________ ____ _ _____ _ _ ____ _ | | | | | | | | | | | | BLiP | | | | | | -|-- | | o | | | | |--| |--| |---| | | |--~ |--| |--| |--- ---- | #27 | | | | | | | | | | | \ | | | | | | |___ | | | | | |~~~ | | | | _ | | | | | |~~~ | | ~~~~~~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~ ~ ~ ~~ ~~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~~~ ~~~~ ~ ~~~~ [The cover is of a bare stage, just a couch and a chair present. A sign hanging over the stage announces "GOD".] -------------------------------------------------------------------------- "Confessions and Lamingtons." The camera starts tight on the sign "GOD" as the lights come up and the audience starts applauding. The camera pulls back and down to reveal God (otherwise known as Emanuel Drake) standing at the front of the stage, holding his hands up in thanks. "Thank you, thank you," he says. "But seriously, now, for a moment." The applause dies away. "Thank you. I'd like to welcome you once again to share with me this wonderful opportunity to learn not just about me, but about the wonderful members of this community, which you have already so whole heartedly embraced. I'm honoured, I really am." A tear starts to roll down Drake's cheek as applause thunders again. He waits, wiping the tear away, then quietens them down. "I'd like to introduce our first guest this evening," he says, walking back, the camera opening the stage up. "She's come along way to be with here tonight. Please join me in welcoming Missy!" As applause again echoes around the room, the camera reveals Missy, standing under the stage lights, looking extremely confused. Drake takes her hand. "Please, my dear, won't you have a seat?" "Were we just..." she starts, but trails off as Drake guides her to a couch. He helps her sit down, then takes his own chair. "Perhaps you'd like to say a few words to start with," Drake offers. "Just tell us a little about yourself." "I..." Missy looks about uncertainly, but slowly gains assurance as she speaks. "I Missy. Am Chub from another planet. Came here few years ago now." "An alien? That's great," Drake puts in. "How do you like our planet so far?" "It very strange," Missy replies. "On my planet, only two races, the Chubs and the Moles. Here you seem to have many. And very difficult language." The audience laughs at this, and Drake grins in acknowledgement. "Don't worry, you sound fine to us. So, what do you do?" "I scientist," Missy explains. "Help people. Now I work with the Alt.Riders." "Yes, the Alt.Riders. I know about them. But what do you think of them?" "They nice, very helpful. But also strange. Complex relationships," Missy has trouble with the last word, but Drake gives her time to get it out. "Not sure what they talk about during time, but I like them." "And we'll be talking more about them later," Drake promises, before leaning towards Missy. "But for now, we're focusing on you. Tell me, Missy, and, may I say, you can tell me, we are all friends here...what is your greatest sin?" "I...what?" Missy's expression becomes one of bafflement. "Now, please, don't worry about our reactions here. We aren't here to judge, we're here to help." Drake reaches out and places a hand on her knee. "I am here to help." "I...Don't know." "I think you do, but you just might not realize it yet. What did you say you did again?" "I scientist. I help people." "Help people? That sounds a fine thing to want. Which people do you want to help?" "No particular people." Missy shrugs. "All people." "All people? That's a lot of people," Drake says, lifting an eyebrow towards the audience, which titters on cue. "Do you really think you can help everyone?" "Yes. If I can." "All those people." Drake's voice lowers, and he continues softly, almost hypnotically. "Every single person on this planet. On every planet. Can you really help them all?" Missy looks helpless for a moment, then straightens up and meets Drake's gaze. "Yes," she asserts. "Missy," Drake continues in his soft voice. "Do you know what 'pride' is?" Missy thinks for a moment, then shakes her head. "Pride is thinking you're superior. You can do what no-one else can," Drake explains. "Do you think it is your right to help every single person there is?" Missy continues to stare into Drake's eyes. The audience is hushed now. Expectant. "Yes," she whispers. "Missy, you have the sin of pride. Now that is fine," Drake continues quickly. "All you have to do is admit your sin. Admit your sin to me. And ask for forgiveness. That's all you need to do, and you will be forgiven. Your sin will be gone. Trust in me, Missy, and you will be forgiven. Believe in me." Drake is now staring deep into Missy's eyes. "Ask me. Ask your God for forgiveness." "Please," Missy says. "Please?" "Please, forgive me," she asks. "Please, forgive me?" Drake prompts again. "Please. Forgive me. My God," Missy says, as tears roll down her face. "Please, oh please, God, forgive me. Forgive me sins. I sorry. I so sorry." She starts to cry openly now. "Shush, that's all right." Drake tenderly takes Missy into his arms. The audience is also crying, but also cheering for Missy. "I forgive you. "You belong to me now." _-~-_ The audience applauds again as the camera fades up to see Drake, looking straight at the camera. "Thank you once again for tuning in. We have with us now a very special guest. Ladies and gentlemen, the leader of the Alt.Riders, Agent!" The camera pulls back to reveal Agent, looking around the stage warily, but also uncertainly. Drake puts a hand on Agent's arm, but Agent shakes him off. "Please, we're all friends here," Drake says. "Won't you at least have a seat?" Drake indicates the couch. Agent glares at Drake for a moment, but sits down, Drake taking the chair opposite. "Thank you for joining us, Agent, may I call you Agent?" Drake grins disarmingly, and the audience laughs. Agent's eyes narrow. Something here isn't right, but he can't tell what. "Again, perhaps we could begin with a little background to yourself," Drake continues. "Despite being the leader of the Alt.Riders, you are somewhat of a mystery to our viewers, and we would so much like to know something about you before we accept you into our fold." "You can..." Agent begins, then stops to shake his head. Closing and opening his eyes, he still sees the stage around him, and Drake waiting expectingly. "I..." "I understand," Drake says. "It can be a little disorientating at first, but I'm sure you'll soon get used to this. Maybe you could tell our viewers your name, at least? Something like that should be harmless enough." "No, I...I'd rather not," Agent says cautiously, sounding the words out carefully, not quite sure what he himself will say next. "There are others out there that could use that information against me, and the people around me. It's safer to just call me Agent." Drake nods. "As you wish. But what did you do before leading the Alt.Riders? Can you tell us something about that?" Agent shook his head, and leans back against the couch, getting into this. "I'm afraid not. Not so much because it is secretive, but because mere words cannot explain the concepts of where I was and what I was doing." "I quite understand," Drake says. "I, myself, couldn't really explain to anyone what it means to be God, and yet," he spreads his arms wide, "here I am!" The audience laughs at this, and Agent joins in, but only for a moment. "So tell us about the Alt.Riders. What made you want to be their leader?" "Actually, I formed the team myself," Agent explains. "It wasn't so much I chose to be their leader as they chose to be my team. And it was a choice. We work together, occasionally with me in command to give orders when structure is needed, but as a team and bonded together." "Amazing," Drake shakes his head slowly, admiringly. "I only wish I could be with my followers in the same way, but that cannot be." Drake looks so sad at this that the audience cheers for him, a few calling out "We love you!" and "Praise be to God!" Drake smiles at the audience in thanks, then turns back to Agent. "Now, Agent, it's time to cut to the chase," he says. "Tell us, and we would so love to know, what is your greatest sin?" Agent opens his mouth to answer, but stops. He suddenly looks around, as if seeing his surroundings for the first time. "What? How...?" Drake leans forward quickly, and puts his hand on Agent's leg. "Now, don't panic. We're just here to listen. Feel free to open up. Share with us." Agent relaxes again. "My greatest sin? It's hard to say, I have so many." Agent grins at the audience, which laughs in response. "I'm not sure that's exactly a good thing," Drake says in a light voice, keeping the conversation going in a cheery atmosphere. "But you must have a greatest sin. You can tell me. You can confess to your God." Agent is concentrating. "I would say, my greatest sin... I think, would have to be my complete disregard and utter disdain I have for the entirely of humanity," he says simply. The audience gasps in shock. Drake whistles softly. "That is a big one," he says. "And one to test even the most forgiving of Gods." He turns briefly to wink at the audience. "And forgiving I am, folks." The audience laughs appreciatively. "For me to forgive this one though, that's going to take a lot of asking. Are you ready to give that much for forgiveness, Agent?" "No, of cour..." Agent falls silent as he realizes the totality of what he has been saying. A huge weight suddenly presses down on his shoulders. "Oh God, how could I? How could I be capable of that?" "There, there," Drake says softly. "That is why you are here. To ask forgiveness. Ask me, Agent. Ask your God to forgive you." Agent slides off the couch to kneel before Drake. "Please, God, forgive me. I beg of you. Take this burden from me, I can stand it no more! God, I implore you, forgive me!" Drake places his hand on Agent's head, and says formally. "I forgive you, Agent, for all your transgressions. "You now belong to me." _-~-_ Applause once again greets the return of "GOD" as Drake enters the stage. "Thank you all," he says, raising his arms high. "You're a wonderful audience!" The applause continues, until Drake is forced to call for silence. "Quiet please people," Drake says. "For silence is most appropriate for our next guest. Please, everyone, I'd like you to welcome Dva!" Applause greets Dva as he walks onto the stage. He waves a hand at the audience, and takes the couch seat that Drake leads him to. "Thank you for joining us here tonight," Drake starts. "I know you are a man of few words, but perhaps you could treat us to an interview on this show. Is there anything you'd like to say to begin with?" Dva considers for a moment, then speaks. "No." Drake laughs, the audience with him. "I can see I have my work cut out with you," he says. "But, please, tell us a little about yourself." Dva shrugs. "Grew up in a small town," he says. "When I found out I had powers, I joined the LNH. After some adventures, I moved over to the Alt.Riders, and have been with them since." "And that," Drake says, turning to the audience, "is barely the start of it." Turning back to Dva, he continues. "Now, I can tell that trying to get details is going to be hard going here, but I'm a God that like a challenge. Maybe you could describe for us, in your own terms, what your powers and abilities are?" "I...control sound. And energy," Dva explains. "Basically, I can dampen it. Reduce the energy. Create silence," Dva extemporizes, free for the moment from his self-imposed restraint. "And what kind of energy?" Drake asks. "Just sound energy?" "No, any kind of energy really," Dva replies. "Sort of like stilling the guitar strings once they've been plucked." "An interesting analogy." Drake pauses for a moment, then says in a different tone. "I'm going to get right to the point here. I've heard about your powers," he says. "Now, you've said any kind of energy. How about life energy?" Dva looks hesitant. "Yes," he finally admits, not sure where this is going. Drake stands for a moment. "Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to pause here for a moment, and bring out another guest. Please, everyone, put your hands together for another disciple of mine, if you would, Speeed!" Amidst rapturous applause, Speeed steps out of the wings, and joins Dva on the couch, grinning and slapping the Alt.Rider on the back. Dva, in return, looks at Speeed uncertainly, knowing he has seen this man before, but cannot for the moment recall when. "Speeed, I know you've been on this show before," Drake says. "But maybe you could let the people who didn't catch that show in on who you are." "Thank you, God, and may I say what a pleasure it is to be here in your presence." The entire audience applauds this feeling. "Well, my name in Speeed, and I was done the great service of being God's first follower." The cheering grows really loud as they realize just how special Speeed is. "Now, I don't claim any special honour here," Speeed is quick to respond. "I was just lucky enough to be able to serve him as he needed. God appreciates what every one of us does for him." "Indeed I do," Drake picks up the line. "And may I thank you for your kind words. Now, Speeed, you know my other guest here tonight, don't you?" Speeed nods. "Indeed I do. We had a little 'one-to-one', if I may use the term, earlier today. And Dva here demonstrated some of those powers of his during that meeting." Dva stares at Speeed, eyes open wide. Something is coming, a revelation he doesn't want to hear, but he knows he has no choice. "Indeed," Drake comments. "And I believe he used that special power of his. Perhaps you could tell us about that." "I can't say I feel too comfortable doing so," Speeed replies. "But anything for you, God. Yes, earlier today, he used that ultimate power of his. The one that dampens life force. And he used it on me." The audience gasps, but Drake is quick to step in. "Don't worry, folks, as you can see Speeed is fine and ready for more. Was it a powerful attack, Speeed?" "Sure is, God. I have to admit I nearly died," Speeed replies, to more gasps from the audience. "In fact, because of what Dva was doing, I fell into the water, where, may I say, I recovered quickly. Good old Dva here stopped using that power on me as soon as he realized I was in trouble." "Now, Dva," Drake says, turning to Dva. "Perhaps you could tell us something about that. Why did you use that power?" "I..." Dva looks almost frightened by what is going on. "I had to. There's was nothing else I could do. I was under attack!" Dva's voice rises as he continues, a note of panic entering his speech. "You nearly killed Speeed," Drake points out. "You stopped using the power when he fell in the water, yes?" Dva leaps on this point gratefully. "Yes, yes I did." "But if he hadn't, would you have continued to use that power?" "I...I...maybe, if..." "Would you then," Drake presses the point home, "would you have killed him?" "I..." Dva's eyes look around wildly, but he is unable to find anyway to escape. Finally, he admits, shamefully. "Yes." "You would kill another human being?" Dva is unable to look up, staring only at the floor. "Yes," he whispers. "You need forgiveness most of all," Drake says. "All you need to do is ask. Ask your God for forgiveness." "Ask him," Speeed whispers. "Ask God for forgiveness. He will give it." "I...I can't," Dva says softly, almost crying now. "You can," Drake insists. "All you need to do is ask." Dva looks up, tears falling from his eyes, his face pleading, his expression saying the words his voice cannot. "Yes, yes," Drake says. "I do. Your God forgives you. "You belong to me now." _-~-_ "Let's move on, shall we?" Drake says as the camera fades up. "I'm sure you're as excited about our next guest as I am. Ladies and gentlemen, a big hand please for Morph!" The audience applauds wildly as Morph steps out onto the stage. He waves at the audience, and Drake guides him to the couch. "I like to start with hearing something about each guest I talk to," Drake explains. "So, please feel free to tell us whatever you want." Morph takes a deep breath. "Well, that's a fairly open invitation there. Do you have a few years?" The audience laughs at the joke. "I've been with the LNH for as long as I remember, in one form or another, no pun intended," Morph adds quickly as the audience snickers. "I never really had a childhood, don't remember my parents, but I think I might have found them recently." "That's marvelous," Drake says. "And thank you for feeling able to share that with us. I know that I, for one, am touched." Drake leads the audience in a round of applause as Morph blushes faintly. "Now, although we all really want to get to know more about you, I think I'll take this opportunity to bring out another special guest. Again, he has been on our show before, and thankfully granted us a repeat request. Ladies and gentlemen, Fade!" More applauds erupts as Fade comes out onto the stage. It rises higher, and laughter also sounds, as Fade walks through the couch before sitting on it. "I'd just like to start," Fade puts in before Drake can say anything. "By saying how wonderful it is to be back here, in the presence of God," he says, pronouncing it Gay-owd. "Isn't it folks, you know what I'm saying." Fade leads the applause and this time it is Drake that nearly blushes. "Thank you, you're too kind," Drake says. "But tonight we're here for Morph. Now, Morph, I think you have meet Fade, yes?" "I...uh...maybe," Morph says cautiously. He frowns at Fade, but can't place his face. "Fade has been looking forward to meeting you again," Drake continues. "When we heard you'd been to town, I asked Fade to see what he could find out about you. He's got some special abilities that makes it easy for him to enter places and find information. Fade, if you would?" "Thank you, God," Fade takes up. "Don't mind if I do. Morph, you said you had been with the LNH, yes?" Morph nods. "Yes." "Has there ever been a time when you haven't been with them?" "Well, I've taken the occasional break, but everyone needs to get away some time." "Perfectly, I quite understand. Although everyone wants to be present in the presence of God, am I right?" Fade asks the audience, receiving enthusiastic applause. "But in all your time serving with the LNH, has there been a time when you've been against them?" Fade continues. Morph hesitates before replying. "Maybe once or twice, but it wasn't by my choice." "Sure, sure," Fade assures (she-ure). "In fact, I think you were once, well, how can I put this...evil?" "I was under mind control at the time," Morph puts in quickly. "It wasn't my fault what happened." "And what did happen?" "Uh, well. I can't remember too clearly," Morph admits. "But I was told that there were some problems..." "People died, didn't they?" Fade asks pointedly. "Er, yes. But as I said, it wasn't my fault." Drake suddenly enters the conversation. "Do you really believe that? Can you really sleep at night, knowing that you were, in some way, responsible for the death of innocents?" Morph is now decidedly on a back foot. "I...it wasn't really me. It was someone else..." "But it was your body," Drake presses. "It was by your hand that those people died. It was your presence that lead to the deaths of those people, who died before their time." Morph holds a hand to his head, trying to think. "But it was mind control. I wasn't in control. A car isn't responsible for a crash if someone else is driving." "But you are not a car," Drake continues. "You are a living, thinking person. And now, you are living when they are not. Is that how you want it to be? That they are dead and you aren't, because you weren't in control. You are more innocent than them, so you deserve more to live." "No, that's not it at all," Morph says, but his voice is faint. "Those people..." "Can you really justify it?" Drake asks. "All those deaths, and not a single shred of remorse? Do you not shed a single tear for the lives who were snuffed out because you were unable to resist properly?" "I...you can't...it's not like that..." "Do you not, in some small way, feel responsible?" Drake leans forward. "Are you not, in some small way, guilty?" Morph has his eyes shut, his hand pressing against his head. "Yes," he hisses. "Do you not want forgiveness? Forgiveness for all those you've wronged? All those who had to die for you to live?" Again the reply is faint, forced. "Yes." "Ask me. Ask your God for forgiveness. Ask him to take away the guilt you feel, the guilt of so many dead by your hand." Morph is now curled up, cradling his head from the weight of so many dead bodies pressing down on him. "Please, take this burden. God, please forgive me." He slides off the couch to lie on the floor. "Forgive me God!" Drake knees down by Morph, and moves Morph's head to lie in his lap. He strokes Morph's hair as he says "I forgive you, Morph. I forgive you for your sins. "You belong to me now." _-~-_ The camera fades up one more time on Drake. "Ladies and gentlemen, we have one last guest tonight, the one, the only, the Net.Elementalist!" The Net.Elementalist strides out onto the stage and glares at the audience. He knows something is wrong, and refuses to give in to anything. He turns his glare towards Drake as the latter speaks. "Now I hope we're not going to have any trouble with you tonight," Drake admonishes gently. "Come on, let's take a seat." Drake puts his hand on the Net.Elementalist's arm, but the Net.Elementalist shakes it off. "Just what the hell is going on here?" the Net.Elementalist demands. "How the hell did I get here?" "Language, please!" Drake says. "There are children present." "I. Don't. Care," the Net.Elementalist states. "I want to know who the hell you think you are and what you've done to me." Drake draws himself up. "I am God, and I'll thank you not to take that tone with me." The Net.Elementalist looks directly into Drake's stare, but is unable to hold his gaze. He looks away, angry with himself for doing so. "That's ridiculous," he says. "You're not a god." The audience gasps at this, but Drake quietens them down. "Now, what makes you think that?" he asks, a slightly cool tone to his voice. "For a start, I don't believe in God," the Net.Elementalist replies hotly. "And for second, even if I did, why the hell would God be a talk show host?" The audience is reacting negatively to this, but Drake holds his own. "That's a fair enough question. But let me ask you this. Do you think God would want to get to know the people who worship him?" The Net.Elementalist is having trouble keeping up his anger in the face of this reasonableness. "I...I guess." "And in today's society, wouldn't some culturally relevant format be the most appropriate venue for that?" "Well...I suppose." "There you go then, God would certainly be a talk show host, as talk shows are the best way to get to know people." "Maybe," the Net.Elementalist grudgingly admits. "But that doesn't mean you are God." "And what would?" "Proof," the Net.Elementalist challenges, now able to look directly at Drake. "Go on, produce a burning bush?" "Why should God stoop to low parlour tricks?" Drake asks. "I ask you, can you produce a burning bush?" The Net.Elementalist grins, although not entirely pleasantly. "Allow me. Maybe not a bush, but..." His suit quickly becomes red as the Net.Elementalist reaches out a hand and sets the couch on fire with a brief burst of flame. The audience 'oooh' appreciatively at this as several stage hands run on to put out the fire. The Net.Elementalist whirls on Drake before the latter can say anything. "And don't use that line about how you did that through me. That's crap and we both know it." "If you would give me a chance, and not use foul language," Drake says, with dignity. "I just want to ask you a question. You set that on fire. But does that make you a God?" The Net.Elementalist takes a step back. "Er, no." "And yet that was the proof you wanted from me." The Net.Elementalist looks confused at this, and Drake continues. "I brought you here. You say you don't know how. Would this not be something that God could do?" "I...okay, but..." "Then you prove I am not God," Drake challenges. The Net.Elementalist raises his hand uncertainly, but drops it again, the red fading to be replaced by the normal black. "I can't." "Then please, come sit down, talk with me. Let's see what comes up." Drake leads the Net.Elementalist over to a new couch, which has quickly come out to replace the burnt one. "Would you like to tell us a little about yourself first? Perhaps something about your family?" The Net.Elementalist is back to scowling at this. "Leave my family out of it," he snarls. "You want to take someone on, take me on." Drake holds up his hands in mock surrender. "Woah, struck a nerve there, I see. Well, let's move on. Tell us about you then. How did you get those amazing abilities?" "There was a...thing." The Net.Elementalist holds his hands up to indicate a kind of rung. "When I touched it, this happened, all these powers." "And do you ever have trouble controlling them?" "I did," the Net.Elementalist replies. "But I got over that. All power, all the time, that's me now." "Sounds intense. And I take it you use your powers for good?" "Of course. I'm not some crazy man claiming to be God after all," the Net.Elementalist returns. "Touche," Drake says wryly. "Can you tell me about your abilities?" "You've seen Flame," the Net.Elementalist says. "I've also got Net, Thread and Keystroke. If you're wanting to keep this nice talk show of yours up and running, it might be an idea not to get me to demonstrate them." "I can certainly see how that might be preferable," Drake replies. "So you're pretty powerful then?" "To say the least." "And you're in control of it all?" "But of course." "And you don't have an urges, then, to say, let go?" The Net.Elementalist frowns. "How do you mean?" "Just to...for instance," Drake says, speaking airily. "Flame. Pretty exciting stuff. To control the very essence of fire. You ever desire to just let go and explode, show off your power." "That would be very dangerous," the Net.Elementalist replies cagily. "But has that ever happened to you?" Drake asks. "I was in full control at the time. I knew exactly what I was doing." "So it did happen?" "Just the once. I was facing a complete piece of scum, we were surrounded by monsters, it was the easiest way to take care of the problem." "And not a little excessive? To just explode like that?" "It was an appropriate response to the situation," the Net.Elementalist replies firmly. "And yet, I can't help wondering, if you exploded so much, how come to manage to be here today?" "I was stopped, all right?" the Net.Elementalist snaps. "Bloody Retcon Lad stopped me, reduced my power. I could have handled it, but instead he stepped in!" "Retcon Lad?" Drake queries. "And who is he?" "He's my friend," the Net.Elementalist replies, biting the lines out. "At least, he was until he pulled that stunt." "And did he have anything to say about that stunt?" "I don't know. I wasn't listening at the time. He probably said it was insane, or something," the Net.Elementalist says dismissively. "So, your best friend thinks you letting go with your powers was bordering on the edge of insanity?" "It wasn't like that!" the Net.Elementalist denies. "Stop twisting my words." "They're your words," Drake points out. "I'm just trying to get the story clear. Did Retcon Lad question your use of power?" "Yes," the Net.Elementalist spat out the word. "And was your use of that power wise?" "I was in full control!" "Was it wise?" Drake insists. "No, it wasn't. It was bloody dangerous. Is that want you want to hear?" the Net.Elementalist demands. "And have you felt that way before? To use your power unwisely, but because you could?" "I'm feeling that way right now!" "So, would you say that your powers are controlling you?" "Don't be stupid," the Net.Elementalist dismisses. "But you say you want to use your powers, in ways that others would consider crazy." "That's because they're jealous," the Net.Elementalist hisses. "They don't know what it's like, to have this power, this ability to wield energies beyond control." "Beyond your control?" The Net.Elementalist leans forwards. "These powers are beyond anyone's control. They are the most deadly forces on this planet." "And yet you possess them," Drake points out. "These powers beyond your control. These powers that, by the sounds of it, are controlling you." "What of it?" "How much do they control you? All the time? Can you feel them now, wanting to break free?" "...yes." "You aren't in control, are you? You are at the mercy of your own powers." Drake's voice drops. "You are merely a helpless babe in arms, while forces beyond your comprehension use you in ways you can't imagine." The Net.Elementalist falters at this. "...yes." "Do you really want to live this way? At the beck and call of powers greater than you? To live and act at their whim?" "...no." "I can help you, you know. It's not your fault. But I can help you," Drake says quietly. "Ask me. Ask God to help you." "I..." The Net.Elementalist draws his courage up to look up at Drake. "Help me," he asks, in a quavering voice. "God, please help me. I... help me, God." Drake reaches out and places his hands on the Net.Elementalist's shoulders. "It will be all right now. I can help you. "You belong to me now." _-~-_ The camera fades up one last time as Drake addresses the audience. "I think we've learned a lot here tonight. I'd like to bring our guests out for one last show of appreciation." The audience applauds once more as the Alt.Riders enter onto the stage. They line up, facing the audience, and take a bow. Then, they turn to Drake, and, as one, bow to him. "Praise be to God," they chorus. "Thank you, thank you all," Drake replies. "But there is one last thing to do tonight before it's all over. Agent, I have a job for you." "Anything for you, God," Agent replies. Drake produces a cell phone, and hands it over to Agent. "I want you to call them in for me." Agent nods, understanding immediately. He dials a number, and waits for an answer. "It's Agent here... I'm in Got.ham city... We've got a situation... That's right, I'm pushing the button. Send in a team." Snapping the cell phone shut, he returns it to Drake. "Thank you, Agent," Drake says, as Agent smiles in acknowledgement. "Well, I hope you'll join us tomorrow when we have a special appearance by the Legion of Net.Heroes. I'm sure it will be an action packed show." Drake takes one last pause, his eyes sweeping over the audience, and you readers on the net. "Please, just remember one thing. "You all belong to me now." --------------------------------------------------------------------------- NEXT ISSUE: The LNH is here! Hoorah the conquering heroes! And praise be to God! CREDITS: All belong to God. NOTES: Well, that was an exhausting issue to write, and not one that I found easy (in many ways I had to go through the wringer as the characters did). But, on the other hand, I did find it quite enjoyable to write this, the flow of ideas and words as I get back into writing making this a pleasurable experience. Ah, such is the dichotomy of life.Back to the Index.