Dark Fate 7 – Still Annoying Grant

*First I want to point out that 28 hours is “some.”  Second I want to say that we’ll have the Sunday vignettes on Monday, because that’s the kind of wild and crazy we are around here.

Sorry, yesterday I had a minor household emergency.  Really minor, not life or health threatening save for the part where I had to go up and down a very tall staircase about 15 times or more.  The upshot is that not only didn’t I get to SIT much less at the computer, but by the time it was all done at seven pm or so, the last thing I wanted to do was write ANYTHING.  Or think. Or talk.  Or…
So, here we are, but I promised, and I deliver (late, weirdly, etc, but I do.)

So… to continue torturing Grant.  Though in this chapter I think he mostly annoys other people.

FIRST AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, THIS IS NOT CANON.  THIS IS COMPLETELY UNSANCTIONED (okay, not completely.  Larry said I could do this for you guys without his ripping my head off and beating me to death with it) MHI FANFIC.
Good, now that we got that out of the way, why am I doing this?  Both Grant and Fado Negro (Portuguese Monster Hunters) have minuscule parts in Guardian, the MHI book I’m collaborating with Larry Correia on.  However, obviously the Portugal of Monster Hunter is not the real Portugal (Really, no arcane creatures come stumbling out of the undergrowth there.  If there were arcane creatures, the country would be chock-a-block in them, when you take in account the continuous human occupation since… well, forever.)  And this story gives me more of an opportunity to firm the world building.  (Yes, it would be MUCH easier to do this with a notebook and noting things down, but that’s not how my mind works, d*mn it.)
Okay, that’s the rational excuse.  The real reason is that d*mn Grant Jefferson won’t leave me alone.  (Always had a thing for men from Patrician New England families.  Ask my husband.)  So I’m torturing him.  Also Guardian won’t come out until I do this more or less at same time (I’ve sent the first chapter to Larry, and after I clear a bunch of minor cr*p in my way, I’ll be sending him probably the first ten chapters by the end of the week.  [Yay, Mr. Trashbags.  Oops, did I say that?])
Will this ever be a book?  Don’t know.  First Guardian will get delivered.  Then, this being finished, I throw it at Larry.  And then it’s his SOLE DECISION. (Which means, don’t you monkeys hassle him.)  It’s his world and his character.  I’m just grateful he lets me play in it in Guardian and here for your amusement.*

First chapter is here.

Second Chapter is here

Third Chapter is here

Fourth Chapter is here

Chapter 5 is here.

Chapter 6 is here.

Dark Fate 7

“I’m Silvia, by the way,” she said as she led me into a largish room.

“Grant,” I said.

The room was of a piece with the elevator and the rest of the building I’d glimpsed: it was probably cutting edge and state of the art back in the 19th century.  Five hundred square feet or so, of open, formless space, some people in the big cities in America would make this into a studio and fall in love with it.  There was inherent charm in the large tri-part elipse-shaped windows with the glass full of bubbles and irregularities, and the wood describing a fleur-de-lis shape amid the glass.  The ceilings were high, and I caught a glimpse of gold in the sculpted edges, and color in the center.

But what interested me most was the room itself, and the people in it.

The one wall with no windows was hung all over with weapons and guitars, mixed, seemingly with no distinction.  I had a flash of a group of MHI charging in to kill monsters carrying guitars and almost laughed.

There was a little kitchnette in a corner, of the sort that probably served the needs of college students or their like, and sofas were strewn irregularly about the room.  In the nearest three men sat and cleaned guns.  There was a confusion of pieces and cloths in front of them on a low, stained pine coffee table.  Behind them, on another sofa, a man and a girl held each other.  They looked like those couples you came across at any in any big city in the Southern parts of Europe, holding each other tight and making everyond who passed them feel uncomfortable.

My eyes flew over them to a woman who was sitting at a round bar-height table, absorbed in what seemed to be a rousing game of solitaire.  But she frowned down at the cards as though her life depended on it.  She was smoking.  So were a group of guys at the far back, sitting on a sofa turned away from me, watching a big screen television in which a soccer match was being shown between teams whose colors I didn’t recognize.

As we came into the room, Silvia pulled a pack of cigarettes from some hidden pocket, offered them to me, and when I refused, lit one.  The smoke was so thick in the room, I coughed, and thought perhaps they’d take a hint.

Instead, they obviously took it as a sign that I wanted their attention.  Everyone looked up.  The nearest man — they all looked thin and tan and dark to me.  Also small.  I wondered where Pitt had got his height — smiled at me, somehow conveying the impression that I was a pupil late for class, “Ah,” he said.  “The G Man.”

I wanted to correct them, but it didn’t seem to matter much, so I just said, as tersely and clearly as I could, not sure of how much English they spoke, “Special Agent Grant Jefferson of the Monster Control Bureau.”

“Yeah,” One of the other men said.  “We know.  They said you’d arrive this morning.  What took you so long?”

This morning I’d still been on the flight, and I had no idea who “they” were.  It had been my experience though, that my superiors could promise all kinds of things.  I said, “There was a minor thing with Red Caps at the airport, and then a thing in my hotel, with a lamia who was waiting for me in my room.”

This actually got me their attention, “In your actual room?” he said.  “They didn’t tell us that.  We were there for the cleanup, of course.  How did you defeat it? Some American super weapon?”

I licked the edge of my mouth, on the inside where a cut had left behind a little bump.  My teeth still felt loose from the battle with the lamia. “A floor lamp, actually.  Portuguese, as far as I know.”

He glared at me, and started to open his mouth, but Silvia let out a cloud of smoke and said, “At any rate, your … bureau? Agent Franks said you were one of the best agents in the field, and that you’d be able to get to the root of the current outbreak and find out what to do to stop the Mother.”

“Outbreak?” I said.  “The Mother?”

One of the three men chuckled.  “Yes, outbreak.  What you think this is normal level of activity?”

But Silvia launched into an explanation more or less at the same time, “We are fighting an outbreak of the mother,” she said.  “All the forces connected with maternity, mother, or femininity are coming up.  We don’t know why.  More importantly, we don’t know how to stop it.”

I tried to figure out what she meant by the mother.  The only thing I could think of, knowing this was a catholic country came flying out of my mouth, “The Virgin Mary?”

There was stunned silence, and someone  — I think the first guy — said something under his breath that definitely didn’t sound like a compliment.

“No, you idiot,” the second man said.  “The Mother.  The principle of … well… of female.  Those statues in pre-history?  That’s her.  Not a goddess or a spirit, but a … force, a feeling that has been worshiped, catered to and feared since humans were humans.  There is something going on that is messing with that feeling on a grand scale, and it is waking up lamias and sirens, defenders of the Earth, enchanted moors, female ghosts, Roman goddesses.  All of them.  It’s been one hell of a week.”

“We’ve lost twenty people,” Silvia said.  “Which is why we asked the Americans for help.  We expected them to send a group? A detachment or something, but they said you’d come and access it and teach us fighting techniques.”

I understood, suddenly, the air of disappointment and vague hostility around the room.  “I didn’t know anything about it,” I said, in a rush, trying to apologize.  I wonder if this principle of the feminine or whatever it was had something to do with what had happened to Julie.  But I wasn’t going to talk about Julie to them, not when I actually had no idea where she was or what was happening to her, a fact I didn’t like at all.  “I was on a plane to come here for… for personal reasons, and I didn’t know anything about it till my boss texted me after I got to my hotel.”

“Oh,” Silvia said.  “So you’re not prepared? You haven’t dealt with things like this before.”

“I have a lot of experience with monster outbreaks,” I said, wanting to reassure her, and feeling like I was losing ground, somehow.  “I will do my best to try to help you, and if needed, I’ll demand my superiors send more people.”

She stared at me for a while, then said, “Come with me.”

She led me all the way across the room, and I noticed a lot more people I hadn’t seen at first, including a girl sitting on a sofa, a motorcycle helmet beside her, knitting very fast.  She was the only woman wearing jeans and  a t-shirt, the only person not wearing formal black suit or skirt suit complete with white shirt and black tie.  I made a note to ask them about these clothes soon.  I couldn’t imagine less practical outfits to fight monsters in.

We passed a door to the left side which seemed to be laundry room.  One woman was ironing white shirts.

At the end of the room from the entrance door was another door that led to a room just as vast.  This room was full of beds.  Hospital beds.  They were all occupied and there were machines that beeped and urped and ticked around each bed.  There was a curtain halfway up the room, and on the other side, through the opening, I could glimpse more beds and more people laid up, only those appeared to be women.

“These are our casualties of the battle with the goddess,” she said.  “The ones who lived. The Hunters, that is.  The bystanders are treated at the psychology college and given some hypnosis so they’re not sure of what they saw.  But I don’t know how long we can hold that off, either.  We had an outbreak during a soccer match at the city stadium last week.  A guardian dragon appeared and started munching players and spectactors.  We got there barely in time, and thank all the saints, people think it was a soccer riot.  Then there was the thing at the airport.  We just keep getting public outbreaks and we’re down to a third of our normal force.”

On a nearby bed, a dark, thin man, wearing a helmet made of bandages was either asleep or dead.  His arm, hanging down, was also full of bandages, and a drip of blood fell off the tip of his right hand.

“I see,” I said.  “And I see how I might not be adequate.  But I really promise to do my best, and to call help if you need it.  I take it you’re a governmental monster control unit?”

“Not quite,” she said.  “King Manuel–”

At that moment the girl with the motorcycle helmet came up behind us, very fast.  We turned to face her.  “Silvia,” she said, as if I weren’t there.  “There have been fire works.  Two flares of smoke.  From Matosinhos.  I’m afraid it’s another siren.”

79 thoughts on “Dark Fate 7 – Still Annoying Grant

  1. It’s a good thing they use flares to signal siren problem. If they sounded the sirens for a siren that could lead to Abbot and Costello routines.

  2. I love the wall of guitars and weapons. Most of my musician friends are also gun fiends, for some reason. Finely crafted instruments (of destruction), plus the Antonio Banderas vibe. I know he’s a Spaniard, but a nice guy. He bought me a couple drinks in San Miguel Allende some years back, while he was shooting a movie. The locals speak well of him.

  3. 8,766 hours is some.

    None here are inclined (nor even upright) to quibble when the payoff is such as this!

    Dark Fate 8, please?

  4. ” (Always had a thing for men from Patrician New England families. Ask my husband.) So I’m torturing him.”
    OK, I have refrained in the past, but am out of restraint. Inquiring minds want to know, when you were being rushed into hospital with your second deliery, did you or did you not look at Dan with soulful eyes and say “Don’t torture yourself darling, that’s my job.”?

  5. “The nearest man — they all looked thin and tan and dark to me. Also small. I wondered where Pitt had got his height”

    I may be remembering wrong, but I don’t think Owen had any Portuguese ancestry in the books.

      1. I like your implication that Gran’t thinks of random crap in uncomfortable situations: ‘I wondered where Pitt had got his height, and then I wondered how they got the jelly into donuts…’

    1. Early draft, of a process that doesn’t need to make any sense as long as it works. The Grant stuff happened because she needed it to do the Julie. I guess she opened up a vein, and splattered it over two stacks of paper? This may never see an editing pass to get the right feel and details for MH canon.

      1. “Early draft, of a process that doesn’t need to make any sense as long as it works.”

        I know, just pointing it out because it might be helpful if this goes to a second draft. And also because I enjoy pointing out things like that.

      1. Well, as I said, I could be remembering wrong. I only remember his dad being mentioned as Hawaiian. And yes, I’m aware of the significant role Portuguese people played in the history of the islands, I just don’t remember that being specifically noted as part of his ancestry. But if you remember it differently, then you’re probably right.

          1. Larry-Sueing, is how I’ve heard it expressed.

            Ignoring, of course, that it was his first published novel. I suppose it’s the same mindset that got him called ‘D-list’.

              1. It is possible he has done a study on how often lucrative properties are termed Mary Sue and Marty Stu.

                1. He’s done a post on it, at least.

                  It’s instructive, I think, to note that the original Mary Sue story was a parody of wish fulfillment fanfic written _badly_.

                  As Larry’s said, as long as a story entertains, it’s done it’s job.

                2. It is possible he has done a study on how often lucrative properties are termed Mary Sue and Marty Stu.

                  The claim has been made for the Gray Lensman and Tarzan of the apes; so, Larry is in good company.

              1. The funny thing is, most of the “Sue” complaints I’ve seen come from the treatment of Grant, rather than Owen himself. Essentially that Grant was set up as a straw alpha for Owen to too-easily win the girl from. (Do they not know that Julie is a wife-insert?)

                And I _do_ think we got too much tell on Grant’s virtues in comparison to the showing of his flaws. So as I’ve said, I’m hoping that this fic lets him shine and that Larry promotes it to canon.

                But the detractors keep ignoring that MHI was Larry’s first novel! If it was also his _best_ novel then something would be going wrong.

      1. The Fate and the Fatalistic
        2 Fate, 2 Fatalistic
        Fate and Fatalistic: Portugal Drift
        Fate and Fatalistic
        Fate 5
        Fate and Fatalistic 6
        Fatalistic 7

  6. We’ll know that the situation has gotten truly dire if a giant Trigglypuff starts rampaging through town.

      1. Trigglypuff in a squirrel toupee, trumpface makeup, and a Mao suit.

        At least they aren’t Canadian.

  7. BAAAD comments these last two – mental image of the Trigglypuff in a Clinton mask. – Now I have to go drink – Rum – it hurts that much.

  8. two if a siren, one if… a troll? I mean, one if by land, and two if by sea. So we have the siren for two flares, but what does one indicate? Enquiring minds want to know!

  9. I really want to stick up for Grant in regards to the Virgin Mary reference; that is I’d like to say that even Grant wouldn’t be that dumb. On the other hand, he was drawing a blank and grasping at straws, so yeah, that’s not outside the realm of possibility.

    1. I had a friend years ago that maintained that the entire new testament was made of ideas stolen from various pagan religions for the purpose of making Christianity more attractive to the pagans in order to more easily convert them, and thus gain control over them (in his world view, religion was all about control and faith was a made-up psychological construct, much like love). He made a pretty good argument for the idea, if you ignore that most of his argument was made up of true SOUNDING, yet utterly unsupported, “facts” about ancient pagan religions. In this friend’s rather fantastical world view, the Virgin Mary could very easily be linked to the Mother. After all, if Jesus = God and Mary is his mother, that would in effect make Mary the Mother of everything (since in Christianity, God made everything. Ne?)

      Of course, since a lot of the MHI universe seems to be built upon Mormon mysticism (or so I’ve been told), I’m not so sure the idea that “The Mother = the Virgin Mary” really fits. Although who knows, my understanding of Mormonism is pretty flaky. I would love to know more, but I suspect asking someone to explain their religion in detail (especially the weirder corners that most would like to forget even exist), merely for my personal entertainment, wouldn’t be very respectful.

      1. Mormons don’t do dulia for historical figures, no, and that includes hyperdulia for Mary. We pray to God the Father, in the name of God the Son. Any relevant spirits/angels will get pinged by God the Holy Spirit, so no need to try to guess who might be interested in the subject/contents of a prayer, and there are more important things to spend our time on than cultus.

        (That said, God listens to _all_ His children, and is rooting for everyone who hasn’t joined perdition. So in-setting there’s no issue with Peter chatting with Chad in a vision, for example. Especially given that Chad would make a lousy Mormon as long as he clung to his philandering ways.)

        1. I guess in a way I was right. Since Mormons don’t do dulia, then the idea of Mary, as the mother of Jesus, being linked to the Earth Mother as “Mother of Everything” really WOULDN’T fit very well.

          Thanks for taking time to explain that. The “and Latter-day Saints” part of the name had me a little confused.

          Please don’t take any of this as disrespect. I am genuinely curious about things like this and I’m aware that sometimes that curiosity can grate on people, even when I don’t mean it to.

            1. I’d have thought something similar.in his place.
              “The Mother” mythologically speaking, could have been any of a number of creatures. Lillith, Hera, or Freija are the first ones off the top of my head.

              1. If I were writing this (which I’m not), I’d referred to the “Great Mother”.

                Which would be the Earth Mother (Gaia).

                1. I took it as reference to the “Mother Force” — the fertility deity underlying all those slutty old fertility goddesses.

                  Although it strikes me that it might be referring to “The Mother” not as the personification of fertility but the embodiment of that tyrannical voice which commands, “Put on a sweater, dear, I’m chilly” or nags us into conforming to the societal niceties.

                  (Why yes, my other monitor does currently have a picture of Nanny Warren in full campaign. Why do you ask?)

            2. *Tries repeating ‘English Civil War’ over and over again attempting to disprove the claim of ridiculousness.*

            3. Ah. Not from New England, so I didn’t catch that it was Grant making an anti-Catholic joke.

            4. “anti-Catholic”

              I guess working in a sign saying “NO IRISH need apply” would be clunky.


              1. In the grim dark future, when the next generation is serving as magical girls with Unicorn, there can be only one hiring guideline ‘No Dogs or Irish need apply’.

      2. While the MHI universe isn’t incompatible with LDS theology, it also isn’t necessarily locked into that, either. Off the top of my head, the only thing that I can think of that would be an LDS idea is some of the pre-Earth backstory for Nemesis (and not Frank’s backstory, specifically). The idea that there was a war in Heaven is a general Christian belief. But afaik, the idea that the mortals on Earth were all part of the winning side is not.

        Milo uses his faith to great effect in the first MHI book, but that appears to be more of a general faith thing than LDS-specific. IIRC, there’s mention somewhere of MHI obtaining holy water in bulk for the company’s supplies, and that’s not something that the LDS Church would be providing.

        1. There _are_ references to LDS doctrine in the series, but anyone who isn’t familiar with LDS doctrine will miss a lot of them.

          Note that Mormons, as a matter of doctrine, don’t have a problem with the idea of God choosing to answer prayers from anyone, Mormon or not. IIRC, in MHI they point out that anyone with enough faith can drive off a vampire. Milo’s just _really_ good at it.

          Given that the various forces of evil are typically intrusions from other realities and are _not_ part of the Plan, consecrating tools to fight them is probably one of those prayers that is almost always answered to the fullest degree that the supplicant’s faith can allow.

            1. Including the ‘noble and great ones’ reference in MHI? That one requires having read the Pearl of Great Price to get.

      3. Be careful what you ask for. Many of us love answering questions about our religion.
        The real question is; do you have the time/inclination?

  10. Sorry, the idea hit a funny bone because it resonated with a memory of a crazy old friend… well, more of a drinking buddy really. We would get downright philosophical sometimes after a bottle or two of whiskey. 🙂

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