Badasses Of the Multiverse: Book 6: Volume 1: Chapter 06

Badasses Of the Multiverse: Book 6: “The Mexican, The Lawyer, And The Mechanic.”

Volume 1: “The Heroes.”

Chapter 06: “Shades of Crazy.”

By Paul Cousins.

Copyright Disclaimer: All copyrighted places, characters, items, and events, within the story, are held by their current owners. No profit is being made on this work of fiction.

(_)

Reality, Pedro and Lee's home reality. Date, a week after Revy fought Hernan. Place, the Devil's Hotel, De La Plata Podrido, Mexico. Time, late morning, close to noon.

Inside the suite that Revy and Rock shared, Revy sat clothed, and alone, at the foot of her bed she shared with her lover, with her green boots, she had on, touching the carpeted floor.

She sat in the dark. The only light coming from the outline of the curtains to the window of her suite, which lead to the balcony.

She was suppose to already head down to the hotel restaurant, to meet with Rock, their family, and friends, for some lunch.

Instead, she was still in her room, sitting in the dark, as she thought over the offer a woman she met a week ago, had given to her.

Revy in such deep thought, she did not feel like having a cigarette, nor drink. Considering, she felt those items might distract her from her train of thought.

The mysterious woman had to give Revy the name, location, and proper time, of where the police officer would be, whom had falsely arrested her as a child, and raped her in a jail cell, while she was handcuffed.

But, Revy was a much more intelligent woman then most people gave her credit for. She knew that the price for the offer might be too high for her.

The offer had strings attached to it. That in exchange for the information she wanted, she would have to help the woman's organization. And Revy knew if things went bad, offering such aid might destroy her family and everything else she had built in her life, since her life had been shattered as a child.

So, it came down to Revy having to choose between her past and her future.

While Revy reflected on the decision, she was becoming annoyed with herself, as she thought, 'Shit! I really just need to decide. It has been a week, and that woman will likely show up soon, and she will want an answer. At least she had not shown back up. So, I have a little time left.'

'But, I cannot decide. That bastard needs to pay. But, if I do help them, it could get back to my family and friends, and that would risk wrecking everything I have built since then.'

'Pedro said, I would might some day have to make this choice. And it looks like he was right. And I cannot talk to anyone about this, or the deal is off.'

'I hate it when I have to make important life decisions on my own...'

'Fuck it! This all comes down to what I consider most important in my life. My past, and revenge. Or my future, and my family. I just need to decide what is important, and let the cards land where they may...'

She then thought over her options and weighed her choices.

Around half a minute later, she finally decided, as she thought, 'I will tell her that. I will give her my answer. Because, I never really had any no choice at all.'

'Now, to get some lunch, with my family, and friends. Especially, Rock, and our children.'

Revy got up from her bed, and heading for the door to her suite, that lead into the hallway. She opened the door, walked through the doorway, and into the hallway. She then closed the door, as she turned, and headed to the front elevator bay. The elevators there would take to the ground floor, where the restaurant was located, and she could join her family and friends for lunch.

(_)

An hour later, across town at Hernan's autoshop, Hernan Pena was in his coveralls, gloves, boots, and sunglasses.

Front of the automotive shop, garage bays were open, but the bay on the far end, to the right, was empty. With the car being in the left automotive bay. And the office of the building was attached to the left of the automotive bay the car was in.

In Hernan was in his two bay automotive garage, he working on a car, in the left bay.

While it was lunch time, Hernan had decided to continue working on a car, until he felt like eating something.

The front of the car was facing the outside of the automotive bay, with the front hood up, and to allow Hernan to work on the engine of the car.

Hernan was leaning over the front of the car, so he could install a new belt on the engine.

Hernan did not have any music playing in his autoship, because he had a lot on his mind, as he installed the new belt onto the engine.

Hernan mentally grumbled, 'It has been a week since I have had my life turned upside down, and I still haven't figured out how to to Maria and our kids the truth. That Maria and I are gender swapped counter part of Garcia and Roberta, of the Black Lagoon fiction series.'

'Though, my time with Roberta has been good. We seem to get alone well, as friends, and I guess, siblings. Considering we are reality counterparts to each other. We have had a few lunches, a few dinners, and some conversations here, about how we should handle this situation.'

'This would not be so difficult if the explanation was not so insane.'

'And while Maria has only see parts of the Black Lagoon anime series. Though, none that dealt with Roberta. And our children, fortunately, have not seen any of that series. Because, they are too young. Maria said she did not care for that series. And I can understand why. It is just not her cup of tea.'

'I admit, I was a fan, until I found out my connection to that series. I believe that the phrase. There but for the grace of God, go I. Would apply to my connection to Roberta.'

'Given the randomness of the multiverse, with a simple role of the dice, I could have ended up being Roberta, and she could have ended up being me. The same goes for Maria and Garcia. And that has kept me up, and awake, a few nights, in the last week.'

'And while Roberta, and a few of the other girls, have been nice enough to talk to me, on how I should handle this, none of us have come up with a plan. Though, Roberta said she was going to travel back to her home reality, and visit Garcia. To see what he would have to say on the subject.'

'But, even if we come up with a plan, those are not the most serious problems I am going to have to tell Maria. I would also have to eventually explain Lee's stories to Maria. Though, I am not going to tell our kids about those twisted stories, until they are much older. Those stories might give them ideas I don't want to them to have, until they are mature enough to understand the ramifications of those ideas.'

'Still, no matter what I do. Roberta will have to be a part of what happens. And we will have to make the best possible first impressions, and introductions for Roberta, to my family. Fortunately, I know Roberta can do nice. And she can act like a lady. Just upsetting her is a very bad idea.'

Hernan then was able to finally get belt fully onto the engine.

As Hernan was checking to make sure the belt fit snugly, a person walked up from behind him.

The person casually said, in a female voice, in spanish, “You are leaving yourself completely open to attack.”

Hernan recognized the voice. He smiled, as he finished putting on the belt. He leaned up, out from under the hood. As he stood up straight, he closed the hood of the car.

Hernan then turned around to see Roberta standing ten feet away from him.

Roberta was wearing casual clothing, which consisted of, among other items, brown cowgirl boots, blue jeans, and a white blouse.

Hernan greeted Roberta, in spanish, “Hello Roberta.”

Roberta inquired, “Hello Hernan. I guess you still haven't figured out how to tell you family the truth about all that has happened?”

Hernan casually responded, “Pretty obvious? Isn't it?”

Roberta said, “Yes. And I came by to tell you that I spoke to Garcia on the matter.”

Hernan asked, “So, what did Garcia have to say?”

Roberta answered, “We came up with a plan.”

Hernan requested, “I am more than open to hearing your plan.”

Roberta stated, “The plan is simple. In a few days, it will be Saturday. That morning, after you family has gotten up, and eaten breakfast, I will come by. And together, we will explain things to your wife, and your children. Then, to help with your claims, we will convince them to take a quick vacation.”

“All of you will get packed, and I will take you and your family to visit Garcia in his plantation for a few days. And with time dilation mechanics, all of you return here a few hours, later, local time. So, this little trip will not disrupt their daily schedules.”

Hernan was quiet for a few seconds, as he thought over Roberta and Garcia's plan. He then said, “This is not a bad plan. But, I am not sure that would be the proper course of action. That would be a lot to take in for my family, in a short amount.”

Roberta commented, “Sometimes when a person wants to go swimming, that person has to first dive in the deep end.”

Hernan pointed out, “But, that person first needs to know how to swim.”

Roberta said, “That is why I will be with you, as we explain these matters to your family.”

Hernan commented, “Well, they are your family, as well.”

Roberta corrected herself, as she stated, “Our family. And thank you.”

Hernan said, “You're welcome. And if we are going to do this, I won't pack, beforehand. To make it seem visiting Garcia is more of a suggestion on short notice, by you.”

Roberta replied, “That would be wise.”

Hernan inquired, “Also, is Garcia okay with us visiting him on short notice?”

Roberta answered, “Garcia said he was more than open to having our entire family coming to meet him, and spend a few days in his, and my, home. Which is a very nice plantation house. Garcia even commented that he is actually looking forward to you and your family's visit. And I promise, I will be on my best behavior, during my time with our family.”

Hernan said, in a kind tone of voice, “I am not worried about that. And now that I think about it. We will do it your way.”

Roberta smiled at Hernan, as she responded, in a slightly happy tone of voice, “I am so happy that we with agree on this.”

Hernan returned Roberta's smile, as he calmly asked, “Of course. Now, onto another matter, I wish to ask you about. Out of pure curiosity. Given you know people at the casino on the island. I was wondering. What are odds at in the casino, on us fighting?”

Roberta coyly inquired, “How did you know I checked?”

Hernan casually replied, “When is comes to such matters, I believe I know how you think. Because that is what I would do, in your position.”

Roberta happily responded, “Well, you clearly do know how I think. Because I did check. The odds are that there is forty percent chance we have a fight in the next thirty days. And I am favored to win, two to one.”

Hernan said, “While I won't argue the odds of you beating me. Given your enhancements. Though, they clearly don't know us.”

Roberta stated, “No. They do not. We wouldn't fight each other. We would fight everyone else, but our loved ones. But, not each other.”

Hernan commented, “You are correct. Woe be it to the fool that pisses both of us off.”

Roberta gave Hernan a wicked grin, as she replied, “I know.”

Hernan inquired, “So, where is Fabiola? I have been looking forward to meeting her. So far, I have not asked about her, out of politeness. But, it has been a week since I met all of you. And I am beginning to grow a little concerned. Also, I wonder what she will have to say about this situation?”

Roberta answered, “I do not mind you asking about her. Unfortunately, Fabiola is on an extended errand for Annie, in the multiverse.”

Hernan raised any eyebrow, as he inquired, “For Vader?”

Roberta sighed, as she responded, in a halfhearted tone of voice, “Please, don't call Annie, Vader, Darth, or any other name that reminds her of her past.”

Hernan flatly said, “Okay I won't.”

Roberta mentioned, “Annie has become a very nice woman.”

Hernan pointed out, “That is not speaking too highly, given some of the women we know.”

Roberta stated, “I will give you that one. Though, it is not what you think. Fabiola has gone looking for one of Annie's friends.”

Hernan guessed, “She went after Matthew and Pedro?”

Roberta answered, “Yes.”

Hernan complimented, “That makes sense. She would be my second choice in tracking someone. Next to you.”

Roberta responded, “Thank you for the vote of confidence toward Fabiola, and myself. Also, I am sure Fabiola will like meeting you and your family. She does adore children.”

Hernan replied, “That is good to hear.”

Roberta offered, “I haven't had lunch, yet. Would you like to get a bite to eat?”

Hernan answered, “Sure. I wouldn't mind coming with you. So, we can talk, while we eat. I just need a few minutes to lock of here.”

Roberta happily suggested, “Good. We will take my car.”

Hernan said, “That will be fine.”

Hernan then began closed his up autoshop.

A few minutes later, they were both in Roberta's car, which had been parked across the street from Hernan's shop.

Roberta then drove them to a nearby restaurant, so they could get something to eat, while they talked on various topics, including on how they should break the news to the rest of the Pena family.

(_)

Reality, unknown. Date, unknown, sometime around the turn of the second millennium AD. Place, New York City, New York, United States Time, night time, right after midnight.

The next thing Pedro and Matthew know, after the jumped reality, from New Orleans, during Mardi Gras, in the Star Trek reality, They were on a well lit, deserted sidewalk, of a three lane street. With the light coming from both the nearby buildings, and the streetlights.

As Pedro and Matthew look around, the two men saw it was nighttime, with a cloudy overcast. Also, they noticed they were surrounded by very tall buildings, and that there was no one the other side of the street. With only a few vehicles passing by, on both sides of the street. With not vehicles parked on the street.

In addition, they noticed that the temperature was cool, but not cold, as a slight wind blew through the streets, between the buildings, like the streets were canyons to mountains.

Matthew and Pedro turned to each other, as Pedro put away his reality device, into a pocket.

Pedro said, “I regret not being able to spent some time at Mardi Gras, with you. That looked like a fun party.”

Matthew responded, “I know. But, the heat was too hot to stay there. We had both the maids and trio there. We could not stay.”

Pedro questioned, “Oh. I agree. And did you hear what Chang said in the end?”

Matthew stated, “Yea. You were right. They are using this as an excuse to go on vacation.”

Pedro said, “Yes. And that means I have no problems with using this as our vacation, as well.”

Matthew commented, “I can go along with that. Though, I wondering something about the maids.”

Pedro stated, in a halfhearted mannered, “That can be a dangerous subject to talk about.”

Matthew responded, “I know. But, we are realities away from them. And they are not interested in us. Roberta outright said she and Fabiola were fine with us. If we don't get in their way. So, as long as we don't gossip about them, with others, we should be fine.”

Pedro asked, “Well, when you put it that way. You make a good point. So, what is on your mind about them?”

Matthew began, “Well, we know that Fabiola wears those shorts under her maid's uniform...”

Pedro spoke up, “They are called, boyshorts. Don't ask. I don't know why a type of women's underwear is named, boyshorts, either.”

Matthew commented, “It is probably one of those mysteries that is best left unknown.”

Pedro inquired, “I agree. Now, you were saying?”

Matthew asked, “I was wondering what undergarments that Roberta might be wearing under her maids uniform?”

Pedro was silent for a few seconds, as he thought about Matthew question. He then commented, “Knowing Roberta's extreme passive-aggressive personality. She likely wears some type of black lace lingerie underneath her maids uniform. Both panties and bra. Such undergarments are both very aggressive clothing, in its own way. While being very revealing, making one be more modest towards their self.”

Matthew replied, “I can see that. And with her figure, and the size of her breasts, she would look great in such clothing.”

Pedro said, “I know. She would look great. But, that is not a view worth dying for.”

Matthew questioned, “Correct. It is not worth dying over. Though, it is wrong to fantasized about a crazy woman that has tried to kill you? Because, I have had such thoughts about a few of the women we know. Including, Roberta and Fabiola. And thinking of Roberta possibly wearing black lace lingerie underneath her clothing does not help matters.”

Pedro responded, “I know. And it is definitely not healthy. But, given those are the types of women we have been forced into associating with, day in, day out. It is a natural reaction for us heterosexual men to have errant fantasies about such women. Just don't let such fantasies effect your judgment, and you should be fine.”

Matthew said, “Oh, I agree. And I won't. So, what type of bra do you think Fabiola wears?”

Pedro admitted, “I have no clue. She is so sane, that she could wear just about any type of bra. Though, given how practical she is. She likely wears some form of sport bra, when she is doing activities.”

Matthew said, “I can see that. Though, it has occurred to me. There have got to be places in the multiverse that both of us would like to go, just to say we have been there.”

Pedro commented, “You know how some people have a little black book of former lovers.”

Matthew replied, “Yea.” He thought, with mild curiosity, 'I wonder where this is going?'

Pedro stated, “When I was a kid, I made a little black book about all the places I would like to go, that I could only read about in a book, or saw on TV.”

Matthew teased, “You were a fanboy long before Lee showed up.”

Pedro casually admitted, “Me and my younger brother, both were.”

Matthew inquired, “So, how thick was the book?”

Pedro answered, “Let's just say it was thick and heavy enough to use as a doorstop.”

Matthew questioned, “So, where is the book?”

Pedro responded, “Unfortunately, I haven't seen it in years. The last I saw it was when I packed it up in a box, and placed it in a closest, in my home. I just didn't feel like digging it out before we left.”

Matthew inquired, “Oh well. But, you do remember the destinations?”

Pedro replied, “Yes. But, I made that list when I was a kid.”

Matthew responded, “Well, I am sure there were a few places on that list that we would like to go, even as adults. We are traveling from one imagined reality, to the next. We might as well make the most of it.”

Pedro thought about what his friend said for a few seconds. He then shrugged, as he said, “Yes. You're right.”

Matthew commented, “Now, that we have that matter settled. I would like to know exactly where, when, and what reality, we are at?” He looked around for a few seconds, before he turned back to look at Pedro.

When Pedro saw Matthew turn back towards him, he said, “Well, when I used the device, I thought of coming to a modern New York City... Well, modern for me. At night, near a diner.”

Matthew stated, “That is find. So, we are at least in New York, at night. As I suggested. That is good. “

Pedro mentioned, “And I am armed. So, there is nothing to worry about.”

Matthew said, “Yes. I am comforted by that thought. And given I do not see anyone around, I would guess it is at least after midnight.”

Pedro thought, 'I was thinking of coming in the evening after dark. But, I guess we might be here after midnight. Taking into account time zones, it is always evening, after dark, somewhere. And New Orleans is an hour behind New York City. And I really wasn't thinking about which time zone, as to the general time we were going to. Still, there is no way to tell, without looking at a clock.'

Pedro continued his thoughts, with mild amusement, 'Still, I find this deserted street to be humorous.'

Pedro commented, in an amused tone of voice, “So, the city that never sleeps, actually does?”

Matthew suggested, “Well, it seems most of them do. Still, we need to know the date. Maybe we should just take a page from the Back To the Future movies and find a discard newspaper.”

Pedro agreed, “That is not a bad idea.” Pedro looked around, and he saw a full trash bin about ten feet from them, down the sidewalk, by the street. And there was a newspaper neatly folded on top of the garage.

Pedro start walking towards the trash bin, as he said, “There.”

Matthew followed him, and he soon realized where his friend was heading.

A few seconds later, when they reached the trash bin, they came to a stop.

Pedro picked up the newspaper, which he saw the top half of the front page was showing. As he did so, he noticed that there was only paper directly under the newspaper.

Pedro thought, 'Good. There is no food on it. So, this newspaper is not that dirty. Now, to find out the date.'

Pedro turned around to face Matthew, as he looked at the top byline of the newspaper.

Pedro continued to look at the newspaper, as he stated, “The date says, Tuesday, October thirteenth, two thousand nine.”

Matthew commented, “Well, since it is likely after midnight, it likely means it is Wednesday the fourteenth. Unless, it is a few days after the date of on the paper.”

Pedro continued looked at the newspaper, as he stated, “Given this was on top of the garbage, I doubt that this newspaper more than a day old.”

Matthew responded, “Okay, we have the date. So, we now need to know the reality. No offense. But, given your lack of direction at reality traveling, we could easily be in your reality, with it being a few years in your past.”

Pedro replied, “None taken.” He thought, 'Matthew does have a point here. Still, I get the feeling he doesn't want to be the one in the driver's seat of this little adventures.'

Pedro then look up from the newspaper around. He noticed, in the distant skyline, as he saw to large identical towering buildings. He look over at Matthew, as he stated, “No. The twin towers are still standing.”

Matthew asked, “The what?”

Pedro answered, “The world trade center towers.”

Matthew commented, “So? They are standing in my time, as well.”

Pedro replied, “But, they aren't in my reality.”

Matthew inquired, “What happened?”

Pedro said, “Terrorism. I will tell you later.” He then looked back at the newspaper in his hands. He then flip it to the bottom of the front page, and he eyes slightly widened, as he stated, “Oh hell. I know where we are.”

Matthew inquired, “Where?”

Pedro looked over at Matthew, as he handed Matthew the newspaper.

Matthew then took the newspaper from Pedro's hands, and he began to look at it.

Pedro said, “Read the very bottom of the front page.'

Matthew flip the paper over to read the bottom article on it. He began reading out loud, “Xanatos family donates money to revitalize Central Park... Xanantos?!”

Pedro commented, “Yes. This is the Gargoyles reality. And over a decade since the series ended.”

Matthew looked up at Pedro, as he questioned, “Isn't this one of the few realities that, from Lee's stories. And comments made by the girls. That both Lee and Chang don't want to have anything to do with?

Pedro answered, in a concerned, serious tone of voice, “Yes. And with good reason. I showed you my unedited, english episodes, from my copies of that series.”

Matthew replied, “Yes. You did. That was a pretty good series.”

Pedro stated, “And when it comes to dangerously savvy, badass villains. This place has some of the cream of the crop. More so, than any other series. Including, the Black Lagoon series.”

Matthew let out a deep breath. He then calmly said, “I see your point. But, we are here, already. So, we don't need to leave, just yet. Still, we will have to be careful while we are here.”

Matthew looked back at the newspaper, as he continued reading the article out loud, “David and Fox, along with their teenage son, Alexander, attended a ceremony yesterday, at Belvedere Castle, in Central Park, to celebrate on the start of the revitalize project, for the park. Last May, the Xanatos family, whom are one of the most wealthiest and influential members of New York, offered to match the funds to the city of New York's budget for the project. With the budget being ten million dollars, the Xanatos family grateful donated another ten million to match those funds. The plan to start the revitalization of Central Park will begin either next March, or April. Depending on the weather.”

Matthew looked up from the paper, and towards Pedro, as he commented, “Knowing them. This donations has got to be a ploy, for a grander scheme they are hatching.”

Pedro shrugged, as he said, “Maybe. Maybe not. It probably doesn't really matter. They could have done it just as a tax write off.

Matthew complimented, “That is a good point.”

Matthew then looked back the newspaper, and he noticed a small picture by the article. The picture showed the Xanatos family, with others, at an outdoor ceremony.

Matthew said, “Huh?”

Pedro asked, “What?”

Matthew looked over at Pedro, as he said, “Call me crazy. But, take a closer look at the picture by the article. Specifically, the shorter man in the suit, standing besides the Xanatos family, right behind them, to their left side.” He then handed the newspaper back to Pedro.

Pedro took the newspaper and he quickly looked at the picture, as Matthew commented, “I think Owen went back to being Puck all the time.”

In the picture, Pedro saw that the man standing behind, and to the left side, of the three member Xanatos family, was not Owen Burnett in a business suit, but Puck in a business suit. With Puck's long ears, and loose, long white hair, down his back, being very noticeable in the picture.

Pedro looked up at Matthew, as he said, “So, Puck decided to stop hiding in plain sight, as Owen Burnett. Not bad. Given he knows that everyone, except the Xanatos, the Gargoyles, and his kin, would think he is just an odd looking human man.”

Matthew responded, “Yes. And Puck is just crazy enough to go as himself, in public. But, I thought Oberon's spell prevented him from being Puck, unless it was during teaching, or defending, Alex Xanatos.”

Pedro then recalled what Matthew was talking about. He commented, “That is a good point. Maybe he found a way to break the spell...” He continued in a more concerned tone of voice, “Or, someone else did.” He then tossed the newspaper back onto of the trash bin from which he had pulled it from.

As Pedro looked back at Matthew, Pedro said, “Either way. This just means this place is more dangerous, than we thought. And that is not counting Alex, whom is likely now a teenager, who is well verse in his eduction, martial combat, and magical skills.”

Matthew asked, “That is a good point. So, should we stay here? Or, leave?”

Pedro answered, “Like you said. We should stay. We just have to be careful. You wanted a New York cup of coffee. So, we will do that. Then, we will leave. And since, when we jumped realities, and I also thought of a diner that serves coffee, at this time of night, such a diner should close by.

Matthew replied, “Thanks, Pedro.”

Pedro said, “No problem. Though, not to find the diner.”

They looked around, and Matthew the saw the diner at the corner of the block they were on. With the diner being about fifty feet from them.

Matthew looked back at Pedro, as he said, “I found the diner. It is about fifteen meters from us, on the corner. And I am glad it is on the side of the street. So, we don't have to jaywalk across the street.”

Pedro turned to Matthew, as he replied, “Good point.”

Matthew then turned back around, to take a closer look a the diner, while Pedro did the same thing. They saw the tell tale signs of the diner through the windows of the building, that wrapped around the corner. With the tables being seen on the inside, due to all the lighting.

Matthew continued looking at the diner, as he commented, “From all that lighting inside, I would say the place is open.”

Pedro replied, “I agree. Let us get our cup of coffee and go.”

Matthew complimented, “I couldn't have said that better, myself.”

The two men then walked towards the diner.

Around a minute later, they made it to the front double-doors of the diner.

As they entered the diner, they looked around, and they saw that except for the waitress, the diner was empty. And that the cooking area, and likely cook, was behind a wall, and was separate from the serving area, by a door, behind the counter.

Pedro then noticed the counter in front of them, with stools lining it, was empty. He suggested, “Let's just set at the counter.”

Matthew saw the counter was empty as well. He agreed, “Good idea.”

The two men then walked directly in front of them, to the counter. And they then sat in stools, beside each other, while facing the back wall of the diner. Matthew was to Pedro's right side.

Pedro then saw the analog clock placed above the wall in front of them, with a space between the counter and that wall.

Pedro saw that hands of the clock stated was twelve fifteen.

Pedro said, “You were right. It is passed midnight.”

Matthew looked up at the clock in front of him. As he saw the time, he calmly said, “Yea. I guess I was right.”

Pedro thought, 'Still. This does concern me. Another thought occurred to me. I was thinking right after dark. But, in Lee's stories. These reality devices sometimes worked by sending the person, or people, where, when, and what reality, they needed to be. Like, during the Avalon Tour, which took place in this very reality. If that is the case, then we could be in real trouble.'

Pedro turned to Matthew, as he continued his thoughts, 'But, there is no point in alarming Matthew right now. We came here for a cup of coffee, so we could relax. And thinking about such topics would not make either of us relax.'

A few seconds later, the waitress walked up to stand across the counter from them. The waitress was the middle-aged woman, with a decent figure. She had short brown hair, and dark skin. She also wore a nice waitress uniform.

The woman calmly asked, in english, “So, what will you boys be having?”

Pedro answered, “Coffee. Black.”

Matthew replied, “The same.”

The waitress then turned and walked away, so she could fill their orders.

A few moments later, another man, in a gray long coat, walked into the diner, and he sat a few chairs down from them, at the counter, to Pedro's left side.

From the corner of his left eye, Pedro saw the waitress notice him. She turned around, and stop by the man. The waitress asked, “Finally, off you shift for the night?”

From across the counter, man looked at the woman, as he casually answered, english, “Yea, Loraine.”

Loraine inquired, “So, where is your partner?”

The man said, “She is visiting some friends. She might even be on a date with her long time, steady boyfriend.”

Loraine commented, “I am surprised that is still working out for her.”

The man coyly responded, “Well, it makes her happy. And it makes him happy. So, I have no problems. Still, it makes life interesting.”

Loraine questioned, “Yes. At least it is never boring here. So, what can I get you?”

The man answered, “Let me think about it for a minute. And I will let you know.”

In response, Loraine turned away from Pedro, as she started back to walking to fill Pedro and Matthew's order.

Matthew turned to Pedro, as he asked, “So, what do we do next?”

Pedro looked over at Matthew, as he answered, “I am not sure. What would you like to do?”

Matthew responded, “Have some fun?”

Pedro let out a laugh. He happily replied, “That I can arrange.”

Pedro then noticed Loraine had retrieved what she needed, and she was now returning back to Matthew, and himself. He saw that Loraine holding two empty coffee cups in her left hand, while she was holding a hot pot of coffee, by the grip of the pot, with her right hand.

As Loraine reach them, Pedro heard the doors behind him, open and close.

Loraine then turned face Matthew and Pedro. And instead of setting down the cups, and pouring coffee into the cups, she just stared between and passed the two men, whom were sitting across the counter, from her.

Pedro then saw Loraine’s face turn into a mask of fear, as she dropped the cups and coffee pot.

Loraine had already turned and ran for the back of the diner, through the kitchen door, as Pedro heard the cups and coffee pot shattered on the floor, behind the counter.

Pedro thought, 'Though, this is not good. Clearly someone is behind us.' He then saw Matthew look at him, as he continued his thought, 'And Matthew realizes this, as well.'

Matthew asked, “Shall we see what is going on?”

Pedro looked at Matthew, as he shrugged. He replied, “We might, as well.”

Pedro and Matthew got up from their seats, and stood up, as they looked behind them.

They saw a man in black powerarmor standing five feet away from them.

Pedro and Matthew continued look at the powerarmor.

Pedro and Matthew immediately recognized the helmet style of the powerarmor, as Pedro commented, “So, this guy is wearing an Ironman looking powerarmor.”

Matthew complimented, “It just means this guy has some style. Though, from the body, it looks like some Knight Saber armor is thrown into the body contours.”

Pedro looked more closely at the body of the powerarmor. He saw what Matthew was walking about, as he commented, “I agree. Good eye.”

Pedro thought, 'And this is probably hiding enough weapons in his suit to start a war. We have to be careful around him.'

Matthew replied, “Thanks.”

The man in powerarmor, spoke through his helmet electronic modulated speakers, to mask the man's voice, “Thank you for the compliment.”

Pedro thought, 'Still, being nice to him, might help our situation.' He said, “You're welcome.” He turned to Matthew, as he said, “Still, I certainly hope us not getting coffee is going to turn into a running gag, like in the movie Hudson Hawk.”

Matthew casually replied, “Of course not. We are not that funny.”

Pedro let out a laugh. He agreed, “You're right. Still, that was an underrated movie.”

Matthew responded, “I have to agree. I enjoyed watching it with you. And at least, we are not going to have to pay for the coffee.

Pedro replied, “You're right. No service. No payment. And that is not even mentioning the tip.”

For the next few seconds, the powerarmored man laughed at their comments, through his helmet's electronic modulated speakers.

Pedro and Matthew looked back at the powerarmored man, as Matthew commented, “At least the guy has a sense of humor.”

Pedro nodded once in agreement, as he replied, “True. We have that going for us.”

Matthew asked, “Do think your pistols can help us?”

Pedro deadpanned, “You're kidding? Right?”

Matthew replied, “It didn't hurt to ask.”

By then, the powerarmored man has calmed down enough to stop laughing.

Matthew asked, “So, do you think he is after us?”

Pedro sarcastically questioned, “Who else would he be here for?”

The man to Pedro's right side, whom was sitting at the counter, casually replied, “Well, there is me.”

Matthew, Pedro, and the powerarmored man looked over at the man, whom was now standing, while facing the them.

When Matthew and Pedro looked at the man, they did a double-take.

The man had fair skin, and short red head, which was combed back. He looked to be in his late thirties, to early forties. And he was in great physical shape. He was dressed in black pants, black leather belt, black dress shoes, and dress a white button up shirt, with a green tie around the collar of his shirt. Over his shirt and tie was a black waistcoat. Over his waistcoat and pants was a gray long coat.

And though the voice was different, yet similar to what they knew of him, standing before them was NYPD Detective Matt Bluestone. And while it has been over a decade since he shown in the Gargoyles series, the years had been kind.

Pedro thought, 'Of all the diners in the city, why did he have to walk into this diner... That line would fit right into a noir detective novel. Still, this might be good for us. He does have experience with this sort of thing. If nothing else, he could provide a distraction.'

Pedro shrugged, as he said, “Well yes, you.”

The black ironman turned back to face Pedro and Matthew, as he stated, in an electronic modulated voice, “Now that the pleasantries are over. Whether you like it, or not. Dead, or alive. Your asses are mine.”

Pedro and Matthew turned to look at the powerarmored man, as Matthew asked, “Is he quoting?...”

Pedro answered, “More like paraphrasing. But, yes. It is Robocop. And I going to have to remember that quote... Though, this is not good.”

Matthew commented, “You know there is only one way around this problem.”

Pedro understood the subtext of Matthew's statement, as he replied, “I understand.”

A second later, to the surprise of the powerarmored man, Pedro and Matthew then bolted around around him, with Pedro passing by his right, while Matthew passed by his left.

With both men quickly opening the double-doors to the exit, and running outside, to the powerarmored man's left side.

Matt watched all this, along seeing through the outside windows, with the two men turned to Matt's right, running passed him, down the sidewalk.

Matt thought, 'I don't know what is going on. But, I am going to find out. And those two men are the key.'

Matt then rushed passed the powerarmored man, and outside, as he chased after Pedro and Matthew.

The man in powerarmor was caught off guard by this turn of events. He turned to face the double-doors to the exit, as he thought, with embarrassment, 'I don't believe it. They just ran passed me. If this gets back to Gomez and the others, I will never live it down... And I didn't even bother to ask them for their names.'

The powerarmored man followed the other three men through the doors of the diner, and out, onto the sidewalk.

(_)

Meanwhile, outside, Matthew and Pedro, kept running down the sidewalk, away from the dinner.

As they ran, Matthew asked, “What was that all about? And who is that guy in powerarmor?”

Pedro replied, “I don't know. But, let's get out of here.”

Pedro came to a stop. And a second later, so did Matthew.

Matthew already knew what Pedro was going to do, as he walked closer to Pedro, with him coming to a stop, right beside Pedro's front side.

Meanwhile, Pedro pulled out his reality device, from a pocket.

In the distance, about forty feet away, Matt was rushing towards them, as he loudly ordered, “Hey! Stop you two! I want to know what the hell is going on!”

But, Pedro and Matthew were too shaken by making a powerarmored individual to notice Matt yelling at them.

The two men stood a couple of feet apart, as they looked at each other.

Matthew asked, “So, where are we going?”

Pedro immediately thought of a place, as he stated, “I have a place in mind that person with powerarmor will think twice about.”

Matthew questioned, “It isn't one of the Marvel Comics realities? Or, for that matter, any superhero comicbook reality?”

Pedro coyly said, “No... And it is a more dangerous reality. But, for us, that reality should be safer. And it will be during the daytime. So, we should be fine.”

Matthew thought, 'We don't have time to argue.' He replied, “I don't care just get out of here.”

(_)

At that moment, about seventy feet away, the man in black powerarmor had walked out of the diner, and slowly approached Pedro and Matthew.

The powerarmored man saw what was happening, as he thought, 'They are about to reality jump. If I try to use my fly system to bum-rush them, I could serious harm, or kill them. So, I will catch them in the next reality they go to. Or, the reality after that. There is no rush. Besides, they made me laugh. That earns them points with me. And I think I will enjoy playing with them, for a while.'

(_)

Meanwhile, Matt was about ten feet away from Pedro and Matthew.

Matt ran towards the two men, as he thought, 'I don't know why these two guys stopped. But, I am going to take them down. And then I will get some questions. Also, it seems that powerarmored guy is in no rush. So, I can make that work for me. But, first things first.'

When Matt reached the two men, he tackled them, just before Pedro pushed the red button on the reality button.

The next thing Matthew and Pedro knew, they suddenly found themselves on the ground, with someone on top of them, Matthew yelled, “What the hell?!”

Pedro looked up at the man who was on top of them, and he immediately recognized Matt Bluestone. He thought, 'Oh hell. Matt jumped with us, right before we teleported. With him unintentionally hitching a ride with us. And I am not taking him back there. Still...'

Pedro said, “If you get off of us, and let us stand up, we will talk to you.”

Matt flatly replied, “Fine.”

Matt got off of the two men. And all three of them stood up, with Matthew and Pedro facing Matt, as Matt faced them.

As Pedro and Matthew faced Matt, Pedro was to Matthew's left side. And Pedro put his reality device in the pocket he had pulled it from.

It was then that Matthew got a good look at who had tackled them. He stated, with amusement in his tone of voice, “Boy, did you make a mistake coming at us like that.”

Matt questioned, “What do you mean?”

Matthew suggested, “Look around you.”

Matt took a look around and he realized he was no longer on the sidewalk, at night. But, that he was in moderately large, well lit, moderate dirty, hallway, that was twenty feet across and ten feet high.

Matt did not know the depth of the hallway, because he was standing in front of the end of the hallway, which dead-ended in a large, translucent window. Though, he did not notice anyone, beside the two men with him, within his field of view.

Matt then looked out the window, and what he saw surprised him to his core.

Matt quietly stated, in slight shock at what he saw, he quietly stated, “No way.”

Matt then walked between Pedro and Matthew, as he approached the large window, to get a closer look outside.

Pedro and Matthew did not stop Matt, as he passed by them. And they turned to look at what had caught Matt's attention.

Outside the window, they saw that it was daytime. With sunlight parting through a cityscape, in the distance, around them.

But, this was not a modern cityscape or Pedro and Matt's era. Nor, even the cityscape of Matthew's era. The buildings they saw were super-large skyscrapers, which rose above the cloud lines below them. With the towers reaching even miles higher above the clouds, with the three men have no way to tell how tall the buildings were under the cloud line.

And from where they were standing, they could see they are about half way up in the super-large skyscraper, from the cloud line to the top of the building.

But, that was not all. Between the super-large skyscraper they were in, and the other equally large and tall buildings where several different traffic lanes of hover vehicles.

Each lane was four rows wide, with hover vehicles going in one direction. The direction of the hover vehicles of each hover lane above that lane of traffic, that was used as a point of reference, went ninety degrees clockwise. While, the direction of traffic of each hover lane below they lane that used as a point of reference went ninety degrees counterclockwise.

This gave where traffic, when above or below the other lanes. the illusion of being several crisscrossed spirals, that when up, to nearly the top of the buildings, to all the way down to near where the cloud line was.

Pedro cracked a grin, as he look out at the view. He happily thought, 'I have wanted to come here, since I saw the first movie of the prequel. And this view does not disappoint.'

Matthew continued looking out the window, as he asked, “Do you remember that conversation we had on traveling to places that would be fun to go to?”

Pedro commented, “Yes.”

Matthew said, “Thank you.”

Pedro replied, “You're welcome.” Pedro looked at Matt, and a thought occurred to him. He mentally reflected, 'It is possible we were sent to that time, in after midnight, in the Gargoyle's reality, to pick up Matt. With fate arranging for him to come with us. If that is the case. I will do my best to explain things to him. And walk him into our group. Though, I will keep these thoughts to myself. No one likes to be fates errand boy. And neither do I.'

Meanwhile, Matt was still in slight shock at what he was seeing. He thought, 'Okay. Pull yourself together, Matt. After everything, you, Elisa, Goliath, and the others have been through, you knew that this might happen to you some day. That you might get accidentally sent to some other place, or time. And it looks like I am either on an alien world, or in the distant future.'

Matt turned back around to look at Pedro and Matthew, as he continued his thoughts, 'Either way, I know who brought you here. And they can likely can get you back home, just as quickly. But, first I need to know where, or when, here is.'

Matt asked, in a slightly unnerved tone of voice, “Where are we? Or, when are we?”

Pedro and Matthew turned their attention from the window, back to Matt.

Pedro thought, 'At least he is intelligent enough to ask both the when, and where, questions. And there is no point in hiding the obvious.' He calmly answered, “Welcome to city planet of Coruscant, of the Star Wars reality.”

Matthew then realized something, as he continued to look at Matt, and outside the window behind Matt. He thought, with concern, 'Oh. I was so caught up in the moment, that I did not realize what Pedro meant. Now, I understand, Pedro. This is one of the few places where someone with powerarmor would not immediately come. Because the locals are use to people with powearmor. And some of them can take down those with poweramor. Especially, force users.'

Meanwhile, Matt forced himself to focus, as he calmly asked, “Star Wars? As in the movies?”

Pedro replied, “Yes. We have just traveled across realities, in an instant.”

Matt flatly responded, “Okay. I know about the Phoenix Gate, and that instant time travel is possible. But, jumping to a fiction reality is a stretch, even for someone with my life experiences.”

Pedro stated, “I am sure that is the case. But, since you have accidentally hitched a ride with us, there is much you need to know.”

Matthew said, “Yes. My friend is correct. Welcome to the multiverse. Do not worry. The shock of being in a fictional reality will wear off in a few hours. It did for all of us. But, if you want to having a good freakout. That is completely natural for the situation. None of us will hold any such actions against you.”

Matt calmly replied, “I'll pass.” He looked around, as he inquired, with a bit of curiosity, “So, we are in the Star Wars reality?”

Pedro stated, “Yep. That we are. And I do know who you are. And let's just say, given what you have been through, this is a step up from your usual week. And that is saying something.”

Matt stopped looking around, as he realized, in thought, 'Okay. This is interesting. And he The black haired man claims to know who I am. But, the important thing is, I need to get back home.' Matt turned to look at Pedro and Matthew, as he demanded, “Okay. This has been fun and interesting. But, please take me back home, now.”

Pedro said, “No. I am not going to knowingly set foot in the Gargoyles reality, again.”

Matt replied, “The what?...” He thought, 'Oh, my home reality. I will find out why they call my reality that, in a minute. Right now, I need to know why they won't take me home.' He inquired, “Why not?”

Pedro answered, “Multiple reasons. Beside, that man in black power armor. We can start with David and Fox Xanatos, Oberon and Titania, Demona, Thailog, Sevarius. And that is the short list. That is not even counting the secret organizations, and wildcards of your home reality.”

Matt thought, 'Okay. Those are good reasons. Though, I have a bad feeling that how he knows those reasons, and why he called my reality, the Gargoyles reality, are tied together. And I have to find out why.'

Matt inquired, “Those are good reasons. Though, why do you called my home reality, the Gargoyles reality? For that matter, where did you learn the names of those people?”

Matthew said, “You might want to sit down for this next part.”

Matt stated, “Between my partner and I. We have seen it all. I can handle what you have to say.”

Pedro responded, “No. Detective Matt Bluestone of the NYPD. You think you have seen it all. But, you have not even scratched the surface of what is out here, in the multiverse.”

Matt thought, 'Well, that confirms that these two men do know who I am. And I am further away from home than I thought. This is not good. Still, I have to know.'

Matt flatly respected, “Just tell me.”

Pedro said, “Okay, Mister Bluestone...”

Matt spoke up, “Given the circumstances. Matt, is fine.”

Pedro stated, “Okay, Matt. The reason I know about you and the others, is that you are from a fictional series titled, Gargoyles. It is a cartoon in my reality. A very good cartoon at that.”

Matt was quiet for a few seconds, as he thought, with skepticism, 'A cartoon?... This guy claims that that my reality is a cartoon. Okay. Given all the weird, I can go with my reality being a work of fiction... But, a cartoon... After everything my partner, our friends, and I, have been through...'

Matt said, “But... Okay, I can see my reality as a work of fiction. But, not as a cartoon. My reality can be pretty dark.”

Pedro said, “I know. The Gargoyles series was considered groundbreaking in many respects.”

Matt requested, “Can you prove this?”

Pedro stated, in a sober tone of voice, “Now, I want you know, I do not mean this as insulting, in any way, to your friends. But, this is one of the few things the Gargoyles series covered, that I doubt very few people know about.”

“As I said, the series was groundbreaking. It is one, of a very few series to show a main character getting shot, by a gun, no less. Though, it was the only one I can think of that showed the red blood afterward, with the surgery, and the touch and go, near death situation that a shooting can bring.”

“What I am talking about is the shooting of Detective Elisa Maza. Your partner. Or, former partner.”

Matt spoke up, “I am still her partner. And she is doing fine.”

Pedro went onto say, “Okay. Your partner. And that is nice. Anyway, that is the incident that lead to Captain Maria Chavez assigning you as Elisa's new partner.”

“As you can guess. The title of the episode is called, Deadly Force.”

“What most people in your reality don't know is that Elisa' shooting was not a mob hit. It was an accidental shooting, by Broadway. Whom should have not been holding a gun, until he learned about how to use a gun, properly.”

“And good case of why learning gun safety is an idea. Also, after that, Elisa started keeping her gun in a safe, when she got home, from work.”

Matt thought, 'There are only four people on Earth that know that. Elisa, Broadway, and Goliath. Broadway one time mentioned that event to me, when we get into a discussion on gun safety. And I agreed to keep that secret. None of us would tell anyone that secret, except for someone we trusted. And the fact this man, this stranger clearly knows the details. Do lead support that what he is saying is true. That my reality is a cartoon, titled Gargoyle.'

'And he is right on other points too. Broadway should have not been holding that gun, because he did not know how to use a gun, nor gun safety. And in the aftermath of that shooting, I was assigned as Elisa's partner. And since then, Elisa keeps her gun in a safe, when she comes home.'

'Though, if this is the case, there is one thing I need to do, before I search on a way to get home.'

Matt said, “Okay. I believe you. I would like to see this Gargoyles series.”

Pedro replied, “All in good time.” He thought, 'I am glad he took the news well.'

Matt inquired, “Fine. Still, if you know all that, do you happen to know who was in the powerarmor? And why he was there?”

Matthew shook his head, as Pedro answered, “No. We do not. Nor, are we sure why he was there. Nor, who he was after.” He thought, 'Though, he might be looking for us, over our accidentally stumbling into that weapons depot. Boomers record what they see and hear. And our break in was probably sent to the people that control the boomers. Though, I am not going to say anything until I am sure. And after Matthew and I get to know Matt a little better.'

Matt asked, “Okay. I believe you. So, who are you?”

Matthew stated, “Matthew McCormick. Matthew, is fine. I am a lawyer, of the late twenty-third century. But, I have spent some time on my friends reality, and time, in his home town. And I can safely say, that except for the aliens, the space travel, and the off world colonies, where I am from it is not that much different than your reality and time.”

Matt thought, 'I just have to ask.' He questioned, “Really, Matthew? And where are you from?”

Matthew calmly said, “The Babylon Five reality. To be exact, before I met Pedro, I was living in Mars Dome One, and I was working as a lawyer for Edgar Industries.”

Matt raised an eyebrow, as he thought, 'I wonder if he was working there, after the series ended. Under a very specific man. And the time line would point to him working for that man.'

Matt casually asked, with interest in his tone of voice, “Under CEO Michael Garibaldi?”

Matthew thought, 'He has seen the series. Cool.' He responded, “Yep. I directly worked for the old man, himself. He even personally hired me for my job.”

Matt thought, 'There is no reason he would make up such a lie. And to be personally hired by Garibaldi, says a lot of good things about his character.' He inquired, “Nice. So, what is Garibaldi like?”

Matthew flatly replied, “Mister Garibaldi is a badass, all the way.” He then kept himself from chuckling, as he mentally added, 'Except as a little girl. But, I am not going to mention that, to you, just yet. I will keep that to myself, for now.'

Matt responded, “I will keep that in mind.” He turned to Pedro, as he inquired, “And you? What fictional reality are you from?”

Pedro said, “None that I know of. But, given everything I have seen, and been through, at this point, I do wonder, from time to time, if my reality is a work of fiction. Anyway, I am Police Chief Pedro Del Soto, of the eastern coast, island city of De La Plata Podrido, Mexico. From the early twenty-first century. Pedro, is fine.”

Matt questioned, “A mexican cop?” He thought, 'He could be trouble.'

Pedro answered, “Yes. And I loath bribery.” He thought, with mild disgust, more towards his own people than Matt, 'I hate the reputation that mexican cops are corrupt. And are greedy, to the point of welcoming bribes.'

Matt thought, 'Okay. If that is the case. I might be able to trust him.' He responded, “That is nice. So, how did you two end up here?”

Matthew and Pedro looked at each other. Then, they looked back at Matt, as they deadpanned, in unison, “Long story.”

Matt requested, “I bet. And we have nothing better to do, so why don't you tell me?”

Pedro replied, “Okay. But, to make things easier, we have a few questions for you. The first question is, have you seen the Black Lagoon series?”

Matt answered, “Yes. I have seen the anime, and read the manga. Not a bad action series, about modern day pirates and smugglers.”

Matthew asked, “And the omakes?”

Matt commented, “I would like to know what that the guy was on, when he made those.”

Matthew said, “I will take that as a, yes.”

Pedro stated, “Well Matt. You knowing all that makes my explanations a lot simpler.” He thought, 'I almost might as well use the opportunity to find out what Gargoyle's timeline Matt is from, when the timeline branched at the end of Season Two, after the Hunter's Moon trilogy. Is he a part of the much railed against, Goliath Chronicles? Or, he is from the short, but interesting continuation comic timeline? Or, is he from an alternate timeline?... Oh, I know how to find out.'

Pedro stated, “The next question is. Due to your reality having multiple timelines. I need to know which timeline you are from. And the easiest way to ask that I need to know if Thailog, and the other clones, are still around?”

Matt replied, “Timelines? As in plural?”

Pedro responded, “Yes. And this is a simple question that allows me to have an answer to the timelines issue, without asking you to divulge to much private information you have.”

Matt thought, 'So, there are things that they don't know about us.' He said, “That is understandable. And yes, the clones are still around. Also, except for Thailog, the other clones turned out be decent people. But, when it comes to Thailog, he has been thorn in our sides for a long time.”

Matthew politely requested, “Please, explain?”

Matt responded, “Okay. A few years back, when Thailog took control of a number of very politically powerful secret organizations, for a couple of months. But, my friends and I were able to stop him, without to much trouble.”

Pedro mentally reflect, 'You are not going to tell me exactly which organizations because you likely work for some of them. But, your loyalty to them is more a matter of convenience, where as you are genuinely loyal to you partner and friends.'

'Also, this means that you are from the comic timeline, which is very good. Though, this also means the Time Dancer plot happened to Brooklyn. And even though Brooklyn lost his left eye, he got a wife and kids. So, it worked out for him.'

Pedro stated, “Fine. That answers my questions. To answer your question. And to make a long story short. The characters in the Black Lagoon series, and the characters of a few other series, got their hands on reality traveling technology. And it got messy for a while there.”

Matt thought, 'Given those characters, I bet calling it messy is an understatement.'

Pedro continued, “And when all was said and done, many of them ended up moving to my home reality. To be specific, my home town.”

Matt casually said, “That explains why you are out here.” He thought, 'I would want to live in the same town as a number of them, either.'

Pedro responded, “Yes. And you will have to tell us that story about Thailog, over some beers, some time.”

Matt replied, “Sure.” He tone of voice then turned sarcastic, as he asked, “Still, since I will need to be returned home some time, aren't you going ask me about the date of where I came from?”

Pedro said, “No need. We saw the date on a discarded newspaper. When we left you reality, it was October thirteenth... Well, fourteenth, two thousand nine. Which is a few years in the past, compared to the time I left my home reality.”

Matt thought, 'Yep. Pedro is a cop. And he is a few years in the future, compared to the present time I left, in my reality. Matthew is a few centuries in the future. Still, there is an issue I need to ask them about.'

Matt inquired, “Yes. That is the date. Now, I know you personally refuse to take me home. But, when I find someone to take me home, is there going to be any problems getting me back home, within a reasonable amount of time, since I left. My partner and her friends had a similar experience, and they gone for a number of months.”

Matthew thought, 'I would probably not be able to keep my job, if I was gone for that long.'

Pedro stated, “I know all about the Avalon mystery tour that Elisa, Goliath, Angela, and Bronx, went on.” He mentally reflected, 'Good storyline. But, when those episodes first aired, those that aired the series decided to repeat it, they repeated in the middle of the journey, so for the viewers, that journey felt like it was longer than it actually was in the series.'

'Which is kind of ironic.'

Meanwhile, Matt thought, 'I have to keep in mind that these men probably know some private information about myself and my friends. But, clearly not everything. I just have to find out what they know. And seeing the Gargoyle's series itself would be a good start in answering my questions. Though, it is best that I keep in their good side, for now. And in the meantime, I can find a few answers to questions I have about my friends.'

Matt requested, “I guess you would. Elisa told me some stuff that happened to her, and the others. But, she didn't tell me everything. You wouldn't happen to be willing to fill in the gaps for me.”

Pedro cracked a grin, as he said, “Sure. I would be more than happy to. Do you remember when you first met, Elisa? And how she ticked off a list of mythic creatures, and other beings, she did not believe in?

Matt replied, “Yes.”

Pedro casually stated, “On that journey, she met them all, and then some.”

Matt let out a laughed. He then said, “And she knew about the gargoyles, beforehand. Talk about tempting fate.”

Pedro responded, “Exactly. And while I cannot guarantee you will be back five minutes after you left. I think a few weeks to a month is workable. Though, it is possible it might be a little longer.”

Matt said, “I can live with that.” He thought, 'As long as it is shorter than three months. I can probably talk my way into keeping my job.'

Meanwhile, Matthew looked around them, and he noticed a few aliens, looking in their direction. The aliens sitting against a wall, beside each other, several meters away from Matthew, Pedro, and Matt.

Matthew turned back to Matt and Pedro, as he stated, “Guys. I believe we are attracting unwanted attention. I think it is best we continue this conversation somewhere, more private.”

Pedro and Matt turned to look at Matthew, as Pedro complimented, “Good idea.”

Matt said, “I agree. By the way, it sounds like you know the Black Lagoon characters?”

Pedro thought, 'He better not be asking for what I think he is going to ask.' He said, “Yes. We know them. But, we prefer to avoid them.”

Matt replied, “That is understandable.”

Matthew inquired, “Still, why do you ask?”

Pedro thought, with annoyance, 'You really should not have taken that bait, Matthew.'

Matt answered, “There are a few of them I wanted to meet in person.”

Pedro mentally grumbled, 'Yea. He was going to asking what I expected him to ask.'

Matt continued, “Specifically, I wanted to meet, Chang. I found he had good taste in clothing. And he was really good at kicking ass.”

A thought then occurred to Pedro, as he took a closer look at Matt's clothing.

Pedro thought, with mild wonderment, 'Change the colors of the clothing. Replace the dress shoes with loafers, and add the white scarf, and sunglasses, and Matt is wearing the same clothing as Chang, in his male form. And Chang was once a cop, as well.'

'As a character, Matt could have partly inspired the creation of Chang. And it is possible. The Gargoyles series predates the original Black Lagoon manga series by nearly a decade.'

'Though, I am not going to say a word about this to anyone. Doing so will make Matt want to meet Chang more. And if Chang finds out, he might want to get to know Matt more. Which would increase the chance of one of the major league badasses of Matt's home reality, getting a hold of reality traveling technology. That would be very bad... Though, I am sure the Xanatos family would like use it just to make money and have fun. The others would likely do far worse.'

'The one thing that Lee did right, as twisted and evil as it was. That in Book Two of her stories, she showed how dangerous genre savvy badasses, with reality traveling technology, could be.'

'And there is no point in telling Matthew, because he might worry. The rest just don't need to know, because some of them might talk. Though, it is best to humor him. And if the situation does happen. And he meets Chang. I will not stop the meeting. But, I might try to attend, to steer the meeting in a direction that does not lead to more trouble.'

Pedro diplomatically said, “If the opportunity presents itself, we will see what we can do.”

Matt replied, “That is all I ask.”

Matthew commented, “Since we know most of the cast. It needs to be said that there are others in that cast that you might not want to meet.”

Matt questioned, “Such as Revy and Roberta?”

Matthew casually stated, “Well, Revy is a given. But, Roberta is nice enough, as long as you don't piss her off.”

Matt replied, “I will take your word for that.”

Matthew complimented, “Wise move.”

Just then, the three men heard someone say gibberish to Pedro's left side.

Matthew, Pedro, and Matt, turned in the direction of the sounds, to see two alien, humanoid, men, in casual clothing, standing five feet away from them. With the two alien having snuck up on the three humans, while they were talking.

Each of the aliens were holding a blaster pistol, that was pointed at them.

All the three human men chose to remain still.

The alien to Pedro's left side of spoke in alien language that none of the three human men understood.

As Matthew, Pedro, and Matt, continued looking at the two alien men, Matthew stated, “I guess we waited too long to leave.”

Matt commented, “Sometimes that happens.”

Pedro said, “Guys, let me do the talking.”

At Pedro's request, Matthew and Matt suddenly when quiet.

Pedro calmly said, “I apologize. But, we only understand galactic basic.” He thought, 'Which is practically the same as human english. One of the things that Star Trek has over Star Wars, is the Federation has universal translators embedded throughout their buildings, and ships. In contrast, those here only have translator droids. And while one can know a number of language, everyone needs translator droid to understand them all, unless one is force sensitive. But, that is basically cheating.'

The alien to Pedro's right asked, in galactic basic, “What are you doing in our territory?”

Pedro thought, with annoyance, 'Great. We come half way across the multiverse, and we run into gang members. Aliens, yes. But, still gang members. Some things are the same, no matter where one goes.'

Matt thought, 'Great. I just left New York City, and I find myself on an alien world that makes New York City look like a one streetlight town. And now I getting mugged. There is a certain irony to this situation.'

Matthew thought, 'Okay. Coming here may have gotten the powerarmored guy off our back. Though, I am not sure. He could still be tracking us. But, I still really need to talk to Pedro about his choices in travel destinations.'

The alien, on Pedro's left side, again spoke in an alien language, that the three human men did not understand.

Pedro calmly requested, “Pardon me. But, what did he just say?”

The alien to their right flatly stated, “That you all dress strangely. Strange enough to bring to the boss. Your weapons. Now. Slowly.”

Pedro look over at Matt, as he said, “Give them your weapon.”

Matt continued to look at the two aliens, as he thought, 'They have the drop on us. And I am sure they will fire, if we do not do as they say. So, I might, as well.'

Matt nodded once, in response.

Pedro thought, 'I will keep my hold out. Though, I cannot reach for it, quick enough to take down these two. But, if we are heading anywhere, it will be by an elevator. And in such a tight space, we can jump them then, with little risk to ourselves. Also, this has a round in the chamber, with the hammer cock. Though, the hammer safety is on. So, we should be okay. But, I better warn him, to prevent any accidents.'

Pedro used his right hand to slowly reach into his coat. He pulled out his semi-automatic pistol. He then held out his pistol, with his right hand holding the grip below the trigger guard.

Pedro pointed his pistol in a downward direction, as he warned, “Careful. It is loaded, with one in the chamber. Pleaes, do not mass with the safety, nor trigger.”

The alien, to Pedro’s right, commented, in galactic basic, “I was not planning too.” The alien then took a step close to the human men. He used his free hand, which was his left hand, to gently take the pistol from Pedro.

Matthew saw this. He thought, 'Smart move on not giving them your hold out, Pedro. And since you gave them a weapon, I doubt they will check you.'

The alien to their right looked at the pistol in his left hand, while the other alien kept his eyes, and weapon, trained on the three humans.

The alien carefully holding Pedro's pistol, looked at it, as he commented, “I have never seen a weapon like this before... Yes. The boss will want meet you.”

The alien then stuffed the pistol on the right side of his belt, between his belt and pants, right in front of the side holster for his blaster. He then looked up, at he ordered, “Now, the rest of you?”

Pedro stated, “Only the redhead and I are armed. The brown haired man is not armed.”

The alien to their right look at Matthew for a few seconds. He then commented, “Yea. You don't look like a fighter.”

Matthew did not response.

The alien to their right then turned to Matt, as he ordered, “Your weapon. Now.”

Matt slowly reached into his coat, and he pulled out his semi-automatic pistol.

When Pedro saw the pistol, he immediately recognized model, as he thought, 'That is a Smith & Wesson model five nine four six, semi-automatic pistol. The pistol seems to have been blued to have a black coated finish. The pistol fires nine millimeter rounds. And its ammo magazine can hold up to fourteen rounds. I remember seeing in the Gargoyles series, that Matt used a semi-revolver. But, the animation never gave enough detail to see which pistol models he and Elisa used in the Gargoyles series. And this makes sense, given the NYPD does allow the use of that model five nine four six used for their active duty personnel.'

'Though, the one thing I don't like about that weapon is there is no safety lever on the pistol. The decocking level was removed from this model of pistol. Unlike the original model it was based on. Which is the Smith & Wesson model five nine zero six. Even though my Sistema is an older pistol, it still has a hammer safety on it.'

'And it is very possible that Elisa used the same type of blued black, Smith & Wesson model five nine four six, semi-automatic pistol as Matt uses. Both Matt and Elisa's semi-automatic pistols looked the same, in the Gargoyles series. And that lack of a safety feature was possibly a major contributing factor to Elisa accidentally getting shot, early in the Gargoyles series.'

'If we end up running with Matt for a while. I may have try to talk him into starting to use a gun that has at least some basic safety features. Though, that is for later. We need to get out of this mess.'

Matt then handed his pistol to the alien.

The alien then put the pistol in the left side of his belt, between the belt and his pants.

The alien to their right then took a step back to stand beside his alien friend.

The alien to the right then motioned the barrel of his blaster to his right, towards a set of elevators that were by the wall.

The alien to their right, ordered, “Head to the lifts. Single file We are taking a little trip.”

Pedro walked first, with Matthew behind him, and Matt pulling up the rear.

The two aliens walked side by side, right behind the human men.

When they came within ten feet of the elevators, the door to the closest elevator opened up

Pedro thought, 'Nice trick. Though, I doubt the doors are set to open for just anyone.'

The alien speaking basic ordered, “All of you to the right side of the elevator.”

The three humans walked into the elevator, they then filed into the right side of the small room.

When the came to a stop, the three men turned around to face the left side of the elevator.

The two aliens kept their blaster pistols trained on the three men, and they slowly entered the elevator, and back away to the left wall of the elevator bay. As the two aliens came to a stop, as they stood side by side.

The three humans and the two aliens look at each other, as a second later, the elevator doors closed.

The occupants of the elevator then felt elevator begin to move.

Matthew calmly inquired, “Where are we going?”

The alien that spoke basic answered, “To a lower level. Also, be aware that this room has hidden cameras, and microphones, that are tied to the same security room that is controlling this lift. Trying anything against us would be a bad idea on your part. A number of the levels this lift can go to are not very pleasant places to visit.”

Pedro thought, 'Well, that kills the plan on rushing them.'

Matt asked, “How long until we reach your destination?”

The alien answered, “The level we are heading to is not to far down. A few minutes. And while we are pointing blasters at you, you don't want to meet some of the horrors on the lower sections of the planet. So please, behave.”

Matt replied, “We will take your word on that.”

Everyone in the elevator remained silent for around the five minutes, until they all felt the elevator come to a stop.

The doors to the elevator then opened.

The alien whom spoke basic said, “The organization we are with controls this section. Be aware. We have cameras, and men, everywhere. If you try anything, a sniper can kill from a distance.”

Pedro thought, 'That is not a bad set up. And this is clearly not just a gang. They guys are with an organized crime group. Who? I do not know. Likely either the Hutts, or member of the Black Sun. I am not sure which. And I have played the Dark Forces game series enough to know these type of snipers are no joke. They can hit just about anything they want to, at a distance. And even Jedi have problems deflecting, and avoiding, their shots.'

The alien continued, “Now, since we control this area, we like to maintain a certain amount of decorum. We are going to holster our weapons, and you are going to follow me to meet our boss. My friend will be following behind you three.”

“It is clear you are not from this planet. And you are new here. If that was not the case, then you would not have entered our territory. So, if you try something, we both know there is no escape for you. But, on the other hand, if you play your cards right, our boss might take a liking to you. And you might walk away with a few extra credits in your pockets.”

“Do you understand?”

Matthew commented, with a bit of intrigue in his tone of voice, “You make an interesting proposition.”

Matt requested, in a casual tone of voice, “I would like to meet this boss of yours”

Pedro thought, 'Once we get moving, I could try to use my reality device, and escape with Matthew and Matt. But, I want my Sistema back, first. So, I might as well go along with them.'

Pedro shrugged, as he said, “I have no better places to go to, nor be at.”

The alien cracked a grin, as he responded, “Good. Now, a word of advise. Do not make eye contact with those we pass by. We control this area, but there are a few crazies out there that might try something, if they are provoked.”

Pedro replied, “Thank you for the warning.”

Both of the alien men holstered their blaster pistols. Then, the alien that was speaking to them walked first out of the elevator.

Pedro followed behind the alien. With Matthew being Pedro. And Matt behind Matthew.

The other alien then followed behind the three humans.

A few seconds after the second alien exited the elevator, the doors to the elevator closed.

As Pedro, and the others, followed the lead alien, Pedro noticed that the hallway they were not in was much smaller than the hallway they were in beforehand. And this hallway was much dirtier, and lacked windows. But fortunately, there was lit ceiling lights along the hallway. Though, a few of the lights were out. And he did not see anyone else around them.

After about a minute walking down the hallways, and turning a few corners, they came to the outside of the building, which was an alcove with guardrails.

The ambient illumination was just enough to see around, but not much else.

The alien man then turned right, as they continued walking, with Pedro and the others following behind.

From over the guardrail, to their left, all of them saw that they were heading for a large, open air bridge, that span the distance between the large skyscraper they were on, with the skyscraper beside them.

The bridge was roughly twenty feet across and fifty feet across.

The entrance to the bridge was only about forty feet away from them.

A minute later, as they reached the bridge, and started walking across it, they got a chance to look up into the sky. They saw that they were so far down, below the cloud line, that the buildings and clouds above them, blocked out direct sunlight, and created more of a perpetual twilight, than actual daytime.

The men then turned back to look in front of them.

As they made their way to the other end of the bridge, they saw the alcove of the building they were entering, on the other side of the bridge, was much larger and more open than the alcove from the building they had come from.

Inside the alcove was a sort of market place with, street vendors. A few of the vendors sold various types of food.

For illumination, there was mostly neon style likely in and around the market place, that gave it an eerie, multicolored look, but the lighting did provide plenty of illumination.

As they got closer to the market place, the smell of the food was not that appetizing to Pedro, Matthew, and Matt.

Pedro thought, 'I should have known that alien food was not going to smell that good. I guess that is why no one that I know of, from other realities, ever bring over some alien food to eat. Still, I need to focus on the here and now. This location is like walking down the market place in the movie, Blade Runner. With this place likely just as dangerous, or more so. I am sure that Matthew and Matt also realize this. And this means we will have to be mindful of our surroundings, or we could wind up being killed.'

At the front of the group, the alien man lead them down one of the paths, between vendor shops. And the three humans so found that this path let to even more vendors.

As the men continued to walk, they passed by wide ranged of people, from the raggedy homeless humans and aliens. To well dressed individuals that gave off a presence of being fairly dangerously.

Pedro, Matthew, and Matt were careful to heed the alien's advise, and they not look to closely at the people they passed by.

When they reached the end of the path, they saw the path dead ended into another path that went to ways perpendicular to the path they were on. The alien that was leading them, turn to right, as he continued walking down the next path.

Pedro and the others following him.

Then, after a few more turns, the alien came to a stop in front of an entrance to some sort of shop.

As they came to a stop, three human turned to look at the entrance to the shop. They saw that the entrance itself was an open, curved archway.

There was neon tube lighting around the sides and top of the archway, with a sign in an alien language on the top of the archway, in pink neon tube lights.

As the three human men looked at the sign, Matt casually asked, “Does anyone know what that sign says?”

Matthew answered, “I do. It is in galactic basic. Some style lettering and wording as English. Only the symbols are different. It says, Ziro's Fall. And that is Ziro. Z. I. R. O. Not, zero, as in the number, zero.” He mentally added, 'Though, Ziro's name is likely a play on the number, zero, given how much of a loser he was. The only real skill he had over most other hutts was that he spoke basic. And he could not even turn that to his advantage.'

Matt and Pedro looked at Matthew.

Matthew noticed their stares, as he shrugged. He said, “They had a language course on this place in college. And I needed the extra couple of credits to graduate.”

Pedro rhetorically teased, “And who is the fanboy now?”

Matthew let out a laugh.

Matt inquired, “Who is Ziro?

Pedro though, 'Given we are right beside a could of alien gangsters, we have to keep this vague.'

Pedro answered, “A hutt that died turned the Clone Wars.” He mentally added, 'And this tracked with this being Annie's reality. Cad Bane was from the Clone Wars series. And he was in Lee's stories. And I hope we don't run into him. Because he is nearly on par with Roberta, in the badass department.'

Matt replied, “Oh...”

Matthew pointed out, “This also means that there is a very good chance that the Empire is presently in power.”

Matt deadpanned, in a slightly whinny tone of voice, “Just great. If Vader shows up, I am telling him everything. I'm just along for the ride. To be honest, he cannot be any worse than some of the psychos I have faced in my life. And you know I am telling the truth.”

Pedro turned to Matt, as sighed. He responded, “Yes. You are. But, I wouldn't worry about Vader.”

Pedro thought, 'Since we have been running along the same realities and timelines as in Lee's stories, it is a safe bet that this Star Wars reality is the alternate reality that Annie was kidnapped, between the prequel and original movie trilogies. That is both good and bad.'

'Depending on the situation. The good is that Lee would be correct, in that Palpatine will never find an enforcer equal to Vader. While a few would be more powerful. None could have the proper balance of commanding presence and fear as Vader, while still willing to serve someone else.'

'But, on the flip side, that means Palpatine's rule is more shaky, and weak leadership leads to more ruthless environments for everyone.'

The alien gangster, whom spoke basic, calmly said to them, “Please, stay quiet. You will have plenty of talking to do, after we go inside.”

The three human men turned to the alien, as they went silent.

The alien that has spoken to them then turned, walking inside in the archway entrance.

Pedro, Matthew, Matt, and the other alien with them, followed the first alien into the building.

They entered a lobby with two large alien bouncers standing in front of them, to the side of an open door that lead deeper into the building.

The alien in front stop in front of the guards. He then said something in an alien language.

The alien turned around, to face the three human men, as he said, in basic, “Come.” After which, he continued pass the door, that the two large aliens were guarding.

Pedro, Matthew, Matt, and the alien behind them, followed.

The men saw that the doorway lead into a short hallway, which exited into a large room.

As Pedro looked around the room, he quickly realized, in thought, 'This is a nightclub.'

Matthew and Matt also had similar revelations. Though, all three men kept their thoughts to themselves.

As they continued to follow the alien man into the room, they saw there was square dance floor in the center of the room, with tables and chairs set around the dance floor. Also, there were other doors along the walls, that lead other parts of the nightclub. And there were large blue curtains, that hid an alcove on the other side of the dance floor.

The alien man then lead them onto the dance floor.

As Pedro continued to look around, he noticed, the lighting on the dance floor was will lit, but the lighting at the tables around the dance floor were dark. And the music playing in the background was a soft melody. And that there are only a few customers at the tables, and no one was on the dance floor.

Pedro thought, 'Well, it is daytime outside. So, we must have come on an off hour.'

Pedro then became aware of the armed guards, standing against the walls of the room. The guards were various types of humanoid aliens. Most were men, though a few were women. They were wearing what passed for casual clothing for their species.

Pedro thought, 'They have quite a few guards here. But, that is fully justified, if their criminal boss is here. I have my hold out pistol. But, with only five bullets. Our odds are not good. It is best to see if we can talk our way out of this problem.'

When the reached the center of the dance floor, the alien gangster in front of them, turned around. He the said, “Stop.”

Pedro walked to the left, as Matthew came up behind him, and Matt came to a stop to Matthew's right side. With all three human men standing side by side.

The alien then turned back around, and headed to the left side of the wall in front of Pedro, Matthew, and Matt, by the right corner of the blue curtains.

The other alien man that had been with them, walked around them, to their left, with the alien coming to a stop on the left corner of the blue curtains.

Both men turned around to face Pedro, Matthew, and Matt.

Something then occurred to Pedro, as he tapped his right foot onto the floor beneath him. He felt that the floor was solid.

Pedro happily thought, 'Good. No trapdoor beneath us, that leads to a rancor pit.'

Suddenly, in front of them, they heard a robotic voice say, in basic, “I present to you. Jiro the Hutt.”

The curtains them paired open from the sides to reveal a large hutt alien lying on a bed of cushions, on his left side, while facing them.

There was droid standing a few feet to the right of the large head of the hutt. The droid looked similar to translator droid C3-PO. Only this droid was painted black.

Pedro thought, with mild annoyance, 'Great. We are going to have to deal with a hutt. A member of a species that are basically, giant, arrogance, lazy, slugs, with arms.'

'There are only a handful of hutts I would actually respect, because they do something. Most hutts prefer other people to do the work, including slavery. While they reap all the profits, and other rewards.'

'Along with this, only few of hutts, actually believe in being physically healthy. The rest believe that becoming fat and physically weak is a sign of success.'

'And the worst part about hutts is that they are hermaphrodites. They don't need to mate with others to have children. But, that doesn't stop them from doing so. And if one hutt survives, their species will survive.'

'Take all that into account. I would rather talk to a Ferengi, of a Star Trek reality. At least, most of them work for a living. Even the Grand Nagus was known to personally work on business matters across the Alpha Quadrant.'

'And as corrupt as they are, the Ferengi live by codes that are their laws. As twisted as the Rules of Acquisition were. Until Grand Nagus Rom got a hold of them. Though, they still abide by that set of rules.'

'On the other hand, the hutts prefer to play fast and loose with the sets of rules they live by. And that is one of the main reasons I cannot stand them. Because more of them have no honor.'

The hutt spoke, in huttese, as his droid translated for him, “I am Jiro the Hutt. I have already been informed of your presence. And this is my territory, on Coruscant.”

Pedro thought, 'It seems that droid is translating Jiro. Word for word. That is good. I don't like pontification from translators.'

Pedro chose his words carefully, as he said, “We did not mean to intrude.”

Jiro spoke, as the droid translated, “Of course not. Still, why are did you scuff my dance floor? I heard you tapping on my floor. Having that floor polished every morning is not cheap.”

Pedro quickly responded, “I apologize. I was just making sure there was not a trap door beneath us.”

Matthew thought, 'Yea. I wondered about that too.'

Matt thought, 'Pedro clearly seems to know what he is doing. So, I will let him do the talking.'

Jiro chuckled a little. He then said, with the droid translating, “Ah. So, you have heard of Jabba?”

Pedro calmly replied, “Where we come from, everyone had heard of Jabba the Hutt.”

Jiro inquired, as his droid translated, “Interesting. So, who are you?”

Pedro coyly replied, “We are travelers.”

Jiro retorted, with his droid translating, “But, from where? The nearest spaceport is a hundred kilometers from here. Yet, no one saw you enter the level that you were found on. And your dress, and mannerisms, are very odd.”

Pedro thought, 'Oh hell. Why not? You cannot give such a loaded question, in this situation. In this reality. To this type of person. Without the answer being...'

Pedro answered, with a straight face, “We are from a galaxy far, far away.”

It took all of Matthew and Matt's self control to not show any outward signs of their desire to laugh at Pedro's comment.

Jiro replied, as his droid translated, “So, you claim to be from beyond the galactic rim?”

Pedro said, “I know it is a tall claim.”

Jiro agreed, as the droid translated for him, “That it is.”

Pedro thought, 'I need to ask this question, while I still have the chance.' He asked, “Please, pardon me. But, I do have one question, for you. A small one. What is the galactic date?”

Jiro answered, with his droid translating, “Because you asked politely, I will answer you. Though, I have a feeling that if I told you the exact date, it would mean little to you. Because, the calenders kept getting changed. First, when Emperor Palpatine took power. And now, with the change over to next person that took charge. Though, to answer your question. From that galactic standard calender, it has been two years since the reign of Grand Admiral Thrawn began.”

Pedro replied, “Thank you. That answers my question.” He though, 'Yes. The has to be Annie's home reality. And it is good thing that Palpatine is out of power. But, I wonder what happened to get him kicked out? Maybe Annie came back to do the job, and then left again. That would be just like me. If I see her again, I might ask her. Not that I am complaining. When is comes to leadership, Thrawn, while pragmatic, is one of the best leaders in all of the Star Wars timelines.'

'Still, this is not the time and place to ask anymore questions.'

The alien whom had taken Pedro and Matt's pistols spoke up turned towards Jiro, as he spoke in basic, “We took these off of them.”

The alien then pulled one of the pistols from his belt. He held it up from everyone to see, and he then gently set it on the cushion in front of Jiro's torso and head. And he then pulled out the other pistol, held it up, and then set it down beside the first pistol.

(_)

In the left back side of the nightclub, in the shadows of the room, a man in cyan colored armor and helmet, was sitting in a chair, at a table, with his back to the wall. As each of the two semi-automatic pistols were held up, he immediately recognized what type of weapons they were. And he also recalled where the weapons came from.

And while the man was there for a possible job, this turn of events peaked his interest.

But, the man did not immediately react, as he listened in on the conversation, while he took a close look at the three strangely dress men standing in the center of the dance floor.

(_)

By the dance floor, Jiro looked at his subordinate, as he stated, while his droid translated, “Thank you.”

The alien gangster nodded once towards Jiro. He then turned around and when back to where he was standing, by the right corner of the blue curtains. When the alien man came to a stop, he turned around to face the three human men that were standing in the middle of the dance floor.

Jiro looked down at the pistols, as he commented, while he droid translated, “These are strange weapons. I have never before seen anything like them.”

Pedro cautioned, “They are what you would call slug throwers. And they are loaded. Do not press the triggers on them. They will go off.”

Jiro looked over at Pedro, as he responded, while his droid translated, “I appreciate your concern. Now, you say you are travelers. You are dressed in strange clothing, and you carry strange weapons. Could you be traveling by teleportation technology?”

While Matt, Matthew, and Pedro knew not to openly react to the question, Matthew thought, 'Oh hell.'

Meanwhile, Matt thought, 'This is not good.'

And Pedro thought, 'We have to play this very carefully, or we are all dead. Or worse.'

Jiro continued, as his droid translated, “There have been rumors, for years now, of those that come and go in the blink of an eye. Those that stay to the shadows. First, there were rumors of large blue droids, and brown droids.”

Pedro thought, 'The boomers Chang sent, years ago. This is Annie's home reality.'

Jiro stated, as his droid continued translating, “Then, there are rumors of others, that come and go as they please. With no evidence of how they came visit various worlds, nor how they left. These people are like ghosts, with no records. No traces that they ever existed at all.”

Pedro thought, 'So, there have been other travelers that have come here. And not just the boomers, nor Rock's group. And there were enough of them to start rumors. That is both interesting, and concerning. The only thing worse than the hutts getting their hands on reality tech, would be the Empire getting their hand on reality traveling technology. Especially, if a Sith was involved. We all dodged a bullet when Lee decided to reform Vader, when she used them. Or, we would all be in a whole lot more trouble.'

Jiro went onto say, with his droid translating, “But, all of these rumored individuals have the same things in common. Except for the droids, all of these travelers appear to be human. Or, at least near human. All of these people seem to know a lot, but so little, at the same time. They do not come in ships. They seem to only speak galactic basic, or some languages that even translator droids do not know of.”

Pedro mentally wondered, 'Like spanish, or chinese, or even japanese.'

Jiro continued, as his droid translated, “But, most of them cannot read galactic basic. Those that do, cannot do so very well. And it seems known of them to not know any local languages, besides galactic basic. Many dress strangely, act strangely, and use strange weapons. Such as yours... It is like they read about our cultures from somewhere. But, they have no personal experience with the cultures here.”

Pedro thought, with slightly worry and concern, 'You are closer on the truth than you realize.'

Jiro commented, as his droid translated, own of them to not know any local languages, besides galactic basic. Many dress If the rumors are true. Then, they must all come from somewhere. Maybe not even of this galaxy. Like you claim to be. Maybe not even of this time. Or, this very reality.”

own of them to not know any local languages, besides galactic basic. Many dress And even if it is only a case of teleportation across distances... Well, hyperdrive technology has its limitations. And there has always been rumors of teleportation technology existing. But, only for the select few. Mostly in the hands of alien species that are hidden, and do not wish to communicate with the rest of the galaxy.”

“All this being said, it does not really need to be stated what such technology can do for an entrepreneur, such as myself. Nor, does it need to be said how valuable this technology would be to anyone that is interested in its use.”

Pedro mentally grumbled, 'Of all the hutts we might have run into, why did we end up talking to an intelligent hutt?.. Jiro at least has an idea of how valuable instant, safe, teleportation technology across space would be. Even without the time and reality traveling attached to it. But, he does not realize how much trouble that technology could be for him. He could easily get in over his head...'

'And I know Jiro is playing with us. He is trying to get information from us, without being violent. He wants us to tip our hand in what we know. And then he will strike... And that is a typical tactic for a hutt... And I know a way to counter it... I need to dodge his questioning, without appearing to do so... Hold on, he mentioned Thrawn was in charge now.'

Pedro agreed, “You make several good assumptions. But, there is one person you did not take into account of. Thrawn. Whom we also know about. Thrawn is one of the most brilliant and clever individuals in this galaxy. If he is in charge, then it is safe to say that he has already put in place an intelligence organization that would have made Palpatine, or the Old Republic, envious.”

“As such, this place is to public to discuss such matters.”

Jiro raised eyebrow, as he complimented, while his droid translated, “An astute observation. Also, it is interesting how you mention the former emperor as, Palatine, and not, Emperor Palatine.”

Pedro realized his error, as he thought, 'Oh hell. I made a mistake. And he instantly caught onto it. Though, I might as well go with my error.'

Pedro stated, “He is not my emperor.”

Jiro chuckled a little. He then said, as his droid translated, “A good reply. It has been a while since I had a discussion with someone as sharp as you.”

Pedro replied, “Thank you.”

Jiro commented, as his droid continued translating, “Do not thank me just yet. I plan for us to have a much longer discussion, in private...”

Jiro suddenly trailed off, as he saw whom was walking towards him, from the left, back side of the room.

As the person passed to Pedro's left side, and across the front of the three men, as he headed towards Jiro.

Matt could not believe who he was seeing. He quietly asked, “Is that?...”

Matthew softly answered, “Yes.”

In front of the three human men was the armored, badass bounty hunter, Boba Fett.

Boba Fett was in his full armor and helmet, including the cyan color helmet, and his cyan colored armor plating over white cloth armor. With yellow shoulder pads. There was also a utility belt around his waist that had several pouches, both large and small. Along with this there was the blaster pistol holster on his holster located on the outer right side of his right thigh armor. And, he had on his jet pack, which was strapped to his back.

When Fett reached Jiro's head, he whisper something to the hutt.

Jiro replied something in huttese that the droid did not translated. Jiro then looked around the room, as he stated something else in huttese, that the droid did translate.

Pedro noticed that the second comment by Jiro made some of the guards do a double-take towards their boss.

Pedro thought, 'I don't know what was just said. But, I have a feeling that it was a good thing, for us.'

Boba Fett then carefully picked up the two semi-automatic pistols in front of Jiro. And with a pistol in each hand, he turned around, and he walked over to the three human men standing in the middle of the dance floor.

Due to Pedro doing most of the talking, Fett first walked over to Pedro.

When Fett reached Pedro, he stood in front of the black haired man, as he held up the pistols in his hand.

Pedro gently took his Sistema. from Fett's right hand. As he check to make sure the hammer safety on. Which it was. He then holstered his pistol. Next, he looked at Boba Fett, as he said, “Thank you. The other pistol belongs to the redhead.”

Fett walked over to Matt, and held Matt's pistol in front of him.

Matt took the pistol. As he holstered his pistol, he said, “Thank you.”

Fett turned to face all three men, as he calmly ordered, through the speaker of his blue helmet, “Follow me.”

Fett then walked around Matt, to Matt's right, as the bounty hunter heading for the exit of the nightclub.

Neither Pedro, Matthew, Matt, questioned this turn of events. As they follow a few steps behind Fett, as they all heading for the exit of the building.

A minute later, they exited the nightclub, and into the rundown market place.

Fett then turned to his left, as he continued walking through the market place, with Pedro, Matthew, and Matt, following behind him.

The three human men followed Fett for another minute, until they reached a nearby set of elevators.

Fett then walked to a panel between two sets of elevator doors, and he punched the button to summon one of the elevators to come get them.

A minute later, the four men were inside one of the elevators that Fett had lead them to. After they had entered the elevator, Fett set the elevator to move up, to a higher level of the tower they were in.

As the four men stood in the elevator, none of them spoke. For Pedro, Matthew, and Matt, they were not sure what to say to their unexpected savior.

For Fett, he was too professional to speak, unless he had to.

Around eight minutes later, the elevator came to a stop, and the men got you.

As they exited the elevator, the men saw they were in a large, open area, that is a market place. Only this market place was far more upscale, than the rundown market place they had just left. There was plenty of illumination, from the ceiling lights, for them to see with. Everything was clean, and the shops look professional. Also, this market place was much more open, with a floor space that span a hundred yards in all directions, before the floor met any main walls. And the walls reaching up, to over a hundred feet, before the walls met the ceiling.

In the distance, by about a fifty yards, they see a large holoscreen. The holoscreen was fifty feet high, with a cylindrical, a ten feet wide diameter base. Along with this, the holoscreen projected three dimensional holograms, with backgrounds. From the angle, the holograms were angled to be view from a sitting area, that was near the elevators.

The holoscreens showed new stories, that were stated in basic, and the volume was just loud enough to hear, but low enough to tune out.

And they were no alone. The men saw that there were several humans and aliens in the distance. But, all of them appeared to be nicely dressed. Ranging in looks, genders, ages, and species. A few the people that saw, that walked together, appeared to be members of the same families.

All of these people were going about their daily business, while paying little, or no attention to Pedro, Matthew, Matt, nor Boba Fett.

A few seconds later, Fett came to a stop, near the middle of the open area, with the three men also coming to a stop behind him, with Pedro, Matthew, and Matt, forming a semicircle that faced Boba.

All four men noticed there was no one within earshot of them.

Fett turned around to face the three men. He then stated, in galactic basic, “This is is one of the nicer areas of this tower, that security ignores. Now, my question is. What are you three men, from Earth, doing here?”

This brought the three other men's attention fully back to Fett, as they faced the legendary bounty hunter.

Matt asked, “How you do you know about Earth?...”

Pedro cuts Matt off, by saying, “It is a long story.”

Matthew rolls his eyes on the comment, for a few seconds, before looking at the other three men by him.

Fett commented, through his helmet's speakers, “Yes. I know about Earth. I have even been to an Earth. And your slug throwers and clothing were the tip-off that you were from Earth.”

Pedro said, “Yes. We are from Earth. And thank you for getting us out of there. Still, what did you say to Jiro?”

Fett answered, “I pointed out to Jiro that if you three were such travelers. That the only reason you would be in his territory would be that you were running from someone. Is that correct?”

Pedro admitted, “Yes.”

Fett responded, “I thought as such. And we do not need such trouble here. It would be bad for business. Anyway, I told Jiro that he did not need that amount of heat. And for a hutt, Jiro is intelligent enough to know when to walk away from a bad opportunity.”

Pedro complimented, “We already knew you are a bounty hunter without pier. So, it is no surprised that your deductive skills are top notch, as well.”

Fett responded, “Of course. I find it interesting that you were able to walk into that nightclub with that holdout weapon on your right ankle.”

Matt thought, 'Pedro had a holdout weapon? Though, it is likely a pistol. But, he had it all this time? I admit that is ballsy.'

Pedro replied, “Most people are not as sharp as you.”

Boba happily chuckled a little, through his speakers, at Pedro's comment.

Matt thought, 'I wonder. Fett has been known to pull such stunts before.' He asked, “You are not going to turn us over to the Imperials for a reward?”

A few seconds later, as Fett stopped chuckling, he responded, “No. Doing so would raise too many questions about myself, which I would prefer to remain a mystery, to the locals. That is one of the reasons why I convinced Jiro to let you go. And it would be easier for all of us, if you just left this reality. Immediately.”

Matthew stated, “We get the hint. We will be gone from this reality at the end of this conversation.”

Fett replied, “Good.”

Pedro though, 'Now, is a good time for questions.' He inquired, “So, Thrawn commands the Empire, now?”

Fett answered, “Yes. Vader came back and put a competent man in charge of the galaxy. I am fine with that. And so are many others.”

Matt thought, 'So, Vader put Thrawn in charge. Why? And along with Fett admitting to reality traveling. It sounds like Vader has reality traveled, as well. The mysteries surrounding the two men I am with just continue to grow in number. Though, I will get to the bottom of this. But, I will do so, later. At a more opportune moment. When we are not in trouble... Which might be a while with these two.'

Meanwhile, Pedro thought, “So, this adds support to my theory that Annie returned here, and overthrew Palpatine. And she helped to put Thrawn in charge. If we ever do return to my home town, I might ask Annie for the background details. Because, from her point of view, she probably already did it, due to her dislike of leaving things unfinished. Still, we need to wrap this conversation up, as quickly as possible. So, we can get out of here, before we attract any more unwanted attention.'

Pedro stated, “I know about Thrawn. And I am not surprised that his rule has been so widely accepted. And that answers all my questions.”

Fett said, “Good.”

Matthew then looked over at the holoscreen in the distance. What he saw nearly made his jaw drop in shock. He continuing to look at holoscreen, as he all but shouted, “Oh hell no. Guys. Take a look at the vidscreen right now.”

Pedro, Matt, and Fett looked at the holoscreen in the distance. And Pedro realized what had just startled Matthew.

The holoscreen was silent, as it showed Grand Admiral Thrawn, walking down some white steps, in the outside daylight. Thrawn was wearing his a white Imperial uniform, with white shirt, white pants, black dress shoes, white gloves, yellow tasseled shoulder pads, and metal insignias of his rank, attached to his shirt, on the front, upper, left side of his shirt.

And walking to Thrawn's left side, a step behind him, was a young, human woman. The woman appear to in her mid-twenties. She had fair, almost albino skinned, and she had short, white hair.

Though, only her face and her head were uncovered, the rest of her body was in a very recognizable black armored suit, that looked like a cross between a bondage suit, a biker suit, and body armor.

Following right behind the woman white haired woman was a young girl with fair skin and long white hair that went down to her shoulder blades, and hand loosely behind her back. The young girl wore a modest, white dress and white, flat soled slippers.

As the four men continued to look a the holoscreen, Fett commented, in a casual tone of voice, “Ah. I see you noticed Admiral Thrawn, his consort, and the consort's daughter. And I believe that is a recording, and not a live broadcast.”

Pedro heard what Fett has said, as he thought, with concern, 'Consort... Oh, this is bad on so many levels. But, I need more information, and Fett has answers. Still, it is best to keep from naming names. Unless it is necessary. And I am sure Fett realizes this.'

Pedro asked, “So, those two adults are in a romantic relationship?”

Fett answered, “Yes. I make it a policy to know who the major players are. And who their relationships are. It helps avoid problems in my line of work.”

Pedro replied, “I can understand that.” He mentally added, 'Still, I need more information. And it is best to start with what I don't know.'

Pedro requested, “I know about the two adults. Please, tell me about the consort’s daughter.”

Fett looked at the holoscreen, as he stated, “I do not know much about her. Though, I do know her name is, Rylani.”

Matthew continued looking at the holoscreen, as he questioned, “I don't get it. Why would she named, Rylani?”

Pedro looked a the holoscreen, as he answered, “That was the first name of her biological mother.”

Matthew responded, “Oh... That makes so much sense now. Without question, she always loved her mother. Even though she never met her.”

Pedro replied, “Sadly, yes. That is the case.”

Pedro turned to Fett, as he inquired, “So, is Rylani, Thrawn's daughter, as well?”

Fett noticed Pedro look at him. Fett turned to the mexican cop. He answered, “No. All my sources state that Rylani is the consort's clone.”

Matthew looked over at Fett, as he commented, “Well, she would be narcissistic enough to clone herself. And no offense, but you are proof of what cloning done right, from good genetic stock, can produce quality people.”

Fett said, “I appreciate that.”

Matthew said, “You're welcome. Still, why don't we just jump off the cliff, right now? It will be a lot less painful, that what will likely come from those two getting together.”

Pedro responded, “You might be right. Though, there is nothing we can do about the situation. If we tell the girls, and doing so might spark a major, multiversal war. And we don't want that.”

Matthew agreed, “True.”

Pedro commented, “I can understand the relationship. Though, both of them would see the other as an equal in leadership and intelligence. And knowing those two, Thrawn likely knows the woman's secret identity, and he doesn't care.”

Matt looked over at Pedro and Matthew, as he question, with slight annoyance in his tone of voice, “What am I missing here? I know who Thrawn is. I read the Timothy Zahn, Heir To The Empire trilogy. And I am sure this is an alternate universe. For the obvious fact that Thrawn is alive and in charge. Still, who is the white haired woman?”

Pedro turned to Matt, as he thought, 'I might as well tell him. It will help him convince him to trust me. And if I don't, he will pester me about it, all day. But, I need to know, how much he knows, before I can answer his question.'

Pedro inquired, “Have you scene the Farscape series?”

Matt answered, “Sure. In my line of work, I need inspiration for crazy ideas, to get out of some of the hairy situations I have been in.”

Pedro explained, “Yea. I have been in the same situation. The crew of Moya is really good inspiration for such necessities. Anyway, that white haired woman is a gender bent Scorpius, whom was changed in a young healthy Sebacean woman. It took place post mini-series finale. She is now in charge of the Peacekeepers. For, at least, over a decade. Though, in all fairness, by all the accounts I know of, she has done a wonderful job of ruling the Peacekeepers.”

Matt flatly replied, “Oh crap.” He thought, 'If this is an example of the daily insanity these two have had to deal with, I can understand why they traveling the multiverse, and clearly running away from their problems. And that is saying something, given what I have been through.'

Pedro mentioned, “And it gets worse. Scorpius has been secretly developing a multiversal hyperspace gate technology, based on human designs from the Cowboy Bebop hyperspace gate system. And, last I read, the prototype works, without risk of a gate explosion across the multiverse.”

Matt stated, “And with the Empire's resources, they could start conquering the multiverse.”

Matthew asked, “Any good news about this situation?” He thought, 'Somebody had to ask question.'

Pedro answered, “Yes. Both are very skilled leaders that lean towards diplomacy first. They only shoot if they have to. Both are badass strategists of the first order. Neither will act until they are ready. Their deal may fall through. Their relationship may fizzle. But, given their personalities, I doubt if that happens, they will start a war with each other. They would see no need to. So, we can always hope for the best. Because, there is not a damn thing we can do about this situation.”

Pedro turned to Fett, as he asked, “I don't now how much you know. So, did you get all that?”

Fett responded, “Don't worry. I will keep an eye on the situation. If things get out of hand, I will be contacting Rock.”

Pedro said, “I am glad that you have a way to contact Rock.”

Fett commented, “Rock likes to keep tabs on those that worked for her. I admire her for her thoroughness. It is unfortunate that I do not have a reality device myself. She only left me with a device I can use to contact her with.”

Pedro offered, “Well, you could come with us?”

Though his helmet's speakers, Boba Fett began to laugh for a few seconds.

As Fett calmed down, he commented, in a humorous tone of voice, “You couldn't afford me.”

Pedro shrugged, as he conceded, “You're probably right.”

Fett requested, “But, if you see Rock, tell her that Boba Fett sends his regards.”

Pedro thought, 'Huh?.. Oh...' He inquired, “Sharp as ever.”

Fett replied, in a casual tone of voice, “Thank you.”

Pedro thought, 'It would be best if I replied in a polite, tactful manner.'

Pedro said, “Well, we are kind of heading away from Rock, and her friends. But, if I see Rock, I will tell her that you said, hi.”

Fett responded, “I fully understand. And enjoy your journey, gentlemen.”

Fett turned and walked away from them. The bounty hunter casually made his way further into the market place.

Matt looked over at Pedro and Matthew, as he asked, “What does he mean, Rock? The only Rock I know of is from the Black Lagoon series.”

Matthew stated, “Same Rock.”

Matt inquired, “Oh. Okay then. How does he know Rock? And why did it sound like both he, and your friend here, think Rock is a woman?”

Pedro pulled out his reality device, from a pocket, as he commented, “A story for another time. Now, stand closer to me, so I can take us to some place else.”

Matt and Matthew did so, as Matthew asked, “So, where are you planning to take us, next?”

Pedro said, “I am thinking of a nice, place tropical, during daytime, on a nice day.”

Matthew stated, “As long as it is not, Roanapur.”

Pedro pointed out, in a casual tone of voice, “Come on. Our visit there wasn't that bad.”

Matthew conceded, “True. But, I don't want to push our luck.”

Pedro said, “Point taken.”

Matt questioned, “You have already been to Roanapur?”

Pedro stated, “Yes.”

Matt requested, “Well, since you two clearly seem to know how to get into trouble. And since we have the entire multiverse to travel around, why don't we look for some help?”

Pedro happily responded, “Good idea. We will talk about it, after we jump.”

Pedro then thought of a nice tropical place, during daytime, on a nice day, that was not Roanapur, Thailand, as he pressed the red button on his reality device, and all three men then jumped to another reality.

(_)

Reality, Pedro and Lee's reality. Time, Nighttime, after the day that Revy made her decision on the offer present to her, and when Roberta met Hernan at Hernan's autoshop. Place, The front elevator bay of the Devil's Hotel, De La Plata Podrido. Time, twelve two AM.

Revy entered the front elevator bay of the Devil's Hotel, alone, after leaving the hotel restaurant. The reason she had left was because everyone else had already left for their suites. And Melanie finally called it a night, and began to close the bar at midnight. When only she and Revy were the only ones there.

So, Revy paid her bill, left a tip, and began to head to her room she shared with Rock, several floors up, in the hotel.

At the moment, Melanie was cleaning up.

Due to Revy deciding drink, while keeping her promise to Hernan, she had chosen to not be armed, while being at the hotel restaurant and bar. Though, Revy was still mostly sober.

Just as Revy was reach the panel of between two of the elevator doors, and she about about to punch the button to summon the elevators, she heard a female voice casually say behind her, “Well, hello there, kiddo.”

Revy immediately recognized the voice. She turned around to see blond, heavy set woman, with tan skin as before. The woman was even wearing the same type of black pantsuit as before.

Revy commented, “That is the second time you have snuck up on me.” She mentally added, 'Which given my enhanced sense, is not easy. And I don't have my cutlasses on me. So, I could be in trouble.'

The woman said, “It is a gift. And I see you are unarmed now. Though, don't worry. I have no harmful intentions, no matter what your answer is.”

Revy replied, with a bit of sarcasm in her tone of voice, “That is nice to know.”

The woman inquired, “Now, you have had plenty of time to think. So, have you decided on your decision?”

Revy stated, “Well, after much thought... More thought than I put in most things. I am going to have to decline your offer. My family and friends come first.”

The woman shrugged, as she complimented, in a casual tone of voice, “Oh well. It didn't hurt to try. And that is a good view to have. I respect you for that decision. Also, we all knew it was going to be a tough sell, anyway. So, have a good life, Revy.”

Revy asked, “Who are you, really? And what was your price?”

The woman coyly answered, “I am just a woman that go lost down a very big hole, and I found a much better playground to live in. And the reason I stay with the group I am with is that they let me play with almost all their cool toys.”

The woman cracked a grin, as she continued, “See you around, cowgirl... Oh... And if you see Aeryn, or John... I guess it is, Violin, now. Tell them that Furlow says, hi.”

Furlow then used her right hand to reach into her front right pants pocket, and she used the reality device she had hidden in her pocket, to immediately disappear, by jumping to another reality.

Revy then turned around, and punched the button on the panel to send for an elevator.

Revy felt better about herself, as she thought, 'Well, that went better than I expected. And I don't have to worry about any trouble from her. I get the feeling the Furlow was being honest in saying that she, and her organization will leave me alone. If not, it is just a good excuse to go kick some ass.'

A few seconds later, the sets of elevator doors to Revy's right opened near Revy. And Revy smiled at the thoughts of violence, as she walked into the open elevator.

A few seconds later, the elevator doors closed behind her. With Revy selecting the floor she wished to go to.

After a ride up elevator, and a walk down a hallway, she soon reached the suite that she shared with Rock.

She used her hotel key to unlock the door. And she gently opened the door, removed her key, and pocketed it. She then walked inside, as she carefully closed the door behind her, so as to not disturb, Rock. As she made her way through the nearly dark room, she saw through the ambient light of room that Rock was already asleep on the large bed they shared together.

Revy then quickly stripped down to her panties, and she crawled into bed, beside Rock. And she was soon fast asleep, as well, next to her long time lover.

To be continued.



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