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18 December 2017 @ 06:56 am
_Mirror, Mirror_ part 7  

Giggle. A blonde woman, this time. "Like, you know, you could use a few more curves." This one batted perfectly normal eyelashes at him. It beat the hell out of the creepy long gummed together ones of two nights ago.

She leaned on him. "And what I want to know is, how long will it last? I gave some to my sick old mama, just to cheer her up a bit, and she's, like, up running around, cleaning her apartment, you know?"

Nick swallowed. "It wasn't supposed to . . . escape into the wild. It's a whole collection of healing spells in potion form, and well, obviously an aphrodisiac as well. I think it must . . . spread."

"Oh Honey, it very definitely spread." Macy leaned in and leered at him.

And his dick twitched.

"And, umm, it takes awhile for the effects to wear off." And what if it doesn't wear off. All these former drunks and prostitutes . . . are they now law abiding citizens? Am I going to turn myself in to the One? Or . . . will Gamer turn me in . . . get herself killed.

He closed his eyes, trying to not remember that particular nightmare. A small earthquake, an after shock of a big one a week earlier. The building swaying creaking, snapping . . . Holding . . . as he hustled the family out, everyone in the old apartment building fleeing. They'd run out the front door and there was Gamer, hands up and out, a shield plastered across half the building front, stabilizing it.

He'd yelled at everyone to get out into the street, away from the building. Police had come, people screaming and running, except for Gamer . . . standing there. Nick had ducked his head and hustled his people away from the building and away from the police.

One of them had recognized her, shot her, nearly missed, but he'd broken her concentration.

The building fell. Nick had doubled back through the chaos and clouds of dust and found her. Fainted from the strain on her power, not that he hadn't seen red when he'd spotted the blood on her shoulder. He'd gotten her away, met up with the family at the preplanned spot, and started looking for a new home.

And the next day the headlines had screamed "Zoar Kills Five!"

They actually thought she'd damaged the building, not stabilized it long enough for nearly everyone to escape.

Another dye job, and with concentration, a slight shift of features, she'd added a few years to her apparent age. A brief meditation every morning to maintain it, and she could hold down an assembly line job. A quarter of the family income depended on her.

Meisha had a part time secretarial job, Umaya bought and sold, repaired, and cleaned, small electronics, mechanical things, small electric motors . . . Car window motors alone brought in a steady trickle of cash. Nick worked construction, odd jobs, and when that failed, as it often did, stole.

We need to get enough ahead to buy fake ID for Abbaas next. And then Hakim. The brothers were fourteen and twelve.

Nick rubbed the smooth edge of his ear. Maybe it's time for me to claim an identity. Bleach my hair just a bit. Pity I can't grow a beard. And if the cops are waiting for me, it'll all be a waste of time.

He stepped away from the winos and pros, walked down a street with people cleaning windows, sweeping sidewalks, one man was painting his storefront . . .

"Half the Red Zone's like this, Dude. That was a pretty damn potent potion." Blondie was following . . . oh hell, they all were.

"Go away."

"You're him, Aren't you?"

"Go away."

"We could, like, use someone who can really kick ass to keep those foreign gangs away, you know."

Macy shook her head. "Caint be him, Seuz, on account of he didn't act like no Eunuch."

Nick hoped he wasn't blushing. "And I'm not going to run around beating up Al Iadrah's goons, nor Fresco's. One of them will chase the other out of here soon enough, and you'll know who to pay your protection money to."

"But you're, like, you know, a rebel, a real freedom fighter. You could keep them both out of here." Blondie, Seuz, whoever, took his arm.

Nick shrugged away from unfamiliar sensations. "And then the police would descend like a flock of locusts and examine every crack and crevice of the Red Zone. I'd be gone, one way or the other, and the gangs would be back, feeling grudgy." Did I just say that? Practically admit who I am? "There's one of me and hundreds of them."

"But you'd have help." A deep voice, a man stepping out of the store ahead of him. Bulky, mostly with muscle, head shaved. More men behind him.

The skinners. Bloody hell, they're all cleaned up too.

"We've having trouble with our garage . . . they won't leave us alone. They shot and killed Oggy. But if we all stand together, if we had that . . ." a raised finger dropped and pointed at him, "mystique. A rebel priest, possibly a Warrior, lives in our neighborhood, keep out!"

"There's a chance, you know. We could make it work." The little old man with the paintbrush still in hand had joined them.

"Oh. God. You people are all insane."

"And what about yer sister?" He pointed with the brush.

Nick looked . . . Gamer had followed him. "Oh . . . that's . . . dammit, she was trying to brace the building so everyone could get out. She wasn't knocking it down, there was an earthquake. Everyone felt it!"

They all looked at the lanky girl leaning causally on a wall and studying them.

And further down the street, cars . . .

"Run!" He yelled, and bolted past the paintbrush man. Glanced back. Gamer was gone, probably down an alley. He turned down one himself and sprinted. This isn't good . . .

Chapter Eight

Ebsa rubbed his forehead. Reached high, felt the panicky attempts to think and not just blindly run . . . Southeast somewhere. Less than ten kilometers, else he wouldn't be able to grab those undirected thoughts.

He sauntered into the bathroom. "Gotta blow dry my undies. Have we got a schedule for today?"

Panic still building.

He grabbed the hair dryer and hung it over the rail, aimed it at his briefs and turned it on.

Felt the marble floor, the steel rails of the elevator shafts, the shaped of the building and stepped forward into the panic. Was knocked flat. By a familiar figure.

"Qamar?" He scrambled up snatching at his towel. "Wait! I'm a friend, not exactly of Ra'd's . . . Where is he? Never mind . . . " He could feel men approaching at a run. Reached carefully and bent the light around them. He waved the wild-eyed girl to the side of the alley.

"Quiet. They can't see us."

She opened her mouth, shut it. The policemen ran past, slowing to look both ways at the cross alley. Consultations on their coms as they split up and hurried off.

"Who are you and why are you not dressed?"

"I'm Ebsa Clostuone and I met your brother two days ago. I was about to take a shower . . . we can't be too far from my, umm, safe house, so to speak. May I take you there?"

"The same way you popped out of nowhere?"

"Well, umm, no. I think we'd better walk. Umm, the first intersection I found was 281 and Potternoir street."

She eyed him under threatening brows. She looked even younger than when Ebsa'd first met her doppelganger. She shrugged and pointed. "That way."

Two alleys, only one . . . interesting . . . street crossing. Then down Potters whatever and down a familiar alley . . . where the dumpster was sitting right next to the puddle. Ebsa looked at the puddle. If anything it was smaller than when he arrived. Marks on the ground showed that this was not the first time the dumpster had been moved. He stepped and looked behind the dumpster. He reached behind, and felt the tingle of the gate. But he really couldn't squeeze in . . . Have to find a pry bar.

He looked at Qamar. "You're pretty skinny. Can you squeeze in? Just a meter. Tell Azko I'm still trying to talk to politicians."


Ebsa pointed. "You'll find him. On the other side of the gate. Now this light warp is giving me a hideous headache. Please?"

She glowered . . . and squeezed in. Shoved deeper.

"Eep!" And she was gone.

Ebsa soaked up the feel . . . remembered marble tiles cold on his feet, the elevators . . . stepped back.

Hair dryer blowing. Cursing and thumping at the locked door.

He turned off the dryer, reached and opened the door. "Geeze guys, relax, I was just running around town having adventures and rescuing maidens."

They glared.

"I'll be right out." He closed the door and turned on the shower. His feet were filthy and he was leaving black footprints.

Time to clean up before they realize I need to clean up.

His socks were still a bit damp. He turned the hair dryer back on and left it running while he ate. And watched the news.

"Multiple simultaneous earthquakes world-wide while testing the gate?" He eyed the two agents. "I really think you guys need to talk to the experts about this. And that would be Dr. Quail Quicksilver of Disco. Please. This seems very odd, and apparently it's happened before, right?"

They gave back silence.

He shoveled in the last of the ersatz scrambled eggs, and dressed.

I really hope I'm bugged, and somebody is paying attention.

And probably a good thing I was running around town in nothing but a towel.

There were two small quakes while he sat and watched the news.

ekuah on December 18th, 2017 02:21 pm (UTC)
So, Ebsa can teleport.
Must have learned it from good Ra'd.

Pam, I know this story is pretty well already written.
But it would be really nice if you could add a chapter with Mirror-Qamar's first visit on Embassy. I would love to read about her mind-boggled reactions when she meets good Ra'd, Qamar, Xen, Q, and maybe one or two of the left behind.

Edited at 2017-12-18 02:21 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on December 18th, 2017 03:36 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Yep. The teleport spell is propagating slowly through the most highly trained Oners.

Gamer met Azko, talked to him briefly, but when everything went weird, she returned to "Nuked One" to help her family. She didn't go to Embassy.

I could extend the end of Scrambled to show Gamer meeting her other big brother, and almost-sister-in-law.
ekuah on December 18th, 2017 04:15 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Scrambled is basically another book.

My intention was, that this story could use some "someone got mind boggled by the weirdness of those comet fall people"

I can perfectly understand that Mirror-Qamar has to be back home when the everything gets weird.
But has the weirdness to start immediately?

I mean in Qamar's place, wouldn't you be curious to see another world?

Okay, okay.
Her visit should be quite brief because:
1. she remembers she needs to help her brother
2. she is seriously spooked by the Dragon (Wavelength) and the Ghouls (some Purples)

I'm not sure if a Qamar-sidestory would be a good fit in 'Scrambled'.

'Mirror,Mirror' is quite short and 'Scrambled' long.
(At least when they were posted last time.)
Also 'Mirror,Mirror' has only two POV (Ebsa and Mirror-Ra'd)
'Scrambled' had several more.

I fear that the Qamar-sidestory would just get lost in 'Scrambled'.

Edited at 2017-12-18 04:44 pm (UTC)
matapampamuphoff on December 18th, 2017 10:43 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
There's insufficient time for that here.

Right now I'm trying to decide who is going to slide quietly into Nuked One and grab _that_ Lucky Dave/Davos/Nicholas and sneak them out of there before _that_ one hears about it and starts a frantic search for a short metal rod somewhere between Rangpur and Calcutta.

Whoever does it will probably take the Bag to the Comet Fall Hospital on Embassy, and then the Nuked relatives will definitely visit Embassy.
ekuah on December 19th, 2017 03:08 am (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
'There's insufficient time for that here.'
Sad as that is, but your story, your rules.

'Right now I'm trying to decide who is going to slide quietly into Nuked One'

Please choose characters that are rarely used.
(Not Rael or Xen again.)

Maybe Nil and Never(as a scouts for dimensional anomalies) and some Oner (Izzo and Ajha?) as search team.

And Lord Hell visiting Mirror-Makkah as a distraction. (Well I think those stuck up priests are overdue for a big serving of 'just desert')
(Anonymous) on December 19th, 2017 03:39 am (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Do they really need more distraction in Makkah than what Poe is providing?

matapampamuphoff on December 19th, 2017 04:42 am (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Yeah, Poe's hit them hard.

As for the search team, it'll have to include someone with dimensional abilities to find the bag. This being 11 years behind, Lucky Dave is taking his three day/eighty years break.

Which reminds me that I need to stick a note in there about how much leaf litter he has to dig out through, and how the patch of forest has shrunk, and he was lucky they hadn't cleared enough more that they'd been plowed under. Or something to that effect.
ekuah on December 19th, 2017 08:52 am (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Please remind me again.
Who is Poe?
matapampamuphoff on December 19th, 2017 11:33 am (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Izpo, the marooned Priest. He returned to Makkah armed with the Wine of the Gods.

ekuah on December 19th, 2017 06:28 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Ahhh, yes, forgot about that one.

But on the other hand, does Empire of the One and Comet Fall and know of him when they plan a distraction?

Btw. I think I found the perfect candidate to fetch the bag.

Kevi, the god of great plans and minor theft.
matapampamuphoff on December 19th, 2017 09:03 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
I thought about the God of Thieves, but he'd only do it if a strong majority of the population of Nuked One _want_ him to remove their last Prophet from their world.
(Anonymous) on December 19th, 2017 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
Such a tale would be deserving of the title "Prophet and Loss." ;)

matapampamuphoff on December 19th, 2017 09:25 pm (UTC)
Re: So, Ebsa can teleport.
:: Sinal salute ::