When she returned to awareness after this latest leap, Agnes took in her surroundings . . . familiar surroundings . . . "I've leaped here before!" she thought, "but when?"
Sitting up, she felt a surge in her body that she had only felt once before . . . when she had leaped into an alternate dimension and gained elastic powers. The powers had been accompanied by a surge identical to what was now coursing through her body.
"Now I remember! The Monkees!" she recalled, "when I fought that other Alia! But why am I here now?"
Looking around, the pad seemed deserted. She sat on the black chaise for a few moments, just relaxing and taking in her surroundings. Quiet moments like this were rare for a leaper, and she hadn't been here long enough to look around the last time.
Just then, Micky bounced in the front door. He pulled up short, noticing he was no longer alone. "Aggie! What are you doing here?"
"You tell me! I just leapt here . . . and as usual, I don't know why!"
"Have you seen the guys?" This was asked with some . . . hesitation.
"Not yet. I just got here a minute ago."
A tremour of relief flooded Micky's body. "Good. I was afraid you'd seen them before I could . . . " He bit his lip.
"Warn them?" she grinned.
"Huh? Warn me about what? What's happened since I left . . . "
Micky sat beside her. With unusually clipped words, he told her about Michael Tork and the temporal displacement that had made 1968 into 1254 for two hellish days. He ended with a blunt, "And Peter and Mike . . . well, they're not okay yet."
"I can see why! Wow . . . you guys have been busy!"
He shook his head and finished his tale, ending with Mike's accidental shooting of his best friend and Peter's subsequent muteness.
Aggie's face fell, "Oh, no. Poor Peter!"
"THAT'S why you needed to be warned. Mike, he's . . . well, he's taken it hard. He's . . . " he bit his lip. "Well . . . y'see, Mike . . . he blames himself and . . . "
Davy came out of the bedroom. He spared Aggie a smile as he came downstairs. "Ello, Luv."
Aggie smiled wanly, "Hi Davy!"
"Didja wahn her?"
"I was gettin' to that."
"More? Yipes. . . I guess a lot has happened. I gotta stop by more often!"
Davy sighed. "Ye canna control it, an' we know 'at." He walked back upstairs and held out a hand. "C'mere, luv. Ye just gotta see this for yerself."
Agnes's eyes widened. She took a deep breath, hugged Micky quickly, and then walked up the tornado staircase to join Davy. "See what?" she asked warily.
Davy opened the door.
Peter lay on the bed, deep into a restful sleep. Agnes's eyes were drawn to his throat, to the deep, half-healed burn on his voice box. "Oh, no!" she gasped.
"Tha's no' it," Davy said. He nodded his head toward the window.
Mike sat in the window, staring out at the beach. He wasn't moving a muscle. He looked terrible, like he hadn't slept in days. He hadn't shaved in days, and his clothes looked like they'd been slept in. The thin golden choker around his neck was the only spot of brightness on him.
"Oh, boy." she said softly.
"Mike?" Davy said, stepping forward. "Mike, someone 'ere t'see ya."
Mike raised his hands. Not looking at Davy, he gestured quickly before they dropped back to his lap.
Davy sighed. "Tha's sign language," he said. "E said 'e doesn't wanna see anybody. See, Aggie, 'e's quit talkin' too."
"Yeah. I'm a bit rusty but I learned it a long time ago." Then his last words hit her. "Quit talking? Why?"
Mike turned to face her. Anger smouldered in his eyes, making them glow. His wrists also were glowing as he signed angily, Because I'M the bas**** that SHOT him!
Agnes recognized a little bit of what he said, enough to understand. She signed back, You're no bas*** . . . friend.
Some d*** friend. and he turned back to the window.
"Geez, seems like everything has turned upside down around here." Agnes sighed, "What a time for GTFW to bring me back here." Agnes closed her eyes and took deep breaths. "Why am I here? Why would I come back now . . . "
Davy shrugged. Then he smiled. "Ello. Look 'o's awake."
Peter's blue eyes were open. They looked at Aggie with an unusual intensity, even for Peter.
"Hi Peter! Look who's back!" She smiled.
His dimpled grin burst onto his face like a ray of sunshine. He was out of bed in a flash, and she was in his arms. Pulling back, he signed. It is you! You're really here!
She signed back, Yes. I've missed all of you -- and I missed those dimples! Just what I need after all this tiring leaping!
His shoulders shook with laughter that could no longer emerge from his throat. But the dimples were there as always. Then he frowned. He turned to face Mike, signing to Aggie, You know, huh? That's not right, he said, turning back to her. He's given up on life. It's not his fault this happened! He fired blind.
Yes, she returned. I gathered it was an accident . . . I know Mike wouldn't purposly shoot at you. What exactly happened?
But Peter had turned to look at Mike again. When he signed, the words sent a chill through Aggie. I don't get it. Why is he doing this? He's not hurt. He can still speak. He can still hear. Why is he cutting himself off?
Guilt, she signed. One sign that carried a lot of weight. "Like riding a bike," she thought, "never thought I'd use it. Thanks Nad!" she recalled the friend who had taught her to sign.
Peter stared at Mike. Behind him, Davy suddenly let out a tremendous sneeze, startling Aggie.
Peter did not react at all.
"Peter?" she turned to Davy "You didn't tell me he lost his hearing too!" she hissed.
Davy looked stunned at her. "Course not, luv! Micky did!"
Peter had turned back to them unnoticed and was gazing intently at their faces.
"No he didn't!"
"You must be joking!" Davy gasped.
"No. He didn't tell me about Mike either . . . well, not completely."
Peter tapped her on the shoulder.
She whirled. Yeah Peter?
Peter smiled and pointed behind her. Micky stood in the doorway.
"Something's come up, Aggie."
She looked at Micky. "Like what? I don't know if I can take any more surprises today." She managed a half smile.
"Like this." His brows drew together in slight concentration.
And Al shimmered into view. "Hey, beautiful. Took forever to track you down this time."
She giggled. "Hey yourself." she said, and signed for Peter's benefit (and for the practice).
"Curly top here made me invisible to you. Ziggy popped me off course and I landed in his lap . . . almost. He could sense me and made me visible to himself. Then we decided to surprise you . . . so he made me invisible. Long as he has me like this . . . they can see me too."
Agnes started laughing like crazy. "Nice surprise you two. Thanks for making this an interesting day. When's bedtime?" Agnes smiled at Al. "Don't worry -- they're trustworthy. Just don't stay visible when other people are around." She gave Micky a look.
"I'll make sure of it," he grinned.
"Can we take this outside, beautiful? I got your info."
"Okay . . . I'll be downstairs guys, if you need me." She walked out and slid down the staircase, "Always wanted to do that!" she said and walked over to the window seat.
"Ready?" Micky called.
Al suddenly looked a little less solid, and she knew Micky had released him.
She giggled. "Ah, what a guy!"
"Yeah, tell me about it."
"So, do you know why I'm here?"
"To save a guy named Mike Nesmith from killing himself in two days."
Agnes almost fell over, "NO! Mike's gonna . . . commit suicide?"
"He shoots . . . boots . . . " Al struck the handlink, which let out an earpiercing squeal. "SHOOTS his best friend in the throat and . . . "
"Yeah, Peter. But Peter told me it had been an accident but Mike is blaming himself."
"Yeah that's true. It was accidental, and he does blame himself. And it gets so bad that he hops over a cliff in two days and vanishes without a trace."
Agnes looked shocked, "NO! Oh, Mike!" She choked back the tears that threatened to fall.
"Sad thing is, three days after that, Peter's hearing returned. His voice came back two days after that."
"Really? Oh, no wonder I'm here! Oh, Mike . . . " she moaned.
Al looked strangely at her. "Aggie . . . Ziggy's got a screw loose again. She's saying there's a strange . . . energy fluctuation in your body. She can't pinpoint it."
Agnes sighed. She'd forgotten about that. "Uh, yeah . . . I've been meaning to tell you about that. Well, see, the guys have superpowers -- that's how Micky could make you visible . . . and last time I was here, the being that had given them their powers gave me some too. It was gone after I left here but as soon as I returned, the power returned . . . I felt it right away."
Al shot her a "yeah, right" look.
"Yes. Watch." She looked around for something to grab. Micky's drumsticks sitting atop the snare drum about two yards away caught her eye. She winked at Al and streeeeeeetched her arm out to grab them. Agnes laughed.
Al dropped the handlink with an audible clatter. "Oh, fer cryin' out . . . " came from thin air. After a moment, he had relocated the handlink and shimmered back into sight.
Agnes couldn't stop giggling for a couple moments.
"What are you laughin at?"
"How'd you do that?"
Aggie took a deep breath. "Like I told ya, Roma gave me . . . powers. That's my power. Elasticity."
"Where is this Roma? Think she could give me some of these powers too?"
"I dunno. I didn't exactly ask for this ya know! But the last time I lept here, I needed these powers. I'm guessing if I have them again -- they disappeared when I lept out, I need them again."
<And you, fading one,> rang in Al's head. <should you need them, they will be there.>
"What the h*** . . . "
"What?" Aggie asked, seeing Al turn pale.
"I heard . . . something . . . a voice like a gentle breeze . . . "
"That was her?"
Aggie nodded, "Yeah. She never speaks aloud, just in your head."
Al shivered involuntarily. The jolt he had felt when she spoke to him was spreading through his body . . . leaving a surge behind . . .
It scared him.
Aggie noted Al turning even paler, "Are you okay?"
Agnes sighed. So much had happened here since she left, not many for the better. And Mike . . . oh, how her heart ached when she thought of how he had withdrawn so severely. She sat up straigher, determination to help Mike out of his self-imposed shell surging through her.
Peter came downstairs, meeting her halfway. He nodded, as if reading her mind, and moved out of her way.
Micky and Davy were behind him. She would be alone with Mike.
Aggie stepped into the bedroom, and softly shut the door. This might take drastic measures and she didn't want to be interrupted.
He closed his eyes but did not turn from the window.
The soft sound of the Imaging Chamber door startled her. "Man . . . he's really gone."
She turned and glared. "Al, please. I need to do this alone . . . besides, it may not be pretty." There was determination in her voice. She was going to do whatever it took. It killed her to see Mike like this -- and she wasn't going to stand for it.
"Mike, I'm not going to stand here and let you throw your life away." She walked over to his perch at the window and put a hand on his shoulder, forcing him to turn and face her. She leaned down, her blue eyes boring into his brown. "What happened to Peter was not your fault, dig? You're not responsible -- that dude who caused you to fire blind is the one to blame -- if you're into blame. Personally, it's not my bag. And I'm not leaving until you get your butt off this window seat and downstairs, dig?"
He didn't speak, but he rose to his feet and turned to face her . . . face to face with Al. He gaped at the hologram.
"You can see Al? Aaaa, I'm gonna smack Micky!"
"Micky's not doing this . . . " Al gasped. "But I think . . . I may be."
Agnes' eyes widened . . . "YOU? HOW?"
Al licked his lips. He put the handlink in his pocket and moved toward Mike. He reached out a hand and brushed Mike's cheek with his fingertips . . .
And two pairs of eyes flared green as Al vanished.
"Oh boy," Agnes whispered.
A crooked smile broke out on Mike's face. He turned vivid green eyes to her and giggled. "You sound like Sam."
Agnes sat down, hard, on the bed, which was luckily right behind her. "How?"
"How what?" he stretched till his back popped.
She gave him a "whaddaya think?" look and said, "How did you do that?"
He smiled at her. "I know . . . but I wanna hear you say it."
She glared. "How in the h*** are you in Mike's body and if you don't answer now, you're gonna get a real demonstration of my powers!"
And Mike/Al's smile widened. "You know it's me, beautiful. Can't hide, can I?"
Two elastic arms stretched out and headed for Mike/Al's neck . . . "You're gonna drive me insane one of these days!"
He ducked and brushed a brotherly kiss on her cheek. "I'm not sure how this happened. But I like it." He sank on the bed . . . "It's been forever since I've been able to touch things . . . I'm enjoying this!"
Agnes rolled her eyes, "Oh, come on! Even I know you can just leave the Imaging Chamber to touch stuff!"
"But not THIS stuff . . . " he breathed, running his hands over the pillowcase. "I could never help you like I wanted to . . . What's so funny NOW?"
Agnes started giggling. "The look of glee in your eyes! You are enjoying this a little too much!" Then a thought crossed her mind, "Hey -- what about Mike?"
"He's in here. He knows what's going on."
"Knows . . . does he understand? Geez, I'm surprised he hasn't tried to take his body back over by now . . . that famous Nesmith temper, ya know."
And Mike/Al frowned. His green eyes narrowed. "He understands . . . And he just . . . he wants to rest a little bit."
Agnes' eyes narrowed also. "Retreat again, you mean." She glared at Mike/Al. "Okay Al. Fun's over. Get out of there and let me knock some sense back into Mike."
He sat up. His eyes flared green, and then Mike's chocolate ones were back and Al appeared beside him.
"Thank you. Now let me get back to what I was doing. Go take over Micky or somethin."
"Gotcha, beautiful. I'm gone." And he walked through the door.
"Back to business. Come on Mike. I dunno about you, but I'm hungry -- let's go get something to eat. And then we can discuss the matter of your not talkin."
Mike nodded dumbly, a sadness in his eyes.
"Come on Mike. It WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. You can't keep blaming yourself. Come on." She grabbed his hand and dragged him to the door, her arm stretching out a little as he resisted.
Me. Not clean. He screwed up his face in distaste. You go . . . I need a shower.
She considered a moment. "You got a point. Shower up -- I'll rustle up some grub!" She put on a painfully fake Texan accent to try and get at least a smile out of him.
He scowled at her instead, retreating to the bathroom and turning on the water.
She giggled and headed to the kitchen. She spotted Micky and Peter playing cards with Mr Schneider (both trying to sneak peeks at the dummy's hand) and Davy was nowhere to be seen. She opened the fridge, looking to see what she could make.
"Don't bother," Davy's tenor said from behind her. "There's nothing there. I've looked."
She hit her head on the inside of the fridge as she jumped. Whirling around she snapped, "Don't do that!"
He giggled "Sorry." He moved to her side and closed the door. "Peter and Micky are busy."
She looked over at the card game -- with three cheaters, and laughed, "Yeah, I see!"
Then it hit her. 'Peter'. . . not 'Petah'.
She looked at his eyes -- they were green. "Al!" she hissed.
He grinned. "Took you long enough."
She lifted a fist -- he was starting to really get on her nerves. "Okay, genius. The fridge is empty. What do you think we should do?"
"Already done," he said as there came a knock on the door. He opened it and took the delivery boy's bags, smiling. "Ovah 'ere, mate," the accent suddenly rang out.
Agnes looked warily at the delivery bags . . . wondering just what Al had gotten delivered.
Davy/Al reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet . . . and a very familiar object tumbled out and fell to the ground.
Then her eyes widened as the handlink fell on the floor. "Uh, oh." she whispered. She grabbed the wallet, paid the delivery boy and hustled him out the door.
Suddenly Davy's eyes were brown again. He swayed.
"Davy? You okay?"
He looked stunned at her. "Agnes . . . " he gasped . . . "Put it back in my pocket . . . hurry . . . "
She leaned down and grabbed the handlink, then quickly slid it in said pocket . . . and slid the wallet in after it.
His eyes were green instantly. "Thanks," he breathed. "The thing is solid when I'm 'in' . . . and the link dissolves if it's out . . . and I can't get out . . . " he shook his head. "I was trapped in his mind . . . scary place."
She laughed. "I can dig. Of course, you two are kinda kindred spirits . . . both ladies men!"
"Oh come on!" he cried, walking after her. "This body is too short to be a Casanova!"
She giggled and ran into the kitchen with the food. "Yeah? That doesn't seem to deter the women -- just ask the other guys!"
"And relax... it's just doughnuts and coffee."
She looked in the bag and indeed saw doughnuts. She stretched out an arm and started opening cabinets until she found the plates, and she grabbed 5, setting the table and grabbing a larger plate for the doughnuts.
Footsteps rang on the stairs.
She turned. "Hi Mike! Ah, you look much better! Hungry?"
He had showered and shaved, put on clean clothes . . . but still the golden choker rested around his neck. At her question, he smiled slightly and nodded.
She waved a hand at the table, "Help yourself. Micky, Peter -- want some doughnuts?"
Micky signed quickly, and Peter nodded. They got up and moved to the table.
Agnes sat down and grabbed a chocolate sprinkled doughnut and started eating. At least Mike was in different clothes and had showered. It was a start.
Davy's pocket suddenly chirped loudly, startling those who could hear.
"What was THAT?" Micky gasped.
Davy/Al turned to look at Micky, and Peter signed repeatedly, Who are you?
She rolled here eyes and waitied to see how Al handled that.
Forget this, Al thought. He stood up and pulled out the handlink. "Hey, beautiful . . . look at this!"
"What?" Agnes asked warily.
"You did it . . . Mike doesn't go over the cliff! He's stable and well in modern day . . . Faeryland?" He lowered the link. "I think Ziggy slipped a cog!"
"Yeah . . . but he's not speakin to me yet!" and she gave Mike a look.
"Want me to handle that?" Davy/Al asked her.
She gave him a wary glance, "I dunno . . . should I?"
"Up to you, beautiful."
"Who are you?" Micky screamed finally.
"I'll handle Mike. You get yourself out of this mess." She grinned and indicated Micky.
Mike was done eating by then and giving her a wary look. She stretched out an arm and grabbed his hand, then led him to the bandstand. "I'm in the mood to hear Listen to the Band . . . any chance I could get a command performance?" Mike glared at her . . . considering.
Meanwhile, Davy/Al walked over to Micky and brushed his cheek with his fingertips. Both pairs of eyes flared green, and the transfer was made. Micky/Al gasped suddenly . . .
"He's fighting me!"
Agnes looked back toward the kitchen while he considered to see the switch. "Duh! Micky's not the kind to go quietly . . . neither is Mike -- on a normal day."
He closed his eyes . . . then opened them again. There was something VERY different this time . . . the eyes were two colours.
Brown ringed with green.
Agnes' jaw dropped. "Oh, no. What a freaky day."
"What?" he asked.
"Aggie, are you okay?"
She shook her head, trying to make sense of it all. "Oh, I'm fine. I've just seen the weirdest things in my life all in one day, that's all." Then inspiration hit and she turned back to the wavering Mike. "I need some calming music, like Listen to the Band -- one of my favorites."
Mike nodded, then picked up his guitar. He sang the song and then looked expectantly at her. She became aware of a hand around her shoulders . . . Micky/Al had walked over and was listening, almond-shaped two-tone eyes twinkling as he smiled.
She sighed. "Lovely. I always loved that song."
"I can see why," he breathed, staring at Mike. "That was incredible."
She grinned at Micky/Al. "How about . . . hmm . . . The Door Into Summer?" She winked at Mike.
Mike shook his head.
He looked down, then up at the fused man in front of him. He knows why.
"Me? But I . . . oh. The lyrics are about hanging onto childhood," he said. "Mike's having flashbacks, aren't you?"
"Oh, sorry Mike"
He smiled crookedly.
"Now," Micky/Al said, smiling. "Why are you staring at me?"
Agnes giggled. "Why do you think -- he's never seen a fused being like you before . . . neither have I." She stepped up to Micky/Al and did some exaggerated staring of her own.
"Don't do that," he chided. "You know it's me in here . . . my eyes are green!"
She laughed, "Don't do what?" she asked and put on her best "dumb-Peter" face.
"They're not green," A rusty, southern-accented tenor said from the bandstand.
Agnes whirled, and then smiled, "Welcome back Mike."
"They're not green," Mike repeated. "They're double tone."
Agnes smiled. "That's cause Mick resisted . . . so Micky's brown and Al's green are fused . . . sorta"
"They're what?" he whirled to the wall and ran to the mirror.
He pulled the handlink out and ran scenarious through it, paling as the results came up.
Agnes noted the paleness to his face. "What is it?"
"Mike's fine now," came the soft answer. "Peter will be fine. But . . . "
"But what?" she asked warily.
"But there's a seventy-five percent chance . . . that I'm stuck here."
He closed his eyes and sank to his knees, shoulders heaving.
She knelt down and put her arms around his shoulders. "Hey, come on! There's still that twenty-five percent chance you're not stuck!"
"Yeah right... Agnes, you know who's in here?"
She frowned, "Al? Micky? Both? A merge of both?"
"A merge. One body. One mind." He sat down, hugging his knees. "I don't know where Micky ends and Al begins."
She gasped. "Oh, no . . . "
"Micky fought. I should have left, but I wanted to prove . . . And now . . . " He stood and took a step toward the stairs . . .
Then he floated on an invisible field upstairs.
"Well, at least Micky's powers are there, intact . . . " she mused. She looked over at Mike, for support and ideas -- she had no idea what to do now.
Mike looked her square in the eyes. "Be with him."
She grinned. "Good idea." She hugged him. "Glad to see you back . . . and hear your lovely voice again." she whispered in his ear. Then she walked up the stairs.
The man was lying on the bed. She didn't know what to call him anymore . . .
He'd been crying.
"Micky . . . Al . . . ?"
He didn't look up at either name. "Neither. Both."
She walked over and sat down next to him, and started massaging his back gently. "Well, what should I call you then? Can't exactly say Hey You! all the time!"
He smiled at that. "I don't know, Aggie. I don't know."
She pulled him to her in a hug. "How bout . . . hmmm . . . I dunno. Merge man?"
He laughed out loud. "How about Micky? That's who I look like, after all."
She giggled, "Okay . . . if that's what you feel comfortable with."
"Seems to be." He lay down, looking at her. "I'm scared, beautiful."
"I dig. Who could blame ya?" she said softly, almost a whisper.
"And I'm the bonehead who asked for powers. Brother, talk about backfirin'."
She giggled. "Be careful what you wish for . . . " She stretched out an arm, "Of course, be careful what you don't wish for!"
"Aggie? What if I can't be two again?" He keeled back again. "Now I know how Mike and Peter must have felt . . . "
She sighed, "I dunno. But if you can't reverse this, then God, Time, Fate, Whatever it is leapin me around will have to forget about me 'cause I ain't leavin you!"
He shook his head. "You got a job, beautiful. You got responsibilities. You can't abandon them to watch after some dumb idiot who got himself in trouble!"
She pinched his arm. "You're no idiot. You had to have been given these powers for a reason -- Roma doesn't seem to do things for no reason. And there's a chance that you might be . . . merged like this for a reason!"
"I didn't think of that . . . " He swung his legs off the side of the bed. "Thanks, beautiful. Hey, you wanna go flying?"
"I dunno . . . " she wavered . . . her childhood acrophobia surfacing despite the years of therapy.
"I'll make a deal with you. You come, and I won't go any higher than the beachouse roof. We'll just fly so you can feel what it's like."
She considered. "Okay. But any higher and you're dead meat!"
It was very live meat that delivered his parcel safe and sound on the verandah steps half an hour later.
"Did you like it?"
She thought a moment . . . "Well, it wasn't too bad. I guess if I were able to forget how high we were I would have loved it. I do love fast rides, just not high ones"
"I'll keep that in mind." They stepped inside . . . to an empty pad.
A pad that was a shambles.
"Oh no! What happened? Mike, Davy, Peter?" she cried out.
"Theyre not here," he said. "What happened here?"
"You tell me." She walked around, surveying the damage with all the precision of a P.I.
Suddenly a scanner wave hit them both. An almost mechanical voice shrilled, "Identity confirmed. This is Agnes Garreffa. Identity inconclusive. This could or could not be Micky Dolenz . . . "
The almond double-tone eyes grew huge as he remembered her words. "There could be a reason you're merged . . . "
Agnes came to that realization almost at the same time as she pondered who was operating the scanner wave. She seemed to remember being told about one of these things but her slightly-swiss-cheesed mind couldn't find the memory.
Suddenly there was a bright flash of light and Agnes & Micky/Al were both knocked unconscious. As she came to, Agnes tried to take note of her surroundings but found it impossible in the pitch-black room. She couldn't even tell if Micky/Al was next to her.
"Micky? Mike? Peter? Davy? Anyone?" she mumbled.
"Aggie?" came a distinct Southern Tenor.
"Hey beautiful," a voice speaking words that belonged to another voice said.
There were no other replies.
"Mike! Micky! Mike . . . can you, um, shed some light on the subject, as it were?"
A thin beam of flight penetrated the darkness. "Can you see this?"
"Yeah. It's not enough to see where we are but it's better than blackness," she said and shuddered, another childhood phobia threatening to resurface.
Light suddenly flared in the darkness, and Aggie saw the entire room illuminated from the bright glow Mike Nesmith had become.
She could see him in the center of the aurora, but the brightness coming from him all but obscured his features.
She giggled, "Well, you didn't have to go that bright!" She started scanning the room . . . featureless and dank. The walls looked to be made of stone. Looking down she noticed that her hands and feet were tied . . . and so were Micky/Al's and Mike's.
Micky/Al's ropes were shifting of their own accord, however . . . and she sensed he was using his force-field powers. A bright red light shot out and untied Mike. "Untie yourself," Mike said.
Agnes wiggled around trying to loosen her ropes. Finally she stretched out her wrists and slid out, then untied her ankles.
She stood up and walked to the wall. It was damp, cold and clammy. A thought of A Wrinkle in Time and the green pulsating wall on Camazotz rose unbidden in her mind and she suppressed a shudder. No, this isn't a book. This is real . . . but what is it? she thought.
Dozens of Nancy Drew mysteries had served Aggie well and she started slowly circling the room, feeling along the wall, surpressing the sickening feeling in her stomach. That wall was slimy! She finished her survey quickly -- as it was a tiny room.
"No door. No secret button to activate a panel . . . no panels that I can feel. What do you guys make of this?" she asked.
"I make it to be a dank, room that we're stuck in," Mike said sarcastically.
"Let me try something," Micky/Al said. He closed his two tone eyes and reached out with his power. The walls vanished, revealing . . .
Agnes gasped. Looking around, A Wrinkle in Time really seemed to be a good analogy. They were in a rectangular tube, surrounded by people and machinery. Several yards away she spotted another tube and it looked like Peter and Davy in there, but she couldn't be sure because of distance.
"Mike -- is it me or is that Davy and Peter over there?" she pointed.
Mike nodded. "That's Peter . . . I can touch his mind."
"Touch his what?" Micky/Al gasped.
"The merge . . . right?" Agnes asked, recalling what Micky had told her when she'd first arrived.
"No," Mike said. "We've been linked mentally since before we arrived in this dimension. The merge made it about a million times stronger, however."
She nodded. "I see. Can you . . . communicate with him? Is he conscious?"
"Only my emotions. Yes, he's conscious. He's livid!" Mike chuckled. "He can send me words. I send him emotions and pictures."
Agnes giggled. "I guess they can't see anything -- they don't have Micky's powers to make those walls disappear."
"No, they can't," Mike said. "Peter's relieved to know he's not blind again. He's trying to convince Davy that he's not blind again either!"
"Well, now that we know everyone's okay and in one piece . . . how do we get outta here?"
At that moment they were hit by another scanner wave. Micky/Al and Mike lost control of their powers, and the room first closed in, then turned pitch black again.
Agnes was knocked over and she felt Micky/Al fall on top of her. "Oh, no. Not another scanner thing!"
"OOOWWW . . . " Micky/Al's howl suddenly was in two voices.
The weight on top of her shifted, and then suddenly felt like there were two full-grown men laying across her legs instead of one. "Micky? Al? Um . . . are you okay?" she asked, dreading the worst.
"Woozy . . . " Micky said.
"Me too," Al's voice said. Then she felt a hand curl around her arm, and heard a startled, "What the h*** . . . "
"Mike?" Al called. "Can you hear me?"
"Yeah . . . who are you?"
"Oh, boy . . . "
"What?" Agnes let out the breath she'd been holding . . . "You can say that again. Mike . . . a little light please. I gotta see this for myself!"
Mike shone some light on the situation.
The older gentleman in the loud shirt was staring pop-eyed at Agnes. He reached up and gently touched her shoulder . . . curving his hand around it . . .
And she felt the touch!
She jumped a bit. "Al . . . you're . . . here! Oh boy . . . this is starting to get complicated!"
He looked at Mike. "May I?"
Al stood up and walked over to him, touching him on the cheek.
Light flared, and Mike opened chocolate eyes rimmed with a ring of green.
Agnes shook her head. "I'm starting to loose my mind here."
Micky folded his arms. "You and me both," he said.
"You mean all four of us, beautiful," Mike/Al breathed. "Cripes, this is really happening . . . I'm solid, I'm here. I can fuse with people . . . " Another flash and Al stood beside Mike. "And I'm as solid as you are!"
"I can see that. But . . . if you're here . . . what about the project?"
Al slid out the handlink. "I'm still connected," he crowed. "This says they've lost my body from the imaging chamber . . . lost yours from the waiting room . . . "
Agnes pondered that a moment, "Yeah. That would fit for you . . . but . . . well, yeah, cause I lept in here as myself."
Al typed a message.
Then he laughed. "'Found them!'" he read off.
Agnes giggled. "At least we're still in touch with PQL. Does Ziggy have anything that might help us get outta here?"
Al nodded grimly. "She says we've been captured by pepper-pot shaped robots who call themselves Daleks. She says they're very bad news."
"Oh, boy. Terrific. What next? Kruge beaming down with Kor, Kang and Kothos?"
Al laughed. The Monkees duo shot them blank looks.
Agnes giggled at the blank looks, "Star Trek."
"Star what?" they chorused in unison.
She moaned, "Oh, it's a TV show. I'm surprised that you haven't seen it Micky. It's right up your alley"
Micky shook his head. "You must be mixin' me up with someone else. Since coming here I've not been much into science fiction . . . real life is strange enough when you're a real life superhero!"
She giggled, "True true, I understand. I thought you would have seen it before coming here -- it premiered the same time as The Monkees did."
Mike smiled gently. "Aggie . . . between acting, rehearsing, recording, touring . . . we were too tired for any TV!"
"Okay okay. I dig. Never mind. You had to have seen a couple choice episodes to understand anyway."
They frowned. "So how do we get outta here?" Al asked.
"Beats me. Ziggy doesn't have any ideas?" Agnes started visually scanning the walls again hoping she'd missed something earlier.
"Yeah, but shes not makin any sense!"
"What's she saying?"
"She's saying that she knows what I can do now... and to do it to a Dalek!"
"Do it to a Dalek . . . merge with one?" Agnes jumped up -- "That just might work -- if we can find a Dalek!"
"Doin' it to people is hard enough," Al said, running a hand through his hair. "Doin' it to a machine . . . I'm still so new to all this . . . " He looked wild-eyed at the trio.
Agnes looked out at the machines . . . "What if they have a biological component like Ziggy? That might make it easier."
"It might . . . " Al mused.
"Besides, Ziggy wouldn't have said it if she thought it'd be impossible." She folded her arms and regarded him with a look. Micky giggled, recognizing one of his expressions on her face.
Al ran his hand over his nose and mouth, thinking. At long last, he slid the handlink into his pocket and sighed. "Okay. Big question # 1 -- how will you know it's me once I'm in one of those faceless things? And #2 -- how do we get one in here in the first place?"
"Well, for one -- your stellar personality will shine through, I'm sure. As for two . . . the opposite of a distraction -- a commotion. I'm sure between the three of us we can cause enough of one to get a thing in here."
Al cleared his throat. "The four of us, Aggie! I'm solid, remember? I'm as real here as you Mike and Micky are!"
"Oh, yeah." she giggled, "I meant 4. I lost count!"
Mike suddenly grinned. "Peter has an idea," he said. "I've been feeding him the conversation."
"Oh, good idea. I never thought of that. Is he keeping Davy in the loop too?" She glanced over at Peter and Davy in the other tube.
"Yeah. He is. He thinks if we all but Al that is . . . use our powers and make a lot of noise, the dalek will come to investigate."
Agnes nodded. "Exactly. I'm sure we can cause a lot of noise between the three of us and Al can stay in the background . . . so the Dalek won't notice till it's too late."
That said, Al slid to the side of the door and plastered himself against the wall. The thought crossed his mind that it had been a long time since he actually had to hide . . .
Agnes looked at Micky and Mike. "Ready?"
For answer, Mike raised his fists. Laser after concussion laser struck the ceiling, not hard enough to damage it, but more than enough to make one heck of a racket! Micky used invisible drumsticks to make noise on the walls.
Agnes stretched out her arms and pounded a riff of her own on the walls, staggering the beat from Micky's to make it a cacophonus racket.
"It's working!" Micky hissed. "The dalek is coming closer!" He made the wall Al was hiding against opaque.
The door slid open and a pepper pot with a gun and a plunger for a hand and two lights on top that lit with every syllable it spoke came in.
Al lunged. His hands brushed either side of the Dalek's rounded top.
Then Al was gone and the Dalek was perfectly still.
"Al? You in there?" Agnes giggled.
I...I*think*so.... Where's... ah there it is.... Hey beautiful.
"Hey, I've got an idea!" Micky said. He whipped off the scarf he was wearing around his neck and tied it around the eyestalk of the Dalek. "Can you see, Al?"
Yeah... just fine. Now you guys can tell me apart from the other daleks. Good idea... let's get outta here
"Good idea Mick! Okay -- open the door for us and lead the way!"
Al spun the Dalek aroud and opened the door.
He glided through, the others following. He made his way toward the other tube, when...
And the dalek with the scarf answered in a purely mechanical voice:
Agnes held her breath, hoping the other Dalek would back down.
<I*must*confirm> The other Dalek spun and moved toward a wall comm.
Oh, h*** with it! And Al used the gun to destroy the other Dalek.
Agnes took advantage of the distraction to stretch out and knock down a few more daleks, then ran for the other tube. Micky shielded Mike and Al, whose combined lasers wiped the hall clean. Agnes managed to find a wall panel and she smashed it to pieces, which caused the door to sigh open a crack. She stuck a hand in and opened it the rest of the way.
"You're saved guys -- come on before reinforcements come!"
"We can't leave," Davy said grimly as they exited the tube. He drew in a deep breath as they saw the Dalek in the hallway.
"Watch out!" Davy shoved Agnes down and grew a foot, raching for the Dalek.
"Hey -- I can fight my own battles and that's Al in there you nut!" she spat out and wrapped a rubbery arm around his waist, pulling him down next to her.
"Al?" Davy gasped.
The one who was inside Mike for a minute? Peter signed.
Yup she signed back. "It was the only way to get out" she said and signed.
Agnes, we can't leave this ship. Not yet.
Peter grinned. You can speak aloud, Agnes. They restored my hearing.
She grinned, "Okay. But why can't we leave? If we don't leave soon . . . we'll be sent back to the tubes!"
Mike suddenly drew in a deep brath. "Yes," he said almost to himself. "That's right...."
Agnes put her hands on her hips, "Well, I wish somebody'd tell me!"
"Micky." Mike ordrered. "Make Tube 25 invisible."
Micky did. And Al and Agnes gasped in shock.
Inside lay Paul McCartney and John Lennon... from 1964.
"Woah . . . is that . . . are those the Beatles?"
Daleks are Time Travelers, Peter signed. They took us, and the Beatles. They took Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix . . . but they escaped.
Agnes' jaw dropped. "Janis and Jimi escaped . . . and in my dimension at least, they're dead . . . you sayin' that if we escape . . . we'll never get back?"
"He's saying," Mike said, "we have to use the ship, fly to 1964 and drop our friends off, then use it to get back to our time."
Agnes sighed. "Okay . . . I guess we oughta try and find the main computer then . . . Al? Your Dalek know where?"
Way ahead of you... my dalek turns out to be the head pilot!
Agnes laughed, "Good job then. Pilot us away to 64, I guess!"
And it was with some regret that they dropped the Beatles off in 1964. The boys slept the entire time.
The Dalek then piloted the craft to 1968, where the Monkees and Agnes got off.
"Thank goodness this crazy business is over. Al? You gonna come out and join us or have you become too buddy buddy with your friend?" She leaned on Micky and they both laughed.
Very funny. Back off, will you? Literally... back off. Get away from the ship.
The grins vanished from their faces, "Okay, man." Agnes said and she joined the Monkees as they headed back to the pad.
The ship . . . with Al inside . . . lifted off slowly.
Suddenly, Al the man came somersaulting out of the ship, hitting the ground and rolling with the impact. He looked back at the ship and grinned.
"Al!" Agnes ran over to him, "You okay?"
"Watch," he said, pointing at the ship.
The ship rose higher and higher into the air . . .
Then exploded in a brilliant flash of light. Micky threw up a field to protect them all from debris.
Agnes gasped. "Good job"
Al smiled at her, awe on his face. "I got it to program the self-destruct sequence. This powers thing I could get used to!"
She giggled. "Don't -- we might not have these powers when . . . if . . . we leap out. I didn't last time."
<<That was the last time,>> a voice like gentle rain laughed in six minds.
SHE stood in the middle of them. Beautiful as the sunrise, dressed in a silver Grecian robe, platinum hair waving as if in a breeze. SHE smiled gently at Agnes and Al, not speaking.
Agnes' eyes widened . . . "huh?" was all she could get out.
<<That was last time,>> the voice repeated as the luminous blue eyes bored into Agnes's.
"You mean . . . I've got these for the long run . . . " she whispered.
<<I have chosen you, Agnes Garreffa. I have chosen you as I have chosen these four, as I have chosen Samuel Beckett.>>
"You mean . . . when my grandfather told me I was to be the new leaper . . . he was saying I'd been chosen by you?" she gasped.
<<He was one of my dearest helpers, your grandfather.>> Sadness crossed her face. <<He is dearly missed. And dearly loved.>>
"He is. . . " Agnes choked, tears welling up.
Al had another thing on his mind. "You... chose... SAM?"
She nodded. <<He serves Goodness in the fullest way he possibly can now. He puts right as himself.>>
Agnes wiped the tears from her eyes. "That's Sam for sure!"
<<These four . . . >> She indicated the Monkees. <<These four protect this dimension. That is what THEY were chosen for, why they were empowered.>> Agnes nodded. That made sense, and now she knew who it was leaping her around. Knowing it was Roma . . . she felt a little more comfortable knowing that now.
<<And now, Agnes . . . it is time to accept your destiny. Your life has been leading to this point, and your training is over. Time for the work to begin. Will you accept the responsibility Goodness places on you?>>
She took a deep breath and stood tall. "Yes. If I've been chosen, I'm more than willing to help Goodness. Otherwise . . . evil would prevail and I sure don't want that to happen!"
Al stood. He placed a warm, solid hand on her shoulder and squeezed it in support.
<<Agnes, your duty is to the multiverse. As well as leaping through time, you will now leap through dimensions. You will be the instrument to bring order to chaos in several worlds, several earths. You must truly stretch yourself to the limit.>>
Agnes nodded. "I understand. I only hope I can do my job well enough for you. That's a big responsibility and I'm honored to be chosen for it."
<<You will not shoulder the burden alone, Agnes. You will have a partner, who shall aid you at every step.>>
She looked next to her, "Al?"
Al blinked. "Say WHAT?"
<<Yes, Al Calavicci. YOU will be her partner. You were given your unique ability for this purpose. Your training was the guidance you gave Samuel. Your destiny awaits. Will you accept?>>
He looked wide-eyed at Agnes.
She nodded, "I could use a little help . . . it's a big multiverse out there!"
The joke escaped him. His brain was whirling. This was all happening so fast . . .
He took a deep breath. "Roma . . . I . . . er . . . that is, I . . . " He pinwheeled his hands. "Oh, h*** . . . I could do worse!"
Agnes giggled. "At least now you can't complain about not being able to touch anything!"
Roma moved toward them. She ran a hand through Agnes, into Al. <<You are now linked inseparably. Your journeys will begin soon. And your powers are now yours forever. Godspeed.>>
And she was gone.
"Thanks Roma . . . " Agnes whispered, too softly for anyone to hear but . . .
Al gave her a look "Thanks for giving us the biggest job of our lives? Geez."
Agnes whirled, "You heard that?!?"
Al suddenly frowned. "Aggie?"
He was flexing and unflexing his fingers. "I'm . . . I'm tingling . . ."
"Oh no!" A moment . . . "me too!" She ran over to the Monkees. "Thanks guys! I hope I see you again!" She hugged them each quickly then ran back to Al.
"You will," Micky called, then the four choursed, Peter with his hands, "BET on it!"
She giggled, "Until then! Take care of yourselves!!"
Al suddenly realised what was happening. He reached out and grabbed Agnes's hand.
She squeezed his hand and waved to the Monkees with her free hand . . and she & Al leaped . . .
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Last updated 14 OCT 98
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