[AC] Bush43 Daily Week Seven
jasonkenney at gmail.com
Wed Jul 19 10:49:28 PDT 2006
Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com
By Jason Kenney
I crouched down on the rooftop across the street from the PC Fine Arts
Museum, watching the coming and goings, waiting, counting down the
minutes, as the eight o'clock hour moved along.
I hadn't seen any sign of Cassandra. She wasn't at her place when I
checked, and I couldn't think of where else to look for her.
So, I sat and waited.
And, there she was. I don't know how she got there, but suddenly she
was on the roof of the museum, walking along casually in the leather
outfit I hadn't seen in months.
She was in costume, all right.
I moved quick, leaping across the street and landing on the museum roof
with a purposeful thud, getting Cassandra's attention, as she stopped
next to a skylight.
"Lovely evening," I said, as I started to approach her.
"Glad you could make it," she said.
"What are you doing, Cas...?"
She held up a finger quick, cutting me off.
"You know better than to use names, Bush."
"Typhoid Mary, then."
"I told you I don't use that name anymore," she said. "Call me Pox."
She jumped up and to the side, brought her knees to her chest, and then
pushed down with her feet, as she fell to the skylight, shattering the
glass and falling into the room below.
I jumped in after her, landed with a crouch, and was quickly struck
with a kick in the face that sent me on my back. I scrambled to my
feet and put a little distance between myself and Cassandra, surveying
the room, the startled crowd that backed away from the two of us, that
tried to get out.
"What are you doing, Pox?" I asked again.
It started with one man coughing. Then again. By the third, a smile
had creapt across her face.
"Stop it, Ca..." I started to say, tensing my body, readying for a
fight I did not want.
"Damn it," she shouted. "You know better than to use names!"
Then, one of the coughers collapsed, as half the room seemed to be
feeling the effects of whatever she was doing.
"Please, Pox," I said. "Don't do this."
"Make me," she said
"If you don't stop me, I will kill everyone in this room!"
Her smile was gone, the glare in her eyes glistening with tears.
"Why are you doing this?"
"A point has to be made."
"FIGHT ME, DAMN IT!"
She quickly brought her hand around, gloved in shiny leather, finger
extended, pointing at the cops that had just stepped in.
They had to react on instinct.
She knew that.
I threw myself between her and the officers, bullets biting into my
"Damn it," I hissed through clenched teeth, while Cassandra just
Alfonse had taught me a thing or two about pressure points,
particularly ones in the neck, meant to immobilize or knock someone
I wanted Cass knocked out.
I made a chop at her neck, but she blocked it, grabbed my wrist, and
twisted. But, I was stronger and turned my hand straight again.
Then, she punched me in the gut and pushed me back a couple steps, just
far enough for her to have room to come around with one hell of a kick
in the face.
I turned and staggered but remained upright.
"Hold your fire!" I shouted at the cops, as they aimed again. "She's
I spun around and ducked another kick. I stepped forward quick,
grabbing her extended leg before she could lower it and pushing her off
She landed on her back and brought her legs together before I could
straighten up, clamping my neck and head between her calves. She tried
to twist her body and pull me down, but I planted my feet and grabbed
her legs for balance.
She unclamped her legs and pulled them from my grasp, quick to her
"Could we at least take this outside?" I asked, as I glanced to the
cops, all ready, all waiting.
"No," she said.
Then, the cops started coughing.
"What are you trying to prove?" I asked.
"Stop me, Bush," she said. "You have to."
"Don't do this. This isn't you. You don't..."
"You don't know me!" she shouted.
"I know you don't kill people," I said. "And, I know you don't do
things like this without a reason. Why are you doing this?"
"You have to," she said. "You have to be tested."
A Professor Richmond word.
"Is that what this is about?"
"You have to be ready, Jeffery," she said, my name a slip of the
"Ready for what?" I took a step toward her.
"You must be hardened against betrayal," she said, crying now. "You
must be able to put emotions and personal associations aside if you are
"Where is this coming from?" I asked, as I stopped right in front of
her. "Cass," I said softly, putting my hands on her arms, squeezing
gently. "What did they do to you?"
"You have to be ready," she said again.
"What are they sick with?"
"Just a bad flu," she said, as she closed her eyes and hung her head.
"Okay," I said, rubbing her arms a bit.
"I'm sorry," she said.
"I'm sorry, Cass."
"For what?" she asked, eyes open, looking into mine.
I quickly hit the pressure point in her neck, and she went out like a
light. I caught her, as she collapsed, and picked her up, cradling her
in my arms.
I turned to face the cops, a couple down, a few still up but obviously
feeling a bit under the weather.
I walked up to them, one moving to grab his cuffs, as I approached.
"We'll take it from here," he said.
"No," I said and he looked shocked. "I've got her."
"We need to take her into custody..."
"I said I've got her," I stated.
I stepped past him and the others and out of the room.
Of course, Alfonse answered the door.
"Heya," I said, as I stepped past him, Cassandra still unconscious in
"The caveman method of wooing has been long dead, Mister Carter."
"Yeah," I said, as I started up the stairs, ignore his comment. "Can I
stick her in my old room?"
"Of course. Is Miss Trellis all right?"
"She's just out," I said at the top of the stairs. "Pressure point
I nudged the door to my old bedroom open and went in, laying Cassandra
on the bed. I pulled my mask off with one hand, my other one coming up
and wiping the sweat off my brow.
Running to and from Burke Manor to Pacific City was tiring enough;
tossing another hundred some odd pounds into it didn't make it any
I gently lifted Cassandra's head up and found the zipper on the back of
her mask, undoing it and carefully pulling it off.
She didn't stir.
I was so fixed on her that I didn't notice Alfonse in the room until he
set a tray down on the bedstand beside me.
"She will wake with a headache," he said, as I looked from the glass of
water and aspirin to him.
"Yeah," I said with a nod, looking back to her, sighing and shaking my
head. "Richmond's in her head, Alfonse. Or someone working for him."
Alfonse placed a hand on my shoulder.
"Come," he said, turning me away.
"What if she wakes up?"
"We will just be out in the hallway, Jeffery."
I nodded, gave Cass one last look, and followed Alfonse out. He pulled
the door almost closed, leaving it open just a crack.
"What happened, Jeffery?" Alfonse asked in a hushed voice.
"She attacked some people," I said. "She warned me that she was going
to be up to something tonight, so I intercepted her. She wanted me to
fight her, and I couldn't."
"What makes you think Professor Richmond is involved?"
"She talked about testing me, Alfonse. Richmond said he was testing me
last night. Last night, he fucked with her head to knock her out and
who knows what else. Richmond put her up to this, Alfonse."
"But, you can not be certain."
"She's not like this, Alfonse."
"Are you certain?"
I opened my mouth to say something but stopped.
I wasn't certain.
"I have to go back out," I said.
"And, do what, Jeffery?"
"How do you intend on doing that?"
"Erlend will know. Simon will know. Someone knows, goddamn it." I
paused to take a few deep breaths, control my thoughts, control myself.
"Alfonse, I'm sorry to ask this of you, but could you watch her,
"Certainly," Alfonse said. "But, do consider what you are doing and
whether or not it will be effective."
"It's better than nothing," I said, starting for the stairs.
"Perhaps it is not as good as getting some rest. When is the last time
you slept, Jeffery?"
"I'll sleep when I'm dead," I said.
"And, if you keep this up, that may be sooner rather than later."
I stopped at the top of the stairs and looked back to Alfonse.
"I've got to do this, Alfonse."
"You are not the only person in this city capable of doing this."
"Capable, sure, but actually willing to do something? Who else is
there, Alfonse? We've got a whole damn city full of science heroes,
and where are they?"
Alfonse didn't respond, either because he agreed or because he knew
that anything he said wouldn't change my mind.
I pulled my mask out and tugged it over my head.
"When she wakes up, tell her I'm sorry."
"Of course," he said. "Do be careful, Jeffery."
I smirked under my mask and turned away.
"Thank you, Alfonse."
And, I headed down the stairs and out of the Burke Estate.
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