TGTS Susan Smith sped off toward Pluto and utter utopia. Mij Slochin
stared at the Tiara, twirling it in his hands. Taft's son was a fool; it had
been so easy to steal his only possession. He leaned over and touched the
button that activated the intercom. "Send in Jack!" He ordered.
minutes later, a young man entered the room. He was riding in an anti-gravity
wheelchair. The young man was completely normal, except for the obvious lack
of any limbs. Mij remembered the tragic incident that had caused his
disfiguration. Jack mumbled a greeting and started his report. He crossed his
eyes, and the optical sensor converted his simple gesture to a complex
command. The lights dimmed and a holochart appeared on the wall. "These
are the known locations of the energy drain." He blinked his eyes rapidly
five times, then winked. Several hundred spots on the holochart began to
flash. "The source of the drain is not known, but the Susan Smith
has been effected."
I want to know why, what, where, how, and who!" He pressed the intercom
button again, "Chester, bring in Taft II." He turned again to Jack,
"I want those answers, mister, and I want them yesterday!"
nodded and optically guided the grav-chair out of the room. Taft II, wearing a
rather tight straight-jacket, was pushed into the room. Mij immediately
pounced on him, "Taft, are you the cause of this energy drain?"
you like to know....Perhaps we could make a deal..."
stared at the Tiara. He could give it back to Taft, but would the information
be worth his trouble? Perhaps he should make the deal...
* * Shattered Images * *
stared at his computer screen. He slammed his fist onto the table and shut off
the computer. The colony on Ceres was reporting a severe energy drain. The
drain was not, then, restricted to T'mir. If the generators on Demeter failed,
the entire colony would be lost. It was not too intelligent placing a colony
on an asteroid.
stalked out into the hall to confront Richard. Only the Domain could have
created this diabolical weapon. He noticed Richard by the stairwell.
"What kind of treaty is this? We let down our defenses in friendship, and
you respond by attacking us with some energy drain weapon. "
was about to ask you about the same subject. We have nothing to do with it,
but we do have reason to suspect you, dear Jonathon."
suggest that you and your troops leave T'mir now." Jonathon replied.
realize that this will annul our peace treaty, don't you?"
am quite aware of the connotations. Now I demand that you leave. You have one
hour." He turned and stalked down the hallway. He hoped that he was doing
the right thing.
* * Distorted Images * *
the land of beauty and mystery, stretched out into distance, coalescing into a
blue strip on the horizon. Iffley, Adena, and Quiffy appeared on a vast plain.
Iffley quickly scrutinized his surroundings. A large ranch stood defiantly on
the horizon, its dormers aimed toward the sky. A delicate picket fence guarded
the ranch, its gate stood open. With a wave of his Sceptre, Iffley transported
the group to the ranch. The moment the group formed in the courtyard, a
business-like man approached them. "What do you want here? I am Taft and
you are trespassing on my territory. If you don't..." He glanced at
Iffley and began to tremble. His brown eyes shifted to the ground to avoid
Iffley's gaze. He touched a small crown that he had been carrying at his side,
and vanished. "Go away!"
have the Diadem. I need your help." Iffley said calmly.
kind words fell on deaf ears. A streak of green slime zoomed toward the
unsuspecting party. Iffley, however, altered the water vapor around them and
created a shield. The slime struck the shield and splattered with a loud
slosh. The green slime dripped and oozed onto the ground. Iffley dissolved the
shield and the slime, allowing Adena to bathe the entire area with a
low-powered laser attack.
you think you can hurt me?" Taft laughed. He reappeared, but his form
flickered and flashed with non-substance. Iffley transformed the grass around
Taft into a cage. Taft simply laughed and passed through the trap. "I
told you that you couldn't hurt me."
simply smiled at his childish behavior. He pointed the Sceptre at Taft and
transformed the air around him into a vacuum. Taft stared at his attacker in
alarm. He tried to scream, but the words would not pass through the void. He
tried to phase through the void, but found that he was unable to move in any
direction. He then realized that the pair had simply been toying with him. He
clasped his hands together and started to beg. Iffley tapped the Sceptre, and
the void returned to normal air. Taft returned to normal substance, and began
to shake violently.
hope that you have had quite enough." Iffley glared at Taft, hoping to
scare him into joining their party. "I don't understand, the Sabre
can't...none of the Keys can...How did you do that?"
am the Restorer, also known as Iffley. This is Adena Ludit; and this,
Quiffquaff. We are from another universe, and have come to rescue your
universe from the terrors of the Maelstrom." Taft gave Iffley a
don't-try-to-pull-the-wool-over-my-eyes look. Iffley ignored this, and
continued his explanation, "These are our Keys. I possess the Sceptre.
Adena has the Amulet and Ring. We are on a journey to the Maelstrom's
territory. We have enormous power, but I still think that we will not be able
to defeat him. Would you like to join us and rid Ralle of this menace?"
Iffley examined the Diadem closely. It was silver with a large, centered
diamond surrounded by several sapphires and emeralds. The diamond seemed to
glow from an inward presence, giving the entire Key a mysterious aura.
glanced uneasily at the Sceptre. He knew the fury of the Maelstrom, and
decided not to challenge him. He replied firmly, "No."
a corpulent, homely woman stormed from the house. "NO?" She screamed
at him. "After all that weasel has done to us, you don't want to finish
him off?" She raised her hand in a threatening manner.
became quite uxorious, "Well, Dear, what I meant was..."
woman interrupted her husband, "Of course we will go. My name is Amanda
Taft: I wear the pants in this family." Her statement was true, she wore
a tight, black pair of slacks that bulged in several places from the layers of
flab that she had carelessly arranged.
uncoiled himself from Iffley's arm and bounced over to Amanda. It changed into
a small animal (part dog, flower, hippotamus, and tractor). It raised its
little nose-exhaust pipe and sniffed her. It shrieked, and plowed back to the
safety of Iffley's arms. Taft stepped out from behind his wife's protective
back--all that width had to be good for something--and said, "What was
just my pet. It's quite harmless." He comforted Quiffy, who began to coo
what are we waiting for, honey?" Amanda said, while smacking Iffley on
smiled weakly and wondered if bringing Amanda was a good idea. "We need
one more Key, where is the Periapt?"
about 500 miles west of here in Adena's possession." He glanced at Adena,
"Wait a minute, she's right here!"
from my universe--remember?" Taft, after a moments deliberation, nodded.
Iffley concentrated on the location of the Periapt. He raised and waved the
Sceptre. The group vanished into nothingness, and a new loneliness filled the
once occupied ranch.
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, A. Mann, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|