"Looking for this?", the visitor asked, and The Rod appeared beside him.
"I expect not," Greg replied, deducing that discretion was the better part of survival, at least this time. Still slightly amazed, he eyed the visitor. Rather like John Cleese in bunny drag, he finally decided. With a trunk, and made of old inner tubes. Finally, it all clicked.
"How did the cave newts work out?"
"You know, I got in some serious trouble over that. However, they did give me vocal synth this time, in case communications were the trouble before."
"No, no trouble. What was the problem?"
The visitor stared back. Finally it spoke. "I distinctly asked for cave newts. You lied to me."
"What? Those were cave newts. I can get you experts to testify to that. Wait. Did you maybe want the smaller type, with four feet and..."
The alien nodded sadly. It reached up and pulled off its head. What could only be described as a high-voltage, electrical mist floated up from its "neck". Tiny points of light (roughly a thousand) darted out and surrounded Greg. He held tightly to The Rod but made no attempt to use it. The room around him disappeared.
The alien was nowhere to be seen. Great hairy, half-rotted tarantulalike objects lay nearby, covered with some sort of slimy material, effervescing slightly. A roaring slowly grew in his ears, and presently a large group of polysyllabic diatomic cubes rushed by, an ashen substance swirling in their wakes. Wherever the ash fell, the landscape writhed as if desperately seeking escape, then fell silent again.
Tiring of waiting for something to happen, Greg set The Rod on Divulge and applied it to Dorsey's head. Nothing happened.
Greg blinked once, twice. He stared at The Rod, and at Scott. He tried again. Nothing. He upped the power. Nothing. In frustration, he set the power to Full Discharge. He hesitated, looking back and forth between the two. Finally he selected Scott, having decided any chance of information was worth the risk. Scott jiggled the faintest bit, and faint visions of stars whizzing by filled Greg's brain briefly; that was it. Beginning to feel faintly desperate, he tried Quayle.
Suddenly Greg was in the Situation Room deep beneath the ground at the White House. Military types were running amok, every light in the room was flashing, and Bush was standing on top of the executive desk, screaming at the top of his lungs. A Domino's Pizza driver was trying to get someone to pay for pizza, and nobody had any change.
The vision faded as he removed The Rod from Quayle's head. To his surprise, Quayle began to stir.
"You sure have some weird dreams."
Quayle struggled, and finally words became coherent. "Not dreams. That's what it looked like just before I came here." That much out, he was again comatose. Greg sat down, wondering what it all meant.
The lights went out. A faint voice wafted across the darkness in an unintelligible language. Straining to stay alert, sensing danger, Greg stared into the dark. The smell of honeysuckle tickled his nostrils, and he was asleep.
In his dreams, a silent chrome thief made off with his integuments.
Last updated: 30 Mar 1994
Copyright 1989-1994 Miles O'Neal, Austin, TX. All rights reserved.
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This copyright may be freely used, distributed and modified subject to the conditions noted above in the preceeding paragraph. Miles O'Neal <roadkills.r.us@XYZZY.gmail.com> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514