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.