Friday, January 20, 2017

Family Matters (super person universe)

[I finally went to buy bread today.  Long walk both ways, but it means I can eat.  Anyway, a plotline for super-person universe was quite developed, though far from fully formed, by the time I got back home.  I'm thinking I'll do some installments to get what's in my head out.]
[Corv has previously appeared in "A Confrontation in Hell" and "Bunking Together" (those are placed in in-universe chronological order), this plot-line takes place after those.]

An arrow shot into the mechanical pangolin, and it was soon engulfed in an unnatural fire.  The ease with which it was dispatched did not bother Corv.  The fact that whoever had done so waited until it had led Corv away from the rest of her team did.

Someone landed behind her, and Corv expected a trap.

"Well, that was easy," a voice said.

As she turned she surveyed where the individual might have jumped from.  There was nowhere that would account for how light the landing had been.

"Here I thought I'd have to come up with some elaborate ruse to get to talk to you alone, and it turned out all I had to do was follow the sounds of explosions and screaming and then wait for a bit."

"My team is my family," Corv said.  "There is no positive reason for wanting to separate me from them."

"And here I stand still un-attacked," the individual said; "I sense a willingness to hear me out."

"If you have something of value to say," Corv said, "I would prefer that you say it quickly."

"Well, you know how you just said your team is your family?" the individual asked.  "You might want to reconsider that seeing as how you're no longer your father's only begotten daughter."

Corv suppressed disbelief, anger, confusion, doubt, and even fear so that she could say, "If what you say is true, it would have been better to approach my entire team," levelly.  "I shall summon them now."

"Wait, wait, wait," the individual said, now approaching.  Hands up and palms open obviously meant to indicate a lack of threat.  "I came to you, not your little club of vigilantes."

"We are an official branch of city law enforcement," Corv said.

"And sanctioned by the League of 'this didn't work for nations so why would we expect it to work for heroes?'; I know," the individual said.

Corv was vaguely amused.  She decided to let it show.  "The name 'United Heroes' evokes the feel of a corporation."

"That would be 'Heroes United', thank you very much."

"Now you evoke the feel of a football team," Corv countered.

"What rules?  Association, rugby, gridiron, Australian, or Gaelic?"

"I think it likely that you know I had in mind Manchester United when I said that," Corv said.

The individual shrugged and said, "Association.  Why not just call it 'soccer'?"

Corv's amusement had reached an end.  While she was not left ill-tempered by this fact, she did wish to move to the serious business at hand.

"I shall summon my team," she said.  "If you wish to be useful, you will tell me what makes you believe my father has sired another child."

"This is a family matter," the individual said, "not something that calls for a bunch of oddballs in silly uniforms."

Corv didn't allow her body to respond to that, but she was somewhat annoyed none the less.

Over the past year she had increasingly taken to wearing a hoodie and blue jeans --clothes she had identified as quintessentially normal for earthbound humans in this region-- as her mission garb and did not think it was fair to classify her as an oddball in a silly uniform.

Instead of responding to that part of the comment, she decided to respond to the first half.  "If what you say is true then it is a matter of my family."

"You didn't even know she existed a few minutes ago and now you claim her like she's some object?"  Corv could tell that the individual was genuinely upset at the idea.  "Fine.  Have it your way.  She's your family on her father's side and my family on her mother's."

Corv had been planning to say that her invocation of her family had been because she knew the threat her father posed rather than a claim of ownership, but she was shocked by the revelation of additional family ties.  Part of her mind very much wanted all of this to be a lie.  Things would be easier.

Unfortunately, nothing had given her any indications of deception.

After some silence, the individual said, "I think we may have gotten off on the wrong foot here.  Maybe we should start over."

Corv nodded.

"In informal settings I prefer to be called 'Corv', and my pronouns are 'she', 'hers', 'her'," Corv said.  "What is your name, and what are your pronouns?"

"I go by 'Enzie', unless you and I get exceptionally close in a real hurry, and 'they' et alia."

"Enzie," Corv said, "it is extremely doubtful that you know my father and his followers better than I do.  Please trust me when I say that we will require help.  My team is capable, I trust them, and by their vocation they have agreed to put their lives in great jeopardy."

Enzie didn't respond.  Instead they looked at the ground as though it had suddenly become interesting.

"Do you have an alternative suggestion as to where we might procure the help we will doubtless need?" Corv asked.

After a while, Enzie said, "I don't like your vocation, and I don't like your politics.  We have common cause because we share a relative who is almost certainly in great danger." They sighed.  "If I can put up with your team for the duration of our collaboration, it's only fair that they put up with me.  That means no digging into my past, no moral judgments, no lectures, and no law enforcement activities in my general direction."

"That seems equitable and viable," Corv said.  "It is, as you said, a family matter."

Enzie is one of the people who doesn't have a code name.  That said, the fact that "Enzie" is a shortening of "Mackenzie" is privileged information.  Enzie doesn't remember if "Mackenzie" is their first or last name, just that it is their real name.  The one their mother called them before she died.

As one might guess based on the prohibition on law enforcement activities in their direction, Enzie is a criminal.  Proud of it too.

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