- The Descendants 96 – Kill Hope
- The Descendants 97 – Heir of Hyrilius
- The Descendants 98 – The Precocious Prodigy
- The Descendants 99 – Huddled Masses
- The Descendants 100 – Paradigm Shift
- The Descendants 101 – The Battle of Freeland House
- Descendants Special #9 – Outted
- The Descendants 102 – Tales of Consequence
- The Descendants 103 – VIRAL
- The Descendants 104 – Hardcore Fans
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 01
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 02
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 03
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 04
- Descendants #105 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 05
- Descendants #106 – Gal Gallium – Chapter 06
“Two hundred and twelve-thousand dollars,” Cyn noted from her seat on one of the lab tables in the Livesavers Inc headquarters’ primary workroom, “That’s how much money you’re wearing right now.”
Across the room, her best friend, Warrick Kaine was pulling a shirt of stretchy, silver-colored material over his head and smoothed it over his body to make sure it overlapped with the matching pants. These had been pulled over the light padded suit he normally wore on patrol when not armored up. The layering did strange things to the sleekly muscular physique that had replaced lank awkwardness after years of heroics.
He shook his head at her and picked up a psi damper from a nearby counter, slotting it over his left ear and turning it on. “Not taking any chances with this thing, Cyn. Magic? Faerie? Tome? I can handle that shit. Crazy villain of the week? I live for that. But This thing? It scares the hell out of me.”
The damper was followed by a cowl of the same material, which was affixed to the rest of the suit by a black mantle-and-harness rig that also went around the waist and formed a seal around the whole ensemble. A pair of gloves and booties with cuff that operated similarly followed.
Cyn scoffed, lying back on her table to stare at the ceiling. “Really? This scares you more than Morganna? More than—need I remind you—the people who kidnapped hundreds of teenagers to experiment on their superpowers?”
After donning a set of goggles, Warrick glared at her through them. “Are you afraid of Tome?”
“No. But they’re creepy as hell when you think about them. Like, you and me weren’t on ice that long, but they stole years from Melissa and Kareem. Think about that: they stole time. That’s messed up. There’s like fantasy monsters that do that.” She lifted herself on her elbows to glance at him. “Do you think there’s faeries that do that?”
Now fully ensconced in the advanced hazmat suit he’d requested specially for the day’s mission, Warrick moved over an ankle-high slab of dark metal in the corner of the workroom. “God I hope not. But seriously, how are you not totally freaked about this? It’s your story about everything that went down in Device World* that’s got me all freaked out about this.”
Cyn flopped back onto the table. “Because the thing’s dead, man! I kicked its ass and sent its mind to another universe. What we’ve got here is the dead body of an alien universe.”
“And that’s not something to be afraid of.” Warrick said blandly.
“It’s a dead body. There’s nothing scary about a dead body once you’re like… twelve.”
The metal slab beneath Warrick’s feet began to shift. Unlike his usual summoned armor, this material shifted slowly, forming thick, if unadorned plates starting from a set of boots and building upward. “What about zombies?” He asked, half concentrating on fitting the plates of his new armor together.
Feigning a large yawn, Cyn rolled onto her side and squirmed around so she was looking at him. “Corpses that rise from the grave zombie, or bitey plague? Because the first are like the weakest undead you ever meet in a game and the other kind are just there so the heroes can kill just a ton of people without feeling bad. Literally canon fodder. And this thing isn’t even going to so much as twitch. The living part of it is in another dimension.”
By then, the armor had formed in its entirety save for the helmet. Warrick raised an eyebrow at his best friend. “You know, that’s something I’ve been meaning to ask you. This other dimension you sent it to…”
Cyn groaned loudly, cutting him off. “I was a super genius with omni-dimensional senses at the time. All I remember is that the thing hated the fact that were were all individuals instead of whatever hivemind thing it came from, and it said it needed help to do its thing—so I made a totally empty pocket plane and left it stranded. Be alone with itself. Maybe grow as an individual, yeah?”
Warrick laughed at the smirk she put on. “That’s kinda twisted.” Then he thought better of it. “But seriously it can’t get back, right?”
“Promise. The rock is dead. Might have some magic powers we can use since Device World Warpstar thought killing it would give him more power, but no more evil Yellow entity in there. We are safe.” Kipping up, she ended up sitting on the edge of the table again. “Trust me. After what happened on Device World? I wouldn’t let you guy within a mile of this thing if I wasn’t sure.”
“Still,” Warrick said, “What I’m getting from this is that you’re basically fearless.”
Cyn opened her mouth to reply, but thought better of what she was going to say. Warrick paused in his preparations, shooting a concerned look in her direction as she ponderously levered herself up to sitting, legs folded under her on the table.
Avoiding his gaze, she wrapped her arms around her torso in a one-person hug. “Yeah… about that… things that scare me that is.” Her friend made a worried hum and moved to stand next to her. For his trouble, he got a half-hearted glare. “I was gonna bring it up after this deal with the Warpstar gem, but since you’re dragging it out of me…”
She shifted uncomfortably and focused her own eyes on the floor. “So, um… Ollie’s birthday’s in a couple of weeks. He sent me an invite.”
“Oh.” Warrick tried to hide a wince and failed. The reasons for Cyn’s break-up with Ollie was a bitter topic for his best friend. That she was talking about it at all said something.
“Yeah. Oh.” Eyes still downcast, she brushed a lock of snowy hair out of her eyes. “You know he hasn’t gone out with anyone this whole time? He’s actually waiting for me and my dumb shit. Can you believe that?”
“Cyn,” Warrick made his way over to her side and put a hand on her shoulder. After a pause and deciding that wasn’t enough, he pulled her into a side hug. His armor might have made things uncomfortable for anyone else, but the perfect shapeshifter more or less literally melted against his side. “It’s not bullshit. It’s your feelings and stuff. You deserve a boyfriend you feel good with. Maybe that’ll be Ollie someday. Maybe it’ll be someone else.”
Despite her cheek conforming to the plates of his armor, Cyn spoke with total audibility. “Feelings can be stupid. This should not be complicated: I like him, he likes me. Boom. Done. If it wasn’t for Sean,” Her expression darkened at the mention of her disowned father’s name. “Or whoever convinced Ollie to become Sneak Thief.”
No mention of how Ollie as Sneak Thief had been such an obnoxious troll to her that she’d harbored a seething hatred of him and the accompanying desire to feed him his teeth with her fist. When taken with Sean McAllister’s history of domestic violence toward his wife and children, the whole situation had left Cyn uncomfortable with herself even if she hadn’t known Ollie was Sneak Thief.
Warrick gazed out into the lab and gave her a gentle squeeze. “Would it help if maybe he stopped being Sneak Thief?”
An unhappy noise, almost a growl escaped Cyn. “I am not going to be that super-harpy that asks someone to give up their SO to give up what they do for them. Would you take it well if Tink asked you to stop being Alloy?”
“I think the big difference is that he’s… like a criminal. I think it’s fair to ask someone you care about to stop being a criminal.”
Cyn shrugged, still leaning against him. “We don’t actually know why he does crimes though. Maybe he needs the money. Maybe it’s a family thing. Oh, or maybe the Mayfield Underworld’s got something on him! I never actually asked.”
Pushing off from Warrick, she rubbed her eyes with the palms of her hand. “Geez, I’m a bid girlfriend. I never gave him time to explain himself.” Her eyes widened, “I am one of those dumbass girls in the movies that gets all nuts over a big misunderstanding and doesn’t let the guy explain!”
Warrick stood and got directly in front of her, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Cyn. Look at me.” She did, taken aback by his serious tone. “That’s not what happened. It’s your family stuff, remember? Sean. He might be gone. He might not remember you anymore; but he still left you kinda messed up. That’s what we’ve gotta work on.” He released his grasp and let his arms fall to his sides. “Are the sessions with Dr. Masters helping?”
“A little. She says it takes time, but I want things fixed now, ya know? Or at least by the party. It’s going to get weird otherwise.”
“You sound like you’re going anyway.”
“Did you forget who you’re talking to?” Cyn scoffed, “Of course I’m going. A-at least I wanna go. I think. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about… is it a bad idea? I mean it’s not like I don’t care about him and he clearly wants me to be there, but maybe he’s trying to convince me to get back with him before I’m ready?”
The words came out in a rush and Warrick had to stop to process them. “Well…” he started only to be interrupted by the tone that announced a visitor entering the lab.
Both of them looked up to find the steel doors sliding open to reveal Lisa Ortega. She was wearing a faded band shirt for the group Violence Museum and a pair of jeans along with a yellow hooded jacket worn open over it. Despite not looking like it, Cyn and warrick both knew her capabilities well enough to know she was better protected from magical danger in that than Warrick was in his armor.
Even though she was only able to see one of their expressions, it was clear she’d interrupted something. “Hey guys… everything okay?”
Cyn grimaced. “Just embarrassing the shit out of myself with my lame boy troubles.”
“It’s not lame,” Warrick chided.
Lisa stepped into the room proper, schooling any sympathy in her expression because that would be the quickest way to annoy Cyn. “Ollie?”
“He invited me to his birthday party.”
“Oh.” said Lisa in the exact same way Warrick had. “Look, I can’t tell you what to do, but speaking as the former break-up / make-up queen of Mayfield… don’t try to force it.” Cyn gave her an askance look, drawing a sigh from her.
Looking for something to do with herself, Lisa, started idly inspecting items around the lab. “Looking back, I think the reason me and JC broke up all the time was that I’d start thinking that I was hurting him by staying away, or decided I didn’t want him deciding to go out with some other girl, or something like that and get back together before I was over the reasons we broke up. Same with him. So that’s my advice: if you want to get back together, only do it when you’re actually ready, not because a party’s coming up or you feel bad for him.”
Cyn nodded slightly. “Makes sense. But… what if I really want to get back together, but it’s me I don’t trust?”
Lisa offered an encouraging smile. “I’d say give it more time. And take it from me: don’t try to do the ‘just friends’ thing if you’re not okay just being friends.”
At this, Cyn let out a frustrated sigh. “I know. I… look, we’ve got an evil universe’s corpse to autopsy. All this can wait, alright?”
Warrick and Lisa shared a glance. A silent agreement formed: this was not going to be the end of this as far as they were concerned. After so long of Cyn not talking about Ollie at all, neither of them was going to let her backslide on opening up.
“If you’re sure… Laurel and Kay are posting up in ops right now. I already set up a temporary mirror gate to Torre de la Brujah in the vault so we don’t have to transport this thing any further than necessary.”
“See? Now this is what I need,” said Cyn, visibly perking up. “Getting to see my friend’s actual factual wizard’s tower and thinking about the fact that we probably keep some place that sells big full length mirrors afloat from the number of mirror gates we’ve got set up now.”
Lisa led the way out of the lab and toward the elevator down the hall. Meanwhile, Cyn’s short attention span had shifted entirely to the mirror gates. “You know, no one else seems to have come out with their own ‘gates, and faeries and faerie magic are pretty much public now… ever think of selling them?”
As the trio piled into the elevator, Lisa shook her head. “I considered it, but there’s a little issue I’ve only told Kay and Laurel about…”
“Please don’t tell me there’s a chance of getting lost in the network or tele-splatting,” said Warrick, “We use those almost daily.”
“Nothing so scary,” admitted Lisa. She produced a piece of D-shaped metal—one of the team’s D-icons—from her pocket and placed it over the ‘8’ on the elevator dial.
There was a tone and a recording of Laurel’s voice spoke “Special Access Request – B-06. Awaiting selection and tri-fold verification required.” Cyn and Warrick also took out their own D-icons and presented them to the bank of elevator buttons. “Confirmed. B-01. B-02. Special Access tri-fold verification successful. Voiceprint required for selection.”
“M Vault,” Lisa responded immediately.
“Special Access acknowledged.” The elevator chimed once more and began to descend.
“Anyway,” Lisa said as they waited. “The mirror gates. You know how you can gate into a mirror in the network from one that isn’t in an emergency with your D-icon?” the others nodded, so she continued, “Well it’s also possible to do it the other way around: One tuned gate that can target any reflective surface. I don’t think I have to paint the picture here of what could happen if we go public with the mirror gates and someone figures it out.”
Cyn nodded sagely. “Yeah, given the internet, they’d have that hacked in a couple of weeks and then asshole trolls would have the power to go evil queen and the magic mirror on everyone.”
“”Eh, I wouldn’t want to put that kind of thing out there, but the Books have been running around online for a while now and we haven’t seen a serious uptick in major magical supervillains. I think we’re selling people a little short.”
“Nope.” both women chorused as the elevator doors opened.
The trio filed in and began their descent to the secret sanctum where the Descendants harbored the dangerous and often unexplained objects they and their allies had captured from villains over the years: M Vault.
*See how the whole thing went down yourself in Descendants #71 ‘Yellow’ ~ Continuity King Vaal
To Be Continued…