The Brontodon

Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Falcon, and Phoenix are on their way back to Chicago aboard the Hawks' Thanagarian police cruiser.

Vinnie looks thoughtfully at the Hawks. "How much do you trust the Currys?" he asks.

Hawkman says, "Absolutely. Why?"

Vinnie says, "Was Aquaman dissembling about his trident, then?"

Hawkman says, "What do you mean?"

Vinnie looks thoughtful again. Finally, he says diffidently, "It's made of Nth metal."

Hawkwoman says, "It's what? That's not possible."

Vinnie shrugs. "I suppose I could be wrong, but it sure looked like it." He adds, "So did the buckle."

Hawkwoman says, "Doesn't look it to me."

Vinnie says, "It's raw metal."

Hawkman says, "Unrefined Nth metal?"

Vinnie confirms, "Unrefined metal."

Hawkwoman says, "I've never seen unrefined Nth metal..."

Vinnie smiles. "Except that you have. It looks like Aquaman's trident and belt buckle."

Hawkman says, "So Atlantis had access to Nth metal before the cataclysm."

Vinnie says, "It looks that way."

Hawkman says, "That's interesting... how'd you recognize it?"

Vinnie says, "I've seen a lot of it."

Hawkwoman says, "Maybe Arthur will give us a sample to analyze, to be sure."

Hawkman says, "Royal trident of Atlantis?"

Hawkwoman says, "You're right."

Hawkman says, "On the other hand, he takes it into battle and stabs Darkseid with it. He might."

"Did he? Good for him," Vinnie says approvingly.

Hawkwoman says, "Point is he's willing to use it."

Vinnie nods.

Hawkman says, "I think the belt buckle, and his shirt for that matter, are part of the royal regalia."

Vinnie says, "But it suggested some things about the history of Atlantis."

Hawkman nods. "Interesting. Definitely worth investigating."

Vinnie says, "Well, you might want to mention it to him sometime, then."

Hawkman says, "I will. I'll tell you what I find out, if you're interested."

Vinnie says, "Yes, please."

Hawkwoman says, "Taking up ancient history?"

Vinnie looks amused. "'Taking up'? I am ancient history, as you should know."

Hawkman says, "Some of us," he looks at Hawkwoman, "aren't as interested in the study."

Vinnie thinks better of a joke about being doomed to repeat it, and simply shrugs.

Hawkwoman says, "I'm curious about this one, too."

Hawkwoman says, "You said you'd encountered the raw metal before... would analyzing it tell you anything?"

Vinnie says, "It could, but wouldn't necessarily."

Hawkman says, "Ray's going to be jealous if somebody else gets to analyze Nth metal."

Vinnie says, "He can come."

Hawkwoman smiles. "I'm sure he'll love that, whether there's anything to learn about Atlantis or not."

Hawkman says, "First things first: getting Arthur to part with a sample."

Vinnie says, "He probably sharpens it."

Hawkman nods. "And a weapon in use that long, it's amazing it hasn't been sharpened away to nothing."

Vinnie says, "Maybe most of the kings didn't wield it in battle or stab Darkseid."

Hawkwoman says, "I'd hope there weren't enough evil gods around to do that every generation."

Hawkman says, "I wonder if the other artifacts are Nth metal also. It sounded like they were made from the same material."

Vinnie says, "That's what I was trying to find out."

Hawkwoman says, "Why didn't you bring this up earlier?"

Vinnie says, "I assumed that either you knew and for some reason hadn't told him, or you all knew, but didn't want to let on to us."

Hawkwoman smiles. "You are overly devious sometimes, you know."

Vinnie says, "Better over- than under-."

Hawkman says, "Until you outmaneuver yourself. I trust Aquaman with my life. I'm sure he just has no idea."

Hawkwoman says, "Or we never asked."

Hawkman says, "True. He didn't tell us he abdicated?!"

Vinnie says, "That was rather surprising."

Hawkwoman says, "He abdicated in favor of the Ocean Master. You think Batman would've just commented on how it affected Arthur's personal life?"

Hawkman says, "Yeah, no."

Vinnie looks confused. "So?"

Hawkman says, "The Ocean Master is Arthur's brother, Orm. He was also in the Injustice League."

Vinnie says, "So I gather. So Batman would have had a few things to say about it. Why does this prevent his telling his friends and allies?"

Hawkwoman says, "Telling the League would include telling Batman, and he and some of the others would probably take issue with putting a super-villain on the throne of Atlantis."

Hawkman says, "Imagine Queen Elizabeth abdicating in favor of, oh, Professor Zoom."

Vinnie says, "Yes, it does have some implications. Aquaman did what he had to do."

Hawkman says, "And as far as I can tell, the only reason they were enemies was Arthur was king and Orm wasn't. Not that Orm was a psychopath or something."

Vinnie says, "Batman certainly seems to have an impact on people."

Hawkman says, "Batman's just the most extreme. I expect Green Lantern and the Flash and Captain Marvel would also have reservations. Probably the Martian Manhunter, too. From his side, though, we threw a prince of Atlantis in Belle Reve like a common criminal. I can see how we didn't make a great impression on behalf of the surface world."

Vinnie shrugs. "Maybe he should consider not acting like a common criminal."

Hawkman says, "He's a prince. I expect it's the 'common' he objected to, more than the 'criminal.'"

Hawkman says, "Mera nearly got herself locked up the same way."

Vinnie says, "You know, I have a title or two, myself. They're at least as well-recognized in America as theirs are. I still expect to go to jail."

Hawkman says, "You have a title that would get you treated well in prison."

Vinnie chuckles. "That, too."

Hawkman says, "It's a culture clash. They expect to be subject only to high justice. We don't do things that way."

Vinnie says, "I suppose my expectations did get formed here before I got too impressed with myself."

Hawkman says, "I'm not saying they're right. But it contributed to bad first impressions all around."

Vinnie says, "I'd say the question is whether Arthur is still a citizen of Atlantis."

Hawkman says, "I gather Atlantis doesn't have citizens; it has subjects."

Vinnie says, "Subject, then."

Hawkman says, "If he's still wearing royal regalia and carrying a royal artifact, either he is or he's a rebel in exile."

Vinnie says, "Hm. If he's still a subject, he shouldn't encourage his king's overthrow."

Hawkwoman says, "If he abdicated in his favor, he shouldn't encourage his overthrow."

Vinnie says, "Generally not. So he probably shouldn't tell Batman."

Hawkman says, "Batman and the others should bear in mind that not everywhere is America."

Hawkwoman says, "I can hear Green Arrow now..."

Vinnie says, "Oh?"

Hawkman smiles. "Arrow will simultaneously argue both sides of the issue here. Western liberal values should be exported to everywhere while at the same time we have to respect the cultural identity of other peoples."

Vinnie says, "Ah. From everything I've heard, I don't think anyone's going to sell cultural relativism to Batman."

Hawkman says, "No. But end of the day, I think the League won't try to effect regime change in Atlantis as long as Atlantis doesn't endanger the rest of the world."

Hawkwoman says, "Regime change?"

Hawkman says, "Gah. Overthrow the king."

Hawkwoman says, "They're getting to you with the wishy-washy language."

Hawkman says, "Yeah. Ugh."

Vinnie says, "I suppose it's too late for you to claim you were using the phrase ironically."

Hawkman smiles. "Now you know what we do at League meetings."

Vinnie says, "Sounds interesting."

Hawkwoman says, "Some of it gets repetitive after a while."

Vinnie says, "I have endless patience for argument."

Matteo smiles. "Usually."

Hawkwoman says, "Carter and Green Arrow are hard on the furniture."

Vinnie says, "I'm less patient with that sort of argument."

Hawkman says, "He threw the chair first."

Hawkwoman says, "After you tackled him." She tells Vinnie, "Canary and I have to break them up during election season."

Vinnie says, "Don't you think the ideas should speak for themselves?"

Hawkman says, "It's not the issues, it's that the man is infuriatingly smug and self-satisfied."

Vinnie says, "And that's a good reason to hit someone?"

Hawkman says, "You'd have to meet him. Holier-than-thou bleeding heart... I knew Franklin Roosevelt -- this is not what he had in mind."

Vinnie shakes his head. "You really shouldn't hit people for being smug, no matter how smug they are."

Hawkwoman says, "To be fair, Carter's not the only friend of the Arrow's who punches him regularly. Including his girlfriend. He does manage to invite it. -- Ex-girlfriend. That's still weird."

Vinnie looks curiously at Hawkwoman.

Hawkwoman says, "Green Arrow and Black Canary broke up. They were together for years -- I thought of them as married, really."

Vinnie says, "What happened?"

Hawkman says, "Arrow died. They drifted apart. Didn't reconnect when he came back."

Vinnie says, "Ah. Well, not exactly an eternal love, then."

Hawkwoman says, "Well, her rebound guy was a bad mistake, but I think she's in a better relationship now."

Hawkman says, "Rebound guy?"

Hawkwoman says, "She dated Ra's al-Ghul for a minute."

Hawkman says, "Seven Devils."

Vinnie blinks. "For ... a minute?"

Hawkwoman says, "Brief relationship."

Vinnie says, "He's pretty much the opposite of Green Arrow, I suppose."

Hawkwoman says, "Not as much as you might think. Evil mastermind, yes, but also eco-warrior."

Hawkman says, "At least you weren't talking about Midnight."

Hawkwoman says, "They split, too."

Hawkman says, "They did?"

Hawkwoman says, "You pay no attention to this stuff, do you?"

Hawkman says, "Apparently not as much as you do."

Vinnie says, "It sounds as though it does go by awfully quickly."

Hawkman says, "So wait, you said she's in a better relationship now? Not Midnight?"

Hawkwoman says, "Nope. Can't say, though. Sorry, Vinnie. It'd give away someone else's secret identity."

Hawkman says, "Apparently to me, too."

Vinnie shrugs. "You know I'd keep the secret, but if you don't feel you can say ..."

Hawkwoman says, "Not one I feel like I can share with you without asking the other person first."

Vinnie makes a mental note to find out who Dinah Lance is dating.

Hawkman says, "Gossip."

Vinnie snorts. "You were perfectly content to gossip until she wouldn't tell you."

Hawkman says, "They should've gotten married and committed."

Vinnie says, "Who should?"

Hawkwoman says, "That may be the nicest thing you've said about Arrow ever."

Vinnie says, "Oh, Canary and Arrow?"

Hawkman nods.

Vinnie says, "Apparently it's just as well they didn't."

Hawkman says, "She's a good influence on him. She calls him on his bullshit."

Hawkwoman says, "But she'd have to live with him."

Hawkman says, "True."

Vinnie says, "Someone should build him an artificial Canary."

Hawkwoman says, "You're the one with the mad scientist brother."

Vinnie chuckles. "He doesn't know her. Hasn't experienced the benefits."

Hawkman says, "'My Mafia friend's mad scientist brother built you some prosthetic common sense. Here.'"

Vinnie laughs. "Well, he'll take it if he needs it."

Hawkman says, "With any luck, his head would explode."

Vinnie says, "He's really not your favorite, is he?"

Hawkman says, "We don't agree on a lot of things. But he's one of the good guys, when it comes down to it."

Vinnie nods. "I expect he and I would have some arguing to do."

Hawkman says, "Probably. Or he'd try to take you down."

Vinnie says, "Oh, well, I'd have to fight him if he attacked me."

Hawkman says, "Of course."

Vinnie sighs. "I'm lucky the Currys would talk, I suppose."

Hawkwoman says, "Why?"

Hawkman says, "Not luck. The bit about buying dinner was Arthur's idea of a joke."

Vinnie blinks. "How so?"

Hawkman says, "I didn't say he had a good sense of humor."

Vinnie shrugs. "Oh, well."

Hawkman says, "Aquaman, Wonder Woman... they get that the world isn't a monoculture. That Chicago's not Gotham's not Metropolis is not Atlantis. I said you were one of the good guys."

Vinnie looks amused. "I appreciate it, though cultural relativism might be a hard sell here, too."

Hawkman says, "Did I lie?"

Vinnie says, "You told the truth as you knew it, I assume. I want to be a good guy. I just don't think what that means is different from place to place."

Hawkwoman says, "In Chicago, the Outfit is less corrupt than the government. In Gotham, the reverse -- plus most organized crime isn't really that organized. Good and evil don't necessarily change, but the systems we have to operate in, the social rules, do from place to place."

Vinnie says, "All right, that's true."

Hawkwoman says, "I don't think you'd agree to be a capo for the Joker. Or Ugly Manheim. And the question doesn't even make sense on Paradise Island."

Vinnie says, "I'd shoot both of them."

Hawkwoman says, "Being in the Outfit isn't the strike against you that being part of organized crime somewhere else would be. Arthur and Diana get that."

Vinnie nods.

Hawkman says, "Some of the League are knee-jerk law-abiding citizens. Some are just Americans, with that inability to imagine things might be different."

Vinnie says, "Someone should tell them, then."

Hawkman says, "We do."

Vinnie says, "They don't listen?"

Hawkman says, "Eventually. But they have to be reminded over and over. And without living in Chicago, I don't think I could ever really get this difference through to Flash or Superman."

Vinnie says, "I wouldn't mind trying."

Hawkman says, "I wouldn't want you to fail and land in jail."

Hawkwoman says, "Or us have to take sides between friends."

Vinnie says, "If the evidence were there, I'd be in jail. I'd like to hear what he has to say."

Hawkwoman says, "The Wingman side of me is somewhat sympathetic to 'crime is illegal.'"

Vinnie laughs.

Hawkman says, "It's a simplistic view, but some people live in places where the idealism can work. We choose not to. Batman's city is so morally compromised that only by being the way he is can he hang on to being a good man. I understand why he has to be so unyielding. But that's wrong for Chicago -- there is still good there, on both sides of the law."

Vinnie says, "I've never heard Gotham described that way before."

Hawkman says, "Chicago could've become Gotham very easily. Your father is a main reason it didn't."

Vinnie nods. "He's done well."

Hawkman says, "But I don't think I could ever make Green Lantern or the Flash understand that Chicago's moral core was saved by a gangster. They can't see past the label."

Vinnie says, "That's depressing."

Hawkwoman says, "It's frustrating. But it's encouraging, to me, to know that there are places like Metropolis and Central City where good and evil really are that simple."

Vinnie says, "I find it difficult to imagine."

Hawkman says, "Maybe you should go visit."

Vinnie says, "They seem simple here."

Hawkwoman says, "In execution?"

Vinnie says, "In principle."

Hawkman says, "I don't think it's coincidence that the heroes there are godlike in power. They have to be, for it to work. Nobody gets away with so much as a mugging in Metropolis unless Superman is away."

Hawkwoman says, "I'd be surprised if anyone got away with insurance fraud."

Vinnie says, "My."

Hawkman says, "Super senses, super speed... he's Santa Claus in a cape."

Vinnie says, "Not much privacy in Metropolis, I take it."

Hawkman says, "Not from him. But I'm absolutely sure he'd never deliberately eavesdrop, or tell anything he found out accidentally. He's that kind of guy."

Vinnie says with a glance at Matteo, "Speaking of the sorts of things one wouldn't want revealed, are you telling people we're a couple?"

Hawkman says, "I told Aquaman. Not in general, no. I thought it would be best for all concerned if he knew, and he knows you're not..."

Hawkwoman says, "Out."

Hawkman says, "Right."

Vinnie says, "Let me know first, next time, please."

Hawkman says, "All right. I thought you'd be more comfortable with Matteo along. You were nervous just coming to meet me, and we're friends."

Vinnie blinks. "Nervous?"

Hawkman says, "Cautious, then. Explaining to the Sea King that you wanted your flaming bodyguard along seemed more controversial than saying you were bringing your boyfriend."

Vinnie says, "Couldn't have convinced him I bring my personal chef to all meals?"

Matteo smiles.

Hawkman laughs.

Hawkwoman does too. "And insult his restaurant?"

Vinnie says, "Insult? It's a compliment. It means I expect to like it enough to hope he can duplicate it."

Hawkwoman says, "Usually one brings one's own chef because one refuses to eat what others prepare."

Vinnie returns to his point. "Next time, though, ask me. I might have been willing to forego the personal chef."

Hawkman says, "Understood."

Hawkwoman says, "If you meet her, though, Diana's probably going to figure it out."

Vinnie says, "Oh?"

Hawkwoman nods. "She's very perceptive about that sort of thing, and her culture biases her to see homosexual relationships more than heterosexual ones."

Vinnie says, "Oh, is she a lesbian?"

Hawkwoman says, "Amazon."

Vinnie waits for a useful answer.

Hawkwoman says, "There are no men on her home island. She'd resist being labeled, probably say something about love not caring about bodies."

Vinnie says, "I'm just trying to figure out whether I could distract her with Tommy."

Hawkman says, "You and Tommy? Or Matteo and Tommy?"

Vinnie looks nonplussed. "Her and Tommy."

Hawkman laughs.

Hawkwoman says, "She doesn't have casual relationships, at least not that hit the JLA gossip vine. But she has had relationships with men."

Vinnie says, "The other day, a woman wrote her phone number on him." He repeats, "On him." He shakes his head.

Hawkman says, "That happens."

Vinnie says with flat disbelief, "It ... does."

Hawkwoman asks archly, "Oh?"

Hawkman says, "None that I ever called."

Hawkwoman says, "Well, I can't fault their taste."

Vinnie chuckles. "Really, I should just have Tommy talk to her in the first place."

Hawkwoman says, "Diana?"

Vinnie says, "Anyone, really."

Hawkwoman says, "Why?"

Vinnie says, "He's good-looking, he's good with people, and he's not formally a member of the Mob."

Hawkman says, "So he has no authority to negotiate."

Vinnie says, "But that he means well is an easier sell."

Hawkwoman says, "Some people won't deal with anyone but the man in charge."

Vinnie says, "I think I should probably stop making a point of the Outfit."

Hawkman says, "It doesn't define who you are. I'm betting on the other way around."

Vinnie says, "That's my ambition, at least."

Hawkman nods. "I'm not a Wingman, or just a member of the League or the Society. The League and the Society get their identity from their members, not the other way around."

Vinnie says, "The Outfit has more members than the Society, at least by a few."

Hawkman says, "Not that count."

Vinnie chuckles.


Field Museum

Matteo is working overnight to help out with the museum's "Dozin' with the Dinos" event, a sleep-over in the museum for children ages 6-12. The program includes a flashlight tour of the Ancient Egypt exhibit, a "cookout" among the dinosaurs, and finally sleeping bags in the rotunda overwatched by Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.

Matteo has gotten the job of fielding questions about Sue from kids getting ready for bed. He answers all questions patiently, and most of them readily. His smiling contentment is shattered when Abra Kadabra asks the kids, "Who knows what a Sue would sound like?"

Kids make all kinds of roaring and growling noises.

Matteo approaches Abra Kadabra, who smiles in recognition, and uses Fascinate on Matteo and the kids. "Would you like to see a real live dinosaur?" the magician asks.

Kids respond enthusiastically in the affirmative.

Abra Kadabra says, "All right, but I need your help. You have to help me wake the dinosaurs up, all right? We do it like this." Abra Kadabra stomps twice, claps twice, stomps twice, and recites, "Abracadabra! All right? Everybody now..."

Matteo tears himself away from easy compliance, and commands, "Stop!"

Abra Kadabra says, "What are you worried about? Don't you want to see a real dinosaur?"

Matteo says, "No. Nor do I wish my charges endangered by them."

Abra Kadabra says, more softly to Matteo, "Really, what kind of a monster do you think I am?"

Matteo says, "I do not know you."

Abra Kadabra says, using his Hypnosis power, "I'm a friend of Rafe's. You can trust me."

Matteo smiles.

Abra Kadabra says, "Help us out. All right! Everybody ready?"

Kids are ready.

Stomp stomp CLAP CLAP stomp stomp "Abracadabra!"

Abra Kadabra says, "Again"

Stomp stomp CLAP CLAP stomp stomp "Abracadabra!"

Abra Kadabra says, "Three times!"

Stomp stomp CLAP CLAP stomp stomp "Abracadabra!"

Sue starts to regenerate, her ancient bones repairing themselves around theoretical inserts, then growing flesh and leathery skin... Abra Kadabra urges the audience to back away.

He says, "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, the wonders of deep history come alive around you! I am Abra Kadabra!"

Sue bellows. Children screech.

Abra Kadabra bows to Matteo. "They're all yours."

Matteo asks sharply, "Are you controlling that thing?"

Abra Kadabra says, "I don't think she speaks English!"

Matteo says, "Get control of it. Or I will melt you into tallow and consider you much improved thereby."

Sue takes a step out of her enclosure.

Abra Kadabra says, "I'm a magician, not an animal trainer!"

Parents and the other chaperones have now processed that there is a Tyrannosaurus Rex loose in a rotunda full of kids. Everyone is doing something, with no clear idea what.

Matteo says, "Undo it. Failing that, kill it."

Abra Kadabra says, "I leave rendering the species extinct again to you, Mr. Falconieri."

Sue menaces the kids loudly, and kids flee in all directions. Seeing little hope of organizing a retreat, especially if nothing is holding off the monster, Matteo catches fire.

Sue notices Matteo and bellows at him.

Hawkwoman flies into the rotunda. "Seven Devils!"

Sue snaps at Matteo, but he's just a tiny thing and hot hot hot and she recoils.

Hawkwoman says, "Phoenix! Don't hurt her!"

Hawkwoman swoops past Sue, drawing her attention and pulling her up to her full height.

Matteo flies over behind Abra Kadabra, leg-sweeps him, and catches him, right arm around his throat, flame aura flaring stronger about him. Abra Kadabra catches fire at Phoenix's touch, burning like steel wool into a cloud of sparks, then gone.

Sue snaps at Phoenix, catching him in her mouth this time, but she quickly decides that this morsel is way too hot and flings him aside.

Hawkwoman yells, "Phoenix! Are you all right?"

Matteo says, "Fear not." He's temporarily shaken, and the bite hurt, but it will heal.

Hawkwoman jams her spear in Sue's mouth, trying to prop it open, but the Tyrannosaur snaps the shaft without much effort.

Hawkwoman says, "We've got to get her away from these people!"

Matteo alerts the family. To Hawkwoman, he says, "They're in all directions. Clear a path!"

Hawkwoman says, "Main doors!"

Matteo buzzes Sue, trying to get and hold her attention. Sue is irritated at hot flying thing that she can't eat. She roars her displeasure at Phoenix, who is unimpressed.

Hawkwoman flies low toward the main doors, scooping up three kids who are still in the path and carrying them outside. "Go!"

Matteo annoys the dinosaur until she lunges at him again, and draws her to and through the main doors. Outside, Abra Kadabra is posing by the steps. A TV news crew catches Hawkwoman, then Phoenix, then Sue bursting out of the museum.

Sue charges out after Phoenix, then stops and balks at the lights and strange smells of grassy museum campus connecting the Field to the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium.

Hawkwoman swoops down beside Phoenix. "Okay, that was as far as I got in my planning..."

Matteo says, "What do you propose we should do if not destroy it?"

Hawkwoman says, "Contain her?"

Matteo says, "I may be able to do so."

Hawkwoman says, "That's really her. It's a real live dinosaur. The value to science..."

Matteo says, "It may well be an illusion."

Hawkwoman looks at Phoenix's bite marks. "Did it feel like an illusion?"

Matteo says, "Of course not. Good illusions are definitionally convincing."

Hawkwoman says, "Do what you can... how can I help?"

Matteo says, "I'm going to try a circle of fire."

Hawkwoman says, "Okay."

Matteo flies above the dinosaur and fires a swift stream of smaller fireballs, which explode into a circle of fire around it.

Sue dances around, looking for a way to get out of the circle without burning, but isn't able to find one. She roars plaintively at the sky.

Abra Kadabra gives Phoenix and Hawkwoman a bow, and disappears in a puff of smoke.

Hawkwoman says, "All right... now what?"

Matteo says, "I have no idea. You're still against destroying it?"

Hawkwoman says, "If it's not an illusion, it's Sue. She was a priceless historical artifact before she started running around the park."

Matteo says, "Here's one thing to try. 'Abra Kadabra.'"

Abra Kadabra reappears. "Yes?"

Matteo says, "I had hoped it would cancel your 'spell.'"

Abra Kadabra says, "Nothing to cancel; the creature has been regenerated from her fragmentary DNA. I promised a real dinosaur, and I delivered."

Matteo says, "It would seem we now know what kind of monster you are."

Abra Kadabra says, "Was anyone hurt? No."

Matteo says, "No thanks to you."

Abra Kadabra says, "I don't expect you to understand. But was it a feat of magic to thrill and terrify? Absolutely. Enjoy your new mascot."

Matteo says, "I am glad you do not expect me to understand. I am calling off this game."

Abra Kadabra says, "Then I shan't sedate your dinosaur for you."

Matteo says, "You endangered children. Turn over the papers and leave my family alone."

Abra Kadabra says, "That isn't for you to decide, Phoenix. This is between myself and Doctor Aeon. You are just a supporting player."

Matteo says, "Do as I say, and you will have another chance. If you do not comply, he will retire."

Abra Kadabra flings, "We'll see," at Matteo, and vanishes again.

Torchbearer and Huntsman arrive.

Sue says, "What is this... what is happening..."

Tommy says, "Hello, Sue. It's going to be all right, now. Calm down, and we'll look into getting you fed."

Sue says, "Where am I? What's happening?"

Tommy says, "It's been a long time, and you've traveled a long way. I don't know exactly how you're here. But you shouldn't try to eat these things you see here."

Sue says, "Hot!"

Tommy says, "If I get the hot to stop, will you stay calm and still?"

Sue says, "Food?" Sue is no more than a young adult.

Tommy says, "I'm working on food."

Hawkwoman says, "Getting anywhere?"

Tommy says, "She's confused, hungry, and rather young. I wonder if I could afford to keep her in meat ..."

Hawkwoman says, "I'll get something for now. She is the museum's dinosaur."

Tommy says, "Better get a lot of it."

Hawkwoman goes and raids the museum cafeteria for all the meat. Tommy stays and soothes Sue.

With Torchbearer and the Hawks' help, Huntsman manages to get Sue to an enclosure at the zoo. Meanwhile, Matteo goes looking for the children, his putative charges.

The kids think this is awesome. The adults are less thrilled. Matteo makes sure they are all unhurt and accounted for.

A kid says, "You're on fire!"

Matteo says, "Yes. Don't touch, or you'll get burned like Sue did."

The kid says, "Is she okay?"

Matteo says, "She'll be fine. She was hungry. They're getting her some food, and then they're going to take her someplace safe."

The kid says, "She tried to eat you."

Matteo nods.

The kid says, "Did it hurt?"

Matteo says, "Yes, but not too badly. She decided she didn't want to eat me after all."

The kid says, "I bet she burned her tongue."

Matteo says, "I think she did."

The kid says, "I burned my tongue on a hot dog."

Matteo says, "I'm a lot hotter. Are you all well?"

The kid says, "Yeah. It was a long time ago. I thought she was going to step on me but I was in the bathroom."

Matteo has no idea what to make of this seemingly disjointed tale. He says, "I'm glad you're all fine."

The kid says, "That was cool. Are the other dinosaurs going to walk around?"

Matteo says, "I don't think so."

The kid pouts. "If only one was, though, Sue was the best."

Matteo says, "Certainly the most impressive."

The kid runs off making Sue noises. Matteo makes sure he doesn't go too far, but the kid's parent is hovering.

Falconieri Residence

A couple of hours later, Abra Kadabra, wearing top hat and tails, appears in the living room where Rafe is sitting with Bennie.

Rafe stands up. "Did you bring the papers?"

Abra Kadabra says, "You're very confident of your victory."

Rafe says, "I thought Matteo told you."

Abra Kadabra says, "He said something. It isn't relevant to me."

Rafe says, "You don't understand us at all."

Abra Kadabra takes his hat off. "As it happens, you did win. Your feat was much more prodigious than mine, despite my superior showmanship. Congratulations."

Rafe says ungraciously, "Fine. Papers?"

Abra Kadabra pulls a strongbox out of his hat and gives it to Rafe. He opens it. The box contains papers, a removable hard drive, and photographs. Rafe says, "Good."

Abra Kadabra says, "Your brother accuses me falsely."

Bennie says flatly, "My understanding is that you unleashed a confused, starving mega-predator on a museum full of children."

Abra Kadabra says, "No more dangerous than flying your so-called airlines. There were plenty of people there to protect them, including me. And the beast was no more starving than its species ordinarily is -- I didn't want it to be completely uncontrollable."

Bennie says, "Air travel is a risk people choose. This was one you chose for them. Children, Abra Kadabra."

Abra Kadabra says, "No danger, sidekick. They were the audience."

Bennie says, unruffled by the 'sidekick' appellation, "My brother doesn't see it that way."

Abra Kadabra says, "He does me an injustice. I'm many things, but not what he accuses me of. They were to be delighted and terrified, not harmed. Really, if I wanted to harm them, I would have -- or at least not moved the slow ones out of harm's way."

Bennie says, "You probably should have warned him."

Abra Kadabra says, "And ruin the show for him?"

Bennie says, "I don't think he liked the show."

Rafe adds, "He's furious."

Abra Kadabra says, "Is he here?"

Rafe says, "What if he is?"

Abra Kadabra says, "If you ask, I will explain and apologize."

Rafe shakes his head.

Bennie says, "It's not a request. It's advice."

Abra Kadabra says, "I will take either from the Doctor. Neither from anyone else."

Bennie says, "Then continue to completely misunderstand what you hope to manipulate. I'm sure that will show us."

Abra Kadabra says, "You are all shackled by devotion to your traumatized brother. I understand that -- I just don't accept it as immutable."

Bennie shrugs.

Abra Kadabra says, "Doctor?"

Rafe asks, "Not immutable?"

Abra Kadabra says, "You can grow past him. He doesn't rule the whole rest of your life."

Rafe says, "I have no intention of deserting him."

Abra Kadabra says, "You only see the two choices."

Rafe says, "What does 'grow past him' mean if not leaving him behind?"

Abra Kadabra says, "You can care for him without being enslaved to him."

Rafe says, "We're not enslaved. He's the head of the family."

Abra Kadabra says, "That means far more to you than it has to."

Rafe says, "But it means what it does."

Abra Kadabra says, "For now. I will try to present you with alternatives."

Rafe says, "You could try not outraging him."

Abra Kadabra says, "Would you prefer that I make peace with him?"

Rafe concedes, "I'd rather not retire."

Abra Kadabra says, "I'll take that as a yes. In the kitchen?"

Bennie says, "People tend to go along with you. Maybe you should tell us, and we'll pass it along."

Abra Kadabra says, "I have. But I think he should hear it from me. I promise not to hypnotize him other than in self-defense."

Bennie says, "This way, then."

Abra Kadabra goes with the sidekick.

Bennie warns Matteo they're coming, and leads Abra Kadabra to the kitchen.

Matteo has been baking, but sets the work aside as the two enter his kitchen. Vinnie is also there, expressionlessly watching Abra Kadabra.

Abra Kadabra nods to both. "Gentlemen. Doctor Aeon won our little contest, and has the documents. Well played by him."

Vinnie says, "I am glad to hear it."

Abra Kadabra says, "The Doctor also prevailed upon me to give Matteo a peek behind the curtain, to assure him that at no time were the children in real danger."

Matteo lifts an eyebrow.

Abra Kadabra says, "I trust we are sufficiently adult that despite the sensibilities of this present age we can discount skinned knees and bruised elbows?"

Matteo waves his single hand dismissively.

Abra Kadabra says, "You did grab me, sir. I teleported out of your grasp. I had set a similar spell to protect the audience -- if you and your lovely assistant failed, they were whisked to a place of safety. The gender-appropriate bathroom."

Vinnie says, "And what measure did you take to make that safe?"

Abra Kadabra says, "The bathroom?"

Vinnie says, "Yes. Not a location inherently resistant to a tyrannosaurus on the loose."

Abra Kadabra says, "If she'd tried to enter and Phoenix and Hawkwoman not deterred her, I would've taken steps. Evacuated them elsewhere, or reinforced the walls, depending. But really they were in more danger of flushing themselves in the toilet -- which I also had eyes on."

Matteo says, "I am not sure why you mentioned my grabbing you."

Abra Kadabra says, "To give credence to my ability to teleport someone to safety in an instant."

Matteo says, "Ah."

Abra Kadabra says, "I'm a thief and a vandal, in this time. A rebel, in my own. But I'm not heartless, sir."

Matteo says, "Then perhaps you could limit yourself to honest persuasion in your efforts to develop my brother's career."

Abra Kadabra says, "If he's not challenged, he'll not grow. And I'm not heartless, but I think I'm resigned to the fact I'm not honest, either."

Matteo says, "I am less resigned."

Abra Kadabra says, "I was actually rather pleased to find you there. It was unexpected, but I'm glad to be able to help you as well."

Matteo says, "I have been rid of that encumbering secret identity, if that's what you mean."

Abra Kadabra waves a dismissive hand. "Pft. No one saw who will remember clearly. No, now you have been quite publicly the hero, saving children from the rampaging beast. Quite the opposite reputation from that of the Outfit thug."

Matteo says, "I was forced to leave the children on their own." Indeed, this is the cause of much of his anger; he feels he failed in his duty to them.

Abra Kadabra says, "You left them in capable hands to deal with the threat up close. I've dueled with some of the big names of this 'hero' game -- they would've done the same."

Matteo says, "You had to save at least one."

Abra Kadabra says, "That wasn't your fault. It was my show."

Matteo starts, "I should --" but Vinnie soothes him over their link.

Abra Kadabra says, "Your abilities, sir, do not lend themselves to defense. You did a sterling job. And I say this as someone who's seen the Flash and Superman do the same up close."

Matteo says, "That is at least kind of you."

Abra Kadabra says, "Rescues are easy for someone with my skills, and I hope to teach the Doctor to do the same. Battle is your forte."

Matteo inclines his head. "That is true."

Abra Kadabra says, "You fought the dragon and showed her mercy. None of your charges was harmed, and if I had a little to do with that, well, I also unleashed the dragon. I think, in all, you should be proud of yourself."

Vinnie thinks he would not mind if Abra Kadabra made himself extra convincing on this one.

Matteo says, "The mercy was Hawkwoman. But you are correct that little harm was done."

Abra Kadabra says, "She asked; you granted. You could have killed Sue."

Matteo sighs and relaxes a little. He picks up a tray. "Cookie?"

Abra Kadabra says, "Thank you." He takes one. "And if an avowed Rogue may make another observation?"

Matteo says, "Of course."

Abra Kadabra says, "I think you set a good example for the children, wrapped in an awe-inspiring and terrifying package that they will be happy to keep forever."

Matteo says, "What do you mean?"

Abra Kadabra says, "You are spectacular -- in the sense that your powers are spectacle. The audience loved that. And yet, when you could have turned Sue into the promised cook-out, you showed her mercy, and now the city has a most impressive prehistoric mascot. As I intended." He summarizes, "Spectacular hero. Shows mercy rather than fury. Good for the kiddies, eh?"

Matteo smiles faintly. "Under most circumstances, you are probably correct."

Abra Kadabra says, "Under these circumstances, I am."

Matteo says, "Yes. I suppose I shall have to forgive you."

Abra Kadabra says, "Nobody has to. But I would appreciate it."

Vinnie looks amused. "Really?"

Abra Kadabra says, "One of the wonderful things about this era is you can hold a grudge against anyone you choose. You don't appreciate freedom until it's gone."

Vinnie says, "In your subjectively-previous era, you couldn't hold a grudge?"

Abra Kadabra says, "No. Nor what you would characterize as a politically incorrect opinion. It wasn't allowed."

Vinnie says, "How did they stop it?"

Abra Kadabra gives Vinnie a 'really' look. "How do you think I do anything I do?"

Vinnie says, "If I knew that, I'd be doing it, too."

Abra Kadabra says, "Benny, cluck like a chicken."

Bennie makes a good effort, and a bit of a fool of himself.

Abra Kadabra says, "Like that."

Bennie says, "One would think you'd sympathize more with your victims."

Abra Kadabra says, "The ones deserving of sympathy. The infantile I infantilize. -- Oh, you mean you."

Bennie says, "Not specifically myself, but you throw that effect around like cheap confetti."

Abra Kadabra says, "But never to lasting effect. That is a decision, not a constraint."

Bennie says, "Your previous home sounds horrid."

Abra Kadabra says, "That's why I was a rebel. I'm never going to be a hero in this time -- the Flash has seen to that. But I can still be a warning."

Bennie says, "If you want to, you can be, you know."

Abra Kadabra says, "No. I am what I am. Abra Kadabra. Magicians are always shadowy and mistrusted figures, anyway. It's the warriors that win the hearts of the population."

Bennie says, "Right. And that's why I'm his sidekick, instead of vice-versa."

Abra Kadabra says, "No, you're his sidekick because you are."

Bennie snorts. "I'm not, you know."

Abra Kadabra says, "No, I don't know. You're going to have to prove it."

Bennie shrugs. "So, we'll see who wins hearts. It probably will be me, but that's because my brother's a jerk."

Matteo can't really refute that.

Abra Kadabra tells Vinnie, "You all have a lot to prove. To yourselves and the world. Expect me to try to extract that proof."

Vinnie says, "I'm game if you leave my business out of it."

Abra Kadabra says, "But that's part of the equation with you. I understand the consequences of angering the Outfit. But I make no promises."

Vinnie shakes his head. "That's not really what I'm getting at. I'm not trying to threaten you. I'm asking you not to harass my family to such an extent that one would reasonably conclude we're bad for business."

Abra Kadabra says, "That would not further my interests."

Vinnie says, "Which one?"

Abra Kadabra says, "Causing your associates to conclude you're bad for their business."

Vinnie says, "Good."

Matteo says, "Another cookie? I have some chocolate ones coming out now."

Abra Kadabra says, "Thank you, yes."

Matteo pulls freshly-baked cookes from the oven and sets them to cool. The scent of warm chocolate fills the kitchen.

Abra Kadabra says, "I can conjure a cookie that is the pinnacle of eight thousand years of the baker's art. I prefer these."

Matteo says, "You really are too kind."

Abra Kadabra says, "These are very good, but in general I prefer the food of this era. It's human."

Matteo says, "Come to dinner Friday, then."

Bennie looks surprised.

Abra Kadabra says, "I think that might be getting a bit too familiar for Vinnie's comfort."

Vinnie says, "Don't if you don't want to, but I don't have much hope of getting you out of our lives, or of having privacy against you, anyway."

Abra Kadabra says, "I listen for you. I don't spy on you. That would be offensive to me."

Matteo says, "Do come, then."

Abra Kadabra says, "If the Doctor wishes, I will come. His choice, if you please. I know he will defer to you for now."

Matteo looks hurt. "You can simply decline."

Abra Kadabra says, "But I don't want to."

Matteo asks, "Is my invitation beneath you?"

Abra Kadabra says, "Put that way, I'll see you Friday. Call my name three times when you're ready for me to appear."

Matteo wonders what just happened. "I shall look forward to it."

Abra Kadabra says, "I will take my leave for now, then."

The three present wish him a good evening, and he departs.

Transcripts/2017-05-06 Regalia, Sue (last edited 2017-05-09 12:31:57 by evil)