As Related by Julieann Dreamer
Around April 22, 1999, my web site suddenly sputtered and then disappeared. Many of you have been wondering where my web pages, and myself, were for those few days. Well, I wasn't going to say anything, since its all considered 'top secret', but considering you are all such good friends, and I know you would never squeal to anyone associated with Spectra, I figured I could tell you. So, here's the story:
A few days ago I was trying to be good. Honest! Nanuk and I had a nice big lunch, and then we settled in the office. I was sitting at my desk where the temptation to surf the web, play Macigame or fiddle with the computer wouldn't distract me. At first my intention was to write, but when the muses refused to help me with that endeavor, I switched to drawing. All was peaceful as I sat there drawing Alaska scenes and animal for possible oil paintings...or so I thought.
I didn't take notice of Nanuk's departure. The last I saw him he was happily munching on some of the homemade chocolate chip cookies that I had made the night before, sunning himself in a patch of sunny floor. He often comes and goes, usually outside where he gets into trouble chasing moose through the neighbors yards, teasing dogs, scaring tourists, pestering seals and the like.
If only I had known what he was truly up to.
The first clue that something might be amiss was a short, blunt and angry phone call from Chief Anderson, who said, "Get your bear under control, woman! He's a bad influence on my team!"
That was a big surprise, as I stared at the receiver for a few seconds before placing it back in its cradle. Overall Chief Anderson and Nanuk had gotten along very well over the years (that little episode with Jason, bonbons, the two blonds and the whiskey aside), the Chief even using Nanuk occasionally on a mission to the Arctic .
It was then that I noticed that Nanuk wasn't in the room, or even in the whole office. I went into the computer room to get my coat, intending to search for Nanuk outside, when I noticed a little pile of shed white fur in front of the modem.
Now knowing where he was, I banged the modem upside down to get out any residual fur that might clog up the connection, and then quickly connected up to the internet. My worst fear was realized, my web page was missing. At this point I sat back, trying to figure out what to do. Nanuk was most likely still in the internet, but I had no idea how to contact him, or even find out exactly where he was. And unlike him, it wasn't a simple thing for me to jump into the internet itself. In fact, without Nanuk's help, I haven't been able to manage it at all!
I almost missed the sudden screen change on the computer. I should have ducked faster. But I didn't. A big hand from out of nowhere grabbed me by the front of my sweater and yanked me forward.
The next few seconds were a blur. When the world stopped spinning I found my feet barely touching the ground, staring wide-eyed into the scowling face of a large, well-built man.
"Hi?" I squeaked.
"Put her down." someone said from behind me. Once again firmly on my feet, I reseated my sweater into a more dignified position and turned to the other man. He was a nondescript man, wearing a blue suit, glasses, his brown hair neatly combed back. Overall, someone you wouldn't even take notice of if he passed by you on a city street.
"Where is it?" He asked.
"What?" I said confused.
"Let me take care of it, Sir." The big guy behind me said.
The man waved off the big guy behind me and continued to look only at me, and I shifted my feet uncomfortably. "I'm a reasonable man. Return the film and I will leave. Your web pages will be back and we won't ever meet again."
"You're the one who destroyed my web page? Why?"
"I don't know what you are talking about!"
The click of a gun being cocked at my ear made me freeze instantly. Its one of those sounds that has that immediate effect, much like the sound of a polar bear howling in utter rage or the sound of Mark's sonic boomerang in flight. What I wouldn't do to hear that boomerang now!
"I think there's been some sort of mistake. I'm just a secretary!" I said quickly.
The sound of a large crack, like that of thunder, shook the room. In the silence afterwards, a voice yelled out, "Its not in this page either, Boss!"
"Keep looking!" the man yelled back. Then he looked at me, his eyes wandering from my head to my toes, and with a wave of his hand dismissed me. "Let Zoltar get it out of her, if she knows anything. Maybe it will improve his mood."
I almost swallowed my tonsils. This definitely was not good.
A big hand grabbed a major portion of my sweater from behind, and I found myself being propelled quickly away. We headed towards where one of the web page walls was now missing. All that could be seen in the abyss beyond were a few streaks of light. Then I saw the little ship with a big Spectra emblem on the side. I definitely did not want to get on that ship, but how to do that, I didn't know.
Just as we got to the ship I heard a grunt from the guy behind me, then both he and I were yanked back. I was very thankful when his hand released the back of my sweater, since it made breathing easier, and I attempted to scramble away from the goon and the ship. The next second a different hand came over my mouth and I found myself flung towards the ship and to the other side.
"If we're going to do this, it better be now!" a familiar voice said.
Amazed, I looked over at Jason who was opening the door of the ship and gesturing me inside. The hand over my mouth left and I looked behind me at Mark.
"What's going on?" I demanded in what would barely qualify as a whisper.
"Later!" Mark said as Jason climbed in.
"This is a Spectra ship!" I protested as I stumbled on the step in my attempt to get in. I scrambled next to Jason on the simple hard bench seat, barely avoiding being sat on by Mark.
"Get this thing going, Jase!" Mark said as he shut the door.
"You better hope that galloots card works." Jason muttered as he slipped a thin rigid card into a slot in the dash. A soft hum filled the interior. The next second I was pressed into my seat as the ship shot forward.
Mark cocked a crooked grin at Jason. "That was a little close."
"Just a little. One more page and they would have found us. I told you Nanuk wouldn't be able to get back for us in time. The big guy can surf only so fast."
"At least he was able to get the others to safety. "
"We could have all been safely home by now if you hadn't given the packet to Keyop to hold..."
"Excuse me, explanation please!" I said, interrupting the conversation going on over my head.
"How about explaining how you got here! And how a Spectra flunky captured you. Haven't you learned anything from us over the past few years?" jason demanded.
"Hey, my being here is not my fault! I was yanked here, literally! Now, would someone please explain why I got a nasty phone call from Chief Anderson complaining about Nanuk? And where is Nanuk anyway?"
The ship bucked and rolled and I was thrown first into Jason and then into Mark. The sound of impacts on the outside of the ship echoed in the small cockpit.
"We're being fired on. Someone must have seen us." Mark said.
Jason uttered an oath while Mark worked one of the screens. "We just lost an engine. Spectra junk!"
"Jason, language!" I scolded. He ignored me.
A bright red light lit up on the dashboard. "Generator is going critical." Jason said.
"We need to land this thing." Mark said, frantically flipping through maps on one of the display screens. He shook his head in frustration, "Spectra has dismantled every page in the area!"
"Why would they go to all that bother?" I asked.
Just as Mark opened his mouth, and for a split moment I thought I might get an answer, the ship was hit again. A panel in the small cargo area behind the seat exploded and sizzled, sending noxious smelling smoke into the air.
"Julieann, get that!" Mark ordered, his eyes still glued to the screen.
Trapped between 2 guys who couldn't be asked to move out of the way, I resorted to climbing over the back of the seat in what I was sure was a completely undignified scene. Fortunately the designer of the pathetic Spectra tug had placed the fire extinguisher in an obvious place. I yanked it off the wall and after a few frantic seconds figured out how to operate it. The fire was small and quickly extinguished, but the smoke persisted.
"Now what?" I asked.
"Get me a landing spot, Mark!" Jason yelled.
"There are none!" Mark yelled back.
The next second I was blown into the back of the seat as another panel exploded, my arms automatically going up to protect my face. My ears were suddenly filled with the sound of rushing air, and I found myself being dragged over the back of the seat. I found myself with half my body out the main door of the ship, Mark already outside braced on the step against the wind. He grabbed my arm and pulled me the rest of the way out.
Balanced on what little of the step there remained, I asked in horror, "What are we doing?"
"Hang on!" Jason yelled into my ear as he climbed out on my other side, grabbing my arm firmly.
I think I screamed as they launched themselves away from the ship, but I can't really be sure. I do know my heart tried to jump out of my chest. Not a pleasant feeling.
We glided swiftly down, away from the ship, into the black nothingness of the internet highway, no pages within sight to glide to. I had a death hold on Mark and Jasons arms which I was sure were going to leave huge bruises, that is, if we survived.
Then, out of nowhere, there was a large white fluffy body underneath us. We landed on our stomachs, and it took me a few minutes to regain my breath as we scrambled astride Nanuk's back.
"Not bad for your first flight!" Jason said into my ear with amusement. I could have gladly decked him, if I could have pried my hands out of the hold they now had on tufts of Nanuk's fur.
A deafening explosion reached us, the shockwave throwing Nanuk into a spin. I banged my chin into Mark's shoulder blade, and Jason's visor scraped one of my arms. Nanuk recovered quickly and veered into a new direction.
"Told ya' I'd be back!" Nanuk said.
"Didn't doubt you for a second, buddy!" Mark said.
"Could someone please explain to me what's going on?" I asked.
"We still have a ship behind us!" Jason said just as laser fire strafed past us on both sides.
Mark looked back, his face grim when he spotted the ship. He turned back to Nanuk and said, "Nanuk, that's one of the new fighters, you won't be able to outrun him. Sorry about this."
"All in the name of the job, Commander." Nanuk said with a resigned sigh.
"Hang on back there!" Mark yelled back at Jason and I. My heart sank yet again as my mind finally realized what Mark was about to do.
Nanuk turned sharply. The fighter now directly in front of us, Mark grabbed Nanuk's ears and yelled, "Fiery Phoenix!"
Ever feel the skin peel off your face?
Anyway, as you can imagine, the tactic worked. A short time later, though at the time it feels like an eternity, we came out of Fiery Phoenix. I panted for breath as Nanuk flew on, seemingly sure of his destination. I finally looked up again when Nanuk started to slow down. With a grin I recognized the shape of Center Neptune.
"Home sweet home." Jason muttered behind me.
The moment Nanuk landed in the hangar, I slid to the floor and stayed there, pleased to stay there for the rest of my life. "So, how did you get here?" Nanuk asked in my ear.
I looked up at him and responded, "Lets start with, what are YOU doing here?"
Nanuk blinked, "Oh yeah, I didn't get a chance to tell you, did I..."
"What the devil has been going on? Julieann, in the future you will control your bear!" Chief Anderson vented as he bore down on us from an elevator. A subdued Princess, Keyop and Tiny followed him at a distance.
"Sir, we can explain..." Mark started.
"Explain breaking into a cookie factory, ignoring a call from 7-Zark-7 to return to base, disrupting who knows how many computer systems, and jeopardizing our planets defense..."
"Cookie factory? All this has to do with cookies? I gave you a few cookies at lunch, and you decided you had to break into a cookie factory for more?" I said, rising to my feet and facing Nanuk. I tried to straighten out my, by now, hopelessly miss-shapen sweater.
Nanuk tried to smile, and my scowl grew. "I can explain?" He tentatively said.
"Go ahead, I love fiction."
"Something tasted funny in the chocolate chip cookies at lunch."
"Hey, I baked those cookies just last night. They are not stale!" I refuted.
"I didn't say they were. I said they tasted funny, not stale. Anyway, I decided to check it out. So I brought a cookie to Princess and she went into the lab, and we found something funny in them. Only, no one would believe us. So, we started investigating the factories where the ingredients came from on our own..."
"And the havoc began. Do you know how many people have been calling Galaxy Security demanding answers? President Kane himself called me! I reviewed Princess's report, there was nothing out of place." Chief Anderson said.
"There were anomalies!" Princess insisted.
Mark continued, "When they got to the chocolate chip factory, they got into a bit of trouble and called the rest of us. Good thing they did, too, or they would now be in a Spectra prison."
The glare on Chief Andersons face lifted slightly. "Spectra?" He echoed.
"Yes sir, Spectra. By the time the rest of the team and I were able to get to Nanuk and Princess, they were able to tap into the computer at the factory and found that it was actually owned by Spectra. And they had just recently changed the recipe, added a few special 'Spectran' ingredients." Mark said.
Chief Anderson turned to Princess, "What did you find?"
"I couldn't isolate the exact ingredients in the tests I did for Nanuk, Chief, that's why I needed to find the source of the ingredients. Only then could I confirm the contamination and positively identify it. And we found it, a very powerful mind control substance. " Princess said.
"We had trouble getting away and then ... er ... someone dropped our proof into a 'link'. It took a bit to find and retrieve it." I noticed Keyop was looking everywhere around the hanger but at us. Mark took out a small container from the pouch on his belt. "Here's what Spectra was looking for when they pulled Julieann here, thinking she was hiding it somewhere in her web pages."
Chief Anderson took the container and pulled out of it a roll of small film. "Then we better get this developed. Julieann, Nanuk, plan on staying here until its safe for you return."
The next day G-Force led an assault on the Spectra forces in the area. When they realized G Force knew all about their plan to conquer the world with tainted chocolate chips, they didn't put up much of a fight, instead fleeing towards Spectra. It took another day before Chief Anderson would let Nanuk and I return home, which was just fine with me. Nanuk and I were busy exploring Center Neptune, well, as much of it as we were allowed to. Some of the doors Chief Anderson had placed security guards. Nanuk knew his way around a lot better than me, which I will admit made me a little jealous. Oh well, someone has to stay home and make the money to put food on the table. One can't live on Peeps all the time!
I had to forgive Nanuk. The guy is a hero after all! He saved all of us! I'm just glad I didn't feel like eating a cookie that day, or I might have been one of the several thousand zombies that Chief Anderson and his scientists had to help detoxify. Now, only one last problem remains: explain to my Boss where I was for those days. Life is never 'normal' with a cyber internet-surfing polar bear and G-Force in your life. ;-D
So, there you have it. The real reason the web site disappeared, as well as several others pages on the same web space provider. You don't believe me? Well, prove it DIDN'T happen!
The end...for now...