- Issue #61 – Higher Education
- Issue #62 – Poor Relations
- Issue #63 – Storm Cage
- Issue #64 – Stormfall
- Issue #65: Fond Farewell
- Issue #66 – City by the Lake
- Issue #67 – Emet
- Descendants Special #6 – Things to Come
- Issue #68 – One Week
- Issue #69 – Crashers
- Descendants Giant-sized #2 – After-Party
- Issue #70: Gold and Glory
- Issue #71: Yellow
- CynQuest: Yellow Fallout
- Issue #72: Turmoil Returns
- Descendants Annual #6
Issue #72: Turmoil Returns
“Hello, conspicuous consumption.” said Ian, looking around at Issac’s suite wile his brother pushed the luggage cart in.
The main room was round with a high ceiling and a crystal chandelier. A C-shaped couch sat at a ninety-degree angle to the door, facing a huge television screen. In an alcove, its own wall curved like those of the main room, was a full bar. Behind the couch, separated from the rest of the room was a small but functional kitchen. And arch in a wall next to that was another round room, he couldn’t see from the door, but which looked like it was being lit primarily by natural light. There was one door in the whole place, presumably leading to the bedroom.
Thick, white carpeting cushioned his every step and he spied a welcome basket sitting on the coffee table with what looked like a bottle of wine and a wheel of cheese showing through the cellophane wrapping.
“You like it? This is corporate negligence money, baby. Obviously, I can’t discuss my cases, but I will say that if my last clients feel the need to stay at the hole, it’ll be even nicer.”
Ian raised an eyebrow and pretended to be surprised to see him. “Oh, I’m sorry. Did you say something? I couldn’t hear you over the rumbling stomachs of hundreds of hungry children.”
Pushing the cart so it glided the rest of the way into the room, Issac made a childish face at him. “Hey, I give enough to charity that it has tax benefits, so don’t give me that. Besides, this is my splurging because of a big fee. I’m still going from to my regular old house and all… maybe a nicer car.”
“Good to know you’re using your windfall wisely. You should’ve been an accountant instead.” Striding further into the room, Ian took the opportunity to check out what lay beyond the arch. It turned out to be a solarium with one huge, glass wall that provided an amazing view of the city all the way to Westinghall Plaza in one direction and the rive in the other.
“I don’t know… it couldn’t hurt you to come down to St. Drausinus with me a couple days this week, help the sisters with the kids… it might even be good for you.”
Issac closed the door behind him before summoning up a gust of wind to open the door to the bedroom and roll the luggage cart through it. “Can’t we volunteer at a soup kitchen or something instead? Kids don’t like me. I find myself talking down to them and they can sense that, you know. Like dogs sense fear.”
I hope you get over that before you have a niece or nephew running around.” Ian laughed. “But I’m sure the sisters can put your to work doing something else. It is November: prime raking season in the churchyard.”
“Sold.” said Issac. “I’ll rent a leaf blower and give it some ‘help’.”
“Same thing I do.” Ian admitted.
Issac headed toward the bedroom. “Hey, I’m going to change. Why don’t you see what freebies the Elan Towers gives its guests?”
“I was going to see if there was a mini-bar in the regular bar, but sure.” said Ian. “So… when you say ‘change’…”
In answer, Issac whistled the first few bars of the theme from Taskforce: Earth and blew the doors closed.
The basket turned out to contain a bottle of mid-range red wine, a wheel of brie, a selection of gourmet mustards and smoked meats, two boxes of wheat crackers (Ian half expected them to be called something other than ‘cracker’), and three scented candles; teaberry, citrus, and one simply labeled ‘rain’. There was also a faux leather bound room service menu that not only offered food, but numbers for the hotel stylist, masseuse, personal trainer, courier service, in-room chef and a shopping service.
He’d dated and now lived with an industrial heiress and he’d never stayed in so nice a place. Then again, Laurel was more modest than his brother.
After considering the wine for a bit, he decided against opening it. They’d been heading out in costume later, there might be some superhero action and even a light buzz effected his flying. A quick rummage found that there was an honor bar behind the bar, just as he hoped, stocked with candies, nuts, mixers and tiny bottles of liquor. He took out a bottle of cola and threw himself down on the couch with the remote to wait.
Almost half and hour (and part-way through an episode of a show he’d never head of called Paradise Seven) later, he heard the door to the bedroom open.
“Sorry it took so long, the sinks in the master bathroom aren’t deep enough to fit my water tank under, so I had to fill it with a cup.”
Ian looked up, expecting to see his old spare Chaos costume with a few embellishments and saw a whole new hero with just a few elements of his old costume remaining. Most blatantly, Issac had consciously licked opposite colors to dye the old ballistic cloth: blue on white instead of red on black.
The base body suite was white with royal blue seams. On top of that, he’d added a set of body armor molded into the shape of abs he didn’t have of the same color as the seams and in place of the Chaos suit’s black utility belt, Issac’s Turmoil suit had a maroon one with highly visible black compartments. His boots were the slip-on type without tied or buckles and they were white with blue soles. The gloves too were heavily modified. They were still ceramic, but they were again white and had blue tubes running from the back of his wrists to somewhere behind him, under a cape that remained the same style that allowed them to use their powers for flight, but now in blue with a white ‘eye’ pattern like that of some huge moth on the inside that appeared when it flared out.
One addition to the new cape was a high collar that rose up to the middle of the back of his head. Nd finally, he wore a cowl on his head in royal blue. The visor Chaos wore was replaced but a ceramic mask built into the cowl with white reflective lenses the covered his eyes.
“Holy hell, look at you.” Ian exclaimed, getting up from the couch.
Issac flexed his fingers in the gloves. “Is that a good or a bad ‘holy hell’?”
“Good.” Ian laughed at his brother’s self consciousness. “You look about ready to put you boot up the ass of the nearest bad guy.”
A bubbling sound came from the vicinity of Issac’s back. “And get my boot messed up? Oh hell no. I’ve got something special for anyone that requires some violence.” He flexed his fingers again in a specific motion this time and nozzles in his palm pumped water. Instead of running out of his hands however, it formed up into a pair of transparent escrima sticks.
He performed a few kata with the watery weapons, displaying their solidity. Then he shifted them into tonfa and showed them off with a few more moves. “See what I mean about the value of control? I dare you to come up with something more awesome than this.”
Ian sighed and put his thumbs behind his belt. “I have to admit defeat. Just this one time, you’ve got the best of me, man.” A sly grin appeared on his face. “Oh wait, let’s try this:”
With a swift motion, he pulled off his belt buckle and presented it forcefully, uttering three nonsense syllables Lisa Ortega had added to the D-icons for ease of use.
A phantom wind kicked up around him that had nothing to do with his powers. A nimbus of light surrounded the D-icon and a blur of red and black flashed out from its core, spiraling up his arms and then down his body and around his head.
It took only a second, and when it was done, Ian stood, fully donning the Chaos costume, the cape whipping around him thanks to his powers.
Now it was Issac laughing. “I think we can call that a tie! What the hell was that?”
Ian returned the D-icon, not actually in the shape of a stylized, Descendants ‘D’ on his belt. “We call them D-icons. Sort of a magical storage system, security measure and passkey all rolled into one. You know the magical girl, Occult?” Issac nodded. “She made them for us and a couple of out closest allies in the prelate community. I’ve got to admit, I’m starting to warm to some of this magic stuff. Some.”
“I would too if I got my own personal transformation sequence.” said Issac. “I guess ripping open your shirt and having the costume underneath it is a thing of the past.”
“Not that you could hide all that under a shirt.” said Ian, leaning over to see if he could get a glimpse of whatever it was that made the gurgling sound earlier. “What is that, a water tank on your back?”
A short application of his power sent the water weapons back into the nozzles in Issac’s palms. “It’s one of those back-worn canteens hikers and athletes wear. I found a guide on line to make palm-firing water guns that used one as a reservoir—and let’s face it, a water gun takes on a whole new meaning in my hands.”
“Nice.” said Ian with an approving nod. “Call it a tie?”
“Any chance your magical girl might make one of those for me?”
Ian opened one of the compartments on his own belt. From it, he took a blank oval of metal. “You mean something like this?” He tossed it to Issac, who used controlled winds to guide it to his hand.
“Like you wouldn’t beg, whine and demand until you got one.” Ian crossed his arms and smirked. “I figured I’d cut out the middle man. Besides, did you think we’d go down the elevator like this? Or flight out your window?”
Issac regarded the blank icon in his hand. “Maybe. So… how does it work?”
“The long explanation is that it stores a set of clothes in some kind of fold in space… or something—magic, whatever. When you hold it up and use the command phrase, it switches what you’re wearing with what’s in the folded space.
Turning the thing over in his hands, Issac gave Ian a dubious look. “What’s stored in here now? I know you: I say this ‘command’ phrase and suddenly I’m in a clown suit or a tutu.”
“Well you would have been if I’d thought of it before just now.” muttered Ian. “It’s just a t-shirt and a pair of sweats I had lying around. You can change out of them and into your own clothes once you store your costume.
Issac unconsciously touched the mechanized pumps at his wrists. “It won’t break anything, will it? I worked hard on this.”
“Nothing I’ve stowed’s broken yet.” said Ian. “And some of the team have computers and stuff as part of their costumes, so your stuff should be fine. Just hold it up and say ‘Ah. Vah. Dah.”
A snort issued from Issac’s nose. “As in ‘avada kadavera’.”
“Just shut up and do the thing.” Ian made a face at him.
Issac shrugged. “Well here goes nothing.” He flourished in the doing swinging the arm bearing the icon up and around before presenting it cupped in his hands, supported by his joined wrists. “Avada!”
Like his brother before him, he was surrounded by a localized whirlwind as brilliance flared from the icon. The blur that spiraled out around him was gray instead of black or red, and when it subsided, he was left dressed in a faded S.B. And the Fountain of Soul concert tour shirt and sweats.
He shrugged his shoulders a bit and ran a finger under the collar, which was tight around his thicker neck. “Alright. That was weird. I didn’t feel a thing until it was over. Not a shifting of weight, not the different fabric. It was just one way,t hen it was the other. That…”
“Makes no sense.” Ian finished for him. “Now you see why I’m not usually a fan of magic? And this is good magic that does something cool for us. Just wait until you meet a bad guy using it. Things get creepy, kooky—altogether ooky.”
“We’re not going to be running into any of those today, are we?” asked Issac.
Ian took a moment to use his own D-icon to switch back to street clothes. “Hopefully no. Morganna and Warpstar are still in the wind though—and we have no damn idea what happened with Mad Mad Madigan. But there’s really not much chance we’ll run into them today—what reasons would they have to visit a super-powered gym?”
They left the hotel in street clothes and caught another pod to the Rogers Circle station, the one closest to the Brüt Force Gym, and transformed in an alley Ian knew to not have any cameras watching it thanks to a program Laurel added to his palmtop.
As Chaos and Torment, the brothers flew out of the alley and looped around to the gym’s main entrance on the corner of Raimi Street and Great Plaza Boulevard.
It was not a place that was trying to be low key. The entrance stood between a pair of huge plexiglass arms sprouting from the street in tanned, muscly glory, each gripping a huge free weight with the ‘flexing man in silhouette’ logo of the gym.
Like many gyms, there were large windows allowing a look in on members going about their exercises. Unlike other gyms, the view was a bit more esoteric. A man with a slim, green-scaled body and running on a treadmill, his legs going so fast that they blurred; another man, this one impossibly bulky with muscle groups crowed on top of those a baseline human had, was doing reps on a machine that looked like an industrial press that was doing its damndest to crush him like a used car while he pushed the mechanism back up with his flat palms; and at the back of the visible room, a woman with two obviously mechanical arms was working with what looked like free weights connected to tensioning steel cables emerging form the floor.
“How many descendants even live in Mayfield?” Asked Turmoil as they crossed the street.
“Around two hundred.” said Ian, “But that’s just from the last census. There’s probably been more given us, Descendants Rights Worldwide, and how supportive the mayor has been of the whole movement. L told me the other day that Mayfield is the second friendliest city for descendants to live.”
“LA, surprisingly. You’d think San Francisco, but apparently they have a zero tolerance policy for prelate activity—even citizens arrests that involve using powers.” Chaos shrugged, “As long as they don’t have powered crazies taking advantage of it, I guess they’ll do fine.”
They stepped up onto the sidewalk and were interrupted from their discussion by a sudden squeal from further up the walk.
“Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod! Is it you? It is you!” A green and brunette ball of excitement came barreling down the street. It was a girl of about seventeen. She was dressed in an olive green shirt with the Brüt Force logo on the chest and camouflage cargo shorts. Her dark hair, tied in messy pigtails, whipped to either side of her head as she bolted toward them. Forgotten, the grocery bag she’d been carrying dangled wildly from her wrist, threatening to spill its contents.
She came to a screeching halt in front of the two of them, bouncing on the balls of her feet. “It really is you, right? You’re not just some cosplay guy, right?”
To answer her question, Chaos called up a gust of wind to blow his cape around. “I’m definitely me. One hundred percent, genuine article, miss. And this is my bro—”
The next words were cut off as the girl lunged forward and hugged him with the strength of a Kodiak bear, lifting him off the ground. “This is the best day ever! You’re like my favorite prelate and I’ve been hoping to meet any prelates at all since I started working at my uncle’s gym!” She suddenly realized what she was doing and set him down, blushing furiously. “I’m so sorry. I just got really excited and…”
“That’s fine.” Chaos said, trying to hide the fact that she’d nearly squeezed the air out of his lungs. “It’s always nice to meet a fan.” He gestured to Turmoil. “This is my brother, Turmoil. He’s from out of town. I wanted to show him the…” He nodded in the direction of the gym.
Nodding with such ferocity that her pigtails might have flown off, the girl ran to open the door for them. “Right. Of course. I’m sure Uncle Gilbert… I mean Hans will be happy to have you here. I’ll take you to him!”
As the two costumed heroes stepped inside, they were both too preoccupied to notice that the man working out on the press had stopped and was watching them with narrowed eyes and clenched teeth. He rose from the bench and without stopping even to wipe it down, headed out of the gym.
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