6.8 - An Infinite Number
The vortex spat out the four sliders quite literally. It was as though they had been spewed out of the mouth of some sort of a giant. Wade, Arturo, Remmy and Quinn all gasped for breath.
"We gotta do somethin' about that," Rembrandt was the first to complain.
"It has been kind of a tight fit lately, hasn't it?" Wade asked, bending over to stretch her body out.
Arturo still had not gotten his wind back. "You could say that, Miss Welles. With your physique, it would be a 'tight fit'. With mine, it's more like the girdle from hell."
Quinn stepped up to the scientific plate quickly. "Whatever device the Human Embassy used to extend the portal, to make it take us from San Francisco to San Diego, must have compromised the integrity of the vortex slightly. I think it can be fixed," he said, taking a close look at the timer. "But not here. We've only got a few minutes."
"And this place looks none too inviting," Arturo said, quickly assessing their surroundings.
"Yeah, I hate these kinda worlds," Rembrandt threw in.
"What kind is that?" Wade asked musingly.
"Where everything's shut down and abandoned, there's nobody in sight and it looks like the hand of God's going to descend on the place any second," Rembrandt summarized.
"Oh, those," Wade smirked. "I thought you meant the kind with the ominous graffiti." The other sliders didn't understand until Wade pointed. THE QUAKE IS COMING was written in big red letters, with the final G trailing off at the end.
"How long til we're out of here?" Remmy asked in a surprisingly calm voice.
"Less than two minutes," Quinn answered him. Something caught his eye...a newspaper blowing around like tumbleweed. He snatched and perused the water-soaked page. At least he hoped it was water. "Scientists report that the biggest earthquake since the one in Alaska in 1964 is due to hit San Francisco any day now. The city will be evacuated..." Before Quinn could finish reading, the ground shook violently.
"How the hell do we manage to time our arrival so perfectly?" Arturo asked nobody in particular frustratedly. "Five minutes on a world and we manage to get caught in an earthquake."
"Hang tight, guys," Quinn instructed them. "A minute til the window opens. I think we can handle anything, even a severe earthquake, for a min..." The ground shook harder. Unbelievably harder. It flung the four of them around the street like they were dolls. The next sixty seconds were a blur.
Arturo's thoughts, strangely, were about the change in Quinn's attitude over the last few days. He had slipped into the role of group leader that his double had once held rather easily. He wondered what had brought about the change. As if to distract the Professor from his musings, Quinn held out the timer for him to activate. "You do it," he told the elder man. His befuddlement at the move ended when he saw that some rubble had hit Wade in the arm. "You and Remmy go on through," Quinn called out over the roaring noise. "We'll be right behind you."
As Arturo opened the wormhole, he used the dial on the timer to increase the power in hopes of making the slide a little easier. "I'm increasing the power, so the window might not be open as long as usual!" Arturo practically screamed to Quinn, who was trying to get Wade away from the maelstrom.
"What?!?" Quinn replied, unable to hear over the deafening sound of the earthquake.
"The vortex might not be..." Arturo had to stop when part of a building nearly collapsed on top of their heads.
"Screw it," exclaimed Rembrandt, who jumped through the vortex. The Professor followed suit not long after.
Quinn had managed to make a sling for Wade's arm out of his jacket. "Go on, I just want to make sure you make it through." Wade looked at Quinn strangely. Over the last few slides, she still hadn't gotten used to the idea of sliding with a Quinn who wasn't her own. She suspected she wouldn't for a long time. Still, she looked at him with something approximating respect.
"Thank you," she said simply and catapulted herself through the void. Quinn began to follow her, but a lamppost fell in his way. As he began to jump through the vortex again, it moved out of his way and the boy genius instead landed, roughly, on a pile of debris. He saw the wormhole start to close and thrust himself towards it as fast and, consequently, as hard as he could. He made it through just in time. Just in time for what he would find out to his horror in a few moments.
Arturo, Remmy and Wade piled out on the other side. Although their landing was still rough, at least it was carpeted. The Professor dusted himself off, tried to get his bearings, and looked intently at their new surroundings. "Not nearly so life-threatening, eh?"
Wade held her arm, applying pressure to it, all the while watching the vortex. Her eyes caught something and she wasted no time reporting it to the others. "Guys, the portal's moving!"
"Good heavens," Arturo exclaimed. "So it is! It hasn't done that since..."
"Our first slide," Rembrandt finished.
"It must have been the increase in power," the Professor stated flatly. The three watched as the vortex moved behind a door.
Wade moved to next to it. "Quinn?" she called out. She tried the doorknob. It wouldn't budge. Rembrandt, realizing that Wade wasn't in the best state to do anything physical, moved in to see if he could do any better. No such luck.
"QBall!" he exclaimed, pounding on the door. No response.
"What if he didn't make it?" Wade thought aloud with less dread than she would have a week ago.
"Stay here, Miss Welles. Mr. Brown and I will go for help in opening the door." At that, the Professor and Remmy rushed off in the other direction.
Wade looked at her arm. There were cuts and bruises, but it seemed as though no permanent damage had been done. Wade put her head up against the wall and sighed. She had been lucky. Quinn had kept the injury from being much more severe by rescuing him in time. She still wasn't sure how she felt about that. Then she remembered that Quinn might not have made it onto this world because he was taking care of her. She was surprisingly indifferent about that as well.
When she heard footsteps coming, she moved out of sight. "Who's there?" an unfamiliar voice asked.
"That depends. Who's asking?" Wade answered from her spot of concealment.
"Detective Welles?" the man asked incredulously. "How did you get here so fast?"
"You know me. I'm always on the case," Wade improvised, hoping the man wasn't playing some sort of joke on her.
"Did you hear the gunshot?" the man asked.
"I must have just missed it," she replied, hoping she wouldn't have to make up many more lies to keep this guy from being suspicious about her. Luckily, he seemed more interested in getting inside the door...where Quinn had presumably slid in if he had made the slide.
"Are you sure we need to go in there?" Wade asked.
"Considering that's where the shot was heard from, I'd say so," the man replied drolly. The man was tall, pasty and wore thick-rimmed glasses.
The man tried the door and had the same luck opening it as the sliders had. "Damn. Does this lock from the inside?" He tried it again.
"Why don't you shoot off the lock?" Wade asked.
"Are you insane?" he stage whispered to her. "Why don't we just send the armed murder suspect a written notice that we're coming in. It'd be more subtle." Wade could only laugh sheepishly in reply. This routine was getting old.
Luckily, at that moment, the Professor and Rembrandt returned with an old lady who turned a series of keys on a chain in her hand. "Lessee. One of these opens this door. Durned if I can remember which one, though."
The man Wade had ran into flashed his badge. "This is police business, ma'am. I would appreciate it if you could speed this up a bit." After a few moments, she finally did produce the right key.
Wade mouthed to Rembrandt and Arturo to stay outside as she and the plain clothes police officer walked inside the room. "Where's your gun?!" he hissed.
"Forgot it," Wade replied lamely. Before he could chastise her, they found a body. "Looks like some kind of clerk."
"Not many of those in a patent office," the policeman sneered. Wade thought about hitting him but then remembered it would hurt her more than it would him. It was then that she spotted Quinn in the corner. He was lying next to a shelf filled to the brim with paperwork, his head bleading from a gash. He moaned and began to sit up.
Other police officers began pouring into the room. The one who had entered with Wade made an announcement. "He's dead alright. Nobody in the room when we came in except this guy." He gestured to Quinn, who was still dazed. "Take him downtown...for questioning."
"It's like we suspected, chief. His fingerprints are all over the weapon." Police Chief George Gounard reclined easily in his chair.
"Read him his rights, boys," the Chief instructed his officers. The man and woman led Quinn off in handcuffs, with the arrested man protesting all the way. Arturo thought he heard something about the right to equal representation, but he may have been mistaken.
The three remaining sliders sat there, more than a little dumbfounded. They huddled. "How could his fingerprints have been on the gun?" Rembrandt asked.
"I don't know, Mr. Brown," the Professor answered. "It seems odd, seeing as how he was unconscious when he was found."
"I wonder if that door only locks from the outside," Wade wondered. If not, who else could have killed the man but Quinn?
At that gloomy thought, the trio raised their heads. Arturo turned to the Chief of Police. "Are we free to go now?"
He looked straight at Wade. "You say these people are working with you on a case, Detective?"
"That's right," Wade answered uncertainly.
Chief Gounard chuckled without mirth. "A case so secret you couldn't call in and tell us what was going on?"
"Well..." Wade groped for a response, "...as you notice, I did hurt my arm." She pointed to her arm in a sling. She had managed to get it treated quickly, when they had just started questioning Quinn.
"Let me guess. It was your phone-dialing arm?" he asked gruffly. Wade smiled sheepishly. "Fine. I just need some statements from you folks and you're free to go."
Professor Arturo spoke up. "Before we do that, sir, let me ask you a question."
"Shoot," he replied a little frustratedly.
"Has Mr. Mallory already been assigned legal representation?" the Professor queried.
"No..." the police chief started to answer.
Arturo cut him off. "Very well. Then I volunteer for the task."
"Are you insane?!" Wade asked the Professor as he exited the interrogation room.
"What are you yelling about now, Miss Welles?" Arturo asked her.
Wade scowled at him. "You can't be Quinn's lawyer! I mean, for one thing you haven't even consulted him about it."
"That's easily taken care of..." Arturo began, but Wade wouldn't let him get a word in edgewise.
"For another, we only have four days here. That's not much time to put together a defense. I don't care how fast the legal system works here, the case probably isn't even going to trial before we slide out."
Arturo snorted. "So what are you suggesting, Miss Welles? That we pull a jail break and risk all of us going to prison?"
"No," Wade stated simply.
"Well, we can't just leave him to rot in jail!" Professor Arturo exclaimed in frustration.
"I'd like to know why not," Wade responded icily.
"How dare you!" the Professor responded. "You would leave Quinn behind..."
"Damn it, he's not Quinn!!" Wade yelled at him. "We have no responsibility to risk our necks to save his. Our first priority is making the slide and I'll be damned if I'm going to miss it for some lookalike of Quinn's."
Arturo seethed. "He's not just a lookalike, Miss Welles. As much as you would hate to admit it, he is Quinn Mallory. Not the one we knew, no. But not that much different either."
"God, you are so delusional. Do you hear yourself?" Wade looked at Arturo almost with pity. "He's just a double, Professor. Just another double."
The Professor shook his head. "No. He's more. Our Mr. Mallory sent him after us, to bring us back together. There must be some reason why he did that, something that makes this one special."
Wade stood in silence for a moment. "Still holding something back from me. Guess I shouldn't be surprised, but it still hurts." She held her head down for a moment and then thrust it back up angrily. "So, what, this Quinn wannabe leads us to our Quinn?"
Arturo fumbled awkwardly for the right words before realizing that there were none. "As I am given to understand it, Miss Welles, our Quinn is dead."
Wade was still for a moment...and then sprang, slapping the Professor hard in the face. "Don't you say that. Don't *ever* say that."
The two of them spent a moment in silence, just looking at each other. "You can think what you want, Miss Welles. Lord knows I've never been able to change your mind about anything before. But I've lost Mr. Mallory once and I don't intend to lose him again."
Wade almost laughed. "You think that God or fate or some kind of otherworldly force is giving you a second chance? You think that's what sliding gives us?" Now she did laugh, once and harshly. "It's just an illusion, Professor. He may walk and talk like our Quinn, but he's not and he never will be. Just look deeper, you'll see. Hell, we don't even know that he didn't kill that guy."
"You said he was unconscious when you and that other police officer found him," the Professor reminded her.
"I said that's what it looked like," Wade retorted.
"Was that an illusion, too?" the Professor asked her. She had no answer. Rembrandt chose that moment to come out from being questioned.
"Everybody ready to go?" he asked.
"I believe so," Professor Arturo answered, "but go where is the question. Our resources are nearly tapped out."
"We'll figure something out," Remmy replied optimistically. "We always do."
As they began to walk out the door, a scrawny-looking man with red curly hair nearly bumped into Wade. "Sorry, didn't see you there." After walking a few steps away from her, he turned around and called after her. "Detective Welles?"
Wade turned back around slowly, dreading whatever someone who knew her only as her double might say to her. "Yes?"
He sighed. "Thank God. Your mail's become quite a pile over the last couple of days. Could you come get it before I have to trash it all?"
Wade looked at the others and saw no protest in their eyes. "Sure." As the young officer walked off, she asked Rembrandt if he would come help her take the stuff, since she couldn't carry much with her arm in the condition it was in.
"Yeah, no problem," Rembrandt answered. "Meet you out front in a few, Professor."
As Arturo started to head out the door of the precinct, he heard another voice behind him. "Maximilian Arturo?"
"Yes," he replied with trepidation.
"Mallory wants to talk to you." With that, Arturo followed after him.
Wade sifted through her mail quickly, moving past the junk, hoping she would get lucky and there would be a check in there. So far, no such luck.
Another officer came up to her. He looked at the name on her mail slot to her and then back again. "You Wade Welles?"
"Uh huh," she replied without much interest.
The man went on ramblingly. "Got a phone message for you the other day, but the Chief said you hadn't been in for a couple days. Your land lady, said somethin about if you moved out to tell her because there was some people that wanted to rent the apartment. Don't know if that was supposed to be sarcastic or what."
"Thanks for the message," Wade told him. She picked up an envelope in her pile and examined it. "I think we've got a place to stay," she told Rembrandt.
"I want you to take my case," Quinn stated flatly.
Professor Arturo smiled warmly. "Already way ahead of you, Mr. Mallory. But are you sure that you want me to defend you and not a professional lawyer?"
Quinn looked the Professor in the eye. "No. You've got one big advantage over the lawyers of this world. You know I didn't do it."
Arturo's gaze went downward. "Yes," he replied halfheartedly. "I do."
The three sliders climbed into the cab. Of course, it was Pavel Kurlienko behind the wheel.
"Where are you going?" Pavel asked with a heavy Russian accent.
Wade looked at the address on the envelope. "1212 Fremont Drive," she instructed him. It had been lucky for them that her double had changed the locks on her apartment. Wade then wondered where her double was. It seemed as though nobody had seen her for days. She certainly hoped she wouldn't be causing trouble by assuming her life for a little while, and then realized that her hope was probably in vain.
The sliders rode in silence. Wanting to fill the void, Pavel flipped on the radio. "PBS News, I'm Jim Hickey. No word yet on impeachment proceedings for President Jim Jeffords. Socialist Party leader Jesse Helms, who has been widely criticized for abandoning his own party's president, had no comment today when questioned by reporters."
The three sliders looked at each other. A socialist world? Pavel as their cab driver? One of their own in prison? This was getting scary. Their thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of mortar fire over the radio. "Chiang Sai Jen has ordered the Kuomintang Army to send fifteen more divisions across the border from Chinese Columbia to reinforce their position in Debs State. President Jeffords, in a rare statement to the press about the war, has said that this beefing up of the Chinese war machine can be attributed solely to the valiant efforts of Chris Cornell's Pacific Liberation Army, to whom he has always lent his whole-hearted support, and their masterful guerrilla tactics."
"In other news, Defense Department officials in San Francisco have announced they are closing their doors, citing the increasing chance that an air raid or a stray missile could destroy their munitions. Mayor Kenneth Krastowski criticized the move, saying..." The radio was cut off by Pavel.
"The news is depressing. I come to this country from Russia, hoping to bask in the radiant glow of prosperous socialist nation. What do I get? More cappies, trying to do things their way. We should just nuke New Shanghai and end the war right now." The cab-driver fiddled with the radio dial until it reached something more to his liking.
"Welcome back to People's Music Countdown, I'm Casey Kasem. This week's number one song is more than a pop hit; it's a patriotic anthem, one that has been wholeheartedly endorsed by the Socialist Party and the army alike. I'm sure it needs no further introduction. Our number one song for the twenty-ninth week, here's the Straha Men with 'Who Let the Running Dogs Out?'"
It was going to be a long cab ride.
The three sliders gleefully got out of the little yellow car. Arturo moved in to pay Pavel, but he waved his hand. "I don't need your money, comrade. Kenny Krastowski pays my fee." When Arturo looked surprised, he explained. "You are tourists, no? San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities in the country. As for Mayor Krastowski, they don't call him Crazy Kenny for nothing."
"Yes, I'm sure they don't," Arturo chuckled back. As Pavel pulled away, he turned to his own compatriots. "Good Lord. Does every world have such horrible pop music?"
Remmy shuddered. "If that garbage can make it to number one, they're starving for somebody who can really sing." He paused in thought. "This might be as good a world as any for me to make a comeback, even for just a few days."
Wade turned her new key and opened the door to her apartment. The place was a total mess. "Your double's not much on housekeeping, I take it?"
"How should I know?" Wade replied defensively.
"The proof is in the pudding," Rembrandt idiomized. "Speaking of." He pointed to a small plastic container filled with the stuff. He picked it up, examining it. He then put it down quickly, holding his nose. "I'm hungry, but not that hungry. I haven't seen that much fur since the Topps played Carnegie Hall."
Arturo looked around distastefully. "You might want to tidy up the place a bit, Miss Welles. If we're all three to stay here until we slide, we'll need all the space we can get."
"And just where are you going, Mr. Bossy?" Wade demanded.
"To work on Quinn's case, of course," Arturo replied. Wade gave him a look and Arturo returned it. They couldn't get into it again, not in front of Rembrandt. Wade's gaze said she wouldn't let him forget their little spat.
"Yeah, and we're going to need some more dough," Rembrandt said matter-of-factly. "I think I might try to get a gig or two around town before we leave."
Wade sighed. She would have to do the cleaning. She hated cleaning. No doubt that this place needed it though. "Alright," she said with a voice that could have come from a sainted martyr.
Professor Maximilian Arturo had learned that the dead man's name was Joseph Brighthod. That, however, was the only fact he could get out of his coworkers.
"That guy?" one disdainfully sneered. "A jealous wife or girlfriend? Please."
Another. "The guy wouldn't have gambled if it was on whether the sun would rise or not."
Another. "Did anybody want his job? You mean anybody sane?"
At last he talked to a janitor who would actually discuss the man in detail. "Brighthod the Tightwad? Everybody hated him. If Mallory hadn't been caught in the act, they woulda never figured out who did it."
"I am the accused's defense attorney," Arturo huffed in reply.
The scruffy long-haired man shrugged. "Fine, fine. Whatever. I'm just saying if he'd planned his escape route a little better, he'd be scot free right now."
The man speaking of an escape inspired the Professor to have the man give him a tour of the murder scene. Arturo tried the windows (securely locked with no way to open them from the inside, just like Tightwad liked it) and looked for secret passages to no avail. "And you're sure the door only locks from the outside?"
"Absolutely," the janitor replied. "Tightwad only locked his door when he wanted to see the squirming look on inventor's faces when he rejected their patent application."
"And how often was that?" Arturo asked. The other man only grinned in reply.
Back to the drawing board. "You said a lot of people had reason to hate Mr. Tightwa...Brighthod, but would anybody really have good reason to kill him?"
"Oh yeah," the man retorted to the Professor's query. "Lots of inventors would have liked to punch Tightwad's ticket."
"Could you speak a little more respectfully of the dead?" Arturo irritably demanded. "If you're so full of answers, who do you think killed this man?"
"Honestly," the man replied, more than a little miffed, "Quinn Mallory's as good a candidate as any. If it wasn't him, it was one of the other 'sliders'." Arturo's eyebrows raised in surprise.
Rembrandt walked into Passionate Patti's nightclub with trepidation. Could he really do this?
"What can I do you for, hon?" said the woman behind the bar. Rembrandt paused for a moment in thought. "Not very chatty, are ya?"
"Do you need a singer?" Rembrandt asked quickly.
"Well, that depends. How much do you work for?" she asked slyly.
Rembrandt was determined to not let her sucker him. "How much do you pay?"
The woman gave him a sour look. "Minimum wage. Twenty-seven dollars an hour, no more, no less." Rembrandt did his best to keep from grinning.
"Lady, you got a deal," he told her.
Wade was tidying up the apartment with limited success. It looked like it hadn't been cleaned in months.
Suddenly she heard a knock at the door. She rushed to open it, thinking it might be one of the others. However, when she swung the door open there was nobody there. "Hey!" Wade called out. There was no response.
Wade started to close the door back, until she saw a manila envelope on the floor outside the door. It had her name on it, typed onto a sticker stuck on the back. She took it inside and ripped it open.
Enclosed where some photographs. And what they showed made Wade sick.
A girl, twentyish and blonde, was shown naked and dead. She had apparently been shot to death. Several photographs, in black and white, showed the same scene. The body was lying on a bed, alone and cold. Wade shivered and forced herself not to run to the bathroom to heave up whatever she had eaten last.
As she took all of the photos out of the envelope, she saw a message scrawled in big red lettering at the end. It read THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO KNOW.
"This world's getting more disturbing by the minute," Wade said aloud.
Wade woke disorientedly, rose from her double's bed, showered and changed into her double's clothing. It felt singularly unwholesome, and she hoped they could find somewhere else to stay before the slide. With their money supply the way it was, she doubted it.
The phone rang and she wondered if she should answer it. Awkward situations with being mistaken for your double were bad enough when they were forced on you that there was no need to go looking for them. Nonetheless, even if she had been forced into it, she was living her life now. She picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
"What the hell's going on?!" came the squawky voice on the other line. Wade was taken aback for a moment, temporarily stunned into silence.
"Who is this?" she queried simply enough.
"Bruno," he answered as though as he were speaking to a disobedient toddler. When Wade said nothing in reply. "Your informant. The guy you stood up last week."
"Oh," she answered, not sure how to respond. "Sorry."
Bruno scoffed. "Don't be sorry, make up for it. Your special delivery was gonna make my day. Instead I end up with nothing. You don't show, I assume the worst. Thought I might end up wearing cement sneakers. Instead I got numb fingers and reheated lasagna for dinner. I don't know which I would have preferred."
Wade laughed weakly. "So, you want me to give you something?" Wade responded after an awkward silence.
"Don't play dumb with me now, Welles. There's too much at stake." Bruno sighed after he figured out Wade wasn't joking. "The manila envelope. Bring it to where you stood me up." The other line went dead.
She began searching the apartment for a manila envelope.
Quinn Mallory pressed his face up against the bars of his cell. His eyes examined what they could see carefully, savoring each new thing that came into view.
"You'll never do it, you know," his cellmate cautioned.
"Do what?" Quinn asked dispassionately.
The short, stocky man shifted on his cot. "Break out. See the light of day again, without these prison bars holdin' you back."
Quinn shrugged. "Who knows? My case hasn't even really started yet."
"It will." The man had a knowing look on his face. "For all of the other stuff you can say about this country since it went Socialist, you can't say its justice system doesn't work fast. If you can call it a justice system, that is." He grinned widely. "I know. Your generation takes it for granted. Gramps can't adjust to the times, he needs to go to China, huh?" The man chuckled a little. "Maybe so. Hell, maybe so."
"What are you in for?" Quinn asked, out of sheer boredom more than anything else.
"Expressing my first amendment rights. Freedom of speech. Socialists didn't bother to take it away, just ignored it. Nobody says a word about it." He shrugged. "I'm likely to get life in the Mojave. But at least I didn't cave. They never got to me." He looked at Quinn hard. "What about you? What made you strike a blow against our esteemed government?"
"What do you mean?" Quinn asked, puzzled.
"Shot a patent office clerk. A government official. That's a pretty big offense around here. What made you snap?" the man asked matter-of-factly.
"I didn't kill anybody," the younger man answered.
"Right," his cellmate laughed. "You're innocent. 'Innocent until proven guilty'. Jeez, I almost forgot about that one."
"Look," Quinn told him with a cold tone to his voice, "if you're trying to scare me, congratulations. It worked. But if you're some sort of plant to try to get me to confess, you can forget about it. I didn't do it." Some guards came to their cell and unlocked. One of them kept their gun trained on Quinn, the other two held the elder man.
"Yeah, I'm a plant alright," the other man chortled. "I'm about to become a cactus. I only hope I can do as well without water." Quinn shook his head. The man may have had a screw loose, but he may also be right about how trials work here. The deck was certainly stacked against him. He knew he might die here as well. And that couldn't happen. Not when he had so much to do when he made it home.
"Did you say 'sliders'?" Professor Maximilian Arturo asked the janitor incredulously.
"Don't tell me you haven't heard of the 'sliders'?" the other man said, annoyingly answering a question with the question. "They only revolutionized warfare, put the government in a tizzy and had one of the most famous rejected patent cases in history."
After Arturo pulled himself together, he managed to continue the conversation. "You say they revolutionized warfare. How? What exactly is this 'sliding'?"
The shabby man looked at the Professor as though he might have been living in a cave. "It's instant transport. Like on that 'Trek Wars' show. It can transport hundreds of troops over thousands of miles in mere seconds. It made all the papers. Once they got it to work, news leaked like a rusty pail. The government tried to hush it up, but they didn't have much luck. Heads rolled for it, though."
"What about the rejected patent case?" Arturo queried.
"The government didn't want to have to pay the sliders for their invention, so they had Tightwad here reject their patent application. By that time, they had a homegrown team that could do the same thing apply for a patent. It was granted." The man laughed ruefully. "Boy were they mad! You could hear them throughout the building while that was going on."
"So that's all the motive you need, then?" the Professor asked him somewhat angrily. "Case closed, he's the killer."
"That...coupled with the circumstantial evidence..." He looked at Arturo. "I know you're his defense attorney, but even you've got to admit it looks pretty bad."
"Did Brighthod reject anybody else's patent application?" Professor Arturo asked morosely.
"That's what he lived for!" the other man exclaimed with a laugh.
Arturo rubbed his hands together. "Since you seem to know everything that's going on around here, could you give me a few names, maybe some people I could investigate. See if they had the motive and opportunity."
The man nodded. "No promises, but I can get you started." The Professor decided that would have to be good enough.
It was official. Rembrandt hated this gig.
"Feelings," he belted, ironically, rather unfeelingly. "Nothing more than feelings." What an insult. His musical talent, completely wasted. But what choice did he have? He had signed the contract after all. And the money was good.
But the music sucked. Rembrandt finished the song, however, nobody put money in his tip jar. He couldn't say as he blamed them. He announced he would be taking a short break. Heading over to the bar, he spotted Patti.
Remmy leaned in, hoping to smooth talk his way out of this fluff. "Any chance I could get you to change your mind on the musical style? I'm a bit of a songwriter myself, you know. Got my own lyrics and my own sound. Could really spice the place up."
Patti scowled. "Nah. Nobody's taken a risk like that in years. No market for new songs." She patted him on the arm supportively. "You keep pluggin' away at it, though."
Rembrandt looked crestfallen. He headed back to his piano, dejected. "In a little while from now, if I'm not feeling any less sour..." He mentally cringed. This was going to be a long, hard night.
Professor Arturo pored over the patent cases in front of him. Much to his chagrin, he saw that his unfortunate helper was right. There were an endless number of alternate suspects.
The cases formed a tower on the dead man's desk, looking to topple at any moment. To tell the truth, the Professor wouldn't have minded too much if they did. This was proving to be a lot harder than he thought.
'Maybe Wade's right,' the Professor thought to himself and then shoved the thought down violently. He would not give up on Quinn. He couldn't. Why?
Now there was the question. Why couldn't he simply turn his back on this Quinn? The answer came back emphatically. 'Quinn didn't give up on me. He sent me this boy, to be his mentor again. And he sent him to me first. Wade and Remmy had been through hell and desperately needed to be rescued, but Quinn sent his double to me first. And why? Because he needed me to protect him. To guide him. And damn it, that's what I'll do or die trying.'
A flash of movement in the corner of the Professor's eye caught his attention and snapped him out of his thoughts. When he looked around, there was nobody there.
He thought nothing more of it and turned back to examining the files. Until he heard a noise. He couldn't determine its origin at first. Then Arturo saw something move on the wall. He dropped the folder he was holding and turned his undivided attention towards it.
An unseen hand was writing on the wall. The paint was wet (the management here wanted to use the office again as quickly as possible and those blood stains were unsightly) and an invisible finger traced letters in it, forming a question. It read simply LOOKING FOR ME?
Arturo really loathed breaking into a parallel Quinn's apartment. Not enough to keep him from doing it, but enough to make it distasteful.
It wouldn't have been so easy if Quinn didn't live in such a bad part of town. No security guards in sight. And the things that most likely went on here... the Professor really didn't want to think about.
The possibility that the killer could turn invisible (or at least act without being seen) was a definite breakthrough for Quinn. But it still didn't explain the presence of his fingerprints on the weapon. Unless, of course, the Quinn of this world was the one who was invisible. Which was the whole point of breaking and entering.
Arturo rummaged through another man's things as casually as he could manage. The place was sparse enough to make it a short job. Of course it was possible that he just couldn't afford much, but the Professor was betting that...
Yes. His clothes were missing. Quinn had cleared out, probably in a hurry. He left something scrawled on a piece of paper. "Directions to Upton Sinclair International Airport," Professor Arturo read aloud.
The aging Englishman sighed. He didn't know what he had expected to find here. Clues, perhaps. Some way to become invisible? As ridiculous as it might sound, he had anticipated its discovery here.
Oh, well. He hadn't finished looking through the patent rejections. There could be one dealing with invisibility that could lead him to the real killer. He could only hope.
Wade's arm was feeling somewhat better. Still bruised, but healing just fine. The rest of her body was tired. She had looked all over her apartment for the manila envelope and found nothing. It was extremely frustrating.
"I don't even know why I'm doing this," Wade said aloud. Except that she did know. She may not be the Wade Welles who started out on this case, but she was going to see that justice was served.
Deciding to do another sweep of the room, Wade examined everything with extra care. No secret panels behind the wall, nothing behind or under the couch, no secret bottom to any of the drawers. It seemed hopeless.
Finally, she looked under an end table and saw a drawer that she hadn't before. She tried to open it, only to discover it was locked. "Great," Wade muttered. She shook the lock in anger and then abandoned the exercise in futility after it accomplished nothing.
She sat on her couch, running her fingers through her hair. There had to be a way...
A thought hit her. There was more than one key in the envelope she had picked up at work, the one with the key that had let her in this apartment in the first place. Perhaps she had changed more than one lock.
Wade retrieved the smaller key and proceeded to stick in the lock. Success!
Sure enough, it contained the manila envelope. "Maybe I shouldn't open it," Wade said to herself. From what that guy Bruno said on the phone it's pretty important. However, her curiousity got the better of her. She opened it up.
There were more pictures inside of the girl who had been murdered, only she was alive in these photos. In some there was a man with her. He looked familiar, but where could she possibly have seen him before?
Then she recognized him. It was Police Chief Gounard. If these pictures could be believed, they had been intimately involved. Wade stuffed the photos back in the envelope and walked out the door.
Rembrandt Brown entered Wade's apartment and slumped into a chair. It had been a long, tiring day of playing insipid, uninspired music. The Crying Man thought that he would probably rather be flipping burgers at whatever passed for a fast food joint on this world.
'Where's Wade?' he thought. She should be here. Unless she decided to get a job to take the pressure of making money off of him. That would have been a relief, but Remmy sincerely doubted that that was the case.
Professor Maximilian Arturo knocked on the door (Rembrandt had forgot to return the key to its hiding place) and Remmy let him in. "You look as tired as I feel, Mr. Brown," Arturo mused.
"Pipes are sore, too," Rembrandt added hoarsely. "Wish I could drink something other than ice water, but we can't afford it. If Wade's double didn't have a freezer, we'd have starved to death by now."
"Patience, Mr. Brown. You'll be paid tomorrow and then you can quit that loathsome job of yours," the Professor said with much relish.
"We slide in two days," Rembrandt said wistfully. "If we can get Quinn out of jail by then that is. Speaking of, how's the case coming?"
Arturo thought it interesting to note that Rembrandt did not even consider leaving Quinn behind as an option. Of course, why should he? He still believed that this Quinn was the one who'd been sliding with them for years. "I have a lead suspect for who could have murdered Mr. Brighthod. A Mr. Charles Carson, whose patent for a suit of invisibility was rejected by the late patent office clerk."
Rembrandt's brow furrowed. "You think the killer could turn himself invisible?"
"I have reason to believe so, Mr. Brown, yes," Arturo answered. He then proceeded to tell Remmy what had happened.
The Crying Man shook his head. "Hate to say it, Professor, but if your testimony about the invisible guy writing something on the wall is what's key to this case, it's not going to fly."
Arturo nodded in recognition. "Perhaps that won't be necessary. If I could trick him into confessing..."
Rembrandt scoffed. "You've been watching too much 'Matlock', Professor." Arturo shuddered at the implications of that statement.
"Nonetheless, I will be interrogating Mr. Carson tomorrow. With any luck, whatever information he gives me will allow Quinn to go free."
"Here's hopin'," Rembrandt replied to Arturo's statement. The Professor, however, wasn't willing to rely on luck. If they couldn't prove Quinn's innocence by the time they were supposed to leave this world, they would just have to get him out some other way. Whatever the cost.
It was late and foggy. The perfect ambiance for a covert meeting. Right now, Wade was getting ready to meet Bruno down by the docks. Within a few moments of her arrival, he stood beside her. She took the envelope out of her coat and handed it to the other man. He examined it carefully.
"You opened it," he stated with mild disappointment.
"Yeah," she answered. "So now I know."
Bruno snorted. "You don't know anything. Not yet anyway. If you want to see something, see a real eye-opener, you gotta come with me." Not wanting to argue the point and quite curious about what it was, Wade agreed.
Bruno and Wade drove in almost complete silence. Wade didn't know where she was going and she didn't know much about this Bruno guy. She suddenly wondered whether she'd made a big mistake in coming with him. Rather than dwell on that, though, she decided to make small talk.
"Who's the girl?" Wade asked.
"What?!" Bruno responded protestingly. "You gotta be kidding me, right?? You're the one who met her, not me."
Wade shifted uncomfortably in her seat. This could get hairy, but her curiosity had to be sated. "My memory's failing me. Who is she?"
Bruno sighed like he was playing along with a little child's game. "Jennifer Lewis. Just a girl, like hundreds of girls on the streets of San Francisco. Got in some trouble, went to the police for help. You and Gounard to be exact. Only our esteemed Chief of Police got a little too protective, if you get my drift."
Within a few more minutes, Bruno stopped the car. "Here we be." He opened the door, collected a flashlight and some shovels from his trunk and then locked everything up.
"What are we doing here?" Wade said, looking quizzically at the shovel Bruno had just handed her.
Bruno turned on his flash light. "Chief Gounard owns this little stretch of property. Some of the neighbors saw a couple of men digging out here late at night and got suspicious. The cops didn't do anything about it, big surprise. No offense to you, of course."
"Of course," Wade replied dryly.
"This is the spot," Bruno stated flatly, shining his flashlight on a patch of dirt that stood out like a sore thumb against the tall grass. They started digging.
It wasn't long before Wade's arm hurt like hell. Bruno had to take over most of the digging, but eventually they found something. "Not sure I want to look," Wade said, creeped out by this more than she was willing to admit.
Bruno reached down into the hole and opened the bag a little. It was a body. Wade felt revulsion, but didn't scream. As Bruno ran the flashlight beam up and down the body, there was no doubt that it was the same girl from the photographs. Bruno started to cover her back up.
Wade came close to physically stopping him. "What are you doing? We have to report this to the police...we have to find out who killed her."
"You are the police, aren't you?" he replied sarcastically. "Besides, we don't have enough proof yet. And for who committed this murder, we're going to need lots of it."
"And just who do you think did it?" Wade asked, playing dumb rather well.
"Gounard. Now help me dig." Wade did so with a mounting sense of dread.
Maximilian Arturo knocked apprehensively on Charles Carson's door. A few moments passed and there was no answer. Perhaps he wasn't home. The Professor could always try back later...
He had to rid himself of such fears. He had to do this to clear Quinn's name. Still, the fact that he could be facing a coldblooded killer in a matter of minutes was never very far from his mind. As the door opened, he prepared himself for anything except...
...the kindly old man who opened the door.
"Mr. Carson?" the Professor asked incredulously.
"Yes," he answered. "What can I do for you?"
Arturo started to just walk away, but he couldn't rule out the man simply because of his age. "I thought I might ask you a few questions, I'm investigating the murder of one Joseph Brighthod..."
At the mention of Brighthod's name, he went livid. "Brighthod?! That incompetent imbecile! They oughta give the guy who did it a medal!"
Now he was getting somewhere. "Not a pleasant relationship with the deceased, then?"
"That jackbooted moron kept me from making millions of dollars on my suit of invisibility," he continued. "Now that I was denied a patent, they'll probably just make their own suit without having to pay anybody, just like they did those 'glider' people."
Arturo ignored the gaffe. "May I see the suit?"
The man sighed. "Sure. What's the harm? Not like it's a secret now." He led the Professor down into the basement, pushing away cobwebs. Finally, they reached a sleek black suits with some lights sewn on, hanging on an improvised suit rack.
The man donned the costume. "Now if I can just fire up the machine, here, I can show you how it works." After pressing a few buttons on the big mechanical monstrosity, the suit lit up like a Christmas tree.
Charles Carson laughed hardy. "Can't see me, can ya?" Indeed, Arturo couldn't see Mr. Carson. In fact, he couldn't see anything at all.
"Yes, that's quite an invention you've got there," Arturo agreed half-heartedly. Carson was clearly not his man.
"Now let me just switch this sucker off," the man said to himself. Before he could do so, however, one of the lights on his suit burst and caught on fire. "Oh dear."
"Have you got a fire extinguisher?" Arturo asked, concerned about the man's safety.
But he waved off the Professor's concern. "I've got a system." With those words a soaked mattress on a cart with wheels rolled him down towards a sprinkler system that put out the fire. It was actually quite clever on his part to come up with.
Seeing that demonstration gave Professor Arturo an idea. He thanked the man for showing him his invisible suit and left, with renewed determination to prove Quinn's innocence.
Wade entered Police Chief Gounard's office without ceremony and slammed it firmly behind her. "We have to talk," Wade said grimly.
"What about?" Gounard queried, eyeing her suspiciously.
"One of us in this room is a murderer and I think I know which one," Wade said coldly and with a smirk on her face.
"And just whose murder are we talking..." he started to ask her sarcastically.
She interrupted him. "Jennifer Lewis. You had an affair with her, right?"
"How dare you accuse me..." he started to huff.
Wade smiled. "I have pictures. And you really should just let me do the talking. You don't seem to be doing a very good job of it."
His eyebrows raised. "You're meddling where you shouldn't be, girl," the Chief responded gruffly. "You're way over your head and about to drown."
"Maybe," Wade replied. "Then again maybe not. We have a lot to talk about, you know. Let's start with these tapes I have. It's very interesting what wiretaps can turn up." Gounard looked ashen.
Rembrandt looked at his check. It would be enough to get them some food here and maybe support them on the next world, depending on the length of their stay. The piece of paper in his hands was like a Godsend. Now he could quit. But not without doing one last number.
"Hello, folks," Rembrandt spoke smoothly into the microphone. "What I'm going to play for you tonight might not seem familiar, but I hope you like it anyway."
"What?!" squawked Patti from the bar. "He was supposed to do an encore of 'Alley Cat'!!"
Smiling broadly, Rembrandt sang his heart out.
"I don't remember when I first saw you
And I don't remember what I said
You must have caught my eye
Must have really turned my head
And soon the room was empty
Except for you and I"
Some in the crowd were unresponsive, but others were really getting into it. It seems there was a market for new music after all. He wound his way into the chorus and then moved on to the second verse.
"But I remember
All the things you did
That made my heart yours completely
And I remember
How you looked at me
And how you always smiled so very sweetly
I just can't remember
How to stand all the pain,"
The second verse flowed easily from the chorus.
"I don't remember why we fought
Or why those tears were in your eyes
If it was over some petty jealousies
Or whether one of us had told the other lies
And I don't remember why we said goodbye
Or why you walked out of that door
The truth is I don't want to
I can't stand this heartache any more..."
The last chorus poured out of his throat strongly.
All the things you did
That made my heart yours completely
And I remember
How you looked at me
And how you always smiled so very sweetly
I just can't remember
How to stand all the pain
How to make my heart again
Remember what I did without you
Remember what I did without you,"
Rembrandt's fingers eased away from the piano keys. The crowd went wild...well, as wild as this bunch went anyway. Patti wasted no time in telling Remmy he was fired. He couldn't have cared less.
Maximilian Arturo entered the room and sat on the uncomfortable stool they provided for those visiting prisoners. He looked at Quinn, who was clearly not happy.
"Where the hell were you today?!" Quinn asked irritably.
"What...?" Arturo replied, not figuring out what his young friend was referring to right away.
Quinn spoke as though he were scolding an infant. "The arraignment. You are my lawyer, you know. It would have been nice if you had showed."
The Professor was at a loss. How could he have forgotten? "I'm terribly sorry, Mr. Mallory, I..."
Before he could finish, Quinn interrupted. "Are you going to leave me here?" His voice was half-angry, half-anguished.
"Don't be preposterous!" he exclaimed. "How could you ever come up with such a ludicrous notion?"
"I was going to leave you behind," he stated simply. "Not like I don't deserve the same fate."
"We're not going to leave you here, Mr. Mallory," the Professor stated with assurance. "Much has changed since our first few slides together."
Quinn nodded. "Hard to believe that was only a few weeks ago. Still, it doesn't change the fact that I was in the wrong. I was being a jackass. I don't even think an apology could convey..."
Arturo did not want this to become a sorryfest. Their time was limited and there were other things on his agenda. "It will suffice for me, Mr. Mallory. I cannot speak for the others." These days, that was more true than ever. "Now to the matter at hand. I'm trying to arrange a deal for you to be transported elsewhere tomorrow. I believe I can conclusively reveal the identity of the killer and if I can do so, you can be released immediately. But we have to go back to the patent office."
"But why?" Quinn asked, elated that he might be released in time for the slide, worried that it might not pan out and curious as to what Arturo had planned all at the same time.
"My dear boy, you've forgotten one of the cardinal rules of mysteries," Professor Arturo grinned. "The killer always returns to the scene of the crime."
Bruno opened the door to his little apartment with no special relish. It was a hovel more than a home and it simply served to remind him of how poor his life here was. It was, however, usually an escape from his work. Not today.
Bruno flipped on the light switch. And saw Chief Police Gounard with one hand covering Wade's mouth and the other pointing a gun at her head. "Hey, man, let's not do anything stupid..."
"The pictures," he rasped. "The originals of the pictures you took. Out on the table now!" He cocked the gun and Wade's muffled screaming got a little louder. "Or she dies."
"You'll let her go?" he asked earnestly. "Her life for the pictures?" The elder man nodded.
Bruno felt trapped. He had no choice but to give him the photos. Moving slowly so as not to make the man with the cocked gun suspicious, he reached into his jacket pocket and produced the manila envelope. He threw it on his coffee table. "Now let her go."
Gounard looked like he might shoot her for a moment. Then he released her. Wade moved away from him quickly to the other side of the room. "But I didn't say anything about letting you live." The man got an evil-looking grin on his face, pointed the gun at Bruno and pulled the trigger. Fear filled his face as Bruno waited for the inevitable...click.
Nothing happened. Bruno's face came unflinched to see what went wrong. And got the surprise of his life.
"That chamber wasn't loaded, Bruno old boy," Chief Gounard smirked at him. "You didn't think I'd shoot Wade, did you? Oh, that's right. You did. You think I'm a killer." He didn't even look around him until he heard Wade's voice.
"That was what we counted on," he now looked closely at Wade. She had her own gun drawn and pointed at him.
"What the hell's going on?!?" he demanded.
"To catch a murderer..." Wade commented glibly.
"Wait," Bruno said frantically. "I didn't kill Jennifer Lewis, he did."
"You're wrong about that, Bruno," Gounard responded.
"I killed Jennifer Lewis," said Wade. "Well, actually my lookalike did. See I'm not really Wade Welles. I couldn't be, because she's dead." Wade had thought about how to explain the concept of doubles here but decided there had been enough twists and turns here already. "When I found that manila envelope with the pictures in it, I found a bunch of tapes. Wade didn't trust you, Bruno, any more than I did. She put a wiretap on your phone. Lots of interesting conversations on those tapes. Information galore."
"Gounard hired you..." Bruno rasped accusingly.
"Nope. Free agent." Wade smiled at him maliciously. "I just like to see justice done. I found out about your scheme to use Jennifer Lewis to blackmail Gounard into resigning and how it ended up in murder, and I just couldn't resist bringing you down. Jennifer was supposed to create the sex scandal, Wade was supposed to testify to it because Jennifer didn't want to be part of it. But Jennifer got greedy and decided she could take the stand on her own. Suddenly, you don't need Wade. So you decide to kill 'me'. The only problem was Wade found out through the wiretaps."
Wade reached in her coat and produced a piece of paper. "Wade's phone records say that she made a call the day of the murder to a warehouse not three blocks from where Jennifer Lewis was killed. It seems Wade told the people who were after Jennifer in the first place just exactly where she was. Not the same as pulling the trigger, maybe. But close enough when you're a cop who's supposed to be protecting somebody."
"Ya see, I didn't kill Jennifer," he told her with some satisfaction.
Wade kept her gun trained on him. "No, you didn't. You killed Wade. She was going to tell you about the hit on Jennifer, use it as a bargaining chip to keep herself alive, probably. But you didn't give her the chance. Just shot her in the head without giving her a chance to speak."
"You can't prove a thing," Bruno hissed back at her.
Wade laughed. "I can prove everything. Wade had a video camera that caught it all."
"You really blew it when you showed her where the body was," Gounard threw in. "That cockamamy story about 'neighbors' seeing somebody digging was kinda shot by the fact that nobody lives around there for miles. Nobody could have known that that was where the body was...except the guy who moved it."
"What'd you do?" Wade asked. "Panic when you saw the body? Decide to get it out of the way, but leave it somewhere incriminating to Gounard?"
"You guys have got it all figured out haven't you?" Bruno asked. Before they could stop him, he produced his own gun. "Who wants to bet that they can shoot me before I shoot them?" Suddenly a blow from behind knocked him cold. Rembrandt emerged from the closet where he'd been hiding, baseball bat in hand.
"Thanks, Remmy," Wade said.
"No problem," Rembrandt replied.
"Can you take care of him from here?" Wade asked the Chief of Police.
The elder man nodded in affirmation. "I can get a dispatch here in a few minutes. But if you're here it might be complicated to arrest him for Wade's murder."
Wade gave him a half-smile. "Don't worry. I won't be around to complicate things."
Professor Maximilian Arturo had gathered the judge, jury, several bailiffs, the opposing lawyer and Quinn into the room where the murder had taken the place. It was becoming quite cramped.
"I suppose there is a point to his, Mr. Arturo?" the judge asked him.
"There is indeed, your honor," the Professor answered. "I have brought you all here to prove conclusively who killed Joseph Brighthod."
The room was abuzz with speculation. The judge called for them all to be silent. "Proceed, Mr. Arturo."
"First of all there is something you must know about the accused, Mr. Mallory. He does not come from this dimension. For that matter, neither do I." Some that were gathered there, began to laugh. The prosecuting attorney objected. The judge overruled him. Arturo cleared his throat and continued. "We use this device," he said, holding up the timer, "to travel between worlds. It opens portals to parallel worlds. Such a portal brought Mr. Mallory into this room."
Now there was outright scorn and mockery to be found in the faces of others in the room. The prosecuting attorney spoke up. "I suppose Mr. Arturo has proof of this."
"I do intend to prove it," Arturo responded, "by leaving this dimension via a portal in merely a few minutes from now, with Mr. Mallory in tow." Before the room could explode again, he went on. "But first I plan to expose the true murderer."
The judge looked at the prosecutor, to see if he might object. "Oh please, let Mr. Arturo prove what professional criminal investigators couldn't. I'd like to see it."
Professor Arturo began to pace the room. "I believe that the killer was one of the so-called 'sliders', those that invented the ability to open transportational portals. They certainly had motive and opportunity, as anyone who knew the building would. The problem, of course, is that the door was locked with no means of escape at hand for any potential killer, other than, of course, our Mr. Mallory who was already found in the room, and Mr. Brighthod himself. However, I believe we can safely rule out the possibility of suicide."
Arturo looked straight at the jury. "But I believe the investigators overlooked something. Someone who could concoct an alternate route of escape. Someone who could find a way out that didn't involve opening a door."
"You're saying..." the judge started to ask him.
"I'm saying that one of the sliders planned to kill Mr. Brighthod and then have the others open a portal into the room to allow him to escape." Arturo answered him.
"Can you prove it?" the prosecutor asked
The Professor looked as though he was prepared for that question. "Exhibit A. An inventory sheet of all the devices in the 'sliders' laboratory. Missing was a quantum flux generator used to phase out the body slightly, to make it easier for transportational portal travel. The attempt to leave via transportational portal was unsuccessful, however. The killer saw his chance for escape in the form of the portal that brought Mr. Mallory here, thinking it was the same sort of portal that was supposed to be his salvation."
Arturo wound up his argument. "But the portal closed before he could travel to another dimension. Ordinarily this would have been enough to kill him, but in his 'phased-out' state, it merely turned him invisible and practically intangible, making him have the appearance of a ghost."
"So, uh, how will we catch him?" the prosecutor asked, amused.
Deciding to take his question seriously, Professor Arturo answered "I believe that when we reactivate the portal he should rematerialize, so to speak. I've built my own quantum flux generator, to make sure he does so."
The judge looked harried. "Any more surprises you have for us, Mr. Arturo?"
"Yes," came a voice from outside the room. It was Wade with Rembrandt in tow. "The sliders were planning to sell their invention to the Nationalist Chinese, using a smuggler named Bruno Hartman as their conduit. And I've got the tapes to prove it."
Professor Arturo opened the vortex. Some bailiffs moved to block the portal. Arturo activated the generator and the killer started to come into focus. "Now, for the real killer to be revealed as... Quinn Mallory." Sure enough, this world's Quinn stood agape as he began to materialize just outside the rim of the wormhole. The bailiffs seized him and placed him under arrest.
The judge took charge once again. "Very well. Court is adjourned until this Quinn can be arraigned. Mr. Mallory is to be assigned new legal counsel. Meanwhile, the four of you are free to go. And I must say it's been quite a demonstration."
Quinn turned to Maximilian Arturo. "Thanks, Professor."
Professor Arturo smiled. "There will be enough time for congratulations on the next world, my boy." The four slid out without any further discussion."My dear child... That portal opens
on an infinite number of universes..."
- Maximilian Arturo, 'The Pilot', in response to[ Earth 2013 Episode Guide | The Otherworlds ]
Wade's desire to go back through to find Quinn.