: Just Another MondayAuthor
: Jedi ButtercupRating
: The words are mine; the worlds are not.Summary
: The stranger was several inches taller than Jo, brown-haired and blue-eyed and scruffy around the jaw line, and fortunately a lot more British-sounding than Zane or she might have wondered just what message the universe was trying to send her.
: Post-series for Angel; spoilers for Eureka Season 4Notes
: For the 2014 August Ficathon, and an FFA prompt. The previous ficlet reminded me how fond I was of this show once, so. *shakes fist at SyFy* Sort of an AU for episode 5.2 (where in my head, the Astraeus project went as planned). And... something else.
Jo Lupo slowly lowered her borrowed weapon, breathing hard as the adrenaline of the unexpected fight seemed to dump in her system all at once. One minute she'd been walking along the scenic highway that ran along the coast, headed for the nearest small town so she could do something about her towed car, and the next....
She glanced over at the man who'd come barreling out of the woods, chased by a pack of-- whatever those horned, green-skinned creatures actually were-- and nearly run her over. He was wearing jeans, a button-up shirt, and a brown leather jacket worn at the elbows; he was several inches taller than her, brown-haired and blue-eyed and scruffy around the jaw line, and fortunately a lot more British-sounding than Zane or she might have wondered just what message the universe was trying to send her. He'd registered her presence about two seconds before he would have slammed into her, then grabbed her arm without a pause, pulling her after him to crouch behind a boulder several steps off the road.
He'd had two pistols in his hands. And just as Jo was winding up to ask him what the hell
he thought he was doing, he'd asked her if she knew how to use one, winced at the sound of cracking branches behind them, then passed it over and drew a sword
out of his sleeve to replace it. Cue mayhem the likes of which she had not seen since leaving Eureka.
"Wow," she said, shaking her head to clear it. "That was... so not the message I was expecting from the universe. You do this kind of thing often?"
"I don't seem able to escape it," he said dryly, gesturing sharply with his arm in a way that somehow made the sword disappear again. Then he holstered his gun as well, and held out a hand for the matching one he'd loaned her. "Do you normally walk along a highway expecting messages from personifications of inanimate entities?"
Jo swallowed, strangely reluctant to give up the feel of a weapon in her hands again after weeks without one, and slowly gave it over. "Not really. But I'm kind of at a crossroads in my life, and a friend suggested I go on walkabout, so...." She trailed off at the look on his face. "And you don't care about that any more than that trooper. Look, do you have a cell phone on you? It's a little embarrassing, but I didn't bring one of those with me either, and I'd kind of like to get my car back sometime today."
He paused at her words, studying her with a little more appreciation, then glanced toward the mound of slowly disintegrating bodies. Which, yuck
. "As a matter of fact, I don't; I suppose you could say I'm on a form of walkabout as well. Attempting to recapture a more carefree phase in my life, after a rather convincing near-death experience led me to reevaluate my choices. Do you normally carry a weapon, then? "
Jo sighed. Of course
he didn't have a phone. That would have made things too easy.
"Former Army Ranger; former deputy sheriff of a small town; former head of security at a high-tech research firm. Currently reevaluating my
choices for... reasons I really don't want to get into with a stranger. So what were
those monsters? I've never seen anything like them, and I've seen a lot
of things in my day." She inched closer to the bodies, waving her hand in front of her nose and wincing at the god-awful scent. They seemed to be actively rotting as she watched, turning into a spreading pool of putrid, pungent ooze. Taggart would have been having a field day.
Mr. Mystery finished reholstering the second gun, then came to stand beside her, staring down at the viscous mess. "I don't suppose you would believe me if I said they were an escaped experiment from an Army research project known as the DRI?" he suggested, wryly.
"Former Army Ranger. And head of security at a high-tech research firm," she repeated, equally wryly. "So you could
just tell me it's classified, and spare me the runaround?"
"I suppose I could," he shrugged. "It might even be true, for all I know." Then he extended his hand again, empty this time but for the calluses on his palm. "Your government is
aware of their existence, after all, though I have no formal association with them. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce."
"Jo Lupo." She shook the offered hand with a frown. "If that's true, why are you
the one out here taking care of the problem? Why not call in the cavalry?"
"Do you really want the answer to that question?" Wesley replied, lifting an eyebrow.
Jo eyed him again, then the puddle that was all that remained of their attackers, then out at the ocean, lapping at the shoreline down the slope from the highway. "I asked the universe to enlighten me today. And it gave me... you. And... those things. So, yeah, I think I want the answer."
"It'll change the way you view reality."
"Just like every day, back in Eureka. Stop stalling."
"Very well." He cracked a smile at that, and it converted his grim expression to something almost... magnetic. Mixed messages there, universe?
"It begins like this: the world is older than you know...."