The Perfect Plan, Part Four: Party Planning

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Amber rapped three times in quick succession on the door of the highrise apartment that her sister lived in, glanced at her watch, and then tapped again. A moment later, it opened, revealing a bleary-eyed, annoyed looking Nina. “Alright already. We don’t all have super-speed, you know.”

“You do have super-speed.” Amber pointed out.

“Please, I can barely top out twenty miles an hour.” Nina snorted. “There are non-powered athletes who can outrun me.” She stepped aside to let her sister past, into the apartment’s living room. Amber glanced around, noting that everything was basically the same as it had been for the last three years – sleek metal surfaces with grey and blue walls, black paintings and strange masks on the walls. Not unlike Nina’s persona. “You want anything to drink? I’ve got beer, juice, water. Coffee.” She paused. “More beer.”

“Trouble with the party planning?” laughed Amber. Nina glared at her.

“If you’ve come to make fun of me on my day off from work, you can just speed yourself right out…” She started.

“Woah, no.” Amber raised her hands defensively. “I know we don’t always get along…” She considered, then added, “Almost never get along. But I’m really here to help. This is a big thing, and I wouldn’t mind that being a wedding present for the doc.”

Nina watched her suspiciously. “Really.”

“Absolutely.” Amber said with a smile.

“There’s no ulterior motives here.”

“None at all.”

“You’re a terrible liar, Amber. You know this.”

Amber winced. “Okay, fine. Maybe a very small ulterior motive – specifically, keeping the bachelorette party from becoming something that the Champions have to foil.”

“Ah-ha!” Nina crowed. “I knew it! I knew you wouldn’t be helping the boss out of the goodness of your heart!”

“If you don’t want my help…”

“No, god no stay.” Nina revised quickly. “Have a seat, and help all you want.”

Amber sat down in a sleek grey chair, glancing over the papers strewn across Nina’s glass table. “Wow, you are having problems if you’re not even going to quibble over who’s helping whom.”

“Yeah, it’s great.” Nina put her head in her hands. “Did you know that Doctor Ecchs has a sister?”

“Doctor Ecchs has a sister?” Amber echoed. When Nina nodded forlornly, she hazarded. “And she’s coming to the party?” Nina nodded again. “And… she doesn’t like fun?” She tried.

“And she’s from England. Like most of the Ecches, the ones that don’t live on the East Coast or down in Malignia or whatever the hell the doc’s second cousin named his pisspot dictatorship.” Nina rubbed her forehead slowly.

“And…?” Amber prompted.

“How many major mad science families are there in England, Amber?” Nina said.

“Well, there’s the Ecches, of course, and the Lovelaces, and…” Amber broke off. “Oh, no.”

“Oh, yes.” Nina nodded. “The Lovelaces.”

“They’re pretty famous.” Amber sat back slowly. “They’ve been in the mad sciences since the 1800s. Lord Malcolm Lovelace even stole the moon, back in ’34.”

“Yep. And as british mad scientists – and nobility to boot – they’ve had clashes with every other bloodline on the planet, just about.” Nina replied. “And one of them is Lady Jasmine Lovelace, who once wired Sylvia Ecchs’s dormouse death legion to go haywire, ruining her lair.” She ran her fingers through her hair. “Lady Jasmine is the cousin of our Ada Byron, whose mother gave up the Lovelace name. A very close friend.” She looked at the papers. “If I don’t invite one of them, I’ll insult an entire line of very powerful people. If I invite them both, the party will be destroyed.”

“Hmm.” Amber said. “That is a bit of a puzzle. You could just make them both promise not to ruin the wedding.”

Nina looked at her a moment. Then she looked down at the paper, then back up at Amber. It was too much for Amber, who burst out laughing, and Nina joined in a half-second later.

Wiping her eyes, Nina said, “Thanks, I needed that.”

“No problem. Now, let’s see if we can’t figure something out that might actually work.” Leaning over the papers, Amber and Nina sat down to work.


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