Stuart meets Alterox
I hadn't met Stuart at the other place, I had to go through all that crap all over again, and I just knew it would make me feel weird in the head anyway.
Stuart was decidedly antagonistic and utterly stone-faced when I introduced myself, and I couldn't help it, I just started pouring out all my confused, weird, and thrice-damned thoughts. He kept watching me warily, only interrupting me now and then with an impatient "Get on with it!"
The same outpour of incoherent thoughts that the rest of the group had already heard at Mark Dyer's place was now presented to Stuart.
"You bloody got on my nerves on that plane in Thebes, and now you tell me you even spent all that time in the Land Below with my friends frolicking around in tiger fur thongs and cheating them and betraying them, and you even liked it?"
Up to that point, I had thought that my doppelganger had been killed by Messrs Croup and Vandemar, as I had seen the corpse, but as it seemed, that had been a ruse.
"How dare you say that you feel confused? How dare you pretend you've been victimized? You have NO idea"- I was getting myself into a pretty temper again, and that little sod Alterox just kept smiling at me in a rather tortured way, adding more and more details of his strange journey into an identity crisis.
I couldn't take much more of that crap and told him to shut up.
Baarley, of all people, whose nemesis Alterox had been for quite a while, told me to give him a chance for reformation.
"I have to think about that - too much input, as we already HAVE a situation here. The two black-suited sadists were here!"
Alterox couldn't help himself, chiming in: "I know those "monster brothers"! Boy, they're so bloody creepy even I was - "
Stuart cut him short.
"Yeah, whatever. I want to talk about something important with my friends, and, frankly, you're in the way!"
Luckily, Baarley agreed to go outside with me so that Stuart could talk about whatever confidential stuff he wanted to talk about. This was university territory, after all, and that Dr Smith was an Egyptologist as well, and I didn't feel up to such an intellectual discussion anyway after my rather emotional outpour and my recent tangle with the damn Syndicate of Sin.
Baarley, the obnoxious Nile Super Hero, and I resorted to a little target practice with his gun, and just when I discovered he was actually a better shot than I, I felt a funny prickling sensation in my fingertips...my shapechanging power had come back. I had already been getting nervous, because obviously Stuart wasn't keen on discussing my identity problems while I was looking like his twin, and now I actually had the chance to change back.
Baarley didn't look too surprised, he had seen me change before and he also knew I had had trouble changing when they saved me. "See," he said, "I knew you just needed some proper Nile relaxation techniques to recover," patting his gun.
Always looking at the bright side of things.
Almost at the same moment, we were asked to come in again, and I tried introducing myself to Stuart once more, this time with my own face. Stuart was not impressed, I'm afraid, and he took me by the arm (making me wince, as it still hurt) and said: "We have to talk to each other properly - I'd say you can join us for now, as we have some rather immediate problems, and I will sit down with you a soon as I can to figure out what to do about you. But don't try anything funny - we've all had enough of your tricks, mate!
Stuart and Alterox stared at each other for a few moments, and then the rather good-looking half-Egyptian Confused Nile Super Villain held out his hand to the decidedly unfriendly ruffled British Egyptologist. Stuart refused to shake Alterox' hand.
"Maybe the time will come."
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