Friday, 25 November 1994

The New Age - Chapter Eighteen

    Mother Nature was taken back to the Anglo-Force mansion, at the request of Merlin. She continued to rant and rave as the members of Anglo-Force tried to calm her down. Most of her time was spent laughing.
    “The joke is on you Anglo-Force!” she laughed.
    “She seemed quite rational when we picked her up.” said Red Sun. “Now she’s gone completely crazy!”
    “I am free!” cried Mother Nature. “Free!”
    “Free?” said White Knight. “But we’ve just captured you!”
    “My mind will always be free!”
    One word kept coming into the minds of those trying to restrain here - crazy. These thoughts were also shared by the Acolytes.
    “Are you sure she is meant to be one of us?” asked Yamanda.

    From afar Paul Solo watched what was happening. He did not like what he saw. He had a strange feeling. It was as if his detective instincts were working overtime. His thoughts went back to recent events, how X’s mind had been taken over, how Watt had been tied up with problems of his own, how his old friend, Inspector Lewis, had turned out to be a Darkmagus sleeper agent, and how the Prime Minister, Neil Smith, had asked them to pull back. It was then that something clicked. He then strode into the mansion and into the computer room. He soon found what he was looking for. Less than ten minutes later he had taken an Anglo-Force sky-jet and he was soon on his way.

    Over fifty years ago Darkmagus built a citadel in the grounds of Loch Ness in Scotland. It was here that many of his forces were stationed, and they were now in a mixed mood.
    “Those fools let Mother Nature escape!” said Zachary. “And the rest of them survived as well!”
    “There will be other times when we can take care of the Acolytes.” said Beatrice.
    “I agree.” said Martins. “But now we have one of them on our side.”
    “You mean that X character?” said Zachary. “Can we trust him?”
    “That we shall have to find out.”
    And with that Martins walked over to the communications panel. She was soon in contact with Xusia. In his hideaway the image of Martins appeared on the screen in front of him.
    “It is good to see you again.” said Xusia.
    “Darkmagus has ordered a test for our new comrade, to show that he is loyal. I am here to tell you that you’re ally Mighty Man is about to be sent into a perilous situation by his sleeper agent.”
    “So?” said X. “What do you expect me to do about it?”
    A smile appeared on Martin’s face.
    “Your mind spell has worked Xusia. I congratulate you. You have done well.”

    At that moment the American hero Mighty Man was flying over the streets of London. He was soon flying over the River Thames. He circled around for a few minutes until he saw the man he was looking for standing on the river bank. The man in fact was his superior from the CIA, Colonel Gary McQueen.
    “Mighty Man!” he called out.
    Mighty Man landed nearby a few seconds later.
    “Yes sir?” he said in rather a strong tone.
    “Watch your tone.” said McQueen. “I have a mission for you, one you won’t like. X is reported to be working for Darkmagus, and he’s been spotted near Loch Ness in Scotland.”
    “And you want me to fight him?” asked Mighty Man. “Why is the CIA interested in him? Up until now he hasn’t done much.”
    “X has some very important contacts in his secret life, contacts that are important to the President. Well, you have your orders, now carry them out.”
    It was obvious that Mighty Man did not like his superior, but he knew he had to do what he was told. So with that he took to the sky and headed towards Scotland.

    Outside the mansion the Acolytes stood until Merlin and Gandalf appeared in the open.
    “Attention, please!” said Merlin. “It is time we talked.”
    The Acolytes began to gather around the two wizards.
    “As you know,” Gandalf started, “we have chose you to join us in the Istari. We had reason for choosing you, and the one who has died. You will understand the reasons before we are finished with each other, but the path to culmination is a hard one. Not all of you may yet see it’s ending.”
    “You will each have to trust in yourself.” said Merlin. “Your strength of form and your strength of will, and you will have to trust in Gandalf and myself, and you each have to trust in your group. Now that you have let each other, albeit briefly, you have one final chance to change your minds. Alan Sear?”
    “Fuji Yamanda?”
    “No, I do not wish to turn back!”
    “Thomas Leacock?”
    “Duncan McCloud?”
    “I’m still a bit sceptical, but I won’t turn you down!”
    “Mother Nature?”
    “No! No! You have only matched my destiny!”
    “That is…good!” said Merlin.
    “If you enter the mansion when we will establish your common base of knowledge, so that we may begin your instruction in matters cosmic. Go now, please.”
    The Acolytes began to notice Merlin stagger slightly.
    “Gandalf, I feel…”
    Alan Sear had taken the lead.
    “All right everyone, follow me!”
    Gandalf turned to Merlin and took hold of his arm as if he were supporting him, stopping him from fainting.
    “It has passed.” said Merlin.
    Lug and Fire-Master watched as the Acolytes entered the mansion.
    “Did you see that?” asked Fire-Master. “Merlin appeared to stagger for a moment.”
    “I did, and it worries me.” said Lug.

    Governor Corkindale sat in his office at Dentonville Prison an unhappy man. His unhappiness had been caused by a man who had just entered his office - General Billiar, and by a piece of paper he had just been given.
    “Surely you can’t be serious?” said Corkindale. “You want me to release Armand Theophilus, Celsius, Woodwose and Colonel Chaney? All four of them are awaiting trial. I’ve had men from the Alien Task Force in Washington wanting to speak to Chaney. And you say you want me to just let them walk out of here?”
    “I have my orders.” said Billiar. “And now, Governor, you have yours. I need a group I can control, and I have a mission for them. A plane is waiting to take them to Scotland as we speak.”
    “Why not send Anglo-Force on this mission of yours?”
    “Anglo-Force may be funded by the government but they are not under our control. A team is needed that is.”
    Corkindale looked at the paper in front of him for a few more seconds. He then reached out to his telephone and pressed the intercom button.
    “Okay, bring them in.”
    It was a strange sight to see the four of them being led into Corkindale’s office, especially when their past histories were considered, because Theophilus and Celsius hated Woodwose and didn’t have much love for Chaney, and Chaney couldn’t stand to be in the same room as his old Wose enemy.
    They were made to stand in line before Billiar.
    “Gentlemen, I have a proposition for you, one that could give you your freedom.”
    A short time later they were taken out of the prison by the General. Not long after that another car pulled up towards the prison grounds. The occupant of this car had been to the prison not long ago - Paul Solo. When Solo was shown into Corkindale’s officer the governor seemed a little annoyed.
    “Mister Solo! I had not expected to see you here so soon after your battle. Tell me, what is it you want?”
    Solo watched as Corkindale quickly put away the paper Billiar had given him.
    “I’ve come about one of your prisoners. I’d like to speak to him…Armand Theophilus.”
    “Theophilus has just been released. There was a lack of evidence against him.”
    “How can that be? I have files that say he was working for Felicia Martins years ago, before he hooked up with Mother Nature. It was about that I wanted to speak to him about.”
    “I’m sorry, Mister Solo, but I was given those orders. I can’t help. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
    Solo stared at Corkindale and have no reply. Instead he turned around and walked out of the office, leaving a very relieved Corkindale behind him. But Solo did not leave empty handed, because before Corkindale hastily put the paper away Solo had managed to see it.

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