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





    Mort's Mansion:
    The police had finished talking to Wilhelm and the gardener and gone away with the body, leaving the two servants in the huge, echoingly empty house.
    "Well, with the master gone, I don't know what we're going to do," Wilhelm said sadly.
    The big man grunted.
    "Just... life feels so empty. Not worth living without the cut and thrust, the parry of being in the Great Game."
    "I will inform you that you are still in the Great Game," someone behind him said.
    Wilhelm turned to see a glowing figure in the air. "Mind Lazer!"
    "Ja. I understand something happened here."
    "He was killed!" Wilhelm told him excitedly.
    A spectral nod. "I take it very poorly when one of my agents is... dealt with in this fashion. So I am going to find out everything that's happened for the last few days." The eyes of his astral projection stared into the butler's. Wilhelm raised a hand to his head with a cry of pain. "This will hurt a little.... Hm. Well, we can rule out the Revolution, then.... Hm. That means that there's only one person this can be. Thank you very much, Wilhelm. You and Nort will be taken care of."
    "You mean we'll be whisked off to a safe house somewhere and protected?" Wilhelm quavered.
    A smile. "Of course. What else could I have meant? If you'll excuse me." His image winked out.
    Wilhelm turned back to the table, head propped on one palm. "I wonder when they're going to show up."
    Nort grunted.
    * * *
    On Mariner Island:
    "All right people, let's go!" J.T. hurried them along, alarms wailing in the background.
    "What's going on, J.T.?" Sparky wanted to know.
    "It seems as if there's some sort of serious problems brewing in town. The Revolution's asked us to step in and give them a hand."
    "Oh. So Miss High and Mighty Needle decided it was about time—"
    "No, it was Phoenix Talon, and he sounded panicked."
    "Oh. That's all right, then."
    They piled into the speedboat and began pulling away, and then J.T. looked down and saw the hairs rising on his arms. "EVERYBODY OUT!"
    The boat exploded, flinging the Windjammers like rag dolls. Floating overhead, Wu Tzu-Shi continued to focus his powers until the water boiled.
    "Oh, wonderful," J.T. murmured to himself from under the dock where he'd taken shelter; there was another one above him. He took a moment to reassure himself that the other members of his team were all right. "Nothing else to be done for it." He moved silently through the water, getting into position.
    "Is that all of them?" someone asked above in Mandarin.
    "Yes. I told you that only I would be necessary. They are only human."
    "Well, there was a chance that they might have assisted the Revolution."
    "Not any more. Shall we leave them here to wallow in the misery of being normal?"
    "Our specific instructions were only to kill the large one, the rest of them are unimportant. Where is the large one?"
    J.T.'s hands pushed up through the wood of the dock. He grabbed Yeh Cha's legs and pulled him down into the water, climbing up his back and stepping on his head as he clambered onto the dock himself. Wu Tzu Shi turned that deadly gaze on him.
    "Wait, wait!" J.T. said. "I just want to give you something!"
    "What?" His hand snapped out automatically to catch what had just been thrown. "You think to bribe me with this?"
    "Not really. Black Whip."
    Wu vanished. The submarine appeared, and crashed down directly on top of Yeh Cha as J. T. threw himself backwards.
    "Okay. Two down. And that means that there should only be four of them left—"
    A sword appeared in his midsection for a moment, as Chang Yen shimmered into visibility, then was gone.
    "Ow." J.T. grunted, collapsed, and began pulling himself forward. "All right, fine," he ground out. "Just need to focus my willpower, staunch the bleeding...."
    Yeh Cha came up out of the water rubbing his head. "You thought that was funny, did you?" he growled.
    "Well—yeah, actually," J.T. confessed with a weak grin.
    Yeh Cha picked him up by the shoulder. J.T. tried to nail him in the groin, but the blow was easily deflected. "So I understand you live most of your life underwater." He wrapped J.T. up in an anchor chain and without fanfare tossed him off the dock, then turned back to the others. "What did he say?"
    "Something in English," Chang Yen frowned. "Black Whip?"
    Wu reappeared as the submarine vanished. "I'll—" He paused, glanced around. "Everything was very white." He looked down at the gem in his hand. "What is this thing?"
    "I don't know," Yeh admitted.
    "Give it to me." Chang Yen took it from his hand and slipped it into a pocket. "Let's go, shall we?"
    "Wait," Yeh Cha said. "I have an idea. Is that their only boat?"
    "No, of course not, they have another one right there. Do you know how to pilot it?"
    "Yes. Load some of those fuel barrels onto it. Wu Tzu-Shi, come with me."
    * * *
    There was a boat approaching from the direction of the Mariner island. Phoenix Talon took a look through his binoculars, ignoring Stu and Stan's excited discussion behind him; there seemed to be a lot of barrels loaded on it. He couldn't see who was driving.
    One man jumped off the boat with a barrel under each arm; another flew upwards, giving him a good idea who it was. A moment later, the Mariners' boat blew up, taking the dock and the nearby hovercycle with it and splashing flaming debris across half the island.
    Phoenix Talon turned the boat around.
    "Hey, they're blowing your base up!" Stan noticed.
    "Yeah, I can tell."
    Yeh Cha placed the barrels against the front wall; the fuel within ignited under Wu's gaze.
    [I just got the damn holoroom working! - Scott]
    "Dawn, get a taxi, take these two to Rick's house, stay there," Talon ordered as they returned to the wharf.
    "Taxi!" He flagged one down.
    "I have big shovel I hit you with now!" the driver yelled, leaning over to the passenger window.
    Talon called the fire department, who seemed a bit dubious about the project. "Large fuel explosion. You'll be wanting to use foam," he informed them calmly. Then he got on his much-neglected motorcycle and headed for the hospital.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson