All three of us are on the beach.
People streaming into the endbringer shelters behind us, thick gold radiation shielding layered on the walls inside and over the doors. Far fewer than the last two times, non-essential personnel having been mandatorily evacuated two weeks ago.
Heroes are collecting closer to PRT headquarters, behind heavy shields of thick fourth generation pinky armor laminated on the inside with inches of gold.
The bay is empty, ships pulled into dry dock or another harbor. There's not a ship or boat in the water for a hundred miles, a precaution implemented a month ago.
Three endbringer attacks in a row? In the same city? Impossible. And now we're going for the hat trick.
I'm full Nanagou, prehensile hair and everything, under grey Skitter armor., improbable giant bugs filling in for my buster machine corps. They spread along the beach, dynakinetic shields spread, ready to absorb as much energy as they can, try and limit the damage from close-range nuclear combat.
Lisa's Eva is kneeling to my left, antihelium rifle on her knee.
The Zwauth is on my right.
We watch the bulge of Leviathan's approach.
He's well outside the entrance to the bay when the water bulges upward, a cloud of steam escaping instantly. It's eerily silent.
A brilliant flash from the cloud, then another. Then the noise arrives, *Thoom* long pause *Thoom* pause *Thoom* like a punch in the chest each time,
The Zwauth is already in the air.
Lisa's Eva is tracking something through the radioactive fog,
*Zap-zap* The antihelium rifle's firing is almost as loud as a sixteen inch naval rifle, over two hundred decibels at one meter, but the projectile is far more dangerous.
Another flash of light, about a thousand times brighter, bugs dying all over town, cooked by the thermal radiation, the cloud of mist puffing outward, and another, brighter, not as blocked by the fog, literally blowing the mist away as Leviathan's form flies backward, away from the bay, tumbling in the air. Another of Amy's rocket squids roars in, another flash of light, and the Zwauth grapples Leviathan's battered form, climbing. Quickly there is nothing left in sight but the green flame of the Zwauth's rockets, then that vanishes, too.
*THOOM* bugs inside and behind buildings in the docks die, *THOOM* as buildings collapse near the blast and windows break all over town, sand and smaller rocks driven back by the pressure wave all along the beach.
"Got him," Pinky says over the public channel, and I relax visibly. Lisa's Eva sits down, crosses its her legs, tucking her feet on top of her knees.
I hop up onto one calf, kicking my feet over her shin.
After a while the tsunami from the single ten kiloton underwater detonation washes over the beach, up to the boardwalk, spilling onto the streets.
A few minutes later the Zwauth reappears, wings spread wide, intermittent flares of green helping her control her descent, conserving boron fuel.
She settles onto the beach, sits down on the Eva's thigh, and holds up Leviathan's grey head, the remaining three green eyes glassy and still, "Brought you two a present."
"Are we going to put it in front of city hall?"
Marquis looks up at the envelope held in front of him.
"For you, from your daughter."
He takes it, reads the laser printed addresses, "Amy, Taylor, and Lisa," turns it and notes that the flap is sealed, opens it with a small blade of bone.
Inside is a folded piece of paper, and several small photographs, obviously printed by a computer.
A wedding picture? with three girls, two of them obviously pregnant. One is tall, slender, with curly black hair, the first pregnant girl is blonde, a little shorter, and the other a shorter curly redhead. He looks at their faces, maybe, the chin and the nose, if she dyed her hair. She's the only one with brown eyes, even if they are unusually pale.
The next picture is of the mothers and babies, the black haired girl standing behind, the babies still the purple-pink of just born, the mothers still in hospital gowns.
The last picture is at a home, the three girls on a couch, a baby held up by each, all three sets of baby blue eyes open, a slightly puzzled look on their pale pink faces.
He opens the other sheet, also laser printed, including the signature.
I hardly remember you.
That's not a reason not to let you know you are a grandparent.
I got married before the little ones were born, but *shrugs* not that important.
Fraternal triplets, Shaia born the 19th, Lisa and Taylor's, Maia, born the 20th, mine and Lisa's, and Leia, born the 21st, mine and Taylor's. Couldn't have managed that better if we tried, but it wasn't at all planned.
If you write, it might be good to learn about you.
Taylor says you should not write back if you're going to be mean about it.
Your daughter, Amy.
5 April 2012
Marquis leans back in his seat, a wry smile twisting his face, such a simple and effective show of power. And Taylor, too, is obviously more than she looks . . . he looks closer at the small pictures, noting the four-pointed pupils, and his smile broadens a little more.
She'll be fine. A tiny worry, nurtured for years, fades.
A/N: Too tired to write last night, and this is the last of what I have written. The triplets are named after characters from Super Dimensional Century Orguss. I don't think they have tails. Amy thinks they'd be cute, Lisa'd be amused, and Taylor's worried they'll be teased about them . . .
I wrote sixty-four thousand words, and posted every day for sixty-two days.
I intend to write more, including:
Amy's birthday party
Babies and little kids
Dragon and Defiant cracking the Nine's hideout
Figuring out what to do with hundreds of thousands of Bedem, each with sixteen metal-tipped tentacles, each tip having a 4 tonne yield uranium-damped antimatter warhead
The mindfuck of putting an Entity and a half in a blender, hitting puree, and grafting a third of the resulting mess each onto the base of three young women's spines like a giant monster tail
When I do, I'll likely be re-arranging chapters and editing things.
I'd love to hear what you liked, what you didn't, what was off-putting, what was squicky or seemed excessive or excessively dumb . . .
Thanks for reading! Hopefully I'll be back before too long.