Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 05

This entry is part 30 of 39 in the series Current

Right in there, miss.” the voice of the orderly barely reached the hospital room before a sight to behold burst in.

Tink hadn’t bothered transforming out of her Renaissance costume, only pulling back her cowl and goggles. Dried blood caked one legs and both hands where she hadn’t even noticed that the shattered pieces of her gauntlets had punctured her arms. Part of a spiked chain had caught and torn part of her costume from below her shoulder blade to her ribs; material meant to repel higher velocity penetration and slashing weapons had relented to lower speed piercing.

From where she was sitting next to Jamie’s hospital bed, Meghan’s jumped at the sudden arrival. Jamie, who was in the middle of tapping on her palmtop, looked over and her eyes widened. “Wow… you look like you’ve had a bad day—and I just got eighteen stitches and two pints of FastPlas.”

Ignoring her remark, Tink grinned at her and Meghan. “You’re okay! When I asked at the front desk and they said you’d been admitted…”

Oh yeah.” Jamie’s laugh was a little weak, betraying that she wasn’t back to full strength. “And it was worth—we caught the nearest elevator just as it was closing on some suit who tried real hard not to lose his shit being trapped in a box with a girl exploding blood for sixty stories.”

They want to keep her overnight to make sure she doesn’t have a reaction to the FastPlas,” Meghan supplied, then glared at the blonde, “Someone didn’t do a genetic register yet.”

Jamie shrugged. “I haven’t been in the hospital since I was a kid. Didn’t expect someone to stab me out of the sky.” She cringed a bit, “Also I’m afraid of needles.” Recovering, she added, “So did you get the bad guy?”

Moving to lean on the wall, Tink folded her arms, shaking her head. “She got away. There was a whole lot of mess, we’re going to have a team meeting soon, but I had to check on you two. Meghan, how are you doing?”

The other woman shrugged. “Still… calming down right now, actually, but I’m good.” Another fond glare went in Jamie’s direction. “The suit wasn’t the only one losing their shit in that elevator. That was a lot of blood.” She reached over to where her purse sat on Jamie’s bedside tray and extracted Tink’s palmtop. “This is yours, by the way.”

Thanks for keeping it safe,” Tink said, accepting the device. As she pocketed it in her kilt, an awkward silence fell over the room. Finally, she spoke up again, “I’m… I’m really sorry for all this. She was after me. None of this would’ve happened if we weren’t together.”

Tink…” Meghan started.

Jamie interrupted with a snort. “Are you doing a bit?”

What?”

A bit. Like the thing in the movies where the hero blames themselves for existing when it’s the bad guy’s fault.” Tink tried to reply, but Jamie plowed on. “Because your plan was to come watch robots beat the crap out of each other tonight instead of having someone launch themselves through your windshield and stab me.”

Tink blinked, remembering an important fact they needed to know. “It wasn’t a person that stabbed you by the way. They were sand golems the real attacker was controlling. So no one died.”

Wait.” Jamie held up a hand. “Sand golems? You need to tell us the story. If we’re going to miss Organized Bot Death, I think we deserve some entertainment”

Unable to resist her friends’ exuberance, Tink grinned and nodded. “Sure. I definitely owe you that.”

***

Elsewhere.

A howling void opened in the corner of an expansive garage bay. The figure who earlier confronted Myriad stormed in. “My sister is a complete moron and we should cut her loose from this whole thing. What were you thinking turning her loose like that?”

Kneeling beside a sizable hulk of a machine, a stocky man in a respirator mask and coveralls turned off the paint gun they’d been using. “I was thinking that it was either let her do what she wants when it’s not important or have her go rouge as a ‘surprise’ when it matters. She was going to go and do something stupid one way or the other.”

The veiled woman stopped at a workbench strewn with articulated parts and actuators, leaning on it with both hands resting atop it. “I shouldn’t have let her in. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t believe in anything.”

The man in the mask chuckled. “Ironic. That’s kind of the point… admittedly she’s not ‘not believing in anything’ right, but still…” He grunted. “Either way, the Sand Legion—“

She’s calling herself Myriad now,”

Myriad. That’s at least better than Sand Legion. Anyway, she’s good for labor at least. We’d never have gotten this place up and running the way we need it without her. Whatever trouble she got herself into…”

He stopped as his companion’s eyeless stare fell on him. Whether it was some spell she knew or if she’d missed her true calling as a librarian, he not for the first time felt as if his soul had been crushed out of his body, left to writhe like a shadow floating on the floor.

At least one of them had a codename that fit.

The Descendants know about us now,” the woman, Nevermore, said.

What?!”

Not who we are,” she said before he could react further, “But that there’s a group with her in it plotting against them. And that’s just what she admits to telling them. She says she didn’t give away the whole plot, but they have a hypercog on the team—who knows what they’ll be able to figure out from what she gave them?”

With an annoyed exhale, the man adjusted his mask. There were too many paint fumes still in the air to want to remove it. “Hypercog just means smart, not omnipotent. They can process information faster and with more efficiency, but that doens’t mean they can’t be wrong, especially without all the information. And since Myriad doesn’t actually know the whole plan or even how you’re doing recon, she couldn’t have given enough to them to give us lasting trouble.”

He approached and out a hand on her face where it met the mask. “You don’t have to be afraid of Laurel Brant. She’s still jut a person like all of us.”

She leaned into the touch slightly. “I know, but… I hate seeing all this work going to waste. We’re so close to his…” she paused, withdrawing and shaking her head, “To doing what he couldn’t do.”

Hey. We’re going to do just that. Maybe back off the idea of attacking directly for a few weeks. Focus on the other avenues and gaining intel. Just like you planned.”

She nodded. “Just like I planned.” Squaring her shoulders, she gave a second nod. “And taking responsibility. Myriad’s here because I gave her the Book. I let her in. ow I’ve just got to deal with it.” She looked over to the machine he’d been painting. “How long until it’s ready?”

Want the engineer’s answer? Never. It’s going to be a work in progress ‘til I die or start work on another project.”

And for use mere mortals?”

Let’s just say the extra few weeks won’t be amiss. The control scheme is… more complicated than I told myself when we started. Took me way too long to actually turn to biology for some of it. That and stealing some designed from Live Metal. All the Sydney models were a huge help.”

***

You didn’t have to come back.”

It was later that evening, following a short meeting of all available members of Lifesavers, Inc in which they discussed the attack on Renaissance and the implications of what Myriad said during it. Warrick had arrived via mirror gate and afterward, retired to Tink’s workshop under the HQ.

At the moment, Tink was standing at her AutoCAD bench, watching as the system loaded scans of her car into the three-dimensional workspace in front of her. Warrick was behind her, arms around her waist, forehead resting between her shoulder blades.

Of course I did,” he said, unusually quiet. “And Lisa’s more’n happy to teleport me back later.”

Tink reached down and laid her hand over one of his where it rested on her side. “Hey, I’m okay. I told you that before you got here.” Her expression softened, “I can’t say I’m not glad you’re here though.” She turned in his arms and leaned down to kiss him.

As the kiss broke, he gave her a little grin that faded quickly. “I’ll stay as long as you need me. After seeing the footage from your suit cam… that was rough.”

Very. It was all I could do to keep trying to solve the whole thing like a logic puzzle to keep from freezing up. You guys make it look easy.”

He glanced to the side, rolling a thought around in his head and trying it on for size before giving voice to it. “The stuff she said about… about why…”

Tink shook her head and silenced him with a quick peck on the lips. “It wouldn’t be the first time we ran into villains with very stupid motivations. I remember you telling me about how Wartorn hated you because he thought you were heroes out of boredom. And let’s not start on Joykiller… Myriad wanting to test out her bad writing skills in real life isn’t any more unusual.”

Point. But I’ve gotta say It makes my skin crawl a little listening to her talk about killing you to get a reaction out of me.”

She offered a weak smile and ran her fingers across his cheek, letting her palm warm his face. He needed to feel her presence as much as she did his. What she didn’t do was comment on how such a scenario was exactly why superheroes had secret identities. It wouldn’t be helpful.

Hey,” she said quietly, “I’m not Cyn level—at least I don’t think so—but I’m pretty hard to kill. For everything you saw and heard from my suit cam? Not a scar on me.”

He took the cue to lighten the mood, moving to plant a kiss on the palm cradling his face before disentangling himself from her and nodding toward the AutoCAD bench where the scan of her car had completed. “Can’t say the same for your car.”

Turning, Tink waved a hand over the bench, rotating the image to show the full view. “It’s really just the fender and windshield. Normally it wouldn’t be a big deal to fix. But after I went to see Jamie, I got to thinking: it was never built to be anything more than my little junker. It might have been a cop car in another life, but by the time I got to it, the armor and all the extras had been stripped. I had no reason to put any of that stuff back.”

This time, Warrick’s grin was strong. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying? James Bond kinda stuff?”

I’m a public superhero. I need a super car that can handle things like psychopaths jumping fifty stories with a knife. I’m not going to stop having friends and family, so I need to protect them.”

Lucky you know a guy who can work up whatever materials you need for a project like this.”

She reached over and took his hand in hers. “Just lucky period.”

End Descendants 107. Next Descendants Special #10

Series Navigation<< Descendants 107 – The Baroque Revival – Chapter 03Descendants Special #10 – The Weight of Responsibility >>

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
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3 Comments

  1. Awww. How wholesome. Thanks for the chapter!

  2. Typos

    Dried blood caked one legs
    Dried blood caked one leg

    have her go rouge
    have her go rogue

    in. ow I’ve
    in. Now I’ve

    stealing some designed
    stealing some designs

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