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I've Got A Match
David van Domelen
Please note: This is an edited copy of this story, reduced to only the Patrol aspects of the story. To read the complete issue of CONSTELLATION #18, please visit the racc archives at the Eyrie, in the /pub/racc/lnh subdirectory. For more information on the Legion of Net.Heroes, visit their Home Page.
A cloudy Christmas Eve in Ohio. Constellation walks down a semi-deserted street in a less than festive mood. It had been a few weeks since he left the Looniverse, although he wasn't sure if there was any time compression involved between the two...for all he knew, it might be only days after the conclusion of the Master Workload affair. He still didn't really know what had happened during the final hours of that, after being kicked out of IRC by Tsar Chasm. Dot seemed to know, but for some odd reason she wouldn't tell him. ++You don't really need to know...you need to get some rest now, get away from all that chaos++ she had said. ++Once you get better, I'll tell you. But you have enough to worry about now...your mind is still all a-jumble.++
So he'd spent a few weeks traveling around the Midwest in that PluReality where he had encountered the Recharger a while ago. It seemed safe and sane enough a place. By mutual agreement, he and Dot didn't talk much right now. He needed his thoughts to himself for a while, and she needed to concentrate on the five senses used in the worlds he preferred to be in.
Chicago had been okay. Columbus was pretty close to the one he remembered, although with a few minor differences...mainly a lack of damage caused by superhero fights. Still, it had been a bit too familiar for him, it brought up too many memories. Maybe later he'd go back. Cincy was way too depressing, what with the KKK cross hoopla and all. So now he found himself in Cleveland, cheer capital of the world. Riiiight.
He'd found he had no counterpart in this world...but he really hadn't expected one. After all, in his home reality he never even had a real name: Floyd Johnsson was just something he assumed for defense in the Multiversal Office Building. Hell, he didn't even really know what nationality he was, although he figured he was probably European in descent.
Problem was, not having a real identity made it difficult to get any money. Not that he needed to eat or sleep or anything, but he wanted some amount of 'normal' social contact. But without some cash, he couldn't hang out in a bar or restaurant, or go see a movie or play, or any one of a thousand different activities that allowed passive socialization. Most of the free stuff required he actively participate, and he wasn't up to that. He didn't want to steal money...he'd been a criminal before and decided he didn't like it. And begging was definitely not good for improving his outlook on life. He had nothing to sell or pawn, except energy creations...and that bordered on stealing as well, since he wouldn't be selling real stuff.
He'd heard a bit of news recently, while hanging around in stores and the like. There was an outfit in Denver that was sort of like superheroes. Not Patrollers, really...separate from that group. He'd resisted going to them on the grounds that he didn't want to be a superhero anymore. But maybe they'd take him in for a while just as a...well, probably a guinea pig, to be honest.
Just then, he started to feel an itchy sensation that he couldn't place. Maybe it was one of the senses he got from Dot. Dot? Are you picking up anything unusual on your senses? he thought.
++Yes, a gravity pulse. It feels like a Recharger, and it's quite close. Do you think they might have found out we were here?++
Maybe. Let's take to the air, if they want us, they're going to have to come after us.
Constellation shed his disguise of grey clothing and launched into the air, becoming like a star against the sky. After a few moments, the itchy sensation stopped. He decided to keep heading west, maybe he'd hang around in Denver for a while to get a better idea of whether he wanted to hook up with these Machine people.
And down below, Patroller Brian Janssen helped a young couple to a clinic after routing their attackers.
Copyright © 1994, 1997 by David van Domelen