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In which everyone except Scott appears in their underwear.



September 8, 1987

The AMC publicity machine went to work with a will on the events of the past few days; I wish they wouldn't, but since the rest of the team signed on there doesn't seem to be any way to get rid of them. The press lapped it up—of course, there's a lot they don't know about. For one thing, when Scott went back to Chinatown there was no sign of Yen, no clues as to where he might have gone to ground now, but we're sure we haven't seen the last of him. Phoenix Talon and his "boys" came in for a good share of the attention, naturally, and even I have to admit that they did well. Maybe this is going to work out after all. The kids who got shot pulled through, much to everyone's relief, though it's going to be a while before they're running around on skateboards. Cait Sith remains at large; we haven't turned up any prior records of activity on her, so I guess she's another in our string of recent debutantes.
    General Motors also remains at large, much to the well-deserved chagrin of our local law enforcement, who insist he simply disappeared a couple days ago. It really is one damned thing after another.
    We've gotten confirmation from GEMINI that they are indeed willing to take Sleipnir off our hands, so pretty soon that we'll have one less thing to worry about. They'd like one of us to be on hand when they haul it away; I volunteered. I do wonder what they'll be able to get out of it. Probably nothing we'll ever hear about.

[Aside: Phoenix Talon's Weekend]

[Aside: Scott's Weekend]

September 10, 1987

After Phoenix Talon left this morning I went over to the impound yard to watch them put Sleipnir on a flatbed and start the long trip to its new home. The cops waved me through for a last look at the big truck, sitting next to General Motors' mecha, which looked kind of silly in comparison. A black PITS chopper sat at one end of the yard; they'll be providing security on the trip across the country.
    "You look like you're sorry to see the old guy go," Neil remarked, wandering over to where I stood keeping an eye on things.
    "It's a nice truck," I shrugged.
    "So, I didn't read all the files, what is this thing totally capable of?"
    I took a deep breath and recited the list of the weapons and defenses we'd seen in operation. And of course it might have more.
    "Oh." He looked at the truck with a lot more respect.
    "Yeah, it's pretty cool."
    "You look like you want one," he observed.
    "Well, yeah...." I admitted.
    "Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you the one months ago who was telling me that maneuverability was more important than size?" he jabbed. He was the guy piloting when they picked me up back in May, after Gordon's office went boom.
    "Well, I'd put a new shell on it, the truck thing doesn't work for me." Something more aerodynamic. I mean, if it can move like that as, basically, a brick, what could it do with wings? "But do you know how much raw power is in that?" I gave it a wistful look.
    "You used to want to fly rockets as a kid, didn't you?" He looked a bit amused.
    "How'd you guess?" Someone did, anyway....
    It is getting better, slowly. I didn't feel like I'd been punched in the stomach, anyway. Just kind of sad.
    "'The raw power that is in that thing?' That's okay, a lot of us did. You said you were gonna try and make it out to practice your flying?"
    "Oh, yeah." I'd all but forgotten about that. "I'm getting a little rusty; have to come down one of these days." Assuming we ever get a break the Theme Villain Hit Parade, of course. I hadn't been sure how seriously to regard the initial invitation, but I guess they meant it. Sheesh, I haven't done any standard flying since—what, Fimbulwinter? And that was back in February.
    "We've been looking forward to it. Give you a chance to tool around in one of the ominous black helicopters," he offered with a grin.
    "Pretty nice helicopters, if I say so myself." Having been on the receiving end of their weapons systems, I think I can speak with authority there.
    "Well, we'll be flying it over a train across the country." He didn't sound thrilled about the assignment.
    "Have fun. Don't fall asleep over Nebraska." I miss my old job sometimes—it was a heck of a lot less complicated—but I don't generally miss those cross-country flights.
    "I don't think that'll happen," he shook his head. "Rhode Island's been pretty quiet; that's why we contracted out for this one. Commander Lew figured that we could go a couple of days with a staff of six rather than eight, so...."
    "Doesn't sound too bad." Hell, what I wouldn't give for six some days.
    He shrugged. "Honestly, who's going to try to hijack a superpowered—"
    I held up a warning hand. "Don't finish that sentence. Whatever can go wrong, will. Have a good trip."
    Neil hesitated. "I'm going to be back in ten days or so, if you want to swing by."
    "Sure. Sounds good."
    "We'll look forward to seeing you."
    "Safe flying."
    He and his copilot climbed in and got ready to take off as the workmen finished chaining the silent monolith that was Sleipnir to its bed for the trip.
    I saw a WAMT truck pull up at the gate and Holly and her cameraman get out, setting up for a shot of the scene through the yard fence. I supposed they had a right to be there; I gave in to my curiosity and wandered close enough to hear what she was saying. May as well be prepared for whatever it was going to be. Holly seemed to be in full roar.
    "...Even as we see them attempting to carry this Sleipnir weapons platform to the other side of the country, we must also be aware—and this must make us think—about the degree of vulnerability that we have in a society which has as many variants operating in it as Boston does these days. Our security is constantly at risk. And therefore we definitely need superior police forces and a superior impound yard for holding weapons such as these."
    I actually agreed with her on that one, will wonders never cease.
    "And as you know, there is nothing that bothers me more in this age of increased variant activity within the city and increased risk to the people within it than the blighted, cancerous corruption that we find," she paused for effect, "within the city police budgeting office. I am currently in possession of information that is being handed over to the newspapers, which will prove without a shadow of a doubt that large amounts of the police budget and the budget that has been set aside for use by the Revolution, is being funneled off into secondary accounts and not being used for its legitimate purposes."

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson