TFOS: Freddy On The Loose, Part 15
Note: This story uses background and concepts from the Teenagers From Outer Space role-playing game, Copyright 2001 R. Talsorian Games, Inc. The characters and story are Copyright 2001 Rodford Edmiston Smith.
"His coming is foreshadowed by the arrival of his scout, the Silver Scorcher, riding on his Cosmic Sled," said Ramet.
He called up an image from his library card. In it, a naked, silver guy riding an odd contraption soared across a background of stars.
"That looks like an ironing board," Freddy offered.
"It's his Cosmic Sled," Ramet insisted. "It has folding landing gear underneath and a padded, heat-resistant protective layer on top."
"Yep," Freddy nodded, "an ironing board. Why is he naked?"
"Many cosmic beings go without clothes," said Talli, staring at the image with a slight smile.
"Because they have advanced beyond the concept of good and evil and no longer feel a need to cover their nakedness?" asked Jim.
"Uhm, actually, many of them can't hold a regular job so they have no money for clothes," said Ramet, a bit embarrassedly. He cleared his throat. "Anyway, we need to consult an expert. There's a Junior I know who's a cosmic entities trivia buff."
* * *
"Yes, I've been listening to the news reports," said Argy Bee, a sort of armadillo-looking guy, blinking sleepily. "In fact, a local video station this afternoon interviewed the commander of the phalanx of Benzemen here on Earth, while they were setting up their camp. I recorded it, just like I have been recording everything connected to this event."
They had burst in on his exchange family, claiming a desperate emergency. Forgetting that this was what teenagers always did when they wanted to talk to someone. Still, they were directed to the Junior's bedroom, where they explained why they were there. Argy shared their opinion of the situation, but not their sense of urgency. However, he did agree to tell them what he knew. After relating the above, he turned on his entertainment unit and fiddled a bit with it. Soon, the recording of the segment began playing back.
"I am here today with Major Harm, a Senior Commander of the Benzemen," said the reporter. "Major, there has been a lot of curiosity in regard to why your group is here. Can you tell us?"
"Certainly," he said, boldly.
The reporter waited, but Major Harm said nothing else; he simply stood there, looking noble and handsome.
"So, exactly what are you doing here?" asked the reporter, finally.
"Our mission is part of a long-term plan for dealing with the Big G," Major Harm boldly announced. "We call it Ultimate Denial. You should feel honored. This is the first world where we have tried this."
"Wow! How does it work?"
"When we determine that the Big G is heading for a planet to feed, we get there first and blow it up."
"You blow up... the planet..." said the reporter, numbly, his frozen smile thawing a bit.
"That is correct."
"But... Earth is inhabited!"
"That is also correct," Major Harm acknowledged, matter-of-factly.
"What's the big idea?!" the man cried, shocked.
"The idea is to deny the Big G his source of nutrition. Eventually, he'll starve to death. Hopefully, this will happen before we run out of habitable planets."
"But... But... What about the people?" The reporter's voice was now a squeak.
"Well, they'll have to leave, of course," Major Harm harrumphed. "Casualties of war, for the greater good, and all that."
"How... how long do we have?"
The Major looked at his watch. The image went blank and the sound went "Beeeeeeee..."
"We are experiencing technical difficulties," an anonymous voice announced.
"They're going go blow up the Earth?!" screamed Karen.
"Oh, now, that's just silly," said Talli, fists on hips. "Even for the Benzemen."
"If you hadn't been tramping around in the woods, you'd have known this already," said Argy, sourly. "The Alien Control Office has been yelling at Benzemen Command, so far without much result."
"I wonder if that's why we got in so easily and out with such difficulty," mused Ramet. "At first they were distracted by the protest, and then decided to go on alert when they realized the ACO was seriously pissed."
"I can't believe they're just going to... and they just said it, out plain...!" stammered Freddy.
"That's why the Alien Control Officer at the station cut them off," said Argy. "They want to avoid a panic."
"Too late," said Talli, rolling her eyes.
"We can't get everyone off the planet in..." Ramet frowned. "How long do we have?"
"The Silver Scorcher was sighted over the Pyrenees Mountains a few hours ago. The Big G will head straight here as soon as the Silver Scorcher completes his survey and reports back. We've got maybe sixteen hours."
"We've got to do something!" yelled Freddy. "Can't we pay this Scorcher guy off, or something?"
"No," said Argy. "He's bound to serve the Big G, no matter his personal feelings on the matter. And, boy, does he keep whining about it!"
"Listen, the Big G is after this essence stuff, right?"
"Distilled quintessence of ectothere," said Ramet.
"Well, can't we find some and use it as bait to lure him away?"
"It is impossible to synthesize," said Ramet, pompously, "and even if we had the time, extracting enough from your world to sate him would have the same effect as if he went ahead and fed."
"Is there any somewhere else we could use? To get this... stuff from?!"
"No. Like I said, it can't be synthesized. It also is only present on inhabited worlds with a large population of creative people. They certainly wouldn't welcome us taking theirs to keep the Big G from taking yours."
"We can't just sit here!" exclaimed Karen. "Even if the Big G doesn't come, the Benzemen are still gonna blow up the Earth!"
"Well, actually, the plan is to wait until the Big G lands and starts feeding, then do it," said Argy.
"Would that kill the Big G?" asked Freddy, eagerly.
"No. Though they think it might give him heartburn."
"Okay," said Freddy. "We need to get Hub and talk him into taking us to the Big G in his sport-utility saucer. We'll find some way of stopping him, or at least delaying him. We have to!"
"That's a fool's mission!" exclaimed Ramet. "No-one even tries to enter the Big G's domicile, the Way-Station!"
"Well, maybe someone should!" said Karen, firmly.
* * *
Bleary-eyed, they met at Hub's early the next morning. Ramet had agreed to go with them, but only if he flew his own saucer. The team had assembled a wide variety of equipment, most of it certainly useless against the Big G, but it was what they had to work with. Fortunately, this was a Saturday, so they didn't have to worry about school. Perhaps ever again...
"Everybody ready?" asked Hub, as he climbed into the driver's seat.
They all answered in the affirmative. Hub started the engine, turned on the radio and prepared for liftoff.
"This is useless," whined Argy. "Since we have a saucer, let's just leave!"
"You're not going anywhere except with us," was Freddy's firm reply. "You Know Stuff about cosmic beings, so you're our expert."
"Shush!" said Karen, in the passenger seat beside him, as she turned up the radio.
"Major, what is the status of your mission?" asked a reporter. "I understand there was a significant incursion of your base last..."
"We took heavy casualties and there was considerable damage to the camp, but we routed the attackers," rumbled Major Harm. "We are almost back on schedule, and we *will* be operational on time."
"Wait," said Freddy. He glanced at Ramet. "Are they talking about what we did?!"
"Well, there's lots of people on Earth who would rather you weren't on schedule," the reporter observed timidly.
"Humph. Civilians. Don't understand the concept of sacrifice."
There was some yelling in the background and then some muffled sounds near the mike.
"I must go now. Good luck to all of you on getting off on time!"
"I would imagine that's what a lot of people are attempting to do this morning," Hub sighed.
Several of those in the van snickered. Then they all burst out laughing, except for Hub and Argy.
"What?" asked the big rhino/whale type guy.
* * *
Hub had spent his money well. His saucer had enough performance that even Ramet's smaller, sportier one had trouble keeping up. Which was probably a good thing. Three hours out, with perhaps seven left before the Big G reached Earth, Hub was anxiously watching his forward scanners.
"Are you sure we're on the right course?" asked Hub, eyeing Argy suspiciously. "If you've steered us wrong..."
"No, I swear," the nervous, armadillo-looking guy replied. "The Way-Station is dead ahead! Remember, he won't be heading for Earth until the Silver Scorcher reports back, so he may simply not be on his way, yet."
"So we'll have to keep going," muttered Hub.
"I heard that some people were trying to delay the Silver Scorcher," Argy offered. "If they succeed - which won't be easy - that will give us more time."
"I'm getting something," said Hub, suddenly. "I'll put it on the main display."
The windshield flickered, and they found themselves looking at a strange, white shape with black markings.
"Is it getting bigger?" asked Freddy, confused.
"No; it's rotating," said Hub. "The display is keeping it about the same size. It's a shiny, black sphere with a white circle, and a symbol in the circle. Right now, only the circle and symbol are actually showing; the rest is too dark, this far from a star. It resembles Earth's infinity symbol."
"So how do we get in?" asked Karen.
"That's... something we have to figure out," sighed Hub.
The object continued to rotate, and became visible in greater detail as the approached, Hub slowing his saucer to a crawl.
"We're over ten thousand kilometers away, and that's about the size it actually looks from here," he announced. "It's... pretty big."
"Wait a minute," Freddy, frowning as he finally saw circle and symbol face-on, "that's a giant 8-ball!"
"I may have an idea..." said Hub, not paying him much attention. "Ramet can teleport, right?"
"Well, yeah," said Karen.
"And Tsoob can increase someone's powers."
"Don't I know it," muttered Freddy.
"If we had some Tsoob, and a megabyte modem*, which we could combine with my portable computer and its cranial interface, we could get Ramet to teleport us in there."
"Where would we get all that?" asked Freddy.
"Oh, I brought some communications gear with a megabyte modem built in," said Argy.
"My portable computer already has a cranial interface," said Hub, a bit smugly.
"I have some Tsoob," said Talli, quietly.
She cowered a bit as the others turned to stare at her.
"Hey, I found what was left after that episode in the cafeteria a few weeks ago. Whoever doped the food threw the box in the kitchen garbage. There were two unopened packages still inside. So I kept them."
"Okay," said Freddy, not sure whether to believe her, but deciding to save that for later. "So, all we need to do now is convince Ramet to cooperate."
* * *
"No! No way! Do you know what that stuff will do me?!"
"It's the only way we can think of to get inside!" said Hub, urgently. "We have to hurry. The Way-Station will head for Earth as soon as the Silver Scorcher returns!"
"No! That's final! You'll just have to find another way!"
"Let me talk to him," sighed Talli.
She pushed forward, to the front console. She then looked expectantly at the others.
"Privately," she said, firmly.
The others crowded into the back of the passenger compartment, not an easy feat considering Hub's size. Talli proceeded to speak quietly with Ramet. Occasionally, the others could hear a bit of something she or he said, but for the most part the conversation was a mystery. Finally, a few minutes later, she turned to them, smiling.
"He'll dock with us in a moment. You better get all your stuff ready."
"What did you say to him?" asked Hub.
"Sorry; that's private."
That was all she'd say.
Ramet didn't look very happy when he entered through the mated airlocks, but he didn't protest.
"Y'see, the areas of the brain through which various powers work are pretty well known," said Hub, as he fit the colander-looking thing on Ramet's head. "What Tsoob does is stimulate those areas randomly, causing the equivalent of a seizure. Using this device, I can induce regular patterns, even with the stimulation of Tsoob!"
Ramet scowled but said nothing.
"Okay, this is all ready. Give him the Tsoob."
"Here," Talli, holding out a squeeze bulb. "I mixed it with Tang."
"Bleah," said Ramet, screwing his eyes closed and sticking out his tongue, to illustrate his opinion of either Tang, Tsoob or both.
Talli quickly shoved the sipper between his lips and squeezed. Ramet's eyes flew open, and he swallowed reflexively. Once committed, he quickly drained the bulb.
"Okay, Ramet, when you feel the buzz starting just relax and let the machine and the drug work. Don't try to do anything until I tell you."
"Right," sighed the chocolate-skinned alien. He suddenly looked queasy. "Ohhh, I don't feel so good."
"Almost there... Okay, push!"
Ramet's eyes glazed over, and his body went rigid. Those in the group felt a strange moment of dislocation, and then felt a crunch and a jolt. The saucer's lights flickered and went out, and down was suddenly that way. Then all was still.
End Part Fifteen
*A Dr. Who in-joke.
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