don't see why you don't just ask her out," wondered Onyx.
"Because it's not the right
time," Tracer explained.
what you always say."
"Cuz it's always true."
just that it's been so long. You should just ask her already."
"Would you keep it down!"
Tracer turned to him. "She might hear you."
can't hear you in electroaqueous form, but I wish she could. At least
it'd be out in the open."
"Listen Onyx. You better
not be getting all giddy about setting me up with Halley, just cuz yer
There was a slight pause
as Onyx analyzed the statement. "Well... hmmmm.
Regardless, you should still ask her out."
"Fuck off already.
I'm gonna go wake her up. And don't do anything stupid!" she warned
Tracer stepped painfully
onto the sculpted hub of the diamond fountain, fighting the stings of her
still-bruised legs. Onyx's medical sundials maintained their diligence,
repairing those wounds uncovered by makeshift trenchcoat bandages.
Unlacing her padded footwear, she dipped a bare foot into the energized
water, signalling for Halogen to emerge. Seeing an aqueous density
variance approaching, she raced to escape the rising shock.
"Shit," she cursed as the
modest electrical charge zapped her nerves. Turning to the fountain,
she watched Halogen change from malleable fluid form to solid state muscle.
A shell of lustreless black rubber outlined her lean figure. A short,
auburn crewcut crowned her head.
got you again!" began the warrior-guard. "Oh
my, what happened to your legs!"
"Some clowns picked a fight
with me and Onyx."
really got pummelled," glared Halogen as she hoisted herself onto
the hub's rim. "I've never seen you this injured."
"Oh sure you have.
I come in like this all the time."
you get those feathers?"
"It's a long story.
I'll tell ya later."
Halogen began to change the
subject. "Your father is... WHAT DID YOU DO
TO YOUR HAIR?" She obviously meant Onyx. His feathers
were gone, as were the braids. Both had been replaced by a river
of translucent rainbow strands.
Onyx smiled strangely.
"Trust me, I'll explain everything
okay.... um... yeah... your father is worried about you."
"Yeah, I can imagine."
knows about your speeder and is quite concerned."
"Any news from the others?"
afraid Symm and Deluxe have not returned from last night."
Tracer and Onyx blurted simultaneously.
afraid so. There has been no sign of them. Until your arrival,
I had personally assumed you were all together. I see that you are
not. Was there a problem that you were separated?"
nothing like that," Onyx responded.
Tracer watched as Halogen
stalled to absorb Onyx's new look. His form seemed to 'flicker',
like a candle's shifty flame. It would definitely take them all some
time to get used to.
"Halley, heeeelllooo Halley."
she staggered, "it's very hypnotic."
"Symm and Deluxe."
she stated, trying to gather her wits. "Parker
informs us that they left last night, not long after the two of you 'entered
they hit the Alley."
"But we know all this."
is also something new of concern to you."
is an encrypted message.... from Prince Gabriel."
Encrypted with your public key."
"Where's the message?" Tracer
Halogen clenched her fist
and slowly unfolded her fingers. A small silicon prism glowed in
"How did you get it?"
was delivered to us, intended for you, however you were gone so..."
"I see, and how do you know
it was from Gabriel?"
Harlequin delivered it."
Tracer took the message
from Halogen's hands and held it in the air closeby. Stretching its
shape wildly, electrons shot from its reflective surface, crackling madly.
Twisting and twirling the malleable mass, her private key began decrypting
the hidden message.
TRACER. I GRACIOUSLY INVITE YOU TO MY PALACE TO DISCUSS THE LOSS
OF YOUR SPEEDER. TWO INVITES ARE ENCLOSED WITH THIS MESSAGE.
SINCERELY PRINCE GABRIEL OF THE PALACE.' Two lipstick containers
emerged from the prism.
look at me."
"When did this message arrive?"
morning, about an hour ago. I don't trust the prince."
Onyx and Tracer turned, amused
with Halogen's opinion.
"Neither do I Halley, but
what can I do?"
we're going to the Palace?" quizzed Onyx.
"Looks that way." She
handed Onyx a lipstick invite.
wears white anymore?"