He paced the posh living room, occasionally pounding a fist on the elegant marble mantle. But the opulent surroundings did nothing to ease the rage within.
How? he kept asking himself. How could she do it? How could she choose that moron, that ignoramus, that... that peasant, that... Monkee over him? He could give her far more than that blonde freak of nature ever could!
Well, he decided, there's only one solution. He'd have to get rid of that Monkee and his three friends. That way she would see who was the better man and would fall in love with him again!
But how to get rid of four men? Banish them, kill them, or....
He stopped. A cold smile spread across his face. Yes... kill them! Kill all four of them! He could hire the best hit men money could buy! That would show her! She would soon be his again!
He reached for the Princess phone, then stopped short, smile fading. But what if they didn't do the job? Those four were cunning. Even the hated one, the one who was so dumb. When it came time for the challenge he had proved smarter than he seemed. Perhaps they could outsmart even the best hit men. This was too important to trust to even the best hirelings. This was something he would have to do himself.
But how? He smiled again. They were good, but they were not super-powerful. There was a place that could give him powers. If he was powerful, he would have a decided advantage. He picked up the phone and dialed long distance.
"Hello, New York? Lawson Memorial Hospital, please. ...Yes, LMH? This is Ronald Farnsworth the Third. I have heard you have the technology to empower an ordinary person. You do? Yes, I know someone who could benefit from your work. Pardon? Yes, it is most definitely for the better. Thank you. He will be there in the morning." Farnsworth hung up and smiled.
It had begun.
Mike fired laser after laser into the sky, trying desperately to hit the bobbing, diving figure above. The masked man laughed and soared higher, then pointed toward the ground.
Davy was knocked off his feet by something unseen. He got up and brushed the grass from his bum. "All right," he hissed, "that is enough!" Within seconds he was twenty feet tall. He reached up and plucked the soaring figure from the sky. "That is it!" he bellowed.
"Not yet," the masked man giggled. Suddenly Davy's hand was forced open. The man flew out and darted almost effortlessly through Davy's reaching fingers.
Peter pulled up to the park in the Monkeemobile. He watched the three fight for a minute, then, eyes glowing, shot into the air and toward the fray.
Suddenly the masked man was grabbed from behind. He looked at himself -- nothing had him! He turned his head to see Peter hovering behind him, eyes glowing, arms crossed, a slight grin on his face.
"How?" the man gasped.
Peter, still grinning, tapped his forehead. "Telekinetic, remember? I can move things with my mind, and I can paralyze things with my mind. Flip side of my powers." He snapped his fingers. The mask flew off and into Peter's waiting hand. Micky grinned at him, trying to smooth the rumpled curls.
Peter shook his head as they landed. "War games?" he guessed. "Good idea. We need to keep in training, just in case."
Davy was trying to look behind himself, glaring. "If you got grass stains on my new pants..."
Micky laughed. "Serves you right for wearing white chinos."
"I've got a date in half an hour! I don't have time to go change!"
"Relax, man," Mike chuckled. "There's nothing there."
Davy relaxed a bit. "Thanks for bringing the car, Pete. See you soon!" He climbed in and drove away.
Peter laughed, shaking his head. "See you, Green Butt," he teased. "Why'd you tell him there was nothing there?"
Mike grinned. "Just to irk the shrimp."
"Let's get home," Peter said, rising into the air. "Who's got him?"
"I do," Micky said, rubbing his temples. Mike looked down to see a silvery platform materializing at his feet, with shimmering handles rising to waist height. He stepped on and took the handles just as the platform became invisible. Micky lifted them both into the air and followed Peter back to the pad.
The whole pad shook as Davy blasted through the door, slamming it shut behind him. "Mike!" he bellowed. "Micky!!!"
Micky slid down the banister. "Welcome home," he said, grinning.
Davy grew to match Micky's six-foot-one and waved a finger under his nose. "Don't you 'welcome home' me!" he bellowed. "You two embarrassed me on my date! She took one look at my backside and laughed the whole time!"
Micky grinned. "Serves you right for wearing white pants during exercises," he chuckled.
"Cool it, man," Mike said, coming from the kitchen. "He's really upset. Davy, we were only kidding. We didn't think you'd actually go on the date wearing those things."
Davy was so mad he could only splutter. But he returned to normal height and stalked up the stairs.
"See ya, Green Butt," Micky called after him. He turned to walk away, and the chinos, propelled by super-strength, hit him in the back so hard Micky stumbled. "Mike!" he complained.
Mike shook his head. "You asked for that one, man."
Davy appeared at the top of the stairs, tucking his eight-button shirt into fresh blue jeans. "Hey," he said, looking around. "Where's Peter?"
"Date," Micky said, dropping the chinos into the clothes hamper.
"Valerie?" Davy asked. At Micky's nod, he added, "They're getting kind of serious, aren't they?"
"Seventh date," Mike said. "Maybe. Ask him when he gets home."
Micky grinned. "Guess he got over her lookin' like Susan Jacobs."
Davy chuckled. "Be a kick in the butt if they got married -- a cosmic joke, if you will!"
Mike just grinned and shook his head.
Farnsworth landed his private jet just outside the hospital. He was met by a man with a goatée, who smiled warmly and shook Farnsworth's hand. "Mister Farnsworth. What can we do for you?" he asked.
"Give me powers," Farnsworth said curtly. "Something so I can fly!"
"If you want a certain one, you'll be disappointed. The powers develop from a trait that is within you. Maybe something you don't care for." The goatéed man smiled. "I know of a drummer who felt invisible behind his set. When he got powers, he found himself with the ability to turn invisible."
Farnsworth dropped his voice. "I want revenge," he hissed. "That Monkee took my Valerie and I want her back!"
The goatéed man blinked. "Monkee?"
"Yes, Monkee. Peter Tork. I want powers to have my revenge!"
"Revenge I understand," the man said. "Wait here." He disappeared into the hospital, returning moments later with a vial. "This vial contains mutagenic material. Once you ingest it, you shall have the power you seek."
Farnsworth took the vial, grinning. "Now I'll have the upper hand! He has her for now, but I'll soon have won!" He returned to his jet and took off.
The goatéed man smiled after him. "Yes... go to the Monkees. The tracer in the cap of that vial will lead me to them as well." The smile turned into a calculating grin. "Soon, dear elastic cousin... very soon..." And the man -- Jason Nesmith -- threw back his head and laughed.
That very night, Peter took Valerie to the movies. As they were walking home, Valerie suddenly asked, "Peter, what's happened to you?"
The question took Peter off-guard. "What do you mean?"
"You were gone for weeks. You come back and act all weird for a few minutes -- acted as though I were someone you hated! Now you're just ... different."
Peter turned to her. "Different how?"
She shook her head. "You were not quite so..." She groped for words, then just decided to say it. "You were pretty dumb."
"And now I'm not."
"No. You're not dumb at all. You're intelligent, witty, calm... Peter, what's happened to you?"
He smiled at her. "Don't you like me anymore?"
"If anything, I like you even more. I'm just confused. People don't usually change so profoundly so quickly."
He sighed. "Let's just say I had an accident and leave it at that."
Valerie stopped walking and lay a hand on Peter's arm, stopping him as well. "Let's tell me what really happened and not leave anything out."
Peter frowned, his brain whirling. "Valerie, I..."
Suddenly a voice from behind them sneered, "Out for a stroll?"
They whirled. Farnsworth stood there, arms folded, a strange smile on his face.
Peter's eyes narrowed. "What are you doing here?"
"I came for what is rightfully mine." Farnsworth took a step forward. "I'll forgive you, Valerie. Just come back to me and leave this Monkee alone."
Valerie shook her head. "Ronnie, I've done nothing for you to forgive. Leave us alone."
Farnsworth glared at Peter. "You did this to her! You swayed her mind! Turned her against me!"
"You turned her against you, Farnsworth," Peter said. "When you became possessive, petty and mean."
"No!" Farnsworth cried. "No, you did this! You think you're so smart... Well, I have something you will never have!" Farnsworth whipped out the vial.
Peter frowned at the vial. "Pink cloudy liquid?" His eyes suddenly widened. "Pink... cloud... Farnsworth, don't!"
Too late. Farnsworth uncapped the vial and downed its contents in one gulp.
Peter shook his head. "Farnsworth, you idiot..." he said under his breath.
Farnsworth's gloating grin vanished. He twitched and screamed. Peter pushed Valerie behind him as Farnsworth convulsed. His shirt ripped open and two huge bulges appeared on his back. They split open and two large bird wings spread in the moonlight. His fingers lengthened and became talons. His boots ripped open as his feet became talons as well. His eyes, wide with horror and pain, became yellow with black slits for pupils. The transformed Farnsworth fell to his knees, gasping with pain.
Peter turned and grasped Valerie by the shoulders. "Run," he said softly. "As fast as you can. Get out of here now!" Valerie nodded quickly. A quick kiss on his cheek, and she was off and running.
"No," Farnsworth said, climbing to his feet. "No, no, no!!!" He lunged, pushing Peter aside. His wings flapped, and he was airborne. Valerie shrieked as his hand-talons seized her by the arms, lifting her into the air.
"No!" Peter screamed.
"Why are you doing this?" Valerie screamed, struggling in his grasp.
"You're mine, Valerie," Farnsworth said. "Now you see? I have something that long-haired weirdo doesn't!"
"Ronnie," Valerie cried, "You're more of a weirdo than Peter is! You're not even human anymore!"
"I have Power, Valerie!" Farnsworth said. "Can't you see that? Can't you see that I love you?"
"Love me?" Valerie snapped. "You love power, Ronnie. To Peter I'm a person to be loved, not a thing to be possessed! And I love Peter!"
"Fine," Farnsworth exploded. "Go to him, then!" He released her and flew off in a rage.
Valerie was over one hundred feet in the air. She screamed as the ground came rushing up fast.
Suddenly, she was caught! As her arms wrapped reflexively around her rescuer's neck, she thought for an insane instant Ronnie had her. Then she caught sight of the blue paisley shirt Peter had been wearing.
"It's all right, Valerie," Peter said. "I've got you." Smiling, Valerie turned to look at Peter. Her comeback quip died in her throat as she saw the brightly glowing blue eyes. Peter registered her look of shock and smiled shakily. "Yes, Valerie," he said softly. "I'm like Ronnie. I have powers, too."
"What..." She glanced down. They were still over fifty feet in the air, hovering! "How are you doing that?"
"Telekinesis. I can move things with my mind -- and I can fly."
"But... why didn't you..."
"I wanted you to like me," Peter said. "For who I am, not what I can do."
Valerie's eyes softened. She touched the corner of one of the glowing eyes, surprised by the fact it gave off no heat. "I still love you," she said softly. "But I am... stunned." She looked down again. "And I'm a little afraid of heights. Can we go down now?"
Peter chuckled. "In a few minutes. Hold tight." He stretched out and began to fly forward.
"Whoops!" Valerie said, tightening her grip around his neck. She smiled. "This is neat!"
Peter smiled in delight. "I was so afraid you wouldn't like me once you found out. By the way, I'm a little shocked myself."
"I half-expected you to scream or faint or something."
Valerie smiled. "After seeing Ronnie turn into a monster, this is nothing!" That made Peter laugh. "Where are we going?"
"My house," Peter said. "The others need to be told about Ronnie."
Valerie blinked. "The others? Are they like you?"
"If you mean powerful, yes. Each has a unique ability. If you mean can they all fly, no. Micky is the only other one that can." Peter smiled. "Trust me, okay? I want to show you something. I won't let you fall."
"Okay...." she said dubiously.
Peter took one of her wrists and moved away from her. "Stretch like you're lying on your stomach," he suggested. She obeyed. He kept a firm grip on her wrist, and she was suddenly flying just like he was! She laughed in sheer delight at the feeling of the wind on her face and arms.
All too soon, Peter said, "We're here." He gathered her in his arms and landed softly on the verandah. Valerie studied his eyes as the glow died and he reached for the sliding door's handle. She grabbed his cheeks and turned his face to her, kissing him firmly on the lips.
Peter blinked. "What was that for?"
"Saving my life." She slid the door open and walked inside. Chuckling, Peter followed.
In the bedroom upstairs, the other three were dickering about the chores, trying to reshuffle them and assign Peter one he wouldn't hate.
Suddenly Mike's head turned. "Pete's here," he said, sliding off the bed. Micky and Davy looked at each other.
"How do you know that?" Davy asked.
Mike paused, turned to look at them. "I just... know."
Micky stood. "Man, is something more than remnants of the merge happening here? Are you two still linked?"
Mike licked his lips, choosing his words carefully. "Pete's alterations in behavior are all from the merge. Mine.. well... We're not linked anything like we were. We can't communicate telepathically anymore. But I do know where he is and I can usually tell what he's feeling."
Micky put his hands on his hips, glaring at Mike. "Any more secrets you two got?"
Mike dropped his voice. "Pete doesn't know I can do that, guys. I wanna keep it that way."
"Mike? Micky? Davy?" Peter yelled from downstairs. "You guys here?"
Mike grinned. "Comin'!" he yelled back. The three came downstairs, Micky flying, and pulled up short.
"V-Valerie!" Micky gasped, voice squeaking mid-word. "What are you doing here?"
She smiled at him. "Watching you hover."
"Oh," Micky said, smiling nervously. He touched down. "You see, Valerie," he stuttered, looking quickly at the others for help. "I can explain... I... uhm..."
Peter shook his head, chuckling. "She knows, man. Calm down."
Mike looked at Peter. "Everything?"
"Almost," Peter said, tapping his head behind Valerie's back and shaking it. Mike nodded, realizing Peter hadn't told Valerie about the merge.
Peter took Valerie's hand and led her to the couch. He pulled the chair closer to the couch and sat in it. Mike sat beside Valerie, and Micky and Davy sat on the coffee table.
"We've got trouble, guys," Peter began. "There's somebody else with super-powers after us."
"And after me," Valerie said. "It's Ronnie Farnsworth."
That made them blink.
"Farnsworth?" Micky gasped. "The rich snob?"
Peter nodded. "That rich snob somehow got hold of the same radiation that changed us. He turned into a birdman."
"The wings look like the falcons he trained," Valerie said. "He's a Falconman!"
"And he knows where the Pad is," Mike said. "It's only a matter of time..."
Suddenly a hissing sound erupted from outside. As one, Peter and Mike gained their feet and ran to the glass doors. Mike startled them all by cursing loudly. "You guys are not gonna believe this..." he said, turning around. "It's Jason!"
"Jason?" Davy gasped as he and Micky joined them at the doors. Indeed, Jason the fire being was carving a rut in the beach. When the sea water hit it, it turned to steam. "How can this be?" Davy blurted. "He's from our world!"
Valerie's eyes widened, though she said nothing. Their world?
"Mara," Micky whispered. "Roma brought us here, and Mara must have brought Jason here!"
"However he got here, he's here!" Peter said. He turned to Valerie. "Stay inside and away from the windows, got me?" Valerie nodded.
Micky took Davy's hand, Mike took Peter's. The two fliers rose into the air and out the doors which opened by Peter's telekinesis, pulling the two who could not fly in tow. The doors closed behind them. Valerie got up and tiptoed to the doors to watch the ensuing battle on the beach below.
Micky dropped Davy on one end of the beach. Peter dropped Mike at the edge of the trench Jason had dug. The two fliers flew up out of Jason's line of sight.
"Jason!" Mike bellowed.
Jason stopped digging the trench. He turned and smiled evilly. He flew toward Mike, dropping down to hover inches off the ground. "So," he snarled, "we meet again, cousin."
"How did you get here?" Mike asked.
"A lady brought me. She said you and I must meet again. And she said others would follow." The smile grew larger. "And she said I will defeat you this time."
Mike didn't exactly smile, but the corners of his mouth turned up. "Dream on, cousin. Good always defeats evil."
"I know," Jason snarled. "That's why you'll lose. See, to me you are evil." Heat blasted Mike's face. "And with your elastic body, you have to touch me to hurt me! So I raised my body temperature so you can't!"
Mike raised a hand like he did when he would turn his arm into a lasso. "Is that so?" He suddenly shot his hand forward. But instead of it becoming a lasso, a laser burst from his hand. The laser wasn't strong enough to hurt Jason, but it was more than strong enough to knock him head over heels.
"Now, Micky!" Mike bellowed. Micky threw a skintight field around the tumbling fire-being. Jason's body flared bluish-white, then the fire died from lack of oxygen.
Peter telekinetically held Jason in the air and cried, "Now, Davy!" The timing had to be just right or Micky would be hurt. Micky dropped his field at the precise instant eight-foot-tall Davy cocked his fist. The "gentle" blow was more than enough to knock Jason out.
Peter and Micky touched down on the beach and watched the waves move Jason's unconscious form. "Good timing," Peter commented.
"Dangerous timing," Davy said. "If Micky'd been just a second too early, Jason would have flamed up again. I wish I could hit one of those fields without your feeling it, Micky."
Peter glanced upward. Valerie was standing on the verandah, motioning for him to come up. Peter looked at his friends. "You guys get him somewhere where he won't be a danger."
"The asbestos-lined cell they were discussing in Escondido," Mike said. "They had that built just for people like Jason."
"I'll bring him there," Micky said, looking at Peter. "You go talk to Valerie."
"Come on, Davy," Mike said. "Let's go take a walk."
Valerie watched the unconscious man rise into the air and Micky rise beside him. They took off, heading in the direction of Escondido. She saw Davy and Mike head down the beach, talking. Peter stood looking up at her. Then she saw his eyes begin to glow. He rose into the air and glided to the verandah, landing gently beside her.
She smiled at him. "Don't you use stairs anymore?"
He returned the smile. "Avoid them whenever I can. What is it, Valerie?"
Her smile died. "You aren't my Peter. Davy said as much. Your powers, your intelligence... they're proof of it. Who are you? Where is my Peter?"
Peter led her inside and sat her down on the bench in front of the patio doors. He sat beside her and took her hands, blue eyes boring into hers.
"Valerie, my name is Peter Tork. In all respects, save what you've seen, I am your Peter. I... I love you, Valerie." As he said it, he realized it was true. He was in love with her.
She shook her head. "Your eyes are blue. My Peter's eyes are brown. You're smart. He's not. And there's no way he can do what you can do. Davy said you were from another world..."
He raised a hand to her lips. "Davy's partially right. It's another dimension, but the same world. We were sent on quests to recover parts of a relic. When we were done, Roma -- that's who sent us on the quests -- sent us here. We don't know what happened to the Monkees of this dimension, but we think they were sent to our dimension." Peter smiled. "And as for my eye color... well, it changed because of this." His eyes glowed for a few seconds, then the glow faded. "Mike says the coloring dispersed because of the glow. I don't understand it completely, but... As for my intelligence? Well, let's put it like this. My dad was a college professor. I can speak four languages, play about a dozen instruments, I've got a genius IQ and a photographic memory." He grinned at her. "Enough said?"
Valerie's mouth was hanging open. He reached a finger up and gently closed it. "Valerie?"
She blinked at him. Her large eyes closed once, twice... Then she smiled. "You sure are different."
His smile grew pensive. "So... now what?"
"I don't know. But I do know one thing."
She leaned forward, covering his hand with hers. "I love you very much. Not the other Peter... you. Genius IQ, blue eyes, telekinesis and all. I... love... you."
Their eyes closed as they kissed.
Continue on to Part Two