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Issue Five, Odds and Ends

Interlude 5.1: Glory at the PNDF

Jenny Peters, the Port Alexander Times' hot shot reporter, settled back to her desk after a day of dead-end leads and community theatre announcements to wade through the usual groups of letters. Crackpots, cranks, and would-be saviours of the universe seemed to flock to her, ever since her piece on Fervor. Most found residence in the circular file but this time there was an envelope that stood out, it may have been because it was black with white writing, or maybe it was the return address of "The Wanderer -- Here, there, and everywhere."

Anyhow, at this time of day she could use a laugh, if that is what it turned out to be. Ripping it open, she found the following note:

"Ms. Peters,

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am someone whose name is not important at this
time.  I come from...well, nowhere really, but I've been many places, including
the now sunken research platform which is swimmin with the fishes, dame.  Gotta
love gumshoes.

But, that is neither here, nor there, I do have a note for you to deliver to a
Mr. Fervor.  When I last spoke with him I made mention of searching for a
certain script, and having found it, I have a part for him.  Please relay to Mr.
Fervor that casting will begin Friday midnight at the Harbor, Winthorp Marina
slip #35A.  Come alone, I do detest agents of any kind.

The Wanderer"
Peters considered the note for a moment, then pulled up her latest column on the computer. She added a few words to the bottom, nodded, and sent it to the printer.
Fervor read the last line of Jenny Peters' column again, "On a personal note, if you're reading this Fervor, could you contact me as soon as possible?"

"I promised her some interviews, didn't I?" thought Fervor. He reached for his IPAC beeperphone and left messages for the White Knight and Core, then called Jenny at the PA Times office.

Jenny was pleased to hear from Fervor. "Fervor, I got a very odd message in the mail the other day. At first, I was inclined to think it was a joke, now, though, I'm not so sure ... let me read it to you." She read the Wanderer's note to him.

"That's all there is ... and today is Thursday. Care to tell me what's up?" asked the plucky reporter.

"Jenny, Thanks for letting me know about the letter." Fervor told the reporter in a tone full of warmth. "As far as what's up, I'll be happy to tell you once I have better information. I know who the Wanderer is and the general topic of information that he wants that he is alluding to but not what that information is. Guess I'll just have to meet him and find out. By the way, I don't want you to think I've forgotten about you. I've been trying to reach a couple other of the City's heroes for you to interview but I haven't received any firm commitment yet. If you like, I'll let you know how my audition goes at the wharf tomorrow. Can't promise it will be newsworthy though. I don't know why these meetings can't be scheduled for a tuesday night. Why is it always the weekend? Well, You have yourself a good weekend and I'll let you know Monday how the meeting went."

"Thanks Fervor, you're one of the good ones," Peters replied.

Friday night at midnight most honest citizens of Port Alexander were either asleep in bed or whooping it up at one of the many night spots in the city.

Down by the docks, by Winthorp Marina, a shadowy figure was counting slips. "34 ... 34. There's no slip #35!" Fervor looked around in surprise.

He heard a noise behind him and whipped around to see The Wanderer standing behind him.

"Bravo! I see both mathematics and history are your strong points," said the black clad man known as The Wanderer hoisting a black duffel bag further upon his right shoulder.

"Yes, Ms. Prinkle would be pleased that all those rulers did not go to waste so long ago." Fervor replied. "I'm glad to see you made it back to dry land. Did your dive discover any treasure?" Fervor seemed to be at ease here almost a completely different person then the tense one who was on the platform.

"Why yes," said The Wanderer digging in the duffel bag. Through goggled eyes, a twinkle of joviality shone through the inky darkness of the night. "I'll assume you've been a good little boy and give you your gift," joked The Wanderer as he pulled out the metal box which Python and Frostorm seemed so intent to take.

"I admit, I noodled around with the contents but it proved to be an 'al dente' experience for me," confessed The Wanderer, "It is filled with computer data diskettes, but I was unable to identify the operating system and unlock their saucy secrets." "Presently it appears we have more questions than answers, do you have any ideas as to how we can reverse this?" questioned The Wanderer while gesturing with his hands in a circular motion.

"Well I will admit beforehand that the possibility of me figuring that out is about the same as the Dutchmen going undefeated this year." Fervor answered the dark hero. "On the other hand, I do know a certain knight who seems to seems to excel at this gadgety goop. We can let him take a shot."

"A Knight to shed light? I marvel at the irony. The people back home, if I had one, would find that rich," quipped The Wanderer. "Fortunately, I had a nap so a late evening won't disturb my morning digestion. Lead on!"

The normally carefree Wanderer, took on a note of somber respect and concern moments later, "Tell me, how is your lovely associate, Glory I believe I heard her referred to as, doing? She took quite a nasty spill."

"Glory is not looking too good. The best that we can say right now is that she is stable and seems to be out of immediate danger. I'm confident that she'll pull out though. She's a lot tougher than she looks." Fervor answered all joviality gone from his voice also.

"Now let me find a phone and see if I can contact the Knight."

Fervor pulled out a small beeperphone and spoke it into. Shortly, the IPAC switchboard routed the call and the White Knight was roused from his sleep by the beeping of his phone.

"... White Knight, How can I help you?"

"White Knight, It's Fervor. Wanderer just contacted me with some information on the platform. Unfortunately it's a bit to technical for us and we were hoping that you would be able to shed some light on the situation. You available?" Fervor said into the phone.

"Let me check my diary... today, 3am... no, it's clear.... Ok, Where are you now? I'll come over and check out your info. What format is it in? Media? Encryption?" asked the White Knight.

"We're down at the docks, though if there is a lab or something we need to meet you at that should be OK. As far as the technical stuff I haven't even looked at it. Here, Let me give you Wanderer. He should be able to answer you questions better than I." Fervor handed the phone over to the Wanderer.

"Good morning, is the Knight of the castle home?" quipped The Wanderer. "I've recovered a veritable treasure chest of electronic media from the platform that Python and Frostorm felt was important enough to pilfer. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to decipher their format and unlock the goodies. Fervor thought you may be able to check out our floppies."

"OK, I'll meet you there in 30 minutes. White Knight out"

The White Knight donned his Armour, picked up a laptop and his Beta Cryptanalysis software, went into his garage, got on his motorbike and roared out into the night.

Soon, the White Knight arrived at the dock where the Wanderer and Fervor waited, and moments later the disks were in the laptop and being examined.

After a few minutes the White Knight looked up from the screen and said, "It appears to contain the route the Research Platform has taken, and survey data of the ocean floor along that route. The significance of the data is not obvious. I'll have to spend more time analysing the data to find out what is so important about it."

"Well, Do you wish to contact us when you know something?" Fervor asked the White Knight. "I guess we should put these fancy beeper phones to some use."

Fervor then turned to the Wanderer.

"That OK with you? It's your disk after all. " Fervor paused for a moment then adds, "Oh and how would we get in touch with you once WK figures out what this is about?"

"By all means, spin the disks to your heart's content." mused The Wanderer. "As for contacting me, hmm," he pondered," I presume we can discard the notion of creating an environmental hazard like a bonfire, and I haven't a symbol to flash across the about a simple ad in the classifieds? 'CPU for Nomad call @ meeting time, same place' I do try to read the Port Alex Slimes every chance I get."

Suddenly, from behind a crate a voice cried out, "Smile!" and the pop of a flashbulb lit up the night. Jenny Peters stepped out from behind as the auto-wind on her camera began to whine.

"I should have guessed you guys would have had something to do with that explosion on the research platform." She turned to the Wanderer, "but unless there's a lot more to Glory than meets the eye, I don't know who you are or where you fit in."

Fervor seemed momentarily surprised at the reporter, but he kept himself quiet, only briefly shaking his head. He had thought better of Ms. Peters and thought she understood the rules of the game. Well, she made her choices and will have to live with the fall out.

"Good Morning, Ms. Peters," said the White Knight. " You are certainly a tenacious reporter. How can I help you?"

"Thanks, that's my job, after all." Jenny looked at the three men, "So, what did happen out there? All I've got is the offical report -- which says nothing," she shook her head disgustedly, "and a few reports from people who saw the explosion from a yacht a mile or so away. They tell me there were a couple of boats out around there, was that you?"

"We were there," said the Knight. "We have been looking in to the causes of the recent tremors, and our data predicted one centred near the platform. We were heading out to warn the occupants, when it seems the tremor struck and caused an explosion. Unfortunately Glory was injured while we were trying to check for survivors, and is currently recuperating. We arranged to meet here to discuss the data we gathered during the incident. It may help shed some light on what happened, but it needs further analysis."

"Does that answer your questions?"

"Thank you very much, it's a start. Have you had any luck figuring out what's causing the tremors? You've had some luck tracking them down it seems." She paused, "Is there any truth to the rumours that the platform was performing illegal nuclear experiments?"

"I have no personal knowledge of what experiments were occurring there. The explosion occurred before I saw the interior, and the platform rapidly sank," answered the Knight.

"As to the tremors, we do not yet know the cause, but there doesn't seem to be any connection between them and the geology at their epicentres."

"Ok. Fervor, anything to add?" asked the reporter.

"No, Nothing at all." Fervor said in a professional voice void of emotion.

Jenny gave Fervor an odd look, "OK."

"What about you, masked man. Where do you fit into all this," she asked the Wanderer.

"Like a glove, my dear," quipped The Wanderer. "I was a mere passerby, a wanderer if you will, on the platform when the old heave-ho was given. There are definite hijinks afoot and I'm sure you will know shortly after we do, the press always does."

"All right, you seem OK with Fervor and the Knight, and that's good enough for me, I guess," she said. "Ah, what do I call you?"

With a short bow, the black clad man swept his hand outward, "You may call me The Wanderer, righter of wrongs and writer of letters."

"Ah! So that letter was from you! That was a mean trick using a non-existant slip for the meeting. I almost missed you guys," said Jenny. "I'd love to interview you sometime ..."

The Wanderer stood tall and with hands on hips said, "That it was, my dear. Twas a precaution to prevent any uninvited guests from dropping in, one that didn't work, it appears. Here you are, and me without a cake! Next time, next time. I would be honored to speak with you Miss Peters."

"What do you mean, uninvited? You sent the letter to me, after all."

"Technically, you are correct, but it was the spirit of the letter in which you are in violation," the Wanderer shakes his head in mock disappointment. "Tsk tsk tsk, I should have known never to mince words with a wordchef like yourself. Although with that eye for linguistic subtlety, you should have been a lawyer...or a door-to-door encyclopedia salesperson."

"Well, I'm not an agent. I don't even have an agent," she replied. "Besides if I didn't come, I would have had to turn in my Intrepid Girl Reporter membership card. I mean, come on! A mysterious meeting of heroes on a pier at midnight? And I'm supposed to just give it a miss?"

"I see your dilemma. I certainly wouldn't want you to get on the bad side of the Nosey Reporter's Union. I hear Great Ceasar's Ghost can be quite a haunting punishment. You are forgiven, and I can give you your exclusive, after all we can't have the Port Alex Times' Hero Chick lacking a full house, can we?" teased The Wanderer.

"That's right. When's good for you? Here's my card."

The Wanderer vanished, reappearing next to Jenny Peters and took the card. With a gloved hand, The Wanderer closed her dropped jaw with a finger and whispered "I'll give you a ring."

Interlude 5.2: The Wanderer at the Docks

Interlude 5.3: The Wanderer's Interview

Issue #6

Last Updated 25 May 2000