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Whedonberry 27:  Reflections of Light
 

Whedonberry 27: Reflections of Light

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    Whedonberry 27:  Reflections of Light Whedonberry 27: Reflections of Light Presentation Transcript

    • The Road So Far… Dean giggled at his sister and her husband. It did his heart good to see that someone in his family had found some kind of normal happiness. Maybe he and Miranda would do the same. Settling down and adopting a bunch of kids sounded like a great plan right about now. “Are you sure you’ve never been to Terra Lostundo? The woman laughed uncomfortably, “I just have one of You look so familiar.” those faces, I’m sure.”
    • “Any good attorney would know that legality is only an issue when there Cecil gritted his teeth, “In some circles, that is considered illegal. Any are laws.” good attorney would-” Cecil sat still. If less-than-gentlemanly words had crossed his mind, they certainly had not made their way to his expression. He simply watched with cold eyes as the cheat walked out of his life with what he assumed his mistress close behind. Unfortunately, he knew Nebula Wallace was never gone for long.
    • "We were in Florence, for an art conference, surprise surprise. To Dru's “Here it is: Macchiavelli’s The Prince.” chagrin, we were forced to spend most of the time looking at new art. It was a big travesty to her, having to look at the same splash and cubes we have here when we were in the home of the greatest art in history. So, the last day, the three of us skip the conference and go sight seeing. This was the last place we went: The Basilica at Santa Croce. It was Mal's idea, he really wanted to see the-" Katrina gasped. “What!?” “I know where to find the Prince.” “Good afternoon, Katrina.”
    • Now… "Malcolm?" Katrina spat out. "I was quite convinced you would find me." Katrina took a few steps forward, "You're a ghost.“ The spirit smiled warmly, "Not quite. I am what's called an Environment Specific Spectral Entity, an ESSE; or that's what I will be called if and when ESSEs are marketed to the public."
    • "You're a hologram," Val said markedly. "I'm much more than that, you can be quite assured." The specter almost looked offended. "ESSEs were originally designed by Tricou Industries as a way for scientists to record specific data when performing experiments. You can imagine the benefit of being able to see exactly what happened in an experiment, step-by-step, in a fully three-dimensional environment?“
    • "Sure, if something were to go wrong, say an explosion in a lab, you could replay the moment and find out that it was caused by- I don't know- a drop of sweat falling in a volatile substance. It's like the ultimate spy-cam.“ "We call them spectral reconstruction analyses.“ Val grew impatient, "What does this have to do with Malcolm Landgrabb?"
    • "My creator believed that the program could be modified to be more intuitive. Almost to the point of recreating a human's memories and personality. That is why Malcolm Landgrabb, III wanted the technology.“ Katrina choked up as she realized, "You're Mal's journal.“ "If it helps you to think of me in that way, it is my primary and most basic function. I can show you each entry as he recorded it. However, I am also able to cross-reference the entry data with Malcolm's typical emotional response over time and create queries such that I can answer specific questions based on the extensive information that Malcolm Landgrabb, IV-"
    • "Show me the journal."
    • o er Tw apt Ch The sheets were twisted and clothes tossed on the floor like confetti as morning's light crept into the Legacinas' newly used bedroom.
    • Dean wrinkled his eyes in an annoyed squint as he tried to position himself away from the impending dawn. He tossed and turned for several minutes before accepting that he had been defeated by a galactic star millions of miles away. "Whoever put the master bedroom on the East side of the house was an idiot.“ "Maybe he wanted to enjoyinate the sunrisations."
    • Dean glanced over at this new bride, "You're up? You're dressed?“ "For about an hour's worth of tick-tocks. Thought I'd get some of the pictures on displaytion." "But you're dressed.“ Dean replied, poking out his bottom lip.
    • “You sound disappointed.”
    • Dean grinned, "I'm always a little disappointed when you're wearing clothes.“ Miranda giggled as he took her in his arms, "Oh, Jelly Dean! You’re downright licenturious!!“ “That sounds like an invitation to me.” Dean continued to tickle and kiss his sweet bride until he noticed a book lying on the floor.
    • “What is that?” “Our wedding album,” Miranda replied. “That was quick. I didn’t think they’d have them back for six wee-”
    • Miranda giggled loudly, “No, silly. From the one in Terra Lostundo.” Dean gave her a look as he sat down to look at the photos. “Don’t worry, my Jelly Dean, your Mominator won’t find it. I’m keeping it up here.” Miranda began to make the bed as Dean thumbed through the photos.
    • Dean felt his body fill with warmth as he recalled their wedding. Jack had spared no expense to give them the wedding of the decade. Though not everyone was with them in Bluewater, Dean was glad that Miranda could still have the memory of her life before the move. But Dean soon realized that they weren’t the only ones with memories of their first wedding…
    • “Hey, Randa?” “Mmhm?” “Who’s that?” “Who’s what?”
    • “Who’s THAT?” Dean replied, pointing to the picture. “I don’t know who she is. She’s standing next to Voice, so she must be one of her friends.”
    • Dean stared at the picture for a long time before he realized where he’d seen her before. “I just have one of those faces, I guess.”
    • Miranda said something to Dean, but he never quite heard it.
    • He was already dressed and running out the door for answers.
    • Chapter Three If Cecil Roman were said to love anything, music could be it. His fingers glided across the keys of his organ in a perfect performance. He played whenever his limited schedule allowed. Work and a toddler's sleep schedule prevented any more than a few hours a week, but he used his time well and filled the home with a rumbling triumph of emoting chords. It was a dying art which is part of the reason he pursued it so tenaciously. The other part was a mystery, though someone had once suggested that it was a way for him to express himself; which was something he vehemently denied as he was quite certain that his own expressions were thoroughly sufficient.
    • ~DINGDONG~ The sounding bell made a dissonant buzz against the chord and jolted Cecil upright. He stood, straightened his jacket, and walked to the door, his shoes clicking along the hard wood.
    • His visitors were regulars at the Roman household, Nebula Wallace and his, erm, companion Emerald Archer. Cecil pasted on a less disdainful expression and nodded graciously, "Ms. Archer, Mr. Wallace. Please, come in. I wasn't expecting you for another week.“ Nebs smiled maliciously, "Well, see, I wasn't coming till Friday, but some issues have come to my attention and we need to take care of them now."
    • "Issues?“ "Yeah, I noticed that the last check you wrote didn't include taxes. I thought I'd come by to fix that. You know, for legal purposes."
    • Cecil raised an eyebrow, "How intriguing that you must pay taxes on a transaction on which there is no legal basis."
    • Nebula turned his expression coolly to the floor, "Don’t get smart with me, Roman. I got all manner of people that can get me what's mine. And if they can't get it in cash,"
    • "they'll get it in collateral."
    • Cecil's breath caught, "I did not say that I wouldn't pay you. I was merely stating the irony. I see no need to-"
    • "Hold on a minute. I gotta take this call. Hey…what, for a bachelor party? Get Mary Jane or Envy…"
    • Nebs walked out of the house to take the phone call. Cecil noted that it would probably be the only courtesy the man would ever pay anyone. "It's wrong, what Nebs is doing," Emerald started. "I am not unaware-"
    • "But getting you or your daughter killed ain't gonna to make it right. And you might also consider that making Nebs angry doesn't just affect you." Emerald gestured to five round bruises on her upper arm in the pattern of gripping fingertips.
    • Cecil swallowed hard, fighting back any anger that he may have felt at that moment. He didn't like the feeling of not being in control, but the alien girl was right. "I will write the check immediately," he said, standing slowly, "May I offer you some tea while you wait on your husband?"
    • “Nebs ain’t my husband. He’s my employer and…well, really, whatever else he chooses to be at any given time.” Cecil flinched at the implication, causing Emerald to switch subjects quickly. “No thanks on the tea. Makes me jittery.” Emerald smiled slightly, “You know, Mr. Roman. You’re the only guy who ever offers me anything when Nebs and me go out like this.”
    • Cecil’s expression softened somewhat, "Then the people on whom you are accustomed to calling are most uncivilized.“ Emerald chuckled mirthlessly, "That's a sure bet.“ “HEY, EM!”
    • Nebs burst back into the room, "Em, we gotta go. The club's getting packed early today and I need you to take a dance shift for Apple."
    • "What's going on with-"
    • “None of your friggin’ business. That’s what’s going on. Now get out the door or do I have to ask you again?!”
    • “Oh, and Roman? I’ll be sending someone for the check later.”
    • Cecil said nothing in response.
    • Chapter Four Katrina sat beside Val on the couch as she watched holoMal walk to his seat and begin to flash and change into a much younger version of himself.
    • The younger Malcolm paced the room anxiously before speaking. Katrina found herself almost unable to look at him. "So-uh-yeah. I'm not quite sure how I'm supposed to do this…”
    • “This is my journal? Entry Number 1. My name is Malcolm David Edward Landgrabb, IV. Yeah, it's a mouthful. I'm 28 years old and my dad just died. I'm not going to pretend we were close. We weren't. And I'm not going to pretend this fixes anything between us, because it doesn't, but it was what he wanted me to do, so I'm doing it. My last attempt at being a decent son. You're welcome, Dad."
    • Mal looked around the room with an unsettled expression on his face, "I can't believe I'm even in this room. Eighteen years I lived in this house and I didn't know this was even here. Mom was dying on account of her liver looking like a torn-up garbage bag. Maybe if Dad hadn't kept this secret for so long- Anyway, he took me down here and pointed to all these pictures and said,”
    • "Son, do you know what these are?“ "Dad, I hardly think this is the right time-"
    • "They're legacies. Families who can trace their lineage back generations to two founding people. It's beautiful.“ "I don't know any of these people-“ "You wouldn't. They don't live here. You're familiar with Victor Goth's Multiversal Source Theory?"
    • "Dad-“ "It's not just a theory." "What?!"
    • "In the beginning, there were seven sacred localities: Sunset Valley (now known as Pleasantview), Strangetown, Veronaville, Bluewater Village, Desiderata Valley, Riverblossom Hills, and Bella Donna Cove. It is believed that the first Great Beings multiplied the localities and distributed them to lesser deities, giving each one individual dominion over the seven. This created the multiverse, a vast network of universes with the same basic materials, the same starting point: the Genesis. However, each is shaped by its deity's own attributes, making the individual universes different from the rest."
    • "Why are you telling me this?“ "Because we are a Genesis family, located in every Bluewater Village across the multiverse. And, as such, we have a duty to our home.“ "So, there's an infinite number of Me running around? Kind of puts a damper on the 'everyone's special and unique' argument." The younger Malcolm huffed, "How many of us are there? Genesis families, I mean-"
    • "More than are aware. Those of us who are call ourselves the Genesis Society. This was their first gathering." The elder Landgrabb walked to a photo and pointed to each member.
    • "Among them are your grandfathers Blair Buckingham and Malcolm, II…”
    • “Victor Goth…”
    • “Vincentio Pantalone…”
    • “Laurentin Tricou…”
    • “and the only female founder: Calista Donna.” "I don't know of her.“ "She disappeared without a trace after the Tricou incident in Sim City."
    • "They were the ones that started this. My dad learned from his dad. I learned from him. All this. It's too much…"
    • “It’s too much…”
    • Chapter Five The check had long since been paid and the table cleared, but Derrial and Ruby still sat gazing longingly into each other’s eyes at the famed J’Adore Bakery. It had been a good morning for both of them. Derri finally had found the love that he’d been looking for and Ruby was slowly pushing away thoughts of alternate dimensions and responsibilities.
    • "I'm so glad that we could work this out, Ruby.“ Ruby smiled, "Me, too.“ "I hope you understand why we couldn't…“ “There’s no need to rush into anything, Derri.”
    • Derri sighed with relief, "Good, because I want to do this right. I-um-I think that I might love you, Ruby Blue."
    • Ruby bit her lip, suddenly forgetting where she was and who she was with, "Me, too."
    • They sat in a warm silence for several seconds before Derri had to leave for the church. Ruby kissed him goodbye and promised to see him that night.
    • Derrial was well out of range before she heard the voice behind her.
    • "She's a god, isn't she?"
    • Ruby turned to see Derri's brother standing before her. His usual smile was coldly plastered on his face and his eyes indicated that they recently might have been crying angry tears. "I don't know what you're-"
    • "Don't lie to me, Ruby," Dean spat, taking a few steps closer to the woman. "Is she a god?"
    • Ruby cast her eyes downward for a second and sucked in the air that his words had knocked out of her. "I'm not sure that's what she'd prefer to call herself."
    • "So, it's true." Dean swallowed as Ruby nodded. "And you? With my brother-" Ruby avoided his eyes.
    • Dean collapsed to the ground, head in hands, "None of this is real. It can't be. This is all too much."
    • "I know." She said gently, "That's why you weren't meant to discover this." Ruby knelt beside Dean and reached a hand to his shoulder. Dean recoiled.
    • He stood and began to walk away before stopping abruptly.
    • "Do you love my brother?" "Yes."
    • "Then I'm giving you a day. You tell him or I will." With that, Dean walked away. He walked for several blocks before he reached his destination…
    • …a white Cape Cod with a fresh divot in the ground where the "For Sale" sign had been removed.
    • He stared at the home for a long time before he began making tentative steps up the walk and onto the tiny porch. He knocked. Ringing the doorbell would be just too friendly.
    • “Hello, Dean.”
    • In the years following the outing of extraterrestrials to the public, life became difficult for the aliens that were living on the Earth. Prejudice abounded in some areas. Some were killed. Others were ostracized.
    • Even Nebula Wallace had not escaped the sting of the alien stigma. Though his skin and eye color prevented him from having to register, he inherited enough of his grandfather's facial structure that he was easily identified as "one of them" to the public. But prejudice breeds taboo and taboo breeds curiosity, marketable curiosity.
    • The Emerald City was one of the many operations owned by Nebs Wallace in Sim City's infamous Green District and it fed off of those same taboos.
    • Non-aliens from all over teemed into the bar to be around the green-skinned employees.
    • Businessmen snuck in under assumed names to spend a few hours with one of Nebs girls…
    • …or boys.
    • It was business: dirty, underhanded, and dangerous; but, most of all, it was legal (at least the parts that weren't under the table) and Nebs didn't have to worry about getting shut down any time soon.
    • But he was worried about something today and Emerald was following suite.
    • She rushed to the back room before her boss, knowing that Nebs would have to make a few stops along the way.
    • She saw Apple sobbing softly as some of the other employees surrounded her.
    • The tear-stained dancer stood up, showing the reason for her sorrows.
    • “Everyone out.” The crew left silently, each thankful that they weren't in the same position.
    • "I know what you're going to say, Em.“ "How the hell did this happen?“ Apple forced a mirthless smile, "Guess."
    • "You are smarter than this, Apple! How could you just let some guy…I thought you were safer than that. Do you even know who the father is?!"
    • It was in that moment that Nebs burst into the room. Apple's expression was enough to indicate that she knew exactly who the father was…
    • …and, what's more, Emerald knew it, too. Nebs passed Emerald a sheet of paper, his eyes never even looking at Apple. Emerald's eyes widened, "Nebs, please-“ "You're taking Morrie and Reg with you. They'll do the heavy lifting. Now, get outta here…”
    • “There's things I have to discuss with the little mama."
    • Chapter Five The Stone Church had been founded many years before Derrial Whedonberry had been born. History had been seen there. There were gravestones on the grounds that predated Bluewater’s founding. For Derrial, it was a place of revelation. Now, he spent many a day there, rehearsing his sermons, praying, or just keeping quiet watch over his thoughts. It was a place he found himself happiest…
    • At least it was… “Derrial?” “Ruby?!”
    • Derrial smiled warmly as he crossed the church to his beloved, “I didn’t expect to see you until tonight. You look-” Derrial paused as Ruby avoided his gaze. “What’s wrong?”
    • “Derri, we need to talk.”
    • Chapter Six "Hello, Dean. Won't you come in?" Stacie started, playing the pleasant hostess,
    • "This is my husband.“ "Hi." Lucas nodded, conspicuously leaving the room, shortly after the introduction.
    • "Would you like to sit?“ Dean stared coldly, "I'd rather stand. I'd rather kill you. I've hunted things like you."
    • "Not quite. I never intended this.“ "Yeah, well, guess what the road to hell was paved with.“ Stacie considered this for a moment before responding, "Why are you here Dean?“ "What, you can't look in my head and pick things out for yourself?" Dean said, sarcasm dripping from this tone.
    • "If you want to talk, talk. But I have no patience for tantrums.“ "Then you better get patient because I have a right to feel this way. You've manipulated our LIVES. We've been through hell because of you. How many people have died in your little experiment?!"
    • "Yeah, I'm well aware that that's what we are to you. It's pretty easy to figure out once you have all the pieces. You get to sit about and play at being God for all eternity while we run around and do your bidding, is that it?"
    • Stacie spoke softly, "I don't control your lives.“ "What?“ "You said I manipulated your lives. I very rarely step in. Your lives are yours to live. I just watch you from afar and make…adjustments when you need a little help."
    • "Oh, when we need help!? Really? What about Mal's murder? Or Dru getting knocked up and then forced into being a vampire? Or the fact that three out of the four of us can't have kids on our own? What about the Bluewater quarantine fires that killed OUR WHOLE FAMILY?! When were you planning to step in?!"
    • "WHY DO YOU THINK YOU'RE HERE AT ALL, DEAN!!? I screwed things up, but I'm trying to fix them. Who do you think made sure your mother was cloned? Got her to a decent age and left her with a family who understood what she was and how to take care of her? You think the Smiths ended up with Cordelia by chance?! I had no idea that her cloned state mixed with your father's alien DNA would make you sterile, but I made the deal with Thanatos to make sure your line would continue-"
    • The realization hit Dean like a freight train as he recognized the name, "Thanatos?! Eustace and Evangeline are… What did you do to my sister?!“ "Like I said, I was hands-off. I merely provided the means and she accepted his terms. Just like you did when you saw that internet ad for a Bachelor Challenge in Terra Lostundo-"
    • "That was you?“ "If you hadn't wanted to go, I wouldn't have loaned you to Ori-“ "Loaned? You gods just exchange your mortals like trading cards?"
    • "Yes.” She said, the truth sounding cold on her lips. “You, personally, have been recreated in at least 4 different universes."
    • "So, what happened with Miranda? Just two wild and crazy deities looking for a fun summer project? None of it was real?"
    • Stacie began to rub her brow frustratedly, "Don't you get it, Dean? I sent you to Terra Lostundo because I thought Miranda would be right for you. I thought she'd make you happy! There was no one here who you could have been compatible with. You would have spent your life driving around in your souped up car, bedding whatever was convenient, never having any real purpose. Instead, I gave you an opportunity to find love. Just because it was set up doesn't make it any less real."
    • "And what about Derri and your friend Ruby. You set that up, too?"
    • "What do you mean 'Derri and my friend Ruby'?"
    • Chapter Seven "You're what?!" Derrial exclaimed, his jaw setting into a clench. "The irony is that we sort of work for the same person."
    • “Okay, not funny. I get that.”
    • "You lied to me. You and me. All of this was just a big set up?" Derri sputtered.
    • Ruby spoke, her voice barely above a whisper, "No. Not you and me. That wasn't even supposed to happen. We were never even supposed to meet. I was just keeping an eye on you, but then things...got complicated. I didn't plan this. I just don't want you to hate me."
    • "I-," Derri began. Ruby took a deep breath, preparing for the worst. He would hate her, no question. He certainly had the right. He would call her a bad person, a liar, any number of things. She could have dealt with any of that. Any insult would have been better than what actually came from Derri's mouth.
    • "Why couldn't you have saved Dru?"
    • Chapter Eight "NO!" Cecil exclaimed, surprising himself with his own response.
    • Emerald frantically grabbed his shoulders, trying to get Cecil to see reason. "There's nothing I can do about it. I tried to talk to Nebs, but he wouldn't listen-"
    • Cecil watched as the two men pushed the beloved instrument towards the door. It creaked and thumped as they carelessly scraped it across the floor. Cecil could bear it no longer.
    • Cecil stepped into the doorway. "Move," the larger of the two said. Cecil remained, his clipped voice saying simply, "No."
    • "Listen, cupcake, I ain't got time to play wit you. So, step away and let me do my job." "Under no circumstances."
    • Emerald began to panic, "Please don't do anything stupid-"
    • "The only 'stupid' thing here would be acquiescing to the whims of these Neanderthals.“ Cecil replied. "D'you here that, Morrie? He called us cavemen.“ "Yeah, I heard him, Reg, but let's be sure. Hey, tweed coat, d'you just call us stupid?"
    • Cecil raised an eyebrow, "It would not have been an illogical implication to make."
    • Emerald shook her head, "Oh, Roman…"
    • Chapter Nine "Alright, entry number blahblahblah. It's me, Malcolm. Isn't it weird how I keep saying that, like you don't already know who I am? Like there's really a 'you'.
    • “Anyway, I just got back from some conference in Veronaville. Worst weather I've ever seen. I met a woman there and things got pretty hot and heavy so I called Sandy and broke it off with her. Then, I went back to hook up with 'Ania again and she'd gotten back with her husband. By then, the weather was gorgeous, but I had to get back here. “
    • “Oh, speaking of, one of the Montys gave me a bid on my dad's old art gallery. I very casually mentioned the offer to one of the Capps. As I suspected, they're now in a bit of a bid war. I know I shouldn't sell it. I've already sold just about everything that was his, but I'm just so tired.”
    • “When Mom was alive, we used to watch Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer like every week. It was her favorite movie. She would make Christmas cookies and eggnog. Granted, her eggnog was mostly bourbon, but I didn't know that at the time so it was great- I guess my point is, you know that part of the movie where Rudolph ends up at the island where all the abandoned toys live. What was it? Oh, yeah: the Island of Misfit Toys. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. You got all these toys that have something wrong with them. Maybe there's an eye missing or spring's bent or something. Anyway, they're messed up so they get tossed. “
    • “And I think about the closet full of instruments that I never play, the string of girlfriends with names that read like ice-cream flavors, and all the short-lived businesses that I couldn't quite make work. Are all these things on some island somewhere wondering why they got tossed? Or am I the broken one, sitting on some icy shore because I was the one that wasn't worth keeping?"
    • "Kat, you realize that the longest relationship that Landgrabb's had in the whole thing has been with the journal itself.“ Katrina furrowed her brow, "I know. I didn't realize how sad he was. I didn't really know him then. Shh. Next entry."
    • "Okay, so...I refused the bids on the Landgrabb Gallery. I know, I know. I was all talk last week, but it's a sound decision based on- Okay, I'll be straight. I met someone today.
    • “And, Dad, if you're listening, yeah, I'm a big screw up. She’s exactly who you said not to date. I'm so stupid. We're going out tomorrow. I'm buying her a fancy dinner. It's not like I have anything beyond the attention span of a gnat, so it's not going anywhere anyway… “
    • “…So, I got Mom's ring out of the locked box and I'm going to propose. I know you wouldn't approve, but she's already got kids, so their line won't be ending or anything. I think this whole thing's pretty stupid. I'll marry who I want. I don't give a damn about what you or your Genesis society thinks.”
    • “…So, I proposed again and she said no again. That's all.”
    • “We're getting married. Dru changed her mind! That said, this will be my last entry.
    • “I can't do this anymore. I'm not going to tow the party line for some secret society for rich bastards. Drusilla will be my wife and her children will be my children and she'll never have to know about all of this because I'm having this house destroyed along with all the records of the Genesis Society. I won't burden anyone else with this secret. So I guess I just say, 'the end'."
    • The hologram buzzed into a stop, the ESSE paused in 3-D animation. Katrina shook her head angrily. Suddenly the journal had gone from being the man who she had called friend to nothing more than a carefully posed reflection of light.
    • "That's it?"
    • "None of this tells us how to get to Dru," she stepped towards Malcolm. "This was all just a waste of time!" Katrina's fist flew through the specter, throwing her off balance and onto the floor. The hologram suddenly began to flutter again, Mal's expression considerably more anxious than before.
    • "Katrina, if you're watching this, then I have failed…"
    • Chapter Ten Cecil stirred groggily on his couch, his face aching and his clothes smelling of grass and dirt. He had had about the most unpleasant experience he could have before the ache of what was most certainly not something unlike a concussion pounding in his brain.
    • It was now dark outside, an excellent determiner for factoring the amount of time he had spent unconscious.
    • He marched to the wall where his organ once sat, staring stone-faced at the emptiness. The only evidence of its existence was the little xylophone on which Cecilia would bang out notes as he pl-
    • "CECILIA!!"
    • Cecil ran up the stairs as fast as his sore body would carry him. "Cecilia, are you-"
    • "Shhhh," Emerald whispered. "I just got her to sleep."
    • "Why on earth are you still-"
    • "You were knocked cold. I couldn't just leave with your kid upstairs and I doubt you have the cash for an ambulance ride. I sent the truck on without me. Nebs'll have to let one of the other girls cover my shift tonight."
    • Cecil didn't crack, "I shall have to wake her, anyway. I was preparing to feed her when you and your associates arrived."
    • "I fed her the puree on the counter after I got you to the couch. Kid's got a healthy appetite-" "There is nothing unhealthy about her, nor any reason to consider otherwise.“ Emerald looked quizzically at Cecil, "I didn't say she wasn't."
    • Cecil nodded and walked to the crib. Cecilia was indeed sleeping soundly, a satisfied smile on her face.
    • "I…appreciate your efforts." Cecil replied matter-of-factly.
    • "You're welcome. The way I see it, people in the same boat gotta take care of each other. Speaking of, I got dinner started for ya downstairs-"
    • "That was entirely unnecessary. I certainly could hav-AHHNNG!" Cecil doubled over in pain, unable to stand as straight as usual.
    • "You probably cracked a rib or two. ..”
    • “Come on. Let’s get you downstairs.”
    • Chapter Eleven "It's not as easy as all that, Derri.“ Derrial gazed up with puddles for eyes, "I just don't see how this could be what was willed for Dru's life-"
    • "I'm not sure any of it was willed for her," Ruby answered. "You can plant seeds in patterns, but you can never be sure how they'll grow-"
    • "Could you…just leave me alone for a while?“ Ruby nodded and exited quietly.
    • Derrial sat alone sobbing prayers, unsure to whom they were going.
    • Chapter Twelve "What do you mean 'together'?" Stacie said, trying to keep her tone level.
    • Dean chuckled, "So, you didn't know? And you're upset that she kept it from you? YOU'RE upset that someone kept important information from YOU? The irony is killing me."
    • Stacie's eyes flashed at her mortal, "You know, you've always been one of my favorites. Do not make me smite you."
    • Dean's face quickly went sober, "I'm just saying that if it bothers you finding out that your friend has done something without your knowledge, imagine finding out that your whole existence, every tear and rainbow, every friend and enemy, was planned without your knowledge or consent-"
    • "I know. What can I do to make this better?"
    • Dean never flinched, "Bring Dru back to us as a whole person."
    • “Dean, you don’t understand. If I could do something for Dru, I would have already. She is heiress. I cannot alter her path.”
    • "Then you cannot make this better.“ Dean turned and walked out of the house. Stacie stood, the conflict burning within her. She ran after him.
    • “WAIT!!”
    • "What?“ She gazed at him, "I can't change your sister's path, but I can ease yours and your brother's."
    • “What the hell are you-?!” Dean tried to swat away the goddess’ hands, but he was too late. He began to feel the warmth of pure white light enveloping them. The beauty was astounding. As the light began to increase, Dean asked wide-eyed, “What did you do?”
    • “Nothing.” Stacie replied solemnly, “If anyone asks you, I did nothing.”
    • Chapter Thirteen "Katrina, if you're watching this, then I have failed. I'm assuming that by now you know all about the Genesis Society and what your cousin means to this world. When I chose to be with her, I was breaking the rules on a monster level. It had all worked out until earlier today. I'm sure you'll recall the visitor…”
    • "A Mr. Thayer to see you, Mal.“ Malcolm smiled nervously, "Of course. Katrina, I need you to clear my schedule for the rest of the day. No one's to come in here. Even you."
    • “You’re in, Mr. Thayer. And with full privacy as you requested.”
    • As the door closed the well-dressed man spoke, "Ah, it seems that it is not inconceivable that you are cognizant of my identity even though my origin is singular?“ "I have been well educated in the histories of various multiversal hubs. Pirate Island, though not of the Seven, seems to be a good place to know about."
    • “I concur.”
    • "I can only assume that your being here means that this is becoming an open portal." Malcolm said, grimacing to himself. "Indubitably.“ "And you're here to give me a heads up?"
    • Jack's eyes began to show concern, "I wish that was the singular objective of my sojourn, but I must admit to having a more sinister purpose." "And what is that?“ "I am here to forewarn you of your imminent demise. I am your Oracle at Delphi, if you will."
    • Malcolm’s jaw dropped. He tried not to show fear as he slipped one hand under the table cautiously.
    • “No need for alarms. I am not to have your blood upon my hands, Mr. Landgrabb. I merely bear the burden of the message. Ultimately, I am a friend…"
    • "He told me that Dru and I would be murdered outside of the house tonight after the ball. I left her at the ball, thinking that I could get the jump on the killer, but he wasn't here. I have to assume that he's with her. I have to try and-" Malcolm caught his breath, "If you're watching this, Kat, I'm dead. So, you gotta take care of the details. My will is behind the picture in the living room.
    • You'll know which one. And, Kat?
    • “Thanks.”
    • “Thanks for everything.”
    • "End program.“ "You are aware that it is foolhardy for you to endeavor these heroics-“ "You're not stopping me, Jack. Anyway, the new client's bringing her bodyguards. We'll be fine."
    • "I am merely stating that I did not inform you of your tragic death only to have you expire by an alternative method. You are the only one of your-“ Malcolm looked Jack in the eye, "You're the one who said you could find another."
    • "I asserted that I would effort to do so. It has proved to be…quite an undertaking."
    • "Well, now there's no room for failure. “
    • “I hope to see you again, Jack.” “As do I.”
    • Jack Thayer breathed sadly as Mal left the room. He pulled out his cell and began typing the numbers to his second.
    • "Toshiko? Have you acquired the target?" "He refuses to go, sir."
    • "Inform him he is no longer administered a choice." To Be Continued…