Chapter Eighteen: New Year's Surprise

    As the queen stepped forward into the light, the guest could hear the sounds of fireworks exploding outside.  The year 2000 had arrived.
    "Oh my God," Brad said, recognizing Queen Andoria.  The last he had seen her was years ago, when he left her to die on the planet Transexual.  He had tricked her into coming into the laboratory.  Once there, pulled the switch - making her feet stick to the floor, just as he, Janet and Dr. Scott had before, back in '75.  Brad had explained to her that the statues in the room were actually Transylvanian prisoners, turned to stone for Frank's experience -- approved in advance by the evil Queen Andoria.  Trapped to the floor, she watched as Brad "de-medusa-ized" the statues, bringing them back to life.  Suddenly, several Transylvanian prisoners were all around the Queen with one thing on their minds: revenge.  The last thing Brad saw in the laboratory was them attacking her, and her screaming as she was trapped, her feet stuck to the floor.  Shortly thereafter, the planet blew up, and Brad and Janet had already escaped through a transport tube.
    The queen walked up to Brad and said, "God?  No, Brad, you don't have to be so formal.  Queen would do nicely."
    Cosmo and Nation looked at each other and laughed.
    Brad said to the queen, just as she stepped directly in front of him, "But I thought you were..."
    "Dead?" the queen finished his sentence, "Yes, I bet you would have enjoyed that, wouldn't you, Brad.  But as you can see, I'm very much alive."
    "But..." Brad said, "But how?"
    The queen laughed, "I remember the prisoners you unfroze - or should I say 'unleashed' - on me.  They were not happy to see me.  Although some were missing an arm, or a leg, they found their way to me, and attacked me.  Some hit; some bit.  I assure you it was quite painful.  One was even strangling my neck.  But I recall looking over at the control panel, and even through my torture, I witnessed a very curious prisoner looking over the panel.  Seconds later, out of sheer curiousity or fascination I presume, he pulled the switch releasing me from my trap to the lab floor."
    Oscar and Brenda smiled at each other, as though they were children, having heard a fascinating legend for the fifth time.
    The queen continued, "I escaped the hands of the prisoners as they were quite slow.  I fled the castle and discovered a dear friend leaving on a space-ship.  Being the queen, he honored my request to take me with him before the planet blew up."
    Brad asked, "But you came to earth instead?  Why not go to another planet in the galaxy of Transylvania?"
    Queen Andoria answered, "The blast from the planet threw me off course.  We were lost for a moment, but long enough to plan revenge....on you and your - woman.  I decided to find earth, and put my plan into effect."
    "How long?" Brad asked, "How long have you been here on earth?"
    The queen smiled and answered, "I believe the year I arrived on earth was December of '76.  However, I had no idea how to find you.  I had given up finding you and Janet, and had planned on returning to Transylvania to reign as queen once again, however, my dear friend's ship had very little fuel.  Not enough for the trip home."
    Brad said, "So you couldn't leave earth.  Couldn't you find fuel?"
    "No," she said, "but my friend had another idea: build a transport tube.  There was enough energy left in the ship's engine to fire it up...but only once...that is - IF - he could build it.  You see, Brad, he was the man who invented the transport tubes found in Frank's castle."
    Brad wondered what the chances were that, of all the fleeing Transylvanians that night, she would manage to find the one person who invented the transport tubes.  Fate? Or some twisted coincidence?
    Suddenly, from the same shadow that the queen had made her entrance, Farley stepped out.  Brad looked at him with surprise.
    Farley spoke, "In 1980, she found me."
    The queen added, "But I thought it was you, Brad.  You never mentioned you had a twin."
    Brad said, "I didn't know it.  I had a few suppressed memories of him as a very small boy, but they only have surfaced in recent years."
    Farley stepped up and joined the queen's side, in front of Brad.
    Queen Andoria said, "Yes, but eventually I realized he spoke the truth.  So I decided to ruin your life...with his help."
    Brad started to understand...and said to Farley, "So that's why you tried to destroy my life back in '81 when you bought the TV studio.  It was all part of her wicked plan to destroy everything that was important to me."
    "Yes," Farley said, "And as a bonus, I'd get Janet.  However, you ruined that.  You and a few others in this room."
    Betty Hapschatt looked at Oliver Wright, who returned her glance.  Several others expressed similar guilty looks.
    Janet suddenly yelled to the Queen, "You wicked bitch! Let us go!"
    Everyone turned to face Janet.  Brad begged Queen Andoria, "Yes, please.  Or at least let Janet free."
    Neely stepped forward, "Yes, we are all locked up in here.  There's no where she can run."
    "Yes, please." Brad repeated.
    The queen frowned and then rolled her eyes, saying, "Very well then.  Release her."
    Vance Parker went over to Janet and began to untie her restraints.  Seconds later, she stood up from her chair and ran over to Brad's side.
    "Oh Brad," she said in tears, "You came to my rescue!"
    "Are you alright?" he asked her.
    The Queen interrrupted, "I assure you she is fine.  We have taken great care of her over the past year or two.  Haven't we, Janet?"
    Janet looked away.  The queen continued:
    "Yes, we've taken excellant care of Janet.  In fact, she's only been in this building tied up for a total of 4 seperate days.  The first day when when we abducted her.  Then once the following year after she tried to escape us.  Then last week, when she tried to contact the police -- thank you, Vance, for the tip.  And finally, tonight."
    Janet decided to speak for herself, "She's telling the truth.  Those four times are the only times I've been tied up.  Otherwise, I was free.  Many times, I walked the streets in disguise.  Of course, I always knew one of her lynch men were nearby, so I avoided running or trying to escape."
    Brad was confused, "But why not?  If you were free, you--"
    Janet explained, "Don't you get it? She holds all the cards.  She always has.  If she could arrange this meeting tonight, in a course of several years, who knows what she could do if I fled.  Besides, she's the only one who knows the name of the woman who adopted my son.  I had to stay near her."
    The queen laughed, "Oh, yes.  Your son.  Haven't you figured that out yet?  Janet -- of course I know the name of the woman who adopted your boy, Daniel.  It's me."
    She smiled, sort of an evil-satisfaction.
    Janet stepped forward and slapped her, saying, "You bitch!"
    Vance Parker, holding a gun, stepped up to them in effort to protect the queen.  The queen waved her hand, letting him know to step back.
    "So you see, Janet," Queen Andoria said, "I hold the last card.  Daniel is my security.  He's my key to make sure my plan succeeds."
    The bass guitarist looked over at Glish Davison and Francine, then back over to the drummer, still in his guilded cage.  He asked her, "I suppose keeping my friend there alive like a vegetable was part of your plan?"
    "No, no," the queen answered, "He's here because of one reason and one reason only.  I wanted everyone here tonight involved in that rediculous Faith Factory scandal.  Can I help it if he was struck and killed by those two idiots over there?"  She pointed to Neely's crew, who looked away.
    The Wardrobe mistress said, "But Ralph Hapschatt's not here."
    The Makeup Artist added, "Yeah, why isn't he here?"
    The queen answered, "Because I had to have him killed.  He threatened to tell the police.  Fortunately, Vance Parker, who had just visited him, convinced him otherwise.  This bought me some time to send an associate over there to silence him for good."
    Betty Hapschatt said, "I've got news for you.  Ralph's still alive.  He's in a New Jersey hospital on a life-support system.  Thanks to you!"
    "Oh well," the queen said, "If he's a vegetable, who cares.  What can he say in coma, right?"
    Macy said, "You should be ashamed of yourself."
    The queen directed her next words to Macy: "Look who's talking shame!  Who is it that resorted to her old tricks, huh? Who is it that recently got a promotion after blowing her boss under his desk?"
    Macy looked away, ashamed.
    Janet looked over at the mumbling drummer, still tied to the chair in the center wooden frame, and then asked the queen, "He was dead.  How did you bring him back to life?"
    The queen said, "You, of all people, shouldn't question how to create life.  If my memory serves me correctly, you brought back my dear Frank...only to have him turn his back on me."
    "So that's what this is about? Revenge?" Janet asked.
    "Yes, dear, revenge."
    Harry Weiss, holding Emily's hand, asked the queen, "But why all of us? Your quarel is with Brad and my daughter, Janet."
    "Well," Queen Andoria shouted for everyone to hear.  She stepped backwards and approached the third covered box.  She grabbed the sheet and yanked on it until it fell off it completely.  There, sitting inside the wooden frame, was a very large glass tube that looked all too familiar to Brad and Janet.  It was a wide transport tube, much wider than the previous ones they had encountered.  This one could hold several people at once.  The queen continued, "This is the final plan."
    Everyone gasped as they stared at the large tube.  Inside the tube, we could see control panels, as well as a generator box.  Aparently, this was a new and improved model.
    "You see, Janet," she said, "I've got enough energy stored in this new version of the tube to transfer everyone here up to Transgender, Transylvania.  There, I shall put you and Brad on trial there, with 16 or so of your peers to judge you."  She gestured to all the "Denton Friends" that have been gathered.
    Ricky asked her, "And what if we refuse?"
    "Oh, simple," Queen Andoria said, "The same thing that will happen if you don't find them guilty at trial: You'll be executed."
    She motioned to Cosmo, who stepped forward.  This was the first time everyone noticed something that Cosmo held in his hand: a 3-prong laser.
    "Recognize this?" Cosmo said to Brad and Janet.
    Brad answered, "Yes, I do."
    Cosmo said, "But this laser gun is a new and improved model."
    Suddenly Janet understood, "I thought you looked familiar!  After all these years!"
    Emily asked her, "What is it, Janet?"
    Janet responded, "Cosmo is really Riff Raff!"
    "Good guess," Cosmo said, "This it shouldn't take you any brains to figure out that Nation is really Magenta."
    Brad and Janet looked at each other in full understanding.  Then Brad looked over at Ansalong, and said, "Now it makes sense.  You're Columbia.  But how--"
    "I'm not Columbia," Ansalong said, "She's my twin sister.  My name is Ansalong.  Columbia died on Transexual."
    "No!" Janet said to Ansalong, "Columbia is alive! She visited me and told me to find my son!"
    "What?" Ansalong asked, confused.
    Brad added, "Yes, and she recently visited me -- which led me to this search for Janet here in New York."
    Ansalong started to smile in happiness, "Columbia is alive?"
    The queen interrupted, "Enough of this!  Time is short.  Riff Raff! Obey your queen! Start up the transport generator at once!"
    "I live to serve you," Riff Raff said, walking over to the control panel inside the transport tube.
    "And I live to serve you, too," Magenta said.
    "Ah, my loyal servants," the queen said, "Even the earthlings I had to brainwash."
    Emily Weiss ran to the tube and then stepped in front of it, with out-stretched arms, blocking it's entrance from Riff Raff.  She said, "I won't let you take my daughter!"
    Riff Raff raised the gun to Emily as he approached her, saying, "Then you'll die."
    "NO!" Janet shouted, running to Riff Raff.  She jumped, in effort to tackle him, but missed.  Instead, she fell on top of her mother, Emily, and knocked her to the floor.
    Riff Raff pulled the trigger of the three prong laser and fired, but instead of hitting Emily, it struck the control panel, blowing it to pieces.
    "YOU BITCH!" The queen yelled, "Riff Raff, kill them all!"
    Brad jumped towards Riff Raff, and struggled with him.  Riff, in the meantime, kept his finger on the trigger, sending out several shots of laser.  The beams shot everyone possible: the ceiling, the wall... One even struck Ricky's shoulder, knocking him to the floor, but not causing any serious damage.  Finally, one laser beam struck the wooden door and blew it open.
    "Run!" Brad shouted, as he knocked the gun free from Riff Raff's hand.
    The laser gun fell to the ground, and Harry Weiss saw it first.  He was nearest to it, and so he kicked it into the shadows.
    Suddenly, one by one, everyone fled the warehouse, vacating the building.
    Janet looked around at all the commotion: Ansalong was tending to Rick's wound, while the effects of the brainwash on Oscar and Brenda were wearing off:
    Oscar looked around and said, "What have we done?"
    Brenda looked just as confused.
    Janet noticed one thing as people were running out: the queen was gone.
    She looked over to Brad, who had just knocked Riff Raff to the ground and was kicking him in the stomach, and shouted, "Brad! Don't let the queen get away! She's the only one who knows where my baby is!"
    Brad ran to the door, Janet following behind.  This left Riff Raff lying on the floor, and Magenta at his side, asking if he was okay.  Everyone else had left the building.
    "Get the gun" Riff Raff said, trying to stand, "We're going to kill 'em!"

    Outside the building, a very agitated Tom waited in the back of a cab.  He saw Oliver earlier in the day, and knew that Oliver would lead him to Betty Hapschatt.  He kept an eye on him all day long, and watched tonight as Oliver went into the abandoned warehouse building.  Now, before his very eyes, he could see lots of people running out of the building, as though their life depended on it.
    "What the --?" Tom said, scratching his head with the tip of the revolver he had stolen.
    He watched carefully as each person left the building.  Most took off on foot, some ran to the subway, a few to parked cars.
    Suddenly he saw her.  Betty Hapschatt ran out of the building, leading Oliver behind her.  They jumped into a car that Betty drove over in and seconds later, they were driving away.
    "Happy fuckin' new year! Driver!" Tom shouted, pointing the gun to the back of the driver's head, "Follow that car!"

    Randy stood outside the building, watching everyone vacate quickly.  He watched each person individually, and tried to spot Brad.  It was Brad's suggestion (or should he say "invitation") to come to the party tonight.  He had joined Brad's search this year to find Janet, and Brad and him have become like brothers since then.
    Over the past few months, Brad and Randy recalled good times with Janet.  Brad retold the story of how they met, and the events that lead all the way up to this year.
    Randy told Brad the truth about why he was in New York.  He told Brad about why it was NO coincidence that he met Janet in Don's Donut Shop, and why he has befriended her for so long.  He explained to Brad why he had not told Janet the real reason he was there in Janet's life.  The day he was going to tell her, she had vanished.
    After rehashing their past experiences with Janet, Randy and Brad bonded like best friends.  Practically brothers.  So it was no surprise that Brad had invited Randy to join him at this particular New Year's Eve party.  It was a surprise, however, to arrive late and witness all these people fleeing the building.
    Seconds later, he saw the last few people leaving.  Bert ran out, yelling, "Follow me! I know where she's going!"
    Then Brad and Janet were seen running out of the building.  Randy ran towards them, in surprise.
    "Janet!" Randy yelled to her.
    Janet looked over as she fled, noticing Randy running behind her.  In a panic she ran faster, following Bert.  Janet yelled to Brad, "Stay away from him!" (referring to Randy) "He's dangerous! I think he works for Andoria!"
    "Who?!!" Randy yelled in chase, "I don't work for anyone! I'm on your side!  Stop!"
    Bert led Brad and Janet to the subway, where the train had been stopped and was about to take off.  Running through the crowd of people, each of whom sported party hands and noise makers, they jumped into the train.  Randy followed suit.  Little did he realize, Riff Raff and Magenta (previously known as Cosmo and Nation) were running right behind them.  Seconds later, the subway train was in motion, with Bert, Brad, Janet, Randy, Riff Raff and Magenta all on board.

In the next chapter, the chase begins, but the Queen has a few extra cards up her sleeve....