Chapter 30

"I'm telling you, that's exactly what happened." JB said as he tried to focus on the least blurry version of his brother.

They were sitting in a back booth of one of the lesser known dining establishments of the area, a place with a sign declaring it "The Vienna Sausage". Residents knew it by a different name, "That Gawdawful Dive." The menu consisted of two items. An empty pitcher of one of the menu items sat near the end of the table.

"Here." The waitress flung the red plastic baskets in front of Chris and JB. Her decades of experience meant that no matter how violent the delivery, not even a potato chip fell out of place. The second menu item, steamed hotdogs with chips, had arrived.

JB sat looking at the basket. "That… is a talent…"

Chris simply nodded and looked at his meal. The hotdog had obviously been stored in a back steamer for the better part of the day. The bun, if it could continue to be called that, had exceeded the point of saturation and had become a weird doughy mass that adhered itself to the blank pork sausage. In the dim light, the meat, (at least that's what Chris hoped it was) almost had a slightly green sheen to it.

The dog was served wrapped in a paper and foil envelope. The kind favored by ballpark vendors. Of course the downside of having paper on the inside was the fact that it stuck to most of the aforementioned steamed dough, tearing off huge drippy masses of it in the worst case, or squishing it near translucent in the best.

The dogs were served with glass containers filled with cheap yellow mustard and lightly pickled minced sweet onion. Ketchup relish and any other substance were not available and potentially life threatening anyway.

In other words, they were perfect.

Chris took a huge bite of the carcinogen-laced delicacy and reveled in its unidentifiable sources. JB was likewise enjoying his lunch.

Once the simple euphoria of discovering somewhere that makes bad food really well passed, Chris picked up the conversation again.

"JB, look I was there, remember? I'm just trying to figure out exactly what the heck we just saw. Let's start at the beginning when the Erik the Red or whoever shouted into his phone."

"That's when he started glowing and turned into that big mini-fig."

"Right, now when did those busses show up?"

"You mean all the other Lego Legionnaires?"

"Yeah, them. How many of those guys were there, anyway?"

"Well, Erik said that there were about two hundred and thirty of them, not counting the expansion packs."

"Yeah, that was the weird thing. I mean I guess I can understand them all turning into different types of Lego bricks and stuff, but not all of them could be used all the time right?"

"Well, yeah, I mean when the first group went up, it looked like a bunch of the specialty pieces were setting up coffee and donuts."

"That's just it, really. I mean, I guess I can understand the idea of them making themselves into various Lego constructs to battle the Viking dude, but really, how often do they need the ones that were those transparent cone-like bits?"

"That's easy," JB said as he finished off his hotdog. "Did you try the crullers those cone gals brought?"

"Ooh, yeah. Those were good. Nice of them to share."

"Darn nice folks. Too bad that the main force kept getting broken up whenever that Viking guy hit them. You'd figure that they'd make themselves into something more damaging than a model of a racecar or sailboat. Kinda weird how the Viking's skin buckled though, wasn't it?"

Chris became rather excited, "Good, you saw that too? I mean the way that Viking guy moved, it looked like a guy in a big rubber suit, didn't it?"

JB sat thinking for a bit. "I suppose, but that doesn't really make sense either does it? I mean even if it were a guy in a hundred foot tall rubber Viking suit, he'd still have to be like, a hundred feet tall, right? Why bother with the suit?"

"I guess the same reason that he put all those little smoke charges all over his chest. I mean every time the Lego guys even touched him a bunch of those stupid charges would go off. "

"You want another pitcher?" The waitress asked JB.

"No, no, thanks."

"Can I get another Diet Coke, please?" Chris asked as the waitress simply grunted acknowledgement.

They sat staring off into space for a few minutes.

Chris poked JB's head a few times, "So, how are they handling your liquid lunch."

JB turned a somewhat bloodshot eye toward Chris. "Are you kidding? It was their decision. I got outvoted four to one. Bunch of panty waists too, oh great, now Becky Sue's snoring."

"You're going to be charming in about four hours when the hangovers start."

"Maybe I'll just start thinking about a Who Concert to pay them back."

"You think they're mad?"

"No, they're all passed out. I'm the mad one."

Chris waved his hand. "No, sorry, I meant the Lego Legionnaires."

"What, you think they're upset that we piano wired the Viking?"

"We didn't really piano wire the guy, I mean, c'mon it was kind of obvious wasn't it?"

"Well, sure, I mean I guess I'm kind of surprised we didn't think of it earlier."

"Who's idea was it anyway?"

JB looked confused for a second, "I thought it was yours."

"Me? Why would I think of driving the Maxima around the giant's legs like that? You're the one who was asking the guy if they had any of the Lego Star Wars pieces. It had to be you're idea."

"My idea? Look Chris, why would I willingly sit in the open trunk holding the end of your zip-wire gun thing while you drove like an idiot around the Viking's legs?"

"I suppose, but why exactly were you calling me "Wedge", "Luke"?"

"Ok, so I kind of got into it a bit. I still say it was your idea."

JB and Chris sat quiet for a few beats.

"JB, you think they're mad at us?"

"Who? The Lego Guys?"

"No, the guys that own the Kettlery that the Viking crushed when he fell over."

"No idea, but the owner didn't look really happy."

"I suppose, I couldn't make out what he was screaming at the Legionnaires, but since they were all stuck together like that, it's not like they could have done anything about it. Hopefully, English wasn't their first language."

"I wonder how many of them know international sign language?"

"JB, the gestures that guy was making are truly universal"

"I suppose. Good thing we were already in the car, made driving away at top speed pretty easy."

Chris simply nodded. "I still say it was your idea."


Canada Special Operations Center
Dauphin, Manitoba
1400

Manitoba.

What better place, than Manitoba?

In a recent poll of Canadians, Manitoba ranked just slightly less popular, compared to the other Canadian Provinces, than Greenland. When the polled were reminded that Greenland was, in fact, not part of their fair country, Manitoba still managed to be outvoted five to one. Several of the polled even accused the surveyors of obviously lying and threatened physical action against anyone who'd slander Greenland or any other part of Canada.

It continues to be, the most forgettable area of the country.

Located in that province is the less than bustling city of Dauphin, incorporated near the end of the last millennium. You'll easily be forgiven for not knowing where the city is. No one knows where Dauphin is, possibly including several of the residents.

This was a sore spot with the Dauphin Chamber of Commerce, of course, who were quick to point out that summer in Dauphin is the absolutely most memorable and spectacular afternoon one could ever experience. Of course, had they known that Parliament had gone through a good deal of trouble to ensure that Dauphin failed to become the hotspot of Manitoba, they might not have spent quite as much luring the Ukrainian National Festival back for it's 35th consecutive year.

However for what it lacked in general appeal, it was perfect for the headquarters of the CSOC, the ultra secret branch responsible for overseeing Canada's largest southern province, the former United States.

The elevator door slid open and Col. Foley strode out, a look of grim foreboding etched into his veteran's countenance. With a few long strides, he stood beside his superior, General Thompson, Head of Operations at CSOC. By reflex they exchanged salutes but quickly fell into the ease of the tight working relationship they had shared for nearly twenty years.

"What's the latest, Foley?"

"We've gotten several reports form our scouts saying that the RUS has been moving troops toward the city of Boise as well as another destination."

"Boise? Why are they interested in Boise? What's the other location?"

Foley answered the questions as they had been asked. "Yes sir, Boise Idaho. We're not certain but they may be using it as a staging area. Quebec."

Thompson looked particularly grim at the last statement. "You're certain of that?"

"As certain as we can be, sir. They're being particularly stealthy about it of course. We only discovered it after matching vehicle ids for several of their service vans when they pulled into motels for the night. When we mapped their movements we found that a large number of them seem to be headed toward Michigan. It may be a fluke, but we're keeping an eye on them."

Thompson nodded. Foley had a sixth sense about things like this, but Thompson was the only one that could make the call. Things had been quiet down south, maybe a bit too quiet. He had blamed the general lull on Melbourne and New York. Still, the fact that they appeared to show great interest in this Boise town was oddly more disturbing than the movement toward the border.

Thompson turned back toward the huge map of the border area that stretched across the main wall. "Foley, activate the Barista units, but only in the Boise area. I'm sure they're probably expecting us to have picked that up. No need to tip off the fact that we've got them headed toward the border too. Standard security operations, Foley, no need to frighten the chickens yet."

"Yes, Sir." Foley snapped a salute, turned on his heel and left to make the calls. Thompson simply continued to study the town in Idaho, that was going to become much more interesting than it had before.


Langell Valley, Oregon
Two Weeks Ago.

"<Hello? Who's there?>", an older Asian man opened his door and looked straight down his walk, or more correctly he would have looked straight down his walk if he were capable of actually seeing. The man lived in a clearing of tall pine at the end of a long dirt path. His house, while fastidiously clean, was neither overly ornate nor Spartan, but each item obviously served a practical purpose. His yard was immaculate. Something people who live around very large pine trees would have a great deal of trouble accepting. This probably explained the reason why he lived alone.

Hearing nothing the man sniffed the air, then regretted it. "<You have the stench of processed food about you, Stranger>", the man said in Classical Greek. He reached down and lifted the nearly comatose body. The body mumbled something, "Eh, what's that?" The old man spoke in heavily accented English.

The body mumbled again.

"Yes, I am the one called Mephisto. What of it."

Again, the body mumbled,

"Your words mean little to me. Prove yourself."

He released his visitor. The man was obviously exhausted, barely able to stand. He was gaunt, his wild hair matted and filled with thistles. He wore the dirtied and torn remnants of an orange shirt and issued denims. Still he managed to collect himself as he staggered over to the kitchen area.

Mephisto kept an impressive and well-stocked kitchen. A bowl of freshly caught river trout rested on the counter. The man carefully washed his hands, drinking hard from the water that flowed. He turned off the water, and paused, his ragged breathing the only sound.

"Well? You waste time."

The younger man's hand shot toward a knife block and pulled an eight inch blade, as his other hand dove into the bowl of trout. In a near blur of movement the man expertly cleaned and gutted the trout in the least number of moves. He then proceeded to clean two more. His hand swept over an assortment of vegetables snatching only the finest from the collection. A fresh blade cleaned and sliced the various vegetables into neat stacks each evenly presented.

The man continued in this frenzy of activity occasionally breaking only to light a burner or pull a skillet from a cabinet. Twenty minutes later a gourmet feast was sitting before Mephisto. The younger man stood at attention, drawing ragged breaths from the exertions.

Mephisto carefully studied each of the five courses carefully with each of his remaining senses.

"The Trout with Sake and onion was light, with a delightful hint of miso. It complimented the seasoned Trout salad well. The Trout and Potato soup was well balanced but possibly a bit salty, still forgivable. I expected the braised trout in port wine with Portobello mushrooms to be heavier, but you've apparently balanced the wine with a combination of rosemary and thyme that accentuate the sweetness. Finally, the Trout fudge sundae was… an unusual dish…"

"The potatoes, they have EYES you know…"

"Ah, good! Delirium has set in, your mind is free! Sleep, Mr. Meyer, tomorrow you have much to learn."

Edward Meyer, aka the Ferrite Chef was sound asleep on his feet. He stayed that way until he was rudely roused at five the next morning.

Meyer was a star student. He studied even the smallest of Mephisto's gestures, memorized the ancient texts and ensignia, and with good reason. Mephisto was the last of a long line of the Greco-Sino-Mystic Masters, an order of ancient culinists that could weave powers beyond imagination in their craft, and some of the tastiest darn donuts you could imagine.

Edward had studied a lifetime and risked everything for the opportunity to meet the master. Yet the old man had proven to be far more elusive. Fate intercepted during a chance meeting with one of the other residents at the Facility. Meyer left his low security compound immediately afterwards and traveled the way that destiny lead. Once he had mastered the old man's talents, he would be able to clear his family's name once and for all.

His enthusiasm and attention inspired the old Chinaman. Mephisto sipped his ouzo and shared his secrets. Secrets of how to select the best tasting table grapes by sight alone to the dark mystery of using oregano to damn the souls of Englishmen. Perhaps his trust in the new student was his downfall.

Meyer "graduated" within two weeks. The battle was fierce, but brief. A bit of otherworldly assistance rendered a soufflé collapse to be a bit more dramatic than usual.

He walked out of the now empty clearing in the woods. He was once again draped in his deep red and green chef's silks. He disappeared into a puff of cinnamon and ginger as he put in motion his plans for revenge. But first, a quick trip to Boise to settle another score…


Thor? Can I talk to you for a bit?

Uh, sure Mr. McKinney, like what do you want?

Thor, things like this are never easy, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go for the time being.

Whoa. Bummer.

Yes, I'm sorry, you're a good lad, but I'm afraid that I've gotten orders from headquarters that they need to bring some new folks in for a bit.

Oh, man, Mom's gonna freak. Was it the fact that I gave that woman on the cell phone too much foam in her cappuccino?

No, Thor, that woman was an idiot and a bitch. Rest assured that there's a special circle of Hell reserved for her and her ilk, one that's filled with ill-fitting shoes from Korean Knockoffs. No, nor is this about the time I caught you cleaning the wax out of your ears with the steam jet.

You knew about that?

Yes, Thor. You really do need to learn to wipe it off. By the way do you know that it also does wonders for you nasal passages as well?

No, but I'll give it a try next time.

Good, good, sadly it won't be here though.

Oh, yeah, no…

Well, off you go then.

Do I get a going away lunch or anything?

Ah, well I suppose, here, a token of our esteem.

It's a napkin.

Yes, but it's our special commemorative napkin.

It's been used.

And that's what makes it all the more special, off you go.

Could I get a goodbye mochaaaa-AAAAAHHH!!

I believe that answers the question. Lieutenant? Take your position behind the counter.

Yes, SIR, Major McKinney, SIR!!

And lose the beret, we have an image to keep.


Leapin' Lucas!

What bit of revenge does the
Ferrite Chef have in mind for the
Boys in Boise?

Who is the RUS and does it have
anything to do with that secret shadowy
agency mentioned in the past (hint, hint)?

Will the Author get endless
reams of hate mail from
Manitoba?

Possibly one or all of these may be answered in the next thrilling chapter,
Ah who are we kidding. Look none of this makes any sense. The author is pulling out a story line that's over eight months old. Maybe fourteen people grabbed the pdf of year one and who knows how many of them made it all the way through without their heads exploding. If it wasn't for that sugar addled mall-rat putting together that Story so Far thing, nobody would have any clue about… As a matter of fact my Prozac prescription is running late. How can you tell?

Do You Smell Gas?
or
Crossing Over

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