[AC] Anthology 2: Bush43/Mysteria: Old Man And The Seven (Lost Legacies Part III)

Artifice Comics artificecomics at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Mar 7 10:15:38 PST 2004

>>From Artifice Comics:


"So then the guy was all like 'ahhhh.... my nuts!' And he fell over
and into the other guy next to him who tried to support him but this
guy was so freakin' huge that it was kinda like trying to catch a
building, ya know?"

"No, Jeffery," said Alfonse with a sigh. "I do not 'know'." 

"Christ, Alfonse, why don't you just tell me to shut up if you don't
care about this kinda crap."

"Because you would not listen to me," said Alfonse. 

"Granted," I said, "but at least I wouldn't get my hopes all up on
thinking you were a captive audience or anything."

Alfonse sighed again as he opened the door to the grandfather clock in
Henry Burke's old study. He reached inside and past the pendulum and
pulled on the neat secret lever and the clock started to slide to the
left, revealing a gaping hole in the wall.

The secret entrance to the Bush Cave! 

Yeah, I'm gonna start calling it that now. Not like anyone else is
using it. Not that I'm going to call it that around Alfonse, mind you.

"Did you leave the lights on?" asked Alfonse as he looked over his
shoulder to me. The normally dark cave was all alight, which it
shouldn't have been.

"I left the cave before you did yesterday," I said, "and I haven't
been back in it since."

Alfonse narrowed his eyes. 

"Stay here." 

And he disappeared. 

Anthology Two Presents 
"Old Man And The Seven" 
(Lost Legacies Part III) 
By Jason S. Kenney

The old man stood in the center of the cave's main chamber and looked
around with a small grin. He had known of its existence for years but
had never bothered to venture into it before now. The opportunity has
never presented itself. Nor had the need.

"There will be no need for that, Alfonse," said the old man with a
small grin.

Alfonse Saint Libatique suddenly appeared behind the old man, pulling
his hands back from where they were about to grasp and wretch the
man's head and ideally break his neck.

Alfonse looked from the back of the man's head to the woman who stood
hand in hand with a little girl, both looking at the costume that sat
illuminated in its glass case.

It was the last of the Millennium Man costumes designed and used by
Henry Burke, the same one he wore on the day it all began to end.

"Is the lady of the house in?" asked the old man, shifting slightly
but still putting most of his weight on the cane grasped under his

"I am afraid she is occupied elsewhere," said Alfonse, looking back to
the old man and straightening his suit coat.

"That is a lie and you and I both know it," said the old man as he
looked up and cleared his throat. He started to walk forward and
towards the desk that sat by the stairwell to the cave. The woman
looking at the case noticed his moving and hurried beside him, helping
the old man to the chair at the desk and easing him down into it.
"Now, if you would please be so kind as to retrieve Miss Burke, it
would be greatly appreciated."

Alfonse looked from the man and his companion to the little girl who
simply remained staring at the costume in the case.

He sighed and nodded. 

"I will see if she is available," he said, and he disappeared. 


Alfonse reappeared next to me and scared the shit out of me. 

"Christ, man," I said, hand clutching my chest, "don't do that!" 

"We have guests," said Alfonse tersely. 


"I need you to go down there and keep an eye on them. There are only
three people, an old man who should be sitting at the desk, a woman
about your height and a little older, dark hair, and a girl, perhaps
six years old. Try and keep them all where you can see them. Do not
let them touch anything."

"Should I offer them something to drink?" I asked with a smirk. 


"Well, can I go get my mask or something? I assume from your tone that
they're not friendly and they may wonder what's up with my presence."

"Jeffery, that they are here is probably sign enough that they know
who you are."

"Do what?" 

"Just go keep an eye on them," said Alfonse, glancing once more
through the entrance to the cave. "I am going to get 'Toria."

And he disappeared. 


I looked around while I went down the stairs, trying to make sure I
saw everyone Alfonse wanted me to.

Some old guy was sitting at the desk by the steps with a rather
attractive chick at his side that seemed to be talking to him quietly.
The little blonde haired girl Alfonse spoke of just stood staring at a
glass case with one of the Millennium Man costumes.

The woman was the first to notice me, standing upright and glaring at
me like I'd just walked into her home uninvited. The old man shifted
in his seat to look up to me and a slight smirk on his face faded as
he saw me.

"Where is Miss Burke?" he asked. 

"Beats me," I said with a shrug as I reached the bottom of the stairs.
"Besides, why do you want to talk to prissy Victoria when you can have
an enjoyable conversation with me instead?"

I smiled wide and got nothing but glares from the two. 

"So, what do you want to talk about?" I asked, rubbing my hands
together. "Sports? You all watch the Sydney/Pacific City game last
night? What a blow out!"

No response. 

"Entertainment? Hey, have you heard that new Kylie Minogue song? I
mean, I haven't, but she's hot so she's worth talking about right?"

The only response I got was a stronger glare from the two, but I
noticed out the corner of my eye that the little girl had turned her
attention from the costume to me.

"Uh... how about politics?" 

"Yes," said the old man, smiling at the mention of that, "let's talk
politics, Jeffery. Local politics to be more exact."

Wait a sec. 

"I don't believe I gave you may name," I said. 

"How do you feel about the current administration of Pacific City,

"Uh..." I hate being put on the spot about that. "I think I feel

The man's smile faded. The little girl giggled. 

"Sorry," I said with a shrug, "it was the first adjective that came to

The man shook his head and I think the alternating views of his face
did it for me.

"Say," I said, "you look familiar." 

The man stopped his head shaking and locked eyes with me at that, his
lips tight.

"Weren't you Captain Kangaroo?" 

The man's eyes widened and I'm sure his old ass would have attacked me
had Alfonse not suddenly appeared at the bottom of the stairs.

"Miss Burke will be with you shortly, Mister Richmond," said Alfonse. 

"DOCTOR Richmond," said the old man, not removing his eyes from mine.
"And thank you, Alfonse. Could I trouble you for a glass of water and
perhaps juice for my granddaughter?"

"No," said Alfonse, and he disappeared again. 

Something told me Alfonse was not happy to see this guy. 

"I take it the wee one's your granddaughter?" I asked, trying to
strike up some conversation so I wouldn't get too uncomfy. The old man
nodded. "And is this your daughter then?" I asked, looking to the
attractive lady at the old man's side.

"Miss Gallows is an associate," said the old man. 

"Gallows? Like hangman?" 

"Yes," she said softly through a wicked grin that actually made her
even more attractive. Yowza!

I turned towards the little girl and crouched down to be eye level
with her.

"And what might your name be?" I asked. She just smirked and tried to
turn away slightly, playing hard to get like easily embarrassed and
shy children do. She giggled slightly. "Well that's an interesting
name," I said, "though I'm not sure I can pronounce it properly."

"Her name is Angela," said the old man after clearing his throat. 

"Well hello, Angela," I said, not bothering to look at the old man.
"I'm Jeffery."

"I know," she said with her grin. 

"You and everyone else," I said. 

"You never met Henry Burke, did you, Jeffery?" asked Richmond. I
looked over to him but remained crouched down, comfy in my position.

"Nope, missed meeting him," I said, "though I've heard he was a
delightful person to know."

"Henry Burke was a bastard," said Richmond, spitting out Burke's name
like a curse. "You would have hated him the moment you met him."

"Don't know about that. I'm pretty open-minded about folks and I think
I'd have given him at least five minutes to convince me he wasn't such
a bad guy."

"He would have failed no matter how much time you had given him."
Doctor Richmond shifted in his seat. "I've always found it interesting
how some of these so called 'heroes' live their other lives. Did you
know that American Glory was a pedophile?" He paused as if waiting for
me to answer so I just shook my head. "Took me by surprise when I
first learned it. And that Lord Light beat his wife? Regularly, no
less. That some of the world's greatest saviors led such unsavory
lives outside of the costume... well, I just find it delightfully
ironic." A smile had started to spread across is face.

"Let's look at some personal examples like the Mayor," he said,
leaning forward and resting his chin on his hands folded atop his
cane. "I'm sure you've noticed that he is perhaps not the nicest
person in the world."

"The mayor's just fine," I said. "Any problems with him is merely a
difference of opinion in heroics."

"Of course," said Richmond. "But then you have Mister Weisz." 

"Fine, you're right there," I granted as I stood upright. 

"And then there's the lovely Miss Burke..." 

"What about her?" 

"Oh, come now, Jeffery," said Richmond. "She's a cold hearted bitch
that would kill you in a heartbeat if the butler wasn't here to save
your hide."

"Victoria is a fine person," I said, "and is just the product of her
class and family situation."

"Her bastard of a father." 

"Granted," I said, "but she's got a stressful personal life, stressful
business life, of course she's going to be a bit bitchy, but that's
part of her charm."

"Her charm? I would hardly classify being a bitch as charming." 

"Then you have no sense of adventure," I said with a grin. "Just
because you have two or three instances of thinking that heroes are
bad outside of the mask doesn't make it the norm. Besides, you're
hardly unbiased in the matter."

"A man sexually abuses a child and then puts on a mask and tights and
saves another child from a burning building, is he still a hero?"
asked Richmond.

"Woah, wait a second," I said and I started to continue but stopped as
I heard someone coming down the stairs.

"I hope you're not too comfortable, Doctor," said Victoria Burke as
she descended into the cave, Alfonse a few steps behind her with a
glass of juice in his hand, "because you will not be staying long."

Victoria did not look like a happy camper. 

"Whatever you have to say make it quick," she said as she reached the
bottom of the stairs and turned to Dr. Richmond, "and then get the
hell out."

Alfonse walked over to Angela and handed her the glass of fruit punch
with a smile.

Wait a minute. The only fruit punch in this house was MY fruit punch.

"Now, Miss Burke," said the old man as he started to try and get to
his feet, Gallows helping him up. "Is that any way to treat an old
associate of your father's?"

"You were not an 'associate' of my father's," Victoria said, crossing
her arms. "And you are not welcome here, so be brief and be on your

"I'm afraid that what I have to say may take some time..." 

"Then I do not want to hear it." 

Alfonse had walked over and positioned himself behind and beside
Victoria, hands behind his back, but I knew what was up. He was
watching the old man and Gallows, waiting for one or both to make a
move and ready to react accordingly. I didn't know what exactly I
should do so I just stood there.

"Please, Miss Burke, it is of great importance to you," said Richmond.
He cleared his throat and glanced at me. "And to you alone."

"Anything you have to say can be said in front of Alfonse and
Jeffery," said Victoria. I didn't know she cared.

"I do not mind speaking in front of Alfonse," said Richmond, looking
back to Victoria, "as he was close to your father as well, but I'm
afraid that it must remain limited at that."

"And seeing as how Jeffery is not going anywhere," said Victoria,
raising her chin slightly, "then I suppose you will be on your way."

Dr. Richmond sighed, closed his eyes and lowered his head. 

"Very well," he said, and he eased himself back into the chair with
Gallows's help.

"On the third of May Pacific City will be attacked by a team called
The Seven. On this day, thousands of the city's residents will die as
The Seven fight your New Mages and emerge victorious."

We all stood silent for a bit. 

"Well, see," I said, breaking the silence, "that was nice and brief." 

"How do you know this?" asked Victoria, sounding like she didn't
believe the man one bit. And neither did I, frankly, but that didn't
mean I wasn't interested.

"How I know it is besides the point," Richmond said with a waive of
his hand. "What you need to know is that if you do not act you will be
dead on May third."

"So we're supposed to simply take you at your word?" Victoria asked. 

"If the only thing keeping you from trusting me is my history as a
villain," said Richmond, looking at Alfonse, "then I simply ask to be
held to the same standard as others in this room with a similar

"Some 'others in this room with similar history,'" I said, "have kinda
proven themselves trustworthy."

"Whether you trust me or not," said Richmond, "the fact remains that
if you do not act upon this information The Seven will come and
destroy everything your precious Mayor wishes to achieve.

"The reason I'm warning you," Richmond began to rise out of his seat
with Gallows's help, "is that I have found myself to be in your
father's debt for the last twenty years and I decided now would be the
best time for me to repay him."

"For what?" asked Victoria as Doctor Richmond started to shuffle away
from her and towards me.

"He showed me the error of my ways, or some nonsense like that,"
Richmond said with a slight flair of his hand in the air to show how
little he cared of the event. "He was the catalyst for what I've
become and for that I owe him. This is my repayment and I now wash my
hands of the Burke name."

Doctor Richmond stopped a few feet from me and looked me dead in the
eyes, his face serious with a frown.

"Unfortunately," he said to me in a low voice, "you and I have only
just begun our acquaintance, Jeffery Carter."

"You mean you want to see me again?" I said with a grin. "Aw, shucks.
Ya never know, Doc, might get to second base on our second date. I'm
easy like that."

He narrowed his eyes and grumbled under his breath. 

"Angela," he said, keeping his eyes on me but reaching out a hand that
the little girl took.

I looked down to her and smiled. 

"It was nice to meet you, Angela," I said. 

She smiled back and handed me her glass. 

"Sorry I drank all of your juice," she said very properly for a child.

And before I could reply Doctor Richmond turned and started to walk
with Angela and Gallows away, deeper into the cave and I guess out the
way they came in.

I looked back to Alfonse and Victoria who just stared after them. 

"Want me to follow them?" I asked when I figured they were out of

"Don't bother," said Victoria, turning and starting to go up the
stairs and back into the manor.

Alfonse looked up after her and when she was gone sighed, his
shoulders slumping slightly, his body changing, as if he'd been
holding his breath the whole time.

"Who was that, Alfonse?" I asked as I walked to the butler who sat in
the seat Richmond had previously occupied. He put his face in his
hands for a moment, breathed deeply, and then sat up straight, his
face composed, back to his normal self.

"That was Professor William Richmond, also known as The Mind," said
Alfonse as he stood back up and straightened his coat. "He and Mister
Burke faced off many times through the years, though I did not think
that he knew Henry's true identity."

"Well, if he's half as smart as he claims it shouldn't be a surprise."

"No, I guess not." 

"Though I wonder how he knows me..." 

"He seems to have taken an interest in you." 

"I'm flattered," I said, glancing over my shoulder to look where the
three of them had walked into the darkness. "So I take it I'm going to
be spending the next couple days looking for and corking ways into
this place?"

"No," said Alfonse, "there is no point. These caves are too extensive
for us to even begin to block every possible entrance. Besides, I
doubt he will return."

"You think we should tell Romanov about this?" 

"That is for you and Victoria to decide," said Alfonse, looking up the
stairs briefly. "Though I'm certain that Romanov is already aware of

"Yeah, he does have a way of knowing stuff." 

"So it would seem." 

We both stood silent for a while, Alfonse looking up the steps, me
kinda being all comfortable with the silence. I looked into the glass
in my hand.

"Hey, Alfonse, was that the last of my fruit punch?" I asked. 

Alfonse looked back to me, to my glass, and then back to my face. 

"Yes it was," he said. "I did not think it would matter that much to

"It doesn't," I said, looking back to the cup. "Not really." 


"What were the two of you talking about?" 

Victoria was standing in the doorway to the kitchen as I poked my head
above the top of the fridge door, chicken wing in my mouth.


"You and Doctor Richmond," she said as I closed the fridge and went to
grab a paper towel and started wiping my mouth. "What were you two
discussing before I came in?"

"A little bit of politics," I said with my mouth somewhat full. I
swallowed. "A little bit of history. Nothing earth shattering."

"Did he mention my father?" she asked as she crossed her arms and
leaned on the doorframe.

"In passing." 

"What did he say about him?" 

At first I wasn't sure I liked this grilling, but I was picking up one
a subtext here. I don't know if it was her tone or just me but it was
almost as if she was asking for some sort of reassurance. She wanted
to know what this guy said about her Dad for personal reasons.

"He just asked if I'd met him or knew anything about him." 

She stood for a moment and just stared at me, waiting for me to
continue but I wasn't about to. I mean, I'm not going to tell her the
guy called her father a bastard.

"What if I told you I heard everything you discussed?" she said,
feeling me out. "What if I said you were lying?"

"Well," I said, "if you heard everything the Doc and I said then you
wouldn't be asking me what we were talking about. And if you want to
say I'm lying, well, that's your prerogative."

We were both silent for a bit and I couldn't help but follow through. 

"Like Bobby Brown," I said with a grin. "Pre-Whitney Houston beating
Bobby Brown and all."

She closed her eyes and shook her head. 

"Jeffery, you are a fountain of useless information," she said as she
opened her eyes and smirked.

"I do what I can," I said with a full smile now. 

And we both stood smiling and then, surprise, surprise, I was the one
who got all serious again.

"So what do we do now?" 

"About what?" she asked, standing upright from her leaning position. 

"With this whole Seven thing. Do we tell Romanov?" 

Victoria shrugged. "I don't see why not. We'll let him decide if it's
worth looking into or not."

"Fair enough." 

She cleared her throat and looked at her watch as if she had somewhere
to be.

"I want to thank you for being there, Jeffery," she said, not looking
at me. I figured that was on purpose.

"Well, you sounded like you didn't really want me to leave," I said
with a shrug of my own.

"You didn't have to stay and you did. Your presence was very helpful.
Thank you."

"My pleasure," I said. 

And she nodded to me, turned and left.

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