Spacer Ants & Rainstorms 221
  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Ants & Rainstorms |





    "You're wondering if there was an evil genius who no one ever knew anything about?" Larry asked.
    "Or only ever found after they got away."
    "There was the guy in the purple gloves," Stevie spoke up.
    "You mean the Octopus?" Larry glanced over at him.
    "Yeah, the Octopus."
    "Stevie, that was a comic book."
    "Oh. Never mind." One too many accidental hits from Gravedigger's shovel, perhaps.
    "What's the law firm, dearie?" Molly asked.
    "Wall, Stone, Craft, and Shelley."
    "I know that name...."
    "They handle a lot of work for the new boys," Larry told her.
    "Oh. They any good at it?" she asked.
    "The new boys? No, they've never been any good at it, they lack style."
    "I mean the law firm."
    "Well, the boss has been having us do some research on them. They get most of their clients out of jail eventually."
    "You don't think it could be Victor, do you?" she asked the other two.
    Long pause. Slow nods.
    "Victor. I thought he was dead," Larry said thoughtfully.
    "When his castle blew up? It would fit with his MO, wouldn't it? No one ever knew what happened to him. Dr. Frankenstein," she explained as we all looked confused.
    "Really? Cool," Scott chirped.
    "As in, the Dr. Frankenstein?" Thunderbolt asked.
    "No, don't be foolish. The Dr. Frankenstein was a work of fiction. Stevie ran into him more than anyone else."
    "He hated the name Dr. Frankenstein," Shovels explained. "That was just what the press called him."
    "But you admit, it could be him," Molly pressed.
    "Why did they call him that?" I asked uneasily.
    "He was a resurrectionist. Gravedigger hated him," Stevie told us.
    "He stole bodies to sell to late 19th-century medical colleges?" Scott asked.
    Larry made an equivocal gesture. "Well, that's how he started out. Eventually he was stealing bodies in order to concoct immortality potions out of them and to build... automatons. He wasn't really one of the players in the Game per se, he was mostly just a criminal. There's a thin line."
    "We all understand that by now, I think," I assured him as the next hand was dealt out.
    "Besides, I mean, as far as a theme goes, that's particularly... grotesque."
    "But... it's worth looking into." The Muse still wore a thoughtful look.
    "He seems at this point if it's the same person to be more into training an organization," Scott told them.
    v"Actually, boss, I'm sorry I missed this earlier," Larry said, frowning.
    "Generating his own business. A law firm opens in a town, next thing you know there's a small explosion of trained theme villains with a corporation that provides henchmen and bases and costumes...."
    "... And gets them out of jail when they invariably get their asses kicked," I put in.
    "And all told raises the level of the craft," Larry finished contentedly.
    "Well, that can't be such a bad thing," Molly said.
    "No, no, but for some reason they, being...." He looked over the three of us.
    "The players on the other side?"
    "I have to admit, if I had the choice, I'd kinda rather leave this alone and then trade off, like, Javelin," Scott told them.
    Molly nodded. "If only there were some way we could remove the psychotics and replace them with...."
    "...Professionals," Scott concluded.
    "You're a charming young man," she remarked approvingly.
    "Isn't he though?" I sighed. "So Victor, huh?"
    "Hm. I'm only saying it's a possibility. With the name of the law firm, vanished, nobody knows what happened to him...."
    "Well, at this point we don't have any leads at all, so anything is better than nothing," I shrugged.
    "I take it nothing panned out on the theater district, costume shop thing?" Larry asked.
    "Shoot. I knew I'd forgotten a file someplace," Scott muttered.
    "See, I leave the office... what has Stephanie been doing that she hasn't been paying attention...." He took two cards and put in a fifty.
    "Fold," Stevie announced.
    "Thanks, Stevie, you know it makes my day." He smiled, glanced at the Sphinx as if to ask why they even bothered giving the man cards if he was just there for the beer and the company.
    A few hands later Larry mentioned to Felix, "I tried calling the office the other day, and Stephanie said you weren't there."
    "Mm. Archeological work," he replied distractedly.
    "You were out on a dig?"
    "I'm categorizing things."
    Pause. "Pray continue, I've seen the script, I know it doesn't end there," Larry prompted with a bit of an edge in his voice.
    "Just helping out the Mariner Corporation, you can ask the boss about it," Felix replied blandly.
    Pause. "Somebody's writing a new play, and I'm not involved." The warning tone was clearer now.
    Felix sighed. "It's not a new play, it's... boring scholarly work."
    Personally, I just hope it's not a revival.
    "You do recall, when we agreed to start working for Scott...." he went on.
    "I know, I know, we're giving it up entirely," Larry waved dismissively.
    Felix actually looked startled. "I thought you'd given it up entirely a long time ago."
    "Uh, no, that was... no, I'm not going there, we have outsiders present. We'll leave my wife out of it. But regardless, we had stepped out of the limelight. Now we are capably employed on the side of truth and justice." He adjusted his lapel modestly.
    I put my cards down and watched their interplay raptly. These guys never cease to amaze me. And once in a while, worry me. I know they'll always play scrupulously fair by their rules, but I still don't know entirely how those work.
    "You should know all about this, Molly, you've been out of the Game for a long time," Muse looked over at her.
    "No, I've just... what was it you said? Stepped away from the spotlight." She smiled.

| Top | Previous Page Next Page


© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson