When Davy finally got home, the others filled him in. Roma left to see if she could wrest the crippled writer's imagination from Mara.
Peter frowned into his iced tea. "The last time we fought Mara, Roma told us our abilities may be used again. I'm wondering if this is a situation like the quests -- where she can't get it herself, but she can send agents after it."
"Yeah," Micky said, spreading his hands helplessly, "but how would we get an imagination?"
"I don't know," Davy said. "But if Roma wants us to, she'll find a way. And besides," he added, sipping his hot tea, "If what Mara and Roma -- and Enola herself -- say is true, Enola is the one who came up with the idea of us having powers. She's sort'a our mother, if you wanna look at it that way...."
Three napkins hit him squarely in the face.
Enola came out of the downstairs bedroom, staggering slightly. The four were on their feet and at her side in a heartbeat. "Are you okay?" Davy asked.
Enola looked at him. The turquoise eyes had lost their sparkle, their twinkling bounce. "I...I think so."
"Is there anything we can do?" Micky asked.
Panic flared into her eyes. "I...I...."
Peter steered her toward the couch. "You can barely think, can't you?" Enola nodded, fright making her stiffen in his arms.
"I don't understand," Davy whispered. "She should still be able to think..."
"Enola's a writer," Mike whispered back. "Her imagination is her thought processes... without it..." He let that hang in the air.
"Oh, man..." Davy whispered, his large brown eyes going even larger in shock.
Peter and Micky were flanking the injured woman on the couch, each holding one of her trembling hands. "I want Steven," she sobbed. "Steven will know what to do..."
"Shhh...." Peter said, rubbing her hand. "Steven isn't here, honey ... you'll just have to make do with us."
At that, Enola laughed through her tears. "Then...I reckon...I'm in good hands, huh?"
"We like to think so," Micky said with a wink and his sunniest smile.
She returned the smile, then it faded swiftly. "I'm...so scared..."
"We know, honey," Mike said, crouching in front of her. "We're gonna do everythin' we can to get you normal again. An' that's a promise."
Her smile was a genuine one. "An'..." she drawled. "An' Mike Nesmith...always...keeps his promises."
"You remember," he smiled.
"I can remember..." Her face screwed up in pain. "I just can't....can't...."
"We know," Davy said, laying both hands on her shoulders from behind. "This is the cruelest thing Mara's ever done."
"And that's sayin' a lot," Micky cracked, though his face was completely serious.
There was a gentle flash of light, and Roma stood behind Mike. Hello, she said with a smile.
Enola returned the smile. "You look exactly... like I pictured you..."
Roma knelt before her as Mike scooted to the side. You created our concepts -- but we have become our own people. And now it would seem your creations must rescue you. "
Ironic, isn't it?" Enola giggled nervously. "I...I just wish I could...appreciate it fully." You WILL, Roma smiled. She raised her eyes to the Monkees. It has been found.
"Where is it?" Micky and Davy chorused.
"How can we recover it?" Peter and Mike chorused.
Roma chuckled. Aye, you will once more be my agents, she said. And therein is the dilemma. I am permitted to send only one of you --- but I require the power of two of you.
Peter whistled. "That is a problem..."
Her imagination has been converted to energy. Mara holds it in a crystal in another dimension.
Davy chuckled. "Same MO as before."
Yes, she never learns from her mistakes. Roma sighed. I, however, have a solution for my dilemma --- and I have YOU to thank for it, she finished, tapping Enola's knee.
Enola frowned at her. "Me?"
Roma nodded, smiling. You wrote a story that has not yet happened to them -- Roma faced the Monkees. In the story, two of you four were fused into one person temporarily. I propose to do the same thing --- using two powers in one form, thus adhering to the terms of my restriction.
The four looked at each other, then at Enola, whose look of fear mingled with absolute trust shattered four hearts. Peter spoke for all four. "Let's do it."
Roma nodded and stood, chanting. Light flared from her fingertips and struck Micky and Davy.
They screamed, their forms turning into pure energy, two writhing forms ---
That suddenly merged into one writhing form. The energy-form coalesced into human form again, one human male, on his hands and knees, head down, gasping.
"That -- hurt!" It was Davy's tenor voice -- with an American accent. At that, the man's head snapped up and he rose to a kneeling position.
He had Micky's tight brown curls and strong features. He also had Davy's full lips and wide brown eyes. He wore Micky's blue lace-up T-shirt over Davy's brown flares. Peter reached his hands out and helped him to his feet. The man was five foot eight -- the average of Davy and Micky's heights.
"...wow...." Enola breathed.
"Tell me my name," the new man told Enola. "You said you remembered --- what was the merged man's name?"
With a sad smile, Enola shook her head. "Wrong two. Peter and Mike ... Michael Tork."
After a moment of silence, the new man said, "All right, then, call me MJ."
Peter smiled appreciatively. "'M'icky 'J'ones. MJ. I like it."
"So do I," Mike said.
"Then it's settled," MJ said. He cupped the writer's cheek. "Don't worry, Enola -- we'll get your imagination back."
"I hope so," she said very softly. "I can't live like this...."
"You can," Peter said, enfolding her in one of his powerful hugs. "You have to hang in there until we can get you back to normal."
"She will never be back to normal!" Peter's voice called from the other side of the room. Four pairs of eyes snapped around to see Peter's evil double standing defiantly across the room, four demons at his side.
Peter rose to his feet and pushed Enola behind him. "You're still blind," he observed.
"Yes," his evil double said. "I am. My Lady will not restore my vision till I draw the writer's blood."
"And exactly how," Mike challenged, "do you propose to do that without your telekinesis?"
"My Lady has empowered me." And with that, he raised a fist and fired a laser beam.
"Scatter!" Peter and Mike chorused, flinging in different directions, Mike pulling Enola with him as MJ and Peter took to the air.
Frightened as the demons surged forward, Enola began to scream. "Don't scream!" Mike said, laser-destroying two demons. "Don't scream! He's blind, he'll zero in on your ---" a laser smashed over their heads. ".....voice."
Peter TK'd one demon into another, but they kept coming. Always there were four demons. Evil Peter kept firing towards Enola's uncontrollable screams, and each shot got just a little closer to her....
MJ shot up to the balcony and leaned over, looking intently at Enola. Enola's mouth slammed shut and her screaming stopped. She raised her hands and found a small, invisible gag over her mouth, holding it closed.
MJ then floated down on the other side of the battle. Here's hoping Micky's aural skills survived intact, he thought, taking a deep breath and letting out a scream.
The blind man's head snapped around, and he fired a laser that bounced harmlessly from MJ's field. MJ kept up the fake scream, drawing Peter's double's fire while Mike got Enola under cover.
Enough! All participants froze as Roma's pure mental voice cut through their minds. Roma herself shimmered into view.
Sensing his foes' distraction, Evil Peter fired a laser at them. Roma waved her hand, and the laser dissipated. Roma turned to the demons that remained. She pointed at them, and they were gone.
Now -- for you. She laid her hands on the evil man's shoulders and he flinched as if he were burned. Return to your Lady. Tell her she shall not prevail this day. She touched his eyes. Receive your sight.
Evil Peter blinked once... twice... then instead of thanking Roma, he shot off a laser beam toward Enola, who was crawling to a new hiding place.
Enola screamed, her hand flying to her leg as she toppled to the ground.
ENOUGH! Roma froze Evil Peter. Return to your Lady! And he was gone.
Roma knelt beside Enola and raised a hand over her leg. Enola held up a hand. "...no..."
Child, it will ease the pain.
Enola shook her head. "No...no, just let me be...."
Peter wrapped his arms around her and supported her. "Are you sure?"
Enola nodded and leaned against his chest, allowing herself to doze. Peter looked at MJ. "Would you mind?"
MJ shook his head. Growing to six-feet-seven, he scooped the sleeping writer into his arms and carried her effortlessly into the downstairs bedroom. After tucking her gently into Peter's bed, he slid out of the room and resumed his five-foot-eight height, sighing. "I hate this. This entire situation is just intolerable! She's missing such a vital part of herself ..." He shook his head. "Roma, when can I leave?"
Now, if you are ready.
MJ sighed. "I just want this over with," he said.
Roma told him to step away from Peter and Mike. He did, and she raised her hand above his head. There was a flash of light, and MJ was gone.
So was Roma.
Peter and Mike sank onto the couch. "Is he going to be okay?" a small voice said from behind them.
Mike stood up and wrapped Enola in a gentle hug. "He'll be fine," he assured her. "He'll find your imagination and you'll be good as new in no time!" He looked over her head at Peter.
Peter moved to Enola's other side and wrapped his arms around her, sandwiching her between them and adding his gentle strength to Mike's.
Enola lay her head on Mike's chest and began to weep. They stood there in silence, each stroking her ebony hair, each at a total loss on how to ease her pain.
MJ opened his wide brown eyes and looked around. He was in a field with purple grass and a light brown sky. "Somehow," he cracked to himself as he rose to his feet, "I get the feeling I'm not in Kansas anymore..." He took a few tentative steps forward, testing the ground ---
Which suddenly erupted in front of him as a huge, worm-like creature sporting a round mouth full of wicked looking fangs shot from the ground.
"Whoa!" MJ screamed, shooting into the air reflexively. Roaring, the creature lunged after him, forcing the merged man to perform a dizzying series of aerial maneuvers to evade it.
But still the creature kept coming.
"Hell with this, I don't have time to play!" MJ hissed, growing to six feet and propelling himself into the creature, throwing all of his strength into the punch.
The creature broke in two, screeching as each piece of it sank to the ground.
"Bleah..." MJ said as he looked down at himself. He glided to an orange waterfall and cleaned himself of the muck, before resuming his trek.
Looking down at himself, MJ burst out laughing. The water had dyed his clothes bright orange. "If my hair's orange too, I'm headin' for the hills!"
MJ rose into the air and headed toward the setting suns. He flew for what seemed like hours, before he saw a village. Touching down out of sight, MJ walked into the village. "Excuse me?" he called.
A young woman turned to face him -- and screamed.
Before MJ could react, all the people he could see -- male and female -- had prostrated themselves at his feet.
"What in the hell...." MJ gasped, staring at the crowd at his feet. "Get up! Get up from there!"
Nobody moved. The woman who had screamed began to talk.
"Oh, shit..." MJ sighed. "We've got a language barrier here...." He reached down and touched the speaking woman. When she risked a glance up, MJ smiled and motioned for her to stand.
She did, touching his clothes reverently. She touched his hair reverently as well, pulling one of the curls straight. "Oh, great," he moaned. "It is orange..."
Speaking words in her language, she took MJ's hand and led him to a cave, where she lit a torch and showed him a mural.
"Oooh...." MJ breathed. "No wonder...."
The mural told a story of an evil woman removing spheres of energy from the tribesmen, leaving them unable to dream. "Like Enola," MJ whispered. Then the mural showed a man all in orange -- even his hair -- flying to a cave, battling a creature, and shattering a huge crystal. The last image was the energy spheres scattering.
A smile curved MJ's lips. "Leave it to Roma," he chuckled. "Help Enola and these people all at once."
A gentle hand touched his arm. He looked into the woman's face. She said something which he couldn't understand, but from her cadence, gestures and expressions, he assumed she was asking if he was the man from the mural.
MJ petted her hand and bent to kiss her cheek. Smiling, he nodded, wondering if that would translate.
Her face was lit by a dazzling, bedimpled smile. She flung her arms around his neck and hugged him for all she was worth.
"Apparently that does translate," he laughed.
The woman walked with MJ to a hill overlooking another cave. By gestures and an emphatic shake of the head, she communicated she would go no further.
He smiled and took her hand, laying his other hand on his chest. "MJ," he said. "I'm MJ."
Smiling, she touched his chest. "Emjay."
"Yeah -- MJ."
She touched her own chest. "Naelani."
"Naelani." His smile grew. "Beautiful name, Naelani." Then his face went serious. He pointed at her then at the ground, raising his eyebrows questioningly.
Naelani nodded. "Jaya, Emjay," she said, nodding emphatically. She sat down.
MJ nodded and took off, flying toward the cave as Naelani stared after him.
MJ touched down at the mouth of the cave. "That mural said a creature of some kind lives here..." he said to himself, growing to six feet and shimmering out of sight. He then walked into the cave, hugging the wall. "Man, what I wouldn't give right now for Mike's light powers..."
A low growl reverberated through the cave. "Oh...shit...." MJ threw a protective field around himself. He walked a little faster.
When he turned a bend, a faint light illuminated the cave. MJ moved slowly toward the brightness, carefully feeling his way along the wall.
Something struck his shield from behind, knocking him to his knees. Shimmering into visibility, he flipped over onto his back, squinting up at the large shape looming over him and desperately wishing once more for Mike's light powers.
Sensing more than seeing the clawed hand slicing down toward him, MJ scrambled to his feet and then took to the air. Flight was faster than running, and he refused to fight this.. this...whatever it was until he was somewhere where he could see it.
The light built around him as he soared, hearing the scrabbling sounds behind him as the thing was in hot pursuit.
Peter sighed as he leaned out on the railing. A cup of tea suddenly appeared under his nose. Smiling, he turned around. "Thanks, Mike."
Mike smiled slightly and then saw what Peter was looking at. The smile faded. "How's she doing?"
Peter sighed. "She's....coping, I guess."
I can't read her mind, Michael. Just yours. Aloud, he finished, "She's been sitting out there for nearly an hour."
Mike cocked an eyebrow at that. "And you’re not out there with her?"
"I promised I'd give her time."
Mike nodded and headed for the stairs. "Hey," Peter gasped. "Where are you going?"
"To see what's eatin' her." At Peter's stunned look, Mike grinned a rare, full one. "Hey, I never promised her a thing!"
Peter laughed and shook his head. "Take her this," he said, TKing the cup into Mike's hands "Give me a 'heads-up' when she's ready."
"You got it," and Mike headed for the beach.
Enola sat, arms folded around bent knees, staring over the water. She sighed. Her head was beginning to ache from sorting out the confusing hands fate had dealt her.
She missed her husband. She missed her daughter. She missed her sisters and her friends.
Tears welled up in her eyes and she lay her head on her folded arms. She missed her stories -- her dreams.
A gentle hand descended upon her shoulder, making her jump. Her turquoise eyes were huge in shock and fear as she whirled to face who was touching her.
Mike gave a tiny smile and sat beside her. "Sorry."
Enola moaned, relaxing. "It's okay. Peter send you out here?"
"Nope. I came on my own." He reached the tea to her. With a small shake of the head, she refused. Mike's smile grew slightly. "Don't blame you," he said, pouring it onto the sand.
Enola smiled at that.
Mike set the cup down and regarded her seriously. "How are you?"
With a sigh, she looked at the sand and shook her head. "Incomplete."
"Do you?" she asked, turning to look at him.
"Yeah. I'm sure I don't need to tell you about the link I have with Peter."
Enola smiled despite herself. "No... you don't."
Mike chuckled slightly. "I've been linked to him for so long that it feels like I'm incomplete on those times when it's severed."
She nodded. "Yeah. I remember." She sighed again. "Mike... how come Peter's six-foot-two?"
"Davy altered his height at his request," Mike replied. "He felt the co-leaders should be the same height." The small smile returned. "Peter's a huge symbolism nut."
Enola chuckled. "So I see." She sighed again. "I hate waiting. I hate it when I'm stuck in a situation where I can't do anything but wait."
"Yeah," Mike said. "You're a little like me in that. I hate waitin' too." He suddenly got blue flecks in his eyes and smiled. "Hey, you wanna do somethin'?"
Mike climbed to his feet. "Pete an' me can teach you how to control your TK." When she opened her mouth, he held up a hand. "Hey, it's better' just twiddlin' your thumbs."
She smiled slightly. "All right."
When she took his hands to stand, he said, "Pete guessed you need to be hugged a lot, from your reactions when we do."
Enola shook her head. "Peter's perceptive. No wonder he's leader."
"No wonder," Mike chuckled, sliding an arm around her shoulders and squeezing them as they headed for the Pad. "Enola, MJ will succeed. You just gotta believe."
"I do believe," she sighed miserably. "It's just that right now ... " Her voice dropped. "I quite literally can't imagine how he's gonna do it."
Mike's expression was grave as Peter touched down in front of them. "We know, honey," he said, pain lacing his voice.
"We know," Peter echoed, sliding his arms around Enola as a fresh wave of tears shuddered through her.
MJ screeched an expletive as the thing pursuing him slammed into the cavern's ceiling, apparently intent on bringing it down around the flier. He rubbed his temples as he flew evasively around the falling rocks. Keeping a heavy field around himself, withstanding the rocks thrown at him, flying toward the light and flying evasively -- all at the same time -- was giving him a headache!
The light kept getting brighter and brighter. MJ rounded a corner ---
And pulled up short. MJ's wide brown eyes grew wider in shock. His squarish jaw unhinged as he froze, staring.
The cavern he was now in was brilliantly lit. The light was coming from a huge clear dome in the midst of the cavern. In that dome rested multi-colored crystals, each one pulsing from within with brilliant points of energy.
"Damn...." MJ breathed. "The stolen imaginations..."
Suddenly MJ was blown forward by a tremendous impact to his back. He hit the ground, swearing loudly as he somersaulted and shot into the air again. "Thank G-d I had my fields up," he gasped. He wobbled slightly as he flew. "That nearly knocked me out!"
He gritted his teeth, swallowed, and turned to face the creature that had been pursuing him, only to let out another stunned expletive as he found himself face to face with a creature ripped straight from a nightmare.
Its head and jaws were those of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It walked on four legs tipped with massive clawed paws. Its brown scaly body was lean and muscular. Its long, muscular tail whipped from side to side. The tail was tipped with four dangerous-looking spikes. More spikes traveled up its back and topped its head.
MJ gulped audibly. "And I'm supposed to beat this?" he wailed. "How?!?"
For a second, he was tempted to cut and run. But then, the image of Enola's stricken face as she realised what had happened to her swam before his mind's eye. He then pictured Naelani's hopeful gaze -- and knew that not only one woman at the pad was counting on him -- but so was an entire village!
He couldn't run from this, no matter how scared he was. Too many people were depending on him.
Narrowing his eyes, he struck the beast in the face with a field. It roared and lunged for MJ, who shot higher into the air.
"What's the matter?" he taunted the beast at the top of his lungs. "Too fast for ya? Come on! Do your worst!"