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    Alchemy had little time to contemplate this, since Poplar and Cedar had arrived to help in throwing her off the roof. Cedar grabbed her leg and yanked, so that she dangled over the edge again, this time one-handed. Poplar had been about to kick her but just missed as she switched her grip to the other hand. Powerhouse swooped around, trying to catch the attention of the giant tree.
    Eclipse continued to climb. Before her she saw a single tree, somewhat human-shaped. It was holding a fire ax and pacing back and forth, blocking her path. It was dark enough in the stairwell for her to be invisible; she timed her move carefully. It spun unexpectedly, swinging the axe toward her, and took a slice out of the stair. She sprinted past it, cloaking the stairwell in darkness behind her.
    "So, where are you going to find a four-hundred-foot foam rubber Venus fly trap to put on that thing?" Scott wondered as if Chlora could hear him. How had Phil managed to take control of this creature—he hadn't been evil before. Which means Phil was using two methods to control him....
    Inside the restaurant, "I'll get them," Chlora muttered to himself—evidently he was able to hear, through Sequoia. "Even though the creature's eyes are blind, I can track from here. Kind of like playing a video game. I should be able to swat Powerhouse any time now! Move that arm!"
    Sequoia groaned, and obeyed, and missed, a giant limb ripping the air several yards from the airborn hero. A news chopper dared the area to see what was going on; Powerhouse shooed it away.
    Alchemy continued to dangle from the railing while Chlora's henchmen loomed above her. She turned the floor underneath them into liquid nitrogen, and overshot a bit. Fog boiled off, the henchmen crashed through the ceiling into the restaurant, people inside yelled, thinking the fog was Scott, and then the banister she was holding onto ripped free and she started to fall. She created a rope from the tower to herself and grabbed hold, wrenching her shoulder rather nastily, but it was better than yelling for Powerhouse to come and save her. She created a helium balloon at the end of the rope, and floated back up to the top of the tower.
    "That must have been what Phil wanted the Spectrum Transformer for—he found a way to make normal plants evil!" Scott realized, and began analyzing the difference in wavelengths in the light coming from the Space Needle. He extended his cloud form and began eating it.
    "Scott's right, Phil! The Commander's going to be able to make TONS of cardboard out of this thing, after he beats you again!" Powerhouse observed.
    "How DARE he mention him," Phil muttered, seething as expected at the mention of Commander Cardboard. "I'll get them for—what? No, it can't be! The creature—I'm losing control of it!"
    Sequoia reached out, grabbed hold of Powerhouse, and roared.
    "Oops. Sucker moves faster than I thought!" The Flying Dutchman began struggling within the giant redwoods bark-like grip, before Sequoia could pulverize him. It was no use—even his phenomenal strength couldn't break the tree's grip. Seconds before Sequoia finished playing "Little Bunny Foo Foo with Powerhouse's head, its look changed, and it dropped the hero.
    "Whew! Good work, whoever just did that!"
    "Geranium! You have to go up and boost the power on it! Take the stairwell, go up and boost the power on the device!" Chlora commanded.
    Finally, Eclipse reached the top of the stairs, entirely out of breath, and stopped for a moment to slow her loud gasping. When Geranium came running by, Eclipse tripped her. It was a very long way down. After three flights of falling, she ran into the axe wielding tree, snagging it and dragging it along in her flight.
    "Bet no one used that trick on you before, lady!" Eclipse called after her, still holding herself up with the railing.
    Phil continued to rant. "Geranium! Geranium! Drat it all! You need something done, you have to do it yourself." He came out into the stairwell, right into Eclipse's darkness field. "Aaagh! Evil darkness!" He tried to crawl away. She followed him, smiling. He wasn't so hard to beat. I wish all villains were this afraid of the dark.
    Alchemy attained the roof and came down through the hole she had created. The henchmen were suffering hypothermia and not very worried about her, and there was no sign of Phil. Wind whipped through the gap in the ceiling, and a few hapless bystanders were huddled in a corner. Someone in the stairwell was screaming about the darkness. She started doing what she could to straighten things out, recreating the ceiling with a wave of her hand and making sure that Phil's henchmen weren't going anywhere—unless they could get free of a foot of marble.
    Scott continued to float his way to the source of the Ćevil' light, while Powerhouse tried to steer the now-docile tree toward a park, avoiding a cluster of Japanese tourists. When Scott reached the roof of the Space Needle he found the transmitter. As he arrived, the door opened and Phil came crawling out, only his hands visible for a moment before the shadows covered him again.
    "No! I cannot escape the darkness!" he whimpered.
    Scott wrapped himself around the transmitter, changed back to his liquid state, and pulled the plug.
    Eclipse was just beginning to feel guilty about what she was putting poor Phil through when he suddenly pulled himself to his feet, ran a few steps, and took a flying leap out of the shadows, and realized that he had just leaped off the roof. Falling. Screaming.
    Scott whipped a pseudopod down after him, barely managed to grab hold of his leg in time. Chlora immediately passed out. He'd had a pretty bad day.
     Sequoia, meanwhile, happily rooted itself.

The Space Needle got repaired, eventually, and the Canadian authorities managed to lure Sequoia onto another ship for transport to its home.
    Alchemy had had enough of Seattle after a few hours of recuperation, and got on the next plane back to Chicago, but not before Powerhouse asked her, "We never did figure out why you're here?"
    "To get the thing and the scientist to GEMINI in one piece," she explained, exasperated.
    "Oh. That got kind of screwed up, didn't it?"
    "The thing and the scientist are at GEMINI, aren't they?"
    "Yeah."
    "So that would be 'no.' Thank you, goodbye"
    "How much longer are we staying?" Eclipse asked him idly as their teammate vanished into the airport crowds.
    "I don't know, probably 'til the end of the week, at least."
    "Okay."

"So, do you enjoy your new career, Scott?" Jeffrey inquired.
    "It's fun," he said happily. "I mean, this town's a little damaged, but...."
    "I don't know, I kind of like it out here. I mean, it's peculiar and everything, but I used to have a nice place to work until someone started planting giant trees in it. I trust they'll be able to get that fixed."
    "I hope so."

The rest of the week was spent quietly and restfully, as Scott and the others attempted to unravel The Mystery of the Ghost Receptionist. Whoever she was, she chewed Bubblicious.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson