Hi folks, thanks for stopping by. This story is the larger arc that all my previous TOSG short stories have been contributing to.
It will help to understand what’s going on fully if you have read them, but if you haven’t this story is still hopefully readable on its own.
The previous short stories, should you wish to read them in order, are :-
TOSG: Faking It. http://www.superheroineforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=23625
TOSG: Goodbye Mr A.http://www.superheroineforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=21880
TOSG : Of Gods and Monsters http://www.superheroineforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=23369
TOSG : Cornucopia http://www.superheroineforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=24565
TOSG : Aftermath http://www.superheroineforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=25155
TOSG : Fallen Idol http://www.superheroineforum.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=28201
TALES OF SUPERGIRL : “THE DEVIL MAY CRY….”
Kara padded downstairs to the shop from her flat above sleepily and walked into a scene of slaughter.
Rob stared seriously at her with a worried look on his face before turning back to the terrible view before him. His two checkers looked very lonely as they prepared to meet their fate, outnumbered 4-1. The merciless destroyer of his side looked pushed her glasses up on her nose as she knelt on the stool at the counter, leaning on her elbows and clutching her teddy, Crazy Eddy.
Rob suddenly did a double take as he realised Kara was in her night clothes, which consisted of an old white shirt of his and some powder blue briefs with white trim.
“WHOA! You might wanna re-think your day wear there love, we is open already!” he declared as he chivalrously grabbed a small towel and draped it in front of her, gallantly hiding her bare legs from the lecherous students who hadn’t actually noticed her yet.
“Oh! Gosh!” Kara clamped a hand over her mouth in horror as she turned and dashed back up the stairs. She came fully awake, shocked by her own forgetfulness as she hurriedly dressed. Then she realised she couldn’t actually go back downstairs until a few more moments had passed lest she reveal that she had super speed. She splashed water on her face and cursed her stupidity. This wasn’t like her and was yet another indicator that she just wasn’t herself lately. Her powers had recently failed her, though a thorough check up at Kal’s Fortress of Solitude had revealed nothing. Maybe it was a one off. But also her attitude seemed to have changed of late. She was irritable and harsher with her friend and generally ill tempered. Perhaps it was guilt at her recent failures representing itself, or perhaps …something else. She just wasn’t as on the ball as she usually was. And now this. Walking out in public in panties and a shirt! When enough time had elapsed, she sheepishly re emerged downstairs, looking timidly out from beneath her dipped brow.
“Hiya Brown Eyes! Thats a lot better…well sort of.” Rob greeted her. “Was that my shirt you were wearing?”
“”Er,…yeah…I…I couldn’t find my …er…it was late last night, when I got in…I just ..er…ya know.” she mumbled. The truth was, his big loose shirt smelled slightly of him, well more just man really. A very slight musky scent that only she could detect after it had been washed and the smell reminded her of her father somehow. Just wearing it made her feel close to him again, which was crazy, yet that was how it felt, even though it wasn’t her fathers shirt and she had never been that close to him. She realized now as she thought about it that it was a fantasy, a pretend memory of how she wished he would smell if he were still here, still with her….still…hugable. So curling up in bed at night under the warmth of the duvet made her feel…closer to what she had lost. Closer to home.
“Ahhh thats fine. Looked great on you actually…” he said blushing slightly. She smiled coyly at him.
“Cup o’tea? We’ll have to call this game a draw sweetheart, as I gotta deal with a customer” he said hastily to the little girl at the counter. “Oh, Brown Eyes this is my friend Emma, Emma, this is….er….”
Kara put him out of his absent minded misery. He could never remember her name hence he referred to her as Brown Eyes. “Linda. And who is this fine fellow?” Kara asked of the teddy the girl clutched.
“I’m actually Emily…” said the little girl pushing up her glasses and extending a hand towards Kara.“That’s Mr Crazy Eddie”
“Wow! What a …cool name!” Kara said pulling a face.
“Its cos his eye spins like he’s crazy – look” Emily demonstrated.
“Oh! Right that makes sense now, but I could fix that for you in a second honey, I just need a needle and thread…”
“But then he wouldn’t be Mr Crazy Eddie with his crazy eye!” Emily said dismayed
“Oh right sure, but it may fall off…”
“Then he can be Pirate Eddie, the scourge of the high seas….” Rob offered.
“Yeah that be so cool!” Emily said excited. “He can have an eye patch like Johnny Depp!”
“Yeah…I guess.. but don’t worry about the tea yet Rob. Finish the game..” Kara said with a wicked smile
“Gee…thanks” he said looking daggers at her. He sighed and made a move. His surviving checker was now outnumbered 8-1. He moved it to the only spot available which got his sole piece crowned. But the new found King didn’t have much prospect of a long and fruitful reign.
“Em! C’mon honey !We gotta skedaddle!” a slender blonde woman with glasses called from outside as she looked at her watch as she rose from the table.
“OH DEAR! We will ‘ave to say I won as I made the last move!” Rob declared immediately.
“ROB!” Kara admonished him.
“OK, a draw it is then!”
“ROB! Don’t make me come round there!” Kara narrowed her eyes and made a fist, but with a tight lipped smirk.
“Its ok…” Emily said. “I guess Mr Thomas did win as he made the last move if thats the rule…” she dipped her head and started to cry.
“OH! OH! NO! DON’T CRY LOVE, I WAS ONLY TEASIN’, I WAS! YOU WON THAT ONE!” Rob said panic stricken
“Its OK sweetie don’t cry!” Kara put a gentle arm around her “He was only foolin’, you won!”
“SHHH!” Emily hissed, “You are ruining it ! He gives me free stuff when I cry! Plus I let him win a game now and then and I’ve won the last sixteen…”
“You’ve…? SIXTEEN?!! Oh!” Kara sat back with a surprised expression as sure enough Rob had hurried to the end of the counter to retrieve a candy bar for her.
“There ya go! There ya go love! See its alright, no need for tears! ‘Ave a Kitkat!” he gave the chocolate bar over which had a miraculous effect on Emily’s demeanour, She smiled up at him and scrunched up her nose in thanks as she smiled. Then hopped down off the stool and ran to her mother stopping to wave in the doorway.
“That kid’s gonna bankrupt you Rob.” Kara said as she watched her go.
“I watches ‘er for ‘er mam. Pretty woman. I could be in there” Rob said brightly.
“Mom calls you that fat, foreign, smelly guy!” Emily called helpfully from the doorway before she ran out to an embarrassed mother who hurried off pulling her daughter with her..
Kara looked at Rob in awkward silence and smiled a tight smile.
“Yeah…well…maybe not.” Rob said sadly.
There was a loud yawn as his dog woke up from his nap.
“What times your flight then?”
His aged dog beat out a drum roll with his tail against the side of his dog box, and Kara stooped to pat R.V. Jones, ‘Harvey’ for short, and to stop his frantic efforts before he hurt himself.
The shop was fairly quiet and Kara, in her guise of Linda, took the stool at the counter vacated by Emily.
She looked left and right before she leaned forward and whispered
“Any time I choose…”
“Eh? Oh!” Rob replied somewhat concerned. “Look..are you sure that’s wise?” he said worriedly.
“Rob I’ve done it countless times! I can do it in like 6 mins!”
“Well…” he sighed looking at her with a pained look, “Well, just for me, will you go over land? Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway and down? Please?”
“What? Why the heck would I do that?”
“Well,…what if you go plop into the sea? I do worry. I mean what if your powers fail like they did in that carpark…?” He whispered a reference to when two office buildings had fallen on her and she had been pinned under the rubble.
“Rob…Kal checked me out…we think it was just a one off…a side effect of the radiation dose I took with Aftermath…” she said talking of the asteroid that she had stopped from destroying the Earth.
“This…Dr Kal …is he good like? Does he know his stuff?”
She smiled “He…he knows his stuff, yes.” she said with a thoughtful grin.
“Well what did he say? I mean what if it ‘appens again?”
“It won’t Rob.” but in truth she didn’t know that. Kal had run tests on her at the Fortress of Solitude and could find nothing wrong. But her powers had inexplicably failed her. She was suddenly having doubts herself and Rob’s circuitous route suddenly made sense.
“But just for you…I’ll go via Iceland , ok?” she patted him on the hand as he let out a sigh of relief.
“You gonna be ok?” he said raising his eyebrows in concern.
“Sure.” she said glibly, thinking he was still talking about the flight to the Old Bailey in England.
“NO.” he said firmly. “Are YOU gonna be O.K.?” he asked again seriously.”Reliving it all I mean…” he was speaking about the inquiry into the Cornucopia gas tanker disaster, where Kara had tried and failed to save the crew. The ship had blown up killing everyone on board as well as on the three other vessels that were trying to keep it from the rocks. The blast had also killed emergency personnel on the clifftop overlooking the scene.. Normally marine accident investigations were held in civic courts near the scene of the loss, but due to the unique nature of this disaster it had been decided to hold them in London in the legal courts where there were proper press facilities for the world’s media who were expected to descend on the Inquiry.
She thought for a long moment and then finally nodded.
“Well ok then.” he nodded back with a smile.
She thoughtfully sipped the tea he put in front of her. It would be difficult. She would be meeting with someone whom she hoped might give her some answers, as she had discovered the disaster was no accident, but had been caused by a bomb. But her own efforts had lead her nowhere. Now the shady British scientist Professor Morris had hinted that he hoped to speak with her in London. And so off she was going to the disaster inquiry.
“I been thinkin’ love….” he began.
“I know I can see the smoke…” she teased him as she took another sip.
He ignored her but threw her a stern look. She smiled at him, amused.“When you get back… I was thinkin’…maybe you and I could try a bit of bukkake?” he said with an awkward, pained look on his face.
“J-just if you wanted to like, ya know…just for a bit of fun, like, give it a go, see if we like it. I’ve ‘eard its nice. Be a change like thats all. Not a date nor nothin’ just a bit of a lark like, ya know…” he said stumbling over his words.
Kara glowered at him .”NO.FREAKIN’ WAY! You disgusting PIG OF A MAN!” she looked him up and down with utter distaste.
“Well we don’t ‘ave to if ya don’t wanna try it…” he said panic stricken.
“YOU’RE DAMNED RIGHT I DON’T WANNA TRY IT! WITH YOU NOR ANYBODY ELSE!” I can’t believe you would ask me that! You….you sick, twisted pervert!”
“But..but its only stuffed mushrooms!” he said plaintively. “Thats all, just thought we could try ’em as they are supposed to be the big thing, like”
“Aye Bukkake mushrooms. They are from Japan. I love mushrooms and all the fancy restaurants are floggin’ them ones now. It’s like the Kobe beef thing I expect. I thought we could ya know, go out for a meal like get your mind off things. Give ’em a try. If you are allergic or something, we can go ‘ave somethin’ else….” he looked at her worriedly. “I think the Bukkake mushrooms is just a starter sort of thing anyway. We can have proper food after, like.”
“Rob…thats SHITAKE mushrooms not…not what you said.” she said slowly her rage melting away
“Well, are you sure?”
“Well, what are bukkake ones then? I’m not making that up, thats some thing too!”
“No, thats…I mean its not , thats when- look forget about that, its nothing edible. But you mean SHITAKE mushrooms. You wanna try SHITAKE mushrooms. Rob.”
“Oh. Ok, Well, do you fancy that or what? P’raps we could do both of them”
“Rob Bukkake isn’t a …food…its a . well. ..Look just forget that ok? And yes sure I guess we can go get something to eat, but like you say its not a a date, ok? NO DATE, just two buddies having a bite to eat ok? And shitake mushrooms aren’t particularly big or anything – they are well, just mushrooms. But NO DATE.”
He nodded. “Are you allergic to them Bukkake ones then?” he asked still puzzled by her response.
“Rob, they aren’t…I mean , .its not..” she sighed. [i]Screw it[/i].
“Yes Rob, I am allergic to them ones.” she said wearily.
“Oh, right-oh. We’ll make sure we have them shitty ones instead…”
Kara smiled. “I gotta scoot Rob, got things to do before I go, see ya in a day or two if I don’t catch you later.”
“HEY! C’mere!” he called her back and kissed her goodbye on the cheek. “You take care…”
“I will….” she smiled and turned away lightly on her toes, heading for the door.
He watched her wiggle across the room to the exit.
“Bloody ‘ell ‘Arve. She’s got a lovely bum…” he said wistfully to the dog in a low voice.
“I HEARD THAT!” she called over her shoulder without turning around, but smiling to herself at his words as she walked.
“I…well….IT WAS HIM!” he shouted after her and she didn’t need to turn around to know he was pointing at his dog. She smiled a broader smile.
“Bloody dog…you’ve gone an’ cock-blocked me again…” he said with a tutted sigh, aimed at the hound.
“NO HE HASN’T, YOU SCALLYWAG!” she called laughing over her shoulder.
“Maybe that means I’m still in with a shout, Harve!” Rob said brightly. Harvey let out a low growl and went back to sleep.
“NO IT DOESN’T !” came a far off voice.
Kara settled down into the wooden balcony seat over looking the courtroom and let out a heavy sigh, steeling herself. Reliving that terrible night would be tough. She had arranged with the British Authorities to give her evidence via video link. That was in roughly thirteen days time. The first few days would be reviewing the state of the vessel, its construction, any known issues prior to sailing, the loading of its cargo and a review of the crew members. Then the same procedure would follow for the other ships lost in the ‘accident’. Then the real business would start with the hearing beginning to review the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Coastguard transcripts and tapes from the incident. This was an extremely unusual incident in that besides the 37 crew, 19 had died on 3 other vessels and some 61 people had been killed on land when the Cornucopia had exploded. She could still see their faces, especially at night, in her dreams. More nightmares than dreams. She shivered.
She only intended to see the start of the hearings, just to settle herself down a bit really, to keep from worrying about it all. She had lose plans to see the first two days, then she would go back to the states and then give her evidence.
“Excuse me, sir?” A large security man approached the gentleman sitting on the pew next to her.
“Nothing to worry about sir, but we are conducting random security searches, would you be so kind as to come with me please sir? I assure you its just routine, you’ve done nothing wrong and your seat will be kept for you.” The man sighed and protested briefly before a second security officer appeared and then all resistance ended.
“Nothing to worry about ladies and gentlemen,” the first officer declared to the gallery, “but we will be making further random searches throughout the hearings. Thank you for your co-operation, and thank you sir, “ he addressed the guy whose elbow he held, “I assure you ladies and gentlemen this is entirely routine and intended for your own safety, and this gentleman has done nothing wrong, we have simply selected him at random so don’t be alarmed when he returns to his seat, please.”
Kara had scanned the man and found no hidden weapons so accepted things at face value as a routine security procedure. Her bag had been searched on entry and she had to pass a metal detector check and the large number of armed policemen evident told how serious the authorities were taking her evidence. She had already informed the Marine Accident Investigation Branch that she suspected sabotage when making the arrangements for presenting her evidence.
“I’m so terribly sorry – excuse me- yes I am so -so sorry- forgive me- thank you-” a rather dapper elderly gentleman in a crombie coat and fedora hat moved along the row to sit in the now-vacant seat next to her.
“Oh, I think a gentleman is sitting there, sir-” she began before the old man looked at her and smiled.
“Miss…..” he said excitedly in a low voice as he struggled to decide what to call her “El! “ he finally decided, “ITS ME! Its EDGAR! Edgar Morris! We met in Houston a few months back!” He winked at her conspiratorially.
Kara did a double take – the shambolic old man in the cardigan that she knew as Edgar Morris, that she had met whilst saving the world from Aftermath, was nowhere in sight. Before her was a clean shaven, immaculately dressed replacement.
“It IS me I assure you!” Morris seemed to understand her doubt
“Its Edgar! I know, I miss my dear old cardy but they give me a big budget to spend on clothes – this is Saville Row! Italian cotton, hand made, its a beautiful suit! I had them move that chap who was here so we could have a chat – I’ve got my own Special Branch chap as a body guard![i] ME[/i]! Ha! Who would have thought it , eh? I order people about and they DO THINGS! Its really quite marvellous!”
“I – I think you have me confused with someone else Sir.” She said awkwardly feeling her face flush, embarrassed as she wondered what the hell to do now he recognized her when she wasn’t even in her costume. She pushed up her specs, gave a nervous smile and then stared straight ahead.
“Oh! Er,… right, sorry…um…. well, would you care to come for a cup of tea? Then I can explain everything…”
“Er, the hearing is about to start…”
“Oh, the good bits won’t be for days yet – I mean the interesting stuff not the ..er…you know. I’m so glad Mr Thomas gave you my message, we weren’t a hundred percent sure of him you know. Nice enough chap but an odd sort of fellow.”
‘Yep that was Rob alright‘ she thought.
“But you came! All this way! So please – I so desperately need to speak with you – won’t you give me ten minutes? It is vitally important – to all this …” he swept his hand to encompass the hall of the Old Bailey. “We’ll keep your seat and you won’t regret it I promise you.” He stood and swept a hand before himself for her to pass, causing much tutting and huffing from those who had to move again to let him and Kara through. A plain clothes policeman stood at the end of the row, she guessed he must be Morris’ bodyguard.
“Thank you Sutton. Keep those seats will you?” Morris said as they went passed.
They left the viewing gallery and reluctantly she followed him to a small room in the opposite wall of the corridor outside the gallery. It was guarded by a policeman but only held two chairs and a table. There was no large one way mirror but plain cream walls and a picture of the Queen.
“No surveillance, I promise you.”Morris said brightly. She looked herself and couldn’t see any signs either. “Milk and two?” he inquired and she nodded “Only way to take it.” he said of her choice and gave the order to the policeman outside.
A little while later they sat opposite each other with tea poured between them.
“This is exciting isn’t it? I’ve never done this sort of thing before…” he said with a smile “All this cloak and dagger stuff, eh? Not really me to be honest, but there you go.”
Kara sat in silence looking at him intently. She had liked Morris on their previous meeting. Now, she wasn’t so sure.
Finally she said “Look, you have me confused I think with someone else….”
“Oh , come now Miss…El. I understand you want to preserve your secret identity but that bird has flown. But you have nothing to fear from me. I know you are Supergirl and I shall take that knowledge with me to my grave.”he spoke lowly, so only she could hear, even though they were alone.
She looked at him warily and remained silent.
“I’m here to offer you a job…” he began, “which you will turn down and then I’m supposed to put leverage on you by threatening that chubby Welsh friend of yours…” he held up a hand to placate her as she felt the blood rush to her cheeks and she sat up sharply. “That’s whats supposed to happen. That’s how my superiors, and I use the term loosely, think, bless ’em..”
Kara glowered at him sullenly, wondering where he was going with this.
“So in short they expect me to coerce you into working for us. Not against any one nation in particular just from time to time as and when the need arises.” she looked daggers at him.
“I used to like you Professor Morris…” she said quietly but angrily. She didn’t need all this bullshit hitting her now.
Morris looked hurt “OH, MY DEAR! I hope when you hear me out you still will!” he said plaintively.
He walked around thrusting his hands down to where his cardigan pockets used to be and swore under his breath when he realised they weren’t there. He turned back to face her.
“You see, that is what is SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. I however, have a different notion. You see, I was in Houston watching you suffer up there in the terrible barrage from the asteroids…the pain from the sonic disruptors on those satellites must have been unbearable. Not to mention being caught in that massive nuclear blast. And after all that, your cousin gets all the credit…” he shook his head. “Well not from me. I was there. I saw what you did. I saw you save the world. Your courage and bravery were` unbelievable. And its not even your home world . Inspirational. And it inspired me. I and the world owe you a debt that can never be repaid. And my small minded little bosses concoct this …THIS FETID SCHEME TO…TO TRAP OR TRICK YOU! YOU! YOU WHO WE OWE EVERYTHING TO!!! OH DAMMIT IT MAKES ME SOOOO MAD!!!!” he had stood and was shouting, so much so the police sergeant outside opened the door.
“Everything ok sir?”
“WHAT?!!!Oh…oh yes…sorry…thank you sergeant, that will be all.” Morris slumped down in his seat opposite her. She raised an eyebrow and took a sip from the bone china cup, holding it with both hands, the epitome of calm reflection.
“So….?” she asked.
“So…” he sighed. “I have a better idea. I don’t intend for you to work for us….rather I intend to work for you….”
Kara nearly spat out her tea in surprise. She coughed and put a hand to her mouth as she regained composure. “Excuse me?” she said
“Oh, gladly. Oh I’m sorry, I thought you were apologizing for the cough! Erm yes I- yes. Yes. I want to work for you. To put it simply. You saved the world. That’s a debt I can’t possibly repay. But I do intend to try.”
“There’s no way I am working for British intelligence or whatever you are.”
“More Global Science actually with heavy British overtones. Don’t get me wrong, I do work for the British intelligence community, but that’s not what this is about. This is a different outfit. This is above that. We cross national boundaries and interests, though we have to be based somewhere, so we are based where the tea is best…” he smiled as he took a sip from his cup, raising it to her in salute. She looked at him indifferently. “It’s actually just so we are near the world’s busiest airport” he whispered. Kara remained impassive.
He sighed. “I can see I haven’t won you over. The fact is you as an individual possess tremendous power – strength. speed, intelligence, the whole package. People will fear what they can’t control. It worries men in power, used to being in control of everything and everyone. They will keep trying to coerce you through those you know and love. “ He held up a hand as he saw her anger rise.”I don’t hold with such methods but we both know that others do. So they will keep trying and applying more and more pressure until you give in.”
“I never give in.”
He beamed back at her “Oh I know! Thats what makes you so absolutely marvellous!!!” he reached out and patted her on the fore arm. “No matter what the odds, no matter what you may lose, you do whats RIGHT! Its a very British trait, I think. Perhaps that’s why I like you so much. Anyway, as I was saying, the small minded fools will just keep at it, making a nuisance of themselves and possibly putting those you love in danger. So. Why not just pretend to work for them? Us. Well, more them really as I don’t consider myself a true cog in their wheel.”
“Didn’t I hear that you stole General Evetts cell phone in the Aftermath business?” she said skeptically.
“No, actually I just borrowed it and then left it in Wainwrights in-tray. I didn’t need to steal it, just make them THINK that the access codes had been compromised, force a change, because we had managed to break the new code already.” He smiled. “ Well the one they were likely to use. And they did use it. But that was more in my British Intelligence role than this. Oh, you won’t tell anyone will you? I’ll be in a lot of trouble.”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
“Well, we’ve only done it because they had the Cyclops satellite trained on us. That’s not cricket, amongst allies. But to answer your question directly – because I am asking you to. Please.”
“And if I don’t listen to you?”
“There will be another chap sitting here with you in a few weeks time who won’t be as …convivial as I am”
“Maybe I’ll take my chances with him.”
“Oh no! PLEASE ! I am totally serious when I say I don’t want you to work for ‘THEM’ either. I want to work for YOU.” She looked at him intently. “Look, you can judge when people are lying , yes?”
She didn’t answer him.
“Well I would guess you do it by judging pupil dilation, heart rate, perspiration levels and so forth. Well do me, now.” He picked up her free hand and gently placed it over his chest. She could feel his body heat through the shirt. His heart was racing. But as he hadn’t said anything yet she realised he was just excited by her touch. She blushed slightly but kept her composure.
“Look at me now and believe me when I say, come hell or high water I am YOUR man until my last breath.”
She had watched him and, heart rate apart, she was convinced.
“I’d die for you.” he said dramatically, but as she was about to laugh she realized with surprise that he actually meant it.
“I…”she began. “You’re SERIOUS?!!” she said with surprise.
“Desperately. I need you to believe me because if you nominally agree to this I will be the one who ‘handles’ you as they say.
Every time there is a world threatening situation, I can call you in. Unfortunately when individual national interests are at stake…well, maybe then you might be unavailable, as you are …I don’t know…playing golf on Jupiter or something” he said struggling for a reason. “In absentia, anyway. Not about. Elsewhere. Wherever, it doesn’t matter. But the point is you will have the choice. Oh, they may be angry and annoyed but who cares? Only you and I will know the truth.”
“Golf. On Jupiter?” she smiled and raised a quizzical eyebrow and he blushed furiously.
He looked at her sheepishly. “That phone is how we will stay in touch” he placed a cell phone from his pocket on the table between them. “Scan it, go on. Look for a tracking device”
She did as he suggested.” Its clean.” she said after a moment.
“NO! No it isn’t!” he beamed proudly at her. “Hidden underneath one of the tiny lead solders on the motherboard is a microdot emitter! Nano technology! It piggybacks a GPS signal even if your location is switched off. Look again, lower right bottom, 2 solders in from the corner.”
She did as asked “I still don’t see it…” she said, impressed in spite of herself.
“Use your super-hearing – I assume as you can cycle through the visual spectrum with your vision, you can do something similar with your audio talents, yes? Try it, you will pick up a low intermittent pulse every 10-15 seconds. Hear it?”
“That’s pretty impressive” she conceded after a few seconds when she heard the pulse.
“Its how they plan to track you. But if you press both ends of the volume control button simultaneously, here…”he demonstrated “It turns it off. Well, not off exactly, it still emits, but it shows you as permanently at the location where you turned it off until you turn it back on again. I had that added. They don’t know about it”. He switched it back on.
She gave a downward turn of her mouth in conceding admiration.
“Impressive.” she said once more.
“As a further measure I’ve put some on Norwegian White Geese identity rings so you can be elsewhere if needed, flapping about in the Arctic circle. You just let me know when you need to disappear and I can activate them. It’ll mostly be passing through my hands anyway so more often than not I can say you are wherever I want but its an added measure of security against them finding out.”
“I’m not comfortable with any of this…” she said with a heavy sigh. “I really don’t like the thought of people knowing where I live, what my human identity is….”
“I understand. But if we could work it out and find you, its only a matter of time before a more…antagonistic agency does the same. Someone less tolerant. Someone more….punitive in their approach. I miss my cardigan…” he said absently as he thrust his hands down where his cardigan pockets would have been and then remembered he was wearing a three piece suit.
“For whatever its worth I told them I tracked you down to a secret base on Greenland.”
“GREENLAND?” she exclaimed in surprise.
“Thats what they said!” He laughed. “Truth is I needed to come up with somewhere were they wouldn’t want to go pay a visit. Not that there’s anything wrong with Greenland, I’m sure its lovely, but I know how these Whitehall types like their comforts. I even made it an island off the north east coast, near- permanently icebound, with no place for a helicopter or an aircraft to land. Said it was a two day trek across pack ice to get there most of the time ,which seemed to put them off a tad.” He smiled at her. “And if any pillock does go and try and pay you a visit, he will find that you moved the day before.”
She returned his smile. “I think I do like you after all, Professor Morris.” she said taking a sip of her tea and looking at him intently over the rim of her cup with her large brown eyes.
He stared back at her grinning awkwardly. “Soooo….” he said finally as she took another sip“Does that mean I get to call you boss?”
Kara leaned chin on her palm, elbow on the table as she looked at him with narrowed eyes, suspiciously, but with a touch of amusement to them.
“I haven’t agreed to anything, yet.” she said as she watched him.
“No, no you haven’t. But on the plus side you are still here, listening to me. I’ll take that for now.” Morris smiled.
They both sat there in silence for a long moment sipping their tea and assessing each other. Morris looked excited and happy, whereas Kara was amused but still reserved. Finally Morris broke the silence.
“This…this unusual job I have now….its rather like playing poker with the Devil for one’s soul. I don’t intend to lose mine to Him, Miss El.
And you are my ace in the hole.”
“They say you never beat the Devil, Professor Morris.” Kara said, the curve of a grin spreading as she turned her head on her palm slightly to look at him with one eye, tapping a fingernail against her teeth lightly as she thought over the situation.
“Thats no reason not to try, Miss El. No reason at all.” he smiled at her. “And if anyone on Earth can help me beat the Devil, Miss El, its you.”
He stood and strode over to the window. “I want to keep all those people out there safe. Regardless of what deity they may choose to follow, or what lines on a map delineate the vagaries of Geography that dictate their nationality. I want to do what you do Miss El. I want to save the world. And I want you to help me do it. Or rather,I want you to allow me to help you do it. What do you say?” he turned to face her expectantly.
Kara looked at him long and hard. “I think, between the two of us, that….” she took a deep breath as she paused “the Devil is gonna get his ass spanked, Professor Morris.” she smiled at him.