[AC] Bush43 Daily Week Seven

Jason Kenney jasonkenney at gmail.com
Fri Jul 21 10:09:52 PDT 2006

Artifice Comics - http://www.artificecomics.com

BUSH43 #54
By Jason Kenney


I was back into Pacific City and across the street from her apartment
before the adrenalin started wearing off and my arm reminded me how
much it hurt.  I stumbled near the edge of the rooftop and stopped,
clutching at my arm, as I clenched my teeth.

A good portion of my sleeve was soaked with blood and sweat, and I
probably needed quite a few stitches, if not a good healing job from
anyone with the capabilities.  Not that I knew where to find any of

Or find Cassandra for that matter.

Her apartment looked empty like I had expected it to be.  But, it was
the only place I could think to go looking for her.

I jumped across the street and landed on the roof of her apartment
building, landed wrong, my legs collapsing under me and sending me
down.  I yelled, as I landed hard on my right arm, quickly rolling to
my back, trying to tell myself that I was okay, that I wasn't hurt, it
was just a scratch, just a damn scratch.


A female voice.  Not Cassandra's.  I leaned my head back and looked
across the roof to see Eldritch walking my way.

"Go away, Eldritch," I said, quickly getting to my feet and readying
myself.  "Leave her alone!"

"She's not here, Jeffery," Eldritch said.


"I was trying to find you earlier.  I thought you'd be with her."

"Anna didn't send you here?"

"Why would Anna send me here?  Christ, Jeffery, what happened to you?"

"Nothing," I said, as I walked past her and toward the door to the

"Damn it, Jeffery, I'm trying to help you out.  Talk to me here."

"Anna and Victoria went for her, Eldritch," I said, as I spun around to
face her.  "And, there was a fight, okay?"

"Are you okay?"

"No, I'm not okay.  No one's okay.  We're all fucked, and it's because
Anna and Erlend are too goddamn single minded to see the world's
falling apart around them."


"The Imperial Magistrate's coming back, Eldritch.  The big angel with
her army and guns that killed my parents is coming back, and there's
not a goddamn thing we can do about it."

I pulled the mask off and shook my head.

"What's the fucking use of any of this?" I asked, shaking my mask in
her direction.  "Why should I care so goddamn much when all everyone is
going to do is ignore what needs to be done or worse: prevent me from
trying my damnedest to save some fucking lives?  How many more have to
die before we start doing our damn jobs around here?"

I dropped my arm to my side, my mask dangling, as I closed my eyes and
leaned my head back, taking deep breaths, wishing this were all just a
bad dream.

"I'm tired, Eldritch," I said into the sky, but I'm sure she heard me.

"I've been to space, Eldritch," I said, moving my head down and looking
to her, forcing a smile on my face.  "How many people can say that?
I've been to fucking outer space, and I haven't had a moment to even
reflect on it."

"Jeffery," Eldritch said, as she approached me, a gentle touch on my
arm, my bad arm, just above the cut. "You're tired; you're hurt.  Let's
get you fixed up, okay?"

"May I speak with him first?"

I nearly growled, as I spun to face Professor William Richmond, as he
walked from the door to the stairwell, his granddaughter at his side,
Gallows just behind him, to the side, in a prime position to move if I
tried anything.

And, I didn't care.

I charged at Richmond, and Gallows moved around to come between us,
just like I thought she would.  I went low and punched hard into her
gut, my other fist coming quick across her face and sending her
stumbling to the side, stunned.  I didn't wait for her to get her
bearings, closing in quick and throwing one hell of an uppercut that
sent her onto her back.  I walked next to her, bent over, and grabbed
the collar of her leather outfit, gripped it hard, and, with a shout,
tossed her ass over the edge of the roof.

I spun on Richmond.

"I am impressed," he said, Angela hiding behind him, as he didn't show
a sign of fright.

I grabbed his collar and lifted him into the air, ignoring Angela's
squeal, as I hoisted him a foot off the ground.

"What did you do to her?!" I demanded.

"Merely made a few suggestions," Richmond said with a smirk.

I tossed him aside, moving toward him, as he tumbled across the
rooftop, and grabbing him again, just as he came to a stop.

"What kind of suggestions?!" I shouted, as I hoisted him to his feet
and wrapped a hand around his throat.

"You're not ready," he croaked.  "You have to be ready if you are to

"I am not here for you to fuck with, Richmond!" I shouted, as I shoved
him back, stumbling and falling onto his back.  I spun around and
ducked, as Gallows came around with a punch that would have taken my
head off.  I slugged her in the gut again, came with another punched
straight into her chest, and pushed her back to get some distance
between us.

She stopped, planted her feet, and, with a shout, came at me again only
to be interrupted by a ghost dog leaping on her from the side.

About time Eldritch decided to join in.

I turned back on Richmond, as he was getting to his feet.

"You must continue to be tested if you can even hope to stop her,
Jeffery," said Richmond.  "I am trying to help you."

"Help me?" I said, as he took a step back with each one I took forward.
 "By blowing up Ferguson and Carriage Hill?  By turning my friends
against me?  By trying to kill me?"

"I merely made suggestions, Jeffery," said Richmond.  "What happened
after that was beyond my control."


He reached the edge of the roof, tripped, and fell back.  I moved quick
and grabbed his shirt collar before he went over the edge.

I tossed him back onto the roof and watched, as he rolled to a stop.
Gallows was still trying to struggle under the ghost dog, as Eldritch
stood a few feet away, arms crossed, watching the scene intently.

"Get out of my city," I said to Richmond, as he started to push himself
to his feet.  "You and all of your people, I want them out.  And, I
swear to God, if any of you step one foot in Pacific City again, it
will be the last thing you ever do."

"You don't kill, Jeffery," said Richmond, as he got to his feet,
smiling slightly.  "It's not your way."

"I'm pretty certain Eldritch does not share my reservations,
Professor," I said.  "I want your psychic out of Cassandra's head, I
want you and any of your agents out of here before dawn, and if I ever
get wind of you again..."

I left that hanging, looking from Richmond to Gallows and then to
Angela who stood near the doorway, nowhere to go, nowhere to hide from
what was happening.

"I'm sorry you had to see this," I said to her.

She just stared at me, not scared, not worried, passive, almost as if
nothing had happened.

"Where is Cassandra right now, Richmond?" I asked, as I waved to
Eldritch, and she called the ghost dog off of Gallows.

"I do not know," Richmond said, as he hobbled toward where Angela

"Bullshit!" I said.

Gallows leapt to her feet and seemed to consider coming at me, at
Eldritch, at anyone, but hesitated and then backed down, instead moving
to Richmond and helping support him as he walked.

"Neither of us would gain from my keeping her from you, Jeffery," said
Richmond.  "If I knew where she was, I would tell you, but, as it is, I
do not know."

I watched Gallows guide the old man toward the doorway when I suddenly
thought of that piece of paper.

"And, what's the fifth set of numbers?" I asked.

Richmond paused and looked at me.

"The paper you gave me yesterday.  There are five serial numbers.
Who's the fifth one?"

"The shorter number is for keypad access to the room, Jeffery," said
Richmond, as he started walking toward the stairwell again.

"Who's the fifth serial code, Richmond?"

He stopped again, looked my way, and grinned.

"You are."


"You can't possibly be thinking of going there now."

Eldritch was slightly behind me, following me down the hall, as I
quickly made my way toward the Mayor's office.

"We need that stuff sooner rather than later," I said.

"You weren't in such a hurry before, Jeffery.  What does their having a
drug for you change?"

I stopped and turned to her.

"It changes my understanding of the situation, Eldritch."


"We need this stuff sooner rather than later, Eldritch."

I turned and started toward the door to the Mayor's office.

"And, what about Cassandra?"

That got me to stop again.  I closed my eyes and hung my head.

Damn it.


"She's a big girl, Eldritch," I said, looking to her over my shoulder.
"My priority is the safety of this city.  That's what heroes do,

She didn't respond, as I opened the door.

The office was empty, as I stormed in and looked around.

"Erlend!" I shouted.  "Anna!"

"They're not here, Jeffery," Eldritch said, as she stepped into the

"They're fucking here," I said through clenched teeth.  "Or, they can
hear us."

"Maybe they're just ignoring you," said a new voice, and I spun to see
Johann Weisz, stepping from the bathroom attached to the office, drying
his hands with a paper towel, smirk on his face.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" I asked with a glare.

"None of your damn business," he said, his smirk gone, his eyes locked
on mine.

"Johann," said Eldritch. "We need to get to Lorrington."

"Doesn't Jeffery have a naughty girlfriend he should be aiding and

"No," I said, not in response to Weisz's comment, as I looked to

"Jeffery, he can get us there."

"What's in Lorrington?" asked Weisz.

"None of your damn business," I spat.

"Power suppressing drugs for the Ferguson people."

"Damn it, Eldritch, I don't want Weisz involved."

"Jeffery, he can help us."

"He's a son of a bitch!"

"When you all finish this little lovers' quarrel," said Weisz, getting
both of us to glare at him, "perhaps you can decide whether you're
going to fill me in or not, so I can do something with the rest of my

"He can help us, Jeffery," said Eldritch.

My head started to throb from my clenched jaw.

"Can you get us to Lorrington?" I asked after a long pause.

Weisz smiled.

"What's in it for me?"

Eldritch's ghost dog was suddenly next to him, baring its teeth and

"Get us to Lorrington," said Eldritch, arms crossed.

Weisz's smile didn't falter.

"Where to?" he asked, as he started rubbing his hands together.

"Do you know the layout of Lorrington?" I asked.

"Spent some time there," he said, closing his eyes.  "Gimmie a spot."

"Lawrence and Sun Pharmaceutical facility on 38th and Easterly."

He frowned and his eyes clenched a bit.

"Don't know that area," he said. "But, I can get us to Grace and 38th,
about half a mile down.  You both coming?"

"Yes," Eldritch said, and Weisz nodded.

"Close your eyes."


Weisz opened his eyes and glared at me.

"Just do it."

I looked to Eldritch, as she did what Weisz wanted.  I shook my head
and did this same.

I didn't trust this guy one bit.

A couple moments went by, and I felt a hand on my shoulder.

"Open your eyes," whispered Weisz. "But, stay quiet."

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