Slayers (of the Author who is Feared to be Named)

Try (and try and try and try and try…) Again

A beautiful world is the setting for this story. Lush vegetation and small villages make up most of the visible landscape. It is on this world that the tranquil peacefulness shall be very suddenly interrupted…

Ferdia da Birdie/ Lina Inverse: How exactly did we get here? And where is here for that matter?

Where indeed. Just moments ago this bluebird had been in the bustling city of San Viano, along with her partner, the mouse now standing beside her in unfamiliar territory. Their police uniforms now gone, they had been replaces with archaic clothing and armor.

Squeaks Arcadia/ Zelgadiss Greywords: No clue. I'm still stuck on why you suddenly have red hair. Kinda clashes with the blue feathers.

Ferdia: Don't look at me. It seems to have come standard with the outfit. And if you plan on making fun of me, I'm going to start cracking jokes about that gravel exterior you have inherited.

Squeaks: Yeah, well, it weighs a ton and I would like to figure out how to get rid of it.

Ferdia: The blue hair is cute. And it matches your rocky facade.

Squeaks: Oh, shut up.

Friendly bantering aside, they both realized this did nothing to improve their situation.

Ferdia: So back to my questions of how and where. Standing around isn't doing us any good, and we seem to have very little in the way of supplies. There is high ground in that direction, and maybe if we climb the hill we will be able to find a settlement of some sort and at least get some answers as to what this world is.

Squeaks: Am I the only one who is worried about the fact that we are armed with swords?

They begin to walk in a generally southward direction, trying to remember the last moments in San Viano before they were transported to this alien world.

Ferdia: There was that shoot-out near where the old theater was. The guys who had just robbed a payroll van for one of the big computer companies? We cut them off in the old district as they tried to escape and shot out their tires.

Squeaks: Just before they turned the squad car into Swiss cheese with the rhino bullets. I'd like to know who supplied them with those. But I am pretty sure that I remember getting a call from your brother, something about Newt and a machine. Intergalactic kiwi… something or other. He said it was an emergency so we decided to take a short detour before turning in what was left of our vehicle

Ferdia: At the time I was willing to put off having to explain yet another demolished car to Vernon. Then there was a bright flash. The sky lit up like a nuclear explosion. Oh, man. What do you think happened to the car? It's not here with us.

Squeaks: Right now I would rather not think about it. And my guess is what ever happened, something went wrong in Newt's lab to have caused it. I would also be willing to wager it was Ferdie or Beak's fault. More likely the former.

They crested the top of the hill, only to discover a stone structure down in the middle of a small valley.

Squeaks: It looks like a temple. There might be priests or monks inside. Those sort of people are usually willing to help lost travelers, right?

Ferdia: Unless they are the sort who would like to sacrifice you up to their god.

Squeaks: My, aren't we the positive one. We should at least try. For one thing I need a break; this stone suit is a pain to lug around.

Ferdia: It could be worse. You could have been thrown in some sort of leather S&M outfit. Chains and all.

A small, red fox poked her head out of some nearby bushes and growled; then quickly retreated back the way she came.

Squeaks: You're going to be lucky if I don't decide to fall on you.

Ferdia: Just trying to be more positive.

Squeaks: Just knock on the door.

Ferdia: Can I use your head?

In response to the knock, there was the sound of shuffling feet and the large wooden doors began to creak open. A small, bald man in embroidered robes appeared.

Ferdia: Hi!

Priest: May we help you…AHHHHH!!! Lina Inverse!

Still screaming, the priest slammed the door shut in their faces. This was then accompanied by the sound of dead bolts being moved into place.

Ferdia: Well, that was rude.

Squeaks: But interesting that he seemed to recognize you. I wonder who this 'Lina Inverse' is, and how you were mistaken for her?

Ferdia: How do you know he was talking about me? I'm not the one who looks like a walking statue.

Squeaks: Fine, he recognized one of us. That doesn't explain why. Unless we have each taken someone's place here. Think about it. These outfits and weapons; your hair, my skin? It makes sense… sort-of.

Ferdia: You have lost it. How could Newt have invented a machine to switch us with people on some pre-industrial world? You sound like Ferdie talking about one of his sci-fi or fantasy theories. Right up there with vampires and werewolves.

Squeaks: Never mind that I'm a mouse from another planet. That's just entirely beside the point, right?

Ferdia would have kicked him, but upon consideration of the density of his exterior, thought better of it. She settled for sticking her tongue out at him and stalking off back up the hill.

Ferdia: A surprising waste of time. Now what? Should we head for a village, or try and find shelter and supplies of our own out here? As our greeting at the temple was not all that spectacular, I am a little leery of the idea of going anywhere there might be a larger group of people, with weapons, who might react in a similar fashion.

Squeaks: I would have to agree. Good thing survival training was a part of the Space Fleet curriculum. Unless we get some answers soon, we could be here a while. We should probably start by looking for shelter, or a way to make one.

Ferdia: Yeah, yeah. Shelter, water, food, and fire. Got it.

Squeaks: Fire is optional. We don't know much about this place. It might attract unwanted attention. If we have to, we can share body warmth.

Ferdia: Because you are just so cuddly and fluffy. I think I would rather take my chances in a nest of leaves and twigs.

Squeaks: Fine, see if I make you my famous scrapple.

Ferdia: Blah. I don't even want to know why it's 'famous.'

It was about this point that they heard a humming sound filtering through the air, like someone was singing to himself. Ferdia and Squeaks glanced at one another just before simultaneously ducking off the path they had been traveling. The mouse grunted with the effort this motion took, but Ferdia silenced him and listened to the approaching traveler. The humming had a nervous edge to it.

Ferdie da Birdie/ Gourry Gabriev: Da-dadada-dee-da. Bob and Beak, where are you? Loo-loo lee-la-loo. I don't want to be out here by myself.

Squeaks: Is it just me, or does that sound like Ferdie?

Ferdia: I may just kill him.

Squeaks: Why is it you seem to have this very moody temper all of a sudden?

Standing up from behind the bush that concealed herself and Squeaks, Ferdia strode back onto the path to intercept the bluebird. She stopped short when she saw the addition of long blond hair and oversized armor.

Ferdia: What the heck?

Squeaks: Now, see? That hair color does not look so bad against you natural feathering.

Ferdie: SIS!

Ferdia suddenly found herself in the clutches of her overjoyed brother. And if that was not bad enough, especially in front of the mouse, there was also the fact the very sturdy armor he wore was digging through her tunic.

Ferdia: Ferdie…LET…GO!

Ferdie: Oops, sorry. I'm just so glad I found you guys. We weren't sure you if were here.

Squeaks: 'We?' Who's we?

Ferdie: Newt and me.

Squeaks: Newt? He's here? Does he know how to get us home?

Ferdia: Does he even know where 'here' is?

Ferdie: Well, technically… he's not exactly 'here' here.

Getting frustrated, the angry female bluebird grabbed her brother by the collar and began to shake him.

Ferdia: Tell me where that dumb kiwi is, or so help me…

Ferdie: GAH! Help!

Squeaks: Whoa, Ferdia. Just calm down. Remember what your mother will do if you kill Ferdie.

Ferdia: You mean besides have a heart attack? Don't tempt me.

Ferdie: Look, stop shaking me! I'm getting dizzy.

Tossing Ferdie on the ground, Ferdia crossed her arms and looked down at him with a menacing expression.

Ferdia: Tell us what is going on.

Ferdie: Okay. Sheesh. Newt's not here, he is still our world. But I have a way to communicate with him. A device he gave me before things went to pot.

Squeaks: That was convenient.

Ferdie: The thing is… this is not what was supposed to happen. We were sort of interrupted during the testing of Newt's latest invention.

Ferdia: And what invention would that be?

Ferdie: The newest version of the Intergalactic Kiwi Network. He tweaked the original design to try and transport other species. It worked at first, but then things went down hill.

Squeaks: What's the short version?

Ferdie took a deep breath.

Ferdie: While trying to transport four of us back to the home world of the Hooties, we took a wrong turn and ended up on a Space Fleet vessel where two certain ducks were fighting and I screamed for Newt to bring us back, but we brought the ducks with us and they continued their fight; everyone went screaming around, Bob ran out the door to get 'reinforcements' while Beak and Iiwi tried to hold them off, which resulted in several surrounding machines being damaged, but the network was fine until Bob can triumphantly back in brandishing the latest flavor of Starbuck's espresso, which just happened to be banana; the coffee went flying and hit the network which caused a cascade in the system and it overloaded.

Ferdie finally stopped talking to catch his breath.

Ferdia: You have got to be kidding me.

Ferdie: The lasting thing I remember before being here was Beak screaming about the need to perform an exorcism and proper burial.

Squeaks: See, I told you. Either Ferdie or Beak.

Ferdie: Huh?

Ferdia: Never mind. Just get us in contact with Newt. We need to know more about what is going on.

Ferdie: Last I talked to him, Newt was doing more research into this world we ended up on. He mentioned something about 'anime.'

Ferdia: What does that mean? Any clue, space mouse?

Squeaks: Never heard of it. Ferdia is right, though. We need to talk to him.

There was a crackling sound as Ferdie activated the communicator.

Ferdie: Newt! Can you hear me? I found Ferdia and Squeaks!

A snowy picture came into view on the small screen and a voice could be heard through the static.

Newt: Ferdie? I can barely… you. Have you found Beak and Double-O-Zero yet?

Ferdie: No! I said I found Ferdia and Squeaks!!!

Newt: All right. No need… shout at me.

Squeaks: Newt, we need to know where we are. Maybe I can contact Space Fleet.

Newt: Not possible. All of you have been… ported to another dimension. A world unlike any in our univer…

Squeaks: Ferdie said something about 'anime.'

Newt: That is correct. This world… not follow the rules of science and physics as… know them. You all have replaced… tain individuals in that realm and will re… as such until I… vise a way to bring you home. You must be cautious.

Ferdia: What do we do until then?

Newt: You must collect everyone who… been brought there from our world. I figure… the range of the machine was ten miles… a circumference… round the machine.

Ferdie: We'll have to walk around that much? Do we really need to find everyone?

Newt: Everyone! Or else… switch back will not work.

Ferdia: Great. And what about the people we have replaced? Squeaks and I have already run into a few locals who have been afraid of us. And not just because we don't really pass for the native species.

Squeaks: They seemed to recognize us as someone else.

Newt: No doubt they think… are the people you replaced. As I said, that world will not follow… under… we have of the universe. To that end I am downloading a file to the communication… we are using right now. A reference… you will.

Squeaks: You are sending us a guidebook to this world?

Newt: And you new personas.

Ferdie: Where did you get something like that?

Newt: The Internet. Stop wasting time. There is…a short window of time… to correct this err… After that we will lose contact and… will not … to return you to our wor….

Ferdie: What! You didn't mention that before!

Newt: Find… others before… too late. Newt out.

The signal cut off and the three were left standing in shocked silence.

Ferdia: I just can't even believe it.

Squeaks: No he was right. There is a reference book here now. 'Slayers for Dummies.' I wonder what that means?

Ferdia: I'm hoping it means I get to kill something.

Ferdie: I think I might faint.

Squeaks: Don't, because I won't catch you. Besides, right now we have bigger problems. We have to find everyone who was brought here, and they could be spreading out as we speak. The only advantage we seem to have is being able to recognize one another, even if the locals don't. With any luck, we will also know the others when we see them.

Ferdia: So much for stopping for the night. We might as well keep moving.

Squeaks and Ferdie: Groan.

Ferdia: And we should start going through that reference Newt sent. The more we know, the better our chances of survival.

Squeaks: Ferdie, which direction have you been walking in? You were at the point of origin, so we should double back and start looking for people. I wish we had a compass.

Ferdie pointed back along the path. So the three misplaced travelers began their journey to find everyone who had been accidentally brought to this tranquil world so that they might once again see San Viano. As they walked, Squeaks read the information that Newt had sent them.

Squeaks: I found the name 'Lina Inverse.' And I was right, they were talking about you. 'Female red-head with a bad temper.'

Ferdie: Please. Don't make her mad.

Squeaks: I think that would be a really bad idea, considering that this Lean person is suppose to have magical powers. Fireballs and that sort of thing.

Ferdie: Eep!

Ferdia: Really? Cool! I wonder how I do that.

Squeaks: It says something about spells; not very specific, though. There is this really devastating one called the 'Dragon Slave.'

Ferdia: Oh, if only Vernon was here. I could use him a target practice.

Squeaks: I will be sure to tell him you said that. And you might just be in luck, depending on where he was when this happened. Now, it goes on that Lina has traveling companions. I am going to go out on a limb and guess that I am the one named 'Zelgadiss Graywords.'

Ferdia: He has a petrified quality about him?

Squeaks: That would be one way to put it. Apparently he was not always like this, it was a spell placed on him by his grandfather. Up until recently, his mission in life was to find a way to reverse the spell since his grandfather is now dead. It would seem I also have magical powers, but mine are spirit magic, as opposed to yours, which are mostly black.

Ferdia: Well, that sucks.

Ferdie: What about me? Do I have cool powers, too? I am the only one here who might be able to figure out how to use them.

Ferdia: Excuse me?

Ferdie: Let's face it, I am an expert in the field.

Squeaks: Anyway. No I don't think you have powers like ours.

Ferdie: Aw.

Ferdia: Who is he then?

Squeaks: Someone named Gourry Gabriev, I think. The description is of a person wearing blue armor who has long blond hair and is not very bright.

Ferdie: What!?! I think you must be mistaken.

Squeaks: You would have a magic sword. The Sword of Light. According to this, Gourry is the best swordsman in the land.

Ferdie: Well, then it makes sense. Whoo-hoo! I'm a happy swordsman!

Off in the distance, a cat screamed.

Ferdia: Weird.

Squeaks: Yeah. You had better be careful, Ferdie. Just because Gourry is the best doesn't mean you are. Ferdia has yet to pull out any fireballs. Lucky for you, since this says that Gourry has a tendency to be receiving end of her 'friendly-fire,' if you will.

Ferdia: FIRE BALL!

A ball of flame hit a nearby tree. Ferdie dove behind Squeaks in self-defense. They turned and saw Ferdia standing innocently.

Ferdia: I think I found the on switch.

Ferdie: Save me!

Squeaks: Ferdie, let go or I will blast your tail.

Ferdie: Speaking of tails, how can you move yours when it is like that?

Squeaks: Very carefully. Now get up; we have to keep moving. The good news is that the others may not be that far away.

Ferdia: How do you figure that?

Squeaks: The people we have replaced all knew each other. They're friends…of sorts. 'Companions' might be a better way to put it. If they knew each other, and we know each other, then this might not be as much work as we initially thought.

Ferdie: That does not mean that we will simply just run into them. Just knowing one another is no guarantee of that.

Squeaks: According to this it is. Something it refers to as 'The Law of Summoning Personas.' Anyone a person knows will always show up at the exact moment you need him or her. Or don't need them, as the case may be, exponentially depending on the usefulness of the individual.

The bluebirds gave the mouse matching skeptical looks.

Squeaks: You think I'm making this up? It's written right here.

Ferdia: So, what type of people are we talking about?

Squeaks: Like this person 'Princess Amelia wil Telsa Saillune.'

Ferdia: Wow, her name is almost as bad as yours, bro.

Ferdie: You're one to talk.

Squeaks: As I was saying. Amelia is a short, dark haired, naïve young girl who tags along after our three characters and can cause as much trouble as anything else. She has magical powers, but is not skilled in the beginning. Plus she… well, it's not important.

Ferdie: What? What does it say?

Ferdia grabbed the pad from the mouse's fumbling hands and read the rest of the entry.

Ferdia: She had a crush on Zelgadiss ! Aw, that is so sweet.

Squeaks: Don't make me tell you what I read what I found in Lina's file concerning a possible love interest.

Ferdia: What is that suppose to mean?

Squeaks: Oh, nothing.

Taking the device back, Squeaks switches to another file.

Squeaks: There are several others who might also be potential candidates to have switched. All we have to do is try and find those people.

Ferdia: I think that is ridiculous.

Ferdie: No offense, Squeaks, but it does sound a little far fetched. I mean, do you honestly want to know what the statistical chances are that we will walk around that bend in the path and run into a person we know who has taken over one of these people, like that Amelia girl you mentioned?

Just then they rounded the bend in the road, where they came face to face with a red bird in a black wig. She was quite irate.

Iiwi Redbird/ Princess Amelia: Someone had better start explaining this NOW!

Squeaks: You were saying?

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