A Slip Through Society A Sliders story by Cindy Brewer and Patrick Jones This story is set mid first season The familiar blue well opened in the sky and four dimension-traveling companions fell out onto the field. Scrambling to get off of one another, Quinn Mallory was the first to his feet. Out of habit, he looked at the device in his hand. "One-hundred-ninety-two hours, fourteen minutes." “Eight days? That's the longest time we've spent anywhere." Wade Wells looked around. "I wonder why? Perhaps this is... It looks like home... It smells like home..." "Do not get overzealous, Ms. Wells," Professor Maximilian Arturo said. "We have been on many similar worlds that appeared to be our own." "But, look." Wade ran off toward the statue in the park. As she neared it,she stopped and stared. Quinn, Maximilian and Rembrandt Brown joined her and all of their jaws dropped open as they stopped. In their own world, the statue was a dedication to Abraham Lincoln. What they were looking at now was a statue of Andy Griffith. Wade leaned over, "Andy Griffith: In honor of the justice you brought us." "So, this isn't home," Rembrandt said, "Anyone that would build a statue honoring Andy Griffith is a little warped." "Quite the contrary, Mr. Brown," Arturo replied. "The 'Andy Griffith Show' was considered a major part of the United States in the early television years." "Which was full of prejudice messages..." "And early morality lessons, Mr. Brown." "Still gives me the creeps." Rembrandt looked around. "Have you noticed something else that's different?" Wade looked around the small park,"T.V.s." She pointed and each light post had a television set attached to it,"There are T.V.s everywhere. On the streets, on the buildings..." "A parent's nightmare." Quinn started off down the street,"Look at this. The bar's named 'Ten-Forward'." He walked down the street connected to the college and the others joined him,"That bar's named 'The Raven' and there's 'The Batcave'." "The people of this world obviously take their television programming very seriously," Arturo commented,"Perhaps we should get off the streets. There have been quite a number of violent programs." "What are those?" Rembrandt pointed down the street as the first people they had seen all day appeared from around the corner. "They appear to be..." Arturo had no words to describe the people he saw. "They're Trekkers." Wade smiled,"They're all dressed up like characters from Star Trek." The first person reached them."What show are you supposed to be?" "We.. uh..." Quinn looked back at his companions. "It's Mallory Quinn," one of the Trekkers said."The star of 'My Secret Identity'." Wade looked over at Quinn and mouthed 'Mallory Quinn?' "Mr. Quinn, we are Trekkers, but we watch your show, too. Would you fly up to the tree for us?" "Fly?" "Like you do on the show. Fly into the air so I can get a picture of it." "I don't really fly... It's all special effects..." "What's special effects?" "He can't fly?" "But he flies on television..." "Television can't lie..." "I suggest we move on." Arturo pulled Quinn away. "Let's make our way out of here." The Trekkers were left arguing about whether Quinn could fly or not. Arturo led them down another deserted street. "Apparently, the people here believe that everything that happens on television happens in real life." "Isn't that a little stupid?" Rembrandt asked. "Perhaps..." Arturo looked up and watched a figure fly over them. "Perhaps not." Following the flying man was a camera. "Look." Wade pointed to a billboard. A large picture of Arnold Schwarzenager took up most of the billboard, with the caption, "WATCH ARNOLD'S WEEKLY ADVENTURES AS THE TERMINATOR... FRIDAYS AT NINE." "Arnold's doing T.V.?" Wade asked. "I never thought he'd be on a weekly show." "There could be a very logical explanation for that." Arturo pointed to a building. "It appears the movie theater is a little different here." The others looked over and saw that the theater's sign promoted television shows from FOX. "All FOX all the time?" Quinn read out loud. "I wonder if they have a channel with 'Soul Train' on it?" Rembrandt asked. Wade picked up a flyer."Join the team of the seaQuest DSV. Win the contest and spend nine months traveling under the seas." She held it up. "Is this for real?" "Perhaps the television programs are real here," Arturo commented. "You're kidding, right?" Wade smiled. "How could there really be a seaQuest here. The seaQuest is just a made-up submarine. It isn't real... is it?" There was a humming noise, and a man appeared next to them. "Oh, sorry, I thought I was transporting into Ten-Forward." Wade pointed down the street to the bar. As the group stared opened mouthed at the spot where the man had transported to,Quinn shook them out of it. "Come on, its almost dark. Let's find a restaurant or something so we can figure out what our next move is." "This place gets weirder all the time." Rembrandt commented as a bat flew out of 'The Raven' just as they walked in. "Well, this place will be safer than 'Ten forward'." Quinn said as they slid into a back booth. He did a double take at a man who walked by, "Or maybe not." Wade couldn't stop herself from gaping at the dark-haired man dressed like a vampire."I hope he's already eaten." Rembrandt sighed as he rested his head on his hand. "Let's make a vow right now,not to get involved with this world. I've got a bad feeling with all these Trekkies....." "Trekker's." Wade corrected. "Whatever, Trekkers, submarine people, and now vampires. I hate to think what happens to this place at night." Professor Arturo cast a side long glance as a woman walked past dressed as a Borg, "I think Mr. Brown has a very good point. I think we should find a hotel or something and stay there for the eight days." Wade turned her attention to the young man sitting across from her, "Quinn,whatdo you think?" Then she realized he was staring past her at something,"Quinn?" It had happened so fast. They were sitting in 'The Raven', trying to stay out of trouble, when Quinn stood up and walked away. Wade grabbed his arm to stop him, but he pulled away from her. When she called out, he ignored her. The next thing they knew, Quinn was leaving with a dark-haired woman with very sharp teeth. They could do nothing to stop Quinn and he was gone before they could even make their way out to the street. "What now?" Rembrandt asked. "He's got the slider control. Without him, we're stuck here. I don't even have my convertible. I was just restarting my singing career. I'll never forgive any of you for dragging me along on this trip." "Mr. Brown, would you please be silent," Arturo snapped. "Finding him may prove to be more difficult than we had first thought." He pointed up to the sky and Quinn flying off with the woman away from the sunset. "That... woman seems to be more than she appears." "QUINN!" Wade called out. Out of nowhere, a man appeared next to Wade, "I must apologize for my...companion. When she sees something she likes, she takes it." He smiled, his white teeth glaring against the dark skin. His bald head reflected the light from the neon sign of 'The Raven'. "By the way, my name is Scharr." "Could you assist us in retrieving OUR companion?" Arturo asked. "You may not want him back. Heather will not leave much for you after she finishes... playing with him." "We don't need all of him, just something in his possession..." "REMBRANDT!" Wade slapped his shoulder then turned to the Scharr behind her. "Can you help us?" "Dear girl, why would I want to?" He stepped back and vanished into the shadows of the wall behind him. "I suggest we find a hotel quickly." Arturo looked around nervously. "I do not want to be out in this world after dark." "Professor, shouldn't we look for Quinn?" "Mr. Mallory can surely hold his own until morning, Miss Wells." "Sure... He's handled himself great with vampires before. You and Rembrandt can find a hotel for the night. I plan on finding Quinn." Wade stalked away from them. As she walked, the sidewalk pieces touching her feet lit up. Each step lit up a different piece. "What is this, a Michael Jackson video?" She stepped out onto the street and walked along the curb. "Maybe she's right, professor..." "Mr. Brown, I am not going to venture out into a world like this without first learning more about it..." He looked into a store window. "Perhaps that may give me more insight."
Meanwhile, Wade was still moving in the direction Quinn had flown off. As she turned a corner, she ran into someone who looked very familiar. In fact, it was a mirror image of herself. She wore a suit and tie but had dark sunglasses on. Wade (2) tilted her head, "Are you another television science experiment?" "Not exactly," Wade replied,"You may or may not believe this but I'm you from another dimension." "Another damn TV show." Wade (2) shook her head. "Now they're choosing us to model their shows after." "Us?" "The sliders..." "You have a slider machine?" Wade's pulse jumped. "That's great. You can help us get home. Our slider was damaged in our first slide. If you have one, your Quinn could help us..." "Who? Quinn? If you're going to do a show about us, you should at least get the characters right. Professor Arturo, Rembrandt and I found the slider machine in an abandoned basement. We've been sliding around ever since." "What about Quinn Mallory?" Her counterpart made a puzzled look. "Mallory? You mean Mallory Quinn? That idiot star of 'My Secret Identity'? How would he know anything about sliding?" "He built the sliding machine," Wade insisted. "He built it?" Stepping up behind Wade (2), Arturo and Rembrandt came out of the darkness. "Mr. Quinn built it?" Arturo's counterpart asked. "Do you know what this means? We must get him. He'll be able to stop it." Rembrandt (2) was about to talk when a familiar blue energy surrounded him and he was ripped away, leaving a hole in the space he had been standing. Smoke poured out of the hole for a second before it shut itself again. Wade's eyes widened, but the counterparts of herself and Arturo seemed unaffected by it. "What happened?" "Sister, you really should do your homework before you try to work on the show. The slider machine is malfunctioning. It sends us back and forth across dimensions." Wade (2) motioned to the spot Rembrandt had been. "He'll reappear next to the two of us in about seven hours." Back at the store, Arturo had bought the book from the window and was reading it as they left the store again. "This is incredible. According to this, modern science has found a way to make special effects real here." He held up the book to Rembrandt. The title, 'History of the Universe and All', stood out in bright yellow letters. "If this section on vampires is true, Mr. Mallory is in no danger. Vampires are technologically made and cannot pass their special 'curse' to others. They just threaten a lot to keep the population interested in their television shows." A familiar humming noise echoed and a figure appeared in front of them. "Finally. I swear, these Star Trek transporters are so unreliable. I have to get moving, if I'm going to make it to the launching of the seaQuest." "Excuse me?" Rembrandt asked. "Perhaps you could help us. We are looking for lodging for the night..." "Actually, I'm meeting a number of my friends at the harbor. We've booked time on the seaQuest. We're calling it Questiecon 4.5." She looked at her watch."I'm running late." She reached into her jeans jacket and pulled out a key-card. "I did not have time to check out of my hotel. The prosthetic people on Starbase 1 had to remove my Bajoran nose thing. It's amazing how all those aliens are actually altered humans. One would never think... But, I digress. This key-card is for the Hellraiser Hotel. Just don't touchthe cube." She tossed the card to them and ran off. "I believe we now have lodging." Wade Wells glanced at the rapidly darkening sky. "Come on, we've got to find Quinn." Arturo's counterpart looked at her strangely. "Why do you keep bringing up Mallory Quinn?" Wade rolled her eyes. "Because he built the Slider machine." “Slider machine?" Wade let out an exasperated sigh. Obviously these people didn't have much as far as short term memory. "Never mind... I'll find him myself." Arturo and Rembrandt were entering a large hotel with a cube-theme. Everything inside was decorated with the designs matching the cube in the very center of the lobby. The made their way to the elevators and were soon on the thirteenth floor. Apparently every floor in this hotel was either thirteen or six-hundred-sixty-six, and they tried five floors of thirteen before actually getting the room their keycard worked on. The door slid open and they entered a room painted blood red. Chains hung from the ceiling and moved along the walls as if alive. Big spurs at the end of the chains continually slammed into the walls, making dents that bled like real flesh. "Uh... Professor, maybe this isn't the best place to hang out." "Nonsense, Rembrandt. Why would they build a hotel if it was dangerous?" He picked up a cube that was resting on the headboard. It seemed to shift as he held it so he placed it back down. The chains flew off the wall, slicing past the two of them and slamming shut the door. Rembrandt turned to leave, but the mirror on the door began to leak smoke. Arturo stared at the walls as the chains started scraping along them. A figure dressed in black appeared in the mirror,"You are new arrivals. We have such pleasures to show you." He stepped out of the mirror and his hairless white head was covered in pins sticking half-way out. Rembrandt grabbed Arturo's arm,"Now tell me again... Is this a good idea?" Arturo stepped up to Pinhead,"Excuse me, my good man..." "You will speak when spoken to," Pinhead snapped. "I am a demon from Hell." "I've no doubt you are," Arturo replied."I would, however, like to leave this room as fast as I can." "You summoned me from Hell." "He did it!" Rembrandt yelled,"I haven't summoned anyone in years!" "We have such pleasures to show you." Pinhead smiled an evil smile as the chains came off the walls and headed for Arturo and Rembrandt. Rembrandt Brown took one look at the slicing chains barreling toward them and ran toward the door, tugging on the knob. "I'm out of here. You can stay and chat with the devil if you like, Professor but I think I'll go join Quinn and those nice vampire fellas." Arturo rolled his eyes,"Mr. Brown, will you please relax. Have you forgotten where we are? This is a make-believe world - meaning people here believe everything on television is real. But since we don't nothing can hurt us." Rembrandt ducked one chain, that embedded itself in the door. The door seemed to moan in pain as blood dripped down. "Forgive me, Professor if I don't take your word for it." *************************************************** 'The Red Room in the whitehouse has nothing on this place.' Quinn Mallory thought with a grim smile as he glanced around at his new surroundings. He had come out of his daze to find himself flying with a weird looking woman with dark hair. When he realized she was a vampire he tried to break free but she had put him under again. Now he was in some room with lots of red... cushions, chairs, sofas, drapes... you name it everything was either red or black. Even whatever the liquid was in the long stemmed bottles. "Normally, Janette," a male voice said from the hallway, "I would let you have your fun with this mortal but there is a more pressing problem with Nicholas that we must attend to." Janette pouted,"Can't I just save him for later?" LaCroix smiled, "I'll pick you up a midnight snack on the way home." ************************************************ Wade was tied up and seated in the chair of a basement that she knew very well. Everything looked exactly as she remembered it looking. Everything was in its proper place and the slider machine was humming and glowing as she had seen it on that first day and only a few times since. It was Quinn's basement. Wade(2) walked up to her,"Now, tell us everything you know about this new show they're making." "I already told you, I have no idea about the show. I am from another dimension..." "Do not get smart with us, young lady," Arturo(2) snapped,"We are well-aware that the television studios want to enlist us to do a show about sliders. We have refused and now they are apparently employing you to play Wade, there. How are they planning on causing you to slide?" "I am from another dimension..." There was a bright light, a popping noise and Rembrandt(2) appeared. He was wearing a toga and had olive leaves in a vine around the top of his head. "Any luck?" Wade(2) asked. "None," Rembrandt(2) replied,"There was no slider machine there... There were a lot of Romans who worshipped the ground I walked upon, though." Wade(2) started crying and grabbed Arturo(2)'s arm, "We're never going to be able to stop this, are we..." "Stop it?" Wade called out,"Why don't you try unplugging the slider machine?" "If it were that easy, do you honestly believe we would not have done that before?" Arturo(2) asked,"This entire basement is filled with sections of the slider machine. Trying to discover the true nature of it, we dismantled it." "And pulled me into this little adventure against my will," Rembrandt(2) told her,"I was just walking past, when I was caught up in the original slide." "Our Rembrandt was driving by, when the slider effect caught his car," Wade told them,"Our two realities are not as different as you might think." "Would you stop playing the character?" Wade(2) yelled,"You are not me. You cannot know what it has been like these past few months. I have been to a lot of other dimensions, met a lot of people. Hell, this one guy actually thought I was his princess returning to marry him..." "How was the Prince?" Wade asked. "He was fine but he had..."Wade(2) paused,"You know him?" "Yes, I helped save his life from the Sheriff of San Francisco," Wade replied. “Could she be telling the truth?" Rembrandt(2) asked. "We have encountered other slider machines," Arturo(2) replied. "Although we have never run into counterparts of ourselves, it could happen." "You've never run into yourselves? That could explain why you've never run into Quinn. You wouldn't know to meet him." "Why do you insist on going on about Mallory Quinn?"Wade(2) asked,"We are trying to fight against this world's obsession with television and he is the lead of one of the major shows we are trying to fight against." "He also invented the slider machine," Wade told them again,"Look, if we can go to him I'm sure he will admit to it." Arturo(2) turned to Wade(2) and the two of them nodded. "We will search him out but you will be accompanying us." Arturo(2) moved over to Wade and untied her hands,"Don't get any bright ideas about escaping. We will be watching you." ********************************************* Back at the hotel the slicing chains had disappeared along with their host. "See," Professor Arturo said motioning to the room,"Everything on this world is make-believe. Mr. Pinhead was all special effects." "Really?" Rembrandt said pulling the chain out of the door with considerable effort,"Then what was this? A prop used by our special effect host?" "Yes," Arturo replied simply. Rembrandt sighed,"I say we ditch this place and go out and look for the others. The night on this world can't be any weirder than this hotel." "Agreed," Arturo replied studying the room,"Lets see if we can find a way out." ********************************************** Wade Wells led the counterparts of her friends to the 'Raven.',"This is where I last saw them," she said motioning to the nightclub,"Quinn was taken by a vampire. They headed off in that direction." She pointed east. Arturo(2) nodded,"I think I know of someone who can help us find your friend. Someone who knows those vampires very well since he is one himself." He glanced at his watch,"We must hurry though, the sun is almost up." Close to fifteen minutes later Wade found herself at what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. "You're friend lives here?" Wade(2) nodded. "He has a loft on the top floor." "Isn't that a little close to the sun?" Wade asked as they walked past a turquoise painted 1963 cadilac. "You'll see," Arturo(2) said as he hit the buzzer. "Who is it?" Nick Knight asked tiredly. "Sorry to disturb you old friend," Arturo(2) said, "but I have a few friends here who could use your help." "Come on up, Professor," Nick replied. There was a loud buzz, then Arturo(2) opened the heavy door and the five of them stepped into the freight elevator.