Book 2, Chapter 105

Once they reached the lobby Hitomi decided she was done holding her tongue. She stopped. Hito Yon, Al, and JD all followed suit — with JD turning to face her. He raised an eyebrow questioningly.

“Not that I’m not grateful,” Hitomi said, “But who are you and why did you lie to get us past those cops?”

JD smiled. His eyebrow lowered. “I’m the duly appointed Champion of Earth,” he declared cheerfully.

Al scowled, but no one else noticed. If I still had the authority, she thought at me, I’d rescind that appointment soooo fast.

“And I didn’t lie,” JD continued. “I said you work for the government, which you do — just not our government. And that you’re working with me. Which you are, because you still have to get past the military cordon surrounding this theatre.”

Hitomi hesitated. Champion of Earth? she thought. Seriously? But it almost fit: he looked like the protagonist of a knock off shonenai, complete with spiky hair and goggles for sunglasses. “What makes you think…”

JD held up a hand. “Here’s the deal,” he said. “I know you aren’t USASSDA agents. But, you’re also accompanying an alien ex-patriot, and you both happen to be adept at martial arts. Maybe those are coincidences, but if you actually were civilians in over your head you probably wouldn’t have followed my lead back there with the cops — you want to avoid police attention. Or should I say: you want to avoid the attention of the authorities? So I’m going to assume you’re JSSDA operatives. And since you were here when a bunch of guys showed up to kidnap my best friend’s date, I’m going to assume whatever reason you had for being here are somehow related, based on the theory that there are no such things as coincidences when secret agents are involved.”

“That’s not actually a deal,” Hitomi pointed out without confirming or denying anything.

“Right,” JD said brightly. The lobby lights glinted off his expressionless goggles. “Then here’s what I want. I want to know what a couple of secret agents were doing in a place that got hit by wannabe kidnappers. I want to know why bad guys wanted to be kidnappers in the first place. I want to know who put them up to it — and I want you to use your espionage resources to get me answers to those questions, so I can kick the source of the matter’s ass for being a jerk to my friends. Deal?”

“Alright,” Hitomi said slowly. “Deal.”

“Cool,” JD said. “Then give me a minute to go out and distract those two USASSDA agents, and then walk out like you’re a bunch of civilians. I’ll catch up to you afterward for the debrief.” Then he pivoted and, whistling, marched out through the large front doors.

Hito Yon blinked a few times. “So… your brilliant plan was to let some kind of other agent — who happens to have influence with the USASSDA — get us out of there?” He asked in confusion. “How did you know he’d…” There were too many ways to end that question. Hito Yon tried again. “Who was that guy?”

“The duly appointed Champion of Earth,” Al answered glumly.

“Sure,” Hitomi said absently in response. “Sure, let’s go with that.” She was busy going over their options in light of recent events. Then she turned to Hito. “And,” she said, “this was really more one of those unlikely plans where you have to wrap around the alphabet and start labeling with more than one letter. Let’s call it plan ‘WTF.’ But hey: if it works roll with it, right?”

Et Alia, Book 2: Black Magic, Secret Agents, Shakespearean Tragedies and Interoffice Dating

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