The Very Secret Diary Of Andrew Wells, Watcher, Day 724
Today marks our twelfth day in Munich. Our quarters are still comfortable, but rapidly becoming messy. I really must devise some sort of cleaning roster.
We continue our endeavours to retrieve the Eye. Such a small artefact – and yet, without it any further action will be impossible. Fortuitously, we have obtained intelligence concerning its probable location. I have sent two members of our party on reconnaissance.
Morale is fairly high, especially now that we’ve found a store that imports Twinkies. As our quest stretches into its second week, our main challenge is staving off despair. Or possibly boredom.
“Nothing? Not even a pair of sixes?”
“Fantastic. You win.”
“Congratulations. You are now the proud owner of… two pairs of socks, and the last packet of gummi bears.”
Suzanne sighs, and starts shuffling the deck again.
“Can’t believe I’m missing a Skids concert for this.”
* * * * *
To hasten the long hours, we have resumed our ongoing discussion comparing the merits of various warriors.
“Okay. I’ve got one. Who would win: Spiderman or Batman?”
“What? No way! Spidey would so kick his butt.”
“The Dark Knight?” Andrew scoffs. “He defeats everyone in the end. Spiderman wouldn’t stand a chance.”
“Spiderman has superpowers!” argues Suzanne. “All Batman has is an entirely lame costume.”
“But he’s the master planner! He can come up with a way to defeat anyone! And his costume isn’t lame.”
“Lamer than Spidey’s.”
“And Spiderman wouldn’t give him time to formulate a plan. He’d corner him in an alley, and take him down right there.”
This reasoning displayed a lamentable lack of strategic experience that is all too common amongst our recruits. On my return, I plan to petition for the stories of the greats (especially DC) to be made required reading for all new Slayers.
* * * * *
They’re beginning a fifth game of Scrabble when the others finally get back.
Mella rushes in, and kneels dramatically. “We return, my liege! Our quest was taxing, but ultimately successful.”
Andrew nods, sagely. “Well done, brave and noble warrior.”
“After an arduous journey, we reached our destination, and discovered-”
Jules rolls her eyes. “Stop acting like a moron, Mella. Just give him the amulet already.”
Suzanne is rolling her eyes too, but she steps in. “Jules, they’re having fun. You really have a problem with that?”
Some people see the world as an interesting and remarkable place, full of possibility. Some people just don’t get it.
Our youngest member, at least, understands how to get into the spirit of things.
“I hereby award you the highest honour in the kingdom, and grant you a gift of twelve horses from my royal stables.”
“My thanks, sire. I will treasure them always, and feed them the finest hay my menservants can procure.”
Jules rolls her eyes again.
* * * * *
Back to business. “So, did you get it?”
She grins. “Got it.”
Communiqué From The Front Line, March13, 1800 hours
“Too easy. It was sitting right where they said it would be. Gold case. Velvet lining. Big sign saying The Eye of Oregano – and what kind of nuts name their mystical treasure after a herb, anyway?”
“It wasn’t! It was named after the warrior queen Orega, who destroyed-”
“Whatever. It’s still a crap name.”
* * * * *
The Eye has been secured, and is safe on base.
Next item on the agenda: discussing strategy.
“So we don’t get to kill any vamps?”
“Of course you can kill some-” Suzanne says, patiently.
“That’s good, cause I’m not leaving them all for our backup. They take down a small army while we prance around with an amulet? No thanks.”
“Jules, there will be plenty of vampires to deal with, after we’ve gotten the amulet to the central chamber. Until then, leave them to the others. Okay?”
Suzanne starts again. “So. Team B stops the vampires from blocking our exit-”
“What was that?”
“That was Mella, not me.”
“Oh, it so was!”
“As I was saying, team B takes the vamps, while we of team A, moving with all the power and elegance of Spiderman beating up the Dark Knight, take the Eye through to the central-”
Suzanne turns, and tries to look innocent. “What?”
Andrew glares. “You can’t just say stuff like that, and expect me not to notice.”
“Come on. You know I’m right. Spiderman would so win.”
“Spiderman would never win. He’s just not smart enough. And his powers aren’t everything – Batman’s pretty strong too.”
“Peter Parker is incredibly smart! He invented web-fluid! In high school!”
“Yeah, but Batman’s smarter.”
“Yeah, and Spiderman has powers. And if you scale up to allow for the power level discrepancy between Marvel and DC, there’s no way that- wait.”
“Which Spiderman are you thinking of? Amazing, Ultimate, or movie?”
They turn. Mella’s standing there. “Could we maybe get back to the real battle? You know, the one happening on Wednesday?” she suggests.
Jules smirks. “Oh, so now you want to talk about reality?”
It was a useful diversion. It took the focus off some pretty obvious questions. Normally, this kind of slack attitude would have me writing them up on charges – or at least pointing it out.
Now, though, I’m somewhat relieved.
* * * * *
“Do you think this’ll be wrapped up in time for me to be home on Saturday? It’s my cousin’s birthday.”
He nods, thoughtfully. “Sure. I’d say we’ll be done by then.”
* * * * *
Fighting For Freedom: The Batcave Chronicles, 03/14
A hush has fallen across GothamCity. According to the bat-detector supplied by the Scarlet Fury, the level of mystical energy is still on the increase. Most of the local vampires have responded by fleeing the town – making last night’s bat-patrol extremely uneventful.
We have now returned to base, where we will ready ourselves for the fight. Hopefully there won’t be too many interruptions.
* * * * *
Suzanne holds out the phone to him. “It’s for you. Paris. It’s Dawn.”
Mamselle Gateway called from Paris with a message from our intrepid leader.
Dawn wants to check that he understands the specifics of the plan.
“If the seal isn’t in place within two minutes of the Eye entering the chamber-”
“-the world ends. Yeah, I know.”
“I know. But Giles wanted me to make sure.”
“Well I’m sure.”
They chat about movies, skiing, and the latest issue of Green Lantern Extreme. And then-
“How’re you doing, anyway?”
“I’ve double-crossed people before – I’m practically a pro. I’ll be fine.”
“It’s not exactly double-crossing.”
“Feels like it.”
“Yeah, well, pro or not… I don’t envy you.”
“So – bought any souvenirs?”
* * * * *
Captain Wells’ Log, Stardate 2930314.61
We spent today making preparations for tomorrow’s mission.
She drops the dagger she’s polishing, jumps to attention, and rips off a flawless salute. “O Captain, my Captain.”
Andrew frowns. “I don’t think they salute him in the movie.”
Today marks a year since Mella joined our voyages. She has become a skilful worker, and a credit to her training.
Team Wells are an exemplary crew, and I enjoy every minute of our time together. Mostly, anyway.
I just wish we could have longer.
* * * * *
What starts as lunchtime ends as a food-fight. Everyone is soon covered in ketchup and bits of onion – especially Andrew, who doesn’t have the quick reflexes. He pouts, and they tickle him mercilessly until he laughs and begs for freedom.
* * * * *
Morale, of course, is a concern. I make myself available to all the crew, should they wish to discuss any problems.
“-he never tells me, you know?”
“Yeah. I get it.” He gives Jules another tissue.
“Yeah.” She wipes her eyes dry, and glares at him. “If you tell anyone about this, I’m gonna go to town with my axe.”
* * * * *
Having surveyed our equipment, I can say with confidence that we are ready to go. There are just a few minor details to clear up first.
“But they’re from different universes!” Suzanne argues. “How is he supposed to plan for someone he’s never heard of?”
“Au contraire, grasshopper. They teamed up in Disordered Minds, and New Age Dawning. And Batman plans for everything.”
“Like he’d really plan for-”
“Batman has plans for taking down every member of the JLA! That’s how Ra’s al Ghul defeated them!”
She closes her eyes, and sighs tragically. “You know what? I give in. You’re obviously the expert – Batman would defeat Spiderman.”
Andrew stares at her. “You can’t do that.”
“What? You win, okay?”
“But you can’t just give up! Come on – you had a good argument. After all, Spiderman’s an awesome superhero. He’d be brilliant at fighting Batman.”
Suzanne grins. “So you’re saying Spidey would win?”
“Of course not – but that doesn’t mean you should just give in!”
They’ve got to stay confident. They’ve got to. Otherwise they won’t fight with the enthusiasm and recklessness that they’ll need.
She opens a packet of chips, and gives him a smile. “Sorry, Wells. As much as I’d love to debate this, I just… don’t care. Not tonight. I’m far too excited about tomorrow morning. So yeah – this round goes to you. Batman would win.”
He sits on the couch, and digs into her chips. “You really think a battle is more interesting than imaginary superhero fights?”
“Don’t you? I mean… we get to save the world.” Another smile. “Us! That’s one hell of a responsibility.”
Is it possible to betray someone if you’re both trying to achieve the same thing?
“Yeah. It is.”
“Especially this time. We’re not supporting the crack teams – we are the crack team! The three of us will swoop in, save the day, and leave our backup to do the clean up while we celebrate with beers and pizza. And we’ll get commendations at this year’s conference. This is the life. Definitely.”
Suzanne can smile like she’s never known pain. And her smiles always gleam.
Andrew eats some chips. And then eats a few more. And then he asks quietly: “So… Suzanne, what would you do if you weren’t going to get a reward?”
She regards him quizzically. “That depends on what you mean.”
“What if there were no rewards? No after-battle drinks? What if no-one congratulated you for it? Would you still go and fight, just to save the world?”
He shouldn’t be asking. But he needs to know.
Needs to at least try.
“I suppose if-”
“Or what if you died? What if you were going to die saving the world, and you knew it? Would you go and fight anyway?”
“What are you…” Suzanne frowns uncertainly. “It’s all been arranged, right? We’ve got plenty of backup?”
He grins. “Of course. You really think I’d send you in there without backup?”
And then she relaxes, and laughs softly. “Of course you wouldn’t. Sorry. Stupid question.”
But that pause lasted a second too long. She knows.
She doesn’t say anything, though. She just hands him a coke, and starts listing all the reasons why Spiderman would hand Batman his manhood on a platter, no questions asked.
* * * * *
If you’re doing the right thing, you’re supposed to know that it’s right. You can just tell. And I know this is the right thing to do.
But I wish I was sure.
* * * * *
Mella always goes into fights with way too many weapons – and this time is no exception. She’s got two swords, a crossbow, and a selection of smaller weapons.
What with all of that, and the amulet, it’s a wonder she can keep her balance. But she makes it look effortless.
Jules, being Jules, has her lucky axe and nothing else. She’s already champing at the bit waiting for the others to be ready.
Suzanne ignores all of Jules’ hints, and keeps strapping on stakes.
Andrew is giving Mella a few last instructions.
“Remember, the shrine looks like a big hexagon made of stone. And the Eye has to be placed in its centre to work properly. Right in its centre.”
Jules looks exasperated. “Yep. Big stone hexagon. Central chamber. We know all this, Drew. Stop stressing.”
“I’m not stressing.”
“Oh, you’re so stressing. Just ‘cause we get to go and fight while you’re stuck here waiting for our backup, that’s no reason to be all jealous, alright? Chill out.”
“Just… get her to the shrine alive, okay?”
She nods. “Sure. Ready, Mella?”
Mella sheaths a sixth dagger, and stands up. “Ready.”
They pull the door open, and step through.
Mella grins back at him. “See you afterwards.”
Then the two of them are gone.
Suzanne just stands there, and glares at him.
He raises his eyebrows. “What?”
She glares some more. “Spiderman would so kick Batman’s ass.”
“Dead sure.” She picks up her sword, and shrugs. “But hey – with great power comes great responsibility, right?” And she gives him another one of those gleaming smiles, and then she runs inside, screaming for blood.
* * * * *
Andrew waits nearly the full two minutes before he seals the door.
Stupid, really. He knows exactly what’s going to happen – what has to happen – but he can’t help thinking just maybe…
But finally he does his job.
With four seconds to spare, the door is closed. Mystically closed. And it’ll never open again.
With the Eye of Oregano absorbing the dangerous mojo, and the door’s seal preventing the universe from being turned inside out just to compensate, his work is done.
World saved. Just like that.
He could leave – after all, the job’s done, and the world will now go on turning – but he stays. And listens to the sounds of battle, the muffled cries, and finally the silence. And then he stands up and walks away.
Watcher’s Diary, A Wells, March 15th