Holiday Cheer, Part Nine: Dark Times

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(December 28th)


“Psiborg.” Rex Mundi's voice filtered through his servant's mind, and the cyborg glanced up from his work. He was sitting in the main lab of Mundi's fortress, surrounding by Atlantean equipment and modern cybernetics. “Is the device complete?”

Very nearly.” Psiborg sent the thought back. “It should be finished long before we need it.

“We need it in two weeks.”

Psiborg didn't even hesistate. He reached out mentally, feeling the momentary instinctive resistance before his master shared the memories in question. “I see.” He said slowly. “Very well. I believe that I can work within the new schedule.”

“I knew you could.” Affection spread through the comment, which Psiborg accepted as his simple due as the master's best servant. “I will deal with the secondary device myself.”

Understood.” Psiborg released the link, setting back to work. His timeframe had just lost all of its slack, and despite his confidant words, he knew that this would not be a simple task. But he would succeed, because it was expected of him. He had yet to disappoint any of his masters.

Several thousand miles away, Spencer Ecchs sat back in his chair and rubbed his forehead. After a moment, he exhaled slowly, tapping the table in front of him absently as he thought.

“Is everything alright?” Ada Byron stepped up behind him, draping her arms across his back. Her coat was stained with oil from work, but he didn't notice. “You seem distracted.”

Spencer gestured to the papers in front of him. “I am.” He sighed heavily. “You get a good plan together, everything works perfectly… and then some do-gooder has to go and muck it all up.”

Ada straightened, grabbing a towel to wipe off her hands, before crossing over and sitting down. She picked up the papers and looked over them quickly, before looking up in bemusement. “The Champions are going to Sayleen.” She said disbelievingly.

“In about a month, yeah.” Spencer nodded. “Crazy old world, huh?”

Ada frowned. “Lucky's powers, do you think?”

“Possible.” Spencer shrugged. “The reason is less important than the result. We can't let them leave. Which means…”

“We're moving first?” Ada winced. “That's going to be tight, Spencer. We thought we'd have another three months.”

“I am aware of that, thank you.” Spencer snapped. A moment later, he waved his hand tiredly. “Sorry.”

“Not a problem.” Ada smiled to reassure him. “I assume that Joshua is in position already?”

“I'm not worried about Lord Mayhem. He and Shivarex can adapt on the fly.” Spencer shook his head. “It's the kids that worry me. We're going to be down two luck cycles.” He clenched his fist. “I don't know, Ada. This… it just got sudden. I don't know if…”

Ada leaned in, silencing him with a kiss. Several seconds later, when they parted for breath, she whispered. “You can do it, Spencer. I believe in you.”

“Thank you.” Spencer smiled after a moment. “Guess we're going to have to cut the honeymoon short.”

“It'll make a great cover for what we're really up to, though.” Ada smiled wickedly.

“There is that. I can just imagine Dudeman's face when he realizes how close he came to beating me, and I win anyway.” Spencer grinned, before a wistful look crept over him. “Tell you what, though, I'm really going to miss all of this. It was a lot of fun to just be Doctor Ecchs, and not worry about the bigger picture from time to time.” He glanced sidelong at his wife. “What about you? Sorry that you married someone with what is quite frankly a megalomaniacal degree of ambition?”

“Not a bit.” Ada smiled broadly. “I've always loved you best when you get really into a plan. And this plan… this one's the biggest anyone's ever tried. One way or the other, honey, we're going down in history.”

“That we are.” Spencer nodded slowly. “Next year is going to be a whole new world, Ada.”

“As long as I see it with you.” Ada answered. “Now, come on. If we want to be ready by New Year's, we need to get to work.”

“Absolutely.” Finishing his coffee, Spencer stood and joined his wife in walking towards his home lab. “I have to say, though, I don't think there's anything that can measure how much it sucks that the original timeline got revised. I really, really wanted to declare myself Rex Mundi on April Fool's Day and see how long it took everyone to realize it wasn't just seasonal insanity.”


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