Jessie howled with laughter as she looped the video of Kyle’s fall for the 10th time off of YouTube.
“You know it wasn’t funny at the time,” Kyle told her somewhat crossly.
“Oh no! It doesn’t look like it was!” She made a bug-eyed face at him and waved her arms in the air. “Aaaaaaaaaaak!” Then, with a visible effort, she got herself under control. “It’s only funny because you’re fine. If you’d gotten hurt, it would have been horrible.”
There was some real emotion in her voice as she said that, and Kyle found himself smiling. He hadn’t been hurt. His back had been stiff and he had a couple of bruises, but that was all. He also hadn’t admitted to any pain, so there was no reason for her to realize it had been any worse than ‘briefly scary.’ Then she ruined it all by busting up laughing again so hard she almost fell over.
“Fortunately you managed to fire your retro rockets in time! Let’s watch that again.”
Kyle sighed. The video of his fight had gone every bit as far as they could have hoped. Agent Sandborn had made sure several major stations had gotten video clips under the guise of getting Kyle’s face out there so citizens could make reports, and those clips were seeing heavy play around the world.
That was no surprise, it was great TV. Breaking down the doors Kyle had looked really truly cool. In retrospect, he thought he should have taken his familiar with him. He could have pulled it off after all. At the very least he should have worn a long coat. It wouldn’t have made much sense, it was spring and getting warm, but it would have looked so cool blowing around him while his eyes flashed amber and he wrote magic in the air. The fight in the lobby had been pretty good as well. Kyle hadn’t looked totally calm. However, he had looked like a guy throwing around crazy elemental magic while facing down a bear. Ivan, to give him credit, had looked like one hell of a deadly bear. The security system’s audio had picked up his roars well enough that they were scary even if you weren’t there, and you could get a feel for just how big he was in bear form from the way he looked against the rest of the lobby.
If only the video cutting out had ended things. Unfortunately, some sharp reporter had read the police report, realized how Kyle escaped, found video from an adjoining building, and snagged that. The chair busting through the third floor window hadn’t played half bad, but after that it was straight Loony Toons. The video was fuzzy and dark. Kyle’s translucent shield hadn’t shown up in it. Instead it looked like he crawled out into the air, realized what had happened, flailed for a moment, and fell. Then the wash of fire just before he hit the ground was completely visible. He looked like a mentally challenged superhero. The internet loved him. He was in memes.
At least he’d escaped cleanly. The EMP had utterly fried the radios of every cop who’d been anywhere near him and forced the remainder to reset. The cops on the third floor had run after him, but by the time they’d gotten out of the building he’d been out of sight. As planned, Jessie had a get away car ready a few blocks away and they’d driven directly out-of-town to the safe house they were now using.
“I’m going to go practice my magic.”
Maybe he sounded a little put upon because Jessie, who had stopped laughing, gave him a smile touched with real fondness. “You did pretty well in a tight spot. It only looks funny because the video is so grainy.” She closed the browser tab she’d been using, “I guess I’ll harvest our current crop of crazies.”
As planned, “Kyle” had posted a statement online after the story hit the news media. It had been a rambling, half insane sounding, manifesto about how the Archmagi hid secrets, how they wanted the communications device out there to facilitate that, and how Kyle was going to take them down. Kyle found it strange that, except for that last part, it was all perfectly true. There had been an e-mail address associated with the manifesto, and it was getting a lot of responses. Several hundred a day, actually. It was a lot of work reading just the messages flagged by the DHS agents dedicated to the case, and both Kyle and Jessie checked the account several times a day. So far, the Children of Atlantis hadn’t contacted them.