Season Two. Episode Nineteen: Human Needs. Part Two.

Leonardo didn’t know what to think anymore. It was…unnerving.

This evening’s revelations had left everyone subdued. Richard had left for the chapel, where he spent most of his time and Napoleon left for Harmony’s office, muttering something about world war.

Leonardo was left alone in his room, his hands and mind restless. He considered seeking out Jerome but discarded it the idea immediately. Jerome hadn’t even looked at him as he left the grand hall this evening, distracted by his sister in trouble.

So Leonardo paced the floor and thought.

Robespierre was imprisoned and apparently injured. The Bastille, the moon prison that Napoleon had been so certain was destroyed, was impregnatable. That sounded like a likely place to start. He took up the small electric tablet and laboriously typed in Bastille.

The moon prison was the most prominent result. Examining it, Leonardo did have to reluctantly admit that it seemed to be impossible to either escape or board. It reminded him of a large, segmented tube. There were few windows to the darkness outside of the Bastille and no doors. Leonardo gathered that to gain access you would need to dock on some unseen portal. He begrudgingly admitted this seemed reasonable. If you were a suspicious prince you would want to disguise the entrance, just to make it less appetizing to attack.

Read More »

Season Two. Episode Fourteen: Crime. Part Three.

Episode Fourteen: Crime. Part Three.

Maximillien didn’t know how long he’d been alone when suddenly there was a small sound like displaced air and the unmistakable smell of bread hit him. He looked up from where he’d pressed his face into his knees, mumbling Rousseau’s Emille.

There was a brown lump sitting in the middle of the floor and next to it, a glass of some sort. Max scrambled to it as fast as his prone form would allow. His stomach been long empty and he’d been feeling lightheaded. Next to it was water, and he licked his dry lips.

He stared down at the bread and wondered if he was intended to eat it with his hands still bound when a voice spoke from on high.

“If you promise to comply, we will release your restraints.”

Two passions warred passionately in his mind for a moment. The base, animal desire for food, nutrition, a full stomach against his righteous indignation against his unjust imprisonment and not wanting anything to be easy for his captors.

Eventually, as if just to spite him, his stomach growled loud enough to echo in the plain white room and Max sneered.

“I will comply. Please, unbind your wretch.”

There was the sound of displaced air again and suddenly his hands were free.

Max had never tasted anything better than that bread. Nothing had been sweeter than the pure water than ran over his lips and tongue. He tried to pace himself, knowing that he could easily make himself sick if he went too fast but every bite seemed to simply make him hungrier.


“What’s your game, Miller?” Chikara asked, frowning. Her arms were stiff behind her as she watched the naked form stuff his mouth with bread. Next to her Miller sighed.

“We’re developing a base line, and a little bit of insurance. He needs to think that we’re trustworthy before we mess with his head.”


“Please.” Chikara looked at Miller blankly. “You’re supposed to ask politely when you want something Major. You say, ‘please explain’.”

Chikara took out her laser pistol. “You will explain now, on the orders of the Terren Federation or suffer the consequences.”

Miller looked at her and then at the weapon in her hand. “Did you threaten your way to the top Chikara? Haven’t you ever played nice with anyone?”

“That is not information you need to know, now tell me what I need to know.”

Miller pushed the barrel away from her distastefully. “Fine. Look at this.”

She pulled up an information file, a civilian accessible one. There was nothing really special about it. It was about some sort of plant.

“What does it do?” Chikara finally had to ask.

“In essence, it’ll cause him to have visual and audio hallucinations. Fairly intense ones if anything I’ve read is correct. In addition it can also cause headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, so on and so forth. Point is, it’s not a good time.”

“You’re just going to make him ill? What’s the point?”

“Did you just ignore the first part of my description?” Miller asked impatiently. “The object is to get him to have hallucinations. If you’ve read his biography, it seems to me Robespierre is a gentleman with a lot of regrets. So if I were to play something like,” here Miller pressed a button and the sound of a hound barking filled the room. “This, he’ll probably think there are literal hellhounds after him, to punish him.”

“He’s so superstitious?” Chikara sneered. Miller shook her head.

“No. But our emotions do funny things when we’re stressed.” She turned from Chikara. “Trust me, this will work.”


Clio was startled.

This was unusual, because part of the very MO of being a Muse was to understand what what going on, wherever you were, but here she was: startled.

“What nowI?” she asked and crossed her arms.

Rain was bent over her computer terminal, giggling like a small child. She was on some sort of file sharing site, something buried layers deep, hosted on some ancient server and deliberately esoteric.

“You’re a regular witch, you know that?” She asked Rain’s head. “Simply terrible.”

“Oh I don’t know, I like her. She could be a great Trickster if she wasn’t so self-absorbed,” the Hyena sounded tired.

“So was Endor, but no one even remembers her now days,” Clio sniped back. She leant over rain’s shoulder. “She’s trying to pass on her wisdom.”

“Good for her.”

“Bad for everyone else,” Clio paused. “They’re humans. They’ll try it. They’ll succeed. Rain’s holding their hand through it. Whoever they bring back next…”

“Is not my problem. This is all your show, sister.”

Clio rolled her eye, ignoring the sting of being called sister. “Thanks for your support. Go help your human.”

“He’s out of my hands now,” Spectra said quietly. Clio gasped.


“It’s all up the Unknown now.” She grinned suddenly. “Perhaps Frank’s death will buy his life.”

The Hyena was gone before Clio could wince at the crassness.


Aspen was woken from a dead sleep by an alarm blaring. She went from unconscious to on fire in a half second.

“Turn to any news channel!” Jermone barked as soon as he flipped the feed on. Aspen switched over to the music feed she’d been watching before she passed out after she got home last night.

“This morning, November the 25th, in Paris, there was a concentrated droid attack on the Hôtel des Invalides. The attack damaged the east wall and the tomb of Napoleon the First. The Emperor’s tome was cracked, but appears to be intact. Thus far no Alien governments have come forward with any suspicious figures. Major Haruka has yet to release a statement.” The broadcast repeated while Aspen stared in stunned amazement.

“Napoleon?” She said.

“Magpie wants you here on the double. They’re convinced this is no coincident,” Jerome warned. Aspen pulled off her over large sleep shirt, the one with Blanche on it, and started untangling her braids.

“Has Harm seen anything?” Her voice was muffled, as she pulled on the layers of her uniform. Undershirt, long sleeve, lightweight armor, dark blue uniform jacket with the white detailing around the shoulders.

“He and Kami are on their way right now. They have a have other problems to worry about then just our domestic troubles.”

Aspen did up her trousers and buckled the belt. “Switch over to the headset,” she ordered the computer, slipping on the c shaped bit of silicone over her ear and tapping her temple. A miniature portrait of Jerome appeared in the right hand corner of her vision.

“How are the guys?” She asked, jogging down the stairs and getting into her personal transport, prepared to gun it from Alexandria to York.

“Asleep. Or at least I think so. Leonardo stayed up speaking to me, but Richard disappeared by midnight.”

“Spirits Jerome, he’s been alive for less than a year, quit hitting on him.”

He grinned. “What makes you think it’s me?” The banter relaxed them both and Aspen took a deep breath, focusing.

“Cause it’s always you.”


Rain smiled to herself, sipping her tea and nibbling on a scone.

It hadn’t been very hard to find a taker for the information she was selling. A little nudge and all of Chikara’s plans unraveled. She could lock Rain up all she wanted, but she could never put the knowledge that Rain had passed down once it was out of the box.

Even now it was making the rounds on the deep web. Posing as an alien, she’d sold the information, the process, the evidence. Requests trickled, rained and poured in. it had been taken from the hosting website within hours and re-posted and re-uploaded. Chikara would be hard pressed to find the original, and even now it wasn’t as if she contain it, there wasn’t enough code blockers in world.

God bless the internet and it’s virus like tendencies.

Rain watched and crews cleared away the rubble the wall, and carefully examined the tomb of Napoleon Bonaparte for damages.

All it takes is a single strand of intact DNA. Crack open that tome and you’ll have the raw data for an entire army of Bonapartes.

Now there was an idea to make the Federation tremble, an entire army of un-ID’d egomaniac white men. Rain could hardly stop herself from laughing.

The door opened behind her and Rain turned her chair around to see Chikara Haruka standing there, the bright white light of the Bastille framing her. Marie Rivera stood behind her, an unmovable behemoth of carefully groomed muscle, waiting to snap Rain’s neck.

“I’ve been watching the news. Seems like you have quite a situation, down there.”

Chikara took slow measured steps to her. Rain couldn’t stop smiling, even as her fingers and toes tingled.

“What are you gonna do about, Major?”

Chikara was standing next to her now, eyes fixed on the news feed. The camera focused on the crack of the tome. Dust was spilling out of it.

“You can keep me up here and place an embargo on all of the Komali data, but,” Rain laughed, “You can’t stop it now, the fox is in the henhouse.”

Chikara stared at her, her dark eyes unfathomable. “Is that what you think, Doctor Miller? You think the entire weight of the Federation, an entire united people can not find one pre-electronic savage? You think I don’t have the power to make sure that whatever you’ve done can be undone?”

She leaned down, bracing her hands on Rain’s seat. “You have no idea what wars I fought to ensure the unity of the Federation. This is one battle, and it will be over quickly. You’re ideas have failed and when I track the dissenters who wrought this, they will be the first to test your theories on breaking a man’s mind.”

Chikara stepped back. “Marie, you’re going to be Doctor Miller’s personal guard from this moment. She does not take breath without my grace.” She did a sharp about face and Marie saluted, her hand over her heart.

“I have to go clean up her mess now.”

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Ten: La Liberté. Part Four.

Part Four.

However getting to Cairo, even in the new world of terrors and marvels was proving easier said than done.

They had gone back to the carriage, after getting lost once.

“I thought you said you lived here for five years,” Richard pointed out to Robespierre.

“It was closer to four and a half actually,” Robespierre snapped. “Additionally, if you haven’t noticed, the city has changed significantly.”

“Oh please do not start now. You’ve actually managed to be civil to each other all morning,” Leonardo begged.

Turning onto rue Honore the three of them stopped dead, all bickering pushed aside.

“Turn around slowly,” Leonardo advised lowly, staring at the carriage which was now surrounded by uniformed figures. The carriage itself was being dismantled, and carted into a larger one, that was hovering a few feet off the ground. “Just walk back the way we came.”

Richard turned stiffly and fell in beside the other two men. Leonardo looked the least suspicious, shoulders relaxed, sketchbook tucked under his arm, and staring around as if there was nothing wrong. Robespierre kept glancing over his shoulder, his step quick and light.

They managed about a block before, as if of one mind, they all three broke into a run.

Sprinting past people of all colors and bright lights and crystalline buildings, Richard ran as if Lucifer himself had risen to chase him. The three of them raced away, dipping down countless alleys and nearly crashing into others. Eventually Richard slowed, and the others caught up with him.

“How on earth did they find us?” Robespierre panted out, clutching his side. He looked as if he did not run very often, face flushed and hair coming lose from the loose tail he wore at the base of his neck. He skittered to a stop next to Richard.

Leonardo slowed to a stop as well. He coughed twice, bent over at the waist.

“It was Rain,” Richard said grimly. “She would have told them we stole her property.”

“Likely. They could have also tracked us independently. The how isn’t important now. We need to get out of the city,” Leonardo spoke shortly.

“How?” Richard demanded.

“That terrible light machine that Rain took us in, we can use that,” Robespierre pointed out.

“We need the IDs to use them.” Leonardo shook his head, then stopped. “Unless, unless! We could tell them that we need to see Kamala that we were sent from Rain.”

“Yes, do you remember, Rain was able to get us on the um, uh, object,” Robespierre stuttered out.

“And you think this Kamala will help us?” Richard demanded, grabbing Leonardo around the arm. The man’s eyes took a distant look, and his mouth twisted slightly.


Richard met Robespierre’s eyes.

“Then let us go to Cairo.”


However first they had to get there.

Leonardo had found a city map, and was scanning over it. Richard watched in fascination it’s bright surface displayed images for food, hotels, and shows.

“What’s with the windmill?” He asked Robespierre.

The Frenchmen shrugged. “It wasn’t here when I was here. Neither was ah, the burlesque.” He adjusted his glasses, frowning dubiously.

Leonardo tapped the map and it magnified upon one part. “There it is. We should be able to use these, transporters to get to Cairo. They should be,” he turned to the east, “this way. They are located next to the Tuileries Gardens.”

Out of the corner of his eye Richard saw Robespierre shudder. The man’s footsteps were a little slower, a little more ponderous as they followed Leonardo.

The sun was high in the sky and Richard judged it to maybe be around ten in the morning. All of the odd people who lived now walked around, faces bent downwards to their lit up tablets or watching nearly transparent screens, projected out of bands they wore around their wrists. Some wore spectacles, that were lined with fine blue threads, and randomly laughed or smiled as if they were mad.

Richard grimaced. It was all mad. He hardly understood at all, from why Rain had seemingly picked him out of the blue, to how carriages floated magically.

Secretly, Richard was hoping that this other woman, was practiced in some art like Rain’s and would be able to return him home.

They turned onto a large square, with fine, large fountains on either side and the massive iron tower to the west. It was mostly deserted, with some people sitting around the fountains.

“Look, there they are.” Leonardo pointed to the magical transporters. He was smiling slightly, and raised an eyebrow at them. “Now we just have to- Robespierre?”

Richard glanced over and found the Frenchman had gone stiff and pale, as if in death. His eyes were enormous and round behind his glasses.

“What now?” Richard snapped.

Robespierre moved his mouth but no sound emerged.


“I-I died here.” Robespierre gasped. His lips had gone a pale blue and he was shaking from head to toe. Leonardo stepped forward.

“Robespierre, it’s past. There’s no one here to hurt you now.” His tone was that of talking to a skittish horse, a low gentle tone.

However whatever had possessed the Frenchman had taken full hold of his body. His eyes were hazy and his breath was coming in short ragged breaths. He swayed on his feet slightly and his hands flitted around his face, clawing at his cheeks and forehead.

Richard took a step away.

“He’s been possessed,” he hissed to Leonardo. “Do something!”

“It’s not possession, it’s- it’s panic. Fear. Robespierre!” Leonardo grabbed the shorter man around the shoulders and shook him gently. However this had the opposite of the intended effect because Robespierre merely gasped and his eyes rolled back. He went slack in Leonardo’s grasp. The Italian cursed and glancing around, dragged him to the nearest bench, sitting him down. However he was insensible, mumbling and flailing weakly. Leonardo caught his hands and gripped them in his own. He touched the man’s face, gently tapping him.

“Shhh, shhh. Robespierre, Maximilien. Maximilien, you are alright. There is nothing here to hurt you. The guillotine is gone,” Leonardo crooned gently. Richard watched hypnotized as Robespierre seemed to come back to himself, gently. He groaned and his eye lids fluttered.

“How on earth did you do that?” Richard demanded. Leonardo shrugged.

“I’ve known men who had night terrors before. This is not so different.” He turned to the still shaken man, who was looking lost. “Maximilien, can you walk?”

The Frenchman put a hand to his head, but stood up, shakily.

“Oui, I-I think so.”

Leonardo dragged them both into the nearest building, Robespierre still looking shaken and pale. Richard looked back over his shoulder at the square behind them. To him it still looked innocent and mostly barren. However, from the way Robespierre clutched the wall to stay upright it was clear something had happened to him there. If Richard had to guess, it probably had to do with the ghastly scars that crossed the man’s face.

Richard thought that he’d probably deserved it, whatever had happened to him.

Leonardo didn’t seem to think so, practically holding the other man upright.

“Maximilien, it’s alright,” the Italian said quietly, patting his shoulder.

A cough from behind made them all turn.

“May I help you gentlemen?” The speaker was a dark haired, dark skinned women, dressed in simple back and white clothing. Richard looked around and realized a few people had stopped eating and were looking at them.

Clearly a tavern of some kind.

“Ah, yes. We are here to eat,” Richard told her.

The women looked at them with wide eyes, confusion and a hint of exasperation creeping in.

“Alright, do you have a reservation?”

A what? Richard wondered.

“No, I don’t think so,” he said aloud. The women stared at them silently, mouth open slightly.

“Let me see if we have any open tables. Why don’t you take a seat right on that bench and I’ll be back in a moment.” She gestured and watched them warily.

As soon as the women was gone Richard turned to Leonardo.

“What do we do?” He asked quietly.

“Maximilien, are you alright now?” Leonardo asked.

Robespierre nodded, looking less ashen than he had. “Oui.” A flush appeared on his face. “I’m sorry, I don’t know what came over me.”

Leonardo patted his shoulder again. “It’s alright, we don’t mind.”

Richard snorted. “I mind.” Leonardo shot him an unimpressed look.

Robespierre stood. “We should probably go before -”

“Gentlemen? We have a table open, right this way.” She gestured, clearly expecting them to follow her. Leonardo looked at them helplessly before following.

Richard set his jaw. “I blame you,” he hissed as he brushed passed Robespierre to follow the women. Robespierre glared at him, mouth twisting. He opened his mouth to respond but was cut off.

“Falla finita!” Leonardo snapped at both of them, grabbing Robespierre’s wrist, leading him along. “Petty bickering gets us nowhere.”

They were led to a table with three chairs set up around it.

“A waiter will be with you gentlemen in a moment, please look through our selection at your leisure.” With that the women quickly left, looking over her shoulder as she did.

Richard glanced around and found that they were still being stared at. Some of the patrons were whispering to each other, looking apprehensive or shifting in their seats. A table close by had a small ebony-skinned child, who was gazing gape mouthed at them. The little boy touched his mouth then looked at his hand, and to his father, then back at Richard. He crinkled his nose and pointed, looking back to his father.

“Don’t point, Beni,” the man chided him. He looked up at Richard, looking embarrassed. “Sorry. He’s just never seen anyone, um, like you.”

Richard frowned. “Like me?” Self-consciously he lowered his right shoulder.

“You know, white.”

“Oh.” Richard sat back. He glanced over to Robespierre and Leonardo. Robespierre was holding his hand to his cheek, and was anxiously biting his lower lip.

Leonardo was fidgeting with something in his lap, apparently oblivious to the conversation. However he looked up and made eye contact with the boy, grinning slightly.

“You are Beni, si?”

The child nodded shyly.

“Do you like birds?” Leonardo held up a folded cloth napkin, cleverly arranged to look like a little sparrow. The boy gasped and held out his hands. Laughing, Leonardo slid the napkin over where it was eagerly picked up. The boy held it up to his father who examined it, eyebrows raised.

“That’s very impressive, sir. What do we say, Beni?”

“Thank you,” he lisped quietly.

Leonardo laughed. “You’re welcome, Beni!”

Richard glanced around again and while many people had gone back to eating, the remaining gawkers were now exchanging amused glances or smiles. He looked at Leonardo with new eyes.

Robespierre was looking at Leonardo as well, a small smile on his face.

“That was a friendly thing to do,” he said quietly.

The Italian shrugged. “If we are attracting attention, it may as well be positive, si?”

Robespierre tilted his head. “I’ve never thought of it that way.”

Richard meanwhile had been suitably by distracted the menu.

“Do either of you have any idea what any of this is?” He asked quietly. Robespierre looked at it and quirked a coppery eyebrow.

“No, I’ve never seen any of it. Leonardo?”

“It looks like raw fish,” the Italian said after a moment of scrutiny. Richard looked at him blankly.

“Why would anyone -”

Leonardo hushed him, a man with an apron was headed over to their table.

“Afternoon gentlemen. Is there anything I can get you drink to start off with?”

Richard pinched the bridge of his nose. “Yes. Three beers.”

The waiter nodded. “Alright.” For a moment he seemed to scrutinize his face and Richard noticed a sort of glimmer went over the man’s eyes.

“And have you gentlemen looked over the menu?”

Leonardo nodded. “The uh,” he cast a frantic look over the hologram, “dragon roll?”

“Sounds good, I’ll be back with your beers in just a moment.” With that the waiter turned away.

Richard scrutinized Leonardo. “What is a ‘Dragon roll’?”

Leonardo shrugged. “It says it has eels and avocado.”

Robespierre cast a worried look at the Italian. “What is an avocado?”

“I do not know, but I suppose you will find out.” Leonardo leaned back in his chair.

“Us? Why not you?” Richard shot back.

“I don’t eat the flesh of animals.” Leonardo shrugged, smiling slightly.

“What?” It was the most absurd thing Richard had ever heard. Even Robespierre looked surprised, raising his eyebrows at the Italian.

The waiter came back and handed the beers out.

“Is there anything else I can get you gentlemen?”

“Yes. May I please have a glass of water?” Robespierre asked.

The waiter nodded and turned away until Leonardo called him back.

“Ah, and a small bowl of rice please?”

With the waiter gone, Richard turned back to Leonardo.

“What on earth do you mean you don’t eat animals?”

Leonardo shrugged slightly. “I do not wish to treat my body as a mausoleum, littered with dead things,” he flicked his fingers dismissively. “If you can get your subsistence without harming other living creatures, why wouldn’t you?”

Richard snorted derisively. But Robespierre was blinking at Leonardo as if they had only just met.

“That’s…That’s a very good point,” Robespierre said.

Richard rolled his eyes, but before he could argue back, the waiter returned with the ‘Dragon Roll.’ He set a small dish of rice in front of Leonardo and the water in front of Robespierre.

“There you go gentlemen. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

“No, merci,” Robespierre smiled at him.

“Excellent, the bill will be posted right at the bottom. Just transfer your credits when you’re ready to leave. Enjoy!”

Robespierre smile vanished as the waiter left.

“We don’t have any money,” he hissed as Richard reached forward to grab the one of the segments of the ‘Dragon’. It was wrapped in rice and something green. Richard picked it up and examined it closely.


“So we can’t pay for what we’re about to eat, and that’s thievery.” Robespierre reached forward as if to stop Richard. In retaliation Richard popped the whole segment in his mouth.

It was cold and there was something slimy to it, but he could taste an underlying fishiness to it, just the mildest hint of brine. Robespierre was staring at him, sallow face pinched in disgust. Leonardo was also looking at him, mouth twisted slightly. Richard chewed and swallowed.

“It’s not bad. Additionally when I return to England, and explain who I am, we will more than easily be able to pay for some fish. It’s fine,” he insisted. Robespierre, looking mulish, crossed his arms over his chest and threw his head back. However Leonardo timidly started to peck at his rice.

Despite how meager it seemed, Richard found he was not going to be able to finish the Dragon and contented himself with the beer. He noticed that Robespierre did not touch his, or any of the food, simply sipping at the glass of water and casting cold looks at him and Leonardo. Richard resisted the desire to roll his eyes. When Leonardo had finished his rice, and took a cursory sip of beer, the waiter reappeared.

“How was everything gentlemen?” He asked genially.

“Serviceable,” Richard said.

“Excellent, thank you monsieur,” Leonardo cut over him. The waiter beamed and looked at them expectantly. Richard held himself carefully still, gripping his beer chalice.

The moment lingered and it seemed that the waiter was going to press the issue, until someone called for him. With a rather annoyed look he left. Richard sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. He got to his feet, and blinked. The beer had gone to his head faster than he thought.

“We should go,” Leonardo opinioned lowly, looking around. Richard nodded and grabbed the bag from under the table.

“I can’t believe you,” Robespierre was still hissing at them as they walked back outside, heading around the edge of the square to where the machines were. Richard knew the man must be feeling better because now he simply would not. Shut. Up. “Stealing, from the mouths of citizens! Refusing to pay your tab, and knowing you wouldn’t be able to!”

“Would you have us starve instead?” Richard demanded. However before Robespierre could respond, a voice from behind them shouted, “Hey! Hey! Stop! Someone stop them!”

It was the waiter.

Several people had turned to look, curious. Richard and Robespierre froze.

“What do we do?” Richard looked at Leonardo. The Italian grabbed Robespierre and pulled him along as he broke into a sprint.

“I have an idea, run!”

With that the three of them sprinted for the transporters.

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Ten: La Liberté. Part Three.

Part Three.

Leonardo couldn’t stop looking back at the illuminated tower. It was one of the most beautiful things he’d ever seen, and he desperately wanted to go towards it, but Robespierre was taking them west, away from it.

The club had been a wash, with not even a plaque to explain what had happened to it. Robespierre had taken this hard, his head bowed and arms held stiffly at his sides as he marched ahead of them.

Leonardo stifled a yawn. His internal clock insisted it was extremely late, around midnight. His old age must have been catching up with him, Leonardo mused wryly. Aging a thousand years could really take it out of a person.

However it didn’t seem the three of them were going to find any safe haven for the night, and now having not better ideas were wandering west, peering down shadowed alley ways and seeking a place where a temporally displaced man might lay his head for the night.

He yawned again.

“How far outside of the city do you think we would have to go to find some woods?” Richard asked. “We could likely make camp there for the night and continue on in the morning.”

Robespierre shrugged. “Paris is extensive. It would take us most of the night to even walk to the boundaries of the city, considering how much it’s expanded in the years. We could always go back to the carriage, um, thing.”

Leonardo shook his head at this. “I think this is a bad idea. Rain will probably tell them that we took the vehicle. They will find it.”

“They?” Richard asked.

“The aliens, the Komali. And since that was an ambassador, whoever is in charge of the earth now, will be informed too,” Leonardo stroked his fingers through his beard, still far too short after years of having it down to the middle of his chest. He looked over to the ex-king.

Richard sighed. “So we are in the middle of a hunt, and we’re the prey. Excellent.”

Robespierre had gone quiet, and Leonardo looked up, to ask him if he could possibly think of anywhere else in Paris they could go, only to discover he was gone.

Leonardo stopped and caught Richard’s shoulder, staring around.


“Robespierre has left us.”

“Excellent, that’s one problem solved.”

Leonardo smothered his sigh. He caught sight of the petite Frenchman across the road, seemingly speaking to group of young people who were sprawled on the ground. He let go of Richard to follow, curiously.

He heard the Englishman curse and after a moment, clump after him. Leonardo smiled slightly.

He reached where Robespierre was standing, the yellow light casting odd shadows.

“Leonardo, these students know where we can stay for the night,” Robespierre informed him. The one closest to them, a long legged and thin man in a truly eye searing jerkin, nodded and pointed.

“Go two blocks that way, and it’s catty corner from the dispensary. The couple who runs it, real nice, will take anything you have, if you don’t have enough credits. They also don’t make you show your ID, either.”

Leonardo nodded, the important bits of information floating to the top of the deluge. Location, payment, no ID.


“Thank you, we probably would have been walking all night without your aid,” Robespierre gravely informed the youth, who waved it away with a flip of his golden-tinged hand.

“De nada. I’ve been there, man. Good luck.”

They walked away and Robespierre looked over at Richard, green eyes blinking rapidly in the dim light.

“And now, we have a place to stay.”


The ‘place’ ended up being a stone building, with bars over the windows and one lamp torn off it’s front and sagging sadly.

“It’s practically Fothinghay.” Richard deadpanned as they stood outside, surveying it. Robespierre tsked dismissively.

“You’d rather the ground? Or to back under Rain’s tyranny?”

Leonardo rolled his eyes. “Let’s go in.”

Inside was cramped and somehow seemed more dimly lit than the street. There was an over stuffed divan and a scratched and battered table. Behind a portal in the wall and man sat, reading from a tablet. Leonardo cautiously approached.

“Ah, hello sir?”

The man looked up and Leonardo had to stop his jaw from falling open. Instead of two brown eyes, the man had one, clear and attentive. The other was clearly made of metal and as Leonardo looked, he watched the machinery in side of it narrow, and knew he was being carefully examined. Behind him Richard drew a sharp breath and Robespierre coughed, quickly smothering it.

“Something I can do for you?” The man’s voice, deep and resounding, boomed out.

Leonardo mentally slapped himself.

“Si. Do you have any rooms for the night?”

The man laughed. “Rooms? Bunks, my friend. I have two left.”

Leonardo stuck his hand out. “Deal.”

He took it, shaking. “Payment? Or are you staying more than the one night?”

“Just tonight. Would food do?”

The man paused to consider this, and Leo watched his eye expand and contract as he looked up at the ceiling. “Sure, I don’t see why not.”

Leonardo turned to face a very unhappy looking Richard and a dismayed Robespierre.

“You heard him, pay the man.”

“I blame you,” Richard hissed, re adjusting the now much lighter bag on his shoulder. They were following a series of illuminated arrows on the wall, each one of them appearing just after the pasted the previous.

“I did not want to sleep on the ground. This is better than nothing,” Leonardo insisted tiredly. Behind him he heard Robespierre yawn and took it as a general agreement. The arrows stopped and were now illuminating a door with bright red light.

Leonardo pushed it open quietly, the sound of deep breathing and snores wafting through it. The three men walked to the very other side of the room, next to a window that looked out over the street and toward the tower.

The beds were stacked on top of each other, like in a barracks and Leonardo heard Richard mutter before bracing his foot on the bottom bunk, hefting himself up and sliding into the bed in a smooth motion. A moment later, there was a thunk as he threw his shoes to the floor. Someone muttered sleepily.

“The two of you had better be there in the morning,” the Englishman’s voice came down.

Leonardo and Robespierre looked at each other. Leonardo cleared his throat once before moving to the window side of the bunk and sitting down. It was thin and he could feel the places where the support beams held it up. He leaned down and pulled his shoes off, setting them neatly aside. He grimaced and sighed softly before flipping back the covers and laying down.

It seemed clean, if nothing else.

After a moment he heard Robespierre walk to the other side and feel the mattress dip as he slipped in next to him. It wasn’t a large bunk but, Robespierre was a rather small man and Leonardo could only feel a brush of his clothing and a vague warmth.

Leonardo took a deep breath and shut his eyes.


For Max, sleep was mercifully dreamless. When he was blinking his eyes open the next time, a dim light was starting to illuminate the room. He listened carefully for a moment, and surmised that Leonardo was likely still asleep, another small mercy. Max turned carefully to see.

Leonardo was asleep, laying flat on his back, with one arm draped over his eyes. His chest was rising and falling with his breath.

Maximilien hadn’t known if it was going to be awkward to sleep next to the other man or not. The last time he’d slept in a bed with another person, he’d been six, and his sisters had been in his care at his grandparent’s house. Leonardo had seemed annoyed to have to share the bed, immediately turning his back to Max when they got in.

In an odd way, it reminded Max of Louis le Grand; the sounds of other’s sleeping, the uncomfortable bed, going to sleep with pangs of hunger.

He could nearly hear Camille trying to whisper to him from across the aisle.

Max sighed and rubbed his eyes.

Being back in Paris was clearly making him sentimental.

Bitterly, he reflected, that they probably shouldn’t have come. Obviously the Republic was seen as a failure, and the fault likely lying with him. Rain had alluded to it enough, and the cold steel plauque on the ground seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.

Here lies Maximilien Robespierre: Tyrant and Failure.

Light slowly slid over the floor as Max was lost in his reflections. He distantly heard Richard turn over on the bunk overhead. Leonardo shifted, so he was lying on his side, facing Max.

“Robespierre, are you awake yet?”


Leonardo yawned, and scrubbed his hand over his eyes. “Not the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on, but it will do. Do you have any suggestions over where we should head today?”

Throat dry, Max shook his head. Leonardo sighed and sat up, tapping the bunk overhead.

“Richard. Get up.”

Max could hear the Englishman roll over and a moment later his head, hair rumpled and flyaway from sleep and face stern and hard appeared.


“Good morning to you too. We need to figure out where to go. I think we are out of options in Paris,” Leonardo leaned over and retrieved his shoes, pulled them on. Max fumbled for his glasses.

“London, probably. Or York. I was always more popular in the north.”

Richard looked over at Max, as if expecting a retort. Crossing his arms over his chest, Max merely shrugged.

Leonardo looked thoughtful.

“Possibly…” The Italian muttered. He reached under the cot and pulled out his sketchbook. Flipping to the beginning he turned it around to show them a sketch. A woman’s face with soulful eyes and a pinched, concerned expression in the lines of her forehead and lips.

“Who is that?” Richard asked. The English king had removed himself from the top bunk, snatching up his boots.

“Kamala Manson. She was Rain’s assistant. She was there when I, ah, woke up.”

“Do you think she would help us?” Robespierre cast a dubious look at the book. Leonardo added an odd line to the sketch, even though it looked finished to Max.

“It seemed to me that she did not approve of what Rain was doing. She might be persuaded to help us, or at least explain the situation to the Komali,” Leonardo said softly.

Richard sighed and met Max’s eyes. He shrugged and threw a hand up in surrender.

“Did she say where she lived?” Maximilien asked.

“Cairo, Egypt. I’ve never been there.” Leonardo added, nearly plaintive.

Richard grabbed the bag off the top bunk, and threw an apple to Leonardo.

“It’s the best plan we have for now.”

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Ten: La Liberté. Part Two.

Part Two.

The temperature must have been colder than Max remembered it, because he couldn’t stop shivering as they walked along the river. That had not changed at least, still winding her way through the quarters under bridges and cutting her way down south. However, walking along it made Max even colder, the gentle water seeming to suck warmth straight from the air itself.

“Here,” Leonardo offered him his jacket, made of a course wool and held together by a single line of metal teeth that came together cleverly.

“M-merci,” Max said through chattering teeth.

Richard did not seem affected by the cold, but he was English, so that was to be expected, at least according to Maximilien. They were all cold hearted.

“Is there another place we could go?” Richard asked, lowly. People passed them on the street but did not seem to pay any attention to them. However it seemed to Max that every passing glance was going to catch onto their furtive actions, and they would be sent back to Rain, or worse, to the alien.

Maximilien stopped, looking over the river. They were walking along the same path he used to take to the Jacobins.

“If my club is still there, we’d be welcomed.” Probably.

“And what does that entail? Richard asked, dubiously.

Max rubbed at his temples. “They are good men, who only ever held the best interests of the people in their hearts.” He stared at Richard coldly, lowering his hands. “Not that you would understand that-“

Richard growled. “Listen you little-“

Before Leonardo could intervene or Richard could finish his insult Maximilien turned a corner and stopped dead, causing them all to trip into each other.

“Robespierre?” Leonardo tapped him gently. “What is wrong?”

Max, speechless, simply raised his hand and gestured. The other two men finally looked up.

“My god,” Richard breathed.

“Dio mio,” Leonardo agreed.

“That, was not there the last time I was here.” Max said dryly.

Ahead of them, rising over what must have been the very heart of the city was a tall metal sculpture. It rose like a mountain over a plain, lit up in golden lights, illuminating the entire city. It was dazzling and Maximilien couldn’t quiet decide if he adored it, or hated it. Leonardo started toward it, eyes wide.

“What is it?”

“I have no earthly idea. A building of some sort?” Max guessed. Leonardo had whipped out his notebook and was sketching it furiously, seeming entranced by the thing.

They all jumped when a voice spoke from behind them.

“First time in Paris?”

The speaker was an older woman, with a cart of plants. She wore a long grey and yellow striped scarf around her head, and her brown eyes studied them intently. She adjusted her cart so it was carefully between them.

“Ah, yes?” Leonardo spoke for them all, the smallest hesitation in his voice. Maxime coughed, struck by the sudden insane urge to laugh.

“La dame der fer is beautiful, no?”

Richard pointed. “That?”

“Oui. She’s stood there for over a thousand years. She’s been rebuilt twice, but she’s made her way through.” The woman looked at it fondly, and it suddenly struck Max that this was his national kin.

“Are you from Paris, citizeness?” The title slipped out without him meaning it to, and he winced. The woman cast him an odd look.

“Oui.” She grinned suddenly and snapped her fingers. “The north?”

Max inclined his head bashfully. He was never going to lose his Artoise accent and had been teased about it more than once from Camille. “Oui.”

“I am surprised you have not been to visit, then. Too much time in Monaco?” She waved the thought away, smiling playfully. “Ah it does not matter. Young people. If you are going to see her, you need to continue down this rue.” She winked. “She is hard to miss.”

Max bowed. “Merci beaucoup, madame.”

She shook his hand when he rose, her soft hand gripping his firmly. “And thank you for your service, sir,” she told him gravely, before hefting her cart away.

“Service?” Richard asked when they started away. Maximilien shrugged.

“I don’t know what she meant.” He looked at Leonardo, biting his lip, a sudden thought occurring to him. “You don’t think she recognized us, do you?”

“She thought you were a solider, your scars.” Leonardo waved at his own face and neck. Max felt his stomach drop to his shoes.


“You should be honored. She thought that you had been in battle.” Richard remarked.

Maximilien stayed silent. He still didn’t quite know how to feel about the bullet scars on his face. They pulled and itched fiercely, and he was uncomfortably reminded of that day. The smell of blood, and gun powder in the air. Augustin screaming, Couthon’s body thudding to the ground. The bang of the gun going off in Phillipe Le Bas’s hands.

He shuddered.

Night had settled in around them and Max looked up at the stars. Or he tried to. Nothing more than a few distant pinpricks of light could be seen. He blinked in bewilderment.

“What on earth happened to the sky?”

The other two stopped and looked up. After a moment Richard growled and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“What else? Lands hand sank beneath the ocean, the stars are gone, and I’m in Paris. Did the end of days happen and no one notice?” He demanded at large. For a horrifying moment Maximilien found himself agreeing.

Leonardo was still staring upward.

“It’s the lights,” he muttered after a moment.

“Pardon?” Max asked.

Leonardo gestured around. “All these lights, they are much stronger than candles or fires, si?”


“All of the light they are giving off, it is obscuring the stars.” He shrugged, then stiffened, a wide-eyed look of amazement coming over him. “Which would mean the same thing happens during the day when the sun is out! Which would mean that the stars are stationary as well!” He clapped, beaming widely. “I knew it!” Richard snorted.

“The sun is not stationary. It goes around the earth.”

Maximilien raised a hand, smiling slightly. “Actually it does not. Leonardo is right, the sun is the center and all the other planets rotate around it.”

Both of them looked at him in silent amazement. Max shrugged.

“It was taught to me in Louis le Grand. I’m sorry if I don’t know the specifics.”

“I was right?” Leonardo sounded stunned, a deep contrast to the confident tone he’d been using till then. “Dio mio.”

“Never mind that, what the devil do you mean, the earth isn’t the center? The Lord made it,” Richard demanded. “That’s what the Church says.”

“Yes, and it’s incorrect,” Maximilien raised his eyebrows in emphasis.

Richard looked between the two of them.

“Heretics. I’m surrounded by heretics,” he muttered, jaw set. Maximilien could barely prevent himself from rolling his eyes.

Leonardo seemed to have shaken himself from his amazed stupor. He let out a nervous little chuckle.

“We should keep moving, si? We still have no place to sleep tonight,” he pointed out. Maximilien nodded, then gestured.

“It’s this way.”

Or it used to be.

A Fiction Agreed Upon. Episode Ten: La Liberté. Part One.

Episode Ten: La Liberté.

Part One.

It was evening and Richard was half asleep when He became aware that the vehicle was descending. They’d all started falling asleep somewhere over the ocean, a sight so enormous that even Leonardo had been disturbed by it. Robespierre had been the first to go, slumping over with his hands protectively curled over his chest. The Leonardo, leaning against the window and muttering in Italian. Richard had tried to stay awake, instincts reminding him strongly he could easily be in a vehicle with two people who would see him dead. However eventually the monotony of the location and the comfortable interior wore him down and Richard had found himself slipping into a sleep-like trance.

He reached over and shook Leonardo roughly.

“I think we are nearing Paris.”

The Italian snapped awake near instantaneously. Which was good because the invisible woman who spoke to them came back on.

“Nearing the city of Paris. The capital of the country of France, and largest European nation. Please enter address.”

Robespierre was still dead to the world so Richard very gently threw an apple at his head.

“We are in your precious Paris. Where can we go to spend the night?” He barked at the blurry eyed Frenchmen.

“Ah, 398 Rue Saint Honore,” he muttered, rubbing at his eyes under his glasses.

“Address Accepted. Arrival estimated, six minutes.”

Leonardo stretched, arms bending behind his head and flexing his spine off the seat.

“Where is it that we are going, Robespierre?” He asked, twisting.

“My home, the Duplays should-” Suddenly Robespierre cut himself off, looking stricken. “Oh.”

Richard turned on the bench to stared at him with incredulity. “Did you give us a dead man’s location?”

Robespierre opened his mouth to respond, cheeks already flushing with anger, before Leonardo smoothly cut across them.

“It’ll give us a starting point. All we need is a place to land, and this is good enough. We are never going to get anywhere with the two of you sniping at each other every five minutes. Dio mio, make you peace already!”

Richard and Robespierre stared at each other for a few moments before turning away. Leonardo looked at each other them in turn and muttered something under his breath. Richard thought he heard the words, ‘gone by myself’ and bristled slightly. However before he could the vehicle dropped gently to the ground with a thump. All three of them clutched the seat in surprise.

“Well, I suppose we are here,” Leonardo commented, still sounding sour with the two of them. He pushed a button on the central console and the machine’s light’s extinguished. The tiny chip that he’d used to start the vehicle up slid out and Leonardo grabbed it, stowing it away in some interior pocket. He turned to look at Richard and Robespierre with a raised eyebrow.



Maximilien couldn’t believe that he’d forgotten that the Duplay family would be long dead. In the dreamy moment between sleep and waking he’d thought himself still in the year two of the Revolution. He could have sworn that he could hear the familiar clatter of the workmen just outside his window, the sounds of Brount barking, the footsteps coming up the staircase to his rooms.

He clambered out of the flying carriage, and looked up at the rooms that used to be his.

They were gone. There was a large glass building in it’s place. The lights were dim and reflected the starlight.

Max felt all of the air in his lungs pushed out, as if someone had hit him in the chest. It felt as if he’d been shot all over again.

“It’s gone. It’s completely gone,” he whispered. Leonardo gently patted his shoulder.

“I am sorry, Robespierre.”

He stared at the building, backing away. He looked down when his heel hit against a metal plaque.

“Residence of Maximilien Robespierre from 1790 till his death 1794.” Richard read, looking down at it.

Maximilien stared down it numbly.

So this was what he came down to? A small plaque on the ground, dully noting his death. His position wasn’t even noted. He wondered if his, Charlotte and Bonbon’s house in Arras was gone too. The thought that it might be gone felt as if someone had forced a large icicle into his chest, sharp and cold. He swallowed heavily, and set his jaw.

“I’m fine. I would not expect them to memorialize me, not if Billaud, Barere, and Collot d’Herbois persisted in saying I had mastery over the Committees.” He clenched his hand at his side.

The cool night was closing around them and street was quiet. Somewhere a dog barked and Max was struck with a homesickness for his family so intense that for a moment he thought he was going to be ill. Instead he took and deep breath and gestured down the avenue.

“The Seine is that way. It will take us to the heart of Paris, if nothing else. Or the Tuileries is behind us.”

Leonardo, still looking at him softly, nodded.

“Lead on, Robespierre, you know the city best,” he offered quietly. Richard rolled his snorted and re-adjusted the bag on his shoulder, but held his tongue.

Max nodded and with a shuddering breath turned away from the glass building.