- 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 3)
“Refugees?” Ian gave Laurel a blank look the moment she finished reading the dispatch the ROCIC had replied to her information with. He, Laurel and Alexis were in one of the smaller meeting rooms in the LSI HQ left over from when the place was a clandestine government office.
“‘Please advise any individual you see fit to bring into your confidence on this matter that they should also be prepared to receive and address possible refugees arriving from Faerie.” Laurel read that section back from her tablet.
Alexis nodded. “It makes sense: no one and nothing we’ve talked to is excited that Maeve is coming. The two… elves?… from Descendants: LA said she uses enslaved and indoctrinated soldiers and the order of the day when she shows up is ‘kneel or perish’, so people are going to try and escape any way they can.”
“And now that they know we’re accessible, we’re an option,” Laurel agreed. “Of course the level of accessibility is an issue. Lady D says the ability to travel to other worlds is lost magic. The crossovers have all been freak occurrences.”
Setting his jaw, Ian shook his head. “All but one. Remember how Morganna and her demon buddies showed up here? They were able to pick a time and place.”
“We need to learn more about that.” Laurel tapped something into her tablet. “Maybe that woman who was possessed, Darlene Summers, might be able to remember something her possessor or the other creatures said. I’ll try and call her this evening. Beyond that, the new question is how we deal with these refugees. We’re going to be talking about a wide array of species, cultures and powers to be dealt with and that’s assuming they won’t be hostile.”
“Plus they’ll be coming into the world at random points. How are we ever going to organize that?” Alexis got up and started pacing. “Is the ROCIC at least going to be helping with that? What about housing and feeding them?”
Laurel made a sour face. “They didn’t tell me, but I checked: they’ve been housing crossovers since almost immediately after the green flash when Morganna jump-started Earth’s magic again. They have Cold War and Brazil War era shelters all over the country they’ve converted to hidden faerie villages of sorts with ROCIC supervision as well as containment facilities for the animals and monsters.”
She opened her app for the Book of Reason. “My first thought is that we should start sharing a simple translation spell among everyone participating in LSI and with the ROCIC.”
“Are we going to tell them about magic and the Books?” Ian asked, scowling.
“Magic yes, the Books no. The magic is something they already knew about. As for the Books, I’d really rather they not be given that kind of access.”
Ian nodded. “Yeah, all things considered, I’d rather not hand the military the source code for all magic.”
“Actually, I was talking about the Books. We’ve seen them try to manipulate people before. The Book of Passions set monsters after Augustus Roe. I don’t want to even imagine what one fo the Books would do if it was in the hands of a ranking official.”
Alexis stopped pacing, looking at Laurel oddly. “Can you be sure you aren’t compromised?”
The resident genius shrugged. “I can’t be sure. I’ve done my best to monitor my use of the Books and their interactions with me. As far as I can tell, they’ve only tried to influence what I study, not what I think. That said, I would appreciate it if you both kept an eye on me and on Lisa.”
Silence fell over the trio with that. It hadn’t been that long since Avalon, where Alexis had been possessed by the Fallen Angel construct. Another possibility of a close friend suddenly becoming an enemy was the last thing they wanted to think about. The idea of it happening to one of the kids (even though, strictly speaking, Lisa wasn’t one of what they would consider ‘their’ kids) was even worse.
Ian scratched his chin. “What about sleepers?”
“Hmm?” Alexis was genuinely taken off guard by his sudden subject change.
“Sleeper agents. If Maeve is actually good at this world conqueror thing, she might try and send some of her guys in mixed up with the refugees.”
Laurel pressed her lips into a thin line. “Possible, but not likely. Wit how random the crossovers are, Maeve would be better off just sending scouts directly. There are more than enough natural fey and faerie powers that can change shapes, turn invisible or cloud minds. If she’s very clever, she’d instead incite distrust between ourselves and those refugees seeing as they’re the people who could provide the best intel.”
“This isn’t just going to be a US problem,” Alexis realized out loud. “We’ve seen reports of strange creatures in other places tht are probably Faerie creatures too. Both the invasion and the refugee crisis are going to become international issues.”
“And we’ve seen how good we are at dealing with those.”
Laurel couldn’t disagree, but then said, “Unless we go outside the bounds of traditional authority.”
Coming back to sit next to Ian, Alexis asked, “What do you mean?”
“Only this: a country is bound by international politics: treaties, agreements, rivalries, saving face… I mean we will never see the US and Russia be actual friends outside of space exploration because they both want to appear to be the greatest of the last Superpowers—same with us and Brazil. And no one is going to fully cooperate with China on anythign because they still insist on calling their government communist even though that ship sailed eighty years ago.
“But private citizens, or in this case, private heroes can cooperate, coordinate, and get things done on their own. In fact in this case, where there is nothing even resembling settled law when it comes to faeries, we have free range to act as we wish.”
Alexis raised her hand like a student in class. “Except there’s no other superheroes except the ones in England.”
Laurel quirked a grin. “You haven’t heard the news?” With a few taps on her tablet, the projector in the room came on and threw up the home page of a Japanese news site depicting five individuals of wildly varying sizes wearing highly stylized armor. An English translation of the headline read, ‘Edo Defense Go-5 Announces ‘Protect Our Home’ Plan’.”
A few of the figure, despite their armor, looked very familiar, especially to Ian. “The Kurounagi?”
“I’ve been trying to get in touch with them the past few days after this. All the more reason to reach out to them now.”
“Okay,” Ian said, looking incredulous, “but that’s the US, England and Japan. What about the rest of the world? Hell, more than half the countries on Earth have some kind of conscription for descendants. They are not going to like those descendants starting to turn superhero.”
“That’s true. But they might be more open to it than you think, thanks to a little help from the worst possible source.”
This time, Alexis nodded. “Yeah, I’ve been following the news on that. Orb Weaver-backed criminals are a nuisance here, but in Russia, Eastern Europe, India? He’s incredibly popular. New supervillains are popping up all the time, sometimes forcing those governments’ hands to reveal their own military prelate programs.”
“And, even though we don’t want more Orb Weaver activity, seeing the government heroes is going to put ideas in a lot of people’s heads. So we’ll take advantage of that and make sure anyone who want to strike out on their own knows about…” Laurel called up a new program with a graphic similar to the LifeSavers, Inc logo. Only this one said ‘LifeSavers Internaitonal.”
“Ichi… ni… san… KANPAI!” Cyn trust out her clay cup of sake to clink with those of her friends (and also Lily and her friends).
“Kanpai!” the others echoed and they all tipped back their drinks. At Cyn’s insistence, lunch at Evershine was the last leg of all the group’s agenda before leaving LA. Even Warrick and Tink managed to get back from the launch party to join in.
Cyn grinned and reached out to grab the nearest clay bottle of warm sake and refilled her cup. Her body reacted to alcohol like any other poison and isolated it immediately, making inebriation impossible, but having a drink in her hand was usually a good enough excuse to act as brash and boisterous as she wanted. “To Snackrifice! Number three audience’s choice out of the whole festival? Next up: Gold Records! Platinum! The… uh… thing after Double Platinum! Grammies! Whoo!”
The rest of the table cheered and banged palms on the tabletops before applauding as the assembled members of Snackrifice all stood at Kay’s insistence and gave a bow.
Their table wasn’t a private one, so other diners were starting to take notice. Hearing talk of awards and the Festival, many of those started taking pictures and video too. Cyn saw her chance and threw herself to her feet. “That’s right, folks: the stars of the Seventh Annual Global Systematics Festival of Music, soon to be the biggest band in the world: Snackrifice! Oh yeah, you’ve heard about them. Get your pictures now because soon enough, you’ll have to dodge goons in black suits and shades to get this close.”
By then, the disruption in the dining room drew the attention of Evershine’s management. A Japanese man in his mid-forties arrived from some back room. He was reasonably fit, wearing a nice dark blue suit and gold wire-rimmed glasses that made the cold gaze he turned on the budding stars as he zeroed in on the source of what he perceived to be a problem.
“What is going on here?” He asked, keeping his voice calm but commanding.
Cyn could have sworn that Lily had been hiding secret descendant powers of teleportation for all the speed the girl put on interposing herself between the manager and the table. “Oh, good evening, sir. Lillian Goldenmeyer. I’m an agent.”
A laminated business card with a logo of twin gold-embossed lightning bolts striking an interlocking LG seemed to appear between the first two fingers of her right hand. She offered it to him. “My card.”
This being LA, the manager took the card out of muscle memory. “That still doesn’t say what all this fuss is in my dining room.”
Lily looked at him with a mixture of shock and hurt. “Sir, do you not listen to music? Watch the news? You may not know my name yet, but surely you’re up on current events enough to know my most famous client, yes?” She backed up to the table and by memory managed to reach back and grab Callie by the arm, hoisting her to her feet. “Callie Kreiger, aka Vamanos, organizer of the Mayfield Irregulars, member of The Descendants.”
Recognition dawned in the manager’s eyes, but before he could say anything, Lily was at his side, taking threading one arm in his like she was his prom date. With her free hands she gestured to the still-standing members of Snackrifice. “And these are my newest clients, Snackrifice! You might know them from their hit set at the Global Systematics Festival of Music with Miss Sonia Remington.”
Across the dining room, Lisa raised an eyebrow that said, ‘your new clients?’.
Lily replied with a nod and smile that said, ‘if you want to finish lunch instead of being tossed out, then yes.’
“They’re going places, you know,” Lily said with bright enthusiasm, “Their latest album is on a pace to go gold by the end of next week. This is their celebratory luncheon—with their close, personal friend, Miss Kreiger—before they catch a flight back to Virginia. I’m terribly sorry if things have gotten a little out of hand—it’s just that people recognized them, you see and, well celebrities are old hat in LA, but new celebrities are something you can shout ‘first’ about on ShoutOut or Quintessence.”
She brought her gesturing hand in to tap the back of the manager’s. “And they’re going to all be saying they saw them first here at Evershine. Think of it: the name of your restaurant being an almost integral part of of a trending topic? I would call that very good business, wouldn’t you?”
The manager gave her a sidelong look, then took a look around the dining room. None of the customers looked bothered by the ruckus. In fact, a healthy number were watching their exchange with rapt attention. Now some of the palmtops taking pictures and shooting video were turned on him.
He swallowed, then put on his biggest, most plastic smile. “Of course. It sounds like they have a great deal to celebrate, and Evershine is happy to be part of that celebration.” He inclinded his head toward the table. “In fact, your entire party’s dinner is on the house. What were you drinking, sake?”
Motioning to get the attention of one of the waitresses. “Mizuki! Another round of warm sake for this table please.” Then back to the table, “Sorry for any misunderstanding, folks, I’ll get out of your way and on behalf of Evershine, congratulations.”
With that, he turned and retreated to the back room.
For a long moment, the assembled group of friends were silent, all eyes on Lily as she made her way back to her seat and sat down. As the waitress was setting down more clay bottles, Cyn broke the silence. “Holy shit, Ice Queen for the win!”
Callie finally regained her seat as well. “I kind of wish you didn’t have to drag me into it, but that was really impressive, Lily.”
At this point, Tink held up a finger. “You… have business cards. You only have one client, you don’t actually have an agency or even an add online, but you have embossed business cards.”
Lily flashed the smuggest of smiles. “It always helps to be prepared for the future. Besides, Christina, you forget: I have two clients now.”
“Seriously?” Kay asked.
“About a dozen videos are going online right now where people are going to see me saying I’m Snackrifice’s representation. Now obviously, no one should belive what they see online, but they’re going to anyway. It would just be easier to go with it, right.”
Kay narrowed her eyes and leaned forward. “Oh no you don’t Lily. You are not conning your way into being our agent. Lisa and I are our agents. No one else.”
Sitting back, Lily rolled her eyes. “You’re also members of the band, the song writer, the driver, the roadies, the producers, and the vendor for your online outlets. That’s fine when you’re short on cash and can’t pay people to take some of the pressure off you, but you are about to be on the receiving end of a tsunami of cash and responsibility. You’re going to need someone to handle your engagements, your promotions—all of that. And really, wouldn’t you rather bring in someone you know instead of some stranger?”
At this, Kay and Lisa exchanged looks, followed by the entire table exchanging looked before Kay looked back at Lily. “A-are you forgetting we hate you? Like it’s cool that you’re Callie’s friend and Callie is awesome, but… I still have the occassional happy dream left over from high school where I punch you in the face. Like, a lot.”
Instead of looking hurt, Lily’s brow furrowed in annoyance. “What? Still?”