrank back down to normal size!
It was admittedly a risky maneuver. One second too soon, and those mega-giant garhus might have crushed him underfoot before he could somersault to safety. One second too late, and they would have literally torn him to pieces. But, his timing proved just right. And, when he emerged from the somersault, he enlarged his dust-covered body back to mega-giant size.
"Fire in the hole!" he shouted. Whereupon, he used the last of the disruptor's energy to disintegrate the last of his adversaries.
* * * * *
Meanwhile, back on Earth-00090231, Agents 678 and 679 had managed to fight their way past the Knight Lizards. Using their disruptor rings to even the odds by disintegrating some of the sickle-swords at close range! Yet, just as they were about to run through the doorway behind the altar, at the back of the temple's amphitheater-sized foyer, another group of beings obstructed their way.
Specifically; a group of male Morphers dressed like Egyptian temple acolytes. While their high priest wore a black-and-gold striped headdress over a solid gold face mask. One that the two agents were quick to recognize as resembling ancient marble busts of Marc Antony.
That, however, was not as attention-grabbing as what occupied the right hands of these newest opponents. Walking staves that appeared to be crafted from silver-plated bamboo!
"Do you see what I see?" inquired Agent 679, ultra-sonically.
Agent 678 nodded: "Molecular disruptors with telescoping barrels. Only a hundred of those were manufactured before the end of the Norm-War."
In more conventional vocal range, he told the high priest: "You might as well un-mask. We know you're Sizeloan."
The latter laughed, and did as "requested."
"Greetings, gentlemen," he said, with a smug bow: "Jerktor Bigla of the Doomsday Society, at your...disservice!"
* * * * *
Back on Earth-DXM, Ray quickly joined Deborah by the satellite telemetry building. He then suggested that, instead of destroying the whole radar dish, it might be sufficient to simply bend the spaceward-pointing antenna in the center of it. Deborah nodded, and pointed to the right side of the dish.
"You bend it from that side, and I'll do the same from this one."
"Sounds like a plan," he replied.
"I'm so sorry," said a new voice: "But, I prefer the one we slaved over, for five years, much better."
Ray tried going for his gun. But, he was dissuaded from doing so by the sight of two gigantized disruptors aimed at him and Deborah. Each one held by a red-headed/green-eyed giantess. With each of _them_ flanking a third-such giantess. Only this one was dressed like Cleopatra VII.
"Who the frig are you?" demanded Deborah.
"Her worshippers call her Nekhebuto," said Ray (still drawing on the psychometric images he had memorized during his computer-hacking): "But, she used to be known as...Elizabeth Anderson of Madison, Wisconsin."
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth...at long last.
"You two have proven to be quite the thorns in my side," declared Jerktor: "But, never--in my wildest dreams--did I think you'd make it to the Stronghold."
"In that case," replied Agent 678: "...you might as well surrender, Mr. Bigla."
Jerktor merely laughed.
* * * * *
MEANWHILE, BACK ON EARTH-DXM...
Deborah was momentarily taken aback by Ray's revelation.
"That's impossible!" she finally exclaimed: "I saw the Battle of Madison. SNN pre-empted DEMON BUSTERS in order to telecast it! Liz Anderson was rendered powerless."
"Not quite," corrected Ray: "Energy can't be created or destroyed. Only transformed...or transferred. In this case, when the Liz Anderson of this Earth was drained of her sizechanging powers, the psychic essence of her alter-ego, The Co-Ed, went along for the ride. It ultimately found a new home in the Liz Anderson of Earth-03312008 (a.k.a. 'Normal World')."
That particular version of Liz Anderson turned out to be a physics major, at the University of Minnesota's Edison-Tesla Institute, or E.T.I. A research facility conducting experiments in cross-time travel. And, once the Co-Ed's essence had control of her, the experiments began to "miraculously" bear fruit!
"That's how the war with the Norms truly began. In helping them search for the Valentina-and-Mai counterparts, responsible for the sinking of Florida, the Co-Ed led them to Gromanian Earth. And, not accidentally, either! She did it, in order to provoke a confrontation with that world's resident version of Valentina. One in which Val was subjected to a Spellbreaker gas grenade. Allowing the Co-Ed to shrink her...and eat her. Thereby, assimilating her power!"
Deb was almost speechless.
"Omigawd! W-Why would she do such a thing? Cause a war between two parallel-Earths like that?"
"Simple, dearie," interjected the Co-Ed (who had gotten an egotistical kick out of hearing someone else recount her initial exploits): "When I've amassed enough power, from enough GTS-goddesses, I'm going to become Queen of the Multiverse!"
NOVA BUTOSUS, CALIFORNIA
* * * * *
"Did we say something funny?" asked Agent 679, as Jerktor's laughter now seemingly infected his Morpher acolytes.
"Yes!" exclaimed the one flanking Jerktor to his right: "Any second now, the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania of Earth-DXM is going to be destroyed. And, so will the tulp..."
"Yrac!!!" shouted Jerktor, half-shocked/half-outraged. An emotional state of mind that he vented with a disruptor beam.
"NOOOOOOOOOOO!" screamed Yrac Cimoc as he began to melt away like the Wicked Witch of the West: "Forgive me, Your Lorrrrrrrr..."
Soon, there was nothing left but what a puddle of what looked like raw mercury.
"Now, for you two," growled Jerktor: "Open fire!"
A dozen blood-red disruptor beams converged on the agents. But, these beams failed to connect. Instead, they hit a force-field generated by a crossing of the disguised teleportons!
"We won't be able to keep this up for long," said Agent 679 as he nodded his head towards their rear. Agent 678 risked a look, and saw what his younger partner was referencing.
The Knight Lizards they had managed to subdue in armed combat were back on their feet. With others loaning them extra sickle-swords.
"I think I know what our old friend, Cimoc, was about to boastfully tell us," declared the senior agent: "But, we have to get out of here, to verify my hypothesis."
"It'll be tricky," replied Agent 679: "On the count of three?"
Agent 678 nodded. Whereupon, they counted backwards in unison.
The duo activated their teleportons at the same time. And, the second they disappeared, so did the force-field. Resulting in the pent-up disruptor beams striking the Knight Lizards.
* * * * *
THE WHITE HOUSE,
"Brass-1 to Teleforce Fire Control," recited Gen. Michaelsen (the fake one): "Remaining time to synchronized firing?"
"One minute/two seconds and counting," came the reply from Cheyenne Mountain.
"Halt that countdown!" ordered Agent 678 as he and his partner materialized within the Oval Office (once again disguised as Federal agents).
"Too late, I.D.E.E.A. man!" yelled the impostor: "In less than sixty seconds, Three Mile Island blows up! As will that pair of GTS-goddess tulpas. And, the combined energies, from the two explosions will have a cascade effect, on all the other tulpas around the globe. In short? Kiss this particular Earth good-bye!"
CLUB 2 DETH,
* * * * *
The audience watched in morbid fascination as Zavia Laryngea belly-danced her way to the limbo stick...and then slowy bent backward. Until her long black hair was touching the heels of her feet!
That was when the stage manager ordered the overhead TV camera turned on. Instantly, the spectators turned to the video monitor nearest each individual table. And, they gasped in admiration as they saw the rippling of her stomach muscles. Her diamond-studded navel moving up and down in perfect rhythm with the clinking of her finger cymbals!
Then, the music slowed down as one of the stage hands came out, bearing a black velvet bag. From this bag, he began withdrawing one shrunken human after another...and placing them on Zavia's stomach.
The audience clapped and laughed as the music began to accelerate once more. Resulting in Zavia's abdomen doing the same thing. On camera, the shrinkies looked like they were experiencing an earthquake!
Then, suddenly, the laughter turned to yelps and shouts of excitement as a black speck detached itself from the overhead camera. Enlarging to normal size, as it fell, so that it landed on the stage, striding over Zavia like the Colossus of Rhodes!
That is; if the Colossus of Rhodes had ever been sculpted to resemble a Japanese ninja.
The audience naturally cheered, thinking it part of the show. But, the opposite was soon proven true as the stage hand wound up getting TASER-ed, with one hand, while Zavia got pepper-sprayed with the other.
The ninja then picked up the black velvet bag, and scooped up every human from Zavia's midriff, before any of the staff could recover fast enough to stop her.
"Long live S.E.T.H.!" shouted the ninja (in a muffled-yet-still-obvious female voice) before disappearing through a cross-time warp.*
* * * * *
ALICE SPRINGS CONTROL ROOM
NORTHERN TERRITORY, AUSTRALIA
The moment the tulpa-discs came flying out of their respective players, the Liz Anderson impersonators went to work. Half a dozen of them, at any rate.
If Voyeurman had had any remaining doubts about what Tina the Time-traveler had told him, concerning their garhu origins, they were disspelled for good by the sight of six blue tongues whipping in and out of these women's mouths! Each tongue scooping a tulpa-disc off the floor, and bringing it to a pair of hands that promptly reinserted it into the proper DVD player. Thereby restoring the magical holograms of various GTS-goddesses to the monitor screens around the room...and to the various target areas around the world.
Outside the satellite telemetry building, Nekhebuto (nee Cleopatra VII alias the Co-Ed) looked at her digital Grolex watch.
"Forty-five more seconds, children. And, I not only become eight times more powerful than I am right now. But, I also get even with the Society!"
Just then, a cross-time warp opened up behind the self-styled "Queen of the Multiverse." Causing the latter and her look-alike bodyguards to turn as one. Ray was quick to take advantage of the distraction. Withdrawing his S&W Model 39, he took aim and--in absolutely no mood to be chivalrous--placed a bullet in each of the bodyguards' posterial cheeks!
After all; how could they even hold their molecular disruptors (let alone, fire them) if their hands were too busy clutching their asses in pain?
At that same moment, the new intruder pepper-sprayed the Co-Ed right in both eyes. Before electro-stunning her to her knees...and then knocking her out with a left hook to the jaw.
Deborah was, of course, temporarily paralyzed with astonishment by this display. But, Ray quickly snapped her out of it by shouting at her, at the top of his lungs, in desperation.
"For Pete's sake, Deb! We've only twenty seconds left!! Help me bend this frigging thing!"
With a little help from their new friend, it took Ray and Deborah only fifteen of those seconds to bend the radar antenna into the shape of an inverted capital "u." Resulting in the GTS-goddess tulpas to once again vanish from TV screens around the world.
In the Oval Office of the White House (where it was approximately thirty-four hours earlier), the fake General Michaelsen was frantically yelling for the countdown to halt.
"Hold fire! HOLD FIRE!"
"Roger that! Teleforce Fire Control, holding fire at T-minus three seconds," replied the voice on the other end of the cellphone.
Michaelsen's impostor looked at the two I.D.E.E.A. men.
"This is only a reprieve, gentlemen. Enjoy it, while it lasts."
And, before they could do anything to stop him, he reverted to a liquid shape and flowed outward beneath the French doors of the balcony.
The ultimate exposition.
* * * * *
The seat at the head of the table was occupied by the President of the Unites States. Directly opposite him sat "Agent Foster" of the Department of Homeland Security. To the latter's left sat his partner "Agent Grant," followed by Mr. and Mrs. Kensington of the Growth Triumphant Society, and Samantha the Super-witch (as she insisted on proclaiming herself).
Directly across the table from those four were Raymond Venn, Dana Schorr-Geraghty, Deborah Miller-Law, and Lorelai Allen (still wearing her stagnatanium ankle bracelet).
It was Dana who had come to Ray and Deb's rescue in Alice Springs (where it was now 10:00 P.M. of August 15). Following which, the establishment was raided by the Australian Special Air Service, who promptly arrested all the Sleepy Lizard Clan garhus that had taken over the satellite monitoring control room in their "Liz Anderson" forms.
And, while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was helping to rebuild all the devastation caused by the tulpas of Thunder Child and Tanaka Mai, the POTUS had called for a top-secret debriefing session in the White House Situation Room at 9:00 A.M.
Agents "Foster and Grant" had already wirelessly uploaded all the data on the spring-heel jack they had loaned to Ray. So, they would no doubt do most of the explaining. Which they did. Although, it took three hours!
"That's all this was about, then?" asked the astounded POTUS: "Personal revenge?"
"Only partly, Mr. President," said Agent 678: "It was certainly the Co-Ed's initial motive. Amass enough power to make her second attempt at revenge, against the Society, more successful than her first. Yet, as we all know, power can be more addictive--and more easily abused--than any man-made drug. After six months of war, the Co-Ed had expended all the energy she'd assimilated from Gromanian Valentina. So, she decided to obtain more by expanding the war."
"Expand it how?" asked the POTUS.
"By persuading your Norm counterpart to have a black ops commando team blow up the Gromanian embassy on Sizeloa's Alpha Continent!"
"But, why?" exclaimed Deborah: "All that did was bring us into the war on the Gromanian side. How could the Co-Ed benefit from that?"
"Your people ultimately micro-sected the Norms' homeworld. That effort required nearly every sizechanger in your armed forces. The Co-Ed fed off their combined energies. And, when she had filled her tank (so to speak), her first use of it was to teleport herself and her host body to yet another parallel-Earth. Specifically; the Agoura, California of this Earth."
Lorelai Allen looked up in wide-eyed shock.
"B-But...that's my hometown! Are you trying to tell me that...?"
Agent 679 nodded: "You're really the Liz Anderson of Normal World. And, the Co-Ed knew there was a cumulative limit to how much sizechanging power your all-too human metabolism could absorb. Even with the genetic enhancements she'd psychokinetically made to your body, during her possession of it! So, she transmigrated into the body of a mega-giantess. One with the same attitudes as herself. And, that's why she chose Cleopatra VII, on a parallel-Earth where she and Marc Antony had _won_ the Battle of Actium!"
"Unfortunately, for you," continued his older partner: "...she still had need of you. So, before leaving you altogether, she telepathically altered all your memories. She then fabricated elaborate physical documentation that would seem to verify the false ones! But, more important than all that, was the implantation of a post-hypnotic command that she could telepathically activate any time she chose. One that would allow her to manipulate you without your conscious knowledge."
Lorelai looked down at the conference table top in misguided guilt and shame. Prompting Deborah to put a sympathetic arm around her shoulders.
"Is that why I became a DEMON BUSTERS fan?" asked Lorelai: "And, then, wished to become a super-witch?"
Agent 678 nodded: "She needed someplace where her recruits could secretly meet in large groups. And, the _authorized_ branches of the Wishbone Restaurant chain didn't fit the bill."
"When you say 'recruits,' you mean, those lizard people. Right?" observed Scott.
"Partially! The Co-Ed (as 'Nekhebuto') initially exploited the garhus from Earth-00090231. Those evolved from Turkish geckos that had been mutated by their consumption of red mason bees, similarly mutated by the unearthly energies of the Ephesian Artemis statue! But, as I already stated earlier, she needed more recruits in order to have more partakers of the Wishbone Specials offered at Lorelai's inn. More eating/more wishes/more recruits and/or raw materials. With the additional recruits including expatriate male Morphers and sizevamp mercenaries. All of them, nominal allies of the Sizeloan Doomsday Society."
"Which is where Jerktor Bigla came in," announced Ray: "As the leader of one of its more powerful chapters, he was useful, to the Co-Ed, as a figurehead. A potential scapegoat most of the subordinate co-conspirators would consider the one-and-only mastermind behind everything!"
"So, where's the Co-Ed now? asked the POTUS.
"She vacated Cleo's body," replied Samantha: "Cleo, herself, doesn't remember much of what happened while the Co-Ed was in control of her. So, I helped her return to Egyptian Earth (which is the _only_ dominion she cares about)."
"As for the garhus?" continued Agent 679: "Samantha's friends, Natalie and Tina, escorted them back to their underground home on planet Auwth. Where Baroness Drysni will help them explain the truth to Kadroojina."
"And, these 'Sizecraft' games?" asked the POTUS.
"They're being rounded up, even as we speak," replied Sarah: "By a task force made up of both our people, and an FBI contingent, under the personal supervision of Ms. MarySue Smith."
"What about the real General Michaelsen?" Scott now asked: "How's he doing?"
"He's been transferred to the medical facilities at Fort Sam Houston," said the POTUS: "Physically? He's increasingly fine. But, mentally and emotionally? That remains to be seen."
And, with that pronouncement, the POTUS adjourned the meeting.
To Be Concluded.
MILLER RESIDENCE, EARTH-MRG
AUGUST 17, 2009
"It was certainly great the way you came to our rescue, at the last minute," said Deborah Miller-Law. She and her husband were hosting a private get-together with Ray Venn and Dana Schorr-Geraghty. With the latter two alternating with Deborah in updating Steve about the climactic battle at Alice Springs, Australia.
"I agree," he now replied: "But, at the risk of looking the proverbial gift horse in the mouth; how did Dana know where to find you? Let alone, crash that nightclub act, like she did?"
"Well," the Sizeloan actress began: "Ray's folks were becoming worried about him. His mom, in particular. So, his dad decided to use his contacts with the Size Island Constabulary to arrange for a rendezvous with Kathor South!"
"What?!" Deb exclaimed.
Dana nodded: "Rodney reasoned that the Sitmobtia might be unaware of how the Doomsday Society was exploiting it. And, if they _were_ made aware of it, they might dislike that enough to help do something about it!"
"Makes sense," declared Ray: "If the Doomsday Society achieves their seemingly impossible goal, the Sitmobtia's human-trafficking days are over. And, they wouldn't appreciate losing that big a source of revenue."
"Exactly!" continued Dana: "So, Kat used her own connections to do a little digging. If only to confirm that Rodney wasn't feeding her a line. When she got that confirmation, she...was...PISSED!"
Consequently, Kathor outfitted Dana (who had volunteered for the rescue assignment) with the equipment and clothing necessary to rescue the real General Michaelsen, while posing as a member of S.E.T.H. Including a Grolex watch with built-in crosstime-warp activator.
"So, what does that mean for Jerktor Bigla and his accomplices?" asked Steve.
"Frankly?" replied Ray: "I couldn't care less. But, it's bound to be something poetically just. You can bet on that!"
* * * * *
SOMEWHERE ON SIZELOA'S DELTA CONTINENT
"No, please! Not that, Ms. South. Anything but that!"
Jerktor Bigla squirmed, as he tried to free himself from the stagnatanium chains he had been wrapped in, from head to foot, after being shrunken by the high-ranking Sitmobtian. The forty-something platinum blonde looked down at him (literally and otherwise) with contempt.
"It's either this, or a one-way trip down her gullet. And, personally? I'd rather see the latter! But, your father wouldn't like that. He's lost too many sons, as it is. And, I wouldn't like him expressing that dislike through his political influence! So, we've compromised; a year of community service for you. As part of Zavia's act!"
The Sizeloan bellydancer stepped forward, her face blushing with guilt.
"I'm sorry about this, Jerktor. Really! But, this was the only way they'd show me any leniency."
And, with that, she used the free end of the stagnatanium chain to bind the frantic fanatic to her right ankle. Whereupon, she began to do her most energetic dance for Kathor. A dance guaranteed to make her bare feet very, _very_ sweaty.
* * * * *
PLATTSBURGH, NEW YORK
EARTH-MRG (THE NEXT DAY)
"So, what are you going to do now, Rog?" aske Ray.
The sizehu private eye had picked up his client from Sizae-oni and (after shrinking both of them to an inch tall) rode Edgar Allen Crow back to "Jolly Roger's" hometown.
"Well, you've certainly given me an interesting story for my website!" exclaimed the conspiracy theorist: "Although, even my biggest contributors probably won't believe one word of it."
"Hey!" admonished Ray (half-seriously): "Just remember; just because because you're paranoid doesn't mean that nobody's out to get you."
"I'm not worried," replied J-Rog: "Sizae-oni said that the next time somebody tries to get me, I can teleport to her place with this."
He held up what looked like a scallop.
"What's that?" asked Ray.
"A clamshell teleporter! Whenever I want to visit her, I just have to wish to do so. And, the clamshell will magically enlarge itself; protectively engulf me inside it; and, voila! I'm enjoying her undersea hospitality, again."
Ray grinned and winked, suggestively: "Sounds like you had a nice time, during your stay with Sizae-oni."
J-Rog developed an even bigger grin: "It was a...whale...of a nice time."
* * * * *
ISLAND OF THE GOD-TEACHERS
Thare looked around them in bewilderment. One moment, he and Mark Blefescu had been discussing how extensively they had been set back by the failure of their scheme. The next moment, they were in front of a wooden table and chair in what looked like a scaled-down replica of the Athenian Parthenon! Only in much better shape than the original.
Sitting in the aforementioned chair was a being who looked very familiar to the demon.
"Where have I seen you, before?"
"I used to be known as Jake Thiessen. And, you might have seen me sitting in the backrow, at that Council of Thirteen hearing in Iraq."
"Council of What?!" exclaimed Mark.
"Never mind!" snapped Thare: "I know what he's talking about. And, it doesn't concern you."
"Yes and no," replied Jake: "The Doctrine of Limited Interference was established at that hearing. And, the Treaty of Harrisburg is the manifestation of that doctrine on my former homeworld. You two violated that treaty with your Byzantine plot. The only mitigating circumstance in your favor is that you were partially under the Co-Ed's influence. So, I'll let that slide (just this once!), if you tell me where she transmigrated to."
The sizevamp and the demon looked at each other. Their internal debate clearly visible on their faces.
* * * * *
BLACK MOUNTAIN ACADEMY,
Every single boy in the class gazed raptly at their new English literature teacher. The green-eyed redhead smiled as she introduced herself.
"Greetings, gentlemen. My name is Ms. Anderson. And, today, we'll be reading and discussing...GULLIVER'S TRAVELS by Jonathan Swift."
So ends a two-part story that I initially envisioned as being like a Giantess World version of Writing.com. Where I set up the premise, and D.X. and Mr. G (the real "idea men") collaborate on the rest of it. Once again, however, Sir Pix is proven correct: some stories virtually write themselves. I just hope that this one was enjoyed by both reviewers and lurkers, alike. ;-)
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.