Fic: Brave New Dimension 1/1 Sliders/Alien Nation
Title: Brave New Dimension. Author: Lopaka Tanu Disclaimer: I do not own Sliders/Alien Nation. Characters: Wade, Quinn, Arturo, Rembrandt, Aliens. Words: 5892 Prompt: The Sliders come across a world where Aliens exist. Fandom: Sliders/Alien Nation Pairing: pre-Wade/Remmy Rating: Teen Warnings: Language, Violence. Summary: After the germ world, the Sliders are suffering from a little PTSD. It doesn't help that this new world seems to have people in bio-hazard suits following them everywhere. Author's Note: San Francisco is right on the ocean. Most New Comers could not come there without risking severe allergic reaction. Over time, however, locals develop a resistance to the salty air. Timeline: Post Fever - episode 1x04. ______________________________________
The wind picked up, scattering newspapers and trash across the alley. Holding a hand to his face, June Gaul tried to protect his eyes from the rising tide of sand and debris. His face turned away, he didn't see the lightning flash before the air seemed to be sucked in on itself.
A blue and white rippling mass expanded mere feet above the ground.
With a sucking sound, the first appeared. Crying out, Wade was disgorged upon the cement, butt first. Rolling to the side, she groaned and clutched at the seat of her pants.
Half a second later, two more flashes of light preceded the appearance of Rembrandt and Quinn. Flying out together, they bounced off each other and flew in different directions. Rembrandt landed next to Wade, while Quinn flew face first in to several trash cans.
The final appearance dumped Arturo face first between them all. Rolling end over end, he came to a stop at the foot of the June's bedding. Groaning, he put a hand to his face. "Mr. Mallory. Every time I think I may learn to forgive you, we slide, and I am freshly reminded why I despise your rash spirit!"
Moaning from distress, Quinn wiped a wet...something from his face. It smelled awful and looked worse. "Did you say something, Professor?"
With a roll of his eyes, Arturo rolled over so that he could sit up. Coming to a sitting position, he stretched his back until it popped. "Never mind. How long before we slide next?"
A half second later, the vortex closed.
Using the back of his sleeve, Quinn swiped the greasy ooze from his cheek. "Give me a sec." He coughed a little to clear his nose and throat, then spit in the cans. That done, he reached in to his jacket pocket and pulled out the timer.
Quinn flipped open to check the status. As he scanned the numbers, his eyebrows rose up in his head. "That's strange, they're not moving."
"Of course they're not moving. It's a digital readout." Annoyed, the Professor turned so that he was facing Quinn. The left side of his face was red from the impact. "How much time do we have left?"
"I know that!" Quinn thumped the timer with his other hand. When that did nothing, he shook his head. "I can't figure this out. The numbers aren't going up or down. This thing must be broken again."
"Wonderful." Hand on his stomach, Rembrandt glared at Quinn. "Just what are we supposed to do now?"
Noticing his actions, Wade reached out to place a hand upon his shoulder. She smiled in an attempt to distract him. "Get jobs?" At Rembrandt's look, the smile disappeared. "Sorry."
"No, Ms. Wells, again, you are right. We will not accomplish this, sitting here dawdling around." Rolling to one knee, he put a foot under him, then pushed off the cement. Climbing to his feet, he groaned from the pain.
"You all right there, Professor? Sounds like you're dying." For the first time, Rembrandt started to chuckle. His own grin disappeared when he tried standing himself. "Oh, lord, I don't think I will ever get used to this. Isn't there a way we can get through a single landing without trying to break something?"
"I'm starting to wonder that myself." Facing now scrubbed clear, Quinn used the wall to support himself. He glanced over to make sure Wade was doing the same before he checked out their location. "I don't recognize this place. What else is different, do you think?"
"May be the dogs walk the people?" Wade felt better now that Remmy was in a jovial mood.
Rembrandt gave her an apologetic look. "Just so long as I don't have to kiss Rover's feet, I can handle that." This earned him a smile from her.
"Well, aside from inane speculation, I say we actually do something to find out." Once he was sure his feet would support him, Arturo tugged on his suit. He righted it in to a semblance of order. That done, located the main street. "Shall we?"
"All right. Fun's over." Holding out his elbow, Rembrandt waited for Wade to accept the offer. Once he had her hand, he patted it under his own, then led her towards the street.
Quinn followed along slightly behind them. His own head was still ringing from the impact.
In his pile of rags and blankets, June watched them pass with glazed, frightened eyes.
Sitting back on the park bench, groaning as his back protested, Arturo twitched open the newspaper. It was wrinkled from having been squished under a box, but still legible. "Good news or bad news, depending upon how you voted. That Saxophone playing, pin head is running for a second term on this world too."
"Well, at least some things stay the same." Warming his hands around a steaming, styrophoam mug, Rembrandt took a sip of the hot chocolate inside. "If you ever become less sanctimonious, the world will stop making sense."
Lowering his paper, Arturo turned to lay in to the other man. "Forgive me, but I fail to see how my belief that a leader should be chosen upon his actual merits and not how he can..." He closed his mouth upon seeing his expression.
The moment Arturo's eyes narrowed, Rembrandt and the others lost it. Slapping at his thigh, he nearly spilled the contents of his cup. "I swear, man, you are always too easy."
"Yuck it up guys, but we still have to figure out what jobs to get." Leaning back against the bench, Quinn checked the timer's readout again. "These numbers make absolutely no sense. We've been here almost an hour and nothing."
"Then we must simply create a diagnostic tool. Now, quit worrying over something we have absolutely no control of at the moment!" Shaking his newspaper, Arturo raised it again so he could read the columns. "There does not appear to be much variation between this world and our own."
"Well, now, I wouldn't say that." Watching an approaching group of tourists, Wade couldn't help staring. She knew it was rude, but never in her life had she seen someone like this before. "Uh, guys, don't make it too obvious, but look to our right. I think I found another difference."
Walking along the stone trail, they had their cameras out and were snapping pictures of everything. Most of them were covered from head to toe in white protective clothing. Some were even wearing face masks.
"Well, now, that's not something you see every day." Sitting forward, Rembrandt found himself unable to look away. "They look like them germophobes back on that world."
Quinn shivered. That had not been a pleasant slide. "Guys, tone down the staring. We don't need any undue attention." When that didn't have a reaction on Rembrandt or Wade, he pushed their heads down. "Quit staring!"
"Hey, Q-ball, watch the hair!" Shifting his head free, Rembrandt reached up to fix his do. The fact the other man was right didn't matter. No one messed with his style. "We have got to get off this world quickly."
"Agreed." Wade shivered. The looks of the tourists did nothing to make her feel comfortable.
With a sigh, Quinn checked the timer again. Flipping it open, he scanned the numbers. Much to his surprise, there was a difference. "Uh, guys, I think the timer is counting down."
Smiling, Wade jerked around to face Quinn. "Thank god. How much time do we have left?"
"That's the bad news." Noticing that the tourists were getting closer, Quinn lowered his voice. "If I'm reading this right, we're stuck on this world for another six months."
Lowering his paper, Arturo shifted to glance over his shoulder at Quinn. He sat there blinking for several seconds. "Did I hear you correctly?"
"The next slide window isn't for six months." Slapping it closed, he dropped it in his coat pocket. "I hope there's nothing really wrong with this world."
"Uh, guys. I think we better take this some place else." Rembrandt cleared his throat, then jerked his head towards the tourists.
Quinn looked up. Much to his horror, they were being watched with open shock and surprise. He backed away from the park bench on instinct. "Guys, get up, now!"
"Mr. Mallory is right. Just, whatever you do, try not to panic." Smiling politely at the tourists, Arturo folded his paper. Standing up, he used it to wave at them. He spun to make sure that Wade and Rembrandt were standing. "Quickly, go, now."
The others didn't have to be told twice. At a fast walk, they made for the street entrance opposite of the tourists. Hearing excited whispers and camera flashes, all pretense of trying to appear normal was lost.
Arturo was the first to break from the pack. Running, he glanced over his shoulder to ensure the others were keeping up. Much to his relief, he wasn't the only one with the idea.
Panic gripping her chest, Wade's heart sped up more from fear than the sudden exercise. Holding Rembrandt's hand, she kept ahead of Quinn and made sure the other man was at her side.
At the back of the group, Quinn cast a quick look over his shoulder at the tourists. Much to his relief, they weren't following, too busy talking amongst themselves. Still, he wasn't going to slow down and give them a chance to change their minds.
Clinging to Quinn and Rembrandt, Wade couldn't summon up the inner strength to appear normal. Every person that came within sight, she watched for a reaction. Any one of them could be a suspect. Of what crime, she wasn't sure.
But they weren't trustworthy.
Holding her hand, Rembrandt didn't feel much more charitable. Still, he had enough sense to keep from staring at people. Just down the street was the Dominion Hotel. A few more minutes, and they would be in their own room again.
Newspaper under his arm, Arturo quickly made his way down the street. He had an air like he owned the place, not quite making eye contact with the people he passed. A pleasant smile on his face, he was the first one to reach the front door of the hotel.
Much to his relief as he stopped at the glass, he saw the same large creeton behind the desk. Feeling his gut settle, he raised his chin and pulled the door open. He sailed in to the lobby, making a beeline for the desk. At the counter, he pulled out two twenties. Setting them on the counter, he turned to the clerk. "One room, two beds, full size."
The man behind the desk raised an eyebrow, but reached under the counter for a key. "Sign in please." Taking the two bills, he walked over the counter.
"Very well, my good man." Arturo glanced over his shoulder to Quinn. "If you would do us the honor, Mr. Mallory."
Quinn shared a look with the others before rolling his eyes. After extracting himself from Wade's hold, he walked up to the ledger. So far, everything about the hotel was normal. Even down to the way the shifty eyed clerk watched him.
Clearing his throat, Arturo drew the man's attention back to himself. Holding out his hand, he firmly held it up to be noticed.
With a reluctant sigh, the clerk walked back over and handed him his change and a receipt. "No funny stuff. Check out time is noon tomorrow, not a minute after."
"Very well, thank you." Closing his hand over the change, Arturo gave him a trite smile. He glanced down at the room key, sighing when he noticed the number.
Room twelve. Of course.
Staring out the window, Wade wrapped her arms tightly about her. Traffic flowed by normally, people continued to walk the streets. Only one question ate at her thoughts. What menace did this world hold that they had to avoid for six months? It was the one thing all of them feared. "I can't believe we're stuck here."
"Six months. Girl, I can barely say it, let alone believe it." Coming up behind her, Rembrandt pushed aside the curtain so he could join her. Not seeing anything different, he felt a little out of place. "Is that what's got you so preoccupied?"
"No. It's those tourists." Shivering, she ran her hands up her arms. "Did you see the way they were watching us? It was like they could hear what we were saying. When Quinn mentioned we were stuck on this world, they all turned to as one." As another shiver ran through her body, she sobbed. "I don't think I can go through that again."
Wrapping his arm about her, Rembrandt put his lips to her forehead. He knew what she meant, and completely agreed. "Shh, let's not think about that." Running a hand down her back, he began to massage her in circles. "Q-ball and the Professor are out there getting something good to eat. May be they will find out a little more about this world. That way, when they get back, things can finally be put in their place."
"I hope so." Closing her eyes, she allowed herself to enjoy the comfort of his strength and presence. The fact he said it made her want to believe it more.
"New Comers are every where these days, why not check out what your new neighbors might be like before they come knocking on your door!" Holding up a flier, the woman tried to hand one to Quinn. "To be forewarned is to be forearmed!"
"Thank you." Giving her a polite smile, Quinn accepted the paper. He had a bad feeling about her, and what she was spouting off about. There were people like her back home. Before he had a chance to read the flier, it was snatched from his hand.
"Let me see that." To his right, Arturo pulled open his glasses and put them on. His lips moved while he skimmed the words. "What is this?" Looking over the rims, he stared at the woman. "Are you deliberately trying to be locked up?"
This seemed to be what she was hoping for. "It's a free country, but how free should it be?" Changing direction from trying to pass off her papers to another pedestrian, she faced Arturo. Cocking her head to the side, she glanced him up and down. "Are you here legally?"
"Madam, I have earned my right to be here." Stepping up to her, he pulled off his glasses. "Can the same be said for you?"
She snorted. "I was born here, I don't have to!"
"More's the pity. Citizenship should be an earned privilege, not a geographical crap shoot." Snorting at her, he dismissed her with a look. Holding up the paper, he deliberately crumpled it. "Come, Mr. Mallory, let us go where the air is not stunk up by the filthy dregs that inbreeding has produced."
Chuckling to himself, Quinn ignored the outraged expression the woman gave the professor. It was better that they left when they did, as he noticed there were several other people with fliers about. One fanatic was bad, an entire flock of them was dangerous.
As they passed out of visual range of the woman and her group, Quinn stepped in closer to Arturo. "What exactly wast that about?"
"That...woman, and her flock of pigeons are anti-immigration. They seem to think illegal aliens are going to ruin this planet." Sighing, he slid his glasses back inside his jacket pocket. "I'm afraid I was in the wrong back there, though. Not for my principles, but that I risked us all."
Quinn stopped him from continuing with a hand on his shoulder. "You did the right thing. Injustice shouldn't be tolerated no matter what situation."
"The rules are different and you know it." Checking the streets, he slowed at the crosswalk. "We are not from around here, any slipup will cost us dearly. I should have remember that and kept my mouth shut!" Clenching his teeth, he waited for the light before stepping off the curb.
"Nothing happened, so just drop it and remember this later." Hands deep in his jacket, Quinn watched the traffic and the people. Just in case, he didn't want someone to come after them. "So, which is it tonight? Tacos or burgers?"
"Please. Can we have something a little more palatable this time?" Once he reached the other side of the street, Arturo pulled out his wallet. He scanned the almost empty billfold and shook his head. "Tacos it is."
"Yes!" Spotting the restaurant, Quinn pulled his hand from his pocket and gripped the professor's sleeve. "Taco Bell, to our right."
"Oh yippee!" Following along behind, Arturo refused to keep the sarcasm at bay. If he couldn't berate himself, the least he could do was share the misery. As they crossed the mouth of an alley, he made sure there was no one there who might jump out at them. "You're paying this time, Mr. Mallory."
"I don't have a problem with that. Wade will have to take care of the room tomorrow, though." Quinn turned to smile at Arturo, but halted mid motion. His eyes went wide a half second before he remembered to school his reaction. Turning to face ahead, he picked up his pace.
Having caught the young man's reaction, Arturo quickly followed suit. While they weren't running, they moved at a quick pace. Within a few dozen steps, they were at the door to the restaurant.
Quinn barely had the door open before him and the Professor were ducking inside. Moving around the side, he hid behind the trash can next to the door as it was the right at the wall. He leaned to the side a little to peer out the window.
"What is it?" Stepping behind the trash can, Arturo used the wall to block him from outside view.
"The tourists from the park." He counted down from fifteen in his mind. Forcing his face to remain neutral, he shifted so he could look out the window again. Much to his relief, he didn't see them any more. "They're gone."
"The smell of the food must have driven them off." Snickering, Arturo patted Quinn on the shoulder. He sighed in relief, allowing himself to relax.
"All right, but make it quick, Q-ball." Putting down the phone, Rembrandt exhaled slowly. A heavy weight had been lifted from his chest, easing his worry. He sat back on the bed, putting himself even with Wade. "Quinn's spotted a help wanted sign. He's going to fill out an application, then he and the professor will come back. They're about fifteen minutes away on foot."
"That's good." Shifting in closer to him, she placed her head upon his shoulder. "I want to thank you for staying with me." She smiled as she wrapped her arms around one of his. "This might seem silly, but I don't think I can be alone just yet."
"That's not silly at all, baby girl." Slipping his arm free of her grip, he slid it up her back to drape over her shoulders. He tugged her closer, letting her rest in the hollow formed by his arm and body. "I completely understand and agree. There's some freaky things out there, coming close to death for being a nice person shouldn't be one of them."
Wade grimaced. Even thinking about it was so horrible. "And I used to think we had it bad with our old boss, Quinn and me, that is. He was a real jerk." A shiver ran through her, causing her to shake her head. "I can only imagine what is going wrong with this world. The more I think about it, the worse I get."
"I hate this! There should be wonderful things out there, and all it seems we run in to are nightmares." Her skin suddenly felt too tight. Gently, she extracted herself from his grip. Running a hand through her hair, she tugged on the tips for a second. "Some times, I just really wish Quinn had just let this one go. My old life wasn't all that great, but it was better than being almost dying on a world of germphobes."
"Hey, you'll get no argument from me." Rembrandt ran his palms over his pants. Unlike her, he wasn't about to let on how freaked he was by this whole thing. It was bad enough he nearly lost it on the last world.
Taking a deep breath, Wade turned on Rembrandt. Seeing the way he was watching her, she exhaled slowly. Almost on instinct, she cocked her head to the side. "How are you holding up?"
"About the same as you." He snorted. "I just haven't reached the boiling point yet. You can keep going if you need to."
Smiling, she shook her head. "Nah, thanks though. I think this is just what I need. Quiet. Calm. Comfort."
"You and me both." And that was the gist of it. All of them were pretty much traumatized enough for a life time. The worst of it, in his opinion, was that they would probably never see home again.
Feeling depressed, Rembrandt folded his arms behind his head and fell back against the bed. Six months on this world. Who knew what those crazies in their biohazard suits were. All he wanted to know was where they were going so he could be else where.
Seeing him relax in to the bed made Wade smile. It felt like forever since they had simply been able to just lay back and take a load off. Even before the first slide.
How long ago had that been?
A sudden wariness sucked the strength from her body, causing her to sag. A sheer sign of trauma was losing track of time. The soaps her mom used to watch had taught her that one. "Great." Now she was basing her reality upon a soap opera.
Rolling her eyes, she made her way over to the window. If she waited long enough, she would see the Professor and Quinn arrive. At least it was something to do. Wondering how she had gone from watching TV to watching a window for entertainment, she pushed aside the curtain.
Then she left it fall back quickly.
Stepping back, she shook her head. "Remmy!"
"What is it?" Shooting up on the bed, Rembrandt scanned the room for a possible intruder. One never knew where something might enter with inter-dimensional travel. Eventually, he clued in on the fact that she was staring at the window in horror. "Is there someone out there?"
"Them!" Her breath hitching, she rushed to the table in the far corner where most of their belongings were.
Paper bag stuffed under his arm, Quinn weighted his wallet. With a shake of his head, he stuffed it back down in to his pants. Hopefully, the form he had just filled out would fix the emptiness of it.
Walking out the door, he hunched himself a little deeper in his coat. A wind had picked up and was blowing a wet fog in. A quick glance about helped him locate the professor.
Standing in front of a butcher shop window, the man was peering hard through the glass.
Feeling a little playful, Quinn tried to sneak over behind the professor. Unfortunately, as he neared, the other man turned to his direction. He sighed, realizing the jig was up. So, he continued on normally to his side. "What's so interesting?"
"Hmm?" Arturo broke off his study of the window to glance over at Quinn. Noticing him, he shook his head. "It's very strange. There are actual live animals in there, yet this place is listed as a Butcher Shop." He pointed to the stenciling on the glass. "Then there is this."
Staring at it, something clicked in Quinn's head. "Hey, now that you mention it, I saw something like that in the store." He jerked a thumb over his shoulder back to the corner convenience store. "There are entire books written in that. A couple of things around the register too."
Arturo frowned. He spun slowly, taking in the shops up and down the street. "I am beginning to dislike this world more and more."
"Well, I may have a few answers." Quinn thumped the package under his arm. "A world book, full of 'fun facts'. It was only fifty cents, so I picked it up while filling out an application."
"That was smart thinking. Let us hope there is something of actual use to us in it, though." After finishing his survey of the shops, Arturo shook his head. There were far too many of them with similar markings for his taste. "I think we have delayed are return long enough. I am sure Ms. Wells and Mr. Brown are beside themselves by now."
"Crap!" Blinking rapidly, Quinn slapped his head with the heel of his palm. "I completely forgot. After last world, I'd be surprised if they don't kill us!"
"You're right, come'on!"
Cooling tacos in one bag, world book in another, Quinn felt rather accomplished. It wasn't much a shopping spree, but he had survived with his wits intact. That equaled a success in his mind. He knew Wade would call him a wuss for it, though.
Grinning, he picked up his pace a bit. The last corner to their street was just ahead. Beside him, he heard the professor sigh in exasperation. He looked over his shoulder long enough to razz him before continuing on.
Quinn was the first to reach the corner. That's why he was the first to see the tourists. Eyes going wide, he put his feet down in an attempt to stop himself. His feet went out from under him and he went falling to the sidewalk under him.
Arturo rushed forward in an attempt to catch him. He reached the younger man just in time to prevent him from completely hitting the ground. Catching him under the shoulders, he eased him the rest of the way. "What is it?"
"The tourists!" Quinn pushed up from the sidewalk. His legs moving quickly, he pushed himself up Arturo's body until he was standing up. Once on his feet, he grasped the stunned professor and jerked him back the way they had come.
"Unhand me!" Out of view, Arturo shoved Quinn's hands away. He took a moment to adjust his clothing. "Do not jerk me about like a marionette! I was perfectly capable of getting out of sight myself!"
Staring at him for several seconds, Quinn took that time to process what he had said. Then his expression fell. "I'm sorry, Professor, but I reacted. Those guys are there, which means..."
"Yes, yes, I know that." Running a hand through his hair, Arturo put it back in place. He wasn't certain the same could be done with the now stretched fibers of his suit. "We need to find out if they have captured our friends or if their presence is just a coincidence."
"Coincidence? Have you not seen them?" Quinn was near to shouting. Seeing that he was only angering the professor, he scoffed and looked away. "What else could they be doing there?"
"Checking in." Arturo gave a humorless laugh at the way Quinn suddenly went rigid. "Ah, I see the obvious has yet again slipped from your grasp."
"You're right, I hadn't thought of that." The thought that he might be wrong made him grit his jaw. Facing down the street, Quinn scanned for any other Tourists. So far, he hadn't seen any except outside the hotel. "What do we do then, professor?"
"Confirm our friends are all right, first. Have you seen a phone about?" Arturo started searching the street for one.
"To your right, across the street." Not seeing any cars, Quinn hurried across the roads. There was no time for going to a crosswalk. Rushing up to the curb, he hopped over the yellow cementing and landed next to the phone. He was already fishing out a couple quarters from his pockets by the time Arturo made it to his side.
Taking the bags from his student, Arturo gestured to the phone. "Call the desk clerk first. If they've already left, a message should be waiting with him. Besides, I am sure that buffoon would find talking with you more pleasant."
"Gee, I wonder why." Depositing the quarters in the machine, Quinn put the receiver to his ear. The number came to him quickly, having dialed it enough to know it by heart. It was picked up after the third ring.
"Hello, Dominion Hotel. Front desk speaking."
"Hi, I'm the guest in room twelve." Quinn looked to the Professor as he spoke. "Have my friends left me a message?"
"Uh, just a second." A muffled noise came over the line followed by a staticy exhale. "Yeah, they called down about ten minutes ago. They said something about needing to take a monumental stroll. Whatever that means. That's all."
"Thanks!" Hanging up the phone, Quinn snatched his bags back from Arturo. "They got out already. I know where they are!"
By the time they reached the park, Arturo's clothes were sticking to him and sweat was running down his face. Panting, his chest heaved from the sheer effort. Thankfully, the park was lit well enough that they could see where they were going. It was different than in the day light, but he knew his way around.
They all did.
Beside him, Quinn was busy jerking about, scanning as far as his eyes would let him in the dim light. It took him several moments to recognize the trail to the statue. "There!" He ran as he pointed the way.
Rolling his eyes, Arturo heaved his bulk down the path at a more sedate clip. His legs were already weak and threatening to buckle. As they rounded a row of bushes, he saw two figures standing under the light in front of the monument. "Oh, thank god!"
"I hear you!" Putting on extra speed, Quinn rushed ahead. He followed the path, letting his feet run on autopilot. "Wade! Rembrandt!"
The smaller of the two figures spun towards his voice. Pulling away a little, she searched through the dark. "Quinn?"
"We're over here!" He waved his arms, doing everything he could to attract her. When she turned in his direction, he smiled. "Right here!" That threw off any sense of decorum he had. Rushing headlong, he crossed over the grass and gravel to get there faster.
Wade broke away from Rembrandt, jumping over the flower bed. They met under the shadow of the monument. Wrapping her arms around Quinn's neck, she clenched her eyes shut and let him spin her in the air.
A short time later, Arturo and Rembrandt joined them at the base of the Lincoln monument. Their greeting was more sedate, but no less relieved. Clasping hands, Arturo nodded his acknowledgment of Rembrandt. "It is a relief to see you, my good man."
"Same to you, Professor!" Rembrandt chuckled, exhaling in relief. "After we saw those nuts in their suits, we didn't hesitate. There was no telling what was happening."
"We saw them. I don't think they could say the same." With a final squeeze, Arturo released Rembrandt's hand. He turned to Wade and Quinn with a somber expression. "I think I have had enough of this world."
Arms still around Wade, Quinn nodded. "It's risky, but I agree." He forced one arm free so that he could slide it in to the pocket of his jacket. Grasping the timer, he pulled it out.
Wade stepped back to give him room. Wiping at her face, she threw herself in Arturo's arms. "Professor!"
Arturo's laugh was one of pure relief as he embraced her in return. "My dear, are you unhurt?"
"Yeah, we got out the back way with everything." She pointed over her shoulder at Rembrandt. "The moment I spotted them through the window, I nearly had a heart attack. Whoever they are, I don't trust them."
"That is unfortunate."
For a half a heart beat, the sliders froze. Then they turned towards the opposite side of the monument.
Wade whimpered the moment she caught sight of the Tourists.
There was a group of six of them. Their bodies and heads were covered completely in white material. The the skin on their faces was visible. Only one of them had his face completely bare. Staring at them, he smiled politely. "Please, do not be afraid."
"Stay back!" Rembrandt put up a hand, placing himself between them and the others. "We don't want any trouble."
"Neither do we. We are simply curious." The leader shared a look with the others of his group. "Forgive us, but we could not help but over hear your conversation earlier. It alarmed us greatly."
Tightening his grip around Wade, Arturo turned his face slightly to Quinn. "Any time, Mr. Mallory."
"Already ahead of you, Professor." Quinn twisted behind them and took aim. Timer flipped open, he pressed a button then twisted the activation knob.
The timer's numbers cleared all zeroes, then shot out a beam of light. Ahead of the timer, a sphere of light sucked the air in until it collapsed in to a bright disk.
The Tourists gasped in shock, taking several steps back.
"Let's get the hell out of here!" Running from Arturo's arms, Wade headed directly for the event horizon. The moment she made contact, she disappeared in a ball of light.
Arturo was the next to go, sparing the other two only a glance. He disappeared a short second later.
"Remmy, your turn!" Quinn folded up the timer and slipped it inside his jacket. Spinning, he faced the others. "I don't know what's going on with your world, but it's been strange!"
"You can say that again." Chuckling, Rembrandt ran for the wormhole. "I'm out of here!" He disappeared with a sucking sound.
Feeling bold, the leader pushed the top of his suit off to reveal smooth skin covered in spots. His smile was hesitant, but genuine. "So, you are from another world."
"Yeah. I suppose so." For the first time since it started, Quinn felt a little sheepish about their reaction. "Listen, I gotta go. The window's only open for another fifteen seconds."
"There's so many things you can teach us. So much we could share." His face fell as he realized what an opportunity was being lost. Stepping forward another foot, the man stared in shock. "Will you ever return?"
"Probably not. There are a lotta Earths out there." Stepping back towards the wormhole, Quinn smirked. "Then again, who knows. The Universe is a tricky place."
"Yes." The man nodded his agreement. Hand raised, he waved at Quinn.
"See ya." Saluting, Quinn backed the rest of the way in to the event horizon, then vanished.
A short time later, the event horizon closed.
Staring where the sliders had vanished, the group continued to watch for any change. When nothing happened, the leader sighed. Closing his eyes, he grabbed the hood of his suit, then tugged it back in to place.