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When Steve regained consciousness, the first thing he realized is that he was in a burlap pouch of some kind. Not all of him! Just everything from the neck down. His head was the only thing sticking out. He then noticed that he seemed to be in a big, empty aquarium. As big to him as RFK Stadium! Yet, only three of its sides were made of clear glass. The fourth side (facing the back wall of whatever room he was in) seemed to have been tinted extra opaque.

As to the pouch, itself? It was roomy enough that he could sit up in it. But, getting to his feet proved slightly more difficult. And, running or walking was simply out of the question! The best he would be able to do is hop like a kangaroo...or shuffle like the Little Old Man played by Tim Conway.

"So, you're finally awake."

Steve whipped his head to his right. There, in an aquarium similar to his, sitting upright in his own burlap pouch, was an African-American male about thirty years of age. Give or take five.

"I'm Steve Hughes; DIA. Who are you, and where are we?"

"I'm Errol Blaine; captain (USAF). As to your second question...?"

Steve, however, cut him off with a third question.

"Capt. Blaine of Wright-Patterson? But, I thought you'd been called to the Pentagon by an 'unquestionable source!' "

"You must have talked to Lt. Jorgensen," replied Blaine: "And, what he told you was true...for the most part. You see, as soon as I got off the plane at Langley Airbase, this government limo with tinted glass pulls up beside me. The tech sergeant driving it gets out and opens the right-side passenger door for me. He salutes me; I salute him; and, as soon as I slide into the back seat, who do I see waiting for me but my old Air Force Academy classmate, Ed Lyon."

"And, with him, was a baton twirler from my dad's old alma mater; West Virginia University."

Subsequently, there had come a flash of white light. Followed by unconsciousness. When Blaine reawoke, he had found himself in the exact same condition that Steve now did. Except for one difference.

"All eight of those silver-clad cuties were smiling down at me. Explaining how that silver shot-put was some kind of A.I. space probe from another planet. How it was contacted, in Star City, Russia, by people from its homeworld. How it tricked a former Company mole to smuggle it state-side, with the help of mercenaries posing as Chechen terrorists. And how I was now going to join their cause!"

Steve nodded: "Yeah; that's the same gobbledy-gook they tried to feed me. But, I don't intend to swallow it, anymore than you have."

Suddenly, there was an electronic hum from the tinted glass wall of both aquariums. Thereby revealing that they were actually flat-screen TV's!

"Goooooooooooood morning, Dover High!" screamed a high-pitched voice (trying--unsuccessfully--to sound like Robin Wiliams): "WDHS, in co-operation with PBS, brings you...'Twirlercise!' Starring our own Silver Cyclones."

Sure enough; the very girls who had taken Steve captive appeared on the screen. Smiling just like beauty pageant winners.

"Hello, everybody," said their captain, Danielle: "Let's start off easy...with some sit-ups."

All eight majorettes then lay down, flat on their backs. Sitting up on every multiple of two to touch their knees with their elbows. And, much to Steve's horror...

...Capt. Blaine was sitting up along with them.

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