John figured out pretty quickly what had happened. You don't make it to be a lieutenant commander in Starfleet security without being nimble of mind.
He didn't know how or why, but clearly all the poor slobs around him had been turned into their costumes. What had been a calm gathering of thousands of fans was now a gathering of scared, angry, confused and bewildered things of every description. It had to be some kind of delusion, but it seemed so real.
It reminded him of the time he was on Palous V…
John shook his head. He hadn't been on Palous V. There wasn't a Palous V! He wasn't a security officer on the USS Excalibur. He was a warehouse supervisor from Toronto!
Nervously falling back on training he never actually had, he drew his phaser and started backing toward cover by a couple of vending machines next to a darkened hallway. He knelt down in the corner and scanned around, trying to find a way though the chaos in front of him.
That's when he heard the hiss only inches from his ear.
Turning slowly, he came face to slime-dripping mouth with something straight out of the movie Alien… literally. He spun his phaser around and hit the trigger just as the creature ripped his throat out. The phaser, set to kill, struck the Alien in the chest. It glowed for a second, then Brad Dunning of Austin, Texas vanished, leaving a bit of organic matter and a nearly dead red shirt behind.
Tyler slumped against the outside wall of the convention center, his head swimming in confusion not helped by the knock to the head. What the hell was going on? One second he was dressed as a Jedi headed over the meet some friends, and the next the place was in utter chaos! He managed to slip out the side door, but not before he was bowled over by something that he swore was a minotaur.
He tried to sort out what was happening, but wasn't having any luck. He nervously fiddled with his plastic light saber replica.
_Wait, that seems different…_ The light saber handle felt heavy, balanced, solid. It looked more-or-less the same, but now the emitter end, which had previously had a plastic flashlight lens in it now had something that looked more like a jewel.
Curious, he held it up to his eye and clicked the power button.
Bslforh the Thief crept quietly into a dark corner of the ruined convention hall and looked though his take. The pandemonium had been perfect cover for one with his skills.
Now he held in his hands his takings: a golden bracelet he'd slipped off a distracted half-dragon, the dagger straight out of the sheath of Dirk the Daring, and a strange object he'd snatched right out of the pouch of an odd little man with a metal helmet that covered his head completely.
He looked over the silver orb that was covered in bright red, glowing jewels. It had to be a magic item, since nothing he knew would glow like this.
He fiddled with it for a moment, trying to figure out how to extract the jewels when something happened and it started to make a beeping sound, a sound that ominously started to get faster and faster and he tried to figure out how to stop it.
Bslforh, formerly Richard Kylie of Atlanta, Georgia, failed to stop the thermal detonator in time.
Jeff had sprinted out into the parking lot outside the convention center when things went to hell inside. He had avoided the worst of the chaos going on inside, watching as stranger and stranger things started to come out.
It took a little while for it to really dawn on him, but people had become their costumes. After seeing a couple of working Star Trek tricorders, he started thinking. He'd dressed up as Cliff Secord from "The Rocketeer", complete with faux leather flying suit (which was now real leather), helmet and a fantastic replica of the jetpack.
He had to find out.
Pushing the start button, he lifted off the ground, scorching the hood of the sedan he'd been sitting on, and sailing straight up into the air. After a few seconds of near panic, he started to get the hang of it and before long he was flying level about fifty feet off the ground! Jeff couldn't believe it!
He sailed though the air at speeds over 60 miles an hour, watching the scenery fly by. This was fantastic! He started to think about simply flying home on his own, though he'd have to practice a bit before he tried to make it to L.A….
Bangor! He lived in Bangor!
He tried to regain his concentration as he sorted the bits of Secords life from his own when he was distracted again by a stream of police cars going full tilt toward the convention center.
When he looked up, he was heading straight for the sixth floor of the Orlando Holiday Inn. He pulled up and managed to clear ten more floors. Unfortunately, the building was seventeen stories tall.
Justin had thought his costume had been pretty cleaver, dressed as a fly with a white head and one arm, he was sure it was an obscure enough reference that almost no one at Xanadu would get it.
Of course, this was the largest gathering of geeks around and it took about fifteen seconds before people started pointing him out. He was still almost disappointed when people had passed him by smiling and saying in a high pitched voice, "Help me! Help me!"
Now, as he was trapped in a web near the ceiling of the hotel lobby, he didn't have time to appreciate the irony that he was screaming the same thing as a spider raced over to have him for lunch.
Sitting back in her dorm room in Seattle with her roommate, it had seemed like a good idea to dress up like the back end of a horse in a two person costume. They'd even practiced for days how to walk in unison and had planned on spending as much of the convention as possible acting like a horse.
At the moment of transformation, Crystal had ceased to be, her body simply becoming the internal organs of the horse. Her friend Amanda faired little better, her mind wiped clean by the transformation, she was commandeered by a nearby knight to ride off and fight a dragon.
The knight returned from battle without his horse.
The costume had been one of the brightest of all at Xanadu. The vivid blues and yellows were fantastic to look at.
Of course, after it all became real, it turned out that even a five foot tall humanoid angelfish needed water to breath, as Phillip discovered after about three minutes trapped in a stuck elevator.
Once he realized that he was now a four foot tall, bright green gecko, Tyrone had to give it a try. Putting his hand against the wall of what had been the furry art room, he started to pull, and in no time he was climbing the wall.
He was amazed! This was no tougher than climbing a ladder!
He got to the ceiling and decided to go for broke, reaching out onto the tiles and starting to skitter across. He didn't realize until it was too late was that the tiles were never designed to hold any actual weight, and before he could retreat to the walls, they gave way.
Tyrone fell the full thirty feet, knocking his head against a rhinos horn, before crashing though a nearby table and laying quietly.
The great Count Dracula of Romania might have had a chance had he not picked the wrong moment to step out onto the terrace to smoke a cigarette under a bright Florida sky.
All they found later of Anthony Bedazi of Denver was a pile of dusty formal clothes and a gold necklace.
Her costume had been only a cheap plastic beak and bird mask, just enough to appease her boss at the comic book stand. Tru hadn't cared about all this stuff going on around her, she was just there as part of a temp job to earn a few bucks selling comics to nerds.
But good Lord, she wanted to escape.
Then the world shifted and she was suddenly and completely a robin.
Terrified by what was going on around her, she instantly took to the air like she'd been born this way and started heading for the nearest daylight.
Her terror ended instantly when her beak came in contact with the heavy plate glass window of the skylight.
Janet felt freer at this moment than any other in her life. She knew that she should be panicked, for a lot of reasons, but for this moment it was wonderful!
She'd come to Xanadu with her meticulously made mallard costume. She'd designed it complete with arms and wings and bright feathers, making her look like a perfect male mallard. She had been sure that she would win one of the furry costume prizes.
There had been a few moments of loss once she realized what had happened. First off, she was male now. The costume coloring was distinct, and from what she could gather that technically meant she was no longer a she. At least she wasn’t going to have to start laying eggs.
But once she'd taken to the air, she realized that she hadn't given up all that much. Lifting off the pavement had been a bit tough, but once she caught the air, she managed to climb higher and higher, losing herself to the clouds as she pondered what she was going to do now.
Janet was going to have to tell her parents, who were likely to take this badly, and her older brother, who was likely to make joke about duck hunting for the next lifetime. Since technically she was now a he, that meant he was going to have to leave Vincent…
She emerged from the cloud just in time to realize that she was staring down the gullet of an incoming TWA 777 coming in for a landing at Orlando International Airport. She barely had time to quack out in surprise before she slammed into the fan blades of the port engine.
The engine explosion was contained by the Kevlar containment ring, then it detached from the wing cleanly as designed and was caught by a passing Superman before it landed on a nearby home. The plane landed safely.
One second, Sam had been wandering the halls looking for a particular collectable item, the next he was stumbling around looking for brains.
Thankfully, the possible zombie apocalypse that could have happened was ended quickly by a quick-witted and square jawed Ash Williams who took off the zombies head with a single shotgun round.
Sergeant Miller of the Orlando Police SWAT team (no, really, he arrived after the events of the day) stood outside the barricaded entrance to what had been one of the smaller halls. By now, they all knew what had happened, and their orders were finally beginning to match what was in front of them.
He'd already help round up some pretty scary individuals, including five orcs, one Freddy Kruger and one centaur who had reacted to this event by breaking into the hotel bar and drinking three bottles of Jack Daniels.
It had already been a long day.
Now he was outside what was normally a small conference room with one of the hotel concierge personnel. "You're sure this was the room?" he asked.
The nervous man nodded, "This is it," he said. The moans from behind the barricaded door made the answer almost rhetorical. It had been a book signing for the latest in a series of zombie novels, and many of the attendees were dressed to match. One survivor, dressed anthropomorphic kangaroo, had managed to leap out unscathed and barricaded the door with the help of a passing Thing.
The Thing, of course, was still standing and holding the door with little effort. Since his skin was now basically rock, he was one of only a few people around who was impervious to zombie bites. There were a number of others standing by to help as well, including a pair of Colonial Marines, Spiderman and three different Captain Jack Sparrows for some reason.
But until he heard differently, this was a job for the SWAT team. The others were civilians, even if a couple of them were better armed, better protected and better looking than them.
He nodded to the Thing and he opened the door slightly. "This is the Orlando Police!" he called out. "Come out with your hands up! We will open fire!" He knew that it wasn't going to work, in just a few hours he knew that these people were already dead, but he had procedures to follow.
The first zombie stumbled out, followed closely by two more before the Thing could close the doors again. When it was clear they weren't stopping, SWAT brought them down with single shots to the head. They repeated the procedure for twenty minutes before the room was cleared and all fifteen zombies were dead.
Chris panted frantically in the cage, desperately trying to let the two men on the other side of the bars know that he was more than just a dog.
"What happened to this guy?" asked one of the Animal Control officers.
The younger one sighed, "We think he was hit by a car, broke his leg. We found him out on 15."
Chris whined. I was trying to get home! he screamed in his mind. Something happened at the convention! I got turned into a dog! Somehow, all he could do was act like a dog, no matter how hard he tried he couldn't give even the slightest notion that he was once human. His attempt to get back to Fort Lauderdale had ended badly when he'd been clipped by a passing car. He was now so far from Xanadu in Orlando that the two men didn't think to make a connection.
"That's a shame. No tag? No chip?"
"No, nothing. Looks like a stray."
The older man sighed again, "OK, lets get this over with."
Chris relaxed as the vet prepared an injection. Finally! Some painkillers! It was only a second after he felt the needle go in that Chris remembered what they did to injured strays.
The bender robot stood frozen in mid-step on the fifth floor of the hotel just a few dozen steps from the hotel room registered to Barry McAdams, who had coincidentally flown in from London in with his elaborate Bender costume.
A couple of national guardsmen were looking it over. "Why do you think it died?" one asked.
The second shrugged, "Damned if I know. There are at least three other Benders walking around fine." He made a halfhearted effort to life the robot, which barely moved it. "This one must weigh over a ton! We'd better get some equipment in here so we can clear the hallway. Maybe one of the other Benders will have an idea."
The clue was in the custom beer bottle that the first soldier casually kicked out of the way, shattering it. Barry, it seemed, had made the real Benders alcohol fuel a much bigger deal than the other Benders had, and when he ran out of alcohol, he shut down. Until someone thought to pour some into his mouth, he would remain that way.
He would later be put in temporary storage in Orlando, moved to a military facility in Devonshire when it was determined to be a former British citizen, then lost in a paperwork snafu.