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This story arc has been published as a novel!

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Playing for the Other Team

Megan and G emerged from the Harvest Patch Cafe, replete with a romantically candlelit lunch and several glasses of microbrewery ale. Megan felt that all was good and fine in the brittle sunshine of the afternoon. She filled her lungs with cold air, anticipating the bus ride back to Marigold Lane, and the hopefully inevitable conclusion.

She hoped that Evason wouldn't... stare in such an intent and critical way again.

G turned to say something to Megan, and was cut off by the Kosmic Klaxon's blare. "I hate that thing," she said bitterly, wincing.

"Does it usually go off so often?" Megan said, looking upward nervously for alien craft and plasma bolts. "Oh, crap."

G swore vividly when she also saw the streak of golden light that was descending into the next block.

Megan was already running toward what she thought was the impact point. After a few seconds, she heard G's boots pounding the pavement behind her. Megan had a moment to think, What the hell are we doing? when she rounded the corner.

It was the matter of a fraction of a second for both G and Megan to spot Simon and the middle-aged white woman Megan knew to be Suzanne. Simon was getting cautiously to his feet. They could just make out the profile of a man in the light -- a white guy with glowing blue eyes and red hair. Megan heard G gasp.

"Isn't that the Bronze Guardian?" G said.

Megan squinted against the glare. "I think... it looks like the newspaper photos of him."

The vision spoke. "I am here for you, Suzanne. I'll make a goddess of you, and we can be together again."

Suzanne picked herself up with distracted assistance from Simon, who didn't take his eyes off the man. Megan's respect for her rose when she said, a little cautiously, "I don't care for goddessing, Josh."

Simon remained in front of Suzanne, squinting through his darkened lenses at the man. His knees were slightly bent, his weight on his toes.

"You'll get used to it," the man in the light said.

Suzanne shielded her eyes and looked toward him. "I don't think so."

The color of the light altered slightly, darkening to a reddish-gold -- or perhaps that was a trick of the oncoming sunset? He took a step forward on the air. "I've traveled farther than you can imagine to return to you," he said, a slight irritation entering his voice, "and I will not tolerate this dismissal." Josh started to reach for Suzanne.

Then Simon opened his mouth and drawled the stupidest, cheesiest, most threadbare macho line in the history of action movies: "The lady said no, buddy."

Josh Feldstein lunged and there was a deafening CRACK, though it didn't look like his backhanded slap had actually touched Simon. Simon was thrown sideways by the impact anyway. "And I will not brook interference from some... puppy," the man said, disgust in his voice.

Megan found herself intercepting Simon's flight before he could go through a nearby plate glass window. The wind went out of her as he hit her with more force than she anticipated, and they both hit the window. She bent over him as glass showered down.

The light was intensifying. G skidded to a halt at Megan's side. "Are you all right?" she said, loud enough to be heard over the wind that was rising around Josh and Suzanne. "Simon?"

Megan looked down at Simon. He was limp in her arms, blood running freely from nose and mouth, his glasses askew. One of his legs was bent the wrong way; he'd probably whacked it on the brick wall on their way through the window. With effort, she bellowed, "Get out of here!" at G.

G stared at Simon, then turned her gaze to the cowering woman in the windstorm. She had a strange look on her face when she turned back to Megan, a sad sort of half-smile.

"I'm sorry," she said, "I really meant to tell you."

G doubled over, clutching herself tightly. A shadow, a double-image, something, descended onto and into G.

When she straightened up, long red hair exploded out behind her in the wind, her lean shape spread and curved at hip and breasts, and her clothes were replaced by a simple green one-piece outfit. Her face was younger and paler and... different. She grew a foot taller with every step she took away from Megan.

Megan really couldn't breathe.

G was Meteor.

----

From the Author:

Thank you to everyone who contributed, both on and off the slate, to the ChipIn! I'm calling this week's complete, so you get the next installment. New ChipIn goes up with Monday's post: we'll try $20 for this coming week, just for the heck of it.

Hope you enjoyed the extra!



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