The Road

[V.O. Alastor] 18

I never did too well with rookies. Me and rookies, we got problems.

So this one time, one of the made guys goes to my Uncle Tony and says Tony, you owe me a favor, I want you to go tell your nephew he’s gonna take on my protégé for a while, teach him the ropes. Are you fuckin kidding me? Dump a new guy onto a hitter in the field? Kid had no talent, either, and I swear to God he almost got us landed facedown in a gutter at least once a week. Finally got rid of him when we were out on a job and he panicked and shot the wrong fuckin guy, so I curbed the stupid shitrag and gave him a good long, well-deserved beating. His pal didn’t take it so well and they called the whole thing off.

Anyway, the point is, this girl Hermes sent me’s gonna be trouble, I can tell. Goes by the name Flare, kind of a punk kid with a thing for hair dye and a sweet-ass set of wheels. As much as I wasn’t about to take on a watchdog, I’d almost’ve preferred that to this. There’s only so many reasons Hermes could’ve done this and I’m not too enamored of any of em. One is, she’s been a problem for the Order, what with their “trouble placing her” (code for either “incompetence,” “not subtle enough” or “she doesn’t fuckin follow orders”) and they’re pawning her off on us to either shape up or ship out, messily. One is, he thought somebody that obviously clueless wouldn’t raise any suspicions and he’s using the shit out of her as an unknowing mole, one he figured would get our guard down. And one is, his guess on why Odoya didn’t kill her was lip service, and what he wants is for us to figure out the real reason. Personally I wouldn’t put it past Paternoster to leave alive somebody they thought they could manipulate later. Almost gotta feel sorry for the kid, getting jerked around by everybody and God.

Truth is, I can’t be an exception, not if I want the cabal to live through the next month. The girls are gonna coddle her to hell and back, and all that’s gonna do is keep her firmly in the “needs to be babysat” zone. I’ll need to be the one to push her out the window and let her figure out how to catch herself. Kinda curious to see her in action, though, swords ain’t exactly common street fare. Wonder how good she is.

The other thing is, Artemis is gonna run her mouth eventually, and then we’ll have even bigger problems. The Guardians get their hands on the Road and M’s involvement in Boston, there’s no stopping them hanging it over our heads til fuckin Doomsday. So before that happens, I need to get into a position where I got some leverage. Could wait til M gets in touch about Rome and suck up like nobody’s business, I guess, but that don’t sit right with me. Nah, it’s Hermes I gotta focus on for now. We got a good thing goin here, rookie bullshit aside, maybe I can finagle more out of this. Not sure yet what I’ll do about M, but at least he’s legally obligated to stay the fuck out of my head. Won’t hold him off forever but it might be long enough. Long enough for us to find Vates, for me to get this destiny on the right track. Here’s hoping.

Besides, we do this right and get Odoya, M’s gonna look like a fuckin tool. And I respect the guy but damn does he deserve that. More than that…but I’m staying the hell away from Caesar and his plans. For now. Til I figure out how to live up to my own last piece of advice. Think we’re gonna need to take a quiet trip to Boston, for one thing. Which makes it time to ask Pierpont about working on Space again, because fuck airplanes and long car trips. I’d rather step into a Portal any day of the week.

One other thing. I noticed something weird about my dreams lately. And no, this ain’t about Rhi (mostly), so you can just shove it. What I noticed is, ever since that joyride through my future Oneiros, my daimon keeps showing up when I sleep. Sometimes he doesn’t even say nothin, just hangs around lurking or stalking people. Other times he’s got his usual cryptic bitching to do, about nothing in particular. He shows up even when I control my sleeping subconscious to work on other stuff. Next time maybe I’ll push his buttons until he gets pissed off, and then I can watch to see how he does that teleporting shit. (It’s not exactly training with another mage, but it lets my subconscious work through what I already sorta know, clarify it for me.) Sure would be useful tomorrow, huh?



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