Dog and His Boy
Chapter 17: Under New Skies

Copyright© 2011 by TC Allen

It was a simple as looking in the classifieds of the Sunday paper. Henry located a hardware store on the verge of bankruptcy. The owner was desperate for money. Henry offered to purchase the whole store, stock and fixtures, if the owners would crate everything and stack it in the warehouse. He agreed to take over the lease. He paid cash and ordered the storeowners to leave the store immediately as soon as the loose stock was all boxed up. They were surprised at this strange request. Henry told them, "It is now my property. I will handle the way it gets taken care of."

Saturday morning Gage set up his first continuous portal on what was becoming to be known as "New Haven." Later the planet became just "Haven." Ralph and his security team and the twins worked at a fever pitch all day and into the night. By midnight on Saturday the tired crew carried the last boxes through the portal and an exhausted Gage closed it behind them. He lay down on the ground and went sound asleep by a pile of shovels.

The next day Dog sat in silence nearby and said little. "Little friend, you have amazed me with your accomplishments. But it is dangerous to push yourself so hard. Relax and do less. There are many days ahead of us. Please last long enough to see them." Dog sat beside the tired teenager.

Vikki came up and sat down on the ground beside him. "Hey, you look beat. Anything I can do to help you?"

"No, thanks. I just tried to do too much. I need to rest." He stood and asked, "I'm hungry, is there anything ready to eat?"

"You stay here, I'll bring you something." She rushed off and came back with a steaming plate of food.

"How are you feeling now, Gage?" Henry asked as he came up. "I believe we had best not try any more projects as ambitious as the hardware store. You rest and take it easy. We need to bring some foodstuffs here. We also need to start building log cabins to live in. Unfortunately no one in this group has ever used a chain saw to cut down trees."

"I got the answer to one problem anyway, Mister Storm. I found a whole bunch of those alien ray guns or whatever they are. They ought to cut through any trees around here. When we go back to get my folks I'll show them to you." Gage leaned back and closed his eyes.

"You never cease to amaze me," Henry Storm told him. He continued, "Amazing or not, why don't you come over here and grab a sleeping bag?"

Gage followed Henry to a pile of sleeping bags, took one, unrolled it and went to sleep on top. Vikki tenderly covered him with a blanket and sat beside him. Finally she lay down on the grass beside him and went to sleep also.

It was almost sunup when Gage awoke. He felt refreshed. He opened his eyes to see Vikki sitting beside him, staring at the sky. "Do you and your dad want to go with Dog and me? I'll show him where those ray guns are and I want to see my folks."

"Sure, let's go. I'll go find Father. Vikki and her father sat on the seat of the original purple slab. Dog and Gage stood behind them.

"Ready?" Gage asked and he and dog opened the portal through the gray space and on to Earth. They came out in the Larsen's back yard. The second slab followed them through and came to a rest on the ground.

Gage opened the back door and saw a stranger sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee. "Who are you?" he demanded.

"I'm the man who just might take you to your parents if you say pretty please. We go easy or we go hard. But we go." He pulled a small automatic from his suit coat pocket and pointed it.

"Gage, drop," Dog ordered and flew through the air at the stranger. He knocked him down hard enough to stun him. Dog took the gun from the man's hand and dropped it on the floor by Gage. Vikki came hurling in.

"Where's my folks?" Gage asked.

"Where you'll never find them," the stranger sneered and added, "Well, unless I take you to them."

"Is he Raak?" Gage asked.

"No, I do not believe so," Henry said from the door. This is more of our government at work.

"Vikki, you ask him where my folks are." Gage had an expression on his face like she had never seen before. It made her nervous.

"You better tell him where his parents are, if you make him angry there's no telling what he might do."

"What could a kid like him do?" the man sneered.

Suddenly he was knocked to the floor as Vikki wound up and kicked him in the jaw. Now I'm only a girl and this is one thing I can do," she answered, "He's a guy and can do just so much more than a helpless girl."

He shook his head and tried to get up. A thin band of purple suddenly encircled his waist. He was lifted into the air and slowly carried outside. He shot hundreds of feet up into the air and began to careen all over the sky. Just as quickly the government agent plummeted to the Earth to come to a bone jarring stop inches from the ground. His eyes were wide with fright. His whole body twitched. "What ... what ... what are you?" he gasped as he tried to get his breath back.

"Neat trick, huh?" Gage asked. "Now I smashed a couple of guys pretty bad when I did my little trick for the first time. You were lucky. Ready to go on another ride?"

Nearly in tears the man looked like he was ready to faint. "What are you all?" he demanded through clenched teeth.

Gage pretended to consider the question. "Oh, I'm just a little confused teenager and I want to know where my folks are. If you don't tell me I'm going to try to stretch you by making half of you go in one direction and the other half in another.

"You wouldn't dare!" the stranger bluffed. He flinched as Gage caused the band around his middle to separate and become two thinner bands. The second band slipped down around the agent's ankles. He felt a tugging at his ankles and at his waist.

"Now this is the leg stretching exercise," Gage told him.

"Gage," Henry protested, "You aren't really going to do anything so drastic are you?"

Gage didn't answer. He frowned in concentration and suddenly the agent's shoes slipped off, along with the purple band around his ankles." I got it too loose that time," he muttered in a low voice. "The last time I did this trick, the guy's feet came off with his shoes. Now I tell you it was a real mess. Blood and stumps everywhere."

The agent was almost in tears. "We're holding them in the city jail in town. Just get away from me." He shuddered and looked at Gage as if he had suddenly seen a monster.

"Let's take a slab and put it in the back of Dad's truck. We'll drive there and talk to those people. If they let my folks go we'll leave. If they won't, I'll make them real sorry."

Vikki had never seen Gage like this. He scared her. Before, when he became angry he expressed it in a fit of temper and it was over. This time he seemed to actually enjoy scaring these people.

Henry drove and Vikki sat beside him. Gage and Dog rode in back on the car seat welded to the purple carpet. They pulled up and parked across the street from the city jail, located in a wing of the City and County Building.

Just as they came to a complete stop the front doors of City Hall swung open and Linda and Steve Larsen came out surrounded by six men in black suits. An angry Captain Anderson and a worried looking Millicent Perkins followed grimly behind.

"Hey!" Gage yelled as he jumped from the bed of the truck. He caused the purple platform to float over to the group of government agents surrounding his parents. Suddenly it shot forward and bounced off one man's head. He fell and lay still on the sidewalk. In a split second it twice more smacked two agents on their heads. Two more agents were knocked to the sidewalk.

When the remaining three pulled their guns Captain Anderson told them, "You better put those things away. You just might make those people mad."

As the platform fell to the sidewalk two small bits of purple separated from it and went around two of the agent's gun hands. Slowly the guns turned until they were pointed toward the third agent's head. "Hey!" he yelled, what are you doing?" His eyes widened in horror as he stared at the two guns pointing at him. He dropped his firearm and stood very still, hands slowly rising in the air.

"I can't help myself!" one agent exclaimed. The other one silently nodded.

"You guys let go of your guns and you won't get hurt." Gage walked up to them and picked the dropped weapon up off the sidewalk. He took the guns from the unresisting hands of the two government agents. The purple unwrapped from the two and returned to the larger slab.

Vikki jumped out of the truck and ran up to Gage. "Do you always have to be such a show off?"

Henry slowly crossed the street and asked Agent in charge Millicent Perkins of the St Paul FBI offices, "What charges are you holding these people on?"

"Actually they were being held under the provisions of the Patriot act concerning national security." I warned those fools from Washington they were begging for trouble, but they wouldn't listen. I never expected this though."

"I warned you about these kids," Captain Anderson told the stunned group. But you thought your authority was enough to make everyone do what you ordered like good little robots."

"I just want to go home," Linda said. "I want to get as far away from these creeps as I can. She looked at all the federal people with contempt.

Suddenly a television team previously hidden in a large white van with he logo of a local TV station came scrambling out of the back. The cameraman with his hand held unit walked quickly toward The Larsens and the Storms. One of the best known of the St Paul newscasters called, "Wait! Captain Anderson promised us an interview with you! Don't go yet!"

Agent Perkins turned on Anderson, "How dare you leak this to the news! You are an idiot. I was against arresting the Larsens because I was afraid something like this would happen. But to leak something to the press without prior authorization is illegal."

"I doubt it very much. I warned you after your idiot Somers pulled his stunt what would happen if you people tried any more end runs around Minnesota law enforcement agencies. I said I would take steps and I did. This whole operation of yours is so far off the books someone is going to get the axe over it." He shook his head and snorted, "And you people wonder why you have such a bad reputation." The TV camera picked up every bit and the TV station sent it out live.

"I was following orders from Washington," Agent Perkins said defensively. "I told them it would backfire, yet they insisted." She looked defeated as she added, "I'm going back to my office and clear out my desk. I know who is going to get the blame." Head down, she walked slowly toward a parked government vehicle.

"Hey, you can have a job with us," Captain Anderson called after her. She didn't answer. She got in her car and drove away.

"Well, we better go home," Steve told his wife. "I think we won't have any more trouble from the government."

"Oh yes we will," Henry contradicted him. "We'll now get a call from some big shot in the Whitehouse. After what Gage did to those agents on camera, we'll be lucky if they don't drop an A-bomb on us."

"Let's us all get our stuff and move to Haven," Gage said. "We don't have a home here any more."

"Yah, Steve said, "They're going to need a good mechanic before long." He and Linda slowly drove away in the truck, Henry, Vikki and Dog sat in the back. Gage followed on the purple slab, floating three feet off the ground. The news camera got it all.

Captain Anderson grinned at the unhappy federal agents, "Well, you boys got in enough hot water around here to last you a while. You better go home and start writing out all your excuses." He snorted and gave his head a shake as he turned and walked away. The agents looked at one another silently as they realized just how much authority they truly had.

A stretch limousine with heavily tinted windows was waiting in the Ryan's yard when they arrived. "What now?" Henry asked aloud as he climbed out of the back of the pickup.

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