“It’s in excessively poor taste,” I said, sipping my drink through the curled straw.
Yolanda shook her had, frowning. “I don’t know, Seena…Necessarius wouldn’t lie like that.”
“I’m with the demon,” Veda admitted. “I mean, I could understand them hiding it, or something like that. But flat-out naming a girl as the Composer seems way too serious to be some sort of propaganda.”
“But it’s Lizzy,” I insisted. “There’s no way she would hurt a fly. Steve, you’ve met her, right? Other than that gargant thing, I mean.”
The big baseline nodded. “I have. She’s needed a courier more than once. I can’t believe that she would be the Composer. It’s…” he shook his head. “It’s impossible to even consider.”
Delphie just sighed. “Guys, its a weird situation. We don’t know what’s going on. I mean, super powers are involved.”
“She’s got a point,” Jelena put in. “The prevailing theory on the internet is that the Composer is some sort of body-jumper, and Greene is just the latest victim.”
“I think I’d prefer if it really was her,” Pam mused. “I don’t like the idea of someone able to just jump into my body whenever they feel like it.”
I snorted. “Whatever happened to all that Darwinist crap about weeding out the weak?”
The baseline scowled. “Don’t do that. This is different.”
“Why? Because you can’t defend against it?”
“No, because it takes away free will. I have the same problem with those mind-control pheromones they’re working on.”
Delphie blinked. “Wait, the what?”
I ignored the murid. “And what, death doesn’t take away freedom?”
She met my gaze evenly. “Death is inevitable for everyone; moving around when someone dies—that is, killing them—is morally inconsequential. Mind control is not inevitable. It is a deliberate assault on the freedoms of another.”
Yolanda put her head on the table. “Velvet hell, can we please not get into another argument? Especially not the old Darwinist/Transhumanist one. It seems like all we do these days is argue.”
Our resident deer kemo just shrugged. “We live in difficult times. It’s to be expected that everyone will have a different idea how to fix it.”
The succubus waved her hand. “Let’s at least change the subject. Since Lizzy is the Composer—”
“She’s not,” Steve cut in instantly.
“…okay, fine. Since Lizzy is being mind controlled by the Composer or whatever, what does that mean? What will change?”
Veda checked something on her phone and answered without looking up. “It probably means the ‘sarians will shoot her in the face, and then she’ll jump to a new body.”
“Why are we even talking about this?” I muttered. “Let’s ignore the ridiculousness of Lizzy doing anything violent. It’s not our fight.”
“She’s your friend though, right?” Yolanda asked with a quirk of her head. “You have to think about this at least a little. What will you do if you see her again?”
“I…” I adjusted my daygoggles, stalling for time. “I…”
“Hey guys, look at this.” Veda leaned forward, showing her phone to all of us. I leaned forward, eager for any escape from the uncomfortable questions.
The small screen had a picture of a blood-drenched room, with what looked like bodies strewn everywhere, though it was hard to really tell at that size.
Jelena frowned. “I can’t even tell what that is. A murder scene?”
The cherve nodded. “Yeah, over in West Central. An inn got hit, and everyone’s dead.”
I narrowed my eyes, though I doubt anyone would have noticed. “I see where this is going. You think Lizzy did it?”
Veda shrugged. “You tell me. I think it’s that inn you said she likes—Thor’s Rest?”
“That doesn’t mean anything,” Steve said with a barely-contained snarl. “It could easily be a coincidence.”
She shrugged again. “Maybe. But the Hammer himself was there.”
Kevin, who had thus far been completely silent, occupied with his drink, looked up in shock. “Mjolnir was there?”
“Apparently he moonlights as a bouncer, for whatever reason. He was killed too, his heart ripped right out of his chest.”
“Gods of men and darkness,” Pam whispered, a look of horror on her face that was mirrored by Kevin’s expression. “If she killed Thor’s Hammer…”
Kevin looked like he was about to throw up. “He was the strongest warrior the giants had. If he could be defeated…”
“Bleeding dusk, that’s not the point!” Jelena snapped, pounding her fist on the table hard enough to make our drinks jump. Thankfully, none of them fell over. “That stupid old titan was the only thing keeping the culture from descending into all-out war. He was dating a Jotuun, and his sister was a troll. With one murder, that’s all gone. The giants are finished unless someone starts damage control right now.”
“And she’ll be doing the opposite,” I noted with a sigh, familiar with the tactic to some point. The Mals taught that assassination wasn’t enough; you had to make sure the target’s death made enough of a splash so they couldn’t just be replaced. Lizzy…the Composer would make sure this didn’t go smoothly.
“Why do I have the feeling our lives are suddenly a lot more complicated?” Delphie said with a sigh. “Lizzy has always been a bit unpredictable, but now…”
“It’s not her,” Steve insisted. “Stop saying its her. Its not.”
I leaned back in my chair, staring up at the sky.
“Maybe, maybe not. But something is going to change, no matter what.”
Behind the Scenes (scene 113)
Short, yes. Extra update Wednesday.