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"Would you like some super-hero fried rice?" - Tom / Scott



April 26, 1987*

I feel I should apologize for the scattered nature of this account, but there are some days when nothing seems to be happening at all, and then there are other days when it's just impossible to take notes. Like yesterday. And the day before that. And, so far, today. We've had some things clear themselves up, a few more get murkier, a few entirely new ones.
     We already had a lot on our plate, most prominently the murders of Ellis and Lesobeck, the disturbances in Chinatown—and of course, Travis's sudden (re)appearance in my pseudo-life, something I hadn't mentioned to the rest of the team, although Lucky evidently knew. She hasn't brought it up again since then.
     We also had one less thing to worry about—they gave Lucky her gloves back. Her new "sentence" is roughly 4,000 hours of community service. She's volunteering at one of the youth centers downtown. I don't know if I should be happy, or worried at the thought of Lucky in the vicinity of anything resembling impressionable youth. That's where she was when all of this started—that was Thursday, the 23rd. Scott, as I understand it, was making phone calls to California. He'd done some calculating, figured out all possible phone numbers in the area in which Gabriel Michaels lives, removed all the listed numbers, and started calling the unlisted ones.
     It worked. Renaissance Technologies is on the case of Dr. Jeffrey Scott, though he's been warned it might take a while.
     I spent my time down at the Public Library, checking for signs of Travis' existence. I went through every edition of the Periodicals Index, every index to scientific journals they have. Not a trace. The man I remembered would have publishing credits listed in at least a couple of places by now, it had been ten years and he was off to a hot start in the field. Something was already wrong and I hadn't even exchanged a sentence with him. I paced through the stacks for a while and tried to avoid coming to the inevitable conclusion, headed for home when I realized I was probably annoying everyone else there.
     Nothing for it but to go talk to him. I wanted to take Scott along, for both moral support and ammunition just in case this was some sort of bait; he agreed readily enough once I explained a few of the particulars of the situation. Who the guy is, why his appearance is suspect to say the least. "There is a chance this is a trap," I added. "Or I could just be being paranoid. I hope I'm just being paranoid."
    Call first? I wondered, decided No. If there was something wrong, better not to give them the warning. And it might give me a chance to lose my nerve. Along the way I tried to keep my fears bottled up where they wouldn't cause me any trouble, so when I rang the bell my hand wasn't even shaking. Nondescript brown triple-decker out by Porter Square, needs a paint job; Trav hasn't been doing too well for himself, apparently. Echoes of old arguments resurrected themselves smugly until I forced my attention back to present-day reality.

     "Yeah, who is it?" his voice asked over the intercom.
     "Hello, my name is Needle, I'm with the Revolution, I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions?"
     Pause. "This a joke?"
     "No. Is this Mr. Leone?"
    "Yeah, that's me." Pause. "All right, come on up." The door buzzed to let us through. We headed up the creaky stairs. He opened the door.
     It was him. I checked his aura to just to make sure it was the same man I had seen in Chinatown. Yep. Down to the long-healed broken bone from a decades-old skiing accident.
     "Sarah!" he exclaimed suddenly, breaking into that well-remembered grin.
     "I beg your pardon?" I said with perfectly feigned calm while my stomach tied itself into a knot and tried to crawl up my throat.
     I was afraid of this from the moment I saw him, had discounted it after the subway sighting, and here it was. He had known one of us. I wanted to turn around and go right back down the stairs.
     "Come on in. You're a superhero? This is so weird!"
     We entered the apartment. It looked a lot like the last one "I" had seen, cramped but comfortable. The only odd thing I noticed was the books. Method acting, monologues, screenplays. A few novels. A glimmer of understanding made itself felt on the edge of my consciousness.

*Editor's Note: This was the first session transcribed from tape; the text is occasionally interrupted by links to scenes for which I was not present.

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson