(With gratitude to the writers of Doctor Who for the inspiration for the idea. The subject matter of the individual quests, however, is mine alone.)
To each of the Monkees, the same tall, lithe figure appeared. She had long platinum hair and wore a white Grecian robe. When she spoke, her lips moved, but the voice they heard was in their head. To each of them, the same thing was said. Addressing each by his full name, she spoke, I have need of you... My name is Roma. I am a servant of good. My evil counterpart, Mara, has stolen the Crown of Power. I have chosen you four as my agents of good, to find the crown. The crown is in eight pieces: three crown segments and five jewels rest in eight other dimensions.
She handed each a box. Each pushed the button on the box and a wand extended. A second push and the wand retracted. These tracers will locate the objective no matter what form it takes; transfer it to its original form, and send it here to Mike's wife. She will have my protection until the quests are complete.
She raised a hand over Mike. Heat arced through his body, and he crumpled, breathing hard. Only to him, Roma said, You are now useful to me.
He frowned at this.
To each of the Monkees, Roma finished, Mike's watch will enable you to traverse the dimensional barriers. Good luck... God bless you... Goodbye!
And Roma vanished.
The Monkees congregated at Mike's house and swiftly compared notes. Mike triggered the new, hidden switch in his watch and Phyllis Nesmith mouthed a silent prayer as the Monkees faded away.
A rip in space appeared six feet above the ground and the Monkees dropped out. Davy landed right on top of Micky, knocking him down. Peter and Mike landed and somersaulted, gaining their feet. They looked at each other, blinking. They had moved in unison.
"More after-effects of the merge?" Mike whispered strangledly.
Peter nodded. "I've noticed others... subtle changes in my perceptions..."
Micky groaned and shoved Davy off his legs. "Don't do that," he said, standing up. Davy looked at Peter and winked, grinning.
Peter chuckled, whispering to Mike, "Just between us? I get a feeling Davy's gonna keep that up."
Mike grinned. "Poor Mick."
The four blended into the crowd of teenagers gathered around a stage. It struck Peter that the majority of them were male. A smartly-dressed man walked out onto the stage and announced, "Now, ladies and gents -- THE MONKEES!" The four looked at each other and grinned, then looked back at the stage as the first notes of "Clarksville" sounded.
The soprano voice singing the lyrics floored them. The curtains parted to reveal four beautiful women playing and singing.
Four jaws dropped. One word ran through the Monkees' minds:
The tallest one, wearing a green wool hat, had black hair falling past her shoulders and pulled back in a style eerily similar to Mike's sideburns. She was not singing, focusing instead on playing the 12-string that was almost as big as she was. She scanned the crowd and saw Mike.
Instantly her guitar fell silent.
The other instruments also stopped as the other band members turned to look at her. They began to talk, forgetting that the microphones still picked up their every word.
The small tambourinist's eyes widened. "Shelley," her crisp British soprano sang out.
The bassist had long blonde hair and a distinctive birthmark on her upper lip. Her lilting contralto was full of concern. "Why'd you stop playing?"
The drummer pushed the brown curls out of her eyes and leaned over the bass drum. "Shelley, what's wrong?" Her soprano voice squeaked mid-sentence.
Shelley pointed straight at Mike. "That man," she called, her voice a Southern alto. "Put him in the green room -- I wanna talk to him!"
Two security guards escorted an unresisting Mike to the green room and locked him in. Mike smiled. Locked doors were no problem for his elastic body. He lay his finger on the keyhole and attempted to stretch it into an ersatz key to unlock the door.
Only nothing happened.
"I've... lost my powers!" Mike gasped.
No. You have not, a mental voice sang.
Mike turned to see Roma. "But... I can't stretch anymore!"
Do you remember the shock I gave you? Mike nodded. Your elastics were unsuitable for the quests, Robert Michael. So I have altered your abilities. You now can emit any form of light.
A slow grin spread over Mike's face. "Permanent?"
Would you like it to be? The grin on his face told the tale. I think that can be arranged. Fare well, Robert Michael. And she was gone.
Mike stepped back from the door. He studied his hands, thinking. He recalled reading about a tightly focused, highly powerful form of light: a laser. "Any form of light," he mused, raising his hand. A laser beam shot from it and blew the lock. Mike grinned. "I like this!" He slipped out and rejoined the others, demonstrating what had happened to him.
Several hours passed before the Monkees -- the male Monkees -- slid back into the studio.
Davy passed his scanner over the room. "Got it!" he whispered. "It's one of the instruments!"
"Which one?" Peter whispered.
Davy tried again. "The bass!"
"HEY!" rang from behind them. They whirled to see the women standing there. It was the blonde -- Petra Thork -- who had cried out. She finished, "Get away from those!"
Shelley grabbed Davy by the shoulder. She whirled him to face her and punched him in the jaw. The unexpected blow sent Davy to the ground. The smallest woman screamed, hand flying to her cheek as her legs gave way. The drummer, Miki Dolens, ran to her side.
Mike helped Davy to his feet. "Didja see that?" he gasped. "When that chick hit you..."
"Danni felt the pain!" Miki finished.
Davy walked over and helped Danni up. He looked down and chuckled. "How tall are you, anyway?"
She glared up at him. "Four-foot-eight. Wanna make something of it?"
Petra covered her mouth with a hand and smothered the giggle. "Looks like Runt's met her match."
Peter couldn't stand to hear them teasing Danni. He stood there wondering why Danni put up with it when she could stop the teasing by growing. He shook his head and focused on Danni, eyes glowing and raising slightly.
Davy suddenly grew a foot. "Peter!" he screamed, returning to normal size.
"Man, I'm sorry!" Peter gasped. "I was trying to activate her power, not yours!"
Davy was so furious he blurted out at the top of his lungs, "Dolt, she doesn't have any powers! They're normal human women -- not like us at all!"
Davy clamped a hand over his mouth as four pairs of brown eyes turned to him and four feminine faces went paler than they had when he had grown.
"What... did you say?" Danni gasped.
Miki shook her head, trying to process the information. "He... said we were normal... not like them!"
Petra shook her head and Peter's heart sank as he realized she was as slow in reality as he pretended to be on the show. "I don't dig," she groaned.
Shelley stepped forward, eyes flashing. "Mister, who... what are you?"
Peter turned to Davy. "Had to open your big mouth, didn't you?"
"Me?!" Davy exploded. "Hey, you were the one who activated me power!"
Micky burst out laughing. "Cool it, you two. And you complain about Mike being hotheaded!"
"Ladies," Mike said. "Prepare yourselves for a shock. Y'see, we're not from your world."
Instead of the horrified gasps he was braced for, Mike was astonished at their calm. Virtually the only reaction was Miki sliding a manicured finger over her chin and saying, "Mm. That would account for his powers."
Petra grinned. "We've had some... dealings with aliens." Miki couldn't suppress the involuntary shudder.
"But what about the rest of you?" Danni asked.
"I'm Mike. I can emit any wavelength of light." He made his hand glow.
Shelley touched his fingertips. "Impressive," she breathed. "I'm Michelle Nesmith. They call me Shelley."
"I'm Peter." Petra drew in a sharp breath as his eyes began to glow. "Don't be frightened... uhm..."
"Petra," she gasped, mesmerized by the glow.
"Well, Petra, glad to meet you. The glow is a side-effect of my telekinesis." Petra's pinkie rings slid from her fingers and moved in figure-eights. Petra laughed in delight and raised her hands. Peter guided the rings back onto her pinkies.
Petra sighed and pulled them off. "Wrong hands," she chided. Peter grinned and shrugged.
"I'm Davy. You've seen one of my powers. I can also become tiny. And I'm super-strong when I'm not this height."
"I'm Danni Jones. You can be tiny?" At his nod, she turned and grinned at Petra. "And ye call me Runt?"
Miki smiled. "Name's Miki." The smile faded. "Hey, where's the other one?"
"Right here," came out of thin air. "Name's Micky, too..." Miki gasped as Micky shimmered into view. "Sorry .. and I can turn invisible."
Peter stepped forward. "We're only here for a short time. We're on a..."
"Shelley!" Danni yelled from the window. "Over here... now!"
Shelley walked over to the window. "What's wrong?"
Danni's eyes were huge. "Trouble."
"Dang!" Shelley exploded. "Big-Eyes's right! Security! It's past nine -- None o'us is s'pposed to be here!"
"All o'you -- stand still!" Mike barked. "Pete, turn out the lights!"
Suddenly the room was dark. "That won't help," Miki yelled, "he's got a light!"
"Mick'll take care of that," Mike said. "Nobody make a sound!"
The flashlight swept the room, finding nothing but instruments. "Strange," the security guard whispered, "I could'a sworn..." He retreated.
"Okay," Peter said. "He's gone!"
Light flared as Mike's entire body glowed. "Hey," he ordered, "Whoever's nearest the light switch, hit it!"
Danni turned on the light and Mike stopped glowing. "Why didn't he see us?" Danni wondered.
"I turned us invisible," Micky said.
Danni shuddered. "That's unnerving!"
"Sorry, guys," Petra grinned. "Since that Communist scare sixteen years ago..."
"Understood," Mike grinned. "McCarthy did stir things up, didn't he?"
The women frowned. "McCarthy?" Miki said. "McCarthy was a senator in the fifties -- during the Depression! Goldwater was the Communist hunter in '72!"
Peter and Micky took Petra and Miki aside and compared notes. Then they rejoined their respective groups.
"Well?" Davy asked. "What did you find out?"
"Their history's about like ours," Micky said. "World War I ended on schedule, in 1917. But somehow, the Crash of 1929 didn't happen till 1949. The Depression happened in the fifties, and it was worse than ours. Dig this -- Hitler was a benevolent ruler who was assassinated in 1945. His successor, Adenauer, took over by force and started the invasions and Holocaust, forcing World War II in 1959."
Peter nodded and took up the story. "Pearl Harbor happened December 7, 1961, and Hiroshima was destroyed August 1965. Nagasaki wasn't touched. You get the idea. Mike, it's 1988 here."
"--And they're not here to harm us, Shelley!" Petra said. "They're looking for a relic that was lost here. It can take any form, and they think it's one of our instruments. Once they get it, they'll go."
"Which instrument?" Shelley asked.
Petra shook her head. "They didn't say."
Shelley gave permission, and Micky scanned the instruments. "Davy was right," he said, stopping over one. "This is it."
Petra's jaw dropped. "M-My bass?"
The bass was transformed into a crown piece, and sent to Phyllis.
"Well, girls," Micky began.
"It's been interesting!" Davy finished.
"Sorry, Petra," Peter said. "I know how you feel. I play bass, too."
"G-bye, girls," Mike said, triggering his watch. They vanished.
"My bass..." Petra moaned.
Shelley socked her on the shoulder. "Chill, Petra."
Danni shook her head. "They were from another world.... We never fully knew who they were..."
Miki frowned. "I wonder if we'll ever know."
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