"Yes?" he said. "I see. Sure, I'll 'port him over to the Entrance. Does he have a guest? Who? Well, okay, have her stand with him, and-- what do you mean she isn't there? Where is she? Oh, very well, I'll bring her over too. Though you'd think she could manage it herself..."
He hung up the phone. Jeez, he thought, I hope he's not planning to take over! He turned to Opera. "Keep it up," he told her. "I've got company to 'port over. Get ready to prompt the doors -- they've gone into lockdown mode since we entered."
"That's the green button, right?" Opera asked, not looking up. "Okay, which entrance?"
"The one from the First Backstage. That way any foes they might encounter will already be neutralized."
"But won't they be, too? Oh, that's right, they're Authors."
The Operator sighed. "Actually, only one is," he told her. "But of course his original should keep him on track, and hopefully he can do the same for his guest, as I did for you."
"Whatever. Bring 'em in and I'll prompt the doors, as you asked. Meanwhile, want me to mess up gravity for this batch of MIGs? Those giant-sized breasts we've grown on them would make dandy hot-air balloons..."
The Operator smiled as he went to man the teleporter. Sometimes, life was good...
In the First Backstage, just outside the tunnel to the Emergency Command Center, reality shimmered in two places. When it stopped, two individuals who hadn't been there before were revealed. One was a man, somewhat blurry about the edges. The other was a stunningly beautiful lizard girl with red, scaly skin and almond-shaped amber eyes.
"Whew!" sighed the latter. "Glad someone decided to give me a break. It's hard work playing MIG invasion fighter, and it'll be good to relax." She looked at the man and did a double-take. "Wow, you're looking fuzzy," she said. "Uh, do I know you from somewhere?"
The man smiled. "Yes," he said. "Believe it or not, I play your partner in the AddVenture."
The woman's eyes widened. "No shit?" she cried. "You mean you're--"
He nodded. "I'm afraid this can't be much of a break, though," he said. "You and I are both on call. Through there." He pointed to the door next to them, whence the sound of giant bolts unlocking came."
The woman sighed. "No rest for the wicked, eh? Well, I hope my hair's in place for the next scene..." The man had gone to the door and opened it. The woman followed him in.
The Operator looked up as the inner door opened and the newcomers entered. "Deja Voodoo, I presume?" he asked. "You know, I just had a note from your original..."
"In a manner of speaking," the man replied. "Of course, he didn't bother to inform me about it, but that's just part of his cavalier attitude towards his avatars, I guess. Excuse me now, I'm about to have an out of body experience."
As the Operator stared in astonishment, a certain indefinable something seemed to emerge from DVd's body. As it did, the blurriness about his form faded, and that form began to change...
The Operator looked around frantically, trying to locate the source of the voice, which seemed to resonate in his mind rather than his ears. Then he realized. "I get it," he said. "This is your voiceless presence routine, isn't it?"
Meanwhile, the form of DVd's Avatar completed its change, leaving a raven-haired and rather weary woman in its wake.
"DJ!" cried the lizard girl, delightedly. "I wondered where you disappeared to when the crisis hit!"
"Hi, Elizabeth," said DJ Woohoo, for it was indeed her. "It seems F-Cup Fitzgerald hijacked me to fill out his roster of 70+ep Authors, restoring my old Deja Voodoo personna. The man himself has been periodically occupying my form and speaking through it. Jesus, I feel like I've been through the wringer..."
"We'll try," said DJ.
"Give it our best shot," seconded the lizard girl, who of course was Elizabeth D. Fruitbat.
The Operator nodded. "Welcome aboard," he said. "Opera, have you met our Backstage Troubleshooters yet?"
Wed May 9 17:12:55 2001