- The Descendants 96 – Kill Hope
- The Descendants 97 – Heir of Hyrilius
- The Descendants 98 – The Precocious Prodigy
- The Descendants 99 – Huddled Masses
- The Descendants 100 – Paradigm Shift
- The Descendants 101 – The Battle of Freeland House
- Descendants Special #9 – Outted
- The Descendants 102 – Tales of Consequence
- The Descendants 103 – VIRAL
- The Descendants 104 – Hardcore Fans
- Descendants #105 – A Sound Like Thunder Chp 1
- Descendants #105 – A Sound Like Thunder Chp 2
Sealed in a sarcophagus of ice with his body as brittle was fine crystal, Kahmu plummeted toward the hard-packed earth. His doom would have come in a thousand icy shards in the dust if a boiling mass of green ogre-flesh hadn’t expanded across the dirt beneath him, allowing his fragile form a cushioned landing that only broke off one of his delicate wings.
“You’re not getting away that easily, Buggy,” Facsimile announced, accepting a punch from one of the oni thanks to having one of her arms busy and hyper-extended to catch the kukara.
Above, the remaining clones flashed out of existence without Kahmu’s will there to sustain them.
With them gone, Zero was free the drop down on the new battlefield. An oni leapt at her, but was repulsed by a beam of psychokinetic energy that sent him flying into the side of the building. She threw up a barrier to block a rush from Jada before looking back to Kay.
“Shouldn’t they be turning back?”
Kay was thumbing through her palmtop, looking for the needed spell. “Not really. He just let them get possessed, the oni don’t need him to keep possessing them. Just… just keep them still and I can exorcise them.”
“That’d be way easier if I didn’t have to keep from dropping Buzz-Off here,” Facsimile complained.
“Just do what you can,” said Renaissance, dropping down to perform a legsweep that sent Kyle to the ground. She fired foam pellets at his hands, temporarily binding him in place. Then she set a full magazine of the same pellets to go off on a timer and dropped it on his chest.
Moments later, he was completely ensconced in foam and fully immobilized.
“Please tell me you’ve got more of those!” shouted Chords, fending off another oni with her guitar.
“Three.” said Renaissance, leaping in with a flying kick to drive Chord’s opponent back. “And a half. I need the other one to stick them to the ground long enough to self-destruct the mags.”
Chords marveled at the kick, having barely heard the rest. “Jesus, you are awesome. How is it I don’t remember you being so goddamn awesome before?” She punctuated the question by rushing the oni while it was still on its back foot. Her attempt to overrun it was repelled by a backhand swat then sent her tumbling back.
“I like using my inventions more than my powers,” explained Renaissance, coming in from the side in a full on tackle against the oni, driving it to the ground. “Although sometimes I’m not given a lot of choice!” She prepared to fire more foam pellets when a band of golden metal lashed down past her, its leading edge digging into the earth so that it pinned the possessed teen to the ground.
“Warrick?” asked Renaissance, looking toward where she’d last seen her beau. But he was just picking himself up off the ground.
He groaned, still feeling queasy from his rapid freezing and thawing. “Just Osp there. He decided you needed some help—he knows how much you hate genning up ammo.” Now on his knees, he stretched out his arms toward the chain-link fence surrounding the garden. “But now I think I better forgo all the questions I have and actually do something in the fight.”
The fence collapsed into a puddle in almost an instant, as did nearby trashcans. Then began to slither toward him. As it came, sparkers crackled along their surface and plates of dense, black material flaked off. From that slew, he was able to get enough material to send two ribbons around eight feet long and four inches wide that wrapped around two of the oni—one of which was Jada, pinning their arms to their sides and their legs together. Unable to move, they both fell over, their strength unable to bend the new metal.
“Say hello to my new favorite toy,” Alloy said, trying to sound cool, but still sounding more than a little nauseated. “Tungsten carbide. Twice as stiff as steel, so good luck getting out of that without permission.”
He nodded to Kay before settling back to sit on his heels. “If that’s good enough for you Kay… I’m gonna rest a little.”
“I remember we were doing some work out here a few weeks ago when we found that… that thing. It looked like it was hurt, caught under some fertilizer bags that fell over in the shed. We thought it was one of those faeries the news was talking about, but like an animal. It didn’t talk at first, just buzzed.”
Kyle and the others were being checked over by EMTs to make sure their transformation both to and from oni form hadn’t left any serious damage behind. At last, the Descendants were getting the full story.
He took a sip of water from a bottle proffered by one of the EMTs before continuing. “I remember it not seeming weird when it did start talking. It was asking us stuff—wanted to know what our palmtops were, how they worked. Then it started using them itself. It’d spend hours just looking up news, conspiracy sites about faeries, and tons of stuff about superheroes.”
“Like any other spy, he was gathering information,” Everyone present looked up to find an older man with a severe expression and a pair of sunglasses that practically advertised that they were government issue walking up to them, flanked by a half dozen other obvious government agent.
He produced a badge. “Herbert Sheldon, Rogue Operations Counter-Intelligence Command. Young man, I’m afraid I’m going to need you to show me every where the creature spent any amount of time here and then you and your will have the be quarantined for between a few hours and a few days to ensure that your possession didn’t have long term effects. Your parents are being contacted as we speak.”
After this announcement, he peered over the top of his glasses. “No Descendants?”
“One Descendant,” replied Callie Kreiger, aka Vamanos, “But I should let you know that I missed the fight because I went swimming with my cousin and her friends and didn’t have my palmtop on me. The other had a thing so I stayed behind to wait for you guys.”
“Hmm…” Agent Sheldon looked at her over the top of his sunglasses. “And the creatures involved?”
Callie gestured expansively around her. “All either exorcised or poofed.”
He watched her with a neutral expression for a long minute before making a hand gesture that sent his subordinates into action. “We’ll be receiving written statements by the team members who were in the combat action?”
Callie nodded. “Of course, but did you really expect them to hang around and do paperwork? I’m only here because Facsimile said it’s punishment for being a speedster and showing up late!”
Agent Sheldon scowled, “Yes, I’m sure they have better things to do besides tending to natural and planetary security. Probably off partying.”
A tube of two-inch thick acrylic lowered to surround the frozen form of Kahmu, broken wing and all. Once seated, it rotated to lock and then five steel bolts sank into designated holes to further secure it. Then a hum started and Facsimile shivered.
“That sound always gives me the creeps,” she muttered as the stasis field came on inside the tube.
“I didn’t think you were awake when you went into stasis,” Renaissance was the only other one down in the Lifesaver’s Inc HQ’s containment sub-basement with her. The structure was actually cut off from the rest of the facility by a chromium plug in the elevator shaft, accessible only by mirror gate.
Facsimile couldn’t help but hug herself. “I wasn’t. But it’s like… that vibration? You get used to it or something while you’re in there. Plus it was all over the place when Mom and the other first set us free. All of us—the ones of us that got rescued—kind of get the creepy-crawlies when we’re around these things. You’ve got to remember, I should be two years older than I am because of these things. War lost one year, and Kareem and ‘Lissa lost even more than that. We can usually forget that, but then we hear that and…”
Patting on her shoulder, Renaissance nodded, letting her know she didn’t need to finish the thought. Then she gestured to the readouts on the monitor attached to the stasis cell. “Well we’re done here. Everything’s locked down and running fine, just like your mom taught me.”
“Thou shalt not kill,” Facsimile smirked at the frozen fey. “She’ll be proud of me when she gets back.”
“Even keeping him away from the ROCIC?”
Facsimile made a rude noise. “We both know they first thing they’d do is try and thaw him out. That’d either kill him, or he’d be free to make a dozen clones and go nuts again. No, this was the right move.” She gave Renaissance a sidelong look, “You don’t look too happy about this.”
Blinking at the observation, Renaissance shook her head. “Huh? No. It’s not that. I was just looking at this guy and thinking… this was an advanced scout. One of Maeve’s scouts along with a handful of foot soldiers kept five of us at bay.”
“Wondering how we’re going to take on the whole army?” Facsimile asked. Renaissance nodded. “We’re going to kick their asses,” she said with utter conviction. “Just like we did today.”
She put her hand on the tube, staring down the fey inside. “We’ve got clues: all those Avalon sites where those ancient old guys hid their anti-Maeve weapons. We’ve got friends all over the world. We’ve got a damn branch of the military at our back with rebel faeries too. Hell, if you can believe the whole Hermes thing, we’ve got some gods on our side. Oh yeah, we’re going to win this—and I’m going to punch Maeve right in the face.”
Giving Renaissance a wicked smile, she turned and started for the mirror gate. “C’mon; War’s probably feeling better so we can get back to the convention.”
“Feeling better?” Tink whispered to Warrick as they watched the Fun Key Monk Studios panel.
“Mostly,” he replied, “Though I won’t be eating pho anytime soon—having, y’know, experienced it in reverse.”
She elbowed him gently in the ribs. “Such a charmer.”
He butted her arm with his shoulder. “I’m just glad I’m still around after all that. Kay said you were an awesome leader during the whole thing.”
Bowing her head as her face heated up, Tink shook her head. “Even if it wasn’t ninety percent the people I was with that got the job done, that’s not the kind of role I want to play. Support is more my thing. There’s a reason Miss Brant put you in charge of the team while she and the others were out of town.”
“Because I’m reall good at being frozen?”
Instead of even giving that a response, she shushed him and pointed to the stage where Bing Easley, creative director of Fun Key Monk was announcing something else.
Easley was a grandfatherly man with extremely dark skin contrasted by a jolly white beard. He wore a khaki bucket hat, glasses, light blue and white pinstripe button down, and jeans. He took the mic off its stand and with it in hand, he paced about the stage in front of the other panel guests.
“So we’ve talked about the fall line-up of originals, imports and simulcasts for our animation division, let’s shift gears a little toward something new we’re trying.” Knowing what he was getting at, a few people in the crowd clapped and whooped. Easley grinned, “That’s right; our first live action production and a project close to my heart: the Cowboy King adaptation!”
The response to this was mixed: some enthusiastic, some less so. This he took in stride, holding up his free hand. “I know, I know. There’s not exactly a legacy of great anime adaptations in live action. Believe me, everyone at Fun Key Monk has suffered through the same, well… flaming hate garbage was you have. From white washing to screwing with the way powers work, to totally trowing out the plot… We’re not going to do that.”
More enthusiasm followed this, but he talked over it. “First of all, everyone on staff from writers to actors to directors and even the location scouts have watched the whole series with the directive of ‘make the live action version as awesome as this, take advantage of the medium, and don’t break what’s not broken’.”
With that last line, there was thunderous applause.
This time, Easley let it die down before continuing. “How crazy is it that this is a novel direction to go? It worked for superheroes sixty years ago, why not everything else?” More applause. “And I will point out that we didn’t just get people who watched Cowboy King, we made sure we had true fans as big parts of the production. One of them is here today. He hasn’t been at the booth or on the panel yet because, well he just wanted to hang out and enjoy the con.”
Waving vaguely at the crowd, he continued, “Come on up here. Time to put the speculation to rest.” There was movement in the crown near the stairs to the stage, and eventually someone in a very familiar Arachneon costume emerged and shook hands with Easley. “Ladies and gentlemen, out leading man, taking on the role of Wes Wesson: Mister Nathan Castleton!”
Arachneon—now revealed to the be Nathan Castleton—pulled off his cowl and grinned broadly at the crowd.
Warrick made a sound much like one he’d made shortly after being unfrozen. “Seriously?”
Accepting the mic from Easley, Castleton chuckled a little before saying, “Ha-ha. Almost left the mask on. I’ve been told I’m too pretty to play Wes.”
Cyn leaned over the back of Warrick’s chair and thumped him on the back. “Seriously.”
End Descendants #104