Thursday, October 6, 2011

California Dreamin' (again)

Now where was I...Oh yeah; So anyway, back into Mag Mell we went. Odin meets up with ManannĂ¡n mac Lir, who turns over custody of Loki to Odin, who didn't look to happy about it. Outta the frying pan and into the fire, perhaps? Not that I pretend to understand Norse ways or their internal politics.

What next? Well, Nate heads off to America but before I can head back to Dublin to be with my sweetie, Laurel fills me in on what went down with Ixion, her house, Ciara and Kassandra nearly dying, yada yada. She then asks me to please recover a pine box with a pair of kids' baseball gloves, something she doesn't want Ixion to find if she can help it. Oh, and to look for Marie's ghost. Which necessitated yet another side trip to Mag Mell, and a quick lesson in Death Senses from ManannĂ¡n mac Lir.

Oh, and evidently Harlan has been up causing quite a ruckus for Kane's company in NYC, and the plan is for us all to eventually meet the American President in the White House, introductions to be provided by our own Nate Prichert, soon to be of the FBI, if he can ever get around to finishing his training.

But when the Heroine of the Norwegian Sea, otherwise now known enigmatically as "The Doctor", asks you a favor, well, I just couldn't say no. So I let Aisling know it was off to California with me and then I'd be on to DC.

When I landed in SFO, I discovered that the entire Bay Area was under mandatory evacuation. I was getting roped in with the civilians to waiting evacuation busses; I flashed my INTERPOL badge to a local CHIPs officer, who put me in contact with a San Francisco PD detective. I explained I was needing to investigate a recent incident at a Berkeley area home related to an INTERPOL case, and that I'd be responsible for my own safety. They insisted on having the SFPD detective accompany me, so I said fair enough, and off we went.

I knew mentally what to expect, but the sheer sight of the moonscape that was once Laurel's beautiful home that until recently I had spent many a comfortable night was still quite a shock, and I gasped in spite of myself. I also noted their wedding present, the Astrolabe, had been hurled down the block and was crashed into a neighbor's home. I thanked the detective for driving me to this location and said I needed to walk the scene, and thus I began my investigation. After an hour, I finally located the pine box, and I was relatively confident Ixion probably hadn't seen it or disturbed its contents. I also determined that the salted area where they had been keeping Marie's ghost had been disturbed and that Marie's spirit was no where to be found. The other ghosts in the area were all on the move and not sticking around, having their own apparent rendezvous elsewhere.

Obviously, I couldn't heft the Astrolabe with me round the country, but I figured the least I could do would be to heft it back onto their property. Even as mostly a hole in the ground, this was still a prime piece of California real-estate in the Bay Area. Laurel should be able to sell it for a reasonable rate of return, I imagined. I proceeded to the Astrolabe and hefted it overhead. I thought of the corny Guinness brewery adverts back home, especially the ones that say "Guinness For Strength", and consciously struck a pose and said that out loud and laughed.

I looked at the ashen-faced San Francisco PD detective with the saucer eyes, gave him my most casual shrug and said simply in my friendliest brogue..." 'Tis actually lighter than it looks...."

The detective had gunned the engine before I'd even finished talking and pealed out of the neighborhood well above the posted residential speed limits, sirens blazing...

Well, so much for me ride. Feck all, I'd have to run/jump/fly my way out of the mandatory evacuation zone until I could find a place where normal transportation systems were working and then hop on a bus to the nearest airport, then catch a commuter plane to the nearest major hub, then make my way to Reagan National Airport in DC, or Dulles or BWI or whatever worked. I'd just have to wing it.

Before I left, I did swing by Chinatown and found a bookstore with self-instruction books in Japanese writing systems and bought a few things....it was going to be a long cross country trip no matter what I did, so I might as well occupy my time doing something useful....

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