Holiday Cheer, Part Two: Problems

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(November 30th)

“Dammit!” The piece of paper caught flame as it flew, crumpled, across the room. Amber glanced up, raced to the kitchen, grabbed a metal pot, and raced back in time to catch it as it dropped to the ground. She looked up in annoyance.

“Our house isn’t fireproof, Wave. Please don’t do that.” She said chidingly.

Blastwave just glowered at her for a moment, before her expression softened. “Sorry, Amber. You know I can get a bit… worked up, when I’m angry.”

“You need to be pretty angry.” Amber pointed out. “What’s up?”

Blastwave sat back on Amber’s couch, taking several deep breaths before speaking. “That was the SEA’s response to my request for another agent for the area.”

“They’re not giving you one?” Amber said sympathetically.

“They’re taking Renfield!” Blastwave answered furiously. “As of next week, we’re down to three active agents for the whole branch!”

Amber blinked, then walked more slowly over to her girlfriend and sat down beside her. “That’s a little… um… odd. I thought branches were required to have at least four field agents. Always.”

“Normally.” Blastwave sighed. “It’s this whole damned Sayleen situation.”

“Which situation?” Lucky asked, walking in the front door. “Got the mail. Although you got it a lot more thoroughly.” He said ironically, glancing at the bucket. Blastwave ignored him and continued.

“Hi, Lucky.” She said. “The war situation, of course. Do you realize that there are a thousand superhumans on Sayleen right now, fighting the Varrn? Meanwhile, they’ve pulled in Yocanu and Akagari, of all things. We need all the soldiers we can get, and the SEA’s been gutted because of it. Dudeman’s furious, but he can’t do much. We’re down to below fifty powered agents, and I’ve been told that we’re lucky this region is considered important enough to have two of them, and of course there won’t be a third.” She muttered the last line to herself. “And they’re pulling non-powered agents to try and cover the gaps, which is going to be just beautiful.”

Lucky winced. “That does sound kind of bad.” He sat in the chair facing the couch, glancing through the mail absently.

“Kind of bad?” Blastwave’s eyebrows rose. “They’re actually recruiting and sending villains to Sayleen right now. The war is not going well for either side, I know that much. I just wish I knew how the Varrn were getting ahold of more alien backup now that they don’t have the Oligarchs’ psibeacon to draw them across.” She sighed heavily. “Not my job, I guess.”

“Yeah, don’t worry about it too much. Hey, guys, either of you ever hear of a guy called ‘Crimson Sky’?” Lucky said.

Amber frowned. “No…” She said slowly. “Why?”

Lucky frowned, looking at the mail he’d just opened. “It’s a notice of a temporary villain move. Apparently, some guy named ‘Crimson Sky’ is coming to Patchwork City for the duration of December. I can’t think why anyone would want to spend a month here, though.”

“Probably some opportunist who heard the Doc was out of town on vacation.” Blastwave opined. “And I have been watching you fight Nightshade this week. Not exactly top-tier material there.”

“I don’t know, I’m rather partial to her schemes.” Amber argued. “I especially like the way she’s convinced Josh to yell, ‘Cheez it, it’s the fuzz’ every time we show up. And then run away.”

“It’s good exercise, anyway.” Lucky was still studying the form. “Let’s see… aw, geez, the bureaucracy’s done it again. This thing is dated, like, a week ago. He’s going to be in town… today.” He looked up at the others.

On cue, the phone rang. Lucky started to his feet, but Amber was already there. “Hello? Oh, hi, Nadia. What? I can’t hear you over the… uh-huh. Oh! No, that explains it. We’ll be right down.”

She hung up the phone. “Nadia and Jhim are down on 17th Street. You’ll never guess who’s there.”

“Crimson Sky?” Lucky guessed.

“Close.” Amber handed him his coat. “It is certainly someone wearing black and red, calling himself Crimson Sky and setting things on fire while calling up windstorms.”

Lucky thought for a moment, then grinned. “Firenado!” He said cheerfully. “Man, you’ve gotta give that guy points for persistence.”

“Yeah, and for burning down our town if we don’t get down there pronto.” Amber looked over to Blastwave. “Mind sticking around for an hour?”

“It’s cool. I’ll just watch some TV.” Wave answered.

“Right. Sorry.” Amber nodded, then raced out the door, dragging Lucky in her wake. Blastwave sat back, and sighed again.

“Stupid day all around.” She muttered.

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