Paragon lay on the table as Masheik finished attaching another one of Paragon’s requested devices. He was now more ultimate machine than he was ultimate man. He had a dull metallic look about him. Well, except for his ears.
As he gazed down at his hands he thought <Well, I better get used to it. I’m going to look this way for quite awhile. I doubt that mflagler will be able to help.>
Paragon, of course, could not have been more wrong. The door to the lab opened and in walked Pira, Malloc and Torbin. Malloc and Torbin each stepped on opposite sides of Paragon and Pira stood at his head.
Masheik looked up from her console and said “You can have him in a little while, I’m not quite finished with these attachments yet.”
They all ignored her. Pira said in a very husky voice “Prepare yourself, Paragon”, as she circled the four of them with a ring of fire.
Masheik thought to herself <that didn’t sound like Pira>. “Hey”, she said, “what are you doing?”
The three continued to ignore her. Paragon thought <that really cute redhead has a pretty husky voice. I kinda like that. It’s too bad that the doc did not get to finishing putting on the pleasure attachment so that I could show her the ultimate good time.> Paragon then noticed that even when he didn’t have his ‘ultimate’ attachment, he was still thinking with it.
Malloc said, also in a very husky voice, “It is time.” He then generated a stasis field around Paragon’s body making him very much immobile.
Paragon noticed <the guy with the blue hair has a familiar voice, too. Now I think about it, so did the cute redhead.> Paragon all of a sudden realized who was standing over him and then asked “Bob, Frank, Ernie?”
“Yes”, replied Tobin, “It is us, the Ultimate Collective. We are here to help you.”
That is when the incredible pain started. Paragon thought <damn this hurts! I’m glad they’re not here to hurt me…> and then he passed out.
A few hours later, Paragon awoke to find that he was very, very sore. He looked around the room to see that Pira, Malloc and Masheik were all out cold. Tobin was slumped up against the wall, barely awake. “What happened, Ernie?”, Paragon asked.
“I don’t have much time. It is almost time for me to go”, replied Tobin.
“Go where?” asked Paragon.
Tobin weakly said “Back to the great darkness, where we all go. We took over these three bodies so that we can help you. We’ve given you some of your powers back, but it has cost us dearly. We could not fix all of your problems, so you still have some mechanical parts. You now have a permanent connection to the Universal Wide Web. mflagler and the DIOSphere can both help you. It is time for me to… Paragon, don’t forget… you have a weakness for…”
“Damn”, said Paragon. <I never got a chance to ask him. But one thing I do know is that> “I am whole once more!” shouted Paragon at the top of his newly formed lungs, “And I am one with the Ultimate Collective. I now know my duty.” Paragon sat up and got off the table. <I feel great. Not entirely human, but I definitely feel better.> He started to help everyone off the floor as each one of them were starting to regain consciousness.
“What the hell happened?” asked Pira. “The last thing I remember is walking to my room and that’s it.”
“I’m not sure myself”, Paragon said in his natural voice. “But I know someone who might.”
=- login: Paragon -=
=- password: *********** -=
=- chat mflagler -=
=- mflagler, this is Paragon, are you there? -=
>> Paragon, this is mflagler, what can I do for you. <<
=- mflagler, thanks for your help in getting the Ultimate Collect to help me. -=
>> I didn’t do much, but they did let me record your transformation. <<
=- Good. What happened? -=
>> Well, let’s see. They first used the redheaded woman’s fire ability to generate extra energy that they would need. They then took your ears and used the genetic material within them to re-create parts of your body. The blue-haired guy’s power enabled them to do that. Most muscles and some of the skeleton were cloned. Many of the vital organs were done, but a few of them could not be finished. It looks like they tried to use the old guy to allow them to merge from where they were to this plane of reality, but I’m not too sure how they did it. You will have to lubricate the mechanical parts of your body with oil. Your skin, hair and bad breath seem to be intact. As their final act, they incorporated within you the power of the Ultimate Marble. That’s about all I have. Oh yeah, they did mention that the whole process cost only about six million dollars. <<
=- Are you trying to tell me that I am a six million dollar man? -=
>> Well, not including taxes, and you’re not all man, either. <<
=- Thanks mflagler. logout. -=
Paragon noticed that everyone was up and about. “When is the next portal to the Earth being opened?” he asked Tobin.
“Very soon”, replied Tobin.
A little while later, Paragon went through Tobin’s portal to the Earth. Aridalla had entered it first and started to order Paragon around as soon as he got on the other side.
“Paragon, I need you to…” started Aridalla.
“Hold on. I’m not doing anything for you. I’ve got a mission to complete”, shot back Paragon.
“We have to get as many people off this planet as we can. The sun is unstable. We have to save as many innocent lives as we can.”
“Fine. You save a handful. I’m going to save the rest of the planet!”
“You can’t change the future. I have already seen it”, pleaded Aridalla.
“One thing that ‘RACC Challenge!’ has taught me is that the future is not set. And neither is the past, for that matter. But I have to try to save my home. I will not got down without a fight”, Paragon emphasized as he flew off.
“Should I go after him?”, asked Malloc.
“No. Let him go. We have our job to do and he has his”, replied Aridalla.
Paragon was flying over the old section of Dixon City. <Great! Now what do I do? I have to save the planet from the exploding sun, but I don’t know were to begin. The sun is unstable, but what if it’s not natural? Who would be crazy enough to try to experiment with their own sun? That’s it! Dr. Malevo would! He always was a crazy bastard! Didn’t he have a secret base somewhere around here? There it is, underneath the old courthouse.>
Paragon flew into the abandoned courthouse and busted through the floor into the lab below. A cloud of dust and dirt flew up around him. <Well. I guess Dr. Malevo hasn’t used this place in awhile. Let me hit this light switch.> The lights came on and Paragon saw that he is in the middle of a very large lab. A lot of boxes and half-finished experiments litter the place. Paragon spotted a computer console and started to go to work. He accessed a list of all of Dr. Malevo’s experiments. Then one caught his eye.
Paragon started to look around the room and spotted an advanced physics book next to the computer terminal. <Perfect. This book is just what I need. It’s not a real good jumping on point for new readers, but luckily, I’ve already had a few physics courses in college.> After a little bit of reading, Paragon started to go through the experiment on the computer screen.
Wham! Paragon got nailed in the head from behind.
“Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” cried a robotic voice.
Paragon started to turn around to see what was attacking him. Wham! Wham! He got hit in the ribs and on the leg. <Ouch! That hurt like hell!> he thought as he fell off of the chair that was in front of the computer console. Wham! Another hit in the chest. <I can’t take another shot like that.> He tilted his head to the side and saw a ten-foot tall robot that had a two-foot wide square body. He looked at the top of the robot and noticed that it had a clown head. <That looks strange.> The clown’s head then started to tilt backwards and it shot out a purple square missile that nailed him directly in the face. As Paragon started to lose consciousness, he thought to himself <Did I just get my ass kicked by a giant PEZ dispenser?>
Next Issue: Chapter 23: Is that a pack of sugarless gum in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?
Well folks, that’s it. This is my first posting to RACC, so let me know what you all think. I tried to give it a little direction, but plenty of possibilities.