- Issue #85 – The Ballad of Bad Lass
- Issue #86 – Those Not Forgotten
- Issue #87 – Descendants… In Space
- Issue #88 – Tome of Battle
- Issue #89 – All That Glitters
- Issue #90 – Just Us Sidekicks
- Issue #91 – Rock and Roll Lifestyle
- Descendants Special #8 – The Heart of Rock ‘N Roll
- Issue #92 – Homage
- Issue #93 – Day of Recovery
- Issue #94 – The Knight, The Witch and the Gadgeteer (FaerieQuest Part 1)
- Issue #95 – Into The Woods (FaerieQuest Part 2)
Day of Recovery (Part 2)
“Are you sure we should still be going to this instead of… preparing… or something.” Tink stared out the window of the commuter pod she shared with Warrick as they traversed the length of Los Angeles. “I mean, I know you’re really excited for Primordial Lexicons IV—I am too—but with all this new talk about Maeve…”
Beside her, Warrick reclined in his seat seemingly carefree. Because they were taking a long trip across the city, he’s summoned Isp and Osp, allowing them to play on his tablet since they’ve been uncommonly patient about staying hidden during their LA trip.
He gave her a wan smile that she could see reflected in the window. “I know he was a crazy reality-warper who thinks he’s a god, but Hermes seems to the be least crazy out of all the reality-warpers we’ve come up against. And…” he drew the word out, “I think he had a point everyone else missed.”
Tink turned away from the window to raise an eyebrow at him. He avoided eye contact, looking slightly embarrassed. “This is gonna make me sound lazy or dumb or something, but ever since we met Armigal, and especially since Avalon, Miss Keyes has been worrying herself crazy, Miss Brant’s been living off coffee and no sleep as far as I can tell, Lisa and Kay read and reread the Books all the time looking for new stuff on this Big Bad that’s apparently on her way… and I don’t think it’s helping.”
Licking his dry lips, he pressed on. “They’ve come up with basically nothing but what we’ve been told, and most of what we’ve been told is how unfathomably screwed we are. That ain’t helping.”
his eyes flicked up to meet hers and he smiled again. “We’ve always been our best when we’re doing this for the right reasons: to help people, to protect each other—because we like doing those things. Not because we’re scared, not because our backs are against the wall and it’s the darkest hour. When we focus on that kind of thing, we over think, we get bogged down, and even when we win, it takes us a long time to get back in the groove.
“Avalon should have taught us that. It turned into this thing with Miss Keyes and it sent her into therapy. That’s what I think Hermes was trying to get across: we can’t let the fact that we’re heroes, that yes, we put ourselves into danger all the time and at some point, we might not be ask lucky as we have been, stop us from living our lives and being happy—and being happy doing what we do.”
Tink frowned a little. She wasn’t sure she could stop herself from dwelling on it. Descendants: LA had made Maeve’s arrival sound like an extinction level event for anything that crossed the Queen of Air and Darkness.
Sensing this, Warrick slid closer to her on the pod’s bench seat. “But… I am not entirely without plans.” He reached into his shirt pocket and came up with what appeared to be a party blower.
“…” Tink said, giving him a look. This was behavior more suited to Cyn or his sister’s friend over at the Liedecker school. “What’s that?”
Warrick pressed the instrument into her palm. It was far heavier than it looked. “This, my love is a party blower filled with extremely fine iron filing. Faerie mace. Well, fey mace now that we know the iron allergy thing is mostly the fey, who are… what was it D:LA said? The descendants of Maeve’s fallen enemies? Also her soldiers. So this is secret weapon number one. If we get caught off guard, we give the first ones to start something a face full of very bad day as our way of saying ‘welcome to Earth’.”
At this, Tink reevaluated the party blower. It was actually pretty ingenious. The thing didn’t look like a weapon of any kind, so even a fey warrior would probably overlook it was a weapon. Plus, the design of the blower would ensure maximum dispersal of the filings. “Neat,” She complemented, slipping the blower into the pocket of her skirt. “But you said… plans?”
“Oh, if you thought the party blower was dumb…” he said, but she nudged him with her shoulder, signaling for him to get on with it. “Well, um… it occurred to me that we do know there was a guy that mostly beat Maeve before: Hyrillius. And we’ve heard that name before, Morganna and her crew have like… some of his stuff or something? I don’t know, but if she of any of her people knows about or has something like a scroll of Hyrillius’s Sidhe Queen Sealing Cantrip, that’s be pretty damn helpful.”
Tink searched her memory and shook her head. “I never fought Morganna. Not directly. But isn’t she…”
“Until we heard about Maeve, she was our pinnacle on the threat matrix,” Warrick confirmed, “Which is why I’m kind of holding that idea close to the vest. I mean how am I supposed to get everyone together and go ‘hey guys, you know how you’re all worried about us getting our asses kicked by some magical super-being? Well I think we should go try and beat on that other magical super-being we know until we get what might be a weapon to use against the other one… or some ancient wizard’s long johns of protection +2. That sounds like a nifty idea, right?’”
At the word ‘nifty’, Isp and Osp stopped messing around with the puzzle game they were tackling to turn their leading edges toward Warrick for a moment before getting bored and returning to their game.
“I get why you would be nervous about that… but it might be worth a shot. Maybe we can convince Morganna to help; I mean if Maeve comes, Morganna dies too, right?”
“Considering Morganna’s a few dice short of a sanity roll, I doubt that would be a thing.”
“The other thing I was thinking was… we know there are alternate dimensions now. On top of alternate futures.”
“Like when Cyn when to the Yellow World?”
Warrick shook his head. “Nah, the Yellow World is where the evil yellow rocks come from. The place Cyn went to is another dimension the Yellow Rocks were… eating or something. She calls it Device World because everyone’s powers came from something called Devices instead of sinister government experiments done on your great-great grandparents like god intended.”
A playful smirk curled Tink’s lip as she conspicuously cleared her throat.
“Or, you know… Science.” He made sure to pronounce the capital ‘S’. Tink let the smirk grow to its full potential. “Anyway, I figured we could find a world where they already defeated Maeve—infinite worlds, there’s gotta be one, right?–and ask them how they did it.”
He rubbed the back of his head. “Like I said, none of them are the kind of ideas any of the smart people on the team would come up with. I was just thinking that Hermes might be onto something, or trying to tell us something and maybe trying to four-color hero solutions might do it…”
From the slump in his shoulders and his downcast glance, Tink could tell the conversation was over for now. In truth, she thought his ideas were very good, but from experience, she knew that pushing it now would result in him arguing himself out of sharing his ideas with the others altogether. So instead,s he did him a favor and changed the subject.
Putting one arm around him and the other on his chest, she leaned on to put her lips close to his ear. “We can discuss that later. I was wondering something about this morning though…”
Caught in his own self-made funk at how juvenile his ideas sounded now that he said them out loud, he didn’t even notice what she was doing. “Hmm?”
“What did it feel like being a sentai hero? I kind of dug the spandex.”
He snorted a laugh. “The spandex I could do without. The sweet aikido moves though, I could’ve gotten used to that.”
“You didn’t keep them?”
“Not a flip, not a punch,” he shrugged. “Jun got one of those morphy-things,” he mimicked the motion needed to activate one, “but it doesn’t work. Miss Brant wants to store it in the vault of scary mystery items with the dead Yellow World stone Cyn brought back.”
“Probably for the best,” admitted Tink, keeping close to him despite the jostling from his attempt to show off the transformation sequence.
“I woulda liked to have that hammer too. That thing kicked so much ass…”
Tink snuggled up closer to him and said, “When we get home, before I head back to England, maybe we can sit down at a draft table and design a tech hammer for you. That might be a neat project for the summer.”
“You know, that would be,” Warrick said, returning to his earlier high spirits. “You know what else? The MPD just got new cruisers. Remember how we tricked out one of their old flyers a couple years ago? Maybe it’s time for the Tinkmobile.”
“Sounds like we have our summer all planned out,” Tink agreed happily. “But first, we’re off the launch party of The Primordial Lexicon IV: Earthspire. Have I mentioned how awesome it is that your dad managed to get us into this? Because I really didn’t want that to get lost in this whole… er… thing.” It was a clumsy way of avoiding discussing Maeve again, but Warrick accepted it.
“Giving him an invitation was the least they could do: he did like thirty voices for them.”
“I still can’t stop laughing at the fact that he’s one of the voice choices for female dwarves.”
General Lewis Armstrong Pratt settled himself into his seat at the head of the table in one of the Rogue Operations Counterintelligence Command’s many conference rooms. Around the table were familiar faces, some he wished he didn’t have to see again if only for the circumstances.
Directly across from him was Jonathan Edward Tyler, also known as Prometheus. As a former Enforcer under the Psionic Training and Application Academy who ultimately proved instrumental in bringing that organization down, the man’s excellent record and attitude had earned him a leadership position over all the ROCIC’s Superhuman Intervention Units; the armed response squads sent to deal with threats a prelate or police powered armor division would normally take care of in places with neither.
To Pratt’s left were Dr. Patricia Masters, the country’s foremost expert in superhuman psychology, and a new addition to their inner circle, Dr. Keith Mbotto, her counterpart specializing in non-human psychology. Dark-skinned, in his late fifties and clearly and jovially overweight, Dr. Mbotto had been working with sapient crossover from Faerie for the past two years, developing communications methods and rapports with those species that weren’t chronically hostile.
Across from Masters sat Colonel Bernard ‘Saint’ Jameson, Pratt’s former protegee who was in charge of the ROCIC’s Camp Hero Facility. And to his side was the last person Pratt wanted sticking his nose in his house: Senator Helen Seres, the newly-appointed chairperson of the Senate Committee on Superhuman Affairs.
Pratt knew the others, understood how they operated and how he could work with them. Seres was brand new thanks to her predecessor being voted out in the last election. And while whatever she intended had to be better than the distant and vague hostility Senator Riddell had to offer, Pratt had known at least that he could safely ignore him.
Seres had insisted on being in on the meeting, being hands-on about the situation. ‘Hands-on’ was a word that struck fear into any government employee’s hart when it came to elected officials. They were, after all, put into their positions based on how well they played the game of votes, not for their vast or even adequate knowledge of… anything ever.
Not looking at anyone in particular, Pratt began the meeting with, “I trust everyone has read the briefing provided to us by my staff and the excerpts of what Codex had to say, yes?”
They all nodded and Dr. Mbotto steepled his fingers over his folder of information. “I believe the first question we are forced to ask is ‘who or what this ‘Hermes’ is?’ We have already had some warning about Maeve, but a reality-warper on this level could pose an equal threat on its own.”
“I doubt we’re going to answer that any time soon,” Prometheus said, “Reality-warpers are as crazy as they are rare and all but impossible to track down.”
Dr. Mbotto frowned. “If we are assuming he is a reality-warper and not what he says he is.” He paused and gave them all enough to to look at him aghast. “Do not get me wrong, that is the conclusion Occam’s Razor leads us to, but need I remind you that were are convened here today because we are taking as serious the threat posed by a figure out of Celtic mythology. If Maeve, why not Hermes?”
He pulled out his tablet and tapped on it. “He is hardly the only superhuman to recently claim they are a deity or mythological figure. You have all received the memo on China’s attempts to suppress news of someone calling himself Sun Wukong attacking their descendant training camps? Or the woman in Sweden claiming she is Loki who sank twelve police cars down to their tires into the street while evading arrest?”
“No offense, Doctor, but I call myself Prometheus; doesn’t make me a titan.”
“I’m merely offering the possibility.”
Pratt nodded. “Noted, Doctor. We already have people looking into that. What I called you all in today for is to discuss our plan of action where the prelates are concerned. Codex was forthcoming on everything but the source of her new information, but she wants to put the other teams and individuals she’d brought under her Life Savers, Inc umbrella on alert about this. We’re lucky she decided to leave it up to us for now, so I suggest we consider this seriously.”
He looked to Prometheus. “If an invasion from off-world happens, can we get by with just the Superhuman Intervention Units?”
The other man shrugged. “That’s hard to say, General. Depends on when and where, but if we’re talking an organized force… I would say ‘no’. So far all the crossover USEs have been small groups or individuals, usually scared, usually not looking for a fight, or at worst a wild and hungry animal. The truth is, we know nothing about Faerie military tactics.”
“We can begin adding that to our interviews,” offered Dr. Mbotto, “Many of our guests and candidates for integration are very forthcoming when asked, though they never volunteer anything.”
“That’d be a good idea.” Prometheus nodded in his direction.
Pratt turned his eyes on Colonel Jameson. “What about the Camp Hero Project teams?”
Jameson shook his head. “We’re still having trust issues, both among the teams and between myself and some of the candidates. I understand completely how there aren’t enough descendants in the service to form the teams how the brass wants them, General, but civilians are one thing, ex-cons are another.
At this Senator Seres looked to General Pratt, shock written all over her face. “Criminals? You’re putting criminals into top secret programs? How are we supposed to trust them? Why was my office not informed?”
“Because the Camp Hero Projects were approved by your predecessor, Madame Senator,” replied General Pratt, “and I imagine he wasn’t the most conscientious about leaving memos for whoever came after.” Before she could argue, he continued, “As for the ‘criminals’, there is only one person on any of the project teams that can be described in that way and she was never convicted.”
The Senator narrowed her eyes. “Why was she never convicted?”
“Because we arranged amnesty for her in exchange for her service.”
“And why would you do that?”
Pratt resisted the urge to sigh. “If you would review the Camp Hero Project dossiers, you’ll find that her potential and the data we can learn from her genetics might prove invaluable.”
At this point, Dr. Mbotto piped up. “Senator, the woman in question shares DNA with the… dragon… the nation bore witness to a few months ago.”
That revelation made Senator Seres’s eyes widen. “My God. We have something like that thing… under government contract?”
“And under your committee’s oversight.” Patricia Masters added. “Actually, there are a number of very powerful beings across the United States who are, at the moment your responsibility, Senator—with many more to come.”
“I’m… sorry, I don’t follow. Why would the numbers spike?”
Dr. Masters folded her hands. “I’m no military genius, but from what we know, the Faerie inhabitants aren’t exactly enthusiastic about Maeve’s return. Assuming they’re capable of crossing over on purpose, our and every other country on Earth may soon be facing a refugee crisis the likes of which none of us have ever seen.”