GH Logo
filler filler Home filler filler
Setting filler History and Archives filler Game
The Protectors filler News of the World filler Gameplay and "Turns"
Other Heroes filler Issue #41, Good Saruva Hunting, Part IV, And So It Begins (6/2005) filler GH Rules on the web by the author
A Rogues' Gallery filler Issue #40, Good Saruva Hunting, Part III (5/2005) filler Game Aids
Prominent Citizens filler Issue #39, Good Saruva Hunting, Part II (3/2005) filler Mailing List
The City, Port Alexander filler Older Issues filler House Rules and Interpretations
Nearby Sites of Interest filler A Timeline filler

Issue Twenty-three, A Trip in Time

The next morning, a call came to the number on the Wanderer's card. It was fielded by PC, of course.

"This is Lynn Morgenstern. I've got the list of what's missing from the museum. Ready?" Morgenstern read off a smallish list of medieval arms, armour and accoutrements. "That's what they got from the touring exhibit. They only took the stuff that was in the best shape, and skipped over some valuable pieces, although a couple of the items they got are priceless. That's all, except ... they took one item from our regular collection -- a large metal mirror from our medieval exhibit."

"One other thing," Morgenstern added. "The items taken from the travelling display all originated from the British isles."

"Is any of what was taken traceable?" PC replied. "I know some museums have electronic tags on some of the exhibits so that if something is stolen, it can be followed."

"Some of the stuff was tagged, but we found a number of tags on the floor of the gallery, so it looks like whoever was responsible knew what they were doing," came the answer.

"OK, thanks for the heads up. We'll get this figured out. PC out."

PC did a location check for the team (except for Flex, whom she wasn't able to trace due to a lack of a comm device), and then contacted Defender. She shared what the curator had to say. "Should I assemble the troops, boss?"

"It doesn't sound like an immediate response is necessary. Go ahead and pull up everyone's posted schedule and see if we can squeeze in a meeting within the next twenty four hours. We'll also need the Mystic and the Duke present if you can reach them," said Defender.

"What about Flex?"

Defender thought about it. The solution was so simple, he laughed at himself for not thinking about it sooner. "Once you have the meeting time established, give Flex a call and let him know that we will teleconference him in. He might not be present physically, but he can at least be kept up to date."

Good idea." PC said.

Defender's mind whirled with new ideas for the MKII comm system he had been working on. "Oh, and let's set up a time in the very near future to discuss some modifications to the comm and computer system. I have a couple of ideas."

"Sounds good. Ka-Sador's wonderful company, but I need something to occupy my mind other than the TV-Land Bat-Marathon."

PC set about the task of trying to schedule a meeting time, probably for that evening...she knew that Sting would be unavailable because she knew that Alex Crosby was in meetings all day, but she would tell the group that she checked in with Sting.

She punched in the number that activated Wanderer's comm-link.

"You have reached the party you seek, unless this is a wrong number," came the answer.

"Hope I'm not calling at a bad time."

"Not at all, just finalizing some doohickeys and submitting a thingamabob or two."

"Anyways, Defender's calling a Protector meeting, preferably for this evening. Your calendar free?"

"Most definitely, the ladies will just have to survive one night without me." The Wanderer then offered to contact the Mystic since antiques were an area of expertise for him.

"That's fine, but be sure he knows that I'll need a way to get in touch with him too, especially if he's officially signed on as a part-timer."

"Will do," the Wanderer answered in the affirmative.

"OK, see you tonight. PC out." PC took a look around the internal monitors, where she noticed the Beggar King. She flipped on the comm speaker. "Hey, Max."

"And a good morrow to you, most beautiful of morning stars," came Max's reply. "How my a humble man such as myself be of assistance to such a noble lady as thee?"

"Defender wants a meeting of the full team. I know you're a part-timer, but can you be there?"

>"Did the good gentle say what this gathering was about?" PC gave Max the quick summary. "Ah. I believe I can make it, although I might be a touch late. Tonight there is a song contest at the Marketplace and I could hardly miss that. I shall endeavour to be here as soon as I can following that.

"OK, sounds good. I'll be down to help in a bit." PC would check in with Ka-Sador on the way down...since he lived there, she assumed he could be there, but would still ask in case he had personal time scheduled that night.

She took a look around the base. State of the art equipment, a great team of heroes (even if they were all guys), and her as the link between it all. Life was good. She went to check in with Ka-Sador, then would try and contact Flex to set up the conference call before helping Max with his work.

Flex answered got the details and confirmed that he to would be ready.

		*		*		*		*
The meeting was arranged for the following evening, and at the appointed time the various heroes arrived and were escorted into Lynn Morgenstern's well-appointed office. She greeted them warmly and had her personal assistant provide coffee or tea for those who wanted it, then she settled in to provide what information she could.

"Thank you for seeing us," Defender said. "Normally, this sort of thing would be a police matter, but the involvement of paranormals has drawn our attention. I guess my first question is 'Does anything about the stolen items stand out in your mind?' Were the items related beyond just being in the collection?"

"A few things," said Morgenstern. "As I told, ah, 'PC', all the items except one came from the travelling exhibition. That one, a large metal mirror, came from our permanent collection. All the items orginated in the British isles. They escaped with several very fine sets of armour, a number of swords, including a few early sword/gun combination pieces and a one axe/gun, a single tapestry, three matching goblets -- incidentally leaving behind one of the set -- a silver pitcher, and a collection of brooches and cloak clasps. And the mirror."

"Were the armour and weapons combat-worthy?" Defender asked.

Morgenstern looked shocked, "Good lord you don't think they'd try something like that do you? Think of the damage to these invaluable historical treasures!" She visibly mastered her emotions and considered. "The swords quite possibly could be used. The armour would probably be adequate, although ridiculously obsolete. I doubt the fireams are still functional -- those combination weapons were barely functional when brand new."

"Under normal circumstances, your typical criminal doesn't steal his weapons from a museum. However, these were not typical criminals." Defender kept his thoughts about Quarrel to himself. "Were the items from a specific time period or just scattered pieces of history?"

"More or less scattered," was the reply. "Or an overview at least."

"Did the exhibit come with any historical documentation of the items?" Defender asked. "If so, can we get photocopy?"

"Certainly, I've got copies here." She distributed a few sheets. "The provenance of some of it is uncertain, but a few pieces are well documented. This gun we can trace to a Duke of Northumberland, our mirror comes from Castle Brangore, the goblets are from an early Bishop of York."

"Could we be allowed to examine the items remaining, especially the remaining piece of the goblet set?"

"Of course, whenever you are ready."

"Shall we?" Defender asked. As the group began to file out of the office, he took a moment to get the sheets on his video capture. On their way out of the room, he quickly sent them to PC. "Here are the details. If you could, see if you can trace these items through previous sells or whatever info you can dig up."

With someone looking into the financial and art collection side, he decided to go to an expert on Medieval research for the historic side. As they walked, Defender tapped away on his wrist comp. He downloaded the images into his home computer, then sent his wife an email asking if she could be so kind as to do a little historic research for him.

"This is not the first time this sort of crime has been tried," Flex commented as the conversation took a lull whilst people considered what had been said. "I happen to know that an auction house had suffered a similar fate the exact details of what was stolen and how I have yet to check," Flex said. "But I can tell you that this group is I believe not known to be a local organisation, and it is almost certain that they would not be able to fence the stuff here - they would need to be stealing to order, or as Defender has indicated perhaps using it for their own ends".

"I've been tied up in way too much practicality of late," Defender said. "It never occurred that this could simply be an art theft. Could you relay what you know about this auction heist to PC once we are finished here?"

Flex turned to Defender and nodded, "No problem. If I hear any more I will report it to her as a matter of course from now on, ok?" Flex said before they proceeded on.

Ka-sador broke his silence from the back of the room,[THREE SCENTS, THREE GOBLETS TAYKEN. SIMULER THEFT. HARD TO FENCE LYKE LADEE SAY.] His right wing stretched out, [PERSONAL USE? RITUWAL OR LOOKING FOR SUMTHING SPESHUL?]

The Wanderer, who was standing by the window, chimed in, "That is what I was thinking. This is eerily familiar to the rash of jewelry thefts a while back (see Issue #6 Jewel). Do you suppose they are looking for a specific set of goblets and other artifacts?" He turned to the Mystic, "you were the one on Darkspell's trail, could he be involved? It appears that Quarrel prefers to work for others."

"I am not aware of any mystical significance to any of the items involved," said the Mystic. "However, my knowledge is hardly universal. I shall look into it. Why one single item from the main collection, I wonder."

"You said it was from Castle Brangore," reiterated the Wanderer. "Castle Brangore was recently purchased, perhaps the new owners had a spot on the wall that needed to be filled?"

Morgenstern looked a little surprised, "There would be a spot, I suppose. The previous owner of the castle gifted it to the museum shortly before the sale."

Ka-sador sniffed loudly [SMELLS LYKE LEED,] he said with a smile.

PC started sifting through what was on the net involving recent real estate purchases, in order to find the castle and, more specifically, the name of a buyer.

She quickly came up a couple of items (From the News:

She tried to dig deeper for information/instances of Richard bits, where he might work, things like that.

The Wanderer called out, "PC, when you are investigating those other thefts that Flex mentioned. See if there are any pieces from Castle Brangore in those collections. Also, if you can, try to determine if there are any other pieces donated by the previous owner nearby. If they are retrieving the Castle's furnishings then maybe we can be waiting next time."

PC ran her scans, checking on the things the Wanderer had mentioned as well. Richard Sherwin seemed to have no visible means of support, and aside from a few small mentions in the society pages shortly after his purchase, stayed out of the news.

The robbery at Moresby's was of cash only, no items were taken merely the receipts of a recent large auction.

"An auction," the Wanderer pondered. "Is there any way to get a listing of the goods auctioned on that day?" he asked. "The next adventure for Sherwood Forest's ne'er-do-wells could be in that batch, else they could be covering up certain legally purchased goods."

"Hang on," Flex chimed in," let me get this straight. Mr Sherwin buys a property that has been shipped over from England but does not seem to have any visible means of support. Then we have a crossbow wielding man robbing places for money and now for valuable goods." "I wonder if there is a connection between these two. I'll admit it is tenuous but, as Ka-sador said, perhaps we ought to see Mr Sherwin and his country house. Maybe he is a victim in this as well, maybe not. What other leads do we have?" Flex said as he concluded, looking around the room for comments

PC piped up, "The auction at Moresby's was a wine auction."

"That explains the goblets," said the Wanderer wryly.

Sting, as per his usual tack, stayed quiet until he felt he had something to contribute. "I tend to agree with Flex. We've got a lead, I suggest we follow it."

"Defender, may I suggest a two-pronged approach? Some of us speak with Mr. Sherman directly, go to his house, knock on the door, have tea and crumpets, that sort of thing. While that is going on, those of us with stealth capabilities search the premises for anything...suspicious. With my powers, I would probably be best suited for the latter. Wanderer as well, since he can flit from place to place and be gone in a flash.

"As for the meet and greet session, so far Defender is definitely my nomination for team spokesman."

Sting paused to let someone else speak, but then remembered something last minute. "Something to consider is that if this Quarrel is British, he had to have come into the country somehow...and he will have to leave. PC, can you find out what less-than-public avenues are available? Especially the possibility of privately chartered flights? If this Quarrel is as high-class as people paint him to be, he may have the money for a charter flight."

"On it." PC chimed in, and the sound of keys clicking could be heard over the loudspeaker.

Sting turned to the curator. "Are there any other exhibits or somesuch on display in the city that could be a next target? Quarrel's tastes tend to run towards either culture or cash, by the sound of things."

"Nothing that I am aware of. Oh, a few private collectors might have some pieces that would be comparable, but nothing much beyond that. It's not like Europe, where they would be three or four museums each with an extensive collection -- we're nearly the only game in town," said Morgenstern.

"While you are investigating this Sherwin, I shall investigate the mystical connections of the stolen artifacts if any," said the Mystic. He wrapped his cloak around himself and dissappeared within its folds, literally, vanishing from the room.

Whilst Defender thought through Sting's two prong approach idea, Flex thought through what he had been told about this character, Quarrel. "Hmm, PC, Flex here - didn't someone say that Quarrel had robbed before then dropped out of sight? Any chance you can tell us anything about his last hits whilst in Europe, what he got and, out of interest, were any in England".

Meanwhile, Defender had come to his conclusion. "While our reclusive manor-owner seems a likely suspect, I fear we don't have enough to suspect him of any wrongdoings. I can see perhaps discussing the mirror with him, but I can't really agree with the snooping. We are only private citizens and even the police would have to obtain a search warrant." Turning back to the curator as they arrived in the appropriate hall, "This is what remains of the exhibit? Has anything been removed since the break-in or is it all as it was last night?"

"It's close. After the police CSI people were through, we had to do a little clean-up, but it was all minor. We did delay the opening, so the public hasn't been through here yet," said Morgenstern.

Flex looked at Defender and said, "I don't suppose the CSI people would miss anything but even so do you think we ought to look for any other clues, our talents may pick up something they missed."

"Every pair of eyes will help," Defender replied. "Computer. Video capture on. Download to mainframe, live feed. Open comm channel to PC. You there? My eyes are yours for now. Tell me where you want to look."

Remembering a very basic detail, Defender turned to the curator. "Do the police have the originals of the security tapes or did they make copies?"

"The police have the originals," said Morgenstern.

"Hrm. We could use a good look at those. Wanderer, do you still have friends on the force?" Defender went back to looking over the exhibit. "Tell me where to look, PC."

"In homicide, yes" said the alien. "We appear to be one body short for that," he stated matter-of-factly, "but the investigation is still young," he cracked, winking at Morgenstern. "I'll make some calls," he said to Defender.

Ka-sador swept wide around the cordioned off area trying to distinguish the scents he had picked up on the arrow to see where each man might have been, who took what, etc.

The room was a hodge-podge of scents; all three men had been present, more specificity was impossible.

The Wanderer traced his steps from earlier in the night and paid special attention to the elevator area where he had seen the two men. "PC," called out into his communit. Granted the lighting was dim, but the Wanderer described as best he could the other man with Quarrel so that PC could get enough to cross reference with all law enforcement databases, maybe he could be identified when crossed with an association with Quarrel.

After following the path, the Wanderer found himself at the elevator itself. His gloved hand reached out and hit the call button, "Let's see just where they were -- and went." Perhaps their labour of love caused something to be left behind in the elevator, or at the loading dock, he hoped.

A moment later the elevator arrived. "They had to jimmy the security on the elevator," commented Morgenstern from behind the Wanderer. "The floors are locked out, but they bypassed that easily." She indicated the control panel on the inside of the elevator. "You can see where they popped the panel loose and got at the wiring."

"Industrious lads, weren't they?" he commented. This Quarrel was a professional, they came well prepared and with the necessary expertise to accomplish the job. "We can add this to our M.O. file," he commented to no one in particular. At the conclusion of this little jaunt to the bowels of the museum he would relay his findings to PC and hopefully refine their search further.

There was little to see. The elevator opened onto a corridor painted industrial grey, across from which was the metal door to the loading dock. Other corridors led off to the other behind the scenes areas, and various doors led to maintainence shops, boiler rooms, restoration shops and so forth.

Flex looked about, seeking any hard to find spots to look into that might turn up a clue, stretching into those difficult corners where something might still lie, since its very location may have meant that it would not be easily noticed.

Defender cast his view around, taking in the entire scene. Following PC's directions, he made sure to scan the entire room for a three dimensional computer model. From the exhibit, he moved to where the mirror had hung. Again he took his cues from PC as to where his gaze should fall. Taking his time, he then followed the Wanderer's reconstruction of the assumed escape route. PC's presence with the team was paying off, Defender thought to himself.

The mirror had hung in a seperate hall, being part of the permanent collection. Ka-Sador followed and noticed that only the smell of the man whose scent was also on the crossbow quarrel was in that part of the museum.

Meanwhile, Beggar King, himself an amateur medieval scholar, took a more series look at the pieces in the collection. His interest was split between trying to find clues and just examining the artifacts from a more civilized time. Once he had seen what he could of the exhibit, he began to drift about from room to room, floor to floor around the general area of the theft. Walls and ceilings were no obstacle to the Duke, much to Morganstern's surprise and consternation.

Defender offered his hand to Morganstern. "Thank you for your time and access to the site. We will keep you informed with what we find. Is there a better number to reach you if we have information or questions?"

"That number is fine, but here's my card. It has my cell number on it as well," said Morgenstern. "Thank you all, and if there's anything else you need from us, let me know."

Seeing Defender's cue the group moved from the museum. "I will be ready, Defender, to be contacted when you need me - you have my number. I will continue to keep an ear to the ground both for our antic thieves and for anything else that's about." Turning to the rest of the group, Flex nodded his head and said good bye.

Outside the museum, Flex departed and the remaining heroes returned to the secret elevator. Soon after, they were in the Fortress lounge, where those who had not yet seen the Hall of Heroes displays inspected them while refreshements were prepared in the kitchen.

Defender sat the tea service, complete with fruit cocktail for Ka-Sador and plenty of sugary cookies for Sting on the table. Afterwards, he pulled the conference phone over to the table, but did not dial.

"Before we discuss the case at hand, I think we should discuss Flex." Defender sat down on the arm of one of the couches.

"Helpful chap," Max said, looking up from making his 'perfect cup of tea.' "Where did you say you ran across him again?"

"A few weeks back, Ka-sador were doing our patrol of the parts. He was sitting there with a map of our patrol routes. Well, mostly mine. He said the map had come from someone who had tried to hire muscle to take the two of us out." Defender cracked the lid on the Mountain Dew he had brought himself. "We let him patrol with us for the rest of the night, mostly to get a feel for him. Aside from having stars in his eyes, he handled himself well. Ka-sador, would you like to add anything?"

Ka-sador looked up from his can of fruit cocktail, his black tongue still inside. It licked around his beak and disappeared inside as he spoke [FLECKS, SEEM LYKE WARRYER. KA-SADOR LYKE SO FAR.] The Wanderer chimed in from the kitchen, "I think he could prove useful, Port Alexander is better off with him. Besides, I think he wants my autograph." Suddenly, the Wanderer was sitting in chair munching on a stalk of celery as the pop of displaced air was replaced by chewing.

"Which reminds me," Defender started. "I still haven't gotten that autographed picture from your fan club."

Defender smiled at the collective chuckle.

"I don't see the problem," Max said, matter-of-factly.

"I never said there was a problem, per say." Defender took a long drink from the bottle in his hand. "Just that he approached and asked for membership in our exclusive little club here. That's not my say. It's something we all must decide. For now, I say that we afford him a sort of trial membership. No access to the Fortress just yet, but we set him up on the communications channels and keep him in the know about current cases. Does anyone have a counter proposal?"

"Well, in all fairness," Sting began, "I showed up on your doorstep at the start of the MUSE case and you didn't seem to have a problem with me getting a key to the Protectors' executive washroom." Sting smiled (his mask was lifted to just over his mouth so that he could eat and drink). "On the other hand, those stars in his eyes have a real impetuousness behind him. He's very much 'lets go and lets do'. While that is admirable in many respects, perhaps a trial membership would be a good bit in his mouth to help him learn the ropes."

"You're arrival was under less suspicious circumstances. And you did prove yourself before the Wanderer opened the doors to the Fortress to you. As have the rest of us. I'm not proposing that we spend months and months evaluating Flex, unless that becomes necessary. I'm simply suggesting we give him a chance to prove himself. So far, he has proven trustworthy. I just want to make sure he's up to carrying the responsibility of being a Protector."

Defender stopped and thought for a second. "Did that sound as pretentious to you as it did to me?" He asked all assembled. "Sorry."

"Well, I am for the trial membership," Beggar King said. "Over the years, I've had a fair share of experience with young men coming in with a head full of dreams. Few can cut it as knights of the realm. This Flex might just have what it takes, but the act of becoming a knight is just as important a ritual for the knight as for his liege-lord. His enthusiasm will be properly tempered in the 'Fire of Becoming.'"

Defender nodded along, at least mostly understanding what Max was trying to say. "Sounds like three votes for trial membership. Wanderer? Ka-sador? PC? Opinions?"

The Wanderer sat amused at how much discussing over trivial matters these humans did, "Trial membership it is!" he said with a smile.

Ks-sador fidgeted, he was anxious to talk about the museum and hunting down the culprits. All this talk seemed lost on him, if Flex did not perform well the law of the arena said he would be killed in battle and then it was only a question of honor as to how well they remembered him. [FLECKS CAN HELP FYND THEEF,] he added as his endorsement.

Defender turned toward the last person in the room. "As eyes and ears of the team, PC, how do you vote?"

"As eyes and ears of the team, I'm for it. However, I think my peace of mind would be complete if we had some sort of way to keep track of him while on a mission. I'm not saying tag his private life...hell, I can trace the phone number to do that if I really wanted to..."

All eyes suddenly shot towards PC. "...but I wouldn't. Hey, I'm a hacker, but I only go after the bad guys. You know that or you wouldn't have hired me. Anyways, just something so that if he wanders away from the group, we can find him. Kids do get pretty lost you know."

"Who are you calling a kid?" Sting asked.

"Pipe down, Methuselah" PC fired back, and Sting visibly winced. "Now, it's unanimous, he's our version of the Wondertwins for the time being. Now, can we get down to business?" Assuming the brief silence meant agreement, PC dailed Flex up preparatory to sharing the results of the analyses that Defender asked her to do.

Flex felt his cell vibrate. Since he was not in the sort of place that he wanted to be seen taking a call at length he made his farewells to the group of associates he was talking with, then ducked into a back alley. Easily leaping to the establishment's roof, he popped out the cell phone and replied. "Flex here, sorry couldn't answer straight away, had a business meeting going on- you know how it is. But I am free now and listening in." Flex smiled, "Do you ever get used to this - it's like the old James Bond movies I watched back when I was in England," he thought. "Ahh happier times." He cleared his mind to concentrate on the conference call.

PC had come up with a long list of chartered flights that could conceivably have provided an English supervillian with entry to the country. She also pointed out that since his real identity is unknown, he could also have just come in on a regular flight.

She had tracked down a few other items which came from Castle Brangore. None were in PA itself, but a few were in museums in nearby cities. None were as large or impressive as the mirror.

None of the items stolen from the museum figured prominently in history -- i there was no "romantic value" associated with them, only historical. (For instance, there was no "cup that the doomed King drank from," or Crown Jewels, or anything like that.) They were fine examples of their respective periods and styles but not really famous pieces.

Most of the items had been in the possession of the sponsoring museum for many, many years. A lot of them were gifted during the reign of Victoria. The notable exception, of course, was the mirror. Also, one of the combination weapons was on permanent loan from an anonymous donor.

The description of two men Wanderer saw indicates that neither matches the description of Quarrel, but otherwise turns up almost nothing - a single short reference to a small caberet style show that ran in London's West End featuring a mysterious masked trick shot artist who used a longbow and called himself Sharpshooter. The show was not a success and closed quickly. The performer's outfit matched the Wanderer's description.

Defender finished his drink while listening to PC's report. Once she was done, he scratched his head. "Unless the Mystic has turned up some ritual signifigance to items stolen, I'm at a loss. The only major piece seems to be the mirror. That piece leads to Brangore. I'm not ready to suspect the lord of the manor of wrong-doings, but he might know something we don't."

"We also could use a good look at the security tapes that the police currently have. And a history lesson on Brangore and the family or families who have owed it over the years might help. As for Quarrel and Sharpshooter, I think we have hit a dead end with them for now. Anyone feel otherwise?"

Flex listened in. "At least while I am waiting around and listening in, I might as well make myself comfortable," he thought as he let his body flow into a more comfortable and supportive position. "Now that's better". He thought through the whole museum case so far and short of following the present leads they had there did not seem to be to much left to go on. "I am with Defender as regards to our present leads - not to barge in or anything but if you want a third body for the manor visit I'm your man, the 'Parts aren't what they used to be and a trip out sounds like fun," Flex said.

Sting was internally frustrated that the group couldn't (or wasn't willing to) be more proactive than this, but they and he had very little choice. "Seems to be all we can do now" he said. "I'd still like to go as well, albeit in shrunken form. He doesn't need to *SEE* four guys...but if something pops up, wouldn't it be better to have the backup there already? And if PC keeps tabs here, Wanderer should be able to get to wherever we are in a flash if need be."

Sting paused. "I just have a really bad feeling about this place. Call it a gut hunch if you will, but I'd rather be ready than not."

The Wanderer spoke up, "PC, this Sharpshooter fellow. Are there any stories about him from the production, a photo, or bio? Maybe he has a penchant for the ladies, the ponies, or loud rock and roll music. If he is still in town, maybe he is out celebrating his haul."

PC replied in the negative, they had all she could find.

With a pop he appeared next to Sting. "I agree with Stinger here, there is no need for so many to crash a party that isn't there. Ka-sador should be able to sniff out any rotten fish and Max can cover any of his unorthodox behaviour. Should there be trouble, we can be there..." he trailed off and reappeared next to the console, "in a flash."

"I think it wise to go cautiously here," Defender said. "I like the idea of Ka-sador sniffing around. With the inclusion of the Duke, I assume you wish them to go incognito."

"I am up for it, Major." Max snapped off a sharp salute. "I do know a thing or two about art. But it would be nice to know a thing or two about the man I'm going to talk to. Richard Sherwin, is it?"

Ka-sador stood to his full height and gave a military salute, [KA-SADOR ACCEPT MISSHUN.] He looked over to Max, [WE JIM ROCKFORD HIM, PI STYLE].

PC handed Max all the information they had on Sherwin. It fit easily on a single sheet of paper. He was British, fairly reclusive and had no visible means of support. There were a few corroboratin details, but that was the meat.

Max looked over the bare information before him. "You know, maybe we should do a little background checking on our friend, Dick. Quarrel is a Brit and recently come to America. So's Dick."

Defender shook his head. "Nationality is not enough to suspect him on."

"How about the fact that this all seems to come back to the mirror," Max offered. "The mirror was taken from the castle and put on display. How long had the mirror been in the museum collection? Was it a temperary loan or a full sale? Did Dick try to buy it back before it was stolen?"

The file indicated that the piece was a gift from Richard Brangore, and was given several months before the sale of the castle.

Defender leafed through the case file and pulled out the documentation on the mirror. "Did it occur that we might be narrowing our focus too much on this one piece?"

Max smirked when Defender read aloud about the mirror. "Seems to me we have a little more cause for suspicion. So, if possible, could I please get a list of the other objects gifted from the Castle? I've got an angle. As an art collector and a history buff, I think I would like to interview Dick on the Brangore artifacts gifted to museums. Ka-sador, you can assume human form, correct? I suppose I could have hired you as a private detective to help me find 'Dick' Sherwin."

PC was able to give him a quick printout of the few other items gifted to other museums in the area.

"That sounds reasonable," Defender offered. "Sting can tag along in take-home size while Wanderer and I are nearby in case of trouble. Does that sound like a viable plan to everyone?"

Ka-sador fidgeted, [NEVER KNOW TIL WE FYND OUT]. He strode gracefully over to Max, [READEE BOSS? KA-SADOR NOT WORK CHEEP. YOO ON CLOCK,] he said with a smile.

Flex paused before jumping in, "Err yes that sounds fine Defender - does that mean you want me to hang back, or can I come to - you might find my shape change skill of use - I too can change human form like Ka-Sador. But there again, three's a crowd I guess."

Defender smirked to himself. "Sorry, Flex. I didn't mean to leave you out. Out of sight and all that. If you are free, having a little more back-up from our newest probationary member might be a good thing."

"No Problem, Defender - my schedule is very open right now so just let me know when, where etc and I will be there, unless we have a team mini bus doing the rounds to pick us all up." Flex smiled under his mask. "These guys where alright. Funny how he was getting to know them from a completely different perspective than the one he had shared with others also on the outside in the recent past," he thought.

	*		*		*		*
The sun began its descent into the horizon as a dishevelled dark-skinned man with Asian features wearing a raincoat clanged the ancient knocker on Castle Brangore. With him was another man, wrapped in a long leather coat. Standing average height, the brown haired man had a regal bearing that came through. As he waited, he allowed his coat to fall open a little, revealing an older suitcoat and vest that whispered of times past. The inside of his coat had a layer of quilting that had been added post purchase. His hands were wrapped in black leather gloves matching his coat. Perched on his head, almost comically, was a small fedora. He was all blacks and maroons except for a white shirt beneath it all.

A long moment passed, and the man knocked again. A few seconds later, the door opened. A fit looking man with short sandy brown hair and a sunweathered complexion, wearing slacks and a golf shirt opened the door. "Yeh," he said with a pronounced Australian accent, "What cen I do fer ya?"

The Asian man flinched ever so slightly, and glanced over to Max catching his eye, then scratched his nose. He then whipped out some identification, [GUD EVENING. STARZKEE ENHUTCH, PRIVATE INVESTIGAYTER. MAY WE SPEEK WITH YOO?]

The Australian's eyes narrowed, "Mebbe. What for?" He leaned against the open door, casually bringing it a few more inches closed and obscuring his right hand behind it.

Enhutch looked over to Max.

From a vest pocket, Max produced a silver card box. He pulled a calling card from within, folded the right upper corner with practiced ease and handed it to the man. As he eyed the hand lettered script on the card, Max introduced himself. "I am Duke Maximillian Immungrun von Mindelheim," Max said with a reverberating click of his riding booted heels. "I have come to call upon Mr. Richard Sherwin."

"Yer don't say," said the Australian eyeing the card. "What's he fer, then?"

"Without Mr. Enhutch here, I would have never been able to find Mr. Sherwin. And being a man of principle, he has agreed to accompany me here."

"Alright, you wait here," the man closed the door and they heard it lock.

A few moment later, a bearded man wearing dark glasses and casual attire opened the door. He looked off into space between the two men. "What's this about?" he asked, a small frown of concentration on his face.

"Sir, I am Duke Maximillian Immungrun von Mindelheim and I am at your service," Max said again with a click of his heels. "I am an art collector and historian. I'm intrigued by the artifacts of your castle here and would like to discuss with you a few of them for an article I am preparing for European Arts Abroad. It will not take long, I assure you."

"Out of the question," he replied in an English accent. "And a waste of time, I'm afraid. All the interesting pieces of art were liquidated before I purchased the castle." Another frown crossed his face as he continued to focus off between the two men on his doorstep.

[IS THERE SUMTHING TROUBLING YOO,] asked Enhutch as he turned to looked behind him along the same path as Mr. Sherwin.

"No, why do you ask?" said Sherwin, cocking his ear slightly up and right the alien.

For some reason, the Beggar King was siezed with a feeling of deja-vu. He'd seen this before, among some of the more downtrodden. The strange focus, the dark glasses ...

[YOO APPEAR PRE-OCCUPIED, AS IF THERE IS A HEAVEE BURDEN] Ka-sador waved around his identification and placed it within his raincoat. [IF THIS ISS THE END OF THE ROAD,] he turned to Max, [LOOKS LYKE YORE ARTIKAL ABOWT THE MIRRIR ENDS HERE.]

The man did not react to the identification nor the waving. "Sorry, I can't help you. As you can see, though, it would be fairly useless for me to have a lot of art about anyway," he indicated his eyes.


"No, I'm afraid we're rather busy, just at the moment," was the reply. "Good day." Another frown crossed the man's face, and he began to close the door.

[I SEE. TELL ME, HAVE YOO EVER BEEN TOO OOGANDA?] he asked, [YOO ARE VERY FAMILIAR TOO ME] Ka-sador said hoping Max would pick up on the clue.

"No, never. Good day." The door began to close again.

"Mr. Sherwin, one more question, please," Max said to get the man's attention. When he paused, Max phased two fingers just through the glasses to gauge his response.

Sherwin made no response whatsoever, so Max continued, "How long have you been without your sight?" Max asked with genuine concern.

Sherwin seemed to respond to Max's concern and unbent very slightly, "Well over ten years. But it doesn't get easier." He came back to himself. "I'm sorry I can't help you, good day."

Max turned to Enhutch. "He's blind. No one would have been able to fake blindness with my fingers poking through their glasses. He's also at a point of depression beyond even suicide. I may have to arrange a meeting between this man and a certain Marquise under my stewardship. She lost her sight several years ago, but has been a pillar. Shall we?"

Enhutch pivoted on his heel and began to walk back down the path to the street. He glanced around to see if anyone or anything was watching or listening.

He caught a hint of motion from an arrow slit above the main entrance, but it quickly vanished.

Sting slid out of the pocket of Enhutch and yanked on his arm to get his attention. Sting then used his radio so that the two of them could hear him normally at his current height. He was sure to patch Defender in as well. "Blind or no, he was REALLY in a hurry to get us out of there and even more determined not to let us in. Something's not right here." Sting said.

"Defender, that gut feeling I have is a gut assault now. Do we have enough yet to have reasonable suspicion?"

Ka-sador gave the confirmation with three simple words, [IT WAS THEM.]

Sting smiled. Ka-Sador's tracking talent paid off again. "Defender, permission to proceed in in "short form" so that we don't lose them again, they have to know something's going on. I promise I won't be a least until the rest of you are in position."

[ARMED AND DAYNJERUS,] Ka-sador echoed remembering that the first man kept his right hand behind the door. [SHERWIN HOLD QUARREL,] he added.

"Are you sure?" Defender asked. When Ka-sador responded in the positive, Defender spoke again. "I think we need to get a look inside. Max, can you get in?"

"I doubt those walls could stop me. I can even ferry someone with me, although it will be taxing." Max responded.

"Take me" Sting said. "At my current size I'd probably tax you the least, plus if they get the drop on you I might be a nice surprise."

"You two go. Since this is technically B&E, be very careful. Try to remain unseen, if possible." Defender said into his comm unit. He shut off the transmit and turned to the Wanderer. "Am I worrying too much about the legalities here?"

"Now that is rich," Flex said. "After all if these guys are the ones that broke into the museum I am sure they will understand the compulsion we feel to break into their manor. At any rate I am not sure that they will want to involve the police, especially if they have something to hide."

"If we get into the habit of entering a place just because we think there might be bad guys, where are we likely to end up? I don't want us to end up doing things that we think are right only to infringe upon the rights of others." Defender frowned. "Paranormal abilities or not, we are still just private citizens."

Flex took in what Defender said. "Hmm I guess you got a good point there - I had never thought about it like that. I guess the good guys have got to lead the way. Ok, it's good for me," Flex said thoughtfully.

The Wanderer popped over to Defender and put his hand on the hero's shoulder. "Your sense of morality is admirable, and unusual among your people. But as for one who has been many places and seen many things, always remember there is a higher morality than what you earthers compose into your laws."

The man in black paced off a couple of steps and addressed the assembled Protectors (and Flex), "Be careful, Max do not overtax yourself, I'm sure Sting can find a crack in an old castle to walk through. And Flex, now may be a good time for you to do the jello thing and ooze in on your own, maybe upstairs. There are at least three of them, no need to start out outnumbered."

Flex looked across to the Wanderer and then back to Defender. "I agree with The Wanderer and not just becuase I am keen to prove myself. If these guys are who we think they are then better be prepared. They know something is up, they may be prepared for this or worse. As well, I need you to know that I have one other ability that may yet help us here". With that Flex's features began to flow, "As you know I can literally flex my body and creep into that castle in my own way, but I can also do this, if not for now for future reference." Flex promptly snapped back into a more human shape and allowed his whole body to shift into a neatly dressed man looking suspiciously like Sean Connery's James Bond, then flowed again into Starsky then Hutch. "That one is for you, Ka-sador," Flex said grinning as Hutch before he allowed his more familier guise to take over. "I can get a good look at these guys and maybe pose as one of them find out what is going on if the more stealthy option does not turn anything up. It is just a thought that any general needs to know what he has at his disposal before he sends in the troops. Either way I am able to take the stealth option if need be," Flex said as he looked around the group then back to Defender awaiting the next move.

"Break on through..." Defender said, beginning to hum the Doors song to himself.

Max nodded and held open a pocket for Sting. "When I tell you, take a deep breath and hold it. This will feel a lot like swimming." Once Sting was in passenger mode, Max drifted toward the castle.

"Any trouble," the Wanderer began, "hit the panic button and I'll be there to put a flaming bag of doggie doo on the doorstep. That ought to distract them."

At the point where the natural cover ended, Max told Sting to take a breath, did so himself and dove into the ground as if he were swimming. Just below the surface, he made his way to the front entrance.

He pushed through and then poked his head up into the main hall. There did not appear to be anyone around, so he "flew" back above ground and resolidified. The hall was large and high-ceilinged. At the far end a gallery was built out, overlooking the hall and the bulge of a tower at each of the far corners was visible, as were doors leading into the towers. To the left was a kitchen, which seemed to have been substantially modernized. The hall itself had been modernized as well, and was furnished as a kind of living room. On the right side a wall of modern vintage had been installed between the support pillars, cutting off a section of the hall. There were quite a few doors in the wall there. Although obviously modern, an effort had been made to remain faithful to the period; the walls were stone and the doors of iron bound wood. The effect was pleasant.

The heroes realized, from what they had seen outside, that there was another full floor above this hall, and given the lack of visible stairs, access must be from one or both of the towers.

Flex followed Max and Sting also making use of the cover as best he could. The when it failed he to moved in his own inimitable fashion - snake like across the ground seeking to change his skin colour to as inconspicuous a tone as he could manage. As Max and Sting went their way, Flex sought to flow in through any access point his almost liquid fluid form could find.

Defender and the Wanderer watched from a safe distance. Upon seeing Flex rippling along the ground, Defender shock his head a little. "That is so strange looking. I don't know if I will ever get used to seeing that. And I thought Max was weird."

There were several narrow windows, arrow slits actually, too small to allow a human passage but Flex slithered up and into one easily. It had been glassed over, but the window was not fully closed and he poured his form through the gap, joining the other two inside.

In the meantime, Ka-sador took to the darkened skies to get an aerial view of the castle grounds. Hopefully escape by these rogues would not occur again.

Defender and the Wanderer moved up as close as they could while remaining undercover.

Inside, the three heroes conferred. "I recommend against splitting up" Sting whispered to Max. "OK," Flex whispered to the other heroes, "where do we go from here? I'll follow your lead."

"Lets head towards your right first, and go from there," Sting suggested.

Flex nodded his agreement.

The heroes quickly discovered that the rooms to the right were individual bedrooms. Each had walls running from the exterior wall to a support pillar that looked like original equipment, only the wall facing the hall was new. Three of the rooms looked lived in, one more looked like a spare, and the last was set up as some kind of laboratory/workshop.

In that one, arrows and quarrels were ranged about in various stages of construction, and a variety of what looked like high-tech gimmick heads were also in various levels of readiness.

"Sting, please signal the others that we've got positive proof of their identities." Max said. "Let's see what else is about."

Max turned from the bedroom area and headed for one the back of the hall and the towers.

"Hold up a sec, Max." Sting said. He leaned into the comm unit. "Team, we're in a room with trick arrows and crossbows galore. We've got our men. I have a feeling if trouble hits, this might be one of the first places they head to. Before we do ANYTHING else, I think we need to get visual RECORDED confirmation of this room. I'm very annoyed we didn't do that in the first place. Boss, any suggestions? Quickly?"

"Unless Max has a Polaroid in his coat..." Defender started.

"They won't come back here." Max said matter-of-factly. "I see lots of half constructed arrows, but no bows or crossbows. They're armed already and probably waiting for us."

"What was that? I didn't quite hear that," Defender said over the comm unit. He kicked himself mentally. He had to finish those new comm units soon, so that Max could finally keep in contact.

"Guys," Flex said as he moved over to Sting and his open comm unit, "Look I know I am new to this and all that but would this be a good time to get Defender and the Wanderer in - perhaps if they come in from above and we work up from below. I have a healthy respect for armed men and if we can do anything to throw them off, now that we know they probably have taken up residence in the best possible defensive position - we might just want to try something of our own."

The Wanderer replied, "Have you established visual contact with our playmates? I'd hate to pop in while one is showering. If they are forewarned, then they may have already escaped."

"Ahh, good point," Flex said sounding somewhat cautioned in his enthusiasm. "OK, maybe we'll hold on that until we have got a visual on them," said Flex as he turned to indicate to Sting and Max which way they should go now.

Sting scurried up to Max's shoulders, and took position right behind his neck, trying to blend in with his clothes.

"Here's what I suggest." Sting began, his voice lowered knowing that their talking might tip someone off. "Flex, can you morph into some sort of form that will keep your eyes at ground level? Given that they are shooters, chances are they are holed up somewhere where they can shoot at us as soon as we are in the open. Therefore, our eyes should be on multiple levels. Flex, you would take floor level about to the knees, Max would stay at standing eye level, I'd look upwards. Pay special attention to any openings in the walls, floor, or ceiling, no matter how small. They may think we can't get to them where they are." Sting paused. "They would be wrong."

"It would have been unusual for an English castle like this one to have arrow slits or murder holes within the great hall, but the towers would be perfect places for them. Of course, we are also talking about standard equipment. They have doubtlessly done some customizing on this one." Max whispered as they reached the bottom of the stairs. "Would you be injured from a fall from my shoulder, Sting?"

Max placed a hand on the interior wall/support pillar and began the climb up the stairs.

The tower stairs spiralled clockwise as they went up, which would force a climbing right-handed man to deal with the central pillar while a retreating right-hander would have a clear swing down at him.

After climbing roughly twenty feet, there was a landing and a door, the stairs themselves then continued upwards. This door was on the level of the room above the great hall.

Max provided Sting a hand down to the stairs and motioned for him to keep an eye out upwards. The door was a solid oak, but provided no obstacle at all to the Beggar King. Max phased his head through to take a peek inside.

It was dark, but Max could make out a few shadowed bulks that might be people or might be furniture.

Max pulled himself back out of the door and told his partners what he saw. He ghosted once more and went in to take a closer look. He passed through the door and stepped into the room.

"Now!" he heard, and set of lights flashed on blinding him. Out of the darkness flew two arrows (well, an arrow and a quarrel) both of which passed through his body and bounced off the door behind him. At the same time, a wash of energy lit up the area missing him but blasting the door behind him into wreckage. "Dammital," said a voice with an Australian accent.

Dimly visible behind the lights were six figures scattered around the room. The heroes realized that if they could see the villians, the villians could see them, although Flex was a carpet and Sting was only insect size.

"Is now a bad time? I could come back." Max quipped.

Another arrow came sailing from the left and passed through Beggar King and over the other heroes. From the right a calm English accented voice, said, "Sharpshooter, screamer." At the same time, a quarrel came in from the left but went high. Another blast of superheated plasma completed the destruction of the door.

Sting, insect sized, raced into the room heading right. As he ran, he spoke into his comm-unit, "Enemy engaged. Six".

Upon getting the transmission from Sting, PC patched in to the three outside the castle, being sure not to include the three inside on the broadcast. "They've engaged. There's six of them. I'm betting they can use help."

"OK, now would be a good time for Defender and the Wanderer to be here," thought Flex as he moved to intercept the nearest criminal. His flat snake like body whipped up into a more recognisable form. He leapt into the fray, his mouldable body giving him a spring like leap. He impacted with a shadowy form which crashed to the ground sending a helmet rolling across the room.

Suddenly the lights came on. The Beggar King stood by the switch, having decided to even the odds. In the new light, it was obvious that the three nearer figures were simply mounted suits of armour, the one in the middle now sprawled on the floor with Flex atop it.

To the heroes' right was a man dressed in green rights and a green sleeveless jerkin, carrying a crossbow and with a scarf tied across his eyes for a mask.

To the left was a bow wielding man with a target emblem and the letters "SS" on his chest.

In the center was a man in Australian outback kit, carrying a bola in his left hand and a pistol of odd design in his right.

Sharpshooter, to the left, said, "No screamer, they're too dispersed," and fired an arrow at the Beggar King. "If you can touch the light switch, maybe this can touch you!" The arrow bounced off the wall near the Beggar King.

"So, ye want to try Bolo, eh?" said the Australian, swinging his bola in a short vicious arc at Flex. He clipped himself on the swing, cursed, but still brought the weapon around to smash into Flex.

Flex berated himself, he felt foolish for having wasted a perfectly good opportunity by mistaking that piece of armour for one of the bad guys. "OK, Crocodile Dungaree, let's see what you are made of," Flex said, trying to cover up his mistake with bravado. As Bolo came in, Flex blocked the main impact and feinted a punch in return. "Closer, Closer," he thought as he readied himself to give him his best upper cut as he sought to grow into his enlarged form.

Bolo pressed the attack, whipping the bola back and forth and smacking Flex on each pass.

The Beggar King ghosted himself and turned toward Bolo and Flex. SharpShooter said, "You're all ghosty again, aren't you?" He put an arrow straight through the Beggar King, to test his theory. Then shifted targets, sending an arrow toward Flex. He was taking care not to hit Bolo, with the result that the arrow went wide.

Sting slipped along the floor toward Quarrel, getting into position for a quick size change and punch. A frown crossed Quarrel's face and he suddenly dropped to one knee and fired his bow. A large blunt bolt shot toward the tiny Sting. Sting tried to dodge, but was so surprised to be targeted at all, he couldn't shift in time. The impact knocked him back several feet. Quarrel reloaded and fired again, Sting saw the glittering point screaming toward him. Sting was hit by the quarrel and staggered back shouting his pain.

Outside, Ka-Sador gave the Wanderer a lift to the roof as the Defender leapt lightly up. Once there they saw the two towers, each with a door. The moved quickly but carefully up to the tower door, which yielded easily to Defender's and The Wanderer's superstrength.

Instinctively, the heroes had moved to the right hand tower. "Sting. Where are you inside?" Defender asked through the communications link.

Ka-Sador could hear sounds of battle from below them and the smell of charred wood and plasma. He needed no further impetus to move and Wanderer and Defender followed him down.

As Bolo came in, Flex stood his ground waiting for the right moment to surprise him with his mass moving pile driver. "Assuming my aim is not off like last time" he thought as he readied himself. He absorbed the lashing from Bolo, then saw his opportunity. His form balooned up to twice it's size, and his fist shot toward Bolo's jaw. Bolo flinched back, but the impact was still solid.

The Beggar King floated eerily toward Bolo as well, coat flapping behind him, the room dimly visibly through him. Beggar King executed a flying (literally) tackle on Bolo, who flinched away, even though the King passed harmlessly through him.

"Ha, now this is more like it," thought Flex as he sought to lay claim to the advantage he seemed to have got over his opponent. He swung and connected on the distracted Bolo. Bolo whipped back, but was rattled and missed.

From the ground, Sting launched a blast of vibrational energy, startling Sharpshooter and Bolo who had been unaware of his presence. The blast went over Quarrel's head and struck a large metal mirror on the wall, which emitted a ringing tone and fell off the hook.

Quarrel calmly loaded and fired but both shots missed his tiny foe.

Sharpshooter also loaded and fired, but at Flex. His target was much easier to hit, Flex flipped over and collapsed on the ground.

A black missile streaked through the charred doorframe as Ka-sador dove at Quarrell, hitting him and driving him back.

A pop of dimensional shifting saw The Wanderer appear behind Sharpshooter as he grabbed for his bow. "You could put someone's eye out with this, gimme that and play nice." He missed his grab, but before he could continue, the ringing of the mirror grew in volume. A grey mist fogged everyone's eyes. When Defender shook his head to clear his vision, he saw that only he and Ka-Sador remained in the room, everyone else had vanished.

Ka-sador flapped his wings to help dissipate the remaining fog. He sniffed instinctively to see if that could give some insight on the disappearances. [WHERE GO EVRYONE,OR DID WE GO SUMWHERE?] he asked Defender.

"Wanderer. Sting. Respond please." Defender barked into his communicator. "Where are you?"

When no answer came, he looked at Ka-sador. "I have no idea where they are. I think the Mystic is needed here. PC. Are you there?"

"I'm here. Where did everyone go? What happened?"

Defender quickly filled PC in.

"Oh crap." PC's fingers flew as she attempted to contact the Mystic. "Mystic, if you're getting this, we have a Code Omega situation involving mystic forces..specifically, half our team is gone. Please respond."

"Shar-Chi, speaking," came the reply. Upon being informed of the situation, he answered. "It is impossible to reach the master at the moment, I will tell of the situation as soon as possible."

Ka-sador approached the mirror cautiously, trying to track his friends by smell, but the smells in the room were only what he expected.

[STOLEN MIRRIR] he asked Defender pointing at the artifact. [KA-SADOR SEE IF FRENDTS STILL HEER] said the alien as he flew out of the room to look around the castle, hoping he could pick up on their scent.

He was still looking two hours later when the Mystic and Ragnar arrived.

Defender braced himself for the impending confrontation between his partner and Ragnar. "I'm glad you could come. We... have a problem."

He lead the two up to the room with the mirror. "About two hours ago, several of the team members pounced on our wayward bad guys. Just as Ka-Sador and I were joining the fight, a mist came from the mirror and everyone except for the two of us were gone. Poof. No hat. No rabbit."

Ka-sador growled quietly, eyeing Ragnar, and hefted a bolo in his right hand. [KA-SADOR LOOK OUTSYDE, STENCH TOO MUCH] he said with a glance toward Ragnar before he pushed his way through the charred door.

The Mystic and Ragnar watched him go. Then the Mystic spoke, "And you suspect magic? Why?"

Defender felt stupid for a moment. "Oh. Uh... I guess because there's no obvious equipment around and the mist seemed to come from that mirror. It's all very Lance Burton to me."

"Very well," the Mystic nodded to Ragnar and the pair began a close examination of the mirror. "This may take some time."

"I'll... I'll be outside." Defender was a fifth wheel at this point and thought it best to go back to searching the castle.

A portion of the workshop was set up to construct quarrels and arrows of standard design, or straightforward modifications such as blunted "stun-arrows." Another part was set up for the construction of more complicated gimmick missiles. Defender was able to identify a number of parts: batteries, small rocket engines, noisemakers, explosives, what looked like some kind of homing device, and a head with a pressurized chamber that could contain a gas or a liquid.

With the castle to themselves, they were able to explore it thoroughly. All of the missing items from the museum were present, as well as a large selection of medieval style furnishings. Where appropriate, the stolen items were places as if for use, eg. pitchers and cups on a sideboard. The weapons and armour were set up in more of a gallery type fashion in the room where the combat had taken place.

There were stocks of food and everything required to make a castle a home, but nothing to explain the significance of the thefts.

Ka-sador was frustrated at the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of his friends. Sometimes the overseers would come to the slavepits and take his friends under cover of darkness causing the same feeling he felt now, one of helplessness. The Krai were responsible then, and as he thought of Ragnar it would not surprise him if this was some evil trick of the Krai too. He shook his head in disbelief, what a silly thought; he was letting his hatred for Ragnar cloud his vision. [PC] he called out into his comm unit, [WHAT KNOW WE OF CASTLE BEFORE MOVE? LEGENDZ, HISTRY, ANEETHING] he asked.

"I'll check on that in a second." PC replied with a very obvious overtone of terror behind it...the fact that they disappeared into thin air gave her the serious willies. "Defender, is there *ANYTHING* about those comm units that are traceable? Frequencies, anything? Are there any different frequencies we can try to get them.? I really want to know if they are currently anywhere on this planet."

"Not yet," he said. "I've not had a chance to construct replacement communicators yet. Right now, our link works over the cell net. The IPAC beeperphones and my personal communicators both. If you can't reach them, then they are in one of a handful of places cell phone signal does not reach. Unless Sting's comm unit is different, there's no way I know of to track them."

"Either these guys are junkies for the dark ages, or something else is afoot here." Defender and Ka-Sador were looking over the food stores in the kitchen. "Do you think they knew something like this would happen?"


Defender scowled a little. "Don't know. If only I knew the motivations. Hell, if I knew where they were, I might be better able to guess at what happened." Counting on his fingers. "There were three of them and four of our comrades taken. That's seven. Maybe the mirror is only set to take that many. Maybe something activated the mirror prematurely. I don't know. I'm only guessing right now."

He thought for a few moments. "Let's hope you don't have to construct anymore memorials at the Fortress."

Issue 24: A Trip in Time - The Past

Last Updated 31 May 2002