Issue #7: Legacy of One

This entry is part 8 of 15 in the series The Descendants Vol 1: Welcome to Freeland House

Part 5

“Are you sure you’re feeling alright?” Laurel fussed as she and Alexis entered the her workshop.

“Yes, mom.” Alexis rolled her eyes playfully. “Melissa healed me back to pristine condition. Though the side effect is that I’ve been ravenous all morning.”

“Oh, I can tell.” Laurel smirked, heading over to her favorite chair. “Between you and Cyn, a small army has been deprived of food this day.”

Alexis chuckled a bit, and then sat down nearby. “So, any news from the bridge?”

“Not a bit.” The dark skinned woman said, “And that’s what worries me. Sky Tyrant going missing is to be expected—modern cloaking technology and all. However, there’s been no sign of Morganna in the wreckage.”

“So she’s still out there?”

“Hard to say.” Laurel frowned. Kareem told me there was another massive astral storm at the time of the explosion; bigger than any of the previous ones. That would suggest that Morganna tried to shift into the Astral Plane physically. Since the storm was bigger…”

“You think she was too late.” Alexis interrupted. “That the explosion followed her in.”

“It’s quite possible.” Laurel said. “Though I won’t be able to tell for sure until we investigate the Astral Plane at the point of the breech.”

“Doesn’t that involve astral projection and staying close to your unconscious body? Even if we were capable of it, I doubt that the local authorities will be thrilled to have a boat full of prostrate bodies floating on their river.”

“True.” Laurel said, “But we already know someone who is astrally projected.”

“Kareem?” Alexis blinked, “But he’s still subject to the problem with staying close to your body.”

“But not, apparently, the problem of spending extended periods out of it.” Laurel said with a gleam in her eye. “He’s willing to test some theories…”

Alexis knew better than to get caught discussing concepts she didn’t understand. “Speaking of Kareem, he told me that Warrick found the book Morganna was planning to use on us?”

“Headache of the century, I’m afraid.” Laurel shook her head. “It’s written in archaic French… on the Astral Plane. I’m working with Kareem to scan it all to file format, but from what I’m seeing… it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It’s based on some kind of medieval Zen training with mind/body elements that make the most advanced martial arts look like finger painting.”

“Considering that this is coming from the woman that’s learned six different martial arts over the course of a summer, I’m feeling pretty confident in our resident genius figuring out what that was supposed to do and making sure it doesn’t… do… that.” Alexis stumbled over her words, making both of them laugh.

***

Cyn made it a point to bang her lunch tray forcefully onto the cafeteria table.

“Another bad day?” Warrick asked, closing his sketch book and stowing his pencil behind his ear.

“Miserable.” Cyn groused, sitting down. “Not only has nothing gotten better in my classes, but everyone’s talking about the new prelate that fought the two psychos on the West Truman Bridge last night.” Even in her bitterness, Cyn managed to put her thoughts into terms that wouldn’t implicate her as knowing who those involved were. “They’re calling her Void-storm. And it seems the smoke kept the channel 5 news chopper from getting footage of Facsimile saving her life.”

“Void-storm?” Warrick smirked, “Wow, that’s just horrible.” Cyn didn’t look amused. “In any event, I’m sure Facsimile would just be happy that… er… Void-storm is okay. Plus, she realizes that being a prelate isn’t about being famous.”

“It’s a pretty good perk.” Cyn frowned, more at the disappointment she perceived in his voice than anything else. “Plus, it’s only fair she gets credit where credit is due.”

Kay interrupted them, sitting down with her brown bagged lunch. “Afternoon, my fellow paper miners.” She grinned.

“Hey, Kay.” Cyn said, switching subjects. “Sorry again about us having to leave last night.”

Kay shook her head. “Don’t worry about it. You guys must be really close to Ms. Brant to go home to look after your apartment manager.”

“Laurel’s a really nice person.” Cyn said truthfully. “It’s the least we could do after what she does for us.” She looked over Kay’s shoulder, spotting something that made her glare.

“Trouble?” Warrick asked, following her gaze.

“Lilly Goldenmeyer and her flock.” Cyn said flatly, indicating a tall brunette, flanked by four others. All were wearing the exact same powder blue outfit. “Honestly, how is ‘conserv’ even a fashion if they all wear the exact same thing as one another every day?”

“I think that’s the point.” Kay said, glancing back at them as they glided across the cafeteria floor in their general direction. “They’re not even hardcore about it. In the magazines, they even wear the same hair style.”

“Everyday, in every conceivable way, I wake up thanking God I don’t know this stuff.” Warrick groaned.

The self styled hyper-conformists altered their path to intercept that of Elizabeth von Stoker and the young man walking with her. As they passed, Lilly pretended to stumble, elbowing Elizabeth’s tray out of her hands and onto the floor. Upon seeing this, the entire little gang stopped and laughed.

“Next time, watch where you’re going, freak!” Lilly smirked, as Elizabeth knelt to pick up her fallen items. When this didn’t draw a response, she kicked the tray, sending what didn’t spill to the floor to join the rest.

“Hey!” Leave my sister alone!” the young man with Elizabeth snarled, moving to block another move against his sibling.

“Now do you see why I hate them?” Cyn growled, watching the scene.

“Yeah.” Warrick said, standing up.

“Er, Kaine…” Kay asked, “You can’t exactly go over there and kick their asses.” She looked thoughtful for a moment. “No matter how awesome that would be.”

Warrick didn’t say anything. He just walked over to where Lilly and her gaggle of friends were verbally berating Elizabeth’s brother.

“This should be good.” Cyn said.

“If you hate them so much, why aren’t you doing anything?” Kay asked.

“I’m more of a schemer than an overt kind of person.” Cyn replied quickly. “When I get back at them, it’ll be at the end of a needlessly complicated plot. Until then, Warrick can take care of the ‘defending the weak’ shtick. He’s really good at it.”

Meanwhile, Warrick stepped up between two of Lilly’s friends. “Well, I think they’ve learned their lesson.” He said. He noticed Elizabeth’s brother was wearing a shirt with the logo of the science fiction television show Planet Zero. “Dude!” He said, cutting off whatever Lilly had been saying, “Seriously that was an awesome show. Did you see the TV movie they did for it?”

Elizabeth’s brother blinked, confusion playing on his darkly tanned face.

“Sorry.” Warrick said, maneuvering himself in front of Lilly, who was trying to speak again, and extending his hand. “The name is Kaine. Warrick Kaine to be specific.”

“Uh… Rich von Stoker.” Elizabeth’s brother hesitantly shook the offered hand.

“Excuse me!” Lilly shouted, trying to step around Warrick.

“So anyway, did you ever see the 2060 version of Blue Dawn? Planet Zero’s pilot totally ripped it off.”

“I… no, actually, I never saw that.” Rich said, starting to catch on. His sister finished picking up the things that were salvageable from her tray and blinked at Warrick through a cascade of black bangs.

“Now look here!” Lilly shrilled, grabbing Warrick’s shoulder. She jumped back at least a foot when he suddenly rounded on her.

“Excuse me?” Warrick said, laying his Brooklyn accent on thicker than it ever was normally. “I’m trying to have a conversation with my new pal Rich here and you keep rudely interrupting.” He gave her a withering look. “Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you; putting your hands on people like that. It’s not civil at all, you know.” He took a step toward her as the blue clad instigator stepped back. “You don’t even know me… hell; you don’t even know Rich and Liz either. So why don’t you just mind your business?”

Lilly’s eyes seemed to expand two sizes. Not many people managed to catch her off guard and she wasn’t prepared to vary her usual tactics for browbeating people into submission. “Uh…”

“Thought so.” Warrick shrugged, turning back to Rich. “So, like I was saying; Planet Zero was fun and all, but they ripped off everyone.”

Looking back at her equally taken aback followers, Lilly sniffed. “Come on.” She growled and strode away in a huff.

“Thanks for that, I guess.” Rich said, “Though I probably could have handled it.”

“You shouldn’t have to.” Warrick shrugged. “They mess with my friend over there too and she shouldn’t have to put up with that kind of crap either. I’m just sorry someone had to do that.”

“That was nice of you.” Elizabeth said with a slight smile. “Thanks.”

“Anytime.” Warrick said, heading back toward his table.

“See?” Cyn said to Kay. “Now he’s a hero to all the poor picked on geeks of the school. We get all the perks of being his friend and get none of the responsibility.”

“That’s clever and underhanded.” Kay said, “you were right about being a schemer.” She made a false bow. “Teach me your ways, Master.”

Cyn grinned and took a bite out of her apple. “Stick with us, Kay, and this year is going to be way better than it started.”

***

The men taking visual records of the factory office that had been Morganna’s lair worked extra cautiously. The strange symbols and ritualistic elements weren’t what bothered them. They were used to documenting murder scenes and cleaning them up. However, the presence of Vincent Liedecker in the flesh had them completely on edge.

He and Brill stood in the center of the room, watching the hired help set up three dimensional imaging equipment and taking measurements. Liedecker looked almost casual in shirtsleeves and a fedora atop his head.

“Get my real estate people on the phone, Brill.” He said, leaning over to inspect a still bubbling flask. “I expect to own this place in the next twenty four hours.”

“Y-yes sir.” Brill said, eyeing the room warily as he extricated his cell phone.

Meanwhile, Liedecker opened his notebook computer and opened his video link with Rick Charlotte. “You getting all this, Charlotte?”

“Every bit, sir, but it doesn’t really make much sense right now. Background radiation and EM fields are fluctuating wildly within a small variance… like a plucked guitar string…”

“English, Charlotte.” Liedecker demanded. “What was Farnsworth doing in here?”

“No idea, sir.” Rick said nervously. “What I was just talking about? It’s the kind of reading you’d get near a fully operational weapons installation during a firing sequence.”

“I will note,” Liedecker sneered, “That there are no lasers flying around the place.”

“No lasers, sir, but something is causing energy to fluctuate in there – rapidly, from one state to another – maybe from one object or another. The instruments don’t lie, sir.”

“So all this funny writing, all the occult symbols, the candles, the little fuzzy animals—they’re generating some kind of energy? Usable energy?”

“Usable if you figure out how to use it.” Rick affirmed. “I know it makes no sense, but—“

“Charlotte, Kevin Singer is now a cybernetic werewolf. I think we took leave of anything resembling ‘sense’ the second she cut up my men at that museum, don’t you?” Liedecker picked up a crystal that was glowing softly.

“Er… Calvin Singer, sir. And I don’t think—“

“Are you correcting me, Charlotte? That is a very dangerous damn thing to do, you understand?” Liedecker growled.

“Yes sir, sorry sir. Singer is Gear Callahan’s problem anyway. I understand you promised him a cure for his condition in exchange for his service?” Rick changed the subject quickly.

“I promised to ‘try’ and find one, Charlotte. Try being the operative word there. He’s a powerful living weapon now – and the Sky Tyrant armor was already a substantial investment—of course, I made a promise to keep him in line.” Liedecker chuckled, turning the crystal over in his hand. He tossed it back down on the table and was shocked to see it flare red, burning a gouge in the desk top.

Blinking in disbelief at what he’d just seen, he only needed a few moments to see the potential there; a weapon that was heretofore undetectable by conventional weapon scanners. That alone was worth looking into whatever bizarre thing Farnsworth was engaged in.

***

Not far from the astral version of the West Truman Bridge, the Astral boiled. In that place, it had never quite settled after the explosion that had rocked it. The occasional flicker of a Material Plane fish darted within the writhing caldron of astral energy. The moment the fish caught even the briefest of glimpses at the roiling sea of rosy light, it flitted away to a safer part of the river.

Nothing smarter than a fish even neared it, shying away by hidden instinct that let higher orders of life; snakes, turtles, birds and even humans, know that in that direction lay danger.

Except for the occasional fish or insect, none drew close enough to realize that occupying that place allowed a view seldom seen by those not capable of astral projection. If they did, they would have noticed an almost insignificant dot of light, no larger than an eyelash—where the omnipresent rose color gave way to verdant green.

End Issue #7

Series Navigation<< Issue #6: Myths and HeroesIssue #8: Objectivity >>

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.

Comments are closed

  • 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.