Picking Up The Pieces, Part 8: Party Time

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(August 18th, 2008)

Amber and Lucky's living room was crowded; Amber and Wave were sitting on the couch, with Nadia carefully perched on one arm, Jim and Danielle had taken the available chairs, and Lucky had grabbed a third chair from the kitchen. Even Ash was in attendance, in the guise of a potted plant in the corner; he was being quiet, as usual, but seemed to be enjoying himself.

Jim grinned, tipping the brim of his hat. “Victory pescht. I could get used to this.”

“Victory and a welcome back.” Nadia grinned. “Although, shouldn't we be cooking for you? After all, you're just back from medical leave.”

Danielle made a face, scrunching into her chair. “Oh, god, don't remind me. 'Agent Moonbeam, you can't go back to work yet, you're not healed.' 'Agent Moonbeam, you can't eat just anything while you're healing.' 'Agent Moonbeam, please put down the beer.' 'Agent Moonbeam, please put down the doctor.'”

Everyone in the room turned to look at her, and five minds went through the steps of imagining Moonbeam successfully lifting anyone and holding them off the ground. Lucky broke the silence. “Must have been a short doctor.”

“He was a Zilanan.” Everyone nodded sagely; the image of Moonbeam holding up a two-foot-tall shelled alien was easier to picture. “Anyway, I hardly lifted him at all.” Danielle muttered the last under her breath, and Amber quickly changed the subject.

“Whatever the reason, I hear that you're both staying here for the time being.”

“That we are.” Wave grinned widely. “Command seems to think that this is a hotspot for activity – Antiheroes, Rex Mundi, you name it. If some revenge-driven folks invade, or if Mundi tries some new trick, you probably won't mind having us around.”

“What makes you think that I mind now?”

“Point.” Wave and Amber shared a smile, as the others grinned. Jim cut in.

“Anyway, where else would we get this lovely cuisine?”

“You're too generous. It's alright, but it's not my best.”

“Are you kidding? It's perfect. The Sayleen themselves couldn't make it better.” Jim smiled widely, taking another big bite. Nadia suppressed a sigh, nibbling at her own food before taking a quiet bite of pork from the side.

“Anyway, good job dealing with that zombie thing. We were starting to think that you guys were in trouble.” Danielle quirked a smile at the identical groans that crossed the Champions' faces.

“If I might ask, Timebender, how did you defeat Cold Casey?” Ash spoke up unexpectedly, a pair of robotic eyes shimmering into existance on the shrub. “I observed the battle, but was unable to properly understand your strategem. Are you capable of altering the speed of different systems within a being simultaneously?”

“Not exactly, Ash. Most of Ecchs's robots don't actually have any sort of determination – that's more or less impossible to deliberately develop. Because of that, they don't have psychic fields, so they aren't one thing. They're just a bunch of things that happen to interelate.”

Ash paused thoughtfully. “I see. So Casey had no innate resistance to alternating modification.”

“Pretty much.” Amber leaned back in her seat. “Once he got tilted, that was that.”

“Well, enough business. Here's to a general great success, folks.” Lucky raised his glass, and the others echoed him.

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