Josh was breathing heavily of what he hoped was oxygen. The girl in the purple bathing suit displayed not a hint of exhaustion. Then Josh remembered. Tempo was really a mass of metallic ooze, with no real lungs, despite her present appearance as the pretty Emily; despite the unforgettable breath she emitted close against his face earlier in his room. It must have been just for effect, Josh concluded, as she led him into a cave with a perfect half-circle entrance. What appeared to be a dark, sinister recess, opened instead onto a daylight-ﬁlled meadow of red grass and colorful ﬂowers. The petals and leaves of the ﬂowers were all triangles and squares, with perfect circles at their centers. Flowers and grass grew in precise rows as though here Mother Nature was a mathematician. Birds with triangular wings ﬂew over the meadow in a V formation that was a precise right angle. The cave that was not a cave, and the geometric birds and meadow, were just more enigmas in this dimension of riddles.
“We have been ﬁghting the Dimension Wars for six of your Solarian years,” Tempo said as they crossed the meadow. “All in our resistance group are from worlds conquered by The Cluster. There are ﬁve of us. Five of the few still free. What The Cluster calls rebels. Now, you have come to lead us.”
Josh was too winded to offer yet another declaration that they had the wrong guy! How could junior high student Joshua Miles be the key to winning the Dimension Wars? It was too much to digest. Josh decided Tempo must be mistaken. Chaos must be mistaken, too. Josh had no special powers that could help these fantastic beings win a war. Oh, Josh’s teachers said that he had potential, but they also said that he didn’t apply himself, was not the most diligent of students. Now, creatures from other dimensions were vying for Josh’s inadequate brain. Yes, a big mistake. Josh and his brain were just along for the ride.
The orange sweet potato clouds diminished over the red grass meadow and Josh was struck to see two suns in a sky that was as black as deep space. Several moons were also present, some crescent, some half moons, some full. Josh’s grip on reality ﬁnally let go as suddenly, from within a stand of trees a hundred yards away, another apparition sprang. It bore the angular, almost human, face of a bird, but its neck stretched like a rubber band back and into the forest of trees becoming pencil thin.
Josh let out a yelp of fear, but Tempo calmed him with, “It’s all right. It’s only Spindle.”
“You made it,” the face squeaked, bird beak breaking into a lipless smile. “Does he still have his brain?”
“Yes,” Tempo replied.
“Coulda fooled me,” the bird-like entity said, looking the boy over as though Josh were an unexpected worm for lunch. Spindle then looked over Tempo. “Tempo. Why have you assumed this frail and unﬂattering form?”
“It is the boy’s favorite Solarian female,” Tempo responded. “It allows him to better relate to me.”
“Well, stop it. It’s unattractive!” Spindle squawked.
Then with an audible snap, the rest of Spindle’s elastic body sprang forward from the trees to join with his face. His elongated neck compressed down to a near normal length, and he stood before them with two arms, two legs, and almost human. This new entity wore a chrome burn band on one arm, and a form-ﬁtting jump suit that looked to have elastic properties commensurate with its wearer’s. The material was red, and from Spindle’s head sprouted a shock of bright red hair that stood up like a rooster’s comb. His hands were clawed, bare feet three-toed, clawed and splayed, like a chicken’s. His skin was rubbery and a pasty yellow.
“He thinks you’re unattractive!” Josh muttered just for Tempo’s ears—or were they Emily’s?
Spindle was bird-like, but he couldn’t ﬂy. He didn’t have to. He was faster on the ground than almost any winged entity, using his elastic powers to make strides half a mile long. He had a futuristic crossbow strapped across his back with ﬁve strings drawn taut and ﬁve arrows in place. The arrows didn’t have typically pointed tips, but instead boasted broad ﬂat blades. Spindle also had a stout, squat spear on his belt. It had a short handle and resembled the weapon preferred by Zulu warriors in 19th century
Africa. Imagine this crude weapon in the hands of a warrior that can reach you from hundreds of feet away.
“Come,” Spindle ordered as he started off ahead of Tempo and Josh, “Fractal is waiting.”
As they marched on, the red grass meadow gave way to a rocky grassless region where fissures issued green steam. The rocks were cubes of various sizes, and almost translucent.
“I’d better go on ahead and warn him you’re coming,” Spindle noted. “Wouldn’t do for Fractal to be startled by your arrival and let go with one of his lightning bolts.”
As Spindle stepped forward, his legs stretched out many times normal length and, in three or four strides, carried him stealthily over the horizon.
“He’s some sort of elastic birdman!” Josh gasped.
“Spindle is from Frobenius, a dimension whose inhabitants have evolved molecular properties that enable them to extend their cell structure.”
Tempo and Josh continued on for a few minutes. They began to see thick dark clouds just ahead with circular bolts of lightning crackling within.
“He’s brooding, again,” Tempo sighed.
The two crested a hill and saw Spindle standing next to a hulking ﬁgure twice Spindle’s size. Not as big as Denso was, nor even quite the size of Chaos, but a strapping, muscle rippling, veritable mass of a human being—or a creature very similar to a human being. He looked to be young, barely a half dozen years older than Josh. His skin was pale green, his long thick hair a deep chestnut brown. He was shirtless, but wore the tattered remnants of a green cape, evidence that adversity had taken a toll. The new entity sat sullenly on a boulder, brooding, as Tempo had foretold. The storm clouds broiled barely yards above his bowed head. Lightning bolts in the storm shot down and danced across the broad shoulders and massive forearms of the creature who sat on a translucent cube-shaped boulder like Rodin’s The Thinker.
“What’s with the storm?” Josh asked Tempo in a hush. “It seems to be only over him!”
“Fractal is Kolomogoron. He can manipulate the elements and the tectonic forces of a planet. Lightning bolt, lava blast, freezing wind, even earthquake. His powers are most useful in battle, but sometimes they are a bit out of his control.”
Just then, one little lightning bolt leaped off of Fractal’s shoulder and set Spindle’s rooster comb hair aﬁre! Squawking wildly, Spindle batted at the smoldering hair to little effect. Finally, Fractal looked up.
“Oh, sorry, Spindle,” Fractal said. “Here. I’ll get that.”
The big green Kolomogoron stood up and assumed a martial arts-like stance. Turning his palms toward Spindle with ballet-like sensitivity, he seemed to direct the tiny storm to move. It stopped over Spindle. A short cloudburst issued forth, effectively putting out Spindle’s hair and drenching the elastic birdman to the wishbone.
As they approached, Tempo called out, “Joshua Miles is here, and untouched by Chaos!”
The storm vanished, ﬂying away in wisps as Fractal’s attention turned to Josh, whom he looked over with concern. “This weak little entity is to be our salvation?” he scowled.
“Told ya,” Spindle squawked, wringing himself out like a big wet washcloth and sending a gush of rainwater over Josh’s shoes.
“Yo, nice to meet you, too,” Josh disdainfully replied, hurt by Fractal’s disrespect.
“Here. You’re going to need this,” Fractal said, producing a burn band which he placed on Josh’s left forearm over his shirt sleeve. It attached itself with an electronic hiss. Josh looked over the buttons and lights on the amazing device that allowed interdimensional travel. Josh was suddenly, inexplicably, one of them.
“Look, you guys are ﬁghting some kind of war,” the boy said. “I’m not into that. I’d be happy to just, you know, go home.”
Little crackles of lightning began to dance on Fractal’s shoulders and forearms as he scowled angrily down at the diminutive boy from
“You cannot return to Solaria!” Fractal heatedly snarled. Clouds gathered again above Fractal, lightning arcing down into him. Some of the little lightning bolts ﬂew off his shoulders, one making Josh duck. “You must show us how to save the universe!” Fractal bellowed.
“Yeah? Well, that’s not my dog! Call 911, okay?”
They all looked at Josh, bewildered by his words.
“So—what are we gonna do?” Spindle squawked.
“With this time accelerator they’ve invented, they know the future,” Fractal said, his growing anger seeming to cause the storm to intensify. “They can track us. Know where we are going. Be there waiting!” Thunder jolted the air. Lightning shocked the sky!
“The same is true for you, Joshua Miles,” Tempo said above the storm and through the lips of Emily Kinicki. “As long as they have the time accelerator, you can never return home.”
“Then we gotta do something about that gizmo!” Josh said, having nothing more constructive to offer.
“What do you suggest?” Fractal said, as if he expected Josh to have the answers to the pop quiz.
“How should I know?” Josh shouted above the storm. “It’s some sort of machine, right? Stick a monkey wrench in it! Pull its plug! Blow it up!” Josh proposed.
Again, the lightning subsided and the storm clouds dissolved as understanding crept slowly into Fractal’s eyes. “We know of no device for the wrenching of monkeys, nor the pulling of plugs. But blowing things up! That is something we know!” Fractal nodded.
Spindle and Tempo nodded in goofy agreement.
“How do we accomplish this?” Fractal asked Josh with the anticipation of a child.
It was becoming clear to Josh that these super beings were powerful and had the ability to travel between dimensions, but—they weren’t all that bright!
“How do you dudes ever win a battle?” Josh sputtered incredulously.
“We have had few victories,” Fractal shrugged with regret, then he brightened just a bit. “But our fortunes will improve now that you have come to lead us!”
“Lead you? Me? You guys have been ﬂyin’ around between dimensions and landing on your heads a lot, yo? Somebody make some sense!”
Tempo stepped forward. “I will make sense for you in the form or Emily Kinicki.” She then assumed a schoolgirl pose. “Like, we are way into your whole leadership thingy, so just go with it, okay?”
“What happened to the big blue guy? That Denso dude?” Josh wailed, looking around for some sanity.
Fractal nodded, again as though Josh’s question was more of an answer. “You are right. We will need Denso for your mission to be successful.”
“My mission? What mission?” Josh blinked.
“Destroying the time accelerator,” Fractal replied. “Denso’s shoulder mounted missiles can blow it up, as you suggest, but only if we can get close enough.” Then into his burn band, he said, “Starla? Have you been monitoring us?”
“Of course. You know I can’t resist the verbal interaction of organic beings,” a disembodied voice said over their burn bands, which also housed interdimensional communicators. “I must say the most recent conversation has been astonishing.”
Fractal eyes narrowed. “Starla, just get to the mission,” he grumbled. “Does it pass your scrutiny?”
“Impatience. Another troubling attribute of organics. The Solarian’s proposed mission is surprisingly logical,” the haunting voice conceded. “We must destroy the time accelerator, now that we have the Joshua Miles.”
Josh didn’t like the sound of that. Was he a prisoner? Who, or what, was that strange, soulless voice that came hauntingly over their burn bands? Josh had best play along.
“It is also logical that we will need Denso and his heat seeking missiles if we are to destroy the time accelerator,” the strange voice added.
“Did you track his burn?” Fractal asked.
“Denso burned into the
, and took Chaos with him. They are still ﬁghting. Denso’s life signature is fading. He’s losing.” Forbidden Land
, Denso and Chaos were locked in combat, wrestling, punching, slashing, crushing trees and shattering boulders as they fought over a bizarre landscape of gurgling ﬁssures spewing rainbow colored molten lava and misshapen conical towers of white crystals. The crystalline towers shattered into confetti when Chaos picked up Denso and threw him through several of the delicate structures. Denso staggered to his feet and ﬁred his death beam. Chaos jumped aside and shot his ﬁngernail projectiles at Denso. The little daggers thunked into Denso’s shoulder mount. Sparks ﬂew and the death beam sputtered out. Denso ﬂipped some switches on his belt and a door opened in his shoulder mount. The noses of eight missiles peeked out. He ﬁred one! Forbidden Land
Chaos didn’t move, calmly watching the missile whoosh by, exploding harmlessly on a distant volcano. Chaos turned to Denso. He jabbed a thumb over one shoulder at the missile’s impact. “Heat-seeking missile.” Chaos then pointed the same thumb to himself and grinned, “Cold blooded killer.”
“Bring it on, zombie boy!” injured Denso yelled.
“Now, Denso. You know I’m only half dead.”
“Come over here. I’ll ﬁnish the job!”
“The many operations The Cluster performed on me greatly improved me, but I’m still Kolomogoron.”
Chaos assumed the Kolomogoron battle pose, powerful legs braced, huge palms turned upward, arms half extended. This is how they dispensed real power! Huge storm clouds formed over Chaos, far bigger than Fractal’s were earlier. The lightning crackling in the clouds was inﬁnitely more powerful, too. “I still have—the powers!” Chaos shouted triumphantly above the din. Then lightning crackled down directly into Chaos’s shoulders, spiraled down his forearms and twin arcs leaped from his palms. The lightning arced over and enveloped Denso, causing him to convulse. That’s when Denso heard Spindle caw over his burn band. “Denso! Respond!”
In Durratta, there was a sizzle of static, sounds of lightning striking, then came the shuddering voice of Denso over their burn bands. “A li-li-little h-h-help?”
The three interdimensional warriors all looked at each other concerned, but they were unmoving. Josh looked at them, one by one, puzzled by their inability to decide what to do.
“Well, if we need Denso, we’d better help him!” Josh blurted out, surprised by the authority in his own voice.
“As you command, Joshua Miles,” the voice over the burn bands said. “Allow me a few moments to recalibrate everyone’s bands for a dimension burn into the
.” Forbidden Land
Fractal’s burn band immediately began to hum, tiny lights ﬂashing faster and faster as it powered up.
“Forbidden Land?” Josh said worriedly. “Are you sure we want to go to a place that’s—forbidden?”
“It’s where we live!” Fractal said with pride.
Josh could only shake his head in disbelief.
The super warriors steeled themselves for battle, Spindle sharpening his spear, and Fractal ﬂexing like a bodybuilder while little bolts of lightning crackled on his massive shoulders and forearms.
Tempo and Spindle’s burn bands hummed to life.
“We’re hot!” Spindle called out.
Tempo, in the form of Emily Kinicki, put a ﬁnger to her chin, contemplating like the real Emily might. “Hmmm. What would be the perfect look for this occasion?” she asked of herself, then she morphed herself from petite Emily Kinicki into a tall, muscular well-armored female warrior with a huge sword in each hand.
“Girl of my dreams,” Josh muttered to himself. “Rewind: nightmares!”
The female warrior that Tempo had become then turned to Fractal. “Fractal, Joshua Miles has formulated a name for us.”
“A name?” Fractal scowled. “We have names!”
“No, a name for our group. To give us mystery! Strike fear in the hearts of our enemies—those that have hearts.”
“What is this name?” the surly rebel leader asked.
“DimensioNoids!” Tempo said with the kind of pride Emily Kinicki might never ﬁnd in one of Josh’s ideas.
Josh stammered, “Look, I just, you know, tried to come up with a name that, well,—”
“DimensioNoids?” Fractal repeated, crinkling his nose, perplexed.
“I know. It’s stupid.”
“I like it. We need an identity,” Fractal smiled, his ﬁrst one in Josh’s presence. “Brilliant, Joshua Miles!”
Josh could only smile back crookedly. That’s when his own burn band began to power up, little lights blinking. All the burn bands were humming, now, ready to burn!
“This Chaos creep we’re going after. What’s his story? Why is he so amped?” Josh asked.
Churlish Fractal responded. “It is enough to say that Chaos is a ruthless and relentless being who will not stop until he has all the dimensions under his heel. He was so as a child, and will be so until he is stopped.”
“You knew Chaos as a child?” Josh said, surprised.
“Yes,” Fractal said, ﬁngers over the activation button on his burn band. “We grew up together in Kolomogoro. Chaos is—my brother.”
Josh’s jaw dropped at the news. He couldn’t move.
Fractal then said, “Now, let us try out this new name you have given us!” He turned to the others. “DimensioNoids!” The three rebels struck heroic poses, ﬁngers poised over their burn bands. “Burn!” the three shouted together.
They punched the activation buttons on their burn bands. Three portals opened, taking Fractal, Tempo and Spindle away. The portals all then sucked in upon themselves and vanished with a resounding Pop! Pop! Pop!
Josh was so shocked by the revelation that Chaos was Fractal’s brother, he was slow to react. Still, having just seen the others do it, he, too, was able to activate his burn band, and was once again hurled into interdimensional space.
CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER FOUR: BROTHERS