30 July 2008

Flight or Fight

The family reunion, while charming and informative, did not get us closer to Gematria. I had vertigo by the end, though. My long term memories are from my parents – I was constructed from their emotional distress and copies of their psyches (no, I am not totally sane, thanks for asking) with copies of their memories at the time I coalesced. So I have pieces of Father’s memories that no longer exist in the current history.

I have been recording what I remember from them as much as I can, but I needed a break, and took off for the skies above my current roost. Uncle gave me house-room; I think mostly to help him keep an eye on the place. Most of us in the Station at Harborside are transients, what with Uncle’s usual pattern of commuting back and forth between Uncle Nico’s office and here, and Grandmamma and Uncle Nico kip here when they visit. Wolfie is supposed to go back to school mid-August, but he may end up having space at the dorms here, with Rennie. The airspace here feels comfortable, even with the flying fish.

I generally patrol the area at least once a day when I am here, partly for the exercise and also because I have too many protectors in my background to not keep an eye on things. So, after checking on the chickens at Da’s place, and taking a quick loop though the south district, I was dropping lower to check on the city plaza, when I saw the odd sight of Father running – not flying – hell-for-leather to the office.

I landed in front to the door, just in time for him to run up with the warning “Mybrotheriscomintodestroythefamily!”

“Nobody is in the office today, and besides, you don’t have a brother!”

He stood panting, which, with the kerosene fumes, surely was not doing him any good. “Memory wiped – Jeremiah – clone brother…” he wheezed.

Ugh, that horrendous elder Mason keeps causing problems, no matter how many times you squish him. “We need to report in,” I said, grabbing his collar and pulling him sideways between planes to the Station.

Immediately as we came out of the void between, I heard Mama mutter behind us, “To think - he actually had calmed down as an adult.” She pulled the rocket pack off Father’s back, and handed it to me, saying, “A leak this bad indicates maintenance is in order, would you please take this down to the workshop?”

“Hey! I keep that running according to the manual! It was Gematria’s other hand!” Father explained in a rush how he came to be doused in the fuel, and when he got to the part about Gematria’s grip, Mama stripped him out of his flight jacket to check the bruises on his arm. “Ow! Stop it and listen to me! There’s a clone of me on the way to make a smoking hole of the Foundation at least and maybe the city!”

Mama nodded, and took his flight jacket and helmet. “You go clean up, and I will leave some of Wolfgang’s work clothes by the door to the bath.” She forestalled his protest with a raised hand, and continued, “I will let the Baron know when he gets here; he is on his way for another report. In the meantime, continued exposure to the petrochemical fumes will kill brain cells you will need later if you do not get out of those clothes. Besides, your flight leathers will need cleaning as soon as possible to save them. If your twin does arrive here in the next hour, there is little we can do to stop him.” She raised an eyebrow at me, and I paused, waiting until Father had shut the door to the bath.

I kept my voice low, “I’m going to take it to the workshop in Kitti, and see if I can’t find Ash.”

She nodded, “Just what I was going to request, and if Herr Baron has gotten tangled up in another information exchange gathering, could you let him know we now have more irons in the fire?”

“Hearkening and Obedience, I’m gone,” I said as I slid between to the workshop. If Ash was not there, I could at least give the equipment a quick once-over to make sure nothing got damaged when Gematria lent a hand to the situation.

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