"Look Quinn, you've been acting like you don't even care anymore! We had a chance to save Wade on that last world and you made us Slide!" Maggie exclaimed hotly.
Quinn snorted. "What are you talking about? You're the one who practically shoved us into the vortex! Besides, you hate Wade."
Maggie frowned and looked over at her other friends. Remmy and Colin both nodded. Maggie shrugged sheepishly. "You're right. I just like to scream at you."
"... aaaaaand cut! Okay people, that's a wrap!"
The actors relaxed and broke formation, heading for their respective trailers. Cleavant Derricks walked away with Kari Wuhrer. "Hey, I'm getting online. Wanna grab a couple brews and surf with me?"
"Sure! What's your board handle again? Temporal Lobe?"
The other man laughed. "No, no, no. It's Temporal Flux! And what's yours? Robin something? Bunch of numbers?"
Kari giggled. "Something like that. Think the fans will ever catch on?"
They passed the Executive Producer as she said that. At the mention of "fans" he let out a long, lingering banshee-like laugh.
Charlie O'Connell paused where the director was watching the dailies. The Director was twisting his ball cap nervously as he kept his eyes on Jerry's performance. "Yes. Yes! Stay bland! Stay bland! YES! Perfect!"
Jerry O'Connell walked toward his trailer alone. He didn't notice the four fans following him hesitantly. As he passed a large prop warehouse he heard an odd sound that sounded like a mixture between a thunderclap and a electric whirlpool. It was accompanied by a flash of light. Curious, he trotted over to the slightly ajar door and peered in.
It was a vortex. Except this one was real. As he watched, one woman appeared from the wormhole, rolled on the concrete floor, and lay still. The vortex snapped closed.
"Whoa," Jerry gasped and rushed to the woman, who lay gasping. It was Logan. He recognized her though it had been years since that episode. She was not going to make it. From the marks on her jumpsuit, she had been rudely assaulted with a banana.
The dying woman looked up at his face and brightened with recognition. She pressed her timer into his hands and gasped, "Help me, Jerry O'Connell, you're my only hope."
"What am I supposed to do with this?" Quinn wondered alond.
The four rabid fans who had been following Jerry glanced at each other. They were peeking though the warehouse door and had seen everything. There was no one close except for Keith Damron, who was walking away with the Execrative Producer. "But I think it's a great idea! I can write a journal about season 5 and give people insights on my life and my habits, like what time I drive to work and when I spray my food into people's hair!"
The Execrative Producer shook his head. "It sounds like it would be unspeakably tedious, even for ME."
The fans glanced around again, no one else was close. They crept into the warehouse. "That's a timer, isn't it!?!"
Jerry wheeled, aiming the timer at them by accident. "Who are you people?"
Three of the fans were women, the fourth a young man. One of the woman, the tallest and blondest of the four, spoke up. "My name is Melissa, this is Dancia, Faith, and Daniel. We are the Jerry O'Connell Fanatic Club! And we just saw a real vortex!"
Daniel stabbed at the device in Jerry's hand with one imprudent finger. "And THAT, o' God of Sliderdom, is a real timer!"
Jerry looked down at the timer. "The readout says less than two minutes! This can't be happening!"
Melissa slapped Dancia in the arm. "We're going Sliding!"
Dancia rubbed her arm. "Waddaya mean 'we' ?"
Faith slapped her other arm. "Oh come ON, you KNOW you're coming with us!"
Jerry looked up. "Wait a minute, no one's going anywhere. This thing can't possibly work for real! This is TV show technology!"
Melissa snatched the timer out of his hand and deftly danced away from his attempt to recover it. "Let's find out if it works!"
"Uh-oh. He's playing that CD again." Arrow whispered.
Dagger sighed. "He's been playing it all day."
Ax rushed in. "Mr. Sharp wants to see us. He's been playing the CD all day."
"This can't be good."
"Someone's in trouble."
"Let's go find out."
Mr. Sharp was attired in a plush red robe and red velvet slippers. His perfectly trimmed beard glowed ... as if he oiled it regularly. He turned as his three gorgeous female assistants entered the room. "Ax, Dagger, Arrow. I feel a great disturbance in the continuum. Lines have been crossed which should not have been. It is time for us to discover who is responsible and punish them. We are going on a little field trip."
"Your usual traveling clothes, Mr. Sharp?" Ax inquired.
"Yes. I also require a Teddy Bear stuffed with fluffies, a sausage array, a polished chrome helmet, my mobile oiling kit, and one semi-ripe banana. And whatever you three will need. We'll be gone for a couple weeks, I image."
Dagger finished writing. "Which worlds will we be visiting? I'll make the Red Baron reservations."
Mr. Sharp gestured expansively. "Let's live a little this time. I feel like splurging. Make it Motel 6 this time!"
The other three gasped and exchanged excited glances. They would be living large this trip. Mr. Sharp dismissed them after requesting that some apple gravy be brought to him pronto. After they had gone he hovered over the CD player. Dare he turn up the volume? He was almost jacked up enough that he felt like damning the torpedoes and actually blasting the music. Before he actually did it, he lost his nerve and left the volume where it was. "Ah," he muttered to himself, "The Osmonds are best played low anyway!"
The timer ran down and Melissa pressed a button. It made a meowing sound. "Opps! Wrong button." She pressed another button and the timer activated the vortex. She slapped Dancia's arm. "Come on, let's Slide!" With that she leaped in.
Dancia, rubbing her arm, ran after her friend. Daniel and Faith leaped in together.
Annoyed, Jerry followed them. He didn't believe that a Sliding vortex was possible, but he had to admit that this was a Sliding vortex.
Right before the vortex vanished, the Execrable Producer opened the warehouse door and poked his head in. After he witnessed the vortex vanish, he shook his head. "That's last year's vortex! How passé!"
They arrived in the middle of an alley. "WOW!" Melissa gushed.
"So it's true! A timer is programmed to always appear in an alley so we can't be seen coming out! Cool!" Daniel remarked.
Faith slapped Dancia's arm. "What did you think about that ride? Wasn't it great?"
"The landing was smoother than they show in Sliders, but other than that, it was awesome." Dancia replied.
Jerry shook the cobwebs out of his mind. "That was some ride! I never imagined the way it would feel like a tidal wave of forces was pulling my body apart!"
Melissa peeked out towards the street. Other than the fact that everyone who passed by was carrying a corndog, it seemed like a fairly normal world. She faced her comrades. "So what happens now?"
Jerry glanced at the timer he had snatched from her jacket pocket when she had been preoccupied with looking at the natives. "We have 14 hours to find out."
Melissa checked her pocket, then grinned at him. "Pretty sneaky. You've picked pockets before."
Dancia was peeking out from the alley now. "I think we better get some corndogs as soon as we can, guys. These people seem serious about their food. We don't want to stick out!"
"... tripish writing, utterly horrible acting, and a new shockingly horrid version of the Kromaggs who are so cheesy and so unscary that I urge you (much to my chagrin) to watch this episode yourself because something this cartoonish has to be seen to be believed. The only thing 'Genesis' didn't have was instructions for building my own timer so I could Slide to a world which ran on a slower timeline in order to recover the hour I wasted watching this piece of-."
The newspaper TV critic looked up, his manicured fingers hovering over the "s" key on his keyboard. "Um, excuse me, but didn't we agree to stick to our cover names, you blistering idiot?"
The other man grinned. "Sure, sure, critic boy. Don't let your cover job go to your head." He sobered. "We have a situation. The 'vortex sniffer' just registered one traveler in, and five travelers out. And we have a semi-dead Logan in the hospital. So all five of the outgoers must be residents."
"Do you have any idea who left?"
"Considering where the vortex arrived, and who is currently missing from that location, there is a good chance that Jerry O'Connell is one of the travelers."
Michael rose so quickly he spilled his cover coffee on his cover desk. Since it was all cover, he didn't pause to clean it up. "Let's go, we have to track that sucker! I'll never be able to bad-review Sliders into oblivion if they succeed with their foul plans with Jerry! Let's go!" He rushed out the door, pausing only long enough to grab a cover jacket.
Other people noticed, and the chase was on. "I hate this world!" Jerry muttered as he led his companions away from their pursuers.
"How much time before we Slide?" Dancia asked between gasps.
"Two more minutes!" Melissa gasped back.
"Thank goodness!" Faith and Daniel chimed in chorus.
Dancia's breath was starting to hitch. "I don't know if I can make it that much longer!"
"You have to!" Melissa insisted. "95 seconds!"
Faith scowled. "Oh gosh, DON'T count down! That makes it last forever! Just tell me when to jump into the vortex so I can lie down and die on the next world!"
Some of the crowd was gaining on them. One person threw a used corndog stick which whipped Jerry's ear. "I'm with you guys! Let's get the flock off this world as quickly as possible!"
The timer finally reached zero and Melissa activated the wormhole just ahead of her without even breaking her pace. She charged through it just after it formed. Jerry followed close behind, calling out, "I still don't believe this is happening ... ..."
Dancia staggered through with Faith, and Daniel leaped through just before it closed. The crowd stopped, disappointed.
"What I don't understand is that a full 60 seconds had not elapsed! Why come the vortex knew to close so that we couldn't follow them and impale them with used corndog sticks?"
Another member of the mob sighed. "Who knows? With my luck the next world would have corndogs outlawed. So it might be best this way."
Harry was knotting his tie when his wife came to the door of the bedroom with the phone. "Honey, it's for you. Someone named Michael."
Harry stiffened. There was only ONE Michael that he knew, and that was not the name he was using on this world. Something was amiss. He accepted the phone cautiously. After listening for a couple minutes, he sighed and said, "I'll meet you in twenty minutes at the usual place." And broke the connection. He turned to his wife, who remained at his side. "I have to go, darling. Can you call my mistress and tell her that I can't make it over there today?"
"Sure honey!" She departed.
Harry opened the bottom drawer and pull a timer out from under several pairs of a boxers. "It's been a long time, baby." He cooed, looking down at the device.
The next world was worse for Jerry and the fans.
"Hi. Obviously I can't to the phone right now or you wouldn't be talking to this stupid machine. Either I'm not home or I can't be bothered with talking to YOU, so leave a message if you dare and I MIGHT call you back sometime before the year 3000. Oh, wait until you hear a beep to start talking, stupid." This advice was followed by a mechanical beeping sound.
"Eva, meet us at the place we all last saw each other. Something is amiss and we have to stop it before Mr. Sharp gets involved. Bring your attitude, we're gonna need it!"
The connection was broken and the machine stopped recording. Mr. Sharp turned to his minions. "Thoughts? Observations? Jokes to pass the time until she gets home?"
Dagger smiled. "I know one about a muffin!"
"Um, I have a thought." Ax interrupted, tossing her comrade an irritated look. "Let's roll this place and see if she keeps a journal like the old days."
Arrow yawned, catlike. She remained silent.
Mr. Sharp shrugged. "Turn it upside down. Bring anything scandalous, amusing, or informative for my review." He grabbed a remote and threw himself on a bean bag. He wondered idly if this world had also had the audacity to cancel 'Herman's Head.'
"Ewwwww!" Dancia exclaimed suddenly. "That dude just licked my arm!"
The man in question stopped suddenly. "Hey! They're Sliders! They have salt! Hey everybody! They have salt!"
Everyone on the crowded street stopped as one and turned to look at the five Sliders with ravenous grins. First one, then five, then everyone was advancing on the Sliders.
"Uh oh." Melissa breathed.
Jerry, after seeing that none of the advancing women looked like Buffy, started backing up. "Let's go guys."
"Get 'em! Lick 'em!"
The crowd chased the Sliders. Dancia glared at Faith. "Didn't we just leave this party?"
Faith shrugged as she trotted. "Apparently salt was never invented on this world, and these people have to lick Sliders to get the salt they need to survive!"
"This makes sense," Daniel added. "That's why animals lick human skin, by the way. It's not affection, it's to get salt. I'd love to help these people out, but I am selective about who I allow to lick me!"
"I saw ONE guy I'll let lick me if it comes to that," Melissa added between gasps. "But the rest of the bunch are SOL!"
Jerry was shaking his head. "Sliding sucks so far!"
The vortex opened and five Sliders stumbled out. The skin on their arms, neck, and face glistened with saliva. They had not been as fast this time, and just a little too much time had been on the timer, so all five had been thoroughly licked.
Melissa looked around quickly. "I need to take a shower as soon as possible, people. 'cause ... damn."
"I heard that." Jerry agreed. "Now I need some salt because I don't think I have any left in my whole body."
Dancia frowned. "I don't understand. One guy who was licking me confirmed that salt had not been invented on that world, so Sliders are always appreciated. But salt is not something that can be invented. It is discovered. And without salt humans would die, so what gives?"
Faith was annoyed. "I smelled salt on one guy's breath, I think he was doing it just for fun!"
Daniel was grinning too much to say anything. It seemed that the people on that world were gender oriented when it came to salt mugging because only women had mugged him of his salt.
Melissa was staring at Dancia. "You know, I think we just got hoodwinked! They have salt on that world!!! That is just a trick they play on Sliders! Oh! What an evil little world!"
They trudged through the field they had arrived in. Soon they ran across a lake. Without even looking to see if any natives were around, Melissa began disrobing. "I shall now do something I have always dreamed of! Get buck naked in front of Jerry O'Connell!"
Startled, Jerry turned and headed back for the field.
"Thanks!" Melissa called after him goodnaturedly. "I'll take that as an insult!"
Daniel was grinning even more widely now ... until Dancia and Faith glared at him. "Oh! Um, I'll be leaving now."
Eva unlocked her apartment door and slid inside. The shades had been drawn, throwing the living room into darkness. That meant someone was in here. She grinned and started cracking her knuckles. "Hello? Who wants to play?"
The lamp next to the bean bag was suddenly turned on. It exposed a pleased looking Mr. Sharp. "The TV shows on your world suck." He reported.
"This is not my world and you know it."
"Picky, picky. The point is that 'It's like, Frasier,' 'Ally McMuffin' and 'The X-Smiles' all suck. Isn't there anything good on here?"
Eva snorted and leaned against the kitchen counter which bordered the living room. "You always were too self indulgent to make a good villain."
Mr. Sharp laughed uproariously. "Me, the villain? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Hmmmm. I guess that each side considered themselves to be the good guys and the other side to be bad, don't they? Because I have always thought I was on the side of right."
"Leave your bean bag philosophy to your eye candy assistants, will you? Oh, and I hope you're going to wash that bean bag when you are done with it?"
Ax, Arrow, and Dagger appeared. "And I hope you're going to start talking to Mr. Sharp with respect!" One of them said with disdain.
"We couldn't find a diary or anything else to tell us where the others are or who has their timer." Dagger reported.
Mr. Sharp winked at Eva. "Then I guess you're going to have to torture her!"
Eva scoffed. "I have a high pain threshold, you know that. I'll never break."
The look of supreme confidence on his face reinforced his words. "I've brought something so horrible that you will beg me to ask you questions!"
"Yeah, right. I'll never talk!"
"I have the entire T. J. Hooker series on tape. I also brought tape to keep your eyelids open."
"I'll talk! I'll talk!" Eva screamed.
"The fish are looking at us." Dancia commented.
"Let 'em look! I'm not getting out until I don't feel like a ice cream cone anymore." Melissa retorted.
Faith shifted her feet nervously. "I was wondering why I felt eyes on my legs."
Melissa scoffed. "Oh for crying out loud! There are NOT any fish looking at us! Let's just finish this and get out of here!"
A hundred yards away, Daniel peered over at Jerry. "This is a little different than a TV show, isn't it?"
"Well, besides the obvious, I mean. I never expected other worlds to be so ... weird."
Jerry frowned. "What do you mean? The first two worlds? At least this world is normal. Two out of three is just a coincidence."
Daniel pointed to a tree near the part of the lake that was closest to them. "I never imagined a world where fish smoked, is what I mean."
Jerry leaned forward and gaped at the creature. It was a big mouth bass, and it was leaning against the tree a couple feet from the water, smoking a Camel Light. Jerry rubbed his eyes. The fish was still there, tapping the cigarette with one fin to knock off the ash on the end. Aware of the sudden attention, it flipped them the middle fin.
Jerry leaned back against the tree. "I wanna go home."
Back in the water, a sudden flash went off under water. Dancia jumped. "Was that a photo flash?"
Melissa laughed merrily. "Yeah, right, the fish are taking pictures of us underwater."
Two more flashes went off.
Melissa frowned thoughtfully.
Harry, Michael, and Stephan were growing tired of waiting at the park by the fountain. "I don't think she's going to show up." Harry sighed.
"It doesn't look that way, does it?" Michael sighed. "Well, we've waited long enough, lets-."
Eva appeared around the corner and ran towards them.
"Finally!" Stephan called out. "We were getting worried!"
She didn't smile. "Mr. Sharp had me. I had to tell him everything."
The others reacted angrily with incoherent noises.
"Hold on, hold on! You would have told him yourself! He has methods of persuasion that go beyond human limits."
Michael gestured hotly. "I don't even see any marks on you! Plus you have only been missing a couple hours! How could you fold so quickly?"
Eva bit her lip, the memories threatening to overwhelm her. "He had U2 and Jackson Browne's 'greatest' political songs collected on one CD. He had T. J. Hooker on video. He had Vanilla Ice's four worst CDs!"
Michael shuddered, then gave her a big hug. "We forgive you. Let's go, everyone. We have to catch out with the travelers before Mr. Sharp does!"
>>>> In an effort to be somewhat less confusing than normal, I thought it might be time to list the main players in our little adventure so far. Next chapter some more will be introduced. This is a shorter chappy than usual to accommodate this looooooooong intro.
Characters printed in yellow are played by Sliders Board members.
Melissa: Strong willed member of the JOC fanatic fan club. Likes to slap Dancia in the arm. In a hurry to wash off salt lick spittle.
Faith: More soft spoken member of the JOC fanatic fan club but just as easily annoyed. Is a member of the radical "Jerry in a towel" arm of the aforementioned JOC fanatic fan club. Likes to slap Dancia in the arm.
Daniel: Young male member of the JOC fanatic fan club, his interest is more because Jerry is "cool" rather than the pointed interest of his comrades. Wouldn't dare slap Dancia in the arm.
Dancia: Younger, somewhat confused member of the JOC fanatic fan club. Doesn't like being slapped in the arm and doesn't understand why people like doing it. Most likely to be caught first by a salt lusting mob.
Mr. Sharp: Overweight, self indulgent, semi moronic man who has a knack for ultra painful tortures. No one knows what he really wants, how he gets beautiful women to obey his every desire, or why he smells the way he does.
Dagger: Sarcastic member of the trio of Mr. Sharp's helpers.
Arrow: Non talkative member of Mr. Sharp's trio.
Ax: Will play for gumbo.
Eva: Only female member of the four mystery people. She is hardened, but has her weaknesses. All of which Mr. Sharp found with eerie accuracy. Proud of her offensive phone machine header message.
Michael: Sharp tongued TV critic who rips Sliders every week ... seemingly for a darker purpose ...
Harry: Officious official. Delegates the task of canceling a meeting with his mistress to his wife, who doesn't seem to mind.
Stephan: Busybody who has his finger on the pulse of ... something ... um ... anyway he knows a lot of stuff! One of the few things he doesn't know is that he spells his first name the same way Stephan King does.
Spigot: All around annoying bastard. Most likely to die by leg strangulation.
Comedian Quinn: The unfunniest person on ANY planet. But gets really touchy if you heckle him.
The salt muggers: It is in contention whether they really needed the salt or not, but they seemed to enjoy taking it!
The smoking big mouth bass: A rather rude fellow who likes to give people the middle fin while on his smoke break.
Ms. Yess, Ms. Wi, Ms. Dew, and Ms. Chetham: Whoa, slow down!
Now that we have done that, the cast:
The Fans (it is up to you to figure out who is who):
The Villains (again, get to figuring out!)
The Role Players (you know the drill):
Four of the Role Players are the official Mystery People.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled fanfic...
Four fish had Dancia cornered against a tree. "Drop that towel, girl. We just wanna look. What harm in that? What can a fish do?"
One of the other fish snickered. "Hey, what CAN'T a fish do?" The other three joined him in evil laughter.
Daniel appeared, holding a bottle of lemon juice. "All right! That's it! Don't make me use this! Clear out before things get ugly!"
Muttering that they had just been having fun, the fish tossed aside their cigarettes and returned to the lake. One fish mooned Daniel before leaping into the water.
Dancia breathed a sigh of relief. "Thankfully you had the lemon juice. Where'd you get it?"
Daniel returned the bottle to his pocket. "I carry one."
"You carry around a bottle of lemon juice?" She asked dumbfounded.
"You mean you DON'T?" Daniel left shaking his head.
Puzzled, Dancia got dressed and then followed him.
The next world seemed normal enough. No one mobbed them in the street for not having corndogs or for having salt on their skins. No fish talked to them or smoked. In fact, it seemed that everyone was happy. Unbelievably happy.
People walked around grinning, whistling, and even skipping. If someone bumped into a Slider there was an immediate apology and a sheepish grin. Billboards expressed what a beautiful day it was, the city streets were clean, and it seemed that no one, absolutely no one, could keep from smiling.
Finally, Melissa grabbed someone's arm. "All right! That's it! I want to know what's going on? Now!"
The man looked confused. "Excuse me?"
"Why is everyone so happy?"
The man's grin returned full force. He leaped into the air in pure joy. "Haven't you heard? The writers and cast of 'ER' have been thrown out of the TV business, and they're taking the cast and writers of 'Friends' with them!" He high-fived another passerby and skipped further down the sidewalk.
Melissa stared after the man.
Jerry stopped beside her. "At least those people never had to work for FOX. They're lucky."
"Your cherry syrup bath is ready, master." Ax reported.
"Excellent, my dear. Did you add the happy sprinkles I asked for?"
Dagger smirked. "Who do you think she is, Melissa?"
"Oh yeah, never mind. I'll be back in a couple hours. Then we'll catch up to our Sliding friends and end this matter once and for all." Mr. Sharp left, wearing a pleased smirk.
Arrow checked the bottom of the cherry syrup bottle and was disappointed to find it empty.
The Sliders settled down for a nice meal on the next world. After four worlds in one day, they finally had time to relax because this one was a two day stopover. So far this world had seemed the normalest of all of the ones they had visited, other than the fact that everyone wore panties on their head. None of the group had gotten up the courage to ask why. Before being allowed in this restaurant, in fact, they had been required to don a pair from the "house panties" that were thoughtfully supplied. Jerry admitted that all in all, he'd rather wear a beret. But when in Rome ...
The waiter, who was wearing a nice pair of passion pink panties over his balding skull, arrived to take their order.
Dancia ordered in a not so nice tone. "I'll have the smoked big mouth bass, please."
"Very good, ma'am." He turned to Melissa.
"I'll have the salty ham, please."
Jerry ordered waffles.
Faith wanted the angel haired pasta.
Daniel also ordered the smoked big mouth bass and pulled out his bottle of lemon juice, grinning.
They enjoyed their meal in relative calm and silence. Melissa toasted her comrades, saying that everyone had pretty much stuck together through a series of odd and annoying worlds. "I'm glad that the worst is behind us!"
The waiter arrived. "Your bill, ma'am."
Melissa accepted it, looked at it, choked down her swallow of drink, and smiled sickly at the waiter. "Thank you."
After the man left, Melissa fainted.
While Jerry caught her, Faith curiously checked out the bill. She fainted as well. A feeling of dread washed over Daniel as he took his turn looking at the bill.
"What is it? Really expensive or something?" Dancia wanted to know. "I noticed there were no prices on the menu, but that is not uncommon in some types of places."
Daniel was ashen. "Oh, it's expensive, all right. But not in money." He fainted backwards and crashed on the floor behind him.
Only Jerry and Dancia were awake now. The other three had fainted from the shock of seeing the bill. Jerry met her eyes nervously. "So which one of us looks next?"
Dancia was taken aback. "I'm not looking at it! Funk that!"
Jerry reached hesitantly for the bill. "I guess I'll look." Upon seeing it he broke out into a huge grin. "Apparently I've been recognized! The price of our meal is 10 songs by me on the stage over there! Woo Hoo!"
Dancia fainted in horror.
The waiter returned suddenly. "I'm sorry, I gave you the wrong bill. This one is intended for Don Johnson. This is your bill."
Jerry took one look and fainted.
"I STILL say that Heather THOMAS was in The Fall Guy and Heather LOCKLEAR was in T.J. Hooker, not the other way around!" Stephan argued.
Harry scoffed. "Doesn't it depend on which world we're talking about?"
"It doesn't matter! Heather Thomas is far more gorgeous than Heather Locklear on ANY world!"
"What on any earth does that have to do with the price of choccies in Switzerland?" Harry was nonplussed.
"My point is that obviously Lee Majors would have chosen the more beautiful woman to star with him no matter what world we're talking about! Lee has more pull than William Shatner on four out of five worlds we visit."
Eva drew her Slight Saber. "The next person who continues this tedious conversation is going to get an ass plumb full of Saber."
The other two sighed.
"Time's up!" Michael announced. "Next stop, Wayne's World!"
He activated the vortex and the other three followed him inside.
The Sliders awoke in a jail cell. It was a 2 foot long by 20 foot wide cell. It contained bunk beds, a 4 foot wide by 25 foot long eating/card table, six commodes, a track and field exercise area, a jungle gym, and a 36 inch WebTV. The last was the worst punishment of all given that, on this world, 90U812; When Animals Lick their Privates; Secrets of Magic Eight Ball Revealed; and Murder, She Smoked were the top four TV shows on this world.
Jerry sighed. "Gosh, it's been minutes since I've talked about how much Sliding sucks!"
Faith slapped Dancia's arm. "This is still better than HIM singing, isn't it?"
Dancia rubbed her arm. "Sure. Why did you slap my arm?"
Jerry overheard them. "No, you've got it all wrong! It turns out that wasn't our bill! Though after I fainted I guess I they locked us up for failure to pay the bill that WAS ours!"
"What was our bill?" Melissa asked fearfully.
The next person standing beside Daniel nudged him. "Hey buddy. You got a dark?"
Daniel's face wrinkled. "A 'dark' ???"
"Yeah, man, don't hold out on me, baby. I've been to 14 county fairs, 16 tractor pushes, and 5 cakewalks. I've seen a book worm, a stomach turn, and a milk churn! I've seen Peter fly, Paul lie, and Imelda buy! I've heard a blind man sing and seen a deaf man run! I've been that, done there, and seen it all! And I know one thing for you, you got a dark on you, boy! Now give it up!"
The other man inspected the squat, muscle bound prisoner beside him. "Perhaps it would help if I knew what a 'dark' was!"
A dark chuckle menacing enough that it got the attention of the others was the first response. "Don't play with me. They took all my toys away from me when I was growing up because I don't play." He cracked his knuckles.
Daniel turned to Jerry. "Dude wants a 'dark.'"
Jerry smiled. "Don't you mean you want a 'light?'"
"Listen, Nancy Boy, if I meant a 'light' I would be asking for a freaking 'light!'"
Jerry was puzzled. "'Nancy Boy?' But I don't know either Spaz or MTwain!"
Melissa shook her head at Jerry. "Don't you read any history books?" She turned to the menacing man. "Talk to the hand! I have NO respect for anyone who uses the word 'freaking' !!!! If you use that word, you just plain lack commitment. It means that you're too much of a pansy to drop the F-Bomb but you still want to cuss like a big boy. What a loser! Why don't you go crawl into that commode over there and see if you can escape that way?!?"
Daniel gulped, muttering under his breath at Melissa. "Um, Melissa! He is standing next to ME! He can't even reach YOU!!!"
Their dark wanting cell mate snarled. "That's IT. It's time for a little initiation! MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!" He glanced at his watch. "Oooo! That'll have to wait! 'All My Brats' is on!" He scooted over three inches, turned the 0.00067 degrees he could turn his body in this confined space and was now in the entertainment suite of the cell. Soon the others could hear about how Laura had discovered that Luke had been lying to her all these years. He was really a dog and had had a species change operation many years ago because he had been a man trapped in a dog's body. She didn't mind that, but was cross about him lying about not knowing where the fleas had been coming from all this time. She was also annoyed about the 1,000 pound Alpo cache she had discovered in the basement. Meanwhile, Blake (there is ALWAYS a 'Blake') couldn't conceal his irritable bowel syndrome anymore and had to come clean with Becky about it ... well, 'come clean' is an unfortunate way to describe it ...
Melissa gritted her teeth. "If we don't hit 25 cent beer world on our very next Slide I am going to have to agree that Sliding SUCKS!"
The police all wore standard, conservative, blue panties on their heads. The man who bailed out the Sliders had chosen a lacy see-through, low-cut and very provocative little number but was otherwise dressed decently. A couple of the officers across the room pointed at his headwear and snickered. "At least we just look stupid!" one remarked. "He looks stupid AND like a slut!"
The Sliders were about the gang rush the man watching the hideous Dirt Opera and force him to change it to something tolerable when an officer opened up their block. "Jerry, Dancia, Faith, Melissa, Dancia, and Spigot. You've all been bailed out."
The Sliders all eyed menacing boy, who squealed with delight and squeezed over to his bunk to grab his trombone and head-panties.
The six were lead to a holding room where their benefactor apparently waited. Spigot grinned at Melissa as they walked side by side. "Wanna take any of that back, smarty girl?"
She wrinkled her nose. "The only thing I want to take back is the decision to walk next to you. What IS that sound your shoes make? Could it BE any more annoying?"
"Hey! These are hundred dollar Air Childs! They are filled with her world famous gravy for better foot support!"
The police officer leading them stopped at a room and opened the door. The rag tag group entered. Their benefactor stood at the far end of a long conference table. Behind him stood three gorgeous women. "We would be honored if you would join us."
The five Sliders and one annoying cell mate all sat at the table. One of the beautiful women circled the room and closed the door. She remained there, glaring.
"I suppose explanations and introductions are in order! Speaking of order," he turned to another of his aides. "I'll have a sweet basted ham, a fortune brownie, a bowl of catsup roasted peanuts, and a glass of raw giblets! Hurry back!"
The man looked perplexed. "Now where was I? Oh yes. My name is Mr. Sharp. My associates are Ax, Dagger, and Arrow."
"Puzzled to meet you." Jerry replied.
"Yes, yes. So you are Jerry O'Connell, star of the hit TV series Sliders."
"For another four episodes I am."
"We'll get back to that. That is the reason, I suspect, you were lured into the vortex. Do you know where Tracy Tormé got the idea for Sliders?"
Jerry frowned. "From some pilot that was made a couple years before, I hear. Maybe from the Jack L. Chalker 'G.O.D. Inc' trilogy written in 1987. It wouldn't be the last time his ideas got ripped off."
"No, no, that's what 'they' want you to think." Mr. Sharp answered smoothly.
Melissa stood. "Any conversation bringing up 'they' is my signal to leave. Later!"
Dagger produced a large spoon from a sheath on her belt. "Sit down! Don't make me use this!"
Ax was holding a salad shooter menacingly as an additional threat.
Melissa sat. "Gee whiz, I wouldn't want to get 'spooned,' would I?"
"As I was saying. Six years ago four travelers stumbled onto your world. They had been wandering the continuum, running from the consequences of their crimes. They were a rag tag group. A mediocre college professor, a former lounge singer, a middle of the road inventor, and a Video Bob cashier. Sound familiar?"
Jerry eyed the door. "Yeah, a little."
"They were desperate. They needed to stop and hide out on a world. Sliding takes a lot out of the body, too much in too short a time and you start to ... fragment. They were being pursued, but they HAD to stop by the time they reached your world. They needed at least a year's break from it. Unfortunately, they were on a world with no doubles. They needed money quickly. They were drinking away the last of the money they had left one night when one of them started talking to an up and coming TV producer. They spilled their entire story. Inspired, he was pitching their idea the very next day to some hideous TV network -"
"FOX," Jerry offered.
"- FOX and before anyone knew it, the four travelers had enough start up money to fake identities and get regular jobs. They figured the show would last a year (if it ever made it to the air at all) and that would be that. How could the travelers know that the show would inspire the most loyal fans in recent TV memory? That no matter what happened, people would support it? The travelers got scared after the first season was successful and the show was renewed. What if the pursuers made it to this world? They would immediately know that this was the location of their prey if they saw a TV show about them!
"The show had to be cancelled. The travelers didn't want to have to leave this world. They had met people, started building careers, and were ready to move on with their lives. They didn't want to have to Slide anymore. They didn't want to have start all over again. So all they needed to do was get the show cancelled. They were brutally efficient about it. They arranged to get Peckinballs involved, and that should have been enough by itself. But it didn't work. No matter how much damage he did to the show, the loyal fans remained supportive. No matter how many critics they bribed to write bad reviews, no matter how many bad reviews one of them (who got a job as a critic) wrote himself ... it didn't matter. The show kept getting renewed.
"When FOX finally cancelled it after the third season, the four travelers rejoiced and threw a huge food and Quaalude party. Imagine their chagrin when it was announced that the SF channel had picked up the series! So the cancellation efforts began anew. And that brings us up to the here and now."
"It does?" Jerry wanted to know.
"It does. The pursuers, the ones who the four travelers pissed off, are not the sort to be contacted by ANYone. So, though I and other people have known where the travelers are, we cannot just tell the pursuers. The pursuers must discover for themselves, and then mete out the appropriate punishment. So apparently, some agency thinks that you leaving the show will doom it, and they want to see Sliders continue until the travelers are discovered. Thus you being lured into the vortex. I believe this is an attempt to get you to discover the truth, to make you see how important it is that you remain on the show! The fate of your world could hang in the balance!"
Melissa jumped up. "You're going to have to spoon me! I can't sit through any more of this!"
Arrow returned with a platter of food at that moment. "Sit down or I'll throw some of these giblets on you!"
Melissa sat grimly.
"So you're saying that it wasn't you who lured me into that vortex?"
Mr. Sharp shook his head. "It was not. Though it didn't hurt my feelings when it happened. I want to see the pursuers nail the travelers!"
Spigot was fidgeting around, annoying Dancia. "What IS it?" She whispered finally.
He sniffled. "One of my shoes is leaking!"
"They're in that police station, apparently." Eva sighed. "What now?"
Stephan grinned. "Now we get medieval on their buttocks!"
SL4ever rolls over on his new futon, moaning to himself. “No! No! Not a Godzilla sequel! AHHHHHHH!!!” He jerks awake, frightened to the point of near lunacy. “Whew! It was only a dream.” Bam. Bam. “Someone’s at the door? But I moved up here to get away from all distractions!” He throws on his black plush robe and stumbles to the door. Mob: MWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!
“Someone’s at the door? But I moved up here to get away from all distractions!” He throws on his black plush robe and stumbles to the door.
Mr. Sharp had finally finished eating. After he polished off the previous order of food, he’d ordered baked fish from "McDuckalds" with Super Size gravy, corn fried ice cream from "I Dream of Ice Cream", pickled lard from "Bohamgles", and an after dinner mint from "All You Can Suck".
The Sliders finally allowed themselves to look at him again. “So what happens now?” Jerry asked.
“Now you come with me outside.”
Jerry sighed, showing how tedious he found Mr. Sharp. “And what happens after THAT?”
The other man rose. “The sooner you start walking the sooner you’ll find out.” His grin was mischievous. Either that or he was suffered horrid meal reflux. It was hard to tell.
Daniel smiled at Arrow. “So how long have you been working with him?”
She walked past, ignoring him.
Dagger nudged him. “Nothing personal, Slideboy. She doesn’t talk. That’s her shtick. How else could you tell the three of us apart?”
Daniel stared after her.
Ax nudged him as she walked past. “Is that lemon juice in your pocket?”
Daniel stared after her.
Faith nudged him. “Come ON, stop flirting with the enemy!”
Outside, Mr. Sharp turned and stopped them halfway across the parking lot. His three minions collected near him, and the five Sliders and Spigot facing them about three feet away.
Before Mr. Sharp could speak, a battle cry arose and four people were charging them from behind a minivan.
Michael was armed with a Bite Saber. When he engaged the button a set of teeth extended and started snapping menacingly.
Harry was armed with a Tight Saber. When he engaged the button, a pair of pants shot out and hovered, looking for a target.
Stephan was armed with a Delight Saber. When he engaged the button, there was a ominous gurgling sound.
Eva was armed with a Scorch Beanie Baby.
Dagger pulled out a crossbow, Ax pulled out a dagger and Arrow pulled out an Ax. Mr. Sharp merely grinned.
Jerry looked at the rest. “Let’s find someplace else to be!”
Melissa pulled out the timer she’d stolen again when Jerry wasn’t looking. “Just as I suspected! We Slide in two minutes! Just in time! Woo Hoo!!”
Daniel was laughing so hard at Eva’s weapon that she turned an annoyed glance at him. He collapsed to his knees, still LHMFAO. Eva, glowering, threw the Beanie Baby at him. Scorch hovered in front of the Slider, smacked him so hard with its tail that he spun all the way around. Then it jerked its head back, flamed his butt with a three second burst of beanpalm, and then fly back into Eva's hand.
Daniel stopped laughing.
Michael and Arrow were fencing now. The teeth snapped dangerously close to her fingers gripping the ax.
Harry fired the Tight Saber at Mr. Sharp. “Spigot!” The enormous man and intended victim barked.
The man jerked his head up. Against his will, he ran forward and leaped in the path of the pants hurtling toward Mr. Sharp. The pants slipped themselves onto Spigot and started shrinking. In seconds they had strangled his legs. Spigot collapsed.
Faith, Melissa, Dancia, Daniel, and Jerry all high fived each other. “Woo Hoo!!! This is great! Usually the most annoying bastard is the last person to die!”
“Yeah. Take a lesson from this, George Lucas!” Melissa growled.
“Ewwwwwww!” Dancia gasped. “Look what he’s doing with that Delight Saber! Oh, I can’t watch!”
Eva broke through the melee and headed for the Sliders, clutching another Beanie baby in one hand and her Slight Saber in the other.
They started running as Melissa watched the timer count down.
“Can we EVER make a Slide without being chased by someone?” Faith complained to Jerry.
“I-.” (huff) “-don’t-.” (puff) “-think so.” Jerry gasped.
They made the vortex before Eva could catch them, but not before she could throw the Beanie baby at them.
Jerry crashed to his hands and knees on the next world with Sluggy, the slug Beanie Baby, nestled in his hair and trying to gnaw into his skull.
Faith grabbed the beanie from his hair, saw it was a slug, screamed, and tossed it back on Jerry.
Melissa slapped Dancia’s arm. “Grab it off him!”
“Let Daniel do it! It’s a guy thing!”
Daniel was bent over, tying his shoelaces. “I’m busy.” He reported in a muffled voice.
Jerry screamed. “I have slug fangs in my brain, people! Someone take this >:-#ing thing off my head, please!”
“Why can’t YOU take it off yourself?” Melissa demanded. “I’m not touching no nasty slug!”
“I can’t reach it. Its not a real slug, just a cute Beanie slug! They can make any creature, no matter how hideous in real life, cute,” Jerry explained patiently. He sighed. “Oh well, I guess I didn’t need a cerebellum anyway. Maybe it will get full on that and not eat the rest of my >:-#ING BRAIN!!!!”
“Oh, since its just a cute beanie...” Dancia trailed off and reached down, snatched the slug off his head, threw it to ground and squashed it.
“Thank you.” Jerry got up.
Melissa peered at the gaping hole in Jerry’s head. “You should have that looked at.”
He waved that off. “I’ll get some from Charlie when I get home. He’s not using his.”
After the burial of the slug, the Sliders were resting and recovering in a lounge at the Chandpup hotel.
“And now for our main attraction! Quinnnnnnnnnnn Mallory!”
The crowd went wild.
Melissa went pale. “Oh God, what fresh hell is this?”
Faith slapped Dancia in the arm. “Check this out! I’ll bet this is good!”
Daniel and Quinn had been arguing about whether Mars had life on it or not, but both of them stopped and looked up the stage in horror.
“Thank you, thank you. How are you folks doing? This will be my last act since I Slide in three hours. After the show will be your last chance to get an ‘I watched Quinn Mallory Slide and all I got was this lousy t-shirt’ shirt.
“So anyway, I was in a world last week that really SUCKED. You know what they put in apple PIE on this world? Tomatoes! I know! And they still called it apple PIE! I guess on that world Eve took a bite out a tomato, so they called tomatoes apples!”
Jerry buried his face in his hands.
“Could this moron be any lamer?” Faith snapped.
“Then I was on a world where they made chocolate with Vodka. You think people slam Snickers on THIS world, lemme tell ya! The cops give you a breath test AND a chocolatey finger test! Hey! I see you people checking your fingers! Water don’t get that >:-# off your fingers, people! It’s almost as bad as smoking, lemme tell ya. But you should have seen this world! All the kids were pissed off, can’t WAIT to turn 18 so it’s legal for them to eat chocolate cake! You get tired of vanilla ice cream after a while, lemme tell ya.”
“The only thing worse than bad standup is bad singing.” Dancia moaned. For some reason she glared at Jerry when she said the last part.
“If he starts singing, I’m outta here.” Faith warned.
“Then I was on a world where no one had a sense of humor. I was on stage, telling my jokes, and it was so quiet you could hear a rat pissing on a cottonball. It was ugly.”
“I think it was just your act that was lame.” Melissa snapped, louder than she intended.
“WHAT?” Quinn suddenly shouted. He was glaring right at her, his eyes turning red. The Sliders all suddenly realized that he was not exactly human. At least not the kind of human they were used to. He must be from far down the multiverse. His eyes were larger than any they had ever seen, and his neck was longer and thinner than “normal.” His hearing must be phenomenal as well, for him to have heard Melissa through the laughter.
“I SAID, ‘I think them not laughing was a real shame.’”
The ‘comedian’ Quinn burned a hole in her with his crimson eyes for a moment longer, then shifted back to his jolly self. “But I love my job. Where else do you get to make fun of entire worlds and NEVER have to worry about them hearing about it and coming after you? Back before I was a Slider I did this joke about Tony Danza. It involved me urinating on him to put out a fire. For some reason he was offended, and he confronted me. So I called him a no talent hack, and, this is the funniest part-.”
“ANYthing funny would be the funniest part.” Melissa muttered.
Quinn stopped and glared at her. “That’s IT.” He jumped off the stage, snatched a spork from a table beside him, and charged the Slider’s table.
They jumped up and ran for the exit.
“Thanks, Melissa!” Dancia gasped as she ran.
“I’m SORRY! I couldn’t help myself! He’s a worse stand up comedian than Bill Maher and THAT is really saying something!”
“I know! That’s why I was thanking you for getting us run out of here!”
Mob: We are pleased. You have another 48 hours or we throw a blanket party for you.
Jerry sighed. "We're going to be here for almost two days, let's find a the local Chandpup Hotel."
"Works for me," Remmy agreed.
Everyone glared at Remmy. "How did YOU get here?" Melissa finally demanded.
"Opps. Normal fan fic flashback, sorry." He dashed to the nearest bakery and was soon gone.
"Works for me," Faith agreed.
Jerry hailed a cab. "Let's pamper ourselves. I'm tired of walking everywhere."
The five Sliders climbed into the cab.
Jerry answered for them. "The Chandpup Hotel."
Melissa's mouth twisted in annoyance. "I loathe people who parrot cute invented words like 'problemo.' They are almost as tedious as people who sprout the one word they know in a foreign language."
"Well," the cabbie smirked, "that's your problemo, amigo."
A car cut the cab off before Melissa could think of a smart retort.
"OH NO!" The cabbie bellowed. "NO ONE CUTS ME OFF, YOU
"Hi," Faith said sweetly.
"WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO??? I JUST PUT ON MY TURN SIGNAL TO PASS THIS SLOW
Jerry, after finally managing to get Faith back in her own spot, leaned forward when the laws of inertia grudgingly permitted him to. "Um, never mind what I told you before, we'll be getting out right at that curb right up there, where the Grateful Bread Bakery sign is."
The curb whipped by at 120 mph and disappeared behind them in a flash.
"Sorry 'bout that, but you should have given me some lead time, two blocks isn't enough when I have to DEAL WITH INCOMPETENT DRIVERS LIKE **THIS** A-HOLE RIGHT HERE!!!" The cabbie honked his horn savagely, changed lanes six inches in front of a Mack truck, twisted the cab almost sideways and managed somehow to get in front of the offending driver, who had only been going 90.
"Well, how about the 5th corner ahead of us? Stop there."
"Hey! I'm starting to suspect you JUST WANT OUT OF THIS CAB!!! WHAT'S THE MATTER??? I TOOK A SHOWER LAST WEEK!!! OR ARE YOU SOME KIND OF CABBIE-IST?????????"
"No, no, not at all." Faith jumped in. "Our friend is just feeling a little ill and he didn't want to throw up in your fine car."
That satisfied the cabbie. "Oh, no problem, we'll be at the hotel in no time IF THIS *%@#$)!&$(%*#~+$(*##@ *****EVER***** DECIDES TO TURN INSTEAD OF SLOWING DOWN TO A COMPLETE
Dancia, after careful consideration, finally decided to speak up. "Um, I hate to interrupt your coronary, but a police car has been following you for the past ten miles, flashing its lights."
"Oh," the cabbie muttered and started slowing down. Two blocks later he had finally achieved his goal and slowed to a complete stop before turning into a parking lot The cop parked behind the cab.
Quinn, Faith, Daniel, Melissa, and Dancia all grinned at each other. They were finally going to get out of this cab!
The officer stopped beside the driver's window. "Sir, do you know why I pulled you over?"
The cabbie sighed. "Yes, I know about the broken taillight. The garage can't see me until tomorrow."
"Okay, well get it taken care of, okay?"
"Sure thing officer."
The cop turned to leave but hesitated. "You almost lost me when you cut between that cement mixer and that ambulance. Ha ha ha ha!"
The cabbie returned the laughter. "That was a tight squeeze, wasn't it? Ho ho ho ho!"
Jerry tossed a 50 dollar bill at the cabbie and opened the back passenger door. "RUN!" The others piled out, including Melissa from the front.
"Where are you going? Stop!" The officer called. "They must be illegal novel smugglers. I'll bet they have Dean R. Koontz on them!" He reached for his radio.
They reached the hotel about an hour later and checked in tiredly. Daniel and Jerry took one room of the suite and the three women took the other, and soon all of them were fast asleep.
Dancia woke first, to the sound of the TV blasting. Faith and Melissa were still in bed so it must be one of the men. How annoying. She grabbed a robe and padded into the living room to give them a piece of her mind.
Four vaguely familiar strangers were sitting on the couch, watching Dark Buffy.
"Who the smeg are YOU? Get out of our room!"
Michael turned. "Ah, you're awake. Moist excellent. Care for a soda? The minibar is fabulous."
"Hey!" Jerry said from the other bar, "we have to pay for that!"
"But these cherry cordials are soooo good!" Eva gushed.
The other Sliders, awakened, appeared and filed into the room.
"Is it true what Mr. Sharp told us?" Faith demanded. "Are you four losers the model for Sliders?"
Michael shrugged. "It is. Hey, we had to make a buck."
Melissa slapped Dancia's arm. "That would make him the real Arturo, Dancia!"
"I think I'm gonna be sick." She moaned.
"Which makes Eva the real Wade." Faith continued. "And Stephan must be the real Quinn since Harry is black."
Harry bristled. "Tormé got some of the details wrong. I'm the inventor and this mendicant is the lounge singer. I invented Sliding."
"Then you're a genius." Jerry gushed.
"Not really. I was going for a universal remote that actually worked. I ended up with Sliding. Fortunately, we needed it when Michael here pissed off B-."
"Don't say His name! That would summon Them!" Michael warned.
"So what do you want?" Daniel sighed tiredly. He'd been dreaming up Chrissie Hynde and was very annoyed to have been roused.
"Someone is trying to get Jerry to reconsider leaving Sliders. We need him to leave as scheduled so the show will finally end. Otherwise, we'll just have to kill him."
"You think I can be intimidated? Just for this, I'm f-ing staying now!"
Michael sighed and produced an .88 caliber pistol. "Very well."
Jerry swallowed. "Wait a minute! I just remembered! I have to do a horrid miniseries and one box office bomb after the next! I can't stay on Sliders!"
"Now you're talking." Michael replied with a smirk, lowering his weapon.
"But if you leave Sliders, *I* kill you!" Came a voice from behind them.
Everyone turned. Mr. Sharp, Ax, Dagger, and Arrow were standing at the doorway, all heavily armed.
"Oh, just come right in and make yourselves at home!" Jerry snapped. "This room is only on MY SMEGGING CREDIT CARD! As a matter of fact,
He glared at them all. "WHAT ELSE CAN *POSSIBLY* HAPPEN????"
Dancia whispered, "I don't advise 'going there' Jerr-."
"WHAT ELSE OR WHO ELSE CAN POSSIBLY SHOW UP TO MAKE THIS WEIRDER AND MORE ANNOYING?????????"
At that moment a huge gold vortex appeared in the center of the room. Mr. Sharp shrank back in fear, squealing like a frightened puppy. The four 'real' Sliders ran for the nearest corner and tried to crawl under the purple wardrobe there.
Faith, Melissa, Daniel, and Dancia looked for a way out, but the vortex was between them and the door. Melissa pulled out the timer and cursed when it revealed there was still almost two days left.
Jerry whitened, dropped his gesturing hands, and decided at that moment he was the stupidest ignoramus on any planet.
Only Mr. Sharp found his voice, though he sounded like Mike Tyson on helium. "It's ... it's ... it's THEM!"
The four women nodded but didn't stop scanning the room.
"The first order of business is to recover my property from Mr. Sharp." The casually dressed man extended his hand.
Whimpering, Mr. Sharp produced something from his pocket and handed it over. The Sliders caught enough of a glimpse of it to see it was a Macys platinum card.
Ax, Dagger, and Arrow straightened, glanced around as if waking from a fog, and then suddenly rushed to the new owner of the card.
"Lord," Ax gushed.
"Master," Dagger breathed.
"We live to serve you," Arrow glowed, speaking for the first time.
Michael snapped his fingers. "No wonder Mr. Sharp had power over women! It all makes sense now!"
The new object of their affection turned to Michael. "So now we come to you."
"Emperor, I beseech you-."
"SILENCE!!" Ms. Yess bellowed, stepping forward. She reached into her briefcase and pulled out a stapled sheaf of papers. She slapped Michael with them. Blue sparks flew as the man was tossed like a rag doll against the wall. "This is an injunction against speaking!"
Ms. Wi had another sheaf of papers. She stepped forward and struck Michael with it, knocking the unfortunate man over the couch and against the TV. "This is a lawsuit for slander!"
As Michael tried to get to his feet, Ms. Dew slapped him with another sheaf, sending him through an end table and against the far wall. "This is a brief asking for punitive, cumulative, quadruple damages!" Dew hit him with it a second time. "Backed up by case law!"
Michael was barely conscious. Ms. Chetham come over and kicked him. "If you get up again I have one for being a public nuisance because of your hideous comb over. Consider yourself gang-sued, pink boy."
Eva, Stephan, and Harry were pressed against the wall, trying to make themselves as small and unnoticeable as possible.
The Emperor turned his evil gaze on them. "Did you think I wouldn't find you?"
"We prayed not," Stephan admitted.
"Who do you think chased Logan there in the first place?" He produced a banana. "I beat her with this myself, all the while subtly convincing her that Jerry O'Connell of the world where you were hiding was the only person who could protect her from me."
"Why? If you knew where we were..."
He tossed the banana aside. "I wanted to flush out Mr. Sharp, and also it amused me to do so."
Eva couldn't stand the suspense any longer. 'So what happens to us?"
The Emperor's face got ugly. "You three were standing there at the party when Michael made his hurtful comment to me. You three laughed. Therefore, you will suffer the same fate. Get 'em girls."
The law-warriors descended on the three and beat them down under a hail of briefs, boxers, injunctions, and conjunctions. When the three were unconscious and their wallets had been picked clean, the henchmen each grabbed a slack body and stepped through the gold vortex the Emperor activated.
When the room was quiet again, the Emperor, still holding his ornate timer, turned his attention to Jerry and the other Sliders. He sipped his drink.
Jerry was not intimidated. "So is this the part where you tell me you're my father?"
The other man giggled. "Of course not. Mr. Sharp is your father."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO gasp OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!" With that, Jerry collapsed.
The Emperor giggled and activated the timer, Jerry disappeared. "That was enough trauma for him. Heh heh."
Faith straightened. "What could Michael have said to you that was so horrible?"
"He said Netscape was better. It greatly hurt my feelings. He had to be punished. As did anyone who laughed."
"But Netscape IS better!" Daniel blurted out.
The Emperor growled and changed a setting on his timer. "Just for that, when you arrive at your home world you shall no longer be a Sliders fan! Instead, you will be a Far Scape fan!"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO gasp OOOOOOO-." Daniel disappeared in a flash of light as the evil man activated his timer.
"That wasn't very nice, you >:-# wipe." Melissa snapped.
"And you shall be a Invisible Man fan!"
"Oh god, NO! I'm sorry! Sir, I beg of you-."
Melissa disappeared in a flash of light.
Faith crossed her arms over her breasts resolutely. "You are a horrid individual. An absolutely awful person. You are pond scum. Now hit me with your best shot, loser. I watch ten hours of TV a day. There is not a show I don't like! There is nothing you can do to me."
The Emperor grinned. "I have one word for you, brave one."
"Oh yeah? And what would that be?"
Faith disappeared in a flash of light.
The Emperor turned to Dancia.
Dancia stared back silently but respectfully.
The Emperor stared at her and waited.
Dancia hummed a little, examined the state of her nails, and stifled a yawn.
"WELL?" The Emperor demanded.
Intimidated, Dancia took at step backwards, away from him, and she ...
... woke up.
A crowd of people were standing over her. The first people she noticed was her friends, goldenangel, Slider142, and Aelita.
"What happened?" She moaned.
"We were standing here gushing over Jerry O'Connell and took a bad step backwards and were knocked unconscious, Robin." goldenangel replied.
"What are we all doing here in person?" Robin gasped.
"Boy, you really hit your head hard, didn't you?" Aelita said with a concerned tone. "Don't you remember? A lot of us from the board got together and decided to have our own Sliders/board convention? Meet each other in person all at the same time. We've been talking about it for a long time. We finally did it, and here we all are! Jerry O'Connell heard about this and stopped by."
Jerry was standing right there! He smiled warmly at her and waggled his fingers in greeting.
"I had this unbelievable dream." Robin said, sitting up and rubbing her head. "All of you were in it. Goldie, you were someone called Faith, Slider142 was a guy called Daniel, and Aelita was someone called Melissa. And all four of us were Sliding with Jerry here!"
He nodded gamely. The others glanced at each other.
Robin looked around her and noticed other people she remembered from her dream. "And you three! Dellyone, sflite, and SouthernSlider! You were Arrow, Ax, and Dagger respectively! And you four! BritSlider was Michael, and MTwain was Eva, and HurriKain was Harry and Sabre_Edge was Stephan! And SL4ever was Mr. Sharp! And Blinker was Comedian Quinn! And you four! sleepingtiger, Mychand, Slider_Sarah, and DoctorQuinn! You were Ms. Yess, Ms. Wi, Ms. Dew, and Ms. Chetham respectively! And nycslider was Spigot!"
Hawk50 put her hands on her hips. "What about me????"
Robin blinked. "I guess you got hosed. Sorry. I guess I woke up too early."
"Well, that's just swell!"
Robin looked up all of them. "You all think I'm nuts, don't you?"
"Of course I do," the Emperor responded with a smirk.
Dancia blinked. "What? What's going on?"
He offered a hand. "I bellowed at you, you stepped back and tripped, and were unconscious for a minute."
Dancia sighed. "Smegging hell. This all being a dream must have been a dream. That reeks."
The Emperor shrugged. "Now, as I was saying before you knocked yourself out ... WELL???"
Dancia returned his look but was silent.
"I think you're a genius and I love all your products." Dancia replied.
The Emperor sighed. "Grrrr. Oh, very well then. Since you're not going to piss me off, you get one wish granted."
Dancia didn't hesitate. "The word around the campfire is that Jerry is leaving and that Sliders is over after this fourth season. I want more Sliders."
"Very well, you'll have at least one more season of Sliders!"
"Oh, thank you Mr. Emperor!"
He shrugged. "Think nothing of it." He activated his timer and sent her home. Sighing, he turned to Ax, Dagger, and Arrow. "So, what do you say we go shopping, eh?"
Eight months later Dancia was sprawled on her couch. Faith, wearing a Nascar hat and a vacant expression, sat in one corner of the room drooling on herself. Daniel and Melissa were standing over Dancia with Nerf baseball bats.
From the TV, Mallory made a lame joke in his overacting manner.
Dancia groaned. "Oh god. Hit me again."
The other two wacked her bottom savagely with their Nerf baseball bats.
On the TV, Diana, despite her PHD, used the word "machine" after the acronym "ATM."
Dancia groaned. "Again!"
Mallory made another "joke."
"Oh, Jesus God Almighty, I can't take any more! Turn it off!"
Daniel shook his head. "You're gonna watch every second!"
"Why, oh WHY didn't I specify a season five with Jerry and Tormé????? Hit me again!"
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