Sunday, August 15


I was sitting in my favorite chair in the smoker's lounge of the Wulfenbach Consulate in New Babbage. Although Wren was placing the tea set on the low table in front of me, it was not to her that I was speaking. In fact except for the soft clink of the tray resting on the table, I would not have noticed her presence at all.

Rather, I was speaking through the microphone of a rather bulky helmet attuned to my assistant Kane Qork's sentience frequencies. Through the replacement construct body I had built for him in the shape of a crow (he was at one time a gargoyle who fell victim to New Babbage's absurd city planning policies) I was watching the unfolding battle against the demon-wasp invasion from a safe distance.

Kane was perched on the floating Hassanov ironclad, which was providing a steady barrage against the hydrogen-filled Vesprium airships. The enemy fleet was definitely thinning out. We had not seen any new ships emerge from the gigantic red portal for over an hour since the Wasp Queen herself emerged from the hellgate.

"This big bug is much faster than the airships," the pilot, a veritable walking tank known as Iason Hassanov, observed grimly from the battle bridge. "Movements are impossible to track. Cannons will be ineffective against it from this distance."

"I am not familiar with the powers of the Vesprium Queen, Agent Hassanov" I replied through Kane's acoustic system, "but I do know we must..."

Kane's telescopic irises suddenly magnified with a speed that nearly made me nauseous (this is why I had Wren brew me chamomile). It was a human...male...plummeting from center of combat where Bloodwing and an apparent angel (some newfound ally to whom I was not yet introduced) were in a dogfight with the Queen.

"He looks just like you except for lack of facial hair, Doctor!" chirped Kane.

"Just like...?" I jumped from my seat, accidentally flipping over the tea set. "DEAR GOD THAT'S MY BROTHER MARCUS! CATCH HIM!"

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