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EJ-01 Saving the Comics

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    Americat smiled at Christopher and said, "Are you back with us, inventor? Sorry about the smelling salts. We've all been there."


    Canon did as he was asked; the wolf seemed to know what he was talking about. He crouched down on his haunches and he closed his eyes. It only took him two tries... but when he stood up once again... it was as if he was born into the stance. "Wow... thanks, Tracer." He gave the wolf a hug. "You're a great teacher." He looked at Strikeback. "Thank you, too."

    Strikeback smiled. "I'm just a chemist. I better go see what they are doing in the infirmary with your friend." And she headed in there leaving the two canids alone.


      Christopher blinked...the blinked again... " got...big..." Then he looked down at himself ...then, " should be only semi-physical entities...not to mention human...Our physical bodies...should still laying on my laboratory floor." Finally he addresses the other concern, "AND WHY THE HELL AM I A PET CAT?!"


      Tracker smirks, "I've had to help cadets and others who have had to deal with species changes. Usually the change in stance even between canine and feline is enough to confuse them." He nods, "You should be okay now as long as you don't over think it." Tracker ear's flick a little as he smirks, "I think your friend's awake."


        Strikeback picked up Christopher in her arms. "I am not sure why you ended up looking like this. Your friend is morphic like the rest of us. Tracker is keeping him company in the other room."

        Americat was now using a scanner of his own. "I see the odd patterns you were mentioning, Firestar. This is most unusual, but I think I know what this energy is. Christopher is mentioning that their real bodies should be back in their lab. So the energy could be a homing link to their original bodies. If this link were ever severed, the boys would be stuck here. Don't worry, Christopher... we'll try to get you and your friend back to your labs."


        Canon chuckles. "He sounds upset for some reason. If he ended up a pet cat, why didn't I end up like that? And Strikeback said that I was fully vulpine but I had mutant kangaroo energy. Could that be my internal powers?" Then he got serious. "Anyway, Christopher once had a twin brother who passed away and so he has been having to live for both of them by himself. I am lucky he calls me a friend."

        He was now looking Tracker over with a cursory eye. "How hard was it to diffuse that bomb in the factory? Americat said you were the best."


          Christopher HISSED, his claws instinctively scratching Strikeback, though it wasn't intentional, "I'm NOT a PET CAT!" When he got angry, the lines odd energy on the rings flared brighter and the stone looked it like it was about to break apart before he calmed down, mrowling softly, wincing and looking to be in severe pain. A pain shared by those near by, though not by Canon... "Ow..ow..ow..."


          Tracer winced, rubbing his head, and shouted into the other room, "HEY! PUSSY!! Cut it out or I'll give you more problems than a headache!" He growled a little, shaking his head in a very canine fashion... Then looked back at Canon, "Sorry... It ah..." He tries to get his cool composure back, "It would seem your friend has some powers as well... and from the feel of it, not very controlled." HE shrugs, "My guess? These transformations are personal to the individual. Thus your powers and his are different, your transformation was different, and so on." He paused for a long moment, "I see." He thinks a bit more and motions Canon, "It may be good then if you go see him. Though I think you may have stumbled on to something Americat should know."

          Tracer gave Canon a dashing grin as he leaned in before he let the fox go, "But for the record... I'm not just good. I'm the best. On the job.. or off." He winked and started into the other room, swishing his tail with a grin as he went... He certainly had the dashing Bond-hero look...and the commando experience to go with it.


            Canon followed Tracer so as to join the others to see what was up with Christopher.

            Americat said, "Good of you two to join us. As you can see, Christopher is having a species stance problem. For some reason, his crossing has made him into... well... he finds it distasteful, although our ladies like his appearance."

            Strikeback had placed the cat back on the closest table top so no one was looking down on him. "You didn't have to scratch me, Christopher. As Americat said, we will figure out what happened to you."

            Canon looked at his friend. "Boy... the fates certainly didn't deal you a good hand. Are you okay?"


              Christopher looks down a little, "Sorry... I didn't mean to. It just...happened when I got upset." He looked over at his best friend and blinked, "!" His eyes got pretty wide, "Damn you got ALL the luck! You're hot! er.. I mean..." His tail was lashing with anxiety at that, "I er..." He clears his throat, "You look good."

              Tracer smirks, "Already told him that. Anyway, Americat, the sexy young vulpine mentioned something that might have some insight on the situation. I think they both have their powers expressed as alternative empowered forms but I think the kitty boy's situation is complicated with self suppressed identity issues." He glances at Canon and Christopher's confused looks and sighs.

              Tracer motions to the scanners, "When we were scanning you both, the first thing we check for is empowerment. Canon, as you know, you were changed into a vulpine with an empowered kangaroo energy. It's hard to know EXACTLY what form that kangaroo empowerment will take but we know the general species. Based on what I know and overheard (gotta love those selective hearing amps), you weren't designed to be here physically. Now, that means that your form wasn't programmed on landing. Therefore what you landed as... is what we call 'Base Self-Identity'. That is the reflection of what you would like as yourself then filtered by our universe parameters. However, for someone with self-suppressed identity issues, they see themselves as less than others. They, for whatever reason, suppress their own powers, their own abilities, their own forms even. " He motions toward Christopher, "Essentially that is why he is like this. He's locked himself away because he's not living his own life. This is, in short... how he views himself subconsciously. Lesser than those around him." He looks at Canon again, "Less than you." He smirks and turns to start walking off, as he takes out a cigar and lits it. "Basically, kiddo. He's stuck like that. Then again, maybe I'm just talking out my tail. I'm no super. I'm just a solider with a few high-tech gadgets. I should get back to the monitoring station. While you all are dealing with this, someone needs to be on duty. See ya around, cuteness."


                Canon said, "So in order for Christopher to improve, he has to see himself as my equal rather than seeing me as greater than him." He looked at the cat again. "How could you ever think you weren't as good as me? Heck, that 3D Hologram of Americat you did is something that I could never do. And yes, I did watch that DVD video you left at my place by accident. You did all that yourself and again, it surpasses anything that I could ever do. I often admit that I need to improve my own abilities, and you still think of yourself as inferior?"


                  Christopher says, "Well.. Um.. not...really. I mean I know we have our different specialties..." he looks down at his paws, "You're just more successful marketing your stuff. But I don't REALLY think you are that much better than me. Not...really. I mean my brother would have been, probably." He shrugs a little, "I.. I don't know. I mean if he were alive, I'm sure he wouldn't make that mistake and gotten those wires crossed or whatever I screwed up to make this happen and me end up in some stupid kitty body!"

                  Firestar just rubbed her temples. "Looks like this is gonna be a project."


                    At that moment, the frog member of their team entered the chamber as he checked his old timers Train Watch. "You boys weren't supposed to make the crossing; had you wanted to visit, I could have helped you with that myself." Armand Charming (aka The Timekeeper) then looked at the others. "The good news is that their human bodies are indeed still on Earth. The projection was at least successful on that front. However, they cannot remain here for too long or by the way the energy was cascading around that lab, they will more and more bleed over from their world into this one until their bodies here will be the base forms and the ones there will simply be projections. And even then, over time, the lab's power could fail and then the boys would be our problem forever after that." He again looked to the fox and the kitty cat. "So while I am sure the heroes don't mind having you boys visiting, if you want to get back home, I can effect the return trip whenever you like. But be warned... now that you have been here once, you may find alternate ways for making the crossing, by yourselves, later on."

                    Americat hummed. "If that is the case, then perhaps a return gift for our two friends since they did help us find that bomb the Red Bone planted. Tracker disabled it like the pro he is." And the lion opened a drawer and reached in to pull out wrist band communicators for both newcomers. He put the larger one on Canon's wrist while the smaller one which was human sized was handed to Canon to hold on to. "When you get home, make sure you give this one to Christopher. As a house cat, he doesn't have a standard wrist like we do."

                    Canon nodded his head. "Thanks, Americat." He then looked to the others. "Strikeback... Firestar..." He paused with a smile and a wink at the wolf. "Tracker. Thanks for putting up with us for even a little while. And you're right... Christopher never explained what was going to happen to me. I made a joke about a star gate and the next thing he asked was for me to pull a lever. When I did, we arrived here in your lair on the floor."

                    Strikeback smiled herself. "Despite getting scratched, you boys are welcome back any time."

                    The Timekeeper turned to look at the fox and kitty. "Ready to head back to the labs?"


                      Christopher looks at frog and says rather drly, "Charming time for you to show up." He winces, "Yeah, I didn't think that far ahead... I didn't think about how we might get back. Our bodies are kinda comatose... hopefully in liquid suspension." He sighs, "Sorry for scratching you Strikeback. I already said I didn't mean to."


                        Charming nodded his head as he waved a webbed hand to open the portal back to Christopher's lab. "This is your way back home, boys. I would suggest that Christopher go first so he can get the lab in order once again. I think he can't wait to be normal size once again. As for you, Canon... remember what I said; you may find more adventure when you least expect it."

                        Canon looked toward the portal of energy. "Whenever you're ready, Chris. As the frog said, beauty before working class shmoes." He winked with a grin.

                        Americat was secretly hoping that Canon would stay, but Timekeeper did say that the fox would be back eventually. Although he wasn't sure about Chris since he wasn't happy about ending up as a pet cat.


                          Christopher says, "In that case, you should definitely go first. But, if you insist." He was more than happy to jump down from the table and walk over to the portal. He paused and looked back up to Charming before heading into the portal as he made the comment to Canon then just nodded as he jumped through the portal.


                            Once Chris was through the portal, Canon suddenly said, "Close the portal! Quick!"

                            Nearly everyone said in surprise, "What?"

                            And just as quickly, Canon laughed. "Just kidding. But level with me, Americat... it's all over your face. You don't want me to leave. Why not?"

                            Americat was blushing now as he replied, "Because unlike your friend, you impressed us with how calm you were upon arriving here. Even Tracker likes you and I thought it took a miracle to get him to like someone that fast. Your friend Christopher is a nice guy and all, smart, clever... but too clever for his own good. He didn't plan ahead, he had no plan to get you boys back to Earth, and he complained about his form upon arriving. Then Tracker nailed it when he made his explanation about your friend. And just now... even though with the way home open, he started to insist you go first which would have changed my mind about him, but then he just immediately leaped through as if he couldn't wait to get out of here. I don't want to judge him based on one visit, but I get the feeling that the next time we see you... that it will be just you; not your friend."

                            Strikeback then added, "Our leader is right, Canon... Christopher needs to develop his self esteem or else he won't be much use over here. If Tracker is right about his feeling inferior around you, then he will always be a servant or slave like species with nearly no useful operating status with the team."

                            Canon now looked to both Firestar and Tracker to see if they wanted to say something about this themselves.


                              Firestar says, "I'd have to agree completely. I can't say I was very... impressed with the cat. Even if he was a clever one."

                              Tracker sighs, "You're never impressed with anyone, Firestar." He shakes his head, "Frankly you're all idiots..." He looks each one in the eyes. "The boy has self-confidence issues, it's true. Yet, Charming's words were directed not to him, but to Canon. You only are reinforcing what he already thought. Why would he insist on Canon going first when Charm as much says, Canon's the more important one, he'll find a way back." He sighs, "Canon. It doesn't matter what you think about him. What matters is how he thinks of himself. You're his best friend, therefore he thinks you'd be biased. And you are. You're his friend, you can't help but be a little. But, isn't it obvious... Just look at the reaction everyone here has to you...and their reaction to him. And everyone here is just as guilty of it as those humans back on your world. Rather humorous really. Everyone's condemning him for it, yet they're part of the reason he feels the way he does."

                              Tracker looks back at the portal, "It's a hell of a burden, living for two people. Always second guessing your motivations. I wonder if the boy even has any idea which one is suppose to be him and which one is his brother any more."


                                Charming then says, "I only meant to imply that as a human, Christopher is on top of his game. But while he was here, he seemed handicapped. I meant no ill will upon the boy."

                                Canon hugged each and every one of them... including the frog. Then he stepped over to look at the portal. But before going through... he gave Tracker a KISS on the muzzle. "I'll be back for a return kiss, if nothing else. You are a great teacher, Tracker." And he leaped through the portal, which seemed to short and flicker as he went through it.

                                It never did that when Christopher went through it. So what was going on with Canon?

                                Americat arched an eye as he looked at his scanner readout when the short happened. "Guys... the scanner says that Canon's mutant powers may have carried back to Earth with him. And if that is the case, he might mutate while on Earth. That could be trouble for him back home."


                                In the lab owned by Christopher, Canon felt himself seemingly slam down into his own body once again... although his landing felt as if it was accompanied by an electric shock. "Ow... my groin hurts...." He slowly opened his eyes and looked around. "Chris? Where are you?"