Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Those Summer days that are so fleet, those summer days that taste so sweet
Succumb in time to Winter's grace, whose fair, pale arms will embrace
Between the two we may find peace, and choose to linger in Autumn's streets.

Had lunch in the park, doodled that poem when I got back to work. A fair assesment of life in that particular moment.

Ok so this is rare, two blog posts in one month. Hopefully more to come next month as well. if I settle into an erratic twice a month schedule, then that might be ok. Thats two chapters of this current story a month... well we'll see :) Those drawing guys have it way easier. They can burp out a doodle in twenty minutes thats pretty rough but still works where as a writer's rough stuff is sometimes so incoherent that its really worth nothing. *sigh* Anyway, I think I got the second chapter kind of the way I want it. I cut a bunch of conversational stuff, so later I'll probably edit more information etc into it. Third part is easier since its alot of actiony things happening, and those tend to go quicker than plot heavy dialogue.

Other than that, I'm starting to give some thought to Nano this year. I made the word count last year even with starting over in the middle of the month. A couple 4000+ word days and I was back on track. That leads me to believe that I can hit the word count pretty easily, so this year my goal is to have something I'm relatively happy with at the end of it all. You know, a fairly complete story. With that in mind, here's my game plan.

I'll be writing on the same story as last year, basically. I say basically because I know know alot of what I did wrong in the first stab at it. For the scale of the story I had envisioned the story didn't move slowly enough and it moved in too many places. THis would be fine with an established arc, but not with a new idea. With that in mind, most of the first book will deal with people in one place and more or less deal with the same people. Last time I dealt with Palin in one part, Sabastian in another and Telin in another and so on. It was too many main characters. I'm focusing almost entirely on Matheus this time, and all the events that surround the summit where he's trying to form an alliance between pirate nations and the Arc to fortify the outworlds of Arc against the Harvest Duke who is growing more and more powerful. More info on that later :)

No more news for now. I'll post some comic related things when/if they happen.

for now enjoy part two of what I'm calling the Steampunk Mystery.

Chapter two

Jonas picked at the plate of delicacies that had been ordered for him, selecting a morsel and chewing it slowly while he thought. The mood of Cafe L'Oreit was set by a soft and subtle blend of pipes and strings, currently one of Mokette's earlier sonnets, low lighting and the smells of a thousand wonderful dishes. The food was excellent, and the the cool interior of the place was a blessing after the heat of the streets below. He sat across from Samantha Taras at the Taras' private table, in full view of the splendor of her beauty. Her dark hair cascaded in ringlets to her bare shoulders, her smile was angelic and a man could lose himself for hours in the color of those perfect eyes. Jealous Goddesses had turned women into pigs for being less lovely, Jonas was sure, or perhaps this was the goddess come down to amuse herself among the mortals. There certainly seemed to be a some divine joke at work; Samantha Taras had not come alone. Jonas cleared his throat subtly and dared to speak.
"I must be honest, when I received your, er... letter of invite, this is not the lunch I expected."
Samantha Taras smiled brightly, holding a soup spoon delicately in one gloved hand. "Why Mr Mynfield, whatever did you expect?"
From her right hand Samantha's Stoic brother raised an eyebrow, "yes Mr. Mynfield, humor us, what did you expect?"
If Jonas had been wishing for a private affair, perhaps some candles and a nice wine, he had been terribly mistaken. Samantha had come, as the note had indicated she would, but with her she had brought her brother, a family Stewart who looked like he might have been a pirate in a former life, and six body guards all bearing the Tara's family crest. Jonas had no doubt that they were instructed to kill anyone who laid a hand on their young charge; whether it was a wanted hand or not. This perfect lunch date was turning into something much less perfect and no where near a date. For someone like Jonas who danced very lightly ont he edge of teh great powers, this was down right dangerous.
"I didn't expect it to be so formal." Jonas said quickly. "I might have taken the time to put on my good coat, if I'd have known."
"Hmm, yes. Your good coat." Randal Taras said blandly, cutting deep into the meat on his plate. "I wouldn't worry, I doubt we'd have noticed the improvement."
Jonas opened his mouth to remark, but instead wisely bit into a slice of roast quail. This was their territory, they were at the advantage and and if insults were all Jonas had to stomach, he could consider himself lucky. Randal Taras wanted something, that was evident, and if the man had used his sister's invite as a ruse for this meeting instead of calling using the red phone for an official request, then it was something he wanted to keep quiet. Royal matters that were to be hushed up were expensive and delicate matters and for that reason Jonas was glad that Paddy had stayed home. She was not very respectful when it came to dealing with royals.
"Don't worry Mr Mynfield, this, sadly, isn't a social call; we'll not judge you on the cut of your coat, however shabby it is." Samantha said brightly, sipping her soup with grace, "we're here on business!" She nodded in what she must have thought was a grave manner, but came off looking like a five year old trying to be serious while her puppy is licking at her knees. Samantha giggled. "You did come very highly recommended. Having been, what's that quaint expression, 'around the street'?"
"Around the block, dear sister." Randal corrected, leaning back a little as an attractive waitress set a basket of bread down to the side of his plate. Randal hardly noticed her.
Randal Taras had been appointed to the seat of Herring Town magistrate at the tender age of twenty two and had used the last five years to secure his power through clever politics and ruthless domination of any opposition. He wore the black sleeveless tunic of his office and a solid gold chain, no doubt of mystic origin. Like his sister his skin was a light brown tone and his hair was as black as pitch, cut close but still with a distinctive curl that no amount of barbering could erase. They might have been twins, but Jonas knew for a fact that Samantha was years younger than her brother. The two were as similar in appearance as they appeared to be different in every other way.
"It is true I seem to have acquired a very, ahh, diverse skill set that has rendered me useful to people such as yourself from time to time."
"A good thing too." Randal said, breaking bread with his hands, "this city has little need for more beggar nobility. Heaven knows how many fallen royals use their once good names to prey on the charity of those with better sense."
"Oh yes. I quite agree." Jonas muttered, "though even as a royal of repute I always found science and adventure more to my liking than politics and courting."
"And if the reports are true, you've had quite a number of adventures", Samantha said while the tables automatic brewer was busy refilling delicate cups and spinning them into place in front of all the patrons of the table. "Have you any stories to share with us?"
Her brother scoffed. "Come Samantha, such stories are beneath you. This man is little more than a commoner, his claim to royalty is a stretch, at best. I daresay any stories he has would not be fit for a lady's ears and he's not the kind of gentleman that censors his words." Randal's mouth curled in a sneer, "I've heard of some of your adventures. Damsels in distress; distressing damsels more like."
"Oh Randal, you're no fun. Always at work, never taking time for any play." Samantha pouted, "we have a seasoned glory seeker at our table and you have no want to hear, first hand, some recount of his travels?" The pout turned to a hungry smile, "besides, sometimes I just hunger for something that isn't censored. Life can be so..."
"Wonderful? Pampered? Beautiful?" Jonas offered.
"Boring." Samantha said. "I'm never allowed to have the kind of fun I read about in books."
"Those books, dear sister, are partly the reason why these wild fancies of yours have taken root." Randal said, "and those stories aren't true. Even real adventures aren't glamorous, they're full of hardship and pain. Isn't that so Mr Mynfield?" There was an edge to his voice that said he would not be disagreed with.
"Very true, actually. Danger and whatnot. Why, any number of times I can remember thinking that a nice book by a fire would be the way to go instead of slogging through some swamp in the pouring rain, or traversing sewers tracking some slime beast or being chased by cannibals through bug infested jungles just because you've managed to steal their tribal idol." Jonas said, plumb sauce from his mouth with his napkin. The sauce must have been sticky as as soon as Jonas put his elbow in it, the napkin stuck fast.
"Oh yes, adventure is often a messy business." Jonas nodded, glancing at Randal for approval. The man's face was expressionless. Jonas forged on. "And the people you meet. If I don't ever have to see another bush pilot of questionable hygiene again, I'll count myself very lucky."
"I think those are just the sort of people I'd like to meet." Samantha declared. "swamps dirt and all."
Jonas raised an eyebrow at the ravishing young woman with her pristine dress, perfect skin and impecable table manners. It was hard to envision her outside in the street, let alone tramping through some gods forsaken land swatting bugs and breaking nails. Whatever books she read, they probably had pictures of shirtless men holding tight to princesses while firing rounds into incoming hoards of necromatic soldiers. The man would always defeat his aggressor and the the woman would think him an awful sort until, perhaps, the fourth time he saved her life and then about the moment she caught him playing kick the cube with street orphans, she would realize she'd fallen madly in love with him. Samantha Taras lived in a very, very small world.
Randal finished the last piece of his roast and grunted, "since you insisted on coming today, you may well get your wish. We'll see how well you like your scoundrels and dirt when you see them close at hand. Mr Mynfield, if you're finished your quail, may we get down to business?"
"I'd like nothing better." Jonas said. He was rubbing his elbow against the table cloth gently, trying to dislodge the napkin, but to no avail. He ended up lowering his arm under the table, but kept his other hand firmly on his tea cup.
"Good." Randal said flatly, gesturing to his Stewart. The Stewart opened a black case and produced a sheaf of papers from it, passing them along to his master's hand. Randal flipped through them slowly, selected a few and slid them across the table. When Jonas reached for them, Randal kept his hand firmly in place, pinning them down for a moment. Their eyes met.
"This is strictly confidential. I'd like to keep things very discreet. If you breath a word of this to anyone, you shall find that my arms can reach you almost anywhere."
"I am a professional." Jonas said, "I shall keep your words close to my heart." With a smart tug, Jonas took the papers and quickly scanned through them.
The papers were mostly photographs of a device with a few shorthand notes written over top. It was an oblong sphere, decorated with brass waves and terrifying sea creatures. The brass was tarnished, and obviously in the middle of being carefully cleaned by the white coated technicians that surrounded it. The artifact's surface was broken by a series of crystals and small windows. Since the picture was not printed in color, Jonas could not tell exact details, however there was little doubt in his mind of what it was.
"This is a Von Eskhieser, isn't it?" Jonas asked without looking up from the photos. He flipped to the next page, the graphic showed the device from a different perspective.
"We suspect it is." Randal said grudgingly, "and if the tests the University preformed are correct, it may be the oldest device of his yet unearthed."
"The University hmm?" Jonas said, "you're storing it there?"
"No. It is still on site. We dare not move it until its full function can be discerned." Randal tapped his nose, "there have been other attempts to tamper with Von Eskhiesser's devices, most of those have ended... unfavorably."
"To say the very least, yes." Jonas muttered.
"At any rate the professors I've hired are at a loss and you have much experience with such devices, or so I'm told."
"More than I'd like, to be honest." Jonas pursed his lips. The last photograph in the set displayed the back plate where a simple engraving was etched in what might have been crystal. The engraving was of Mycalychin, a trickster figure in the folklore that Von Eskhieser had weaved into his science.
"Splendid! Then you will accompany us to the site and help us! It will be our adventure, and you shall be the chief of it." Samantha said, her eyes shining.
"Help you what?"
"Make it work." Randal said, "it's for our father. He is a collector of these devices and his sixty-fifth birthday approaches. We would make a present of this Von Eskhieser to him. When we can make it work, and understand its workings, we'll be able to move it."
"You realize this could be very dangerous work? Von Eskhieser pieces have been known to collapse time, turn flesh into lead, that sort of thing." Jonas said.
"I'm well aware of that. You payment will be proportionate, I assure you." Randal snapped his fingers and the Stewart drew a small box from the same case as he had produced the pictures. Samantha took it before Randal could and pressed her lips to it gently before passing it onwards to Jonas.
"For good luck." She said with a smile. "And our coming adventure!"
"Consider this a downpayment, to help make up your mind." Randal said.
Jonas took the box, opened it briefly. His eyes widened and he closed the lid very carefully again before staring out the window intently.
"You agree then?"
"Hmm oh yes. very agreed. I don't think I could afford to refuse to work with a Von Eskhieser artifact, or refuse the Taras family for that matter." Jonas said quickly, rising to his feet and striaghtening his jacket. The napkin finally fell from his coat and fell to the floor. "Now if you'll excuse me...?"
"Excuse you? Why, Mr Mynfield, we haven't had desert yet and the pastry chef here does an apple crumble that is simply devine." Samantha said, "you must stay."
"I do apologize for having to deny the request of such a beatuiful girl." Randal growled at that, but Jonas forged on, "but I must. It seems my time is demanded very ... ah, urgently elsewhere."
"What demand is so urgent that it risks insulting us?" Randal asked tartly.
"Er, that will become evident in a moment, I'm afraid," Jonas said, buttoning up his jacket and pulling a small thin cylinder from his pocket. "You see this morning my associate received a call on what I've called our red phone. It's red you see, and a private number for royal use only. It was a request for help from Jurrik Labs, they needed something returned. I told my companion not to fret, that we would handle it when I returned with this meeting. Based on what I'm seeing outside the window, I must assume that Jurrik Labs called back and were much, much more demanding the second time."
The cafe shuddered a little from a tremor, shaking the glassware gently agaisnt each other causing a pleasnt ringing. The patrons, usually so absorbed in their own petty conversation, all suddenly looked up to see what the disturbance was. The Tara's family all reached forward to steady their glasses while the bodyguards reached for weapons, looking around for any immediante threat. Jonas, unphased, continued.
"My companion is very strong willed. I think she must have agreed to help without bothering to inform me. This is the only reason I can think of that she is currently hanging onto the neck of what appears to be a Red Tortiose cross bred with a giant Baverian mole that is rampaging through the street outside. Although I would much rather not help her, I think she will be flying through the glass of the window directly behind you in about thirty seconds. I don't think it can be avoided." Jonas paused, "err... you should all probably move."
The tremors were now regular and in true Kinnel city fashion, the patrons of the cafe joined those in the lesser buildings next to it and ran to the windows to see what was happening. They were greeted with the sight of Paddy hanging tight to a rope and net that was wrapped tightly around a horn on the creature's shell. Obviously Jurrik Labs had been unspecific as to the size of the creature, else Paddy would have brought a bigger net.
The monster looked to be more tortoise than mole, with a hard beak and red shaded shell, spined with hard looking spikes. The paws were bow legged with monstrous claws made for spooning dirt out aside. Right now those claws were doing an excellent job of pushing aside street cars, vendor carts and the footings of various local business. With a final heave and buck, the monster sent Paddy whipping around on the end of her rope with enough force to break her grip on it and send her flying through a window five paces to the right of where Jonas had predicted. The patrons of the cafe panicked while the hostess tried clapping her hands briskly to get everyone to remain calm because, it had always worked before. Jonas donned his hat and tucked the box securely under his arm.
"I must be off, we'll be in contact to arrange details later. I might try the back stair for your exit from here." Jonas said tipping his hat, "farewell."
"Good bye brave adventurer," Samantha stood and held a hand to her heart, a move mimicked from watching a thousand actresses bid farewell to a thousand heroes. "Be careful."
Jonas grimaced before running off towards where Paddy had landed and the very large hole that . Be careful. As if a woman's wish could protect him from being crushed under foot a giant mutant turtle. It was women that were the problem, most of the time. In this case a very specific woman by the name of Padilla Nimmers-Sach. There would be a very stern talk with Paddy on their return to the office, a very stern talk indeed, providing they both survived the next few minutes.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Last of Summer's days!

So for the first time in... well ever, I actually had a summer vacation. You have to understand that growing up on a farm, summer is actually more work than the rest of the year starting with seeding in the spring, haying and harvest with spraying and everything else in the middle. The idea of taking time off in the summer is almost completely foriegn to me. So here I am after the fact, and I can say that I enjoyed two weeks of camping with friends and inlaws.

Couple things to report. Josh Alves(of Araknid Kid Fame) and I are planning, nay, plotting a Zuda entry. The plot will be Mirror Mirror and the art thus far has been awesome. Working with Josh via web video conference has been one of the highlights of my year so far. I'll post more news as progress... progresses.

Over my vacation I've found that I had more time to write, which is kinda weird as we were camping. Since Mirror Mirror is getting my patended 'scripting' treatment, I won't be posting any more of the novel here. Suffice it to say that if a novel form of this story does surface, it will have been changed by the process of comic conversion. That leads me to a different project I started up thats just, well, fun. It's inspired by Girl Genius and fans of that series will hopefully see the simularities. If anyone is wondering, I'm modeling Jonas after The Doctor. Here's the starting Chapters to what I'm calling "SteamPunk Mysteries". Its a project that I've wanted to start / make for a while now and will likely be a series of Novellas.

Err.. a short Writers NOTE when reading; when I started this story my only inspiring thought was 'Steampunk PI' Through the course of writing the first two chapters, the story has solidified quite a bit. This means that the first chapter is less realized than the second chapter. What this means is this is a first draft. Comment gently and don't worry if you're too confused. The next verion will be clarified and extended. Heres Chapter one. I'll post Chapter two after the phase one editing. Please enjoy!

The air crackled with pent up energy, blue sparks arcing from conductor to conductor. Jonas Mynfield stood over a bench of bubbling glass work tubes and flickering dials, heavy black gloved hands po'sed over panels of switches and toggles. His goggled eyes watched the dials that, to the casual observer, were spinning madly and without restraint. The gurgling of the beakers was drowned by the hum of electricity through thick cables, here and there sparking where the cables had been nicked. The entire confusion of wiring came from different places in the room; from the walls, power boxes on the floor or other strange equipment but in the end through splices and joins they all made their way to a table stood up on it's side where the frame of a metal man was strapped.
"Just a little more... ah, whats this?" Jonas spun his gaze over to a slot was spitting out reams of paper where a pencil on an arm was scribbling madly. "Oh! Oh.. ho... hmmm."
Jonas snatched the paper out of the slot and read through the lines carefully.
"Oh... hmm I see, I see. Not today I guess, not today..." His shoulders slumped and he threw a row of toggle switches. The lights dimmed, the electricity stopped crackling and the angry liquid stopped its bubbling, slowing into a happier state.
"I told you didn't have the right combination lad, too much of that and you'll wear that battery of 'is right out." An older man with skin like pale leather hurmphed from a seat in the corner. He heaved himself to his feet and waddled his way over to where Jonas stood, two of his four arms using canes to hold himself up. "The mystical sciences are delicate. Its all about balances. Too much any one thing and you end up with nothing!"
"Bah, to victory goes the .. ah, well I hope victory goes to me, eventually." Jonas cracked a wide smile and pulled his lab apparatus off, discarding the paper ticker tape along with rubber gloves, bandanna and goggles on a nearby table already cluttered with tools, parts and an assortment of unidentifiable objects. "Time is what I need, and real parts to get this metal man up and on his feet!" Jonas slapped his hand down hard on the metal frame strapped into the table. "Parts means money, unless, perhaps Paddy will go see her friends hmmm... no, no I don't think she'd do that for me, not knowing it was for me anyway."
"You can't trick that girl, she's sly to your games." Carver said, picking up a diagram that was half crumpled and examining it, shaking his head, "you can't get her to shake down underside merchants for your little games."
"Hmm yes, maybe not. Oh! Oh ho!" Jonas took a pocket watch from his jacket pocket to consult before quick stepping to a mirror. He brushed back his brown hair so that it stuck flat to his head and curled up a bit at the back and replaced the lab coat with a proper brown suit jacket. He was a tall man, with very little excess about him. Jonas had been told he was a graceful dancer, but he liked to think he was graceful in life as well. "It seems I have lost track of time."
"Again." Carver said bluntly.
"And my presence is expected elsewhere. it would not due to keep a beautiful woman waiting." He smiled into the mirror and adjusted his collar's clasp. " A man of my upstanding reputation as a, er... well I have a reputation of being very upstanding."
"More like you have a reputation for standing people up!" Carver coughed into his hand.
"Never the less! I do try to be on time, it is not my fault that alot of the time situations arise that demand my attention!"
"I think if you had less things that demanded your time this little project of yours would be up and running around by now." Carver grumbled, "why back in my first years as a student the boys and me had a little dog that we set to do tricks at a girl's feet. That was an in, you see, they thought it was cute and broke the ice with us lads. Got us a B+ with the prof of Mystical Animation as well. Best you could do with this thing now is tie a chain to it and anchor down a boat! You really think you can take it to the field with you when it's done?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do." Jonas sniffed, plucking his handkerchief a little more out of jacket pocket until it sat there like a delicate rose, "There are many monstrous threats that we deal with from time to time and a mechanical man is just the ticket to help this agency combat them. This city needs defenders of the little man!" He punctuate with his finger, "Not just those who can afford to pay to be safe! And this agency is just the ticket for them! Top notch service for bargain prices!"
"Hrumph, no wonder you keep me on as tenant to help pay the rent." Carver said, making his way to a lift that sat in teh corner of the lab. "if I paid you lot more, do you think you could bring an old man up from the basement and give him a room with a view?"
Jonas finished with his reflection and joined Carver on the platform, "out of the question. The offices need to be ground level and open for all size of common man. Paddy 'requires' private rooms, it is part of her employee package and quite frankly I would be loath to lose her employment on such a simple thing as breach of contract."
"With all your comings and goings I wouldn't want shared quarters either." Carver coughed, "and I lived co-ed in the Thimble barracks years two through six. Those were good years, used to be in old Thimble that you couldn't turn around without staring a pretty lady in the face. Why there was a sisterhood of Qua'lee priestesses taking introduction to Tourism staying on campus that had tentacles halfway down their trunks!"
"Er, yes... I see."
"I tell you lad, four eyes are twice as good as two for staring into."
"Hmm well logically I suppose thats true..."
"And those Slven Forkil they wore."
"I'll tell you when you're older."
Carver sighed, "they don't grow them like that anymore, makes an old man reminisce, it does."
"Ah... hmm, indeed."
The lift bumped hard and then lowered swifly, both occupants swaying with the motion as they fell to the lower levels of the old housing complex that both called their home. The lab took up the top two stories, and could only be reached by the lift or, if one cared, the back stairwell that had been condemned by a building inspector two years ago. Jonas had not bothered to repair it. To the back of the building were two stories of windows, the private apartments of Padilla Nimmers-Sach and Jonas himself. To the front the space was open with several small partions to act as meeting rooms and offices. One even boasted a magical hush that distorted the air around it making those inside blurred and their words. Shelves along one wall housed tropheys from previous assignments; a large bucket shaped mechanical head, its red eyes lifeless, a vase from the Jordan Su collection, handkerchief's and tokens from dozens of damsels. Artifacts both technologically and magical filled teh shelves, even a small collection of shrunken heads that Jonas had won in a game of cards with a headhunter. Swords and glaives, pistols and rifles, the volume and selection was staggering. A sign announced the whole offices property of 'Mynfield Investigatory Services'. It was through the large open offices that the lift dropped, puttering white smoke while it's bottom glowed the healthy blue of gavity defying devices.
"Hey, boy!" A voice called out from one of the offices as the lift settled into it's main floor cradle. Jonas cringed and his collar popped out a little bit. Carver patted him on his shoulder, nodding with a sympathetic way that said 'well she's right mad at you, glad its you not me!' and hobbled off to the entrance of his basement suite. Jonas smoothed down his collar, put on a bright smile and turned to face his co-worker.
"My dear Paddy, you look well today! Did you polish your scales? No, wait, something with your spines?" Jonas said as cheerily as he could.
Padilla Nimmers-Sach was a tall woman, and looked even larger when she was angry. The dull green spines that ridged her head bristled and her eyes flashed red murder. It did indeed look as if she had shone the black scales that flecked the skin of her arms and ringed her flat stomach, but flattery did not earn anything with her. Jonas might have found her very attractive if she was not actually standing in front of him; Paddy's was the exotic beauty that one admires from the glossy pages of a magazine, not in a head to head confrontation.
"You will not leave this place, not yet! We have business to discuss, you and I. There was a call. A call on the red phone."
"A call? Oh I must have missed it, oh hmm. On the red phone? Royal red I always say, yes I must have missed it when I was... when I was..."
"Wasting time, yes you missed it. I took the call. They almost did not speak with me. You know how it is. They gave me a message for you. Our services are required."
"Required... yes of course, they never really ask, they always assume. It's their right I suppose. Er, details?"
"Something has gone missing. Something from a place called Jurrik Labs. They can not use their own assets, they deemed it a suitable task for us. They would like it handled quietly."
"Jurrik? Hmm Hmm Hmm, yes quietly?" Jonas tapped his chin, "the call must have come from the Paloscia family, they own all... well not all of Jurrik, but enough to be concerned by something that's gone missing. Or broke loose more like it, knowing that lab and some of it's lower levels."
"I'll be needing the big gun then?" Paddy said, a strange glint coming over her eye.
"Gun? What... oh! Haha, um, no." Jonas said patting her on the shoulder from what he hoped was out of arms reach. "You see I have a prior engagement and, though I'm sure this is a very critical job, I simply can not in good conscience put this meeting off."
"It is more important than a call from the red phone?"
"Much more so, yes."
"I will get my jacket."
"Err, you're going out too?" Jonas asked nervously. It was always a hassle trying to be delicate with Paddy. Any physical feat she executed with precision and finesse but her diplomatic skills were seriously lacking. Simply put, the same dense skull that made her resilient when wrestling a mutant wildebeest also made her impervious to subtle hints.
"I'm going with you. We are a partnership. This sounds important. Tell me where we are going so I may select the appropriate weapons."
Jonas rubbed his temples. "The truth will out." He muttered.
"Paddy, I must be honest with you. I am meeting a young lady. A royal young lady. I have been pursuing this certain lady for a meeting for several months and, after a period of time I thought indicated her complete refusal of me, she has suddenly agreed to lunch with myself. Now I know you do not fully understand the complexity of the Royals, but to refuse such an offer is to close doors of opportunity. I must make this rendezvous."
"Does not refusing a call on the red phone also close doors of opportunity?"
"Not at all! Frankly speaking, I'm sure whatever mutant animal is at this time rampaging through the city will still be doing so t slightly later today. At which point the Paloscia family will be even more interested in hiring our unique services and the price will go up." Jonas said pointedly, "simple economics, supply and demand."
"Won't people get hurt?" Paddy asked.
"Oh I doubt it. People in this city seem to have the mindset of ants when it comes to danger. As soon as they see a giant with a magnifying glass, they scurry for their holes. I am very sure everything will work out." Jonas glanced at his pocket watch again and snapped it shut with a very loud snick, "now that this is settled, I shall be seeing you in less than three hours hence and we will, together, face this new affront! Agreed?"
"You're sure you can handle this yourself?"
"Very sure."
"Three hours?" The red of her spines was lessening to a more comforting blue shade that Jonas found much more appealing and, above all, safe.
"No more my good partner."
"In three hours then." Paddy said abruptly turning and walking back through their office. "I shall improve my capacity with the NumKali Stick sword until you return."
"Brilliant, those Num-call ee, marvelous people with their sticks and... well cheerio!" Jonas ran from the office as soon as Paddy's back had disappeared around a corner.
"A woman will be the death of me." He muttered to himself, then the image of Samantha Taras entered his mind and he smiled, "of course a life without them would be a fate worse than death."