Loose Ends, Part Three: From The Ashes

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(June 26th)

“Welcome back. I assume that you're feeling better out of those prison clothes. Tea?” Sitting at the table, Clockwork raised a teapot invitingly. In response, Kaniessa considered him dourly.

“You're looking fit.” She finally observed.

In fact, she reflected to herself, Clockwork was looking much better than when she had worked alongside him the year before, his physique much more slim and muscular than before. His hair was combed back, cut from its original almost-mullet to an inconspicious shortness, and the golden mechanism implanted in the side of his forehead was covered by a simple Chicago Cubs baseball cap. With his light windbreaker and jeans, he did not look like a supervillain so much as a suburban worker on his way home. The fact that the two of them were meeting in an apartment building in downtown Miami, the furniture decked out in wood and steel, only added to the image, as did the fact that Kaniessa, to her chagrin, was wearing a sweater and jeans instead of the tight dresses that she preferred.

“I had to engender the physical aspects of my plans myself, until quite recently.” Clockwork responded with a smile. He wagged the teapot again. After a moment, Kaniessa nodded, and he poured her a cup as he continued to speak. “You're looking identical.”

“I'm a bio-robot. How else would I look?” Kaniessa snapped. She took the cup, and then reluctantly said. “Sorry. It's been a bad year and a half.”

“For all of us, yes. Me on the run, you in jail.” The door behind them opened, and Clockwork glanced up. “You remember Warzone, of course?”

“Your old friend, yes.” Kaniessa turned, and started. Warzone was not wearing his armor. Without it, he looked almost normal – a muscular asian man with a military-haircut and a lot of scars. “Uh… hello.” She said slowly. “You know, I don't know that I ever saw your face before this.”

“No, I suppose not. And call me Chuck – we're going by normal names at the moment.” Warzone sat down, taking a second cup that his friend poured for him. “Thank you, Davan.”

“My pleasure.” Clockwork looked back to Kaniessa. “I'm surprised that the Witch Doctor didn't try to break you out.”

“To hell with him.” Kaniessa said venemously. “I don't know what you're planning, but if he's not in it, I'm interested.”

Clockwork laughed. “I thought you might say that. No, Mr. Wydemere is on the side of the angels now, working with the remnants of the S.E.A. Tired of losing, I suppose.” He smiled slyly. “Poor him. No, Jason was only ever recruited for his familiarity with Atlantean weapons, and I've found a secondary source for those. Once we recover our other imprisoned friends, I think we'll be ready to start our plans again without the Witch Doctor's assistance.”

“Unless we get vaporized in the meantime.” Warzone pointed out. “Don't get me wrong, Davan, I'm glad you broke us out. But Ecchs has got to realize what it means when two former Oligarchs get out of prison within a week of each other. He'll be watching Malleus and Dragonfly like a hawk.”

“Chuck, Chuck. Don't you trust me?” Clockwork turned to Kaniessa. “Kaniessa, you are, for all intents and purposes, Ecch's child.”

“Don't remind me.” She muttered.

Undaunted, Clockwork continued. “If you were going to use two adjectives to describe him, what would they be?”

“Cunning. And lazy.” Kaniessa said without a pause. “But then, I never would have pegged him for Rex Mundi. Maybe I was wrong.”

“I doubt it.” Clockwork shook his head. “We've been crossed off his list. He's barely paying attention to the real, serious threats on his doorstep – Danger Ace's crew. He has no idea the storm that he's about to harvest. I count five seperate forces that are going to converge on his hideout in the next few months. Our job is to ensure that they arrive on the same day.”

“And then what?” Kaniessa said with a raised eyebrow.

“Well, I don't know about you, but I've always wanted to rule the world.” Clockwork smiled. “If we can turn those forces against each other, it will be child's play to take everything for ourselves. Interested?”

Kaniessa seriously considered before answering. “It'll spike Spencer's wheels, that's for sure. And I'd like to see just what happens.” She nodded. “Alright, I'm in.”

“Excellent.” Clockwork raised his mug. “A toast, then. To the Oligarchs. Rex Mundi and Danger Ace alike counted us out just a shade too soon…”

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