Tear The World Apart, Part 2: In The Lion's Den

(May 28, 2008)
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“I don't see why me coming back means we have to tell the mayor in person.”

Four people strolled down the halls of the Patchwork City Hall. To a newcomer to town, there wouldn't be any reason to look at them twice, except maybe to wonder why one of them was wearing a red bandanna, generally considered an odd fashion choice for 2008. Their clothes were casual but respectable, they weren't particularly strange-looking. Despite this, however, everyone they passed on the street paused to give them a cheerful wave or a thumbs-up.

None of the four were very surprised, though. The Patchwork Champions, as the city's resident defenders, were used to being treated as minor celebrities - and generally glad that it stopped there. And today, they were too cheerful to even think about it. For the first time in over a year, the team was united once again. Lucky was back.

And grumbling.

Amber Smith - known to the superhuman community as Timebender - grinned mischeviously at Lucky's dour expression. “It's pretty much standard, Lucky. You know that.”

“I could submit a timecard. The mayor loves timecards.”

“Don't you dare.” Nadia Tyler, aka the Mayfly, shook a finger reprovingly at Lucky. “You have no idea how hard it was to get him to stop trying to make us submit timecards for each battle with Doctor Ecchs.” Lucky raised an eyebrow, and she nodded earnestly. “Really hard. Really, really hard. Jim, back me up, here.”

“It was very hard.” Jim Carpenter, the Handyman, nodded in support. “He could try again if you bring it up.”

“Fine, no timecards.” Lucky sighed heavily. “You know, as much as I like seeing you guys, I don't care to deal with him. While I was traveling, I went to cities where the local politicians weren't just corrupt jackasses.”

“Pipe dreams, Lucky.” Amber grinned, and Lucky rolled his eyes. “Anyway, the Mayor'll be glad to have you back. He might grump about costs, but I think he likes you.”

“Yeah, right.” Shaking his head, Lucky walked like a man condemned for a few silent moments, then brightened. “There's other people I need to tell I'm back, though. Maybe I'll go stop by Josh's house. We can see the mayor some other…”

“Josh is fine, and you'll see him all the time. The mayor wants to see us now. Move.” Amber grabbed Lucky's right arm and all but dragged him forwards. Nadia and Jim followed, exchanged amused glances. Nadia stepped up to Lucky's left, speaking conversationally.

“Oh yeah, I forgot you and he were friends. How did that happen, anyway?”

“Oh, he tried to join our team a few years back, and I sort of stayed in touch with him.” Lucky shrugged easily. “How's he doing, anyway?”

“Pretty good.” Nadia strolled forwards innocently. “Joined Malefico a few months ago.”

Lucky stumbled to a halt, only to start moving again at Amber's insistant tugging. “What?! How the hell did that happen?”

“Not sure, really. There was a time displacement thingie involved. You'd have to ask him. Probably still can - I mean, you're friends with half of Malefico anyway.”

“Oh, it's a quarter at best.” Lucky waved the comment away. “Amber, slow down! I don't have superspeed.”

“Not using superspeed. I could, if you'd like.” Amber gave Lucky a mock-stern look, continuing without slowing.

“Geez, what else did I miss?” Lucky shook his head slowly, still thinking about Josh.

“Your evil twin came back from the dead.” Nadia tried to hide her grin, but Lucky just shrugged.

“Yeah, I know about that. The SEA told me - plus, I met him last month.”

“Aww, you're no fun.” Nadia pouted for a moment, and Jim stepped into the pause.

“Psiborg attacked, although you probably know that, it made it onto the news. Ada Byron joined Malefico, so there have been a lot more zombies lately. Dr. Ecchs thought he was perfect for a while.”


“April.” Lucky nodded, and Jim continued. “And a few personal things came up.” When Lucky raised an eyebrow, he glanced around the hallway. Although it was presently empty, Lucky got the point.

“Right. I'll ask again later.” He looked ahead to the end of the hall, where a receptionist's desk sat in front of a large door. “When did the mayor put in…?”

“Three months ago. He thought he deserved a secretary's desk outside his office.” Amber rolled her eyes at the memory.

“Ok. That makes some sense.” Lucky paused. “I don't see a secretary.”

“Oh, there isn't one.” Nadia grinned, and Amber sighed heavily. Lucky looked around at his three friends.

“Is someone going to explain?”

“He wouldn't pay more than minimum wage, and the only applicant that he approved of quit after a week.” The last word was delivered with a choked chortle, as Nadia tried to hold in her laughter. After a moment, Lucky laughed and shook his head.

“Same old Patchwork City. I really missed this place.” Taking a deep breath, he squared his shoulders and looked at the doors. “Alright. Let's go beard the lion in his den.”

“Drama king.” Trying to hide her smile, Amber looked over at him as she spoke. Lucky shrugged.

“A life lived without performance is barely a life at all. If I may steal your line, Amber… let's do this.”

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