Altair As Antares and Furud walk 'home', military jeeps speed by them, the fire in Ras' neighborhood lighting up the sky!
furud blinks hazily at them. "'zat look good t'you?"
Antares shrugs. "Sure. Army guys like their toys."
Antares "That one wasn't me," she adds about the fire proudly.
furud laughs. "Sure sure. I know you can set fires from across the city now"
Antares "Trust me," she smiles lazily, folding her arms behind her head, "if I could, you'd know."
furud "Where you wanna go?" He watches one of the trucks slow as it approaches them, but then it speeds up again. He nudges his sunglasses further on his nose with a nod.
Antares shrugs again. "Don't care. The Hole, maybe."
furud pauses for a second then shrugs. "Sure. Everyone loves the Hole." He heads in that direction, humming as he walks
Antares follows, quiet for a while. Eventually she says, "Hey Furud, you think people got a right to live?"
furud "I dunno. I guess." He kicks a rock in front of him, kicking it again as he catches up to it, and so on. "Why?"
Antares "Seems like people don't feel that way about us, that's all."
furud laughs harshly. "They want us ALIVE... just not LIVING."
Antares "Yeah. What I mean is... why are we playing nice with them?" She walks along the white line at the shoulder like a balance beam, arms stretched out.
furud "Because..." He thinks about that for a while. "Cause I don't think I could kill someone on purpose."
Merope The Hole is as it every was: geology, at least, remains a constant. Perhaps less expected, though, is the smiling face of Heka.
Antares "A week ago, would you have said Maia could?"
furud shudders. "No."
Heka scrambles to his feet and dusts the gravel off his butt. "Hey guys, fancy meeting you here."
Antares "Yo, Heks. Furry here is trying to explain to me why people should get to live, but he's fucking it up so far." She waves.
furud "Hey Heka..what are you doing out here?" He sighs at Antares.
Heka "Um. Right! Furud, I was actually looking for you..."
Antares "Sorry, we already smoked all the weed."
furud "For me?" He climbs down the hole and slumps against the rock near Heka. "Whafor?"
Merope There's a sudden rush of air, and then motion: something steams in from the sky at a low angle and scrapes painfully along the ground, sliding for a good forty feet or so.
furud dives out of the way, even though the phenomenon is nowhere near him. "What the FUCK?!?!"
Merope is on her back, with a young girl clasped protectively in her arms. "AIGHH... FUCK.... FUCK!"
furud "...Merope?" He pushes himself out of the dirt, hearing her screams. "What the..." He blinks at her for a bit, stupidly. "W... did you? Who... uh... You're bleeding."
Merope looks a mess... covered in soot and broken glass. She whimpers, her eyes shut tight.
Antares ducks when Merope goes screaming overhead, then stands and blinks several times. "Oh, wow. You are good for something. That's... woah."
Merope "My BACK, I skinned my fucking BACK.... Oh fucking God this hurts!"
Merope "If you see Maia and Altair tell them they are such fucking fucks.... AIIIGH"
Heka blinks. "Mero...what happened? Furud, drinks?"
Heka looks so confused.
Merope is still entirely prone on her back, clearly in serious pain, holding tightly onto Cassie who seems entirely inert.
Antares looks at Cassie, blinking a few extra times at her hair. "Who's the freak?"
Merope "s'Cassie.... aaach"
Heka grabs Furud and Merope's hands, and Furud feels the fog lift from his awareness. Everything becomes stark and clear, and Merope suddenly has a nice buzz. Maybe it'll take the edge off.
furud "Drinks? Yes... Drinks... that'd be go...whoah."
furud rubs his forehead, and blinks. "Oh shit, Merope... we need a doctor. Some bandages.. Don't try to move."
Merope "Shit... I'm getting... dizzy or something."
Heka digs out his cell phone. "Shit, no bars."
Merope "...am I going to die? This is what death is like."
Furud lifts the freaky girl from Merope and lays her down on a soft patch of ground, and returns to Mero. "Heka, where's that vodka?"
Heka "Um, the vodka vodka or the special vodka?"
Merope "...guys, I... feel all giddy..." She laughs.
Heka catches Furud's lood. "Oh, for Mero. Special vodka. There's some in my car, brb."
Merope "Oh, hey, it's Heka, hey Heka. How was the... football... thing?"
Heka runs up the hill.
Merope remains prone.
Furud crouches next to Merope, brushing his hand through her hair. "It'll be okay, Mero." He looks over his shoulder at Heka. "Did you get her stoned??"
Merope "Guess you can tell me later..."
Merope "Stoned? I'M not stoned. YOURE toned."
Merope "You're toned too."
Furud flexes for her amusement.
Heka runs back down with a bottle of suspicious green liquid. "High as a kite! The football...thing...was all rióGUYS GET A ROOM."
Merope laughs. "It stopped hurting so bad. Does that mean I'm dying?"
Furud "It's not LIKE that, Heka, shut up."
Merope "Dying would be lame."
Merope looks around. "Antares is here too! Look, it's Antares!"
Heka "No, you'll be okay, we just have to (sure it's not, Furry) get you to a hospital before the weed wears off and you start screaming again."
Heka "Antares, does YOUR phone work?"
Antares ambles over to Cassie and squats down to look her over, blinking in curiosity.
Heka "Oh hey, Mero, drink some of this." He hands her the bottle.
Antares "Prob'ly, but I left it in a pool of Maia's blood last night." She snickers.
Merope carefully achieves a sitting position.
Heka "...you w h a t ?"
Merope "Right, right, Maia shot herself inna head." She mimes a finger pistol.
Furud supports her gingerly, trying to find a piece of back that's not shredded.
Heka "Okay, I'm gonna find some signal and call 911. Um, keep Mero distracted?"
Merope It's clear once she's sat up that her back is skinned pretty badly, her clothes torn up. Red patches of fresh skin are exposed.
Heka goes up the hill again.
Merope stares stupidly at Antares and Cassie. "No good. She's dead to the world. Must be nice."
Merope "I thinka she..." Merope waves expansively and nearly falls over, but for Furud, "...couldn't cope with like, the stimulation..."
Furud pulls off his shirt and dabs at the gravel in Mero's back, trying to clean it a bit. The second time this week...
Heka At the top of the hill, Heka starts punching numbers into his phone...
Merope Merope winces slightly. "..was more fun last time you were touching my back, hahaha.."
Maia A wavery hand snakes out from behind Heka and grabs the phone away from him, then hits the end button.
Heka "What the crap! Medical emergency here!"
Maia "Sweet of you to worry, but I'll be just fine." Maia doesn't actually give off that impression, however.
Maia "Listen, Heka, I know we don't get along too well at the best of times, but I really need your help."
Heka "Get in line, first I have to get Mero in an ambulance."
Maia "What? You found Merope? Where is she?"
Furud mutters to himself, "why is everyone always bleeding?
Maia "You still can't use the phone. They're looking for her right now. And I guarantee they're monitoring the frequency."
Merope is just staring into space, wincing at Furud's ministrations.
Antares "Oh, hey," she suddenly remembers to say to Merope, "here's Furud. You can tell him whatever you were trying to call him about earlier."
Heka "Who's THEY? Monitoring?"
Maia "You know. LISTENING."
Maia "SAT word, man."
Merope "Hmm? Oh..... I uh... found Maia! She's okay! And totally like, invisible?"
Furud "Oh. That's great! Isn't that great, Antares?"
Heka "Okay, this is fucked. Come down the hill with me, I gotta do this the hard way I guess."
Maia "Show me where she is. We can take her to the hospital ourselves."
Heka "Right over there." He points.
Maia "Johnstone's security may have fallen apart, but I'm damn sure he has guards at his hospital bed."
Maia "Awesome." Maia tries to climb down the hill, slips and nearly falls over.
Merope "I did it, look!" She waves at the inert Cassie.
Maia "Yeah, you made it all right," she said with a smile, that freezes, then disappears, when she sees Furud and Antares.
Merope "And I found everyone...."
Maia "Yeah. You did."
Maia "Hey, guys."
Furud spies Maia and looks away, towards Antares.
Maia crawls a little further down the hill.
Antares looks up at the noise of Heka and Maia's descent. Something flickers through her eyes too fast to identify, then smooths out again with barely a ripple. "Hey."
Furud "Maia... why aren't you at the hospital?"
Maia "Same reason as always. Too much shit to take care of."
Furud "Why the HELL did you just disappear without telling us! I thought..."
Maia "I just...look, I'm..." Maia struggles to stand up, and falls the rest of the way down the hill, then lies on the ground, breathing heavily, for a few moments.
Antares straightens up from where she's crouched by Cassie, goes over to Maia, and gently sits her up.
Heka "Wait, what the crap HAPPENED while I was at the football retreat?"
Heka "All of you people look like shit, and not in the good 'Asterope threw a really good party' way."
Altair "She needed some time to think." Altair said as he walked in from up the hole, a military jacket over his shoulders and blood trickling down his right arm, a few scratches over his face and his chest. "Seems like you got all in order already, huh?"
Maia meets Antares's eyes for a moment, then looks desperately away.
Maia "I'm sorry, guys. I'm sorry. I...I was gonna..." Altair's arrival gives her a chance to quit talking, and she does.
Furud rubs his forehead again, sorely missing his buzz. "Tair, did you bring anymore weed?"
Antares Antares' eyes are distant, but she doesn't take her arm from around Maia's shoulders as she shifts her gaze up the slope to the latest. "Yo, rich boy. Fun night?"
Altair pulls a joint out of his pocket and throws it to Furud. "Awesome. You should've seen the other guys."
Furud catches it and puts it between his lips, then digs in his pocket for a light. All of this is rather awkward with only one hand, the other still around Mero's shoulders supportively. "And maybe an ambulance?"
Maia "No phones. Jessup."
Altair "Oh, I'm sorry, I left that in my OTHER pocket. I'd go back, but some soldiers got it."
Antares "Hey, Heks. Guess what, none of us are really human. Shit got crazy. How was football camp, lots of hot guys?"
Maia "Merope? How bad are you?"
Heka puts his arm around Merope's other shoulder. "Help me carry her to the car."
Merope "I think I'm high. So, great!"
Heka "Oh, the hottest. I'm still all bothered."
Furud "Soldiers? Jessup? What?"
Merope smiles glassily. "I may need like, a new layer of flesh at some point."
Maia "Remember how I told you that Johnstone was protecting us from something worse?"
Furud lights the joint, then helps pull Mero to her feet. "Do we... CAN we go to the hospital?"
Maia "Meet something worse."
Merope "They took Ras."
Heka "Hospital or the nearest dairy farm."
Altair walks to Mero. "You got wings, Angela. High as you can go."
Antares looks at Heka. "Did you just call your sister a cow?" She starts laughing.
Maia "Johnstone's got to know."
Altair "If we get in, all together. I can pay some people not to report."
Furud tokes on the joint, his expression slowly relaxing. "You think they won't be there already?"
Antares "C'mon, don't be pussies. Anyone who starts shit with us in a hospital deserves what happens." She stands, helping Maia up.
Maia "I think I don't have a better idea. Big surprise, huh?" She clings to Antares, but still can't meet her gaze.
Merope "I have an idea."
Altair "Even if they are, Furud, like I said, money does wonders, always did."
Merope looks around unsteadily at everyone.
Heka helps drag the various casualties toward his car. Every so often, he makes a face like he's about to ask a question and then thinks better of it.
Altair tries to help Merope up. "All ears."
Furud "We're worth... a lot more than money."
Merope "Can't we hide again?" Merope lets herself be dragged up - she seems okay to walk.
Merope "Like Johnstone said."
Altair does not let go of her, even if she is, helping her around. "Cassie, is it?"
Maia "Sure. All we have to do is hook Cassie back up to the machine."
Merope "Maaaaybe.... maaaaybe it doesn't gotta be the machine."
Merope "Johnstone said.. it was cell phones?"
Merope "And I called Ras once and it was like FSHHSHSHHT THIS IS STATION CASSIE INTERFERING WITH YOUR SHIT"
Furud "Oh yeah," he says vaguely.
Heka stares at -everyone- like they are speaking Greek.
Merope does a silly booming voice.
Heka "Guys what the HELL DAMN."
Maia "Fuck if I know, kid. Everything I know about Cassie I learned lying in a hospital bed pretending to still be comatose."
Antares shrugs at Heka. "Don't look at me, man, I'm last week's weird."
Maia "What do you want to know, Heka?"
Altair looks at Heka. "Your principal's evil. He was trying to 'protect' y'all. That means letting people capture this girl, rip her hair off, put the cyber optic in, and apparently 'protect' all of us. In pain, y'know."
Maia "I'm sorry about that whole thing where we were fighting cause of the thing."
Maia "It's probably my fault."
Maia rolls her eyes at Altair, which is apparently more painful than she expected.
Altair "You realise I can SEE THAT, now?"
Maia "Johnstone was keeping those soldier boys out. Keeping shit like this from happening to us. You think this is better? Take it the hell back to Italy with you, then. I was doing just fine without this."
Merope winces as she's seated in a back seat. "Back fuckin' hurts."
Altair "As long as someone ELSE is getting hurt for your comfort you don't care, huh?"
Heka "...Okay, evil-but-maybe-just-misguided principal, crazy anime radio girl, Italian soldier boys?" Heka raises an eyebrow at this last tidbit. "What about us not really being human, what's that about?"
Altair "Easy there, Angela. Easy..."
Altair looks up at Heka. "We are Gods."
Maia "What's your better fucking plan?"
Furud starts to put his shirt back on, then decides against it. "There's scientists...maybe with the military i dunno. Trying to study us."
Heka "Okay, moving on. How many of you are injured and what are we doing about it?"
Altair "My plan is trying to see what Cassie CAN do, what she WANTS to do, live, and get them BACK."
Heka mutters, "I go out for a weekend with the boys and all HELL breaks loose at home, wtf."
Altair "... my house." He gives directions. "There's nobody there but me and some servants. I can ask someone for a housecall."
Heka "Okay, Captain Fancy's house. Objections? No? Okay, D'Artagnan, get in shotgun and lead the way."
Antares "There might be a weird thing in my head," she smirks at Heka, "but no one but me can tell the difference. So... no injuries here, boss." Although she has several visible bruises including a nasty one on her temple, they do all look less recent than everyone else's trauma.
Furud tugs down his shirt sleeves again, and shrugs. "Just bruises."
Maia "Get them back? Get who back?"
Altair continues to give the directions, the rich part of town.
Altair "Whoever they took. Whoever they were always taking. Why do you think I was angry at Johnstone, what the fuck you think was in that report? That was going on FOUR YEARS AGO. And he knew, alright?"
Maia surprisingly doesn't argue back -- she's unconscious, head on Antares's shoulder.
Altair "... huh."
Altair just lies back, clutching his arm. "Fuck. I also left the painkillers on the other jacket."
Heka drives faster.
Altair led them into his living room, many couches for the wounded, in sight of his pool, with the painting of an exploded cow overlooking the room. "Don't mind that. My parents are into modern art."
Antares eases Maia down on a couch and perches on the arm. "You," she points at Merope, "where were you and Cassie flying from?"
Merope seems to have sobered a little. "Ras' house. I guess Yed's house too? It was on fire."
Merope "I got a call from Cassie... said they'd took Ras, she was in trouble."
Merope "And she was."
Altair "She rushed in to save her. Into the fire, that is. She saved Cassie's live, Anty."
Furud stares out the window as they go, quiet, slowly filling the car with a haze of smoke.
Antares "Back to boy school, huh? Sucks. Think they'll come here?" She laces her hands around one knee, looking less stoned and more thoughtful.
Furud leans back, in the quiet, and closes his eyes.
Maia "I don't think so." Maia's voice is muffled by the couch.
Merope "Dunno. They... the Parks guy, the sergeant, was after Ras, I knew that. We'd seen him hanging around, sniffing around us. I don't know who else they might want."
Maia "Too much publicity."
Maia "You know that big house across the street? With the guy at the gate?"
Merope winces, puts her head in her hands. "I can't believe I did this."
Maia "Tom Waits lives there."
Maia "There's probably half a dozen photographers out there right now, just waiting."
Altair comes back with some bandages, his arm properly bandaged, wetting medicine on a cotton. "Angela, this is gonna sting a little, alright? Lie back a bit..." He nods to Maia. "If there's one thing press hates, even here, is censure. And military types. In general."
Merope "They had jeeps, guys with guns... guess they can't just stroll around town that way without people asking questions... " She lies down.
Maia "I'm sure they'll figure something out eventually, but maybe we have a little bit."
Merope "Yeah, maybe. Aaaagh!" She cries out as the antiseptic is applied. "Fuck. How bad does that look?"
Altair "Like you've just showered with broken glass."
Altair "Well. Guess that makes you like a cathedral stained glass angel."
Merope says nothing in response.
Antares "The guys in the warehouse didn't look military, no jeeps or guys in uniforms inside." She pauses her train of thought to crane her neck at Mero. "Don't worry, guys dig scars."
Antares "No, wait, that's chicks."
Altair "Well, now, I really should've gotten one. I'd look good in an eyepatch."
Heka "Hey, good point." Heka touches Mero on the shoulder and takes in a sharp breath through clenched teeth, transferring a number of her cuts and scratches to himself.
Heka "You'll heal better without all those...details."
Merope watches this happen from the couch.
Merope smiles. "Big brother looking out for me, huh?"
Altair "... so THAT is what you can do." He smiles. "God of Healing."
Heka "Someone has to, you're not doing such a good job of it."
Merope "How long have you known?"
Altair is still looking at it in wonder, smiling. "That's not MY gift."
Heka "Kind of a while. I figured it out one day when Furud and I were playing football."
Heka "So, what can you do, Altair?"
Merope nods slowly. "Furud was right all along. I used to so resent how much time you spent with him. But he was right."
Maia "He can be self-righteous about stuff he doesn't understand."
Merope "I fly, Maia vanishes, you heal people, Ras could.... read things"
Maia "Probably not the super power I would have chosen, but whatever."
Altair "We never choose those things, now, do we?" He looks at Maia, then walks out. "We need alcohol."
Merope "Furud... he does something with his hands.."
Merope "He never let me see fully, but he definitely could... unlock things."
Merope frowns. "What?"
Maia "His hands, that's funny."
Altair "Well, he unlocks his way to alot of panty drawers alright." He comes back with two bottles.
Merope sits up, wincing as she does so. "Look, we've got to start sharing more. There's guys with guns running through the twon looking for us. This isn't the time for secrets."
Merope "I can fly. I started noticing about a month ago, it was happening unconsciously, just a little hovering at first. Furud's been trying to help me control it."
Altair "Angela's right." He pours a glass of wine, handling one to Heka, one to Merope.
Merope "Today I flew through a damned burning building to rescue Cassie. I'd never carried people before today, or gone that fast or far or anything, but I just suddenly felt..."
Heka looks like he's about to chug his, then checks himself and sips politely. "Nice wine. Flying too. Very nice."
Merope "There was a song, and... it was sad, but... I just felt so beautifully lost..."
Merope looks at Maia, her lips quivering a little.
Altair "Furud's always said I only get the good stuff. Comes with territory."
Maia says nothing, but hums a little.
Merope barely notices being handed the wine, her mind somewhere else.
Merope "Just.... a feeling like.. I had seen something wonderful but it was so distant, and I could never reach it..."
Antares "I can do this thing with fire. Since about, oh, sixth grade."
Merope turns to look at Antares. "Fire?"
Merope frowns for a second, then almost knocks over her wine. "...oh."
Antares lifts her hands to cup them together, then apart, mouthing boom.
Merope is looking at Antares, her eyes wide.
Merope "I... I'm so sorry."
Altair looks at Antares, twisting the glass in his hand as he smiles. "... the bridge?"
Antares blinks at Merope. "Why?"
Antares Then she gives Altair a thumbs-up.
Maia shudders suddenly on the couch.
Merope "The only survivor..."
Merope looks close to tears.
Antares shrugs. "Whatever. That's got nothing to do with right now." She looks down at Maia, checking on her.
Merope takes a large gulp of wine, her hands shaky.
Altair "So that's the worst thing YOU ever did..."
Merope looks at the floor, holding her wine. "So all the stars have a power..."
Maia "That's bad science!"
Antares "Two for two," she smirks to Altair.
Altair "Aldebaran did, too."
Merope "Johnstone's son."
Merope looks meaningfully at Heka.
Altair pats his chest. "He did. Ask Furud, sometime. We got his Will."
Merope "Altair's a star, Altair. What do you do?"
Heka "So, uh, I can do this thing with injuries and weed and stuff. Move them around." He touches Altair's wrist, and Altair feels the vaporous stirring of another glass of wine in his head.
Antares "He opens his fucking home to you when you banged yourself up playing with soldiers, Mero. So step back."
Altair "Wooo..." Altair stumbles a bit, grinning. "Empathic. So you aren't esculapios."
Merope looks stung. "I...." She pauses, then closes her mouth. "No, you're right."
Heka "Not quite, but I can fake it a little."
Antares shrugs at Merope with no apparent lingering anger, then looks over at Heka. "What about you, how far do you want to get messed up in this?"
Merope leans back, shutting her eyes.
Maia "I should've known what you did when you had the car accident," Maia mutters in Altair's general direction.
Altair "You should, shouldn't you." He smirks.
Heka "Want? Do not want. But it looks like we don't have much of a choice."
Merope "No choice at all."
Antares "Great," she says, "you're all inducted in the armies of the night."
Heka 's eyes open wide and he grins. "Do we get to have a secret handshake? And SPECIAL BUTTONS?!" There is no trace of sarcasm in his voice.
Altair "Well," He waves around, "You get a secret clubhouse. And matching cellphones!"
Merope frowns. "We need a better team name. That one makes us sound like the villains."
Maia "And free bullets."
Altair "We are beyond good and evil, Angela. It doesn't matter."
Antares just looks at Merope coolly.
Maia "Lord save me from crazy assholes."
Merope "I dunno, though. The costumes of the Army of the Night would have to be black, right? I don't look good in black."
Altair "Could be silver. We'd be all DISCO."
Antares "Wow. Have fun with the, uh, fashion discussion. I'mna catch the news." She hops up and heads out.
Heka "Mero, everyone looks good in black."
Merope gets up. "Not me."