When Worlds Collide -- REALLY Collide
Tuesday, May 24th, 1988
Hill Valley Night and Day
Marty-3 was relieved when the shaking finally stopped. His stomach was already feeling sour, and it certainly hadn’t helped matters to feel like you were living through a violent earthquake. “I think I’m gonna puke,” he admitted softly, head almost between his knees.
“Really?” Jack came over to him and pulled his head up. “Go ahead then. Throw up. I dare you.”
Something about his tone made Marty-3 certain that, if he gave into the urge, he’d definitely live to regret it. He swallowed back his bile as best he could. Jack smiled at him. “Good boy,” he said, patting the teenager’s cheek before going back to the controls.
The other Martys looked over at him in concern. “You okay?” Marty-2 asked.
“No,” Marty-3 said. Not only did he still feel really queasy, he was also very pissed off with himself. Why didn’t I just knock her out while time was still stopped? Then I probably could have run circles around these other two and saved everybody! Stupid, stupid McFly!
“Yeah, feeling sick enough to throw up is never fun,” Marty-1 sympathized. “I’m sorry, I’m probably the reason he made you suck it up. I threw up on his shoes when he took me.”
“It’s okay,” Marty-3 said. “I’m just – I wish I could have gotten us out of this! I had a chance to, and I blew it!”
“Trust me, I blew it way before you did,” Marty-1 told him, now looking guilty. “I should have never said anything about other worlds to him. This is all my fault.”
“Don’t either of you go on a guilt trip,” Marty-2 warned them. “I think we all had a chance to stop this shit – he just blindsided us.”
Jack chuckled from his position at the front. “Yes, you tell yourself that,” he said, smiling back at the three. “Whatever makes you think you’re not quite as stupid as you really are.”
Amina, standing next to him, smirked at the Martys. “Did you see the doktours’ faces as you dangled that one out of the cab?” she asked, pointing to Marty-1. “Beautiful.”
“Tell me about it,” Jack grinned. “It’s utterly delicious, knowing you have something they care about, and knowing they know it too and can’t do a thing about it.” He ran his fingers lightly over the keyboard that made up the train’s time display. “Especially when you can use their own technology against them.”
Sandra looked around the cab. “You have to give him some credit – he’s definitely smart. This looks like one of those old time steam trains. I wonder how he converted it into a time machine?”
“Knowing Emmett, it was just a whim that hit him one day,” Jack said dismissively. “I really don’t care how he did it – I’m just glad he did.” He smiled over at the Martys. “We’re going to need all this room.”
“You don’t know that,” Marty-2 said defiantly. “Maybe this is the right dimension and you’ll get the Marty you’re looking for.”
“Maybe,” Jack said. “But I’ve decided something. Even if I get the right world on one of these early trips, I’m not stopping. I’m going on until I’ve gotten every Marty I can possibly get.” His eyes lit up with manic glee. “There’s probably thousands of you. Tens of thousands.”
“How are you going to fit tens of thousands of Martys into this?” Marty-2 asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Oh, yes, I’m sure we’ll hit a maximum capacity limit eventually.” Jack’s grin widened, until his face seemed almost half teeth. “That’s when we start chopping you up and shoveling you into the furnace.”
“I want that job,” Amina said, running her thumb gently along the blade of her Kurki knife. “I’d chop you up nice and small, bit by bit.”
“I know,” Jack said, pulling her close. “I can just picture it.” He licked his lips. “Once we have a couple more of these little freaks, maybe we can take a quick break. . . .”
“I think I’d like that,” Amina purred, rubbing his back.
The Martys exchanged disgusted looks. “Why did you have to pick now to try and get revenge on Doc?” Marty-3 muttered, feeling his stomach roll again.
Amina shot him a look. “Your Doktour was getting too satisfied with himself. He thought he had escaped us. I was determined to prove him wrong.” She smiled back at Jack. “Too bad he couldn’t be more like his brother here. You, I would have liked working with.”
“I’m sure I would have liked working with you,” Jack growled, grabbing her ass. “And I wouldn’t have screwed you over with a bomb made of pinball machine parts either. I would have given you something that could level an entire city. All that pain, all that suffering. . . .”
“All those worthless infidels dead,” Amina agreed. “All those puny little bugs crushed.”
“Mmm, maybe we’ll have to take that break a little earlier. . . .”
“Okay, you two, break it up,” Sandra said, looking a little disturbed.
Jack shot her a look. “Sandra, may I remind you who is in charge?” he asked, pulling out his switchblade.
“I’m not saying you two can’t screw,” Sandra said quickly, holding up her hands. “I’m just saying that, sooner or later, the Browns are gonna follow us through that portal, and they might be in the mood to do something drastic. Might be best to have your pants on for that.”
Jack scowled. “Why did you have to ruin my good mood with logic?” he grumbled.
“Just at least land this thing before you start humping. And, uh, find a private room, I don’t really want to watch.”
“We don’t want you to watch either,” Amina said grumpily.
“Isn’t premarital sex against your religion anyway?”
“So is women being unveiled, but you don’t see her in a burqa,” Jack pointed out. “I suspect a terrorist sect needs to be a little flexible when it comes to their beliefs, simply to best utilize their resources.”
“Yes, it was agreed a veil, though more proper, would detract from me serving Allah in my preferred way,” Amina nodded.
“Well, whatever,” Sandra said. “I don’t care, as long as I get a chance to kill my version of the Brown bastard.”
“You will, you will,” Jack said, going back to the controls. “Just remember, he’s mine to work over first.”
“Yeah, yeah. So where are we now?”
“I don’t know. Hill Valley, of course, but I don’t know the particulars of the town.” Jack turned and started piloting the train toward the main square. “Let’s go find out what versions of Emmett and Martin await us here. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of fun taking them down.”
Marty-1 had a thought. “What happens if you find a world where one of us has died already?” Jack eyed him. “Not being sarcastic, honest. I’m just curious.”
“Then I turn off the dimensional portal creator and simply time travel back to when you’d be alive. Not even death itself will cheat me out of my ultimate victory.” He caressed his cloak. “It already tried once, and failed.”
Marty-3 blinked. “You a mutant?”
“Afraid not,” Jack said. “Just very, very lucky.”
The Martys exchanged another look, this one nervous. “We have to figure out a way to fight back!” Marty-2 whispered.
“What can we do? The way he’s got us tied up, I can barely move!” Marty-1 whispered back.
“Yeah. I mean, if I could get loose, I could get us all out of here in about ten seconds, but as it’s going. . . .” Marty-3 added, tugging fruitlessly at the thick rope binding his wrists.
“I know. This is good stuff,” Marty-2 admitted, yanking himself. “Sandra probably told him to double-knot it a couple of times. . . . Well, at any rate, we have to stay alive long enough for the Docs to get here.”
Marty-1 looked at Jack. Very softly, he said, “Do you really think Doc could stop these guys?”
“We just gotta cross our fingers and hope. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the Doc here will be ultra-powerful.”
Tuesday, May 24th
“Marty, I’m not ultra-powerful.”
Marty smirked over at his adoptive father. “Really? You could have fooled me, what with the whole ‘immortal vampire’ thing.”
“Considering we’re all immortal vampires in this household, it really doesn’t give me much of an advantage.” Doc grabbed Leslie as she tried to crawl up and out of the playpen. “Even against vampire toddlers.” He paused and considered that for a moment as he set her firmly back down inside the pen. “Especially against vampire toddlers.”
Marty nodded, noticing Logan trying to make a break for it. “Tell me about it. I’m just glad they don’t know how to fly yet.” He put the little boy next to his sister. Both babies made annoyed noises and crawled for the bars again. “At least Christopher’s behaving himself.”
“Thank God for that logic puzzle,” Doc agreed, watching the third of his young triplets gnawing on a circle-shaped block. “Though it appears he still hasn’t quite grasped what he’s actually supposed to do with it.”
“He’s, what, seven months old? I’d only worry if he couldn’t do it when he’s three or something. And with your genes, I know that’s not gonna happen.”
Doc blushed faintly. “You never know, kid. I’d be happy if all of the triplets were simply of normal intelligence.”
Marty eyed his siblings. “The way they’re crawling around? I don’t think they’ve got just normal intelligence, Dad. Even for babies, they seem pretty smart.”
Leslie lost interest in her escape attempts and started on trying to eat her own feet. Doc chuckled. “Well, they do have a well-developed sense of irony.”
Marty snorted, then checked his watch. “Sheez, it’s getting close to nine. Where is Jennifer?”
“I’d expect her to run a bit late,” Doc admitted, checking his own watches. “It’s not often that she gets to enjoy some time out posing as her counterpart. Plus she’s getting to see her father again, which will probably cause her to delay a bit.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” Marty nodded. “I was the same way when the other Marty asked me to sub in for him at that play.” He looked thoughtful. “I wonder if she’s gonna end up feeling the same way I did – that her dad isn’t really her dad anymore.”
“You could always ask her,” Doc pointed out.
“I know, but I don’t want to interrupt her evening out,” Marty said. “Or make her do something weird that Jennifer-2's gonna have to explain. I can wait until she gets back.” He shifted a little in his seat on the floor. “I was just hoping to get a chance to stretch my wings, ya know? Get out of the house for a little while.”
“Well, we don’t do much of anything anymore except look after these guys and occasionally sub for our doubles. I just want to get out and – I dunno, I guess fly around and enjoy myself.” He dangled a plush seal in front of Logan, hoping to keep him away from the bars of the playpen. “I can’t say I’m bored – these guys won’t let me be – but–” He sighed and shrugged. “I’m not begging for adventure, Dad, I just want to get outside again.”
“After Hell Valley, I don’t think any of us would beg for adventure,” Doc said. “But if you want a quick break, you can go ahead and take one. I’m sure I can handle these three by myself.”
Marty frowned. “You sure, Dad? After that crazy lady incident, I don’t know if it’s a good idea to leave one of us alone with the kids.”
“The crazy lady’s locked up in Southdale,” Doc said. “And we don’t have any other enemies that would come after us anymore. Even Josephine’s relaxed about leaving the kids with one person, and we know how crazy she can get about motherhood.”
I heard that, Josephine’s voice butted in.
“Well, it’s true, darling,” Doc said, smirking a bit. “How are things at the blood bank?”
Slow. I don’t see why they had to schedule me for an early shift – there’s not all that much to do. I’m tempted to alphabetize the blood, but I’m sure that would just get me in trouble.
Marty laughed. “I’d go for it, Mom, if you’re that bored.”
Well, we’ll see. Hopefully Jill will stop in soon. And Marty, your father’s right – now that that awful woman’s been taken away, I think it’s all right to leave the twins with just one of us. Your father’s a strong man – he can take whatever surprises they can dish out.
“Yeah, I suppose so,” Marty admitted, smiling at his father. “Okay, I’m gonna go for a quick fly around Hill Valley then. I should be back in just a few minutes.”
“All righty then. The triplets and I will await your return.” Doc gave his son a hug. “Stay safe out there.”
“I will, Dad. Don’t let them doubleteam you.”
“I’ll try not to,” Doc smiled. “See you shortly.”
“Bye!” Marty headed out the door and to the roof. After making sure there was no one around to see him, he took off, spreading his wings into the wild blue yonder.
It was a relief to fly, to let the wind carry him around. Marty loved his new brothers and sister, but they were really stifling what little freedom he had. It felt like ages since he’d been able to go outside for anything that didn’t involve either picking up baby supplies or playing pinch-hitter for his alternate self. He pushed himself as high as he dared, laughing a little as the wind soared past his face. It was a little chilly, but it felt great. “Now this is the life!”
He flew over the town square, looking down at the glowing forms of the few people below who had yet to wrap up their business and head home for the night. He flew past the blood bank, sending a mental hello to Josephine inside. Then, feeling daring, he flew towards the woods that bordered Hill Valley on one side. The forest was home to a campground and a number of different animals. New reports from the vampire crowd his family occasionally hung out with, however, said that it was recently also becoming home to a number of soulless vampires. The migration was worrying everyone, especially since attacks upon regular humans were starting to become more frequent. Maybe I can do a little air reconnaissance, Marty thought, mentally stumbling a little over the last word. See what they’re getting up to. As long as I don’t land and get out of there quick, I should be okay. Dad’ll probably be a little upset anyway, though. He shook his head a little. I’m not really that fragile, Dad, honest.
The air over the woods was clear and had a distinctly pine scent. Marty flew low over the treetops, sniffing for any peculiar scents. Most everything seemed to be in order at first. Then Marty caught a whiff of something interesting. Oil, grease – and was that the smell of burning leaves? Either someone’s having an awful weird campfire – He looked down and grinned. Or I just caught Biff Tannen.
The auto detailer was standing near the pond, looking rather nervous. Marty circled above him, curious. I wonder what he’s doing here? A lot of people are scared of the woods now that there’s been all those “animal attacks.” You think he’d stay as far away from danger as possible. He smirked. Maybe I should fly down there and buzz him. Just to see the look on his face. After all the bullshit all of us had to go through because of him. . . .
Suddenly, another noise a little ways off caught his attention. It sounded like – hissing steam. Puzzled, Marty looked to his left. What the hell? Did someone –
His jaw dropped. Holy shit, is that a FLYING STEAM TRAIN?!
It certainly looked like it, at any rate. Marty stared as the train slowly descended below the trees, steam hissing from the sides and smoke trailing from the smokestack. “This is heavy,” he whispered. “Looks almost something like Dad or Doc would make. Maybe it’s one of them from the future?” Intensely curious, Marty flew over for a closer look. He didn’t notice a startled Biff do the same beneath him.
The train had landed in a clearing about a half-mile away from the pond. Marty covered the distance easily in the air. He landed on the top, behind the smokestack, and peered down, coughing slightly from the lingering smoke. He couldn’t see anybody, but he could definitely hear voices from inside. “All right, we’re here. As far away from that crazy farmer as I could get. Damn Sherman Peabody, always babbling on about UFOs. . . .”
Marty blinked a few times. That guy sounded like Doc! Although – there was something – off about the voice. Something cold and cruel. Something that reminded him a lot of Hell Valley. Marty shivered. Jesus. Wonder who he is.
“Maybe we should work on figuring out how to make this thing invisible,” another voice said – a female one Marty didn’t recognize.
“Correction – you should work on figuring out how to make this thing invisible,” the not-Doc voice said. “Amina and I are going out to add another piece to our collection.”
“Look, I’m sorry I killed your hard-on, I just--”
The women’s voice paused. Then it came again, much harder this time. “We’ve got vampires.”
Marty started. What?! How the hell does she know I’m here? I didn’t think I made any noise when I landed!
“What? How can you tell?”
“Us Partials can tell. I don’t know exactly where he or she is, but I do know he’s nearby.”
“Vampires again?” a third woman’s voice said. Maybe this was the “Amina” the not-Doc had mentioned. “Did we go back to her world, Jack?”
“Maybe. It’s not outside the realm of possibility. I was hoping to get a fresh reality every time we traveled, though.”
Marty’s heart nearly stopped beating. Fresh – reality? They’re dimensional travelers? Holy shit! This is – I gotta get Dad. Dad! Dad!
Marty? What is it?
You’re not gonna believe this. I just saw some steam train land in the woods, so I went to check it out –
Hold on a millisecond, Marty. You saw a what?
A steam train. Yeah, I know it sounds crazy, Dad, but I swear to God. There’s a couple of people inside – one of them sounds kind of like you, but not really – and they just said something about traveling between different realities!
What?! Great Scott! I wonder where they’re from? Have you tried to make contact?
No, I’m still wondering what they’re doing here. I gotta say, Dad, they don’t sound very friendly. The guy who sort of sounds like you sounds more like – well, if you had some Biff in you.
Urgh, I see. Well, then, stay hidden and keep an eye on them. I’ll let Josephine and Jennifer know. Hopefully Jennifer will be able to get home soon, and then I’ll join you.
Right, Dad. I’ll let you know if anything major happens. Marty cut the connection, turning his attention back to the people below him.
They’d exited the cab while he’d been talking to his Doc. Marty remained hidden behind the smokestack, studying them. One of them looked amazingly like Doc, with the same white fluffy hair and dark brown eyes. He was dressed rather oddly, in a brown cloak over a yellow shirt and brown pants. Standing to his left was a Middle-Eastern woman, with long dark hair that seemed to move of its own volition. To his right was a Caucasian woman with long blond hair done up in a ponytail. She was scanning the area around them carefully, eyes narrowed. “I know you’re around here somewhere, bastard,” she muttered, turning in a slow circle.
The Middle-Eastern woman suddenly looked right in Marty’s direction. “I think I see someone over there! On the train itself!”
Shit! Marty thought, trying to squeeze himself tighter against the smokestack. Stay cool, McFly, stay cool. Maybe you can convince them you’re not a threat. He nervously peeked around the side of the stack. “Er, hi,” he said slowly.
The not-Doc stared at him. “Martin?” he replied just as slowly.
“Oh, figures,” the blond woman snapped. “Well, now we know we didn’t circle around back to mine. The Marty we’ve got isn’t one of them.”
Marty blinked a few times at that. Marty we’ve got? He sniffed the air a few times. The scent of liquor – Marty was pretty sure it was whiskey of some sort – the smell of new ink, the scent of wet dog, and –
And his own smell. Three times over. Without a hint of the vampire taint. What the–
“Dude! Run for it!” his own voice suddenly rang out from inside the train.
“Oh no you don’t!” the blonde woman yelled, grabbing a nearby branch. “You’re not going anywhere, vampire boy! Damn, why didn’t I think to bring my gun?”
Okay, that was a clear invitation to leave as far as Marty was concerned. He leapt off the train and took to the air. Time to get back home and warn Dad and everybody else that we’ve got some serious crazies around here!
“What – HE CAN FLY?!”
“They all can fly! Throw something at him, knock him off course!”
“Monster! Stain on creation!” the Middle-Eastern woman yelled, chucking rocks.
“No, Amina! Forget the rocks! Try and get him with your hair!”
Her what? Marty thought, completely confused. How the hell could she get me with–
The woman’s – Amina’s – hair suddenly sprang to life, stretching out toward him like a set of hungry snakes. . . .Oh. That is – I’m a fricking vampire, and I think that’s totally insane.
Luckily, he appeared to be out of the hair’s reach. He took off as Amina started running along under him, her companions tailing after. “Don’t think it’s going to be this easy to get away!” the not-Doc yelled up at him. “I’ve captured hardier opponents than you!”
“How do you plan to get me if you can’t get up here?” Marty yelled back, pumping his wings as fast as he could. Dad, situation update?
She’s on her way home – I should be able to join you in a few minutes. Are you all right?
Yeah, just completely weirded–
A bullet abruptly tore through one of his wings. Marty let out a loud cry of pain. “Jesus!”
“Who did that?” the not-Doc asked, pulling out a switchblade. “He’s mine, damn it!”
Biff Tannen emerged from the trees, holding a pistol. “Hey, if it’s in the air, it’s free – Brown?”
The not-Doc rolled his eyes. “I know it’s a good disguise, but damn it, I am getting so sick of being mistaken for my worthless brother. . . .”
“We’ll explain later! Get him down!” the blond yelled, waving her branch at Marty.
Marty immediately tried evasive maneuvers, ducking and weaving through the tree branches. Biff followed him with the gun, firing whenever he could manage to get Marty in his sights. Most of the bullets missed by a narrow margin. Then one found its mark – right through Marty’s heart. Marty screamed again, this time dropping to the ground because of the pain. Yeow! Man, if that’s anything like how being staked feels like. . . .
“Get him! Get him!” the blond shrieked, racing at Marty with her branch.
Marty quickly got back to his feet, thankful for his quick healing factor. Before he could make any real move to get back in the air, however, the blond tackled him. Marty threw her off, only to be assaulted by Biff, who stuck the gun in his face. “What if I blow off a bit of your brain, McFly?” he growled, cocking the hammer.
“Like I’d give you the chance,” Marty snarled, letting his fangs extend. He whacked the gun out of Biff’s hand before he could fire, then kicked him hard in the stomach. Biff fell backwards, gasping for air.
Suddenly, Marty felt something grab his wrists and try to bind them behind his back. Looking down, he saw a black mass of hair wrapping around him. Too freaking weird, he thought, fighting back against it. It was hard – the hair was unusually strong, and it moved quickly. A few strands wrapped tight around his throat and began squeezing. Marty managed to get his hands free enough to break those.
The not-Doc grabbed him from behind. “Now this is entertainment,” he hissed in Marty’s ear, sounding exhausted but amused. “None of the others put up a fight like this. Then again, none of the others seem this powerful. I like it.” Then, to Marty’s shock and disgust, he licked Marty behind the ear.
“Let me go!” Marty snarled, still struggling back against the hair’s grip.
“Never. You’re mine, McFly.” The not-Doc put his switchblade against Marty’s throat. “I wonder, how much pain does a vampire feel?”
“I don’t know. Want to find out how much one can cause?” He was winning against the hair now, breaking a few of the weaker strands. . . .
“Jack! Stab him in the heart!” the blonde yelled, back on her feet.
The not-Doc – Jack – looked over at her. “What? I don’t want to kill him! Not yet!”
“You won’t, trust me. Just do it before he manages something else! Now!”
Jack hesitated a moment longer, then drove the switchblade into Marty’s chest up to the hilt. Marty had time for only a brief scream of agony as the blade penetrated his heart –
Before everything went black.
Tuesday, May 24th
Jennifer shot inside the house to see Doc on his knees, clutching at his chest. “Dad! Oh, God, are you all right?”
“No,” Doc hissed, eyes tearing up a bit. “Something – something’s happened to Marty.”
The triplets, apparently sensing their father’s distress, began to cry. Jennifer picked up Leslie, trying to soothe her as she stayed close to Doc. “I know, I sort of felt something too. Was he staked?”
“Or something similar,” Doc nodded, one hand clamped tightly over his heart. “I can feel something in my chest. Great Scott, it hurts. . . .”
There was a thud from outside, then Josephine came running in, looking rather disheveled. “Emmett! I came as quickly as I could,” she said, sitting down next to him. “It’s Marty, right? What happened to him? Jennifer, can you see about the triplets?”
“Yeah,” Jennifer said, grabbing up as many stuffed animals as she could carry. “Come on, guys, it’s time to play with Mr. Nosy Trunk and the rest.” She handed a plush dog to Leslie, who ceased crying to chew on it. Logan and Christopher were distracted by an elephant and a giraffe, respectively.
“He stumbled across something flying over the woods,” Doc said, breathing heavily. “Apparently we have some people from another dimension visiting us in a flying steam train.”
“. . . . Huh?”
“I know, I know, but I caught a glimpse of it through the link. Apparently they attacked Marty when they discovered him eavesdropping. He would have gotten away if not for Biff Tannen appearing on the scene with a gun.” Doc growled deep in his throat, eyes glowing with rage. “It appears that, no matter what dimension we’re in, he’s a complete and utter bastard.”
Josephine gently stroked his forehead, brushing back his hair. “That figures. I take it Marty was shot in the heart? Even with our healing factor, that would cause some damage.”
“Yes, he was – then, a few minutes later, someone must have stabbed him.” Doc’s fingers curled around an invisible knife handle. “I can actually feel it sticking in my chest. My heart is trying to beat around it, and it’s not succeeding very well.” He lowered his head. “And Marty’s gone dead silent – damn, I shouldn’t have said that,” he quickly amended, seeing Jennifer go pale.
“It’s all right,” Josephine said. “A stake or whatever in the heart can’t actually kill us. But I don’t think Marty will be up and walking anytime soon.” She winced. “The poor kid. Where was he, do you know?”
“Unfortunately, no. Near the pond was all I could tell.” Doc took a very deep breath and let it out slowly. “The strangest thing is, apparently one of the people who attacked him? Looked very much like myself.”
Josephine and Jennifer looked at each other in surprise. “What, really?” Jennifer said. “Another version of you did that to Marty?”
“I don’t believe it,” Josephine said, shaking her head. “There’s no way any verison of you could ever hurt Marty.”
“You really don’t know that, Josephine,” Doc said, rubbing his chest and wincing. “There’s bound to be an alternate reality out there where I’ve gone insane or grew up different that would stifle any friendship I’d have with him. However, in this particular instance, I think you’re correct. One of the last things I heard over the link was someone calling this alternate ‘me’ Jack.” He shrugged. “I suppose it’s possible that in the reality he comes from I was given a different name, but it’s easier to think of him as being a bastard who just resembles me facially.” He winced again. “Especially given what he’s done to Marty. Damn. . . .”
“What do you think we should do?” Jennifer asked, making sure the twins were still preoccupied with their plushies. “God knows whoever’s got Marty wants to do with him. And with Biff Tannen involved. . . .” She shuddered. “I still can’t really think of him as anybody but that sadistic hotel baron who made all our lives hell.”
Josephine nodded, patting her shoulder. “Well, I’d like to hunt the bastards down, but we need to take care of the triplets first.” She looked at the babies. “I don’t think I could ask Clara to babysit, not when she has Jules and Verne to take care of, and I don’t want to ‘wear out my welcome’ with Lorraine. . . .”
“We should call my other self and his family, at any rate,” Doc said, slowly getting back to his feet. The pain was becoming a bit more manageable now, though it still stung quite a bit. “They’ll need to know about this. Maybe my other self will have some ideas on recapturing Marty.”
“Good idea,” Josephine nodded.
Before they could do anything, though, the phone suddenly rang. Josephine, who’d been reaching for the phone anyway, answered it. “Hello, Grey residence.”
“Josephine?” Dr. Brown’s voice asked, sounding rather nervous.
“Oh, hello, Doc,” Josephine said, surprised. “We were just about to call you. Something very strange has happened.”
“I doubt it’s as strange as what’s happening over here.”
“Unless it involves a dimension-skipping, flying steam train--”
“There’s two of them, actually.”
Josephine nearly dropped the phone. “What?! What’s going on over there?”
“First I have to ask you – where’s your Marty?”
Josephine got a sudden cold chill. “We’re not exactly sure. He was attacked just a little while ago by a group of people, apparently. He’s been hurt. Emmett says it feels like he’s been staked, or at least stabbed in the heart.”
“Damn,” Dr. Brown hissed. “Josephine, gather up everyone and get over here right away. Bring the triplets if you have to. This could be a matter of life and death. Not to mention the possible destruction of the space-time continuum if things go really badly.”
Josephine sucked in a breath. “Oh boy. We’ll be right over.” She hung up the phone. “Okay, everyone, we’re going to have to get out the slings. Emmett, do you think you can fly?”
“With difficulty, but yes,” Doc said, looking a little stunned. “Josie, did I hear right before? There’s two of these mystery trains?”
“And the space-time continuum is in danger?” Jennifer added, looking frightened.
“Apparently,” Josie said, getting out the slings they used to transport the triplets in flight. “I think that what Marty stumbled upon was only the tip of the iceberg.” She frowned at Doc as he haltingly stood up straight. “Honey, are you sure you’re going to be all right flying? Maybe we should take the car.”
“Maybe,” Doc agreed, rubbing his chest again. “Great Scott, I never expected anything like this to hurt so much.” He felt a hot prickling behind his eyes. “I hope Marty isn’t feeling this kind of pain.”
“He’s probably in a healing coma, so no,” Josephine said, hugging him tight. “All right, let’s get the car ready then. And hopefully your other self will have some answers for us.”
Tuesday, May 24th
They were just pulling up to the alternate Dr. Brown’s house when it happened. Doc suddenly felt the pain in his chest disappear. For a moment, he was relieved. Finally! Hopefully poor Marty can –
Can. . . .
No. Oh, God, no.
Doc desperately clawed at his chest, eyes staring blankly at the dashboard. “I can’t feel him! His heartbeat’s gone!”
“I know!” Jennifer said, looking horrified. “Marty? Marty?!”
Josephine quickly parked the car and grabbed her husband’s hand. “It – it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s dead,” she said, knowing as she said it that it was unlikely. “Maybe he had to go into a deeper coma or something.”
Doc shook his head, tears leaking from his eyes. “It’s gone. Completely gone. He – damn it, Marty. . . .” He squeezed his eyes shut, shaking with grief. “My son. . . .”
The triplets started crying again. Josephine leaned back to try and soothe them. “It’s okay, Mommy’s here.” She bit hard on her lip, trying to stifle her own tears. “Mommy’s here.”
Jennifer hugged Doc. “It’s not over yet,” she reassured him. “We’ve got a time machine, you know. And maybe your other self can help us. He seemed to have an idea of what was going on.”
Doc nodded, grief starting to give way to anger. “Right. Damn it, why couldn’t he give us more information on the phone? I know he has to be careful about contacting us, but – Marty--” He threw open the door to the Volkswagen they’d picked up a couple of months ago. “If he says one thing about temporal paradox, I don’t care if he’s my duplicate, I’m going to punch him! My son’s life comes before any paradox!” Without waiting for the girls, he stormed up to the house and threw open the front door. “Tell me what is going--”
He stopped dead. Not only was his other self in the living room – so were three other versions of him. The four alternate Doc Browns stared at him. “You weren’t kidding about the temper,” one finally said.
Doc was temporarily stunned into silence. What – how – three more? And judging by the smell, one of them is a vampire too! “What’s going on here?” he finally asked, his anger fading.
“It’s complicated,” a second Doc said – his scent indicated he was the other vampire. “Your other self has brought us somewhat up to speed on what your situation is. We were wondering why he didn’t seem all that surprised by us coming over.”
“The steam train startled me a bit,” Dr. Brown admitted. “But once they came out and started explaining what was happening, I understood better.”
“But what is happening?” Jennifer asked, coming up behind Doc carrying Leslie. Josephine followed, carrying Logan and Christopher and looking very concerned.
“We’re following an interdimensional kidnapper, that’s what,” the third Doc said, scowling.
“Give me the triplets, I’ll put them with Jules and Verne – Clara and my Marty and Jennifer are watching the kids,” Dr. Brown said. “Great Scott, I’m glad we were able to locate mine before anything happened.”
“Too bad the same can’t be said about mine,” Doc said, voice soft as he massaged his chest.
“We’re very sorry,” the first Doc said. “Your alternate self explained that you’d practically adopted your version.” He frowned. “You’re from Hell Valley?” Doc nodded. “Great Scott. I never thought much about my counterpart in that place.”
“It wasn’t fun,” Josephine said as she handed off Logan to Dr. Brown.
A group of women entered the room then – Doc was startled to see three Claras, along with a shockingly familiar black-haired woman. “They look like very cute kids,” the latter was saying to one of the Claras – Doc guessed it to be his counterpart’s wife. “I wish we had time to stay and – what the – Josephine?!”
“Mysteria?!” Josephine gasped, staring at the black-haired woman.
The third Doc looked between them, confused. “You know each other?”
“In a manner of speaking,” Mysteria said, gaping. “Holy shit.”
The second Doc and Doc stared at the women, then at each other. “You mean in this world, you married--” they started in unison, then stopped. “Great Scott.”
“Awkward,” Jennifer said, looking nervous.
“What’s the problem?” the first Doc asked, frowning. “You didn’t seem to have this reaction when you saw Clara for the first time.”
“It’s – complicated.” Mysteria shook her head. “We – we don’t have time for this,” she said, although she couldn’t keep her eyes off Josephine. “Besides, like you sort of said, I’ve already seen you married to Clara three times so far. It’s not important.”
“Indeed not,” Doc said, shaking off his shock. So what if some alternate him happened to be married to Mysteria? He remembered her as a nice woman, if unfortunately very predisposed to find him attractive. There were far more important things to worry about at the moment. “Explain about the interdimensional kidnappers.”
“Well, it appears that some odd double of ours has found a way to breach the dimensional barrier,” the first Doc said. “He calls himself Jack, claims to be our brother. He appeared in my world for reasons unexplained, abducted my Marty, forced him to help him steal my DeLorean, then converted it into a dimension-hopping vehicle and started traveling.”
“He’s taken both my Marty and his,” the second Doc said, nodding at the third Doc. “And from the sounds of it, it looks like he’s gotten his hands on yours as well, if you can’t find him.”
Doc nodded, frowning a bit. Had his other self revealed his true nature to the newcomers? He was sure the alternate vampire self had probably sniffed him out by this point, but what about the others?
One here does know about vampires – we’ve had a previous incident, a voice suddenly broke into his brain as the second Doc gave a small nod to the first Doc. Three doesn’t know, and I don’t think we should tell him just yet. We’ve got enough problems without him panicking because of vampires. Your other self didn’t say anything about your condition – probably because he had no idea how we’d react – but you’re right, I smelled you out right away. The mental voice softened. Marty’s heartbeat has disappeared from your chest, hasn’t it?
Yes, Doc replied, feeling a fresh bout of tears burn his eyes.
Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean he’s dead. Jack seems to want the Martys alive for now. The link gets severed when they skip dimensions. Jack’s just moved on. I’m sure your kid is alive.
Doc felt a wave of relief. Oh, thank God, he thought, sighing deeply. I was so worried about him. . . .
I know the feeling. We’re not out of the woods yet by a longshot, though.
I know. Doc looked at the others. “He went out for a walk a while ago – said he was feeling cramped by the triplets. He should have been back by now,” he said, figuring it was as close as he could get to the truth.
“That’s basically what’s happened to our Martys,” the third Doc – Three, had second Doc called him? – said. “A random disappearance while separated from us. It doesn’t help that Jack is picking up allies in these other worlds.”
“An insane woman named Sandra Rayben from mine,” the second Doc – Doc supposed he was Two then – said. And a vampire hunter to boot.
“Amina Ali from mine,” Three said, shuddering.
Doc frowned. “I’m afraid I don’t know who that is.”
“She was with the terrorist group I negotiated with during my own initial time travel experiments,” Dr. Brown explained as his wife and another Clara took the triplets. “She was arguably the most violent of them. Kept interrupting our talks to call me various names. And I never saw her without a large Kurki knife at her side.”
Doc felt a chill. Had that been the knife that had stabbed Marty in the heart? “I see. So we’re dealing with a group of lunatics who have total control over the space-time continuum and an inexplicable grudge against Marty?”
“Essentially,” the first Doc – One – said. “They stole our third compatriot’s time train to further their ends. We think they’re not going to stop kidnapping Martys until they’re forced to.”
“Then what are we waiting for? We have to stop them!” Jennifer said, looking ready to fly out the window and give chase immediately.
“Naturally,” Two said. “We just figured we ought to do the polite thing and bring you up to speed before asking you to come with us. You do all want to come with us, correct?”
“That seems to be the pattern that is emerging,” Three nodded. “Whenever a Marty is taken, one of us, his wife, and the Jennifer immediately insist on helping to retrieve him.”
“The pattern’s correct,” Josephine said. “We’re in.”
“That’s what we thought,” Clara said. “That’s part of the reason we had Marty and Jennifer come over – we knew you’d need someone to watch your children.”
Mysteria blinked a few times, as if just noticing the triplets. “You have kids?” she said softly.
“Yup,” Josephine smiled, pointing them out. “Logan, Leslie, and Christopher. Seven months old.”
Two looked astonished. “Wow. Seems like in the realities where we have kids, we’re rather – prolific – breeders.”
The other Docs all blushed. “Well, ours was a three-for-one deal,” Josephine said, giggling a little.
“And having Verne so soon was a bit of an accident in our case,” Dr. Brown added. “We’d have preferred to space them out a bit better, like with yours.”
One of the other Claras looked confused. “Logan and Leslie? Seems a bit unusual.”
“Marty and Jennifer picked the names,” Josephine explained, her smile fading at the mention of Marty’s name.
“Do you have any idea where the stolen train is?” Doc asked hopefully.
“Afraid not – though by this point, it’s probably not even in this dimension anymore,” Three admitted. “If Jack has gotten your Marty, it’s likely he’s moved on. Thank God that he wouldn’t think to check if more than one Marty existed. I’d hate to think we put any more in danger.”
Doc nodded. “I’m glad he didn’t take yours,” he said to his regular counterpart. “I’d hate for you to have to go through what I’m going through.”
Dr. Brown nodded back, face very serious. “I know. I may not have the same range of paternal feelings for my Marty, but. . . .” He sighed. “I think I’m going to be hugging him a bit more than usual tonight.”
“I doubt we’ll be able to stop hugging ours once we get him back,” Jennifer said. “Come on, let’s go! I want to find this portal and catch them!”
“Yes, we shouldn’t let them have too much of a head start,” One agreed.
“We shouldn’t let them have a head start at all,” Doc said, feeling a spike of temper.
“We’d prefer it that way ourselves – we’re just not sure how to stop him without causing further harm to the Martys at this moment,” Two confessed. “We attempted to confront him in the last reality. He threatened to throw one of the Martys into Eastwood – Shonash, for you – Ravine.”
Doc felt his blood grow icy as he imagined Marty plummeting into the ravine. “I see,” he said softly. “I would have backed off too.”
“Still, don’t you think it’s best to go after them as soon as possible?” Josephine asked. “Maybe we could beat them to the punch and save the next Marty, at the very least.”
“She’s got a point,” Mysteria said, still giving Josephine a bit of a strange look. “If we can get to one of the Martys before Jack, we might be able to take him down by force of numbers.”
“Perhaps,” Two nodded. “At any rate, yes, we should be leaving now before he wreaks more havoc. Can someone get the Jennifers?”
“I’ll do that,” said the Clara holding Christopher. “We have to take the kids back anyway.” She and the regular Clara disappeared down the hall. “Jennifers! We’re ready!”
“How are you people keeping each other all straight?” Josephine asked, looking between the Docs. “I mean, we’ve worked out a system, but I think it would get confusing with you guys.”
“We’re using a numbering system at the moment, based on the order of realities,” One explained. “Your husband would be Dr. Brown Four by that system. In the case of the Claras, we’re having them share their number with their appropriate husband.”
“Yeah, I think it’ll work out the same if we find more of either of us,” Mysteria said, shaking her head. “Too weird.”
“I don’t understand – if she’s from a different dimension – two different dimensions, technically – how can you two know each other?” the remaining Clara asked.
“We’ve met their counterparts,” Doc explained. “I’m assuming it was a rather awkward meeting in each case.”
“You mean your Mysteria exhibited some rather – stalkerish – behaviors as well?” Two asked, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
Josephine looked startled. “Uh, not really – she flirted with my husband briefly, but backed off the minute she found out he was married. We actually became friendly before she moved out of state.” Her face twisted into a worried grimace. “Why, was the other me--”
“Yeah,” Mysteria said, playing with a lock of hair. “I mean, she was okay once we finally shut her down for good, but – you really didn’t take no for an answer.”
Josephine slapped a hand to her forehead. “Great. Just what I need to hear. In another reality, I’m an asshole.”
Doc put an arm around her. “Yes, but that’s another reality. The nature of the space-time continuum is very flexible, my dear. There could be any number of versions of you.”
“And she really wasn’t an asshole,” Mysteria rushed to say. “Just kinda fixated on Emmett.”
“How did you two meet, anyway?” Two asked, looking curious.
“Would you believe Southdale? In Biff’s world, it was very poorly run,” Doc said with a faint smile. “Due to a room shortage, we ended up bunking together, and things progressed from there.”
“Yeah, I can see my other self becoming fixated on Emmett – it was love at first sight for me,” Josephine admitted.
Two and Mysteria looked at each other. “Great Scott, I – I don’t know whether to laugh or feel horrified,” Two said, turning pink.
“When he was telling our version of Josephine off, he – well, he said that the only way he could have fallen in love with her was if he’d been committed,” Mysteria confessed.
There was a pause. Then Josephine snorted. “That is strange,” she said, chuckling a bit. “Oddly appropriate, of course. . . .”
Two looked relieved. “You’re taking all this rather well.”
“I had my bout of jealousy when I first met Clara,” Josephine admitted. “Besides, if the me of that other world was as pushy as you’ve said, I don’t think you were wrong to tell her off.”
“I’m just glad the me of this reality kept her head,” Mysteria said. She held out a hand. “Friends?”
“Friends,” Josephine said. “Hell, in this reality, you might be a sister-in-law to our alternate Doc. You moved to Germany, and last we heard, you were courting a Von Braun.”
A Clara returned, along with a bunch of Jennifers and his Marty’s counterpart, Martin. Doc instantly crossed the room and hugged him tight. Not my son, but he’ll do for this.
Martin hugged back, face pale. “Hey. They got my ‘twin,’ huh?”
“I’m afraid so,” Doc whispered. “I’m glad you didn’t have to join him.”
“Me too.” He looked up at Doc. “But I know whoever took him is gonna be really sorry they did by the time you get through with him.”
“Damn straight,” Doc said.
Martin’s Jennifer slipped a hand into his. “We’ll take good care of the triplets,” she promised. “They really can’t be any harder to look after than Jules or Verne.”
“Oh no?” Josephine said with a smirk. “Just make sure they don’t try to escape – they’re always looking for ways out of wherever they are.”
“We’ll keep that in mind,” Martin nodded. “You guys going right now?”
“After a quick goodbye to the babies,” Doc said, releasing Martin to head down the hall. Josephine and Jennifer followed.
The triplets were with Dr. Brown’s Clara, along with Jules and Verne. All of the youngsters seemed to be getting along for now, though Doc was certain that would change once they took an interest in each others’ toys. Doc and Josephine took turns kissing the babies on the foreheads. “Mommy and Daddy have to go away for a while,” Doc said, patting Christopher’s hair. “But we’ll be back as soon as we can, okay? And we’ll bring your big brother back too.”
“Don’t make too much of a fuss for Clara,” Josephine added, hugging Logan. “Behave yourselves.”
The babies gurgled in assent, looking content for the moment. Clara smiled. “Don’t worry. If I can handle Jules and Verne, I can handle these three. You concentrate on rescuing your Marty.”
Doc nodded, giving Leslie a final kiss. “We’ll be back,” he said, straightening up.
“Good luck,” Jennifer said, giving Clara a handshake.
“You too,” Clara nodded. She went back to playing with the children as the vampires left the room.
They returned to the living room to see the Docs pairing themselves up with their wives and Jennifers. Doc did a quick headcount. “Twelve of us, including ourselves,” he said, somewhat amazed. “Are you sure there’s enough room in this train of yours?”
“It’s pretty large,” One nodded. “We should all fit. And we have a DeLorean on hand too, so a couple of us could stay in that if our numbers start growing overlarge.”
“Wait until you see this,” Dr. Brown said, grinning. “It’s absolutely amazing. Almost makes me wish you hadn’t come to pick me up so I could have invented it.”
Doc chuckled a little. “I don’t think I’ll be able to fully appreciate it. Not with Marty missing.”
Even with that sentiment, though, he was blown away as they entered the backyard. “Great Scott!”
“Wow,” Jennifer said, eyes wide.
“It’s definitely you,” Josephine said, taking in the various gadgets and devices fastened to the glossy black surface. “Where on earth did you get a train?”
“It was an old locomotive being retired from the local train station,” One said, opening the cab doors for everyone. “I expressed an interest in it, and they let me buy it on a payment plan. Even back in the Old West, everyone knew I was a bit of an eccentric inventor, but I think I surprised quite a number of people.”
“And you built a time machine out of strictly 19th century parts?” Doc marveled going up to touch the side.
“Had no choice,” Three said. “Though it wasn’t strictly 19th century – Marty left his hoverboard behind, and I ended up cannibalizing that a bit for spare electronics. And at least my train’s had a major overhaul since – the original design was intended to last for a single trip, so I could get it into the future and update everything with better parts.”
“Same here,” One nodded. “Actually, once we’ve completed our mission, I’d kind of like to compare my train with yours. Maybe there’s some ideas one came up with that the other didn’t.”
“That would be interesting,” Three grinned as he boarded.
Doc followed him inside, looking around in wonderment. “Amazing,” he whispered. “Just like something out of Jules Verne.” He suddenly smirked as a funny thought came to him. “Tell me, is it hubris if you tell another version of yourself that he’s a genius?”
One smirked back. “Maybe just a little.”
Jennifer and Josephine similarly marveled at the train. “This is fascinating. Inspired by the Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea?”
“Some, yes,” One admitted as the others got in. “There’s just something to be said for building machines that look good as well as work properly. Function over form, of course, but why needlessly neglect form?”
Jennifer grinned. “Yeah. What did your Marty and Jennifer think of it when they first saw it?”
“Literally knocked us over,” Jennifer said. “It was pretty amazing.”
“Bet our Marty doesn’t think so,” Doc said, feeling his worry over the teen’s fate spike again.
“Probably not,” Three nodded, wincing. “Damn it, they’d better not ruin my train. I spent years perfecting that thing.”
“Let’s see if we can wrest control back from them,” Two said, peering out the window. “Where was your Marty headed on his walk?”
“The woods near the pond,” Doc said, joining him.
“Then we’ll start looking there.”
Dr. Brown gave them a final wave as One manned the controls. “Good luck! We’ll keep our fingers crossed!”
“Thanks! Hopefully we’ll be back shortly!” Doc called back. The other Docs and their groups waved as the train lifted off and flew towards the woods.
It didn’t take them long to arrive, and it took them even less time to locate the nearest portal. Doc spotted a mysterious shimmer in the air as they cruised low over the trees. “Is that it?” he asked, pointing it out.
“Bingo,” Two nodded. “One, turn about 35 degrees starboard.”
“When do you think we’ll end up?” Clara-3 asked, frowning.
“I don’t know – he seems to be sticking to the late 80s after his initial arrival in our world,” One noted.
“He’s skipping through time too? Why?” Josephine asked.
“Couldn’t tell you,” Three said. “Though I think the answer would be, ‘Because I can.’ From what we saw, he appears to be quite arrogant.”
Doc growled, deep in his throat. “Sounds like he and Biff Tannen would get along just fine, then.”
“Considering the company he already keeps. . . .” One grumbled. “All right, everyone brace yourselves.”
“Oh, great, traveling through dimensions is always bumpy?” Jennifer complained as everyone grabbed some sort of handhold.
“Unfortunately. Perhaps, after we’ve fulfilled our mission, we can work on that too.” One aligned himself with the ripple and ‘hit the gas.’
And the Night and Day miniverse was soon left behind.