Spacer And Knowing Is Half the Battle 187
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | And Knowing Is Half the Battle |





    "I think you know what I'm talkin' about. That soap can be awful slippery. When you make up your mind, give me a call."
    "Yeah, okay. I'll talk to some of the other guys—the ones I can see without violating parole." Rick still sounded cautious, but he seemed to be actually considering the idea. Or maybe he just wanted to get the insane guy out of his living room.
    "Hm. Didn't think of that. Well, you make up your mind, then we'll work on the rest," Phoenix Talon suggested. "I'm sure I could cut a deal with all your P.O.s. Shorten parole, too," he added, sweetening the pot.
    "Yeah, I'll think about it."
    He kept an eye out as he left the house. As he reached the hovercycle he saw someone in the corner of his eye, just a shadow breaking for cover on the far side of the house, headed toward the open living room window. Phoenix Talon kept the bike low and went over to the window. The living room was empty; they were probably in the kitchen.
    "Rick! Remember to tell your friends what we talked about!" he shouted. He did an orbit of the house on his way out, but didn't see anything interesting in the yard, and headed back toward base to pick up some equipment. Then he headed back and staked the place out from a distance, wearing the "night" version of his costume, which was grey and blue rather than silver and orange. Not that he couldn't be just as invisible in the brighter colors when he wanted to be, but it felt right.
    After a few hours he heard the muffled sound of one of their board engines from inside the house. Twenty minutes later a car pulled up, a 70's widebody in midrange condition. Rick came out of the house with his deck under one arm and climbed into the back seat. Phoenix snapped a photo of the two guys on the passenger side, one of whom was another of the just-released Blood Boards. They headed out of the city. He followed them at a high altitude.
    After a while they pulled off onto a side road, then a dirt road. The three-quarters moon provided barely sufficient illumination. They ended up at an abandoned construction site, an aborted hotel complex or office park. The appeal for the Blood Boards was obvious: lots of smooth concrete. About twenty of them seemed to have gathered that night, soon joined by the guys in the car. They exchanged greetings and chatted for a while before one guy, who seemed to hold a relative amount of authority, got up and started calling order.
    Phoenix Talon landed some distance away and snuck into hearing range.
    "Okay, so we got a call last week, we got another meet, looks like we may have yet another patron," the guy announced.
    "Oh, man, every time we do stuff for a patron we get the shit kicked out of us," another complained.
    "I have something to say about that to," another piped up.
    "Yeah, we'll get to that in a minute," the apparent leader said. "Let's face it, how many of us still have workin' decks? Granted, Rick knows how to put his together, and hopefully now that he's back we can get some stuff fixed, but... y'know, we're scummin' here. He's promising tech, he's promising backing, he's also promising easy scores, in a place that no one is gonna think to look."
    "And where's that?" someone wanted to know.
    "I don't know, I just got the introductory spiel from his lieutenant."
    "Aw c'mon, man...."
    "We used to rule, okay?" the leader coaxed them. "There was a period there where everyone was terrified of us."
    "That period was two weeks," someone commented sourly.
    "Yeah, but weren't they fun?"
    "Yeah, all right, I can see that," the objector acknowledged.
    "We're small, we're precise, we share a common goal, plus—gettin' the boards upgraded, always important, gettin' better tech, keepin' ourselves active."
    "We're not gonna pursue that whole 'we're gonna beat up the Revolution' vendetta are we?" another wary soul wanted to know.
    "That didn't work so well last time," he admitted. "We just gotta learn to work around them."
    "Work around them? They're everywhere!"
    Damn straight, kid, Phoenix Talon thought.
    "I have something to say," Rick repeated.
    "We'll get to that in a second, Rick," the leader told him. "I'm tellin' ya, if we don't move on this, we don't take this thing, then Tybalt and his boys are just gonna continue to kick the shit out of us. And that's worse than the Revolution taking us out."
    Pheonix Talon didn't know of anyone named Tybalt in Boston, although he had liked the swordfight in the play. Wrote his midterm paper on it.
    "So we gonna put it to a vote?"
    "Wait a minute, I got somethin' to say."
    "Yeah, let Rick talk, okay?"
    "All right, Rick, what'd'ya got?"
    "Some guy claiming to be Phoenix Talon showed up at my house," he told the group.
    "What?!" several youths exclaimed.
    "Well, he had a hovercycle, so I think he probably was," Rick admitted.
    "He didn't have his costume on?"
    "No, it was just this guy. It was just, he had a hovercyle, you know. I mean, he talked like Phoenix Talon."
    "Did he hit you?"
    "No, that would have been the clincher if he had,though."
    "He's not supposed to be coming around and bugging us," someone muttered in an agrieved tone. "Not part of the structure, you know? We're free, we've done our debt...."
    "No, he wasn't buggin' us," Rick told him. "He's tryin' to... he's tryin' to recruit us."
    Stunned silence.
    "Recruit us to do what?"
    "Like, he wants us to be his gang."
    "Oh, he needs his own gang?" The speaker's skepticism was evident.
    "Like, a good-guy gang. Like y'know how Ground Zero used to have the Defense Forces?" Rick reminded them.
    "Yeah, didn't most of them get shot?"
    "Well yeah, they did. But there was that TV movie about them, and that series."
    "So, he said we had to do this?" someone else asked dubiously.
    "No, he was just sayin' it was a possibility, rather than going back to the house and takin' showers."
    "He doesn't want us to take showers?"
    "I don't know what he's talkin' about," Rick shrugged.

| Top | Previous Page Next Page


© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson