8.0 Questions, Questions, Questions

by Matt P.



There are hungry things in the world that demand satisfaction, and will keep pestering you and hounding you until they are fed. Hungry children and teenagers, sharks and large predators, and the media. Only one of them was waiting for them outside of the Border PD headquarters when they came back from whatever odd basement dimension Morgan had led them to, and it wasn’t teenagers or sharks.

They weren’t quite beating down the doors, which was good—as was the fact that there were still large doors standing and keeping them out. But it became obvious that they knew something had happened, because apparently lights flickering off and windows being black from the outside in the morning light wasn’t normal.

“I don’t suppose you have a secret degree in media relations you want to whip out right now, Major?” Alexander asked, drawing a snort and a shake of his head from Walter.

“No sir, and I’m not sure I don’t plan to drink all your whiskey and be apocalyptically drunk by the time you get back.” Walter informed him, looking at his daughters and co-workers. And the sturdy, gigantic metal armored dog that had placidly walked up the stairs with them and was contentedly nuzzling at Siobhan’s hand even as they spoke.

“Damn.” Marshal William Alexander cursed, turning toward the doors with a sigh. “What’s the standard line, Leah?” He asked the woman as she came up next to him, having stopped to grab a notepad off of the table.

“Gas leak and gang violence, sir. The number of wounded should be coming up here in a second, I asked Shaw to get it for me while we passed through earlier.” Leah answered. “Assuming we were only down there for a normal amount of time, relativistically speaking?” She asked, with a look toward Morgan and Tania.

“It’s very close, so it shouldn’t be more than a few minutes.” Morgan answered. “You may not eve have to adjust your watches.”

“That’s why you just use cell phones.” Tania supplied helpfully, pulling out a smart phone in an expensive case from the purse she had managed to keep…somewhere. “And…it already updated itself, good as new.”

Walter stared at that exchange for a moment, before deciding he had no desire to make his brain hurt that badly this sober. “Is the dog going to eat anything while we wait?” He considered it for a moment. “Or crap an ingot all over this nice, rust-free floor?”

“No…if it has bonded to Siobhan then it should be fairly tame.” Morgan said with a shrewd glance at the happily panting beast. “Fairly. Uh…probably let’s keep it out of sight though, unless you have brochures for a canine renaissance festival to hand out.”

Everyone paused for just a moment to consider that, before they shook their heads and moved back in to the station once again—everyone except the Marshal and Leah, who went outside to face the ravening hordes and sate their hunger.

Their hunger turned out to last thirty-seven minutes on the nose.

“I get that, but it still doesn’t make any sense.” Walter was saying as the Marshal came back in, rubbing his head. “They could have killed us by the job-lot if they wanted to, but they decided not to…out of charity? The same group of people that have been carving people up like steaks? Freaky, naked, cult-y steaks?”

“Those people were all at least half faerie.” Tania pointed out. “So not exactly innocent bystanders as far as freaky, naked, cultist sidhe are concerned. Not that there’s anything wrong with a freaky, naked cult from time to-”

“Children. In the room. Protective father. With a gun.” Walter pointed out, gritting his teeth slightly. “We don’t need to play four hundred years of Real Sex, please.” Tania, for her part, pouted, but didn’t say anything else. “Not like shooting you would work anyway. Should I just trade in my gun for a freaking crossbow?”

“A slower projectile? Sure.” Morgan replied primly, sipping tea calmly. “We used to catch them for fun.” Walter rolled his eyes to the heavens.

“My dog isn’t going to die, is he?” Siobhan asked suddenly, as if the earlier conversations had just sideswiped her train of thought and left her staggering.

“Your dog? You can’t bring him in the freaking house, Siobhan; he probably catches cars and eats them.” Walter protested.

“No.” Morgan answered. “It’s…frighteningly rare, but when it happens that a creature of our world bonds to a mortal out of our realm, it becomes somewhat linked to them. Ma…” She began to say magic, but then looked at Walter. “Quantum entanglement.” She offered politely, with a smirk that said she was just placating him.

“I’m a soldier, not a scientist—quantum entanglement is pretty much the same as magic to me, and my earlier objection stands.” Walter said with a sigh. “You mentioned that these things sleep in the darker parts of Faerie. Can you put him to…” Here Walter looked at Siobhan, and the wide eyed horror she was breaking out at the phrase ‘put him to sleep’, “…ah I mean put him do…nap. Let’s go with napping? And my question still doesn’t have an answer. Why didn’t they kill us all, when they could have really easily? Professor Gloom could have slit all of our throats without trying.”

“Yes, we can store him.” Morgan said, drawing a bright smile from Siobhan. She went leafing through her purse until she pulled out, of all things, a dog collar.

“Do I—” Walter began.

“No.” Siobhan answered simply, and reached out to attach the dog collar around the dog’s neck. When it didn’t fit, she sort of tucked it around a pauldron as best she could and patted it. The eisenhund looked inordinately pleased, and licked her hand.

“I want a scary magic dog.” Antigone said with a bit of a pout, drawing stunned stares from everyone else in the room.

“If you’re good, for your birthday, instead of a car.” Walter said. “No take-backs.”

Before either girl could protest their desire for a car, Morgan interrupted. “I think they didn’t kill all of you because you’re mortals, and they don’t want to kill mortals…they want to rule you.”