Tuesday, February 1, 2011
It’s roughly 6 PM when there’s a knock at Leah’s door. She answers it to find Amadeus and Sara, as expected. Once everyone is inside, they get down to cases. She explains that her friend Kevin has been recruited by the King of Scales, and there’s a strong likelihood he’ll take the offer. As part of it, however, the King is likely going to request that all of them join. As Tyrannicide doesn’t care for the King of Scales, and Leah doesn’t particularly like him, either, she’s willing to feed them information on the activities of the King’s Court. In return, she would appreciate if they would help retrieve her father.
Amadeus notes that Thus Always to Tyrants and Capri are likely to be thrilled at this, and have a more extreme reaction in mind. They’ll probably want Leah to lead them to the King of Scales, given that he’s an enigma, and no one appears to know his actual identity. Unfortunately, he’s probably warded; at the very least, he has some biker gang that he can apparently trust with security, so there will likely be some members guarding him. If Tyrannicide can get extra support for an assault, though…
Amadeus and Sara also note that the King of Scales likely has one trick up his sleeve: something called a “proxy.” Proxies are people symbolically joined such that the universe thinks they’re interchangeable, and they foil magick. Long-distance magick against a target — scrying, curses, and suchlike — has a chance of affecting the proxy rather than the intended target. Leah asks if this connection might work the other way, and Amadeus and Sara suspect it’s possible. Similarly, there are rumors that the proxy bond can defy death itself; if the target is killed, one of the proxies might die in his stead.
Sara explains that she is a proxy for the King of Scales; she often had weird injuries and strange occurrences when she was a child, but it wasn’t until she was an adult that Tyrannicide managed to figure out what was happening to her. (They initially suspected Leah might also be a proxy, but were clearly wrong in that regard.) Her symbolic tie to the King is that she’s his daughter, and her name is apparently an anagram of his, which does little to narrow down the suspects. Unfortunately, she never knew her father, and her mother was apparently unsure of who her father might be, so she doesn’t have many leads regarding the King of Scale’s identity.
Amadeus thinks some sort of arrangement can likely be reached. He’ll have to talk to the other two members of Tyrannicide first, of course, but he thinks they can help find Leah’s father. He admonishes her to keep him in the loop, particularly since the King of Scales must have some method of keeping information within the King’s Court, and so she may be less able to help once she joins. The pair then takes their leave.
Jones heads over to the Far Bar on 347 E 1st St to meet Rosie and Jane — or Jenny, as Rosie calls her — for drinks at 6:30 PM. They’re already there when Jones arrives, and Rosie waves him over. He gives Jane a kiss on the cheek and he finds his seat. He also takes great care to not call her by name, lest he call her something other than “Jenny.” The trio chats amicably, although Rosie notes with amusement that Jane won’t tell her Jones’ first name. Rosie asks how they met, and Jane says they met at the American Café during the day. Jones just briefly remarks that she caught his eye, and the two share a chuckle about it. Jones asks about what Rosie does, and she remarks that she works in porn. She was working over in Chicago with Pagan Video, but they’ve been doing more in Los Angeles recently, and so she came to the West Coast. It’s frankly something she fell into, but she’s stuck with it since she saw the Naked Goddess tape.
After a bit, Jane excuses herself to use the restroom, and Rosie says she’ll join her in a moment. When Jane leaves, Rosie asks Jones what his intentions are with Jane. She asks if she can see his hands; he asks if this is mojo-related, and she replies it is. Before the conversation can continue too much longer, the restaurant halts as a piercing scream emanates from the direction of the bathrooms. Jones is on his feet, running toward the bathroom, with Rosie right after him. He flings open the door to the ladies’ room to find Jane curled up in a ball and sobbing uncontrollably in the far corner of the room. Between him and Jane is a dark-haired woman, apparently one of the servers, fiddling with a purse. Jones blocks the door, and glowering at the mysterious woman, indicates that they’re all going to wait right here so they can figure out what the hell is going on while the police arrive. The woman freaks out and flings herself at Jones, desperately trying to shove him out of the way so she can flee. Jones tries to restrain her despite her flailing, and although he manages to briefly grab her, she manages to overpower him, hitting him several times in the chest and face in the process. As she wriggles free, she catches him in the chin with an elbow and he goes sprawling to the floor. Rosie tries to grab the woman as she passes her, but the mystery woman manages to knock her aside. Jones shouts for someone to stop her, and hears a commotion as several restaurant-goers apparently do that. Rosie heads out to supervise.
Jones is now aching all over with a bad headache and an overpowering urge to vomit and go to sleep. He barely registers the blood on his shirt as he goes to calm down Jane. When he gets close, he can hear her muttering something about, “She had no face…” He manages to catch her attention, and she hugs him tightly. He asks what happened, and she indicates there was a woman behind her. When she turned around to confront her, she saw the woman had a pair of scissors. The woman then pulled her face off, revealing only a blank face underneath. Jane panicked and wasn’t fully aware of what was happening after that, but she’s pretty sure the woman took a clipping of her hair.
Rosie pokes her head back into the bathroom and announces that the woman has somehow disappeared despite three people having restrained her. She’s heading back out to deal with the police as they arrive. Meanwhile, Jane notices that Jones is hurt. He takes stock of himself in the mirror — his face is bruised and swollen, and his nose is bleeding although apparently not broken. Standing makes him feel extremely light-headed. Jane helps him staunch the bleeding from his nose, and then he heads out to wait for the police.
Once police take statements, Jane drives Jones to the hospital. Rosie says she’ll poke around and see what she can do to find this person in the meantime. Once at LAC+USC Medical Center on 2051 Marengo Street, Jones is taken in for testing and treatment before finally being transferred to a room to recuperate.
Meanwhile, Felicia, Kevin, and Otis are hanging around his house when they hear gunshots somewhere up the beach. Kevin goes outside to check it out, but notices someone lurking around his porch. When he confronts him, the man produces a gun, telling Kevin to be quiet and get back inside, unless he wants the militsiya to see him. When Kevin seems confused by this, he ushers Kevin inside his house.
In the light, it is apparent that this interloper is an Hispanic man in his thirties, maybe forties, wearing drab military surplus pants and a “FRANKIE SAY RELAX” T-shirt. He has the accent of a native Angeleno. Otis is relatively calm despite there being a gun-toting weirdo in the house, although Felicia looks nervous, like she’s mentally calculating whether it’s time to flee or jump him. Kevin manages to calm down, and over the course of the conversation, Kevin gets pieces of this man’s story.
The man, only referring to himself as Steve, seems to think that Kevin’s attitude and ideas are totally wrong. Kevin seems way too calm about the prospect of the police — which Steve repeatedly calls the “militsiya” — arriving, and when he notices it, Steve marvels at Kevin’s DVD collection. Steve seems to quickly realize that he’s in the wrong place, and it eventually comes out that Steve comes from a version of Los Angeles, which he calls Angeliy while referring to the surrounding area as Khalifastan, in which the Soviets overtook the United States in a war about thirty years ago. He had five insurgents, called “Stringers,” with him when they were ambushed by an unknown number of militsiya. They retreated to a cove on the beach — Kevin recognizes the description of the cove yesterday where he tried to sojourn with Leah through the Holes — and were surprised to find that it went deeper than expected. They emerged on this beach, in this strange realm. Steve appears to have some awareness that he has emerged in a world not his own, and is not overly troubled by it. Kevin insists on showing him the internet — he seems enamored of Wikipedia, trying to figure out what’s different between his world and this one — and various DVDs, largely Star Trek (particularly the episode “Mirror, Mirror”), as it was apparently banned in Khalifastan.
Once it’s clear that Steve probably isn’t going to go nuts and kill everyone, Kevin checks outside again. Things quickly die down as the police arrive, force everyone to surrender, and incarcerate all parties involved. Kevin tries to call Jones, cannot reach him, and so calls Leah. He lets her know that he cannot reach Jones, but that there was some trouble on the beach — apparently some manner of weird trouble, involving someone from another dimension where Red Dawn happened — and now he has a house guest. Everything’s fine, but he thinks someone ought to know. Once they’re fairly confident nothing untoward is going to happen, Felicia and Otis go to bed, leaving Kevin with Steve.
Leah decides to call Detective Willett, either to inform her or see what she knows, depending on the situation. When Leah calls and asks if she’s heard the news, Willett seems well-apprised, until it becomes apparent they’ve heard about different things. Willett hadn’t heard about the shooting by the beach, or at least had not heard that it was something that would interest her; she hasn’t been assigned, and the APB just suggested gang activity. She thought Leah was calling about Jones being assaulted and ending up in the hospital for treatment. Willett doesn’t know much, other than she’s heard he’s all right; apparently, he was at some restaurant with his girlfriend and some unknown assailant assaulted them. She plans on visiting him when she’s finished up with her current task.
Leah, surprised, thanks Willett and lets Kevin know about Jones. She then tries to conference Jones into the conversation, and Jane answers Jones’ phone. They briefly explain the events of the night to each other, and Jane tells the others that Jones should be okay. She’s probably going to leave as they seem keen to kick her out, but Leah tells her to stay put, and she’ll be right over. Jane turns on the news, which discusses the shooting over on Long Beach.
Leah arrives at the hospital and convinces the nurses to let Jane stay. She makes her way to Jones’ room, and they discuss what happened. Leah explains the details about people from some Russian-occupied United States crossing to this world at the place where Kevin attempted to jump to Leah’s house yesterday, and Jones makes the connection that he must have somehow poked a hole between the worlds. They decide something needs to be done about it, but Jones wants to keep Daniels and Willett — especially Daniels — out of the loop, particularly regarding the presence of the extra man, because he doesn’t know what will come of it. As they’re discussing that, Detective Willett arrives. After they introduce Jane to Willett and indicate Jones is all right, Jones tells Willett that she’ll probably want to talk to the people arrested at the beach. And that she should listen to whatever they say, no matter how unbelievable. Willett notes that, if that’s the case, she’ll probably hear from someone before too long, asking for her. As she discusses this, her cell phone rings. She answers it, indicating that she’ll be right along, and tells Jane, Jones, and Leah good bye, but that she will keep in touch.
Jane, Jones, and Leah then discuss the prospect of checking on Kevin. Leah decides to do so, and Jane will accompany her. They drive to Kevin’s neighborhood, and when they’re close, Leah calls Mabel to see if she’s awake. She is, so they arrive at her house and briefly explain the situation; she is already aware of the gunshots, but did not realize there was anything supernatural surrounding the incident. She notes that she is armed, and recommends calling Kevin to warn him, lest their presence make this Otherspace man freak out and turn violent.
Leah calls Kevin and lets him know they’re up the street, and is it all right if they come to say hello? Kevin asks Steve about this, and Steve says he’d probably rather not have company. Kevin notes they’re “hot girls,” but Steve still isn’t interested. As Kevin is conveying this to Leah, he hears the front door. When he goes to check, Steve is leaving the house. He tells Steve that he’ll be stuck with no identity, but Steve is all right with this and says he’ll find his own way. Kevin lets him go, and tells Leah that she can come over; everything’s calm.
As Leah is driving up the street, Jane, Leah, and Mabel all see someone moving between houses, but let it go. When they arrive, Kevin informs them it was probably his house guest Steve, as he just left. He explains the night’s events. Mabel notes that this sounds like an Otherspace, and indeed sounds like Kevin’s hole jumps might be causing them. During the discussion, talk of the one in his room emerges, and so he shows the extra door in his room to Jane and Leah. After further discussion, as it is rather late, Mabel suggests they tackle this in the morning, and so Leah takes Mabel home, and then takes Jane back to the hospital before returning to her own house.