Preamble: It's taken me a while to get the creative juices flowing again after "The Quest For Truth". This time, we're going back in time to the mid-80s and a very strange case for Scooby and friends. The time: Spring 1986. "13 Ghosts" was cancelled around this time, and Scooby would not return until the "trilogy" of Superstars 10 TV-movies in 1987, which was a return to the 3-piece comedy team of Scooby, Shaggy, & Scrappy (1980-83). The concept: The Chest of Demons is now closed, as the modified Mystery, Inc. team had located all 13 demons. Shaggy, Scooby, Scrappy, & Daphne have returned to Coolsville. Flim Flam? Wait & see. Disclaimer: All characters, save for incidentals created for this story, are the property of Hanna-Barbera/Warner Bros.. =========================================================== Chapter 1: Rufus Lambert had heard a noise in the backyard of his home around 2:15 am in the morning. At first, he thought it was just the neighbor's dog or a raccoon rummaging through the garbage. But neither a dog nor a raccoon would trip his burglar alarm. Lambert donned a bathrobe & slippers and went to investigate. What Lambert found instead chilled him to the bone. It looked like a doberman, but stood on its hind legs, the way a human would. Lambert aimed a rifle at the strange hybrid, and fired one shot. DoberMan moved out of the way, then lunged at the homeowner, separating Lambert from his weapon. Only the sound of police sirens answering the alarm prevented DoberMan from taking human life on this night, and he fled. The next morning, Mystery Incorporated convened at the Coolsville Library. Fred Jones had just returned after spending the better part of 6 years in college, pursuing a degree in paranormal sciences. One more year, and he'd have his Masters degree. Shaggy & Daphne had filled him in on what he'd missed, and the only regret he had was not being there for it all. Velma Dinkley had also left for college, but only for four years because her parents couldn't afford to pay her tuition after she earned an associates degree in criminology. Unable to afford even a short stint in the police academy, Velma opened a book shop, which until today was the gang's regular meeting place. However, Pages of Mystery had recently been ravaged by a fire, forcing the gang to go back to using the library as a meeting site. It was Velma who briefed the others on the DoberMan case. Fred, naturally, decided on the usual course of action, and the pairings. Little did they know that DoberMan would be virtually on their doorstep before the night was out! Shaggy's parents were away on a business trip, and Scrappy was in Yucca Flats, visiting his uncle Yabba and deputy Dusty. Shaggy & Scooby had the run of the house to themselves, and on a Saturday night, that meant an all-night horror movie marathon. Around 3 am, Scooby heard someone trying to break into the house. Shaggy claimed he didn't hear anything, and thought his best pal was imagining things. When a glass window broke, though, Shaggy was convinced something was wrong, and so, the two finally decided to investigate. Within minutes, Shaggy & Scooby were face to face with DoberMan. Predictably, Shaggy wanted to run and hide, but, for once, Scooby decided to hold his ground. He was, after all, meant to be a watchdog in the first place when the Rogerses bought him as a pup. DoberMan went for the safe, but Scooby lunged after him. DoberMan swatted Scooby aside like he was nothing, then looted the safe, and left, as quickly as he came. Once he was sure DoberMan was gone, Shaggy came back downstairs, but then, he found Scooby----unconscious! An emergency call to the vet's led to Scooby being transported to the local animal hospital. Dr. Kurt Vanderman was puzzled as he met with Shaggy. "Based on your account, Mr. Rogers", he said, "I would think Scooby would be just fine, but he's not. I found some scratches where this 'DoberMan' struck him. I'm going to run some tests, but I'm afraid I already know the answer. I'm afraid Scooby's been poisoned." Shaggy fainted. Once revived, he returned home and met with the police about the break-in. His description of DoberMan matched those of the homeowners that the creature had previously victimized. ========================================================== Scooby----poisoned? You bet. DoberMan may be a fake monster after all, but he's already proving to be a formidible foe. In chapter 2, we'll catch up with Scrappy, and find out what Flim Flam's been up to. Vincent Van Ghoul will play a prominent role, too, so come on back next week.