So here’s how it laid out. Lacastra was behind the plot to kill her brother, using Mickledorn who had a laundress poison him. Micledorn was then killed by her Security Chief. He was framed in part thanks to Grurn, who murdered the Butler for her. And now all this was revealed. It would be time to slap the cuffs on her in a police procedural, but she had her poofy-sleeved house guards who outnumbered us. Also, Grurn got his sword back, revealed he was working with her, and was also part of the people opposing us who were armed.
On the other side of things, there was the Mobian, his companion Lily, Sir Reginald the fighting fish, all the other guests who haven’t already been murdered, my girlfriend Holly, and myself. If not for the fact I need to worry about other people surviving, this is just a fun time with some future dead bodies.
“We don’t need to turn this into a bloodbath,” the Mobian offered.
“It would be difficult for the staff to clean up, but that’s what they’re there for,” Lacastra said.
“Except for the bit where you kill them freely in all this,” I said.
“They’re good for that, too,” Grurn said. I noticed some of the guards looking at each other. The beat-up Security Chief had crawled to the rest of his guys. He’d admitted to killing Mickledorne for Lacastra, and had not been treated well in return. The beating was my part, though. He decided to eliminate me for my suspicions. One helped him up and he whispered to him. The guards backed away from Lacastra and Grurn, then turned their polearm-rifles on Lacastra and Grurn.
“What is this?” Lacastra asked, outraged. “I demand you turn your weapons on them!”
Grurn slowly sidled over toward a side door of the garage. One of the estate’s maids closed and locked it before he could.
“Are you going to come easily, Grurn?” Sir Reginald asked from his fish tank on treads.
Grurn raised his Tarn blade, a local design to this water/swamp world. “Prepare to be sushi, Reginald.”
“No, he’s ours!” said a bunch of squeaky voices all at once. Guinea pig-like creatures swarmed out of the group of guests, headed toward Grurn. He swung and missed with this sword as they climbed onto him, nibbling enough to make him drop his blade, but carrying him to the ground, gnawing away.
Holly leaned in close. “I’m glad I didn’t eat one as an hor d’oeuvre.”
“So they were guests then?” I asked.
She furrowed her brow. “With the staff turning on them… I still don’t know.”
Regardless, the guinea pig things left us with the sight of an alien skeleton picked clean of meat and ligaments and fat everywhere that wasn’t covered by clothing. Grurn had become the prey of a vicious pack of appetizers. Or maybe some sort of hive minded rodent party guests.
“I think I’m going to barf,” Lily said, covering her mouth and looking away.
The Mobian edged toward Lacastra, who looked as shocked at the consumption of Grurn as almost everyone else. “You should come along peaceably.”
“Per my inheritance of my brother’s stake in the planet, I am the law here,” she said.
Sir Reginald blubbed. The front base of his water tank unfolded to reveal the barrel of some sort of projectile weapon. “I shall extradite you to my liege lords landholdings for trial immediately, followed by similar trials for the crime committed against the other gentry present.”
Lacastra made one last attempt at avoiding responsibility. She turned to the Security Chief. “Do something!”
“What’s my name?” asked the Security Chief.
“What?” the owner of the planet asked. “Why? It’s… Bob?”
“Stand down, men. Let them take her,” the Chief said.
“Letting someone live actually helped a situation,” I whispered to Holly. I noticed Mobian gesture toward Lily. They left the aristocrats to deal with their issue, and started heading down a side corridor. Holly and I followed. “Wait up!”
“Oh, you two,” Mobian said. “That worked out rather nicely if I do say so myself. And I do.” He smiled at his own joke. “You were both astonishingly useful, it was a pleasure to meet you.”
“If you’re ever on Earth, you’ll have to look us up,” Holly suggested. I gave her elbow an elbow.
“Oh, you’re from Earth?” Lily asked.
“Yeah, you’re from Earth?” Mobian wondered. “Bit early for that,” he pointed to my eyes.
“Well, we’re on a bit of a trip outside our usual time and place,” Holly admitted. “A friend said we simply had to attend this party.”
“Your friend has a weird sense of humor,” Lily said.
“I appreciate your help regardless,” The Mobian said. “Perhaps I will see you again.”
I nodded. “Yeah, you definitely will.” I held my hand out for a shake. He took it. I squeezed. He pulled back, but I puled him toward me, onto a nanite blade that pierced one of his hearts, then broke off and went after the other one. “Sorry about this, but you’ve got no one to blame but yourself.” After all, it was another incarnation of Mobian who made a deal to help me out in exchange for this attack.
“NOOOO!” Lily screamed. I let Mobian dropped and let her cradle him as he died. Except he didn’t just die. His skin began to glow. He looked like he was aging rapidly.
“Gecko, I left the watch in the room,” Holly said. She waved me on with her, then started running. I ran after. I think we’d both decided it’d be better to get out fairly soon after the assassination. I’m not sure if it’s really an assassination if it’s part of the plan for the target to come back to life, but that’s close enough for the Dark Brotherhood.
It didn’t seem all that necessary. When Holly and I barged into the room, her winded and me not so much, I checked the hallway behind us. “I don’t think anyone’s coming.”
“Fine, then I’m taking some of this stuff, too,” Holly said. She grabbed some of the shinier metal objects around the room. I shrugged and grabbed the fur rug from in front of the fireplace, as well as a painting I liked of a warped penguin with a beaklike-mouth on top of its head.
“I wish we’d planned this so we could have robbed everyone else,” I said.
“You’re the one who went and killed him right then,” Holly said. She sat on the bed. “Ugh, wish we could take this bed with us.” She sat up suddenly and lunged for the nightstand. She held up the pocket watch The Torian gave us to call him for our escape. “I got it!”
I rushed over with the rug and painting, then hopped onto her lap. She pressed the button on the watch.
We both dropped into time vessel. Amber colored walls and floors swirled with yellow energy all around us. We looked around toward the platform where Mobian and Torian control the vessel from. Torian looked a lot worse than I remembered. He staggered down the steps, coughing, the sat down on the steps. “Did you have to cut it so close stealing everything?”
I shrugged. “Not like Morigoth or Lacastra are going to notice it gone.”
He shook his head. “Not what I mean. That adventure took place quite some time ago to me. At the time, I didn’t understand. I held a grudge against you. This far along, I understand why you did it, and why you said that to me.”
“It was a shame to do it. That’s the nicest you’ve ever been to me,” I said. I stood up and helped Holly up as well.
The Torian, the villainous incarnation of the Mobian, laughed. “That was our first encounter.” The laughter turned into coughing. “And this will be our last, sort of.” He smiled at that. His skin began to glow. “The good die young, but I didn’t last forever.”
So we ended up getting a view of of the reincarnation process after all. When the glowing stopped, the old man who sat before us turned out to be a gawky, middle-aged man. Same clothes, but his coat was all the wrong size. “Hello, ooh,” he felt his teeth. “New teeth.”
“Hey, which one are you?” Holly asked enthusiastically.
The time traveling alien looked himself over. As he talked, I noticed his accent had changed quite a bit. Maybe a bit of Welsh in there? Space Wales, maybe? “So stuffy. I’m back to my old self, I think. Or my new self. But don’t worry, I don’t hold a grudge. It really had to be done, because it’s how it happened. You killed me, and then I incarnated as him.”
“So the Torian sent us to make sure he would be born, in a way,” I said.
“That’s right,” the newest Mobian said, smiling with some big front teeth of his. “It really hurt, you know. I should hit you for that, but, you know.” He gestured to the belly I carried.
“This explains something of the heretofore-unexplained tension between us, “ I said.
“Mm,” the Mobian said. He walked up the steps. “I better get you home then.”
“No offense, but I hope we don’t have our timelines so closely entangled going forward. Hope in one hand…”
“Actually, Mobian, I have an idea for a stop before you get us home!” Holly said, holding up her hand.
Cue the trip back to Vermont, years ago. The Mobian exited his time craft with us. “Vermont, home of the whitest of bread.”
Holly pulled me along. “I’m trying to remember… there we go.”
“Where are we going?” I asked.
She kept pulling me along, though she had to stop. She’d already strained herself running around the Morigoth Estate, and we hadn’t gotten even a full night’s rest there. It bugged me that there was nothing for me to connect to, putting this firmly pre-wifi and bluetooth. We ended up stopping off near some park where a teenage Holly was arguing with a teenage boy.
“If you stopped being such a stuck-up bitch and just went with it, maybe you’d have some fun with your privileged life!” the boy yelled at her. He grabbed the younger Holly. She was crying and swaying.
The older Holly called out. “Hey! Let her go!” The boy panicked and let go of young Holly’s wrist, then booked it. We came running up.
“If Mobian were here, he’d say some weird stuff about timelines and interference with yourself probably,” I said.
“Just come on!” Holly called back. Her younger self had fallen to her knees and was crying to herself. The older one knelt down and hugged her. “It’s alright.” She looked up at me and said, “She’s high as fuck right now.”
“Who are you?” young Holly asked. She brushed her hair out of her face. “This can’t be real.”
“I’m you from the future, and I want you to know it gets better. You get out of here and you meet people who care about you.”
“And who’s that?” asked young Holly, pointing at me.
“That’s your girlfriend.”
I waved at young Holly, who gawked. “I’m a lesbian?!”
“More bisexual, maybe demisexual,” Holly answered. “But she’s a hot kickass cyborg assassin and she loves going down on you.”
“Can we phrase that in a way that doesn’t make me sound like I molest teenagers?” I asked my girlfriend.
“Come on, let’s get home,” Holly said. “The future’s going to be amazing.”
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