earth 30858
Episode 6.01
Lady of the Lake
by Slidemania
Disclaimer: The Sliders television series' characters and storylines are property of Universal and St. Clare Entertainment, series creator Tracy Tormé and Fox Broadcasting Network and The Sci-Fi Channel. No copyright infringement is intended and no monetary profit is being made off of this work. All other characters who are not found on the Sliders television series were created by me, and should only be used with my prior permission. Posting to archives is encouraged as long as my name and title stay with the story.

Author's Note: Beware of spoilers. This story is the first episode ("season premiere") of my Season 6 Sliders series, picking up where the episode "The Seer" leaves off. You should be familiar with most, if not all, of the original Sliders series before reading "Lady of the Lake".

* * *

The orange vortex popped open, swirling steadily while distorting its outer edges like an ameba. All of the Kromaggs in the interrogation room stopped bombarding their prisoner with questions as they stared at the wormhole that had just appeared in their facility.

Suddenly, Rembrandt Brown came flying out of the ovular vortex just as it closed up. He hit the hard cement floor with a thud.

Instinctively, several of the Kromagg officers aimed their weapons at Rembrandt.

"Hey now," Rembrandt calmly spoke, spreading out his arms to indicate he wasn't a threat, "I don't want any trouble."

But then Rembrandt noticed the prisoner the Kromaggs were interrogating, and saw who the prisoner was.

It was Quinn Mallory! Or at least, one of Quinn's doubles.

"Q-Ball?!" gasped Remmy in disbelief.

"Remmy!" shouted Quinn's alternate. Realizing it was an alternate version of the Rembrandt Brown he'd known from his world, Alternate Quinn called out, "Take the timer! Get out while you can!"

Rembrandt could see one of the Kromagg officers holding onto a timer. It looked almost identical to the Egyptian timer that Claire's thugs had trashed on the previous world. Alternate Quinn jumped up and rammed himself into several of the Kromagg officers, distracting them long enough for Remmy to grab the timer from the officer who held it.

"It tracks wormholes!" were Alternate Quinn's final words, as a Kromagg colonel ruthlessly punched him in the gut, knocking the wind out of him.

Two of the Kromagg lieutenants lunged at Rembrandt, and one of them swiped his fingernails across the side of Remmy's neck. A bloody gash surfaced against Rembrandt's dark brown skin.

"Son of a bitch!" snapped Rembrandt, wincing in irritation as he slapped his hand over his flesh to clot the bleeding. Leaping forward, Remmy jumped out of the Kromaggs' reach as he pressed the button on the timer, activating the wormhole early. A translucent, light blue vortex appeared before Rembrandt, gyrating and releasing hyperspacial energy like a gust of wind. The Kromaggs cringed and grimaced against the unexpected force of the wind. But Rembrandt courageously leaped through the vortex while clutching the timer, and soon after the portal closed behind him.

* * *

"Remmy!" yelled Maggie Beckett, as she caught sight of her friend emerging from the new vortex. Maggie ran over to Rembrandt and threw her arms around him, tears of joy and relief streaming down her face.

Mallory and Diana joined the two of them, wrapping their arms around Rembrandt and Maggie in a group hug.

"What was on the other end of the wormhole?" Diana wanted to know.

"How did you find your way back to us?" asked Maggie.

"Where'd you get the new timer?" queried Mallory, seeing the familiar apparatus in Rembrandt's grip.

"Rem, you're bleeding," Maggie observed, looking concerned as she saw the bloody gash on his neck.

Remmy chuckled. "Hold on, kids. One question at a time." Despite his stinging neck, Rembrandt felt elated that he'd caught ahold of the correct photon trail and was back in the presence of his friends. He explained to them what had taken place on the other end of the vortex.

"You saw Quinn?" piped up an awestruck Mrs. Mallory. She had taken a rag that hung above a sink in the laboratory and immersed it in cold water. Coming back over to the four sliders, Amanda Mallory pressed the washcloth over Rembrandt's wound.

"Ow!" The Cryin' Man winced from the sting. "He wasn't your Quinn," Rembrandt reminded Amanda. "He was one of Q-Ball's duplicates."

"We're just glad to have YOU back," Mallory smiled, slapping Remmy on the shoulder.

"Well, it appears that what Quinn's double told you is correct, Remmy," confirmed Diana, having taken a few moments to examine their new timer. "This timer is enabled to track wormholes, and that's obviously how you found your way back here."

"Wait a minute," Maggie held up her hand. "If this is an alternate version of our old timer, then it probably doesn't have the coordinates of your homeworld stored in it, does it?" She looked at Rembrandt.

"It probably doesn't contain the coordinates of our world either," Diana reminded them, indicating herself and Mallory.

"Plus I had to activate this timer early, in order to escape the Kromagg facility," added Rembrandt.

Mallory sighed. "So that means . . ."

". . . we're back to random sliding," finished off Maggie, in an ominous breath of realization.

"Well how much time do we have before the next slide?" inquired Mallory.

Diana checked the digits which were counting down on the timer's display panel. "Only 2 minutes."

"What do you say, guys?" Rembrandt gazed at his fellow sliders.

Maggie shrugged. "I say we go for it. There's nothing here for us on this Earth."

"Do you want to come with us?" Mallory asked Mrs. Amanda Mallory, who'd been standing there silent for most of this time.

Mrs. Mallory shook her head. "You go on without me. Sliding isn't the life for me. And if there's any chance you could find a world where you and my Quinn can discover the ability to separate from each other . . . well, I'd rather see you be able to discover that."

"We now have the coordinates of this world stored in our new timer," Maggie reminded Mrs. Mallory. "So we'll eventually come back for you, if we can separate our two Quinns . . . or even just to check in to see if you've changed your mind."

Mrs. Mallory nodded. "I'd like that."

"Guys, it's almost time," Diana informed them.

"There are more security forces on their way here," Remmy remembered.

"I'll tell them you all escaped through the Kromagg sliding machine," Mrs. Mallory volunteered, gesturing at the device leftover from that world's prior Kromagg invasion.

"And it's not like they'll be able to use it to come after us," grinned Mallory.

"10 seconds," Diana read from the timer. She handed it off to Remmy, and approached Mrs. Mallory to hug Quinn's mother good-bye. Then Mallory, Rembrandt, and Maggie all hugged Mrs. Mallory warmly, in turn.

"We'll be back for you, I promise," whispered Maggie as she embraced Mrs. Mallory.

Covering his neck wound to massage the pain some more, Rembrandt extended his arm forward, and began counting down aloud. "Three . . . two . . . one . . ." He activated the timer, and the vortex appeared. The wormhole was flashing shades of many different colors as it whirled around in a fixed position.

"Let's go!" Mallory jumped into the vortex, followed by Diana, Rembrandt, and finally Maggie, who looked over her shoulder at Mrs. Mallory one last time before leaping in.

As the vortex closed, Mrs. Mallory whispered after them, "Come back soon."

* * *

One by one, each of the four sliders landed on a spacious, grassy knoll in the middle of a forest. They looked up at the vortex, which was still open, and could see that it was sparkling a lovely shade of pink, rather than blue.

"Hey, the vortex turned pink!" Mallory exclaimed, pointing to their new wormhole.

"It could be a fluctuation in the magnitude of energy?" guessed Diana, taking the timer from Remmy to check its condition. "But that's only a hypothesis."

Maggie thought back. "When Quinn and I were sliding alone together for three months, searching for you and Wade," she addressed that portion of her sentence to Rembrandt, "the vortex changed from grayish-blue to vivid blue, at one point. So it's happened before."

"I thought the vortex looked different, after you and Q-Ball rescued me from the ‘Magg camp and we all left Earth Prime," recalled Rembrandt, comprehending what Maggie meant.

"At any rate, the color of the vortex should not hinder our ability to slide," Diana concluded.

"It's just that this is our first pink vortex," Maggie light-heartedly gushed. "Kind of a special occasion, almost. I wonder why it turned pink?"

"Maybe it's Valentine's Day right now on this world?" cracked Mallory. "We've been sliding for so long I forget what month it is."

Remmy had begun studying their surroundings. Majestic evergreens grew in clusters for as far as the eye could see. The forest looked as though it was never-ending.

"How much time, Diana?" asked the Cryin' Man.

Diana looked at the timer. "A little over 15 hours."

"It'll be dark soon," Maggie predicted. "We'd better start searching for shelter."

As the quartet proceeded through the forest, they could feel themselves being stared at. Eventually, several small dwarf-like people dressed in simple, ragged clothing came out from behind the trees to get a closer look at the newcomers.

"Well, well, well," laughed Mallory. "It looks like we've slid into Munchkin Land."

The diminutives moved even closer to the sliders, wide-eyed with intrigue. One of them reached out to touch Maggie.

"Why do I suddenly feel like Snow White?" quipped Maggie, rolling her eyes.

"Hello?" Diana called to the dwarves.

They didn't respond.

"Maybe they don't speak English?" suggested Remmy. He turned his attention to the diminutive people. "You do not need to be scared! We are your friends!" he enunciated loudly and slowly. Rembrandt turned back to his companions. "I think they're frightened."

"Or maybe just intimidated by us big people?" Mallory smirked.

The sliders continued to move along, and the dwarves followed them.

"You know, some chemical altercation may have occurred on this Earth," Diana proposed her theory. "It's likely that something strange took place to stunt the physical growth of residents of the population."

"As long as they quit following us," Maggie cringed, annoyed at the diminutives who were trailing them. "These little midgets are beginning to get on my nerves."

"Careful Maggie, we don't want to rile the natives," winked Mallory.

"Wow, these little guys can't be more than, maybe at best . . . three feet tall?" Remmy exclaimed. "They would barely stand above my knees!"

"Let's keep moving," instructed Maggie. "Maybe they'll get bored and leave us alone? But if I see one Yellow Brick Road, I'm outta here!"

* * *

"Greetings!" A gray-bearded dwarf adorned in a rumpled brown cloak abruptly stood in the sliders' path.

"Finally! Someone who actually can talk!" Rembrandt declared.

"Allow me to introduce myself," continued the midget. "I am Jeremiah, and these are my woods. And you are? . . ."

"I'm Diana," spoke Dr. Davis, "and these are my friends, Rembrandt, Maggie, and Mallory." Diana pointed to each slider as she said their names.

"Pleased to meet you," smiled Jeremiah. "How long will you be staying?"

"We're just passing through," Mallory informed him.

"Then you shall spend the night at my domain," Jeremiah cordially offered.

"We wouldn't want to be any trouble," Diana protested.

"No, I insist," reemphasized Jeremiah. "Come now, I will not hear another word about it. My home is not far from here."

Half an hour later, they were standing inside Jeremiah's cave, the place where he resided in the middle of his forest.

"Cozy little niche you got here," Rembrandt complimented him.

"Why, thank you. This is my wife, Ethel," Jeremiah introduced his spouse, an elderly female dwarf who was approximately the same size as him. Ethel wore a plain, handmade frock and her face was wrinkled like a prune.

"Please, make yourselves at home," Ethel warmly smiled at the group. "If there is anything I can do to make your stay more comfortable, do not hesitate to speak up."

"Well now that you mention it, I'm really thirsty," mentioned Maggie.

"We do have a waterfall inside of our cave," Ethel told them, "but its water is only suitable for bathing, not to drink."

"I will take you to our community well," Jeremiah said. "It is located not far from here. A few miles away."

"But I saw a lake closer by," Maggie interjected, "just on the way here. As I remember, it was right along the pathway just before we reached your cave . . ."

"No!" Jeremiah unexpectedly snapped, becoming very serious. "That is absolutely out of the question!"

"Why is that?" asked Rembrandt.

"Do not go by the lake!" Jeremiah stated.

"Is the water not safe to drink?" asked Diana.

"It is not that. Just do not go by the lake!" repeated Jeremiah.

"Do as he says," Ethel echoed her husband's sentiments.

"Listen, Rumpelstiltskin!" asserted Maggie. "I'm tired, hot, sweaty, and thirsty as hell! I am not going to trek any longer than I have to, when all I want is a simple drink of water. Now I'm going to that lake, and you're not going to stop me!"

With that, Maggie marched out of Jeremiah's cave.

"The rest of you stay here. Maggie! Wait up!" Mallory ran after her.

"Your friends are making a terrible mistake," lamented Ethel. "They are in grave danger."

* * *

Cupping her hands like a ladle, Maggie dipped her palms into the clear blue lake and sipped water from her "cup". It tasted so cool and refreshing. Maggie dunked her hands in to take another gulp.

"Maggie!" shouted out Mallory, who'd followed Captain Beckett to the lake. He jogged over to Maggie and stood behind her. "You heard what Jeremiah said. He warned us not to go by this lake."

"He's probably just afraid of drowning," Maggie rationalized. She closed her eyes and gulped more of the tantalizing liquid. "Mmmm. Mallory, you have got to try this!"

Mallory flinched. "Are you sure this lake is safe to drink? Jeremiah seemed really fearful of this place. Maybe the water is contaminated?"

"No way!" protested Maggie, savoring the goodness of the water streaming down her throat. "It's delicious!"

"Water isn't supposed to be delicious." Mallory rolled his eyes. "It's supposed to be water."

In another second, a massive gust of wind ascended from the lake, propelling water in all directions and rapidly spinning in circles. It approached Maggie and Mallory, revealing itself as a seemingly transparent image of a beautiful woman. She wore a dull, off-the-shoulder gown, and her skin was a creepy bluish color. The lady's eyes looked ghostly, yet angelic.

"Who are you?" gasped Maggie.

The lady's eyes narrowed in anger. "How dare you drink from MY lake!!!" she screeched.

"Are you a ghost?" Mallory blurted out.

"How dare you!!" the lady repeated.

"Sorry, we didn't know you'd have a problem with it," Maggie scoffed, putting her hands on her hips.

"You dare talk down to ME?!" she howled.

"Who are you, anyway?" Mallory squinted his eyes to get a good look at her.

"I am Bauggawawa," declared the lady, "and this is MY lake!"

"Bauggawawa?!" giggled Maggie, trying to bite her lip to contain her laughter. "Nice name."

"How dare you mock ME!!" screamed Bauggawawa. "You are trying to steal my golden fleece!"

"What golden fleece?" Mallory blinked, clueless.

"Do not act ignorant!"

"He's not acting," Maggie quipped, dryly.

"Liars!!! You will NOT capture MY golden fleece!" Bauggawawa swirled herself around, causing a furious gust of wind as she rotated her energy matrix.

"Listen lady, we don't know anything about your golden fleece!" Maggie folded her arms, irritated. "I only wanted a drink of water!"

"You are now my prisoners!" insisted Bauggawawa. She raised her arms, and a mighty force pulled Maggie and Mallory up off the ground and through the air. It tugged them across the lake, above the water's surface, toward Bauggawawa.

"Hey!" Mallory shouted.

"Put us down!" demanded Maggie.

"No!!!" responded Bauggawawa, who had created a barrier of wind that enclosed itself around Mallory and Maggie, holding the two of them frozen in midair.

* * *

"It's getting dark," Diana observed, poking her head outside of the cave. "Why aren't Maggie and Mallory back yet?"

Rembrandt glared at Jeremiah. "I think you'd better tell us what's up with that lake."

Jeremiah sighed. "It is no use. Your friends are most likely prisoners by now."

"Prisoners? Of whom?" questioned Diana.

"The Lady of the Lake," Jeremiah dramatically whispered.

"Who's she?" Remmy wanted to know.

"Her name is Bauggawawa," explained Ethel. "She is a dreadful spirit who has been haunting our lake and residents of our community for centuries. After entrapping prisoners in her clutches, she leaves them there for many weeks until they starve to death."

"Have you actually seen her?" Diana challenged.

"Yes, we have observed her from afar," spoke Jeremiah. "We have lost many foolish comrades who dared to venture to the lake, ignoring Bauggawawa's warnings to us, only to be captured and disposed of by her."

"Why does she treat you all so badly?" Rembrandt asked.

"Bauggawawa guards the golden fleece, a possession that is most precious to her," Ethel explained. "Centuries ago, one of our ancestors attempted to steal the fleece out of his own greed. In retaliation, Bauggawawa captured him before he could escape with her fleece. She held him captive for many days, and then drowned him in the lake as an example to the remaining residents of our village. She made an example of him early, to prove to us she is not a force to be reckoned with. But others have journeyed to the lake, and Bauggawawa has kept them there for as long as a month! She either submerges them into the deepest depths of her lake, or holds them in captivity until they die from famine. These accounts have been passed down by our ancestors for generations. Anyone who ventures to the lake ultimately faces Bauggawawa's wrath."

Diana had a horrified expression upon her light brown face, while Rembrandt crossed his eyes in deep thought.

"Your friends are as good as dead," sighed Jeremiah, regretfully.

"We don't give up so easily," Rembrandt countered. "Our group has been in worse situations."

"There is nothing you can do," insisted Ethel, a resigned gaze of genuine sorrow in her eyes.

"We're going after them," Diana asserted, matter-of-factly. "They're our friends - - we can't just leave them."

"Then I am afraid to say you will be walking to your own dooms," lamented Jeremiah. "We shall pray for you, but we will not accompany you to the lake."

"Hey, no problem," said Remmy, a bit miffed at Jeremiah's pessimism. "They're our responsibility and we're going after them first thing in the morning.

He and Diana returned to another chamber of the dark, damp cave where Jeremiah and Ethel had designated for their sleeping quarters. The two sliders stretched their bodies out across the somewhat soft limestone floor of the cave, trying to make themselves as comfortable as possible.

They laid in silence for about half an hour. Suddenly, Rembrandt piped up, "I can't shake this feeling of guilt."

"About what, Remmy?" asked Diana, softly.

"Quinn's double who sacrificed his timer to me, on that Kromagg world I was just on." Rembrandt shut his eyes. "I just left him there, stranded. In a sudden impulse of my own greed, I took away his only exit out of that Kromagg hell!"

"Remmy, it's not your fault. From what you told us, he obviously wanted you to have it." Diana placed her hand gently on Rembrandt's shoulder, as he laid next to her. "That alternate version of Quinn may have had other sliding companions with him whom he needed to stay behind to rescue . . ."

"And now they're all stuck there forever, with no way out," Rembrandt cried, "if not already dead!"

"You can't blame yourself," emphasized Diana. "Quinn's double might have wanted to give you a way out because . . . maybe you reminded him of a Rembrandt whom he may have known and been sliding with? And if he's anything like your Quinn, he could still find a way out of there, maybe find a new way to continue sliding?"

"Maybe . . ." Remmy trailed off.

"He's conceivably similar to your version of Quinn," estimated Diana. "I've been studying his timer . . . our new timer. He built a lot of the same components which our old timer had. Not only can it track wormholes, but it has a 400-mile radius, just like our old timer."

"That doesn't mean anything," Rembrandt pointed out, frustrated. "First of all, our old timer was built by the Egyptians, remember? Later, Maggie's late husband, Dr. Steven Jensen, added the wormhole tracking and coordinate storage to our old Egyptian timer while we were on Maggie's homeworld . . . and the 400-mile radius addition was originally courtesy of Logan St. Clair."


"It's a long story."

"Okay, so maybe this Quinn was even smarter than your Quinn?"

"I just wish I could have rescued that Quinn . . ."

"He wasn't your responsibility, Remmy. He wanted you to have his timer so you could get out of there and wouldn't have to suffer the way he was."

"I guess . . ."

"We need to get some rest. Our main focus should be getting back Maggie and Mallory. Since we can't look for them while it's still dark, we must get some sleep so we can find them first thing in the morning. How's your neck wound doing, by the way?"

"Fine, I guess. Ethel gave me some herbal gunk to help it heal faster. It's drying out."

Diana rolled over and prepared to fall asleep. "Good night, Remmy."

"Good night, Diana."

Eventually, Rembrandt Brown was able to slumber.

* * *

It was early in the morning. Neither Mallory nor Maggie had been able to sleep, trapped within Bauggawawa's "cage" of suspended water over her lake.

"Come on, Bauggawawa," pleaded Maggie. "You've been holding us here all night long. Just let us go, and we'll leave your world forever."

"Liar!!" Bauggawawa accused, and released a piercing shriek from her vocals.

"Aaah!" groaned Mallory, as he and Maggie covered their ears. "Do you have to be so loud?"

"Quiet, you scoundrels!"

"What did we ever do to you, anyway?" Maggie challenged Bauggawawa. "If you didn't want me drinking from your precious little lake, you could have just asked us to leave."

"And allow you another attempt at my golden fleece? Never!!" Bauggawawa hollered.

Mallory snorted. "Where exactly is this golden fleece of yours?"

"As if you do not know!"

"We don't!"

"It's over there, Mallory." Maggie was pointing her finger across the lake at the shore. A furry, shiny fleece made of voluptuous gold material sat enclosed within the opening of a large shoreside rock formation.

"Oh, now I can see it. Gee, nice place to ‘hide' your fleece," Mallory snickered sarcastically.

"Aha! So you admit you were attempting to steal my golden fleece!" Bauggawawa crossed her eyes at the two captives.

"Why would we want your stupid fleece in the first place?!" Maggie argued, losing her temper. "What possible use could we have for it?"

"Yeah, I don't even look good in fake fur," Mallory added.


Maggie sighed. "It's gonna be a loooong morning . . ."

* * *

Rembrandt and Diana trudged along the grassy path, making their way through the shady forest toward the lake they'd passed by the day before when on their way to Jeremiah's cave. Several more of the diminutives slowly crept along with Diana and Rembrandt, spying on the duo from behind bushes and trees. The two sliders could feel the dwarves' eyes on them.

"It looks like we're not alone," Rembrandt observed.

"Oh, great!" complained Diana. "We're being stalked by the Keebler Elves!"

"Just keep moving, girl," Remmy advised her, as they came closer to the lake. He pulled out the timer. "Damn! We have less than 9 minutes until the next slide!"

In the distance, they could see Bauggawawa hovering above her crystal clear lake, holding Mallory and Maggie hostage next to her in their "bubble" prison made of suspended water.

"That must be Bauggawawa," guessed Rembrandt. "She looks like one nasty lady."

"I'll bet that's her golden fleece," Diana said, pointing to the rock by the shore which visibly contained Bauggawawa's sacred coat of wool.

An idea hit Remmy. "I have a plan," he reported, and leaned over to whisper into Diana's ear.

Minutes later, Rembrandt sneaked over to the rock and snatched up the golden fleece.

"Hey, Bauggawawa!" yelled Remmy from the shoreline, waving the fleece above his head. "Look what I have!"

Enraged, Bauggawawa released Maggie and Mallory from their entrapment, causing them to plunk downward with a gigantic splash into the lake. Fortunately, they'd been dropped in shallow water, and began sloshing their way to the edge of the shore.

Meanwhile, Bauggawawa prepared to draw Rembrandt into her clutches. But Rembrandt swiftly tossed the fleece to Diana. As Bauggawawa turned her attention to Diana, the scientist threw the fleece to Mallory.

"5 seconds!" Remmy called out, as the timer counted down.

Making an impromptu decision, Mallory purposely dropped the fleece into the lake. "Ooops!" he shouted, as the golden fibers began to dissolve and floated in all directions. "It got wet!"

"My fleece!!!" screamed Bauggawawa, horror flaring in her eyes.

Rembrandt activated the vortex, and its bright pink swirls forcefully revolved in a fixed position.

Maggie and Mallory rushed forward into the wormhole, followed steadily by Rembrandt and Diana.

"You will pay for this!" Bauggawawa's voice rang with contempt. "I will kill you!!"

With that, Bauggawawa floated through the vortex after the sliders. The portal closed behind her.

* * *

On the next world, the wormhole opened and out plopped Mallory, Maggie, Rembrandt, and Diana. They had landed on the shore by a lake that looked extremely similar to the one they'd just been to on Golden Fleece World.

"Is anyone else getting deja vu?" Mallory asked the group.

Swiftly, Bauggawawa came sliding out of the vortex and hovered viciously above the sliders.

"Oh no!" Maggie groaned. "She followed us through the wormhole!"

"Now you all shall die!" Bauggawawa's voice echoed loudly.

On that note, an alternate version of Bauggawawa arose from the lake on that world. She looked exactly the same as Bauggawawa in appearance, especially the icy glare in her beautiful eyes.

"Who dares attempt to steal my silver fleece?! . . ." The Alternate Bauggawawa stopped short, viewing the sliders and then seeing her own double next to them.

"Silver fleece?!" exclaimed Rembrandt. "What happened to her almighty golden fleece?"

"I guess on this world Bauggawawa hasn't discovered gold yet," Diana speculated.

"You dare disguise yourself as me?! Impostor!!" Bauggawawa glided through the air over to her double, who met her halfway.

"YOU are the one who attempts to replicate ME!"



Bauggawawa and Alternate Bauggawawa faced off, each directing a fierce exertion of cosmic energy at the other, each one trying to inflict pain and misery on her alternate.

"How long are we here for?" Diana inquired, with trepidation in her voice.

Rembrandt's eyes lit up excitedly as he checked the timer. "Only 10 seconds!"

Ten seconds later, the four sliders once again hurried through the vortex, leaving the two Bauggawawas behind to battle with one another.

* * *

One by one, the sliders landed on a sandy beach. Palm trees dotted the beach they had arrived on, swaying in the calm breeze. Ocean waves crashed against the beach. Several beachgoers were sprawled out on beach blankets under umbrellas, as lively calypso music could be heard playing not far away.

"I never want to have another experience like that ever again!" Diana declared, standing up and brushing the sand off her slacks. She was, of course, referring to the previous two Fleece Worlds they'd visited.

"At least we got away from that creepy lake this time," Mallory pointed out.

Then, Rembrandt noticed a familiar face atop a body that was approaching them. He was a dark-skinned island man with dreadlocks, and he wore a striped tank top with floral-patterned Bermuda shorts.

It was Elston Diggs!

"Heya, Diggs! Long time no see!" Remmy slapped Diggs on the back before remembering that this Diggs was just another double.

Alternate Diggs exuberantly spread out his arms. "Welcome to the United States of Jamaica!" he exclaimed, a huge smile plastered upon his face.

"The United States of Jamaica?" snorted Maggie.

"That's right, mon!" Alternate Diggs replied. "This is our capital city, San Kingston! Is also our state capital here in thee great state of California! And you good folks are just in time for our limbo tournament!"


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