I found a gold ring that transported me to a parallel world. We’ve escaped from the mad scientist’s lair. (The story begins here.)
* * *
She did something with the knife and the robot’s grip loosened. I had just started massaging my wrist when the voice of authority spoke.
“All right you two, no sudden moves. Now, what’s going on here? Fraternity prank or superheroes?”
“Fraternity,” said Jessica.
I said, “Lunatic.”
The policeman was looking at us with professional disinterest as we pulled ourselves to our feet. Passersby gave us a fairly wide berth, but cellphones were out taking photographs and movies as they passed by. Another cop walked up with a couple of blankets.
“Well Roy, did you frisk them?
“I think a visual inspection will do, Jerry. Except for the lady’s knife they don’t appear to be carrying any weapons. Give ‘em their blankets.”
Policeman Roy gave us each a blanket and collected Jessica’s knife, which she surrendered willingly. Then we took a ride to the Station in the back of a police car. When we got there we were separated.
I was taken to an examination room and given a set of clothing: jeans, sneakers and a t-shirt, plus the appropriate underwear. Then I was taken to a smallish room with a table and three chairs. A middle-aged man and woman in suits came in.
The woman started talking. “Sir, we are obligated to inform you that you are under audio and video surveillance at the moment. This is for your protection and ours. You have not been charged at the moment, but what you say will be part of our investigation. Are you comfortable with this?”
“Sure,” I saw the question forming on her lips, so I added, “Yes, officer.”
They introduced themselves as Annette and John; I didn’t pay attention to their last names. I spent the next two hours telling my story and answering questions. The weird part was that they accepted the fantastic portions (like blinking from planet to planet) with no hesitation, but questioned me deeply about Jessica and Sebastian.
They were especially interested in Sebastian. What did he look like, what could I tell about his operation, had I seen any other people with him, the works. I answered truthfully as best I could.
Once the questions seemed about done I asked if I could talk to Jessica.
John answered, “I’m afraid that’s not possible.”
“Why not? Am I under arrest?”
“No, she’s gone.”
“She vanished right in front of the interviewing officers when we started talking about Doctor Sebastian.”
“What’s the matter?”
“She knows how to use the ring; I don’t.”
“The ring that teleports you.”
“Yeah. Unless I can figure it out I’m stuck. And I have no ID and no money.”
“I believe we can help there.”
“You can get me ID?”
“No, we have someone who might be able to help you figure out your power. He’s been helping others do so for years.”
“What, this sort of thing is normal here?”
“Yes. About one in five thousand people has some kind of paranormal ability; about one in a thousand of those has full-blown super powers. We have a liaison on the force who’s skilled in helping people figure them out safely.”
“And you think he can help me?”
“If anybody can it’s him.”
“Then can you introduce me? I’m a bit anxious to get home.”
“You’ll have to wait a bit. He’s with another patient at the moment. Then we have to bring him up to speed on your case, and then you can see him. In the meantime would you like some coffee?”
I was deposited in an otherwise unoccupied waiting room with comfortable leather furniture, a coffee station and a TV. People walking by in the corridor, that is police officers, would sometimes glance at me through the glass wall and give a smile and a wave. I felt like I was in an aquarium.
I was just stretching out to take a quick nap when the door opened. A man came in and my jaw dropped.
“Hello, Roger. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Doctor David Sebastian.”