part 7

Plotted by Jay "Amakusa" McIntyre, Cyberspaced by Lith "Time Lady" Skye Rael

     Mike unwound the Christmas lights and fell to the floor.  "Ooof!" 
he puffed.  At that moment, all the lights came on, and he could hear 
machinery moving in other rooms.  He stepped through the nearest door, 
and stared.

     Sitting at a table with an unnapettizing pizza before him was a 
middle-aged man, filthy, dressed in a raggedy outfit and hat.  As he 
rose and turned towards Mike, a cheesy tune started playing in the 
background.  His legs wobbled, and he used a staff to support himself.

     "I am T-t-torgo," said the man, "I ke-ep house w-while the master 
is aw-w-w-ay."  Then his eyes seemed to focus.  "You are out of your 
bonds.  T-the master will n-not be pleased."

     "Your master makes Doctor Forrester seem sane," Mike shot back.  
"And can that music!"

     "W-what music?" asked Torgo.

     Not wasting any more time on trying to reason with Torgo, Mike shot 
out of the room, running as fast as he could.  Sighing, Torgo contacted 
the Toymaker with his mind.  

     *Master, the p-prisoner has escaped.*

     They Toymaker's thought came back puzzled: *Number Six?*

     *N-no master, the o-one you had me tie up.*

     *No matter.  I have activated the Labirynth.  He won't get far.*

     The Doctor, Joel, Ace, and the Maxx were dodging between the trees.  
Already, several carnivorous birds (Shrikes, the Doctor said they were 
called) had attacked them, and only Ace's bat and Maxx's claws had kept 
them at bay.  Now, they were confronted by a wide river.

     They had looked for vines to throw between trees, but none were 
long enough.  The Doctor was searching his pockets, but it was Ace who 
found a grappling gun in her pack.  She fired it at a tree across the 
river, and then swung across.  she rewound it, and fired it back acroiss 
the river.  "Climb over!" she called, "Maxx last!  Too heavy for him to 
go with the others!"

    The Doctor went first, Joel right behind him.  Once they were safely 
over, Maxx started.  Even with all three of the others holding the line, 
it barely held him.  Suddenly, a yellow octopus lunged out of the water, 
lashed three limbs around Maxx, and pulled.  He let go of the line, and 
fell into the river.

     "Maxx!" The Doctor and Joel shouted together.  There was no 
movement save the rushing of the river.  "Cruk!" Ace hissed.  "We needed 

     "He's on the cutting room floor now," said Joel mournfully.  Both 
the Doctor and Ace looked blankly at him.  At that moment, Maxx burst 
out of the river onto the bank, covered with the octopus' blood.

     "The Maxx...(huff) mightier than...(cough)...any river beast!"

     "Congratz, Macho-Maxx," Ace muttered, but they helped him up.

     "Macho, macho Maxx," sang Joel, "He's got to be a Macho Maxx!"  The 
Doctor groaned, and Maxx looked miffed, but Ace laughed.

     Mike was stumbling through various corridors, totally lost.  "This 
is like a Professor X episode," he complained, to nobody in particular.  
Then he stepped through an archway, and found himself in front of a 
giant dollhouse.

     The Doctor and company were once again walking through the trees.
"How much daylight is left?" the Doctor asked the Maxx.

     "Two hours, maybe less.  We've got to find shelter soon," said 
Maxx.  "No place in the Outback is safe at night."

     "We'll probably have to climb one of the trees--" the Doctor began, 
but was interrupted at that point by a lionness, roaring at them as it