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This Thing You Humans Call... [IC]


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November 12th, 2013

8:02 PM


There were scarier things Kyle Steward had done since setting foot on Earth for the first time in years. Stopping a falling spaceship from crashing into the city, of course. Or stopping a Grue bioweapon from turning Missouri into a chaotic hive-mind. But even after getting used to life on Earth and pulling duty with the Star Knights, dating was strange territory still strewn with landmines. 


It wasn't like he hadn't done this before. It had just been on the other side of the universe, where the dating customs were less "Kiss on the first date, maybe something more on the third" and more "who gets to start the ceremonial bar brawl at the end of the first date." And here he was, really connecting with someone of his species for the first time in quite a while. Brad was a contractor who'd worked a few gigs at the same aerodynamics firm as Kyle; after crossing professionally, they'd traded numbers, and things had developed to this point. And the night had gone well thus far, with a bit of personal talk - Brad discussing his time in Iraq, while Kyle talked about his time with "the Peace Corps." 


Yeah. I'm sure you could call it that. Technically.


All in all, the night seemed to be going well. Which was why Kyle was disappointed to come back from the bathroom to find Brad walking out the door. For a second, he wondered if he'd done something wrong - until he noticed Brad's phone, left on the table. There was text message, still open - "645 DITKO STREET. DOUBLE TIME." And as Brad walked past the window, Kyle couldn't help but notice that he was moving in a fairly stiff fashion. A familiar one...


Great, he thought as he threw some money on the table. First date in forever, and it gets interrupted by mind control. Hooray.



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November 12th, 2013

8:02 PM



Brutus Haigh was enjoying a particularly graphic dream when he was rudely dragged back to reality. It had been a long night, followed by a long day; he'd needed some down-time, but that didn't seem likely now. Someone was hammering on the door to his apartment, in a nondescript block in the Fens. Though still bleary from sleep, he could pick out the odd word; they were speaking... Chinese? He shook his head to clear the fog from his thoughts. Brutus was fluent in Vietnamese, and although the languages were totally different, they shared a large portion of their vocabulary.


"Waitaminnit... I'm comin', just hold up, dammit..." he paused. Whoever was hammering on his door was still yelling; they were scared, and in a panic. He tried to make sense of what was being said.


"What?" He stood and wrapped a towel around himself, as an attempt at decency. He stomped to the front door, and yanked it open, revealing a short Asian lady of advanced years. She had her hand raised to strike the door again, and seemed confused by the appearance of a half-naked man. Another figure peered over her shoulder. A wizened old man, again of Asian descent. Her husband?


They were scared, he could see that much. With a heavy sigh, Haigh pinched the bridge of his nose between finger and thumb. He held up his other hand to stop the woman from yelling. It was making his head hurt.


"OK. In English, if you can. Who is Xiao, and why're you so worked up? He's gone walkin'? That's good excercise..."


His voice trailed off. They weren't laughing.

Edited by Sticklefront
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Through the snippets he could understand, Brutus was able to piece together that their son had gone missing. Brutus was aware of young Xiao - he'd come back from a tour in Afghanistan a few years back, and they'd occasionally shared stories about time spent under fire. As far as he knew, Xiao wasn't someone to just wander out at all hours, and if his parents were concerned, it had to be something. They'd found an address on his cell phone, which he'd apparently left behind - 645 Ditko Street. 




Kyle, meanwhile, was busy following his date to the same address. It had been some years since he'd last had to practice tailing somebody, but Brad didn't seem to notice. That was never a good sign. If you didn't notice the flagrantly obvious behind you, then there was definitely something up. He took position a block away from the entrance, watching as Brad met a young Chinese man with a buzz cut. They nodded and began to talk, trading what looked like casual chatter. 


Y'know, if it turns out he just ditched me to meet up with his boyfriend, this is gonna be a real pain in the --


That was when he saw the laser pointer hit the door of the townhouse they were standing in front of. And, apparently, so did they. Kyle was about to call his armor into being to deal with the world's sloppiest sniper when the two men started screaming. Their muscles went rigid as iron as they rose to their toes, frozen and bellowing. In time, though, the scream gave way from one of pain to one of ecstatic joy. Brutus arrived down the block, just in time to see Xiao locked in such horrible rigor with some guy he'd never seen before. With terrible and wonderful expressions on their face, the two men broke free and charged towards the front door - and slammed right through it, tearing it down with one blow. 


Crap, he said, running across the street, calling his armor into being. Can't believe I'm saying it, but I really hope that's just max... 

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