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The Sculptress
Pliable Lad

PHANTOM TRAVELLER
by Doug Atkinson

Please note: Pliable Lad is a Legion of Net.Heroes character. During Pliable Annual #1, Pliable Lad was catapulted on a window-shopping tour of a large number of racc universes, the Patrol Universe among them. This page has been edited to exerpts from the story concerning the Patrol Universe; for the complete story, read Pliable Lad Annual #1 at the Eyrie.


   Pli was seized with the feeling of rematerialization. He was in a placid setting; it looked like a television news studio.
   The man at the desk was wrapping up the sports scores when an explosion tore open the studio wall. All eyes turned to the man who burst through; he was dressed in camos and wore some sort of strength-augmenting exoskeleton. Aw, no, thought Pli, can't I go somewhere peaceful? And relatively normal?
   Mr. Exoskeleton pointed a forearm at the sports commentator. "All right. I've got an Uzi loaded in this arm, so no funny stuff." The commentator trembled. "I know the Sculptress has something to do with this studio. You've got five minutes to give me her real name or address, or I start loosening heads."
   Pli started forward, then caught himself when he realized it wouldn't do any good. There seemed to be supers here; let them handle it, 'cause he sure couldn't.
   A tense three minutes passed before something decisive happened. Through the hole in the wall flew another man, this one a young Hispanic man dressed in leather. His right hand caught Pli's attention; it looked like it was made of silver.
   The exo-suited man thrust his arm further forward. "You're Vargas, right? Back off or I drill him."
   "Hey, no problem." Vargas' English was very good, only slightly tinted by an accent. "I don't want anyone to get hurt. I give up. At least, until you realize that I don't need to point to stop you, and-" the exo-suited man's right forearm was encased in a yellow forcefield—"if you can't fire your weapons, you're screwed, right?"
   Exo-suit cursed and swung his left arm around, but it, too, was encased. Vargas started forward—

   —And Pli felt himself pulled away again. He strove briefly to fight it, but gave up and went with the flow. This didn't seem to be something he could resist.
   He rematerialized in an apartment. A small Japanese woman was...no, not standing...hovering by the stove, cooking something (spaghetti, maybe? Pli couldn't smell it very well). Her left hand was made out of the same silver stuff as Vargas' right.
   The door opened, and another young woman entered the kitchen, carrying a sack of groceries. "Hi, Kelly, she said, kissing the other woman on the cheek. Pli was taken aback. Have I jumped from action flick to porn flick? If not, why am I watching something this domestic?
   The phone rang, and the Caucasian woman grabbed it. "'Lo. Yeah, I'll get her." She held out the phone. "It's for you, Kelly."
   Kelly floated over. "Hello. Senorita Tanaka yourself. What's up?"
   She listened, then her face grew grave. "He what? Damn."
   The scene began to fade. Pli held on, expecting the worst. He was ushered out by, "Well, fine. I'll quit on Wednesday..."
 

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