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20131228

The Great Convergence

Milton stood in the line outside the theatre. He didn't usually go to see plays, but after his meeting with Greg today he felt that things were changing in his life. That he was going to get a chance to become the man he always wanted to be. And he had always imagined himself reading literature and seeing plays. So he had a plastic bag from Good Tomes with copies of Shakespeare and Faulkner inside, and he was waiting to buy his ticket to a local company's production of an original work called Constellations. It seemed fitting somehow. Scorpio was becoming real.

Across the street Susanna checked her watch again. Riveta scanned the traffic walking and driving past.
 
"He was always really prompt at school," Susanna said.
 
"Relax," Riveta said, but there was edge to her voice.
 
As Mayganne rounded the corner she chuckled as she realized that all those uptight and closed-minded groups intent on policing society's morality were right. Playing videogames had led her to a life of crime. Immersing herself in the sci-fantastic world of Citadel she had started believing herself to be a version of the young rogue-adventurer Maus. She knew it wasn't real exactly, she wasn't delusional... But she had started to feel that if she started to think and act and behave like Maus, then in some sort of strange, maybe magical way, she would become her. And that's when the shoplifting started. And when she started picking fights with the bullies at school. Some bloodied lips and pockets full of useless crap later, she felt it taking hold. And so tonight it had been a full-scale break-in. Complete with black clothes and some tools in a satchel.
 
Susanna wrapped her arms about herself. She was shivering. Maybe since the attack last night at the store. She hadn't been home since. Hadn't called her family or friends or even work to explain why she had run off and left the store a disaster. How could she? 

"You'll explain everything when he gets here, right?" she asked the woman who had saved her and damned her at the same time.
 
Riveta glanced at her cell phone. "I'm hoping someone will..."
 
The line started to move. Milton took a deep breath of the mild spring air. He imagined himself as the man that he was sure he was going to become, working with Greg Logollos. Imagined being here at the theatre not to simply watch a play, but to meet with an important contact. Imagined being able to read the intentions of those in line by their postures and body language. Scanning the people passing by for movements that hinted at martial arts training or concealed weapons. That girl over there, in the black clothes, half-running, looking nervous, surely she was up to something dangerous, he imagined.

Mayganne had broken the window, the alarm sounding immediately, had smashed some furniture, the whole time being filmed by the security cameras. It was the type of brash and risky strike that Maus would make against an enemy stronghold. The bank was a kind of enemy, she figured. So she was like Maus, but at the same time she knew that she wasn't. She knew that Maus would escape in the Nexus Wave with her sister Kitty and the noble Serisia, with Vlad the celestial barbarian and the mysterious warrior Chem Finder - who she had a crush on. While Mayganne would no doubt be caught by the police. Which is really what she wanted. 

She had stood there, shouting at the cameras, "Make me Maus or make me Mayganne!" Because if she couldn't really be Maus, if this world wouldn't allow it, then she was done with this world. They could lock her away.
 
"No way," Detective Musharef said as he drove through the intersection. "Tell me, is that not the suspect they just put the bulletin out on?" He pointed up the block.
 
Stone peered ahead. His eyesight was sometimes tricky in the evening, with the city lights kalidescoping around him. "Could be..."
 
"Susanna!" Mr. Donnelly called from the opposite side of the street. He glanced right and left and braved the traffic.
 
Riveta slid a hand to the pistol under her jacket; she wasn't sure what to expect from this meeting.
 
Susanna hugged her former principal tightly, so relieved to see a familiar face. "What's the matter?" he asked her. "You sounded nervous on the message..."
 
"I'm pulling over," Musharef said. "That's definitely her. Look how freaked out she is. What did they say she answered to?"
 
"Mayganne?" Donnelly exclaimed as he saw his student jogging past them. She slowed and looked surprised to see him.
 
Milton saw the suspicious girl stopping by the man and two women. He imagined that the one woman's hand was tucked inside her jacket to be ready to draw a gun.
 
Musharef slid out of the car, assessing the group that the suspect had stopped by. Stone eased himself out of the passenger seat.
 
Donnelly looked confused. "What's going on? Who are you?" he asked the serious-looking woman standing beside his former teacher.
 
Stone's eyes widened. He felt like his heart stopped. "Riveta?"
 
Then Riveta's cell phone rang. And Donnelly's cell phone rang. And Mayganne's rang. And Stone's. And Scorpio's cell phone rang.