The Pianist Reappears

A huge thud at the door rang through the hideout, causing everyone to jump.  Nervously Kai went to the door and peered out of the one-way peephole.  "It's Gwen!" he whispered in surprise, then promptly began to fumble with the lock.  No sooner had he opened the door did the exhausted redhead tumble in and collapse to the floor, breathing heavily.

When she could finally get a breath without gasping too much, she rolled onto her back and said, "This should serve.... as a reminder... as to why... I don't run..."

"What happened to you?" Kai asked, partly concerned and partly suspicious.  "After Dark was attacked you split."

"Not by choice, mind you," quipped Gwen.  "I was about to follow you, then somebody told me not to follow you, saying LitPol were afoot.  I followed, and this chiquita who calls herself Scheherazade told me about these two other groups that may try to recruit us.

"Apparently because of our noisy exit, this dude Jack the Ripper probably thinks we and our 'violent' ways would be the perfect addition to his group; they may let us join voluntarily, but it's more likely we'll be forced in."  Most of Gwen's fatigue had left her, so she rolled onto her side and sat up.  She glanced around the room, then finally caught eye of Archi in the doorway, closely shadowed by Robyn.

"And the other group?" prodded Kai anxiously.

"Ah yes, back to the matter at hand."  After a brief moment to cross her legs and settle in, Gwen continued: "The other is a purportedly nonviolent group, led by some enigma called The Bard.  She wouldn't tell me any more than that but she gave me this card with contact info 'bout this place called The Dark and Stormy Night."  She fished the worn card out of her pocket, pulling a few other odds and ends out with it.  "I dunno about the idea myself.  She said there's no password, but she also said to 'be sure you don't go there on a sunny day.'  Sounds a bit fishy t'me."

"What I want to know," Robyn interjected, "is why us?  She would've had to have known we were Protagonists."

"What she seemed to say was that LitPol had cameras in the Safe, 'for weeks' she told me.  If they'd known where we were, though, they would've known about our mode of destroying the evidence, and could've avoided losing anybody to the explosion."

"What about that Ripper guy?"

"She couldn't tell me much because they don't know much 'bout him.  But she was convinced we were gonna be recruited sooner rather than later."

"Wait a minute," Kai interrupted.  "You said 'they don't know.'  Who's they?"

"Ah yes, I forgot to mention: she said she was with Antagonist interrogation."

"So why would she be so keen on helping us?" Robyn wondered.

"The way I see it, if she's still with the Antags, why capture one Protagonist, try to get info while the others scatter, when you can capture all of them who are desperate for sanctuary?"  Gwen shook her head.  "I don't like it, personally.  I don't trust any of it.  I even told her so."

Everyone mulled over the information, while Gwen drew her knees to her chest, muttering an adapted version of a song under her breath: "They may have a method for spies and intruders, rather like hornets protecting their hive, Just like the Court of Miracles where it's a miracle if you get out alive."

The End

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