It is another day for Frank Schmidt, the director of Department Q. Frank leafs through the reports given by his agents and other sources. He spots a report of miracle healings at a small up-state hospital, and calls one of his agents on the phone.
"Hello, Will, I've got a job for you." says Frank.
Willhelm Braun replies "Sounds good to me, what team am I hooking up with this time."
Frank answers "Omega. I need you here by 8:00 p.m." and hangs up the phone.
Willhelm thinks aloud "I've never worked with Omega before, and haven't the slightest idea who they are!"
Frank then calls the rest of Team Omega and tells them to meet in the conference room by 8:00 pm.
At precisely 8:00 Frank walks into the room saying "Well, we've got an interesting one this time. According to reports there is a hospital in up-state Massachusetts where people are being cured of incurable diseases by the dozen. What I need your team to do is find out what is going on up there. The Hospital in question is Ossian County General. We must find out if there is anything to this strange story. To make your team a little more effective, I've taken the liberty of adding Willhelm Braun to your team, so if each one of you would please introduce yourselves and tell a bit about your specialties it might make the team function a little better. Would you please start us off Will?"
Will stands up, adjusts his coat and tie and says "I am Willhelm Braun, and I am primarily a weapons expert, but I also have studied para-normal abilities and have developed the ability to sniff out the use of psychic powers. I grew up in Bremerhaven, Germany, having a normal childhood and adolescence. After I graduated from high school, I enrolled at the Heidelberg Academy to learn how to fence under the hands of the masters. I graduated with a Bachelors in psychology and a Masters in pagan anthropology.
"After Heidelberg I entered the West German military where I commanded a special anti-terrorist task-force. From the military, I accepted a position with the German Diplomatic Corps. After about five years, I was approached by your Department Q about accepting occasional missions. As a matter of propriety I, of course, cleared this with my superiors in Diplomatic Corps.
"Since then I have been on six missions, three of which were vital to both our countries," concludes Braun.
Anatoli Speznak stands and says "My name is Anatoli Speznak, and I am the team's mage. Which, in case you don't know, is a different word for magic-user. I have learned to cast a number of spells, from simple lewitation to controlled flight. I am able to recognize many of the other forms of magic, and can also form an area of protection from vich ve can vithstand most conwentional forms of attack. I was born in Moscow, and emigrated to the United States vith my parents vhen I was sewenteen".
June Wilson stands and introduces herself. "I am June and I am an android. I have been designed to detect false statements, handle the mechanical end of any work which might result from these excursions and record to the smallest detail anything which occurs on one of these missions. As you can see I am designed not to draw any undue attention to myself or my companions. I have been programmed with the four basic Laws of Robotics, and have occasionally added small advisory notices to the programming.
George Franklin, as his turn comes, stands and says "H-H-Hello, m-m-my name is G-George and I am the techie of the t-t-t-team. I am s-s-sorry if m-m-my st-t-tutt-t-tering bothers anyone. As you can see I don't always ssstutter. I was born of handicapped p-p-parents, and was r-r-r-r-raised by mmmmy Aunt and Uncle. When I was 12 I passed my G.E.D.
"I received my first D-D-Doctorate, in Nuclear Physics, when I was 17. I continued my education until I had accrued an additional eight degrees. Four Masters and f-f-four Ph.Ds." June is one of my creations, and you will soon see some more of th-them."
Frank asks "Are there any questions?"
Braun responds "Do you have a cover story for us to work under?"
Frank replies "Any cover story will have to be chosen by the group and will be taken care of from this end, just let me know what cover story you decide to use for this mission."
Everyone meets at the offices of Department Q and considers different possible scenarios, and eventually decides to head out to the Hospital as a team of reporters for one of the weekly news-magazine shows. Anatoli calls Frank and advises him that they will be using the T.V. news show cover.
As the group is heading out toward Massachusetts they run into a bit spot of bad weather. The rain is falling like Niagara Falls and the lightning is flashing more often than flash bulbs at a presidential press conference. Braun decides that the weather is too severe for the team to continue safely and pulls the car into a rest area to wait for the storm to pass.
While they wait, a strange calm befalls the immediate vicinity of the rest area. George suggests "Why don't w-we stretch our l-l-legs for a f-few mi-mi-minutes?"
They agree and walk into the rest area building to relax for a while. As the time passes they talk about the mission and try to decide what the plan of attack should be. Anatoli suggests, "Vy don't ve use the premise that ve are inwestigating health care costs in semi-rural America, and doing background footage and possibly some 'color' footage as well. Since the wideo camera is designed to check and analyze the levels of magic and psychic energy in the target area, as well as residuals or traces of either form of energy, ve can check all of the employees at the hospital vitout arousing anyone's suspicion."
"Why don't I play the part of the c-c-cameraman?" suggests George.
"Sounds good to me" says Anatoli, "vy don't you take the part of the interwiewer, June"?
June replies, "That will work for this assignment, but what would you suggest for Mr. Braun, and what will you do"?
Anatoli says, "I'll be the researcher and Vill can be our technician".
Braun agrees with them and they head back out to the car, but as they are almost half-way between the building and the car a blanket of fog rolls in. The fog almost seems evil in its appearance and texture, and they start to worry.
Braun warns the team, "There is a psychic force involved with this fog. Anatoli, would you throw up your zone of protection as quickly as you possibly can"?
Anatoli begins to chant, "Place around this group, a circle of protection, to protect this group, until the danger passes" and while repeating the chant he marks out the circle of protection. The chanting lasts for about ten minutes. He then says to the group, "Vhatever you do, do not cross the line of the circle because, if you do, it vill destroy the circles ability to protect us".
The fog thickens until they can't see beyond the circle of protection. What light they had before is gone, darkness seems to be the order of the day, as the team starts to feel like they are being watched. The hair rises on the backs of their necks, even June's.
The earth swiftly recedes from them as they rise through different levels of reality. Where ever they are is more unusual than anything they have seen before. They are suspended in a void, absolutely nothing in sight.
As they wait for whatever is going to happen next, a glob of viscous goo encapsulates the zone of protection as the goo travels past them. Following the goo is a parade of bizarre shapes traveling past them. A grandfather clock walks itself to the circle of protection and tries to bite its way into the group. A spoon with a halo walks past with a pick-axe slung over its shoulder. A coffee cup made of Swiss cheese wearing a tu-tu pirouettes past while dancing with a Mr. Coffee. An hour glass with wings bounces past, and a red-breasted robin with a giraffes neck slithers past screeching, "Be ready for a world so completely unlike anything you have ever seen before that you will wonder if you have lost your mind. The world you knew and loved will be a thing of the past as you enter a new world where the laws you encounter will be so totally different from anything you have ever dreamed possible".
The fog returns as the group feels themselves descending through what seems to be miles and miles of the strange viscous goo. Suddenly they land with a thud on a vast open plain.
After they land they take up defensive positions with each person watching a quarter of the area before them. Once it becomes obvious that they are in no immediate danger Braun turns toward the group and says, "Gott in Himmel" and faints from the shock of seeing totally different people where the group used to be. The rest of the group then looks at Braun, who is now a three and a-half foot tall dwarf lying on the ground, out cold.
They then look at each other and are shocked to find that they have all been changed. Anatoli is now a short human being, when he used to be much taller. June has turned into an elf with pointed ears and greenish skin. George has become a two and a-half foot tall gnome, with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.
Anatoli bends to help Willhelm to his feet as Will adjusts his tunic and says to the rest of the group, "Vell, ve're here, vhere-ever here is. Vhat do you think we should do now"?
George says "W-W-Well, f-first thing we should do is f-f-find the local civilization and learn what we can about this place. My guess as to where the local p-p-people would be is by a river or ocean, so if w-we j-j-just head in one direction until we find water and then f-f-follow along the water until we f-find some type of settlement".
June agrees and suggests "We should perhaps travel towards the sun in the morning and away from it in the evening until we find something".
George replies "Sounds good, but first I want to look around here for a bit. There must be a reason we landed here and not somewhere else, and I would like to know why".
They start a search and expand in a spiral pattern until they have covered about a square mile. On the far southern edge of their search they find what may be something.
Will says, "What have we here"?
Anatoli says "Vell, Vill, it looks like something might be buried here. Shall ve dig whatever it is out, or do you think ve might be disturbing a grave"?
Will says "I don't think it matters, besides we need information more than the thing down there needs to be buried and undisturbed, so shall we start digging"?
They find some old bones and an old sword. Anatoli asks, "Vill, can you use this sword or is it more a hack and slash instrument"?
"I can use it, and if this world is at the level where swords are the weapon of choice, then I think one of us should be carrying it".
The group starts out heading into the sun until the sun is almost straight overhead, at which point they take a break. A couple of hours pass and they set out again, this time keeping the sun at their backs until nightfall.
As the night descends they find a place to camp, and set up watches. George takes the first watch, during which nothing happens. Will covers the second watch and it too passes without event. Anatoli takes third, and has nothing more than a few deer-like creatures travel past the camp. June takes the last watch and has nothing occur.