FAIRFAX, IOWA, USA
The Infinity Legion’s decades of dominance over the infrastructure of Earth had led to many of the towns and smaller cities across the United States of America becoming slightly homogenous, with familiar elements on every street corner. Legion recruitment offices, news stands stocked with The Infinity Report, the occasional museum or monument…
A young woman who had grown up in such a city now found herself on the wrong side of the world as she knew it.
Her name was Mariah, and she had four more legs than she’d ever had before in her life. Her grossly elongated torso wobbled precariously as she fought to become used to the additional appendages and shifted weight. Her upper body was mercifully recognizable, though covered with a layer of fur that she’d also never had before.
Continue reading “Wunderkinder: Alone”
Three Weeks Later
It had been several weeks since Vera left her by herself, and Mariah Pauker had transformed into a literal trash monster.
Continue reading “Wunderkinder: Pariah”
FREELANCER RECRUITMENT OPTION,
They’re treating me like a human being, Mariah thought, fidgeting in her chair. I can’t decide whether that’s good or bad.
They were treating her like a human being, which should have been more reassuring than it was, but part of the job requirements sort of relied on her not being human. Moreover, the visit felt more like going to the DMV than potentially joining one of the great global powers, and Mariah had never been so far out of her element. Also, she couldn’t stop smelling like stale pizza grease, a new feature of her body since Vera started hanging around the apartment.
A woman looked at Mariah’s fourth piece of paperwork and frowned. “So, a gas station robbery?”
She didn’t sound impressed.
Continue reading “Wunderkinder: Unqualified”
VERA’S SEVENTH HOUSE
There was no sign of “Throwaway” at the Detroit safehouse for a few weeks. Just as her unlikely roommate began to worry, she managed to find a note pinned to the front door.
“LONG TERM SUBTERFUGE ASSIGNMENT. WATCH FOR ME AT THE GOP DEBATE LOL.
“She’ll fit right in,” Mariah murmured to herself, squinting at the note. “Well, this certainly makes my sneaky plan easier. Why in the hell did she pin it to the front door, though?”
Continue reading “Wunderkinder: Portfolio”
THE FLYING FORTRESS
SOMEWHERE ABOVE ICELAND
The Flying Fortress is a marvel of modern tech. It’s the sort of thing that Legionnaires bring up in every debate against a Freelancer, and that Freelancers have no real answer to. It shouldn’t be in the air, somewhere above Iceland – but it is. The thing is made up of steel and magic and no one really knows what else, and it houses the bulk of the Legion’s forces and administrative staff, and a good deal of tech and vehicles and workshops and a couple of secrets that still haven’t been wrestled out of McGowan or Müller.
The outer rims of the Fortress are all decorated for civilian eyes – mahogany floors, small monuments and statues and portraits of Heroes past, present, and future, plush carpets. The farther in you get, the more barebones it becomes.
Until you reach the Core.
Continue reading “Wunderkinder: Top Minds (epilogue)”
VERA’S SEVENTH HOUSE
After the promised ‘while’ (two weeks, to be exact), Mariah was jolted away from a couch nap to the sound of Vera’s keys jangling in the door.
“Ahh, shit,” Mariah hissed, “I’m so not ready.”
Continue reading “Evolution: Homecoming”
DANCING WITH THE FAERIES
THE FAERIE GLEN NIGHTCLUB
It’s Saturday Night and the Faerie Glen is busy, but not crowded. No special performances are planned for the evening, though go-go kids and oiled-up cuties of all genders and body types flit from table to table, serving drinks and food.
Nat is already here, flitting about more literally than the other employees; ey’s literally swooping through the air to give big hugs to regulars and employees ey hasn’t seen in a week.
Continue reading “Dancing with the Faeries”
A FILTHY DOWNTOWN ALLEY
Mariah had been clinging to the wall for nearly an hour, her finger- and toe-pads showing no sign of releasing their grip but her boredom mounting steadily. Had her triangulation been wrong? She’d been keeping meticulous track of Human Supremacist activity over the past week, and everything seemed to indicate that where she was standing—well, clinging—was right in the center of a hotbed of illicit trade and handoffs. Had she fucked up? Did they catch wind that she’d be here?
Or was one damn hour not enough time to draw conclusions like this? G-d dammit, Mariah, be patient.
Continue reading “Evolution: a Paw in the Dark”
Mariah stumbled into Vera’s seventh house with two bags of chips and a nostalgic sense of satisfaction. There was a note on the door, as there often was:
OUT. FREELANCER JOB. STAY SAFE – V
Well, she hadn’t followed that rule very well.
Continue reading “Evolution: Turned Up”
VERA’S SEVENTH HOUSE
Mariah lay back on the couch, propped awkwardly up against the armrest so that she could keep playing her cell phone game without unplugging it from the wall. Vera had been gone for almost a week, and Mariah’s body had been changing rapidly all the while, forcing her out of the house and into populated areas in order to gather the emotional energy that she seemed to feed on right now. Thank goodness her face still looked human, and she could cover the glow from her chest with a heavy coat.
Continue reading “Evolution: Invasion”