Spacer Fires From Heaven 118
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Fires From Heaven |





    The gas station under something resembling control, the rest of us arrived at Kenmore Square and resumed work there. The crowd was getting uglier by the second. A shotgun blast ripped the air, hardly to be heard over the grumble of the incipient riot. Lucky's shouted plea for sanity and aid in getting the wounded to safety was summarily ignored in favor of a thrown brick. I put a shield over her rather than run the risk that in defending herself she might accidentally hurt someone and make the situation even worse. The building which had once held the sign was now emphatically ablaze. Fire trucks screamed up to deal with it, ambulances were congregating by the dozen. Another gun was fired, and a helicopter was closing in above us. Channel 5. Just what we needed.
    Lucky, realizing that the situation would not improve no matteer what we did or said, pulled out a candle from her jacket pocket and lit it, holding it carefully in the palm of her hand.
    "Hey, where'd they go?!" someone yelled, casting angrily around as we vanished from sight. "Where the hell are they!"
    "Start getting those people out of here!" someone else called. "I can't believe they just left them to die!"
    Thank you, Chandler. Our guardian angel had come through again.
    I headed toward the Fenway, bringing Lucky with me, cleared the wall and jerked to an appalled halt at the sight which met my eyes, Promethean hurling power at a steadily disintegrating pile of wreckage, the whole interior of the ballpark lit by the hellish glow of fire and plasma, though the fires were nearly out by now.
    "Come out and fight!" he shouted. Lucky threw her staff at him, but his envelope turned it aside.
    "What the fuck do you think you are doing?!" I clamped a telekinetic vise around his body, trapping his arms by his sides, and hauled him higher in the air so his plasma stream stopped lighting more of the rubble on fire.
    "Help me find him!"
    "Where?" Lucky started searching through the rubble and almost dropped the candle.
    "Find him!"
    "Shut up," I snarled over the sound of yet more approaching sirens. I scanned through what was left of the pile. "Lucky, hold still, I'll look." Nothing, nothing. "Hans, I think he's dead. I'm not seeing anybody."
    "There's no corpse."
    "We're done here, can we go now?" Lucky asked urgently. No reply, no movement of his expression. "Hans, snap out of it! We're all about to get our asses thrown in jail." Voices of people converging. "They can't see us as long as I'm holding the candle," she said more gently. "We can walk out of here. I don't want to go to jail."
    "You leave. I don't want to be responsible...."
    "We started this together, we'll finish it together. Don't let him go," Lucky told me.
    "Hans, you have no say in the matter," I told him—wrongly, as it turned out. His expression changed slightly, suddenly.
    I never saw any sign that he fully realized what he had done. Just that small, unreadable shift, before his plasma envelope flared like a star as he went from a standstill to full speed, snapped free of my hold and arced away over the city.
    "There he goes!" someone shouted outside the park.

[Perspective switch: Scott]

    I was still shaking with fury when we reached Chandler's place. There didn't seem to be anyplace else to go, and it was close enough to walk to. We were still invisible, so no one was following us. Lucky was flagging visibly by then.
    He opened the door as we walked up the steps. She blew out the candle, shaking her burned hand. "Goddamit!"
    "Come into the TV room, you might want to see this," he suggested.
    "No, I don't want to see this," Lucky retorted.
    He nodded. "You want the long and short of it?"
    "We're fucked," she snarled.
    "You're outlawed. Holly Shapiro was just chortling about it on television."
    "That was quick," I observed with a semblance of calm.
    "They went into a special report the moment the battle hit the city."
    "We fucking saved people," Lucky muttered wearily.
    "They don't care," I reminded her.
    "At the moment," he went on, "if any of you show your faces in any sort of paranormal capacity, you will be considered armed and dangerous."
    "I can't use my stick?" she said.
    "That's not going to cut it, I think what they mean is if you actually start doing anything. They have your identities, mind you, they could just arrest you, but they don't have anything to really charge you with, but the Senate has put an injuction on your actions. Not what you've done so far, with the exception of Hans, who is wanted, but if you attempt to do anything superhero-y, the police are authorized to shoot."
    I found myself smiling again. Not nicely. "Chandler, do you keep any alcohol in this house?"
    "Yep." He led the way to another of the house's many book-filled rooms and pointed out the liquor cabinet.
    "Thank you."
    "Well, nobody saw me come here," Lucky commented.
    "No. Oh, does that hurt?" He noticed her reddened hand. "Sorry about that. Here, put some of this on it."
    She twisteded open the jar he handed her and made face. "Why do they always smell so bad?" She smeared it on the burn.
    "I don't know. I just buy that stuff."
    I poured a good stiff Scotch and downed it, then tried to dial Hans and got the steady beep of an out-of-service number. I tried Lucky's just to make sure it wasn't the system, but hers rang just fine. He'd probably dropped it in the bay. I settled in an overstuffed chair and watched Holly Shapiro rant for a while about what menaces we all were and how we ought to be driven from the city immediately, etc. etc. etc.. For once I didn't have anything to respond with.
    "Even when I was killing people, they never came after me," Lucky observed in a wondering tone, appropriating the bottle.
    "Funny old world, isn't it," I replied with a sigh.
    "How are you feeling?"
    "Tired. You?"
    "Burnt. Waxy. Golden. A bevy of fruit flavors. Just like a Starr Krunchie."
    I managed a chuckle. "I don't have any on me. Maybe Chandler does."
    "I heard they can make you spontaneously combust."
    "Not my preferred means of casting off this mortal coil."
    "I wonder what Anthony Taurus would say if we gave him a call now?"
    "I'm not going to do it."
    "I have to go out and get myself followed," she said after a quiet moment.
    "Backtrail them? Since I guess we've quite settled the matter of Hans' parents, that is the next thing on the agenda," I agreed.
    "Getting myself followed is going to be a trick, because I can't wear my helmet, which means that everyone is going to be coming after me."
    "If these people are trailing you specifically, they can pick you out of a crowd. You're not that unobtrusive." I sighed again and lifted the bottle from her hand. "I must say, this is stupider than anything Phoenix ever did."
    "Phoenix was a lamb compared to this. I thought I was bad."
    "There's a fine line between nightmare and absolute disaster," I told her. "You're a nightmare. This is a disaster. What was he thinking?"
    "He was thinking he was going to kill his brother," she shrugged.
    "If we're lucky, he'll turn himself in, they'll be happy with that."
    "He's military, I wouldn't rule out self-destruction as an option."
    "Unless we find him. For all I know he might be headed back to Germany at 240 mph."
    "Now might be a good time to call Trent," she suggested.
    "Why? What the hell is he going to do?" Those reservations again. "Lucky, I'm fine," I told her patiently. For once. "I can't really explain the vocabulary that she was using, but what he did did not leave any effects. It was another berserk killer thing, you guys would have wound up knocking me out again, possibly after I killed somebody. Glad that didn't happen this time. When she says he's gone, he's gone." Of course, I do still need to call him, get some other things settled, but this is probably not the time.
    "I trust you."
    "Trust her to know what she's talking about."
    "I trust you to know who to listen to."
     That came as something of a surprise. "Thank you." I passed the bottle back.
    The conversation wandered for a while. I don't think we've been this close to being in emotional synch since we started working together, there was none of the tension that usually sprang up when we were together and not actually working. It was an odd feeling. We watched TV with a sort of grim cheerfulness—one of those times when you can either cry, or laugh until you cry.
    A young woman is in a coma tonight. No telling which of them it was burned her, and a part of me is glad we don't know. There's a dozen dead and a hundred or so wounded. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of property damage, never mind two beloved local landmarks. Boston looks like a war zone tonight, full of fire and the lights of emergency. A burned, crushed body has been found in the wreckage at Fenway. No ID yet.
    Did he know what he was doing? Did he have any idea, in his rush to avenge the betrayal of his family, how he himself had betrayed everything he wanted to stand for?
    God that sounds pretentious. Blame the Scotch.
    What are we going to do? Keep moving. Keep going after them. We have more leads now than we have in months—just when a cooperative police department might have been truly useful. Oh, well.
    There's Javelin. I wonder if Lucky could track him. I wonder if the police are looking for someone who might well be disguised. I wonder if Winters' phone is bugged, if she's actually one of them. I wonder if we could make any suggestions regarding Felix without being hauled in for questioning on Dr. Lanigan's death.
    There's the watchers at the office. By all means, let them follow. And we will follow them. I don't feel particularly merciful at the moment.
    There's Mr. Gordon. A visit to his offices might prove fruitful. He may be entirely innocent, have no further connection to the collapsed company or their employers, but one never knows.
    There's whatever it is Albert thinks he's going to find in those old faked records. There's the town of Poughkeepsie itself, and whatever might be lurking in a disused industrial complex. My mind continues to insist that it's nothing, a decoy at best, a trap at worst. I've been putting off looking into it for months now, always with the excuse that there would be time, that other matters were more pressing.
    Why is it so hard to admit, even here where no one will ever see, that I'm afraid? Perhaps because it is not a "rational" fear, not of death or of seeing my comrades hurt or killed, but a sort of monsters-in-the-closet certainty that whatever happens will be worse than I can imagine. Ludicrous, really, and we don't have time for it, but it persists. Although it has just occurred to me, as I look over these sheets, that it has not crossed my mind since this began that we should stop. Oh, I joke with Scott about heading for the Bahamas and the company of sane people in a pleasant climate, but I have no plans to do so, and I haven't seen any sign in the others. With or without the blessing of the law, we're going to continue what's been started.

    Yup. Funny old world. I think I'm more drunk than I thought I was. Or maybe I'm not drunk enough. My phone just rang a few minutes ago.
    I moved the phone a few inches from my ear, rubbing my eyes.
    "It's me! I'm at the airport, I saw what just happened! That was SO COOL!"
    I started laughing helplessly. "Phoenix...."
    "Where are you guys?"
    "Chandler's. Don't be followed," Lucky suggested from across the room.
    "I'll be right there!"




[Editor's Note: History should record the fact that the entire time Dave was perpetrating this hideous (but in-character) debacle, he was humming "The Hall of the Mountain King." We nearly strangled him.]

| Top | Previous Page Next Page


© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson