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You See Me Don't You

Suki was knee deep in shit. 

She trudged forward down the sewer tunnel. Godhammer in her arms, lighting the way like a torch. She was looking at the walls, following the trail like Hansel and Gretel. 

Click. Click. Click. 

"Yes," Suki replied. "It does stink down here." 


"Hopefully shortly," she answered.

She came up to a T-junction and studied the walls. She heard the splashing coming down the left tunnel. 

Click. Click. 

"I know," she whispered. "If it is though, I'm ready."

23rd Century Party People

Today's meeting was in a conference room in a downtown hotel. The Professor had a laptop set-up at the head of the table. Beside it there was another one of his strange devices - wires and winking lights and whirring parts. No one had asked the rumpled old man what these objects were for; there had been too many bizarre answers to other simple questions already. 

"Why isn't Susannah here?" Donnelly asked.

"It turns out that she's not a part of this. Not exactly." Things had continued to cohere, to synchronize, since everyone had been gathered. Or reunited. Some memories had become clear, while others were still cloudy, and others still pitch black. At each meeting the Professor had new files that he had compiled from whatever mysterious sources he had. A picture had started to emerge, but it was one of wavering lines and shifting colours and impossible angles, like a Cubist painting.

"Where is she then?" Riveta asked.

"I don't have the ability to remove her from this thread; it's not part of what I do. But I have made arrangements for her to be kept safe."

Scorpio studied the newest folder intently. LEGACY was mentioned a few more times in some documents, but there was still no record of him being in contact with Greg Logollos. Each night Scorpio thought about trying to contact Greg. He hadn't yet.

Stone resisted the urge to question the Professor, to ask what guarantees he could provide that Susannah was safe. He knew that there were none. From all the sci-fi technology, mutant attack dogs, and psychedelic metaphyiscs it was obvious to Stone that there weren't any certainties anymore. His training as a detective told him to keep asking, to keep digging, keep trying to solve the mystery of it all. His training as a soldier told him to keep quiet and follow orders.

Riveta seemed to be dealing with it all fairly well. Maybe because she had been in contact with the Professor the longest. It was almost as if she had somehow learned something from undergoing all this weirdness. Stone was so glad to have her back. He knew that they could get through anything together.

"So what's next then?" Mayganne asked.

Donnelly looked at the teenager he knew from his school. She had always been a quiet girl, shy, a little gloomy. Now she came to the meetings smiling and eager. School had never seemed a good fit for Mayganne, but this - whatever it was - had opened something up inside her. Donnelly knew that he still had to have a stern talk with her about breaking into that bank, but for now he was using her enthusiasm as a way to stay grounded amidst the chaos. He had wondered a lot lately about starting to pray again...

"Well," the Professor said, tapping some keys on the laptop and glancing at the device. "What's next is that we're going to try and change the world. Or one of them anyway."


"It was stupid," Simon said. "I wasn't hungry, but I ate the whole thing. The whole bowl. I just kept eating and eating. And I was so stuffed. felt like crap." 

"Compulsive behaviour," Susan said.

"It's been like that with everything. Talking with my co-workers. Watching movies. I'm doing all these things but I don't know why. I don't feel good. About anything."

"Go on," Susan prompted.

"I tried writing about it, in a journal. Like you suggested. But... well, it hurt. Does that make sense? It hurt to try and put it into words. Felt so rough and jagged... I feel tired all the time. Plus I'm out of shape. I can't get motivated."

"You tend to be hard on yourself," Susan observed.

"Yeah, but when I hear stuff like that... I feel I'm not being hard enough. I'm not being the person I'm supposed to be."

"What about the person you want to be?"

"I don't know. I sleep odd hours. Go to the office. Put some time in the field. The cases I'm on don't feel like they matter. Any agent could do them, and it won't really matter either way if they ever get closed."

"What do you think you need, Simon?" she asked.

"You know I hate that. The whole 'getting your needs met' angle. Like we're these mechanical processes of exchange. Treating our feelings like an economy."

Simon sighed. They were silent for a while. 

When you feel like there is something wrong, how do you know if it's the world that's wrong or if it's you? How do you know what to change? 

"I feel like I should go home," Simon said. "But I know that when I get there I'll feel like I need to go out. Then I'll end up going out to the coffee shop. And when I get there I'll feel like I need to go home."

Who is Watching the Watched

3:55am. Subject awakes with nosebleed. Subject goes into the bathroom and washes up. Subject then proceeds to study face in mirror for 3:17 minutes. Subject looks into self's eyes and then heads back to sleep.

5:59am. Subject awakes before alarm clock. Subject reaches over and shuts it off before it has a chance to turn on. Subject proceeds in daily ritual of preparations.

6:17am. Subject's cellphone rings. Subject picks it up and answers (recorded static bursts. have technicians see if they can hear anything at all). Subject hangs up phone and proceeds to head out door. Subject picks up phone and calls work tells them illness is a factor. Subject proceeds to leave.

6:45am. After subject leaves home. Subject walks a few blocks and heads for a coffee shop; Good Tomes. (research owners of establishment. check connections). Subject has a coffee and is chatting with a girl (received static on hand held mic). Interference bursters in effect. Subject definitely has been targeted.


Alison Meets With Simon Part Three

Her cell phone rang. Simon suddenly felt panicked.

"Don't answer that," he said.

She had fished it out of her purse, beside her on the bench in the park.

"Why not?" she asked as she checked the screen. "It's just my mom."

She raised the phone to her ear. Simon almost grabbed her arm. His eyes wide, fear exploding in his chest.

"Hi mom."

A white van stopped on the street bordering the park.

"Alison," he said harshly. "We have to go." He stood up, reached for her.

She gestured to give her a second. "Yeah mom, Thursday is still good for me."

The window of the van rolled down and the rifle barrel emerged.

"Four o'clock," Alison said.

Simon stepped away, trying to put distance between them, to keep her safe, and realized too late, the knowledge crashing like thunder through him. He wasn't the target.

"K mom, see you then."

He reversed his momentum, shifting to throw himself on her. To cover her, hold her, save her. Too late.

The blood erupted from her head. The gunshot crashed like thunder through the park. He landed on her and tackled her off the bench. Her blood splattered across his face.

Too late.

Alison Meets With Simon Part Two

Alison and Simon used to go driving for long drives all the time. They would talk about all sorts of things - movies, history, politics. They would listen to music. He had hesitated when she asked him today. Made a few feeble excuses. She pushed. 

They were on a back road. Trees and farms and fields.

"You know, I used to think you were psychic," she said.

He smiled. "Really? That's... weird."

"You were a weird guy. Not psychic like on the talk shows. But you had these insights. These really neat takes on things. People and situations."

"Hm." Simon stared at the window.

"You don't seem angry," she said. "You seem sad."

"Both I guess, back and forth."

"Like before."

"But different."

They drove. Alison had a Blue Rodeo cd playing quietly.

"Sometimes," Simon said, "it feels like every case I get assigned to is the same case."

"How do you mean? It gets repetitive?"

"Yeah, but it's not only that. I mean it feels like there's really just one big case and every assignment I get is sortof one facet of it."

Alison wished she could ask more questions about the work Simon did. About the details. And part of her was glad she didn't have to know.

"That one last month seemed to take a lot out of you," she said, trying to support him from outside the walls.

His brow furrowed. "Which one?"

"That last big one. Whatever it was about, well, you sounded on the phone like you were on the edge. Like it was maxing you out."

Simon looked at her. "I don't remember."

Alison Meets With Simon Part One

Alison sat down. "I hope you weren't waiting long."

Simon shrugged. "I came pretty early."

"How long have you been here?" They had agreed to meet at the coffeeshop after the morning rush.

"Well... All night."

Alison sighed. "You're not sleeping again."

Simon sipped his coffee. "Yeah."

"Can you tell me what's going on?"

He looked around awkwardly. "It's... It's like before. I guess. Different though, too."

"I'm sorry, Simon. Do you know... I mean..." She struggled to find the right words, to be concerned, gentle, but persistent enough, otherwise she wouldn't reach him.

"It's frustrating," he said. "Things have been going so well." She was equally relieved and disturbed by his willingness to respond.

"How's the work?" she asked. Sipped her coffee.

"I don't know... It feels like a job. Everything's been about the office, about politics. About policies and paperwork. I've forgotten what the actual work is supposed to be about, I think."

"What's changed?"

"Some positions in management have shuffled around. I don't know. I don't think it's just me. Everyone seems disillusioned there right now."

"Are you upset you didn't get that other job?"

Simon shook his head. "I'm glad, I think. Given how I'm feeling, it probably wouldn't have been a good fit."

Alison fixed him with a look. "And how are you feeling?"

He didn't avoid the question, or deflect it. His answer surprised her.


"How come? At what?" Simon was always pretty laid back. She knew that the field he worked in was stressful; she had seen him work through burn-out a few times. He'd never been angry before. Or at least he'd never been open about it.

"I don't know. Everything."

She made her voice soften. "Are you feeling lost?"

"No," Simon said. "I feel found. And it feels wrong."


Shadows Full of Light

"Jebus!" Goner said shockingly, making Frank jump up suddenly. His heart picked up the pace a few notches. 

Finally some excitement. 

"What is it?" Frank asked. He came running out of the car, his hands went into his jacket and onto the pistols that were holstered there. Waiting for a chance to sing again.

"I think I saw Suki!" Goner said as came back excitedly. He had been standing by the exit. It was like a view screen on a wall; no matter what they had done they just couldn't step through it. But it was like the same thing with the vendors and the newspaper; each and every morning the view would show a different location.

"Suki!" Frank said. It could be a sign of cabin fever. "Did she see you?"

"No. Just when I was staring out the exit and looking at the faces going by, I could have sworn I saw Suki. But she looked older!"

Then the subway car hissed for the first time in what appeared to be a long while.


Suki passed by an entrance to the subway and had a flash of nostalgia for her childhood. Old friends, strange places. No time for it now.

She stayed on the road-side of the sidewalk, so no one could pull her into a doorway or alley, or in case she needed to rush out into traffic to create confusion. Of course, whatever was hunting her could be invisible and ready to impale her any moment without warning. Hazards of the job. She had missed it. It felt different from when she was that schoolgirl - it was heavier and coloured with sadness now -  but it still had that pulse.

Click. Click. Click.

"I know, I know," she whispered under her breath. That pulse is what had got her in this trouble. All these ambushes, all these strange attacks, and she met each one head on, Godhammer blazing. Just like the old days. Hide and seek with enemy agents, fatal games of tag with spooky beasts, Hong Kong cinema gunfights with mooks and Big Bads.

All thrilling and exhilarating and full of act-three, near-death goodness. And each one had kept her distracted from the real plot. Had kept her isolated. She was being set-up, sidelined. She was stuck in the lobby and the main show had already started.

Same Time Same Page

The Professor circled the table, handing out the file folders. 

"Hopefully some of the materials in these will start to generate trans-version connections," he said. "And you will all start to remember what happened." 

Riveta began scanning the contents of her folder right away. Police reports from some recent investigations she didn't remember undertaking. Photos of a diner that looked familiar. A picture of a man who she didn't recognize, but who had the saddest looking eyes she had ever seen. 

Stone sat beside her; he hadn't been more than a few feet from her since the night on the street, when he had found her again. When the impossible had started to happen. Except the impossible had started to happen some time ago, he was realizing now, as memories of certain crime scenes started to return.  

"Who is this man?" Donnelly asked. He held up his own copy of the photo Riveta was looking at.  

Mayganne studied her copy. "He looks familiar, sorta..."

The Professor had taken a seat at the head of the table. "His name is Simon Light. He is very important. Hopefully, you will be meeting him - again - very soon."
Scorpio tried to keep his breathing steady, trying one of the meditation techniques he was slowly starting to remember. Among the copies of police reports and photographs inside his folder, there were memos and press releases from the LEGACY Corporation. Many were signed by Greg Logollos. He glanced at the Professor... Did he know that Greg had been in contact with Scorpio? Recently? Or did they know each other already from before? It made Scorpio feel nervous, trapped. He wasn't sure who or what to trust.
Susanna stopped at a picture of an older woman holding a young girl on her lap. The older woman was holding a tattered pom-pom. The little girl was smiling.
The Professor spoke up. "Shortly I will be asking each of you to begin making notes on what the files mean to you, what you recognize, how they make you feel. My own picture of what happened is far from complete."
Stone looked at Riveta and smiled. He didn't care how weird all this was. She was alive.
"What we need to focus on right away," the Professor continued, "is the very grave threat facing each of you, and some other people who you may or may not know. Indeed, the very Metaplex itself is in danger."
"The meta-huh?" Mayganne asked.
"A threat from what?" Donnelly cut in.
The Professor adjusted his glasses.
"A man named Morganfokker."


We Will Throck You

Simon awoke on the floor of his apartment. His phone was ringing but he never got up to answer it. His head swimming, buzzing with information or it could be the tequila. Was he drinking last night, he couldn't remember. Heck he couldn't remember what day it was. He lifted up his head and glanced around, trying to regain focus on the task at hand. His head still swimming, as if he was seeing through his eyes but from a distance. If that made any sense at all, he thought.

His cellphone rang this time. He made to move to answer it. His mind and his body ached and all he wanted to do was sleep now.

Homer sleep now.

He chuckled at that thought. A reference to a roughly drawn animated series had snapped him out of his sluggish state and he reached for the cellphone.

Chaos Splatter

Suki swung around with the butt of the gun, smashing into someone's face. She could feel the nose turning into mush and hear a bone-jarring crunch from the impact. It meant that she was ticked off at the moment. She broke away from her falling assailant's grip and spun around, kicking up her leg straight into the groin of the other fellow. The kick was with such power and ferocity that the recipient would be singing soprano for a long, long time.

Two done. Only forty four more to go.

It was going to be one of those days.

The Great Convergence

Milton stood in the line outside the theatre. He didn't usually go to see plays, but after his meeting with Greg today he felt that things were changing in his life. That he was going to get a chance to become the man he always wanted to be. And he had always imagined himself reading literature and seeing plays. So he had a plastic bag from Good Tomes with copies of Shakespeare and Faulkner inside, and he was waiting to buy his ticket to a local company's production of an original work called Constellations. It seemed fitting somehow. Scorpio was becoming real.

Across the street Susanna checked her watch again. Riveta scanned the traffic walking and driving past.
"He was always really prompt at school," Susanna said.
"Relax," Riveta said, but there was edge to her voice.
As Mayganne rounded the corner she chuckled as she realized that all those uptight and closed-minded groups intent on policing society's morality were right. Playing videogames had led her to a life of crime. Immersing herself in the sci-fantastic world of Citadel she had started believing herself to be a version of the young rogue-adventurer Maus. She knew it wasn't real exactly, she wasn't delusional... But she had started to feel that if she started to think and act and behave like Maus, then in some sort of strange, maybe magical way, she would become her. And that's when the shoplifting started. And when she started picking fights with the bullies at school. Some bloodied lips and pockets full of useless crap later, she felt it taking hold. And so tonight it had been a full-scale break-in. Complete with black clothes and some tools in a satchel.
Susanna wrapped her arms about herself. She was shivering. Maybe since the attack last night at the store. She hadn't been home since. Hadn't called her family or friends or even work to explain why she had run off and left the store a disaster. How could she? 

"You'll explain everything when he gets here, right?" she asked the woman who had saved her and damned her at the same time.
Riveta glanced at her cell phone. "I'm hoping someone will..."
The line started to move. Milton took a deep breath of the mild spring air. He imagined himself as the man that he was sure he was going to become, working with Greg Logollos. Imagined being here at the theatre not to simply watch a play, but to meet with an important contact. Imagined being able to read the intentions of those in line by their postures and body language. Scanning the people passing by for movements that hinted at martial arts training or concealed weapons. That girl over there, in the black clothes, half-running, looking nervous, surely she was up to something dangerous, he imagined.

Mayganne had broken the window, the alarm sounding immediately, had smashed some furniture, the whole time being filmed by the security cameras. It was the type of brash and risky strike that Maus would make against an enemy stronghold. The bank was a kind of enemy, she figured. So she was like Maus, but at the same time she knew that she wasn't. She knew that Maus would escape in the Nexus Wave with her sister Kitty and the noble Serisia, with Vlad the celestial barbarian and the mysterious warrior Chem Finder - who she had a crush on. While Mayganne would no doubt be caught by the police. Which is really what she wanted. 

She had stood there, shouting at the cameras, "Make me Maus or make me Mayganne!" Because if she couldn't really be Maus, if this world wouldn't allow it, then she was done with this world. They could lock her away.
"No way," Detective Musharef said as he drove through the intersection. "Tell me, is that not the suspect they just put the bulletin out on?" He pointed up the block.
Stone peered ahead. His eyesight was sometimes tricky in the evening, with the city lights kalidescoping around him. "Could be..."
"Susanna!" Mr. Donnelly called from the opposite side of the street. He glanced right and left and braved the traffic.
Riveta slid a hand to the pistol under her jacket; she wasn't sure what to expect from this meeting.
Susanna hugged her former principal tightly, so relieved to see a familiar face. "What's the matter?" he asked her. "You sounded nervous on the message..."
"I'm pulling over," Musharef said. "That's definitely her. Look how freaked out she is. What did they say she answered to?"
"Mayganne?" Donnelly exclaimed as he saw his student jogging past them. She slowed and looked surprised to see him.
Milton saw the suspicious girl stopping by the man and two women. He imagined that the one woman's hand was tucked inside her jacket to be ready to draw a gun.
Musharef slid out of the car, assessing the group that the suspect had stopped by. Stone eased himself out of the passenger seat.
Donnelly looked confused. "What's going on? Who are you?" he asked the serious-looking woman standing beside his former teacher.
Stone's eyes widened. He felt like his heart stopped. "Riveta?"
Then Riveta's cell phone rang. And Donnelly's cell phone rang. And Mayganne's rang. And Stone's. And Scorpio's cell phone rang.

Drama Pauses

For the past three days Alice had been feeling uneasy. She felt like she was being stalked or watched but she couldn't see anyone at all. She went about her work at the diner, always keeping an eye around her. She couldn't shake that feeling, like the hairs on the back of your neck sensing that someone is watching you.

Kelly's Diner was busy as the lunchtime crowd were beginning to show up. There were four of them on duty at this moment and the cook in the back was rockin' out to the beat, the radio blasting away as he prepared today's special. Alice began refilling the coffee but the urn was empty. She had a little trouble opening the coffee bag and ended up ripping it in half, spilling coffee onto the floor. A couple of the lads at the counter began to clap.

"You okay, Alice?" asked Connie. Connie had been working here for the past year. "You seem out of it today."

"Yeah," Alice replied as she picked up the broom and a dust pan. 

"Just tired I guess."

"Me too," Connie replied. "I couldn't get to sleep last night. You ever have one of those recurring dreams?"

Alice paused for a moment. Something that Connie said made her think. She realized that for the past week now she wasn't having any dreams. None at all, and that was funny since most everyone can remember little aspects of their dreams.



Frank placed the comic book down and stood up. He stretched to work out the kinks in his body before he walked over to the food dispenser. He slid a bill into a slot and pushed a button. Frank watched as the turkey sandwich was shoved forward and dropped into a little slot. His stomach grumbled a bit in anticipation of food.

Frank didn't know where the food came from nor did he care. The vendors magically restocked each and every morning. He went over to the coffee machine and pressed the double-cream double-sugar button and a styrofoam cup with a happy face appeared and the liquid poured out. He waited until the last drip before he took the coffee.

"Pretty neat huh?" Angst said. "All this stuff being here for us. As if someone was looking out for us."

Angst had stepped from the subway car and wandered over to the newspaper dispenser; she slipped a coin into the slot and picked out the paper. Today it was the USA Today magazine, yesterday it was Little Feat Chronicle, the day before that the LA Post. Like everything else at 5:59am they renewed.

"Well, at least this coffee is better," Frank said after taking a sip. The coffee was indeed one of the better brands he had tasted in the morning. "That's a bonus."

Angst chuckled a little, though she felt like she was trapped. As if they were on display, like a snow globe on a desk.

"You ever wonder why we stopped here?" Angst asked. She knew the question was a moot point but she wanted conversation. "It's got to be a while now, sitting around and waiting for something to happen. Waiting for an exit to open so we can move on with our merry lives."

"It's day 68 now," Frank said. "We've been caught between shifts like a missing sock in our dryer. But, according to the newspaper it's always the same day over and over again."

Trouble with CCGs

Something about the sun was wrong. He just didn't know what it was but there was something there, itching at the back of his mind that there was something amiss. He didn't have a clue what it was yet, but he hoped to find out soon enough. He closed the curtain to his office and then sat down at his desk, about to go through some of the official school business.

"Mr. Donnelly," his secretary chimed in. "Your ten o'clock is here."

"The Petersons?" he inquired.  It was a good day to start off a morning by explaining to some parents why their son was being  suspended for three weeks.

"Yes sir."

"Just give me two minutes to finish up in here and send them in." Donnelly began to scan through the reports on his desk and to tidy up. Suddenly a card fell out of some papers. He had confiscated Randy Allens' cards earlier that morning since they were playing a game when he should have been learning. Donnelly picked up the one card and looked at it: Max Cube - Interdimensional Being the back of the card stated. He was trying to remember that name, though he chalked it up to what he had overheard.

His eyes widened in shock as he flipped the card over to see a priest standing there holding a gun in one hand and a bible in the other. 

The face of the priest looked like him.

The caption was Father Fury. Kicking Ass For The Holy Trio.

Under a Gaelic Moon

Underneath the starry sky Mayganne lay, her hands behind her head looking up at the distant twinkle of other suns. She always liked this time of the night, just so that it was dark and the city itself wasn't sleeping, just quiet at the moment. It was springtime in the city and the night was still cool; she lay on the roof of her apartment and had her digital audio player playing some podcast songs.

The past several days felt strange and weird; it was like seeing something through your eyes but from a distance. It was hard for her to explain it to her mother, brother, or Mr. Donnelly. She had a burst of anxiety the other day at school when she thought she saw a huge black dog patrolling around the school. A sense of dread filled her, she figured it was a Hound Of Ill Omen. Mr. Donnelly rushed out and scared it away as he called animal control from his cellphone. 
Things are becoming weird.

Too weird. Still, here at night on the rooftop she cleansed her mind of the past few days' events and looked absently at the stars, remembering weird vague dreams. And she was getting to that final level of the video game that she had usurped from her brother. It was cool and she was glad that she had stumbled upon it. She liked Maus. Somehow she identified with that pixelated character and the storyline as it unfolded.

I'm becoming a gamer.

She sat bolt upright as she heard the howl of a wolf...



The blood from the cuts along Maggie's arms and back soaked into the clean white robe. She ascended the steps, through the smoky air of the temple. Howls and drums and screams and chants and laughter made music in the dark, twisting tunnels that branched off of the hidden chamber.

Crow looked down at her from the altar.

Maggie's eyes were cold and fierce, then suddenly sharp and playful. Crow saw the candlelight reflect silver in the blood dripping on the steps.

"You have faerie blood in you," Crow said with mild surprise.

"You're not accusing me of being a vampire are you?" Maggie asked with a smirk.

Crow's look became serious. "The bell is sounding One, I can hear it. It's time. To begin again."

Maggie nodded. Her voice dropped to a whisper. "I've done this before."

Crow looked at her with sadness. Maggie wondered what Crow knew about her, and what secrets Crow knew about Max... But that would only lead her to doubt and worry. Turn the stone of the stairs to sand.

Crow spoke. "And likely you will come here again, though it will look and smell and taste different. And hurt the same."

Maggie remembered the time this place was that weird sci-fi womb in the Professor's Study. It had felt like forever when she was inside, and now it felt like forever since she had escaped. The Professor had had coffee waiting for her.

"Each time," she said to Crow, "I've gotten a gift."

Crow nodded. Maggie couldn't easily make out Crow's features in the shifting light of the temple. A young woman. Hair blond then dark. Then older, with long blond curls spilling down her shoulders and back. Then younger again, dark hair short. Eyes playful then wise, innocent then cynical. Sometimes Maggie could see her wings, other times it looked as if fire raged around her. Maggie remembered the wings that once sprouted from her back, or that would one day, that had or would, white or soaked red with blood.

The gift that Crow gave her was one she already knew, had used for years, had lost and found a dozen times in a hundred worlds. But Maggie understood that this place, here and now, was where she first got it. That this was when it was first given to her. And so she recognized it, and welcomed its return like an old, trusted friend, even as her eyes widened in surprise, seeing it newly, for the first time, discovering it, having won it finally. Knowing she would lose it again and find it again. Knowing now where and when it came from, here at this beginning. Here in Death, here in haunted solitude.

From one of his messengers, one of his lessons to her, another gift and a curse too - did Crow belong to him or he to Crow? She imagined finding him again one day and having that answer for him. But she could never do that to him.

Maggie took a breath. The smoke in the air stung her open wounds. Each trickle of blood felt like an ocean. And she knew that they would heal and be never more.

She wondered if Crow had somehow been here each time before. It was easy for Maggie to hate her, for what she knew, for what she had done. Maggie didn't like easy so much. So she had started trying to learn how to forgive Crow and to love her. Maybe that's why she was here again, or maybe this needed to happen. Maybe Crow was making it easier, maybe harder.

Maggie took a breath. She remembered Max warning her about avoiding certain frequencies of thought - only Max would call them that - warning her that they were where the transmissions from the Lab lived. That you could get trapped there. Maggie wondered again what exactly Crow knew about -

She took a breath. All that in the moment that Crow handed her the gift. And it started to shine. Absorbing the candlelight. Becoming bright.

And Maggie's robe was white, her wounds were healed. Her wings spread. Her memories and thoughts were still.

She took hold of her katana.

Convergence Three

Milton checked the figures on his sheet and rolled the dice.

"Got it," he said excitedly.

Ayanami nodded from the head of the table, checked her notes. She brushed her blue bangs out of her eyes and fixed Milton with a dramatic stare. "So Scorpio takes the shot and the bullet punctures the panel. Sparks fly... And the steel doors slide open. Everyone make one final health check as the toxins evacuate the chamber."

Shinji made his, as did Milton - and good thing because he was almost out - but Asuka failed hers.

Ayanami continued. "So Aries and Scorpio stay conscious, but you guys still have the action penalty. Gemini passes out."

"I start CPR," Shinji said, rolling the dice. "Got a seventeen."

"I try and keep aim on the doorway," Milton said.

"Alright, Gemini, you get another health check now, at +3 thanks to Aries. And Scorpio, your vision is still a little blurry, but you can make out one of the genetically modified security dogs creeping slowly down the hall. It snarls at you." As Ayanami described the scene, she also passed Milton a note, private character info the other players couldn't hear.

The note said: Scorpio hears a faint buzzing sound inside his head and a staticky voice says 'This transmission is coming to you...'

Milton and some of the other morning commuters had gotten to know each other over the months that they had all shared a car to and from work each day. Milton would often retell the events from his Sunday night gaming group to one or more of the regular train passengers, if he felt that they were in the mood to hear it. He knew they humoured him a lot, and thought him geeky, but they also seemed to enjoy hearing about the ongoing adventures of The Zodiac Squad. 

Of course, they had no idea that Milton's gaming group didn't actually exist - that it was something he imagined every night as he fell asleep. A wish-fulfillment fantasy where he played a Role-Playing Game with the characters from the anime Neon Genesis Evangelion. Sometimes he would imagine Ayanami or Asuka going home with him afterwards, but mostly he imagined the gaming sessions. He knew it was strange to imagine pretending to be Scorpio instead of imagining actually being Scorpio, but for some reason he couldn't do it. He had this almost superstitious idea that if he started imagining being Scorpio rather than wanting to be him, that he would somehow never actually become Scorpio in real life.

So every Monday morning during the commute by train into the city, Milton Reddings told his made-up stories about made-up stories. Except the bits about sleeping with cartoon characters.
And this Monday morning one of his regular audience members said, "You know Milton, we could always use a guy like you at the company. If you ever get tired of your current job, that is." He handed Milton his business card.

"Thanks Greg," Milton said. He didn't exactly know what it was that Greg did for a living, but he seemed happy and well-paid. 

Milton looked at the card. All it said, above the phone number and the name Greg Logollos, was LEGACY.

The Space Between

Frank sat on the bench on the platform; he was in the middle of a Dirk Pitt adventure when Goner plumped down beside him.

"Damn this is weird," Goner said.

Frank chuckled because weirdness was all part of the package.

"Getting bored are we?"

"We've been here for days it seems. The train hasn't moved and there is no freakin' exits here."

Frank had thought about that but he really didn't have an explanation at all, but something was definitely wrong. He was way past the point of worrying. He now knew how Neo felt in Matrix Revolutions where he was locked between worlds. If he got a chance he would hunt up that movie and watch it again.

"Don't you find this uncomforting?" Goner asked. "I have a strange feeling as if someone has pissed off the DM."

That's when Frank laughed out loud whole-heartily.


Convergence Two

Detective Musharef offered to drive. Stone let him. He was a nice enough guy; Stone wanted to try and make this work.

They talked as they headed towards the crime scene. Musharef had just had a short story published in a magazine. He was about to test for his 2nd Degree black belt in Taekwondo. He volunteered at a local children's theatre company. It wasn't that he was bragging, only that wherever Stone tried to take the conversation, Musharef had an achievement waiting there. He offered them up humbly, as casual points of interest, not badges of honor. All that and the Lt. had said he was a great cop too.

Stone thought about Colleen, about his tour of duty. Thought about his therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Thought about his therapy after Riveta... Thought about Riveta. Wondered where everything had gone. Not gone wrong, or gone right. Just gone.

And he thought about that message on his answering machine. Just as Musharef started telling a story.

"So my girlfriend calls me and says 'Do you remember that dream I had last night?'. She had had this dream about being bitten by a spider and all these baby spiders growing inside her. Now at this point she didn't know I had been invited by my buddy to see the latest Spiderman movie yet. So she tells me how in the novel she's reading while she's waiting at the pharmacy, there's this character who collects spiders. And right then, this little girl who's there with her mom, says, 'Look mom-' and she holds up this tangled bit of string '-I made a spider!' Weird, huh?"

The same pattern occurring at all levels.

We have to find a way out.

A call came in on the police band. "All units be advised. A suspect has been spotted on foot in the Davis-Brockton area, female, mid-teens, brown skin, black hair, goes by the name Meagan."

"That's where we're headed," Musharef said.

"All units please be advised. A large animal, likely a canine, possibly rabid, has also been reported in that area..."