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  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Aside |





July 22, 1987

Waking before her namesake, Dawn slipped out of the base and headed down to the dock in the jeans and jacket she had worn on her date with Rick. There she spent several minutes looking over the advanced electronics and metallurgy that made up the remaining hovercycle.
    She nodded slowly to herself, then brought the same intensity to bear on the remnants of the cycle destroyed by Sleipnir. In a moment, with little light or noise, the cycle was restored. She got on; her hands played over the controls for a moment, then she took off and headed into the city.
    On the other side of town, Holly Shapiro's driver cum cameraman maneuvered the WAMT van through the South Boston streets, headed for the devastated Caduceus building. Holly was in back, a wicked look of anticipation in her eye. He knew she planned to use the building as a backdrop for one of her rants—er, editorials—against the Revolution, and while he agreed that the battles could get costly in terms of property damage and personal injury—he touched the stitches in his scalp from the previous night—this was starting to look like an obsession.
    Another block, and the building would be in view, in all of its... ruined... glory.
    He stopped the van.
    "What the hell...?" Holly muttered. The wooden barricades were still there, but the building and lot were pristine down to the etched glass in the front door. "Damn them. Damn them all to hell," she growled. "Mike, drive us back. We'll get the shot in the sound stage."
    "Yes, ma'am." He knew better than to argue. When he glanced in the rear view mirror he happened to notice a devastatingly pretty teenager on the sidewalk, smiling. If he hadn't had Holly with him he might have offered her a lift.
    Dawn made her way back to the hoverbike. No one had seen her at work, aside from the omnipresent pigeons, that big crow, and a handful of mice. She wondered if she should tell her dad about this, or let it be a surprise. Either way, she'd better hurry back to make breakfast.

Scott and Felix took the boat over to the Mariners' nearly completed base and were greeted there by J.T. himself.
    "Scott, how are you?"
    "Mr. Leonard, good to see you again."
    "And you must be Felix." He sized up the retired Sphinx casually.
    "Yes, yes I am."
    "Well, come on in. Of course, if you can enlighten us in any was as to any of the finds, Scott says that you're his staff Egyptologist."
    "I have that honor," Felix replied gravely.
    "Good, good. Come on through. Impressive work with the giant monster the other day," he added to Scott.
    "It was a very large publicity stunt. Just not ours," the robot explained.
    That gave J.T. pause. "Someone wants to make you famous?"
    "I'm wondering whether or not it's they make us look really good, so then when they beat the heck out of us they look even better."
    "Stranger things have happened," he shrugged.
    "As it was in fact a giant rubber monster laying waste to animated enlarged plastic tanks and army men."
    J.T. raised a brow. "Someone's going to an awful lot of effort here, son."
    "Hm," Scott agreed. "You wouldn't believe how much high-tension lines sting."
    "Actually, yes I would. I've encountered them twice in my life. Neither one was pleasant."
    "Impressive. I was kind of designed for it." Despite that, he still wasn't feeling quite right after the battle; hard to imagine how one of these fragile organic sorts could withstand such treatment.
    "I think you probably weathered it better than I did. If you'll come through here," he gestured towards a door. Everything on the island still looked new. "We're hoping to be able to get everything online by the middle of August. Of course you and your team are invited to the opening. We'll have a few other variant adventurers attend, as well as people in the fields of archeology, oceanography, metallurgy, planetology. You know, the usual."
    Everything J.T. had a degree in, Scott noted. Should be an interesting crowd. They entered the new wing where the Indian Ocean/Egypt exhibit was taking shape, long tables and cases full of carefully recovered artifacts. The room smelled faintly of the sea.
    Sphinx moved around the tables slowly, nodded here and there. "Some remarkable finds you have here. I see there's some material from the pre-Chthonic period."
    "You've categorized these already?" J.T. asked, surprised.
    "As I said, some material from the pre-Chthonic period," Felix ignored the question. "This is the second Chthonic period. Hm." Pace. "Interesting, interesting, interesting." He extended a hand without quite touching the artifact, drew back.
    "So you're familiar with this, then?"
    "Oh no, not at all." His voice revealed nothing.
    "Mr. Cat, may I remind you—" J.T. sounded faintly exasperated.
    Felix relented. "Yes, yes. You invited me here so I could assist. I'm just soaking it in. It's been so long since I've seen... uncorrupted originals," he said carefully. "I'm sure I could enlighten you on the origins of some of these, at least my theories of it. Was there any organized metallic debris?"
    "Organized metallic debris? We have metallic debris here." He gestured expansively at the artifacts.
    "No, more in a sense of... circuitry."
    J.T.'s expression sharpened. "You were serious? I read your file, the Egyptian technology, you were—"
    "I found it at an archeological find in 1930. I guarantee to you, it's real," he said with quiet intensity. "And old. And alien."
    The old adventurer paused; what he was thinking was anyone's guess. "Well, any help you can give us in this would be much appreciated."
    "I'm afraid I can't help you at all, directly. However, if you wanted to put K. Robeson Enterprises on a stipend, I'd be certainly willing to approach the case as quickly as we could get around to it." Felix smiled his habitual faint smile.
    "You have very loyal employees, Mr. Silver."
    "Thank you." It would be nice to be able to pay them once in a while. And the Mariner Corporation was very well-funded.
    "I'll have my people get in touch with your finance department as soon as possible."
    "You said you're doing a display of this at the museum?" Felix asked lightly.
    "Not for a couple months now. Mid-September."
    "I'll certainly help you arrange it." They finished their survey and departed with another exchange of courtesies.
    "So what was all that about?" Scott asked Felix once they were in the boat again.
    "What?" he replied blandly.
    "Even I'm not that oblivious! I'm close, mind you," the robot admitted readily.
    "That's just because you can't smell pheromones; I understand." He took a breath. "In 1930 I came across a cache of this material. At the time it seemed the only logical thing to keep the entirety of its secret to myself, master the alien technology that it represented, keep the researches private, and not reveal it to the world. It was a strange time, 1930, and as a result I didn't get very far in my original field of archeology. I wonder if he'll let me publish...."
    "This is his find, obviously, I'd have to get tied in," he explained the professional courtesies.
    "Well, I don't know that there's any reason you couldn't publish on your original."
    Felix appeared to hesitate. "There are reasons. But I'd like to think of this display at the museum as giving me something of a second chance." He smiled.
    Pause. "At?" Scott prodded, a bit nervous about the implications, but received no answer.

Phoenix Talon judged the time right to call up Candi again.
    "Hello?" she answered.
    "Hi, it's John Astaverdia."
    "Oh, John, hi!" She sounded delighted.
    "How are you?"
    "Oh, not bad. I saw you on the news the other day, that was pretty impressive."
    "Yeah, it was real weird. There's a lot that they couldn't say that was going on, there."
    "Like, where the giant monster came from?"
    "Yeah, pretty much. It was neat, fighting Godzilla, though. I'm sure everybody who knew me back in Japan saw that on the news. But I was wonderin', do you want to go to La Vioretta on Friday?" He'd been past it a few times, it looked expensive and romantic.
    "Sure, that sounds great."
    "Okay, I'll pick you up at 6:30?"
    "All right. Is this going to be a pick up in a car pickup, or a pick up on the roof pickup?" she teased.
    "I'll take a taxi. Okay, I'll see you then."
    "Sounds great."

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson