To Carve a Reputation

 


Mouse watches people and titters.

Trish heads around town giving random things to random people.

Rogue sips her coffee, following Trish and regarding what she is wearing.

Trish is wearing a big brown trenchcoat.

Orb isn't wearing anything.

Trish gives Orb a little orb-sized trenchcoat with lots of little pockets. “Hey, touch orb without your glove, I wanna see which one of you explodes.”

Rogue gets distracted by the Orb and runs a gloved finger over it.

Orb is smooth and shiny and apparently wearing a little trenchcoat.

Rogue leans forward and exhales from her dark painted lips and tries to polish it. “Whatevah are you lil thing. Certainly all shiny an such.”

Orb agrees. “I am indeed shiny. From regular polishing by beauties such as yourself.”

Rogue wipes him... it... clear with a soft sheer black silken cloth.

Longshot laments, “I need a gimmick like that.”

Rogue drapes the Orb in the cloth, like a little silk ghost. “Ain’t that sumthin.”

Longshot quips, “Casporb the friendly...mostly...ghost.”

Orb zaps Longo. “Yes... mostly.”

Silencieux thinks Longo is jealous.

Rogue muses, “An orb is better than a fella.. an orb don' go runnin around and sleepin on mah sofa.”

Orb adds, “I sleep on a velvet pillow inside a glass case.”

Mouse is curious. “Hey Orb... where is this posh pad of yours?”

Orb replies, “Tori's mansion.”

Mouse blinks. “You're a Bale?”

Orb explains. “I live with one. Actually, I'm owned by one.”

Star Dragoness asks, “You’re a prostitute?”

Orb declares, “Best one ever.”

She-Hulk blinks. “What... a line.”

Star Dragoness grins. “I knew it... Orb is a prostitute!”

Orb explicates, “Ten million dollar prostitute.”

Tesseract asks, “He's an Whorb?”

She-Hulk laughs. “Whorb... ok... that’s amusing.”

Orb chuckles, “No, it is not.”

Mouse smirks. “I could have sworn...” Mouse decides to case the Bale place later.

Orb rather wishes Mouse wouldn't, might actually have to intervene on Tori's behalf.

Mouse grins, never suspecting her thoughts have been intercepted.

Orb hasn't intercepted thoughts, just really doesn't want to be put in a position where it could be obligated to fight. Maybe that contract wasn't such a good idea after all.

Mouse is just a circus star that moonlights as a thief... for fun actually.

She-Hulk makes some notes on her caseload file, happily making sure many of the unfortunate criminals caught do hard time as the cities D.A.

Silencieux gives Shulkie a big thumbs up, glad to see those losers that the authorities have caught gone from the underworld.

Samsoni imagines She-Hulk being made to make his lunch.

She-Hulk ironically sees herself handing Samsoni Samsoni's lunch.

Mouse grins and puts a pair of shades on Samsoni. “Those are hot on you!” She doesn't tell Samsoni they're stolen, leaves that for the cops.

Samsoni is arrested. “Gee... lunch... thanx!”

Silencieux waggles fingers at Mouse.

Mouse smirks.

Silencieux holds two partially pinched fingers in front of his lips and blows hard, sending an invisible spitball whizzing at her head.

Mouse frowns as she feels something hit her voluminous waves of blond hair. She reaches up but finds nothing. Mouse looks around and gives the mime a look.

Silencieux smugs.

******

Mouse steals Soggy's eye patch just to see if she would look cool wearing one.

Son-of-Gaia exclaims, “Ack! I needs that!”

Mouse pouts. “I just wanted to try it on!”

Son-of-Gaia growls, “Hurmp... I have extras.”

Mouse smirks. “But they're not as much fun to steal.”

Son-of-Gaia covers his one eye with his hand and grumbles.

Mouse adds, “And besides I always wanted to know if the socket was empty or what?”

Son-of-Gaia explains, “No no... the eye is there... I just don't like what it shows me.”

Mouse blinks.

Son-of-Gaia chuckles. "It’s a longish story.”

Mouse guesses, “You mean you have like second sight with that eye...?”

Son-of-Gaia sighs. “Kinda... but the things it shows are the worst possible things that can or have happened. Ever read any of the dragonlance books?”

Mouse shakes her head. “I think I read one way back when, but basically no. Why?”

Son-of-Gaia continues, “It's kinda like a stronger version of what happened to Ras's eyes.”

Mouse grins and brushes her waves of hair back from the patch.

Son-of-Gaia scowls. “Yea... not funny thief... gimme!”

Mouse nods and hands over the patch. “Sorry, I'm really not mean-spirited... just have trouble keeping my hands off things...”

Son-of-Gaia nods. “And you'd look better with a patch with thinner bands and something more space piratey... like a pink skull and crossbones.”

Mouse grins. “Do you really think so?”

“Mmmhmmm...” Son-of-Gaia slides his patch over his left eye, seeming a bit more confident with it on.

Mouse grins. “I'll have to get one and imprint something in gold on it.”

Son-of-Gaia chides, “Like a dollar sign?”

Mouse laughs. “Hahaha... I DO like money!”

Son-of-Gaia observes, “You do.”

“So if you ever need anything lifted... for a fee... I'm your rodent!” Mouse winks.

Son-of-Gaia chuckles. “Oh you are in my little black book miss. I've been looking to add the Orb to my collection.”

Mouse raises a brow.

Son-of-Gaia shrugs. “Wut?”

Mouse twitching. “Well I don't usually do kidnapping... although this sort of begs the question... is Orb a thing... or a being?”

Son-of-Gaia chuckles. “Somewhere in between.”

Mouse enquires, “How much would you pay?”

Son-of-Gaia reassures, “Something high enough to have you stop asking questions.”

Mouse brightens. “A cool million!?”

Son-of-Gaia nods. “A cool mil would be worth it... yes.”

Mouse seems to agree. “I'll see what I can do. Any ideas on how to contain the object once obtained?”

Son-of-Gaia smirks. “I can have a holding area set up, but it cannot be mobile.”

Mouse takes a deep breath. “This WILL be tricky.”

Son-of-Gaia grins. “I should hope so, where is the fun if its not?”

Mouse sticks her tongue out.

Son-of-Gaia eyes. “Oh come on now... getting cold feet already?”

Mouse shakes her head, waves of hair flowing about her shoulders. “Nope. It may take some time. Victoria Bale is dangerous. And so is the Orb!”

Son-of-Gaia nods. “I'm aware... take as much time as you need.”

“And I think she paid ten million for that Orb so the price may go up...” Mouse looks shifty as her voice trails off.

Son-of-Gaia sighs. “Keep a running tab... I have the funds.”

Mouse beams. “Will do! I love expense accounts!”

******

Mouse decides to sneak a nibble of breakfast after spending all night out casing the Bale mansion.

Amelia mutters. “Talk about living dangerously.”

Mouse nibbles on her cheese omelet.

Amelia checks the list of evils to perform today, and finds Mouse is not the target of any of them.

Mouse smiles at Ames and ponders her options while she eats. If she can just get past the mansion security without causing a commotion perhaps she can steal the Orb while it slumbers. Perhaps she should disguise herself as one of the contracted workers currently doing renovations. But then again acrobatics are more her style.

Amelia suggests, “You could just blow her up.”

Mouse snorts, “That's more Harry's MO...”

Harry Savage looks up. “What?”

“Nothing Harry. Nothing.” Amelia says evasively.

Mouse grins.

Harry Savage scowls. “Hmmph.”

Mouse finishes breakfast and heads to the circus to practice her act for a bit before returning to the Bale mansion undercover.

******

Mouse ditches the ‘Lucy's Lunches’ costume after making her delivery to the Bale mansion and stops for a soda at Taz Treats.

“Hiyas Mouse.” Yeti Taz serves root beer float. Hides napkin dispenser.

“Hey Taz.” Mouse steals a straw and sips her float, a smirk on the corners of her mouth.

Orb wonders what Mouse is smiling about.

Mouse has finished casing the Bale mansion while delivering food to the workers there and plans to slip away between her circus appearances this evening to see if the Orb is sleeping in its case.

Orb is sure it will be.

Mouse's mind reviews her plan again under that voluminous mass of blond hair while she sucks on her float. For once she actually pays Taz for her float and heads back to the circus for her show. She notes someone lurking as she slips into her trailer outside the big top.

******

Mouse sighs. “Hey Soggy, stop lurking. I may be getting close to making an attempt on the Orb... here are my expenses so far...” She hands over an itemized list for time, surveillance equipment, catering, costume, kitchen bags and contact lenses.

Son-of-Gaia hates invoices. “Catering?”

“I posed as a delivery person delivering sandwiches to the Bale mansion to get a better look around...” Mouse grins.

Son-of-Gaia shrugs. "And how did that work out?"

“Like a charm when the workers saw how cute I was... the place is being renovated because Ms Bale let some crazy coed in purple house-sit for her... made a mess... but quite fortunate for me actually... a lot of security is offline... though not in the study where the Orb is kept.” Mouse winks.

Son-of-Gaia nods. “Yea... Well so far so good...”

Mouse nods. “My biggest fear is that the Orb will wake up and cause trouble... I'm going to attempt to sedate it...”

Son-of-Gaia asks, "And how are you planning to do that?"

Mouse smirks. “I can't decide what would work best... Morphine? Jack Daniels?”

Son-of-Gaia suggests, “Half and half?”

Mouse muses, “A cocktail... hmm... not a bad idea...”

Son-of-Gaia noodles.

Mouse grins. “And so where do I deliver the goods?”

Son-of-Gaia says, “There is a boat on the docks... the Heart of Gold."

Mouse confirms. “Like the old Neil Young song?”

Son-of-Gaia chuckles. “Something like that.”

Mouse smirks. “Well at least it's not the Heart of Darkness...”

Son-of-Gaia eyes. "Yea, that name was taken.”

Mouse winks. “If things work out I'll see you later...”

Son-of-Gaia nods. “Very well.”

“Assuming when I check after my first show that I see I've been reimbursed for my expenses...” Mouse twitches.

Son-of-Gaia sighs. “You'll be paid.”

Mouse smiles so widely her cheeks dimple.

Son-of-Gaia nods and scoots.

******

Mouse puts on an amazing display while dangling from a rope under the big top, much to the joy and applause of all in attendance. The display she puts on shortly after is no less amazing, but there is no audience as she drops into the Bale mansion through the skylight she left unlatched earlier while posing as a luncheon delivery person.

With all the construction going on, most security and fire alarms have been set on test mode or turned off completely to circumvent any accidental alarm trips, sure to aid Mouse greatly during her intrusion of Victoria Bale’s mansion. A few extra security guards have been hired for the course of the renovation, but their focus is more on the grounds themselves, not so much the interior or the private display room where Orb currently rests.

Mouse made sure earlier that the laser beams in this large hallway were off. And she deftly steps past the pressure pad she saw the workmen installing under a section of stone. But curiosity gets the best of her, not having been able to discover what sort of trap it would trigger. With a smirk she pulls off an earring and tosses it back on the pad, watching eagerly.

Centered around that particular tile, a glass tube shoots up from the floor which would have effectively trapped the intruder if standing there, a soft hiss following seconds later as the tube fills with a clear gas of unknown effect.

Mouse nods and grins, moving toward the tube with a glasscutter and a resealable bag from her backpack. A moment later she heads on her way as the entry hall behind begins to fill with gas. She comes to a teetering stop on the threshold of the room containing the Orb's sleeping box. She does a whip of her head and circus sparkles fly from the golden tresses, fluttering in the air, illuminating any security beams present there.

Here those remain in great abundance. Red beams can be seen crisscrossing all throughout the room, from floor to ceiling, sure to make taking anything in this room a challenge even for the most athletically talented. In this case, that would be Orb, the shining and mysterious entity seen resting in the exact center of this room in a glass case.

Mouse grins broadly at the sight, her cheeks dimpling, her eyes analyzing the beams. A moment later she begins to bounce between them, cartwheeling into a flip, tucking a shoulder and rolling, slinking even, finally standing up outside a seemingly impenetrable cage of laser beams surrounding the case. She stares for a moment, biting a pouting lip. She takes a compact out of her pack and checks her hair, takes a deep breath and uses the compact to redirect two beams while she steps through the resulting gap in these defenses.

As Mouse slips through the gap, all the security beams abruptly cut off and the room goes dark, for many seconds silence is all that fills the abyss surrounding the confident circus performer. Then strange shuffling sounds rise from around Mouse, not metal, nor soles of shoes, the source difficult to place...that is until the lights kick back on to reveal the form of a glass golem wielding an axe made of the same, deadly sharp edge aiming to cleave the intruder in two, regardless of how cute she is.

Mouse gulps as her makeshift laser-beam redirect trick fails, trying to remain calm even as she holds her breath and her pulse quickens. She tracks the sounds around her, preparing to duck, doing so as the lights come on, squealing as some of her trailing waves of hair are severed, blinking at the light, sweeping at the ankles of her glinting attacker, hoping it also has a glass jaw. "Bright light! Bright light! Yikes! Not my hair!"

The golem stumbles slightly from the impact against its leg, but is revealed to be far more sturdy then it looks. And it isn't alone. A second glass golem shambles closer from Mouse's left, soon to add a second axe for her to worry about. Meanwhile, within its glass case, Orb quietly observes all that transpires, curious as to what has brought the alluring intruder here this night.

Mouse yelps as her sweep fails to take down the sentry, but does pain her stout little leg in its shimmering tights. Her acrobatic skills serve her well in avoiding the swinging axe, bobbing and weaving, glittering gold leotard getting conveniently vented as she begins to sweat, desperately trying to think of what to do next as the second golem closes. She dances between them, flipping to the shoulders of the first as she leaps over the singing blade, then showing her butt as she flips to the second even as it swings where she stood a second before. She hopes they will exchange blows as she pulls up on the chandelier.

Orb finds it all quite entertaining, enjoying the acrobatic show and the non-violent destruction as the dedicated but ultimately mindless glass golems effectively slice each other in almost perfect halves, sparks flying from the hidden robotics within as the pieces clatter motionless to the floor.

Mouse exhales in relief and drops to the floor with a smirk, gloved hands snatching up the golfball-sized orb with a starburst in it, dropping it into her pack as she gets out the resealable bag. "That is not the Orb I'm looking for... though admittedly the Star of India is a distracting decoy... and no reason not to keep it... now for the real thing!"

Orb observes through one-way glass. Naughty, naughty. Greedy little thief. It occurs to Orb to hire the skillful and opportunistic Mouse in obtaining prototype technology for it to study.

Mouse pulls a pin from her voluminous waves of hair, making a face as she concentrates on defeating the three lock box components of the Orb's resting place. Finally the planets tumble into alignment and the secret compartment opens. Mouse immediately opens the bag and, holding it upside down, pulls it over the Orb, resealing the bag still cloudy with the unknown gas. “Gotcha!”

Orb would laugh but doen't wish to tip off Mouse that it is conscious, never suspecting until her approach that she has come to steal it of all things. Now within the gas filled bag, the sphere remains silent, curious as to what will happen after the thief has made her escape.

Mouse slips the Orb she thinks she has gassed into her pack and prances proudly out of the chamber, putting on a breathing mask from her pack as she returns to the hall, stepping over the bodies of the security detail who came to investigate, already out cold on the floor. She climbs hand over hand up her rope and out on the roof, shaking back her hair as she gazes up at the diamond stars. “Someday I'm going to reach up and steal the stars from the sky... but for now a cool million awaits me at the docks...”

A million? That's it? Orb is somewhat offended at hearing such a low price for its apprehension. Tori had paid ten million after all and it should be worth at least that.

Mouse hurries, realizing she hasn't long before her second appearance in the circus is to begin. She leaves the bag with the gassed Orb laying on the countertop in her dressing room as she dashes off to perform before an oohing crowd, the perfect alibi. As soon as she bows to her curtain call she returns to change before heading to the docks. She slips out of leotard and tights, showering quickly, perfuming her naked body before pulling on some pantyhose and a simple black dress, affixing the Star of India to a black necklace that matches her heels to complete the look, unaware that the bluish object is itself aware and watching her the whole time. "Okay, time to take sleepy Orb into the Heart of Gold..."

******

Mouse grins as she struts up the gangplank of the Heart of Gold in her simple black dress, wearing the Star of India on a black necklace that matches her heels, carrying a backpack over her shoulder.

The Heart of Gold does not look like its name might suggest. The rusted hulk of the passenger ship stands outlined by the glow of the risen moon. The old mossy boards creek under her steps as the magi's figure can be seen at the top of the rusty gangplank.

Mouse hails, “Didn't think I could do it did you, Soggybottom!?”

Son-of-Gaia smirks. “Not at all... in fact I contacted you because you’re the only one who could. Come aboard... I have your payment.”

Mouse beams from ear to ear. “So where's my money or are you planning to transfer funds to my holding account?”

Son-of-Gaia turns in a swirl of coat, walking onto the deck. "If you like I have gold here or I can wire it... your choice."

Mouse nods and steps on the deck, sure-footed even in her heels, speaking as she follows. "I can't haul that much gold around, I want you to transfer the funds... just like you did my expenses earlier..."

Son-of-Gaia has a few crates lying around. "If I could just see it please."

Mouse eyes the mage with orbs as brilliant as the audacious jewel she wears around her neck. “But no tricks...”

Son-of-Gaia nods. “No tricks... no betrayals...”

Orb hadn't moved since Mouse had plucked it from its resting place, but is listening to the conversation occurring outside the bag. The male voice speaking is unfamiliar, and once again, at the mention of funds, Orb felt somewhat offended. A mere million dollars? It was far more valuable than that!

Mouse sets the pack down on a crate and unzips it, a bluish four-inch diameter sphere contained inside a plastic bag rolling out as she lifts the pack and shakes it. She nods with a smirk as she displays the Orb, which appears to contain the swirl of space much like some sort of galactic snow globe. “I gassed it. With some of Ms Bale's own defenses... tehehe...”

Son-of-Gaia smiles warmly. He is not the costumed foe she might be use to. He adjusts some knobs and dials under the metal plate the orb has rolled onto. "Well yea... she is a rought one." He plucks up a phone from his coat and makes a few keystrokes. "There... easy mil and a half for being so speedy... I am surprised... I was almost not ready for you."

Mouse winks. "Well I managed a nice new necklace out of the deal too..." She looks at the blue baseball in the bag. "Why's it worth so much anyway?"

Orb had been about to speak until the mage made use of a phone. Perhaps this was not its final destination, perhaps this story was not to end here. Further the blue sphere remained silent and still, waiting until it learned more about what was going on here.

Son-of-Gaia chuckled. “Oh its not... well not to anybody else... you can appreciate how you want to do something that’s... impossible?”

Mouse grins. “Well if it can be done then it's not impossible by definition, but yeah... I like to do what others think is impossible... it's called a circus act... so?”

Son-of-Gaia continues. “Well... take the orb... no one has been able to do anything to it... aside from a quasi-soul it's... inert... it cannot be shaped... chipped or harmed... correct?”

Mouse seems to ponder, even cringe a bit. "It has a soul? Really? I didn't know that... I'm not really a kidnapper you know... I just thought it was like an alien bauble of some sort.”

Son-of-Gaia does not even seem to hear that bit. "But I ran across something... that things that are 'impossible' are not that at all... they are just not probable... and that’s why I have this!" Under the crates a device hums... blinking tubes of lights... a few boxes that hum and whirl. "The Infinite Improbability Drive!"

Mouse narrows her eyes. "I thought that was an urban legend or something..."

“Ha! That’s what they all say... but with this... I can at last do this!!” Son-of-Gaia pulls away a tarp, on it is a jagged carving knife, an ice cream scoop and a single white candle.

Mouse instinctively steps back, a little unsure what to expect and more than a little put off by the mage's apparent idea of a good time. “Listen... I didn't say anything about... playing S&M games with you!”

Orb blurts out, “Well, that explains quite a bit. The mage is most certainly insane.”

Mouse gasps as the Orb speaks. “It’s awake!”

Son-of-Gaia smiles, “S&M no... no... you just don't see! This year the city will have the most wondrous jack-o-lantern it has ever seen!!”

“A little on the small side but...” Mouse smirks. “Definitely one of a kind...”

Orb declares, “Yes, this ruse had gone on long enough. You can't possibly be serious."

Son-of-Gaia dismisses. “We'll see about that Orb... your time has come!”

Orb is incredulous. "This is the reason I'm here? To be your craft project for Halloween?"

Mouse smirks and watches with occasional sideways glances at the Infinite Improbability Drive. “May I watch!?”

Son-of-Gaia flicks the switch and powers up the Infinite Improbability Drive. A pleasant voice states, "Probability Drive active... Probability of 1 to 2 and climbing..." The dark mage gloats. “You are here now Orb... I could not walk in and fetch you... but I knew you'd fall for her charms... and now... in moments... you will be my grandest testament to Halloween!”

“I had no idea you were an artiste, mage...” Mouse twitches. “Still are you sure it's right to do this... I mean if it has a sorta soul...”

"Probability of 1 to 3 and climbing" chimes the device and the mage explains, "But its probability... it won't last... there will be no lasting effect... but I would have done it... the immutable Orb will be a jack-o-lantern!"

Mouse grins. “And when it zaps those Danger Dolts it will be even funnier...”

"It's amusing, the lengths to which you're going to accomplish this by your own hand. It is possible, had I been asked, that for the day in question I would have agreed to take that particular form." Orb acknowledges Mouse’s comment. "And yes, it is most amusing to watch them jump so."

“Ohh... but that’s the thing of it... my own hand... even if none where to know the creator I would... are you ready for your lobotomy Jack?!!” Son-of-Gaia brandishes the knife as the Probability levels rise rapidly.

Mouse struggles with the temptation to steal that wonderful machine, wondering if it's very presence decreases or increases her chances of success.

Orb questions, "Then your intention is to use this machine to turn me into an actual pumpkin?"

Son-of-Gaia pauses. “Well that or like one of those big yellow squash things..." for a moment he sounds almost sane.

Mouse watches with eyes shining like huge emeralds. “Or a big purple gourd!”

Orb continues, "And you believe, should this machine manage to accomplish such a change, that it holds the power to subdue my own will and force me to retain that form?"

“Aahhh with Infinite Improbability the chance of your ability to fail CAN happen!” Son-of-Gaia throws his hands skyward and "Bwhahaha's."

Mouse begins to worry that the Orb is not of this dimension, nor subject to its laws of physics or suspension thereof. “I'm not sure it believes, Soggy.”

"Probability of 1 to 1000 and climbing" chimes the machine.

Orb notes, "I'm still having difficulty getting over the fact that all this is to turn me into a holiday decoration."

Mouse laughs. “As long as I get to keep the money... and the Star of India...”

Son-of-Gaia babbles on, “You still don't understand... aside from your will NOTHING in the city can effect you... by turning you into a jack-o-lantern I'll prove to those smug four-color bad guys that I can out do them... yes Orb, this is all about ego and pride.”

“And my bank account...” adds Mouse.

Son-of-Gaia sighs. “Well yes, but to be honest that’s just money.”

Orb asks, "So you built this machine, then?"

“Built, or won it from some drunken space captain,” replies Son-of-Gaia.

“I'm still the one who spirited him away...” notes Mouse. “And I did that without this machine... making me the greatest thief on earth!”

"I am curious, what exactly should I be expecting to happen?" Orb wonders, "As you can plainly see, I'm hardly large enough to make an impressive lantern."

Son-of-Gaia shrugs. “Well that’s the problem... I'm waiting for the correct probability to trigger and turn you into something I can carve... so the probability of you turning into a largish pumpkin should not be much higher.”

Mouse teases, “Feeling bloated at all, Orb?”

"Not terribly, this metal plate is a bit on the chilly side however."

“Maybe you should unbag him,” suggests Mouse.

Son-of-Gaia grips the closed end of the bag and lifts.

Mouse watches with a smirk to see if the mage gets a whiff of the gas inside.

Orb was a created being itself, one that took countless centuries to perfect, the single probability of that occurrence far higher than 1 in 1000, closer to the tens of millions. Yet, inevitably, that number would be reached, one only had to pray the machine didn't explode from the stress. Slowly, the color of the mysterious sphere began to change, a faint orange hue spreading gradually over its surface.

Mouse whispers, “Well I'll be a ring-tailed tooter...”

Son-of-Gaia almost cackles. “Yes... yesssss... you see... you SEE and they called me mad! WHO’S MAD NOW!!”

“Quite clearly, you are. Though I may be quite as mad for allowing this to happen.” Orb notes this proves that the machine works, which opens myriad other possibilities for its use.

Son-of-Gaia waits for the probability to come... hovering over the changing Orb almost ghoulishly with knife in hand. As soon as the change is complete he says, "You might feel a sting," before launching his attack to cut the top of the Orb-o-lantern.

Mouse grins and reaches up for one of those shinning stars high above just on the off chance...

Son-of-Gaia sees her reaching. “Ha! That might not work... I've limited the effect to just some of the space on the surface of this plate.”

Mouse blinks as a falling star shoots through the sky, but slumps as her hand comes up empty. “Well it was worth a try...”

Orb is disturbingly silent for, despite what others might think, this did most certainly did hurt. Not quite as much as losing a limb, but there is some pain involved. It's possible the spheroid had even passed out for a time, its last thought being about just how much this machine had caused it to expand.

Son-of-Gaia cackles madly as he hollows out the fresh gourd... piling the guts near the table. "I wish he could say something... I wanted to know what kind of face he'd like... oh well." Moving with speed he guts the pumpkin and soon is cutting a happily grinning face. The dark sculptor chuckles and lights the candle, setting it inside and replacing the top, "Behold!" he announces. "The Orb-o-lantern!"

Mouse’s face lights up. “Wicked!”

Orb moans, "It is finished then?"

Son-of-Gaia asks, “Now...how fast can you get this into the center of town for all to behold?”

Mouse grins. “How long will the effect last?”

Son-of-Gaia replies, “It should last as long as he's on the plate... once Halloween is over we can take it off... but I dunna think he'll last that long on there.”

Mouse nods. “What if some delinquents like Purps and Thrasher decide to go smashing pumpkins? Oh, I get it... they'd be taking him off the plate... their funeral... tehehehe..."

Son-of-Gaia nods back. “Then it will take as long as it did for him to become a pumpkin for everything to go back to 1:1 odds.”

Orb asks, "Do either of you have a mirror present? Or some other type of reflective surface?"

Mouse takes the compact out of her backpack and holds it up for the Orb to see.

Son-of-Gaia hops a bit, the peers to see if the face is animated.

Orb admires self. "Ah, nicely done mage." Indeed, the mouth does move as well as the eyes, the now Orb-o-lantern going through various expressions.

Mouse twitches. “So you want me to set it in town somewhere?”

Son-of-Gaia celebrates. “Bwahahahahaha! The improbable has been achieved! Umm oh yes... where ever he'd get the best exposure... we might have to replace the candle every so often.”

Mouse smirks. “How about the courtyard in front of the DDSTV Tower... give him something to zap as the Danger Dolts come and go...”

Orb chuckles at the idea. "Yes, yes. That sounds wonderful."

Mouse smirks and picks up the plate, hailing a taxi to take her to Messick Street, where she places the Orb-o-lantern as the centerpiece in the Halloween display there. She stands back to admire the dark mage's work, feeling it was a very successful evening indeed.

Son-of-Gaia 's work is done. With some pride he dismantles the rest of the Drive. He babbles as he works. “And they called me mad... hehe... who’s mad now?”

******

Mouse smirks as the cab drops her at Messick Street where she places the newly created Orb-o-lantern as the centerpiece in the Halloween display there in front of the DDSTV Tower.

Orb is now known as Orb-o-Lantern.

Mouse stands back to admire the dark mage's work. "Be sure to zap the Danger Dolts for me when they go by!"

The grotesque orange face grins sinisterly. "I certainly will!"

Mouse grins and gives the Orb a thumbs-up before heading back to her trailer at the circus, wearing the Star of India as a symbol of her dream, to someday steal the twinkling stars from the sky above.

(Oct 2009)