Halcyon Calling, Episode 10: Choices


Rune Priest
Balae asked me about the little girl who was waving at her when she arrived, so I told her about Tiffany and then remembered about the picture in her art book. I told Balae about it, and the different title, and hoped she'd be able to figure it out.

We needed to look at what was on the USB drive we got from Mrs Wilkins, and I didn't think it was a good idea to plug it into my laptop in case it exploded or something. So we decided to go back to the tailor, because he was good at tech stuff and would know what to do.

Balae told him a bit about what we were planning, and he seemed pretty keen to help but wanted to know more details. And that seemed fair enough, so I told him we were going after the Elizabeth Park factory, and then he got all weird and told us to get out of the shop. I was a bit worried I'd messed everything up somehow and I didn't know what we were going to do. But then Billy gave him a good talking to and convinced him that he still wanted to help us. Adults are so confusing sometimes.

He took the USB drive into his back room and told me and Billy not to touch anything. I decided the easiest way to not touch anything would be to not be in the room with all the breakable things, so I went back into the shop. I wanted to have a look at the clothes. I needed something to wear for the disco and I couldn't exactly show up in ripped denim. I knew I couldn't afford anything in here but I thought I could have a look at the suits and maybe get some ideas. It's hard to get girl's clothes in my size and shape but I figured some men are this size so I'd be able to get a suit that fitted.

Then I saw the dress.

It was made of silky looking black fabric, but it was shiny like bird wings and looked blue or green depending on where I stood. I decided to risk touching it, and it was so light I could barely feel it. And the strangest thing of all, it looked like it might actually be my size.

Then I heard the others calling me back in, because Mr Taylor the tailor had figured out what to do about the factory. There was a power core and we needed to overload it by just the right amount so that it would blow up enough to destroy the factory but not enough to create a black hole and destroy the whole planet. Which sounded complicated to me, but Balae seemed to know exactly what to do. There was something else though. A secret room underneath the power core. So secret it wasn't even properly shown on the Asterion's own plans. So obviously we were going to have to get in there and see what was up.

While I was staring at the dress, Balae had got a message from Harold/Ariadne, who she's decided to call Hariadne now, wanting to meet her at the science museum. He said to come alone, but obviously we weren't going to let her go completely alone. We were going to wait outside so we could come and look for her if she was gone too long.

I tried not to look at the dress on the way out but couldn't help sneaking a glance, and Billy must have noticed because he started asking Mr Taylor about it. He said it was an experimental fabric he was testing, and he'd had to make the dress big because the fabric didn't work in small pieces. And Billy was saying I should try it out, so I offered to test it for him, and he said yes! So long as I didn't go doing any superhero type stuff in it. So going out dancing should be fine. I gave him my address so he could have it delivered to me.

We went to the museum, and Billy found a place for us to hide in an old statue while Balae went up to the roof for the meeting. She looked really upset when she got back, and it was pretty obvious why. Harold told her that when him and everyone else changed reality to get rid of the shadow, it wasn't actually gone. It just moved to where the Asterions come from, which is why they came here, and now it's following them here. The shadow is the bigger fish that he meant when he told her about the painting. He told her the Asterions were looking for a way to stop the shadow, and if we blew up the factory then we'd destroy their research and then there'd be nobody to protect us from the shadow this time.

We went back to the Gull and Switchblade, through the sewers this time because it was after curfew and peacekeepers were descending on the museum. Balae made sure we got all of them together - well, all of them except Faustus anyway - so she only had to tell them about it once. She told them, and at the same time the TV did a news broadcast about how Harold Winfield had been killed by the peacekeepers. I thought they'd be able to help us figure out what to do, but Abeni and Mrs Stodgely both ran off and Castor and Pollux went and hid in their bedroom.

Me and Billy stayed over because it was after curfew and there was nobody to stop us anyway. We needed to make a decision, even if none of the adults were being any use. I didn't know what to say, except that I really wanted to look in that room in the factory that Mr Taylor told us about, because that had to be where the Asterions were doing their secret research about stopping the shadow. But Billy still wanted to blow up the factory because even if they could stop the shadow we'd still be living in the grip of the Asterions. And Balae agreed. That was all I needed to hear. I wanted to blow up the factory too, but I wasn't sure if that was the right thing to do or just badger rage. But I trust them both, and if they both want the same thing then I can trust myself too.

It was really quiet in the morning with no fighting. I thought about making breakfast, but Balae thought it might be nice to go out to a cafe and that did sound nice. We waited until Splinters arrived so we could tell her Castor and Pollux weren't well and ask her if she could get us some semtex. She said she knew someone, and then she took us out to a cafe for breakfast. She talked to the staff in another language while we tried the food. I think it was Indonesian and it was very hot, but I'm used to Abeni's Nigerian curries so it was fine.

Splinters said she'd sorted out the semtext for us, and then asked us about our love lives. I don't know why she thought I might have a love life, but she remembered Billy's friend talking to me. She must not have paid much attention because I really didn't like it and I had to shout at him to make him stop, but for some reason when she found out his name was Hugo she seemed to lose interest.

Anyway, Billy had actually asked Carmilla to the school disco, which meant he was the only one of us who actually had a love life. I don't know why but Splinters asked if she was a monster, and I said yes because she's like me, except that she's pretty. And Splinters got all weird, asking if Billy didn't think I was pretty and I don't think either of us wanted him to answer that, but Balae said she thought we were all pretty and that really cheered me up. So on the way out of the cafe I waited until Billy was far enough ahead not to hear me, and told her she was pretty too. I hope it made her feel better too.

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