Hurt & Comfort

Book 10: Elusive Comfort

© 2020 MultiMapper
All Rights Reserved

Chapter 18 - Oveurfest

"Hi Robin, you look a lot better than the last time I saw you. How are you feeling?" Andrew cautiously asked as he walked into Slayer Central.

"I'm just about as good as new. Going a little stir crazy, to be honest. Since I work at the school, I have my evenings and weekends free. With all the Slayers around, it doesn't leave much for a freelance vampire hunter to do in his spare time." Robin said wearily.

"Well then, I might have just the thing for you." Andrew said with a grin.

"You having a vampire problem?" Robin asked hopefully.

"A giant robot problem, actually." Andrew said frankly.

"Giant robots? That takes me back." Robin said with a distant smile.

"Yeah. Good times..." Andrew muttered uncomfortably as he fought to suppress a squirm.

Before Robin could go more into it, Andrew hurriedly asked, "So do you think we can gather a fighting force to stand against them?"

"From what I was told, you've got some super-human people on your new team. Why are you needing Slayers all of a sudden?"

"Supposedly, the robots can negate mutant abilities. We're trying to gather a fighting force of non-mutants to stand against them." Andrew said seriously.

"Let's go up and see who's in the living room. I think we may be able to help you." Robin said with a grin, then motioned for Andrew to walk with him.

* * * * *

"Hey Andrew! Are we still on for tomorrow?" Faith called out as Andrew and Robin crested the stairs.

"Sure. Assuming that we survive tonight." Andrew cheerfully responded.

"New big bad?" Faith asked seriously.

"Yep. Giant robots." Andrew automatically answered.

"Nice! That's a classic." Faith said with a smile.

"We've heard that the robots can counteract mutant abilities, so the professor suggested that I invite any Slayers who might be interested to join us for an evening of mall shopping and robot ass kicking."

"You'll have them at 'mall shopping'." Faith said simply.

Robin nodded his wholehearted agreement.

"What do you think? Can we recruit a few of your fighters to help us deal with the robots?" Andrew asked hopefully.

"Of course! Robin, why don't you go get the Queen B, and I'll start calling in the Slayers." Faith said decisively.

"I'm on it." Robin said as he hurried out of the room, down a hallway.

Faith took off in the opposite direction, and hurried downstairs.

"I'm guessing that you don't have a place on your team for a regular person, do you?"

Andrew turned and saw Willow sitting at her computer, looking back at him anxiously.

"Actually, yeah. There's one job that you might be able to do that no one else can." Andrew said honestly.

"What's that?" Willow cautiously asked.

"The X-Men aren't all that familiar with the abilities of the Slayers. If you could work with us in the command center, it would probably help everyone out a lot." Andrew said seriously.

"Work in the command center? That's what I do here, too." Willow said happily.

"I don't know what kind of computer stuff you need to do your job, but you might want to make sure you have offline copies, since it's a whole other world and all." Andrew said frankly.

"How different is it?" Willow asked cautiously.

"Well, there is no Sunnydale. There never has been. Last I heard, Kendra was the current Vampire Slayer." Andrew said seriously.

"Okay. Got it. I'll make sure to pull local copies of everything I could possibly need, but do you think that my computer will be able to hook up to your Internet?" Willow asked hesitantly.

"I didn't bring any computer equipment from here, but Dawn hasn't said anything about there being compatibility issues." Andrew said honestly.

"I'll be ready either way." Willow confidently declared, then abruptly said, "Oh yeah! I've got a message for you! Give me a minute to find it!"

Andrew nodded, then noticed a movement from the hallway where Robin had gone.

"Robin said that you've got an emergency." Buffy said as she hurried into the room with Robin following closely behind.

"More like a pre emergency. If we can stomp it out right now, it probably won't grow into anything that's too big of a problem for us."

"Okay. I get that." Buffy said seriously, then continued by asking, "What have you got?"

"Giant robots are going to attack the mall to try and harvest the mutants while leaving the normal people behind." Andrew said professionally.

Buffy arched an imperial eyebrow, then slowly asked, "Giant robots? Do I detect the sweet scent of karma in the air?"

Andrew couldn't help but smile as he said, "I know. I was a messed-up kid back then. But we've got a chance not only to defeat these things, but also to discredit them, so that the people who made them won't think about making more."

"Government?"

"Yeah."

"Someone needs to remind them who they work for." Buffy said absently.

Andrew nodded his agreement.

"So, do you only want Slayers, or can anyone attend?" Buffy asked seriously.

"Anyone, I guess. The more the merrier." Andrew said easily, then quickly added, "Except for mutants. Apparently these things are programmed to detect and neutralize mutants before taking them into custody."

"As far as I know, you're the only mutant that we've encountered in this world... well, except maybe for Adam, but he was more of a science experiment gone wrong." Buffy finished in a mutter.

"The whole crew is on the way in. I've got a few extras, if that's okay?" Faith said as she crested the stairs.

Buffy looked to Andrew for his response.

"As long as they can fight, that should be fine." Andrew quietly responded.

"Getting them to fight isn't a problem. Getting them to stop... never mind. I'm sure that they'll be fine." Faith said with a grin.

"Who is it?" Andrew asked cautiously.

"I don't think you know them. Their names are Groo and Riley." Buffy said frankly.

"I've heard of Riley, but I thought that he was burned-out really bad or something and had to go back to the government labs." Andrew said uncertainly.

"Yeah. They fixed him." Buffy said simply.

"What about the other one?" Andrew asked curiously.

"Oh, you know how it is, same old story, the sovereign ruler of a demon realm jumps across dimensions when no one is looking so that he can take a little unscheduled vacation." Buffy said with a grin.

"In Cleveland?" Andrew asked incredulously.

"The hellmouth is like Niagara Falls to them." Buffy quipped.

"So he's here for sightseeing?" Andrew asked with a chuckle.

"Actually, he came here hoping to visit with Angel. Apparently they're old friends or something. Do you know if Angel's going to be fighting the robots with us?"

"We're planning on inviting him. I'm pretty sure he'll show." Andrew said frankly.

"Be sure to tell Groo when he gets here. It'll make his day." Faith interjected.

"Andrew!? How are you?" A girl's voice called joyfully, then before Andrew could identify who it was, he was engulfed in arms imbued with Slayer strength.

"How have you been? Is Dawn with you?" The girl rambled as she seemed to be determined to squeeze the life out of him.

Andrew was finally able to squeak out, "Hi Caridad."

"You're going to kill him, Cari." Faith warned.

"Oops. Yeah, sorry." Caridad said as she quickly released him.

"Andrew stopped by to invite us to an evening of shopping and gratuitous violence. How does that sound to you?" Faith asked with a smile, obviously already knowing the answer.

"Guys who bring candy and flowers are nice, but Andrew's the best." Caridad said happily.

"See?" Faith told Andrew with a smile.

As Andrew was about to respond, Willow handed him an envelope with his old name on it.

* * * * *

"School's out, you know that, right?" Matt asked as he walked into the classroom.

"Spike was just giving me some teaching advice. What's up, Matt?" Alex asked cheerfully.

"I'm here to recruit your boyfriend for a campaign tonight." Matt said simply.

"What do you have for me, mate?" Spike asked with interest.

"Giant robots are supposedly going to attack the mall. We're setting up a little ambush for them." Matt said seriously.

"Am I invited?" Alex asked cautiously.

"No. The robots are going to be there to hunt mutants. We're trying to gather all the non-mutants we can to stand against them." Matt said firmly.

"You gonna call Peaches in for the fight?" Spike asked curiously.

"If you mean Angel, yeah. I was going to call him next." Matt confirmed.

"Last I heard, he was at the Wagner school with Julia, doin some stuff to get ready for the grand reopening." Spike said seriously.

"Hold on. Do you mean that there aren't going to be any mutants in the fight?" Alex asked cautiously.

"We have a few who can handle a fight without their abilities. But they're being counted more as 'bait' than as 'fighters'." Matt explained.

"I should go along. As an instructor of the Junior X-Men, I should be there not only as an example, but also to take on my share of the risk." Alex said resolutely.

"It's not up to me. If you feel that strongly about it, talk to Charlie and see if he'll go for it. If it counts for anything, you can tell him that it's okay with me." Matt said firmly.

Alex looked at him with surprise for a moment and finally said, "Thanks, Matt. I won't let you down."

Matt smiled at the sincere response before hurrying away to make a call.

* * * * *

After a knock on the bedroom door, Xander heard hushed whispers.

"Who is it?" A voice finally responded.

"It's Xander. I need to talk to you guys for a minute." Xander said seriously.

There were more hushed whispers, then someone finally said, "Come in."

Xander cautiously opened the door, not knowing what to expect.

What he ended up finding was three boys looking flushed and a little anxious, but otherwise normal.

Before Xander could speak, Clark anxiously asked, "Is there something wrong with Gar?"

Surprised by the question, Xander stammered, "No. Not that I know of."

"What did you need to discuss with us, Uncle Xander?" Trey asked calmly.

"Your Uncle Remy found out about an attack that's supposed to happen at the Westchester Mall tonight. We talked it over with the professor and decided to gather a group of non-mutant fighters to stand against them." Xander said seriously.

"Where does that leave me?" John asked in a wounded tone.

"We're trying to limit the number of mutants, but they said you were sick and wouldn't feel much like fighting anyway." Xander said simply.

"Oh yeah. I probably wouldn't be of much use to them unless puking on the enemy would help somehow." John reluctantly admitted.

"Who are we going to be fighting?" Clark asked with concern.

"More like, 'what'." Xander said frankly, then explained, "Apparently, ten giant robots were built to subdue mutants and take them into custody. The test tonight is to prove that they are capable of doing that job without hurting the non-mutants around them. We're going to do our best to discredit them."

"So that's why you're getting the non-mutants to fight?" John asked cautiously.

"Yes. We'll have a few mutants that we can use to draw their interest..."

"As bait?" Clark asked darkly.

"Well, yeah. If we don't have any mutants with us, they might not see any point in fighting us and just leave." Xander said frankly.

"If they are programmed to subdue mutants, that would make sense." Trey said reasonably.

"Who do you have around here besides me and Trey that aren't mutants?" Clark asked curiously.

"Icheb, of course, Dawn and Tara, Angel and Spike, but I think our biggest fighting force will probably come from your father's home dimension. He's going there now to ask whoever he can find if they want to come back with him and fight robots with us." Xander finished with a smile.

"From what I have seen of my father's world, I believe the fighters should be well skilled, having had many opportunities to hone their craft." Trey said seriously.

"It's my world too, and you're right. The fighters from there have been through the fire and know how to handle themselves in a serious fight." Xander said passionately.

"I don't know how effective my hand-to-hand combat will be against a metallic opponent." Trey said absently, obviously lost in thought.

"From the way Icheb was talking, I got the impression that he was thinking of attacking them in some way that only the Borg can. Not being Borg, I don't know for sure what tools you have at your disposal." Xander said honestly.

"While it is possible for us, the Borg, to defeat robotic adversaries, before we can program nanoprobes to assimilate our opponents, we will need to take readings so that we can identify their vulnerabilities. Such things take time."

"Once you've observed them, then what do you have to do?"

"We would have to reprogram nanoprobes to exploit their vulnerabilities and override their programming." Trey said seriously.

"About how long do you think that would take?" Xander asked curiously.

"That is impossible to predict with any accuracy. Once we've scanned one of the units, an estimate might be possible." Trey said simply.

"Well, take your time to prepare so that you'll have everything you need when you get there." Xander suggested.

"Yes. Clark and I will prepare for the confrontation while John advises us, given that he has the most practical combat experience." Trey said confidently.

John seemed surprised by the suggestion, but finally broke into a smile and said, "Yeah. I'll make sure they know what to expect."

Xander seemed happy with John assuming the role of advisor and said, "I'll go and invite the others. Be ready to go when we call."

"We will." Trey assured him.

* * * * *

"Wagner Institute, Doctor Hoffman speaking. How may I help you?"

"Hey'ya Doc. This is Matt. I was just wondering if Angel is there." Matt asked pleasantly.

"Not yet, but I'm expecting him back at any moment." Julia said simply.

"How's it going Doc?" Matt asked curiously.

"Most things are going well." Julia said evasively.

"What's wrong?" Matt asked with concern.

"It doesn't matter. It's just something I thought I had resolved ended up falling through at the last minute."

"How bad is it?"

"I have several people arriving on Sunday and no one to meet them at the airport." Julia said frankly.

"That doesn't sound too bad. What would this person have to do?" Matt asked cautiously.

"The main thing would be to drive them to and from the airport, so they won't have to hire a rental car or a taxi. Beyond that, it would be nice if the driver knew a little bit about the college so that they could answer any questions that might come up."

"Do you have a brochure with what they'd need to know?" Matt asked cautiously.

"Yes. I do." Julia answered, then abruptly added, "Angel's back. I'll let you speak to him."

"Before you go, make sure to give him one of those brochures to bring back to the mansion." Matt rushed to say.

"Certainly. Are you saying that you know someone who can help me?" Julia asked hopefully.

"Yeah. What time do you want me there?" Matt asked with a smile.

"Nine a.m., Sunday. Thank you Matt. I really appreciate it." Julia said gratefully.

"Anything for you, Doc." Matt said with a grin, then asked, "Can I speak to Angel now?"

"Yes. Of course."

"Matt? What can I do for you?" Angel asked with concern.

"The professor's trying to gather a group of non-mutant fighters. He asked me to see if you were interested in joining the team." Matt said frankly.

"Who are we going to be fighting?" Angel asked cautiously.

"What." Matt corrected, then answered, "Robots."

"I thought that when I came here that I'd be getting away from things like that." Angel said with weak humor.

"You in or out?" Matt asked flatly.

"You have to ask?" Angel asked with a chuckle.

"Not really. Just get on back here to the mansion so you can get filled in on the latest plans."

"Will do."

"And don't forget to get a brochure from Julia. I promised to help her this Sunday."

"Got it."

* * * * *

"Hey guys. Is it okay if I interrupt you for a minute?" Xander asked as he walked down the stairs.

"Yes. We are simply modifying Robert's alcove to make allowances for his maturation pod." William said seriously.

"This will only take a minute. We found out about an attack that's supposed to happen at the Westchester Mall tonight. We're getting a group of non-mutants together to stand against them and I came down here to see if William wanted to be included on the team." Xander said seriously.

"What about me?" Bobby cautiously asked.

"According to what we've heard, our opponent is able to analyze and counteract mutant abilities." Xander carefully explained.

"So you're not taking any mutants with you?" Bobby asked to be sure.

"Only three, last I heard. We need to have enough mutants to draw the enemy out without having so many that we can't defend them." Xander carefully explained.

"I can fight. I should go along." Bobby said seriously.

"You can talk to Scott and the professor about it if it's really that important to you, but from the way it looked to me, they'd already decided who was going." Xander said frankly.

"But you wanted to include me?" William asked dubiously.

"Your father said that if you were interested in going, he would permit it. Since you're not a mutant, it wouldn't entail the same level of danger and with you being Borg, you might be able to attack more on a programming level than a physical one." Xander explained, then thought to add, "We're going to be fighting giant robots."

"If there's no danger..." Robert began to say, but was stopped by the unified negative glares of all those present.

"Never mind. Just make sure that you tell Pop that I offered." Robert told Xander quietly.

"I will." Xander promised, then continued, "And in case you need to hear it, your baby is half mutant, so it could trigger one of the robots to attack you. No one here is willing to take that risk."

"Got it. Me and Bobby will hang back and cheer William on from the sideline." Robert assured him.

"If you want, you could serve as dispatchers for me. While I am in the field, you could advise me and do research." William suggested.

"Yeah. If I can't go myself, at least I can still be a part of it." Bobby said resignedly.

"Don't worry, Tavi. We've got your back." Robert said with a grin.

"I will not worry." William assured him.

"Activate your subspace neural link when you arrive and grant me access to your scanning functions. I will monitor the situation and we will advise you in real time." Robert said confidently.

"I will do so." William promised.

"The others have said that they will stay close to the house, so that when your father calls, he'll be able to reach you right away."

"Yes. We will complete this task while we await the call." William said decisively.

Xander left the boys, feeling assured that he had done everything possible to prepare his part of the team for the coming battle.

* * * * *

"I'd almost given up on finding you two." Matt said with a grin.

"Shhh. You don't want to wake Gar." Tara gently scolded.

"Yeah. Sorry. I didn't think." Matt quietly apologized, then continued, "We've got a situation developing. We're expecting giant robots to attack the Westchester Mall tonight. I've been working to recruit non-mutants to join the fight."

"Why non-mutants?" Dawn asked curiously.

"The robots are supposed to be able to detect the X-Gene and neutralize it or counteract it somehow." Matt said simply.

"So you're gathering witches? Where does that leave Andrew?" Tara asked curiously.

"On the sideline, I think. He'll be there to watch and be ready to jump in if there's an emergency, but I doubt that he'll get into the fight." Matt said honestly.

"Besides, Andrew's got fire. That usually doesn't work too well against things like robots." Dawn said frankly.

"What do you say? Are you two in?" Matt asked curiously, honestly not able to predict either of their answers.

"I'll have to talk to Uncle Hank, but I should be able to go." Tara said uncertainly.

"You can count on Tempest and Sprite to be there." Dawn said confidently.

"Will you be here in the MedLab?" Matt asked to confirm.

"Yes. Call us when you need us." Dawn said for both of them.

Matt nodded and left the room, feeling strangely optimistic after their encounter.

* * * * *

"I'm back. Where do you want everyone?" Andrew asked as he appeared in the professor's office.

"So far we've been sending people to the dining room. Will that work for you?" Professor Xavier asked cautiously.

"That should be fine. By the way, do you know if Angel is going to be joining us?" Andrew asked cautiously.

"Yes. It seems that he was helping Doctor Hoffman with something at the new college, but Matt was able to reach him and he's committed to attending." Professor Xavier quietly explained.

"Good. We have an old friend of his who would really enjoy fighting alongside him." Andrew said with a smile.

"How many non-mutant fighters have you been able to recruit?" Professor Xavier cautiously asked.

"Twelve. All the Slayers plus a few of their friends. I also invited a non-fighter to work in the command center with you. Willow knows who everyone is and their fighting capabilities, plus she might know about something from my dimension that could help us in this one." Andrew carefully explained.

"Very good. Ms. Rosenberg will be a welcome addition to the team." Professor Xavier said confidently.

"I need to open a portal to the dining room for them. I'll be back with Willow in just a minute." Andrew said quickly before disappearing through a dark doorway.

There was a long silence before Professor Xavier quietly asked, "Thoughts?"

"If dis go wrong, it could follow us home." Remy said emotionlessly.

"It is right in the neighborhood." Professor Xavier reluctantly agreed.

"If someone were planning to attack us, covertly or outright, there wouldn't be a better opportunity." Scott said honestly.

"Recommendations?" Professor Xavier asked cautiously.

"I think the best thing we can do is turn it over to Storm and let her take whatever actions she deems necessary." Scott said frankly.

"Since the majority of the X-Men and the students will be available to help her, that should give her the freedom to adequately prepare." Professor Xavier said speculatively.

"And knowing dat she got our backs will make it easier fo us to focus on what be in front of us." Remy added.

A movement drew their attention as Andrew and Willow stepped through a vague doorway that had just appeared.

"Ms. Rosenberg, welcome to the team. If you and Andrew will go to the dining room with Scott and Remy, I will be along shortly." Professor Xavier said pleasantly.

"Thank you Professor. I hope that I'll be able to help somehow." Willow said anxiously.

"Of that, I have no doubt." Professor Xavier assured her, then watched as Willow followed the trio out of the room.

After a moment to reflect on all of what they were doing, Professor Xavier mentally called, //Storm, would you come to my office? I have a matter to discuss.//

* * * * *

Storm knocked on the office door and waited to be bid to enter before letting herself in.

"Ororo, I'm not sure if you've heard, but Mr. LeBeau seems to have acquired some information about an attack that is supposed to happen later tonight." Professor Xavier began.

"Yes. I have heard something of it, though not many details." Storm admitted.

"The threat this time appears to be in the form of giant robots that are programmed to detect mutants, neutralize any mutant ability they might have, then take said mutant into custody." Professor Xavier carefully explained.

"But wouldn't such an action work in direct opposition to the law guaranteeing mutants the same rights as everyone else?" Ororo asked curiously.

"On the surface, yes. But the law hasn't been tested in court and it might be some time before a precedent can be set. Those who created the Sentinel robots will most likely claim an exemption due to jurisdiction or some such nonsense." Professor Xavier said with irritation.

Ororo nodded her understanding.

"Regardless, I'm going to be taking a group of non-mutant fighters to the Westchester Mall to stand against the robotic attack force. It was my hope that in our absence, you could take charge of the home defense. Scott pointed out that this crisis might create the perfect opportunity for someone to exploit our absence." Professor Xavier said seriously.

"So just what is it that you're asking me to do?" Ororo cautiously asked.

"If you keep an extra watch on outside activity, that should be sufficient. But if you recognize a threat, take whatever action you feel is appropriate to the situation. It is entirely up to you." Professor Xavier said seriously.

"Did Matthew already talk to you?" Ororo asked cautiously.

"He reported in and told me who had agreed to join us." Professor Xavier said slowly, then thought to add, "He did mention that Havok wanted to participate in the mission. I haven't talked to him about it yet, so let me know if you'd rather have him here to help you."

"Are you sure that you won't need him?" Ororo asked with concern.

"Every mutant we send into the battle is someone who we'll have to fight to defend, using time and personnel that could be more effectively used trying to defeat the enemy. Past a certain point the cost outweighs the benefit."

"If I may ask, why send Marie and Evan but not Alex?" Ororo asked seriously.

"If Marie or Evan's mutant abilities were somehow negated, it wouldn't diminish their ability to fight or flee, depending on their circumstance. I don't have the same faith in Alex to be able to adequately deal with the situation, should he suddenly find himself powerless."

"If you feel that way, why do you have him training the Junior X-Men?"

"Scott made that decision, but I have since seen the value in it. Not only does Alex have much to teach, but also much to learn."

"When I heard that you were conducting a mission without me, I became concerned that you had lost faith in me." Ororo quietly admitted.

"Not at all. I simply didn't have a role for you that utilized your strengths. I would much rather hold you in reserve than have you standing around with Scott and me as we monitor the battle." Professor Xavier said seriously.

"I believe that I would prefer that as well." Ororo said with a demure smile.

"I'm sensing quite a pool of anticipation growing nearby. I would guess that the Slayers are waiting for us in the dining room. Would you care to join me?" Professor Xavier gently invited.

"Yes. It would be my pleasure." Ororo said warmly.

* * * * *

"Andy, do you want to go ahead and call your kids to come to the meeting? I think it'd be better if they knew without a doubt that you're okay with this." Xander said frankly.

"Yes. I'll go and get them." Andrew said without hesitation.

"I'll be right back; I need to make a call too." Matt said as he left the dining room.

"So are we going to stand around and talk, or are we going to do something?" Faith asked across the murmuring crowd of people.

"We have to come up with a plan." Scott said simply.

"Rip off its arm, beat it over the head with it until it stops moving, then move on to the next one. How's that for a plan?" Faith asked playfully.

"I could see that working if a certain number of our assumptions turn out to be true." Scott easily admitted.

"Dese tings be ten feet tall an built solid. Rippin off a arm may not be as easy as you be tinkin." Remy said seriously.

"Then what do you think we should do?" Rona cautiously asked.

"De outer hull be covered wit sometin like Kevlar. Blunt attack do nuttin, but chop an stab attacks eventually git ta de innards of it." Remy explained to the group.

"Better and better." Faith said with a grand smile of anticipation.

"Did everyone bring their weapons of choice?" Buffy asked as she looked around.

"Yeah. I think we've got the slashing and chopping thing pretty much covered." Caridad said with a bloodthirsty grin.

"Xan, I brought your axe." Faith said as she presented it to him.

"Thanks Faith. It'll be just like old times." Xander said happily.

"No. Now is better." Faith said with a tender look in Robin's direction.

"Yeah. It is." Xander admitted as he glanced toward Remy.

* * * * *

A procession of Borg kids walked into the room and Xander was concerned when he saw Janine and Robert amongst them.

"John? How are you feeling?" Scott quickly asked.

"Like I got hold of some bad chow from behind the restaurant." John said frankly.

"You're not wanting to be included in the mission tonight, are you?" Scott asked with concern.

"No. But I want to sit in on the briefing in case Trey or Clark need for me to explain something. They're both new to this." John said seriously.

"That's good thinking, John. Excellent use of resources." Scott said proudly.

"John, perhaps when the others go into battle, you could join us in monitoring their progress and advising them remotely." Janine said as more of a statement than an invitation.

At John's questioning look, Quaid hurried to explain, "Yeah. And we're also going to help by making sure that everyone here stays safe."

"Bobby and I were planning on doing something like that too. Maybe we should all work together." Robert cautiously suggested.

"Yes. We should work collectively." Janine said calmly, then gave a slight smile before continuing, "We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."

To Be Continued...

Editor's Notes: I like it when a plan comes together.

Once again, MM has managed to bring together a number of diverse elements and precisely use them, so that the whole is much more than the sum of their parts, so to speak.

As you may know, Clark is one of my favourites, and I am glad to see him involved in the solution.

I love the intricate blending of the various dimensions/universes, if that is a proper concept, and the ease with which everything can come together and solve any issues that might arrive.

Can you bring in HP and, or, maybe The U.N.I.T?

Sorry, I just couldn't resist.

Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher.