The Somewhere, the Nowhere, the Anywhere and the Everywhere

The sun chose to rise slowly. Letting it's rays spill gracefuly across the landscape, revealing in it's wake, a vast sprawling city. A city so vast, in fact, that it covered an area larger than New York (the state, not the city). A city that had long since stopped expanding outward and had gone upward.

The delicate hues of morning light brushed against a building, over a car and down an alley. A bum sleeping noislessly against the brick wall stirred as if the dawn had taken a tangible form and slapped him in the face. In another time he had been known as Estermore Witherton Fenvole III, but now he was content to go by 'Pete' or more accurately 'King Pete'. However, regarless of his faded glory and past fall from grace; he woke to see the sun starring straight at him. He looked down at the empty bottle in his hand and back up at the sun, uttering "Hmmm...that's interesting."

The other hobos, who had taken up residence down from Pete, muttered amongst themselves. Mostly they talked of life, love and philosophy; how the power of one mind can change the universe and how the King had better keep his comments to himself. However, regardless of their self-felt superiority over Pete and disregard for his commanding presence; they remained thankful that the ghastly luminous orb never reached back into their hard-earned piece of Xanadu. King Pete smiled and fixed his attention on the delightful shades that his bottle was reflecting, adding to his former comment "It did that yesterday too."

At the same time, approximately two miles across town and one block down, the sun shown through the window of a T.V. studio. The woman who sat in her make up room recieving her traditional cosmetic application had no interest in the sun, nor in anyway that it might prism through an empty glass container. She was, at the moment, interested in how her producer planned on hadling the 'situation' involving the show's scheduled guest. However, regardless of her vain nature and disdain for cheap wine; she kept her chin up and eyes closed. On the air, she was known as Brandine Boramare. In daily life, to the few friends she had, she was known as Veronica Peterson.

Meanwhile, exactly straight down at the bottom of the city where the street lights must be kept on permanently and the sun never reaches, there stood a man on a street corner. He, however, was not as important to the plot of this story as was the magician who was currently scamming him. A man known as Six Fingered Jack, who sadly, was missing his right arm. "Quicker than a nova and faster than light," he was saying, "my one hand is quicker than both of your eyes." The man mentioned earlier said in response, "That's odd, wasn't it your left arm that was just missing?"

All three of them were about to meet, not by choice but through fate. Through the outworkings of a mystical force older than time. A force so powerful it bent the strongest men to it's will. From the greatest soldier to the wisest sage, once it's power was felt, there was no escaping it.

Well...no, not excatly. The force in question was alcohol, and it wasn't so all powerful. A mile away and near the highest point of the city, sat a man who had been steadily consuming it for the past hour. At the bar of the Red Gren Tavern, in the building that prided itself on being the squarest structure in biggest city on the 127th planet in Juristictional District E5, sat Lester Crowely. Possibly, he was the smartest man in the galaxy. Possibly, he alone could rule it. He had the charisma and the good looks. Brains weren't in question (I just said he was possibly the smartest man in the galaxy) and neither was money, for he was incredibly rich (or could have been, though that's not really the same I guess). But he also had the ambition of a dung beetle. No come to think of it, the dung beetle had him beat there.

All this however, is of course, beside the point. The point is that at this moment, he chose to get up and leave the bar. It could have been five seconds earlier or later, and none of it would have ever happened. But at this paticular time, as he was leaving the tavern, Lester bumped into a tall dark man. Lester barely had time to register what was going on, seeing as he was drunk off his ass. But as he opened the door, he stumbled over his own feet and into the tall dark man. The two, being precariously close to a ledge, fell off. Even though he was more loaded than the Betty Ford Center, Lester was able to grab both the ledge and the stranger in time. He pulled himself and his hapless victim to saftey just before collapsing into a drunken stupor of exaustion and...drunkeness.

The other man moved gracefuly over to Lester, producing a small bottle as he did so. He placed it under Lester's nose, the latter springing to life almost instantly. Lester looked around, still piecing together what had taken place. He studied the tall man. His garments added to the motif, along with his gaunt face. He smiled, a dreamer's smile. Lester, still under the influence of the fire water, smile awkwardly back.

"You, my friend," he said, "need help." And with no wasted motion, he pulled another bottle from his jacket and poured the contents down Lester's throat. Lester blinked a few times and then shook his head.

"Am I sober now?" he asked.

"Mostly." the other smiled. "By the time we reach the first of the others, you should be completely recovered."

"Others?" Lester questioned.

The tall man smiled again. "Why yes Lester. They're going to help you save the universe." And without a further word, he walked away. Lester was not far behind.