Descendants 106 – The Away Team – Chapter 03

This entry is part 24 of 24 in the series Current

Juniper was pretty sure she should have been tired, having awoken at the crack of dawn to fly from Arizona to Virginia, riding up the Freeland House just to immediately board a private shuttle out to Dayspring College’s private airfield just to catch another flight back west to Detroit.

Should have been.

But the truth was, she was bursting with excitement.

Bursting, and bouncing in her seat. “Looking forward to seeing the world, Jun?” Cyn gave her a toothy grin, “Or just Detroit?”

Or maybe she had too much syrup on her… everything at breakfast today,” Melissa said dryly.

Juniper was sitting between the two of them in the back of the shuttle. “Can’t all three be true?” asked Juniper with a small smile of her own. “I need high caloric density to help fuel my powers and sugar is a common source of it. And I love to travel. And Detroit… how can you not be excited? I hope we have time to see the sights.”

I made sure the team at least gets a photo op and tour at the big ones: Motown, The Detroit Institute of Art, The Faye Center. You don’t got to the capital of American art without at least showing out appreciation,” Lily chimed in from up front.

Cyn jostled Juniper with her shoulder. “Hey, no worries, Jun. We’re not working on this stop. Detroit is our first stop because they have the biggest Descendants Rights Worldwide organization in the country. Our whole cover is spreading good will about little-d descendants, so it makes sense. Also? Detroit-style pizza. I’m going to test and rate as many places as I can!”

When will we start ‘working’ then?” Asked Karreem who was sitting in the next row of seats.

San Gabriel,” supplied Warrick, consulting his tablet. “Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. But… the stop is LA in general. That one was pretty easy to explain: we’re meeting with Descendants: LA like officially for the first time.”

Ooo, I smell a crossover from Sanctum,” Cyn teased.

The conversation was cut short as the automated driver of the shuttle chimed, drawing their attention to the fact that they’d arrived.

Dayspring College’s airfield was located quite a distance from the actual college; some 35 miles away in a place called Brandy Station. The massive boom of Mayfield as Machine City had left very little room within the city limits for airfields and much of the surrounding properties were crucial farmland.

As it turned out, the college solved this issue simply buy purchasing an airfield out in the country and building it up. All the same, the place was little more than a half dozen hangers, a control tower attached to a visitor’s center, and a single runway. The Fleetwave jet visible through the fence as the shuttle rolled up to the visitor’s center looked out of place next to the tiny personal craft in the nearby hangers.

Two people were waiting out front: a giant of a man, topping six foot seven easily with skin of the darkest shade and his hair in cornrows; and a white woman with a single intricate brown braid slung over one shoulder who barely came up to his chest.

As the door opened, the man raised a huge hand in greeting, but didn’t get a word in before the women came forward with an eagerness. “Good morning, Descendants! I’m so sorry for the early hour, but I hope you all had a good night’s sleep. If there is anything you need let us know. We can take care of your luggage while you all get situated on the plane. There are refreshments waiting.”

Lily practically sprang from the shuttle and halted her fellow blonde with a firm grip on the shoulder. “Ah-ha. Yes. Team, these are the extra help I’ve brought on for the tour. This is Heather Cooper-Finch, former travel coordinator for Violence Museum, Riot Shortage, and Very Dark Pink. Her references were impeccable and she did not show this level of… exuberance… in the interview.”

Heather hung her head apologetically, but did not argue.

Satisfied that she was cowed, Lily released Heather’s shoulder and gestured to the man. “And this is Treshawn Broussard. He wears a lot of hats and earns every penny from what I’ve heard. Pilot, driver, bodyguard and personal concierge. If you need anything during this trip, he can make it happen.”

Treshawn inclined his head. “A please to be working with you all.”

Relaxing at this show of professionalism, Lily turned back to the group. “Alright team, wheels up in twenty minutes. Heather and Treshawn will show you where your luggage goes.” She then surprised them all by striding purposefully toward the following shuttle where there bags were, seemingly about to carry her own bags.

Twenty minutes?” Warrick asked, “How are we going to even get through security in that time? I mean I left the twins’ arm bands and my belt in my bags, but still…”

Private airport, Kaine,” Lily called back. “There are no security checks. We just get in the plane and fly away.”

Seriously?”

Welcome to traveling in style,” she replied, opening the side door of the shuttle and starting to extract luggage, setting it on the concrete. “I thought you’d all be used to this with your superhero plane.”

Not exactly flying into a mission in the Karasu no Yūrei,” said Melissa, joining Lily at the open door to the shuttle. Heather soon appeared with a rolling cart and started loading it.

Lily worked diligently, grabbing bags and passing them to Melissa, putting them into a steady rhythm. “Maybe it’s time the team get a non-mission jet. This tour isn’t going to be a one-off after all. You aren’t just faceless superheroes any longer. You are all bonafide celebrities now and that means public engagements.”

Kareem joined in with the loading of the cart, shaking his head as he did so. “For now, let’s just get through the tour.”

Unnoticed to him or anyone else there, Cyn elbowed Warrick in the ribs, then directed his attention with her eyes to the fact that Melissa and Lily had gravitated to either side of Kareem. She gave him a snarky smile.

For his part, Warrick just rolled his eyes.

Ten minutes later, the team was getting themselves situated on the plane. The Fleetwave on loan from Brant Industries was top of the line with out-sized seats arranged in pairs with small tables between them and consoles that unfolded from overhead.

Warrick sank into one such seat and pulled out his palmtop, intent on calling Tink before they took off.

Mr. Kaine?” Heather materialized at his elbow, making him start. “Or maybe I should call you Alloy,” she continued as if she didn’t notice his reaction. “I don’t mean to disturb you, but I just wanted to tell you how much of a fan I am. Really.”

Relaxing a bit, Warrick offered her a smile. “Thanks. Always nice to hear we’re appreciated.”

Oh, absolutely. All of you are just amazing, but you’re a very interesting man in particular. Your powers… they’re unbelievable!”

They’re pretty cool. But then so are everybody’s. Healing, shapeshifting, zero point energy… I mean, dude. But the important thing is what we do with them, right?”

Heather smiled dreamily. “Right. Um, Ms Goldenmeyer said that we shouldn’t but once we’re in Detroit, can I get you to sign my copy of Prelates of Mayfield #0?”

Sure. Hey, anything for someone who buys the paper copies still.”

She beamed at this. “Oh thank you so much. Can I get you anything? We have champagne, juice, bottled water…”

Nothing right now, thanks. But yeah, you’re welcome.”

Still grinning giddly, Heather moved off to settle the others.

Warrick suppressed a sigh. This was the kind of thing he’d been warning Kareem about. It was… weird to say the least to have people come on to you when they normally wouldn’t. Warrick Kaine, the five-ten average-looking fanboy who was good at chemistry and quoted Imago was not someone a woman would shamelessly flirt with in public. But Alloy was, apparently.

He wasn’t going to fault the woman for it. He’d had celebrity crushes too. Still did, to be honest. All he hoped was that it would die down over the course of the trip, or else it was going to be an awkward couple of months.

Shrugging inwardly, he put in his earbuds and dialed Tink. It might be a good idea, he thought, to make it public that Alloy and Renaissance were in a relationship.

***

Aldis James, founder and director of the Michigan chapter of Descendants Rights Worldwide was a tall, slim man with dark skin and large hands. He was dressed casually in cargoes and a sport coat as he led the costumed Descendants members through the organization’s Detroit headquarters.

I couldn’t be happier with your timing,” he said as they ascended a transparent acrylic staircase that spiraled out from the side of their tenth story rental space in the building it shared with a number of other charitable organizations, small businesses and a government office, connecting it to the eleventh story space above.

We make a big point of emphasizing the effort to define descendant culture here, and we actually have a number of pieces on display right now for judging.”

For the first annual Descendant Identity in Art Expo,” Juniper supplied, “I saw the announcement last month on the DRW website.”

Aldis gave her a smile and a nod. “Of course. And, as it happens, we’d be happy to have some celebrity judges involved.”

We’d love to!” Juniper replied as soon as the offer wa son the table.

Um…” Lisa interjected, “That’s probably not a good idea for mot of us, Mr. James. Zero knows art and she’d be qualified, but the rest of us? I’m not sure it would be fair to the entrants.”

As they reached the seconds floor, most of which was an open multi-purpose room currently displaying various sculptures and paintings, Aldis waved the denial off. “But you’re ll descendants, aren’t you? The purpose of these pieces is to see what speaks to our experiences as citizens of this country and the world. Whatever it is you think traditional art is, this isn’t it.” He paused next to a statue made of reddish stone with a humanoid shape and eight-pointed stars stamped out of the head, chest and belly and turned to them all. “Please, we’d love to have you and your opinions.”

Cyn gave a laugh. “Hey, how could we say no to that? Though you should probably know—Occult’s not a descendant. She’s a mage.”

Aldis looked embarrassed. “Oh. That’s right, I do remember that now. If I’m going to be honest, I don’t really know all that entails. The news has been all over the place about magic and faerie and all that—it’s hard to pick out the truth from the fantastical.”

Before Lisa could open her mouth, Warrick whirled, his armor coming apart around him and reforming into a wide tower shield that he interposed between the group and the stairs they’d just come up. “Watch out!”

Moments later, the glass surrounding the stairs shattered as the front end of an SUV plowed into it and slammed into the landing. Made to hold a few people and looking good, the acrylic wasn’t rated for tons of steel and ceramic and cracked under the weight, the entire staircase shattering and sending the vehicle plummeting back out the ruined windows.

Slivers of glass and acrylic tinkled off the shield as the assembled group and various volunteers on the second floor stood agog at the sudden violence.

Holy shit!” exclaimed Cyn.

Seriously? On our first stop?!” moaned Lily. “I actually didn’t expect this.”

Warrick formed his armor back up around him. “Then let’s let this one be a warning to anyone else planning to start something on our world tour.” Isp and Osp extended from under his pauldrons and snapped out to grasp the window frame. In a single, swift motion, they swung him out of the building.

Cyn nodded her agreement, then looked to Kareem. “Ephemeral, keep everyone up here calm and away from the windows. Everyone else: let’s go!” With that,s she spread her wings and took flight.

Juniper followed, calling up blue psychokinetic force to lift herself. Lisa conjured a platform, which Melissa and Callie leapt aboard.

As Lisa started to lower the platform, someone else landed on it. The three women looked to find Aldis standing with them. Without prompting, he produced a badge from his blazer pocket. “Volunteer Emergency Response Service, I can help.”

Welcome abroad then,” said Lisa. “Do you have a codename?”

Almost every descendants in Detroit does.” He held up a cupped hand and a localized cycloned formed over it, gathering debris in the air until a cone of dense particulate was created. “Call me Sirocco.”

***

Ten storied below, the street was clogged with abandoned cars, their drivers now fleeing between them. A double-wide trailer lay on its side, a gaping hole torn open from within. Beside it stood a titan of metal: almost a dozen cars, trucks and pieces of construction equipment combined to form a humanoid robot twenty feet tall.

One arm was an excavator bucket configured into a claw while the other was fitted with rotating weapons including a hydraulic breaker, plasma lance, and power saw.

A set of speakers had been mounted above the cockpit situated in the machine’s chest, and as the heroes arrived, they were blaring.

Come on out, you cowards! You’ve given me no choice! I’ll make my own justice! My own, prelate! You bastards aren’t facing Bob Wynn this anymore. Now you’re dealing with sixty tons of Old Detroit steel. Now you’re dealing with: The Junker!”

To Be Continued…

Series Navigation

About Vaal

Landon Porter is the author of The Descendants and Rune Breaker. Follow him on Twitter @ParadoxOmni or sign up for his newsletter. You can also purchase his books from all major platforms from the bookstore
Bookmark the permalink.

2 Comments

  1. This truly is the distant future if people are excited about visiting Detroit. Or maybe that’s just Juniper.

    Hope your health is doing better, thanks for putting this chapter out despite what was going on, I appreciate your hard work.

  2. Hope you’re better and that the medical bills weren’t as bad as you feared. America really needs a kick up the arse there.

    Anyway, typos.

    before the women came
    before the woman came

    with an eagerness.
    (It might be ‘a disturbing eagerness.’, ‘an eager expression.’ or something like that? I’m pretty sure there’s a word missing.)

    bonafide
    bona fide

    grinning giddly,
    grinning giddily,

    “But you’re ll
    “But you’re all

    “Almost every descendants
    “Almost every descendant

    a localized cycloned
    a localized cyclone

    a cone of dense particulate
    (there might be a word after ‘particulate’, or it might be particulate isn’t the right word)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Descendants Serial is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.