When Worlds Collide -- REALLY Collide
Monday, July 3rd, 1989
Hill Valley VDC
Jack breathed a deep sight of relief as the DeLorean finally stopped shaking. “Jesus Christ,” he muttered, wiping some sweat off his face. “You could have warned me, Martin.”
“I wasn’t thinking of it,” Marty said, trying to hide his glee at seeing Jack shook up.
Jack shot him a look. “Well, I guess it doesn’t matter. Looks like we made it.” He grinned. “Ahh, a fresh new world, all mine for the taking.” His grin grew larger and crueler. “Including a fresh new Martin.” He glanced around. “I’ll admit to feeling a little torn, dear Martin. I do so want to hear my own Martin scream again. But getting him this early would feel a little – anticlimactic.”
Marty shivered. “Oh, this is heavy. . . .”
“I fail to see how weight has anything to do with this.”
That earned Jack a look. “Don’t do that. You sound like Doc when you do that, and I don’t want you to be anything like him.”
Jack winced. “Ugh! On that point, Martin, we are in agreement. I imitated Emmett to get to my Martin – I had to take a hot shower afterwards to get the stink off. I’d rather he see me for what I am now. The expression he’ll make should be hilarious.”
Marty didn’t agree, but had the sense not to say anything. He looked at his feet, feeling cold all over. This shit just keeps getting worse and worse. I wish I could figure out a way to escape. Or maybe save my other selves.
Then an interesting thought hit him. “Hey – how are you going to fit any more people into this car?” he asked. Jack regarded him with a suspicious frown, one eyebrow raised. “I’m not being sarcastic, really. This thing barely seats three, and – and I know you want a bunch of – mes. . . .”
Jack considered that for a moment, then waved a hand dismissively. “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. No doubt I could have this car altered in the future if I had to. Right now, I’m more interested in seeing where we ended up, aren’t you?” He turned the car toward the road, humming to himself. Marty hunkered down in his seat, wondering what Hill Valley was like in this world. Hopefully, the me in this reality has gone on a really long vacation!
Monday, July 3rd
“See you guys later!”
Marty waved goodbye to his friends as he left Spydo’s house. He and the Pinheads had just finished a lengthy practice session for a gig at Darkness Falls that Saturday. It wasn’t anything big – they were simply playing for their friends there – but Marty was happy to have it anyway. The band had been lacking for gigs lately, and Marty knew his bandmates were getting discouraged. J.J. had even come out and said that if they weren’t going to get anywhere together, maybe it was time to break up and try solo stuff. The other guys had gotten on J.J.’s case, but Marty had suspected that, on some level, they agreed with him.
Wonder if we’re gonna break up soon, then, Marty thought with a slight wince, hopping on his skateboard. I already know I go solo in the future, so the band can’t last. At least, not the way it is now. Kind of sad, really. I like the Pinheads. He sighed. Well, I hope we last out the year, at any rate. I’m sure we can play a few more spots before burning out or whatever it is we do. And I also hope we don’t have one of those nasty breakups like some of the bands I’ve read about. He suddenly chuckled. Jesus, I’m making it sound like we’re all dating or something. Get a grip, McFly.
He skateboarded down the block, then turned the corner, heading toward his new apartment. He’d just signed the lease a week ago, and he couldn’t be happier about it. My own place! Well, sort of – my and Jennifer’s place. Which is better. He grinned. It’s small and the upstairs neighbors apparently keep farm animals, but it’s all ours. I can’t wait to get home and see what Jennifer’s got planned for the night. His grinned turned just a little smarmy. Hopefully it involves our bed and a lack of pajamas.
He hooked a ride on a passing Jeep, giving the puzzled driver a sheepish wave. “Aren’t you a little old for that?” the guy yelled back at him.
“Car’s in the shop!” Marty yelled back. “Brakes are out. Besides, I don’t think you’re ever too old for this.” And considering I kind of invented it back in the 50s, I should get a pass.
The guy shrugged and turned his attention fully back to the road. Marty enjoyed the feeling of a cool breeze on his face. Yeah, so he was 21 now – so what? A guy could still enjoy skateboarding. And there was the advantage of not having to pay a parking fee over at Knight’s when he used the board too. I bet Jennifer and Doc are right. I probably will still be doing this when I’m 50. He smirked. Oh well, as long as I keep my boyish good looks, no one will notice.
He let go of the Jeep at a stoplight and made another turn, checking his watch. He was making relatively good time, considering he was pushing himself along on a board with wheels. That was the one thing that was bad about skateboards – unless you hooked a ride from something faster, or were the Flash, they were pretty slow. Faster than walking, of course, and if you knew what you were doing–
A pair of hands suddenly grabbed him.
Startled, Marty fell backwards off the skateboard, which rolled away down the block. “Hey, what’s the big deal?” he asked angrily, trying to pull free. The person had him by the upper arms – it shouldn’t be that hard, considering how strong he was.
The grip tightened, rather painfully. “Don’t even think about it, McFly. We’re matched in strength, and I’ve had more training with it.”
Marty’s spine stiffened in shock. “What the – Sandy?”
“Sandra to you,” the voice hissed. “Sandy’s for my friends.”
“You have a lot of those in the mental institution?”
Quick as a wink, he was spun around and a fist was sailing at his face. Marty didn’t have time to dodge before it connected with his jaw. He stumbled but didn’t fall. The corner of his lip started bleeding, only to seal up within moments. Sandra Rayben, one of the top vampire hunters of the Vampire Extermination Agency, glared at him. “Damn, I wish I could beat you up properly. Fucking Partials.”
“You’re one yourself,” Marty snapped back, bringing his fists up. Normally he didn’t consider hitting girls, but Sandra was a different story. After what she’d done to him, Doc, Mysteria, and Jennifer, he didn’t mind smacking her one. “So don’t knock it.”
“Shut up.” Sandra swung again. Marty managed to avoid the blow this time. “Your friend still going around terrorizing people?”
“No, because he never started in the first place. You’re the one who went around scaring the shit out of everybody.”
“We were just trying to help people! Vampires are insanely dangerous!”
“Some vampires are insanely dangerous! But we already got rid of all those kind! You were trying to kill the ones who weren’t trying to murder everyone they could!” Marty felt a faint prickling in the back of his eyes. “You tried to kill my best friend.”
“He’s a bloodsucking monster,” Sandra growled.
“He’s still a human being! Doc doesn’t even bite people!”
“Don’t lie to me! That’s what vampires do! They suck the blood of innocent people, and leave them to die!”
Marty shook his head. “How the hell did you get out of Southdale talking like that?”
“Idiot, I didn’t tell the doctors all this.” Sandra swung again – Marty ducked, then took his own swing. Sandra ducked too. “I knew I had to get out to stop you lot.”
Marty rolled his eyes. “Well, good luck with that. This chapter of the V.E.A.’s been disbanded.”
Sandra snarled at him. “I know. Bunch of cowards. I heard a couple of them even turned turncoat.” She actually looked a little sad. “After what they’d seen, how could they?”
“Not all of them are as obsessed with getting revenge on all vampires as you.” Marty lowered his fists a little. “Doc told me about your friend.”
“He wasn’t my friend!” Sandra punched Marty again, this time in the gut. Marty fell to one knee as he tried to get his breath back. “He abandoned me! He made me see just how terrible all vampires really were!”
“If he hadn’t been evil, he wouldn’t have gotten into that situation,” Sandra said matter-of-factly. “There is no difference between ‘souled’ and ‘soulless.’ Vampires are predators, plain and simple. And this prey species just happens to have the means to fight back.”
“That’s not how I remember learning about predators and prey. You flunk basic biology, or what?” Marty got back on his feet, clenching his fists again. “So what’s the point of this? You know I can just warn Doc that you’re back out, and we can do stuff to keep you from causing more havoc.”
“You can try, but I’ll persevere in the end,” Sandra said. “And I’ll admit it – I just wanted to release a little tension by smashing your face in. It’s all your fault that I was stuck in that place.”
“Funny – I don’t remember being the one who attacked a bunch of actors with stakes, screaming about sensationalizing violence.” Marty backed up a step, sending out a mental alert to Doc. The signal hit some sort of blockage. Oh, great. Must be “happy fun time” with Mysteria. Great timing, Doc. “I’ve never understood villains who insist on letting people know they’re back. I don’t even have to do anything with Doc. All I have to do is get to a payphone and call the police.”
“By which time, I’ll be gone and well-hidden. I’m not going back to the sanitarium until my work is done this time.” She stepped forward. “But first, I want you to know how serious I am.”
“I’m just as serious, bitch,” Marty snarled. “Bring it on!”
“Now, now, children, there’s no need to fight.”
Both Marty and Sandra blinked a few times, startled. “Wha – Doc?” Marty said, turning to the left.
The man standing there certainly looked like Doc – the same wild mane of hair, the same lanky body, the same habit of standing a bit hunched over. But Marty could tell that it wasn’t his friend. For one, this man’s eyes weren’t quite the same. Same color, sure, but there was something – different – behind them. For another, that half-smile he was favoring them with – it didn’t look friendly in the slightest. It looked almost psychotic. Like something a soulless vampire would wear. Marty stared, confused. What the hell? Doc! Doc, stop it with Mystie, I gotta talk to you!
Unfortunately, there was no response. Marty supposed he could understand why – he and Doc always shut down the link during sex, not wanting any weird thoughts getting through to kill the mood – but it was really darn frustrating right now. Shit. Keep cool, McFly. Maybe there’s a logical explanation for this. Or even an unlogical one. God knows we get enough of those.
Sandra was scowling at the newcomer. “Brown. Didn’t think you’d get here so early.” She grabbed Marty’s arm again while he was distracted. “Unless you want me to do something seriously nasty to him, you’ll let us have this out.”
The not-Doc smirked. “Interesting proposal. Of course, you’re going off the assumption that I don’t want you to do something seriously nasty to him.”
Sandra blinked again. “What?”
“Who the hell are you?” Marty said, pulling free of Sandra.
“Jack Merridew Brown is the name,” the not-Doc said with a mock bow. “I of course already know yours. But who is the lovely lady?”
“Jack? What, are you trying out aliases now?” Sandra said, grabbing for Marty again. He danced out of reach, keeping his eye on Jack. “I know who you are. You’re Dr. Emmett Brown, and--”
Jack shook his head. “No, I’m not Emmett. I’m his twin brother.” He frowned. “Aren’t I?”
“I’m guessing no,” Marty said, making another attempt to push through the mental wall. It wasn’t budging an inch. Doc and Mystie must be really busy. “He’s never told me about any twin – just a sister, Emily.”
“No me appearing in 1986? Or 1987? No wild ride through dimensions?”
Marty blinked, surprised. “What? No! How do you know--”
“I know a lot of things, dear Martin,” Jack said, grinning. “I guess I picked wrong. Fine with me, though.” He suddenly reached out and grabbed a hold on Marty’s shirt. “I’ll take you as a consolation prize.”
Marty decided that, whoever this guy was, it was probably best to run first and ask questions later. He shoved Jack as hard as he could.
Jack stumbled backwards, nearly landing on his butt. He looked at Marty with a bit of surprise. “You’re stronger than the other one.”
Marty, who had been preparing to flee, stopped at that. “Other one?” he repeated softly, looking at Jack. “Are you from that other world?”
“Sort of,” Jack grinned. “It’s a long, complicated story that I don’t feel like repeating. I’d rather you just come with me.”
“Hell no!” Marty turned and started running toward his skateboard.
Sandra suddenly jumped on him, knocking him flat and pinning him to the ground. “Okay, what the hell is going on around here?” she snapped. “What’s this bullshit about other dimensions? Is this some sort of reverse psychology gambit? Because I can tell you right now it’s not going to work!”
“No, it’s nothing like that,” Jack said, looking at Sandra with amusement. “I don’t think you ever answered my first question. That’s very impolite.” He pulled a sharp-looking knife out of his pocket. “Let’s try it again, shall we?” he said, pointing it at the veins in her throat. “And if you don’t answer me again, I’ll teach you a lesson about being polite. Specifically, that old one about nice girls being seen and not heard.”
Sandra stared. “Er – Sandra Rayben,” she finally said, looking the man up and down. “You really aren’t Dr. Brown, are you?”
“What gave it away?” Jack said with a mocking smile. “Now, I see you have your own issues with this young man, but I’m afraid I’ll have to request that you turn him over to me. I’m starting a collection, you see. And he’s vital to it.”
Sandra raised an eyebrow. “What are you planning on doing to him?”
Jack’s smile turned genuine – and intensely creepy, in Marty’s opinion. “Anything and everything I can. I want him to hurt. And I want Emmett to hurt knowing that I’m hurting him.”
Sandra frowned, looking thoughtful. “I see. You on the V.E.A.’s side?”
Jack blinked a few times, his turn to look confused. “I’m not on anyone’s side but my own. I just want Emmett Brown and Martin McFly to suffer.”
“Me too,” Sandra said, still looking thoughtful. “They got me committed, you know. All for trying to save people from them.”
Jack waved a hand. “Committed. Pah. Barely scratches the surface of what they did to me.” He smiled at her again. “Though it appears you and I have a goal in common. So why not hand him over to me and let me do all your dirty work? You can rest easy, knowing the people who hurt you are getting theirs.”
Sandra looked at Marty, then back at Jack. “I’ll hand him over – if I can come with you,” she finally said.
Jack drew back a little, surprised. “What?”
“What?!” Marty echoed, astonished.
“I want some of the pleasure of beating the shit out of him,” Sandra shrugged. “Plus, an old guy like you is going to need help taking him in.”
“I’m stronger than I look, girl,” Jack said, looking insulted. “Want a demonstration?”
“I’m not saying you can’t be strong – it’s just this asshole’s a Partial, which means he’s stronger.”
“A what now?”
“You believe in vampires, Mr. Brown?”
“It’s Dr. Brown – my brother isn’t the only one who got a doctorate – and at this point, I’m willing to believe in anything.”
Marty suddenly felt the mental wall start to weaken. Finally! Doc, listen, you’ve got to get over here, there is some seriously weird –
Then Sandra, apparently realizing he could call Doc for help, smashed his head into the pavement twice – hard. Stars danced before Marty’s eyes, then all went black.
Monday, July 3rd
Doc Brown slapped a hand to his forehead, wincing in pain. Mysteria, getting her robe on, looked over at him in concern. “Emmett? You okay?”
“Not really,” Doc said, rubbing his face as the pain started to fade. “I feel like my face has just been slammed into something very hard and rough.”
Mysteria frowned. “Please tell me that’s just a headache and not something that came from Marty.”
“Unfortunately, it appears to be the latter,” Doc admitted, looking over at her. “He just tried to send me a message, but it was cut off by that blast of pain. I think our little sexual escapade caused me to miss something.”
Mysteria sighed deeply. “Figures. You try to have a little fun, and it turns out your timing’s shot all to hell.”
“More a case of me making the mental blocks too strong,” Doc said, getting up and putting on his boxers. “Though, really, I don’t want to hear his voice while we’re engaged in procreation. It makes things very, very awkward.”
“I can understand that,” Mysteria nodded. “Same reason I block out Jennifer.” She went over to the wardrobe and picked out a dress. “Time to go investigate who’s trying to rough up Marty this time.” She sighed again. “I was hoping all this would be over, now that the V.E.A. is gone and everything’s back to normal – well, normal as it can get.”
“Me too,” Doc, joining her to get a pair of pants and shirt. “But it appears we’ll always have someone willing to try and hurt the ones we love.” He suddenly felt a cold chill. “Oh, Great Scott, I hope that whoever his assailant is, he or she is human. I refuse to go through another situation with the soulless vampires!”
“I’ll keep my fingers crossed,” Mystie said, quickly pulling on a bra and her dress. “How out is he?”
Doc sent a mental probe. “Fully unconscious,” he reported, yanking on his own clothes. “Did you let Jennifer know what’s happening?”
“Yeah, I did. She says Marty was supposed to be home about now – she’s gonna call Spydo and ask when he left the house.”
“Good idea – helps narrow down where we have to look. Too bad he couldn’t send me any rough coordinates before. . . .” He let his voice trail off as he got on shoes.
“Get any images?” Mystie asked, patting his shoulder.
Doc frowned, thinking. “Not really, though he sounded very badly confused.” He winced. “And rather scared. Damn it, if it is another soulless, I’ll--”
Mysteria rubbed the back of his neck, trying to calm him down a bit. “We don’t know what happened yet – there’s still that slim possibility Marty managed to slip and knock himself out all on his own. Hold onto that.”
“I’m trying.” He glanced outside. “Jennifer call yet?”
“Yeah, just did – Marty left at 7:45, so he’d definitely be on his way home. She’s gonna drive down his usual route – want to fly down from the other end and meet up in the middle?”
“Sounds about right. Let’s go.” He and Mysteria exited the house and, keeping an eye out for witnesses, took off into the sky.
It didn’t take them long to find Sypdo’s house. They landed in the backyard, then headed toward the street and down the block, following the path Marty had taken by smell. About halfway there, on a rather quiet side street, Doc picked up a disturbingly familiar scent. “Uh-oh,” he muttered. “Sandra.”
“She’s out?” Mysteria said in surprise, sniffing the air. “Huh. I thought with all the vampire talk, it would take a lot longer.” She frowned, taking a long sniff. “There’s someone else here too.”
Doc sniffed. Mystie was right – along with Marty’s and Sandra’s scents, there was a third fresh one. It smelt odd – somewhat similar to his own scent, actually. “Mysteria, you know alcohol better than I do – is that another wine?”
Mysteria turned in a circle, nose in the air. “Bit rougher. More like whiskey.”
“Hmmm.” Doc followed it for a moment, noting it lead out into the street. “I hope our friends didn’t leave by car – would make things a lot harder on us.”
Jennifer arrived just then, coming around the other corner. “Hey, guys!” she said, jogging up to them. “Find anything useful?”
“We’ve identified one scent as being Sandra Rayben’s,” Doc said. “There’s also a mystery scent that could belong to an accomplice – at any rate, it’s as fresh as the others.”
Mysteria spotted Marty’s skateboard, lying abandoned near some trash cans. She went over and picked it up. “Doesn’t look like he went willingly – otherwise he would have taken this.”
Doc nodded, feeling a nervous twist in his heart. “This is not good. Sandra’s scent, Marty’s skateboard abandoned, that feeling of being knocked out I got – I think it’s safe to say our former V.E.A. member is looking for some revenge.”
“Crap,” Jennifer said with a scowl. “The V.E.A. was more of a problem than the soulless vampires.” Doc and Mysteria gave her disbelieving looks. “Well, okay, maybe not really, but – at least soulless vampires have an excuse!”
“Technically, so does Sandra,” Doc said, frowning as he remembered what he’d discovered during their final fights. “Doesn’t make her any less dangerous, though. I just wish I knew who her accomplice was. Another Partial?”
“Let’s see if we can track her down and find out.”
The group followed the smell for a while, until it ended in a nearby alley. “Damn,” Doc said, scowling. “Gasoline, rubber – this must be where their car was.”
Jennifer was looking very angry now. “That bitch has another thing coming if she thinks she can kidnap my boyfriend. I say we track her down and tell her in no uncertain terms to leave us the hell alone!”
Doc looked his friend, surprised. Jennifer had her nasty moods, of course, but this was a bit extreme for her. Then again, considering all they’d had to go through in the past few years, maybe she had been looking forward to a long break too.
Mysteria put an arm around her. “Bad end to a bad day, huh?”
“You ain’t kidding,” Jennifer admitted, calming down a tad. “This is just the icing on the cake. I thought we were through with all of this! We’re supposed to have won!”
“We won the battles, but I’d wager that, on some level, the war will never be over,” Doc said, indulging in his own dark mutterings for a bit. “The soulless and V.E.A. will always be out there, even if we’ve driven them out of Hill Valley for the time being. We’ll probably still have to fight occasional small battles like this.”
“Small?” Jennifer protested. “Marty just got kidnapped!”
“Yes – but that’s not quite as large a problem to someone with vampiric senses and a time machine,” Doc said with a fanged grin. “With a little detective work and some of the right preparations, we should be able to track him down. And if it turns out they managed to take him somewhere we can’t get to, I’m not averse to using the machine to skip backwards and perhaps prevent the kidnapping from at least going as far as it did.”
“Any reason why we can’t use the last option first?”
“Jennifer, you’ve known Emmett for how long, and you still have to ask that?” Mysteria teased.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, paradoxes, but still. . . .”
“I’d prefer us all getting a little roughed up to the end of the universe,” Doc said. “Sorry to say it, but it’s true. Marty at least can recover from whatever Sandra might pull quickly. With a little luck, he could escape on his own.”
“We’re never that lucky,” Mysteria said with a shake of her head.
“You never know – the universe has cut us a break every so often.” Doc clapped his hands together. “We shouldn’t rely on such a turn of luck, however. Let’s go back home, dig out the stake-proof vests, then start theorizing on likely hiding places for our errant vampire hunter. Keep your fingers crossed we can settle this before sunrise.”
“Right,” Jennifer said, hopping onto Mystie’s back. “Ugh, I was so hoping for a nice quiet night with Marty. . . .”
“There’s still that chance,” Mysteria said. “We’ll get him back.”
Jennifer managed a real smile at that. “Yeah, I know. Doc would move heaven and earth if he knew Marty was really in trouble.”
“That I would. Hopefully it won’t come to that here, but. . . .” He and Mysteria took off again, Jennifer hanging tightly to Mystie’s back.
The flight was quiet for the most part. Doc wasn’t sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing. Quiet flights meant quicker travel times and more peaceful flying, of course, but this one was also giving his mind time to dwell on what had happened to Marty. Doc was a bit more worried than he looked – Sandra was a well-trained vampire hunter, and she did her job very well. What if she ended up doing a permanent injury to Marty – one his accelerated healing factor couldn’t take care of? Or what if she actually killed him? Sandra claimed to be unwilling to harm humans – but it was entirely possible she didn’t consider Marty human. Doc shuddered as he thought of his best friend with a stake through his heart. Maybe Jennifer’s right and I should break out the DeLorean first thing. . . .
Well, at least he knew Marty was okay, if unconscious. His heart beat was steady, and there had been no more incidents of pain –
CRASH! Until now. “Yeow! Damn it!”
Snapping himself out of his reverie, Doc rubbed his forehead. Whatever he had hit, it was definitely very hard! Pissed both at the object and at himself for not paying adequate attention, he looked around for it.
The sky was empty.
Doc blinked, anger melting into confusion. “What the--”
Mysteria pulled up beside him, staring. “Emmett? Did you – did you just crash into thin air?”
Before Doc could respond, they suddenly heard voices in front of them. “What the – did something just crash into the train?”
“It certainly sounded like it. I’d say it was a bird, but it sounded too – big.”
“Just glad it hit the side and not the flux capacitor. One of these days, I really have to buckle down and create more shielding for that.”
Doc, Mysteria, and Jennifer stared at each other. Did you hear that? Jennifer thought, too stunned to speak.
Yup. Holy crap, Mysteria thought back. Looking at Doc, she added, Emmett, didn’t that sound like that Clara you married in that alternate reality from two years ago?
Might be, it’s been a while. “Er, hello?” he called, feeling somewhat awkward.
There was silence. Then, suddenly, the top half of a woman with long, curly brown hair appeared out of nowhere. Jennifer gave a small yelp, nearly losing her grip on Mystie’s shoulders. “What – Oh my God.”
Mystie gave her a weak smile and wave, adjusting so Jennifer didn’t fall. “Uh, hi Clara. Nice to see you again.”
“It’s nice to see you too – rather surprising, but--”
“It’s Mystie?” The alternate Doc joined his wife at the invisible window. “Great Scott. So those wings you showed us--”
“Fully functional,” Doc confirmed. “What are you doing here? How are you here?”
“I was just about to ask you the same question,” the other Doc admitted. “Here, why don’t you come inside so we can talk more comfortably. I’m sorry you had to run into this – I just think it would be rather attention-getting to have a large steam locomotive hovering over the general Hill Valley area.”
“You have a TRAIN?” Jennifer squeaked, astonished.
“It’s a long story,” Doc said, watching with interest as two doors opened gullwing-style to reveal a cab. “I’m assuming you remember my other self from that incident back in 1987.”
“Yeah, I do, but – a flying steam train. It’s kind of hard to wrap your mind around.” Jennifer eyed the cab floating in midair. “Especially when it’s invisible.”
“Wait until you see what’s inside,” the alternate Doc said with a small smile. “I’ll warn you right now, your other-dimensional counterpart is here with us.”
“Yeah, I heard her,” Jennifer said as the vampires flew over to the steps and climbed inside. “Freaky.”
The alternate Jennifer herself was sitting on the bench, staring at the newcomers. “Wings?” she squeaked.
“I was surprised too,” Doc told her, giving her a friendly smile.
Jennifer looked at her other self, then looked away. “This has turned out to be a very strange day.”
“We won’t argue with that,” Clara said as her Doc closed up the cab again. “Though I’m glad we ended up here – at least we don’t have to deal with a strange version of Emmett.”
“I’m surprised we’re dealing with any version of me at all,” the alternate Doc said, frowning in confusion. “Why are you still here? Shouldn’t you be back in my home dimension?”
“What are you talking about?” Doc countered. “I haven’t done any time traveling in a couple of days, much less any that could result in another inter-dimensional portal.”
“Then how did the one over Eastwood Ravine open?”
“Eastwood?” Jennifer echoed.
“Clayton here,” Doc said.
“Oh, yeah, you mentioned that last time, didn’t you?” Jennifer said to the alternate Doc. “Sorry, it’s been two years, my memory’s kind of fuzzy.”
“It’s all right,” the alternate Doc assured her. “Anyway, I assume there must have been some sort of dual time travel involved, otherwise why would it be there?”
“Beats the shit out of me. I didn’t help create it!”
Mysteria was looking around the cab, looking confused. “Someone’s missing from your four-man band. Where’s Marty?”
“That’s what we’re hoping to find out,” the alternate Doc said with a sigh. “He disappeared shortly after noon in our world. Someone stole my DeLorean shortly thereafter. We think that the perpetrator might have kidnapped him.”
Jennifer went pale. “Really? Oh, wow, Marty’s having a bad day in every dimension, huh?”
“What?” the other Jennifer said, sitting up straighter. “What happened?”
“Ours just recently went missing,” Doc explained. “We’re hoping we can track him down, we recognize one of the scents from the ‘scene of the crime.’”
“Jesus,” the alternate Jennifer breathed. Then – “Uh, scents?”
“We’ll explain in more detail once we’ve sorted this mess out. Why are you looking for your Marty here?”
In response, the alternate Doc displayed his watch. “It’s tuned to keep track of my DeLorean,” he explained. “Recently, it alerted me to time travel – then flashed an error message. When we went through the portal, it returned to normal.”
“Interesting,” Doc said, studying the watch. “When did it sound the alarm?”
“Roughly 7:30 our time – took us a half-hour to get properly prepared and discover the portal,” the alternate Doc explained. “Our initial goal was to skip back in time and see what we could do about Marty’s kidnapping, but when I saw the portal, I thought it best to investigate.”
“Good idea,” Doc said. “Mystie and I were – otherwise occupied when the portal must have opened up here. But the DeLorean was in the garage with us. I would have heard anyone trying to steal it.”
The alternate Doc shook his head. “You’re certain?”
“Positive.” Doc displayed his own arm. “I have a near-identical watch, and it’s working fine. Nobody’s touched it.”
The alternate Doc examined it. A weird look came over his face. “Wait a minute. . . July 3rd, 1989?”
“Er, yes,” Mysteria said. “Why? Something else go haywire?”
“It’s May 12th, 1990 where we come from.”
There was a long period of silence. “This is not good,” Jennifer finally said.
“This is about as not good as you can get!” Doc agreed, stunned. “Didn’t you notice the change in date?”
“I didn’t think going through the portal would change the time period we entered! It didn’t the last time – our two universes were running roughly concurrently! A few minutes apart at most! I only gave the watch a passing glance to see if it was operational again!” The alternate Doc began to pace. “If you haven’t time traveled – and I know nothing like that happened in our past; I’d remember if you showed up again--”
“Then whoever stole your DeLorean somehow figured out how to create a portal whenever he or she traveled through time,” Doc finished. “Great Scott.”
“Why on earth would they do that?” the alternate Jennifer asked.
“Damned if I know! What it means, though, that our kidnapper is highly intelligent. Which makes him about five times more dangerous. We have to track down my errant DeLorean and stop him immediately!” The alternate Doc ran his fingers through his hair, looking badly frustrated. “And after this, the garage gets new locks. I’ve obviously been a bit too lax with security.”
“Yeah, I think I’ll consider ramping up my own after this,” Doc said, looking ill at ease. “We’ll lend you a hand.”
“What about Marty?” Jennifer asked immediately.
“We can look for him--”
Doc suddenly felt Marty’s heartbeat leave his chest. Horrified, he slapped a hand to his chest. What? Marty? he thought desperately. Marty, answer me!
But there was no reply. It like Marty just suddenly wasn’t there anymore. A cold chill snaked down his spine. Is he dead? No, I think I would have felt pain in that instance. It’s more like he just – disappeared. . . .
At the same time, the alternate Doc’s watch beeped. Both Docs looked at it. “Error again,” the alternate Doc said quietly. “He must have left this dimension already. Damn.”
“Are you all right?” Clara asked, noting Doc’s pale face.
Doc looked at her. “I – I think he’s got my Marty.”
“What?” both Jennifers gasped.
“His heartbeat just stopped – and considering how sudden it was, I don’t think death was the cause,” Doc said, looking outside. “And since it happened the same instant your watch went off--”
“What the hell is going on here?” the alternate Jennifer said, shaking her head. “Is whoever’s got the DeLorean collecting Martys for some reason?”
“Who would want multiple versions of the same kid?” Mystie said, frowning in utter bafflement. “You think one would be more than enough. Er, that’s not intended as a slur on Marty himself.”
“I know what you mean,” Doc said, starting to pace himself. “I don’t think any of us actually care about our perpetrator’s reasons, though. What matters is getting our Martys back and getting the DeLorean away from him!”
“Exactly!” The alternate Doc flew to the controls. “Come on, let’s see if we can find out where he left the portal this time.”
With six people on the hunt, it didn’t take long for them to spot the shimmer. “There it is! Over by Lone Pine Mall!” Mysteria frowned as she looked at it. “Sheesh, that’s dangerous, time traveling in a busy place like that.”
“So our thief is reckless too,” the alternate Doc grumbled, steering the train so they could go in. “Wonderful.”
Jennifer pulled on Doc’s sleeve as she had a thought. “Hey – do you think Sandra’s involved in all this? You guys tracked her scent to that alley along with that weird one. Maybe she decided to help.”
“It’s possible,” Doc admitted.
“Sick bitch,” Mysteria added with a scowl.
“Who’s Sandra?” the alternate Jennifer asked. “You guys have got to give me some sort of explanation, I’m completely lost here.”
“We’ll do our best to make it brief,” Doc promised. “The other me and his wife need to be caught up as well.” He frowned. “We also need to figure out what to call each other.”
“I suppose one of you could be ‘Doc’ and one of you could be ‘Emmett,’” Mysteria suggested.
“That only works if our total number stays at two,” the alternate Doc said, rather darkly.
Jennifer sucked in a breath. “You don’t think--”
“That we might be picking up other versions as more Martys are kidnapped? It’s a possibility we’ll have to consider. I don’t like thinking about it either, but if my Jennifer’s theory is right, we could have a major situation on our hands.”
“Like this isn’t?” Mysteria muttered sarcastically.
“Well, it does get more serious with each dimension we visit.” The alternate Doc looked at his counterpart. “A numbering system should work all right – do you mind if I take the first spot?”
“Go ahead, I don’t care at all,” Doc said, rubbing the spot where Marty’s heartbeat had been. “It started in your world anyway. I just want to see Marty – both of them – returned home safely.”
The alternate Doc – Doc-1 – nodded. “Let’s get right to it, then. Everyone, hang to something.” He headed for the portal full-throttle.
And the world of the Vampire Doc Chronicles was left behind in favor of another.