“Did you hear about the bank robbery yesterday?” Adrian asked as he ran up to Alecia in the hall.
“No Adrian I was busy all weekend,” Alecia replied. Monday mornings, without having fed her caffeine addiction were not good times to talk to her.
Adrian didn’t care about her lack of caffeine and pressed on. “Oh, well Thread and Needle teleported into a bank vault, robbed the place blind, stole a guy’s prosthetic leg and broke out on hover boards. The heroes chased them around the city for three hours around the city twice.”
“I’ve done worse after a night of Pina Coladas,” Alecia grumbled.
“I know, good times,” Adran said. “Look everyone is trying to figure out what Prysim stole.”
“Why do they think she stole anything?” Alecia asked. “Theft isn’t really her M.O.”
“Because it was clearly a distraction,” Adrian replied. “From what I hear the heroes are now running themselves ragged trying to inventory everything, they’re so short staffed they’ve been hiring temps.”
“20 bucks she had nothing to do with it,” Alecia said.
“Yeah, seems reasonable. She’s probably laying a false trail as she preps to go to war with Mag Mell.” Adrian said.
“What makes you think that?”
“Oh, it’s probably just a silly rumor,” Adrian said. “What happened to your hand?”
Alecia’s left hand and a portion of her arm were covered in a bandage. She had a few minor injuries on her face as well, but those had been covered up with the application of makeup. Not that she would ever admit to knowing stage makeup, but it was useful knowledge.
Adrian’s concern was well founded, however, last he had heard about her, Fey was handing out a cryptic warning. It had been a long time since she had gotten injured on a job. Besides he thought something might be about to go down with Mag Mell. Any concerns he might have were well founded.
“You know my policy about wearing gloves when dealing with hot things?” Alecia asked. “I need better gloves.”
“You need to stop disregarding lab safety.”
“I need better gloves.”
“How are you not dead yet?”
“I am; this is a clone backup,” Alecia said grinning. The clone backup plan had failed six months ago; backup brains are difficult.
“Bullshit, I saw you burn that project,” Adrian said.
“I cut a deal with Firebird?”
“You still have eyes, and stop trying to give me nightmares.”
“My ego is so massive it won’t let me die in a lab accident.”
“See, finally an explanation I can believe,” Adrian said. “Your superhero is coming, I’ll see you later.”
Adrian made himself scarce in the direction Jessica wasn’t coming from. They had fought more than once over the last two years, and he didn’t want her noticing similarities. Jessica didn’t look up for detective work; she looked far too sleep deprived. She did banish that look once she noticed Alecia’s hand.
“What happened, are you ok, who was it?” Jessica said.
“3080 Kelvin semi-molten tungsten carbide, I’m fine, it was my own damn fault,” Alecia answered.
“How do you still have a hand?”
“I was wearing gloves.”
“You need better gloves.”
“That’s what I said.”
“So you weren’t attacked?” Jessica confirmed.
“No, my life is currently not in any danger, or at least not elevated from the norms. I can’t predict crappy drivers, and freak lightning strikes.” Alecia answered.
“But what Fey said?”
“Wouldn’t lead to my death, lots of inconveniences but not death, and I’ve taken steps to deal with the timetables involved.”
“Why the freak out then?”
“I’ve seen her real face before; she freaks me out,” Alecia answered, ignoring the shocked look on Jessica’s face.
“But no one see’s her real face.”
“Plenty of people do; we just don’t talk about it. Seriously drop this.”
“Fine, what are you doing after school?” Jessica looked almost hopeful. It made Alecia regret having plans that couldn’t be changed.
“I have to meet with an off dimension delegation to negotiate a trade agreement.” These off dimensional beings were from an elemental plane, so they were probably as good as Bluebird. By trade agreements, she meant offering large quantities of stuff in exchange for knowledge. It was only her strong reputation of dealing fairly that had netted her this meeting, and she couldn’t reschedule.
“Your dad is going to freak out when he hears that,” Jessica said.
“I know, why do you think I told you?”
“Do you just get your kicks out of screwing with your parents or something?”
“Well yeah, and it keeps them out of my hair,” Alecia said.
“Two of the most resourceful people on the planet, who you bait with secrets, and that somehow keeps them out of your hair?”
“Yup, you should see how bad they got before there were rules.”
“What rules? There are three trackers on your clothes, and you swallowed a fourth with breakfast.”
“I know, my mom must be distracted. Usually, it’s worse.”
“Eh, I grew up with like this. It was a bit hard on the boyfriends.”
“Are you seeing anyone right now?”
“Nah were too busy, besides it’s a pain coming up with excuses.”
“What about within the community?”
“There was this shape-shifting lizard when I was off planet a while back.”
“Spy, tried to kill me. Still sometimes calls .”
“We should probably head off, they care if I’m late to history.”
“That’s because you can’t pass it in your sleep,” Jessica said laughing. Alecia’s dislike for the subject was well known, and the methods she employed to cheat on the tests were near legendary.
When it came down to it, Alecia just hated having to remember things that didn’t matter to her. She had computers with databases for that. She did appreciate the irony of being one of the smartest people alive and not being able to remember how long the 100-year war lasted (58 until one factor in the time dilation).
She also didn’t know how many of the 17 eternal emperors survived the blood solstice (there were less of them now, she had thrown two of them into a reactor core a while back) when the blood solstice was, or what the hell the blood solstice was. Alecia also couldn’t wrap her head around why they bothered trying to teach the Kronos invasion chronologically. Some of it hadn’t even happened yet.
After history and its pop quiz, that she used several mirrors and a laser to cheat on came current events. She like current events, and not just because they usually talked about her once per class. The class was mostly a structured rumor mill, she tried her best not to say too much, and did slip up occasionally. Those slip-ups were the reason people thought she was an active hero.
“Does anyone know anything abut Prysim going to war with Mag Mell?”
“It’s not a war yet.”
“No, my old man got this direct from Ares. Owl tried to assassinate Prysim, but they aren’t at war yet.”
“No one has really gone on the offensive yet, but the villains are already gearing up.”
“So we have an arms race?”
“What about Thread and Needle yesterday, which had Prysm’s fingerprints all over it.”
“We could just let them take each other out.”
“Bad idea, Prysim won’t fight alone, the whole country would get caught in the crossfire.”
“I hear the league is trying to set up a mediation.”
“Would that be treating them both as foreign powers?”
“The fairies are foreign powers.”
“What about that floating island, people think it’s hers. That would make her a foreign power.”
“Were did she get a floating island anyways?”
This whole war thing was getting out of hand. She didn’t have time for a war, as much fun as it would have been to fight one. She had her project, and it was awesome. Class ended on much the same note it began, and Alecia got a phone call as she walked out.
Caller ID said it was from Owl, that indicated disturbing things about Owl’s knowledge of her schedule, or it could be because most students had lunch at this hour. She answered by standing in a corner facing the wall and activated the noise cancelation field in her cell phone. It’s not that she didn’t trust her classmates not to eavesdrop, but she didn’t trust them.
“So I hear we’re at war,” Owl said forgoing a greeting.
“Apparently, sorry about that I think it’s my fault.”
“No problem, I’ve gotten a surprising number of calls offering support even from people who traditionally should be siding with you,” Owl said. “Also the League called asking if I would be willing to agree to peace talks.”
“Ooh,” Prysim said. “That sounds like fun; you should take them up on it.”
“I know right. This is going to be hilarious.” Owl said.
“I’ll show late, act all pissed, kill Blackbird and make inappropriate insinuations about your mom.”
“Sounds perfect Prysim,” Owl said. “About that artificial life project?”
“It’s going great, I think I’ve found a way to make it able to have kids.”
“I was hoping you had forgotten about it.”
“No way, too much fun. I even found a way to stop it from killing me, no assassination for you.”
“I’ll pretend not to know what you’re talking about.”
“You do that, see you whenever we get these talks started.”
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Tieshaun linked me here, and this is damn good work. Love the way it’s written, although there are some bits of bad writing (everyone does it, dw. When I reread I’ll point out any bits I think need fixing up a bit) but the characters, the setting… brilliant.
Thanks, that’s always fun to hear.