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[personal profile] wonder_city
Hi, all. Again, apologies for falling off the posting wagon. So many THINGS were happening, including throwing my parents a 50th anniversary party. Many other good things, and I was just so darn busy. I'm going to try not to fall off again, at least until I get through the climax of the story. *fingers crossed*

I'm Gonna Sing the Doom Song Now

Nereid thought Tinkermel was amazing.

Lucid brought him into the Dream Party after Nereid, Brainchild, and X (mostly X, though X's eyes had a tendency to glow bright blue at random intervals now) had settled into their now-accustomed private back room. He arrived in the doorway wearing a black leather jacket and chaps spangled with swirling, gleaming stars. It took her a moment to realize he was wearing them over a hot pink and lavender metallic spandex bodysuit, and that there were tiny (relative to his large, muscular bulk) fairy wings on his back.

"X!" he bellowed and immediately enveloped X in a bearhug to which X responded with surprising warmth.

"Tinkermel, this is Brainchild--" X indicated Sophie, who was wearing a top hat and tux, with a complicated monocle that resembled her usual glasses "--and this is Nereid."

Nereid felt underdressed in her jeans and blue-and-green swirled t-shirt, but she'd never gotten good at being flamboyant, despite several years of visiting Lucid's Party regularly. Still, Tinkermel didn't seem surprised by either her or Sophie's outfits, and gave them warm and friendly handshakes.

They had just settled into the comfortable chairs when Madeline came in, leading a handsome, broad-shouldered, dark-haired young man in a tight blue uniform with a gold semi-cape over one shoulder. He looked around, a little confused, then looked down at himself and gave everyone a completely devastating movie-star grin. Madeline patted him on the back and said, "I think everyone knows Ira Feldstein."

Nereid stared. But Mister Metropolitan is OLD and doesn't wear his uniform any more and… Then it dawned on her: they were walking in their dreams, and this must be how Ira dreamed about himself. She jumped up and went to shake his hand. "Mister Metro!" she said, but then turned shy and couldn't come up with anything else to say.

When he turned that smile on her, she suddenly understood why her mother had apparently had a Mister Metro poster up in her childhood bedroom. "Pacifica, it's good to see you. You're doing okay?"

Nereid nodded and was saved from having to come up with an answer by her best friend Ivy walking into the room, dragging Simon by the hand. She excused herself from Ira to go hug Ivy. "You got your brother to come! That's awesome!"

Ivy grinned and squeezed her. They turned to look at him, arms around each other's waists, and Nereid said, "He looks like a dog or a cat on a moving surface. That whole not-sure-of-his-footing thing."

"He hates dream-walking," Ivy said. "He's always afraid of what people might see."

"I'm right here," he growled, still looking around as if he expected the room to come alive and eat him. "What is it with people talking about me in the third person while I'm in the room?"

Mister Metro clapped him on the shoulder and gave him a hearty handshake just then. "Son! I'm so glad to see you!"

Simon stared at him uncomprehendingly while shaking his hand. Ivy leaned over and whispered in Nereid's ear, "We've got so few scent cues here -- the dream land is dominated by humans, who don't usually dream scents -- it's really kind of bewildering. And poor Simon's been living in wolf form for months now."

Still, Nereid was pleased to note, Simon was still a superintelligent wolf-human hybrid, and he figured out who the man was before anyone could or had to clue him in. "Ira! You look good!"

Mister Metro looked down at himself. "I do, don't I? I haven't looked this good in twenty, maybe thirty years. Kinda like it."

Simon bit his lip and said, "Ira, how… how's Suzanne?"

Mister Metro's expression turned distressed and unhappy. "I… don't know, son. She asked me to… to leave."

Simon looked like he'd been kicked in the gut. "Oh, man, Ira, I'm sorry. I can't even imagine…"

"It's not her, you know, son," Mister Metro said, gripping both Simon's shoulders. "It's not her. They've done something to her head, something terrible."

Simon nodded as tears dripped off his chin. "I know. I know. That's why we're here, right? To fix things."

"That's right, son," Mister Metro said, giving him a one-armed hug. "We'll see this all through together."

Everyone's attention was arrested by the sound of bootheels ringing on the threshold. A statuesque blonde woman stood there, tall and straight in Army officer's dress uniform -- high-waisted blue wool mess jacket, respelendent with gleaming brass buttons and gold braid, over paler blue trousers with white stripes up the sides. She tipped the peaked hat off her head and tucked it under her arm, and said, "Hello, all!" in tones that carried throughout the room and stopped all conversation. "Just to let everyone know, because most of you haven't seen me like this, I'm Lady Justice. Does everyone here know my power?"

Everyone nodded and Lady J smiled. Nereid couldn't stop staring at her. Somehow, it had never really occurred to her to think of Lady J or Mister Metro as young people, even though she'd certainly seen photos, and even some film. But here they were, walking and talking and smiling and hugging and being alive in ways that film and photos just weren't.

"So, are we all here now?" she said to Lucid, who trailed in behind her.

"Uhm, yeah!" Lucid said with a nervous grin, looking a little starstruck. "I think Angelica is awake -- can't get hold of her at all -- and Jane Liberty is sleeping very fitfully. And both Andrea and Madame were busy in dreams they didn't want to leave."

"That's all right, this was all very last minute," Lady J said. "Thanks so much for hosting, Lucid, and thank you, X, for sending out the arrangement emails. They were very subtle."

Lucid mumbled something and X nodded. Nereid noticed that X was standing straighter than usual, chin up and face composed. Lady J strode into the midst of everyone, and Nereid found herself dragged along by the magnetism in her wake, gathering around her with the others. This is why the military froze her in Antarctica.

"All right, Tinkermel, what have you got for us?" Lady J said.

He bounced up from his chair excitedly and produced an easel from the air. "What I've got for you all is a 95 percent guaranteed interference network." He drew a quick sketch of the very recognizable shape of Wonder City, and then waved a pink sparkly wand at it. Points of light appeared all over it, and lines of light drew a grid over the shape. "Miniature interference devices adapted from my Omni-Directional Personal Venus Nega Charms, planted strategically all over the city. Our main generator would have to be no farther outside the city than this ring--" he waved the wand and a lavender ring appeared around the city "--but otherwise, I think the plan is set. I've got the schematics and a prototype built. They should be pretty inexpensive to build…" This is where he wilted. "But unfortunately, that's still one of our limitations. They're inexpensive, but we need so many it'll be… close to a quarter of a million dollars for the materials for the repeaters and the generator."

Lady J looked a little grim at that news, and the whole room felt grimmer to Nereid. "Any other limitations?"

Tinkermel said, miserably, "We… need another psionic to broadcast through the generator. A really powerful one."

Sophie said, lounging in her big chair, "Does the psionic need to be physically present?"

Tinkermel nodded.

Sophie said, waving a hand dismissively, "Well, there goes my idea."

X and Nereid traded a look, guessing what that idea was, but Renata was stuck up on the spaceship.

Lucid cleared her throat, and they all looked at her. "I… have some hopefully helpful news on the money front?"

Lady J turned to face Lucid with interest. That focus was nearly palpable in here, and Nereid promised herself not to catch Lady J's laser-like attention while they were in the Dream Party.

Lucid rubbed a hand over a pantleg and said, "I have a message for… well, anyone I think is likely to be useful in returning the world to 'status quo'--" she made the airquotes "--from Gloria Revelle, the Ultimate's second in command of most of her companies."

Sophie sat up suddenly. "Gloria!" she exclaimed.

Lucid nodded and said, "Ms. Revelle is willing to bankroll efforts -- particularly engineering efforts -- that aim to restore the order. She gave me a number up to which I could agree on her behalf, and I can say that the number you mentioned, Tinkermel, is within the range."

Tinkermel's eyes shone (really, literally, they glowed a strange sparkly pink -- Nereid would NEVER get used to this place).

Lady J was all smiles again. Everyone was. Mister Metro breathed a sigh of relief.

Sophie said, "Not to put a damper on things, but you're going to need a manufacturing facility for that many devices. And someone able to handle scaling the production up from a prototype." She looked at the floor, adding, "And the Young Cosmics can't help there."

Nereid saw Ivy and Simon exchange a look. Simon said, "Uh."

It was like watching a sports match of some weird sort, the way everyone's attention kept bouncing around the room. Simon recoiled visibly from Lady J, and Ivy stepped in, saying, "Our mom's lab has manufacturing capabilities, and her lab manager is an engineer who's been specializing in doing just that sort of thing for Mom."

"I think we can volunteer the facility in Mom's absence," Simon muttered, ducking his head.

"I love all you guys," Tinkermel boomed, his big, muscular arms flung wide as if to embrace them all. "All of you! I had no idea how this was gonna happen."

Nereid smiled and remembered how low the emotional filters could get in the Dream Party. Tinkermel was just charming her more and more, if these were the sorts of things his filters concealed. Or even if they weren't concealed. Especially if they weren't.

"We still have to think about the psionic person who can power this," Lady J said, "but I think you all can get started with the hard part -- the production -- and us old-timers can work on that end of things." Lady J, Madeline, and Mister Metro exchanged grins.

"We'll think of something," Madeline said.

Nereid noticed that Sophie's tuxedo had melted into jeans and a t-shirt, and she knew from experience that this meant Sophie's already tentative mood had crashed. She sidled around until she could sit on the arm of Sophie's overstuffed chair. Sophie looked up at her with a hopeless little smile, and Nereid slid down into her lap and hugged her. Sophie sighed into Nereid's shoulder.

The meeting broke up, with the "old-timers" chatting off in a corner, and Tinkermel talking a mile a minute with Ivy and Simon, and X and Lucid speaking in undertones. Nereid stayed where she was, not speaking, stroking the back of Sophie's neck with her fingertips and wishing, again, that Sophie had made a different choice when the aliens had come to her. But she hadn't, and now she had to live with the guilt and with having her hands tied by her own actions.

Nereid watched Lady Justice, Madeline, and Mister Metro over Sophie's head and wondered if someday, she and Sophie would be at all like them -- old friends or lovers, fighting to save the world when everyone else had forgotten them. She wondered if Sophie would have forgiven herself a little by then.

Date: 2013-11-09 04:00 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
....Tinkermel is totally my new favourite. FABULOUS.

"It's not her, you know, son," Mister Metro said, gripping both Simon's shoulders. "It's not her. They've done something to her head, something terrible."
Simon nodded as tears dripped off his chin. "I know. I know. That's why we're here, right? To fix things."
"That's right, son," Mister Metro said, giving him a one-armed hug. "We'll see this all through together."

Awwww man my guys //sniffles (such great characters)

Pacifica is still totally my alter ego (OMG so underdressed!), ahahah.

Date: 2013-11-09 04:12 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Tinkermel is rapidly becoming my new favorite. Wait two episodes. You'll love him EVEN MORE, I bet.

Ira and Simon are BUDS.

Pacifica is also MY alter ego.


Date: 2013-11-13 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think Pacifica is still my favorite. She is so adorable.


Re: Pacifica

Date: 2013-11-16 07:28 pm (UTC)
heavenscalyx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heavenscalyx
Thank you! Pacifica is adorbs. She keeps surprising me.


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