Hours later, Peter opened his eyes and looked around. He and Micky were in a cell--alone.
Peter's eyes closed in relief as a wave of affirmation swept over him. Are you all right?
Is Davy with you?
Affirmation. Then concern and an image of Micky's face.
Micky's with me. We're both fine.
Mike? Curiosity. I wish you could talk to me telepathically in words like I can to you.
Peter stepped to the door of his cell. There's a sleeping ogre outside my cell. Yours?
What about Davy? Is he awake? Affirmation. Is he okay? Affirmation. Okay, so now wha--
Someone's coming. I've gotta hush!
Affirmation. Then a special feeling of concern Mike used so often with Peter that Peter had come to almost attach words to it.
Understood. We'll be careful. Peter smiled despite the situation, and looked toward the stairs beside his cell.
A young, unfamiliar brunette woman approached the cell, careful not to disturb the ogre. She held a small basket in her hands. "Which one are you?" she whispered.
"Peter," he whispered back. "Who are you?"
"My name isn't important," she whispered. "Carol sent me."
"Is she all right?"
"She's safe," the woman responded. "And she's getting you reinforcements. She ... knows things about powerful beings in Malibu Beach." She passed the basket between the bars--it barely fit.
"Help. A place to meet. The woman reached through the bars and gently touched Peter's cheek. "Good luck. Godspeed." She then turned and dashed back up the stairs.
Peter took the basket to the cot underneath the window. "What's that?" Micky asked, sitting up to join Peter.
Peter slid the basket open. "A map," he breathed. "Of... of tunnels beneath Malibu Beach!" Mike!
Peter fed him an image of the map, focusing intently on the first part, so Mike would have an image of how to get to the tunnels. He then committed the rest of the map to memory and hid the map and basket under the cot.
Peter and Micky moved to the door of the cell and Peter whispered a plan. Micky nodded. He shimmered the two Monkees into invisibility then slapped the guard with a field.
The ogre lurched to its feet and roared, seeing nobody in the cell. It unlocked the cell and raced inside.
The door swung shut with a CLANG! behind it. It whirled just in time to see the two shimmer into visibility, Peter locking the door behind it and flinging the key across the room.
Peter and Micky then glided up the stairs, heading toward the tunnels.
"Boy, we sure end up in these things a lot," Davy sighed as he paced the cell, keeping an eye on Mike.
Mike sat immobile, flecks of blue dancing in his eyes as he spoke with Peter as best he could. The odd exchange of eye colour whenever they used the link to speak had begun happening after the merge into Michael Tork, and neither of the linked duo knew it! Davy and Micky had decided to keep mum about it, let them figure it out on their own....
Mike blinked, his eyes turning completely chocolate brown as he turned and focused on Davy, smiling slightly. "Yeah," he agreed with Davy, "we sure seem to."
"Any luck?" Davy asked.
"Yeah," Mike said, standing and moving to the door of the cell. "We need to get out of here."
"Be my guest," Davy said as he moved aside. "Go ahead... laser the lock."
"No," Mike said. "My lasers make a lot of noise. No sense waking sleeping ugly," this with a nod toward their ogre jailor. "Unless of course you want to go toe-to-toe with him again?"
Davy shivered and shook his head.
"But, then, how--"
"You'll see." Mike leaned against the door. His eyes fell on the jailor's keys.
And Davy barely repressed the cry of shock as Mike's eyes glowed brown and the keys rose silently from the ogre's belt. "Man," he gasped, "I'd forgotten you could still do that!"
A smile played on Mike's lips as he unlocked the cell and they slid out. Then Mike's flair for the mischievous struck and he locked the cell behind them, returning the keys to the ogre's belt.
They then set off for the tunnels Mike could see in his mind, moving so fast Davy had to match Mike's 6'2 to keep up.
Peter and Micky flew down the maze of tunnels, heading for the cavernous meeting place the map had pinpointed. Peter's body glowed, the borrowed power from Mike lighting their way.
Micky tried for the third time to strike up a conversation. "There sure are a lot of tunnels."
Micky shot him a sidelong glance. "Were these tunnels here before Malibu Beach was... was transformed?"
"Do you really know where we're going?"
Micky suddenly put on a burst of sped, flashing in front of Peter. He hovered in place, causing Peter to come up short. "Micky, what --?"
"Peter, what's the matter?"
Peter frowned. "What do you mean?"
"You've been awfully quiet since we hit the tunnels. When you do speak, I get one-word sentences--if that much! What's going on?"
Peter chuckled, shaking his head. "I'm sorry, Micky. I guess I got a little preoccupied."
Peter tapped his temple. "I'm feeding a map of where we've been to Mike. He doesn't have my photographic memory, so I've gotta do it in manageable chunks. I guess I was focused on that instead of what you were saying."
Micky smiled. "I get it. It's okay, Pete. I just didn't know what was going on."
They flew in silence for a minute, then Micky pulled up short again. "Y'know what, Peter?"
"I don't think I'll ever get used to you two still being linked--much less using the thing!"
Peter smiled. He debated for a moment whether or not to tell Micky the link had seemed to get stronger after the merge into Michael Tork.
But he decided against it for now, and they resumed their silent trek.
Mike and Davy raced through the tunnels, Mike's body glowing to light their way. The speed with which Mike navigated the intricate maze impressed Davy. At last, he blurted, "I thought you'd never been here b'fore."
"But you seem t'know where we're goin'."
"I don't get it."
Mike smiled a small smile. "Peter's been feedin' me a mental map. I know where we're at, and where we're goin'."
"Whereare we going?"
"A cavern. Peter and Micky are already there."
When they raced into the cavern, Peter and Mike both cut off their glow. There was enough light coming from a shaft that they could see.
"What's that lead to, I wonder?" Davy asked.
"Let's find out," Peter said. His eyes glowed blue and he shot straight up the shaft.
Mike suddenly went rigid, and his eyes widened. A visible layer of blue suddenly overlay the chocolate brown. "Can you guys hear me?" he asked, his voice sounding oddly distorted.
"Yeah, Mike," Davy said, "o'course we..."
Micky lay a hand on his shoulder. "That's... not..."
"You're both right," Mike said, smiling. "We're both here." Then he sobered. "He's climbing rapidly-- it's a long shaft--"
Peter shot out the shaft and turned in a slow circle, hovering. Oh... my...
"Stars!" Mike cried. "It's... it's all transformed! It looks like woodcuts of 1200s London!"
"Where is he?" Micky asked.
"A.. A well or something... I'd say downtown Malibu Beach..." Mike frowned. "Where are the people? It's... it's deserted..."
Suddenly Mike swayed. His eyes closed and a hand went to his forehead. He moaned, opening his eyes --which were chocolate all the way through--and looking at Davy and Micky. "He's disengaged the link," Mike reported. "He's on his way back."
One minute later, Peter shot out of the shaft head-first. He righted himself and hovered for a second, gaining his bearings. Then he cut off the glow from his body and eyes and touched down lightly.
"Here they are!" suddenly rang from the tunnel maze. Each of the Monkees' mouths dropped open as Mirrydor flashed from the tunnels, followed by Rob Smith --and Jason Nesmith!
"What are you doing here?" Mike snapped as his cousin landed and shut off his flame.
"A lady named Carol got me," Jason snarled. "Said I was a reinforcement."
"Me too," Mirrydor said, touching down beside Micky. Like the others, she was dressed in mediaeval clothes.
"And me," Rob said shyly. He met Mike's eyes and added, "Dave's really disoriented."
"I guess he would be," Mike said, walking over to Rob. "Being blind and all. Where is he?"
"I-I-I left him with Mrs. Purdy," Rob said. "She'll take care of him till..." He smiled and enfolded Mike in a warm hug. "It's good to see you again."
Mike broke the embrace. "How are you doing?"
"Stronger," Rob answered. "I ain't gettin' beat up all the time now. An' bein' Dave's secretary gives me somethin' to do."
"I hate to break this up," Jason snapped, "but you two are identical! You even ended up dressed alike!"
"I can take care of that." Mike moved to Peter and lay one finger on the thin golden choker around Peter's neck. "May I?"
Peter nodded and tilted his head back, exposing his throat so Mike could see better. Mike fired a pinpoint cutting laser, severing the choker without touching Peter's skin. He then slid the choker from around Peter's neck.
However, instead of welding it around Rob's neck, Mike lay it around his own!
"Mike," Mirrydor gasped, "what are you doing?"
Mike smiled. "My lasers can't burn me, Melanie. I'm immune to them." With that, he welded the choker around his neck. "There you go," he said, laying a finger on the necklace, "when you see this, it's Mike."
They began to discuss their next move. Suddenly Peter grabbed Jason's elbow, whirling the goateed man to face him. "We don't trust you," he hissed. "Follow my orders to the letter, understand?"
Jason pulled his arm away, fighting the temptation to turn on his flame and burn the telekinetic. "So long as it suits me," he snarled.
Realizing that was the best he would get out of Jason, Peter nodded.
After a few moments of discussion, Peter took Mike's wrists and flew them both up the shaft. Mike knelt at the side of the shaft and sent a beam of pure white light down to the bottom.
Jason flew up next, then Micky with six-inch tall Davy clinging to his shoulder and neck. Lastly came Mirrydor, with Rob's arms wound firmly around her waist. Once all were up, Mike cut off the light and stood up, brushing the dirt off his leather pants.
The map Carol had provided and Peter had stuck in his eidetic memory showed the location of the ogre king's field camp. Even with four fliers in the group, however, it was slow, rough going over the newly-formed terrain.
Finally, worn-out, they stopped for the night. The seven made camp, and exhausted sleep came quickly.
Rob was awakened by a blazing light. The others, exhausted, slept on. "What... what are you doing?" he whispered.
"What does it look like?" Jason snarled. "I'm leavin'."
"Look, my cell doesn't exist anymore. Nothing's gonna stop me from headin' out! I don't care about Malibu Beach or about you losers... I care about me! Jason! And if I stick around, it'll probably be curtains! So I am outta here!"
And with that, he streaked into the sky and disappeared.
Rob watched him go, tears of grief and frustration streaking silently down his cheeks.
Finding Jason gone, Peter and Mike both swore vehemently: Mike because he felt betrayed again, Peter because he had hoped Jason would actually help them.
"Well," Mirrydor sighed, "I hope six of us are enough to destroy the ogre king." "Uhm... Pete...." Micky said, "exactly how are we gonna destroy it?"
Peter opened his mouth to reply, but was cut off by the loud distinctive blast of a war-call on a trumpet.
Peter's eyes glowed. He shot straight up into the air and hovered, looking around. Then he made an indecipherable noise and touched down. "It's begun."
Every able-bodied man that lived in Malibu Beach had been transformed into some degree of fighter. The new knights rode out to tackle the ogre king, which strode into town cockily, confident this time it would win. Its 20-foot bulk made it even more confident.
Ahead of it, its army of ogres steamrolled through the fighters. The king itself took care of the knights.
So when the six super-powered individuals glided into the picture, the ogre king didn't recall the prophecy that said it would meet its doom at the hands of powerful ones at all. It just threw back its head and laughed defiantly.
The Monkees' disastrous first battle with the ogres had taught them a lot about what not to do, and the ogre soldiers were dropping like flies under their combined assault.
The ogre king watched their efforts with amusement. Amusement turned to concern when one-quarter of his forces fell. Concern became alarm when one-half were gone. Alarm became fear when three-quarters were defeated.
But when they had all been conquered and the six stood glaring at him, the ogre king's fear turned to rage. With an incoherent roar, it lunged at the group.
The fliers shot into the air. Rob, Davy, and Mike scrambled out of the way. Mike whirled to fire a laser at the ogre king and get its attention.
Before he could fire, however, the ogre king whirled around, flinging a generous handful of sand into Mike's face.
Mike yelled, going down on one knee and swiping at his face, trying to get the burning, stinging granules out of his eyes. He heard the ogre king's gloating laugh, and raised a glowing fist to fire a laser.
"Mike, no!" Davy screamed.
At the same time, Micky yelled, "Don't fire!"
But they were too late. The laser was already away.
The harsh cry of pain hit Mike's mind a split-second before it hit his ears. This was followed by a sudden, gaping silence inside of his head that rocked him so hard he nearly fainted.
"Peter!" Mike screamed. He wiped the last of the sand out and stood, blinking eyes that were tearing from physical pain and emotional shock.
The first thing Mike saw was Davy shoot up to fifteen feet and effortlessly catch Peter's falling form. Peter's head fell back as Davy set him down before he stepped back and shrank. Mike's hand went in horror to his mouth.
Peter was unconscious. Across his throat gaped an ugly, deep burn.
My fault, Mike thought in horror. Because I fired blind. Because -- He glared at the ogre king. Because that thing blinded me for a minute!
White-hot static buzzed in Mike's head. He raised both fists and pummeled the ogre king with lasers, drawing both blood and a roar.
When the ogre king's attention was fully on him, Mike's eyes glowed a deep brown. Every dagger from every sheath of every down warrior sprang to life. They soared from the sheaths and whirled around the ogre king, drawing blood from myriad wounds.
Mirrydor kissed Micky --pausing for a second as she realized that felt quite nice--and absorbed some of his force-field power. She shielded half the fallen as Rob's elastic arms pulled more into her field. Micky shielded the other half as Davy pulled Peter in to safety and then gathered up the fallen.
Between the daggers and the lasers, Mike was inflicting quite a deal of injuries onto the ogre king. But his anger was abating, and he was tiring .... his aim was becoming erratic...
Suddenly a bolt of flame shot from the sky, catching the ogre king by surprise. Its hand aflame, it shook it to try to make the fire go out.
Jason touched neatly down beside Mike, grinning. "Hey, cuz."
"What are you--" Mike gasped.
Jason shrugged. "I can't let this guy waste you." He grinned and finished, "That's an honor I want for myself."
Mike wasn't certain whether to be flattered or insulted. He watched the ogre king dance around a bit more, then said, "We have to utterly destroy it."
"Hey, nice move with the daggers," Jason whistled. Then he caught sight of Mike's eyes. "You're doing that?"
Mike nodded. "Jason, remember when we were kids and you'd steal your dad's pistol?"
"The firing range," Jason said, activating his flame and flying over the ogre king's head, touching down on its other side. "I remember!"
"Assume the position!" Mike barked as he had so often as a child and young teen. Jason and Mike spread their legs, feet planted firmly on the ground. They brought both arms up to shoulder-height and clasped their hands in front of them, index fingers pointing.
"On three!" Mike barked. "One!"
"Two!" Jason responded.
"Three!" They screamed together.
A steady laser stream, so red it was almost purplish-brown, erupted from Mike's hands. A steady stream of flame, bluish-white in colour, shot from Jason's. Both struck the ogre king at the same time.
It screamed and writhed as the lasers and fire spread over it, and it began to glow reddish-white.
Mike's eyes resumed their normal shade of chocolate brown and the daggers fell inert to the ground. He poured all his energy into the laser coming from his hands. His face was drawn with lines of effort and a little pain. Jason's face was similarly drawn as he poured all his energy into maintaining the hottest flame he could and throwing it at the 20-foot monster before him.
With one last incoherent roar, the ogre king exploded in a blinding white fireball. It was utterly consumed --utterly destroyed.
Jason and Mike lowered their hands, cutting off their respective powers. Both then slumped to the ground, spent.
"Mike!" Davy and Micky raced to his side. After a moment, he raised his head shakily and whispered, "It's over."
With those words a dazzling light soared around them. Suddenly they were on a hill over looking downtown Malibu Beach. Cars were blaring on the freeway, buildings were intact once more, people were flooding the streets.
All the people, the Monkees, Rob, Mirrydor and Jason were back in 1968 clothing. Mike, however, still sported the golden choker around his neck.
Jason staggered to his feet and nodded at Mike. "Till we meet again," he growled, activating his flame and soaring drunkenly into the sky.
Mirrydor and Micky rose after him, but Mike raised a hand. "Let him go."
"But, Mike--" Micky began.
"Let him go," Mike repeated. "He's earned it today." He watched his cousin till the flaming man vanished from sight. Mike then slumped back into Davy's arms and whispered, "Get us home, man."
Then Mike slid into unconsciousness.
Mike opened his eyes and was conscious of three things simultaneously. One: he was back in the Pad, in his own bed. Two: he could sense Peter's awareness once more. And Three: his throat hurt.
Mike raised a hand to his throat. His fingers impacted the slim golden choker, and memory came flooding back. Peter ...
Peter lay in the bed beside Mike's, his throat bandaged, eyes closed in restful sleep. For the first time since the merge, he was not glowing in his sleep.
Mike licked his lips and sent an attention-getting signal to his linked partner. His lips curved in a relieved smile as Peter's eyelashes fluttered and his blue eyes slid open. "Welcome back." Peter sat up and opened his mouth. "No," Mike said. "Don't try to talk. You were shot in the throat and burned pretty badly."
Mike could almost see the wheels turning as Peter tried to process what he'd been told. Then his blue eyes widened and he turned to Mike. Burned? LASER burns? Mike lowered his eyes and Peter sent, YOU did this to me?
"I couldn't see what I was doing...I fired blind..." He tuned away and whispered, "I'm sorry."
Mike didn't know what was worse, the unnatural silence from Peter or the silence from the link. Peter had closed in on himself.
Then the link opened up, flooding a wave of forgiveness into Mike's mind. He turned around and saw the dimpled smile. There was pain in the blue eyes, but forgiveness coming from his mind. Accident, Peter sent.
Come on, Peter sent, standing up and heading toward the bathroom.
"Where are we going?" Mike asked, standing up.
Flying, came the mental voice. I'm gonna take some aspirin for the pain, then I'm gonna take you flying.
Peter smiled, downing the aspirin and some water. One hundred miles out to sea. I think we BOTH have some thinking to do, and the lighthouse is the best perch I know of to do just that.
Micky and Davy came in to check on them just in time to see them soar into the sky together, Peter firmly holding Mike's wrist.
Neither spoke or made a move to follow. They knew both Peter and Mike needed time and space to deal with this confusing twist of fate.
They hadn't been able to tell Mike or Peter that the doctor didn't know when or if Peter's voice would return. But somehow, they could sense the linked duo already knew.
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