Tales of King City : Boom – Part Five


“Master Hartlan, did not intentionally set off the bomb, but his own presence triggered it.” Boggart spoke as he drew on the whiteboard. “Travel through the shadow plane is quicker and removes quite a few of the perceptions of this world. It would be like putting on filters on your glasses, and having ten league boots. By this method of travelling, Rory would first ‘inquire’ or look ahead to where he needed to go.”

“This is how he managed to triangulate where the bomb was. Looking ahead and seeing what was extremely different. And in this case, what was extremely normal.”

The room of police, registered powers, officials, Magii watched the pair at the front of the room. Boggart held himself tall, all five feet, immaculate white suit. TC wore her standard t-shirt, leather jacket, jeans, but the exception of the red and blue mask of the Pendragon, her hair was tied back behind her head.

“One of the largest anomalies that occurred was that many of the Magii had a moment where they ‘were not themselves’.” TC held herself back from making finger quotes. “They all had one common theme, young boy at play. On the coastline, with beings that seemed benevolent and made of light.”

Many heads in the room nodded.

“This is not a time bomb we are looking for. We are looking for a bomb made of time itself.” TC noted out, as she pointed out to the board. “Memories and moments in time are the trip wire. Due to the chaotic nature of Rory’s energy, we were given some grace for him to contain the blast.”

One of the Magii held his hands up, “Between there and here, is only the now.”

“There has been growth though.” Another Magii interjected.

“Ahem, this is not the venue for that discussion. But it does give us insight as to who has been planting these bombs.” Boggart said in crisp fashion, and slid across the whiteboard. “Our current profile is such. Lady, in her late thirties to early sixties. Never married, quite set in her ways. Biologically unable to give birth, our departments have permission to search through fertility records. Telepathic and Chrono power enabled, but only subconsciously. Never registered, and is quite possibly still a citizen. On the Magii scale, she very well could be near deity level power with the ability to rewrite time. Or even worse, your own memories.”

Goodstone stepped forward, “So, the bomber may not know she is even doing it.”

“Indeed. I still maintain that this the act of a man, but I have been frequently wrong Detective.” Boggart smiled through the British accent.

“But there have been no new threats, correct?” Tom Silver walked into the briefing room, green slime dripped off his leather jacket, there appeared to be some bits of tentacles still clutched to his arm and leg. “No one else got the alert on the big nasty in the-”

Tom looked around, “Guess not. That one’s on me. Literally. So why no new threats? No letters? What stopped?”

Slinger, raised herself up as tall as she could, “At this time, we have no plausible theories.”

“Besides Hartlan becoming the bomb itself, and needs to explode, in order to get the next one going… right? It’s quite possible that it’s a chain reaction. That is what time is about.” Tom took a towel gratefully from someone and wiped his face off. “Send the janitors a box of doughnuts would you? Just as bad job cleaning up after the giant monsters as it is slaying them.”

Goodstone looked to the swordsman. “Thanks Tom. Slinger, Boggart. Thank you for the debriefing. We’ll keep you all posted on this as developments occur. Good hunting everyone.”

The majority of the room left, until Goodstone looked to the four faces. Slinger, emotionless behind the Pendragon mask. Boggart, staring off into space, his clawed finger tips stroking through the spines on his chin. Tom Silver, still wiping himself off as best as he could, an array of edged weaponry on the tables laid out.

“Explode or defuse?”

“Defuse.” Boggart spoke.

“Explode.” Tom said. “Seems quite a regular occurrence that you all die once or twice every four of five years. Or just wait till the human race ends, then wait for a way to defuse him properly. The cryogenics thing, you know?”

“Slinger?”

“I don’t know. We have to at least reach Rory, tell him what we are doing. The last thing we need is a vengeful undead magii not knowing why his life ended.”

Boggart lifted his head, “Dreamwalk. We should be able to reach him in the coma there. I am not allowed to such methods, being of my kind. We could also ask the fae folk for a favor.”

Silver laughed, “You go right ahead my spiney buddy. I’m not getting involved with those dandelion eaters. I’d rather go try my hand at working for city hall.”

Goodstone pulled out his comm pad, started typing in and figuring out the numbers. “Two teams, we pull Rory out to the Lagrange station, give the engineers one week to contain the explosion. Team one, goes dreamwalk or whatever, contact Rory. Team two, let’s see if we can’t duplicate the Hartlan bomb. Maybe there was another one there in town.”

“Team One, Silver, pick your team. I do recall the fairy folk do not like cold iron. Treat them with respect. Team Two, Slinger and Boggart, pick the rest of your team.” Goodstone pointed out to them. “I’m going to get the budget approved.”

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Tales of King City : Boom – Part Four


T.C. Calhoun, teen hero, shopper extraordinaire, sometimes blonde, stood by the bedside of Rory Hartlan. She frowned, and removed the Pendragon Mask. She muttered an incantation, looked to the mask, sighed, then enunciated the incantation. The mask shrunk and she attached it to the lapel of her leather jacket.

“What did he say?” A deep grumbling voice spoke behind her. TC knew not to jump when her mentor had done this. He had a habit of moving very silently.

“To call his therapist.”

“How did he set the bomb off?”

“Dice. Like he was playing craps. Sensei, he took the bomb inside of himself.”

“Clever. To take the form of another, like water. It changes when you put it into another form.”

TC grinned, “With Rory, more like whiskey.”

“Ahem.”

TC waved a hand across her face, the small spell placed a glamour, replacing her elfin features to the red and blue face mask of the Pendragon.

“Detective Goodstone.” Sensei spoke in acknowledgement. Small hands stroked the wiry beard. “You come with bad news.”

“Mayor says we will have to move him out of the city. Some of the environmental groups say he should be sent out to the Wild Zone or the Dump. Effectively he is no longer a registered power. Legally, Hartlan is a bomb.”

“Not unless he explodes.” TC spoke quietly. “What is a bomb if it doesn’t explode? That’s what he said when one of the other Magii challenged him.”

Goodstone blinked, “Just parts.”

“And that is what is stopping you from finding them in time. You are looking for a bomb. That does not exist.” Sensei spoke, then grunted as he sat down in the bedside chair. “You must think larger Detective.”

“Parts. That makes sense.” Goodstone nodded, then walked over to the bed. “Slinger, you are up to finding the next one.”

“What? Totally me? I’m not a terrorist hunter.” She exclaimed in perfect teenage tone. “Gimme a giant monster or zombie kung-fu clan any day. I can’t do this!”

Goodstone looked at her deadpan, “I can talk to people, see how this will take off more than half of the ‘community service’ hours that you owe from destruction of property. The other registered Magii are spooked on this, they aren’t saying anything on this.”

“The Hartlan has scared them again. He appears to be a drunk. He appears to be a scoundrel. A base Magii with nothing more than a bag full of tricks. But all along. They only know that his influence and clerverness, not his power, is greater than anyone can realize.” Sensei looked to the bed. “When the Magii withdraw, they know that greater trials lay ahead, some that cannot handle that burden.”

“Okay, like totally Fate did not have to do with it. I didn’t get my wonky sense. I can help, like when you need someone to punch the bitch in the face.” TC said, nodding emphatically. Her pixie cut hair flopping around.

Sensei and Goodstone looked at her, “Bitch?”

“Yeah, as in female dog. You think a guy would be blowing up a fertility clinic? A-Kay-A as a sperm bank? That’s the closest and largest department to where the bomb was. Odds are in favor it’s a woman.”

Goodstone brought up his communicator, “Vegas, the bomber is female. What are we looking at?”

“That improves the odds for us. But expands out the territory.” Goodstone’s communicator replied back.

“Slinger, you shall travel to the sanctum of the Goddess. Three labours you will perform, there you will converse and gain insight.” Sensei nodded in agreement to his own words. “After you finish cleaning the shop, make soup and finish your lessons.”

“Sensei…I can’t-”

“You will.” Sensei barked. “There is much more to your potential than punching and kicking. You have yet to master that which will control you.”

“And the KCPD would appreciate the help on this too.” Goodstone put the hat back onto his head. “Sir, Slinger. We’ll have him transferred out within the hour. Any information, pass it back.”

The Detective left the room, and TC let the glamour slip from her face.

“Really Sensei? You are volunteering me to do this?”

“Those who run from challenges are not warriors. The city has brought us this peril. And you were the closest to Hartlan when he fell. So tell me Student, shall you take the cowardly way out? Forsake your bloodline and the weapons you have won by not only combat, but birthright?” Sensei stood up. “I want a juice box.”

“We’ll stop by the eatery before we head back to the shop.” TC steadied the old man, he took her elbow to settle himself. “You can buy me a muffin.”

“Tell me Student, what was it like near the bomb?”

TC placed the Pendragon mask onto her face. “It was, in flux. Parts of different worlds were there. I tasted something, it was meaty and bloody. With ketchup. I liked it, even though it wasn’t my mouth. It was so familiar, yet-”

“Yes, yes, you do not eat meat.”

“Not for like a dozen years now. I think it was a hamburger.” TC turned to look to Sensei. “And just for a moment, I was a small boy.”

Sensei stopped the pair of them, looked to Slinger, then back to the hallway. “You experienced something that was not you. But as you did have it, it became you. So who was it that time and experince originally belong?”

“Your grammar is falling apart.”

“You are one to talk Student. Let us get the monorail, I must feel the city from above.”

“Sh-yeah, you are just hoping some of the gangs’ll be there. So you can put them in their place. Which is a phrase I’ve never understood, isn’t their place where they are currently standing?”

“Shh! Less talking, more walking. Juice box is essential for my chi.”

*******

TC stood on the beachline, drawing in the sand with the end of her pike. She clutched and fumbled at the toga, then sighing, tied it tighter. She was grateful that it was a calm evening patrol and the Captain would not be as judgemental at the state of her dress. She being supplicant to the labours of the Goddess, had it’s few advantages.

Time being the most important. Actual time passing back in King City, about 20 minutes.

On the island? One week. It gave her time to go through the labours, time to think things over.

She kept drawing out the structure and shape of the city, the locations that she memorized. Seeing if there was a common pattern, a picture, a route or direction from the explosions.

But there wasn’t.

“Okay TC, you really need to get it together here. Outside view, what would Rory do?” She muttered to herself. “Get drunk, say something witty and insightful, save the day, drink whiskey, dance with fairies, and repeat.”

“Supplicant.” Another patrol approached and TC sighed, she obviously took too long and was behind in her area coverage. Looking back down the beach at the drawings in the sand, some where already being erased from the incoming tide.

“Captains.” TC nodded then looked guiltily to the drawing.

“There are things on your mind. Which distract you from your duties. The green one that fell. This man, of the Heartland protectors-”

The idea snapped in TC’s mind. Protectors. Containing the blast.

“Fairies.” She planted the pike into the sand. “I’m not a little boy.”

The Captains looked to each other, concerned. They knew that some of the Outer Worlds had peculiar ways.

“That was Rory. As a child. Right before he arrived, I was … him. As a boy, playing on the coastline. That smell of sea…” TC looked to them. “Permission to complete the challenge at a later date, I must return to the City. I figured out what the parts of the bomb are. And I can save the Heartland protector.”

The Captains nodded. TC ran off sprinting. Then stopped, ran back to the Captains, saluted, grabbed the pike and then headed to the columned house atop the cliff.

Tales of King City : Boom


“Would you look at that. There is a code for spontaneous entropic mass evaporation and/or intropic mass implosion.” Detective Goodstone blinked then marked the code down on a sticky note.

Detective Ferrero chuckled as he looked up from his underwood typewriter. “Seriously, you didn’t know that one?”

“The code for ‘It just blew up’? Or ‘It just disappeared’?” Goodstone pulled a flat mass of etched brass from the inside of his coat pocket. “Thankfully I did not. In this town, you’d think that would be one of them.”

“It just blew up?” A cute elfin smile leaned over into the aisle. Goodstone recognized the tone of her voice. This week, her hair was aquamarine.

“Vegas. Yeah, It just blew up. This time, the previous times it disappeared. A whole warehouse back on Tuesday.”

She blinked twice, “Wait, then there were two other places late last week. Had info trickle down my network. One was a sub-division that was new outside of town…”

“That’s the one. What do you know?”

She held up her hands, and the shiny handcuffs. “I know that this is an injust-”

“Three hundred and fourty four separate traffic violations, six ignored court summons and I believe one bail violated.” Detective Fererro recalled back. “Hence why I’ve got another 3 hours of paperwork before you can actually sign something.”

“My lawyer will clear this up. Judge Castle is back-”

“In Nantucket.” Goodstone interrupted her. “He’s kicking off a speaking tour for the Judicial system. What it’s like to Judge in a city with Gods/Aliens/Super Villains and still maintain an active sex life in your sixties.”

Vegas blinked at the new information, holding up the handcuffs. “Well, I didn’t know that. I’m a little cut off from my network.”

Ferrerro leaned over and looked to Goodstone. “It’s not going to help her.”

“Not this time.”

“Come on guys. Cut me a break.”

Ferrero looked to her, slid his fedora back a little, and then steepled his hands, pursing his lips. “I can’t do a thing. As the arresting officer.”

“Goodstone, buddy. Help me out here.”

“Well, right now an additional charge of withholding information on an active investigation is pending. But I can give Judge Rogers a good word on how cooperative you were at your hearing. Say Fererro, doesn’t he volunteer time to the Orphans of Another World?”

“I heard that.”

“Yeah, it would be really good if a benefactor would just drop a big donation into their lap. Hypothetically the money could come from… I don’t know. Maybe from proceeds of quasi-legal gambling on sports events. I’m quite sure that I could mention it to Judge Rogers.” Goodstone leaned back in his own chair, put his feet up on his desk, placing his hands across his chest. “Oh well, nice thought. All hypothetical too. I’ve got blowing up buildings with no trace, and you’ve got two hundred and ninety seven forms to get through.”

Vegas looked between the two detectives, in disgust, in amazement, and finally in resignation. “Haven’t you heard of photocopiers?”

“Sorry Vegas, technology barrier. It fritzes out when I come close to it. It’s as close as I’ve ever got to being an actual registered Power.” Ferrero pulled out another sheet of carbon paper. “But you know what that’s like.”

“Killing me here.” Vegas muttered under her breath. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Get me two solid leads in the next 24 hours, make that donation, and I’ll see what Judge Rogers can do for reducing the number of traffic violations.” Goodstone ticked off the items on his fingers.

“This is discrimination. My insights are Registerable.”

“And denied every time Vegas. You are a citizen.” Fererro continued to type on the typewriter. “With a lot of parking tickets. It would just be cheaper for you to buy a pass. Or take the monorail.”

“Goodstone…”

“Twenty four hours, you are deputized and report to me. No betting network, you work on this. Work on it. Call in favors, make new offers, get witness reports I don’t have. The second I see action on the Vegas network concerning even a prediction on what the kiddy’s soccer game is doing, and I swear…” Goodstone stood up, pulled out his keys and walked over to Fererro’s desk. “You won’t be able to make a bet, play a game of odds, on this planet again.”

“So serious?”

“Letter arrived just before you plopped into that chair. Next time, the city will have casualties. City block in size.”

Vegas blinked and then held her hands up, “Hurry.”

Goodstone scanned her ident card, signed the pad, then unlocked the cuffs. She got up and ran from the desk.

Fererro watched her run away. “Thanks, that was going to kill me if she didn’t take that bait. You’ve been taking bastard lessons, haven’t you?”

“Yep. Can’t believe she bought into that.”

“Judge Castle? Or the letter?”

“Both.”

“One of them I lied to her.” Goodstone looked to Ferrero. “Keep processing those forms. And if you’ve heard anything from the Golden network, let me know.”

“Wait. Castle goes on his tour next month-”

Goodstone held up an envelope. “Yeah.”

“Expletive.” Ferrerro picked up the rotary phone. “Exchange Four Fourty Three, get me the Golden network. Any of the crew missing or received new challenges, let us know. We’ve got buildings blowing up and lives are on the line.”

Goodstone looked to the bundle of brass that unfolded, seemingly random chopstick form over chopstick form until gears emerged. The small humanoid robot shuddered into form, then crawled up the Detectives arm. The warm brass form tapped twice on the man’s shoulder.

There, there.

“Yeah, wish both were lies. Okay Gears, let’s hit the street.”