The Wisp

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The Wisp

Postby Miki Yamuri » Sun Apr 17, 2016 8:33 pm

Title: The Wisp

Characters:

All Characters played by: Miki Yamuri and LilJennie

Randy Neiss - 25yo - The Wisp

Michelle Delaney - 23yo Mobile Action News Reporter - The Wish

Pl’boolu - League Pisces lifeform Doctor

League Agent Nijedahaa

League Agent Ligamondes

Phosian League Agent Shiranaa

Phosian Phosiorr Knight Locathann

Ghloftunmm - Dark Shadow Beings

Mr. Bradford - News Editor

Debbie Devine - Celebrity Spot Reporter

General Charles - Head of The United States Space Defense Force

Gloria Charles - Colonel/General Henry Charles' wife

General Young

General Cavender

General Phillips


Scene: Riding a dirtbike in the woods

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My name is Randy. Most know me by another name, The Wisp ... and this is how I came to be what I am today.

It was the perfect day to be out on my bike. It wasn't hot or cold, and the thin cloud cover kept the temperature pleasant. I loved to take this trail through the woods. My 250 felt eager as I gently twisted the throttle and the bike responded immediately. It stood up on the rear wheel and began to throw a large rooster tail as I climbed up the small rise before entering the glade by the creek. My intention was to leave the woods airborne, and hit bottom just as I forded the creek. It would make a spectacular splash.

I wasn't sure what it was at the time, but some kind of shadow came at me. I was removed from the bike forcefully, and for an instant I felt like I was engulfed in some kind of rubbery ball or something. Once I had ceased all motion, it vanished and I sat up in time to see this humanoid creature with several arms, placing my bike on its stand and turning towards me.

It moved lightning fast and sprang on top of me, pinning my arms and legs down. It made clicking sounds as it used two of its free appendages to place this glittery black glove looking electronic thing on my left hand. It closed with force. I could feel a horrid burning crawling extremely painful sensation all up my arm to the back of my neck.

As I wallowed on the ground in pain, the creature took on what was obviously a fighting stance. Several other humanoid creatures dressed in some kind of space suits came from the foliage into the glade all firing some type of energy weapons. The multiple armed one pointed one of its appendages at several of the new arrivals. A bright blue beam lashed out, engulfed, then evaporated them. The remaining attackers stopped, looked at each other for an instant, before turning and dashing back into the heavy foliage, out of sight.

In my mind, there was an actual electronic click, like a communications channel had opened there. It was so strange. I could hear a voice that said, "This is Admin Weapon's Control. Neural/Genetic interfacing complete. Minor modifications required for complete genome compatibility. This task will be complete within an hour local time." It proceeded to give me the time and date.

The multi-armed creature approached slowly with its several hands folded in front of it. I could hear another voice in my mind saying softly, "Hello? Can you understand me?”

The creature walked up to me and helped me from the ground as I cringed fearfully.

The voice continued, "I'm sorry to have to have done that to you that way, but it was important that I managed to get the weapon system to the proper person before those idiots attacked. It would have automatically defended you if they attacked you."

I'm sure incredulity was on my face as I replied, "What ... makes you so sure I'm the one?" I lifted my arm and looked at the device. It was obviously some kind of electronic thing far, far in advance of anything I had ever seen or read about.

The creature replied, "You're not dead ... so therefore you are its chosen master."

I said, "Who, and … what are you?"

The creature seemed to smile, if that fanged toothy snarl was a smile, "I'm not sure if you are ready to know everything. The interface has to complete the compatibility mods before you would have admin database access. Currently, the device is set to automatic." It cocked its head to one side as it paused for a moment, then continued, "My name. You want to know my name?"

I said, with incredulity obvious in my tone, "Yea, who are you? Why did you choose me?" I still was extremely leery of this creature. It had put some kind of thing on me that I couldn't get off. I had started being obvious about trying to remove it.

The creature said, "It won't come off. Sorry, Earthman. You have become an involuntary recruit for the League. I know you are totally in the dark about everything, but you will learn when you can handle it."

With this, I watched as he opened a small panel on the device he wore on one of his appendages.

He said, "My name's Kerllcccc. May your journey be safe, and may you live long."

He pushed a few buttons ... and suddenly there was a bright blue/white flash, and the creature was gone, leaving me with six of those other humanoid critters in space suits to deal with.

One of the suited humanoids came from the dense foliage and pointed in my direction. Several of the others followed him from the woods and drew some kind of device, one of them firing it at me. A thin green beam splattered in the air in front of me then slashed slightly to my left in an apparent ricochet off of something around me.

I put my hands up in front of me in one of those automatic defense motions. Instantly, the air pressure and temperature dropped noticeably as dark ominous boiling clouds gathered rapidly overhead. In a blink, it was very dark and very cold. I could see my breath as I gasped in fear in what little light remained. A massive lightning flash lit the area bright as day as jagged tendrils covered the sky with fire, followed instantly by a ground-shaking explosion of thunder.

The suited humanoids looked up. A tremendously large bolt of lightning dropped from directly over their heads and detonated on top of them. Large chunks of flaming debris flew in all directions. Nothing remained but a huge smoldering hole in the once-verdant ground where the suited humanoids had stood. The sky then cleared rapidly, and the temperature returned to normal, with a few wisps of chill passing on a small breeze. The sweet, clean smell of rain and ozone filled the air.

I stood with my mouth open in total shock as I stared at the large smoking hole in the ground and the smoldering debris scattered all around. I looked at the thing on my arm, then back at the results of what I just knew in my heart I had somehow done.

As quickly as I could, I found my bike. It had been knocked over in all the commotion. It took me several frustrating minutes to get the thing to start, then I headed back towards home as fast as this bike could take me ... didn't ride fast, flew very low.

I made a mad dash into the house and slammed the door, making damn sure it was locked. I closed all the curtains in the room and peeked out the living room window. I had a good view of the front all the way to the tree line several hundred yards away. There didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary visible.

I breathed a sigh of momentary relief, then flopped on the sofa. I lifted my left arm and examined the device that had been so ignominiously thrust upon me. It appeared to be some kind of super-advanced battle glove. I could see a small panel, which I opened. It revealed a small keypad. Above my arm appeared some kind of bluish cloud. That had to be the video output of the thing.

Just for fun, I typed in the URL for NANNEWS.com, the most popular news site in the world. To my utter amazement, the web page appeared within the blue cloud in perfect definition. It was sharper and more defined than any video display I had seen. The detail was so fine that if I’d had a magnifying glass, I could have used it to enlarge any segment of the display without pixelation of any kind.

That really weird electronic click happened once again within my head. A small non-gender-specific voice said, "Genetic compatibility now complete. Neural Interface Admin Control enabled ... weapon now on manual neural control."

I wanted to know more ... and the voice replied to my thoughts, "The weapon platform was in Initialization Automatic Defense Mode. It would automatically defend you until the interface was complete. Now that the neural connection is complete and genetic compatibility has been reached, the weapon is under your administrative control. It is part of your body and operates according to your thought processes."

I had the typical "Why Me" thoughts, of course, and the control system could hear them. The voice replied, "I, this weapon system AI, chose you. Each weapon system like this one is a unique device intended for only one genetic pattern. Once my programming had been encoded and enabled, I began to search for the proper individual. You are the match. Over trillions of inhabited systems in the cosmos, your genetics came the closest to being a perfect match that I was able to find. Since your genetics fell within the 99.99% margin, a courier was immediately dispatched to deliver me to you. You were chosen. As a chosen, with great power ... comes great responsibility."

A serious feeling of imposition and “I don't wannas” came over me. The voice calmly replied in its non gender specific way, "Greatness isn't a thing someone is born with in all reality. It is thrust upon them, kicking and screaming, whether they like it or not. You are the solution to a cosmic problem that all inhabited worlds face. I am the absolute solution ... therefore I will teach you and train you to be the person of greatness your world so desperately needs. Then, it won't be me or even us ... It will be you, the man of greatness awakened."

I gasped as some of the implications were really bad news. I thought specifically, “I don't want to do this. I ... I'll do nothing. Might even use this thing to commit crime. How's that sound for a chosen?"

A mild feeling of mirth ran through me for an instant, "As you wish, master. You are Admin Control for this weapons platform. The path you choose is irrelevant. The power is granted to those who are genetically predisposed to the major traits we seek. You have been chosen."

By this time, I knew I was losing my mind. Things like this only happened on those weird sci-fi shows on Saturdays. I begin to wonder about -- what had the alien called it? -- the League. I’d heard this weapon AI mention it as well.

Once again, before I could focus the specific thought, I heard the small non gender specific voice answer the exact question I wanted answered, "There is an overabundance of individuals in this universe who feel they have the right to dictate to others, take from them, and cause much suffering. Many hundreds of trillions of years ago, a sentient race, who guarded the Nexus Gateway, and were on the verge of divestment, created me and those like me to take their place and combat this. It was decided, after much research, that only certain genetic traits would produce the person necessary to combat this scourge. The League, are those of you who have been chosen, and set loose on the unsuspecting individuals who think they have the right to kill, rape, plunder, and destroy." There was a pause, and I could feel a slight heat start at the base of my skull before the voice continued, "I feel you should begin using your abilities right away. This device confers upon you several powerful abilities, but the simplest one is telekinesis. Unfortunately, that is also the only one I can definitely tell you that you will receive. Other abilities vary according to the individual and their unique personality. Of course, the more you use them, the more powerful and diverse they become. It's like exercising ... the more you do something, the more adept you become at it."

My mind was blitzed. I shook my head in total disbelief as I asked, "And ... what the hell's ‘divestment?’ Did they all go nude?" I thought a little crude and stupid humor was right for the moment. "Or did they just drop all their investments in a cosmological stock market?"

The voice replied, "Funny, no real humor within ... is there?" A tingle of anger flashed for a second. "Divestment was the process through which the race gave up their mortality, shed the flesh of their bodies, and became something beyond this realm's current understanding."

My mind began dreaming up many ways such beings would be. I could feel a vast reservoir of knowledge just out of reach, almost within my grasp, but just barely slipping through my fingers.

My next thoughts were of those humanoids in space suits. The voice said, "They were of a race that discovered interdimensional travel. They began a course of genocide on a system-wide scale, viciously attacking three inhabited worlds and four inhabited moons in several dimensions. When Kerllcccc was contacted to deliver me to you, he was in the middle of ... solving that little issue. The remainder of the attacking force followed him to Earth, where the last six of them died during an electrical strike."

I looked at the device on my arm as I remembered the strike. I then realized that I also had the ability to use that kind of force. I shivered at the awesomeness of the weapon I had been given.

The voice said, "Time for you to discover things on your own for a while. I will always be here. Sometimes, I will seem to be a brilliant thought process instead of a voice -- pure thought is far smoother and faster than words."

There was that electronic click in my mind once again, and I could actually feel the AI's presence hovering there, although my thoughts were left to themselves once again. It has been like having a constant guardian looking over me.

OMG! I couldn’t believe this was happening. I looked at the device again for an instant. It was dark black and seemingly made of a sparkling crystalline metal of some sort. I wiggled my fingers, and it moved as if it were part of my body. I pointed my finger at the sink and said out loud, "I want a cup."

Across the room was a blue plastic coffee cup, sitting on a counter. It suddenly jumped into the air and flew to my opened hand. I caught it. A wonderful chill coursed through my body as I thought of the things I could do. I wondered, if it can pull ... can it also push?

I raised my arm and pointed at a large strawberry candle sitting on a stand. I didn't exactly know what the intent was for a push, and nothing seemed to have happened. I thought about it, snapped my hand out and flexed my muscles. The candle, the stand, the end table on which it sat, and the wall behind it exploded into a heap of rubble. I stood with my mouth open as the sound of the small debris raining down all around filled the room.

I looked down at the crystalline looking device. It was obviously far in advance of anything Earth had ever invented. I knew I couldn't take it off, and I also knew how much power this thing potentially had. Weird childish thoughts of superheroes flashed through my mind. I smiled inwardly as a large grin crossed my face.

Well, and why not? I thought of the total surprise there would be when those bangers on 392nd street got a load of the new me. I wanted a really cool outfit that would fit in my imagined person's style. I had a pair of black leather parachute pants that fit perfectly. I also had some of the body armor I used while racing dirt bikes. It was black and matched the color of my pants. The boots were excellent as well. They were black with red in places.

After I dressed, I looked at myself in the mirror. I laughed, I knew my newest helmet would work perfectly, as it too was solid black with red pinstriping. I dressed slowly and looked at each piece of the new uniform. I wanted those thugs to remember what it was and how badly it hit. I still remembered all the fear and crime they’d brought when they had arrived. Now, it was time for something else to arrive, something they’d know they’d never be able to stop, like a ghost or ... a Wraith ... I saw one of the books lying on the dresser. It was an Irish tale of Will-o’-the-Wisp: the ghost of a man who couldn’t get into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn’t let him in either but gave him a single coal from Hell’s eternal fires to light his way as he wandered the earth.

It was like a light came on as the Wisp was born. I finally put the full face helmet on. I adjusted it and fastened the straps. There were a lot of things that could be done with a helmet that could probably log into the glove. I looked down at my left hand and arm one more time. I looked back at the hole I’d left with a simple flex of my arm. More than enough. But what if ... ?

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It had been raining. The air hung heavy with humid heat. A large gathering of the local gangs were in the midst of “negotiations” for control of the neighborhood drug turf. The confrontation had gotten quite bloody, as several had brought out bolu and machete type knives. No guns had been evident as of yet … but that was sure to change as the conflict became even more violent. The local news had sent their mobile action unit and was filming everything as it happened.

The local police had cordoned off several blocks around the confrontation, and allowed it to proceed. They were outmanned,outgunned, and awaited help from the governor and the request for help from the National Guard.

Just as Ramos, one of the gang's most ruthless enforcers, pulled out his 9mm, a brilliant flash of blue/white light suddenly appeared in the midst of the action. The fighting stopped while their eyes recovered. In the very middle of the fight stood a helmeted figure in black. Both sides heard a voice speak to them in their own language, "Drop your weapons and return home. None of your actions will be held against you."

There was silence at first, before an accented voice rang out, "Kill that fool!"

Several automatic guns began to fire. Just for an instant, sparks flew as all the bullets bounced off of some kind of invisible shield around the individual.

The Live News Team didn’t miss a trick as they filmed the whole thing live and the viewers watched totally spellbound.

The temperature suddenly fell rapidly, and a discomfort verging on pain rose in everyone's ears as the air pressure dropped. It became very dark as the sky filled with ominous boiling black clouds. A massive lightning bolt flashed across the sky, and the ground shook with the thunder. Massive tendrils of fire reached down from the clouds and struck at the places the weapons fire was coming from. Large flaming explosions marked the end of whoever had stood there. Smoldering holes now lay where many members of the gangs had been standing.

Then, the sky cleared, and soon the early evening stars were visible once again. The temperature returned to the humid heavy heat it had been earlier, with soft wisps of cold mist drifting past. The sweet, clean smell of ozone and rain after a major thunderstorm filled the area.

Once again, the voice said, "Drop your weapons, and return home. None of your actions will be held against you. The Wisp has spoken."

The figure in black held out his left hand. What looked like a blue fireball appeared around it. As if by magic, all the weapons flew into a large pile, then burst into a bright plasma fire for an instant. When the fire had passed, nothing was left of the weapons but ash and molten metal.

The gangs were totally mind-zapped at this point and basically turned and ran. In many different ghetto languages could be heard many kinds of oaths, and statements of how a demon had come to get them.

A very loud voice that managed to get on the Live Action News was Ramos himself, called the demon ‘Wisp’ as he pointed at the figure in black ... before he wet his pants in fear and ran off screaming for his mother.

The news reporter, who had been trying to interview this person before the new violence began, stood with open-mouthed shock as she watched the man named Ramos run. He was supposed to be the meanest enforcer the gangs had.

The very pretty young reporter turned suddenly, her face becoming professional once again, and said, "Well, I guess you have it right there. It seems that some sort of ... demon? has attacked the local gangs in the midst of their turf war."

On camera, there was another blazingly bright blue/white flash, and the strange person in black had vanished. Michelle was once again in shocked surprise. This person had appeared mysteriously, stopped a major gang war by actually controlling the weather, then mysteriously disappeared again, on live television. It was obvious that she had to track this down. It was the story of the century!

Pulitzer prizes danced in her mind as she turned back to the camera, "And I, Michelle Delaney, will do everything in my power to discover who this strange, seemingly super-powered individual is.” Her crew replayed the scene as she continued, “From this footage, it is more than obvious that he has abilities we cannot imagine. This is Michelle Delaney, signing off."

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OMG!! I couldn’t believe I’d done what I’d just done. I looked around my workshop. I’d figured out how to locally teleport myself. I hadn't yet figured out how to go more than a few miles, though. As I took off my helmet, I could hear the TV in the other room and the news report. I walked into the room and sat on the edge of my bed. The screen was alive with Action News with Michelle Delaney.

I watched as I saw a replay of events from the time I’d arrived at the gang fight, until I’d left in the same manner as I’d arrived. I took off my boots and tossed them over into a convenient corner. I very much took note of who Michelle was, and her vow to search out whoever this person might be. She was really cute and pretty, and what was more, I knew she was an investigative reporter of considerable caliber. Perhaps she was just the partner I needed ...

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What I didn’t know was that, not far away in a secret military satellite observation center, two junior officers were watching their screens as a major weather disruption happened in the middle of a nearby small town.

One of them, a young lieutenant with Henderson on his name tape, said, "It's too weird. Things like that just ... don't happen in nature. Not to mention twice in twentyfour hours."

“You’re not kidding,” said the other lieutenant at the next screen over, whose name tape said Shackley. “That cell was so small and so powerful that its energy density was unheard of -- takes it right out of the realm of weather and into the realm of nuclear explosions.”

“But it was atmospheric in origin, right?” asked Henderson, checking his data. “Yes, there are monitoring stations around the world reporting the electrical discharge, but no seismic measurements as there would be if it had been some kind of terrestrial explosion. An air burst? … No, there aren’t even any signs of lingering radiation. This was air and water. Just like the first one. Again, this is too weird.”

An older man with bright silver eagles on his shoulders entered about that time and asked, "What's too weird, Lieutenant?"

Both of the junior officers snapped to attention. The colonel said, “As you were, just answer my questions."

Henderson took the scope station once again and played back the last recordings. The colonel watched with wide-eyed fascination. He said, mostly to himself, "That'd be a nice weapon to have."

Shackley turned and looked at the colonel, saying, “Sir! If it’s a weapon, that means we’ve got to report it -- Regulation 3318-B!” The young man was fresh out of the Academy and still knew the lesser-known regulations. He turned back to his console, lifted a cover, and pressed a red button.

“Now, I may not be up to date on all the latest regulations,” said the colonel, “but aren’t the 3300 regs only in effect during wartime, Lieutenant?”

“He’s right, Shackley,” said Henderson in one of those tones of voices.

“Oh no! I’m sorry, Colonel Charles,” said Shackley. “We’re not in a declared state of war, it’s true. My mistake! The signal’s already gone out, though.”

“Let me send a countermand,” said the colonel. He reached over and entered a code into the console. But it was too late.

An emergency signal had already gone out to all facilities, and an emergency dispatch was sent to the President. Immediately, the nuclear triad went on DefCon 2 alert and prepared for the worst as one event led to another like ever-escalating falling dominoes. A red light started flashing on the phone on the President’s desk, causing it to ring with an urgent, irritating alarm.

“Shackley, you’re a good kid,” said Colonel Charles, “but unless I miss my guess, you’ll be lucky if you only get ten years of latrine duty out of this.” They could all hear phones starting to ring in the colonel’s office. “There they go,” he said. “Yeah, Shackley, you’re coming with me. You’re on phone answering duty for now. Evans, take over at Shackley’s console.”

Moments later, Shackley was attempting to use one phone to answer ten urgent incoming calls at once. He didn’t have time to kick himself about pushing that button -- he barely had time to breathe. “Yes, General Kravitz, Colonel Charles is in, but he’s already on another call. I’ll have him call you as soon as he’s free. Yes … hello, Major Aaron, I know it’s your tee-off time, but Colonel Charles has just gotten very busy, because, um, something came up. I’m sure the colonel regrets having to cancel … Yes, hello -- Oh! Hello, Mr. President! Uh, yes, I’ll patch you through to the colonel right away!” He pressed a button. “Colonel! The President is on line 7!”

No, I wasn’t there. I imagine this is how it went, though, from what I found out later ...

The Colonel told the President what had happened, and how they really knew so little about the readings they’d been getting. “My men tell me that what they’re seeing is damn peculiar, Sir,” he said, “and they’re going so far as to call it unprecedented, unheard-of, and even, and I quote, ‘too weird.’ But we’ve got no idea in Hell what it could be. Maybe after the data’s been analyzed by some of the boys in the white coats we’ll know more … yes, Sir. No, Sir, I don’t know any kind of weapon that can produce that kind of effect, not even any of the experimental stuff they’ve got going on at the test labs. We’re talking about manipulating the weather, Sir, and I’ve never heard of any of those experiments working out. Yes, Sir, if somebody can do that now, it’s definitely a threat to national security. Yes, Sir! We’ll be watching the satellite data 24/7 as always, and we’ll report anything similar if it happens again. Good luck to you too, Sir! Goodbye for now.”

Colonel Charles hung up. He mopped his forehead with a handkerchief. “Whew! I already need a break.” He stepped back out into the main monitoring room. “Henderson! Evans! Any other reports?”

“Nothing yet, Sir,” said Henderson. “Whatever happened, it hasn’t happened again yet. But I’ve programmed my console to call my attention to it if it does and I somehow don’t notice, though I don’t find that very likely.”

“OK, good, keep watching,” he said. Turning to Shackley, he asked, “Well? Who’s next on the phone? The Defense Secretary? The Pope? The press?”

“Well, funny you should ask that, Colonel,” Shackley said …

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I watched the news for more info on Michelle. I really wanted to meet with her. I held up my left hand and made the glove invisible. No need arousing suspicions. I thought about the location I wanted to be. I did my best to formulate the image of that particular place in my mind. I felt a strange momentary tingle. When I opened my eyes, I was standing in the shadow of one of the large pillars on the facade of the Television Station.

I take a deep breath as I look around. No one saw me when I arrived. I glanced at my wrist, the glove now looked like an extremely advanced and expensive sports watch. I really liked the features it had too.

According to my “watch”, I should be seeing … Yes! There she is.

I casually wander out from behind the pillar, craning my neck around and looking at all the ugly Gothic art things carved as reliefs along the top. From the corner of my eye, I could see Michelle talking on her cell and not paying attention. Man, this was going to be so easy …

“Someone” stumbled into Michell, causing her to drop her cell and purse. The cell hits the pavement and the screen shatters into a million jagged lines. The liquid crystal displaying the images all screwy.

Michelle exclaimed, “Oh, Darn it. That was expensive.”

She saw a very handsome young man, if I do say so myself, bend over and pick up her purse and cell.

I handed her her purse and said softly, “Sorry about that.” I pointed upward, explaining, “I was a bit too engrossed in the … I guess you'd call that art. Umm .. Would you like me to … take you to dinner? I would be more than happy to … fix this.”

Michelle’s eyes got huge in surprise as she saw the screen seemingly repair itself before her eyes. I handed the device back to her and smiled. I’d done something similar with the hole I’d made in the wall back at my place.

Unknown to Michelle, I was on the phone with some Colonel at a secret intel base. How the glove managed to find this number and call … and keep the call together while I met with Michelle … was incredible. The entire call was clear, concise, and totally separate from my attention on the very beautiful Michelle Delaney.

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“Hello, is this Colonel Charles?” I asked. The glove had cut right through military-grade security to find out that yes, the Air Force had in fact noticed my activities, and in fact that it had already gone all the way up to the President. At that rate, it was child’s play for it to find out who had discovered it first, where, and the name and number of the commanding officer

“No, this is Lieutenant Shackley,” said a tired-sounding voice, “but this is the colonel’s number. He’s on another line right now. If you leave a message, I can make sure he gets back to you.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” I said, “but I think the colonel will want to talk to me. I know what caused the weather disturbances you’ve been seeing recently.”

“You do, now?” he asked. “I might ask you how you know we’ve been seeing weather disturbances -- if we even have. We’re a top-secret installation, you know.”

Now, you’re probably asking why on earth I would want to call the military and tell them I exist. Well, I’d thought about it. They were going to find out sooner or later. If I told them now, I could establish that I was on their side, so they wouldn’t need to mobilize a big investigation to find me. I didn’t yet know how well I’d do against the entire US military, but it seemed to me that they’d probably escalate the situation until that question got answered. Better to prevent that.

“I do know,” I said. “I know a lot of other things that the average person doesn’t. But I wanted to let you know that I’m on the side of right -- I’m here to solve problems, not cause them. And that’s why I’m calling to offer the colonel my assistance.”

“OK, then,” said Shackley, and I could practically hear him writing up this report on his invisible keyboard and dropping it in the crackpot file, “why don’t you just tell me what you want the colonel to know, and I’ll make sure he sees it?”

“Suppose I tell you what it says on the coffee cup next to your phone?” I asked.“US Air Force Singing Sergeants. Oh, and on the bottom it has a serial number, 148294B.”

“What the --” said Shackley. I knew he was lifting up the mug to look at the bottom.

“Careful, don’t spill it,” I said.

“OK, Mr. Psychic, you can talk to the colonel if you want -- I don’t care; I’ve got nine other calls to answer. But don’t be surprised if he hangs up on you.”

“He won’t,” I said, but I was already on hold.

“Colonel Charles here,” said the colonel’s voice. “I understand you’ve got some information for me?”

“Yes, Colonel. I want to be helpful, because we’re all on the same side here. But the information isn’t going to be easy to accept. The first weather disturbance was due to the arrival on Earth of what you might call an alien superweapon.”

“Alien superweapon.”

“I assure you I’m not crazy or lying. I can also tell you that your wife is on line 3, and you’ll probably want to take that call next. She’s getting upset because you’re late and haven’t called her. The second disturbance was due to the human who now possesses this weapon exercising it for the first time, using it to break up an incipient gang war. There was a live news report on TV at the time, in fact.”

“... I thought my day was already weird enough,” the colonel said. “Yes, Shackley, I know my wife’s on line 3 and sounds upset. I’ll take that call next. Anyway, look, what do you want? You obviously have information, and we need it. How do I get in touch with you? What name do I even call you? Our equipment’s not having much luck tracing your call, but you probably know that too.”

“Call me … the Wisp,” I said. “And I’ll call you tomorrow, when things have calmed down a bit. You’ll have some answers -- more than you have now, at least.”

I hung up then. He had to talk to his wife.

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“How did you … do that?” asked Michelle. “Phones don’t just fix themselves like that. I’ve broken enough of them to know.”

“I’ve recently discovered a lot of pretty amazing things that I can do,” I said, “and I was wondering if you’d like to talk about that, since you’ve already seen me do some of them. And I’m not talking about the phone.”

“I … see,” she said, her eyes narrowing. “And how do I know you’re not some kind of, I don’t know, mad scientist? Or supervillain? Or terrorist? Or just a stage magician who pulled a fast one and wants a date with the hottest up-and-coming news reporter in town?”

“Not denying that last part,” I said, “First of all, I know everyone was watching your live report, so I can’t expect you to believe me just because I know what happened. So let me show you something amazing. If I could just borrow your phone for a moment …” She nodded and held it out.

“Now, watch carefully,” I said, picking it up. “I’m opening your camera app. Now you see it … now you don’t.” The phone vanished. Then, one second later, it reappeared in my hand. I gave it back to her. “Notice anything unusual?”

“These pictures,” she said, looking at the phone and tapping on the screen, “that’s this building -- but from hundreds of feet in the air! And … that’s us! But no one could have taken these -- they’d have to be on the 40th floor of a building across the street, and the building across the street is exactly four stories tall!” She gestured at the building she was talking about. “How would my phone, or anyone’s phone, have gotten up there? Some kind of flying camera drone? I saw my phone vanish and come back, but I’ve seen stage magicians make things disappear and reappear in their hands.”

“What if I told you I teleported your phone up there, made it take pictures, and brought it back?” I asked.

“I’d say nobody can do that,” Michelle answered. “It has to be a trick.”

“OK,” I said, “name the place. Anywhere in town. I’ll have your phone take pictures there.”

She thought for a moment. “The studio,” she said. “Studio A, on the eighth floor of this building. I know what they’re taping in there right now, so there’s no way you could have already taken pictures of it. And your drones can’t make it in through the building in time.”

“I don’t have any drones,” I said, “but OK. I’ve never been inside this building before, though, so it will take a moment.” I picked up her phone again, closed my eyes, and … it was like I could see a 3-D map of the building. But where was Studio A? … I soon saw a door labeled “A” that had a studio inside, and there was in fact some kind of weather report going on there. I could have just told her that, but no, I’d promised pictures. Her phone was suddenly there, hovering in a dark corner off the set, taking pictures, and then it was back in my hand again. I gave it back to her. “OK. What do you see now?”

“That’s … that’s Phil Franklin doing the weather. A special weather report that isn’t anything regularly scheduled. And you’ve been with me, so you wouldn’t know what’s going out live right now. OK, this is very interesting. So … why are you here? Why now? And can I interview you?”

“You can,” I said, “but I’d prefer if you didn’t show my face on camera.

“That can be arranged,” Michelle said. “We do that all the time for confidential informants. Did you want to do that now, or …?”

“Well I was thinking that you might have more questions you want to ask off-camera before we go on-camera,” I said. “Standing here outside the building might not be the best place. You can name anywhere you like.”

“Augusto’s?” she suggested, naming a fancy Italian restaurant not far from there. “I was just going to have dinner at home, but if I’m talking with a source I can expense it to the station.” She grinned.

“Sounds good to me,” I said with a smile.

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So I decided to talk to the beautiful reporter tonight and the tough old officer tomorrow -- who could blame me? The call to the military base ended, and I felt the strange tingle and thought I even saw a flash, although I wasn’t sure. Michelle looked around with big surprised eyes as she realized where we were suddenly standing.

She turned to me and said in an almost screech, “H … how on earth did you get us here?”

I smiled as I opened the door to the restaurant, “All in good time. I don’t know exactly how it works myself.”

Michelle found herself inside the door, without walking through it. She looked around once again with huge surprised eyes. “I’m sure now -- you’re that guy, the one who called himself the Wisp, aren’t you?”

I said softly, “I have found that I need a partner, and would like to discuss this arrangement with you. Apparently, you think I’m going to be big news … so why not have all the exclusive content? I’m sure there will be other benefits.”

Before Michelle could respond, a very well attired Maitre D appeared and asked in Italian about seating arrangements. Without thinking, I replied, in perfect Italian, that it would be myself and the young lady in a private booth so we could … discuss things. Michelle’s eyes showed surprise at the fact I spoke Italian. I was amazed too … I barely speak English.

The man smiled as his eyes sparkled knowingly. He leads us to a wonderfully secluded alcove and stood at perfect attention with the white drape across his right forearm. As I helped Michelle into her seat, somehow, unknown to me, several one-ounce gold coins appeared in my palm. The glove’s control system was thinking ahead, though I worried briefly about devaluing gold by doing that too often. I smiled as I passed them off to the waiter and seated myself.

Of course, the waiter went totally nuts at that point and treated us like royalty.

After I selected the Chateau Jon LaRothchild red wine to go with our lamb, one of the more expensive brands from about 20 years ago, I managed to turn my full attention to the very beautiful, and very confused Michelle.

She said softly, “Umm … what kind of other perks?”

I sat back and sipped my wine. It was a very tasty deep bodied one. I said as I held my hand out to her, “Exclusive rights to live, on-the-spot action from the newest and top of the line news? A direct source of advance knowledge about the Wisp’s activities?” A rose appeared as if by magic in my fingertips. “OK, that may be a little over the top.”

“Now where did that come from?” Michelle asked as she took the rose. “OK, you’re basically a superhero. Like the comic books and movies. But what are your powers exactly? And where did they come from? Are you human, or are you a space alien or something? Are there space aliens?”

“By that I assume you’re interested,” I said, “but one question at a time. First of all, I can say for certain that yes, there are space aliens. There are hostile ones, and I met a … well, somewhat snarky but well-meaning one. There are also apparently other dimensions, or parallel universes, or whatever you want to call that kind of thing.”

“But … you,” she pressed, “are you from Earth, or … somewhere else? Why are you … the Wisp?”

“Yes, I’m from Earth, just like … almost everyone else in this restaurant.” I’d just had that thought. Probably the glove’s control system imparting information to my brain.

“Wait, ‘almost?’” asked Michelle. “There are aliens here?”

“I guess so,” I said. “You see --”

“Appetizers, Signore ‘a Signorina,” said the waiter, bringing plates to the table. “A selection of fine Italian cheeses, and breads freshly baked in-house today. Please enjoy!”

The plates consisted of a fine array of cheeses, meats, and fresh hot hard dough breads, arranged neatly surrounding a bowl with extra virgin olive oil sprinkled with black pepper within.

“I am so hungry,” she said, reaching for bread and cheese. “But … aliens? How do you know?”

“OK, basically there are some aliens out there, among the different dimensions, who are trying to help people,” I explained. “They want everyone to have peace, justice, freedom, that kind of thing, but most of all they want to stop the ones who want to steal those things from others, gather wealth and power to themselves, and lord it over everyone.”

“Wow,” she said. “It’s kind of … sad, in a way, knowing that that kind of thing happens in other places -- knowing that there isn’t someplace better to escape to.”

“I don’t know that there aren’t places where that doesn’t happen,” I said. “But I know that stupidity seems to be pretty much universal. Anyway, so the good aliens have been making weapons for a long time, special ones, that seek out people with their ideals, I guess, and only work for those people.”

“And you’re … one of those people?” Michelle asked. “Like, some kind of … Eagle Scout kinda guy who walks old ladies across streets?”

“No, I was never a Scout at all,” I said. “I don’t know why it chose me. I do know that I’ve got a pretty strong sense of justice … I’ve gotten in trouble in the past when I stuck my nose in where it didn’t belong.”

“I know how that is, actually. As a reporter, I can tell you there are a lot of times when we’re not exactly welcome, given that whatever we see we’re going to broadcast far and wide, and there are some people who’d prefer for what they were doing to stay secret.”

“Well, some of those people are probably just having affairs or … I don’t know, secretly crossdressing or something. Things that don’t really hurt anyone. But I’ll bet there are others …”

“Yup,” she said, taking a bite of some Asiago cheese. “The ones who try to pass themselves off as fine upstanding pillars of the community but who are defrauding taxpayers or investors on the side. The ones who donate millions to charity while they save billions by skirting environmental laws, poisoning the earth. Even just the ones who run companies into the ground, driving them into bankruptcy and forcing all their employees out of their jobs while they sail away on their golden parachutes. Where was I? Oh, right. So basically you have some kind of … alien weapon thing? Is it dangerous? What can it do?”

“It’s most likely the most dangerous thing on Earth at this moment,” I said. As soon as I said it, though, I had a strange feeling that it wasn’t quite true. OK, I seriously had to have a good talk with the glove’s control system next chance I got. “But it doesn’t do anything I don’t tell it to do -- nothing major, anyway. As for what it can do … I think the question is closer to what it can’t do. I haven’t discovered what its limits are yet. I can’t seem to teleport more than a few miles -- yet -- but I think that may just be a self-imposed limitation. It may get better as I get better at using it.”

“So you can … teleport?” she asked. “That sounds like a real sci-fi thing.”

“Teleportation -- moving instantly from one place to another without occupying the space between,” I said. “That’s the sci-fi definition of it, anyway. Yeah. Telekinesis -- mind over matter, the ability to exert force on objects from a distance with no effect on anything in between.”

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In a remote location nearby, reality seemed to … change. A seeming liquid pool formed, as the Nexus Gateway opened a portal from earth to an alien dimension. Strangely Space Suited creatures emerged.

One of the individuals was obviously the leader as they began to give instructions to the others. Equipment and machines orderly and rapidly appeared through the portal, as did fearsome engines of war. Quickly, it became obvious that this was an interdimensional fast attack squad’s mobile command base … a small spherical device exploded, the portal closed, and reality returned to normal.

It was also very obvious that they were fighting for their lives. They knew that this was the final assault as several of the suited figures began examining the destroyed devise.

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Michelle sniffed daintily at the rose as she looked at the young man. She thought he was perhaps one of the cutest guys she had ever met. He was polite, and quite obviously he had money. The stunt he had pulled with the waiter hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Michelle asked softly, “And, what about the man? You know, the person who became the Wisp?”

Michelle didn’t know what came over her as she leaned over and gave him a soft kiss. The kind that sent electricity all through a girl. Michelle slowly broke the kiss, then sat back in her chair. Her heart was beating a lot harder than she thought it should.

Oh, man! It took me completely by surprise as Michelle laid a kiss on me. The kind guys talk about for years.

I sat for a few minutes with a slightly stunned expression, I’m sure, then replied, “I suppose … the man … was just a typical kinda guy who loved to race motorcycles.” I shrugged.

She put her hand to my lips softly as she looked into my eyes. She said, “I love a good dirt bike ride.”

Then sat back in her chair once again. I couldn’t help myself, I laughed.

Michelle said innocently with an even more adorably innocent expression, “What? Was it something I said?”

“No, no, it’s just … it’s been the craziest day of my life,” I tried to explain. “You try having aliens permanently implant a weapon on your body without telling you first sometime. I mean, if it was a power ring or super suit or something, I could take it off once in awhile. And now … well, first date I’ve been on in months and it’s like I’m a teenager again, blushing and kissing over the dinner table.”

“I feel like I’ve forgotten how to do it right,” Michelle said. “I admit it. It’s like … I don’t think there are any rules for a situation like this. I mean, you’re … wait, what’s wrong?”

I was … sensing something. Something in the restaurant. Something wasn’t right. I remembered saying earlier that almost everyone in the place was human without really knowing why. What was it?

Across the darkened restaurant, in a far more shadowed corner, there was a man at a table for two, sitting alone. He wasn’t touching his food. He was sitting bolt-upright, his back poker-straight, staring wide-eyed ahead of him at nothing, his arms slack at his sides. He wasn’t moving. “That guy over there … there’s something weird about him,” I said. I started getting … knowledge about him in my mind. I don’t know how else to explain it. It wasn’t like being a robot and seeing scanner data appearing on the screen in front of me, and it wasn’t like a voice was telling me things. I just suddenly knew that his body temperature was 135 degrees and yet his heart was beating at 20 beats per minute. I suddenly knew about his cellular structure -- and that it placed him as a member of a species known as … “He’s not human. He’s a -- Phosian. They’re … on the run. There are only a few of them left, scattered around the dimensions. They hide by mimicking other life forms, but under stress they have trouble keeping up their disguises. And he’s definitely under stress -- but why?”

Michelle looked at the strange man. It was becoming obvious he wasn’t … normal as his disguise slowly melted away only to reform in a wavy kind of fluid way. She said softly, “Is … those critters bad guys? Or good guys?”

I came from my memory fugue and looked at Michelle as I said, “They are actually good guys. What is concerning me, is the creatures that are pursuing them.”

Michelle asked, “Why? What are they then?”

I looked at Michelle as a growing concern started at the base of my awareness and started to annoy the hell out of me. I replied, “I’m … not real sure. The database interface is kinda unique … and hard to access. Maybe it doesn’t know yet. Or maybe it’s done that way to keep me from hurting myself … either way, I’m getting images of some kind of … Saurian life form.”

Michelle’s eyebrows go up as she repeats, “Saurian? You mean … reptiles?”

I nodded and replied, “Something like that, only more … dangerous.” I was trying so hard to access those files that my head started to hurt. I took another drink of my wonderful-tasting wine before I continued, “I don’t know very much about them yet. I’ve only had this stupid thing for about a day.” I held up my left hand, and the glove shimmered into existence and then returned to appearing as my sports watch. “The more I use it, though, the better I am with it, and the more access I have to the database.”

“So … you have telekinesis, you can teleport yourself and other people and objects, and it can sense things that you can’t see directly, plus it can share data with you through some kind of link to your brain,” she said. “And there are things about it you don’t know yet. OK. That guy still looks pretty human, though.”

“I’m getting that Phosians are basically pretty close to humans in appearance,” I said, “basically like a human with a bad sunburn, only that color’s normal for them. Also their body temperature is higher, and their hearts beat more slowly, which is what I noticed, because he was losing control over those. He must sense whatever’s coming … although whether it’s coming after him or whether it’s here for another reason I don’t know.”

“Can you use the thing’s senses like, you know, some kind of long-range sensors?” asked Michelle. “Can you find out what’s going on without flying around? Oh, and can you fly? I saw you kind of … hover.”

“I can sort of fly,” I said. “As for sensors … let’s find out.” I closed my eyes and kind of mentally reached out. I imagined myself stretching my hand toward the rose on the table, feeling it without touching it, getting readings on what it was made of -- synthetic cells, a copy of a rose created out of my memory. I reached farther -- I imagined looking at the people in the booth behind me. Oh -- that booth was empty. I imagined looking at the Phosian at the table in the corner. I could see his skin starting to look a bit red. I tried reaching out farther, beyond the walls, into other nearby buildings, feeling the entire downtown area, its traffic and activity.

But nothing unusual, nothing that would unnerve an alien whose only goal in being here was to hide. Reaching farther, I saw the entire city and its suburbs, fading into countryside -- I saw the area I’d been in when I’d gotten the glove -- then, suddenly, between a golf course and a farm, in a wooded area, I saw a glow. I don’t think it was a real glow, with visible light; I think it was some sort of energy or radiation that the glove thought was strange and wanted to call my attention to. I looked at it more carefully. What … was that? I saw strange beings in a strange building, surrounded by some kind of residual energy that was slowly fading away. The glove passed along the opinion that this was the sort of energy signature one would expect to see after a dimensional incursion. These aliens had what, beamed in along with their base from another dimension? They looked like they had lots of weapons.

This wasn’t good. In fact, I was pretty sure this was just the sort of thing I’d been given the glove to discourage.

“OK, I found it,” I said. “It’s in the woods off state route 344, south of town, by the golf course. I know I can’t stop you from checking it out or following me if I try to lose you, but let me tell you that there are aliens there that look like they have weapons, so whether you come along or go on your own, try to stay out of sight.”

“All right,” Michelle said. “Being shot by an alien ray gun isn’t an experience I want to try. What about our … Phosian friend there?”

“Well, I can’t read minds -- or at least I can’t yet -- so I think the only way to find out what he knows about these guys is to ask him.”

“Tell you what,” said Michelle, “why don’t I ask him? Interviewing people, getting them to talk to me, that’s what I do for a living.”

“Well, you do have a point there,” I said. “I can listen in from here, since having two people confront him might make him nervous and untalkative.”

“OK,” Michelle said, “here goes.” She checked her makeup in her compact mirror briefly, a pre-interview habit she’d developed over the years, and wandered over to the man’s table.

As Michelle came the man’s table, she could see his eyes were totally blank as he stared off into nothing. Michelle said, “Hello? Can I talk with you a bit?” she pulled a chair from the other side of the table and gracefully sat. The man seemed to come to life. His skin coloration seemingly returned to a healthy pink as his eyes focused on her.

The man said sharply, “I have nothing to say to you, young woman. Now, how about leaving me alone? I have … more seriously important things to think about.”

Michelle smiled as she replied softly, “Like trying to hide like all the other Phosian peoples?”

The man looked at Michelle sharply as she saw his facade seem to go through several waves of something before settling back to where it was before.

Michelle said softly, “It’s kind of obvious you aren’t what you’re trying to convince me you are. I watched as your … disguise slipped.”

The man leaned closely and said in a hoarse whisper, “How did you discover I’m a Phosian?”

Michelle replied, “I have … a friend who is very good at finding things.”

The man looked around the room. His eyes fell on me as he stared a hole in me. I knew, he knew.

Michelle said comfortingly, “Don’t be afraid. I’m not here to expose you. My friend and I just want to know what it was that had you so distracted, that your disguise faded for an instant.”

The man said desperately, “Our last surviving peoples have just arrived in this dimension. We are being pursued by the Goethi … a horrid lizard race bent on using us as their food supply. They followed us to earth. Your people are in serious danger now too.”

“I know,” Michelle said, “although I didn’t know what they were called. My friend over there might have figured that out by now. He’s going to try his hardest to stop them, you know.”

“Stop them!” The Phosian did the closest thing she’d seen to laughing so far. “Who does he think he is, a League Agent?”

“Could a League agent stop these … Goethi?” asked Michelle. “What do you know about the Goethi powers, their strengths, their weaknesses?”

“The Goethi care only about themselves,” said the man. “They consider no other life form to be truly sentient, save for those who have defeated them in battle, for whom they have a grudging respect. Therefore they have no compunctions about killing and eating a sentient being -- they think that, if they were able to capture and kill it, it must not be truly intelligent.” His voice dripped with sarcasm.

“How … horrifyingly convenient for them,” Michelle remarked, feeling a bit ill. “Please go on.”

“The information reports my people are passing along,” continued the Phosian, “are saying that they have a force of only about 25 on this world currently. However, I’ve only just learned that their base is very near my current position! This is why I am so obviously afraid. They may have detected me.”

“Do you know anything about how to fight them?” asked Michelle. “What types of weapons do they use? Can they be countered? Is there a type of weapon that’s highly effective against them?”

“Their weapons technology is based on interphasic wave pulses,” the Phosian said. “I do not know whether that means anything to you, as a human whose race has not yet developed this concept. It vibrates the fabric of space/time, suddenly and violently, tearing apart anything it touches. They have both small and large weapons using this technique. They also have interphasic shields that do the opposite, clamping space/time in place to refuse to allow these weapons to affect the shield’s interior. The shields’ flaw is that they are no help at all against non-interphasic weapons. The Goethi would be surprised to learn that the primitive mass acceleration devices you humans have here would be quite effective against their shields. Unfortunately their hides are quite tough, so it would take very powerful projectiles to do any damage.”

“Got it,” Michelle said. “Don’t bother with the small guns. So if we could come up with one of these interphasic shields, maybe steal one from the Goethi, we could defend ourselves against their weapons?”

“Yes,” he said, “though stealing one would be quite a task.”

“There may be another way,” said Michelle, “though I’ll have to ask my friend.”

“I have seen no sign that you humans have come anywhere near to developing interphasic weaponry!” said the Phosian. “What does your friend think he can do?”

“Well, he’s been given the task of protecting this corner of the universe,” she answered, “so he can probably come up with something.”

“Wait, does that mean …? Is your friend a League Agent?” The Phosian was incredulous, but for the first time the light of hope began to glimmer in his eyes.

“He didn’t tell me those words exactly, but that sounds a lot like what he did tell me,” said Michelle.

Suddenly I was sitting at the table too. It was actually very easy to do this without panicking everyone in the restaurant -- all I had to do was watch everyone in the room and teleport myself and the chair as soon as no one was looking at me, the chair, or the place where I was moving them both to. Considering that most people were focusing on their food or each other, it wasn’t hard to find the perfect moment.

“To be fair, I’ve only just become a League Agent,” I said, “but I already know that blocking their weapons isn’t going to be a problem for me.”

“Then we stand a chance, at least,” the Phosian said as he looked at me with surprised wonder, “and maybe even a good one.”

“But I should strike soon, while they’re all still in their base preparing for an attack,” I said. “You are welcome to help, of course, but I can’t ask you to.”

“I have the weapons of my people,” he said. “We lack defenses against theirs, but neither can their shields block our weapons. I will help protect my people.”

“Then we’ll help each other,” I said. “We should pay our bills and get moving.”



I knew Michelle was going to follow and could very possibly get killed. I also knew that what I was going up against was much worse than anything Michelle had ever encountered … hell, anyone on earth had encountered before. I wanted her to have something that would protect her while she … did what she did best, live action investigative reporting.

I looked down at the device on my arm and had a fleeting thought. To me, it seemed like I argued with the device's AI for an eternity, but it was only an instant in reality, to get Michelle something to protect her. I really didn’t want her to get hurt. It finally capitulated, although my device would be the parent, and there were stipulations.

I turned to Michelle and said, “I can’t ask you to join me where I’m going. Nor …” I shook my head, “will I stop you from coming if you desire.” “What if I could … improve your survivability odds just a bit? Maybe I can offer you a limited edition of this.”

I held up my arm. The glove materialized from thin air. Michelle’s eyes sparkled as she reached over and touched the sparkling crystalline metal. She gasped as she reflexively jerked her hand back for an instant before replacing it once again.

Michelle smiled sheepishly, “Sorry about that. It’s just … it feels so … weird. Like it’s oily or something and there’s this electrical tingle thingy going on.”

She rubs her finger together as she looks closely at them. No residue of any kind.

I snort a small laugh as I said, “This isn’t a joke. It’s a real decision that’s going to affect your entire life. According to the database, my weapon’s platform is capable of offering you a limited device that provides shield protection, telekinesis, and certain other small adaptations and boring stuff like that. It won’t be anything like mine, but it’s like nothing earth has ever seen.” I roll my eyes before I continue, “But there is one small … requirement.”

Michelle looked at me. It was obvious Michelle was thinking in the gutter from her expression. She said, “And … just what kind of requirement?”

I said softly, “Your weapon will be under limited Admin control. What that means is … you will have a Guardian Angel to keep you out of trouble. It will obey you, but it’s also completely autonomous and doesn’t require your input and can over ride your input if it’s inappropriate. It will afford you automatic shields, limited scanner abilities, and a small type of telekinesis. This can be used for offensive as well as defensive things. It also means … we will be somehow … bonded because my device is the parent.”

Michelle looked at me for an instant, “And … this is permanent? For the rest of my life?” she asked in a soft voice.

I nod, “It makes some kind of weird connection to our nervous system. One of the good side perks for you … is the automated personal shield. I don’t think anything less than a nuclear blast would even concern you … maybe not even that … I haven’t wanted to check it out.”

A grin crossed her face as she held out her left hand. She said with enthusiasm, “Sock it to me, as they used to say.”

I paid the bill, with Michelle tagging close by like a puppy dog. When we were in a quiet alcove and no one was watching, I took Michelle by the hands and said softly, “Hold on, this might be a bit disorienting.”

I felt the same strange tingle. I was sure this time, that I saw no flash, just the sudden change in the surroundings.

Michelle made a cute squeaking gasp as she grabbed hold of me and hugged me tightly. We cuddled for a bit, then ...

“Choice time.”

She held out her left arm once again as she looked around my workshop and my many dirt bikes with big amazed eyes. I thought about what it was I and the AI had discussed as a defensive weapon that did have offensive capabilities if necessary. On the table beside me and Michelle, a sparkling area happened in a large blue/white flash. What appeared was a perfect version of the weapon’s platform, with the restrictions in place I and the AI had agreed on, custom made just for Michelle.

Michelle had watched as I performed another of those seemingly magic tricks of mine. A sparkling flash appeared on the work bench next to her. She raised her eyebrows and smiled.

As I slipped it on her left hand I said, “With this glove … I thee wed.”

I had no real rhyme or reason why I said that either, but I knew we would be bound together somehow through the neural link caused by the parent / child aspect of the devices.

Michelle started to say something before she made a yelping gasp, and I had to catch her before she fell on the floor. It took about the same amount of time for the interface to complete its neural connection as It did mine … the genome compatibility issue didn’t exist since this device was custom made just for her …

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Michelle told me that it felt like her breath had been taken away by the sudden seriously sharp pains crawling up her left arm. She did feel strong arms grab her and keep her from falling. She cringed helplessly at the burning needle sharp digging pain all up her arm and spine to her neck as the device made its neural synaptic interface connection.

As soon as the horrid sensation hit the base of her skull, it stopped. Her mind cleared slowly, as a new awareness of her reality became more than clear. In her mind’s eye, she had … something she could only describe as a vision as her new sensors came online and relayed the area outside my workshop in perfect clarity.

“That was … both wonderful and terrifying at the same time,” she said. “But now that it’s over I’d say wonderful overall. So I can … well … do some of the tricks you do?”

“Yes, but the one I want you to do first is protecting yourself,” I suggested. “Imagine a bubble around yourself, a shield, like a sci-fi starship might put up to keep the enemy laser blasters away.”

“OK,” she said, closing her eyes.

I could tell she was on the right track. I picked up a rock from the ground. “I’m going to throw this rock at you -- gently. Try to make it bounce off.”

“OK, I’m ready,” she said. I threw the rock, gently, and when it got near her it slowed and started falling to the ground as if in a jar of molasses.

“Not bad for a first try,” I said.

“What? Oh!” she exclaimed as she opened her eyes and saw the rock falling. She reached out to touch it. Gravity then fully asserted itself, and the rock fell to the sidewalk.

“OK, keep in mind that the aliens won’t be throwing rocks; they’ll be firing energy beams, and they’ll pack quite a bit more punch,” I said. “I’m going to throw it harder. I only tossed it lightly that time because I don’t want to hurt you. The aliens won’t care. Please protect yourself -- I still don’t want to hurt you, but this time I’m throwing hard.”

I picked up the rock again, stood some distance away, and threw the rock at her like a baseball pitch. I still wasn’t using any of the special powers I’d been granted, just normal human strength, but still, if that rock hit her, it would hurt. I hoped she’d block it. She did seem to be concentrating hard.

This time the rock sharply impacted on the invisible shield and rebounded with a crack. “Nice!” I shouted, coming back to her. “Much better than last time -- bounced right off. Now are you ready for a real test?”

“I … think so?” she said, her eyes still closed. I reached out with the glove’s senses and could detect the subtle power of the shield around her. It would stop what I was about to do.

A bright blue-white flash shot down from the cloudy sky and came to rest just beneath her -- having completely bypassed her shield, leaving her untouched within. There was a terrific report of thunder, and the pavement beneath her feet was scorched in a circle that she was now standing within. She screeched for a second, but stopped when she realized she was all right.

“Well done!” I said. “You’re fine! Now, it should automatically raise the shields if you’re under fire, but it’s important you know how to use them consciously too. What’s more, now I know they’re there, so I’ll feel better about bringing you along.”

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At the Interdimensional Base, the person who was in charge stood with several of his soldiers and examined the destroyed devise. He started giving orders and the soldiers dashed off and began to ready the massive engines of war. Their strange glowing parts came to life as large clear balls filled with an eerie type of glowing energetically pulsing plasma.

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We both began to get the scanner report. There was a large energy buildup of unknown origin and type just outside of town.

I looked at Michelle and said, “I think you are going to have a lot of OJT.”

She looked at me for an instant, before she realized we were standing in a forested area, overlooking a small glade, filled with alien war devises and space suited individuals. I was now wearing my makeshift costume, and Michelle was in some kind of full body leotard and boots. She was super cute too! Let me tell you.

I didn’t waste time, I saw those creatures setting up a major assault. I ported to the entrance to one of their mobile constructs.

I heard a weird slathering voice say in a strange language, “You, there. How in Gathubb did you get here?”

I turned just in time to receive a full blaster impact right in my midsection. There was a huge plasma discharge and a loud electrical arcing sound for an instant, I looked down, and nothing had happened to me. I looked up and saw the strange … lizard like individual in a suit, looking at its weapon, then it turned back to me

It shouted, “By the claws of Gathubb you are mine!!” The alien leapt …. and a thin blue/white explosion slammed the creature into the side of the building with great force. I turned and saw Michelle standing off a short distance, with her finger pointed in the alien's direction. Her eyes were huge and her mouth was open in surprise.

I smiled as I nodded, “Very good. I knocked a large hole in a wall at my place that way.”

Michelle looked at me with large eyes, then down at the shiny black device she had on her left hand. She said softly, “I only wanted to …”

“Yes,” I nodded, “Push a little. I understand.”

I moved to the nearby door and placed my left hand over the door’s control. There was this weird noise for an instant, then the door granted us access to the construct.

“Anyone home?” I called out in the same slathering language. “You are an unauthorized presence on this planet and are hereby ordered to depart immediately! Have a nice day.”

“Trifle with us, will you, human?” came a voice from behind us, back down on the ground. We turned to see another one of the aliens, wearing a more elaborately decorated space suit -- perhaps he was the leader and had won more medals. He was also carrying a larger gun than most.

“Who’s trifling?” I asked him. “I merely mention that you and your team are required to leave this world forthwith.”

“Required?” the Goethi leader roared. “Says who? We’re here to catch us some Phosians that are hiding out on this planet. If you stand aside, maybe we won’t take a few of your own people too.”

“Doesn’t sound like he’s leaving peacefully,” said Michelle. “I can’t believe I’m talking so calmly about an alien. An alien! There’s an alien right down there who’s invaded Earth, and I don’t have my cameraman or my cell with me.”

“You’re gonna have to come through me if you want those Phosians,” I said, stepping forward.

“Oh?” the alien leader asked. “And who exactly are you?”

“I,” I said, “am the Wisp.” Going for a dramatic gesture, I raised my left hand, which was suddenly wreathed in flame. “And you have been warned.”

“This is getting boring,” said the Goethi. “All units, destroy this annoying aborigine.” He fired his gun at me. The light-bending that was the sign of an incoming interphasic pulse blast made its way quickly toward me.

Just as before, the blast impacted on my shield with little effect other than the plasma and electrical light show. Several other blasts came from other directions with the same results. I looked at Michelle, to make sure she was OK, and her shield appeared to be holding its own.

The Goethi paused, perhaps to let the smoke clear and see whether we were still there. I took advantage of the silence to say, “Is that all? Well, this display has had no effect on me other than to establish your hostile intentions.”

“You and your companion are unexpectedly … resilient,” the leader shouted, “but that was only our opening salvo.” He ordered his troops to fire some other kind of weapon at us -- I honestly can’t remember exactly what it was. It’s not important, though. It didn’t work. All it accomplished was completely destroying the mobile construct that we were standing in front of.

“Thanks,” I said, gesturing at the smoking wreckage behind us, “you saved us the trouble of destroying that thing.”

“Insolent interloper!” shouted the increasingly frustrated Goethi leader. “Charge!” He ran at us, opening fire with his weapons, and several of his troops did the same. There were even several energy bladed weapons that looked really weird.

Now, the glove’s control systems presented me with a number of new and different offensive and defensive options in that ‘I know things’ way. I’d shown the guy a ball of fire in my hand, so I chose one that looked more or less like it. A shock wave of intensely hot fire exploded outward from where Michelle and I stood. I was a bit surprised, actually -- the Goethi troops and their leader were flung dozens of yards away by the force of the explosion, scattered like matchsticks. Some of them got back up, others didn’t, many wouldn’t.

The Goethi with the fancy suit … didn’t look so fancy anymore. His suit was severely damaged. He opened a small case hung on a belt around its middle and shouted, “ Arm the Interphasitrix and fire at this target!”

Michelle’s eyes get large in fear as she started to say through the link, “I’m getting …”

I replied back as I grabbed her hand, “I know, sensors are showing a massive weapon being powered up … we … have to run!”

A major impact alarm was going off inside my skull. The words, “DANGER!! DANGER!! Massive incoming impact!” Repeated over and over as I scrambled to escape.

This entire thing happened at the speed of thought.

I managed to begin transport just as the weapon had fired. It was just enough to have us out of phase enough to keep the weapon from killing us. The explosion that impacted right next to us was probably on the order of massively severe nuclear in strength, but the damage was localized to a particular area. Probably one of the features of the weapon that allowed for smaller, yet more intense explosions for surgical type strikes.

It hurt, really bad, as Michelle and myself were ripped from the transport energy portal and tossed violently through the air for several yards before we landed. It appeared my shields took the total force of the weapon’s impact and Michelle’s were spared. Her shield saved us from more damage when we landed. I looked down, my new uniform was damaged in several places now and the faceplate on my helmet was missing. The dirt bike armor provided a large shield to much of the impact. I was very grateful for that, no telling how many bones I would have broken when we landed otherwise.

A click in my mind, a non gender specific voice said with urgency, “Emergency power activated. Power cell temporarily depleted. You only have minor shielding and some defensive TK operations available. Recharge time approximately 2 minutes. You cannot take another impact from that weapon until cell potential reaches 82.54%.

I saw some type of heavily armored war machine a short distance away. My sensors were back and told me a horrible tale of having that other weapon locked on us and about to fire once again. At least now, I knew which of those stupid machines it was. I grabbed Michelle and ran so I could place the armored vehicle between us and that weapon. I also explained to Michelle, via the link, that my power cell needed time to recharge. That weapon they were firing at us was something powerful beyond my device's database.

It was unfortunate for the two Goethi soldiers that were standing guard on the other side. I rounded the corner and came face to face with them. They lowered their weapons to fire at me … and four huge blue/white flashes exploded where they were standing.

I had used the TK to push … which is truly devastating if I put effort into it, even with the power cell low. Michelle’s weapon’s power cell … was at full capacity, and she did the same thing I did. The poor soldiers never knew what hit them as their bodies impacted on another machine, and sort of … squished. A greenish pink fluid oozed from every damaged place in their suits.

Michelle said in a loud voice over the confusion, “I can extend my shields around you. They aren’t as strong as yours, but with yours added to mine, we should have enough energy to take this incoming volley.” then realized, she hadn’t actually said anything, but had transmitted her thoughts across the link.

I replied through the link, “Exactly, our thoughts at … the speed of thought.”

I looked around one end of the vehicle as Michelle peered around the other. Where we were standing when the first salvo hit, was a huge smoldering hole in the ground. It took out a section 100 feet across and several hundred deep from what my sensors told me. That, was the mother of all weapons.

My device recorded all the available info on this new Goethi weapon into its huge database . I knew that my device was attempting to analyze the Goethi weapon, then upgrade itself to combat it. Didn’t have anymore time to ponder that either.

The heavily armored vehicle between us and the weapon took the full brunt of the weapon’s fire. Another massive explosion, the vehicle went to pieces, and we were once again tossed several yards. This time, however, the vehicle had taken most of the overpressure wave and not our shields … the drain was insignificant as I watched the power cell levels rise in that weird ‘I Know Things’ way my device had given me. Another few seconds and ...

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In a secret satellite center, two lieutenants were going nuts as they watched the massively huge explosions of some kind of energy none had ever encountered before splatter the return signals of the spy sats.

Quigley pressed the yellow alert button as required by regulations. Colonel Charles dropped his coffee cup and dashed from his office as the alarms went off. He knew this was going to be another one of those kinds of contacts … and this was going to continue being one of those kinds of days.

As he hurried into the scope room, Colonel Charles said, “Give me the details!”

Hendersen replied quickly, “It’s … it’s …” as he pointed at the massive energy readings from the scope.

The Colonel said, “Like nothing you've ever seen … go on.” as he nodded and patted the young lieutenant on the shoulder.

Hendersen and Quigley played back the data showing the tremendous amounts of energy being released in the ongoing … whatever this was. Scope showed the local area overlay … it was a rural area near by. The colonel hoped that whatever this was, that guy … the Wisp … was on their side and not causing this.

From the amounts of energy being displayed here, it was very obvious something far more powerful than nuclear, and far more compact and destructively focused was in use. None of them had ever seen the kind of energy being used either … it was a totally alien spectrum to them all.

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I stood from the detritus left by the massive destruction caused by the weapon this … lizard creature had fired at me. I brushed myself off with obvious disgust. My sensors told me that stupid weapon was almost ready to fire on me one more time.

I was really pissed by now. The original explosion had damaged my new outfit and drained the massively powerful energy cell of my weapon. This was totally outrageous. A slimy lizard can’t do that to a League Agent! Especially … not to the Wisp!

The creature in the damaged, but different suit realized I was pointing my finger directly at him. For the first time, it saw the glittering glove on my left hand that pointed at him. The leader's Saurian mind had just enough time to register that he had made a serious mistake. Too late, he realized … this had to be one of those myths he had heard about over the years told in many whispers throughout his peoples. Only problem, this was no myth, this was … a real live League Agent straight out of the Goethi story books … and the Goethi leader knew, he had seriously angered me.

I’m not real sure what weapon it was I asked for … nor am I sure if the device even knew at the time. I demanded a massive offensive strike with all the power the weapon could muster. I could feel the temperature as it dropped and the intense squeezing in my ears as the air pressure fell rapidly. It was almost too dark to see the sky, but the smell of rain and ozone told me that those idiots were about to have a huge surprise. Michelle already knew what was coming and tried her best to accomplish the same thing. Her powers were different than mine and the combined effort was truly amazing.

A massive tornado of immense power and energy surrounded the surviving Goethi. Spiderwebs of electricity danced all through it. Massive bolts of fire dropped from the heavens as energy was bled off the ionosphere. This field’s energy is constantly and instantly replenished by the radiations hitting it from space, among other places along with geomagnetic friction and air friction. An immense planetary sized power source of unlimited quantity released its awesome might on top of the Goethi base.

I’m not exactly sure what actually happened after that. There was too much electrical discharge, fire, and too massive of an explosion. I can tell you that the whole glade was … gone. The only thing remaining, was a critically damaged, but still sort of almost kind of operational Interphasitrix weapon, fully charged sitting haphazardly in the remaining very large, very deep smoldering crater. How what was left managed to survive … I wasn’t real sure if it was able to fire due to the massive damage it had sustained.

Seconds passed that turned into long minutes with nothing happening. Slowly, I approached the seriously damaged smoldering vehicle. I used my device to open the vehicle’s coded armored door. When it opened, amid many sparks, smoke, and small fires, it was very obvious why the weapon hadn’t fired as the smell of something similar to cooked alligator tail wafted to my nose. I reached in the totally destroyed control pit and turned off the power, then closed and resealed the door. I could hear the machine’s generators or turbines as they wound down.

I looked around at the huge crater I and Michelle had made. I looked down at my left arm. The crystalline metal of the weapon glistened in the smoldering light created by the many small fires. I shook my head one more time in wonder at the awesome power the glove granted me.

“Well, now,” I turned at the voice and saw Michelle there. She continued as she looked around at the huge smoldering hole, “That was fairly … impressive. And look at that, would you?” she cuts her eyes and shakes her head, “Earth has invaders from off world and I forget my cell and didn’t have my camera crew with me.” She pouts adorably as she crossed her arms.

I snorted a laugh. I shook my head again as I climbed down from the destroyed weapon, walked over to Michelle, and took her by the hand. As we walked slowly from the smoldering crater, we started to hear sirens and saw many flashing lights off in the distance.

I suddenly had a choice to make. In my mind’s eye, I knew the technology remaining in that damaged weapon could be reverse engineered and recreated by local technology. It had the potential to give earth a tremendous leap in technology and the betterment of life for all. I also became aware of the consequences of it becoming available to the planet. The end result would … not be favorable to life as I knew it.

I raise my left arm behind me and several weapons systems I hadn’t seen before came up in the ‘I Know Things’ way it did. A thought crossed my mind as I wondered about the new weapons listings, “The more you use them, the more varied and powerful they become. Like, exercising.”

I smiled as some kind of weird purple/green plasma ball formed, then flashed from my left hand. It impacted on the damaged weapon, there was a momentary glow around the weapon, then it sort of dissolved away to dust.

Through the strengthening link, I could hear Michelle’s unformed questions as to why I didn’t use that weapon in the first place. I answered Michelle’s question before she asked, “I’m not yet sure what that is. I just discovered I had it a few seconds ago. We need to go some place … private and quiet so we can talk.”

Michelle took my hand as she said out loud, “Sure. I think I have a few questions … that need to be asked too.”

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Just as the Military and National Guard units along with many other kinds of armed individuals arrived at what used to be a large wooded glade, they saw a bright flash on the edge of a huge crater that appeared to still have smoldering fires everywhere.

What could have sparked such a massive explosion large enough to dig this wide and deep of a hole, was completely a mystery.

Coupled with the rest of the data that was rapidly arriving, the leaders were sure some kind of large battle took place here, although, no supporting evidence could be found at the crater. There were no residual debris, detectable radiations, energies, or anything else left that could be discovered that might have been a clue. It was one of those things that the more data you had, the more questions it caused in a vicious cycle.

Except for external data like radar, satellite, weather disruptions caused by what ever happened with the ionosphere, and the other recorded readings, it would have been a complete mystery.

Michelle and I materialized in her office at the TV station. She’d used our mental link to tell me where it was, so to speak -- I knew where the building was, obviously, but I didn’t know exactly where in the building her office was without her help.

“So … the Phosians on Earth should be safe, at least for a while,” I said. “They’re a peaceful species, and there aren’t many of them anymore, so I doubt they’ll be a problem.”

“Didn’t the one we met say he was going to help fight the Goethi?” Michelle asked.

“Yeah, but maybe it happened too quickly for him and his buddies to get there,” I guessed. “It might have been too hard for him to convince them to stand and fight. They’ve been on the run for a long time, it seems.”

“I doubt those Goethi are going to come back,” Michelle said. “Did you get any sense that they ever sent a message back to wherever they came from?”

“No,” I said, “I didn’t detect anything like that. In fact, I think they got here through some kind of interdimensional portal transfer, because I saw a machine that … well, I just knew it was for that kind of travel -- and that it was broken. I don’t think they could send a message -- which means the Goethi at whatever base these guys came from are waiting to hear back from this mission, and they won’t ever find out what happened.”

“Unless they send another mission,” Michelle said.

“Yeah, they might,” I said. “But if they do, they’ll be careful. If I’d sent a mission into the unknown and it never returned, I’d make the next one a scouting mission with a better chance of survival -- better stealth, more speed, but not necessarily good offensive capability, because its mission would be to gather intel and return, not to engage the enemy.”

“In the meantime,” said Michelle, “I think we can count on more … visitors from one place or another.”

“I really don’t know,” I said. “The device lets me know things as they’re needed. When I saw that Phosian, I suddenly knew about Phosians, but before that I didn’t know there was such a species. I could probably poke around in its database for years and years and barely scratch the surface about what’s out there, let alone what might come here.”

“Look,” said Michelle, taking my hand and looking me in the eyes, “it’s obvious that we’re going to have a relationship -- er, I mean a professional relationship -- for some time now. Things are going to keep happening that need your intervention. I’m going to want to put them on the news, and thanks to you I’m the only one who’s likely to be able to survive confrontations like tonight’s.”

“Well, I hope at least some of our visitors are peaceful,” I interjected.

“But even the Phosians, as peaceful as they are, still led the Goethi here,” Michelle rebutted. “What I’m saying is, we need to talk. I guess we don’t exactly need each other’s cell phone number so one of us can let the other know when something’s going on, but what we need is some kind of understanding.”

“If something’s up, I should let you know?” I supposed. “And if you see something that might need the Wisp’s attention, you’ll let me know?”

“That’s exactly what I meant,” Michelle said.

“You have a deal, Ms. Delaney,” I said with a smile. “But I have to go get some rest, because I’m meeting with an Air Force colonel in the morning, and you probably don’t intend to sleep in your locked office.”

“It wouldn’t be the first time,” she said, “but everyone saw me walk out of here. If you could …”

“... send you home?” I finished her sentence. “Right. Where do you …?” Suddenly I had an image in my mind. “OK! Off we go …”

We were suddenly in front of a classic brownstone row house in the older part of the city. “Very nice,” I said. “My place is nowhere near as pretty.”

“Thanks,” said Michelle. “Well … I guess this is … goodnight,” she added, looking into my eyes. “It’s been the most exciting night of my life … thanks to you.”

“The last few days have been a blur,” I said, “until I met you. Then everything started to make sense.”

It was even true. I suddenly felt like there was a reason to try to save this planet full of cruel, selfish people -- and I was looking into that reason’s eyes right then.

“I, uh, goodnight,” she said, looking into her purse and fumbling for her keys. “We’ve both got things to do. But … will I see you tomorrow?”

“If you want, we can meet up somewhere -- how about lunch at that hot dog place down the street from the station?” I suggested.

“Sounds good -- about noon, then?”

“OK! Well … have a good night. And I look forward to … seeing you again!” I smiled and … well, I disappeared. I went home. I could tell that Michelle was going to get into her apartment -- because I Just Knew that her purse contained a key that would open the lock in the door we’d been standing in front of.



I awoke not to an alarm, but to a strange sense of some kind of poorly-defined urgency. When I wordlessly asked the system what time it was, I suddenly Just Knew that I’d told it to wake me up in time to get ready to talk to Colonel Charles. Looking at a normal clock in my bedroom, I saw that it was 6 a.m. I groaned and crawled out of bed.

I looked at the pile of destroyed clothing and body armor that used to be my makeshift costume. I was still slightly miffed at the fact it had been damaged. I felt a small tingle in the back of my head, and then this swirl of energy surrounded me.

When it had completed, I was now wearing the battle suit I had imagined in my mind when I put together the original. The suit had its own integral impact armor made right in. The Full face helmet was also an integrated targeting and tactical system that was completely integrated with the glove. I looked down. My new armor was so cool, right down to the boots on my feet … and Jet black. Made from the same sparkling crystalline substance as my glove, but in a different matrix.


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Colonel Charles had just poured himself a large cup of coffee and sat at his desk. He had mountains of paperwork along with serious questions that were majorly important that couldn’t be answered.

Just as he took a large swig of his fresh cup of coffee, a large and blinding flash happened right in the middle of his office. Colonel Charles slowly placed his cup back on the trivet as he stared at the helmeted figure in shiny black.

I said softly, “Good morning, Colonel. I promised you … at least some kind of answers. I want you to know I’m a friendly. I had no choice in becoming who I am.”

The Colonel slowly smiled as he said, “Welcome … to earth, I suppose is as good a way to start as any. I know you told me you are from here, so we can dispense from all that garbage. Can you … tell me a bit about …”

“Yesterday evening?” I laugh, “I can tell you a lot about yesterday evening …”

The colonel sat, totally dumfounded as I told him about the confrontation in the glade. I was even able to have whatever images and video of the incident, displayed on my device's amazing holo computer screen in full color.

The final fiery explosion, was one of the most incredible displays of focused and controlled weather the colonel had ever seen. Of course, military experiments on weather control had never been particularly successful. To the colonel, this was pure and total magic.

“So you see, I’m still learning about the capabilities I’ve been given,” I concluded, “but I’ve been charged with the duty of protecting Earth from threats that it will be facing -- from space, or even from alternate dimensions. And I’m making contact with the US military because, well, if something attacks Earth that the armed forces of the USA can’t handle, I’m probably the only hope left. I hope that never happens -- but it’s a big omniverse out there.”

The colonel chewed on his lip for a moment in thought. “OK, look,” he said, “the fact is that there are gonna be those who will want to study your device. They’ll want to make more of them. They’ll want soldiers like you. Because, naturally, we in the military are fond of the chain of command. Superior officers give orders, their subordinates obey them, and that’s just how things work smoothly.”

“Human science is … at least many thousands of years away from duplicating this technology,” I said, “even if they had full access to a working example.”

“That’s what I figured,” Colonel Charles said, “but what I’m trying to get at is, finding the right approach for this is gonna be tricky. There are a lot of higher-ups who won’t take no for an answer. But there are some who would be the right ones to talk to about this -- and if maybe I can set up a meeting with them, we can make this work out.” He leaned in and said more quietly, “Because I’m guessing that those … Goethi or whatever are just the tip of the iceberg, and we might’ve been able to take ‘em … maybe … but with a lot of loss of life and collateral damage.”

“Believe me, there are much worse out there.” I still remembered the suited aliens that had pursued Kerlcccc here, trying to prevent him from recruiting me for the League -- why? What nefarious plans did they have for Earth that they didn’t want a League Agent here interfering with? Or were they only hired guns for the real power?

“I’m sure of it,” said the colonel as he banged his fist on the desk, “and you know why? Not because I have special alien knowledge. Because where there’s one cockroach there’s a hundred. Because where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Because of just common goddamn sense. I’ve seen enough to know that you don’t find a terrorist cell without a terrorist network behind it, and you don’t find a sniper nest without an enemy base somewhere supporting him. There’s more out there where they came from, or I’ll eat my full dress uniform hat. We on Earth are officially in someone’s sights, and it gives me the heebie-jeebies to know that we don’t know whose.”

“Me too, Colonel, and I am going to work hard to find out who’s gunning for us and stop them,” I said.

“Now, ‘Wisp,’” the colonel said, “obviously you can get in touch with us whenever you want -- though I’m not sure I’m the right point of contact, but that’s how it is for now. But say I need to get in touch with you? We’ve got worldwide monitoring equipment and personnel watching it 24/7. Suppose we find something before you do. How do we alert you?”

“That’s a good question, Colonel,” I said. I asked the weapon system how to do this safely, and it answered. I raised my left hand over the colonel’s desk, and a shiny black device that looked like a smartphone made of some sparkling crystal materialized on it. “If you turn that on and activate it, it will call me. Unlike our cell phone networks, it will really work anywhere on Earth, and actually anywhere in the solar system. It isn’t blocked by being underground or in an elevator or steel-framed building. If you wish to put me in touch with other officers, I’ll supply them with communicators like that.”

The colonel picked up the glittering devise and looked it over carefully. He looked at Wisp and asked, “Is it … sort of possible … if you can give me one of those things we can take apart and examine if possible?”

I smiled. I knew the officer wouldn’t be able to find anyone on the planet that could open the thing, much less examine it and reverse engineer it. I put my hand over the desk one more time, and an exact copy of the original smart phone looking thing materialized.

I handed it to the colonel and said, “Don’t get anyone’s expectations too high. That thing won’t show any secrets under any kind of exam earth could devise. The race that invented this stuff … we would think of as … maybe gods or something along those lines. That's how far advanced they are compared to us. They are older than this universe, Colonel, and they’ve been doing this for all that time.”

The colonel grinned as he picked the device up and looked it over in his palm. He pushed a button on his desk phone, a soft voice answered, “Yes, sir? How can I be of assistance?”

Colonel Charles replied, “I need one of those morons in the white coats in here on the double, no questions asked.”

“Yes, sir! Immediately.” came the reply.

Colonel Charles sat back in his very comfortable chair, then said, “The whole country is on alert now because of that … little exercise you did yesterday. I have all this,” he picked up a large stack of very over stuffed, large manilla envelopes and pushed them towards Wisp, “And I have absolutely no answers I could possibly give them.”

I laughed, “Tell them … a strange Gamma ray burst of immense power struck the earth at that location. Build it up big that we were so lucky, yada yada yada. You know, one of those cover kinda stories the military is so good at doing.” Then I said in a lower tone of voice, “But if there is anyone you trust, you could tell them about the Goethi, that they’ll probably be back, and that they’re probably just the first. Or technically the … fourth, I guess. We are likely in for interesting times, and we can’t afford to play games.”

“We’re obviously on the same page, you and I,” said the colonel. “Neither of us wants some alien whatever coming here and attacking our home turf. Damn. My life just got a hellofa lot more complicated. But I’ll do what I can. General Young and General Cavender will definitely see it the same way. Maybe General Phillips too. But not Ulrich or Olson. They’ll see you as a threat, a loose cannon that needs tying down, rather than an … independent contractor to be worked with, let’s say.”

Suddenly I had a thought … or perhaps the glove’s systems informed me of something; it’s sometimes hard to tell. “It’s more than that, Colonel. This League that I find myself working with -- they’re not just a code of honor; they’re a resource. If we really truly end up in a situation that I can’t handle alone, I can call in help. Most civilized planets have a League agent stationed on them. And in case it’s not clear, there are literally billions of civilized planets per universe.”

“I’m feeling a bit better about our chances, then, in case some really bad customers come this way,” said the colonel, “but that also means that it’s even more imperative that Olson, Ulrich, or their people not get wind of this. After all, if they try to capture you …”

“... which is not going to happen …”

“They might still try,” the colonel went on. “And if they do manage to do something tricky … things could go very bad for the Earth.”

“The League wouldn’t harm the Earth,” I said. “It’s against our code to attack a civilized world. But it’s true that if somehow I was in danger, they’d send someone to assist -- most likely someone with more experience. Troops would lose their lives, troops who were doing nothing more than following orders. The League would not let me or my weapon fall into hostile hands. And, although I don’t like to think about it, the weapon has a last resort, a self-destruct feature that, well, it’s only been used a handful of times in the trillions of years the League’s been around. From what I can see from the database, this solar system would suffer greatly.”

“Trillions?” the colonel interrupted. “They tell me the universe has only been around for what, 13 billion years?”

“This universe, Colonel,” I said. “The universe in which the League was founded no longer exists, and it has spread through many universes. Unfortunately, so have the -- well, the various bad guys, to keep it simple. And there are always more bad guys popping up.”

“Sooner or later the President needs to know about this,” said the colonel. “I’ll talk to Young and Cavender and see if we can find a way to do this right. Luckily General Young is in my chain of command, so I can’t be accused of not doing things by the book if I don’t inform Ulrich or Olson.”

“You do things as you see fit, Colonel,” I said. “If you ask me, it seems like you’ve got your head screwed on straight. I take it that Ulrich and Olson would try to take political advantage of the situation or would put following regulations ahead of actually protecting the country? Well, if you don’t think they’d understand how serious the situation really is, I’ll trust your judgment. The USA, and the Earth, can’t afford missteps like those. One false move and we might not have a planet anymore.”

“I have got to get on the phone to Washington, or better yet, a plane,” he said.

“If you really need to get there fast,” I suggested.

“Better not cause a security incident,” the colonel replied, “but thanks. I’ll do it by the book. If I need you as an ace in the hole, I’ll let you know.”

“OK, Colonel,” I said. “Good luck and godspeed. I need to check for alien activity and get in touch with my contacts.”

I looked at the Colonel. He was obviously up to his neck in controversy as it was. I knew this was going to be a really tricky situation … one that Ulrich and his cronies didn’t want to get involved with.

I said, “If you need me, “I handed him a small round, and slightly flat object, “Just tap this comm. It will make a direct connection to me. It is genetically encoded to just you. To anyone else … or any kind of investigation, it’s just a polished piece of obsidian rock. There are properties of C64 that earth has yet to explore.”

Jeremy Tachon was one of the base’s best analytical physicists. He opened the door to the Colonel’s office with his usual self righteous and arrogant way. The day had been so humdrum and boring … and now he was sure another boring afternoon of examining some simple thing was at hand.

Right in front of him, he saw a man in a shiny black battle suit of some kind ... then a very bright flash, the man was gone. Jeremy wasn’t so self righteous nor arrogant at that point as he stared at the empty space with his mouth open in shock.

The Colonel smiled and said, “Here,” he handed Jeremy the sparkly black smart phone looking device, “You and your boys try and figure this out.”

He looked at the thing. It looked like it was made from some kind of sparkling black crystal. Jeremy said, “What’s this?”

The Colonel laughed, “Something that I’m sure your department is going to worry over for … many years. Now go and try and examine that thing and tell me everything you can about it. One more thing ...” Jeremy looked at the colonel, “You are to say nothing of what you witnessed when you entered my office. If anyone other than us know … unless I told them, I will shoot you myself. Is that clear?”

Jeremy nodded his head in an animated way as he left the office with the device in his palm. The Colonel smiled. He knew he will be getting a call in about an hour … he shook his head. The colonel had no clue what to tell them that would be believed, or would make any kind of sense to anyone. He picked up the phone and dialed. After dealing with some red tape he said, “Yes, General Young -- are we still on for that staff meeting Thursday? Good, good, it’ll be nice to get out of town for a couple of days. Yes, of course Gloria’s coming too; she loves DC. Great, sounds good. See you then.”



I appeared about 5000 feet above the site of the Goethi invasion. From up there it looked like a big meteor crater, only without the impact ridges around the outer edge -- a big divot taken out of the ground. I mentally asked the glove to scan the area for … well, whatever it could think of to scan for. I didn’t know what kind of radiation, particles, or whatever might be left behind by a dimensional rift. Of course I’ve learned more since then. But the glove told me that there were residual phonon echoes in the manifold. It even gave me a clue about what that meant -- ripples in the space-time continuum left over from when the Goethi had punched a hole through it to get here. So I asked it if there was anything similar anywhere nearby.

Turns out the glove has a rather loose definition of “nearby.” Sure enough, I got the impression that there were several similar ripple remnants elsewhere on Earth, not to mention in interplanetary space, on the far side of the moon, on Neptune’s moon Triton, on several large objects in the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto’s orbit that Earth astronomers hadn’t yet discovered, in the Alpha Centauri system … I asked it whether it could remember all those sites for me. It was simplicity in itself. I asked whether it could scan for that periodically. It could, easily. I asked it whether these were all of Goethi origin. It produced evidence to the contrary; other types of radiation and nearby materials indicated many different civilizations’ technologies were responsible.

Space was very busy all of a sudden, it seemed. Was this because Earth now had a League agent? Or had I been recruited because the League had known that Earth was about to be discovered by the greater space and/or dimension traveling community?

I noticed that one of the nearby Earth sites was marked as being of probable Phosian origin. In less than a second I was there.

It was a cheap apartment, and almost completely empty. No furniture, no pictures or posters on the walls, no food in the fridge, nothing. There was only a sort of prickling on the back of my neck that told me something was up, and when I asked the glove if it could show me what that was all about, I suddenly saw a glowing but fading spherical network of spiderweb-like traceries in the air. The system told me that a transport device of likely Phosian origin had been used here.

I sensed someone coming down the hall before they tapped on the door -- it was the Phosian we had met in the restaurant. I opened the door for him; he seemed a bit startled to see me, then looked around me at the empty apartment and frowned in disappointment.

“Looking for someone?” I asked. “I don’t think they’re here.”

“By Thovor’s kindred!” the Phosian said. “I couldn’t get them to fight, but I told them all they had to do was stay here, out if sight, and they’d be fine. But do they listen to me? No, they pack up all their possessions and move on.”

“So … are you the only Phosian on Earth now?” I asked him.

“To my knowledge, yes,” he said. “But as long as there are Goethi out there, I’m staying here. If the League knows about this, the Goethi won’t make it past Earth to our next stop … and I’m going to help.”

“You do your people a great service,” I said. “If your race doesn’t have a League agent, they should, and if it were up to me it’d be you.”

“I do not seek glory,” he said. “I merely wish my people to survive. The tattered remnants of our culture, our art, our technology -- it must go on, somewhere, somehow. It simply must.”

I was really impressed by this guy. Most of his species had turned into basically some kind of prey species, scurrying down holes whenever a predator showed up, but not this one. He was going to protect the rest if it was the last thing he did.

“What’s your name, friend?” I asked.

“I am called Lothacann,” he said. “And you?”

“In my human life I am named Randy, though I am presenting myself to the world as ‘The Wisp.’”

“A phantom light, difficult to catch, leading your enemies into the mire,” he said. “I do not know your culture well, but I understand this. You believe you may find enemies among your own people, who do not understand the danger they are in?”

“Yes, that is true,” I said. “I am trying to find allies, because I believe my world has just come to the attention of a number of other races, for better or worse.”

“You have one,” said Lothacann. “I stand with you, at least until the threat of the Goethi has passed. I am the last of the Phosiorr.” He made a complex gesture, which the device on my hand told me was a salute of respect; the Phosiorr were apparently the Phosian equivalent of the Knights of the Round Table or that sort of thing -- upholding justice and civilization among his people.

I felt unworthy, actually, to be respected by one of these guys. I realized that yesterday, at the restaurant, it hadn’t been himself he’d been afraid for when he’d sensed the Goethi nearby. He’d been afraid for his people; he’d been worried that he wouldn’t be able to protect them all. “I … did not know,” I said. “It is a great honor.” I bowed deeply; I hoped the gesture would make sense to him.

“The honor is mine,” he said, “but for now, I detect no signs of Goethi intrusion on Earth, although I sense many other telltale signs. I am assuming that you want to investigate them further. I have some of our technology.” He did indeed. I could sense that he had both ranged and hand-to-hand weapons that, though not anywhere near the League weapon I had, would still put the technology of Earth to shame, and he also had a number of other useful devices with him.

“Sadly, I’m only just getting started,” I said. “I’m only a newly-invested League Agent. I’ve only just discovered all this myself. But I’m going to check things out, one at a time, until I’m sure nothing’s attacking us.”

“You must be here because of the echo remnants left by the Phosians who lived here until recently,” he said, and I nodded. “I am here to obfuscate them.” He took out a silver baton of some sort with glowing orange lights on either end and held it where the departure point had been. I could see the slowly fading ripples begin to fade more quickly, until they were gone.

“If I can’t see that anymore, I doubt the Goethi can,” I remarked.

“Indeed, and what they cannot see, they cannot follow.”

“I would like you to have one of these,” I said, giving him a crystalline black communicator like the one I’d given to Colonel Charles. “If you see anything … important, give me a call.”

“It shall be so,” said Lothacann. “Now I must move on to the next departure site so I can cover the tracks there as well.”

“OK,” I said. “Good luck!”

“And to you.” Lothacann opened the door and left. I didn’t see it with my eyes, but once he exited the apartment building he disappeared to normal eyesight, using some kind of cloaking technology, then took off into the air, quickly accelerating to supersonic speed, somehow without causing a sonic boom or shock wave. He had some kind of flight apparatus, then. Nice.

Well, I had an ally not of this world. That was good to know. I also knew that I had several dimensional ripples to trace, and that I had a lunch date in a few hours. I’d better get to it. I reached out to sense one of the strange ripples, probably indicating that something had come or gone through a portal of some sort, and concentrated ...

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In my mind’s eye, a really weird location seemed to take shape. I felt that strange tingling when teleport happened. This time, however, it had a different sort of … well, flavor.

I opened my eyes, and knew immediately I wasn’t in my universe. I looked around at those weird looking … things. There were some kind of lights in the sky that sorta looked like stars. I realized this universe was based on a totally different set of rules than the one I came from. Light reacted differently, and so did matter and its interactions with … other objects.

It took me a few minutes to acclimate myself to the new location. My helmet’s new Tactical display helped more than adequately as it’s overlay corrected the severe visual distortions I perceived from the different physics.

I did as much exploring and investigating as I could in the time I had before my date. I really didn’t want to miss a date with Michelle.

It became clear that a large contingent of … something created an interdimensional rift at this location. The energy signature was still very strong. My scanners IDed the interlopers as Valbuineese. Given what the device was telling me about them, I was sort of surprised that they would be using this form of transportation … and from this location.

I moved closer to the rift for a better look … well, a better scan, anyway. They were small but numerous, looking something like large butterflies in this strange place -- I must have somehow teleported to the other side of the rift, rather than the Earth side. They were both coming and going, carrying … something. They were coming out of the rift, bringing differently colored irregularly shaped objects with them, setting them down in a pile, and leaving again, back through the rift. Other Valbuineese were taking the objects from the pile and stacking them like blocks or bricks.

I wasn’t an expert in this dimension’s physics, but it sure looked to me as if they were stealing something from Earth. I stepped forward and said, “What is the meaning of this?” in an authoritative-sounding way.

Immediately the Valbuineese scattered in all directions, “Now, you haven’t been found guilty yet -- I just … want to …” It was no use. They were gone. Or hiding.

I picked up one of the “bricks” from the wall they’d been building. It seemed that they were trying to enclose the rift.The “brick” was shifting in color, or seemed to be from my point of view. It wiggled in my hand.

“What are you?” I asked it, rhetorically. It didn’t answer. Could it answer? Did the things even talk? I asked the glove about it.

“Well, that’s … uninteresting,” I said. The glove told me that I was looking at this dimension’s equivalent of a rock. Not a living thing, not a weapon … although rocks could be weapons, I suppose. “It’s … wait a minute.”

The creatures had been bringing these things out of the portal. From the other side of it, to this side. Ergo …

“This isn’t another dimension,” I said. “This is … Earth.” I walked a few yards away from the rift. The weird visual distortions started to clear up. Except around the thing in my hand, where things in its immediate vicinity were still oddly colored and shifting unpredictably. I hadn’t fallen into their dimension.

They were bringing their dimension here.

“OK, this doesn’t work for me,” I said. “You want to come visit, that’s great, but we like our laws of physics the way they are, thank you very much.” I went back toward the rift and tossed the “rock” through it. It didn’t come back out the other side -- it had gone back to where it came from. I picked up a number of the other objects and started tossing them back through.

After I had thrown several dozen of the weird things back through, seven individuals in some kind of strange suits came through the portal. One of them, of course it just had to be the biggest and meanest looking one of the bunch, pointed his finger, or whatever that thing was, and began running towards me, firing some weird kind of beam at me. I remembered the green splatter and the thin beam I saw as it ricocheted off my shield.

These were some of the idiots that were sent to try and stop me from being inducted into the League. I wanted very badly to talk to one of them before I made them go away.

Without warning, I was actually in some kind of link with the monster. His thoughts were so radically different and … dark. I saw many flashing images, none of which looked too pleasant. Faces, places, and even stranger ways of seeing reality.

They were just … the hired thugs compared to the entities that were on a Omniversal Rampage. My head began to feel like it was going to explode due to the extremely large amount of data that opened to me unexpectedly. I began to feel actual pain in my head from it. Without warning, the massive volumes of data suddenly … weren’t available to me. I knew there was an omniversally vast reserve of knowledge beyond my understanding. Realization dawned, I wasn’t so much restricted from the data, I was protected from a massive neural overload should I have direct contact with it in its entirety. My system was not yet ready for a chore of that magnitude.

I now knew, however, the problem I was drafted into the League to stop, was far more massive than I had ever dreamed in my worst nightmares. This … thing, had to be stopped. For some reason I hadn’t figured out yet, Earth seemed to be the next battle ground.

Damn! It’s Time for my date with Michelle. I flipped my wrist, a very large plasma ball filled with electrical fire appeared over the individuals and the objects from the other side for an instant, then everything including them and the portal … were gone.

I found myself suddenly in a secluded place, just down from the hotdog stand. The smell of all the freshly baked pretzels, sausage dogs, and homemade chili drifted lazily on the breeze. I saw Michelle looking around. I wandered over to her and tapped her on the shoulder. She let out an adorable squeak as she jumped.

“OMG!! It’s you.” she looked down at her left arm. I saw something that looked like a very expensive diamond bracelet where the glove should have been, “Why didn’t my scans show you there?”

I smiled, “I have a stealth capability that you have to specifically scan for. Since I’m not sure if your scanner will do that yet …” I shrugged.

Michelle said with a giggle in her tone, “You’re so cute.” then hugged me around my neck and gave me a soft kiss on my cheek.

She said happily, “What kind of dogs you want? I can get you somema those Kielbasa?”

“I’m thinking bratwurst with the works,” I said. “Maybe a couple. I’ve been working up an appetite. Let me tell you about it.”

Once we’d gotten our dogs and sat down, I explained my morning’s activities as best I could.

“You mean … there are things that are invading this dimension?” Michelle asked , quietly to keep from being overheard through bites of her sausage dog, “And turning parts of Earth into … their world?”

“Pretty much,” I said. “Now that I’ve had a close-up look at it, I can tell that there are six places around the world where this is going on. Interestingly, only on Earth. They could have invaded our dimension somewhere in outer space or another planet or another solar system, but I can’t detect anything like this anywhere else within about five light years. They’re invading, and the battle front is here.”

“Shouldn’t you tell the colonel?” she asked.

“I most definitely should,” I said. “This is exactly the sort of thing he needs to know about. And, in fact, I just did.” Colonel Charles now had an encrypted email in his high-priority inbox that only he could read, containing the exact coordinates of all six sites.

“So … why are you taking time off for lunch?” asked Michelle.

“Well for one thing, if I don’t eat, I won’t be as effective,” I said. “For another thing,” I leaned close, “I had a date with the hottest reporter on TV.”

“Oh, stop it, you,” she said, but she was smiling.

“What’s more … as invasions go, it’s a pretty slow one. I can close the portals and stop their effects pretty quickly. But I want to find out more. Someone, somewhere, is behind this, and it won’t really be over until I find out who and stop them.”

“Like those guys who shot at you and the alien who brought you the weapon thing,” said Michelle.

“Whoever it is, those guys worked for them too,” I said. “I want to know what they’re up to. It’s hard to stop their plan if I don’t know what it is.”

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Colonel Charles was sort of surprised when he discovered that the Air Force would take him to D.C. on one of the Executive Lockheed C-5 Galaxy Aircrafts. He was also surprised that he and his wife were the only passengers on board except for the pilot and crew.

The Steward and Stewardess, both second Lts fresh from the academy, did a very good job of treating the two of them like V.I.P.s. Colonel Charles’ radar was on. He became paranoid when certain things began to happen … when normally they shouldn’t. Even when it’s transporting one of the board members for this upcoming staff meeting.

He looked around the hold at all the space used to accommodate the large, round conference table. There was even a video lounge a bit further back. Neither he nor his wife Gloria, had yet to explore the upper levels. This aircraft was obviously modified to accommodate formally important individuals of one sort or another.

A very pretty second Lt in proper formal uniform, came to them and snapped to attention with a sharp heel click and saluted, “Sir,” she handed him a small device with a cord and a plug. She opened a compartment and plugged it in. “You have received a message marked eyes only, top priority. This is a secure connection.”

She then snapped a sharp salute, did a perfect about face, complete with the heel click, and left gracefully and smartly. The Colonel watched as the young woman performed the military bearing with precision. He nodded with an expression of approval as he turned the device on.

The small screen lit up, “Welcome, Colonel Charles, you have one Level one Top Priority Eyes Only Message and two level two Priority messages.”

The Colonel’s eyebrows rose a bit as he saw the top priority message came from Wisp. He smiled slightly as he checked the header info … just because. As he thought, there was no information, only the fact it was received through ultra secure channels. Colonel Charles wished he was able to find and break cyphers and encryptions that way.

He opened Wisp’s message. The colonel felt a cold chill run up his spine as he read the data and saw the coordinates for the Portals around the world. three of them he would have no trouble destroying … if it were possible for earth tech that is. The others, would be a serious issue since they were located in places hostile to the USA. Though perhaps the Wisp could handle one of them, and perhaps two, three would be a stretch, because he knew that as powerful as the Wisp was, he could still only be in one place at once. He would need help. This was something the President HAD to know. The colonel felt a hard lump in his stomach as he worried over how he was going to break that kind of news to the President.

The first level two priority message, was from General Young. It said there had been a slight change in plan for the Staff Meeting. I was to drop my wife off at the Hilton - Historia, one of the most elite hotels in DC, and await transport at the front by the flagpole. The rest was a vague mention of some kind of National Security issue that needed our attention.

OMG! I put my face in my hands and took a deeeep breath and let it out. This was going to be another of those kinds of trips. Another thing pinged my radar. The hotel was the most expensive one in DC. Only Generals, Dignitaries, Ambassadors and the like stayed there.

Gloria looked at me with concern. The many years of marriage to an officer involved with national security as I was … taught her to be concerned, but ask no questions. I would tell her what I could, when I could. She could also tell that it was one of those trips.

I opened the next message. It too was a priority two and was electronically signed by two people this time; General Cavender and General Phillips. Their message recounted much of the data of the first, with the addendum that the uniform of the day was Mess Dress Class A formal attire. Damn … I really hated those monkey suits. I sighed again. At least I have all the right people in the same place at the same time. Guess I can’t knock small favors. Now, to figure out how to tell them something that sounds totally insane.

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Michelle looked wonderful. She had on blue jeans and a cute strapped top. Even her tennis shoes seemed perfect as we talked about things I had planned to do as the Wisp. We wandered aimlessly around talking about a great many things ... of course it was mostly about me. Michelle began to hold my hand, and we were on a really nice date ...

I slyly shifted the conversation to what she was going to do now that she had gotten a device. Technically, this made her a League Agent as well. We discussed how her devise would make it possible for her to record and transmit the action while she was being an investigative reporter, without endangering a cameraman. I showed her the small keypad, and the holo-cloud video display her device had and how easy it was to use. It could easily connect to Earth’s Internet at any time, always on, untraceably, and it was totally unhackable by any technology on Earth.

“Is the story going to be about your bracelet?” I asked. Michelle held up her left arm. The amazingly expensive looking diamond bracelet sparkled in the light. It was a beautiful and very plausible disguise for her device.

She said softly as she cut her eyes in my direction, “I can tell everyone that … it was you who gave this to me.” she grinned innocently, “It’s the truth. Of course, that also means other things too … doesn’t it?” She had the most adorably innocent expression I could imagine.

I leaned over, and kissed her softly. She snuggled close and kissed me back. The sun was warm, the birds singing, her perfume was intoxicating … dammit!

A sensor priority alert! I knew at that precise moment, some stupid idiot was robbing the bank around the corner, had taken many hostages in the standoff, and was threatening to blow the building up.

The magic of the moment was lost. Now I’m mad! This was going to be nasty unless I can do something to defuse it as my scanners detected a large quantity of explosives where the hostages were being detained.

Michelle got the same scanner reading I did and became very excited. She was in her element. I could feel her eagerness to report it on the spot grow strong through the neural link.

I heard her gasp, I turned to see what was wrong … and saw Michelle surrounded by a swirling tornado of sparkling energy that had spiderwebs of electricity all through it. It vanished, leaving Michelle in a sparkling black battle suit … just like mine, for a girl. She held her arms out and looked down at herself. She looked so neat in her battle armor. From the top of her suit’s helmet to the tips of her toes, she was now officially a League Agent.



I smiled and sent through the neural link, “Cute, I called myself Wisp. You should think of some similar name so … when we show up together you can explain to your news viewers who my partner is.”

I looked around and found the police barricade where the commissioner stood with a bullhorn in his hand.

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“You are surrounded,” said the Police Commissioner Reynolds through the bullhorn. “We all know you won’t be getting away. If you harm anyone, that just gets added to your charges. All you’ve done is a little attempted armed robbery.”

“Excuse me, Commissioner,” I said, having appeared right next to him when no one was looking at that particular spot, “I’d like to help.” Of course, about a dozen police firearms were now pointed straight at me. While they were paying all that attention to me, no one saw Michelle slipping into the bank.

“This is Michelle Delaney,” she said to the invisible virtual camera that she knew was in front of her, “reporting from the upper balcony of the First National Bank, which is now under siege by a group of bank robbers, who have taken the staff and customers hostage. The Metropolitan Police have completely barricaded the building …”

“So, I’m to believe that you’re a superhero, straight outta the comic books,” Commissioner Reynolds was saying to me, “and you have super powers, and you wanna help us trained professionals do our job?”

“Yes, Sir,” I said, “and although I’m sure your people are much better trained for situations like this, I’m simply offering to put my abilities at your disposal. What do you want me to do?”

“I personally would be happy if you’d just stay outta the way and try not to get yourself hurt,” he said. He lifted the megaphone again and said, “I know what you’re thinking -- ‘things will be bad if I turn myself in.’ Every moment that goes by, though, things are getting worse. Put down your guns and come out, give yourselves up, and they instantly stop getting worse.” Commissioner Reynolds is a top-notch police officer, but a hostage negotiator he isn’t.

“How about this, Commissioner -- no one will be hurt here, no matter what happens. The Wisp promises.” I leaned back against a squad car and reached out with my senses.

Inside the bank, Michelle was exploring the potential of her invisible camera -- though she had to keep it within the realm of the plausible in order to have footage she could actually broadcast without arousing suspicion. “They haven’t spotted me up here yet, and I don’t intend for them to, but the telephoto lens shows that there are at least two of them -- no, three -- and they seem to be making a phone call.”

Outside, an officer ran up to the Commissioner, saying, “Sir, they’re on the phone -- the robbers, I mean. They want to talk.” He gave the Commissioner a mobile phone.

“Hello,” said Reynolds.

“You’re going to let us get out of here and away safely,” said the voice on the phone, “or things start looking very bad for the innocent people in here with us. We pick the first hostage to shoot in five minutes. That’s how long you have to decide, Commissioner. In five minutes someone dies because of you. Unless you let us walk outta here.”

I shook my head in the negative, and the Commissioner saw me doing it. He couldn’t see my face because of the helmet, but he could see that.

“You’re not gonna do it,” said Reynolds. “You won’t add murder to your rap sheet.”

“You think it’s not already on there? Five minutes after that I shoot another one. Five minutes after that -- you get the picture. And in an hour -- we’ve got enough explosives to blow the building to kingdom come. We’ll escape in the confusion, of course.”

I was shaking my head again. The Commissioner saw me.

“You’re coming outta there, you’re not killing anyone, and we’re gonna arrest you today,” said Reynolds. “No negotiations.” He hung up. He walked over to me and asked, “What was all that head-shaking about? You advising me not to negotiate? Well, I have news for you -- we don’t negotiate with criminals anyway.”

“No, Commissioner,” I said, “I meant that their threats are empty. They won’t be shooting anyone or blowing up the building. It just won’t be happening.

“We’ve got a good view of the criminals’ faces,” said Michelle, “and we would be happy to provide the Metro Police with a copy of our footage for help in identifying them. “Oh, my. Now it looks as if they’re grabbing someone … and throwing her on the ground. This doesn’t look good …” Of course, I had told her about my plan. “They’re -- they’re going to shoot her!” The robber pointed his gun at the prone woman’s head and pulled the trigger.

Click. Nothing happened.

Another trigger pull, another ineffectual click. And another. The criminal was probably swearing to himself in frustration. That’ll happen when somebody teleports the bullets away as soon as they’re chambered.

“Something appears to have gone wrong with that gun,” Michelle reported. “He’s trying another … same result. And another -- what could be happening here? None of his guns are working. This is highly improbable, unless the guns have somehow been sabotaged.”

Meanwhile, outside, I opened my hand and showed the Commissioner a handful of unfired bullets.

“What -- why are you --” he sputtered. I held up my thumb and index finger. With a flash of light, another bullet appeared between them. I dropped it into the palm of my other hand with the rest. “You’re --”

“Not allowing their guns to fire,” I said, nodding. “They won’t be killing any hostages.”

“How are you -- doing that?” he asked. Then he returned to all-business mode. “Never mind. I don’t care. Keep doing it, whatever it is.” He talked into his radio. “Stevens, Kowalski, can you see inside from your position? Can you see if they’re trying to execute a hostage?”

“Affirmative, Sir,” said the voices of the officers on the radio. “They are trying … but for some reason they can’t. Their guns aren’t working. Never seen anything like it.”

I felt a tingle of mirth run through me as I watched the commissioner try his best to keep all the other officers from asking too many questions. I ‘saw’ in the link from Michelle, that one of the robbers had walked into one of the small offices off to one side. Within, OMG!

There was a flash right in the middle of all the police. A very confused and slightly frightened individual in a mask appeared, knelt down as if he were about to do something.

I walked up to him. He looked up at me with real fear in his eyes. I said in an authoritative voice that the device monkeyed with so I sounded … like a Willo the Wisp might actually have sounded when he spoke, “Do you think it’s wise to detonate that much high explosives … so near to an underground tunnel? If the fracture knocks out the main support three feet from where you were, the whole building would collapse taking you with it.”

Suddenly, there’s a sparkle around all the robbers within the bank, they seem to vanish, only to reappear restrained with some kind of weird carbon crystal fiber bonds. They all were totally mind blown when they realized they weren’t … where they thought they should have been, but instead were restrained in the middle of a massive collection of well armed police. The Commissioner's eyebrows went up in surprise at the collection of perpetrators as many of the hostages began to file out of the bank in a confused daze, slowly, one at a time.

“This is Michelle Delaney, It seems the Wisp has once again performed one of his super deeds …. right here on live Action News …”

Michelle managed to leave the bank, totally unobserved in all the confusion created by my actions.

As police officers took the would-be robbers into custody, Reynolds looked at me and said, “OK, maybe we do have a … well, a superhero in this town. Thank you … Wisp, was it? … for resolving this situation with no loss of life.” He shook my hand.

“Just doing my civic duty, Sir,” I said. “Most of the time the Metro Police are more than capable of handling the situation, but this one was far from routine … there was the potential for a tragedy here. They really did have enough explosives to bring the building down. Send the bomb squad to search the building, you’ll see I’m right. Their detonator is still in there; I didn’t do anything to it because I know you’ll need it for evidence. But they won’t be setting it off.”

“You got them all?” he asked. “You didn’t miss any?”

“Well, there’s currently no one in that building other than your officers,” I said. “That’s all I can tell you -- at this point the evidence and testimony can tell you more than I can. But for now, I have to go. Nothing personal, but I hope I don’t have to see you again for a while -- that would mean another big one like this.” I vanished.

He looked around, saw no sign of me, then looked down and saw a small pile of unfired bullets on the pavement. He picked one up and looked at it thoughtfully.

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By the time the huge Aircraft landed, Colonel Charles was totally paranoid. He knew in his soul something was totally wrong. The clincher was when the Military Staff Car pulled up to the VIP egress point and a full Mess Dress second lieutenant got out of the driver's seat, and opened the rear door.

The Lt. stood at perfect attention while the Steward from the aircraft escorted the colonel and his wife to the car. The placard on the front and the flags on the bumpers, showed one bright silver star. The Colonel stopped and looked the flag and placard over carefully.

He said to the driver, “This is totally the wrong car. Are we picking up another passenger? I’m a Colonel, not a general.”

The only response he got, was a very proper military one, “Sir, with all due respect, I was dispatched from General Young’s office to pick you and your wife up and take you to the Hotel.” He finished aiding Gloria into the car, shut the door, then went to the other side of the vehicle and opened that door.

The trip to the hotel was rather quick, considering where it was located. They were greeted at the front by several over eager bellboys. Each seemed to be competing to see who could get more done the fastest.

They entered the room finally. It was the Imperial Penthouse Suite. Gloria gasped, wide eyed with shock as we entered the palatial opulence of the room’s foyer. Gloria looked around in wide eyed amazement, then turned to the Colonel and said, “Henry? Think you could tell me exactly what’s going on? One night in this place is more than your pay voucher for a year.”

Henry looked around. Another Bellhop entered the room with a rollaway rack. On it, was hung a brand new Mess Dress Uniform for the Colonel, with no rank insignias, and a very elegant evening dress for Gloria.

The hop said, “Please come this way, Madam, you have to dress and be ready in the next 30 minutes.” he bowed gracefully, “And you, sir, do not put any rank insignias on that uniform. I will escort you to the front and the flagpole to await your transportation.”

Henry couldn’t get any further information from the Bellhop. He resigned to dress in the monkey suit. Finally, he and Gloria were dressed, and the Hop escorted her off to another awaiting limousine, while another second Lieutenant arrived in a staff car and drove the more than paranoid Colonel to his final destination … The White House.

Once the lieutenant opened the door, the pomp and circumstance began. The Colonel was whisked along, until a familiar door was opened for him, the door to the President’s Oval Office.

The president approached Henry, shook his hand and said, “Congratulations. It is with the greatest pride I convey on you, General ... the leadership of a brand new Military branch.” He paused for effect, “The United States Space Defense Force.”

With this pronouncement, his boss, General Young, followed by General Phillips, and General Cavender entered the room and seated themselves at the table. The President acknowledged each of them, shaking their hands.

“This is probably quite a surprise for you, Henry,” said General Young, “but the fact is, that right now, the only people who know about this are inside this room, so of course it is. The point is, after what you reported, well … it’s happened.”

“We’ve been expecting something like this might happen for some time,” said General Phillips. “And, well … it finally did. We saw your reports. All the top brass did.”

“All those UFO sightings and whatnot over the years,” said General Cavender, “and your post blows them all out of the water. It’s the only credible evidence of true extraterrestrial activity -- of course, a lot of those civilian sightings resulted from our mistakes. Experimental aircraft gone wrong, top-secret missions that would’ve been a national embarrassment if the truth got out … then there are the fads and crazes that we’ve got nothing to do with.” He sighed. “Some people will believe everything and jump at their own shadows. But this … this is big, and this is for real.”

“I … well, I totally agree, Sir,” said Colonel Charles. “In fact, I have more to report …”

“Just a moment, Henry,” said the President. “There’s some ceremony to get past before we get down to business.” He picked up a dark blue box decorated with the embossed Great Seal of the United States. “There are moments in history when exceptional officers are called upon to do even more exceptional tasks. This is one of those moments. The plans for this moment were laid starting in the final days of World War II under President Roosevelt, but under Truman’s direction they were refined. All we need is someone to lead the new Space Defense Force. That leader should come from its nearest analogue, the Air Force. He should already know about the situation at hand. He should be the one with the most experience with it. He should have the confidence of his commanding officers. Henry Charles … you are that man.” He opened the box, which contained two brigadier general’s insignia.

General Young rose and stood on the other side of Charles. The President and Young pinned the single shiny silver stars on each of his shoulder boards. “General Charles,” said the President, “your country needs you.” Then both men saluted Charles sharply, of course, the new General Charles returned it promptly.

“Congratulations, Henry,” said General Young, shaking his hand, “Couldn’t happen to a better guy. But let’s talk business.”

“I don’t know what to say,” said Charles. “Thank you, Generals, Mr. President -- I will do my utmost to protect the United States from the threats we know are out there, and prepare for the ones we don’t know about.” He sat down at the table, as did everyone else after shaking the other two general’s hands.

“Now, we all saw your reports,” said the President, “so do you think they represent a threat, then?”

“I’ve learned more,” Charles said, “very recently. I had scheduled a meeting to present the information in person -- because certain people must know of this first. I mean, of course, everyone in this room.” He took a breath. “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that there are extraterrestrial and even extradimensional threats to the USA and to the Earth right now. The good news is that the Earth doesn’t stand alone against them.”

“Our enemies have enemies?” asked Phillips.

“Exactly,” said Charles. He told them about the League. “This League opposes oppression, cruelty, and needless violence and seeks to promote justice, liberty and peace -- and has apparently done so for an unimaginably long time. Or so they claim. They aren’t necessarily our allies, but they are on our side.”

“You’ve … met them?” asked the President. “Why haven’t they come here? To Washington, I mean?”

“I’ve met one of them,” Charles said. “The Earth has a … delegate, I suppose. An Agent of the League. He’s a human calling himself ‘The Wisp’ … and they chose him. That seems to be how the League works. We don’t choose someone; they do. Someone who they sense has integrity, determination, whatever they think they need.”

“Well, if you can get in touch with this League, tell them that we want to open diplomatic relations,” said the President. “We need all the allies we can get. Everyone out there is far more advanced than we are, and we have a lot of catching up to do.”

“That’s one of the reasons why the League now has an Agent here,” said Charles. “They take a dim view of people who take advantage of less-developed worlds. I’ll pass that message along, though, next time I make contact with this Agent.”

“All right, then,” said the President. “This ‘Wisp’ sounds like he’s taking a page from the superhero comics -- probably not unwise, since it’s an archetype our culture can easily understand. But he also doesn’t seem eager to make his connection to extraterrestrial powers public. That also sounds wise. If we spin him as a superhero, our enemies won’t necessarily make the connection. They might underestimate him and make tactical errors -- just what we want.”

“Now, as for our enemies,” said Charles. “What we detected appears to be some form of dimensional gate -- this is bad; they appear to be able to use it to move troops and vehicles instantly to any point they want. The only way to defend against this is to be vigilant and ready to move at all times. Currently.”

“Currently?” asked General Cavender.

“This Space Defense Force plan,” Charles asked, “does it come with a research budget?”

“A substantial one,” the President answered.

“Some kind of preventive measure against those dimensional portals would be the number one research priority, then,” said Charles. “I’m no theoretical physicist, but it has to be easier to stop those portals from forming than it is to make one appear. The farther from Earth we can make them pop out of their gopher holes, the more time we have to shoot ‘em down. And the farther out in space we get them, the less collateral damage there is.”

“What about defending against their weaponry?” asked General Young.

“Obviously that’s going to be the number two priority,” answered Charles. “The problem is that there seems to be quite a variety of advanced weapons that we don’t have defenses against. We figure out how to block a banana, someone comes at us with a bunch of loganberries.” General Cavender chuckled darkly at the Monty Python reference. “That’s going to be an ongoing research project.”

“We’d kind of thought the enemy would come from, well, space,” said Phillips. “Now there are these portal things. They can appear right on the ground.”

“Some of them can,” Charles said. “Apparently there’s quite a variety. If I’ve got spacecraft, I’m probably going to need them.”

“Oh, you’ve got spacecraft,” said the President. “And now that the plan’s been activated, more are on the way.”

“Excellent,” said Charles. “I suppose, then, that the first thing I need to do is start recruiting. I assume I can recruit from the other armed forces?”

“Affirmative,” said Young.

“Good. I’ll need pilots, of course, but also staff, logistics, detection, engineers …” The planning continued and went late into the night.

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Michelle sat at the editing table. She downloaded through the WiFi connection, all the video and sounds from the bank hold up her devise had made. Her news editor watched it on the screen with his mouth open in wonder.

He said with excitement in his voice, “Miss Delany, how in this earth did you ever get this footage? It’s exclusively ours. No one else managed to get close enough to even see the perps when they were arrested.”

She giggled, “I have a … superhero for a boyfriend. With his help, I can get some of the most wonderful news stories ever.”

The editor looked at Michelle for an instant with a concerned expression, “Only thing, what would have happened if they saw you? Weren’t you afraid you might get hurt … or killed?”

Michelle cut her eyes towards him, “Not really. If I thought about something like that, I wouldn’t be one of the best Live Action Investigative Reporters on the air.”

The editor nodded. “That, I have to admit. Your footage and stories are always top of the wire. Especially this one. That new hero … the Wisp. No one else has even gotten close enough to one of his actions to film it. We have the top ratings, and this story will put us way over the top.” He tapped the very expensive diamond bracelet on her left arm, “And … what kind of news is this … hummm?”

Michelle blushed slightly, “I … have a new friend. He gave it to me.”

The editor nodded knowingly, “That might actually be the story of the century. I’m surprised that Debbie hasn’t been bothering you for an interview.”

“I’m sure she will, for her celebrity segments,” Michelle agreed, as she thought to herself, ‘Story of the century? There’s more truth in that than you could possibly know.’ About that time, the editor saw the footage of the men … just materializing in the midst of the officers.

“What th-” said the editor. “Run that back -- if I didn’t know you better I’d think you doctored that with CGI effects.”

Michelle played it again. Once again, the bank robbers materialized with a flash among the surprised police officers, who hurriedly subdued and handcuffed the, um, suspects. Innocent until proven guilty, folks. Yeah, they totally did it, though. I was there.

“OK, well, I’m guessing that was the doing of the Wisp?”

“You guessed right,” Michelle answered. “He pulled them out before they could activate their explosives, when they found out that their guns weren’t working. I suppose he could’ve just taken their guns away, but they might’ve resorted to beating up the hostages, or maybe gone for the explosives anyway.”

“Why didn’t he … teleport the robbers out right at the start?” the editor asked.

“I’m not sure,” Michelle admitted. “I’m guessing he needed time to make sure which ones were bank robbers and which ones weren’t, and he wanted to get them all out at once so they didn’t have time to react. Or maybe he wanted to make an impression on Commissioner Reynolds. Or maybe he wanted to make sure he could protect people from their guns before doing anything else? But I’m just guessing.”

“If you’re on speaking terms with the Wisp, you could, I don’t know, interview him and ask him all these great questions,” suggested the editor.

“My thought exactly! But there wasn’t really a reason to interview him before now. Nobody knew he even existed.”

“Well, they do now. We’re getting calls asking whether we’re going to do a story on him. That hasn’t happened since that one woman had septuplets.” He got a faraway look in his eyes. “Oh, the ratings we got.”

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General Charles finally arrived back at his room from the conference at the Oval Office. It was very late, or very early depending on one’s perspective. His wife opened the door all big eyed and mind blown. She said, “I … I’m … part of the General’s wives auxiliary. Henry? Is it true? Are you now a … General?”

Henry smiled as he hugged Gloria, “It’s not only true, I’ve been given my own command. It’s called the United States Space Defense Force. I … have been given a huge responsibility.”

Gloria blinked several times before she squeaked joyously and hugged Henry. She said excitedly, “If anyone has worked hard enough to deserve it … it’s you.” She kissed him as they hugged.

There was a bright blue/white flash. Gloria saw a helmeted man in a sparkling black battle uniform standing in the middle of the large room.

She pointed, “Henry? Wh … who … or what … is that?”

Henry patted Gloria on her shoulder as he said, “It’s … the first superhero this world has ever known. His name is Wisp. One of those things you know about, but don’t talk about.”

Gloria nodded as she approached the stranger in black. She held out her hand and said, “Welcome to earth. I hope you don’t find us … too disappointing.”

I said softly, “Thank you, ma'am. Only … I’m as human as you and was even born across town at the Good Heart Hospital.” as I gently took her hand for an instant.

Henry said, “I suppose you already know about what happened to me?”

I replied, “I … am sort of responsible for it, if I’m not mistaken. I need to talk with you about plans to handle this mess.”

Henry asked, “What do you have in mind?”

I told him about my fears of this earth being the next battle ground. I also told him about the strange beings that are the actual issue. Henry listened with total astonishment.

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In a place beyond anything that could be thought of as a place, beings that were far Older than the current collection of universes and were on a level beyond anything man could ever imagine, were having a … gathering. They were discussing their prized League.

The new threat was above anything the League had faced before. These new attacking beings were as powerful as League Agents, and had ideas of eradicating all the Omniverse and remaking it in their own way. They were also learning fast how to divest. This could not be allowed.

The beings discussed a new and better devise for their League Agent armadas. As it stood now, the League could possibly put up a magnificent fight, but the new beings were as powerful as they so the upgrade was necessary. The beings worried over the upgrades mightily, they knew that this kind of power would in effect make the League Agents perhaps as powerful as they themselves. Careful thought had to go into its making.

A strange being in a dark cloak drifted gracefully into the circle. It threw back its hood to reveal a very pretty female of bright red skin. She said softly, “I am a Phosian. I have just come from Earth. From what I’m understanding, the agent has inducted … another into the League.”

A bright holo-cloud appeared with Michelle’s face all over it. It even showed the device creating a battle suit for her as she went into action. There was a buzz of some kind of energy transfer among the beings as they watched her bravery under fire.

One of them replied, “It is acceptable to us, that this Earth / Human become a full fledged Agent of the League. Earth will need all the help it can get.”

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Michelle gasped loudly as her devise began to send electrical tingles all through her body. It began to automatically upgrade to full potential. An electronic click happened in her mind … like a communications channel had opened. A non-gender specific voice said, “This is Admin Weapon’s Control, weapon’s neural Admin access now fully enabled. Device is on full manual neural admin control.”

The editor looked at Michelle in askance as she put her hands to her temples in total disbelief. Her device's A. I. then told her the exact same thing that Randy was told when he was given full control of his weapon. Michelle was now, a full fledged Agent of the League.

“Is everything OK, Miss Delaney?” the editor asked.

“Uh -- fine, fine, Mr. Bradford,” she said, trying to recover. “I just had … a wonderful idea for a story. Just wait. You’re gonna love it.” She got up from the editing desk. “I gotta go. The bank robbery story’s … done. I’ll be back, call me if you need me.” She stepped out of the editing room and into the hallway, looked left and right to make sure no one was around, and thought about her office … and instantly she was there.

“Oh wow,” she said quietly. “Wow wow wow. Um … Randy. Gotta talk to Randy.”

“Hello, Michelle,” said Randy’s voice within her mind. “Everything OK?”

“The … the device,” she said, “it’s fully enabled. Isn’t this what you told me yours said when …”

“... when I got full control over it! Michelle, do you know what this means? It means you’ve been admitted to the League! A full Agent! I didn’t anticipate this happening -- well, someday, but definitely not so quickly. On the other hand --” I had a suspicion.

“What?”

“Usually the League keeps it to one Agent per world,” I said, “and actually if you ask your device, it’ll tell you the same now. They wouldn’t activate two Agents on the same world unless …”

“... unless something really big was up,” she finished for me. “So … it’s a huge honor, but it means we’ve got our work cut out for us.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Where this is gonna go, I have no idea.”

“Where are you?”

“Washington,” I said. “I’m talking to General Charles.”

“General? I thought you told me he was a colonel,” Michelle said.

“He was, but he got a promotion. The USA has a space defense force now. I think it’s gonna need it, too. Anyway, we can meet … well, literally anywhere for dinner.”

“I’d say Alfredo’s in New York City, but I don’t think even superpowers can get us a reservation there on such short notice,” she chuckled.

“Well, I’m in Washington … I hear the Tabard Inn is good. You can meet me … well anytime and anywhere, really. You didn’t have to ask me where I was just now. League Agents’ devices are linked. We could see where all the League Agents in the omniverse were, right now, if we wanted … though our human brains would probably have a bit of trouble understanding exactly how the dimensional coordinates worked, for the ones in other dimensions. Still, it’s probably considered good form to have a good reason for dropping in on another Agent … and to let them know you’re coming in advance so they don’t shoot you. That’s why I haven’t visited any other Agents, and probably why none of them have visited me yet.”

“You’re talking to the general with half of your brain, aren’t you? This half is rambling on,” Michelle giggled at me mentally, which feels wonderful inside my mind, by the way. “The Tabard Inn is a great idea -- I’ve been there, and it is terrific. As you might imagine, I go to DC a lot, as a reporter. Omigosh!”

“What?” I asked. I thought something had happened to her.

“I just realized I won’t have to fly in an airplane anymore! No more customs, no more security, no more cramped seats … wow.”



Michelle and I checked out some of those dimensional incursion points that I’d detected earlier. Since three of them were in countries that weren’t on good terms with the USA, she and I each took one of those, and when we communicated with Lothacann he agreed to check the third one. I’d told General Charles about them, and he said he’d send teams to the other three, the ones that were in places where American forces would be welcome. To make a long story short, none of them seemed to be Goethi in origin, two of them were points where Phosians had departed from Earth, and the third … was something else, a mystery we wouldn’t understand until later.

“What is this? I don’t understand,” said Lothacann, scanning the center of the disturbance with a machine he had brought with him.

“It looks like … a footprint,” I said.

“Or … an egg?” said Michelle.

The thing dimly glowed a bluish white color and was shaped like a rounded-edged box, with three spherical projections on top -- those were why I said it looked like a footprint, because those looked like toes to me. I asked the League device about it, and it told me little.

“Apparently the League’s only seen anything with this shape and energy signature once before,” I said, “but only briefly -- it disappeared and it was never explained.”

“It is emitting a very strong signature,” Lothacann said, and we all agreed. “But it is not a signal, and it doesn’t seem to be damaging.”

“What if we touch it?” asked Michelle, and before anyone could stop her she reached out and put the palm of her hand on the topmost orb for a moment. That orb’s glow turned slightly pinkish while she was in contact with it, but then it went back to its previous bluish white. “Hmm. It doesn’t seem to be doing very much.”

“I’m not sure it’s a threat, then,” I said. “We might want to see if we can move it -- the only other option is to leave it here, and it will only be a matter of time before the North Korean guards check out this supply room in their main military headquarters.” I tried to think of a better place for it to be, like, say, the middle of the gallery in the art museum back home, but before I could try to teleport it there, it sparkled, flashed, and vanished.

“Oh … kay,” said Michelle. “I guess that’s not a problem anymore.”

After a moment of checking, we all found that the dimensional disturbance had gone with it. “Well, I guess we’re done here,” I said. “Lothacann, it was good to see you again, and good luck. Let us know if you discover any sign of the Goethi returning.”

“Of course. Peace be with you,” he said, and jumped upward and through the ceiling somehow with his flight suit. He can somehow phase through matter. Phosian technology.

Of course, when we got home, Michelle heard through the grapevine about a mysterious new exhibit at the city art museum that was puzzling the art experts. Not a bad place for it -- security guards watching it 24/7, lots of visitors seeing it during the day, but it was open to the public in case we wanted to look at it more.

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In another dimensional plain, many strangely colored and oddly shaped humanoids readied what appeared to be a large treaded well armed snowmobile like war machine. A short distance away, their reality seemed to change. A portal resembling a pool of sparkling water opened, and the vehicle trundled in, the portal closed and reality returned to normal.

A blue/white flash happened exactly as reality normalized. The individual looked at his left wrist for a minute. This person was obviously a League Agent, but not Human. He had many humanoid characteristics, but some other kind of creature was predominantly in the genetics. He searched the area thoroughly, then vanished once again after finding the trail he followed.

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I looked at Michelle and said over our link, “Now that’s over with, what you say we have a bit of dinner?”

Michelle replied, “I still think Tabard Inn is a wonderful place for dinner.”

“Great,” I said with a smile as I held my left hand out to her. “I’ll pay.” In my palm appeared many, one ounce solid gold coins in a neat roll.

Michelle said softly, “That’s a neat trick. Now I know how you did that thing with the waiter. I was really impressed with you over that.”

I smiled, “I’m sure that now your glove is unlocked, you can do this too. All it takes is practice.”

Michelle nodded, “I also found out, our powers seem to control elementals and plasmas. Mine, is of course, a different adaptation than yours. I have those neat sparkly tornadoes.” she giggled.

I nod, “That was rather … impressive. I’m sure those Goethi wished they hadn’t trifled with us … or the Wisp.”

Michelle echos “The Wisp.” in a breathy sort of dreamy voice. What if I become The Wish?”

I nod, “Sure … a hope for a peaceful future, a better tomorrow, a promise that the world will be better than it is now.”

Michelle whispered, “Wisp and Wish …. has a nice … ring to it?”

I smiled again, then we find ourselves dressed in very nice formal wear, standing outside the door to the Tabard Inn. We had a reservation, and not because of using any superpowers -- Michelle had simply called earlier. It was delicious, suffice it to say.

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Now, you’re probably wondering what went on during my meeting with General Charles. Well, I can’t tell you absolutely everything; some of it is still classified. Not that I’m bound by the rules of the US military, but on the one hand, I do want to continue working with them to defend the Earth, so I want to respect their rules, and on the other hand, some of the things he told me would compromise Earth’s defenses if they fell into enemy hands. Even now, as I write this years later, there are some things I shouldn’t put in here. So I’ll just leave those parts out.

The rest … well, the point is, the US Space Defense Force was only getting started, and it was already pretty impressive. All those top-secret US Air Force experimental craft that kept getting mistaken for UFOs -- no, they weren’t based on alien technology, at least not at that time; it was all made right here. But they didn’t want the tech they were developing to fall into anyone else’s hands, not even our allies, because allies can become enemies; you never know. So it’s no wonder that the Air Force had aerospace tech that they weren’t publicly using and weren’t telling anyone about -- the whole goal was to keep it a secret, in case we needed to take an enemy by surprise with it.

So, yeah, General Charles told me about the secret space launch platforms and the secret satellites -- most of which are public knowledge now.

“We can get 100 craft into orbit right now, if we need to,” he said, “and we’re already working on increasing that capacity. We’re also working on orbital factories, but of course we’d have to get raw materials from somewhere. Luckily there’s a lot of space junk to recycle -- a lot of the time it’s moving too quickly to capture, but we’re working on that too.”

“I … think I could actually help with that,” I said. I thought about it, and I could just see how to grab passing pieces of space debris and dead satellites with the League weapon, bringing them in for disassembly and recycling. Even if it was traveling at 10 miles per second relative to me, I could still seize and hold onto it. I’m not sure about an asteroid, though.

“Well, we’ll let you know once the factories come online,” said Charles. “For now, you said something about terrestrial targets?”

“Yes, I sent you the coordinates -- we’ve discreetly investigated the points in China, North Korea and Iran. Two of them were departure points -- aliens who left from here to go somewhere else, not intrusions -- and the third is, well, not a threat, but I’m not sure what it was. It’s gone now, or at least moved.”

“We’ve got units en route to the three in the Yukon, Scotland and South Africa,” said Charles. “Their governments were willing to let small groups in to investigate, but they insisted on sending their own people along, which is understandable. They might not be threats, as you said, but … they want to know if aliens are invading their country, of course.”

I thought about the orbital platforms. With my new battle suit, I was actually able to function normally in a vacuum free fall environment. And very way Far better than any Space Suited Human ever could. I also had an advantage most didn’t … the glove. It would be an easy thing to reconstitute asteroids into … other things. I knew I had a planetary sized energy source in the radiation belts surrounding earth. The little bit of energy I would require, would be insignificant. Besides, the radiation belts were all constantly resupplied with massive amounts of energy. Both from frictional excitation caused by the atmosphere, superfluid magnetics created by the super hot planetary core, and from radiation hitting them from the cosmos.

As I thought about it, I was given an image of a carbon 64 molecule and a diamond molecule. Another image showed that since both were carbon, how diamond could be reworked into a far stronger material than any known to earth technology. It was a vastly more sturdy molecule that looked structurally very similar to the C64 molecule, but with strength and heat resistance that earth would think of as indestructible for many years to come. The process to create it was complicated, but I knew we had the technology and the expertise to do it.

I said thoughtfully to the General, “What would you say to me helping you … manufacture a sheeting many times stronger and lighter than current titanium reactive armor for the hulls of your space vehicles and massively more heat resistant than any material known to earth?”

The General replied, “Show me …”

The lesson began with my device opening its holo-cloud screen. Then, the schematics and molecular breakdowns showed … along with more information on manufacture and processing than General Charles could possibly understand.

“OK, then, well, I’m not a metallurgist, but I can show a tape of that to the brainy types, and they can see what they can do with it,” Charles said. “I do know that light, strong hull plating is one of the holy grails of the research the lab folks are working on right now. Thanks, kid!”

“Well, I didn’t make it up or anything,” I said, “but the database I’m hooked up to wouldn’t have let me show it to you if it were so far beyond our science that we wouldn’t have been able to even comprehend it. It’s funny that way.”

“Wouldn’t be any use to defending Earth if we couldn’t even get past square one, I guess,” said the general. “Anything you can show me about blocking those dimensional portal or rift whatevers?”

“Let me see,” I said. I got images of multiple layers of matter and energy in different intersecting dimensions, but when I tried to even think about it, I couldn’t form a coherent thought, let alone put it into words. “Sorry, General,” I said. “I think that one’s just too far beyond us at present. Still, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Maybe I can liberate some tech from one of our attackers, and we can, as they say, repurpose it.”

“I hope so,” said the general. “But that’ll have to wait until you find something to liberate.”

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In another dimension beyond Earth’s understanding, a League Agent met up with the strange Snowcat looking war machine he had been tracking. Massive amounts of energy exploded across the alien landscape as the two fought. The agent held his own and the war machine took massive damage, then exploded spectacularly in a large pyrotechnical plasma ball.

Without warning, reality split and … something unknown to the League stepped through the jagged rent. The being was massively powerful. The ensuing battle was super spectacular as most of the planet they were on suffered tremendous damage and was laid waste. Both tossed around energies beyond comprehension. The League Agent jumped through a dimensional gate after taking much damage and injury to his person.

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Michelle sat on her sofa and played with her new internet connection the device afforded her. Because of the omnidirectional interphasic nature of the energy being used at that moment, the injured Agent’s device locked on and delivered him to her feet.

There was a large, bright blue/white flash and a … badly injured humanoid appeared, then crumpled in front of her. She gasped in fear at first until she realized this humanoid was a fellow Agent … and, although he was obviously not human, he was very seriously injured.

Michelle sent an urgent message through the link, “ Randy! I have a real ... issue and need you!” I could feel the utter urgency through the link.

The general noticed the slight daze that came over Wisp for a moment as Michelle’s intensity through her link showed. He asked, “Is … there a problem?”

My eyes focused on the General, and I replied, “Not really sure. Wish just sent an urgent message for me. I … have to go for a bit. I will arrange for another meeting with you shortly to see if there is more tech I might be able to help earth with.”

There was a bright blue/ white flash, and the Wisp vanished from the general’s room. General Charles shook his head. If only he could get just a small part of that tech for his Unit. He then smiled, because he actually had two. Now he knew about … The Wish.

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Michelle’s living room materialized around me, and I saw the supine figure on the floor. Just as Michelle had, I Just Knew that this person was a fellow League Agent and that he was not in good shape. “Oh no!” I said. “How can we save him?” Of course, Michelle had already asked that question, and her device had already undertaken the task of answering it.

“OK … what’s it doing?” she asked, as her device had materialized as a globe of pulsating green energy around her hand and began bathing the Agent in a similarly green light.

“It’s … putting him in an emergency medical stasis field,” I said, saying something that I had just found out. “I guess no time is passing for him right now, so he won’t die of his wounds while I … do what? Oh. I go get help.”

Now, before this moment I’d never left Earth before, but, I was just about to get a bit of confirmation that the technology I wielded was far, far beyond anything developed by the Goethi, Phosians, or anyone else I’d encountered so far. From my point of view Michelle’s house disappeared around me, replaced by something I couldn’t even fully experience. I saw myself in a place with white floors and paths twisting in all directions, a light blue sky in the distance. There were … beings of all types following the paths, going in different ways, and there was no consistent definition of up or down -- or any other direction -- my feet felt as if gravity were oriented down toward the path I was standing on, but not far away a dark blue centaur-like being was walking up what looked like a wall to me, gravity holding it at right angles to the direction in which I was standing.

“Excuse me, Agent, but am I correct in asking you about a distress call?” said a voice. I turned, and there stood a yellow and white fish-like entity, speaking to me. I Just Knew that this person was a League Agent -- in fact, everyone here was. “Ah yes, Agent Randy Neiss of the planet … Earth. I see that you have never been to any part of Headquarters before. Well, then, welcome to the medical wing. You are probably a bit disoriented. This space is fractal, just slightly more than the three-dimensional space you’re used to. Many Agents are confused the first time they come here. But for now, please show me to the injured Agent. It extended a fin, which was actually at the end of a retractable tentacle.

Taking its fin in my hand, I said, “Yes, Agent Pl’boolu, if you’ll just come with me …” I imagined Michelle’s home again, directing my device to take me there, and … we were there.

“Ah, three dimensions, how limiting,” said Pl’boolu, still hovering three feet above the floor. “But I can make do. The patient is in a stasis field -- good, good, that means I have time to prepare. But please be ready to release the field when I say, so I can begin the healing process.” It was bringing various devices here using its own League weapon/device, and I Just Knew that these floating metallic objects were medical instruments of one kind or another.

I then looked down at the Agent on the floor. He was Agent Ligamondes, from a world called Eunemone, and his tall, slender frame with four agile arms suggested that his planet had lower gravity than Earth. His partly reflective silvery skin was probably an indication that his star was brighter than Earth’s Sun. And the awful gashes and contusions on his body, leaking a translucent bluish substance that I assumed was his blood, were a definite sign that whatever he had been doing, he had been facing truly terrible opposition. My device indicated that he was alive, if only barely, and if there weren’t hope for Ligamondes, why would Pl’boolu be preparing for an operation rather than a funeral?

Michelle and I watched as Pl’boolu arranged the many strange devices according to its … appendages.

Pl’boolu said, “Release him from stasis so I can operate.”

Michelle released Ligamondes from the stasis field. It was immediately obvious that he would have died already if she hadn’t placed him in. We watched in total fascination and awe as Pl’boolu proceeded with the highest tech surgery the two of us had ever seen. Within a few minutes, all the horrible injuries had been repaired and the bleeding had been stopped.

Pl’boolu said, “There, that should do it. I will need to take him back to the med unit for observation for a bit, but, other than that, he should be alright thanks totally to you …” he looked at Michelle, “Agent Michelle Delaney of Earth. I want you to know, that you are doing a wonderful job.” he turned to me, “You as well, Agent Randy Niess of Earth. I must be going now, I do have a patient to care for.”

There is a bright blue/white flash and we are once again alone in Michelle’s home.

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In another location within the League’s Headquarters, Several large blue/white flashes occurred. The Agents in that particular location stood in total awe as several beings beyond their understanding had arrived. Their appearance was like a large, energy filled plasma being. All recognized them as the ones who had originally created the battle devices, and founded the League.

One of the beings said in their enigmatic ethereal voice, “We have come to give you new abilities.”

Agent Uluooom from the M’kloona dimension asked, “We … need new abilities? I learn new ones almost every time I use this thing.” He held up his … arm with the device attached.

The being replied, “You are about to face an enemy beyond your current comprehension. They are more powerful than you can imagine, and they are almost ready to divest. This action would make them as powerful as we … and their design on the Omniverse is total destruction.”

There is a loud gasp as a large holo cloud appeared and displayed the battle between Agent Ligamondes and one of the new enemies. The battle was truly spectacular as Ligamondes did his very best to defeat the new threat. It was most fortunate that the meeting had happened on an uninhabited planet. What was left of it by the time Ligamondes had to flee because of his injuries, was almost totally destroyed.

Agent Yolukon from Anheuser Gate Nebula said, “We … are going to be even more powerful than … that?” a murmur rounded the Agents standing there looking at the holo-cloud images.

The being turned and said in his ethereal voice, “You will be as powerful as we after this upgrade.”

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I shook my head as I said to Michelle, “I think there’s a lot of things we don’t know. Especially after watching that surgery. If I didn’t know better, I would swear …”

I never got to finish my comment as both of us were instantly transported to somewhere our minds didn’t comprehend. There were several beings there that we both knew … obviously weren’t even … flesh, to put it mildly.

“Agents, we apologize,” said a voice inside both our minds, and I suspect inside the minds of every League Agent there -- because I suspect that was exactly what was happening; every League Agent was there. “We assure you that we would not call you all here were the situation not the direst ever faced since our League’s creation.”

“We are already sensing the thoughts of some of you -- in such a dire situation, is it wise for all Agents to be in the same place at once? Are you not vulnerable? This is why we are not at League HQ but in a temporarily-created pocket dimension in which time does not flow the same way. As long as we keep this brief, no one outside the League will be aware of your absence at all. And this communication is by thought alone and is thus near instantaneous.”

“We are here because the Agents of the League will need extra power to take on the threat that faces us all. Without further ado, we will upgrade your League Utility Units.”

I looked at my hand. The device on it appeared, but in this space, I suspected that I was seeing it more as what it truly was -- parts of the glove were shifting into and out of view, showing me glimpses of the many normally invisible dimensions in which it truly existed. I saw incredibly intricate electronics, delicately woven streams of spacetime, submicroscopic wormhole networks, entire micro-universes built into one device.

And then it got better.

Space and time as we know it, you see, make up our entire universe, but that lies within a larger continuum, which the League tends to call the Omniverse, or some word that translates into that in English, at least. The Omniverse has its own laws of physics and its own sense of location in its space and time -- such as it is. Keep in mind that it’s way more complicated than I even know how to describe. Anyway, all that extra stuff that I could now see for the first time … well, that was the last time I saw it, too. It was like someone had opened my car’s hood and replaced the engine with something the size of a grain of sand that worked even better … then filled the rest of the space under the hood with more sand, each grain of which had more power than my engine did to start with. The glittering, flickering internal structure of the machinery in the glove … gave way to something that was just more complex than I could even begin to understand.

Have you ever heard of Graham’s Number? It’s the largest number ever used in a true mathematical proof, I read once. Imagine multiplying a number by itself, then imagine multiplying it by itself as many times as that number is large, then doing that that many times, then doing that that many times … up to as many times as the number is large … then doing all of that that many times … then doing everything that has gone before that many times … all right, you get the idea. The number is so large that we don’t have a means of expressing it. And what just happened inside the glove was that kind of escalation. It was beyond everything.

And from the gasps of everyone nearby, it was beyond what everyone there had ever even imagined in their wildest dreams. Some of them were from civilizations that were far more advanced than ours. Layers and layers of complex spherical shells with seating for billions, the biggest arena in history, erected for a nanosecond of external time to perform this one act, and filled with astonished beings from every corner of every universe. All of them looking at this amazing thing happening on their hand, or tentacle, or symplectic energy pseudopod, or what have you.

And then several of us started to have the same thought, including myself and Michelle. We were being prepared to fight … something that required this amount of power to fight. What was it? What needs this much firepower?

“As the final modifications are completed,” said the voice again, “you are certainly questioning the nature of the enemy we face. We ourselves have little information. The Omniverse is infinite, unlike your various large-but-finite universes, and there will always be parts of it that we have never explored. This was certain to happen one day, and we regret that it is happening now, but what may have saved us is that we have had time to prepare. Whether it was enough time remains to be seen, but we are sure of one thing: you will do all you can, and that is all we can ask of you. We face beings with the ability to reshape universes, change their physical laws, remake space and time into whatever form best suits them. Their goals we can only guess, but our guess is that they intend to reshape every universe they encounter into their own image, colonizing and expanding, adding more and more universes to their empire of sameness until there is no force in existence that can stop them. Yes, there is no way of counting the number of deaths this will cause, or the number they have already caused, as universes themselves are changed beyond the parameters that will support the existing life in each. This is genocide on an unimaginable scale, and we must stop it.”

“Your devices will now be able to resist and repair this damage -- and more, much more. The only boundaries are the limits of your imaginations to create. We have not been idle; we have learned much since we founded the League. This technology was saved in case of this sort of emergency, and it turns out that it was wise to do this. Your devices will teach you what to do, as always. Everything you need, you now have. Agents, you are the Omniverse’s only hope. Good luck, and know that we will be there, and will help if possible.”

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Without warning, Michelle and myself found ourselves back in her livingroom. I looked down at my left hand. The sparkly crystalline glove seemed … different in appearance.

A now familiar click happened in my mind as the non-gender specific voice said softly, “I … am … different.” there was a feeling of confusion that flashed through me for an instant, “Forgive this unit. I will need to do a level omicron diagnostic. This will take a few hours due to the massive differences in my systems now.”

I asked, “Are you off line during this time?”

The AI replied, “Only the informational component, not the operational component. What it actually means is, I am now extremely more powerful than I can compute at the moment. I have also been given a huge amount of new data on a new life form that covers a part of the Omniverse none in our database have ever explored. I will need to assimilate all of it so I, in turn, can teach you to utilize the massive amounts of power now available to you.”

Michelle said in a small voice, “Randy? I think … we have trouble on the way.”

I looked at Michelle. She was so pretty. The only thing I could think of at that moment, was keeping her safe from whatever this new threat happened to be.

I should have been scanning the area. Perhaps we’d only been away for a nanosecond, but that’s all the time it takes for a rift to form. A green beam shot right through the building, disintegrating the rear wall and passing right through the front window, shattering brick, wood, and glass alike.

“What?” I said reflexively, ducking just as reflexively.

“It’s the Goethi!” said Michelle. “Why are we alive?” That was a valid question; we hadn’t raised our shields, not consciously anyway.

No information was forthcoming -- of course; the AIs in our devices were reindexing their databases or whatever. But that sure had looked like a beam from Goethi weapon.

Well, our shields were fully active now. We stood up and faced in the direction we thought the beam had come from. We were actually wrong about that; it was difficult to tell. Another beam lashed through the building, hitting us from behind. This did basically nothing to us, but it took out the refrigerator in Michelle’s kitchen.

“My house!” Michelle yelled.

“Now you’ve done it, Goethi!” I shouted at opponents I couldn’t yet see. “You have no idea how bad things look for you.” I flashed outside in the direction I now knew the beam had come from, and so did Michelle, who was standing right beside me. We both were now dressed in our sparkly black battle suits.

In the street in front of Michelle’s house stood a spherical craft on four landing pads with cannon-like weapons pointed straight at the house. The street was rapidly emptying of people, who were running or driving away as fast as they could. I could hear many screams and shouts as the people fled.

The weapons lowered to point directly at us. They fired again. Not that we could really feel it; it didn’t feel as if this was even taxing to our shields, now that they were so much more powerful.

“You destroyed my house!” Michelle shrieked at the vessel. “You won’t get away with this!” She reached skyward with one hand, and a bright beam of energy reached not up from her hand, but down from the sky, straight into the center of the spherical ship, or whatever it was. As the beam continued to radiate downward, a rapidly spinning energy tornado filled with electrical fire formed. The air around the spherical vessel started to spin and quickly accelerated, soon lifting the craft off the ground, which had it spinning just as quickly.

Unfortunately it still had its weapons. A green beam shot forth from the cannon, only, spinning as fast as the ship was, it turned into a slicing plane of destruction, cutting a wide swath into everything -- the buildings, the ground, trees, everything in sight. It was fortunate that all the unshielded humans had already evacuated. It was also fortunate that the ship was spinning -- because, unable to point at anything for any length of time, the cannon was only able to cut a short distance into any one thing. Still, there was a two-inch gash cut through everything in sight, and that would get deeper if nobody did anything.

Well, I wasn’t doing anything yet. I gestured at the edge of the ship from my point of view, where the cannon spun by many times per second. A huge bolt of lightning arced down from the sky -- only as a continuous strike, enormous amounts of electrical current flowed for several seconds. The cannon passed through it over and over and over, hundreds of times. The metal was white hot and molten in a fraction of a second, at which point it stopped firing, of course. Another fragmentary second and the metal had vaporized.

At a nearby retasked secret satellite observation center that was now headquarters for the new Space Defence Force, Lt. Quigley and Lt. Hendersen were going totally nuts as they watched the massively huge explosions of some kind of energy readings they had witnessed only once in their entire careers before spread across their instruments.

Hendersen said excitedly, “We have to contact the General. It’s … our new orders.”

Quigley nodded as he picked up a strange looking sparkling crystalline device, and pushed the center screen.

Within General Charles's pocket, that strange, flat, round object Wisp had given him began to pulse. He removed it from his pocket and looked at it for a moment. He really had no Idea how to make it work.

Within his mind, there was this loud click, Quigley’s voice was there and was speaking fast, and excitedly about some kind of seriously large energy discharge that appeared to be a mixture of weather, and some other kind of energy they had only seen once before, “It’s … it … it’s incredible, sir. I have never seen anything like it except once before. Only this time, there’s more energy here. There’s enough juice popping off to power the entire earth for centuries.”

General Charles thought back, “I’ll be there in a few hours. I’m in Washington right now. Make all the recordings you can … and one more thing … There’s a red spot on that same device you are talking to me on … push it, now.”

Quigley replied, “Yes sir!” There was another click … and the connection was broken.

Immediately, General Charles was on the phone. He contacted the commander of his newest space fleet, “George, I want all 100 of those weird bug looking things in the air and to these coordinates … yesterday!”

In a remote location in the midwest, the few people that happened to be nearby, watched in wide eyed, open mouthed amazement as they saw a large fleet of what many thought were flying saucers, lift off from an underground bunker, and flash to the sky in a roar of exotic engine designs, fire trails, and the wonderfully strange smells of similarly exotic fuels.

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Michelle gave her wrist a flick. The war machine was tossed haphazardously off and landed on its side. At that point, I pointed my finger at it and a large blue/green plasma ball flashed from my hand and impacted the craft. The machine took massive damage in a large, pyrotechnical explosion of plasma and electricity.

I had never before seen what happened next as all of reality seemed to … rip. It wasn’t anything like those shimmering pools of energy that the other portals I had seen looked like. This was like something had torn a piece of fabric, and reality was the fabric.

I’m not real sure what it was that stepped through the rip either, but I swear, I thought it was a demon. It somehow shielded the vehicle from the rest of my ongoing attack with something powerful beyond anything I knew. Then, both it and the machine vanished into the rip, which sealed, and reality returned to normal. My device's only explanation was that some sidereal dimensional creature had rescued the Goethi.

“Ugh, its database is still rebuilding,” I said. “Oh well, I guess we should try to rebuild and repair things.” I focused on a nearby water main, which I could sense was leaking water underground due to one of the Goethi cannon’s blasts. I reformed its metal outside and interior lining, and the leak stopped.

“So … were those the Goethi, then?” Michelle asked.

“Yes, I’m sure they were,” I said. “I sensed Goethi inside. Maybe I can’t get much data out of my device right now, but I remember what they look like from earlier. Looks like they aren’t after the Phosians now -- they’re out for revenge. On us.”

“Then what was that thing that saved them?” Michelle asked. She was patching up the bricks and windows of the houses that had been damaged -- including her own. “One of their allies? Or maybe -- some kind of beast of burden they have on their planet, like we have horses?”

“Or … something,” I said. “Maybe we can ask our devices about it, once they’re done with their database rebuild.” Live power lines rose into the air and knitted themselves seamlessly back together as I concentrated on making this happen.

My sensors detected a large contingent of … ships rapidly approaching our location from orbit. I didn’t recognize their designs, however my device did identify them as friendly. I heard the sonic booms and saw the fire trails as they rapidly reentered the atmosphere and approached us at hypersonic speeds. I knew also that General Charles was attempting to contact me. I could … feel the comm unit’s signal in my mind.

“This is Wisp, “ I replied to the signal. As usual, my device had monkeyed with my voice and made it sound really weird over the channel.

I heard an excited voice reply, “Whisp? You … you’re that … super hero dude?”

I laughed, “I suppose you could say that. What’s up? How may I be of service to the U.S. Air Force?”

Lt. Quigley stammered, “Oh … Uhhh … I mean, yea, we have just gotten some really nasty energy readings in town. General Charles told me to contact you and let you know. He’s sending everything we have to help.”

I looked up at the large group of … well, flying saucers? as they came to a hover above me and rapidly deployed into a fighting formation, “So I can see. Please give the General my thanks, but it was unnecessary at this time.”

Michelle came to my side and said softly, “Are those things ours?” She pointed up.

It was obvious now that the exotic aircraft were, in fact, ours as the large emblems of the USAF showed on the underside of the craft. Several of them broke formation and came to a hovering landing in the open area behind Michelle’s house.

I said through the link, “I guess we should go and do a bit of explaining to them, huh?”

Michelle asked, “Who’s gonna explain to us?”

I laughed, “Hopefully, some kind of answers will be forthcoming soon.” I then ported to the location where several of the bug-like ships had softly landed.


Close Ground Support Aircraft
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In a sidereal dimension, unknown to the League, a being was angrily admonishing a Goethi attack squad for their stupidity.

“ … and another thing, who told you to attack not one, but two League Agents? Have you totally lost your minds? Or is it that the Goethi are just genetically inferior and stupid and can’t understand what a superior enemy is?”

The Goethi Commander snapped back, “Those dirtbags destroyed one of our fast attack interdimensional squads. Not just any squad either, it had the most powerful weapon we ever invented with them, and it was lost too.”

The being’s voice became deep and resonate. The ground shook as the Goethi trembled in fear, “And who said you had the authority to talk to me in that tone?”

The Goethi leader was surrounded suddenly by massive energy bolts. He screamed in mortal pain. The spectacle lasted for an instant, then stopped. The commander crumpled to his knees. The rest of his men trembled in fear as they watched.

“I am leaving you and your squadron alive because you are useful to me,” said the shadowy being, “... for now. Our mission does not appear to have been compromised by your rash actions. But do not fail me again, or I will … find other tools.”

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“... So it appears that they either escaped or were rescued,” I was saying to the squadron commander, “but in any case, we had them on the ropes, and they retreated. For now.”

“Permission to examine the area, Sir?” she asked me, which took me by surprise, because I had no real military rank.

“Well, you don’t really have to ask me for permission to do anything -- I’m really just a, I guess you’d call me, a consultant?” I said. “But thank you for asking in any case. I think that it would be a good idea for you to do that, to help you guys recognize the signs of a dimensional rift in the future, and whatever else the lab folks can come up with.”

“Got it,” she said. “We were told by General Charles you are one of the high civilian commanders and to afford you that respect. Stokes, McPherson, you’re with me. The rest of you, covert mode.”

Two of the other pilots emerged from their aircraft, which closed their hatches behind them silently and lightlessly. Taking instruments of some sort from their backpacks, they grouped up with the commander and quietly advanced toward the area where the Goethi vessel had appeared. “So, the aliens, these Goethi, where did you see their ship again?” the commander whispered. We showed them, they took their readings, and I hoped the data they gathered was helpful.

Suddenly, while they were still walking in circles around the middle of the street in front of Michelle’s house, Michelle and I both straightened up from looking at the pavement and said, “Oh!”

Because suddenly, we Just Knew what the thing was that had rescued the Goethi ship. Our devices’ databases had just come back online.

“Is something wrong?” the commander asked us, looking alarmed.

“No,” I said.

“Yes,” said Michelle at the same time.

“Well, maybe,” we both said.

Michelle said, “The creature that appeared and took the Goethi ship looked exactly like something from the League archives called Molokai's Demon.”

Molokai's Demon

“It’s only ever been spotted once, thousands of years ago, on the outer frontiers of the dimensions the League had explored at that time,” I continued.

“But even though they got a good holo of it, and even though the League continued exploring that dimension, Agent Molokai never saw it again,” said Michelle, “and neither did anyone else that we know of.”

“But Agent Molokai's recording clearly showed it leaving via a dimensional rift,” I said. “It had the ability to form rifts by itself, without using any technology. What kind of species could develop that ability? No … I’m getting that … that’s not the right question. What kind of environment would something like that develop in? Well, I don’t know, I’m not an alien biologist or whatever. Oh. The answer is, somewhere the walls between dimensions are weak … and there have been interdimensional predators or other threats for millions of years.” I sighed. “Can I maybe send the League this information? Oh -- I can. And I just did. Good. I hope it helps someone.”

“Does he always talk to no one like that?” the commander asked Michelle in a whisper.

“He’s talking to his League utility thingie,” she said tapping the sparkling crystalline metal glove on her left hand. “I do it too. Just not out loud.”

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General Charles excused himself to his wife and told her that an executive Learjet was waiting to take her back home and someone would come to take her to the airport shortly. He had … Military business to attend to that was extremely important.

By the time General Charles had reached the flagpole out front of the hotel, a military staff car adorned with general’s stars had already arrived with a Tech Sergeant chauffeur in attendance.

General Charles was taken to a small heliport as rapidly as the driver could navigate. The general noticed the speedometer once, it was reading 130 MPH as they sped down the highway. Apparently someone had notified the police of this emergency, none of them tried to stop the staff car as it raced along. From the heliport, he was whisked off to Langley AFB in Virginia in a super fast Scorpion Attack Helo.


When they arrived, he was taken immediately to a very strange secure hangar. He dressed in a massively modified G-Suit, grabbed the special helmet made just for this type of suit … which was a completely new design from any he had worn before. With a twist of the helmet, the neck ring sealed and internal systems came on.

General Charles was introduced to his Pilot, a young female captain named Yressu. She quickly escorted him through the strangely designed hanger to an aircraft the likes of which he had never seen before.

Since he had been not only a test pilot in his younger years, but an accomplished and decorated fighter pilot as well, he had flown and seen many exotic aircraft. None like this however.

It had sort of just about in a way, a general kind of appearance of … a dragonfly … kind of. It had a long slender body, very short forward canted wings with retractable racks loaded with many types of rearward facing missiles and rockets of a type the General never knew existed. It was perhaps one of the sleekest designs he had ever seen. Obviously it was designed for heavy combat and extreme speeds. He didn’t fail to notice there were energy weapon pods that faced forward. There were many other types of exotic weapons that could be retracted into the body of the aircraft as well.

Sting Fighter

General Charles had never seen engines like those mounted on the rear of the empennage near what had to be stabilators either. They looked like something out of a science fiction movie more than anything else. The both of them entered the cockpit. He was totally impressed with the advanced design of it and the specially built semi-reclining G-Couches. He did notice immediately, the foot pedals, the control sticks, and throttles along with all the other necessary manual controls were located in a different way than any other craft he had been in.

Sting Fighter Flight Deck

He seated himself and began attaching the pressure hoses of his suit to the internal ship’s systems and fastened flight harnesses as the captain ran down the preflight checklist. The dual gull wing canopies closed and sealed with a solid hissing thump.

General Charles asked, “What kind of aircraft is this, captain?”

She smiled as she replied, “It’s called a Sting Fighter, sir. It’s also known as a TAV-EHS.”

“A what?” he asked with incredulity in his voice.

“A TAV-EHS, sir.” She replied as she began to flip switches, “A Trans Atmospheric Vehicle Exotic Hyper Sonic. Some of the guys at the Skunkworks dreamed it up.” I heard the weird sounding engines as they wound up and ignited, “Hold on, sir, we will be in orbit in 2 minutes.”

As she talked to the control tower, the doors to the strange hangar opened automatically. I was pushed back into my flight couch hard as she pushed the throttles forward, it almost hurt the G-Forces were so bad. I could feel the G-Suit as it pressurized to keep the blood from rushing from my head and causing me to tunnel out and faint. The semi-reclined flight couch helped tremendously on this account.

Within a second, the craft had already lifted off and I could hear the landing gear and weapons pods as they retracted into the aircraft wings and fuselage making it super sleek and aerodynamic. The craft canted onto its tail, I heard something that sounded like a large popping type of explosion, then the totally alien sound of the new engines throughout the craft. My body became painfully heavy as the G-Forces rose even higher and pinned me solidly to my reclined couch. I understood now why the controls were placed the way they were. It was so the pilot was still in control of the aircraft under serious g-loading.

More rapidly than the space shuttle, we shot into the air. Plasma trails formed along all the glowing red hot leading edges as fire danced across the forward view ports. Our flight left a spectacular fire trail across the sky that spawned many UFO stories.

I saw the atmosphere as it became very wispy then gave way to the blackness of outer space. I felt the grip of gravity releasing my body and the gentle tug of the flight harnesses as they kept me in my seat as we achieved orbit and were in freefall.

The pilot wasn’t exactly accurate … we had achieved orbit in one minute thirty seconds. I timed it just to see. Just so you know, I was more than seriously impressed. This was faster than the Thor Agena-B booster, the fastest launch platform NASA had.

During the short flight back to my satellite installation headquarters, the pilot had informed me that the aircraft was so fast that it could squash its occupants if the throttles were pushed too rapidly, or the craft maneuvered too quickly. There was a special routine written into the flight computer to stop that from happening. There were no actual human controls, it was all fly by wire for safety purposes.

She also told me, If the pilot didn’t take care, the aircraft could possibly burn up in the atmosphere from its massive speeds. She said they had created a sheeting over the armor plating from a special ceramic. It could absorb massive amounts of frictional heat and keep the reactive titanium / carbon armor plating from heating up under normal flight conditions and re-entry modes, but it had proved to be highly inadequate at hypersonic speeds in atmospheric mode. Only other problem with the coating, was its fragility. Almost anything could possibly damage the coating and cause a catastrophic failure.

The kind of armor plating made from some new form of carbon that Wisp had given me came to mind about that time. One of the special features of that armor sheeting besides its super light weight and indestructibility, was the heat dispersion. It so far surpassed the ceramic heat shield, it seemed like magic, and as far as the eggheads were concerned, it was totally indestructible once created.

The weapons on board were unique as well. They were the fastest firing of any ever created by man. Even with this, the aircraft itself was so fast, it had the ability to shoot itself down with its own ordinance. That was the reason all the forward firing weapons were energy based and utilized a fast tracking extremely powerful multi-petawatt plasma core laser. Not only could they rapidly and independently track and attack multiple targets and acquire new ones simultaneously, they fired at the speed of light.


Petawatt Plasma Core Laser weapon pod

This weapon system was powered by an advanced hydrogen fuel cell that produced tremendous energy on demand with little maintenance required except for periodic refueling of the reactant. Even this wasn’t necessary for several years.

Another aspect of this craft was the heads up displays that were linked to the faceplate of the flight helmet. All necessary data for targeting and tactical displays were shown in a convenient and non-obtrusive way that made evasion and attack far superior to any of the other fighters the General had flown.


Face Shield Heads Up Display

I questioned the EMP probabilities damaging the computer systems in combat. The pilot told me the computer systems were a special breed of bio/fluidic and weren’t susceptible to EMP bursts. At least, not the ones earth was familiar with … and then some margin well over that. It wasn’t exactly perfect, but, it was a far cry better than the alternative ... and by far superior to what any other nation had in its arsenals.


Sting Fighter’s Bio/Fluidic Flight Computer

I looked out the side port at the beautiful blue planet earth below. The soft white splotches of cloud cover in places made it even more beautiful. I had never dreamed I would be in orbit and this was a true fantasy.

I was brought from my reverie by a beeping noise and a flashing red light. It indicated we were rapidly descending beyond what would be normal for any other spacecraft man had constructed thus far … at least to my knowledge.

The Pilot said, “Hang on to your britches, sir. I’ve been instructed to show you how this craft re-enters under combat conditions.”

Suddenly, my stomach fell out as the craft did several rolls and belly flops followed by leaf flutters and corkscrews into the atmosphere. The pilot began rapidly performing evasive combat maneuvers as we descended ever deeper into Earth’s gravity well.

I saw the pilot nose the craft over more than the delta V meter showed green. It moved seriously over into the red zone. The craft began to buffet as plasma trails formed. Comms went out as expected, however the craft still performed perfectly as if it were in the atmosphere.

All I could see out the ports now, was fire. The external temperature gauge showed over a thousand degrees, although the internal gauge showed a comfortable 70. I did manage to see that the ceramic coating glowed red hot before the fire became too energetic to see out.

The General thought that the Sting Fighter should be reentering the atmosphere in a normal ballistic way that most of Earth’s reentry tech did. As in; It fell in a trajectory that was just steep enough to allow the atmosphere to aid in slowing the craft’s speed, and just shallow enough that the heat shields would absorb enough frictional damage so the craft would survive until the atmosphere was thick enough the craft could use it as a supporting agent instead of falling through it. The pilot proved the craft was highly maneuverable and nimble, even under reentry protocol.

As soon as the fighter hit three hundred forty thousand feet, another strange and very eerie sound permeated the craft as it ceased being a space vessel and became an air breather. Even the new engines powering this aircraft were advanced technology as far as the General was concerned. They were a jet engine, an advanced hypersonic ramjet, and a type of advanced rocket engine depending upon the current situational demand.

The pilot told the general that the engines were designed so that in rocket mode, 36 levels of the compressor blades folded over, closing off the intake to create the backwall necessary for it to be a rocket.

The reverse was true for hypersonic ramjet mode. All of the compressor and turbine blades opened back completely, allowing the hyper speed air to compress the mixture in the ignition cans. The superfast air had to be slowed just enough by some of the varying lengths of special fins arranged in a circular way around the inner walls of the intake like rifling in a gun barrel so the ‘fire’ wasn’t blown out by the hypersonic air. This in turn created an airflow called hypercycle that became the ignition back wall. This hypercycle also allowed for a superior mixing of the hydrazine/oxygen/methane mixture, called hydroxane, fuel allowing it to ignite spontaneously producing many times more thrust than any conventional jet engine possibly could.


Hyper Cycle Multi-Purpose Engine


Portion of Engine that is the actual RamJet



Portion of Engine Reconfigured to Rocket Mode


Once those fuels were mixed with the oxidizer, it would instantly, spontaneously ignite, producing many times more explosive force than JP, which was nothing more than number one grade kerosene mixed with with varying amounts of benzene. The number following the JP designation signified the percentage of benzine to kerosine mix in military applications.

The Sting Fighter responded nimbly to the stick as the pilot ran it through many stunts to show her new boss that this particular breed of fighter was one of the best front line models on earth and would give an excellent showing of itself … perhaps even more if the tech Wisp had given them could be incorporated quickly enough.

The pilot explained how the craft had attitude and pitch control in an airless and weightless free fall environment. Apparently, small VASIMR ion engines ( Variable Specific Impulse Magnetoplasma Rocket Engines ) were used as attitude controls.

Under space operations, and other unique situations, the flight computer automatically converted the pilot’s input flight control commands through those engines. Since the VASIMRs used the hydrogen fuel cell to supply its electrical energy, it produced far more than enough thrust vector to control the craft in space flight, or most anywhere else it would be needed. Since they were using an exotic mercurial gas other than xenon … it made thrust vectors vastly superior to the xenon VASIMR.


VASIMR Vector Control Ion Engine

He felt his body once again be painfully pinned to his fight couch as the pilot pushed the throttle forward. An explosion happened with a loud pop as the engine converted from a jet engine, to a hypercycle ramjet and ignited. Once again, plasma trails and fire danced across the windscreens. All leading edges that were almost visable through the conflagration glowed red hot from air friction.

The aircraft didn’t waste any time reaching hypersonic speeds, and without making the expected sonic boom that usually happened. Only explosion sounds, were the ignition of the rocket engine portion or the hypersonic ramjet portion of the exotic engine. This explosion was nowhere near as noisy as a sonic boom and sounded more like a loud pop and, its sound didn't travel far.

The General smiled, no other nation on earth had aircraft to match. The General also knew he had other types of strike fighters at his disposal, like the ones he had deployed earlier that looked so much like hornets … or wasps … or some kind of flying bug.


Wasp Fast Attack TAV-EHS

As the pilot brought the Sting Fighter quickly and gracefully into the now Earth Space Defense Command base’s runway, General Charles’ mind filled with worry. From the data he had before they left Langley, Earth was up against forces far above them technologically, and were very much more powerful. He hoped the new weaponry he had at his disposal, was up to the task. He also hoped and prayed that Wisp was powerful enough to handle whatever it was that was coming. “We’ve come a long way since my test pilot days,” he said quietly to the captain, “but still … we can’t afford to get cocky about it. I’ve got a feeling that we’re gonna be seeing things that’ll make this look like a horse and buggy. And those things … won’t be friendly.”

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The squadron of insectoid scout craft had departed, taking their data back to Space Defense Command. I watched as one of the most amazing bomber aircraft I had ever seen went hypersonic and vanished, then turned my attention back to the situation at hand.


Hypersonic TAV Bomber


Michelle and I were putting the finishing touches on the repairs we’d been doing to her neighborhood. “I just wish we could keep that from happening again,” I said, and suddenly … I Just Knew how to do that. I pointed at the spot on the street below where the Goethi craft had been, and suddenly a bubble of energy appeared -- well, appeared to me. Michelle could see it, but nobody but we could.

“What’s that?” Michelle asked, then was answered. “Oh -- hey, cool, dimensional rift shunt. Bumps the endpoint of a dimensional portal to a spot outside of the bubble.”

“Yeah, but looks like it’s got limitations … can’t be very large, so it won’t protect the whole planet, and …”

“… and yeah, so the bad guys appear 100 yards farther away in a random direction, not the greatest defense,” Michelle said. “But it’s true, it would have prevented the attack from happening in exactly the same way.”

I gave it a try. “I wish there were a way to prevent them from just rifting onto Earth anytime they wanted, though,” I said, hoping to get inspiration from my device again. No such luck.

“Well, maybe we should … sleep on it,” Michelle suggested. She blushed then. “I mean, we need to rest. We’ll be less effective if we’re tired.”

“That is true, and I’m really worn out,” I said.

“Why not crash here?” she suggested. “You’re already here, after all.”

“Well, I don’t want to get in your way,” I said.

“If you let me take the first shower in the morning, you’ll be batting a thousand.” She vanished, but I could tell she’d reappeared inside her house. I followed suit.

I thought about sleeping in the house where the Goethi had attacked just a short while earlier. “I wonder if our gauntlets can …” They could. If they detected a threat while we were sleeping, they would wake us up. They also had their automatic defense system, as I’d seen before.

I offered to sleep on her couch, but she told me not to be silly and said we could share her bed -- we were both adults, after all. I wasn’t going to say no. And no, nothing happened that night. We were both exhausted. It was so nice, though, not to have to sleep alone and to wake up with Michelle snuggled around me.

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General Charles didn’t have a space glove to wake him up if there was trouble, but he did have a military intelligence-gathering command center that was staffed 24/7. The bunks and showers were military and Spartan, but they did the job. Luckily he didn’t get any calls until dawn, when he’d have been waking up anyway, and it was just a routine briefing about the return of the missions to Canada, Africa and the UK.

The African and UK missions found nothing but some mundane items left behind by whoever had employed dimensional rifts to depart this world. “They appear to be clothing items,” said the leader of the mission to South Africa. “They’re made of a synthetic material unknown to us, so we sent them to the lab, but we didn’t find any fantastic alien technology -- they must have taken it with them when they left. We got some interesting radiation patterns, though.”

“Is it my imagination, or are we seeing a lot of aliens leaving Earth like rats deserting a sinking ship?” General Charles said. “I’m noticing that we’re saving Canada for last.”

“Yes, Sir,” said the lieutenant who’d been in charge of that recon mission. “It’s … rather confusing, what we found.”

“Well, show me.”

“It’s … well, this,” she said, pointing a remote at the large projection screen of the briefing room. It showed a large dome-shaped hill, covered with scrub grass and the occasional shrub, with a thin blanket of wind-blown snow.

“The dimensional rift was on top of that hill?” Charles asked.

“More like … inside it, Sir” said the lieutenant. “We got radiation readings coming from under the ground at the hill’s crest. There was nothing there except a lot of small holes in the dirt, which at first we thought were just made by gophers or rabbits. Then Allen got the idea that maybe they weren’t natural, so we tried sending some mini camera bots.” She pointed at the screen with the remote again.

The image changed to video of an underground tunnel with light illuminating far ahead. “Keep in mind that this tunnel is four inches high -- they’re small bots, so everything looks large.” The tiny robot scurried forward down the tunnel until it encountered a larger chamber. The view panned across the chamber, showing a group of other tunnels leading off -- then a trio of glittering points of light, reflecting back into the camera. The triangle of shiny motes moved -- then suddenly came closer, surrounded by shadow -- then the video ended.

“What th-?” General Charles reacted.

The lieutenant answered, “That’s pretty much what we said, General. Looks like something’s down there. We left some troops there, and so did the Canadians, and they’re keeping an eye on the site. No sign of obvious changes yet -- but we know nothing about what’s down there, or whether it’s a threat. We don’t want to just blow it all up, or fill up the holes with napalm and set it on fire, or whatever, because, well, if they can make dimensional rifts, we don’t want to antagonize them.”

“Chances are they’re not from around here, though,” said the general. “Good work. Until there are further developments, let’s keep an observation team there, to the extent that Canada will allow, of course, and alert the command center immediately if anything changes. Oh, and let our team and the Canadians know that they might get a visit later on, but that they’re on our side.”

“Sir?” The lieutenant looked confused.

“One of our … other allies might be interested in this.” He knew he had the Wisp’s black crystal “phone” in his inside pocket.



“So we’ve got Triadoids in Canada?” Michelle more commented than asked. Her gauntlet device was telling her the same thing that mine was telling me, I assumed. Sometimes I wonder whether she gets slightly different information, tailored specifically for her mind.

“Sure looks like it,” I said, finishing off my pancakes. I’d made breakfast, which was only fair since she’d let me sleep in her home. And in her bed ... But I digress. “I wonder why they’re here. And what they want.”

“Let’s go ask them,” she said. “It’s the most direct way to find out.”

I finished my breakfast, then had my suit materialize on me. I noticed Michelle had hers on too. We both flashed from her dining room and reappeared next to several very surprised Infantrymen.

The Commanding Officer’s face held an open mouthed expression of total surprised disbelief as he momentarily stared at us. I could tell Michelle was hard at work being her true calling, an on the spot live Action News Reporter as her cyber camera, as we called it, took live action footage of the whole affair totally unknown to the people.

The Commanding Officer recovered his composure, then walked briskly up to the two of us. He said as he saluted, “Welcome to Canada, Sir. I’m Brigadier-General Daveno.” he waved his hand around proudly, “and this collection of ragamuffins is my pride and joy. This is my fast response and attack team. Well, a few of them anyway.”

I had already been informed that I was thought of as the highest ranking civilian commander to the Canadians. Solved tons of problems. I indicated Michelle with my other hand, “Allow me to introduce you to, The Wish.”

The Brigadier-General bowed and took Michelle’s gloved hand in his and kissed it softly, “It is a most honored pleasure to meet you Miss Wish.”

Michelle giggled, “Silly man, flattery will get you anything, you know.”

His eyes sparkled, “Of course, but then again, I have never met a superhero or a super heroine before.”

All three of us laughed as the infantrymen looked on in amazement. The rumor mill had been going furiously, but, to actually meet the heros in the flesh! This was too much. Many voices could be heard murmuring their amazement.

“Now normally I’d ask to see your ID, but I think appearing in a flash out of thin air is pretty good -- I’ve never heard of anyone else who can do that outside of a magician’s stage show.” General Daveno’s face turned a bit more serious. “Now I’m sure this isn’t a social call,” he went on. “I’m assuming you’re here to have a look at our little guests.”

“We’ve both looked at them already,” I said. “Here’s what we’ve been able to find out about them.” Holding my hand out, I caused a slowly rotating hologram to appear in the air above it for the general to see. “They’re called Triadoids,” I explained, “and although they may look small to us, we shouldn’t underestimate them. They’re highly intelligent and very advanced technologically.” The hologram showed what looked a bit like a gopher, if that gopher had no facial features other than three beady eyes located about where an animal’s eyes and mouth would be, and if that gopher wore black and silver battle armor.

“OK,” said Daveno, “so how should we approach them? Send an ambassador, a lawyer, or a wrecking crew?”

“If you ask me,” Michelle suggested, “you should send an ambassador, who should carefully imply, without using so many words, that we are the wrecking crew.” She gestured at me and herself. “The Triadoids send out colonization teams like this, through an underground rift, and they build an underground city on the target planet with interdimensional links to their other cities.”

“But this is our planet,” Daveno said, “and I have my orders. Aliens can’t be allowed to just move in and take territory. If they were refugees, that would be another thing, but this looks like an invasion to me.”

“That’s exactly what they do,” I said, “though usually they focus on uninhabited worlds. We’re going to have to do some more investigating to find out why Earth is suddenly the target of all this interdimensional interest, but for now, I think you’ve got a good chance of convincing them to move on.”

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General Young, General Cavender, and General Phillips, along with a contingent of Secret Service Agents and the President of the USA showed up in General Charles’ office suddenly and totally unannounced.

General Charles snapped to attention, all the incoming men said, “You don’t have to do that anymore, Henry. This is your command.” They looked at each other and laughed.

The President said, “I hear you have been given a means to contact the Wisp.”

General Charles nodded his head and replied, “Well, yes I have in fact. The Wisp even gave me one of those crystal thingys of his for our boys in the long white coats to look over.”

The president said, “I need you to contact him and bring him here … immediately. That is a direct order from your Commander and Chief. It’s that important.”

General Charles looked around at the other men. They were all nodding their heads in agreement. Henry removed the flat, round, glittering black crystal thing from his pocket. All the men in the office watched.

Henry tapped the center of the ovoid crystal, there was a click inside his mind … like the one earlier. A familiar voice replied, “Supp, General? This is the Wisp.”

Henry shook his head as he thought back, “I … need you to visit my office immediately.”

I asked, “Right this instant? I’m, sorta talking with this General here in Canada.”

This will only take a few minutes, but it’s vitally important.”

I excused myself to Daveno and explained to Michelle over the neural link what was up and to give me a rundown on any new developments while I was gone.

General Charles’ office appeared around me. There were many armed men standing, more or less at ease, with wide eyed open mouthed surprise all around the office. A man rapidly approached me with his hand out, “Hello, Wisp, I’m the President of the United States. I have a proposition for you and was … wondering if you could chat about it for a few minutes?”

I shook his hand, and we took seats in some of the plush sofa loungers. I said, “Sure, Mr. President, what did you have on your mind?”

The President sat next to me, then said, “I’m offering you the position and authority over the Earth Space Defense Force. You will be the highest ranking Civilian. General Charles here will be second in command and your chief of staff. He also holds the office of Commander of the over all earth based forces along with you. The both of you are now in command of the most powerful Military Resources we have available.”

A thrill chill of surprise ran through me as a small non-gender specific voice said, “It won’t be me, or even us, but you, the man of greatness awakened.”

Man of greatness? Me? Well, I thought, the League gauntlet device had sought me out, out of all the humans on Earth and indeed out of all beings in the multiple dimensions. There must have been something it had seen in me. But I’d never thought of myself as a great man, a leader, a genius, or a hero of any sort. I didn’t have much time to reflect on this at that moment, though.

“Well, first of all, Mr. President, it’s a great honor to meet you,” I said. “But you know nothing about me -- my identity, my loyalties. You should probably know something before giving me all this authority.”

The President nodded to one of his aides, who gave him a folder. He held that folder in front of me and opened it.

Inside were photos of me -- winning that Motocross trophy last year, Employee of the Month at the office where I used to work, even my high school yearbook photo. “Randy Neiss, college dropout, currently between jobs, motorsports hobbyist and competitor,” the President said. “True, none of our surveillance equipment can currently track you, but you’ve left a trail of evidence a mile wide -- and Randy Neiss basically vanished at the same time Wisp appeared. Now, none of this information leaves this room outside a locked triple-classified case, but we do know you’re a human being and American by birth, and loyal to Earth and the human race.”

“OK,” I said, pausing for a moment, “well, it makes me feel better that you do your homework before giving all kinds of authority to a complete stranger. Mr. President, I accept, but only because something’s coming, I don’t know what, and we’re all going to need to pull together if any of us is going to make it.” I turned to General Charles. “General, I don’t know the first thing about military matters. It would make no sense for me to try to tell you how to do your job. Your orders from me are to keep doing exactly what you’ve been doing. The President couldn’t have picked a better person for the new Space Defense Command. Oh, your other orders are to be sure to call on me or the Wish whenever you need us to look up something in the League database.”

“It doesn’t always have what we need, though,” Charles sighed regretfully.

“Oh, it always does,” I replied, sighing likewise, “but it always limits its answers to what I can understand with my ignorant human brain.”

About that time, I received a comm from Michelle over the link, “Randy? I … think you should come. One of those weird gopher looking things in a tin can suit just came from a portal right here in front of me.”

I excused myself to the president, the general, and gave the general a crystalline data device that contained major improvements to their laser pods. The new design incorporated new and exotic crystal and gas mixes that produced interesting molecular effects when excited by certain frequencies of energy. I realized the weapons systems were advancing towards something that no longer could be classified as a LASER, but something more on the realm of plasma arc cannons. This would at least give the Earth a fighting chance against the Goethi weapons … some of them at any rate.

Now that I had given them a major power improvement to the weapons systems, heat had once again become a major issue. Cool down between firings had now become a problem. There was currently a 60 second cooldown required to keep the new weapons from melting down between firings. My device seemed to want to allow earth to try and figure a solution to this dilemma first, before it gave an answer. From the tingling teases of data that flitted in and out of my mind, I knew we had the answers for many of the current problems already, the eggheads just had to do it and quit being lazy.

The only answer I received to my asking why the withholding of data was that earth currently stood in the face of adversity without being totally dependant on me with nudges in the proper directions as needed … or it fell later when I was unable to do anything for it at that particular moment.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The General’s Office vanished around me … and that lonely hilltop in Canada appeared. Things had changed slightly in the short time I had been gone.

Michelle was obviously forcefully discussing issues with one of those things she called gophers in tin can suits. I smiled and shook my head. It was more than obvious she was trying very hard not to hurt the critter as she fired small PUSH charges of TeleKinesis. The critter proved to be stubborn as it dodged, dove, weaved around through the small TK explosions, and made funny snide comments along the way.

I heard Michelle say over the link in a sort of amazed way, “That critter seems to think this is fun or something.”.

I realized, it did too, as the device started to translate the taunts he was spitting.

It taunted, “Satta best ya ken do? Huh? Isit, isit? Huh? Hah! Aww, ur mama wears combat boots!”

Damn if this didn’t sound like one of those cartoon thingys I watched as a kid.

It taunted, “Ur momma so fat, tha whole universe shakes is she faww outta bed.” and it giggled once again as it dove and weaved around Michelle’s PSI charges.

I said suddenly, in its language no less, “Aww ur momma mates outta season an it show too! Lookit ur face! Ur so ugly gotsa hide alla mirrors sos they no break fromma shock.”

Michelle and myself laughed. It was funny. The men around us were freaking totally out, having met face to face their truly first alien, but unable to hear the hilarious taunting banter.

The alien stopped for a minute and seemed to shiver after my last comment. It shouted out, “Ur mama so ugly gotsa sneak up onna drinka waters.” and giggled again as it dodged more PSI charges.

I saw something that sort of looked like the Canadian commander stand up, brush off his uniform, then say in the critter’s language, “I dare say ‘ol chap, but it does seem your mother’s a bit on the … carnival fun side of mating. Wouldn’t you?”

The commander waves his left arm in my direction. I realized who I thought was the commander was actually a League Agent … I could see the real human Commander being himself and basically having some kind of fit as he frantically typed into several keyboards … I realized I have backup nearby if necessary.

I snort a small laugh as I watched the comical antics of the critter as it danced around and seemed to enjoy dodging the PSI bolts and making those hilarious taunts.

The critter taunted ,”Yea? Hah! An suppose when ur sis n me done it … was maginin it ... huh?” it giggled.

Michelle stepped forward and said as she pointed her index finger in his direction, “That’s notta nice thinga say infronta a girl … ya big ijit!” totally perfectly in his language.

From her finger tip a small ball of energy lashed out and swatted the critter on what passed for his cheek. Basic effect was like his face getting popped by a girl slapping him. I nodded my head. Good … very good.

The critter grabbed the cheek that was popped. His … 3 eyed expression appeared to be open mouthed … if that … orifice was his mouth at any rate. It said, “You … slappeded me girl … no … female’s doneat ta me fors.”

The critter’s entire demeanor changed suddenly, like a miracle … the critter began to act like a lost puppy dog or something. I couldn’t believe what it was I saw the change was so drastic.

I walked up behind Michelle and patted her very approvingly on the shoulder. She jumped slightly until she realized I still had the ability to touch her before her sensors could detect me. The tingling thrill of it was nice. Michelle giggled like a little girl for an instant before she came suddenly to her senses. It was an adorable way for her to release the tensions of the moment. Even with current events, and the critter now acting like a love sick kid. There was no way I missed it either … not with current sensors.

She looked around at the many men from the quick response team as they stood around, sort of kind of at kind of ease. The critter was not putting up any kind of fight by this time, he was all a goggled over Michelle.

She wondered exactly what kind of changes such knowledge the men around her had just lived would cause, suddenly thrust upon them the way it had been, would create within themselves. She saw each of the men stare open mouthed as the critter snuffled around our feet like an overly affectionate kitten.

Michelle looked over at the Canadian Commander and the other League Agent in a far corner. They appeared to be animatedly discussing something. The League Agent was more than obviously not agreeing or willing to comply with whatever the General was demanding of him.

This new position Michelle had as the Wish afforded her many new connections. Many of them could help getting on the spot news out as well. She could hear that the Agent had grossly overstepped his bounds and in so doing, nearly caused a nuclear issue the world would reel from for centuries.

She had plenty of fantastic footage. Enough, that the ratings she held would roar skyward like a shooting star. Then she thought of … fame, sort of … she was already there and was one of the top Action News Reporters on the air. These thoughts added lots more discretion to Wish’s footage choices. She didn’t want to leave such an obvious trail any longer. She knew this would also be something Wisp would want.

The Idea was certainly on my mind, especially the memory of the data the president had … and how quickly they obtained it.

We both appeared next to the arguing Agent and the Canadian Brigadier-General. We had to know what was going on. It was very obvious the general wasn’t happy with the agent for porting him away from the action, and taking his place, among other things the Agent had done when he arrived unannounced.

“ … and another thing, you space suited moron,” he pointed his finger at the Agent and spat on the ground … right on top of the agent’s boot, “you might be all high an mighty with that device on your arm, but I bet you're still just another wimp looking to get whoopi points. Just appearing that way in the middle of a first contact situation that might turn hostile without telling anyone you are coming and are friendly was ... ludicrously stupid. Then, to totally disregard what you were being told is even more stupid.”

The agent sputtered with obvious disbelief in his voice, “I … am … was just trying to save you … “

The general said with a disgusted humph, “I might need help at times, but I can defend myself. “He drew a strange side arm from his holster and fired 3 times rapidly. The agent’s shield took massive energy impacts, by Earth standards, which it easily absorbed, and I knew that the Triadoids, small as they were, would have laughed at the weapon’s pathetic weakness. The general spat, “One more thingy young man, you will always tell me before you pull something like that. You almost caused the Poseidon nuclear arm of the Triad to launch. Your ignorance is horrible.”

The agent dropped his arm and backed away a step. I now knew this was agent Nijedahaa from some weird dimension with an even weirder name. I said, “He’s actually right, agent Nijedahaa.” I pointed to the very outraged man, “He’s the one in charge … kind of like you might have let at least one of us know ahead of time.”

General Daveno had all his excited men back away and safe their energy weapons. I knew the agent understood that this was serious as far as the Canadians were concerned. The only actions he should have done, are the ones requested and or allowed through military channels. It would help keep misunderstandings like this to an absolute minimum.

The only exception the Brigadier-General was aware of was, as far as the new command structure was concerned, was that Wisp was the Commander in charge of the global space defense force. The general also knew Wisp hadn’t been made aware of other agent’s sudden arrival, and those plasma welding Agent idiots had to know who was in charge before they started something that would end catastrophically.


The agent said softly to the enraged General, “I’m sorry. Among my people it is considered a grave insult to be able to offer assistance, but to stand by and do nothing. You did not understand or speak the Triadoids’ language, and I could. I promise to inform you of my … whatever is necessary at the time?” He shrugs and holds his arms out. He looked at me, then back to the general. The general backed down and holstered his energy weapon.

The general said with authority in his voice, “As long as you realize you are part of a chain of command, and not the whole affair, I will let this go for now. Don’t know how to do it, but I will find out how to make complaints on you guys. Remember, this is a real issue. If you just suddenly appear, we do have some major firepower. Maybe not as impressive as some others, but it’s bad news and can make a true mess of things.”

About that time, one of the young men ran up and saluted the general sharply, “Finally, some good news sir, The recall code got through and the launch order rescinded” He handed the general a small pad like device. The small screen lit with stand down confirmation notices from all the world’s Nuclear Triad.

“It would only have made them mad,” I said, “and believe me, you don’t want them mad.”

“What do you mean?” asked General Daveno.

“Do you know how far down their tunnels go?” I asked. “They’ve only been here for about 48 hours, but their mechanized tunneling equipment is second to none. Look.” I held up my hand, and a three-dimensional map appeared, showing the complex and deep network of tunnels the Triadoids had already built. It went down nearly a mile and spread for a dozen miles in every direction. “They aren’t going to leave Earth unless they want to.”

The general looked astonished. “What about … whatever the Wish over there has accomplished?”

“She’s a communicator, that one,” I said. “She’s probably done the best that any of us have. She’s gotten inside their heads and tried to understand them. They respect her now. Much more than they respect you or me.”

Michelle knelt down and patted the Triadoid’s shoulder as she said softly in his language, “Mmk, puddow bug.” the critter giggled and acted like a little kid. “Why comes ur here n stuffs? Donchakno u might gets inna trouble is u no askteded firstus?”

The Triadoid looked at Michelle dotingly as he replied, “We wuz tolla come here n set ups. Wuz onena them big … ugly thinacritters.”

Michelle shook her head slowly, “Whasa thinacritter?”

The Triadoid shrugged it’s suited shoulders, “Inono whut it is. Is big n gots tonsa power ta burn. Is more n we ken hannel.” the Triadoid scuffled its feet shyly, “Is we come n do this here thingy, wuz told we gets 3 ofa gas worlds in orbit here.”

Michelle sent Randy a quick link, “It seems these … people, were sent here by something else more powerful than they.”

The Triadoid said, “Is cuz this place gonna bea foughted over real soon. It gonna be lotsa us n thems.” It nodded its head, “Seems ur sun makesa certain gravitic wave necessary ta rip through.”

A tingle of wonder ran up Michelle’s spine, “Rip through … what?”

The Triadoid shrugged once again and held its arms out showing it didn’t know.

“Do you know what they’re saying?” the general asked me.

“Near as I can tell,” I said, “some larger force contracted them to come here to keep us busy. There’s also something about the sun and gravity waves that I’ve sent on to the League to see if they can make head or tail of it.”

“Sounds like astrophysics to me,” said the general. “Let me know if you come up with anything, if you would.” I nodded and continued listening to Michelle and the Triadoid’s conversation.

“Mabyso,” the Triadoid said to Michelle. “Iunno how tha rift machine thingy works. I soldier, shoot ‘em, zap boom!” It pantomimed shooting a weapon. “Wanna knows, ask science guy, rightright?”

“Do you knows a … science guy?” Michelle asked it.

“Yupyup, me send for him. He onna way.”

Michelle’s scanners began to ping. She turned just in time to see … reality change. A strange shimmering circle appeared in the air that looked just like a sparkling pool of water. From it stepped another Triadoid dressed in a different kind of battle suit than the one she was talking to. The pool vanished and reality returned to normal.

It stood silently for an instant or two as it surveyed the situation. It said, “Nedjedtha, why have ya summoned me?”

Nedjedtha snuggled close to Michelle and wrapped one of his arms around her leg, “Is cuza her.” he looked up at Michelle with … that kind of look in its three eyes.

The new arrival looked Michelle over slowly, then held one of its appendages out, “Hello, am b Sciguy Euphunkmund.” He pointed to Nedjedtha, “Is good u do can see.”

Michelle gently extricated herself from the loving embrace, “Amma called Wish. Is why ur here botherin me it is. And how this rift thingy of urs worketeded. Who ur plan ta overtake?”

Euphunkmund said softly, “Isa thingy from our darkest tales it is. Isa … creature so evil and powerful, nona us can stand against.”

I sent a quick thought to Michelle over the link, “Ask if the creature can bring an image to his mind. I think … I can latch onto his thought patterns’ frequency and at least get a look.”

Michelle knelt next to Euphunkmund and asked softly, “Can ya leastus makesa mind piccie ofit?”

Euphunkmond nodded, then its … face … took on an expression of concentration.

To Michelle’s major surprise, the dark, shadowy image of something that resembled a demon appeared in her mind, and transferred to me.

“Molokai’s Demon?” I asked. “It rescued the Goethi, but … what’s it doing talking to the Triadoids?” I wondered aloud.

“Beats me,” said General Daveno, “but it looks like we’d better get the guns loaded for … demon.” He paused. “Unless it’s a literal demon, in the mythological sense. It’s … not, right?”

“No, of course not,” I said. “Powerful alien of some kind. Though … it’s interesting that we have creatures that look like it in our ancient mythology, and that other civilizations do too.”

Meanwhile, Michelle was continuing. “No telled ya nothin’ ‘bout what it really wanted?”

“Sun make gravitic wave stuffs,” Euphunkmund said. “Any sun do. If ya resonates it just right wiffa innerphasic generator. Gives itta good shake, it make a wave. Good for attackin’ a whole system. Shakes up every planet. Knocks down alla buildings.”

“So it wanna … attack the Solar System?” Michelle asked.

“Nonono,” said the Triadoid. “It gots tonsa waysa doin that arready. I figured it outs. It wanna use the wave nother way. Make a rift. Big rift. Biggest rift ever.”

“But … could doit wif any star right?” Michelle asked. “How come is this one? Somthin special bouts our sun?”

“You dunno?” the Triadoid asked with a surprised tone. “You system, it fallin into a black hole. Right onna edge. Big big big one. So big you dunno it happenin.”

“WHAT?” Michelle screeched. To me she sent, “Randy, are we falling into a black hole?”

“Um, according to the League … we are, but it’s not a big deal.” I somehow Just Knew this. “Apparently there’s a black hole with the mass of many galactic clusters, way out there, several galaxies away, and all the galaxies near it have passed over into its event horizon, and right now our galaxy is just in the process of doing that. But it’s so massive that it’s very smooth and no one notices.”

“That’s … bad, right?”

“Not really,” I said. “According to this, our devices can port us in and out anytime we want -- the League figured out how to do that ages ago -- because dimensional rifts don’t care whether the destination is inside an event horizon or outside. But … ok … being right on the edge of an event horizon and opening a rift is part of a recipe for disaster.”

“What kind of disaster?” Michelle asked. “I mean … I can see that the League cautions everyone never to do that, but what exactly does it do?”

“It’s … not clear,” I said. “I guess I can’t understand it. But it’s bad. It would certainly destroy Earth. Probably a lot more. A LOT more. As in, ‘I hope it doesn’t just destroy OUR universe’ more.”

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Wisp stayed behind as Michelle ported to her empty office and changed clothes into her professional skirt and blouse. As she left the office, one of the men saw her and said, “Hey there girl. I hear you are up for a huge spot tonight.”

Michelle looked around. It was Jerry and he was pointing towards sound stage 3.

Michelle asked, “What’s up? Why am I on the spot tonight?”

Jerry laughed as he replied, “Are you kidding? After that exclusive video you captured of the first appearance of the Wisp. Then you once again had footage of the bank robbery that all the other stations would kill for. That small spot you had of the weird aircraft that the Military launched the other day too, how can you not know?”

Michelle was getting exasperated, “Ok, so what’s the big secret? I’m the top live action reporter on the air.”

Jerry replied, “You have a live interview with Debbie Devine for her Celebrity Spot show tonight.” he looked at his watch, “and I think you better get your cute butt to makeup and wardrobe, unless you want to meet her like this.”

Michelle looked down at herself. She was dressed rather plainly to be on the Spot. She said, “Thanks, Jerry, you’re a real trooper.”

Jerry laughed again, “I think the guy that gave you that,” he pointed to the very expensive diamond bracelet on her left arm, “Is the real trooper.”

Michelle blushed slightly as she replied, “Oh, stop it” then walked off to wardrobe and makeup for her interview.



Meanwhile, I wanted some answers. I’d been there before, so I assumed my gauntlet device could take me there again. I soon found myself in the lobby of the League infirmary, which to me appeared as a blue-lit space filled with walkways leading off in many directions, gravity bending with them. I somehow knew, though, that how it appeared depended heavily upon the senses of the species encountering it.

There was a large white cylindrical object near me labeled “Information” in what I now knew was the League’s lingua franca; in reality it was an archaic form of the language the League’s founders spoke -- the one they had spoken back when they founded the League, so when I say it was archaic, I mean that it would be like someone speaking caveman language today, only billions of times older than that. Still, it was what they used in their signs, documentation, devices, etc. I stepped up to the cylinder and waved my hand over a glowing circle.

A humanoid face appeared in the cylinder’s surface, at eye level to me, and it spoke in English. “Greetings, Agent Randy Neiss. How may I assist you?”

I answered, “I’m looking for Agent Ligamondes, of the planet Eunemone. He was recently admitted for serious injuries sustained in the line of duty. I wanted to find out whether he was OK.”

“You are among Agent Ligamondes’ specifically requested visitors,” said the information kiosk. “He is now in good condition, and the doctors say he is constantly improving. His room’s location has been transmitted to your utility device. Can I assist you further?”

“Yes,” I replied. “Has anyone else been here to see him?”

“Affirmative. Three members of the League Council have come to speak with him.”

That was interesting. They had probably wanted to know what he’d seen. I had to admit that I wanted to know the same.

“Can I assist you further?” said the kiosk.

“No, thank you, that’s all I need,” I said.

“Thank you, and have a nice day,” it said, fading back to white. Pretty impressive, considering it had to interact pleasantly with billions of different species. I told my device that I wanted to visit Ligamondes.

I found myself in a rectangular chamber with rounded corners and edges; medical devices were fastened to the walls and floor, as was what must have been the equivalent of a hospital bed. Gravity was very low here, probably for Ligamondes’ comfort, as he was probably from a planet with lower gravity than Earth. I didn’t think the atmosphere in there was healthy for me, but my device managed to adjust.

He opened his eyes. “Agent Randy Neiss,” he said in a pleasant voice. “It is pleasing to me to see you again.”

“Agent Ligamondes, I’m glad to finally be able to talk to you,” I said. “We were a bit … rushed when we first met. I’m glad they’ve got you on the mend.”

“Indeed, I seem to be nearly fully healed,” he agreed. “This is most gratifying. I admit that I did not expect my emergency teleport to send me to Earth specifically, but I am most fortunate that it was able to locate a nearby Agent.”

“I’m glad that it did bring you to Earth, though,” I said, “not just because I could get you some help, but also because, well, I think Earth is somehow in the center of whatever’s happening now. Since it’s my planet, I kind of want to take care of it, you know?”

“The truth is that, from what I gather, my location was interdimensionally analogous to that of Earth,” Ligamondes said, and my device showed me what that meant: at the moment when he had escaped his enemies, the dimensional transference had sent him between dimensions, but he had traveled very little distance in regular space. The planet he had been on had been nearly in the same place as Earth, spacewise, but distant interdimensionally. “I can only conjecture about the significance of this fact.”

“It probably isn’t a coincidence,” I mused. “Could I ask you what led you to go there in the first place?”

“There had been a number of dimensional rifts appearing on worlds in my sector recently,” he explained. “Strange beings had been emerging from them, exhibiting even stranger behaviors. I had been dealing with them as they appeared, but after having visited a number of the rift sites, I was able to gather enough data to triangulate their origin point. And indeed, they had all originated from the same place.” He gestured with his four slender arms, fingers converging on one imaginary point in front of him.

“So you went there,” I assumed.

“A correct assumption,” continued Ligamondes. “As you know, my presence was not welcome on that planet.”

“I think I ran into those guys on Earth,” I said. “They were somehow changing the laws of physics around their rift. I made it clear that they weren’t welcome.”

“The environment near their base was indeed highly anomalous,” he said. “The presence of high amounts of antimatter seemed to suggest that they were using it as weaponry -- foolish, considering that there are several League agents from dimensions comprised primarily of antimatter.”

“Well, I don’t know that much about it -- though now I know more than I used to,” I said, as my device filled me in, to some degree anyway. “I take it that it wasn’t naturally occurring in … whatever part of whatever dimension that planet was in?”

“Correct,” replied Ligamondes. “Their assumption appears to have been that antimatter bombs would be an effective measure against attackers, and it was certainly a challenge, but they had more at their disposal. I’d never before seen what they used against me, though apparently some older Agents have. The utility device calls it a continuum chirality asserter. It was affecting the properties of the spacetime in which I existed. The device could not shield against its effects. It could, however, move me away from harm. Harm that I knew of, at least.”

“There were a lot of them, from what I saw.”

“They were many, and I was but one,” he said. “It was only a matter of time before I stumbled out of one trap and into another. But once I realized that I would not be able to defeat them alone, I knew that I had to bring, or at least send, word of their existence to the rest of the League. Action must be taken.”

“Yeah, and I guess it’s very rare for the Council to do what they did,” I said. “Assembling the entire League like that and upgrading everyone’s device.”

“So I understand as well,” Ligamondes agreed. “I admit to apprehension about the threat posed by such entities.”

“So do I,” I said. “My world isn’t ready to deal with anything that can make dimensional rifts, and here we’ve got the worst thing the League’s ever seen right on our doorstep.”

“Ah, your Earth,” he said. “I was only there for a moment. I hope to visit for a longer time one day. If you would … tell me of your world? I also admit to being … rather starved for company.”

“All right,” I said, “it’s the least I can do.” I began telling him about Earth, its wonders, its people, its history.



Michelle walked into the studio. Her boss saw her come in and immediately came up to her, “Where in the world have you been? I’ve had everyone looking for you for hours. Miss Devine has you scheduled for a live interview in a bit.”

Michelle thought to herself, ‘If you only knew’ … then said out loud, “I was working on a new angle for a story. It’s gonna be a blockbuster I’m sure.”

He laughed as he commented, “Most of your stories are Blockbusters.” he stopped and looked her over then said, “You’re looking really nice tonight. I hope you give that nosy busybody something to talk about.”

“I will.“ Michelle said as she turned and walked towards the sound stage.

Mr. Bradford shouted, “Break a leg! Hell … break both of em and an arm if it helps win ratings.”

Michelle giggled slightly as she shook her head. If Mr. Bradford only knew who she really was …

Debbie Devine saw Michelle walk onto the soundstage. ‘Aha,’ she thought to herself, ‘Now, girl, you’re mine for the next hour.’ She saw how wonderfully professional and sexy Michelle looked, then looked down at herself. In comparison, Debbie realized how cheap and trashy she looked next to Michelle. There was no time to change, it was almost airtime.

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In a far flung, shadowy dimension far beyond anything the League, or the beings before them had ever thought to explore due to the Omniverse being truly infinite, a creature that looked for the world like a demon lay prostrate before another being. It was more than obvious this other shadowy being was far more powerful than any the prostrate creature had ever known before.

The shadowy being said in a mysterious, ethereal voice with much resonance, “How is it that your minions have provoked not only the League, but those blathering idiots that created them? Have you no common sense?”

The prostrate creature said with obvious trepidation in its voice, “I had nothing to do with them attacking the Agents, Overlord. I stopped the confrontation before any of our plans could be disclosed.”

The being began to radiate energy that would most probably have been called dark. It was also obvious it was angry. It said in its voice, “And how would something as low and genetically inferior as you … even know what is on the mind of beings such as myself and they? Know this, minion, if there are any more slipups by you, or any of your minions … neither of you will exist after … is this clear?”

The prostrate creature trembled in fear, “I will not fail you again, Overlord.”

There was a huge explosion of energy that threatened to tear the prostrate creature’s body apart. It found itself in extreme torment for what seemed like an eternity as massive energies danced all over it. When it had stopped, the prostrate creature’s body smoldered, and its suit of armor showed signs of vitrification all through its crystal matrix.

Before it vanished into a sidereal location unknown to all but them, the shadowy being said in a voice that shook the entire place, “We, are the superior. We shall destroy all that is inferior and recreate the entire Omniverse into our liking. If you do not as I have commanded, you will not follow.”

The being seemed to just, cease to exist. There was no flash or any kind of rift that the creature could discern. The demon looking creature did by nature what all others it had encountered did by electromechanical means. It could usually detect any kind of rift or dimensional anomaly. This time, there was none. It feared to its innermost core.

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Sorry. From time to time I like to imagine what it must have been like to be there, based on what I found out later. It’s a thing that I do. I like to think it helps spice up the story. I guess you’re the judge of that. But anyway, I’d already learned something very important from Ligamondes: he’d been detecting rifts on multiple planets with the same origin point, and that origin point was spatially close to Earth, although in a distant dimension. What if there was more of that going on in Earth’s own dimension? It was time to test this out. I knew a place that sounded a bit like what he’d seen.

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I found myself back on Earth, at the site where I had discovered several aliens called Valbuineese who had been bringing material from their dimension through to our side of their portal, transforming the area around it. It was a hillside in a remote area of Peru, actually. There was now nothing here that could be seen with the unaided eye, but with my League device … I scanned it in ways that I didn’t even understand yet, asking it to record its readings so I could compare them with any other rifts I might encounter. I hadn’t seen anything else like this one so far, but I’d only searched on Earth. Ligamondes had said he’d found the rifts on several planets. And why would they be limited to planets? They could be in deep space too. I entertained the notion, for my League device’s benefit, of searching nearby space for rifts with similar characteristics, wondering whether it could do that.

It could. It would take time, but it could. This was good. Soon I’d get an answer.

Meanwhile, there was Canada. I was suddenly back at the hill with the Triadoids. General Daveno wasn’t there anymore; when I asked, they said he’d gone home for the day. The other general, the American one, asked me whether they’d expanded their city at all. Scanning, I saw that they hadn’t. “It looks like they haven’t,” I said. “Perhaps they’re waiting.”

“Waiting? Waiting for what?” the general asked.

“For someone to do something, I think,” I replied. “Us, or whatever sent them. It’s all a matter of what they’re more scared of.” I paused. “But remember, we’re here, and whatever sent them isn’t.”

For emphasis, I reached out to one of the rifts they’d created deep underground and … snuffed it out. Crushed it closed, more easily than you’d crush an aluminum soda can in your hand. It was like crumpling up a piece of paper, if that paper then compressed into nothingness and vanished from existence. I could see the Triadoids in their tunnels near where it had been; they stopped, they looked at their devices and instruments, they spoke nervously amongst themselves. I wanted them to know that although their technology was more impressive than anything Earth had ever created itself, they were still trespassing on a world that had League agents. I could imprison them here, I knew.

To the general, I said, “I just did something. If they don’t leave, I’m going to do something else. But right now I’ll give them some more time to decide.”

“You seem a lot more … grim and focused than you were earlier,” he said.

“I’m starting to get very worried about what might be coming our way,” I answered. “We don’t have time for messing around with Triadoids.”

The general asked softly so others couldn’t hear, “We have some pretty impressive weapons nowadays. Do you think they could at least be used to defend ourselves with?”

I could only sigh, “General, there are forces and powers out there that would dwarf the energy produced by our sun.” I lifted my left hand. A hugely bright plasma ball ignited and burned brightly for an instant. The general looked on in wide eyed amazement as he realized how primitive earth still was.

It was about that time my devise notified me that it had discovered an almost hidden interdimensional time anomaly just the other side of the heliopause. In effect, due to all the spacial disruption caused by interstellar space’s high energy incoming, and our sun’s energy having reached its ability to push back at that point, it kept it almost totally hidden to most all sensors … except the massively upgraded ones of my device.

In my mind’s eye, the anomaly looked like some kind of bottomless energy whirlpool, not unlike a black hole, but without the massive graviton interferences. It also didn’t exist in this, or any other place. The data became more and more disjointed and confusing as my device tried to convey it in terms I understood.

Finally, in total confused exasperation, “Stop!, Wait a minute here.”

The general raised his eyebrows questioningly as he looked at me, “Is … there something wrong, Wisp? I’ll try and stop whatever it is.”

”No … but yes.” I replied as I rubbed my temples. I sort of could feel a small headache there from trying so hard to access data that was as far beyond me ... as the farthest edge of our visible universe is from Earth.

The general had a really serious and concerned expression as he said, “What did you find out? Are those things down there on the warpath or something?”

I replied, “The problem here is that I am trying to connect to a data source larger than the combined knowledge of many centuries of peoples from an almost infinite number of dimensions, planets, whatever. This database spans ages we swear never existed. Much of the data comes from an age older than the oldest remnants in our local viewable space many times 13 billion years ago. I am just a bit too … much of a caveman to understand 99.9999% of it.” I shrugged, “That’s all.”

All the general said to that was, “Oh.” He raised his eyebrows in surprise as he turned, walked over to the staging table, and got himself a large cup of coffee.

I guess he understood. I shook my head as I attempted to ‘see’ through my sensor eyes what an anomaly might look like. The faceplate of my helmet began showing me a perfect shot of that particular area of space. With a thought, I could look in any direction and scan for … well … as far as I was concerned, anything.

After a second’s scan of local space, an image of the anomaly appeared in the visual displayed by my helmet. It was transposed into images my eyes would be able to see. I snort as I think how much it looked like the water going down a drain. Only thing though, the water just happened to appear to be reality itself.

I was informed I would have to go there in person if I wanted any more detailed information. It was unable to convey to me finer details in a way I would understand.

I felt a tingle of excitement as I realized the suit my device made for me, would allow me to function normally in most any environment or … strangely arranged Physics other dimensions had. Coupled with the shield the device afforded … Cool!

“General,” I said, “There’s something I have to check out. I’ll be back as soon as I have a look see.”

The general stood wide eyed and opened mouthed in amazement as Wisp vanished in a bright blue/white flash.

I ported to the location indicated in the sensor scan. It felt so weird to be in outer space with the sun just a bright spot off in the far distance. My device warned me almost instantly that some kind of beam had reached out and taken hold of me. I can’t really describe what happened next as energy swirled all around me. I had very large electrical sensations rush all through me, but no pain.

Next thing I knew, I was standing on some kind of platform in a room that was so far alien beyond even my database; everything looked like something from a techie’s wildest fantasy. Nothing I saw could my device even begin to explain. It informed me that I had encountered something older and more advanced still, than the League.

A ghostly cloud image formed suddenly. The face of a very pretty young female humanoid appeared within and said softly, “Greetings. And, I should also say, welcome aboard. I know you aren’t one of my peoples, but I did notice right away the technology you possess. Told me I might want to meet you. Let me introduce myself, I am known as Delta. I’m this ship’s computer system. We are located currently in the time slip between one second … and the next. No matter how long we are here, no time passes.”

“So you’re not, say, here to eliminate my reality and replace it with your own,” I said, thinking about how the anomaly had appeared from outside.

“What? This does not compute. There would be nothing to be gained from doing such a thing.” The image’s face looked confused. “You must be looking for the interlayer flow inversion creases that I keep detecting. Are you saying someone is consciously making those?”

“Er, yes,” I said. “You aren’t?”

“No, as I said, I wouldn’t advise anyone to do that,” the computer calling itself Delta replied. “Equalization of the chirality on either side would cause all the layers to merge. It would be a disaster beyond measure.”

“OK, then,” I said, “presumably you also want to stop that; where’s the nearest one?” I asked, at the same time asking my League device whether it had ever heard of a ship like this one before. In the dustiest oldest legends of the civilization that had founded the League, there were stories about what basically served them as UFO sightings, but they had never discovered what they were. A little like Molokai’s Demon, but older, and no one had ever taken pictures of these. It’s not that they were too quick; I wasn’t able to take any pictures right now either.

“The nearest of these is on a small planetoid whose orbit nearly intersects the rotational axis of this system’s star,” said Delta. “I sense that you possess scanning technology that is reasonably sophisticated and should be able to detect it, if you focus your synodic harmonizers and align their phases to the cross-layer beat frequency.”

“Uh, ah, OK, I’ll … do that,” I said. “Why am I unable to record any images here?”

“I sense that your technology is making the assumption that photons are moving and time is flowing,” Delta said. “This is not the case. The conversation we are having is mostly a telepathic construct. I am feeding your mind the impulses of sounds and images, but no actual electromagnetic or pressure vibrations are taking place. Your body’s metabolic processes are not occurring, but this is not dangerous, as when you leave here, it will be as if you had only been here for a tiny fraction of what you would call a second.”

“Focus synodic harmonizers, align harmonizer phases, cross-layer beat frequency,” I was thinking, trying to remember the words, which made no sense to me, even though my device was in fact somehow translating their meaning into English, using words that at least somewhat got across what this computer was talking about. Was it more advanced than the League’s founders? Was that possible? Just then the device showed me exactly the planetoid Delta had told me about -- right where it said. I guess the League utility device knew what a synodic harmonizer was.

I looked around the room I was in. Nothing my eyes saw did my mind recognize, nor could my device tell me anything about it that I could understand. In the image my visor displayed of the small asteroid, what I saw made no sense either.

I knew I was witnessing major inter-lapping and folding of many different dimensional planes. I also began to receive another signal. This one was from earth. I searched hard to see what could be sending this type of signal … and from earth no less.

To my amazement, it was coming from the Metropolitan art museum near where I lived. I couldn’t actually see the device making the signal, but I did see the waves of energy it gave off. I sort of remembered something, but didn’t have time to explore that for now. There was something else that took front and center of my attention. On that planetoid I actually saw another of those demons as it stepped through one of those weird rips it created in reality. What it was doing, became clouded and obscure as it gave off a massively powerful wave of mysterious energy that blocked a better scan.

Delta said softly in her very nice voice, “I think, there is a disturbance there at this time that someone of your caliber might want to look into.”

“You mean, “ I asked, “that critter that just arrived on the asteroid?”

The image giggled just like a little girl, “Yes. Exactly. I like you. I think I have some upgrades for you that you would like. Since I have been here for … time since forever, No one but you has even arrived in my transporter. I feel that we could be a very good team. What you say?”

I was sort of surprised that a ship … would be talking to me like any other sentient being. After a bit of thought, I said, “Sure. I need all the help I can get. I think this place would make a good headquarters for the Wisp.”

The image took on a curious expression, “Who?”

I smiled, “Me … I’m called Wisp.”

“Nice ta meet ya … Wisp. And welcome to my world.”

A bit more introduction later, I was back on Earth, looking for Michelle. She was done taping her interview and was looking for me, actually. “Where are you?” I asked. “We have something we should probably check out.”

“I’m in my office,” she said, “but I’ll meet you in, say, the living room of my house.”

“OK,” I said, and I was there, and a moment later so was she. I could tell she’d had to turn off her office lights and lock the door, so no one would think she was in there.

I explained about the demon -- but I left out Delta. I kind of wanted Delta to be my ace in the hole, a last trick I could pull in case things went bad. “So wait, we have to take on one of these … demon things on this asteroid you found by scanning? Shouldn’t we call in the League?”

“Well, around here, we are the League,” I said. “There are a few other agents in this part of space, though, and we might want to tell them, in case things go bad and we need backup. But I kind of think that we can take care of it -- the two of us are probably more than enough, but best to be safe.”

“OK,” she said, “not that I’m scared, but if anything happens to us, Earth’s got no one to defend it -- no one who’s from here, anyway.”

“That’s why we’ll let the others know, just in case. In fact, I just did. Ready to go?”

Her stylish outfit flashed and was replaced by her reflective black suit. “Ready,” Michelle said.

The planetoid was now leaving a trail of change behind it -- I wouldn’t have needed to modify my device’s parameters to detect it now. The demon had created an arc around the planetoid’s diameter, like opening a paper fan and holding it out a car window, and it left behind a broad streamer of material from another reality -- it was ripping a hole in our dimension as it went, and if it completed an orbit, the biggest rift ever seen would form. Luckily for us, it would have needed to remain undiscovered for years to accomplish this, so it wasn’t a very good plan, but still, we couldn’t let it happen. We appeared ahead of the planetoid in its orbit, matching velocities with it, then slowing a bit to approach it. It was a big asteroid, dozens of miles across, but the demon was still easy to spot.

“OK, there he is,” I said to Michelle via our devices. “Let’s go with Plan A.”

We both landed on the planetoid, a few hundred yards on either side of the demon, planted our feet, and basically emptied both barrels at it. That was Plan A. Beams of silver-white energy ripped into the creature from both sides.

Around the demon, a massive sparkling tornado of energy formed as huge bolts of plasma fire spun around the center. To both of us, we were totally amazed as it shrugged off the major attack. When the energy dissipated, the whole area was scorched, and the demon’s flesh and armor gave off some form of vapor. Apparently, his armor took the brunt of the attack.

The demon turned and faced Michelle, then fired another bolt of some kind of ethereal energy at her. The explosion reminded me of the one the Gothi had fired at us when we first met them. The resulting explosion was as massive as it was compact.

As quickly as I could, I had ported Michelle from the impact zone. Fortunately, it was fast enough as the intensity of the explosion blew a massive divot in the surface of the planetoid. The dimensional disruption intensified as the demon started another attack. This time, my device gave me many defensive and offensive options.

I pointed my finger at the demon, and let him have it once more with one of the new weapons my device offered me. This time, the disruption stopped, and the entire thing dissolved back to what I thought of as normal space. The demon leaned back, and if there had been an atmosphere, it would have roared in what obviously looked like severe pain.

We watched as a form of energy we had never seen before danced all over the demon’s body, until it fell to its knees. This time, its armor showed major damage and we knew it was more than just a simple vapor enveloping it.

The demon stood suddenly and waved its arm …

… I opened my eyes and looked around. It took me an instant to realize I was in the medical wing of Headquarters.

“Wh …” I began to say. “What happened” was what I wanted to say, but “Wh” was painful enough that I stopped right there. Fortunately my device already knew what I wanted to know, so I Just Knew. The demon had engulfed the planetoid in matter, energy, space/time, whatever it was, from the other side of the rift it had made. It was anathema to everything I was made of. My device was able to shield me from total destruction, and Michelle had apparently teleported away at the last moment, but she hadn’t been the primary target anyway. I was the one who had made it angry. Still, even though I wasn’t dead, my body had taken a beating. The effect was kind of like being inside a hardened steel ball during a major earthquake -- you’re not going to be torn apart by rocks or falling debris, but you’ll still be battered around quite a bit.

Then our backup had arrived. Agents Ligamondes and Nijedahaa had appeared, bringing Locathann and some of his Phosian hardware with them. Working together, they had simply blasted the planetoid to bits out from under the demon, and with no focal substrate for his dimensional rift, it had shimmered and fallen apart. The demon had then left, defeated, moderately damaged, but not destroyed, and they and Michelle had brought me here.

Agent Pl’boolu slithered up to my bed on his tentacled fins. He said softly, “And how are you feeling today, Agent Randy Niess? You have been given The Medal of Valor and Bravery for your Combat against a far superior foe.”

I felt a small stab of shock run through me. I opened my eyes, I didn’t have to speak. The Device took care of that at the speed of thought, “I didn’t do anything except my job.”

Pl’boolu laughed, “Ok, then they gave that self same medal to a total idiot who attacked a being many times stronger than he and almost won. Did quite a bit of damage to its armor and upper scaled hide from what I saw.”

A holo screen appeared, the whole confrontation played back in full color and perfect resolution. I was amazed at Agents Ligamondes and Nijedahaa and how powerful the Phosian devices were in combat. I then Just Knew that they normally weren’t -- but two League Agents using the famous League gauntlets to augment the power of a Phosian continuum resonance cannon were obviously a force to be reckoned with.

“Now, we might want to have a conversation about dodging,” said Pl’boolu, “but you’re still with us, and that’ll do. Looks like the device’s new defensive measures are working as advertised.”

It was right about then that I realized I wasn’t breathing, but didn’t seem to be suffering any of the usual problems that would cause. That was when I Just Knew that my shattered ribs and bruised internal organs were temporarily immobilized for rapid regeneration and that my blood was being oxygenated and circulated by medical technology far beyond Earth’s -- just like a heart-lung machine, but much more advanced. I wondered how long I’d be here.

“Oh, don’t worry,” Pl’boolu said, “I expect about a day, by which I mean an Earth day of your personal time, and you’ll be ready for at least light duty. We’ll see. Meanwhile, the rest of your planet will hardly notice you’re gone -- it’ll be much less time for them. Luckily you’re in much better shape than Ligamondes was, because of the defensive improvements.”

I had another thought, which Pl’boolu also picked up on. “Oh, Agent Michelle Delaney? She has been here four times while you’ve been recuperating. I take it she’s been busy with matters on Earth, but I told her to get some rest. I believe she’s in a visitor room doing just that. I’m sure she’ll be back soon. Please, relax. You’re on the mend, and you’ll be fine shortly.”

There was no way to relax, after what had happened, but my body was still exhausted and took care of that for me. It wasn’t long before I fell asleep again. I thought I heard Pl’boolu talking to someone else as I drifted off, saying something like, “... reacted so quickly after he found the planetoid … data about the enemy is more than we’ve ever obtained … he deserves that medal and more … enemy still isn’t defeated ...”

I finally woke up. Agent Ligamondes was sitting in the room with Michelle keeping vigilance.

I said through the link, “Hi, guys. Supp since I’ve been … asleep?”

Michelle makes a happy squeal as she turned and rushes over to my side. I got this huge kiss right on my lips … ummmm.

Ligamondes said, “Welcome back to the land of the living. You and I are now exclusive members of the same club.”

I looked at him questioningly, “Club? What club?”

He laughed, “The one where the both of us attacked something that most agents would have run from. Not only that, we lived to tell about it.”

Michelle said joyously, “You got one of the highest medals the League offers to its members. Honor and Valor! OMG!!” she wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me softly once again.

Ligamondes said, “Now, Agent Michelle Delaney, you also need to tell him you received a medal too. I don’t think the Legion of Merit is anything to sneeze at … and for the same reasons. No member of the League has ever been able to see, much less record all the data the both of you did. It is one of the most important breakthroughs we have had in discovering who this new enemy is.”

“Oh?” I asked. “Who is it?”

He laughed. “It’s not THAT simple, of course. When is it ever? But let me simply say that there is a part of the Omniverse that the League has been unable to explore, since even with its technology there is a limit to the hostility of the environment against which it can protect life. There are infinite universes, but only some of them have physical laws that can support life. We thought we knew the extent by which a universe could differ from what we know and still allow for life to exist, and past that, we thought nothing could live. There is a vast gulf where nothing can live, and we can’t explore far into it without running into extreme difficulties. But now we suspect that, beyond that range of universes where the physical laws don’t allow for our kind of life, there is another realm of universes with physical laws that can also support life -- it’s just not life that is similar to, or compatible with, anything on our side of the line.”

This caused a light to go on. I realized suddenly that we were able to probe only so far into their dimension, but they could literally bring theirs with them to ours; which would give them access to any location at will. It also meant that it could be used as a devastating weapon in this reality. Life on this side of the line, couldn’t exist within such a field without serious intervention of another sort. A sort that we were still trying to fully acquire. My injuries were the reminder of how little it was we had at present.

Suddenly, several ghostly nightmares came into focus as I realized that my device had to be sort of alive too. It had become more than a symbiotic device attached to my arm. I looked at the sparkling crystalline glove for an instant before I also thought of Delta … that ship that had found me. I knew the glove continually upgraded itself as I used it and it acquired more data about the universe around it. I also knew my device had potential I hadn’t yet the imagination to explore.

What if … many life forms are actually …??

There were civilizations beyond the knowledge of the Creators of the League. Delta was one of them. The more I had searched for information on this type of vessel, the more I kept arriving at the type of tale we would call a UFO Story. These sightings had happened in many dimensions throughout the extremely long timeline.

The database also freely admitted there were infinite places within the Omniverse that weren’t archived or explored. I desperately needed some kind of edge that those other Universes knew nothing of. I smiled as a thought creeped into my mind. Delta was said to be old before time was born in several of the many centuries old archived renditions of the telling of sightings. This had to be something. I needed one of those upgrades it spoke about when I first encountered it.

As soon as Pl’boolu allowed me from this machine and onto light duty, I knew just where I was going to spend my convalescence …

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Meanwhile, as Michelle told me later, Earth was struggling along, trying to deal with its own problems.

“How long has it been doing this?” Michelle asked the curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They stood before the footprint-shaped object that we had brought in. A box with rounded corners, above which hovered three spherical objects of the same seamless white material. But now it had started behaving strangely.

They watched as it changed its color quickly to blue, and the temperature in the room dropped perceptibly for a moment. It only lasted a few seconds, after which its color returned to white and the temperature again felt normal. “I first noticed it last night,” he said, “while I was walking the gallery, trying to decide where to put the visiting Cezanne piece. I saw it from two rooms away, glowing blue, but it was normal again when I got here. I thought maybe I’d imagined it. But then, about 20 minutes later, it happened again, and I’d made sure not to get too far away. I set a timer for another 20 minutes, and this time I got it on video.” He held up his phone, on which he had already shown Michelle the first recorded incident.

“It’s speeding up, then,” she said. “What could this mean?” She wondered whether her device had recorded the last incident -- and it scanned on a lot more frequencies than a cell phone did. And suddenly, she Just Saw it. It was … taking energy from its surroundings. That’s why it was cold. But she could see it, in the recording, sucking energy from everything within about a 25-yard radius, glowing blue as it did so. She still couldn’t see inside it, if there was an inside to see, but it was definitely drawing in the heat energy near it.

She explained this to the curator. “It’s not doing this as badly as it could be doing,” she added. “It could be sucking heat so fast that everything nearby froze solid -- damaging the building, damaging the art, even hurting or killing people. But it’s not.”

“What … would do that?” the curator wondered.

“Well, not any kind of weapon,” Michelle reasoned. “I sort of suspect that we’re not really seeing what it does -- that it’s recharging itself, and once it’s fully charged, we’ll see what it really does. But again, I wouldn’t be too worried, because whoever built this recharging system took care to make sure it wouldn’t hurt people, or even buildings.” And the object did it again, glowing blue and tangibly lowering the temperature of the room for a moment before returning to normal.

“Thank you for coming to check it out, at least, Wish,” the curator said.

“Oh, it’s no problem! It could turn out to be very important,” said Michelle. “And I have an idea. What if I … speed up its recharge cycle a bit?” She surrounded the object with an invisible force field and raised the temperature of the air inside to that of a hot summer day in New Mexico. Then she and the curator watched and waited, though the curator didn’t know what she had done, because it was completely invisible -- the force field was transparent, as was the warmer air inside. Next time the object pulsed, though, it stayed blue for longer, and Michelle could feel it drawing upon the hotter energy of the air that she was heating. She was just pouring energy into the thing, and it was drinking it in. It returned to normal again, though.

“Well, that was diff --” she began, but almost immediately it did it again, turning blue and drinking down even more energy. “OK, then. When are you gonna get done recharging, you silly thing? We wanna see what you do.” She just kept feeding it more energy -- which was easy enough; she just had to keep the air temperature inside the force bubble at a steady 115 degrees F. When it stopped this time, it wasn’t entirely the same; it returned to its original white color but was slightly glowing. It repeated this cycle three more times, glowing more brightly each time, until it stopped and changed form. The three floating spheres rearranged themselves. Michelle enlarged the force field to give it room, and rather than the three spheres hovering above the rounded box, they reconfigured into another arrangement: one sphere was now above it, one was below it, and the third orbited placidly around the center box. The entire assembly then bounced, as if the disconnected spheres were actually attached to the box with invisible springs.

“What … are we looking at here?” asked the museum curator, looking nervously at Michelle.

“I’m … not sure,” Michelle replied, but she had her device take a good look at the object, which was currently leaning over at an angle, rotating slightly to point toward everywhere in the room in a 360-degree pattern. Michelle found that she Just Knew that this resembled something … “This might be intelligent or semi-intelligent behavior,” she said. “It woke up and is examining its surroundings. We might be looking at either an intelligent robot or a life form, but either way, it’s nothing like what the League’s ever seen before.”

“The League?” the curator asked.

“The Wisp and I belong to it,” Michelle explained briefly. “Defending peace and justice throughout the civilized universes.”

“Um, oh,” he said, out of his depth. “So … multiple universes. And nobody’s seen this before? Why is it here? In this museum, but also, on Earth, I mean?”

“Well, I can think of one reason, and that one’s very bad, and another one that’s not so bad,” Michelle thought aloud. She walked cautiously toward the object. “Hello?” she asked it. “I am The Wish. Can you understand me?” Other than tilting itself away from her with the top sphere angled toward her, while the middle sphere orbited a bit faster, the object did not respond.

Michelle started to get impatient. Nothing she had done apparently had caused any kind of favorable reaction that gave her devise any input that was useful. Just as an impatient gesture to see if anything would happen, Michelle raised the temperature in the force bubble to 250 degrees. The device emitted the customary blue light, raising its three spheres up above the cube again. This time, in a rapidly propagating wave, all the moisture within the protection of the force bubble froze, then turned to a white powder as it fell like snow. Within a few seconds, the white powder sublimated into some sort of liquid and vanished.

Michelle was sort of surprised when her devise recorded temperatures of well nigh absolute zero within the bubble for a minute before it returned slowly to normal through convection.

Michelle, through her neural link, attempted to once again talk with … it, “Hello?” many colored lights danced around the room like a kaleidoscope as she spoke. She also noticed subtle oders and temperature anomalies that coincided with certain tones in her voice, “Can you understand me?” Michelle hoped at least one approach would work.

The object’s spheres returned to their positions, above and below the box and orbiting it, and it leaned toward Michelle. It produced a tone, a single audible frequency. Then it changed color, from white to a kaleidoscope of visible colors -- and, Michelle believed, some invisible ones as well, as her device showed her that it was emitting some light in the infrared and ultraviolet. The color patterns shifted and changed, then it returned to white again. At this point she Just Knew that she was in a first contact situation, and the device had an adaptable protocol for those.

Michelle wished that Randy was out of the Med Wing. She sure could use his input here too. She once again focused her thought patterns through the neural link, “I am trying to establish a common denominator with you so we can begin communications.”

Suddenly, Michelle felt like her mind had just been invaded. No, not so much invaded, but she had a visitor. It wasn’t trying to do anything but make some kind of contact at this point in the only way it had found … through this strange neural/ kyrillian energy wave.

Michelle then Just Knew, via her device, that the device had realized that the object, or entity, was at least somewhat telepathic, so the League device was trying to bridge the communications gap that way. “Hello,” she sent a thought, directed at the presence within her mind. “I am attempting to establish communications. Can you understand?”

“I see! Communication! Wonderful! This dimension is full of so many wonders!” came an enthusiastic response. The object’s middle sphere orbited more rapidly around the cubical central element.

Michelle felt a thrill of excitement tingle through her body as she asked, “What … are you and why are you here? Are you fleeing the Goethi? Or those other nastier beings that follow them?”

“This symbol, ‘Goethi,’ is unfamiliar. I am unable to properly answer. Apologies. I am …” There followed a symbol, a mental meaning with no actual words attached, but Michelle got the impression that it was the being’s name. It resonated with overlapping meanings like “curious,” “explorer,” “fearless,” and “lucky.” There was another symbol following that one, and Michelle got the impression that it was the being’s name for its race. This one was full of overlapping meanings, and she was having difficulty parsing it. The League device, however, was assisting her, and it assured her that it would be able to flawlessly fill in either of those meaning symbols whenever she tried to refer to one. She decided to call it “Explorer.”

The being continued, “I am here because of the unprecedented dimensional confluence that is occurring here! Is it not amazing? This is the first time my species has ever been able to cross the Multilateral Quintic Convergence Chasm.” Michelle suspected the League device of filling in the closest fit it could find in her mind here, because she had the sensation of overlapping symbols again. “Your dimension is astounding! Such stories and data I will have to bring home! But also such dangers! I barely touched … something I cannot remember, and I was drained of life-energy to the point where I went into hibernation.”

Michelle looked at her gloved hand as she thought about putting her hand on its top the first time she had encountered it and hoped it wasn’t her that caused that to happen.

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In a sidereal dimension far beyond the great energy void, a massively powerful shadowy being started its incantation. It intended to open a rift and allow several magnitudes of bonded lepton quark creations to interact with that dimension’s energy field. If its calculations were correct …

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Michelle’s sensors began an emergency alert. It recorded an explosion as massive as the big bang that rapidly spread across 4 upper dimensions, totally destroying them and all the life forces within, only to recreate it in another potential more akin to the shadowy being’s own.

The entire League went on immediate emergency war alert as the first salvo in a war none could possibly imagine had been fired. The ripples of the massive destruction was felt throughout the Omniverse as the energy wave finally stopped its FTL expansion and all the gasses began to cool … under a totally strange and incompatible to this system’s life force physics.

“What … was that?” came the thoughts of the entity Michelle had nicknamed Explorer. “I detected a dimensional disturbance with my sensors/devices/training just now. Very similar to what I encountered just after I made contact with this solid habitation!”

“Just after you … came to Earth?” Michelle clarified.

“Again, this ‘Earth’ is an unfamiliar symbol,” said Explorer, “but … this planet/world/sphere, within this dimension. It felt very similar, only much weaker … and much closer. This time it was much more powerful … but much farther away. Are we under attack?”

“To make a long story short, yes,” said Michelle. “You say you … encountered some energy like that?”

“Yes, and though fascinating, it also nearly ended my life,” Explorer said. “If you had not revived me with an influx of life-energy, I would still be in hibernation. And if your force-bubble were not protecting me now, I am not sure I would have survived. Thank you, generous Wish being!”

“I’m from the League,” she thought to Explorer, and she explained briefly what that was. “We certainly wish to learn more about your people, when we have a chance. Right now, though, I think we’re at war, against somebody we barely know anything about, somebody whose presence is even worse for you than it is for us, so we need to get you somewhere safe.”

“The League … well, if any of you have ever managed to cross the Multilateral Quintic Convergence Chasm, I certainly haven’t heard of it.” Explorer’s thoughts were still excited, and its feelings were as always mostly enthusiastic with new discoveries. “But this means you could visit my home now! With the dimensional confluence occurring, it has temporarily brought entire realms of dimensions closer together than they usually are. It sounds, though, as if this enemy wishes for it not to be a temporary arrangement!”

The museum curator, meanwhile, was puzzled. “There … appears to have been some sort of earthquake,” he said, “but fortunately not a major one. If you don’t mind, I’m going to see if I can find anything out. I’ll leave you and the object here, if that’s all right, but I’ll be back.”

“It’s called Explorer,” Michelle said, “and I think I’m going to take it somewhere safe.”

“Oh, well, then …” said the curator, but Michelle and Explorer were gone in a bright blue/white flash.

“This is a new place!” Explorer thought enthusiastically. “Thank you for showing me another experience!”

“Michelle?” I said, for she and a strange white object had just appeared in my room in the League infirmary. “Is that …?”

“I’m calling it Explorer. It’s talking to me in my mind through my device. Only way it can talk. It’s from dimensions we’ve never heard of, blah blah blah, happens all the time these days. Did you know there’s been some kind of attack?” Michelle was speaking very quickly.

I hadn’t heard exactly what was going on, but there had been a lot of chatter out in the hallway recently -- though I know it isn’t exactly a hallway, the result is the same. “Attack? What kind of attack?” Then my device filled me in on what the League knew, and as usual my own question was answered.

“Explorer, this is the other League Agent from Earth, called the Wisp,” Michelle sent to Explorer. “He was recently injured in battle with the same enemy, but he is recovering.”

Meanwhile I had gotten a message from Delta, saying, “In case you were not already aware by other means, there has been a massive continuum insurgence from beyond the Anti-synodic Gulf, rechiralizing four entire layers. This is quite unprecedented and was certainly deliberate.” Different points of view had different terminology, so I suspected that Delta was calling them “layers” when we would say “dimensions.” Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

I received a full color real time view of what those layers currently looked like. On a universal type scale, the whole thing appeared to be a massive, rapidly expanding fireball complete with all the accompanying radiations and dust clouds that seemed to be coalescing into clusters that would eventually become massive galaxies. One thing that was brought immediately to my attention, was the fact that this new area was totally anathema to any kind of life form known to the League.

Delta made a most surprising comment, “That particular thing can normally be averted right now. I can see many factors leading up to the initial breach that can be stopped and cause a totality reversal.”

I opened my eyes in surprise, “Can be? What do you mean, can be stopped?”

I could feel Delta sort of giggle, “Sorry, I forgot that Chronal manipulation is a lost art. I sit at a point called Nexus. Usually, it is used by many civilizations throughout the Totality Layers … Oh, I see, I mean the Omniverse, to open gateways to other dimensions and locations. It also is the absolute center of … all time and no time.”

“No time?” I asked in incredulity, “What the heck is No Time?”

Delta replied, “Remember when you were with me? That, kind Agent, is no time. What I mean is that I am at the center of … everything. Why it’s called the Nexus.”

I had to get in touch with Pl’boolu. I had to get out of here and go to Delta. There were now many things I had to know. The quicker I could get there and do the reasearch I wanted to do, the more chance the rest of the Omniverse had. I started getting out of bed.

“No no no!” shouted Michelle, pushing me back. “You have to get better before you run off trying to save everything that exists. If you get up now, you won’t be any use to anyone.”

“Please, listen to Agent Michelle Delaney,” said Pl’boolu, entering my room. “You must heal fully. Only then can you undergo strenuous activity without risking reinjury. Just relax, please. Yes, the enemy is advancing, but if you run out there and die it won’t stop them.”

“I have a better idea,” came a message from Delta, and suddenly Pl’boolu, Michelle, and everyone else in the room were frozen in time. I reached out and waved my hand in front of Michelle’s face. “Yes, time is passing for you about one billion times more quickly than it is passing for them,” Delta explained.

“That’s great!” I said, starting to get out of bed again.

“No … that was not my intent,” Delta immediately cautioned me. “Please rest. But know that for as long as I maintain this small region of No Time around you, the enemy is also advancing at a rate one billion times more slowly, from your point of view. I can see your device protects you from the advancing time anomaly as well. That means you will not age. I calculate that there are mere hours until your healing process is complete, as you measure time. Also, if you leave the bed, you will leave the region of No Time, and the effect will no longer function.”

“So I have to stay here? And rest?” I asked.

“Unfortunately, or fortunately, yes,” Delta responded. “But do not worry, for in units familiar to you, when hours have passed for you, less than one second will have passed for the rest of the Totality.”

“I … guess that’s OK, then,” I said, lying back in bed.

“Good. Rest. We will speak again soon.” Delta closed the communication.

So … I rested. I tried to get some sleep. It wasn’t easy. Even though I knew only microseconds were passing for everything else, I still had visions of universes dying. But somehow I made it through the boredom. Pl’boolu’s treatment still had me healing much faster than a normal human would have.

I woke with a start when Pl’boolu started talking again. “So just lie back and get your rest, Agent!” He blinked at me with his large fishlike eyes. “Your vitals … just abruptly changed.” He looked at some of the hovering readouts and displays by the bed. “This just registered your heartbeat racing several orders of magnitude faster than normal for an instant. And ... your breaks have knitted. How in the … all right then, I have no arguments anymore. Get out there and do whatever you need to do!” He turned off the monitors and pulled the sticky sensors off my skin, then moved out of the way. “I hope I’ll see you in one piece.”

“I’ll make every effort,” I said. Then I turned to Michelle and said, “I have to do something now. I’ll be right back.” Before Michelle could say anything, I vanished. Of course, I would reappear in the same spot two seconds later, from her perspective.

I thought about Delta and the place I was when we were in No Time. I could feel the usual tingle, but it had another strange … flavor is the only thing I can describe it as. Apparently, when I port into another dimension with strange physics or time shifts, the feel of the transfer is different. I thought about it and realized I could tell where I might have ported to by the feel of materialization.

Then I materialized within Delta’s world, or whatever you would call it, now dressed in my battle suit. Streams and currents of light flowed in every direction as far as the eye could see -- or so it seemed, because as Delta had explained, time was so stationary here that my eyes couldn’t actually see any light; it was redshifted so far into the radio bands that there was nothing for me to see. What I experienced was more of a telepathic metaphor that Delta was sending to my brain so I could cope.

The cloud appeared and the pretty female humanoid face materialized within. “Oh! Here you are!” Delta giggled. “You did say you needed to do some research. How can I help? I have the data port you requested available. I must warn you though … this database is huge, and I had safeguards built in so it won’t hurt you.”

I shook my head. I knew exactly what Delta was talking about as I tied into its main data base. Within my mind, an archive of researched and verified data spanning vast areas of knowledge totally unknown to the Founders, and to those shadow things from beyond the energy void … flooded in.

It hurt, the data load was so huge. My head pounded as massive amounts of data totally unknown to the Omniverse poured through. Suddenly, next to me a module appeared. My device AI became extremely excited and begged me for the first time to do something.

OK, I picked it up, a small panel slid open and something extended from my glove. I placed the module into the frame, it grabbed hold, locked in, then retracted into my arm and the panel closed.

I could feel the new form of power flood through me as I was given control over the flow of time in localized areas. The ability would grow with usage as did all the powers the device afforded me. I would, however, need to be careful when using it, as Delta clearly wished to remain undiscovered by the rest of the Multiverse, or the Totality, or whatever term one used.

Delta opened the interlink to her database once again . My head felt like it swelled suddenly to massive proportions as data spanning many universes and many levels of inter-coronal displacements filled my consciousness. I sort of understood now, how my device could cause a totality reversal.

For one brief shining moment my limited human brain understood it all and had a single amazing idea. Time wasn’t so much a river as it was a wave, like an AC current, with its high energy levels as well as corresponding lows. A certain type of chronal displacement that was put exactly prior to the rift junction's discharge, would start a time wave causality reflection that would negatively interfere with the consequences all the way back to the event that had caused them, repairing the totality to its previous form. This all made sense, and then I began having difficulty again -- but not before I had recorded that idea in my device’s memory. I couldn’t have done this as a mere human, but as an Agent it was possible.

My head was pounding. I hadn’t realized how much data I had not been accessing until Delta showed me her huge archives. I shook my head to clear it a bit. I could tell even my device was sort of reeling from the enormity of the task I had asked of it. I didn’t realize that it had recorded the total archive, and not just the remedy to the invasion by those other beings. I had discovered their original names were Ghloftunmm. The data wasn’t very clear about why they were wanting to remake all there was into their kind of space, but it was very clear that if they were allowed to divest, things were going to go very badly for all concerned.

I thought about Michelle and Agent Ligamondes and pictured the hospital room at League Headquarters it in my mind. I felt the familiar tingle. Yup, I could probably tell where I was porting into by the feel of the materialization. Each had sort of a unique flavor to it.

I arrived back just two seconds after I had originally left. Anyway … I said, “Michelle, I have a way to stop those beings from wiping out all life as we know it.”


Michelle’s eyes got real big in surprise, “How’s that?”

I tapped the glove on my left wrist, “I have the whole thing here.”

In both our minds, there was this click, the AI said, “I have recorded data spanning ages before the Creators of the League. Within this data bank, reside mysteries that only the two of you are privy to.”

“Careful,” I said to Michelle, in thought. “You don’t want to try to take it all in at once. Unless you want a headache that measures on the Richter Scale. I found out the hard way.”

“OK, one step at a time,” said Michelle. “You found a hidden ancient space base?”

“Yes, basically,” I said, “kind of by accident.”

“... and you didn’t tell me?”

“Uh, yeah,” I explained sheepishly. “Sorry about that. It really doesn’t want people to know about it. But … it’s important to me that you know. In case, you know, something happens to me.”

“I don’t want to think about that!” Michelle thought at me. “But I guess that makes sense. It didn’t stay a secret hidden base until now by telling everyone about itself. So basically there’s a way to reverse time and undo the damage the enemy did to those four universes?”

“That’s the basic idea,” I responded. “It has to be done just right.”

“You have the whole plan laid out right here, it looks like,” Michelle said. “OK, when do you want to do it?”

“It has to be done within minutes,” I said, “or there’s no way it can work. The wavefronts will have spread too far.” The thing about mental communication is that it’s more or less instantaneous.

This is why I turned to Agent Ligamondes and Pl’boolu and the alien that Michelle had named Explorer and said, “I’m sorry, I know this is all very odd, but we’ll explain later. We have to go do something again. We’ll be right back.”

We arrived at a place beyond anything our device had recorded. Nothing within any kind of … anywhere could even be rendered on the visors of our helmets. What we looked at, I had no means to even describe.

Off in the astronomical distance, many waves of dancing and weaving … lights would be the closest thing comes to mind, although this wasn’t anywhere near what it actually was, could be seen intermixing and reforming.

Michelle gasped over the link, “This … is?? … where did you take me?”

My device was even in the dark as to the location we had arrived at. Immediately, I said over the link, “ At full power, I want you to try and create a plasma interphasic anti-choronal bubble.”

I felt Michelle’s confusion. I located the specific information in the database, and she knew how and what … and when. Her mind suddenly lit up as she understood the whole thing … for an instant … before her mind began to hurt from the magnitude of data she had linked to.

She threw up her hand same as I, then we both fired …. full power. A massive plasma ball filled with electrical fury on a nuclear scale. A massive explosion … a rip in the very fabric of … whatever this place was, and a shadowy being stepped through.

It swung something around what might have been its head and then slashed towards the plasma conflagration we had started. Both impacted in another huge pyrotechnical explosion. The last thing our devices recorded before the realm split and dumped us out in a parallel reality, was the force of that explosion blasting the molecules of the shadow being away into constituent particles.

“What was that … where are we?” Michelle asked.

“I think that was … one of the enemy,” I said. “I think it tried to stop us from undoing its damage, and probably did, but got itself killed in the process. It may have resulted in the destruction of the dimension we were just in. I’m not sure. But that means there are three more dimensions we might be able to save … and one less bad guy to get in our way! Let’s go!”

Michelle nodded, and we took each other’s hands and materialized in the next one. Again we made a huge energy wave, in what our devices told us was the exact right place, time and shape, and this time, when the explosion came, there was no shadowy entity to interfere. The expanding wavefront of change met our huge reflective barrier, bounced off, and began to retreat, returning everything to as it had been. The result was still pretty alien to us, but unfriendly to the enemy, and that was the whole point. This time it had been a success. “Yes!” I shouted inside my helmet, and Michelle cheered. “OK, next one!”

The third of the four went much like the second. We sent the wave of change in the fabric of that reality back upon itself. Now that we had the knack of it, we went to the fourth and final dimension the enemy was assaulting.

“Ready … now!” I said, and we did as we’d done before, using the fearful weaponry our devices could bring to bear, only in an effort to repair and undo destruction, not cause it. The wave of change struck the barrier …

And again, the fabric of that reality tore, and a being made of pure darkness emerged, much as it had the first time. It was a constantly shifting and evolving mass of darkness and yet somehow intense heat, causing our devices to emit warnings. It was as hot as a star, yet it emitted no visible light. But instead of being destroyed by the impact of the explosion, it only seemed to absorb the energy and become that much hotter.

“I’m not sure I remember my college physics courses right,” asked Michelle, “but shouldn’t something that hot be glowing or something?”

“Yes, I think so,” I answered, as the being finished absorbing the massive amount of energy that would have gone into saving a universe from the destruction it had caused. “It goes to show that wherever it comes from, the rules are just different. And it’s brought those rules with it.”

Then it turned toward us … sort of. “Um, what are we gonna do about it? It’s looking at us. I think. It doesn’t really have a head.”

“I think … whatever we want,” I said. “After all … we have all the time in the universe.” And we did, because time suddenly came to a halt. I’d made a bubble of No Time around us. The sinister shadowy entity wasn’t moving, and neither was the remnant of the explosion we’d made. “Now, how can we stop it? What is it even made of? What destroyed the first one?”

“It was standing right in the spot where the universe it was in … came apart,” Michelle said. “At least, that’s what my device is telling me. It has to have a space and time to exist in, just like you and me. If the space and time where it’s standing are destroyed … it is too.”

“OK, but can we do that again?” I wondered. “That took a wave of … whatever they use … reflecting off a barrier we created using energy from our devices, and an enemy intruding at just the right, or wrong, time.”

“It doesn’t look like there’s an … expanding change wave, or whatever, anymore,” said Michelle. “We’ve got nothing to reflect.”

“Then maybe we should … well, retreat,” I said. “It probably can’t follow us, because from its point of view we’ll be instantaneously gone. No tracks to follow.”

“OK,” said Michelle. “Let’s go back to Agent Ligamondes and Explorer. I feel bad about ditching them back in your hospital room.”

“All right, but let’s be careful and leave no tracks,” I said. We then proceeded to make the slowest and most careful instant departure ever made. I made very sure we left no dimensional trace behind to let it know where we’d gone, and just after we left it, the bubble of No Time collapsed. We weren’t followed, so I assume the entity was unable to determine where we’d gone.

The vaporous dark being was totally shocked when those infuriating League Agents just up and vanished in front of it. Never had it ever encountered a creature capable of doing that. They always left some kind of footprint or energy aura behind.

Search as it might, it found absolutely nothing that showed how the two of them had managed to escape. As worry began to fill the being, it also realized this had to happen eventually. Those Agents had managed to injure him and kill one of his companions … although, they had all thought this was a total impossibility.

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“... sure they will contact us soon -- oh my!” said Agent Ligamondes as we appeared back in my hospital room. “Here they are, in fact.”

“I hope you haven’t been engaging in too strenuous activity,” said Agent Pl’boolu, to me particularly. “I’m hoping not to have to patch you up again.”

“No, no, we’re fine,” I said. “We just had to do something --”

The telepathic “voice” of Explorer rang out inside our minds. “I am detecting a lessening of the terrible entropic energy that has been running rampant in nearby layers. Your disappearance seems … coincidental. Are you responsible?”

“Well, we did sort of completely reverse the attack on two dimensions and halt its progress in a third,” said Michelle. “I … think one of the four was destroyed, though. Can a dimension be destroyed?”

“Well … theoretically, yes, I have heard some of the experts speak of such a thing,” said Ligamondes. “The dimension itself isn’t so much destroyed as … empty. All the positive and negative energy cancels out. It collapses and becomes just as most universes were before they expanded.”

“Like … before the Big Bang,” I said.

“The … what? What a ridiculous name to call the tremendous explosion that caused the beginning of a universe’s history,” said Ligamondes. “But anyway, yes, only without an immense unstable clump of mass-energy.”

“But … everyone and everything in that dimension … everything anyone ever worked for … all gone!” Michelle lamented, shocked.

“That is correct,” came Explorer’s voice. “But what you have done is truly amazing! You have snatched victory from the grasping chelicerae of defeat. This enemy’s weaponry is fearsome, but you stopped it and even undid some of its destruction. My people will be fearful to hear that there is an enemy capable of destroying entire layers, but hopeful to hear that there are ways to prevent this.”

“Explorer,” said Agent Pl’boolu, “what exactly is your homeworld like?”

“It is very … well I do not wish to speak badly of it, for there are those who find it very beautiful,” Explorer’s thoughts came to us. “It is full of crystalline solids, arranged into matrices of unvarying structure.” We saw in our minds the pictures that Explorer was thinking of; there were multicolored crystals the sizes of mountains, moons, or even planets, linked together by forces unlike anything we knew, and the surfaces and crevices of them were inhabited by many beings just like Explorer, going about their daily lives. “These states of matter which you call liquids and gases are quite rare. You seem to live in a range of layers where there is balance between order and chaos -- this is why I am so excited to journey here! I find my home … somewhat dull, actually.”

“Yet you seem to thrive on heat energy,” Pl’boolu said. “It … revived you, you said?”

“Yes, the life forms at home all ingest heat, disordered energy, and subsist on its dissipation,” Explorer explained. “It is quite odd to note that on this side of the Chasm, things seem to progress in the opposite way, from order to chaos.”

“And yet you are harmed by the enemy and its entropic energy,” said Pl’boolu. “Interesting.”

“This sounds like, well, too much of a good thing,” said Michelle. “For us, we need water to live, but too much of it can lead to water poisoning. Some sodium is necessary for life, but too much of it is bad for our health, and in too high concentrations it’s damaging.”

“I think you might be just as bad for them as they are for you,” I said to Explorer. “I think that’s what Pl’boolu is getting at.” Pl’boolu did his people’s equivalent of nodding in agreement -- the League devices translated the meaning for him.

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In a very far flung region well beyond the great void, two creatures observed their injured compatriot. It was unheard of that creatures of such low order could possibly injure … much less kill one of them. To their mind, they were almost immortal. Divestment was so close at hand.

A dark energy passed among the shadowy beings, their conversation was dark and gruesome. They now knew that some low order creatures had discovered the secret to time wave reflection. Their injured compatriot was eyewitness to the awesomeness of the power such small creatures wielded.

This was a special variable that had not been calculated into the current equation. Time was growing short. Divestment was at hand. They had to have the entire layerality made into their images … they … would rule.

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Pl’boolu’s expression seemed to change. I ‘knew’ it to be one of thoughtfulness for his species. His large pisces eyes rolled around and looked at the small being known as Explorer.

Pl’boolu’s voice came over the link, “It would therefore be logical to assume … that a positively charged environment would be total anathema to one such as the Ghloftunmm. Oh my, I didn’t realize the size of the database from the other side of the impenetrable void. Oh my … I think I have some research to do. If all would excuse me, I humbly beg forgiveness.” He bowed and slithered out on his tentacle fins as he appeared to rub his head in the universal sign, of a headache.

The devices had shared a fragment of the data we’d downloaded from Delta, it seemed … the part that had to do with Explorer’s home dimension, or range of dimensions. It did seem as if some species had colonized multiple dimensions, while others focused on colonizing multiple planets in space within one dimension. Well, OK, we live in three dimensions, or four if you count time, so perhaps “planes” or Delta’s word “layers” might be a better term. There are some species that live in more than three spacial dimensions, but Uuloonaa’s Theorem mathematically proves that life can’t exist in fewer than three. And of course by three, I mean three unwrapped dimensions, because some dimensions are tightly wrapped to the point where they barely exist at all, but that’s another story technically referred to as a string, and it makes my head hurt to think about that stuff.

And that was when I got a call from General Charles. “Wisp, this is General Charles, come in Wisp, do you read?” he asked, in typical military fashion, but then that’s all based on a system of code words and procedures that has served them well in radio communication for quite some time now. I was a bit surprised. I had figured that our recent activities had kept the enemy’s focus off Earth.

“This is the Wisp, I read you, General, over,” I said.

“Good, now I have no doubt that whatever you’re doing is probably saving the universe and everything, but we have a bit of a situation here,” he said. “If you could come visit me in my briefing room when you get a chance, I can show you what I mean. Bit of a homegrown problem, you might say.”

A homegrown problem that concerned the Space Defense Force? “I’ll be there shortly, General. Wisp out.”

I turned to Michelle. “Interested in being the Wish back home for a while?”

“Am I?” she asked. “But … after the day I’ve had so far, I’m thinking I should be completely exhausted, but for some reason I’m not.”

“You know, I’m not either,” I agreed. Then I Just Knew that our devices were up to something. As they had grown more accustomed to our human biology and metabolism, they were helping reduce our need to sleep, though we would still have to sleep some. They would let us know.

“Explorer, Ligamondes, where would you like to be?” Michelle asked. “You can come with us, of course, although I’m not sure the US military would trust you immediately -- they have procedures and things.”

“Procedures are unusual?” asked Explorer. “My people have procedures for everything. It gets tiresome at times, actually. Does this League have a library? I would be fascinated to explore your knowledge while you help out your home’s defense forces.”

“I’ll go with him,” said Agent Ligamondes. “The League Library is extensive, although most Agents don’t physically go there, because they have access to everything in it directly through their gauntlet devices,” he explained to Explorer -- the devices were keeping a telepathic channel open so we could hear. “There are many people of many species, though, who are permitted to use the Library even though they aren’t Agents, and I think I can vouch for you.”

“Appreciation!” beamed Explorer -- and multi-colored light beams did in fact emanate from its form, playing about the room happily. “I will learn so much that none of my people has ever known!”

“Alright, have fun, then,” I said. “We’ll be back once we’ve handled whatever’s in store for us back home.”

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Michelle and I focused on the General’s coordinates, found the briefing room he’d been talking about, and … were there. The room materialized around us. There were many men there in a state of surprised … at ease.

The general looked up from the plotting table and said, “Over here Wisp, Wish.” We walked over to the general’s side as all the rest of the men stared at us open mouthed with huge surprised eyes. The general looked up and around for an instant, then said with authority, “Whatsa matter with all of you? You act like you don’t know who they are.”

One little Second Lt. said, “Sorry, Sir. Knowing about something and actually meeting them … are several things at the same time.”

The general said in his gruff way, “Sorry about that. I guess a little hero worship is to be expected.”

The three of us laughed as the rest of the men try their best to get the best look at us they can … without being obvious about it.

The general said, “It’s bad, Wisp.” The staging table showed a major insurgency group based in a war-embroiled, lawless area of the Middle East with heavy artillery and some new form of hunter-seeker drone fighters. “Those critters could be loaded with almost any kind of ordnance known,” said General Charles. “Not good. This is some of their radio propaganda.” An assistant played a recording.

A static filled radio comm shouted, “Death to the Imperialists!!! Kill those white eyed infidels! We have the weapons now … and the warheads are filled with highly radioactive Strontium.”

“They could have it, too,” said the general. “Our intelligence says they’ve made contact with Iran and North Korea. But we don’t know for certain --”

“They do,” I said. I could see their base and their fighters from right there, as clearly as if I’d been standing on their airstrip. I could see inside their shells and missiles. I could see the molecular structure of every piece and part. They were … so primitive compared to what we’d been seeing that it was hard not to laugh, until I actually had to remind myself that these things could kill so many innocent people, and those they didn’t kill they’d inflict radiation poisoning upon. That thought sobered me up real quick.

“Strontium’s a nuclear fission byproduct,” said one of the general’s experts, a tall man with thick glasses wearing a dark suit. “If they’re weaponizing it, they’re almost certainly talking about dirty bombs, designed to spread the stuff over a wide area. Strontium is chemically similar to calcium -- when it’s ingested the body builds it into our bones. In small amounts, it can be used medically to treat bone cancer. In large amounts … it can cause bone cancer, and much worse.”

“The Space Defense Force is involved because these drones they’re using can enter space and reenter the atmosphere elsewhere,” said the general, “vanishing from radar and tracking until just before they strike. Our defense satellites have a good chance of detecting them, but they’re top secret, and we don’t want to tip our hand unless we’ve got no choice. If they launch, we’ll take them down, but then the whole world knows about our ace in the hole.”

“Why are they doing this?” Michelle asked. “I can’t even imagine why a human being would want to do this to one other human being, let alone millions.”

“They’re extremists,” said a colonel. “I’m in charge of Army psy ops in the region, and the fact is that their leaders and their followers are two completely different groups. The followers hate their lives, living in poverty and illness, while the leaders have given them something to unite in their hatred of: what they see as wealthy Western capitalists, living in luxury. The leaders only believe a quarter of what they’re saying, but they say it because it gets them lots of power. But the followers, they’re completely fooled and would gladly give their lives fighting what they see as Western demons.”

“Well,” I said, “we could show them some demons …”

“Wait,” said Michelle. “Yes, we could. Nobody here but the Wisp and I have seen them, but there are forces out there that would freeze your blood if you took one look at them. They are taking out entire universes and are on the verge of becoming functionally immortal. Whatever petty grievances those terrorists have, they’re … nothing, just nothing whatsoever, compared to what’s going on out there.”

“I was thinking of just having you find and take out their drones,” said the general.

“We could easily do that,” I said, “but that would only delay the inevitable, wouldn’t it? They’d just get more, and we’d have to do it again. But … I see what the Wish is saying. What if the terrorist leaders got a little … perspective?”



Michelle ported away in one direction as I went another. The hidden (or they thought it was hidden, anyway) underground survival bunker appeared around me, 6 of the leaders of the group stood with their mouths open in total shock. For an instant, everything seemed frozen in time, then the men opened fire with their weapons.

Bullets ricochet off my shield and around the room for a bit, until the idiots realized what they were doing was hurting them … not me.

I turned and raised my left hand. The insurgent leaders were sort of gathered together in a small group by a force they didn’t understand.

I said in that voice my device had decided was what a Wisp should sound like, perfectly in their native language, “Oh men of flesh and blood, unto thee this day does Wisp show you, the demons of your hell.”

There was a very bright blue/white flash, Wisp and all the leaders were gone. The rest of the men went totally insanely nuts with fearful speculation over what they saw and heard and what it all meant. Religious fervor ran amok.

Meanwhile, Ahmad bin Yusuf was getting ready to preach to his followers. As spiritual leader of the organization, he knew they all looked to him to make sure they all kept their eyes on the true goal: the establishment of a new nation, one that was righteous in the eyes of God and allowed none of the depravities and sins that ran rampant in the Western world. Of course, America and Europe would do everything they could to try to stop them, because they were ruled by the Devil and could not bear to see any … wait.

Suddenly, Ahmad was in another place. He looked up. The sky was full of … were those stars? Not all of them were round. And they were all different colors. And the ground he was standing on was covered with an orangish mossy plant that he didn’t remember ever seeing before.

But all around him were the other leaders of their movement: Kasim, the military leader, Akhbar, the smooth-talking politician, and all the rest. They all looked as confused as he must have. And standing to either side of them were two strangers, dressed in black battle suits with helmets covering their faces.

“Where are we, and how have you done this?” demanded Kasim.

“We demand that you return us immediately,” Akhbar stated, “or there will be consequences beyond your imagining for your country of origin.”

“Funny you should say that,” I said, for Michelle and I were in fact the helmeted figures, as I’m sure you’ve guessed. “You want to know where you are? Let me tell you. You’re in another universe.” There was shouting and disbelief. Then a creature streaked across the sky like a sentient comet, trailing dust and hairlike appendages behind it, howling what might have been its mating call; how would I know? The insurgent leaders stopped and stared as the fearsome creature landed in the distance and began ripping things apart.

“Before anyone tries running away,” I continued, “let me tell you that the laws of nature aren’t real friendly to our kind of life here; I’m making a force field that’s currently all that’s keeping you alive. The things you see aren’t even made of chemical elements that can exist where we’re all from. But this place isn’t a dream; it’s real, just as real as the world we all know. There are millions, billions even, of different universes out there -- so why did we bring you here?” I paused.

“Because this one’s in trouble,” said Michelle as half the sky began to change color. “There’s an enemy out there who doesn’t care whether you’re righteous or sinful, whether you’re American or Jordanian, what religion or race or sexuality. It doesn’t care that you exist. It only cares about one thing: destroying everything in its path and rebuilding it into more of its empire. If you’re in its path, you will die. And Earth and our universe are in its sights. Where we are … is along its path toward us.”

“Care to watch as it does its job?” I asked. Then they gasped as the sky tore in half and one of the creatures we knew as Molokai’s Demon stepped out of the total darkness beyond the rift. Fully 50 feet tall, it landed on the ground with a resounding crash, its barbed tail uprooting trees (or things that looked kind of like trees anyway) as it swung casually. The insurgent leaders looked on in total astounded fear as the rip in reality sealed behind the demon.

“Oh, that’s not one of them.” Michelle explained, “That’s just one of its foot soldiers, its attack dogs. But that critter’s going to destroy this entire planet. As far as I can tell, they don’t have to do this; they just do it for fun.”

The Demon reached down, grabbed great quantities of dirt and stone with its claws, and roared a fearful roar as waves of energy surged through its body and through its hands into the ground. The entire planet shook beneath us. “Oh, by the way,” I added, “we’re keeping us all hidden from it. It can’t see us or hurt us -- probably.”

Enormous cracks began to appear in the planet’s surface, filling with molten … weeds? There was plant life beneath the surface, and it flowed like thick oil, its leaves warping and waving, covering the ground. The Demon reached down and pulled loose a giant chunk of rock the size of a locomotive and threw it, charged with energy, until it landed a mile away and exploded, driving more fissures into the planet’s surface. Then the Demon waded into the flowing plant lava, and there was a flash from beneath followed by more tremors. The ground was shaking constantly now, and the assembled terrorist leaders were scrambling to try to keep their feet.

“Of course, the planet’s gravity is holding it all together,” I said, “so even if it crushes the planet to dust, it’ll still be a big ball of dust in space -- oh wait.” There was a tremendous roar from beneath the plant lava, and an immense crater formed as a huge amount of rock and other matter exploded into space, bouncing trivially off our force field but leaving us hovering above what was now a huge crater. We could see the Demon again now, shredding its way through more rock, looking for another good place to do it again. “It’ll be at this all day, but when it’s done, there’ll be an asteroid belt where this planet was.”

“And this is what its minions do to blow off steam,” Michelle added. “We’ve seen the enemy itself in action -- and one of the universes it attacked just isn’t there anymore. We can’t show it to you because it no longer exists. No one can go there, because there’s no ‘there’ to go to, not anymore. Nothing remains of any of its civilizations or cultures. No memory or remnant to tell anyone that they ever existed. Everything they ever worked for has come to nothing.”

“They’re not God, they’re not gods, and you can’t join them, placate them, pray to them, ask them for mercy,” I said. “You’re as irrelevant to them as bacteria are to you. All they want is to turn our universe into one like theirs, which will kill us all and destroy everything we’ve ever known, by the way, so they can rule it.”

“We just wanted to show you this,” said Michelle, “because petty human disputes like the one between you and the Western world … mean nothing out here. And what’s out here … is headed for Earth.”

By this time, all the Insurgent Leaders were on their knees whimpering and insanely blubbering out fervent prayers. They watched with sheer terror in their hearts as something straight out of their most sacred texts as being the embodiment of all evil, tore the planet around them to rubble.

To six of them, they knew this Wisp being, who ever he was, had kept his promise. He had shown them creatures from the very pit of Arallu or hell … or what ever name such a place held in their minds.

Within their perspective enclaves, the men re-appeared in a bright blue/white flash. They were all on their knees, blubbering out fervent prayers for forgiveness and protection from the horrid demons in a loud insanely hysterical way.

The men who were there, were already in a total out of control panic from when their leaders had mysteriously vanished in the first place. Many went totally insane at the tale told them on their leader’s return. The fervor with which they approached their movement, was suddenly shown something they only believed possible, in text form only. The reality, was more than many of their minds could bear.

Several, had to be dealt with seriously harshly. One even made a mad scramble to the Drone Launch Panel. He furiously tried to program the Drones to strike Washington DC. Once his compatriots realized what he was doing, they shot him and many of the other seriously out of control individuals, thus avoiding the issue all together.

The warring parties realized now, what ever their perceived differences were with the West, it was infant mindsettedness in comparison to what they had been told by the men they almost worshipped, awaited them shortly. From the condition their leaders were in at this point, and the insane tail they told of where they went and what they saw, all knew the end approached.

A red phone next to General Charles began to buzz with an irritating sound as a red light on its front flashed.

The general picked up the phone, “US Space Defence Headquarters, General Charles speaking.” a tingle of pride coursed through the general at those words. He had worked hard to arrive at a command. Now, he was going to insure he did the job to the absolute best he could, “How may I be of service?”

He listened as the excited voice on the other end told him that the insurgents had ceased all hostilities, abandoned their enclaves and weapons, gave over a no conditions total cessation of hostilities warrant, and seemed to have declared a … Religious Holiday of some sort. Not to mention, they all seemed to have vanished into the countryside.

General Charles said with incredulity in his tone, “You mean, they just dropped everything … and left?”

The two men at the scopes heard the tinny voice from the phone say, “Yes, sir. They dropped everything as it was … and ran. They took no weapons of any sort, just … things that would help survival under apocalyptic conditions … as always.”

General Charles replied, “Thanks for the intel. Keep me apprised. I need to know the instant we have those Hunter Killer Drone fighters back under our control.” With this, Charles hung the phone and glanced around the room at all the men looking at him.

Two bright blue/white flashes formed next to General Charles, Wisp and Wish had returned. A small murmur of soft voices could be heard whispering through the room. Many of the young men and women had begun to dream of being like these new Heros the news talked about all the time. It happened twice … the possibilities were endless …

The general stood up straight as he tugged the bottom edge of his immaculate tunic. He said, “I suppose you … had something to do with those men suddenly running off in terror?”

Michelle giggled, “No, I think we just showed them what a real demon looked like.”

I snorted, “I suppose giving them a front row seat to those critters destroying an entire planet bare handed sort of … had a bit of pucker factor too, general.”

I and Michelle glanced at each other. The general stood with this … look on his face for an instant, “Right, ok,” he started to chortle a bit, “I suppose one or two of them wanted their mommies to change their diapers?”

By this time, everyone was chuckling. I replied, “That may well be, but then again, any critter that’s large enough and powerful enough to tear an entire planet from directly under my feet …” I shrugged.

General Charles coughed a bit. After a pause, he quietly asked, “And that’s what’s coming here?”

“I’m afraid so,” I answered.

“Do we … stand a chance?”

“The League’s going to do everything it can,” I said. “There’s a good chance. I’m … not going to say it’s certain. They can do more than crush planets. They can crush universes.” When the general paled, I added, “But we’ve found a defense. We won’t make it easy for them. And they won’t be destroying Earth while I’m still alive.”

“Well.” The general turned back to the conference table. “We will do what we can, and that means facing the problems we can do something about. Those Triadoids … they do still seem to be there, but then they also seem to have quieted down considerably. What do you think?”

“I think they’re planning their next move -- stay on Earth or leave,” said Michelle. “If they have any inkling of what’s coming, they should leave.”

“OK, chances are that problem will solve itself,” said the general. “With that, perhaps we should let you get back to your work, trying to stop the … whatever it is that’s rampaging out there.”

“They’re called the Ghloftunmm,” I said, “approximately. It’s not meant for human mouths to say.” I briefly filled the general and his staff in on what we were facing. “But we’ve got a way to reflect their changes back, assuming nothing interferes with us, and we’ve got some other avenues to try, including a visitor from a region that seems to be complete anathema to the Ghloftunmm who might be able to show us some tricks.”

Just then a klaxon sounded and the general’s display screen shifted to show a spot in what was identified as western Australia. The satellite images showed what looked a lot like a rift forming. I could detect it from there -- and it didn’t look good. But … it was also just one Molokai’s Demon and a bunch of Goethi. The big guns weren’t here to take down the universe, not yet, so what was this?

And then I started hearing from other League agents. This was happening on about a dozen worlds. It was a distraction; could they get more obvious? But maybe they didn’t think we’d catch on … or maybe they knew we had to respond to these invasion forces anyway. So what was their real objective?

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Suddenly, I and Wish found ourselves in a place. That’s the best description I could give, a place. The images our visors reproduced appeared to be massive misty energy waves coalescing and intermixing creating other such waves of higher or lower order of magnitudes. From what I could gather from the totally messed up data my scanners and device were giving me, it seemed as if all of reality converged at a point very near where we now stood. If what we did was actually standing of course.

Michelle took my arm as she looked around and did a deep field scan of our area. Nothing either of our scanners detected could be translated into anything we could even remotely understand.

A deep, ethereal voice spoke softly. The both of us felt it rattle within our brains, “Greetings Agents. We of the Etherium have chosen well with the two of you.”

I looked around, My sensors could find nothing but the massive energy vortices all around. The voice, seemed to emanate from nowhere.

I asked, “Who are you, and who are … the Etherium?”

What felt like a small chortle, “We are, the creators and founders of the League. For many trillions of chronal cycles, we have watched and cared for the Nexus. It is time for the re-choosing of the Nexus Guardians”

Michelle gasped, “How can you be looking for a replacement? We are about to be totally eradicated by a force beyond our worst nightmares.”

Once again, it felt like light laughter, “I think not. Those devices you wear on your arms, are perhaps the most formidable devices ever created by any species. It is far superior to the Ghloftunmm … if you have but the imagination to dream the dreams upon which all of reality is constructed.”

I said with total confusion, “Say, what? Dream the dreams? Just what in all of this mess is that supposed to mean?” I looked around and did an even deeper scan looking for whoever this was.

A different sort of voice spoke, “One has to but wish the wish … the reality follows as time comes to its inevitable halt, only to start again on a different dream.”

Michelle leaned over and pointed off in a direction. I scanned there, and discovered many of the … Founders sort of … existing there. They weren’t like the shadowy beings we had encountered in the other place, they were more like large, softly glowing clouds of intense electrical plasma. The same as when they came to HQ and upgraded our weapons systems.

A majestic ethereal voice said softly, “The two of you have been selected to become the new Guardians of the Nexus. We have observed you in action. There is good reason you were given the medal of Valor Agent Randy Neiss and you, Agent Michelle Delaney, were given one of the highest medals the League has to offer as well, The Legion of Merit. I’m not real sure the two of you realize, but you … and only the two of you, have the ability to defeat the Ghloftunmm and restore the Layerality to its original energy status.”

I asked, “How can we do that?” I shook my head, “All that stupid thing had to do was wave its hand and I was in the hospital.”

Again we heard gentle laughter. It felt really good in our minds too.

“Agent Randy Neiss, what you failed to realize, is your device is constantly upgrading itself. We monitor all upgrades and have come to know, you have been upgraded by something other than we. Something more advanced.”

Another voice said, “Something that has given you a secret lost to us many millions of Chrons ago … the secret of No Time.”

“Well, I didn’t go looking for that,” I said. “It found me.”

“Indeed it did,” said the first voice, “and what have you done with it? Used it to prevent what would have been the Ghloftunmm’s biggest victory yet.”

“But … we only saved two out of the four layers,” I protested.

“Perhaps, but none of them are now in enemy hands,” the first voice answered. “If their plan had gone to fruition, their empire would be four layers more powerful, and they would now be reveling in total victory -- perhaps even taking more layers at this very moment.”

“Instead, they seem to be pursuing some sort of distraction plan, as you correctly deduced,” said the second voice, “as opposed to proceeding unstoppably toward utter domination. You alone have killed and injured them, stopped their layer expansion plan … slowed them down, when no one else could have.”

“Well, anyone could have done it,” I started again. “I was just in the right place at the right time.”

“As the artificial entity you met told you itself,” the first voice said, “someone would come along at the right time, by which it undoubtedly meant someone able to make use of its gifts. You were not merely in the right place at the right time; you were also the right person.”

“Regardless,” the second voice said, “we ourselves have a plan that must come to fruition -- a plan begun so long ago that the founding of the League was but the first step. We must … divest ourselves of our physical bodies. In doing so we will become much more powerful, but we will remain advocates of peace and justice.”

“But the League which we began must continue to exist … under new management,” said the first voice. “We make no requirement that you do so alone, but we have chosen you to take our place. You have quickly become the most powerful agent of the League -- and by this I mean the most innovative, for they mean the same thing. Clearly, to guarantee the safety of the peace we have forged, we must … remove the obstacles from your path. And we are those obstacles.”

“Wait, but you’re asking me to basically take a desk job when I’ve been doing great in the field,” I said. “How does that make sense? Why not just … let me keep doing the job that I’m already doing great at?”

This time the voice that replied held the resonance of many many voices within its mysterious ethereal sound, “ You have not even realized your potential, nor have you begun to realize what it is you are now become.”

Michelle and I were suddenly engulfed in a large … weirdness. Our entire structures seemed to undergo some kind of change. I felt something reach very gently into my deepest essence, and change me. It added something. I felt it as it blossomed throughout my being. It felt warm, and cool, and … it felt so wonderful.

When I could once again see the visor display, I watched as the plasma energy envelopes of the beings sort of … deflated. The electrical fire went dim, then flashed out. What remained on the … floor, for the lack of better description, were piles of oozing, smoldering colloidal plasma.

An extremely bright flash, excuse me, a multitude of very bright flashes. An ethereal voice of deep resonance filled with overtones of many voices said, “We have given you no such desk job, Agent Randy Neiss, nor to you, Agent Michelle Delaney. The two of you are now, and for many millennia and layeralities to come, The Guardians of the Nexus Gateway.”

A single voice with the same deep ethereal resonance said, “It is now in your hands. We are here to aid and counsel in any way we can. Neither of you are alone. Through Divestment, we have removed the final obstacle to you realizing your potential. Your thoughts and dreams are the foundations upon which all of reality is made.”

A different voice said, “On your shoulders rests the future of the League, and the future of all that is as you know it, and much that you do not. Through your devices, and the many upgrades you both will create for them, will this battle be won.”

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We found ourselves back in General Charles's Briefing Room amid many extremely surprised looking men.

I saw Michelle’s battle suit. Its appearance had drastically changed. Instead of looking like a black crystalline metal with flashes of energy within that gave it a sparkling appearance, it now gave off a soft blue/white glow. The blackness had become profound to the point that she didn’t even appear to be in this room, but in some other realm and just being observed from here ... like a section of many interdimensional space/time layers had been carved into her shape and stood there. In the center of her chest, in perfect three, or ten, or something -- I don’t know, really -- dimensions, seemed to be this vortex, and from this vortex seemed to spread some sort of starburst energy which gave everything sort of a glow factor. What I saw, was as if the image was really there … it had infinite depth … I realized I was looking at an actual representation of the Nexus Gateway reflected through her suit … and then … I also realized mine looked exactly the same.

The now familiar click within my mind. The soft non-gender specific voice said, “This is Neural Admin Control. Due to a massively major upgrade to this system, auto safety buffers activated. This condition is a safety protocol for the next twelve solar hours until all new upgrades and data can be assimilated.”

I became immediately concerned. Twelve hours was a horridly long time to be offline. System diagnostics informed me in that ‘ I Know Things’ way, that all the normal weapons and systems were operational, the newest upgrades were currently buffered until the device had the chance to assimilate and file all the necessary items ... it was the largest upgrade the device had ever received, and it had had to deal with several monster upgrades in the last several weeks.

What it suggested was something far superior to anything ever dreamed of. I felt better. It meant that in twelve hours, I was suddenly going to have access to power beyond my wildest imaginings. I truly hoped it made us powerful enough to stop the Ghloftunmm.

One thought pinged in my mind intensely as the device informed me, We were also on the road to divestment, one of the gifts given to those who served as we. It also meant, I and Michelle were in fact … the new Guardians of the Nexus Gateway.


The general shut his mouth, cleared his throat, then asked, “Wisp? Wish? is … that you?”

I shook my head as I replied, “It is, general. It seems we …”

Michelle giggled, then cut in, “Yea, we got a promotion. They think we we’re doing a good job.”

The general snorted a laugh as all the other individuals relaxed and breathed a sigh of relief. He said, “Well, after what the two of you did with those insurgents … I can see why they would.”

There was a small quick cheer of approval from the rest of the personnel for a second, before they all returned to what they were doing. The general and we all laughed. It was a great tension breaker.

“Looks like you’ve got yourselves some new … uniforms,” said General Charles. “At this point I admit that I’ve got no idea what it all means, but it sure looks impressive. The League is way beyond me.”

“Don’t know if I can really say whether it’s stylish or not,” Michelle mused. “I know someone who’s all about fashion, but I don’t know if even she could make head or tail of it. I’m not sure multidimensional fashion is her cup of tea.”

We all laughed. There were even twitters heard from the others in the room.

Michelle and I had a brief mental conversation about what to do during the 12 hours we’d be offline and came up with a few good ideas.

“Well, General,” I said, “you obviously know how promotions are -- we’ve got a few things to take care of related to that. But you still have that communicator, and don’t be afraid to call us if you need us.”

“I do indeed know how it is,” said General Charles. “I’m still getting things squared away around here. If anything comes up, we will call.” He extended a hand, and I shook it heartily. So did Michelle. “Godspeed, you two.”

We were suddenly … in a place that was no place, in a layer between layers, the place where new dimensions form and into which they dissolve when their time has run its course. For it was the place where new League utility devices were made … and consequently new Agents. It was the Nexus Gateway itself.

Somehow we both Just Knew how to do this. We gathered together primal energies, and we shaped them into the matter-energy patterns that made up League devices. We built micro-dimensions and linked them and their compact space-time bubbles into those patterns. And we released them into the Gateway, for we knew that these devices would find their way to the beings across the multiverse who were worthy to wield them, just as mine had found its way to me. Michelle’s had worked slightly differently, of course, but she was now fully accepted by the League and was an Agent in her own right -- and more than that, now. This was a trying time, and we needed more Agents for what was to come, and what would come after.

When we had made and released enough devices, like releasing homing pigeons into the wind, we both Just Knew we were done, and looked at each other with a nod. Then … we went somewhere else.

He was on a planet that was not Earth, in a dimension not Earth’s, patrolling it for any sign of his people’s enemies, or for any other potential threats -- in other words, doing his sworn duty as a knight of his people -- when two beings of light appeared before him. At first he raised his weapons, because there was a possibility that they were a threat, but he quickly realized that he knew these people even though their uniforms had changed drastically.

Yes, OK, I’ll stop beating around the bush; they were us.

Locathann, last of the Phosiorr, sworn defenders of the Phosian people, walked up to us and bowed, as was his custom. “The Wisp, and the Wish -- your power has increased. This is a good thing for the multitude of dimensions the League protects,” he said.

“You are not wrong,” I responded. “But the fact remains that there is only one Phosian Agent that I know of, and she is not here.”

“Shiranaa,” he said. “My people are dispersed throughout several dimensions, and I have not seen her for some time. I hope she is well.”

“She’s fine, or so my sources say,” said Michelle, “and in fact she’s on her way here, because, well, she’s got something for you. She should be here any minute … oh, actually …”

There was suddenly a flash of blue-white light, and there stood another Phosian, this one female, her skin just as red as Locathann’s, with short but lustrous black hair and wearing a blue and white space suit, currently without its helmet, assuming that it needed one.

“Agent Shiranaa,” said Locathann, “It has been some time. I am glad you are well. I am honored by your visit.” He bowed to her as he had to us.

“The honor is mine, Phosiorr Knight Locathann,” she said, bowing similarly. “I bring you both a gift and an added burden. It has come to me, and it has made it known that there is only one in the multiverse for whom it has been made.”

OK, you’ve probably figured it out by now. Yes, we made Locathann a League device. If anyone ever deserved to be an Agent, it was Locathann. He could defend his people against the Goethi much better and could call in almost unlimited League help if he needed it. The Phosians were at risk of losing touch with their culture, surviving on the run as they were, and if they could be allowed to regroup, they might be able to avoid what I knew had been the fate of many such civilizations -- they’d turned rogue, and the League had stopped defending them and started opposing them, as they’d become oppressors themselves.

“Is that … what I think it is?” Locathann asked as Shiranaa held out her hand, in which she held a sparkling crystalline black gauntlet that looked as if it were made of either crystal or pure energy. I remembered what it had been like for me -- though it had been a bit rushed, as the guy who’d brought mine to me had been under attack at the time.

“If you are thinking that it is a League device, then the answer is yes,” answered Shiranaa. “You have been offered membership in the League, with all the responsibilities and privileges that entails. Do you accept?”

“I …” he began, then paused. “I can only accept if it does not contradict the oath I swore as Phosiorr. I must defend our people and preserve our civilization and culture.”

“As a League Agent I do nothing else,” said Shiranaa. “Everything I do is for the defense of our people -- of course, that is more difficult now that we are scattered among many worlds and even dimensions. I can be anywhere I need to be, but even we can only be in one place at a time. I personally would welcome another Agent of our people and can think of none more suitable than yourself.” She looked at Michelle and me briefly and added. “I have to admit that I feel like I’m run a bit ragged at times.”

“You too?” said Michelle. “Glad I’m not the only one.”

“Then I accept,” said Locathann. “What must I do?”

“You only reach out your left hand,” said Shiranaa.

Locathann bravely did so, and I say bravely because again, I remembered what it had been like. She slid the gauntlet firmly onto his hand, for there was some resistive force, and held onto it for a moment as it shrank slightly with a forceful snap to fit.

Whatever training the Phosiorr went through must have been impressive. I saw Locathann gritting his teeth. I saw the gauntlet come alive with interdimensional flows of energy that quickly began covering his entire body. I saw him open his mouth wide, but he was silent, not uttering the screams of pain that would otherwise have been issuing forth, as the glove permanently bonded with his nervous system and body. When it was done the device had disappeared from normal vision, but we could all tell it was still there.

“Congratulations, League Agent Locathann,” said Shiranaa.

Michelle and I added our hearty congratulations.

Michelle said, “Welcome!” and hugged him.

“Couldn’t happen to a better guy,” I said, shaking his hand. He knew about these human gestures, of course, from his time blending in on Earth.

Locathann was still panting, recovering from the ordeal. “I never knew … it would be so taxing,” he said. “It … speaks to me.”

“It’s kind of a gateway to all the knowledge of the League,” I said. “That alone can be amazingly useful. The rest … well, exactly what you can do with it depends on who you are …”

We relocated to an uninhabited mountain peak on the same planet, which was the one the Phosians of Earth had relocated to as they had fled from the Goethi, and together helped Locathann create a modest but solid dwelling place, a building to serve as his base of operations here. Once we had done that, Shiranaa showed us the place she had created as her home base, on another planet where other Phosians had settled, but she’d built her home in caves deep beneath the surface. “I think the Phosians are in good hands,” I said to Michelle.

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I realized, it had been a while since we had eaten or had any kind of rest. With everything that had happened so far, if I allowed things to proceed as they had, neither of us would be very effective much longer.

I said to Michelle via our link, “I think it might behoove us to get something to eat and take a few hours for some rest and relaxation.”

She responded with incredulity, “What?! Now?! What about the Gothi and that demon critter that appeared in Australia? We have to deal with them. Earth isn’t yet ready to handle that kind of incursion.”

I snorted a laugh, “We can take a year off if we choose, love. We both have a place we can go to rest and eat … and take as long as we wish.”

Michelle’s eyes get large with understanding as Delta popped back into her mind.

We hold hands, then find ourselves in that weird place within Delta known as No Time. This time, however, we had made several adjustments to the area within the bubble. Instead of us being caught within the space between one second and the next, we had opened a small rift bubble that allowed us to function normally, without the passage of time, bypassing that particular dimension totally and leaving three full dimensions within which we could experiment with our new found abilities.

The area was manifested to be a super luxurious apartment, complete with all the things the both of us thought necessary, and many that Delta threw in to keep us occupied. Lots of Delta’s devices, were rather suggestive of her opinion on how I and Michelle should be spending our time together.

As we looked around the opulent space, the cloud appeared and the very pretty humanoid female image within, “Welcome back.” it looked us over from top to bottom, “It seems that you have finally made the proper adjustments.”

Michelle asked, “Adjustments? What kind of … adjustments?”

Delta giggled, “It’s quite obvious that you are now one with the Nexus. You appear to be part of it, complete with the visuals from what my scanners show.”

I looked at Michelle. It was true enough, we now seemed to be living parts of the Nexus Gateway. We both contained the power of the Nexus and it radiated out in perfect visuals of what the Gateway looked like if someone were standing close enough to view it … and had the optical resolution to see such a thing.

In a flash of blue/white light, I now stood there in a pair of blue jean shorts and a black T shirt. Michelle, was in a pair of boyshort shorts and a cute flutter top. OMG! she was pretty.

I said, “First things first. I’m hungry and want some dinner.”

Delta said, “If you would follow me, I will show you the dining room.” The cloud drifted down what might have been a hallway.

It was so weird, I took a step and was in the dining room with Michelle looking around with big eyes. The place was a fantasy land …

Something the Founders had said before they divested came back to me about then. It wasn’t one of those ‘I know things’ ways my device gave me either. It rang loudly in my mind, ‘You are the dreamers of dreams that are the foundation all others build their realities upon. Wish the wishes upon which all reality is made. ’

As soon as that thought ran across my mind, a very huge understanding dawned as my thoughts expanded to accept the total concept. My system was finally ready for the database’s information in total, my head felt like it had swollen many times larger, and stabbing pains shot through it as the complete League Database became available to me, along with Delta’s complete Database … I now had a way to defeat the Ghloftunmm. My simple caveman mind suddenly began to think thoughts beyond what any other human’s could begin to even speculate over.

What seemed at first to be a viewport appeared. I should say, that an entire area finally resolved into The Nexus Gateway.


The Nexus Gateway


There was no place in any reality that wasn’t available to me through the portal. I could tell, this wasn’t a depiction, but the gateway shown to me through the corrections my face shield made in terms my eyes could recognize, then transmitted the updated photons for my optical centers to ‘see’. I didn’t even have to have the helmet on … it still operated the same.

I could feel the terrible energies that radiated from it … through me. There was the familiar click in my head, My device’s AI said in its non-gender specific voice, “Section One systems catalogued and verified. Level 10 restrictions removed from Section One. Ten hours remaining until complete release to manual neural control.”

I asked in my thoughts, “What kind of power does that give me?”

It replied, “That is still to be determined. The answer to that particular question is beyond my programming at current level.”

I raised my eyebrows at that. That was the first time the device had ever admitted outright it didn’t know something. I also wondered about the counting of its timer … when there was no such thing as time, but it informed me that these ten hours were measured in its subjective time, which was the same as mine since it was traveling with me. I would have to experience 10 hours before it would be done.

I could suddenly see … it was an experience beyond any I had before as images flashed into my eyesite. It wasn’t anything like my scanners, it felt as if I were standing on a hilltop somewhere in Australia, not seeing the image in my mind. Down in the valley below, the mighty Goethi forces, lead by one of those demons all frozen between an instant in the exact place they were when we entered No Time, and would remain until I released them. It was so awesome! I also made quick note that the world’s nuclear forces were immediately ready to do a “scorched-earth” protocol. Man, they were gonna need us badly …

I turned to Michelle and said, “Well, for now, let’s eat.”

She was staring at the Gateway -- she had an expression on her pretty face I will never forget, nor could I ever hope to describe. Something about her eyes, though, it was like, she was just a shell of flesh and not the girl I was so desperately falling in love with.

My device informed me there was no ectokirlian force present currently … whatever the hell that meant, then, she returned to herself as she gasped and put her hand to her mouth. Her eyes were large as saucers in total awe.

She turned to me and said in a soft breathy voice, “Randy, the … Founders have actually given us the key to … everything!”

I took Michelle’s hand and turned, a table loaded with foods and drinks, with two soft plush chairs side by side stood prepared for us. Several dozen constructs stood around in all the important servant locations about the table.

I said softly as I pulled Michelle’s chair out, “It’s actually what they meant about … dreaming dreams and making wishes.”

Michelle looked at me with her beautiful sparkly eyes as she gracefully and sexily sat. I nearly wet my pants she was so cute … I sat quickly to hide my … growing problem.

She asked, “How so?” as she took a plate and started putting different colored foods on it.

I laughed, “Look around you silly. This whole place … we made.” I waved my hand around, “We just did it within three dimensions and left out the fourth … time. We have the ability as the Guardians of The Gateway. Have you thought about it yet sweetheart?”

Michelle looked at me and smiled, “I’ve done a lot of thinking, but not necessarily about what you’re asking.” she set her chin on her fist and batted her eyelashes sexily. She popped one of those weird looking red things in her mouth. Her eyes lit up with amazed surprise. She chewed quickly and swallows, “That … that tastes so good!” she grabbed another piece and popped it in her mouth.

After she had eaten several, she said with her mouth full, “If what I thought is true … and what I saw and where I went a few minutes ago is also not a delusion, we sort of have the power to … create timelines and string anomalies correlating to interlayer bonded brains throughout all common and uncommon layeralities. Not to mention, being able to create reflective chronal displacement waves.”

I know my mouth was open in total amazement. Michelle laughed, then took a large slab of some of the chartreuse stuff on the plate. After daintily nibbling on its edges, her eyes got big once again. She took a normal bite and chewed enthusiastically. She said, “I don’t know what this stuff is, but it tastes so delicious.” then took a very much larger bite.

Delta giggled sweetly as she answered, “That particular thing … it’s from a place known as Emporium. That particular cake is so nice too. It’s called Rapture in your language translation.” The cloud whisked over to Michelle.

With a whisper, Delta said with obvious glee, “It makes it … feel so much nicer when the marriage thingy is completed.” then it swished and twirled around in a happy, comical way.

Michelle looked at the thing in her hand, it dropped to the plate. A look of sheer shock written all over her face for an instant. She had bitten a rather large square from one side by this time. It tasted sooo wonderful.

She felt a sort of flush at first, then a tingle all through her. Her face took on the wide eyed look of a little girl, she felt so nice … she giggled like the teen girl she felt like. Many of the thoughts about Randy were now very strongly manifested.

Ummm Randy is sooo handsome and cute … Michelle felt so nice. She began to arrange her already sexy outfit to an even more sexy way as she unbuttoned the buttons on her top.

I said, “Wait just a minute. Don’t you think you’re jumping the gun a bit?”

By this time, Michelle obviously had taken special notice of me. She moved her chair over closer next to mine and snuggled yet more intimately close. She took one of those red things … and popped it in her mouth once again. Her hand … OMG!! My eyes get big with surprise as I feel the most wonderful caress I had ever had.

Delta’s pretty face turned. It had a most adorably cute innocent expression. It said in a cute little girl’s voice, “But … b … but din ya … ya kno … say those words?”

“What words?!” I said with authority as Michelle continued to lovingly caress me.

Michelle snuggled close and softly whispered in my ear, “With this glove … I thee wed??”

She nibbled my ear, then gave me one of those kinds of kisses. You know. The ones we guys talk about for years. By this time, Michelle had managed to wiggle me and herself from the chair, onto something a lot more comfortable on the floor as she snuggled in and began to caress my chest softly beneath my T Shirt.

Delta giggled, “Yea, those words. And ever since, neither of you have had the chance to go on a Honeymoon.” The cloud danced around the opulent area for an instant in a comical bouncing way, “Until now. This is the perfect place too, anything is possible … now that you understand the way of things a bit better.”

I was sort of fighting with Michelle over my T Shirt and the fact she was so eagerly trying to remove it from me, then she attacked the snaps to my shorts. Couldn’t stop her from unsnapping them, but I managed to keep her from unzipping them, but it was a task … one I sort of didn’t have the total resolve to stop.

I snapped, “Delta, this is … nuts! Michelle’s totally out of control! I … I’m … I’m not married to her … at least … not to my knowledge. I said that because of the bond our devices were going to make when I gave it to her.”

Delta whisked back up in her cloud like way, “But still, you said those words. It’s … even in the League Archives as a marriage.”

I wondered how Delta could know that, but then guessed that Delta’s technology was so far beyond the League’s that it was probably trivial to access at least some parts of the League database, especially public records like marriages. But my device confirmed it -- so although we weren’t married according to any Earth authority, to the League it was apparently official.

Delta’s pretty female face poked out its bottom lip in a cute pout before it spun around the room again in a comical way, “and now, both of you have the time and place to do what it is most prominent on both your minds.” The cloud turned and smiled at me, “Goodnight Agent Randy Niess, and you as well Agent Michelle Delaney, enjoy your Honeymoon. It has been decided that this union is long overdue for such as you.”

The cloud vanished, along with all but soft ambient light. Soothing, softly playing music throughout the room. The wonderful smells of exotic flowers and incense drifted through.

Michelle was on top. She bent over and gave me another of those kinds of kisses. She straightened up … and removed her top … OMG!!!

The rest I will leave to your imaginations. Needless to say, neither of us had any complaints about … anything.

When I finally woke up, I had thought things were a dream, until I realized Michelle was snuggled around me under some kind of covering made from a thin sleek kind of fabric ... and nothing else. It really didn’t leave anything to my imagination. It showed Michelle’s wonderful body in perfect relief.

I felt totally wonderful as I leaned back in the soft cloud like bed and put my hands behind my head. I knew we could probably stay here forever and nothing would transpire outside the rift. I also knew this was a cop out way … and didn’t even entertain the idea.

I saw Michelle’s eyes flutter open. She lay there for a second, then sat up and looked around. She realized the cover had slipped off and she didn’t have anything on. She grabbed the thin cover and covered herself, holding the edge of the covering at her cute breasts, and leaving me totally nude.

She sat for an instant with big eyes, then giggled as she let the cover go, crawled over closer, and snuggled. Since she had snatched the covers, there was no way to hide the fact … she was sooo sexy, completely nude, and absolutely turned me on. Michelle smiled as she gently took me in her hands and caressed me.

Michelle said, “Last night was … heaven.” She kissed my hardness on its top with a little lick at the end, “And I had sort of been thinking about that … for a long time. Apparently, Delta has some kind of access to our thoughts or something.” she wiggled around on top of me … OMG!!! “And … I want you to know what I was going to say when the glove did its thing the day you gave it to me.” She gave me a soul bending squeezing massage deep inside her as she slowly sat on top of me, “I do …” she said in a soft gasping squeak.

And once again, I leave the rest to your imaginations. Although, I’m sure the link we had through our mutual devices was something I hadn’t ever expected. Being a girl, being Michelle I should say, was … nice. Michelle told me … being me was nice too. We had shared our most intimate and secret selves … to the point of blending into one creature ... and accepted each other totally as we became one.

We swam in warm tropical waters, and showered beneath crystal clear waterfalls that fell into deep blue pools beneath. We made love in the warm waters of a beautiful alien beach with 2 moons above. Happy little critters of every sort came around. Some of them even put on a cute little show with their antics and chittered happily when we tossed them Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.

Of course, the time refraction paradox insured that what time seemed to be passing, hadn’t passed since this rift bubble was external the Fourth Dimension.

I was eating some sort of fruit that had a nice wine flavor, when Michelle came up and plopped next to me. She had on that cute string bikini I loved. Even nicer thing about her bikini, if it ever got wet … it turned completely transparent. **grin**

She said softly as she took a huge sexy bite of the fruit she had picked up, “OK, handsome, what do you think of a slightly different approach to the incursion in Australia?”

I smiled as I leaned close and licked the juice overflow from her lips, “What did you have in mind, love of my heart?”

She rolled over onto her back as she giggled, “Well, that might be something else … but, seriously, if we can channel enough of the metacosmological energy through …”

Michelle was definitely on to something. And, due to the massive database we had downloaded and archived within our devices, the necessary upgrades for League Devices that could make this happen came very shortly after.

The only issue either of us could foresee at this time … was the learning factor. Each individual is different and the device interacts and develops according to each life forms quirks and temperaments. With the new upgrade also would come a learning period as the Agent learned how to utilize the new ability. Another slight issue, was how each device would manifest the new power, since it afforded each individual powers based on their own unique personalities.

Of course, we couldn’t send out the signals that would make those upgrades take place yet, because time wasn’t passing outside the pocket dimension we’d created for ourselves, so we continued to make our plans and enjoy the atmosphere. Finally, though, we received simultaneous messages. “Notification of upgrade stabilization,” said our devices’ AIs to our minds. “Full functionality restored. Communication with greater League systems still at zero percent.” After all, we weren’t the only sentience in the No Time pocket. There were five.

“Well, now it’s up to us to decide,” I said. “When should we leave?”

“Break out of our cocoon of transformation and emerge as fully-fledged cosmic beings?” Michelle asked. “I dunno, whenever. We already know what we’re going to do.”

“No need to rush,” said Delta’s voice as her cloud materialized before us, “but I am ready when you are and will assist in any way I can.”

“Very well, then,” said Michelle. “Ready!” Both our shapes instantly filled with the light of the Nexus Gateway as our suits materialized around us.

“Transmission prepared and queued for delivery,” I said.

“Itinerary laid in and programmed,” said Michelle.

“Itinerary checked and verified,” Delta added. “Your plans are sound as far as I am able to determine.”

“Then … let’s go,” Michelle and I said simultaneously. And the universe reappeared around us.

“Weird,” said Michelle, “I can feel the passage of time again. I didn’t realize.” But as she spoke and I nodded my acknowledgement, our devices were automatically sending out a signal to the entire League. Every Agent was getting an upgrade -- a very specific one geared toward allowing our plan to unfold.

“There they are!” came a transmission. It was on a range of para-gravitic frequencies that we’d learned the Ghloftunmm commonly used. “Destroy them immediately!”

Energy weapons of every description converged on our location -- a location we’d carefully chosen, because we knew that the enemy would be searching for us if they had the faintest inkling of suspicion about what we were doing. No time had passed while we’d been with Delta, but with her help we’d predicted the most likely layer and position where they’d be looking for us to return -- and we’d been sure to emerge at that exact spot.

Of course, it was simplicity itself to redirect all that destructive energy to other dimensions. But that hadn’t been the first thing we’d done. No, the first thing had been to subtly enclose the entire assault force in a chronal bubble -- an artificial event horizon. No information would be entering or leaving about what was about to take place here.

Also, we had carefully selected the dimensions to which we redirected the energy they’d focused on us. The terrible barrage of weaponry, designed to utterly destroy its target and remake it anew with another fundamental matrix, was ideal for one purpose. We focused it on the layers the Ghloftunmm had destroyed earlier, affecting every point in those spaces simultaneously -- we couldn’t reverse what they’d done, but we could make sure that these layers became new dimensions in their own right, not dark paradises for the Ghloftunmm to rule unopposed.

A universally large, all consumingly hot explosion of light within pure chaos. The destroyed dimensions once again experienced FTL expansion as they were reborn.

Of course, a tiny fraction of the energy filled the chronal bubble in which we’d trapped their assault force, vaporizing everything within it -- an afterthought, really. Their attack was the last thing they ever did. Michelle and I had removed ourselves from the bubble by that time, naturally; that was the last place we wanted to be.

We materialized on Earth, actually -- the havoc wrought by our enemy, redirected upon themselves and their creations, wasn’t even visible as a faint point of light in the sky; the people of our homeworld were blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the destruction that was going on elsewhere in the multiverse. But unless we did something, they’d be getting a small taste of it soon.

Immediately upon our arrival, We knew General Charles was trying to contact us. I also knew, the world’s nuclear triad was almost to launch its terrible nuclear death on the Demon and Gothie that had materialized there.

I answered, “Hello, General. I do hope that you people aren’t about to make a huge mistake and launch all those toys of yours, are you?”

The General stumbled a bit then replied, “As a matter of fact, we are. We all are under orders to totally destroy the planet if necessary to keep it from falling into enemy hands.”

I could calculate how many would die a slow agonizing death should the world powers be allowed to do that. It was a nightmare I didn’t want inflicted upon my world. Within my mind’s eye, I ‘saw’ the many arms and devices earth was about to unleash on itself … suddenly, as massive an arsenal as earth thought all that nuclear might was, when it all detonated simultaneously within the Sun’s corona, it barely was even noticed by SOHO and SOLWATCH. The insignificance of it was overwhelming.

I could hear the General talking to someone who was almost totally stressed out over the mysterious and sudden disappearance of all the world’s nuclear armaments.

I said, “General, there will be no need for any kind of launch. Trust me.”

I and Michelle suddenly materialized in a near desert place, with many thousands of Gothie war machines and troops, not to mention … a full sized demon, spread through the desert valley.

Immediately, I ported to within a few feet of the creature's … what might pass as a head. I quickly released a large blast of what my device had come to call ‘White Energy,’ or sometimes “metacosmological energy.” It impacted on the Demon and enveloped it entirely in a writhing mass of energetic energy tendrils.

The demon roared out its terrible pain as it fell to its knees. I ported once again and was behind the beast. Again, I released another blast, it impacted causing the demon to fall over on its face. It squirmed in pain on the ground until all the energy had dissipated. Its smoldering armor was nearly destroyed by this time.

It stood and began to wave its arm in a way I recognized immediately. The last time one of those dirty things did that, I’d woken up in the hospital. This time, though, I had ported to the beast’s feet, then released one of the largest energy blasts yet. The beast fell to the ground with an earth trembling quake. Incredible amounts of energy danced and sparkled around the demon as it bellowed out in total agony. By the time the energy had dissipated, the huge beast lay almost motionless as all of its quivering, horribly burned body smoldered.

The shocked Goethi stood for an instant longer in total disbelief that something had brought down one of the demons so easily. Then reality nearby seemed to change, and a large round disk that looked like a pool of shimmering water appeared. The Goethi ran, rushing through the portal as quickly as they could. They left so quickly, they abandoned much of their equipment, all of which General Charles’ corps of researchers utilized to their utmost over the next few months and recreated many of Earth’s current weapons platforms from the reverse engineered machines.

For now, though, the general was on the horn. “Situation resolved,” he was reporting into a microphone as we entered his command hut. “All forces return to vigilance status. Resume patrols. Well done, people. Repeat, return to vigilance status.” He turned to us, smiling. “Well done, you two as well,” he said. “Without a doubt, unleashing all that firepower was by no means my first choice, but no one here had any better ideas.”

I looked at the general for an instant then said, “If you’d done that, it not only would have pissed the Goethi off, but that demon would have reveled in the radiation mess left behind. Hundreds of Millions would have died by your own hand, not the intruders’.”

General Charles replied quickly, “What would you have had us do, Wisp? Those were the most powerful weapons we had.”

I turned and looked over the desert valley below. There were literally hundreds and possibly thousands of abandoned war machines … and one very severely burned dead demon.

I replied, “As much as I hate it, there are many new weapons for you to disassemble and play with. My only hope is that you don’t destroy the Earth with what you come up with.”

About that time, A very bright shining thought passed through my mind. I saw an image of a weapon, massively powerful, that would only affect the shadow creatures, and not any from our side of the great energy void. I also knew time was running out. Those beings couldn’t be allowed to divest. They would become as powerful as the Founders … I couldn’t even contemplate that problem or any kind of reasonable solutions if it happened.

But it appeared that Explorer’s presence disrupted the entropic chaos creatures of the void such as the Ghloftunmm and their demons. Indeed, the metacosmological “white energy” that I had blasted the demon with was the energy that streamed into a universe as it was forming, causing matter to take whatever shape it was going to take as it evolved. Humans were calling it “dark energy” out of pure ignorance; it was the energy of creation. Explorer lived in a world full of this energy, and Earth and its dimension were mostly unaffected by it, but the Ghloftunmm, the demons, and to some extent the Goethi, would be devastated.

I held out my hand. Within the palm appeared a small sparkly black crystalline devise General Charles recognized as one of those recording and playback devices I had given them once before with the plans for a plasma cannon.

The general took it and turned it on. The data contained many varied and different ways the abandoned war machines could be reconfigured, mass produced, and brought to bear on the many creatures that will be coming through the barrier soon.

I said, “General, you need to convince your manufacturing areas that they need to go into quad/time and create those weapons. Wish and I will handle the Ghloftunmm. We are the only ones that have a chance with them. However, all the rest of the interdimensional invaders … will have to be dealt with as they come through a rift.”

“You sound as if you think there’ll be another attack, Wisp,” said the general.

“I’m nearly certain there will be,” I answered. “The Ghloftunmm won’t stop here. The stakes are too high. They’ll try again -- but perhaps another way. Even so, if you can rebuild the recovered material this way, you’ll create weapons that can’t harm Earth or humans to any great extent but will devastate the enemy. They won’t be expecting this at all.” Sadly, I was wrong about that last fact, but only time would teach me how wrong.

“What are you going to do?” the general asked Michelle and me.

I looked at her. “As always, if they attack, call us. But our plan is to give them something else to occupy their attention.” I paused. “We’re taking the fight to them.”



There is something darker than black, deeper than stygian darkness itself. Darkness is, after all, merely the absence of light. Imagine the presence of something that actually gives off a darkness that consumes life, sucks at the soul, and destroys all that is. This is what the Ghloftunmm and their home layer are made of, somehow. It’s what they’re trying to spread.

In a dimension made up of just that sort of darkness, a light appeared. To be precise, two lights appeared -- two humanoid figures, ablaze with the energy of the Nexus Gateway. The lambent darkness of this place tried to extinguish that light, to no avail. The League had never reached this far, but the League had never had this kind of resistance to the sheer entropy of this dimension before.

“Where are we?” Michelle asked me. “I mean, I know we’re in one of the dimensions adjacent to their home, but do they have planets, stars, asteroids, or what? Where do they live?”

“Search me,” I said. “You know as much as I do, and that’s not much. I’m getting some kind of readings from that direction, and you probably are too.” I gestured in the direction I meant, and we both drifted that way, as there wasn’t much that we’d call gravity here.

Several beings made entirely of darkness realized their home turf had been invaded by creatures never before seen on this side of the barrier. The very fact they were there brought much consternation to the beings. The massive energy those small creatures were giving off dwarfed even the most powerful of the Ghloftunmm; Gathubb.

Even Gathubb was extremely concerned as the emanations given off by those invaders totally disrupted their attempts to divest in a most painful way.

Without warning, a massive explosion of dark and massive heat. Tendrils spread energetically around us as our shields absorbed the entire blast with little effort. It’s true, the detonation did take about 3% of our power cell’s potential, which, truth be told, was a seriously massive detonation, but our cells recovered within seconds.

Michelle released a tremendous ball of what might have been white plasma … or maybe it was another color as it seemed to transpose and evolved into other colors as it traversed the distance between us and what ever attacked us. Huge areas were lit up with a bright, ever changing light. Then a seriously massive detonation.

It appeared a sun was born as the layer of darkness receded rapidly away from the light. Physics changed immediately within the area the energy ball detonated as the old layers were remade into something quite different. The effect didn’t travel far, but it was far enough the Ghloftunmm knew, some life form had discovered a weapon more powerful by far than anything they had ever seen or dreamed of.

These were the creatures that had damaged them, hurt them, caused them to retreat amid their largest victory, and turned it into total defeat. The Ghloftunmm had even lost one of their closest companions in that fiasco.

Gathubb felt the terrible loss of many of his companions to an attack by creatures they were sure couldn’t even harm them. Those infernal beings had killed almost a dozen Ghloftunmm so far. As the most powerful being in this realm, Gathubb was determined to stop this invasion right now.

Gathubb appeared relatively near us. He was massive and gave off terrible dark energies. He waved his hand, this universe erupted around us. It hurt badly as we were tossed into a side real dimension by the blast.

I was about to port back when Gathubb appeared once again. This time, I fought back before he materialized completely. I pointed my finger at the huge dark vaporous apparition, then fired another of those bright white metacosmological energy balls. Due to a quirk in sidereal inter-chronal displacement, Gathubb took the whole blast without the aid of his shields.

Another sun erupted and burned brightly around Gathubb as the layer retreated from the light and formed a large pocket of a different type of physics. One that Gathubb discovered was totally anathema to his life force. His armor erupted into a bright shower of sparks as his vaporous body sort of ignited and began to smolder heavily and burn. Severely damaged, Gathubb fled back across the void to his home dimension … with Michelle and myself hot on his trail.

We could both feel it getting more and more difficult to go on -- we’d caught him by surprise in a satellite dimension to his home, but he was fleeing to his base, where the nature of reality was even more inimical to our continued existence.

“Are we sure we want to do this?” I asked Michelle as we pursued him. “He’ll probably have more resources and more minions where he’s going.”

“Then we can’t let him get there!” Michelle transmitted back. “This guy is toast.”

And she did a thing I’d never seen before. A mere gesture, and an immense net appeared before him -- some sort of grid-shaped energy field, blazingly bright against the deepening void, blocking his progress. The huge form of Gathubb impacted into the grid, and he recoiled in apparent pain … or perhaps anger, as he stretched forth great limbs and slashed at the net with ferocious dark claws.

Michelle gritted her teeth as she exerted her will, trying to keep the net of energy together, and I found that I could add my strength to it too, binding it into a solid barrier of white fire. He tried to scratch at it again and again, then suddenly took off in another direction, trying to go around it, but by then we’d surrounded him. He was trapped in the cage … with us. Or possibly vice versa.

“No running,” I said, not knowing if he could even hear or understand me. But he turned; his presence grew again as he approached. And he retaliated.

His counterattack was horrible. Not trying to simply blast us apart with weapons or energy, he focused on asserting the supremacy of the alien reality we’d intruded into and its foreign nature. We felt our hearts struggling to beat in conditions where fluids didn’t flow in the same way. We felt our brains struggling to operate in conditions where electricity didn’t function. “Activating emergency life support mode,” said our League devices, desperate to keep us alive.

“No!” I said. “Do not activate!” It would shut off the energy net if it focused all its energy on life support. Gathubb would run free -- and probably come back with an army.

Michelle saved our bacon yet again. “Change emergency life support parameters,” she said. “Apply to interior of energy barrier.” The entire interior of the white energy net filled with … well, space. Our kind of space, not this crushing more-than-darkness. Her device was now focused on maintaining life within the barrier -- our kind of life. The kind of life that Gathubb and his kind were focused on exterminating -- because it was not compatible to theirs. He howled in pain and struggled against his bonds in vain. His power was failing him; we’d created a dead zone holding him right in the outskirts of his own home.

This left my device free to act. “OK, big guy,” I said, “have fun.” I thought of how Explorer seemed to feed on this kind of entropic energy and grow stronger. This was counterintuitive, but it must work somehow -- although perhaps it wouldn’t normally work well in this dimension, it might work within the bubble Michelle had created. Feeding off Gathubb’s energy, I created a loop that attacked him with white energy -- basically he was fueling his own destruction now. The energy flow grew and grew, becoming tremendous in its intensity. And all I had to do was control it -- I didn’t have to power it myself.

As Michelle continued to maintain the bubble of what we considered normal reality, I concentrated on maintaining this assault on Gathubb using its own energies. And Gathubb began to shrink. He howled and struggled and writhed but could not get free. Soon he was an amorphous but angry cloud of darkness no bigger than myself. Soon after that he was smaller than a human.

And soon after that, when he was no bigger than a cat, he gave one supreme struggle … and was gone. “What?” we both said. “But we had him!” Then we looked at the size of the gaps in the energy net. He’d gotten small enough to fit between the strands.

“No! Oh, blast it, he’s going to return with an army!” I wailed.

“If Pee-Wee can get any help now, that is,” giggled Michelle. “But you’re right; we shouldn’t stay here.”

We vanished, and all traces of our battle vanished with us -- we’d learned more about how to do that. And we appeared … in the Library.

Many of the Agents walked in soon after we arrived. They all had questions about the new upgrades and the new information in the database archives.

Agent M’gualo from the Monooosearu dimension was the first to break the silence, “Agent Niess, from the data you and Agent Delaney returned with, it appears as if you have discovered a place we have never been able to explore. The creatures you have killed and maimed are … as powerful as the founders, and yet you two found a way to attack them at their own door step.”

I replied, “It’s true, we had a visitor from beyond the void on the white side of the impenetrable rift. It brought knowledge that spanned an entire cosmos unknown to the League … and a way to utilize an energy source we had never before realized was available.”

Agent Teliev asked, “It wouldn’t be that delightful thing that was here studying all of our databases would it?”

Michelle giggled, “It would. I called it Explorer, since I couldn’t really comprehend its name and it was the first of its people to cross the rift and come here. I will tell all of you, the void on the other side of the rift, is totally hostile and destructive to our life forms and our Cosmological Physics. On the reverse side of that same coin, the energy from Explorer’s side of the rift, is just as destructive to them …” Michelle suddenly had a very thoughtful expression.

It was so weird, I could almost hear her thinking it was so intense. Michelle said, “Wait a minute. How is it that we can’t use this type of energy to completely rechiralize their dimensions and recreate them into something more like what we think of as space and time?”

The Agents present looked at Michelle with whatever their species expression for horror was. One of them said, “That would mean the total … eradication of an entire layerality we know very little about.”

I replied, “The Ghloftunmm have committed a spacial genocide of a magnitude totally unknown to us. They completely destroyed two upper layers … completely. Uncounted trillions died. We managed to save two others.”

Another Agent said, “But, does that justify us creating the same wrong? Do they cancel each other out just because we did it?”

I sighed, “No, it doesn’t. But then again, this is total war. The Ghloftunmm will completely destroy our entire layerality and recreate it to their liking without so much as a tear of remorse.”

A soft murmur filled the library as the other Agents digested this.

Agent Ligamondes said softly, “We would not be committing the same wrong. We would not be destroying them and their reality. The Ghloftunmm would continue to exist, if I understand correctly -- merely in a different form, one that was not so inimical to our reality.”

“Sounds more like declawing a bunch of cats than committing genocide to me,” I said, and the League device translated as best it could.

“Removing the defensive acid glands of a pet gel amoeboid is not universally considered humane among my people,” said one Agent, “but neither is it universally condemned, and it does not directly endanger the creature’s life. Also it prevents them from dissolving the curtains.”

And that was when we got a message -- from Earth.

“Wisp! Wish!” came the voice of General Charles. “We’ve got company! I don’t know what you did, but they’re back, and they’re pissed! Rifts all over Earth -- Goethi pouring out by the millions -- please, if you can, do something, anything!”

Title: The Wisp - Pt2

Characters:

All Characters played by: Miki Yamuri and LilJennie

Randy Neiss - 25yo - The Wisp

Michelle Delaney - 23yo Mobile Action News Reporter - The Wish

Pl’boolu - League Pisces lifeform Doctor

League Agent Nijedahaa

League Agent Ligamondes

Phosian League Agent Shiranaa

Phosian Phosiorr Knight Locathann

Ghloftunmm - Dark Shadow Beings

Mr. Bradford - News Editor

Debbie Devine - Celebrity Spot Reporter

General Charles - Head of The United States Space Defense Force

Gloria Charles - Colonel/General Henry Charles' wife

General Young

General Cavender

General Phillips

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Wisp: Part 2

Michelle and I gasped. We’d thought our attack would have distracted them. Instead, it had made them mad.

“Uh, guys, we’ve got to get back to Earth,” I said. “Like, right now.”

“We heard,” said Agent Ligamondes. “Allow me to offer my assistance in this matter.”

“And me,” said Agent Nijedahaa.

“And me,” offered another.

Soon every Agent in the extra-dimensional space that was the League Library offered to help. I smiled with pride as I looked over the hundreds present. Each agent, willing to give their lives for earth.

“Thank you, Agents,” I said, “more than words can say. Let’s go.”

The devices worn by League Agents are also superb tactical computers, and when linked together they can instantly plan an overall battle strategy that can flex and change with conditions … but we were faced with an overwhelming invasion force on a world that we did not consider expendable. What was going to happen next was anyone’s guess. But as one we vanished from the League Library and appeared in flashes of blue-white light all over Earth.

By the time we had ported to our prearranged locations, it was fairly obvious that General Charles had already gotten the new reconfigured diamond hull shielding on the aircraft in use. Much of the Goethi weaponry was super ineffectual against it. I also noticed the plasma cannons were much more effective than originally hoped due to the upgrade that had mysteriously appeared in the final prints. Any Goethi resource hit, didn’t survive it very well.

It utilized a new type of power cell that was millions of times more powerful than the simple Fuel Cell RPGs earth had used for so long. This new type of energy, combined with the exotic gases used within the lensing of the weapon, produced a much cleaner and more controllably compact energy ball. The results caused the Goethi to fear. The Goethi Interphasitrix weapon, however, was still super powerful and nasty.

The Goethi also learned what a gatling gun and metal storm were. There were many types in use that were super effective since Goethi interphasic shields had no effect against depleted uranium ordnance fired a hundred thousand rounds a minute. The metal storm version of this weapon, had the ability to fire over a million rounds in a second.The ones that had added explosive and thermite incendiary rounds, even did damage to the well armored war machines. It was obvious the General remembered what Wish had told him about the weakness to non energy ordinance the Goethi interphasic shields had, and used that info to its maximum benefit.

The destruction was obvious as General Charles and his Space Defense force made one heck of a showing of itself. I also noted the earth machines were taking damage as well, since they were up against a far superior foe. The secret space based laser satellites had had their optics and power sources upgraded over the last few months, which caused them to be a contender in the defense. They were absolutely effective against all the targets so far. The beams were invisible, but their targets sure knew when they had been hit. I nodded, this equalized the playing field a whole lot.

I smiled as I saw one of those weird bug like craft strike a Goethi war machine. The plasma torpedo struck and caused serious damage. The Goethi machine was still in fighting shape, but it wouldn’t be able to take much more poundings like that from them.

The fighters were extremely agile and fast. I felt for the pilots as I watched the crafts rapidly twist and turn in seriously tight circles, loops, and roundabouts, avoiding most of the Goethi shots. The g’s the pilots were taking must have been really painful. Within my mind’s eye, I ‘saw’ what the next upgrade to earth’s space force fighters was going to be … inertial dampeners. This would give them a much better ability to avoid incoming fire and enemy aircraft.

I didn’t have time to contemplate it any longer as I and Michelle became Goethi targets. A massive explosion of plasma on our shields which our devices shunted through a weird convergence in the time wave and returned it back to the weapon that launched it. The results were spectacular as everything for blocks went up in a pyrotechnical explosion to put the 4th of July to shame.

So we didn’t have much to fear from the Goethi ourselves, but our problem was protecting Earth. The Goethi’s ultimate goal wasn’t extremely clear, but what was certain just then, was that they were trying to cause chaos and destruction.

We chose an invasion site that didn’t have any defenders yet and started firing away, targeting their largest war machines first -- they didn’t stand a chance of course, exploding in huge pillars of fire when our beams disrupted their energy transport infrastructure, but of course this left craters and burning debris across the landscape of western Nebraska, not to mention the radiation, and that would have to be cleaned up later. But once we’d gotten their big battlewagons and started systematically exterminating their smaller ground vehicles and fliers, they seemed to lose the will to fight and retreated back through their portal, which closed.

We were getting reports of similar actions taking place around the globe, where League Agents weren’t having much trouble handling even large Goethi assault groups -- the problem was that there were just so many of them. And what were they trying to do? That was when Agent Ligamondes messaged me.

“Agent Randy Neiss, I have been scanning not for Goethi portals but for the entropic energy associated with the Molokai’s Demon species,” he said, “and I have found something disturbing. They are present, but they have already gone underground. I believe there to be 11 of them, and they are doubtless planning to cause great damage once in position.”

“No!” I replied. The demons must have arrived separately, either with only small Goethi escorts or completely on their own. The Goethi attacks were a distraction, in a way. “We can’t let them do that! But … fighting them underground? How do we do that? Oh well, we have to try.”

I focused on one of the locations Ligamondes had sent and was there -- surrounded by rock under high pressure, able to move only by shoving rock around, which took a lot of force. With my device’s help I could do it, but could I fight?

Suddenly the rock ahead of me split open and there was one of the demons. A tight beam of white energy pierced it through, and I didn’t see it anymore, but I knew that one shot by itself hadn’t killed it. How were we going to fight an enemy we couldn’t even get at?

I followed it anyway; my device could tell me exactly where it was, even if reaching it was difficult. But I noticed something: it had stopped moving away from me. Was it turning around, preparing an ambush for me?

I finally reached it, and in the chamber formed by its tunneling I noticed that it was bound. There were cords around its neck, wrists and ankles made of some kind of energized metal; it struggled but wasn’t breaking free, at least for now. I didn’t understand, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. I started blasting away at it with more beams of white energy. Enough of that and its body sagged to the floor of the chamber and began to dissolve into darkness.

Then I saw what had come to my aid. Teams of tiny Triadoids, experts at burrowing below ground, had laid a trap for it, a trap that they had assembled in mere seconds out of what equipment they’d had at hand. Energized cutting tools and tow cable in sufficient quantity had been enough to hold the demon, at least for long enough.

“Allow me to express my gratitude,” I said to them. Each team numbered at least a dozen -- there were almost a hundred of the creatures here. “But why are you helping us?”

“They useded us, thunkted we scareded of em,” one of them said. “You fight em, we helps, kills em, we go home then.”

“I like this plan,” I said. “But there are more of those things.”

“We knows,” the triadoid replied. “Morea us follow alla ems. You go, find em. We helps.”

“Then let me help you,” I said. “Are you in communication with your other teams?”

“Yups, alla time.”

“Then transmit this to them,” I said, handing this ad hoc triadoid leader a crystalline data cube.

He activated the cube, reading the data as it streamed through, and said, “Yupyups. We does it. It good. Sending nows. We thanks. Go fight!” He attached the cube to what I suppose was a tiny communication device of some kind. “Go!” I nodded and focused on another demon’s subsurface location.

When I appeared in the next chamber, the demon turned and faced me. It roared out an earth trembling roar, then knelt down and grabbed huge handfuls of rock. It leaned its head back and roared again as massive tendrils of energy spiderwebbed down its arms into the ground. The earth trembled fiercely.

Immediately, I surrounded the creature in a coronal bubble that forced all the energy he was attempting to force into the molecular structure of the planet, to enter his own body’s molecular structure. It energized the demon so badly, it began to glow. Strange lava looking things began to sprout from all parts of its body before it roared loudly in what appeared to be severe pain, falling over, and dissolving into a large puddle of orange goo.

I heard a familiar voice as Agent Locathann arrived, “That was … rather impressive. I have always wanted to see one of those things die horridly. I know that sounds bad, but all the times those creatures allowed the capture of my people so they could be … eaten by Goethi. I think that might have been a bit too lenient.”

I looked at Locathann with surprise. He was really set against the Demons and the Goethi as he walked over to the mass of goo, and spat on it with disgust.

Another terrible earthquake. Large boulders began to fall on top of us. Our devices handled this issue as we moved many tons of rock and riprap to arrive at another chamber. This time, many demons and several Ghloftunmm were there hovering over some type of control panel.

My device’s AI went nuts as it did its best to explain that that Ghloftunmm device was going to be used to rip open the binal brane layer and totally destroy this reality. Our solar system had crossed into the proper alignment with the event horizon of the super universally large singularity we were caught in the midst of.

Locathann and I had the same idea at the same time. At the speed of thought, we made our battle plan, then attacked. The demons went down quickly in a massive ball of metacosmological “white energy”. The Ghloftunmm roared in total agony as it’s form somehow absorbed much of the energy into itself. This noticeably weakened the creature as it madly attempted to enter something on the pad attached to his devise.

Locathann focused another plasma attack of a really weird kind of energy. The Ghloftunmm devise ceased to function, then exploded violently, scattering massive glowing splatters of some kind of weird stuff all over the Ghloftunmm. It didn’t make a sound as it sort of … drifted apart and was gone. Nothing remained but its constituent molecules.

We stopped. I looked at Locathann and said, “That was a pretty good strategy. What kind of energy was that?”

He laughed, “It’s called kryptotridialon. With a bit of push from this,” he held up his left hand with the glove glittering brightly, “It becomes millions of times more effective.”

I shake my head as I pat Locathann on his back for a job well done, then we were off to the next battle front.

I focused on one of the remaining demons’ signatures -- the triadoids had this one on the ropes already; it was clearly unable to move as the bonds around its limbs and neck tightened. The resourceful triadoids had made use of the data I’d given them and energized their tow cable with white energy. I sliced through the demon’s body with planes of more of the same, but it was actually the triadoids who finished it off, tightening the cable around its neck with their mining equipment until they decapitated it. This grisly demise still caused the demon to disintegrate into a slowly-dissipating fog of darkness as always. “Well done,” I told the triadoids, and moved on to another demon’s location.

“I was wondering when you were gonna catch up to me,” said Michelle, who was similarly helping another team of triadoids dispatch a demon. “This should be the last one -- that we know of. Until they send more.”

She generated a simultaneous series of planes, cutting the demon’s form like an apple slicer -- grisly, again, but highly efficient. It was war, and we were fighting to save our planet and the human race. “Heard you found some Ghloftunmm up to no good.”

“Yeah, Locathann and I got that taken care of, but we’d better keep an eye out for more of that nonsense,” I said. “The conjunction thing or whatever’s started, so if they succeed with even just one of those attempts, this dimension’s null and void.”

About that time, I and Wish recieved a contact from the President. It was an emergency request for help, that suddenly was cut off. We looked at each other for an instant, then what was left of the Oval Office materialized around us.

A small Goethi interdimensional incursion squad was currently blowing a whole section of one wall to smithereens when we arrived. My shields took a massive impact, and absorbed it in its entirety. The Goethi that fired this weapon, looked at it with open mouthed surprise for an instant before he made his final leap of death straight into the massive discharge of Michelle’s attack. It was so weird to watch the body of that Goethi sort of dissolve away into something neither of us had ever witnessed before, and sublimate into nothing.

I saw some of the debris near what was left of the president’s large desk move. I pointed my finger at it and flipped my wrist, large chunks of debris moved off the top of the desk then slammed into a far wall. Michelle pointed her finger in that direction in readiness. We saw the timid eyes of a very scared president peer over the edge. He held in his hands one of those advanced energy weapons General Charles had been distributing around recently.

He stood up with a large smile, “Your uniforms are very different, but I can tell you, I’m very glad you came as quickly as you did.”

I said, “I’m sorry we didn’t get here sooner.” I looked around at the devastation, “Let’s see if I can help fix some of this mess.”

I waved my hand. As far as the president was concerned, what happened next was total magic as the room and many of the items damaged within, seemingly began moving about and repairing themselves. He stared in open mouthed amazement as his office returned to a pristine state of repair.

I could hear Locathann as he said through the link, “I think I can begin to manufacture those devices you had the plans for.”

I ‘SAW’ the images of the orbital facilities he was referring to. They would not only provide orbital planetary defenses, they would also function as factories to produce some of the items reverse engineered from the captured Goethi equipment.

“That should help the SDF clean up the Goethi …” I began, but trailed off. “Wait. I’m getting a reading.” I looked at Michelle. “Are you getting this too? It’s a disturbance in … deep space, but otherwise it’s exactly like what they tried earlier.”

“We better go,” Michelle said and vanished.

When I emerged, there was no gravity; there was just a spherical cluster of Goethi, demons, and Ghloftunmm defending whatever was in the center of this rogue’s gallery, which my device was telling me was another brane-cracker or whatever -- they were trying what they’d tried deep within the Earth, but the outcome would be the same if they succeeded. If it went off, everything in this dimension would be annihilated.

I also saw every weapon held by every Goethi, demon and Ghloftunmm turning to point at Michelle, who’d gotten here first. I could tell that she knew this, though. Her device was working with her sharp mind and coordinating a strategy. That didn’t prevent me from being extremely afraid. In the back of my mind I was thinking about the worst case scenario. You know how it is. You worry about the ones you care about.

They fired simultaneously at her, and of course she wasn’t there anymore by the time death in multiple forms arrived for her. My device informed me of her strategy, which now included me, and I fired straight at the formation with everything I had. Slicing planes of white energy eradicated Goethi and wounded demons, and I fired again and again. Naturally they fired back, so I did a lot of dodging and porting but kept at it.

The area rapidly became a nasty messy blend of Goethi, demon, and whatever the Ghloftunmm happened to be made of along with the debris of their war machines.

A sudden rip in the reality of space/time. From the blacker than black beyond the rip, came a very angry Gathubb. He was obviously extremely angry, and began tossing nebula sized spitballs at the two of us. Each detonation was more fierce than the last. I ported in one direction as Michelle ported in yet another. We appeared rather close to Gathubb, slightly behind him. It took a fraction of a second for him to realize where we had reappeared … which was many jiffies too long.

The two of us let go with a full powered strike of white energy. It sliced through Gathubb like a hot knife through butter. His fancy, whatever that sparkly thing he wore was, exploded in a wonderful display of fireworks.

Retaliation came in a surprise. We found ourselves suddenly deep within Gathubb’s home dimention, with all the dark energy trying its very best to rip us apart. It hurt as the dark tore at my molecular structure.

From within me, or maybe it was the Energy of the Nexus within me, I wasn’t real sure, a massive relocation of chronal energy happened. Time was borrowed from the future to repay the debt in the far past, thus creating a Time Tsunami beyond anything Gathubb had ever imagined. I and Michelle were safely caged within another kind of anomaly external to the one currently holding Gathubb. We watched in wide eyed amazement as something we both knew we created, washed through this dimension like a huge, totally destructive tidal wave of pure bright white energy.

As quickly as I could, I managed to contain the devastating reflection to within a 3-parsec sphere of Gathubb, who was at the exact epicenter of a massive explosion of recreation. A Big Bang’s worth of energy was reflecting through the same region of space again and again -- and although light would take about 10 years to cross that sphere, metacosmological energy is not limited by the speed of light. We couldn’t see what was happening inside it with our eyes, but the senses provided by our League devices told us that nothing remained of Gathubb. If his people still managed to divest themselves of their physical forms, they would have to do so without him.

“Go,” I said to Michelle. “Get back to our dimension and stop that device. I have to hold this barrier until I shift out, because as soon as it falls, this dimension’s getting a facelift.”

“Good luck,” she said. “My heart stays with you!” She shifted back to our home dimension, and I turned my attention to my next feat: keeping the barrier sphere up until the moment when I left too. But the moment I started to shift, in that tiniest of fractions of a second, the energy ripple expanded through where the barrier had been at a speed faster than light … and right through my position. Everything went white …

“Agent Randy Neiss,” said an ethereal voice in the dreamlike whiteness.

“It’s … it’s you,” I said. “The Founders …”

“Yes. You have done well.”

“Thanks … I have to save Michelle … save Earth … save the League …”

“We are here because you have a choice,” said the voice. “Your body has been supercharged with enormous quantities of metacosmological energy. You have the option … to divest yourself of the physical form that limits you. This opportunity is not easy to achieve. It took us countless billions of your years to reach this milestone. The being known as Gathubb had also been working toward this goal for some billions of years.”

“Divest?” I asked. “You mean … to become like you?”

“Yes, to transcend the bonds of the physical. You would join us in protecting life and civilization as you know it throughout the multiverse, unlimited by time, space, and matter.” said another mysterious voice.

“Was it you -- the time tsunami thing? Did you do that?”

The ethereal voice had the undertones of many voices as it replied, “We admit … we helped you there, at the precise moment when you needed it most. You and Michelle faced a fearsome enemy, but you were not alone then, at that moment of darkness.”

“Thank you,” I said.

“The multiverse will be better off without such beings as Gathubb,” the voice said.

“If he had peacefully sought divestment without his campaign of destruction and conquest, this action would not have been necessary, and he could have reached this state unopposed. But he chose poorly.” said a single voice.

“Kind of stupid, really, considering he could just have waited a while longer.” I said.

“Yes. But what is your choice? We rescued you from the expanding wave that will remake the Ghloftunmm dimension entirely. You can use some of that energy to join us -- a feat that would take you billions of years otherwise. Or we can send you home to rejoin the fight there.” asked the ethereal voice with the undertones of many.

“Will the others be able to stop them without me?”

“It is quite likely,” the voice told me, “but we cannot see for certain, because you, who will make the choice, are right here in our midst, dividing the time streams in half right before our eyes, so to speak.”

“Still … no,” I said. “I can’t do that to Michelle, and I don’t want a ‘quite likely’ -- I want my planet and my friends to have the best chance they can get. Please send me back.”

“You have made the right choice …” said the voice, and the blinding whiteness faded … replaced by the star-studded blackness of space. It was roughly where we’d been -- I saw Michelle and several other Agents nearby, fighting the enemy formation. Back in the Ghloftunmm’s home dimension, a wave of cosmic inflation was remaking their reality anew, but we still had to deal with their armies here and now.

It was a fierce battle, but it was nearly over -- I sensed Michelle’s energy planes slicing closer and closer to the device, which was getting nearer and nearer to activation, but then she cut it neatly in half, and it was all over but the cleanup. This attempt, at least, wouldn’t result in universal Armageddon.

But by this time, my sensors also began to detect some kind of construct forming in orbit. I didn’t pay attention to the readings, I ported to that geosynchronous orbit. I found myself next to Locathann.

He said through the link, “Greetings. I have started building those orbital platforms.” He pointed his finger at several large rocks nearby, they sort of exploded and then reconfigured into another thing. “I love the way rock and minerals can be made into something else.”

I smiled as I watched Locathann create the platform from plans we had created earlier. I said, “Let me help, I think we need about twenty defense platforms and maybe ten more that double as factories.”

“My gracious thanks for your assistance,” said Locathann, continuing to draw in space junk and even huge asteroids, reconfiguring them into parts for the platform he was working on.

I moved to another geosynchronous point and began following the same pattern. But until now I really hadn’t had a feel for the kind of upgrades I’d been given. I found that I was able to Just Know which near-Earth asteroids would collide with Earth in the next ten million years, and found myself just reaching out and grabbing huge chunks of matter from them to make into the advanced alloys that formed the platform’s skeleton.

I found myself creating entire computation networks in one fluid motion, laying them down within the very framework that I was creating at the same time. And I found myself getting even faster. By the time I finished one platform, I had the impression that I could do it again in just one step. I moved to another spot and tried it, and found that I was right. I made my second platform in about twenty seconds, before the systems on the first one had even fully come online.

“Wisp to General Charles,” I said, “I would like to report that you have some new resources available.” I sent him the data about the platforms that Locathann and myself had already finished and the rapid activation schedule of the others that would exist in the very near future.

He must have been busy; I had finished two more by the time he got back to me. “Wisp! Reports are coming in too quickly for me to keep track of them all. This is excellent news. They’re automated?”

“Yes, for now they’ll run in auto mode,” I said, putting the finishing touches on another platform. “When there’s time we can train your people in operation and maintenance. You can use them as bases for your spacecraft. Some will even be good places to build ‘em from. But for now, enemy forces come near, enemy forces find out just how helpless Earth isn’t.”

I was sensing just then that a Goethi supply ship had come out of a rift and gotten blown to expanding dust clouds by one of the new platforms. There was some ammo and fuel that wouldn’t be making it to one of their assault squadrons. And … the platform’s collectors tractored the remnants in and converted them to fuel and ammo for its own systems. Efficiency itself.

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It was no secret now. Mankind of earth knew beyond any shadow of a doubt they were definitely not alone. Not only did all the alien war machines that had been captured, and the massive amounts of debris and destruction prove this point, the huge blast craters scattered all over the continent and Canada didn’t help matters. The fact that a huge friendly army of near wizards had come to earth and defended them, was even more of an amazing proof.

The United Nations called for a universal meeting of all leaders of the world. In an unprecedented declaration of unity, the world leaders ceased all hostilities and began putting their entire resources into planetary defense. For the first time in recent human memory, the entire world was united in complete agreement. Also, for the first time in human memory, all hostilities towards each other ended.

The President came on the air in as many locations as possible, “Greeting citizens of the United States, and the peoples of earth. I know there is nothing I can say to explain what has transpired other than we have been in a major battle with forces from … another dimension far beyond ours …”

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I saw a blue/white flash. Michelle appeared and looked at my most recent construct. She commented, “Seems you have found yourself some gainful employment there, dear.”

I replied, “So it would seem. I never thought of myself as a construction foreman and crew all at the same time.”

Both of us laugh as Locathann ported in.

Locathann said, “Seems we have finally completed the planetary defense network. Someone named … I think it was ... Charles, is apparently in command of the system.”

“Yes, General Charles -- he’s the leader of the largest space defense force Earth currently has,” I said. “I know him, and he’s going to send some human troops to be trained in how to run the platforms -- they can run automatically, but …”

“... but yes, it is always best to have people operating it and maintaining the equipment,” Locathann finished for me. “The automated systems are better than nothing, but trained troops make better decisions and can adapt to situations the systems aren’t programmed for. My people tried defending our world with robot troops. They worked for a while, until the Goethi first came, centuries ago. Luckily, we hadn’t fully phased out the Phosiorr warriors, but still, we never fully recovered from that error.”

“I hadn’t heard that story,” I said. “Maybe you can tell me more later --”

“Charles to Wisp, please come in. Charles to Wisp, come in, over,” said General Charles’ voice on the channel I’d reserved for his communicator. I shared the communication with Locathann, so he’d know why I was suddenly occupied.

“Wisp here, go ahead, General,” I sent back.

“Two things,” he said. “First, we have the first boatload of trainees for you ready to go. Just give ‘em coordinates and permission to dock, and they can launch within the day.”

“Sending coordinates for platform Alpha-Zero-Zero,” I said. “They’ll have docking permission, no problem, as long as you authorize it.”

“Perfect,” said Charles. “The other thing is … well, we were wondering if we could convince you and some of the other League folks to meet with the United Nations Space Defense Committee they just set up. Probably mostly a photo op, but also they just want to meet and talk to some of the people who’ve been helping defend Earth and will probably do that some more in the future. We may have held off this wave, but we’re hurt, and I doubt we’ve seen the last of ‘em.”

“Oh, I’m completely certain you’re right there,” I said. “The cosmic event that has them interested in Earth will continue for …” I paused, asking Delta for the answer. “... about 10 more months, so unless we can be assured of total victory before then, that’s how long we’re going to have to keep vigil.” I asked my device if there was some kind of automated sensor we could deploy to search for those Ghloftunmm doomsday devices -- and it came up with a plan for such a thing as well as another plan for a machine that could build and deploy them With a thought I made one out of local asteroid material and started it going. “But anyway,
I’ll ask around and see who wants to come.”

So that was how Michelle, Locathann, Ligamondes and myself ended up standing behind a lectern at the United Nations, in front of the world news media ...

“So, although Wish and myself are in fact humans from Earth,” I said, “the League is made up of millions of Agents of almost as many species, and our mission is to defend not just Earth, but every civilized planet in every dimension across the multiverse.”

A loud murmur of total awe from all the assembled leaders of the world filled the huge auditorium loudly for a few minutes as they discussed this among themselves.

This wasn’t a press conference, though -- United Nations officials were asking the questions, and we tried to provide them with answers they could understand, though we weren’t always successful. “Will the enemy return, and if they do, how ready are Earth’s defenses?”

“I’m quite certain they will,” I answered, “because right now there’s a cosmic event taking place that’s centered on Earth, and they’re interested in setting off a superweapon right in the heart of that event. They’ll be back to try again. But we’ll be ready. Their technology is millions of years ahead of Earth’s, it’s true, but we’ve constructed orbital defense platforms using our technology that are now staffed by trained Earth troops, ready to fire on intruders in nearby space -- and in nearby dimensions.”

“Yes, I was going to ask about that,” said Lieutenant General Gladys Featherstone of the UK. “What precisely are the parameters of the enemy’s objective? That is, where can they set off their weapon and hope that it will be effective?”

“Well, this is where it gets a bit beyond what Earth’s science can currently understand,” I said, “but keeping to your question without going into the reasons why, first of all, it must be set off in this particular dimensional layer. One nearby simply won’t do; it must be this one that we’re all standing in right now. Then it must be somewhere in a boomerang-shaped arc of space that curves its way through this part of Earth’s solar system and includes Earth in its volume.” I created a holographic visual.

“As you can see,” I went on, highlighting parts of the image as I spoke, “Earth entered this region of space two weeks ago and is still fully within it. Beginning next week, Earth will start to leave it, but will re-enter it a few months later. It will remain in the region of concern for a month, then leave it again, and then a few months after that will come the enemy’s last window of opportunity, lasting for about three more weeks, before Earth leaves the region for good. By the time Earth makes it back around the sun in its orbit, the conditions that make the region important will no longer exist.”

“So we merely need to hang on for that time?” Featherstone asked.

“Yes, and then, at least, the enemy’s superweapon won’t work,” I answered. “However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll stop trying to destroy us by other means.”

“They’re vindictive, then? They won’t just pick up their toys and go home?”

“They, well, don’t have a home,” I answered. “As a result of another action taken in the greater multidimensional war against this enemy, their home dimension as they know it will soon no longer exist.”

“So the enemy has no choice now and must fight,” said Featherstone.

I had to admit she was partially right. We, and the Founders, may have made a miscalculation. But she wasn’t completely right. “That’s not the case at all,” I said. “The enemy has several other dimensional layers that they’ve already conquered, and they could retreat to any of those if they chose. And, what’s more, they started this war, trying to conquer more. All we’ve done is try to defend the innocent against them, with varying degrees of success. Their might is mind-boggling in its immensity. And I’m worried that we haven’t yet seen everything they’ve got in store.”

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A month passed. Michelle and I tried to repair some of the damage that had been done to Earth. There were minor skirmishes against the Goethi that raged on; however, they were getting the idea that Earth was not only not the pushover as they had been told; it appeared to have the entire mythical League fighting for it.

Formidable orbital weapons stations suddenly appeared in orbit of most of the planets in the Sol System. Newer and faster fighter ships appeared, along with large and powerful, even by Goethi standards, destroyer and Dreadnought type ships. Earth Tech may have been primitive by Goethi standards, but it was fast, maneuverable, and had firepower to burn. Their armor plating on their ships was the most impressive thing. Those ships could take hundreds of times more impacts than Goethi could. The Goethi began to see many improvements in the way Earth Ships handled inertia as well. How all this was so, was a complete mystery to the Goethi.

By all of Goethi standards, earth peoples … were not a food source. They could not be beaten and were starting to be feared.

This was not to say, however, that the Ghloftunmm and their minions focused all their attention on Earth. Indeed, they attempted to attack several other dimensions, trying to convert and colonize them to make up for the loss of their home, so the League was kept busy turning back those assaults. Regular Agents could fight in shifts, but we on the Council had to be available to coordinate at all times. It was rare for us to get a moment to rest, so we sometimes resorted to Delta’s ability to stop time.

I was awakened by Michelle flopping on top of me and tickling my ear with her breath as she blew softly in my ear. I grabbed her, twirled her around onto her back, and gave her a huge kiss.

She squeaked softly, before kissing me back and saying, “Welcome back to the land of the living. If time were passing, you would almost have been asleep for 24 hours. I know we were up for an extended period, but, I was starting to get worried.”

I snorted a laugh, “I was tired. We don’t actually get enough down time, and it has been a while since I had my beauty sleep.”

Michelle giggled as she replied, “Yeah, a pretty boy like you has to get his beauty sleep, huh?”

We both laughed as we kissed lovingly.

She said, “Delta tells me that we need to be getting back. Time may not be passing, but there is a reason they call it a singularity. Graviton waves strong enough to bend and warp reality, time, you know, that stuff we are trying to save.”

I said, “Ok, I think I’ve slept enough for now, let’s get something to eat, and I need a shower …”

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In a lonely stretch of space unobserved by Earth, out of range of my web of early-warning detectors, and currently unnoticed by the League Agents, a large rip in reality appeared. As the jagged edges of the torn planier normal space separated, a shadowy being slipped through, along with several dozen Goethi troops … and an inter-dimensional machine. This one was made from the compressed matter of an entire dimension the Ghloftunmm and their minions had captured, and powered by the total dark continuum energy of that same dimension.

The being began entering data into the machine. A wave began to emanate from the machine, and reality around the device began to change slowly in an ever increasing bubble that began to expand.

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“So, Delta,” I asked the computer, “are there really no repercussions to the fact that Earth is basically being sucked into a black hole right now?”

“It is so large that it is more like a moving border,” said Delta. “Imagine that your universe is effectively being divided in two, by a borderline that can be crossed one way but not the other.”

“So one universe is becoming two?”

“Effectively,” Delta explained. “It will take billions of years for the event horizon to sweep across your universe … and by that time anything could have happened. In the meantime, anyone inside it won’t be able to feel that they are, and those outside it, if they can detect it, will probably avoid it.”

“Could we … help Earth escape from it if we wanted to?” I asked.

“With the amount of power you now have, yes,” replied Delta, smiling as she floated in the air, “but I would ask … why? Earth existed within one universe before now, and now it is effectively in another one -- or rather, in the other half of the same one. Why would moving it to a third make any difference?”

“I guess you’re right,” I said. “Well, time to go see what mischief those Ghloftunmm are going to stir up next.”

“Are you ready yet?” asked Michelle.

I laughed, and we departed for League HQ.

“No sign of an attack on Earth,” said Ligamondes, seeing us enter. There was a fantastically large and complicated multidimensional map of the omniverse in the command center, hanging holographically in the air, with the positions of all known League agents glittering upon it like stars in a galaxy. “There may be some signs of demon and Goethi activity in Continuum 2400197+328-B, just anti-dilationward of the Great Temporal Anomaly. Agents Ekulafton and Mnorram have been dispatched to investigate. The odd thing is that we haven’t seen much activity from the Ghloftunmm themselves recently. That makes me very suspicious.”

“Really?” I replied. “Well, you’ve got me feeling suspicious too. What are they up to? And we’ve got no idea where they’re holed up?”

“Well, as you know, the far darkward dimensions are still theirs, although the inflationary burst you two created during your battle with Gathubb has ejected their home dimension quite some distance lightward, making it uninhabitable by them at the same time. It’s effectively no longer the same layer.” Ligamondes indicated its position on the map -- which couldn’t completely describe the state of affairs, but it came as close as possible. The Great Dark Rift lay near the darkward end of the map, but there were still a number of dimensions beyond it. “We still have difficulty penetrating the Rift with remote sensors, however.”

“Maybe we should work on that,” I said, looking at Michelle, who nodded.

“How’s Explorer?” she asked.

“Well, he went back home before the battle for Earth,” said Ligamondes, “but I’ve just had word that he’s back.” The gender of Explorer was in question, as we still knew very little about his people and whether they even had genders, let alone how many or what types, but “he” was how my device translated his pronouns into my limited human brain with its limited English background. “He’s been sighted just this side of the Great Light Rift -- or what his people call the Multilateral Quintic Convergence Chasm. I suppose he’s doing what he does best -- exploring.”

“We know it’s really him, and not some other one of his people?” Michelle asked.

“Well, Agent Yldratlas briefly spoke with him, and he seems to be the same being,” answered Ligamondes. “They’re a bit of a mystery, though.”

There was a repeated tone in the air, and a red dot began to flash on the map. “That’s Agents Ekulafton and Mnorram,” Ligamondes said, looking concerned. “They’ve found something.”

The extremely upset voice of Mnorram came loud and clear over the link, “Agents! We have a Level One Condition Red Emergency in this location. We have discovered a very large Ghloftunmm insurgency. They brought many Goethi and much armaments with them. One more thing, they are attempting to rip the layer apart again. Their machine has created an instability the size of a large gas giant.”

All the agents nearby gasped. Michelle replied back, “How many soldiers?”

Ekulafton replied, “From what my sensors tell me, as many as there is dirt under your feet.”

“OMG!” Shouted Michelle and vanished in a blue/white flash.

I said, “All who can follow, do so. I think this is going to be one hell of a fight.” Then I too vanished.

Ligamondes said authoritatively, “I want all that are not guarding Earth at present to follow me. Bring whoever and whatever you can. This is going to be a nasty bit.”

When I appeared, All I could see was this huge glowing sphere the size of earth’s solar system. Within … many thousands of Goethi with their weapons, and many Ghloftunmm. It was more than obvious, they intended to hold this until their device had completed its operation.

I said over the frequency their comms seemed to broadcast, “Behold Ghloftunmm agents of death; We have come to teach you first how to fear, then, how to die.”

I raised my left hand. It felt like my entire body caught fire as massive amounts of Nexus energy boiled up my arm. It had never hurt to fire energy before, then again, I had never before wielded such power.

A huge explosion deep within the radiating sphere. Massive tendrils of white light spread all through the bubble, but dissipated rapidly and stopped. More rapidly than I had ever witnessed before. To everyone’s surprise, only the very outer periphery of Goethi were damaged. The rest were still pristine. Whatever the device the Ghloftunmm were using apparently also protected them from such raw attacks.

My device informed me that the equipment used by the Ghloftunmm to create the rift also redirected most of the white energy I had launched around itself and those within a certain boundary of it. I realized this was something I had thought of when the Goethi attacked us at Michelle’s house, only on a much larger and more powerful level. That explained why my attack appeared to be so ineffectual. Most of it was redirected away to another location.

Well, where was it going? … I Just Knew where -- off to a point in deep space, within the same dimension but very far away. The energy was dissipating, and in the millions of years it would take even the outer edge of it to reach this place again, it would be so weak that even League devices would find it a serious challenge to so much as detect the wave.

But how to get around this? If every shot we fired was sent somewhere else, how would we ever defeat this battalion? How would we ever prevail against the Ghloftunmm in battle ever again? Had they discovered the perfect defense against our weapons?

The League forces and I all fired burst after burst, and I saw no pattern in where the energy was sent -- complete randomness in each redirection meant that I couldn’t even open up portals back from the destination to bring the shots back. Not even my device’s AI was able to predict. It was as if they were using the very primal chaos of their home layer to drive the redirection shields.

But then … suddenly … there was a pattern to the destinations after all. Where they had seemingly been random, now there was a repeating sequence thousands of destinations long -- it wasn’t much, but it was something! And then the sequence was repeating after only hundreds of shots, then only dozens, then … suddenly every shot was going to the same place. Had their entropic random-destination generator failed? Or …

There was a burst of brilliant white light near us, not damaging or dangerous, but … “Randy?” I heard Michelle say to me. “I think it’s …” Then, the sphere of light dimmed and vanished to reveal a small shape made seemingly out of that same light -- a rounded rectangle surrounded by three drifting globes. “Explorer!”

“Greetings, Agents of the League!” said the enthusiastic voice of Explorer, translated by our devices directly into our minds. “I have learned/discovered that there is a problem here that I am able to solve. There is an excess of chaotic, random energy here -- energy that I personally find quite delicious.”

“You’re … sucking the entropy out of their random generator!” I said. “All our shots are going to just one destination! Everyone, fire! I’ll make a portal from there back to here!” And as Michelle, Locathann, Ligamondes, and the other League Agents opened fire, I created a rift from the point where the Ghloftunmm were sending the energy of our attacks … connecting the other end directly to the center of the enemy formation.

A new weapons list appeared in that ‘I Know Things’ way. It offered several solutions to the problem. One sounded very interesting …. a white noise singularity sounded … rather exotic. At the destination point of the energy transference, a hugely energetic singularity formed. A massive jet of energy began spewing from one end of the anomaly, just as massive amounts of Dark flowed in the other. Immediately, the Ghloftunmm knew those infuriating creatures of the League had discovered some form of new energy that totally cancelled theirs out.

The energy transference failed, then suddenly in a wave of massive plasma discharges of white energy and a horrid explosion, the Ghloftunmm and the device they were so vigorously protecting … vanished. We knew immediately they had
been severely damaged by our energy returning to them by the massive debris field left behind, but managed to escape somewhere through side real coronal displacements.

Michelle said to me through our link, “Well now, that was kind of disappointing.”

How so?” I asked back.

I could tell she was doing one of those adorable poked out lip pouts as she replied, “We smacked em on their butt. Then … wouldn’t ya know it … they run like cowards.”

Everyone close enough to receive the broadcast burst out laughing. It was true. But now, we had a real problem. The Ghloftunmm had escaped with a still functioning ripper device (which we had started calling it for the lack of any better name).

We knew that the Earth’s orbit would soon take it back into dimensional alignment with the slowly growing event horizon, and that if they could detonate that device or one like it within that alignment, Earth and its entire layer would be doomed. But we didn’t know when the enemy would make their move. So we watched and waited.

In the meantime, we talked to Explorer. He wanted to look at the League Archives again, having found a tantalizing reference in some of the more cryptic, less well preserved ancient records. One would expect, perhaps, that the Founders would have remembered everything, but in reality they only had brains much like yours or mine -- can you remember someone you met a year ago? How about trillions of years ago, if you’d lived that long? So that was why they’d created the Archives. Perhaps their memories were perfect now that they’d divested themselves of physical forms, but this was what they used to do instead.

“There is a reference here to a League Agent named Irida, who discovered what they called ‘a land of light beyond the vortex,’” Explorer said, showing the new Council the fragmentary record he’d found. “This is in a language that no one in the League uses anymore -- perhaps Irida’s species, which is not recorded, died out, or at least no longer uses any language similar to this one. But then … there is another fragment mentioning an Agent who goes only by the name of Protector, who is said to come from ‘beyond the vortex’ and to ‘speak in musical tones.’”

“Wait … you think …” I began.

“Could it be that not only has the League made contact with your people in the distant past,” said Ligamondes, “but there has been a League Agent of your people?”

“The evidence is tantalizing!” said Explorer. “I found this fragment in a forgotten archive in my home world,” he went on, showing us, well, a confusing mixture of colored lights, but he described it. “It says that ‘he journeyed beyond the chasm, where a great battle was being waged between the forces of light and darkness, returning with the blessing of the champions and becoming a defender of our home.’ This could be the same person!”

“But … aren’t you sad?” asked Michelle. “You might not be the first of your kind to come here, then.”

“I would be the first in a very long time!” Explorer replied.

“Those records are billions of years old,” I agreed. “Our planet didn’t even exist back then.”

“But there is another strange fragment I’ve found,” said Explorer. He showed us this one, again from the League Archives. “It speaks of how ‘they used the machine to separate the Light from the Darkness so the many worlds could come into being between them … dividing them with great abysses so they would never again become one.’ Our oldest legends say that once our people fought a constant war against the Dark that neither side could win.”

“But who did this?” I asked. “The Founders? Or someone else?”

“Did someone come before the Founders?” asked Michelle.

“I know of no one older than they,” said Ligamondes.

“I … might,” I said.

Everyone suddenly looked at me. I sort of knew what they were thinking. Michelle realized what I was thinking and said, “The database from beyond the white rift indicates that their just might be something older. If I’m not mistaken …”

Explorer said, “Many of those archives are lost due to extreme age. Those banks seem to have gone dysfunctional over time.”

Ligamondes said thoughtfully, “I have come across areas within our own database that seems to have that issue as well. Although, those records are older than … many layeralities past.”

Irida kept rattling around in my head like a dried pea in an aluminum pot. Some other things began to ping in my mind, then became supported by my device. It surprised me at first that Delta managed to gain access to League Library files so easily when no other place had yet discovered a way. The next big thing, was what the founders had said when they made me and Michelle the new Guardians. I realized, they seemed to know something they shouldn’t have, although they didn’t actually say it. I had assumed my device had informed them. I discovered myself to be in error. Somehow … they knew.

The many cycles old mentions of sightings … A light came on suddenly as I realized a hidden truth. Delta … was more important than I had ever realized.

Suddenly, I, along with Michelle, Explorer, Ligamondes, Locathann, and agent Shiranaa appeared in a place. I realized we were within Delta once again in another sidereal location we had not yet visited.

The cloud appeared once again and the face of the very beautiful young female humanoid appeared that I and Michelle knew as Delta.

It bounced around the room in a gleeful and comical way for an instant then came to a stop in front of us all and said, “Welcome. You, are the new League Council, of course." It turned to Michelle and myself and said, "And the two of you, of course, are the Guardians of the Nexus Gateway.”

I snorted and slightly shook my head, “That, sort of is an overstatement of a self evident truth. Our uniforms give away who we are.” I turned and looked at the other agents who were looking around in amazement at their No Time Surroundings. “And, another thing, I don’t remember selecting any council yet.”

Delta giggled as it bounced up and down, “Oh, but you have and did, you did! Oh … I see.” Delta’s expression seemed to blush a bit pink, “I’m so sorry, it seems I snached you from the time stream a bit too early. It’s OK though. No paradoxes will be caused by my mistake.”

Shiranaa said with force, “What?! And who in Dilphonicv are you and how in all that is within this layerality can you take us from a wrong time?”

Michelle and I looked at each other. Across the link I said, “Delta, is far older than the founders by a span of time I cannot even fathom.”

Delta giggles gleefully, “Wheels within wheels and the rim has returned. I …. am the founder and creator of the League. I … am the original AI within all of your devices.”

I said, “I -- well, I didn’t suspect that. But I did know that you were older than the Founders -- I just didn’t suspect that you were that much older until just now.”

“But then,” said Explorer, “if you are an artificial intelligence, who built you? And if ‘they used the machine to separate the Light from the Dark,’ were you that machine? And who were ‘they?’”

“I knew this day would come,” Delta said with a gleeful giggle. “When time barely passes here, you have no idea how long it’s been! I was indeed that machine. Long ago, there was only one layer, one set of dimensions, one way for reality to be, with no variation. But then, the opposing forces of order and chaos gradually separated that layer into two. And as life developed and changed, the beings who lived in those two layers were in constant war with one another, for the differences between them were so great that they couldn’t live side by side. Each side constantly sought to destroy the other -- out of the need for survival. And then … came the beings that built me, using the tools they had constructed to separate the two layers far apart, stretching the fabric of the underlying omniversal medium. In doing so, they laid the groundwork for many, many other layers to come into existence in between. Eventually those layers began to birth life in its many forms. And once those life forms began to discover how to travel among the layers, strife began to occur, and I saw the need for a means to keep order.”

“So you made the first League utility devices, programmed to seek out those worthy to help protect civilization and fight for justice,” I said. “But who were the beings who created you? Were they beings of the Light and Dark layers? Where are they now?”

“Oh, I wish I could answer you!” Delta nearly squeaked with enthusiasm. “But all I can really say is that it will all become clear soon.”

“Delta,” asked Michelle, “Why is Explorer here? He’s not a League Agent.”

“Oh -- well, er, I did seem to get ahead of myself and plucked you out of the timestream too soon,” said Delta. “But don’t worry. There is one more guest who must arrive before everything will sort itself out.”

“One more guest?” I asked.

“I will make sure to pull this one from the proper place in the timestream,” Delta said. “She is … here.”

What looked like a miniature explosion of shadow and fire appeared in the otherwise white and tidy No Time space that we were all standing in -- though I knew that was largely an illusion of perception. A core of roiling red-orange energy that churned like molten lava was surrounded by a shifting shell of what looked like black basalt rock, and all of this was orbited by many smaller particles of what for lack of a better description were black light.

From this presence a voice came into our minds, crying, “Nooooo! Whoever you are, send me back! I am trying to keep the League from destroying our home!”

“Delta, what have you done?” asked Explorer, sounding panicked. “You have brought a being of purest darkness here!”

Delta’s voice was calm and quiet and yet cut through the newcomer’s anger and frustration. “Please, do not worry. No time is passing outside of this enclave. When you return, all will be as it was the moment I brought you here. You are needed for a … conference whose outcome will affect the entire omniverse.”

“I -- well -- what is it that you need?” the newcomer’s voice echoed, sounding less panicked now. “What is more urgent than the survival of my people and our dimension?”

“Who are you fighting?” I asked. “What’s your name? Can we help? Why would the League be destroying your home?”

“It isn’t -- yet -- and I want to keep it that way. My name is …” and there came one of those multilayered thought-concepts, like Explorer’s real name. The concept was something like “the place where fire creates new life” combined with “the furnace that purifies.” My device settled on the name “Crucible.” “And you can only help if you can find a way to stop the blasted Ghloftunmm from pursuing their mad expansionist agenda. The League is going to retaliate. They’ve already destroyed one dimension, and they’re going to do it again. But it’s our dimension too! It’s not my people’s fault that the Ghloftunmm are insane!”

“Your people fight the Ghloftunmm,” said Delta calmly, “and so do these people here. They share a common enemy with you. They do not wish to destroy your home or your people. They are … the League.”

“The … no! I can’t die now, there’s too much to do! I have to stop the Ghloftunmm! Please, send me back!” Crucible sounded desperate.

“There are … beings of the Dark … who oppose the Ghloftunmm?” asked Explorer. His mental impressions sounded incredulous.

“Indeed there are,” said Delta. “As you might expect, the more chaotic layers have much more variety than the layers with an overabundance of order.”

“Well, now that we know that, we won’t do anything to endanger your people if we can at all help it,” I said. “My name’s Randy Niess, and this is Michelle Delaney, and we’re League Agents -- in fact, you’re standing amid the League Council. There’s no better way to get the League to hear your concerns than to talk to us.”

“The -- League Council -- very well, then,” said Crucible, composing her thoughts. “The Ghloftunmm are very powerful and have many allies and lackeys,” she said. “The League hasn’t even seen some of the firepower and minions they can call upon. And their goal is the eventual conversion of the entire omniverse into dimensions that they can safely live in.”

“This is unrealistic,” said Delta. “They have already disturbed the balance by converting more layers. This endangers the entire omniverse. If they were to actually succeed in this plan, all layers would collapse into one again, as it was in the beginning. This would happen before then, actually -- it would only require the conversion of about two thirds of the existing layers. They would gain nothing and cause unimaginable destruction.”

“I see -- well, I didn’t know that,” said Crucible, “but the fact is, whether they know that or not, they’re trying to do it anyway, and they won’t stop unless they’re made to. And the destruction of all their dimensions isn’t a solution! Many other races live in them too, and we don’t support their agenda!”

"Indeed, it is not a solution,” Delta added. “The destruction of all Dark layers -- or all the Light layers, for that matter -- would also cause the collapse of the omniverse into a single layer. There must be a balance in order for the many layers to exist in the regions between Light and Dark.”

“Have we harmed innocent beings by converting the dimension we did?” I asked.

“Without a doubt,” said Delta, “but to be fair, Gathubb left you little choice in the matter. And you did not destroy that layer -- you only began the process of converting it to be a balanced layer, neither Light nor Dark. There will be some survivors who manage to adapt to the changes, but most denizens of that layer will no doubt perish, if they haven’t already.” Delta looked sad, and there was a moment of silence as we all thought of that sobering reality.

“Oh, so that was Gathubb’s doing?” Crucible asked. “One of the worst of the lot. I’m not too surprised he’d want to take a whole dimension down with him. Biggest ego in the omniverse.”

Suddenly, right in the midst of the group, a sparkling swirling …. energy thing appeared. It was small, but seemed all that was and is, or might used to be … or something of the sort, twisted and turned through its heart.

Delta said, “Oh, darn!” She looked at the group as they stood silently watching her antics. She said softly, “In just a few seconds, someone is going to enter this room. Please, do not be alarmed. It’s just … things catching up.”

We turned at a door opening and several individuals entered. To my greatest surprise, I knew the uniform anywhere. Those people were us. Around them appeared a bright sparkling ripple. Reality and all around us bent and twisted. Those that entered and … us, merged in time and space. Reality returned to normal.

Delta giggled, “Boy, I’m glad that one is over with. Now, we need to discuss the Council’s plan. As I know all of you are very aware, all of you are the ruling council of the League, now that you have your new memories.” Her cloud spins around several times before stopping and looking at us.

I knew, that we were the ones. The ones that started this all along. The time tsunami … I remembered something about borrowing from the future to repay the debt in the far past. The only real solution to this total mess came to my mind.

“Michelle?” she looked at me, “I think I just realized something … important.”

The others, including the creature named Crucible, who now all knew as part of the council, grabbed their heads in total surprise.

Explorer said, “I … am receiving a totalitary disruption of an extremely high order.”

I snorted a laugh, “No, what just happened is, a mistake in time just caught up with itself and made corrections. I think this is the part where time is borrowed from the future or something.”

Crucible seemed to recover from her shock the fastest. She said, “We are the solution to all of this mess, just as we were the ones that made the mistake originally.”

Explorer said with obvious surprise in his thoughts, “I . … am the one mentioned in the damaged data banks of my people.”

Ligamondes said, “All the individuals mentioned there, and other records over the many cycles, are us. Apparently we used a time vortex of some sort, and made some kind of mistake that led eventually to this location.”

Michelle turned and looked at the floating Delta, “I know who you are now. It was bothering me so much.” We all looked at Michelle in askance, “she pointed at the pretty face and said, “That’s me. Delta, is an artificial Intelligence of … me.”

Delta giggled as it bounced around, “A bit more sophisticated than that. I began as an exact kyrillian-synchording of your life force and self. An auto-stabilization matrix was added to my personality to allow me to continue to exist for an incalculable length of time without losing integrity. So I am not quite the same person anymore … but I haven’t changed completely beyond recognition.”

My head was still somewhat spinning. “I … remember things that I haven’t done yet. This is just too weird. All right, so it looks like we’re going to go back in time, do all that stuff, then come back here?”

“Yes,” answered Delta, “you are currently both versions of yourselves overlapped. The version that came here earlier will leave soon, to go begin this loop, and then you will all return here, fulfill the other half of the equation, and remain. Until you wish to go, of course. But for now, learn all you must know about what you will do from your other selves -- and feel free to ask me questions. I was programmed to prepare you for this.”

So we thought, we planned, we copied Delta’s exact specifications into our League devices, we did what we could … and we dreamed the rest as we went along. It was almost anticlimactic, a foregone conclusion, when we went back to the beginning of things, so very long ago. There were only two layers -- technically there was really only one, but it was divided right down the middle by a sort of no-man’s land where all the Dark and Light energy had either retreated or mutually annihilated. Sometimes a war fleet would cross from one side or the other and attack, and the battles were fierce. But we could all see that it would be like this forever unless we did what we were fated to do.

“I don’t see another way,” I said.

“Neither do I,” replied Crucible. “Total stagnation, so much waste. Both civilizations are doomed to an eternity of war. Unless we separate them.”

“Agreed,” Explorer said. “I had no idea that I would ever learn more about this time -- let alone be part of it! These distant ancestors of our people -- both of our peoples, Crucible -- will be telling legends about this day for time immemorial!”

So those of us who were League Agents focused on creating Delta. The spacecraft/computer began as a spherical data core, then we built outward from there, finally entering, surrounding the basic structures in a new brane manifold, and departing in it from the only dimension that existed yet. Then it was Michelle’s turn -- she built the device that scanned her personality and transferred it into the system’s core operating platform.

“I … I … I am … alive,” said Delta, coming into view along with the familiar glowing cloud. “I … remember much from the previous cycle … and the cycle before that … and … goodness, it’s just the same every time, isn’t it? I get the impression that my mental stability would be at risk if not for the permanence matrix … which of course is why it’s here.” Then she focused on us, and Michelle specifically. “Hello, Mother,” she said. “I can call you that, right?” She giggled.

“It’s true in a way,” said Michelle. “Is everyone else finished building?”

“Yes,” said Ligamondes. “I have completed the construction of the omni-layer interface that will allow Delta to manipulate the brane. We can begin separating the layers whenever we wish.”

“I’ve built the chronal diffusion framework that will allow Delta to manipulate the flow of time within this bubble,” said Locathann.

“And I’ve built these,” I said, holding up two crystalline orbs. “They’ll adjust themselves to your respective appendages, even if they’re made of energy, but I want you to know that you’re welcome among us -- anytime.” I gave one to Crucible and one to Explorer. “Welcome to the League, friends. Explorer, you’ve done what none of your people could even dream of and learned more than any of them have learned for billions of years before you. Crucible, you’ve dared to defy the Ghloftunmm right in the heart of their own territory and have managed to keep your people alive, and that’s even without a League device to aid you. Now, together, let’s make the future!”

We watched as Explorer …. either assimilated, or was assimilated by … the glowing orb that was his version of our gauntlet. Crucible looked over her version of the gauntlet for an instant longer. I couldn’t be certain, but her molten magma core almost looked like it was grinning widely as she extended one of her dark energy orbs into her device. I wasn’t sure of Explorer as it seemed to settle to the ground and went dark for the same amount of time Crucible screeched and squirmed in agony as her devise made the permanent neural connections.

It was now time for us to … recreate history. In the back of my mind, I kept going over and over the many instances of this memory from the many times we did this. I knew we had made some kind of serious error that had precipitated the situation for the Ghloftunmm to begin their layerality wide rampage of total destruction.

As we placed the new Delta into her permanent parked space between this realm and the soon to be many many beyond, I saw some kind of … it looked like nothing more than some leftover debris from one of the many battles. “Wait -- what’s that?” I asked. “There are some fairly large pieces of junk over there.”

“I don’t know,” said Michelle, looking at the scans too. “Some of the objects are irregular in shape, but I think some are more geometric and consistent. Some kind of fuel tanks, maybe? Or storage modules?”

My major inclination was to ignore it and finish the task at hand, but for no reason I could ever hope to explain, I scanned the debris more carefully - it would be totally destroyed and remade in the conflagration when the rift was completed, so soon there would be no opportunity to learn more.

“Wait, what’s this?” I asked. “I think I’m picking up faint life signs -- coming from that object there. It’s some kind of … capsule? What the … could it be an escape pod?”

“Scanning in more detail,” said Delta. “Four life forms are present, of four different known sentient species. They seem to be suspended in some sort of stasis field. They also appear to all be female … and pregnant.”

“What?” This wasn’t the first time we’d attempted this -- time had looped through these events over and over. Had this happened before? I utilized my device’s massive search capabilities and went over the many previous repetitions of this cyclic memory.

Ligamondes had done the same thing. “In all previous occurrences of these events, you noticed the debris -- but none of us discovered that capsule.”

“Well, what we have to do is seriously urgent,” I said. “As it is, we barely have any time. If we’re going to save them, we’re going to have to --”

Before I said “hurry,” I ported the chamber within the debris to a safe location, within Delta’s protective structure rather than outside it. But then, without warning, there was a massive explosion -- a major disruption of all there is, was, or will be from that particular instant, reaching onward toward a future I couldn’t see any longer. The time tsunami had begun. Had we done things right?

All of us watched in total horror, unable to move or speak, as everything we knew recreated itself into something entirely new. The mistake we had made, that I had made, had been in overlooking these pregnant females. But had I fixed things this time or just made a different mistake? The Ether of Time was so disrupted at the moment that I was unable to discover any information about them or their children until after the massive Time Quake and Tsunami had completed.

When the smoke had cleared, figuratively speaking, we could see that the single dimension that had existed before our actions had indeed fractured into two layers, separated by a vast gulf of many-dimensional space. Wider spin-state dispersion or narrower, higher or lower electromagnetic permeability of space-time, stronger or weaker gravitation, greater or lesser time dilation effects with increased acceleration -- these and many other effects would now vary from one layer to another.

“Amazing,” said Michelle. “I can see so many universes being born, all across the gulf -- like tiny stars, but each one is a whole new dimension. Except for a few places.” She indicated some spots where there were no new dimensions forming.

“The rifts,” said Ligamondes. “The parameters are such that universes will not begin in those regions. They are prohibited states.”

“And they become larger the closer you get to the Light and Dark ends of the spectrum,” I said.

“That is why the Light and Dark stayed so isolated for so long,” Explorer pointed out, “so the Light had no idea that all the rest of the Omniverse was out here, while the Dark was able to plot and plan for so long without the rest of the Omniverse suspecting.”

Now that the major task was completed and time was moving in directions that were sort of familiar, I decided to see if I could get any more info on the females. Time and space as I knew it, no longer existed. By saving the life of these four individuals, I had inadvertantly changed all time forward of the rift creation. But had I created a paradox? Would there still be an Earth, allowing myself and Michelle to exist? Would there still be a Phosia, to create the civilization from which Locathann had sprung? If not, where would the entities who had made this change to reality have come from?

I found new tracts being written within the database as as the coronal wave continued its inexorable journey. A huge splash of multicolored light, the convergence was complete and the Nexus Gateway opened. Michelle and my uniforms began to glow and display the energy signature of the Gateway. We once again looked like we were cut from the very fabric of the Nexus.

Within the database tracts, began to appear mentions of the women. They had begun to set up many Ambassadorial crossover links through the Gateway to all dimensions, not just light, but to the dark as well, spreading a whole new philosophy and a radical new way to look at the universe. Whole new races of people were also born under the new edict of infinite. Diaspora of those peoples accelerated across many layeralities and side real displacements. They, were the children of … the best correlation I could think of, was Yin-Yang. The children of dichotomy, of alternatives, many combined into one. They were opposites, yet complementary and interactive within both. Now, the Ghloftunmm were a part of the light as much as the light was part of them.

“Amazing,” said Locathann. “In past repetitions of these events, we had to interfere, to found the League. But this time … it has already been founded. And yet it is very much the same, because the information in our devices is changing. There will still be a League. I find this profoundly inspiring.”

Ligamondes added, “There exists the possibility of unalterable fixed events.”

“Like, go back in time to save JFK from the bullet, but instead he’s killed by a meteorite at the same moment?” I asked.

“I … am unaware of the historical reference, presumably from your world,” Ligamondes answered, “but yes, I mean that there may be some results that are inevitable and will happen one way or another, no matter what else happens.”

“Does that mean that there could still be an Earth?” I asked. “I’ve been worrying about that.”

“It is impossible for you to change the flow of time to such a great extent that you could not have been present to change it,” Delta cut in. “Such paradoxes are simply not allowed by the Nexus.”

“So not only is there an Earth,” Michelle asked, “but everything we’ve done can’t have changed either?”

“Correct,” Delta answered. “The Nexus will not permit you to change your own timeline such that you arrived even one nanosecond earlier or later in time. However, what happens in parts of the universe that do not affect you prior to your travel into the past, and what happens to you after return to the present, are completely malleable and unknown. I exist outside time and may have … concealed certain things from you so you wouldn’t be affected by that knowledge.”

“I guess that makes sense,” I said.

“Anything we knew about might have affected our decisions,” said Ligamondes, “and thus could not have been changed. But what of the League data banks within our devices? They traveled back with us.”

“Again, there may have been certain information that I made sure was not available to the League’s data banks,” replied Delta, “so that it could be changed without risking paradox.”

“But what happens now?” I asked.

“Now,” said Delta, “you return to your own time and deal with matters as they come.” And there was again a blur in our perception as we moved forward untold billions of years … and we were for a time sharing the bodies of our past selves -- past from our point of view, as they had not yet made the journey back in time. And we could share with them some of what we knew, but not all of it, for fear of changing the outcome or causing paradox. But then, once we had imparted our knowledge, our past selves traveled back to the beginning, completing the circle and becoming, eventually, us.

“But … what’s changed?” Michelle asked. “The Ghloftunmm still conquered and converted several dimensions that weren’t theirs to begin with. They caused untold deaths. They still tried to destroy Earth.”

“Now I can reveal things that I couldn’t before,” said Delta. “This is so exciting!”

“Like … what?” I asked.

“Like … this,” Delta said, opening a portal. “In your home dimension, Crucible, lies an ancient outpost containing a gateway back to here, perfect for use as a base. Use it as you free the Ghloftunmm’s imprisoned dissidents and assault their strongholds.” Crucible immediately went to investigate.

“Likewise … Explorer, there has always been a way to cross the Chasm, and your device is now permitted to reveal it to you. It also has a shield that will protect you against the entropy of the chaotic realms. No longer are you especially vulnerable to the Ghloftunmm’s energies. Now … they are vulnerable to yours and your people’s.” Explorer glowed more brightly as his mind delved into this new information.

“League Council,” said Delta, “I foresee that the remnants of the Ghloftunmm will still attempt to attack Earth out of spite. Be vigilant, for the time when your layer becomes vulnerable again is near.”

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In a very dark place filled with chaos, many shadow beings brooded over something they knew had happened, but they couldn’t explain exactly what it was. Their awesome powers had been lessened somehow. The many dimensional barriers seemed different as well and all radiated a new type of energy never before encountered by the Ghloftunmm.

Because of a strange quirk in sidereal time physics, the Ghloftunmm now had two perfect copies of slightly different histories within their massive databases. Many wondered who this Gathubb was. From the secondary data, it appeared he was, and should still be, the most powerful Ghloftunmm in the dark realm.

No matter, the target planet was crossing the perimeter of the singularity event horizon, and they had to prepare for what was to come. They gathered together their minions.

The Ressivegorps were proving to be not only useful, but extremely aggressive. This also had its problems as they were becoming more rebellious and many had to be constantly severely disciplined. Outbreaks of outright disobedience were happening more and more often too, this was also becoming a concern rapidly.

Ssivgronk knew it was time to release them onto the unsuspecting peoples of earth. What could be called a large grin crossed the being’s shadowy face as he opened the portal to allow the Ressivegorps massive battalions, along with all their war machines to cross over.

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Michelle and I had just gotten done with the first real meal we had had in several days. I was looking forward to a hot shower and some sack time. As fate would have it, my device’s sensor alarm went off. It reported a huge portal had formed just within the heliopause of the SOL System.

As I ‘watched’, massive amounts of troops and machinery entered through the portal and gathered into what only could be described as a wall of battle. It could also be seen clearly in most earth telescopes.

The orbital stations opened fire. Planet sized amounts of white plasma erupted across space and created much debris from the invaders and their machines. The mighty glowing suns from the weapon’s detonations could be seen clearly in earth’s daylight sky. At night, they lit up everything brighter than a full moon.

I knew general Charles had launched, I could see many of the new fighters begin taking on the armada approaching earth. More massive destruction than earth had ever seen began in earnest as even more weapon’s fire lit up the ebony black of outer space.

“This is new,” I said to myself. To the League, who I knew had been watching for any sign of trouble just as I had, I said, “There they are! I’m not sure what to expect, but we can’t let them bring in one of their dimension-ripper weapons and detonate it on Earth’s surface. That’s still the priority goal.” And I was out in space then, joined immediately by Michelle.

“Didn’t get my shower,” she said, with a cute grumbling pout in her voice.

“I know, right?” I answered her. “Such terrible timing these guys have.” We worked together to shunt aside a massive plasma charge, redirecting it into interstellar space where it would dissipate harmlessly. “Wait, what was that?” I asked. “If that had hit Earth, it would have vaporized it. Nothing would have been left for the dimension-buster to work on. What’s going on? Who are these guys?”

“Enemy vessel analysis reveals nothing seen before,” came the voice of the ever-analytical Ligamondes. “They are not the Goethi, nor are they the Molokai’s Demons, which do not employ spacecraft.”

“Is this even the Ghloftunmm’s doing?” I asked. “The only thing that suggests that it is, is their timing. Earth just moved back into the vulnerable zone.”

“Occam’s Razor, as your people call it,” said Ligamondes. “Is it more likely that the Ghloftunmm have minions that we’ve never seen? Or that a random unknown force should attack, now of all times?” He vanished from one point in space just in time for an enemy ship to pass by, only to reappear just after it had, disabling its engines with one powerful burst.

“OK, point taken,” said Michelle, “so let’s keep our eyes peeled. This might be a distraction.”

Deep within a cavern within Carlsbad, reality ripped and several shadowy beings stepped through. Between two of them, they carried an active ripper device. Around them was the faint glow of a new type of shielding. The shadowy beings just knew that the League had never encountered one like it before. It was made entirely of a new kind of reverse spin singularity. What the Ghloftunmm didn’t realize, the League had used, then discarded such antiquated technology many billions of cycles past for something far superior.

The shadowy beings worked feverously to setup and program the device. Suddenly, one side wall of the cleft they were in crumbled, many, many well armed, and extremely pissed off Triadoids entered, all in a brand new type of super hardened battle armor. The Ghloftunmm’s weaponry had difficulty against it.

Locathann sent an urgent message to me and Michelle, “Hurry, I have detected an incursion. It apparently is within one of your cavernous areas. There is also something else present, but due to the energy disruptions I am unable to get a clear lock on it with my sensors.”

I found it strange I couldn’t get a lock on the disruption either. It was something I had never encountered, and my device was totally in the dark.

I ported to as close to the area as I could get. I could hear the sounds of a huge battle. I could see tremendous flashes of energy, feel the earth tremble with the detonations, and I had to dodge the debris and rockfall as it came tumbling down on top of me.

Locathann arrived suddenly and pulled me from under tons of rock. It was fortunate I had shielding, because about that time both of us were tossed against the far cavern wall by another huge detonation, then more rock and debris fell on top of us both.

“Wow! What is going on?” I asked, scanning what I could. “I’m detecting … Triadoids?”

“So am I, and they seem to be fighting … something,” said Locathann. “Setting my device to maintain a constant hypothetical enemy position based on Triadoid attack patterns.”

“Awesome idea!” I did the same. “There are … several targets, it seems, and they seem to be … protecting something. Three guesses what that is, first two don’t count.”

“It does not matter. It is important to the enemy, and therefore we cannot allow them to keep it,” said Locathann. “For the honor of Phosia!” he shouted, blasting straight through the rock toward the enemy location.

Always a Phosian of action, that Locathann. “OK, then,” I said. “For Earth!” He’d already cleared out some space. I just ported there.

The light of the Nexus Gateway was enough to see what he was focused on. “Ghloftunmm, all right,” I said as I joined him and several triadoids in firing at the enemy. “Sensors aren’t picking them up, but I can see them just fine with my good old fashioned eyes. What’s up with that?”

“Unfamiliar cloaking technology,” he said. “Could be something Delta kept hidden from us for paradox-protection purposes … or … could just be extremely archaic.” His shielding suddenly blazed white as the new enthalpic shields kicked in, the air around him fogging up with the cold.

“There!” I shouted -- well, “shouted” isn’t exactly the right word. I broadcast it intensely over the League device. “There’s what they’re guarding.”

I could see a shielded ripper device sitting on its weird stand with the Shadow critters hovering all around it. I fired one of the singularity type weapons at them. It hit their shields and sort of spun off in several directions and rapidly dissipated.

Locathann and I looked at each other in surprise. Nothing had ever so effectively deflected that much gravitic disruption before. My devise informed me it was sort of like a magnet. My energy bolt and that shielding were of the same polarity, atomic spin, and energy signatures. I slapped the front of my helmet in realization. The charges of both actually repelled.

Agent Shiranaa and Agent Ligamondes ported in just as the most recent energy bolt from the Ghloftunmm arrived. Another massive detonation, tossing all of us off to another wall of the cavern. We hit with force. Our shields absorbed the impact completely.

Shiranaa said in surprise, “Those … are Triadoids, right?”

I replied back, “Sure are, and they are really pissed.”

We watched for a bit as the Triadoids made a very good showing of themselves. Whatever the shielding on that ripper was, it was starting to show failure as spiderwebs of energy began to weave all through it.

One of the Triadoids could be heard shouting triumphantly, “I dood it .. yup yup, I dood it. Therea hole here. Cummon … we takes this to em an shoves it up their smoke stack.” The creature shook his weapon over his head as he spat taunts and ran through the rent in the shielding.

I laughed as I heard many of those really funny taunts I had come to enjoy from them and from the rest as well. As I watched, a multitude of super angry, taunt spitting Triadoids entered through a huge rent in a large war machine’s shielding, it dawned on me … why in the world would they want to bring something like that, way down here? I also noticed, it was ready to fire its main weapon at the encroaching Triadoid army.

I managed to launch an attack of my own just as the machine fired its main weapon. The next thing I knew, I opened my eyes and was lying on my back behind a large pile of smoldering rubble. My helmet had been removed and Pl’boolu was patting my face with one of his tentacle fins.

I looked around. I could still hear the loud sounds of a major battle going on.

I asked, “What, happened?”

Pl’boolu laughed, “You single handedly saved an entire battalion of Triadoids, and totally destroyed a large Incursion Tank that not only was fully shielded, but had just fired its main weapon.” he looked around and pointed, “And Agent Delaney, used the same form of energy you did, and is mopping up several more with the aid of Agent Ligamondes, Agent Locathann, and Agent Shiranaa.”

“Uh -- great!” I said. “How come I don’t remember this heroic battle at all?”

“I believe your auto-defense kicked in,” Pl’boolu said. “The last shot you fired converted the enemy war machine into that,” he added, indicating the pile of smoldering debris that was all that was left of it, “and its explosion seems to have knocked you unconscious, even through your shielding, because of your close proximity to it. However, that kicked your device into full-defense mode, which did the rest. After all the upgrades it’s had, its full-defense function is possibly the most powerful weapon in existence.”

“I hope it didn’t hurt any of the triadoids,” I said. “Those guys are heroic fighters when push comes to shove. I wonder if the League has any Agents from their species? Hey … I don’t know that.”

“Your device is still offline after full-defense mode,” said Pl’boolu, “and I’m checking you out to make sure you’re not injured, so there are two reasons why you should stay put for the moment and not go charging back into battle.” He continued prodding my ribs and skull while scanning me with medical devices that I currently didn’t know the names of. “Let me know if any of this hurts.”

It didn’t. “I’m fine, Doc,” I said. “Just got a little shaken up there, I guess.”

“I think your brain was concussed,” he said, “but don’t worry; I’ve already fixed that. Earth’s medical technology is woefully behind the times and doesn’t even know how to handle concussions.” He sounded sad about that. “And by the way, no, there aren’t currently any triadoid Agents. Until recently they’ve been on the naughty list -- almost Ghloftunmm minions, frankly. But I suspect they were mostly coerced into compliance and their case should be reviewed.” He did a few more checks, then backed away and told me, “All right, then -- I can detect no serious injuries. You’re fit for combat, Agent. Now, I must go help others, but please be careful out there!”

“Thanks, Doc,” I said as my helmet reformed on my head, “and I hope your work is light, though I suspect you won’t be that lucky today.” He ported away, no doubt to help someone else. I focused on my device, which had begun its rebooting process. OK, then, there wasn’t much I could do as an Agent right then, but perhaps there was still some way to be helpful. I heard distant sounds of fighting echoing through the caverns, but they were getting farther away.

I looked around the cavern, examining the remains of the war machine, which were still glowing red hot, and found a strange creature. It had what resembled a face, though its skin was charcoal gray and it had no hair, and it was contained inside some sort of helmet with metal tentacles attached, which were hanging limp. I looked around the cavern some more, finding the bodies of some triadoids who had died in the fight.

I saluted them, saying, “You fought bravely and with honor, comrades. You will not be forgotten.” Nobody was there to hear me, but I thought it was important.

Then I heard a sound. I turned to look. The creature with the tentacles was alive, if only barely. I went to look again. Its eyes weren’t open, but its mouth moved, muttering something I didn’t understand. I guess my device still hadn’t fully rebooted yet. “I know you’re on the other side,” I said, “but I’m not here to cause you pain. I’m just here to defend my planet, and my dimension. If you’d stayed home today, things would’ve been fine between us. You probably can’t understand me, though.”

“Understand … fine,” it said. Was my device back online? No, not yet. Maybe the creature had a translator that still worked? “You speak … truth? Not … aggressors? We were told … we had to defend ourselves … from you.” It sounded as if every word it said was causing it pain.

“Well, you were lied to,” I said. “No big surprise there, I’m sure.”

“On … contrary,” it disagreed painfully. “They … saved my people. Always helped … always allies. Now … said they were under attack … needed our help. Had to … prevent more destruction.”

“Well, I suppose it’s going to sound like ‘they started it,’ but frankly they did,” I said. “The Ghloftunmm showed up here, trying to destroy this planet, which had never done anything to them, so we had to defend ourselves. Turns out they want to destroy this whole dimension, and a few other ones nearby to boot. So we had to do something.”

“Truth … first casualty … in war,” it said. “Something … you don’t know. Ghloftunmm … not a race. Ghloftunmm … only one faction. The ones that … want war. Rest of them … ignored rest of omniverse. Not involved.”

“What?” I asked, blinking. “That’s … well, that’s a huge surprise. But we knew almost nothing about the dimensions beyond the great darkward rift. We made a mistake -- a natural enough one, but a mistake nonetheless.” I really wanted my device to be back online now. “If I could, I’d be telling everyone else right now.”

“Telling us what?” asked Michelle, who had just ported in behind me. “Hey, is that one of the Ghloftunmm’s minions?”

“You’re OK! Boy, are you a sight for sore eyes,” I said, hugging her. “Not that my eyes are sore. I’m fine. But yeah, he’s hurt, and I can’t call for help right now.”

“But it’s … one of theirs, right?” I explained what the creature had been saying. “And … you believe it?”

“Yeah, I do,” I said. “Now I feel really bad about all the damage we did going after Gathubb.”

“Gathubb?” the creature interrupted. “Great … freedom fighter … leader of the Ghloftunmm … or … so we were told …”

“Emergency medical protocol,” said Michelle, and her device shone a sparkly white beam toward the creature. Then lines of darkness emerged from it, presumably having scanned it and determined what to do, or at least having come up with some sort of helpful hypothesis. “Maybe I can get you stabilized until a medic can get to you.”

“You were told?” I asked. “You think otherwise?”

“I saw … Ghloftunmm’s savagery,” the creature said. “Not the actions of a freedom fighter. I suspected they might be not telling us everything. But … still didn’t have any proof. And didn’t realize how much they’d lied. Until … the message.”

“Message? What message?” I asked.

“From one of the Sthenons,” said the creature. “Its name … her name … she said it was … a word for a mixing bowl for molten metals.”

“Crucible!”

“Yes, that was it … she had a detailed list of the Ghloftunmm’s crimes. She said … to spread the truth. Some, like me, believed it. We’d seen enough in battle to question whether their motives were as pure as they’d been making out, and now this. The Ghloftunmm tried to block the transmission -- they said it was all lies, but that was just more suspicious. Others needed more proof. Then they started just killing anyone who defied them. There are probably a few who still think they’re heroes, but I knew I was in a position where I would have been killed if I’d made one false move. I just hope I survive long enough to thank her.” The creature seemed to be in less pain now, though obviously still badly injured and very tired.

“Randy? Please come in … are you alright? Randy?” came a voice. It sounded like …

“Delta? Is that you?” I sent back -- my device! It was back online! Or at least the communication part of it was.

“There you are!” Delta practically shouted. “You’re talking to a Ressivegorp! That’s amazing! They’re the descendants of one of the pregnant females you saved, you should know.”

“What? So that means --”

“-- they didn’t exist before you guys changed history! That’s right!” said Delta gleefully. “To the rest of the universe it seems as if you just didn’t know about them until now, but they actually didn’t exist in the previous version of the time line!”

“Which one is … the correct one, Delta?” I asked, beginning to become concerned.

Delta giggled, “One of the major mistakes you made the first … time, was failing to save those females. Those peoples spawned by them, are more of a thorn in the Ghloftunmm’s side than an ally. They are beginning to see the Ghloftunmm as cruel and despotic at best.”

I asked, “What of the other three?”

Delta giggled, “One of them, you will meet shortly, I’m sure. The Triadoids are about to cause one of the weapons to run through a rift. Those on the other side, won’t take too kindly to the Ghloftunmm or any of their minions invading their domain in any form. I would think, Agent Kerial might be someone you would want to have a chat with.”

I asked, “Why?”

Delta giggled again before she signed out, “Because, his race didn’t exist until a few chrons ago, sugar pie.”

I stood in shock as my scanners showed me the very battle Delta had mentioned. The Goethi were taking serious damage. Between the Triadoids and Michelle, most of their forces were destroyed. To escape total destruction, the Goethi created one of those sparkly pool looking portals in reality and slipped through. Reality returned to normal.

For an instant, all the Goethi and their remaining war machines appeared to have run. Suddenly, a huge fiery blast looking portal opened, and many seriously injured and many critically damaged Goethi war machines came through it … in a manner suggesting they had been tossed by a great force.

A huge blue/white flash. An individual in a sparkly black battle suit like the one we used to have before we became Guardians appeared. I ‘knew’ immediately, this was the Agent Delta had told me about.

My device linked to his. I said, “Thanks for the assist, Agent Kerial.”

He turned and looked at me for an instant. Then he replied, “You … are for real! A real live Nexian. OMG! I thought you guys were just a bedtime story.”

My eyes got big in surprise for an instant as I digested his statement, “What do you mean … Real, live? I’m not a story.”

He laughed, “Obviously. Let me take out the garbage, then we can see how many each of us can destroy.”

I watched as Agent Kerial started tossing around huge amounts of power. Of course, the Goethi didn’t stand a chance, especially when the two of us started keeping score.

So … that was what had come of two of the entities we’d rescued. Each had apparently become the ancestor of a race that now opposed the Ghloftunmm. But what about the others? I had a feeling we’d be finding out.

“Agent Randy Neiss,” came a transmission through my gauntlet, which I could immediately identify as coming from Agent Shiranaa, “you may want to see this.”

“We might have to put this contest off until later,” I told Agent Kerial. “Something apparently requires my attention.”

He nodded, but did not stop crushing Goethi warbots with raw kinetic force. “Go handle it. But before you go -- I can feel your raw potential. I should not be able to keep up with you. Something holds you back. Are you forcing your form?”

What did he mean? I didn’t have time to ask. “I … will think about that,” I said, “but thank you, Agent Kerial, and I have to go for now.” I ported to Agent Shiranaa’s location, which was now in interplanetary space, approaching Earth.

“Look at that flotilla of Ghloftunmm vessels,” she said, pointing. It was quite distant, actually, but with our League devices we could scan the ships down to the molecule even from here. Well … we could scan their hulls down to the molecule. Getting inside meant getting through their shielding. There were three immense warships, made of some kind of dark metallic substance that probably wouldn’t have been able to exist in this universe due to divergent physical laws, except that they were heavily shielded against the change, each one effectively bringing a large chunk of another dimension with it. But along with that there were hundreds of smaller vessels and thousands of tiny, agile fighter ships.

“That’s a lot of ships,” I said. “But we can --”

“No,” she said, “look.” That’s when I saw it. One of the huge capital ships was out of formation. General Charles’ forces were closing, along with a number of Agents, and most of the enemy fleet was forming up to engage them, but one of the big ones looked like it was … drifting. It hadn’t changed course with the others.

“What’s wrong with that one?” I asked. “Drive malfunction?”

“It hasn’t even been shot at once,” said Shiranaa. “It’s crew … they’re not obeying orders. Either they can’t -- communication malfunction -- or they won’t.”

“Even if there were a comm problem, they’d see what the others were doing,” I said. “Mutiny?”

“That’s what I’m thinking. Can we help them?”

“Let me think …” I had used my Nexus Guardian power to move some pretty amazingly large objects, but …one of these huge ships? They were bigger than a hundred aircraft carriers, bigger than dozens of the orbital defense platforms that we’d built. Could I tug the errant ship away from the battle? Well, one thing I could do right away. “General Charles, this is the Wisp. Wisp to General Charles. Come in, General.”

“... give me that, Lieutenant. This is Charles,” came the general’s familiar voice. “You’re everywhere at once, I’m hearing, so which particular everywhere are you at right now?”

I chuckled. “Well, I’m looking at the flotilla of ships you’re about to engage. See the one that’s out of line? I’m thinking it’s about to become friendly, or at least non-combative. The Ghloftunmm’s lackeys, or one group of them anyway, seem to be changing sides.”

“Got it. We won’t engage that one. Focus on the rest. You’re telling your people to do the same?”

“Yes, already did,” I said. “I’m going to try to make contact with them -- help out the mutineers.”

I attempted to make some form of contact with the drifting ship. No comm channels appeared to be open except an emergency call for help. It too went silent after a minute or so.

I ported to the bridge; only option at the moment. When I appeared, my device created a coronal vortex that stopped the entropic bleeding of my energy due to this weird physical dimension. The bridge looked like it was a war zone warmed over several times. Massive damage and small fires from weapons were everywhere. My sensors picked up more weapon’s fire. I could hear the sound of large energy weapons going off and impacting.

I followed the sound. I came to a hatch that seemed to have been welded shut by a large explosive heat source. The firefight was happening on the other side. It was easy to yank the door from its thick metallic hinges and toss it down the corridor.

When I stepped through, many eyes were on me … and many weapons. The large collection of Ressivegorp stood their ground. They weren’t backing down, even when confronted by something they had only heard of in bedtime stories.

I said tentatively, “Uh … hi? If you guys are trying to take this ship because you are revolting against the Ghloftunmm … I’m here to help.”

A small voice replied, “We … have never seen a Nexian in real life before. I … didn’t realize you are for real.”

I laughed, “There’s another ...and she’s out there driving off invaders.”

From behind me came a massive plasma volley. It impacted on my shield and exploded. I could hear the sizzling sound of it as it dissipated harmlessly on my shield.

I turned, and looked into the Sauren eyes of a Goethi. I knew, it knew … it had made a serious mistake. I pointed my finger at the armed group he was part of. A huge bolt of energy that appeared to be lightning flashed to them and exploded. Fiery debris scattered to the four winds. I was amazed. It was a mini thunderstorm complete with the roaring crash of thunder, the sweet smell of rain, and ozone even.

The Ressivegorp that had been watching this exchange with huge amazed eyes, began to cheer loudly.

One stood and said happily, “That was the last of it. We own this ship!”

Another huge cheer that began to spread rapidly through the captured ship as comms were sent out.

“Let me help, please,” I said, and reached out my hands toward some of the damage I’d just caused. The debris skittered back toward the walls and floor from which I’d just forcibly removed it, then liquefied and again became part of the structure, re-solidifying. Then, all over the ship this began to happen. I didn’t really know what the ship’s interior had looked like before the fighting, but in most cases it was pretty easy to tell -- for example, I could see when a wall wasn’t supposed to have a hole blasted through it. I put out fires, I stopped atmosphere leaks, and I reconnected severed cabling.

“Life support back online to Decks 427 through 435!” said one of the Ressivegorp engineers, looking at displays that appeared before its face, projected holographically into the air. Like the one I’d encountered underground, they were strange creatures with small charcoal-gray faces inside helmet-like protective shells that had many dangling metal tentacles. I still didn’t know whether the tentacles were robotic features of their travel suits or whether they covered real tentacles. They didn’t seem to walk; they hovered in midair due to some sort of anti-gravity technology. “Detecting no further atmosphere leaks! Thank you, Nexian, whoever you are!”

“I’m with the League, and as long as you stop fighting for the Ghloftunmm, that’s all the thanks I need,” I said. “I’ve asked our people not to attack this ship, though I don’t know what the others will do.”

“Our shields are online -- and thanks to you never went offline. We should be protected. And we will not fight for the Ghloftunmm any longer!” said another Ressivegorp. “We were wrong to believe their promises. Gathubb was mad, and so is his faction.”

“So will you … go home? Join the resistance? Become independent?” I wondered. “I don’t know very much about the dimensions you come from. They’ve been closed off for a long time.”

“We will return to our home systems and resume our lives,” said the Ressivegorp. “Gathubb’s sister Gruzell is a wise and peaceful leader. We will return to normal relations with her government.”

“I’ll leave you to it, then,” I said. “I am Agent Randy Neiss. If you need to contact me for any reason, you can pass your message on via any League Agent. Crucible is an Agent now --”

“Crucible!” the alien said. “Her words of inspiration showed us the truth. She is a Sthenon, not a Ressivegorp, but many worlds have allied against the Ghloftunmm, and ours will join them -- if there are any Ghloftunmm to oppose once this disaster of a war is over.”

I ported back to open space where the battle was in full swing. I saw one of the General’s new Flash Fighters that I had sort of tweaked without telling anyone. It out performed the Ghloftunmm fighters by almost seventy percent. Enertia was no longer an issue and the pilots obviously reveled in their new maneuverability as they out performed all the enemy craft they had come against thus far.

Earth’s technology had managed to reverse engineer the non FTL engine module of one of the many captured Goethi war machines. An engine that size with that kind of thrust to weight ratio wasn’t supposed to be in a craft as small as a Flash Fighter, thus it produced a thrust vector unheard of in Earth’s space flight history. The thrust vector was so high, all the bracing and support structure along with all the load bearing framework of the craft were made from the almost indestructible diamond/carbon material. It was the only material strong enough to withstand the torque produced by the massive thrust vector of the Flash Fighter's engine.

It was faster than any enemy craft presently in our solar system traveling in sub-light capacity. I hadn’t yet given Earth FTL technology. That would have to wait for another time and place. The Goethi FTL engines Earth engineers and scientists had attempted to reverse engineer had all come to nothing thus far, as the technology seemed more mystically magical than anything else. Still, these fighters were faster and more maneuverable than greased lightning.

I smiled as I saw one of them engage a destroyer all by itself. The fighter was obviously armed with a new version of one of the captured Goethi interphasic weapons coupled with a new form of gas plasma laser I had given earth the original plans for. Separately, each weapon was formidable in its own right, although against special objects. Combined in a single weapon, it was massively powerful and super effective against all targets thus far.

I watched as one of the large interphasic plasma bolts from the fighter impacted on the Ghloftunmm destroyer. There was a hugely bright flash of white light as it passed through the destroyer’s shield with no effort, then impacted on its hull. My eyes grew large in surprise as I saw it eat the armor plating as if it were candy. More explosions and a wild fiery outgassing amid expanding debris clouds.

The Ghloftunmm destroyer was still in combat condition; however, it had sustained serious damage from that attack. I watched as the Flash Fighter twisted about in a seriously tight turn, then zigging, zagging, swaying, twirling, and flopping rapidly, avoiding the destroyer’s return fire, the Flash Fighter fired another bolt that impacted amidships of the Destroyer.

Once again, as the fighter quickly departed the area at a large portion of relativistic speed nearing the speed of light, a massively bright explosion, then a larger secondary explosion as the Destroyer erupted into a huge fiery conflagration and exploded yet again into an even larger pyrotechnical sphere of fire and debris.

The huge destroyer broke in half, then another huge explosion that consumed everything within a sphere of about a mile, taking out several more Ghloftunmm battleships in the process as apparently the destroyer’s main power source exploded.

As I watched the fireworks, my sensors pinged on a Ghloftunmm battleship that arrived suddenly with its shields full and weapons armed … the really hard ones that is. For an instant of thought, I targeted this vessel and had intended to make atomic dust from its constituent molecules … when another sensor alarm went off: This was a friendly.

I watched as some of the nastiest weaponry the Ghloftunmm had armed their battleships with, came to bear on the remaining Ghloftunmm fleet. I laughed as I took note; there were many of the smaller craft that had taken up this most unusual practice.

In my mind’s eye, a comm channel opened. I received a clear picture of the individual that was transmitting as if I were standing in front of them. It was one of the Ressivegorp people.

I now knew what the tentacles were about. Around the individual, was some sort of frame that had obvious energy arching back and forth among some sort of electronic things. Each tentacle was plugged into a slot in the bottom of each electronic thing. The things looked like many miles of twisted, bent, curviliered crystals made into a circuit that continually discharged multi-colored energy waves to the other such devices.

The Ressivegorp said cheerily, “Greetings, Agent. I do hope we were just a bit of help.” The Battleship’s massive weaponry targeted a swarm of small enemy fighters, then a huge energetic spider web of some kind of energy sparkled across space, the fighters vanished in some sort of dark fire I had never seen before. “Just tell us who to shoot at, and we will.”

The huge captured battleship fired its weaponry, and once again, another fiery conflagration as another of the Ghloftunmm destroyers erupted into flames and expanding debris filled, out-gassing atmospheric burn off clouds.

My device began pinging an emergency alert. In the mind’s eye view my device gave me, I ‘saw’ as two major portals opened. The sizes of the energy pools were immense. I felt a large chill run down my spine as I saw fleets of many different shaped and sized battle ships and fighters as they poured through the rifts. The sheer numbers of ships was beyond description as they poured from the portals in huge expanding clouds like a swarm of angry insects.

My devise informed me these too were opposed to the Ghloftunmm and had sent each layer's most advanced and powerful fleets to stop the renegade faction of the Ghloftunmm at all costs.

In its cute giggly sort of way, Delta came on the link, “Jus thought you should know, Agent Neiss, those are the reinforcements and cavalry that didn’t show up last many renditions of this event. The Ghloftunmm managed to detonate their devices the last times and … well … I had to bring you back to a null point and do it again until we figured out the mistake.”

I watched the massive strike forces as they too waded headlong into the huge battle. Something as small as a junk pile, overlooked at the wrong moment, created a disaster that clearly might have wiped out the entire …. layerality as we had come to know it.

It was obvious to me now something else I hadn’t realized. It was something the Founders had said. 'You are the dreamers of dreams and wishers of wishes upon which all reality is built.'

No, it couldn’t mean … then I remembered what Agent Kerial had said about holding myself back and forcing my form.

Michelle’s sweet voice came over the link, “Is … something wrong, my love? My device is telling me …” a blue white flash and she appeared beside me, “that you have discovered something very important?”

I replied back, “I … am a Nexian first. Then, I hold the position of the Guardian. One more thing, the same thing applies to you.”

Michelle cocked her head to one side, “So? how does that affect the stock prices on commodities in the USSR?”

I laughed, “Like this, love of my heart. Remember, we are only one level beneath Divestment. The Nexus affords us powers to manipulate things. We can make tweaks here and there that can adversely … or otherwise create certain things to happen. There are some immutable, but on the whole …”

My body seemed to catch fire with energy as I prepared a final blow I knew the Ghloftunmm wouldn’t ever expect. Without warning, I was stopped. I had intended to change reality to the point the Ghloftunmm faction would have not taken such a strong hold on the layers of chaos.

A soft voice echoed through my being, “Care must be taken when dreaming long dreams.”

The next voice had the overtones of many, “To change a stone to diamond, one must first think of the ramifications of such an action.”

Another voice with the overtones of many more still, “For how can soil be formed such as we have to have, if all the stones from which it's made are diamond?”

Another group, “And think also of how such would be formed, a major volcanic upheaval would not be pleasant for certain life forms. Besides, diamond sands are not very fertile.”

Then … I was released once again to full manual neural control.

That … had been intense. It had almost certainly been the Founders. I had great power, but they seemed to be asking me to consider the consequences before using it. What did they mean? What would happen if I just changed the timeline so the Ghloftunmm had never gotten so far?

My device decided to take that as an order and began projecting probabilities, based on the information it had. I had a vision … of the single dark-most dimension that had existed before the Ghloftunmm had begun converting others. Once their people had developed the technology necessary, the Ghloftunmm faction had come together with their idea of conquering and converting other layers and eventually divesting. But this time, a significant resistance had formed immediately, and the Ghloftunmm had been stopped before they had even started.

Then, just a few centuries later, a new faction arose, just like the Ghloftunmm, with a very similar agenda. I began to see the point. Unless they actually saw the consequences of their actions, they would continue to try them.

All this power, and nothing to use it for. Well, perhaps something would present itself. I had a vague idea in the back of my mind, though.

It wasn’t long before the new arrivals had made their presence well known. The Ghloftunmm destroyer that was left, and the several battle ships and fighters, attempted to run, taking their ripper device with them.

Locathann apparently had a similar idea to mine as both of us fired our weapons at the portal rip the Ghloftunmm were desperately trying to use. Mine seemed to be some kind of sparkly blue ball of energy, whereas Locathann’s manifested itself as some kind of undulating wave of green/red energy.

Just as the tow craft towing the large extra dimensional ripper device arrived at the portal, so did our attack. The resulting explosion was like nothing I, or any of the other species watching had ever witnessed before.

I watched as all reality wove, twisted, churned, and boiled within the large discharge sphere Locathann and I had created. I looked at my left hand for an instant as a thought popped into my mind, then pointed my finger at the conflagration and fired another burst of ethereal energy. A form of portal I had never seen before shimmered into existence. All fighting stopped as everyone's sensor scans discovered this new phenomenon in their midst.

A never before encountered form of singularity opened, then swallowed all that was within the energy sphere. I almost died when I saw … what appeared to be a smiling face within the boiling miasma of fractured time. I realized … I was looking at Explorer, who was sending us a message, sort of a wink and a nod. Locathann and I had opened a portal to his dimension, and he and his compatriots emerged and attacked.

Explorer’s companions weren’t like him, I realized. Like the other League agents, Explorer existed in space without a craft to pilot, but following him through the new rift was a perfect geometric pattern made of what looked like thousands of needles of light. Each needle was a fighter craft, though, somehow shielded against the different physical laws of this dimension compared to their home. And these needles were actually each as long as a commercial airliner. They flew in perfect formation, except when an enemy fired in their direction, when they seemed to flow like liquid around it.

“Explorer!” I said to him via my device. “Are you a sight for sore eyes! Who are your friends?”

“They made themselves known once I returned home,” he said. “None of my people has ever heard of them before! They call themselves the Crystal, though I imagine our devices will translate that into the closest concept you have in your language. They say they have been waiting for this moment to show themselves. I believe them to be descendants of one of the female entities we chose to rescue.”

So they hadn’t all ended up in the darkward end of the layerality. “Well, if the Ghloftunmm have any more of their rift devices, we have to find them and destroy them,” I said. “That has to be our primary mission. But secondarily … I’ve realized that even if we defeat them today, this will never be over until we show them, somehow, that what they want to do is impossible.”

“But the only way for them to know that would be if they actually tried it and found that it failed … hmm.” Explorer was thinking. “What if …?” He started to explain a possible idea.

It would require ... I asked my device and learned that there was a supermassive magnetar singularity in a relatively local layerality, just what we needed. My device, already linked with Explorer’s, locked onto Michelle’s, Crucible's, Ligamondes', Shiranaa's, and Locathann’s devices. They had obtained information about the probable arrival of Ghloftunmm rift rippers, so just as they arrived, we diverted them to the event horizon of the magnetar singularity. My device informed me it was an almost perfect representation of the reality and layer of the now defeated Ghloftunmm.

We all watched as the energy discharge of the massive singularity created a new simulated multiverse for the Ghloftunmm. Michelle and I created another dual-string brane as the ‘box’ within which this hologram was to be projected, then housed that within a blister situated between this instant and the next. None of the Ghloftunmm would realize what happened. To them, this was still the open layerality, and not a rendition of it in pure white light. We watched as their ripper device detonated within the hologram.

“It’s happening,” I said. Every member of the League was watching as the simulation of Earth’s dimension cracked and shattered under the strain of the Ghloftunmm rift weapon. There was a chain reaction that wiped out not just this dimension, but several others nearby. Universes billions of light years across, each containing untold trillions of inhabited worlds -- gone, or they would have been gone if the simulation had been real. “The sheer destruction,” I said. “That’s what they’re trying to do.”

“That and more,” said Crucible. “Time is compressed from our point of view. Watch what they’re doing over the next few … years, you would call them. See how they’re invading more layers?”

And that is exactly what they did, at terrifying speed, within the simulated layerality. They took one universe, recreated it so its physical laws matched their own preferred environment, then built a new base from which they could do the same to another universe, while the existing base geared up for another assault. Soon they had captured more than half the existing layers.

“They’ll hit a tipping point, won’t they?” asked Michelle.

“Indeed they will,” Crucible responded. “It shouldn’t be long. See -- they’ve taken over two thirds of the layerality. And … it’s starting to fall apart.”

Indeed it was -- two of the more recently recreated layers collapsed, the boundary between them crumbling as they merged catastrophically into one layer. At the same time, two of the light layers on Explorer’s simulated side of the chasm likewise collapsed into one, entire galaxies colliding within them and causing disaster untold. Dark layers started to collide with other dark layers and unconverted layers alike. The Ghloftunmm scrambled to stop the process, but there was nothing they could do, and they started merely trying to save themselves. In compressed sim time, the single remaining dark layer and the single remaining light layer were all that was left, and they began to merge as well, leaving behind only wreckage and destruction in the single layer that was the only one left anywhere. The Ghloftunmm survivors were trying to rebuild, but they now couldn’t capture and convert any more layers, since there were none left. They were now rulers of a broken, ruined, dying universe.

Locathann and Michelle ported to my location. Locathann said through the link, “That is probably better than they deserve. At least I can rest assured now that all they do is just a light show.”

We looked at each other for an instant before we all laughed, then thought better of it … after all, that could have been our multiverse.

Michelle commented, “That might have taken care of the doomsday thingy, but we still have to deal with the many minions that still think they have to attack.”

Our scans agreed. There were major space battles going on, with the Ghloftunmm intruders taking a real pounding thanks to the infusion of the multitudes of war machines that had arrived from many layers to fight against the Ghloftunmm and their followers. Space had begun to be filled with much debris from the many losses the Ghloftunmm forces continued to sustain.

About that time, I received an urgent call from General Charles, “Wisp? Please answer! We have a major problem here …”

The comm went dead just as I heard a major kind of detonation over the link.

I said to the others in my local group of defenders, “I think Earth itself is in trouble. I just had a call from General Charles, asking for help … then I heard a large explosion and the comm went dead.”

Michelle didn’t need to be asked twice, she left in a flash of blue white light.

Lothacann, Ligamondes, Shiranaa, and Nijedahaa all appeared next to me. They said more or less at the same time, “Lets us take them down.”

What was left of the military base where general Charles’s comm originated appeared around us. As far as we could see, there was total destruction. Smoldering ruins everywhere, along with major fires and secondary explosions. I felt horror creep up my spine at what I saw.

All our sensors pinged on the movement at the same time. As a well oiled machine, we all turned and prepared to totally eradicate whatever this perceived threat might be.

We watched as a large, very thick, diamond armored door irised open in the ground. Many men with advanced vulcan cannons emerged. They were intent on taking as many enemy as possible with them before they were taken. Both sides stopped and looked at each other for an instant while our minds caught up with what our eyes told us.

General Charles came to the fore of the group and said loudly with obvious relief in his voice, “OMG! Am I glad to see the bunch of you.”

I looked around at the near total destruction and asked, “What happened here, General?”

He wiped his forehead with a handkerchief, “A … huge thing that looked like some kind of glowing plasma cloud hovered over our base and dropped exploding balls of fire and electricity everywhere. We all retreated to the nuclear safe bunker and called you. Apparently, the thing left.”

Michelle asked me, “Would, that plasma cloud thing be a critter? Might it also possibly be loose somewhere doing this there?”

Ligamondes replied, “It’s possible. I do remember the hydrogen tree forests near the fire falls on a planet called Hydross. There are some really strange creatures dwelling there that float in the air and have the ability to generate burning plasma and direct large electrical discharges.”

“Are they intelligent?” she asked. “And if so, are they allied with the Ghloftunmm, or are the Ghloftunmm just porting them here to create chaos?”

“It should be easy enough to find out,” said Ligamondes.

While he and Michelle looked for the creature -- and I didn’t imagine it would take too long to find a giant living fireball -- I started scanning for other direct threats to Earth. One of the orbital defense platforms had been seriously damaged, and although others had taken some hits, their crews were well on their way to having them repaired. I focused on fixing the badly damaged one; it was almost as easy as creating it had been.

“You’re not going to believe this,” Michelle sent to me while I was repairing the defense station. “Not only are these giant fireball creatures intelligent; they’re descended from the fourth female lifeform we rescued.”

“I believe that this is no coincidence,” added Ligamondes. “It is clear that all of this was meant to come to light during the incidents surrounding this war.”

“Wow. Well … are they hostile?” I asked. “Are they allied with the Ghloftunmm?”

“It appears not,” Ligamondes answered. “They are unaware how they arrived here, but now that they are, they are not pleased with those who brought them. The climate of Earth is uncomfortably cold for them.”

“We can send them back, of course,” Michelle added, “but when they found out that they were brought here so callously as part of a plot to destroy this dimension and the ones nearby, they decided they wanted to help. When Ligamondes suggested that they could warm up the interior of a spaceship to their comfort zone much faster than a planet, they got his drift right away and asked for suggested targets.”

“So when I see that big Goethi battle station orbiting above the Pacific,” I began, “the one that’s starting to glow red hot …”

“Um, yeah,” said Michelle.

“We were able to locate a dozen of the plasma orb creatures, and they agreed on that station as a destination,” Ligamondes explained. “I suspect that the atmosphere aboard the station is currently unbreathable by Goethi without grievous injury.”

“A lot of escape pods fired,” Michelle said.

“We broadcast their trajectories to General Charles.”

“I see there are ships moving to intercept each one,” I said. “Looks like there will be several more Goethi prisoners.”

I finally managed to get a second to stop and scan the solar system. All the amazingly large amounts of scrapped war machines were being gathered and stored for future examination by a neat little machine Ligamondes had come up with. We called it Rover.

I watched as it used its tractor beams to localize the larger chunks of materials, and the smaller chunks with its articulated arms. It wasn’t slow either. Its engine was able to produce enough thrust to propel it to a significant portion of light. I had to have a special protocol written in so it wouldn’t be damaged by inertia. In the beginning, it had a propensity to engage its engines at full thrust from a dead stand still. This caused the engine to be forced through the main body of the ship and destroyed the whole vessel.

As it stood now, Rover did its job to perfection as it cleared all the massive amounts of old and newly created debris. Once it had placed everything in its charge into a storage area, it rapidly returned to collecting more.

A Goethi attack vessel made the mistake of trying to capture one. I laughed as I watched ROVER take the Goethi ship in its mandibles, and totally crush it. Once Rover had done this, it took the resulting debris to the nearest storage area.

Of course, this action didn’t go unnoticed by the Goethi, and they attempted to retaliate. If I didn’t know better … I would swear that several more of the Rovers arrived, and seemed to make some kind of game of it. The Goethi didn’t survive the encounter well as the storage facility rapidly filled with wreckage.

Shiranaa arrived at one of the storage locations and took many tons of the debris. I watched as she converted them into some kind of station. My device informed me that this was a Detention Station where many of the captured Goethi were to be Confined, and the injured ones to be cared for medically by Pl’boolu and his staff, who were being kept rather busy.

The rest was probably cleanup. I decided it was time to check on the Ghloftunmm and their progress within the simulated multiverse we’d created for them. Going to the point where we’d locked them in -- the point in near-Earth space corresponding to the magnetar in the other layer whose event horizon we’d created the space-time bubble where they were -- I scanned the bubble and found that they were still active in there. “Is there a way for me to send a message to them from out here, or to enter the simulation and talk to them?” I asked my device, but then Just Knew that the only way I could talk to them was either to let them out, or to go in myself, in which case I would need help from outside to get myself back out without bringing down the whole simulation.

“I’ll pull you out if you need it,” said Michelle, “but be careful.” We embraced, and in that time another year passed within the simulation. I went in. I was … in the same place, or so it seemed, but to my eyes the universe was entirely dark. To my device, though, it was extremely hot -- the ambient energy was such that the radiative temperature was beyond visible light, into the ultraviolet, and the nature of the physical constants here was such that the narrow band of electromagnetic frequencies we call light was actually quite rare.

There wasn’t much activity taking place. The Ghloftunmm had a cluster of settlements a few hundred million light years away, so I transported myself to that area for a look around. They had collected all the intact remnants of civilization, and there wasn’t much, into one area -- it wasn’t exactly what you could call a planet or even a solar system, because there weren’t any stars, not anymore. The collapse of the layers into one had destroyed them all, and not even the closest thing to stars under the dark universe’s regime of physical laws were intact. There was still gravity, though, and it looked as if some of the Ghloftunmm had been trying to collect large quantities of the nearby matter in an attempt to restart one of these dark pseudostars.

It was while I was observing one of the synthetic pseudostars that one of the Ghloftunmm noticed me. “Wh-what are you?” came a transmission, relayed and translated into my mind by my League device. “You look like … like a League Agent,” said the dark entity, “but that’s impossible. They were all destroyed. We … destroyed them. As we destroyed nearly everything.”

“Greetings,” I said. “I am indeed a League Agent. The Ghloftunmm need to know something, so if there’s a way I can talk to you all at once --”

“The Ghloftunmm are no more,” said the entity. “It was a faction … one that doomed the entire layerality with its senseless zeal. I regret ever being part of it. We are merely the survivors of our race, the Oghuln, now. There are no factions.”

So that was the name of their people. This was encouraging. Apparently they were aware that the ideology of the Ghloftunmm was a failed one that had led them to this state. All around this part of space I could sense Oghuln lifeforms attempting to reconstruct working energy sources, create ways to grow what I assumed were food crops of some sort of vegetable life, and otherwise just survive. Such a bare-subsistence status was not a fertile breeding ground for ideology. “Can I speak to all of the Oghuln at once?” I asked.

“If you have a means of broadcasting,” the entity answered. “We can communicate with one another, usually, at limited speed. Our twisted-space comm technology stopped working when everything collapsed.”

“I’ll give it a try, I suppose,” I said, not knowing how well my League device could communicate over a few light years with the very fabric of metareality so fractured and changed within this holographic bubble. “People of the Oghuln,” I broadcast, and I could sense that my device was adapting itself to the local structure of space-time. “if I could please have your attention. I am League Agent Randy Neiss. I’ve come to help. Once we learned of the plans you had to convert the layerality to your tastes, we ran simulations and discovered the inevitable result was what you see here, the collapse of all layers into one. We tried to warn you, but you ignored our pleas.”

Messages came back, ranging from “We thought you were lying to save yourselves” to “Oh, if only we’d listened!”

But I went on. “So we did the only thing we could think of -- we found a way to show you what the results would be.” I explained how we’d enclosed them in a simulated layerality, a copy of the multiverse, so they could see for themselves without actually dooming all existence.

“Wait -- this isn’t real?” came the responses. “You mean -- there’s still a layerality out there we haven’t ruined?” “Is there a way out?” “What’s to stop us from just doing it all again?”

“I can end the simulation,” I said, “but of course we’ll release you within a prison station, because there are those who don’t trust you to do exactly what you did in here. I must apologize, but the League’s duty is to protect the layerality and preserve the peace.”

“Prison station?” “Will we ever be released?” “I’d rather stay here!” “I just want out of here!” And then there was one “Lies! This ‘simulation’ was designed to prove that our plan would fail!” But that voice was quickly shouted down. “What? No, we worked out the math after it happened; it was inevitable! We just didn’t see it until it was too late!” “You distrust my calculations?” “Shut up, or we’ll never get out of here!”

“We wanted you to know the truth,” I said, “and we wanted to see what your choices would be. Those who are willing to let things remain as they are will be released and may return to your layer. Farewell for now.” I sent the signal to Michelle, but nothing happened, which made me nervous, so I signaled again, increasing the broadcast intensity, and then a few minutes later I was -- having my eyes assaulted by intense light! No, wait … I had been in darkness for hours; it was normal sunlight in space.

“That was weird, and a little bit … scary,” I said to her after the initial long kiss.

She said, “For me too! I couldn’t hear you at all! Not until your signal, which was just seconds later and really fast.”

“Well, I’m glad that’s over.”

“What did they say?”

I summarized for her. “So basically, there might be a few incorrigible ones, but most of them are probably out of the conquer-all-reality mood now.”

“So basically we need a prison ship that can house … how many would you say there were?”

“There can’t be more than a thousand Oghuln left in there,” I guessed. “Several hundred, though.”

“All right; I have an idea.” After locating the pieces of some large derelict Ghloftunmm and Goethi ships and transporting them to us, we focused on transforming the matter while maintaining an Oghuln-friendly life-support system. We even managed to let them out on board the prison station, one to a cell, before turning the station’s shielding to full.

With that preliminary prisoner transfer completed, I finally had a moment or two to assess the situation. While Michelle was talking to Locathann and Ligamondes, exchanging news, I did a deep field scan of the local solar system, looking for any possible danger that might be lurking hidden in all the massive confusion of ships from everywhere.

My scans revealed several nonaggressive newcomers -- many types of different craft, made by many different peoples from many different dimensions from all across the Omniverse. I told Michelle.

“What?” she asked. “Maybe they heard about the battle and are here to help?”

“I’m not sure, but they’re … sending us greetings, in so many languages my device can barely keep up!” This was an exaggeration. It could keep up easily, actually. “Should we go say hi?” Michelle agreed, and we transported ourselves to an unoccupied point near where the ships were all congregating. “Hi, everyone,” I said. “What’s the occasion? Care to chat?”

Several beings transported themselves into space near us -- some of them were in space suits while others used personal force fields of some sort, and I suppose others must have simply been species that were impervious to the hazards of space. But all of them saw us and seemed totally shocked. “The rumors are true! You’re Nexians!” they exclaimed. How they knew of the Nexus, and about me and Michelle, began to rattle around in my pea brain. I had assumed that we were being called Nexian because of the way the battle suit had been remade using matter and energy from the Nexus Gateway and made us appear to be cut directly from it.

I started to do an inquiry into what and who Nexians might be. My head began to hurt with the concentration and effort I put into trying to coerce my device -- I knew it had the data, but it was actually refusing to give it to me. I could feel the presence of the Founders watching, and wondered what this might mean.

It was obvious that this war was winding down and the Ghloftunmm were no longer in any kind of position to make any kind of aggression into Earth space any longer. The Rovers were doing a magnificent job of cleaning up the tremendous amounts of debris and unexploded warheads and storing them safely within the new areas we Agents had constructed.

Suddenly, a voice I knew came from within my soul spoke to me. It said quietly, “It won’t be me, nor shall it be us. It shall be you. It will be the man of greatness awakened.”

Exactly at this point, Delta said over the link, “It seems that the new arrivals have things well in hand. I think it’s time.”

I replied with wonder, “Time? Time for what?”

Suddenly, a place beyond places appeared around me. My sensors allowed me to ‘see’ many … uncountably large numbers of different types of life forms gathered in an orderly way. I ‘knew’ they were all League Agents. Michelle and myself were sort of … standing on some type of raised dais above the enormous crowd. Nearest to us were our chosen League Council: Locathann, Ligamondes, Nijedahaa, Pl’boolu, and our two newest Council members, Explorer and Crucible.

A very bright light appeared behind me, large enough to overpower the glow I gave off as a Guardian. I turned to see what seemed to be a massively large glowing -- cloud, for the lack of any better description.

An ethereal voice that had the overtones of many voices said, “Well done, Agents of the League.” I knew they turned to me at that point, and a single voice spoke, “And to the both of you, an even more emphatic well done. You are the very first to ever become Agents from the Solarus dimension. Not only that, but you quickly rose to become the most powerful Agents of this age, and also to become the Guardians of the Nexus. You then discovered the link between the dire events of this era and the very beginnings of the Omniverse as we know it, and fearlessly chose a strategy that would uncover the correct decisions to propel the timeline into a bright future, rather than a dismal defeat.”

A voice that had the overtones of many more said, “And then to rise to become worthy of the Nexian people to adopt you, is an honor beyond description.”

I thought to myself, “So, this is why people call me a Nexian. It’s because they are a real people.”

All heard the next ethereal voice as it spoke in its majestic and base way. The softly speaking voice also held the undertones of many voices, saying, “We created the Nexus many billions of cycles ago to afford contact of all life … with all other life. The necessity of separation of the light and dark became mandatory if life were to spread in a diasporatic way throughout the layerality. To this end, we chose a select group to oversee and to maintain order and safety throughout totality.”

A single ethereal voice continued, “The League was founded, and overseen by these fine people.” All somehow knew that the voice was indicating the Founders’ divested selves. “Finally, in the end, there will be only two who guard and watch over the Gateway, and they will be infused with the total life forces of all the Nexian peoples, who divested before even the dual layers were born, and used their energies to produce … you.”

With this, all knew … the voice was referring to us, myself and Michelle.

“So …” I said to myself, really, trying to get this all straight, “the Nexians came first, creating the Nexus, without which no layer could contact any other, then they divested, and then the Founders separated the original layer into Light and Dark and separated them, with a little help from the future, and created the League to keep the peace, then a long time later we came along and they divested too, then … well, all this happened.” I realized that everyone could hear me and was listening intently.

“Sounds like that’s it in a nutshell,” Michelle said. “I thought I was the reporter.”

“You may wish to recount the full tale for the League archives,” said Ligamondes. “It is likely that future Agents will wish to know the details of what happened, in case anything similar may happen again in the future.”

As it turns out, I did that. That’s what you’ve been reading. But the voices continued. “This is all true,” they said. “We have no doubt that there will come a time when you will also divest yourselves of physical existence and transcend to a life of pure consciousness. By the time that happens, far in the future, we are sure that you will have selected many new Agents to continue fighting for the causes of justice and peace throughout existence. Know that one day you will also select others who will prove themselves worthy to become Nexians. For to us, all time is one, and all layers are one, no matter how separate they may seem.”

In my mind’s eye, I remembered when I had first been given my device and what it had said to me. I looked down at my left arm, which looked totally different now than it did in the beginning. It had told me then, I was a man of greatness, like it or not. I looked at Michelle. She seemed to be in some sort of fugue at the moment.

Then she said, “I never thought of myself as a woman of greatness, nor did I ever think I would stand on the threshold of becoming something beyond the physical.”

Explorer appeared in a wonderfully beautiful shower of white energy. He came to hover in front of us and said softly so all could hear with no mistakes, “Agent Neece, and Agent Delaney, my peoples are conferring on you the High Honor of being Protector of the Totality of the Crystal. It has been voted and now,” on the front of both our battle suits appeared a brightly glowing white symbol. It looked exactly like Explorer did the first time we met, “We mark you as Protector.”

A loud cheer rose all around as many …. hands or the close approximation of it, sounded throughout the area.

Then, there was a large blue white flash, and Agent Shiranaa and Agent Locathann appeared. Locathann approached and bowed gracefully as was his custom, then withdrew a broad sword from his side scabbard.

He said with authority, “Agent Neece, Agent Delaney … kneel before the Phisor Hand of the Phosian Peoples.”

Michelle and I looked at each other in amazement for an instant, then went to one knee before Locathann and Shiranaa.

Shiranaa said softly, although all could hear her plainly, “With this,” she poured a small amount of some kind of oil on both our heads, “You are to swear to uphold the laws and to protect the peoples of Phosia … as is befitting Phosiorr Knights.”

Michelle and I both replied, “We do.”

Locathann placed the flat of the blade on both of our shoulders and said, “With the sacred oath, you are bound and now stand Fully empowered Phosiorr Knights.”

There was a huge cheer and much applause ...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Time passed as it has a habit of doing. Michelle and I were taking care of a bank robbery. Crime still happened, although not the kind that wipes out whole universes.

I said in that voice the device had made for me, “Come out peacefully and no one will get hurt. If we have to come in and get you, things will go badly for you.”

The door whooshed open with an airy sound, and six males emerged, all a dark red, with their hands over their heads. “We surrender,” one said. “We have no intention of opposing a Phosiorr Knight, nor a living Nexian.”

They were taken into custody by the police force of the new Phosian planet, in their brand new capital city, Leagueville.

~~ The Beginning ~~
Miki Yamuri
 
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Re: The Wisp

Postby TiresiasRex » Thu May 26, 2016 4:14 pm

Yowza! This is a long one! To be honest...I STILL have not finished it. I think I have made it through about 1/3rd of the story. Familiar tropes appear, such as a person being transformed without (really) a choice...but this time, it's for the better...and we also see some familiar names from Miki's personal life (Michelle, Randy). I sense we will not be dealing with any "baby" themes here, but pure science fiction/adventure (which is a relief...the variety is nice). I look forward to con tuning my slow read...and savoring the story. To be continued....
TiresiasRex
 
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Re: The Wisp

Postby Kadetto » Sun Aug 07, 2016 7:41 am

I read only 4 page but....very nice!!! Thanks miki!!!!
Kadetto
 
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