26.6 Jason Quill has had a very, very, VERY long day [Cutscene]

[As first suggested, as a joke, here.]

“That’s what Cassie said. She was taking some more beer buckets around and said she saw him there, in a corner, sawing wood.”

“Did she go up to him?”

“What?”

“Did she go up to him? Talk to him?”

“He was asleep.”

“Wake him, then.”

“He’s the Son of Quill. He’s one of the reasons we’re all alive tonight.”

“Exactly! How often to you get to meet the Son of Quill?”

“Hmmm.”

“What are you _hmmm_ing about, Daph?”

“I was just thinking.”

“A dangerous pass time.”

“I know. But – maybe – the right person could do more than talk.”

“More than --”

“The Son of Quill is the choicest pick of guys on the planet. Heck, off the planet – people are saying he’s going to be returning to his home soon.”

“What does that --?”

"Maybe he wants company. Maybe he wants … company."

“He’s asleep!”

“Haven’t you ever … woken up a man before, Silla?”

“Daph, you are such a --”

“She has a point. Maybe this is an opportunity.”

“Oh, yeah, like he’d want to bed with you.”

“Maybe just talk. Maybe offer to teach him more about the city. And maybe, just maybe, get a ride back to his world, where the rivers run clean and the sun shines almost every day and you can buy stuff like in the cat’logs.”

“I’m going for it.”

“Daph, don’t!”

“Fifteen minutes. Give me fifteen minutes. That’s my dibs.”

“Then me. Second dibs. Fifteen minutes.”

“Fine. He won’t want either of you. I hear he likes redheads. I’ll play clean-up and show you both how it’s done.”

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6087693

Summer is staring, she discovers with some embarrassment, at Jason Quill. He’s asleep, with a look on his face she has never seen before. Not that I spend my time looking at him asleep, she reminds herself sardonically. But it’s a special enough sight to merit a bit of attention. He looks … calm. Relaxed. Content? Yes. He’s so innocent like this. It’s so cute. He deserves this so much.

Alycia and Charlotte are, as far as Summer knows, nowhere to be found. So what is that sound of feminine voices around the corner? She floats closer and listens in.

As the plan becomes clear, Summer scowls blackly. This is annoying! The first moment this poor guy has gotten, and someone wants to ruin it by seducing him. She considers letting it happen for a moment, because honestly, he could probably use-- no, no, no. It would be awful for him emotionally, to be treated as a prop or a toy for someone else’s wants. I hated it, and he’d hate it. Besides, that face is worth protecting.

She hears footfalls approaching. The other woman is making her move. Think fast, Summer.

The pieces of her situation fall together into a plan. Dr. Quill, and Rusty - not only bodyguard, but lover besides - he’s been here how many years? They can’t have failed to notice - and he’s the son of Dr. Quill, maybe he’s also - and I remember one male body just well enough -

She pauses, hesitant with existential dread. I was made from him. My mind is a product of his. Am I actually still him, somehow? If I do this, am I betraying my search for myself?

No. The voice comes strong, from her depths. The truth of your name. Leo Snow - snow is in winter - you are summer - you can be his complement, or his opposite, as you choose. You are your own person. Even Jason has acknowledged you. Don’t be afraid of yourself.

The would-be temptress rounds the corner to find a shirtless Leo Snow - a boy nobody knows in this world, Summer prays - half propped up on the chair in which Jason is sleeping. Their two faces are as close as anything. From the back, you might think they were really touching. Don’t kiss him, don’t kiss him, don’t actually make contact, if you don’t touch his lips it’s not a kiss, right? He’s so close, god, if he wakes up right now, he’ll know who this is, or would he? Jesus Christ, it would be so funny if he thought Leo was making out with him though - don’t laugh, don’t laugh, hold it together, make it sexy, come on lady, Jason’s gay, give up on him, leave him alone, God Jason, DON’T WAKE UP!

Summer turns Leo’s holographic head and gives what she hopes is her most smoldering expression.

The woman who came round the corner was already unbuttoning her shirt, working up a charming half-smile. The shift in her facial expressions is immediate and intensely rewarding. She blanches, and Summer exults. That’s right, some local boy you’ve never met has snared him first. Go back to your friends and admit defeat.

The woman snarls silently, wheels, and stalks off.

Beneath her, inches from her projected face, Jason stirs, and Summer freaks out.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6087723

If that was amusing enough, and you don’t already have something cooked up for Alycia, I have a submission there as well.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6087818

After that installment, you deserve an additional go. :slight_smile:

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6087899

“I just saw something very interesting,” Alycia Chin murmurs to herself.

As that holographic girl regains her usual form and floats away, the younger Chin stalks into the room, silent as a cat. She stares at Jason for long moments, digesting what just happened. He isn’t waking up, at least. Is he dead? No - there’s the rhythmic motion of breathing, rapid eye movements indicative of a dream state, the pallor of exhaustion. He’s alive, just wiped out.

There’s someone else coming. Where are all these people coming from? No matter - I’m not in the mood for it.

Another girl rounds the corner, only to find one of Alycia’s pistols all but shoved up her nose. The light of the laser scope flickers off her forehead. Alycia smiles sweetly, shakes her head - no, no, naughty, naughty - and makes a shooing motion with her other hand.

This is a far simpler deterrent, she thinks to herself.

The girl narrows her eyes, nods Jason’s way - if you shoot, he’ll wake up, making you a murderer in his eyes. A smile traces across her mouth, anticipating victory. You wouldn’t dare.

Alycia responds by smoothly drawing her other pistol and aiming it right at Jason’s own head. The red dot traces a figure-eight across his forehead. Try me, you stupid cow.

The girl’s eyes widen in shock, then belated recognition. YOU! You’re one of the attackers!

Alycia just smiles sweetly. Then she shoves the gun barrel even more aggressively into the other’s face. The local demonstrates the better part of valor and departs as silently as she came. Probably to go piss herself, then tell one of the guards. Or just run away and hide.

Free of distractions, Alycia scoots a battered but intact stool over and sits down, several paces away from Jason. If that intriguing glowing bodyguard isn’t going to do her job, somebody has to.

Time passes. Alycia get bored. She checks her guns, the ammo magazines, the tactical webbing. It’s not interesting. Just routine.

She gets distracted by the red dot of her laser sights, remembers how they looked on Jason’s face, and experimentally aims them again. She swings the barrels left and right, up and down, round and round, tracing circles and ovals and complex shapes. She stares at the figures, entranced, catlike in her focus.

She turns it into a game - how precise can I get? - and starts tracing triangles or other shapes with right angles. She keeps the twin dots as close together as possible, holding her hands steady. She writes out stupid messages in ephemeral red light. HI. CHIN. ALYCIA. JASON. She even does a quick ‘Z’, imagining herself like a Zorro with pistols rather than sabers.

Of course, at no time can the dot cross his eyes. He’d notice immediately and wake up, and then the fun would be over.

Hmm.

She tries her most complex shape yet, tracing two halves of a stylized heart over his face, bringing the twin dots together on the bridge of his nose. They slide slowly downwards, and idly play across his lips. At any point, if she pulled the trigger - but hah, if anyone suspected what I’m actually packing–

She hears footsteps. Another of those over-ambitious yokels? No, these are solid footfalls, the creak of leather, reinforced boots, long stride, tall, probably male. One of the guards. She belatedly realizes she’s still tracing the outline of Jason’s lips, and even more belatedly realizes why. Face red, she rises as stealthily as possible, absolutely refusing to be found alone here with Jason and forced to explain what she was doing.
But on her way out, she pauses, turns back, looks at her last sighted target, and aims a pair of finger guns right at it.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6087986

One left, but it’s not mine to write, so hopefully these two were worth it. :slight_smile:

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6087993

While I had anticipated a similar sort of … um … direct response to intruders, the laser sight games were definitely the best note.

Now to work with Margie on section 3.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6088170

To say Charlotte was haunting the halls of the Capitol would have drawn a giggle from her most days. Today it felt a little different. Raising the spirits of the dead of Federal City had filled her with joy, with horror, with adamant determination, with wonder … and now, while the crowds (mostly) outside celebrated, she was happy to have the chance to soak in the silence of these ancient halls.

The cobbled clomping of boots caught her attention. Someone disturbing the quiet, a soldier-guard (the distinction here seemed poorly made) moving with purpose. The garb of the troops here was dreadfully informal, but it was a hard land, and Charlotte knew better than her companions precisely how hard.

The guard stopped by a door down the corridor, his firearm drawn. Charlotte drifted down the hall, intrigued. He put his hand to the knob, softly turned it, then rushed in.

She felt the shadows around her, ready to move once she heard a shout, or a gunshot, or a tiny incremental increase in death in the proximate world.

Then the guard backed out of the room, on tip-toe, quietly closing the door behind him, muttering. “Silly slitch,” Charlotte caught, and “… disturbing the Son of Quill.”

Jason was in there? She waited until the guard stomped off, shaking his head. Then she slipped through the paneled door …

It wasn’t an important room – an antechamber for an office perhaps, rotting boxes of important papers stacked here and there, a scattering of furniture, double-doors beyond.

Looking at him, slumped in a large, comfortable, cracked leather chair, head lolled back, ratchet-choking sounds emanating from his throat, a line of drool draining down his cheek – she could only assume he had ducked in here to find some quiet when exhaustion overcame him.

She floated there, watching him with a silence only she could summon. She’d been so angry at him earlier – So, so male_, proud and analytical and obstinate and single-minded_ – ignoring what she’d said, what she’d observed, what she’d suggested. All because he’d been obsessed with that Alycia girl. He hadn’t needed Charlotte, clearly, so she’d left him when the battle over the city had forced Numina and that very interesting Rusty fellow to call for help.

She couldn’t keep a satisfied smile from her shadowed face. That had been a bold move she’d taken, and a triumph in fending off the Family forces.
Jason had been forced to a bold move of his own as well, defeating the dastard threatening the city defense, Achilles Chin, and at the same time taking a degree of vengeance upon his own father for the shabby way he’d been treated.

Such took a toll on a person, and Jason in particular had an odd frailty, a sickness unto death that she didn’t quite follow in the technological particulars, but which she knew was slowly consuming him.

Floating there, looking at Jason, she could sense that odor of mortality about him, stronger than before. She was glad that, at least for these few moments, he could rest away from the trials of the waking world.

The doorknob clicked behind her, and Charlotte faded into the shadows of the room.

A young lady, red of hair, slipped in, closing the door behind her, a broad predatory smile on her comely face.

The nerve! Even with the morals of this decadent age (and this decadent place), such behavior was unseemly – made worse by its clear focus on her comrade-in-arms who, despite his continued twitterpation over affairs of the heart, was not the sort she believed would welcome such unsought favors as this young lady (to use the term loosely, appropriate enough) seemed set on offering.

And, as well, he was asleep.

She considered for a brief moment directly confronting the interloper. To give this hotspur a tongue-lashing, or draw upon her uncanny mien to teach the minx a lesson.

Though that would, of course, reveal that Charlotte, too, had intruded into Jason’s resting place – though for only the most innocent of reasons, and surely of all people a ghost ought not be concerned about her reputation, the sentiment “I could just die” having been rendered moot.

Still, perhaps there was an easier – and more discreet – method.

The young woman had stopped, was watching Jason with a bit of apprehension, perhaps screwing her courage to the sticking place. That would be tested, Charlotte mused, smiling. The intruder undid the top button of her blouse, hesitated, then unbuttoned the next, and began walking across the room toward the sleeping Jason.

With each step, the air about her grew colder.

The woman stopped, shivered, looked around. There was a window, but it was closed and the glazing intact, nor was it that cold outside. She took another step, and Charlotte drained even more heat from around her – or, more properly (but less romantically) mentally stimulated the brain to feel that chill of the grave that all mortals fear.

The woman shivered, stepped back – and visibly felt better with each step.

She shook her head with a quick, vigorous motion, eyes darting around to spot where such an odd draft might be coming from. Then she bit her lip, and began prowling around the perimeter of the room, still eyeing the recumbent Jason.

Charlotte applied the pressure once more, slowly, with subtlety. No monstrous visage, or outright blast of horror was needful for this.

The woman paused, then continued to step forward, each movement slow, almost pained, but with a fierce determination on her face.

Well, perhaps something a little extra was needed, Charlotte thought.

The intruder suddenly stopped, eyes wide, looking about, as the barely audible whispers began. Again, it was simply a fine tuning of the fear Charlotte knew she could instill in others, plucking on a D string instead of an E.

The coquette had gumption, that was certain. She managed to get within seven feet of Jason, trembling and wild-eyed but still advancing, before Charlotte whispered in her ear –

“Run.”

The power, as the people of the modern day called it, of suggestion broke the young woman. To her credit, she didn’t utter more than a squeak of panic, but did dash out of the room at high speed.

Charlotte signed, smiling. Not quite on par with the afternoon’s performance, but still something to be satisfied with. Being a ghost could be, under the proper circumstances, quite enjoyable.

She gave Jason one more look, shook her head with a smile. Then she followed the young woman, closing the door softly behind her.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6091382

Daph and Mariya were already dipping into the beer bucket by the time Silla joined them by the Third Arch.

“Well, you’re back quickly,” said Daph.

“And you obviously left him without scoring,” Silla rejoined.

Daph sniffed. “Not my type.”

“I thought if it had a pulse it was your type,” Mariya noted.

You came back here quickly enough.”

A shrug. The lantern-light shone against her dark skin. “The guards were too close around the Son.”

Daphne pursed her lips, but nodded. “I did see them giving you the eye.”

Mariya shrugged again. “It wasn’t worth the risk.”

They both looked at Silla.

She shivered slightly, despite the warmth of the evening. “He left me cold.”

* * *

The Pundit was telling the story of that day, the Great Bonfire rising high behind him in blasts of heat, the crowds shouting, ooohing, aaahing, cheering at all the appropriate spots, already the tale growing and distorting in the telling.

At a smaller canister fire nearby, Summer watched the crowds about her, evaluating, reflecting, considering. The emotions, the facial features, the vocalizations, the body language – it was a target-rich learning environment.

Charlotte drifted up behind her. “I always loved bonfires,” she commented wistfully.

“It seems a bit of a waste of wood.”

“These folk have a lot of ruins to glean wood from. I think they can afford to use a bit of it on a day like today.”

They quietly listened to the tale being told for a few minutes.

“Propaganda,” came a voice from behind. “Us triumphing over Them.”

They looked back at Alycia, chewing some unidentifiable protein on a stick.

“Well,” Summer said, “they did triumph.”

After a moment, Alycia gave an assenting, smiling nod.

A longer silence.

Alycia yawned, stretched. “Well, we mere mortals need some sleep.” A beat. “Speaking of which, has anyone seen the Hero of the Hour? The celebrated ‘Son of Quill’?”

“Probably off asleep himself,” commented Summer, making a casual gesture with one hand.

“And flights of angels sing him to his rest,” Charlotte said. And added, “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Alycia replies. “Just want to know he isn’t getting into trouble.”

* * *

In a comfortable chair that was once the favorite of a California politician named Knowland, Jason Quill turned over, considered whether to awaken, and instead settled back down for a long night’s rest.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6091426

Jason has to wake up eventually. What happens when he does?

As always, the canonicity of all comics is in dispute.

author: Bill G.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6091455

I don’t know that I’m willing to concede the canonicity of any of this. But it was a lot of fun.

Thanks, Bill, for the pair of contributions, to Margie for the plotting and proofing of Charlotte’s segment, and again to Bill for the perfect capper cartoon.

author: *** Dave H.
url: https://app.roll20.net/forum/permalink/6091513