Back At The Ranch


By ParisPhoto

The boys had followed up on the biobomb terrorist alerts in their respective locations and had discovered nothing. The time for the bombs to go off had long passed, so they decided to call off the hunt. They reported in to their father, and were surprised to get no answer. As they discussed the situation among themselves, the facts seemed more and more alarming: all four called out to hoax threats at the four corners of the planet, all so far from home, their father and AlphaMan remaining silent. They each sped up to get home as soon as possible. Following standard practice, they rendez-voused in an isolated area so as to arrive together, thus avoiding four separate arrivals and reducing their visibility. They immediately started talking non-stop about their concerns. Ben finally had to put his foot down and remind them that they would know more when they arrived home which would happen in a few instants.

When they got to the lab, they saw the damage done by the thugs, the smashed computer screens and electronic gear, but found no trace of their identity. Their ultraviolet-sensitive vision showed no fingerprints, while their infrared sensitivity indicated that their father and AlphaMan were no longer present and had been absent for at least two hours. They found AlphaMan's costume, communicator and badge in its hidden closet. Dan found the open drawer of their father's desk.

Dan: Guys! Didn't AlphaMan collect the new prototype communicator yesterday?

Ethan: Yes. In fact I went incognito to collect it from the electronics lab for him. Hey! He had put it in the drawer here to be able to test it later today.

Dan: Yes, and now it's done. Ben, check out the communicator control center.

Ben: It's a good thing it's hidden behind these sliding panels otherwise whoever has Father might have destroyed it along with all the other equipment here. But unfortunately I'm picking up no transmission, neither voice nor even the GPS locator. It's either out of commission or turned off. Darn it! Look, guys, there's nothing to find here. We should fan out and start covering the territory. I'll cover from 0 to 120 degrees, Carl you cover 120 to 240 degrees, and Dan will cover the rest.

Ethan: And what about me? I'm going out there!

Ben: Ethan, be reasonable here! This is where father or AlphaMan will try to return or contact us. Someone has to stay put and this time I have decided it will be you. No talking back.

Ethan: Yes, Ben, you're right. Now get going and I'll keep looking around here and alert law enforcement authorities.

The BetaBoys, Steel, Silver and Gold, fanned out to try to find any clue to the whereabouts of their father and AlphaMan. •

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