Category Archives: The Dragon Fighter From Hoboken

Dragon Fighter from Hoboken – Part 7

Dragon-FighterVrennj whisked Knowles in a small, dark room.

“What were you thinking?” she scolded

“You said I could trash talk.”

Vrennj rolled her eyes, in the way Knowles had seen too many times in the past few minutes.

“Not his mother! Not like that!” she yelled at him.

“You didn’t show me a rule book. That’s how we do it in New Jersey,” Knowles tried to defend himself.

“It’s a wonder you don’t keep trying to kill each other.”

Knowles knew he had no reply that Vrennj would be interested in hearing.

She inched up to him and stared upward in his eyes.

“Now listen carefully, Ted, very carefully. In just a few seconds I will be called away to an emergency meeting. You will stay right here and not move without me.”

Knowles nodded.

“Where will you be?” Vrennj asked.

“Right here,” Knowles answered sheepishly.

“Here meaning this room, correct?”

Knowles nodded.


“Here meaning this room, Vrennj.”

Vrennj opened her mouth when her wrist buzzed. A red screen floated above her hand. Knowles saw that she looked scared.

She grabbed his arm and looked into his eyes. “If you have any God that you should pray to, you need to do it now,” she whispered and walked out the door.

Knowles looked around the room and spotted a small chair. He took a seat. If anyone would explain to me what they want when they wanted it, it would make it all much, much easier, he sighed.
He sat.

And sat.

He heard a small commotion outside in the hall and almost stood to investigate, but thought better of it.

So he sat.

And sat.

He thought that perhaps this was the end. He thought about his little antique shop in the outskirts of Hoboken. He thought about how scoping out the competition got him in this mess. It wasn’t like Nevets sold the same kind of things like he did. He sighed.

And sat.

He knew he should be hungry, but he was too sick to think of food.

So he sat.

The wall irised open, and Vrennj walked in. Her long red hair was half the length and terribly singed. He white robe was covered in soot and ash. Her skin was red in the exposed are and also covered in soot and ash.

Knowles jumped up. “My God, Vrennj! What happened?”

He helped her to the chair and he sat on the floor next to her. “Are you all right?”

Vrennj nodded. She paused several moments, Knowles could see she was gathering her thoughts.

“It was a little rough in there, Ted, I don’t mind saying. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go.” She held open her arms so Knowles could see all the damage. “It was a little rough indeed.”

Knowles opened his mouth to ask a question but Vrennj held up arm hand, stopping him. “I’ll let you ask questions in a while, Ted. I’ve got to figure out what is actually going to take place. So, I’ll start by telling you what happened and then we’ll go from there.

“Obviously, Drago was livid. He could not control his flame. I could have probably ducked, but frying a member of the supervisory board is a serious offence, on that I thought could help. Drago’s guide was going to ask for a Duel to the Death match, as it is well within his client’s rights after a mother insult. Frying me negated that, however. I was going to invoke rule 771-b subsection A-17, but Drago had been fined a few years ago for the same thing. He would have been banned 17 of your Earth years for a second offence. He knew that and his manager knew that.

“So, I was in the driver’s seat, so to speak. So, I told them what we are going to do, just like I’m telling you now what will transpire.

“All betting has been stopped on you match due to the insult you delivered. It will not resume until after the featured bout today and only after the commission announces their ruling.”

She held out her arm. Knowles noticed her wrist device looked black.

“By the Mistress!” she swore. “I forgot he destroyed my implant, too. They are replacing it, with the higher model, by the way. I just need to see what time it is.”

“Um,” Knowles started to say.

“Shh,” Vrennj told him. She stood and walked out through the irising door.

Knowles stood and started to follow. He stopped and stared at the door. He could hear Vrennj yelling at someone, he took a step and stopped. He realized he needed to stay here until Vrennj came back.
The door irised open and Vrennj came back into the room. She held a small handheld device.

“It’s almost time,” she whispered.

“Time for what?”


She pushed a button on the side of the device.

“Due to the extravagant nature of the insults issued by the challenger from the planet Earth,” a voice blared from the device, “the commission has granted the defender full rights to a Duel to the Death match. The match will resume at its scheduled time tomorrow. Betting for this match is allowed to resume.”

Smiling, Vrennj switched off the device.

“But,” Knowles started, and stopped when he saw Vrennj’s raised hand.

“I know what I said, and that is true, there will be no death match. However, the council has decided to bill it as such in order to garnish as much wagering as possible. It is a private agreement between Drago and his agent. I will train you for what you need to do tomorrow and you will follow my directions exactly. Do you understand, Ted?”


“Good, let’s call it a day.”

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Dragon Fighter From Hoboken – Part 6

Dragon-Fighter For Those tuning in late, you can view the previous episodes here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.

Now for this installment:

Vrennj paused in front of the entrance to the Coliseum. “Now pay attention, Ted. You will follow me through the hallway. There will be thousands of reporters asking you questions. Keep your eyes forward, do not answer any questions. You’ll have a press conference after the weigh-in. Understand?”
Knowles nodded.

“They will try everything, Ted. Any reporter that gets you to talk will get a big bonus. I need you to stay focused.”

“You mean like a guard at Buckingham Palace?”

Vrennj had a confused look, “Whatever.”

She walked to the door. “Here we go,” she said as she walked through.

Knowles shook his head. I’ll never get used to these doors.

The moment he stepped through he was surrounded by reporters.

“Tell me, Mr. Knowles, how does it feel to represent Earth are all these decades?”

“Mr. Knowles, how long do you think you can last against Drago Destructo?”

“Mr. Knowles, is this your first fight with a dragon? We’re told that all the dragons on Earth were killed by someone named George.”

Knowles kept facing forward and followed closely behind Vrennj. She in turn followed two large men with “Security” in glowing neon letters on their uniform.

The reporters tried everything to distract him. At one point, two topless women tried to hand him roses. When Knowles smiled at them, Vrennj pushed a virtual button on her arm. Knowles felt a small shock.

Vrennj turned and angrily pointed forward. Knowles complied.

After about twenty minutes, they came to a large cage like gate. Glowing symbols were attached in various places. One sign, “Kein Reporter” glowed in bright red.

Knowles asked Vrennj, “Isn’t that German?”

Instantly all the reporters turned on their arm computers. They then shouted all their questions in German.

Vrennj glared at Knowles, who quickly turned forward.

A line of security-clad people separated Vrennj and Knowles from the throng of reporters and pushed them through the gate. It wasn’t until a loud clanging sounded that Vrennj turned around.

“What about not saying anything did you not understand?” Vrennj said with barely controlled anger.

“Oh, I thought you said not to answer any questions,” Knowles replied.

Vrennj rolled her eyes.

“You sure you’ve never been to Earth? Maybe related to someone?”

“What?” Vrennj asked.

“You act just like the women on Earth,” Knowles explained.

Vrennj took a deep breath. She smiled. “Ted, this is the most stressful part of the whole thing. We will meet your opponent. You will be asked questions from the official reporters, which are allowed to answer. Your opponent may taunt you, feel free to taunt him back. It’s all about the match later.”
Knowles nodded.

“Can you handle that?”

Knowles smiled, “I’m from New Jersey, Vrennj. We invented trash talk.”

Knowles, with Vrennj following, were led to a large double door. A man, wearing a small headset, held up his hand, signaling them to stop.

Knowles heard what sounded like a large crowd on the other side. The noised stopped when the address system started.

“Women and Men from all points of the known Galaxy, and from some points from places unknown, Welcome to the Main Game Center!”

The crowd erupted in cheers, shouts, horn blasts, and a large assortment of noisemakers.

“Before the Main Event this evening, it is our pleasure to introduce the contestants from tomorrow’s Main Event!”

The noise level once again rose.

“First, we would like to introduce the reigning champion! From our own world, Champion of the Lair of Dragons House, First Dragon of the National Dragon Institute, Victor of over 500 hundred matches, may I present: Drago Destructo!”

The coliseum went nuts. Cheers, horns blasted while some exotic theme played. The floor shook.

The crowd noise eventually subsided.

The announcer began again.

“The Challenger, from the distant world called Earth, a world that has represented well, although not recently, Thaddeus the Terminator!”

The man with the headset grabbed Knowles and pushed him through the door. Vrennj followed.

Knowles burst out of the door and gazed at the endless row upon row of seats. He could not see the highest row. Around his head buzzed all sorts of camera drones. Giant screens had images of Knowles from every direction with a confused look on his face.

Another man, wearing an identical headset, directed Knowles to a set of stairs. He climbed them followed closely by Vrennj.

After eight flights he was met by yet another headset wearing man. The man held his hand for Knowles to stop.

Directly in front of Knowles was the lower belly of Drago. Knowles looked up and saw Drago’s long, long neck with his huge fanged head staring down at him. When Drago saw Knowles eyes, he blew a long stream of fire in the air.

The crowd erupted.

“Little man,” Drago roared. “You are not even enough for a snack!”

The crowd laughed for what seemed like ten minutes.

Knowles was afraid. Vrennj said he had to talk trash. Well, here goes, he thought.

Knowles looked up. Smiling he said, “What a fine dragon! I’ll make a pair of boots out of you like I did your mother!”

The crowd immediately went silent. All the camera drones scooted away. The man with the headphones looked aghast and pointed down the stairs. “Run!” he shouted to Knowles.

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Dragon Fighter From Hoboken – Part 5

Dragon-FighterA soft tone sounded in the room. Knowles looked at Vrennj.

“Our ride is here. Follow me.”

She went to the wall as it turned transparent, as Knowles saw once before. She pulled him through and the wall closed behind him.

Knowles noticed that they were standing very high in the air on a very thin ledge.

“Are you crazy, Vrennj? We are going to die!” he gasped.

Vrennj gave him a sour look. “You Earthers are always so dramatic. Just wait a second.”

A transparent egg-shaped device stopped on the ledge. The door swung open revealing seats in a somewhat comfortable space.

“Get in,” Vrennj said. Knowles watched her jump in effortlessly.

He shuffled on the ledge, looked down and tried to lean forward. His body wouldn’t allow him to move.
Vrennj rolled her eyes. “By the Odds Mistress,” she swore under her breath. She reached and grabbed the front of his suit and pulled him into the orb. The door swished close.

Vrennj directed him to a seat and said, “Coliseum.”

The egg-orb floated away. Knowles watched the platform fall away, at a somewhat high speed.

“Our world has very low gravity, Ted. You would tend to float more than fall.”

“It seemed normal in the building.”

“We keep our inner gravity level about 83.7 percent of your world’s gravity. I expect you hadn’t noticed.”

“I was feeling a little less tired than normal.”

Knowles watched as the egg-orb headed for a round opening in the air. “What’s that?” he asked pointing.

Vrennj sighed. “It is the entrance to the tube-way, Ted.”

“What’s the tube-way?”

“How do you people get around on Earth, Ted? The tube-way is a very efficient way of transporting a massive amount of people with very little energy costs. You better buckle in.”

Knowles placed the harness around his shoulders and sat back in his seat.

“One we’re in the tube we’ll be speeding up. There will be some gravity forces involved,” Vrennj said.

“What do you me…” Knowles was pushed into his seat as the orb shot into the tube. It took a few minutes before he was able to speak.

“How fast are we going?” Knowles gasped.

Vrennj activated her palm device, several equations floated above her hand. “About fourteen hundred of your Earth miles per hour. We should get to the Coliseum in about forty of your earth minutes.”

“How is moving that fast saving energy costs?”

“The orb is powered by magnetic polarity shifts within the tube itself. The power is controlled by a large traffic monitor which oversees the smooth flow of traffic. Each orb is placed on a tube that conducts us to the nearest substation and, ultimately to our destination

“The magnet polarity is powered by solar panels wrapped around the tubes themselves and well as solar farms on either side of the tube way’s right-of-way. Energy is transmitted to areas at night time from areas still in the sun. So, essentially, there is an unlimited supply of power available to the whole world at any time.”

“This is the only way to get around here?”

“Of course, what else do we need?”

“People don’t have cars to drive around in, or trucks to transport things?”

Vrennj was aghast. “Why would we want to be so archaic? The tube-way handles all our needs.”

“Except kidnapping people to fight your dragons,” Knowles muttered.

Vrennj rolled her eyes. “This is more of a spectacle than a fight, Ted. There are really no health risks involved. It is something our people value as a means of entertainment and it helps boost our economy.”

“Vrennj, what do people do here?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, I know you are in charge of getting these fights together. But other than that, what do people do here? Is there some sort of large employer here?”

“Oh, I understand your question. We are all employed by the government.”

“All? Everybody here?”

“Yes, all of us. Every living human-like being. And some dragons.”

Knowles shook his head. “How can everyone be employed by the government? How does your government make money if it’s paying everyone a salary?”

“Oh we don’t really get a salary.”

“Then how do you live?”

“Well, my job entitles me to a nice apartment. I am given weekly rations – I can certainly choose my meals. I am allowed to pick out clothing throughout the year. So, there is no need of having money, as I understand the concept,” Vrennj explained.

“I guess if you don’t get a salary then you don’t pay taxes. So, the question remains, how does the government make money to pay for all these wonderful things.”

“Oh,” Vrennj understood the question. “The games.”

“The games?”

“Yes, the games, Ted. We host these games on out world. There are many worlds that send contestants, send gamblers, or just plain spectators. Our government depends on the taxes that are made during the games. The government doesn’t sponsor the games, per se, but the games are what help the government to function.”

“So these games are the sole supporter of your world, Vrennj?”


The orb flew through the end of the tube and was bathed in sunlight. A huge edifice loomed in the forward window.

“My God, what is that?”

Vrennj smiled. “That is the coliseum, Ted. We’ll be going there for your weigh-in.”

“Weigh-in? I’m fighting a dragon, what does it matter what I weigh?”

Vrennj rolled her eyes. “Everything matters from this point on, Ted. There are wagers placed on your weight, your hair color, your eye color, how tall you are, everything. This is for the first round of wagers. There will be more as we go. You’ll meet your opponent and depending how you do, the odds will be determined.”

“But you said I was going to win, right? How can there be odds for a certainty?”

“You know you’re going to win, I know you’re going to win. The gaming commission knows you’re going to win. The dragon knows you are going to win. But, keep this in mind as you go out in front of the public, nearly eighty-five billion people have no clue who is going to win. If you appear confident and cocky, your odds will go up. If you appear scared, your odds will go down. Either way, the government collects the taxes on each wager and the people are entertained.”

“So, it’s all about ‘entertaining the people’?”

Vrennj rolled her eyes and shook her head. “If the people are entertained, they are distracted, Ted. If they are distracted, they won’t have time to plan a revolution.”

“A revolution? What would they revolt against?”

“Nothing, Ted,” Vrennj assured him, “absolutely nothing.”

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The Dragon Fighter form Hoboken – Part 4

Dragon-FighterVrennj touched her palm and the wall parted. A tall man dressed in white robes walked. He seemed pleasant.

“Greeting Vrennj, my name is Dalac, you requested a lawyer?” he said.

“Yes, Dalac, thanking for coming so quickly,” Vrennj began. “Ted here, who is from Earth, is wondering how he can avoid fighting the dragon.”

“Hmm,” Dalac muttered at looked at Knowles. “You put on the crown?”

Knowles reached up and pointed, “This crown?”

Dalac’s pleasant smile disappeared. “You called me Ted. No need to be trite. I assume that you signed all the waivers and permissions before doing so.”

“Yes, but I didn’t understand what I was actually signing or even that I was signing,” Knowles explained.

“They don’t use lawyers on Earth?”

“Yes, but I wasn’t aware that I needed one.”

“And yet here we are, Ted,” Dalac said.

“Here we are,” Vrennj repeated.

“So is there any way we can convince a judge or somebody that I really didn’t understand what I was doing?” Knowles asked.

Dalac resumed his previous smile. “I don’t think that will be necessary.”

Vrennj looked confused. “Really? I thought that this would be a problem.”

“Actually,” Dalac, looking very pleased with himself. “As this has been happening more and more often, I made an arrangement with the Senior Master Commission just a few days ago. It was the matter from the gentleman from Triton 3.”

“Oh, I heard some rumors, you were involved with that situation?” Vrennj asked.

“Yes,” Dalac’s smug look became smugger, “I think we set a precedent which will allow future contestants out of commission settlements. Ted, if you would rather not fight the dragon, there is no one to force you.”

Knowles sighed with relief. “Thank you Mr. Dalac. Is there a form I need to sign?”

Dalac chuckled. “Form? Dear me, Ted, there are quite a few forms that need to be tendered. But first, do you have an account with the Greater Gaming Bank and Trust?”

“Um, no, do I need one?”

“It would be easier for the transfer of funds.”

“Funds? What kind of funds?”

“It would be handled in GGBT Credits, I not sure of the exchange rate with Earth money. We’ll get the ribo counters to do that.”

“Ribo?” Knowles asked.

“It’s a type of seed,” Vrennj answered. “He’s talking about accountants.”

Knowles nodded. “How much funds are we talking about?”

“I would image three or four hundred GGBTs should do it.”

An immediate look of calm flowed over Knowles face.

Vrennj held out her hand and the floating screen came alive. “Ted, do you use Yen or Marks?”

“I use dollars, American Dollars,” Knowles said.

“Let’s find out – Of course the exchange rate might vary on the specific time.”

Dalac looked very pleased with himself as if he trained Vrennj to say it exactly as she did.

“Hmm,” Vrennj began. “It seems that 400 ribos would come to three billion US Earth dollars.”

“Here is the form for the exchange,” Dalac said. “We can do this immediately before the rate changes.”

“Umm, I don’t have three billion US Earth dollars,” Knowles mumbled.

“Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Knowles. If there is anything I can aid you with, please have Vrennj call my office.” Dalac said as he stepped through the fading wall.

“Hmm,” Vrennj said as the wall re-materialized, “I guess you will need to fight the dragon, after all.”

The energy drained from Knowles face. He sat down and gasped.

“Don’t worry, Ted, we’ll give you through training.”

Knowles looked up with sunken eyes, “How much training does it take to beat a dragon?”

“Approximately one half hour.”

“How can I learn to slay a dragon in a half an hour?”

“Slay?” Vrennj was aghast. “Oh my, Ted, we would never slay anything on this world. Why would you ever think you needed to fight to the death?”

“I guess I assumed that it would be to the death.”

“We have a saying about ASSUME, Ted. Do I need to tell it to you?”

“No, Vrennj, we have the same saying, I think.”

“I hope you’re not making another assumption, Ted.”

“Then, what is the fight about?”

“It’s about three rounds, each lasting fifteen minutes. The one who first successfully scores a headlock lasting ten seconds wins.”

“Oh, I guess it will be quick then.”

“The dragon will try to grasp you with its tail and you would need to climb to just under the dragon’s head. The neck is thin enough for you to capture it with your elbow.”

“I should last about twenty seconds.”

“Nonsense. You will go the full three rounds and you will fell the dragon, in a manner of speaking, within the last thirty seconds of the third round.”

“Vrennj, is this fight rigged?”

“Rigged is such a harsh word, Ted. Let’s just say we have a plan of action, which both sides know about.”

“I see. I guess there is nothing left but to do it.”

“Nonsense, Ted. We have a lot to do. In a few minutes will be the pre-fight weigh-in. Then the press conference and a major photo-op for the fans. After that, we’ll visit the hospital and you will meet your sick and dying fans…”

“Fans? I have fans.”

“Of course you have fans, Ted. We have the best fans that money can buy.”

“You buy my fans?” Knowles was incensed.

“We’ll we technically rent them. They’ll be your fans until after the match. Then we’ll rent them for the next challenger.”


Vrennj shrugged. “It’s just business.”

“What lying to people, using them?”

Vrennj sighed as if knowing where the conversation was going. “Look Ted, this whole thing has been around for several of your centuries. We don’t like it that much either. But the planets on the outer rim are very brutal. The people there don’t have much in their existence that makes them happy. They tune in to these fights religiously. It gives meaning to their lives – something to look forward to after a constant struggle to survive.”

“Do you really believe that, Vrennj?”

“It gets me through the day,” Vrennj muttered. “So, we’ll believe what we’re doing and get ready for the weigh-in, right?

“Right,” Knowles grumbled.

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The Dragon Fighter From Hoboken – Part 3

Dragon-Fighter“Is there any way to get out of fighting the dragon?” Knowles asked.

Vrennj shrugged.

“Perhaps we could rule you as incompetent?” Vrennj replied. “That sometimes works.”


“Generally depends on the judge making the ruling. The lawyers are good about knowing the best path to take for that.”

“How do I contact one of them?”

Vrennj held out her palm and touched in two places, without any holographic image displayed. “There I’ve done it for you.”

“How does that work?”

“A lawyer will show up, decide you can’t pay him and leave. Maybe one will take the case because you might remind him of his grandfather or something.”

I’m not that old, Knowles wanted to shout. He asked politely instead, “No I mean your hand. How does that work? How does it display an image?”

“Oh,” Vrennj looked startled that anyone would ask. “I’ve had a printed biometric system installed, rather, my boss allowed me to obtain one. I just was promoted to the third assistant to the senior junior supervisory board.”

“The senior junior board?”

“Yes we are the board that sets up the matches between the inter-galactic worlds and opposed to intra-galactic.”

“You would think the senior board would be in charge of inter-galactic matches.”

“Technically, they oversee both, but there is more to lose in local matches than those from another galaxy.”


“Certainly, take yourself, for instance,” Vrennj explained. “There would no political fallout if something happened to you. We have no treaties with earth, and unlikely will seek one. For someone more local, it is a different matter. That’s why the seniors handle them.”

“I’m sure a senior senior board member would have some clue about obtaining some sort of accouterments.”

“Wait here, I’ll see what I can do,” Vrennj said. “You may look but do not touch anything while I’m gone.”

Knowles nodded as he watched a wall fade as Vrennj walked through it. It formed immediately after she passed through.

He wondered around the room looking at the equipment. He could not comprehend any of it. Screens that appeared as large as his Philco set at home were not nearly as thick. What kind of tube do those use? he thought.

As he walked through the room the enormity of his situation sank in. This accused crown, he fumed. Why did I ever think to desire it, to put it on?

He reached up and tried to take it off. As soon as he touched it, the lights went out and the room was plunged into darkness.

“Damn,” Knowles whispered.

He stood in the silent dark room for the longest time. He feared to move.

At last, bright light from one side of the room blinked and faded.

“You couldn’t follow directions even for nine minutes? Now I’m remembering why we rarely have Earthers. They never listen even to the simplest directions.”

The lights came on once again, the brightness again momentarily blinding Knowles.

“Here sign this,” Vrennj held out a thin glass square with unintelligible script.

“Sign where?”

Sighing Vrennj pointed out a small oval near the bottom of the screen. “Just slide your thumb over the oval.”

Knowles did so. The script disappeared and a new one took place. He found the oval and looked at Vrennj.

“Yes, sign that one, too,” she smiled. “Humans might be trainable after all.”

Knowles ended up signing eight pages.

“What did I just do?”

“You got these,” Vrennj handed him a large container. “You may enter the cubicle you came here in and get dressed.”

Knowles entered the cubicle, the door slid down and the lights stayed on. He opened the container (there was a small oval that he slid his thumb across – resulting in a small hiss and the lid opening). He reached in and pulled out an outfit very similar to the one Samir showed him. He put it on.
Everything fit perfectly, even the boots.

He wondered how to leave the cubicle. “Vrennj, how do I leave the cubicle?”

“Touch the door,” was the muffled reply.

He did so. A satisfying hiss as the door opened was his reward.

“All of this fits great. You must be a great size estimator,” Knowles said.

A cold glare shot through Knowles.

“We do not estimate here. We have precise measurements of every part of your body.”

“How did you do that?”

Vrennj rolled her eyes and took a deep breath. “How do you think you got here?”

“I put on the crown and passed out and woke up in that small room.”

“Genius!” Vrennj said. “So in your mind, the crown had something to do with your coming to this place?”

“I suppose.”

“Well then,” Vrennj smiled. “It’s amazing that you grasp a concept such as this, considered that a score or so millennium ago, your ancestors were dragging their knuckles as they walked. My, how humanity has advanced!”

“So, the crown somehow got me here?”

“Before I explain this to you, please let me have your full name for my records.”

“T. Frederic Alfred Knowles.”

“The ‘T’ is for what?”

“I usually don’t use it.”

“I’m sure you usually aren’t whisked away to different worlds either. Nevertheless, I need the full name for the records.”

“Thaddeus,” Knowles whispered.

“Thaddeus? I understand. I’ll just call you Ted from here on,” Vrennj said.

“So,” Vrennj continued. “To explain, Ted, how you arrived here. Once you placed the helmet upon you quasi-civilized head, you were whisked to the large cubicle in which you arrived. The helmet compressed all you cells storing you effectively in the cavity now occupied by you cranium. The cubicle device, while carefully avoiding those little orbiting silver balls that your world considers a ‘Space Program’ launched into a near speed of light jump, coming through a wormhole and delivering you to an orbit her. Once in orbit, your cells were decompressed.

“In that we have a highly complex decompression system, exact measurements were made. Also, we were able to remove your appendix, several polyps, and permanently repair a stress fracture in your right lower leg. I’d imagine that it is only now that you understand why you have no pain whilst you walk.”

“I thought it might be a lighter gravity or something.”

A pleasant tone sounded, ending the conversation.

“Ah, it must be your lawyer.”

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Dragon Fighter From Hoboken – Part 2

Dragon-FighterT. Frederic Alfred Knowles saw nothing but darkness. He felt a little lightheaded or “displaced” but the feeling quickly dissipated. Yet he was in the dark. He felt cold.

He reached around where he stood and felt enclosed by a wall. At first he thought it to be metallic. As he ran his hand along the inside of the “box” he was in, he noticed the texture was more like glass. He had an odd thought about all those mimes he saw, acting like they were trapped in an invisible box. He now understood how they felt.

As he became more oriented, he noticed that he wasn’t wearing any clothes. He really didn’t know how to deal with that, but at least he was in a dark box. He felt his head, and the helmet was still on.
The coldness emanated from a slight draft. It seemed to be coming from directly in front of him. He took a small step and reached out. There did appear to be a small gap in the box. Enough to fit through, he surmised.

He decided to take one step forward, putting him just outside of the enclosure.

Blinding light assailed him. He held his arms over his face. It took several minutes for his eyes to adjust. As the shock subsided, he looked around the very large room.

It appeared to be some sort of laboratory. The room, circular in design, had numerous monitoring devices along the walls. There were large units that flashed odd symbols. Symbols he recognized from those in the crown.

The room was mostly white in color. This helped, he believed, to make the blast of white light all the more effective for distracting or subduing any unsuspecting victim.

Am I a victim? He wondered.

He noticed that as he turned counter-clockwise. Soon, he faced the square space that he found himself originally. It was, as he suspected, transparent glass.

The room overwhelmed him. His turning was slowed by his need to observe each new device that the room held. It was mesmerizing.

As he faced front again, he was attracted to a red object he missed previously. How could a miss a red object in all this white?

The red object twisted around and stared at him. He instinctively covered himself. It was a woman. The red object was not a woman, but the woman was dressed in a long lab-like jacket. It was her hair that was glaringly red. Her glaringly red hair hung all the way down to her thigh.

“Wilkommen!” the woman said. “Ich bin Vrennj. Wie geht es dir?”

Knowles recognized the language as German. It seemed odd. The woman didn’t really appear to be German, and he was pretty sure he wasn’t in Germany. He had been there in the war, and this was most certainly not Germany.

“Do you speak English?” he asked.

“Englisch?” she asked back.

“Yes, English. Do you speak that?”

She held up a finger, the international – or was it universal – symbol for “just a minute.”

Knowles watched the young woman (he assumed) open her left palm parallel to the floor. Above her palm an image floated.

“What in God’s name is that?”

The woman glared at him and said “Eine minute, bitte.”

Knowles kept silent as he watched her touch the image with her right index finger. The image shifted and turned various colors and shapes as she did so. She smiled and touched one floating symbol. She turned to him and said “Eine minute, bitte,” in a somewhat softer voice.

He watched as her eyes closed. She stood in a kind of a stasis for several minutes. He didn’t move for fear of interrupting her.

The glowing images above her palm faded. She opened her eyes and looked at him.

“Can you understand me now?” she asked.


She smiled and the whole room seemed to reflect her mood.

“Well then,” she started. “Welcome! My name is Vrennj. How are you?”

Knowles realized that the woman must have been given a two minute course in a quick start English course. He sighed not expecting much information. Surely someone here must speak it more fluently, if she was just taught a few words, he thought.

“I am fine, thank you for asking. Although, I am a little concerned that my attire did not seem to follow me wherever I am.”

“Oh,” Vrennj looked slightly confused. “Were you not offered the special suit that went with the crown?”

“Yes, yes I was. It was not explained that it was required that I purchase such a suit.”

“Purchasing the suit certainly is not required. Did your salesman not say that you would be more comfortable in obtaining the suit?”

Knowles felt a slight pang knowing that Samir used those exact words. “I think he used those exact words.”

“Would you have been more comfortable with the suit?”

“Yes, yes I would be more comfortable. Is there any way I can purchase one now?”

Vrennj gave Knowles the once over, showing not a sign of any type of embarrassment.

“It doesn’t seem to me that you are carrying any type of currency,” Vrennj said.

“I’m sure my wallet is with all my other accessories. Why were you speaking to me in German at first?”

“The helmet informed us you were from Earth. The last person from Earth was sure the Germans would take over the whole Earth. Apparently, we were miss-informed.”

“No, the whole world stopped Hitler. Things seem to be settling down.”


“Hilter, Adolf Hitler. The leader of the Germans.”

“What happened to Wilhelm?”

“Wilhelm? Kaiser Wilhelm was defeated in World War One. It has been a while since someone from Earth has been here, obviously.”

“Well, unlike you,” Vrennj explained, “not everyone volunteers to fight a dragon.”

“Excuse me. How exactly did I volunteer to fight a dragon?”

“Did you not agree to the ‘Terms of Service’ before trying on the helmet?”


“Hmm. Wait a moment.” Vrennj held out her left palm again. An image floated above it. With a motion of her right the image transferred to a larger viewing screen so Knowles could see.

“Right here,” Vrennj paused the image. “You can see your thumb swiping across and then the conditions appear. You then swiped it again, agreeing to them. It’s all very clear.”

“Conditions? I couldn’t make out what those symbols said. I just tried to make them clearer.”

“Do you often agree to things you don’t understand?” Vrennj asked.

Knowles gulped, knowing he was going to have to fight a dragon whether he wanted to or not.

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The Dragon Fighter From Hoboken – Part 1

Dragon-FighterT. Frederic Alfred Knowles parked his new Ford Sunliner convertible near his intended destination. He left the top down, despite the neighborhood looking a little seedy. It was getting the near the end of summer anyway, and the new model would be out soon – if anything happened to it, he reasoned.

He did not often leave his shop for these types of visits, today was slow and he hoped to get some firsthand information about an interesting competitor. As one of (if not “THE”) premier estate and antique shops in Hoboken, T. Frederic Alfred Knowles began to hear of another store. A store near the river where things, well, were often a little run down.

Yet more and more of his customers have talked about the interesting things found there, things with history. T. Frederic Alfred Knowles had to find out the charm of this place. What would cause his clientele to travel from their comfort zone to this run down, smelly area?

He found a reasonable place to park on River Street and walked his way to Fourth. He took his suit jacket and folded over his arm – certainly didn’t want his custom tailored jacket to be pilfered by the local riff raff. He watched the local workers watch him as he walked. He worried about his leaving the roof down, but knew if someone were to steal it, they would cut through the “rag top,” as it was called.

He turned the corner onto Fourth Street and there it was, as his customers told him. A little tiny storefront huddled in the midst of all the warehouses. It was, in fact, the only business that was actually on Fourth Street. All the larger buildings faced on the North – South streets. Not this little antique place, he thought.

He paused in front of the non-descript wooden door precisely at 4 Fourth Street. The sign read, “Nevets Purveyors of the Mysteries of the Universe Since 4.” Sighing, T. Frederic Alfred Knowles opened the door and stepped inside.

The door led to a small antechamber lined with a bench on either side. A large door with a brass grate led to the inner store. Knowles had been warned by all of his customers that admission required removing one’s shoes and placing them on small shelves above the benches. As irritating as this was to Knowles, he complied. He wore his old Florsheims especially for this reason.

As he stood and placed his shoes on the shelf, he heard a click and knew the door was open. He pushed it and stood before a smiling Sikh dressed in a brown robe.

“Greetings, Effendi, welcome to out humble establishment. I am your servant Samir. How may I assist you?”

“Samir, is it? I am T. Frederic Alfred Knowles of the…”

“Mr. Knowles, it is an honor to finally make your acquaintance. Mr. Nevets always said we should make our way to your exemplar establishment and introduce ourselves. But alas, we have been short-handed here. Our most ardent apologies, Effendi!”

“I am glad to meet you as well, Samir. Is Mr. Nevets available?”

“Again, my greatest apologies. Had he known you would be arriving, he would have made the greatest effort to be here. He is, unfortunately, on a buying trip and out of the country.”

“Too bad, Samir. Perhaps when he is back we could make arrangement to have tea sometime?”

“Excellent suggestion, Mr. Knowles! As it is, I am quite sure Mr. Nevets would like me to personally escort you on a tour of our store. It would be the greatest honor!”

“I would be the one honored by such a thing, Samir. Please, lead on! Do not be afraid to leave me if some business presents itself, however.”

“You do me great kindness, Mr. Knowles. For now, let me direct you here.”

Knowles examined every item Samir offered him. I would never display these treasures in such a horrid way, he thought.

Knowles stopped when he saw a large jar. Inside he saw lumps of a yellowish green material. “What is this?”

“Ah, Mr. Knowles, you have found one of our older inventory items. This was sold before we were able to afford the business you see today. This was originally sold to one of the Wise Men that visited the foretold prophet.”

“You sold this?”

“Well, obviously not me personally, Effendi. This sale enabled the founder of our company to finally open. The problem was, the mother of the great prophet returned the myrrh.”

“What? I have never heard that.”

“Ah, it was true, Effendi. The mother was forced to leave her home and run to Egypt, she needed the money.”

“I can’t believe the Virgin Mary would sell a gift from the wise men.”

“Is it harder to believe than a mother would not do anything to save her family?” Samir asked.

“I hadn’t thought about that.”

Samir led Knowles to a large case with the plaque, “Not For Sale” in the center at the top.

“These are some of the many treasures we have acquired from the many regions,” Samir proudly announced. Samir opened the case allowing closer examination.

Knowles could not help but stare. One thing particularly caught his eye. It was a crown.

Samir smiled when he saw Knowles reaction. “Ah yes, the Dragon Fighter’s Crown.”

“Dragon Fighter’s? Is this from the Orient?”

Samir shook his head, “It is from a place far more distant.”

Knowles looked at Samir, who nodded. Knowles reached in and lifted the crown. He examined the inside, looking for any kind of a trademark. He saw a little strip, rubbed his thumb across the surface of it trying to see some sort of mark. He felt a vibration. The “letters” glowed red. He wiped at it again with his thumb and felt a stronger vibration.

Knowles looked to Samir. “Did you hear that?”

“Hear what, effendi?”

“Well, it, it vibrated.”

“Hmm,” Samir answered.

“Perhaps I should try this on, Samir.”

“Perhaps,” Samir agreed. “I think it would be wise, however, to put on the suit that comes with it, first.”

Knowles nodded his head, “And how much is this special suit, Samir?”

“A suit made as well as the crown itself, noble sir, is worth more than mere dollars.”

“How much, Samir?”

“It would be my pleasure, effendi, to offer the suit to you, since you are in the business and I can justify such a huge discount, to you for merely one hundred and fifty dollars.”

“One hundred and fifty Dollars! In all my days I have yet to spend such a huge some on any article of clothing.”

“Perhaps Mr. Nevets would not be too angry at one hundred and twenty-five dollars.”

“I see your little game here, Samir. Offer to let me try on the crown with some cock and bull story. Only, I should have the proper attire or something first. Sorry, Samir, I will not buy the ‘special’ suit no matter what the cost. Can I still try on the crown?”

Samir bowed, “Ifyou wish to, good sir. I merely have tried to make sure you will be comfortable doing so.”

Knowles sighed. “Fine, thank you for thinking of me.”

Knowles held the crown in his hands and placed it on top of his head. He felt the vibration again, although much stronger. Hs vision grew blurry and things went black.

Samir looked at the pile of clothes on the floor with Knowles stood just microseconds before. He sighed, found a laundry bag and placed Knowles’ things inside. He left the bag next to two others, one marked “Gibson” and the other “Blake.”

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