Apologies for the lateness of this post! I got a new computer today and have been drowning my time in a lot of Bioshock Infinite!
When Kendra had been younger, her mother had read her The Hobbit. When Kendra had been younger, she had decided that Gandalf and Bilbo Baggins were both women – mentions of beards and hairy feet notwithstanding. Despite strenuous objections, her mother eventually relented. But it was not the rather amusing mental image of a tall, stacked mature woman brushing her hands through her long silvery beard that stuck in Kendra’s mind for her stay in the hospital.
When the dwarves and Bilbo had stayed at Rivendel (or Rivindel, or however you spelled it) the narrator had taken a moment to opine on how it was easy to write about terrifying, unpleasant, or dangerous times. Adventures filled whole books – and those could last as short as a single day. But try to describe a single week of having a good time, and it rapidly became impossible.
For Kendra, if she were to write a novel about the half a month she spent in the hospital and the two weeks she had spent bopping back to physical therapy, she would have just been able to write two sentences involving the occasion and left it at that.
And they weren’t even grammatical sentences.
Bijay – in his guise as one of the nurses – kept careful watch, but Adder’s death and the attention drawn by the police had given Crichton a bit of a scare – apparently, he didn’t want to make his innocent and law-abiding façade take a hit in any universe or any version of the past, lest he be forced to stay there for reasons unknown. That meant that while she did wake up every time someone walked past her room, and she tried to brain one of the nurses when she changed her IV – no one had figured out how she had gotten a club in her hand so quickly.
But most of the time, she spent it bored.
Bored. Bored. Bored. The kind of bored that seeps into your bones, which couldn’t be cured with anything short of a bullet to the head or a change of venue. She watched TV shows, and read books, and even played a bit on her laptop – all while keeping her immobilized arm immobilized and taking a nearly continual spray of drugs – some to fight infection, some to speed the healing, some to just make her suffer.
When, finally, she was released, she came back home and found that her parents had invested significantly in…security.
Which replaced boredom with frustration, which to Kendra was not an improvement!
“How am I supposed to do anything with my friends with this?” Kendra used her good hand to rub at her neck. The new necklace that she sported was a little long, and at the bottom was – rather than a gemstone or a bit of pewter – a small plastic disk marked with a C and a U.
“Easy!” Mom smiled and tucked the disk under Kendra’s shirt. “See?”
“But…you can use your freaking phone to track me! Like I was…a...a…a pet!” Kendra tugged the necklace back out from under her shirt. “It’s humila-“
“Kendra, you were almost hacked apart by a machete.”
That voice had been Dad – who had been sitting in a nearby chair, reading the instruction manual to their brand new Cordine and Ulysses security GPS tracker. He closed the manual and looked over at the two of them, his eyes serious behind his glasses.
Kendra found it remarkably hard to argue with that. So, while she went to high school and found herself in a curious position of having far too many people caring far too much about everything she said, and yet no one actually seemed to want to sit with her during lunch or group with her in groups. She always got into the dreg groups – the ones with the people who never did any work and just let the rest of the people carry them.
The only people who did sit beside her at lunch were Jessica – who treated this entire thing as incredibly exciting and encouraged Kendra to enjoy the attention and the drama that it allowed her to access – and Theresa – who worked her hardest to try and pretend that nothing had happened at all. It made for some surreal conversations…
“I think you should try and get your hooks into Marshal. Let’s be honest, he’s cute, and someone is going to notice how heroic he was-“
“He…was kind of heroic. Sort of.” Kendra tried to cut in, but Jessica continued forward like a machine.
“-and sweep him up!”
“Did you guys hear about the new library section they’re adding in?” Theresa said. Jessica glared at her, but Kendra – who was kind of eager to get away from the whole ‘machete dude’ topic that had been hanging over her life for the better part of a month – grabbed onto the change in topic with both hands.
So, between the shambles of her social life, the indignities of having to wear a GPS tracker everywhere…Kendra didn’t think she would have had time for meeting the other Immortals.
She was wrong.
The Immortals – Nef and Bijay and...actually, none of the other Immortals were eager to get her back together and ready to fight. But Nef and Bijay were the ones she knew the best, so they counted for more.
“Crichton is just marshaling his forces…” Nef said, leaning over a table in the Denny’s that dominated the corner of two of the busiest streets in the town. “Mortals are somewhat useful in these issues, but he is also sending out feelers to other Narcissists.”
Bijay – who sat right across from Kendra – leaned in to speak, but before he could, Kendra held her hand up.
“Let me guess, people like Adder, who think they’re traveling through dimensions, rather than changing the past?” She asked, smiling slightly.
“Coffee?” The waitress asked for the fifteenth billionth time – she made circuits throughout the Denny’s at a rate of one revolution per minute, and it was starting to get on Kendra’s nerves.
“No thanks,” Nef said. She somehow managed to look normal and calm, as if she had never lost a loved one in her life. Kendra didn’t like to think about that.
When the waitress went on, Bijay took the conversation back up again, saying: “Yeah, though, that’s just about what the Narcissists believe.”
“Good name.” Kendra shuddered, remembering the insane light in Adder’s eyes.
“Still, we need to start thinking about how we’re going to strike back, if we want to get some peace for a while.” Nef leaned back in her seat. “Bijay, you’re the only other person in the group who is interested in doing anything beyond a defensive action…did you have any actual ideas?”
Bijay grinned, but before he could say anything, Kendra raised her hand. The two other Immortals looked at her, and Nef gestured to her, as if to say ‘go ahead, you have my blessing.’
Kendra asked the obvious question: “Why am I here, then?”
“You’re new and got a reason to want revenge.” Nef nodded.
“I think you’ve got promise.” Bijay added. Then, grinning, he murmured. “And you’re pretty cute…”
Kendra turned bright, bright red, but nodded. Bijay, seeing that it was his chance to explain his plan, laid it out.
“We need to hit Crichton where it hurts, and we need to tie it into his life, so he can’t just ripple away from it without losing something he’d rather keep.” Bijay rubbed his hands together. “I have two candidates, and a way to tie the events together. But I’m thinking that if we each take a part of the plan, we’ll weave it more into the world’s events and really get it to stick.”
Kendra nodded. That seemed like a pretty good way of doing it.
Then Bijay explained his plan, the full plan.
Nef nodded. “I’m in. I can handle the hijacking.”
Bijay glanced at Kendra, who was cupping her face in her hands.
“We…” She paused. “We are the good guys, right?”
Bijay grinned, his face so disarming and cute that she almost forgot her own question.
“We are.” He paused, just fractionally. “Kind of.”
Like the story?
Support it with a donation! (Note: Any donation below 1 dollar will go straight to Pay Pall and none goes to me, the author!)