Conversation

"Alright, what does she want?" Derek demanded.  They were standing just outside the emergency room, having sent Jerry to Manfred's bedside. "That is, if you're still her emissary."

Matthieu smirked in (what Jerry would have found) a really unnerving manner. "I'm here on my own, Derek. You really think I'm helping her catch up to you right now?"

"No, otherwise we'd have been caught. No one can track people like you." Derek admitted begrudgingly.

"So you assumed that I'm still with her? I thought you were a Sabre."

"Five years, you tool. A lot can happen in a space of five years."

"Or five hours." Matthieu added.

"So, obviously, trust no one including yourself. Sabre law." Derek returned. "If you're here on your own, then tell me what you want."

"Your agent friend, MacCell. How much does he remember about the St. James case?"

Derek snorted. "Probably next to nothing. He's got a major concussion."

"Oh." was Matthieu's reply. The Wrecker examined the fingernails on his left hand, as if they held the answer. "That's very. . . .disappointing. I was hoping for some answers. I only know what Cassie told me."

"Why're you interested in that, anyway? You didn't play much of a role then."

"Exactly. I know next to nothing. But something strange has happened."

"Like what?"

"I stayed in contact with my father all the time after Cassie and I left him. She told me to do it so that he wouldn't plague her nearly as much as he would have if he had suddenly discovered her."

"So. . . ?"

"I lost contact with him about a month ago and I don't know where he is."

Derek blinked. That was something Manfred would do, but not John LaMensan. Easily keeping cool, he asked: "You've completely scoured Metro looking for him, or was he supposed to be somewhere else?"

"Metro."

"How many days exactly?"

"Twenty-two."

"That's one day over three weeks, not one month." Derek corrected, his years as a Sabre overriding his puzzled thoughts. "When and how does he usually make contact?"

Matthieu shrugged. "It's completely random. No pattern, no nothing. Sometimes it's secure email, sometimes phone, sometimes face to face, sometimes he'll stand behind me, sometimes he'll send me a note or some form of message through the mail. Kind of like picking it out of a hat."

Derek thought this over for a moment. "And you've personally checked every source since the day he stopped contact?"

Mattheiu chuckled sardonically. "I'm no Sabre, but I have been doing that, yes. It's irrefutable and, I don't know how, but my father is officially off the grid."

"You haven't received a package from a stranger?"

Mattheiu looked at him in surprise. "I did get a note from somebody I've never heard of a few days ago."

"Who?"

"Somebody who signs their name with an oddly intricate letter 'M,' as Dad would put it. I don't even know what it meant, either. I had it forwarded to me before I came to see your friend."

Mattheiu pulled the note out of his pocket. It was typed in a nondescript font, with a letter M at the bottom which was, as Matthieu had described it, very intricate.

We and our fellows are the source of Lumina's name, Rhisoura's trouble, Milanesque's fame, Fallenshire's torment, Evanescent's fate, and Metropolia's gains and losses.

Derek held the paper up to light and looked at the from all sorts of angles.

"It's no use. I tried all the Sabre tricks I learned from Cassie. Nothing."

Derek handed the paper back to him, then snatched his wrist. "If you move an inch, I'll snap your hand off." he whispered.

"What? At least I'm not betraying you to Cassandra. Why are you-"

"Shut up!" Derek looked at the paper again. He, Jerry and Manfred had been to each of these cities over the past five years. Metro was where they were from. "It's some form of riddle. It's not for you. Give it to me."

"No way." Mattheiu backed up.

"Quit acting like Jerry. At least photocopy it for me."

"Jerry?" Mattheiu laughed. "So you call the Extra by his name now? You really have fallen hard."

"Whose side are you on, ringer?" Derek snapped.

Matthieu raised an eyebrow.

"If you want to know what this means at all, you'll give it to me. I'll tell you all about it when I'm done with it."

"So you're inviting me to go with you to wherever you're going?"

Derek shook his head. "Just give me the paper; and write down your contact information separately."

The End

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