Angels and Wizards
(Written by Cobalt Greywalker; posted August 31 2008)
|Fenspace Infinities material. Fenspace Infnities material hasn't "happened" by the current timeline, though it's already been referenced in future-history or alt-history Fenspace stories and discussion. Here there be dragons of questionable canonicity, you have been warned. --The Mgt|
Menkaure Pyramid District, New Giza, Mars
19:27 Local Time, June 13th 2103
In the shadows cast by the Menkaure Mega-city pyramid in the setting evening sun, Percival Weatherbee ran down the back streets of the district's business area. It was not what he (a Wizard of good standing) thought he'd be doing when he came here as part of the Wizarding News Network's Martian office.
Risking a look back, he paled against his exertion flushed skill and ducked around another corner.
The ping of a needler dart ricocheting off the wall let him know they were still on his trail. He didn't even know who 'they' were.
Unfortunately for him 'they' were experienced in chasing down running people, as he was most of the way down the backstreet when another of the pursuers rounded the corner ahead of him with gun pointed in his direction.
"That's far enough Mr. Weatherbee." He said as Percival skidded to stop in terror. They knew his name! "Now," The man in dark clothes continued as he walked into the alleyway towards him, "I'm afraid my colleagues and I have to ask you some questions."
"I-I-I don't-t-t kn-now what you m-m-mean." Percival stuttered as he began a trembling stagger back.
"Oh, I think you do." The man smirked.
"Be kind to the poor boy," a decidedly female voice said from behind him, "it's obviously the first time he's had a gun in his face."
Turning round, they both got a look at the (apparently insane) woman who'd interrupted, and blinked. She was a tall woman, wearing what looked to be a burgundy full length coat over a very shapely body that was almost busting out of the sleeveless and skin-tight wavetex bustier mini-dress that didn't hide the suspenders holding up the shear stockings on her long legs. She had what could only be described as 'Fuck Me' high heeled ankle boots on her feet, and her long pale neck had a choker with some sort of large stone hung in the centre. Her lovely face was framed by a shimmering waterfall of straight ravens-black hair, and was set in an oddly sexily amused scowl. Her clear emerald eyes sparkled with darkly seductive and dangerous promise.
All in all, she looked like someone who should be at a fashionable club pressing the flesh, or on the arm of some powerful man at a high society party making other women jealous and other men pant in lust. Anything but here in a back alley in the shadow of a pyramid, unconcernedly facing some criminal with a gun.
"Well hell." The gunman sighed. "Looks like I get to have some fun, but it'll be a shame to cap a babe like you. No witnesses you understand."
"Really." The woman drawled out, her voice a husky whisper of liquid silk that caused Percival, even in his terror-stricken state, to feel a surge of arousal. The gunman twitched as his underwear suddenly became uncomfortable.
This was apparently what she'd been aiming for as she surged forward, grabbed his gun hand, and spun him round with surprising strength to slam him face first into the nearby wall.
"Now," she said pulling him back, totally in control of the gunman, "Why don't you tell me why a big lad like you was doing chasing a poor young man like this? Or," her voice dropped again to the husky whisper of liquid silk, but this time they both could hear it slide over razor sharp steel, "do you need more encouragement?"
Then her head turned to the far end of the alley, and she slammed the man into the wall as she sprang across the alley and body checked Percival. Percival felt all breath leave him as the woman slammed into him, then gasped as his back hit the far wall. This gasp however was cut off as he suddenly found his head planted into and between the sizable breasts of the scantily clad lady. The suffocation of this position also muffled the sudden thunder of gunfire that carried on for what seemed like minutes but was only seconds.
"Damn." The woman muttered as she moved back, allowing Percival to breath. The breathless wizard caught sight of something that looked more like a cannon than a handgun before it disappeared into the coat and a hand grabbed a fistful of robes. "Come on." She dragged him with that surprising strength and speed round the corner the gunman came from and down the short and better kept alley towards the street. Percival's addled brain caught sight of car at the end as the door facing them scissored open. It was some sort of low-slung sports car, sleek and sexy and looking ready to pounce like some sort of scarlet predator.
The frazzled wizard blinked and found himself bouncing from the far door into the seat, which automatically snapped a five point harness onto him. Then with a roar and shriek a fighter would be envious of he was forced into his seat by g-force as the car took off.
As the pressure keeping him pinned in his seat eased he tried to gather himself. He'd apparently just been rescued from a very bad fate that he didn't know how he had got into. He was now in a sports car that, given its looks, performance, and the stylish work of art that was its interior (Percival was not a car person, and didn't really like Quidditch all that much, but even he could see the hand crafting that had gone into it), was probably worth more than he'd earn in decades. Probably centuries if he was right about some of the options.
"Well, THAT was interesting." The woman spoke up. "I was clearly the bigger threat and an easy target, yet they targeted you. I feel slightly put out by that." She pouted. "Still, professionals of that calibre don't do jobs like that normally. Who are you young man, and why do people care enough to want you dead so much?"
"P-p-percival W-weatherbee Ma-a'am. I don't kn-now. I'm n-nobody special."
"Well Percy," the woman said, idly ignoring the flinch as she shortened his name, "there has to be some reason for El Capone enforcers to be hired to grab you. Where do you work?"
"W-wizarding News Network, Mars office. I'm a production clerk." Normally Percival would not have told a beautiful woman like the one driving the car his position, letting them assume he was a journalist. But THIS lady was WAY out of his league. And frankly, she scared him.
"Humm..." The raven-hared woman purred, raising the poor young wizard's blood pressure. "A strapping young man like yourself in Journalism." And she shot him a dazzling, sultry smile that had him squirming uncomfortably in his seat. "So," she continued in a businesslike tone, "any interesting stories in the works? Things someone wouldn't want broadcasted?"
"I wouldn't know. I just handle the location paperwork."
"Really." Again she drawled in that husky, liquid silk voice. He swallowed his suddenly dry throat and tried to surreptitiously relieve the pain in his underwear at the promise contained therein.
Then he banged his head against the window as the car jinked to the left, narrowly avoiding the sudden explosion.
"Well," The driver smiled brightly, "you're certainly popular."
"Could you not say it like that?" Percival asked, before being thrown into his harness as his unknown saviour threw the car into a handbrake turn to the right.
"Oh believe me," his companion said in a tone of complete sympathy, "I KNOW what it's like to be wanted." She said the last word with a voice filled with desire.
"Would you PLEASE stop saying things like that?" Percival asked desperately.
All he got was a low, sensual chuckle as the car's owner sliced around the increasing traffic before a violent power-sliding handbrake turn at a frankly ridiculous speed put them on the on-ramp to the overpass autobahn. To Percival's immense surprise, the car didn't launch skyward like in the holo-films at the end of the ramp. Instead it hugged the ground and shot into traffic like a missile.
"Welcome to the Pharaoh Expressway." The still unnamed driver announced in a tour guide voice. "Ahead is the Argyre Planitia Sea. To our sides are the great Mega-city pyramids of New Giza. And behind us are three Hornet skimmers, obviously on some nefarious mission as they do not have the Mars Defense Forces livery."
Percival watched as with the sort of blurring, practiced motion only those highly skilled and intimately familiar with their machines could normally do, a series of buttons and switches were toggled and a sense of power barely contained filed the car. It was then that Percival noticed just how fast they were going.
"Just to let you know." The driver told him conversationally. "I do know the meaning of overkill. I just have no qualms about implementing it."
And she floored the accelerator.
Officer Temby really didn't know why he was there. It wasn't as though there was any speeding on the Autobahn. The traffic management system kept everyone safely spaced out and at the legal speed of 200 kph. This was more than fast enough for most people, and the slow down around the interchanges wasn't bad enough to annoy those driving. Besides, most intercity traffic was by skybus or magline, and on the latter you could take your car as well. Virtually no-one used the intercity autobahns but the farmers.
Thus he ignored the chime of an incoming alert from the TMS. There were about six every hour, and none of them were anywhere CLOSE to where he was. Normally they were about congestion in the city centre.
Which is why his radar speedometer let out an ear-splitting shriek and puff of smoke when a red blur shot past, rocking the police cruiser with its wake.
Percival gradually relaxed his grip on the dashboard. When the tenth of a KM markers started going past the window with less than a second between them he got worried. Fortunately it didn't last long.
"How fast were we going?" He asked, remembering the blurs of cars flashing past.
"We hit 500 klicks for a minute, so we've got a healthy lead on our pursuers."
"Good. Fine." Percival sighed in relief. "Now, who the hell are you?!?"
This actually got him a surprised look.
"You don't know?" The woman asked, incredulous. The look on Percival's face told her all she need to know. "What ARE they teaching in History of Magic these days?" She shook her head sadly.
Percival visibly winced. History of Magic had been his worst subject at Hogwarts.
"I wouldn't have believed Marcus would have let standards slip like that." The woman commented. "He knows better than that."
Percival suddenly found himself wondering how a woman like this knew Headmaster Zambini that well, given the Headmaster's very publicly stable marriage.
"You're not a Golem are you?" He asked. She snorted.
"Only Automail could react so fast, and you don't have any."
"You DID graduate, right?" The woman asked, appalled at his lack of knowledge. "You didn't drop out before your OWLs, did you?"
"How DARE you?!?" Percival snarled in outrage. "I did my seven years at Hogwarts and passed my NEWTs with nothing less than Exceeds Expectations!"
"Unbelievable." The driver said, disbelief honestly dripping from the word as she shook her head. "You at least had to pass Third Year Muggle Studies, right?"
"Muggle Studies is a joke." Percival snorted. "Who really cares about why the Others do anything? All you need to know is what not to do and you can pass easily. The Ravenclaw's do good business selling compiled notes on that and History of Magic. The courses haven't changed on something like 30 years."
"Unbelievable." The woman said again. "Well, looks like the Ministry needs The Talk. What were the odds? Have to ask Lebia." She let out a deep sigh. "Dumbledore must be spinning in his grave. And Marcus is not going to be happy. To answer your last question, just because you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there."
Percival was about to ask another question but his companion suddenly pulled off the Autobahn and dropped to the local roads. Down off the elevated roadway, she quickly doubled back under it and started back towards New Giza on the opposite side of the Autobahn.
"You're wondering why were headed back?" The woman asked. "The reason's simple. Out here we're easy to find." She pressed two buttons on the centre console. "Right now we're putting out the same EM signal as a hover truck, and we look like an old pickup. This will confuse the sensors on the skimmers they've managed to acquire. In five minutes we'll be back under Necropolis aerospace control, which means two minutes after that we'll have MDF air cover. At which point we head to the Snake Pit and the Patrol can deal with this." She smiled wryly. "I may like my holidays to be interesting, but the paperwork I'd have to do if I got any more involved is a pain. I AM supposed to be relaxing."
Percival didn't know how to react to that. She was supposed to be on holiday? And she had connections to the Space Patrol? That last relaxed him a bit.
The relaxation only lasted six minutes before the car's owner threw the car into a skid, placing herself between the sudden explosion and Percival.
"Well Percy, it looks like we'll have to wing it from this point. MDF air cover is two minutes out. Unless I tell you, do not leave the car."
Percival looked past her towards the dust cloud, and saw the ominous looking shadow that was emerging from it.
"Don't worry about the skimmers. They're already picking up the targeting sensors of the MDF squadron on the way here, and any target lock or weapons fire will get them splashed before the shields give in."
Percival gaped in wide-eyed surprise. This car had SHIELDS?!?
"Our main problem is our friend over there." She continued, opening the door. "That, I'll be dealing with. If you'd had a Wand you'd have used it by now. I could use a workout anyway."
The wizard remained there in speechless stupefaction.
She got out of the car, showing that she had been driving with those ridiculous 'Fuck Me' heels that had to be at least 12cm in height, more likely 15cm. Surely she couldn't be serious? Given what looked to be Troll (and a large, heavily armoured one at that) stalking out of the crater it had made upon landing from wherever it had dropped from (probably one of the skimmers). Belatedly he remembered the cannon-like gun he'd seen earlier, and then he realised that it'd been in her left had. Her position in the alley meant her RIGHT side had been facing behind him as he'd run, which also meant she had TWO of those monster guns hidden on her person. How didn't matter, but he doubted that she would have much effect on the thing stalking towards her.
"Don't worry your pretty little head about it young man." She told him causing his ego to bristle. She wasn't much older than, maybe, 23 years old. He was a 22 year old man! "Old Gregorivich there is not a problem." And she closed the door.
With a crackle and a slight heat haze, a deflector shield manifested around the car. Had anyone but the woman known exactly what class of shield it was, the coming fight would have been much shorter.
The 'Borg who called himself Grewcica wondered what the fleshy was doing. There was no way she'd be able to harm him. She was in his way however. With a better look, he figured he could slap her out of the way. After all, she looked the type he liked to play with. All arrogant and haughty due to her looks. A bit of fun, and she'd be ready for the boss to take her and put her to proper use.
Grewcica had no doubts the boss would have him killed if he didn't produce results. That his little foibles were profitable to the boss helped in that regard.
"Shouldn't we introduce ourselves?" The fleshy asked after stopping 5 meters away from the vehicle.
"Grewcica think you watch too many vids." The awful cyborg chuckled with a dark rumbling like metal crunching metal. "Pretty fleshy move, and maybe Grewcica show you real man's love before made slave-whore. Boss will like, so maybe kept in gold chains for guests."
To Grewcica's surprise, the pretty fleshy raised an eyebrow.
"OK, I'm impressed. A full-on Gregorivich-Holstein conversion. Didn't think anyone would be dumb enough to try it." She shrugged. "At least that means I don't have to attempt to convince you to give up. You're too dumb to understand the concept anyway."
Grewcica scowled and reached back to rip a piece of rebar from the shattered roadway.
"Grewcica try to be nice, but only need to kill sissy in car to finish job. Fleshy one who dumb." And he threw the rebar at her head faster than a fleshy could see.
Thus he was one among many who were shocked when she didn't move, but caught the rebar in front of her face one handed without any recoil.
"About what I expected from an obsolete conversion." She said conversationally. "In a way I'm rather sad. There were a few good ideas in the Gregorivich model. Too bad the problems get in the way."
Grewcica snarled and raised his right arm mounted auto-cannon.
Then he felt the pain of something being thrust through his body.
With a sharp boom, Grewcica's secondary power supply exploded and back-flushed through his power systems. A secondary explosion caused the feed mechanism to short and cook off the ammunition in the system, blowing off his right arm from the elbow.
The woman dropped her arm from where she'd thrown the rebar back at Grewcica.
"The vulnerability of the power system just happens to be the most apparent one. After all, back-flushing the power grid damages all the major motive systems. After that, they're lucky to have even a quarter of the power of a brand new conversion. And given how fast Gregorivich models wear out, that leads to a one in three chance of total system failure." The woman idly tossed her hair back. "In the final analysis, first-gen Ultrasmurfs ended up having better combat capabilities. And they didn't need to get new bodies."
Grewcica barely registered the fact the woman had appeared inside his guard before she was gone again. He then registered the crack of his left leg's shin armour from where she'd kicked it out from under him. He only just caught himself.
"Holstein tried to fix that by reinforcing the power conduits and putting in compensators." The woman said from behind him, causing him to spin round to backhand her. With a pleasant smile and contemptuous ease she avoided the swing. "To his credit it mostly worked. They took less damage and were more repairable. Still cut the power levels to half until they got repaired though."
With a roar the 'Borg popped his hand claws and stabbed at her. He was very surprised to find her standing on his out thrust hand.
"The main problem with the modification is to get it to work he had to reuse some brain capacity as compensation control." She continued idly, as if giving a lecture. Grewcica got a momentarily very explicit look up the woman's dress as a kick caught him under his chin, set his head ringing, and staggered him again.
"This, among other thing, ended up dropping the subject's IQ by about 30 points and wrecking their speech centres."
Grewcica got his blurry vision under control to see her standing to his right, still pleasantly smiling at him. Suddenly a gun was in her left hand and she swung her arm out and up allowing him to see it. And for the first time in a very long time Grewcica felt fear.
The Heart Systems RS Seventy Three was regarded in Fenspace as the most powerful handgun ever made. It was a massive beast of a gun, with a huge 260mm barrel and weighing in at over two and a half kilos. The main reason for its size was the fact it was essentially a one-handed railgun. It could fire its 7mm round at a muzzle velocity of 3kps. The recoil was so immense nothing but the heaviest and strongest cyborgs could fire it without breaking their wrists (or arms). It was adjustable of course, but most people didn't need that power in a hand weapon. The preference was for rifles if that level of power was needed, recoil being more manageable at rifle sizes.
Without taking her smiling face from his, she fired at the skimmer lining up its guns on her. With a thunder crack, the skimmer found itself pouring smoke from its body and violently swerved away.
"Now," she asked as the gun vanished, "shall we dance?"
Grewcica charged at her, his claws shooting out on saw-chains to try and catch her.
She dropped lightly inside their arc, got underneath his good arm, and with her dainty left fist punched a hole in the weak spot of his left shoulder's joint armour. The arm now immovable she used it as a bar, swinging out and round before planting both high-heeled feet against the side of his head with such force it knocked him off his feet to crash down into the road on his right side completely unconscious.
The skimmers' sudden need to be elsewhere at that point had already been taken care of as MDF Interceptors were buzzing around and forcing the two undamaged ones down.
The troops from the Pelican dropship were slightly taken aback by a very attractive woman in revealing clothes leaning back in a sexy pose against a very expensive sports car as they emerged on to the evening sunset of the scene. The detectives that had ridden with them however were slightly more prepared, and came up to the woman with a salute.
"Ma'am. Detective Inspector J'ohn and Detective Sergeant Heinrich."
"Detectives." The woman replied with a nod. "I suppose you'd like me to report to the Snake Pit now you've taken charge of the scene."
"It would be nice." Inspector J'ohn agreed. "That him?" He inclined his head at the young man sat in one of the open doors of the sports car.
"That's him. You have the coffee? I don't carry drinks in this vehicle."
Detective Sergeant Heinrich walked up to the silent wizard and handed him a takeout cup of steaming coffee. With a blink, Percival realised what was being offered and took the proffered cup to slowly drink. With that done, the detectives surveyed the scene.
The two of them sat in silence as the crews of the landed skimmers and the disabled Grewcica were loaded into additional vehicles and taken away. It wasn't until the detectives came back that Percival finished his coffee.
"Feel better?" The raven-hared woman asked kindly.
"I think so. It kind of doesn't seem real. Except I remember it too clearly."
"That will help when you get to the station." Sergeant Heinrich told him as he took the empty cup from the wizard.
"But one thing still bothers me." Percival looked at the woman who saved his life. "Who ARE you?"
"You don't know?!" Sergeant Heinrich looked astounded.
"What ARE they teaching in Hogwarts?" Inspector J'ohn asked the sky.
"Detectives." The woman admonished amusedly. "We got slightly distracted when introducing each other. I found it refreshingly cute actually, but it IS terribly impolite to not know each others names after a death-defying adventure after all." She held out her hand to the young wizard. "Good evening Mr. Percival Weatherbee. My name is A.C. Peters. It's nice to meet you."
Percival Weatherbee shook her hand on reflex.
"Nice to meet you too." He said faintly. "I'm sorry, but I think I'll have to take a little nap now." And he passed out in a dead faint.
"Poor boy." A.C. remarked to the detectives. "All the excitement must have caught up with him."
Headmaster's Office, Hogwarts, Main Belt
10:25 GMT, June 16th 2103
"...As soon as he told me where he worked, I knew what was up." A.C. told the Headmaster. "Contacting the Police and MDF to arrange an ambush was child's play after that."
The two of them made a very odd couple. The aged Headmaster sat upright in his chair behind his desk, long bearded and wearing the traditional colorful, moon and star festooned robes of the Headmaster of Hogwarts. A.C. lounged in hers, in black string bikini top and crimson leather hot pants. Her cowboy booted feet dangled over a chair arm, her Stetson at a jaunty angle on her head. And let's not forget the pistol belt with full holsters strapped to her thighs, or the black and gold decorated katana hung over the back of the chair.
"To think, some still believe in filling another's pointy shoes by emptying them before hand. And the Deputy Councilor for Mysteries at that." Marcus Zambini sighed. "Now I need to find a new Defense Against Dark Arts professor for next year."
"I thought Penelope Lovegood was next in sequence?" A.C. asked.
"Mrs. Lovegood is expecting once again." Marcus told her with a little smile.
"Good for her." A.C. smiled back before taking a sip of her tea. "I still remember the first baby I held. Scrawny, cutely ugly thing. Kept crying all the time. I wonder what happened to that boy?"
"I'm sure his life was full of joy." Marcus said idly.
"I certainly hope so. His nappies were not." A.C. smirked at the 80 year old man, leaving no doubt who she was talking about.
"It's a good thing we're alone, otherwise I'd be blushing."
"I'm your godmother Marcus. It's part of the job description. And I can see in infra-red, so I KNOW you are blushing." A.C. told him. "Of course, delivering you during an intense Snurf fire fight kind of sticks in my mind for some reason. On the subject of teaching though, what the hell is going on with History of Magic and Muggle Studies? I'm mentioned enough that I expect most people to recognise me after a few minutes. By the Dark Knight, if Percy is indicative you lot are getting loose with your standards. I remember when merely completing a Hogwarts education in seven years was a cause for celebration. What's going on?"
"I'm afraid the Ministry, and thus the Wizarding World, is getting insular. Why should we care about Muggles? We have everything we need, why should we pay attention to non-Wizards?"
"Oh by Joseph's embalmed goolies, you're fucking kidding me." A.C. groaned. "Don't they pay attention to history? Your faction was not founded by bloody Mundanes. It was founded by FEN. They got RID of that thinking from their beliefs when they created their faction."
"I am just quoting the prevailing wisdom in the Ministry." Marcus told her.
"Well it's out of our hands now. The Patrol know about this now, and will likely bring it up at the next Convention. Being seen to be going against their founding principles will loose the Wizards a lot of credibility." She finished her tea and set her empty cup on the desk. "Well, as nice as it has been seeing you again Marcus, I have a Gate to catch. The Three Colours Festival on New Jamaica starts in a couple of days."
"Oh?" The Headmaster stood up to escort his godmother out. "That doesn't seem like something you would attend. Lots of drinking, partying, and surfing as I recall."
"Yes, but there's a KoFen competition on as well. I'm planning on surprising the organisers by getting a few rounds in on the demonstration bouts." A.C. replied, slinging her katana over her shoulders.
"I'll have to keep an eye out for that."
A.C. smiled, kissed her godson on the cheek, and walked out of the office.