Robert had finally gotten out of his BDUs and replaced them with a light pink dress shirt, dark gray vest, and matching gray dress pants with black Sunday shoes. Well. Shoe. The crutches and cast were back, the white cast bigger than ever, leaving a 'clunk' sound whenever it smacked the ground. His bright colors contrasted sharply with his companion's - especially the bright green emerald wedding ring he wore.
The duo strode through the glass double doors before them, stopping on the dark, thin carpet. They were greeted by a long linoleum slope, with lots of people milling about. Beyond that was a pair of escalators and an old-school concrete staircase. Wordlessly, they stepped onto the up-escalator and stood still on one step. They were in no rush, it seemed.
When they reached the next floor, they stepped off and looked straight ahead, across the bustling airport terminal. There was a small airport coffee shop. Nothing fancy, not even a Starbucks.
"There." Robert nodded towards it.
"There," he repeated.
The two slowly made their way over to the shop through the flood of people. After Robert had been buffeted around for a bit, Aeolus held out his gloved hands and pointed them forward, in the direction Robert was going. A small gust picked up and moved through the area, gently nudging everyone aside - not by much, but enough that Robert could get through with ease.
"If I hadn't, we'd be moving even slower than we are already." But Aeolus could not completely mask his smile. The past two days of quiet after so much stress had been appreciated, and Robert's company was appreciated. He wasn't that great, but he was all that Aeolus had at the moment, and the enemy of one's enemy is one's friend. Stress makes for weird bedfellows. Something like that, anyway.
They soon hit shore on the Java brown tile of the coffee shop. The two looked around for anyone out of place.
"See anyone suspicious, Rob?" Aeolus turned slightly towards Robert.
"Not in the least." Plenty of people were sitting here by their lonesome. Aeolus sighed.
"Maybe he's waiting for us. Let's sit a bit." Robert hobbled over to a chair at a table near the entrance. Aeolus carelessly flipped his hand and the chair pulled itself out for Robert to sit down. Aeolus remained standing.
"Hey, I'm thirsty, man. Want to get something to drink? Dr. Jacoby's treat."
Robert smirked. "Ah, the good doctor." Aeolus had been clever. After they'd showed back up at the doctor's and Robert had been treated, Aeolus had sneaked back in at night and used his powers to literally steal the whole safe. The next morning found them at the pawn shop, several thousand dollars richer and with Robert's ring back. Of course, Robert had no idea that Aeolus had taken the ring off of his hand to begin with, or that Aeolus' primary interest was the money and not Robert's sentiments - but that was to be expected. That was Aeolus' goal, after all.
"Sure." Robert thought for a moment. "I'll take the most damn expensive thing you've got, garçon."
"Alright then." Aeolus headed for the line.
As Aeolus stood in queue and waited, Robert played a quick game of chess with the salt and pepper shakers. Salt was winning, although pepper might have been able to stage a comeback if it could get to the other side of the table and turn into a bell pepper.
"Bored?" A Korean man in a tan suit and tie stood squarely behind Robert. Robert raised an eyebrow and turned around to look. Is that him...? He smiled an artificial smile, never letting it reach his eyes.
"Oh, just a bit. Tell me, have you spoken to your Father today?"
"Of course I have. He's always around - here and there, you know."
"You don't say. My Father is like that as well."
"Perhaps it is because we are both sons of Joshua, brothers." T'aechong smiled warmly and held out his hand. Robert held out his in return, and they shook.
"Sejong Daewang, sir. An honor to meet you in person." Robert was shaking just a little bit.
"Some call me such. But my name is T'aechong. Let there be no formalities or hidden names between brothers. You seem to have sacrificed much - if men were ever able to earn their way into heaven, then you would be well on your way." He looked at the giant cast on Robert's leg.
Robert nodded. T'aechong, however, had turned away and was looking at the line. "I see Agent Aeolus there. Where is Donner Sparks?"
"He would be a disturbance to keep here. He's in the car." They'd used some of the money to rent another van, this one much newer. With his strength back, Aeolus had been able to overcome his fears of Helena and force her into the kennel now, which made moving about with her much easier. At least for now. Robert shuddered to think how Helena would react when she got her power back. He still had no idea what Sejong - T'aechong - had in mind for controlling her.
"Understandable. A wise decision." T'aechong nodded. At that moment, Aeolus returned from the line holding a gallon pitcher of espresso in one hand, and a normal cup of milk in the other. Robert's eyes nearly popped out of his sockets.
"...There's gotta be enough caffeine in that one container to give Rip Van Winkle insomnia."
Aeolus set the pitcher on the table in front of Robert. "Well, Bob, you did say you wanted the most expensive thing. It turns out the most expensive thing happens to be intended for purchase for large groups. Me, I like to not gag on my refreshments, but I guess I'm particular. So who's this guy?"
"It's him," Robert nodded.
"Real specific there," Aeolus rolled his eyes and sipped his drink. T'aechong started to speak, but Aeolus shook his head. "I understood."
T'aechong held out his hand. "My name, is Yi T'aechong."
Aeolus ignored the hand, picked up Robert's caffeine well, and tossed it into the trash. Both Robert and T'aechong looked at Aeolus in alarm.
"Hey! I was going to drink that!"
"All of it?" Aeolus raised his eyebrows. "And the added weight of carrying it and the bathroom problems are more trouble than they're worth. C'mon. Let's go. We've got your boss, now I want to get back on the road ASAP. Time to find us a Prime Nexus. C'mon, Asia-Sparky, you'll explain on the way." Aeolus headed out into the crowd.
T'aechong and Robert exchanged glances.
"Well, sir, I'm told you did want an apathetic jerk."
"As you may know, the world - the universe - is criss-crossed with invisible lines of energy. These lines of energy are primarily insignificant, affecting us no more than a tiny LED light in the face of the sun would. They only matter for scholars of the arcane with little innate talent in the ways of magic, or for those worried about Feng Shui or something similar." T'aechong supported Robert along the way to the car.
Aeolus nodded. "Yeah, yeah, we know. Ley Lines. Where multiple ley lines intersect, there's a massing of power known as a Secondary Nexus. But the secondary nexii have little to do with the Prime Nexus. The Prime Nexus is the source of all magical energy to begin with."
"To the contrary, Aeolus, they have much to do with the Prime Nexus. You're right; they are a different phenomena than the Prime Nexus, but they are very important in locating it. You see, ley lines are not. They are ley line."
Aeolus stopped and turned to face T'aechong. "Singular?"
"Exactly. There is reason to believe that all of the world's ley lines are really just one unbroken line of power that can be followed by an intricate and complex algorithm. For the last ten years, Operation Joshua has been trying to map out this algorithm. We've gotten all the data we can from ley lines - they're too hard to map, too small and too numerous. The background noise is alarming. However, we think that if we can get a clear signal from a few secondary nexii..."
"...You can perfect the algorithm and follow it straight to the source itself." Aeolus stroked the fuzz on his chin. "That's pretty damn impressive, if I do say so."
They were nearing the car now - a new Dodge Caravan, painted flat white. "I'm glad you approve. As Donner Sparks has probably absorbed the energy of a secondary nexus, he might be able to remember its location - maybe not precisely, but close enough that our detection equipment can pin-point it. That will make it easier for us to find the next one. After maybe three or four nexii found..."
Aeolus didn't need to hear that sentence finished. "Nice. So what do you plan to do about 'Donner'?"
T'aechong just smiled. Aeolus and Robert exchanged looks. He clenched his left hand into a fist and then there was a horrible, howling shriek of pain from inside the van.
"What the hell?!" Robert.
"What the fuck?!" Aeolus.
"We put a CNSD in her, and the control unit is inside of me." T'aechong clenched his fist again and there was another scream from inside the van.
Robert raised an eyebrow. "A... what?"
Aeolus' eyes widened and then he found himself grinning quite broadly. He high-fived T'aechong, much to the Korean's surprise.
"Aeolus...?" Robert looked inquiringly.
"It's a Central Nervous System Dominator/Disruptor. Helena's not just a bitch, she's our bitch." Aeolus smiled smugly.