Grant woke around 10. He checked on their captive guest, delivered him breakfast in the Moon Knight suit and took his preferences for his Keno City accommodation, and took both his breakfast tray and the tray from the previous night back upstairs.
When the elevator finally got there, he pulled the mask off and was greeted by Jean Paul and Marlene, who had since woken up themselves. Samuels was also up and about.
“So what exactly is the plan here?” DuChamp asked.
“See for yourselves.” Spector grunted, handing over the paperwork.
“Keno Cit-- you’re building him a house?”
“It’ll keep him from killing anyone and will allow him to have a life of his own. Besides, what do we care, we’ve all got free accommodation here. Who are we to be bothered by any of this?”
Jean Paul raised an eyebrow at this response. Marlene hit him when Spector wasn’t looking.
“That’s not the big issue though. It’s over 3,000 miles away and we’re transporting a dead man with no papers.”
“Maybe we should just buy a really big dog carrier…” Marlene quipped.
“I’ll prep the chopper…”
“It’s too high profile. I’ve got jamming equipment that covers the Mooncopter’s tracks in and out of the hangar for several miles. But if we fly him all the way out to where we’re keeping him…”
“We’ll be leading whoever abducted him directly where we’d be moving him… OK. That would be less than ideal.” DuChamp accepted.
“We’ve-- we need to drive him out there. We need to smuggle him out and get him passable papers. Talk our way through the border and…”
Samuels nodded at him.
“I don’t think I can talk my way through border… even Canada’s.”
Samuels directed him to the wall at the end of the hallway. “Sir. You know what you need.”
Grant looked nervous. The unknown.
“There’s no need to be scared, sir. I make a habit of forcing the first two on you. To become an entire other person, like Spector, or to be have one that your existing personality doesn’t much care for and conflicts with… that’s one thing. But this final one. That’s what completes you. He’s what brings the other two together. Allows you to find common ground with yourself. He’s the straw that stirs the drink. This needs to be your decision.”
Samuels shoved something into his hands.
Grant looked down and saw a peak cap and a fake moustache.
“What if I do this - I make myself whole - and I still don’t like what I see?”
“Sir, we work every day until we do. If I’m not mistaken, I think that’s what this Moon Knight business has been all about.”
Grant looked up from the hat and moustache and nodded. He looked down the hallway at the false wall at the end of the hallway. The hidden portal to a world belonging to neither Grant, nor Spector and then looked at the closer “side wall” of the hall. A large mirror hung above an antique table and he looked at himself. A man who saw himself as a wealthy philanthropist, wearing a vigilante’s costume, whilst a soldier’s mentality squirmed and writhed within him. On top of the table sat an old antique set of Russian nesting dolls, all stacked within each other with the top halves resting all around.
In a house full of bought antiques, this one actually belonged to his mother. Grant smirked, imagining he must know how the dolls felt for that very moment.
“You know the words, sir. And the name of the man you are looking for is Jake Lockley.”
“Thank you, Samuels.”
“You’re more than welcome, sir.”
Steven Grant walked to the end of the hallway and pulled open the door. The world gave way to the small, mess of a home. Grant removed his Moon Knight suit and got dressed in this Lockley’s clothes. He donned the hat and false moustache, before looking for one last thing.
In a bowl on the kitchen counter, he grabbed a set of keys.
Grant got himself comfortable, looked at the edge of the kitchen countertop and moved further away, to be sure he wouldn’t hit his head. Held his keys to his side and closed his eyes as if he was performing dark magic and let the words come.
“Jake Lockley. Maa Kheru.”
His spine straightened. Eyes flickered. And he fell to the floor.
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In a space between places the man in white fell. He landed with a solid bump, despite the desert sands. He was in a perfectly white suit, tailored immaculately as if by the gods themselves. With an all white face as well, marked with a crescent on his forehead that denoted his patron, he was helped up from the sand by two men, a man in desert camouflaged military fatigues and a man in a pristine black three-piece suit. The man in white dusted himself off and adjusted his suit. The other man in the black suit held his hand out in an “OK” gesture, with a heavy preening smirk on his face. They began to walk.
The traveller in white walked the cosmic sands with the soldier and the man in the black suit until they came upon another. One with the head of a jackal took his hand.
And just as Khonshu would assist many in finding their path, the jackal-headed Anubis led the Traveller in the white suit, the Marine and the man in the black suit to exactly where they needed to be.
There were a set of scales with no marketplace. A ship which sailed the cosmic winds with an audience of deities. A beast. And the scribe.
Anubis walked to the scales and removed the pure white feather of Ma’at. He asked the Traveller in White for a request so politely that he could never refuse, and with permission granted, tore the Traveller’s head off and rested it on one side of the scales where the feather had once been. The man in the black suit re-adjusted the Traveller in white’s tie, before offering another “OK” gesture once satisfied.
Anubis called and Khonshu brought forth what had been requested.
It was a small doll dressed in street clothes, with a ratty little peak cap and moustache. It wriggled between the grasp of both gods’ touch. It ran on rationale, and the reality principle. It was patient and perceptive. The Marine smiled, at last an ally against the whiny man in the suit. The man in the suit smiled, finally, someone who might allow him to get through to the Marine and his primal desires The headless man in white held him in reassurance.
Anubis held the doll at an arm’s distance. Ammut licked her crocodile lips.
Anubis dropped the doll onto the scales, and then set to work adjusting the scales.
The sides reached balance. Thoth nodded his ibis head to the god of death. He picked the head up off of the scales and threw it back to the Traveller in White. The soldier stepped in front and caught the head comfortably. The man in the black suit, cleared his blank face of cosmic dust and desert sands. He handed it to the man in white who held his forearm in thanks and gave the “OK” sign with his other hand. Anubis threw the doll to Khonshu who approached his avatar. His chosen one.
The Traveller re-attached his own head. To do otherwise would be impolite in the company of gods. Khonshu approached.
The god of the Moon grabbed the Traveller in White by the back of his head, his head snapped back as he screamed silently. His mouth opened from the god’s shockingly strong grip. The god held the figure above the Traveller’s gaping maw, the instant seemed to last for a minute. The fall seemed to last forever.
Jake Lockley felt himself being consumed. He felt himself consume. He once again had form.
The body was whole once more.
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Lockley awoke on the floor of his apartment and for a fraction of a second, before his memories started to come back to him, he had wondered what the Hell he’d been drinking the night before.
He walked through the fake wall to return to the others.
“Marc, are you alright?” Marlene had asked.
He’d turned and looked into the mirror.
“Not just yet, but I will be.”
He left the mansion and got into his yellow cab, going to one of his most familiar haunts - Gina’s Diner, making one stop on the way.
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“Get outta here with that damn teabag, Crawley! It probably has a better memory of the flies that hang around yo’ ass than the last time it saw any tea leaves in it!” Gina yelled, getting frustrated by one of her most loyal regulars incessant requests to stretch a single tea bag into a year-long investment.
“I assure you, the flavour remains infused within, Gina my good lady. Just one more cup of--”
“Throw out the bag, Gina. I’ve got a whole box of teabags here with the name Bertrand Crawley written all over it!”
“Jake, my boy!” Crawley lit up, revitalized at the sight of his friend.
“Lockley! I haven’t seen your bony white ass around here in f’rever! Sit yo’ ass down. Coffee’s comin’ right up! You want pie with that too?”
“Nah. Shelve the pie, Gina. Is Legs Leinhart in?”
“Legs? The Hell you want with Legs?! Don’t you go draggin’ my boys into any of this business with Legs, now!”
As if on cue Ricky and Ray rounded the corner and greeted Lockley with excitement.
“Hey did that job the other day all work out for you Jake? We painted the cameras just like Jeeves asked!”
“And I trust he was able to recover his limousine fully functional and in one piece as well?”
“Painted the cam--? The Hell’d you drag my boys into Lockley?!”
“I assure you I have no idea what you’re talking about. Now Legs, Gina. Is he here?”
“Booth at the back…” She swatted him with a tea towel as he made his way there. “And leave my boys out of this!”
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A yellow cab pulled up to the border crossing station connecting between Washington state. It was further, but Lockley felt it more plausible if he were ferrying Jack Russell - now Charles Prince, courtesy of the identity papers provided by one Michael “Legs” Leinhart - across the border to Vancouver. Once he was in, he rest would be easy, so a lot would ride on the choice of crossing point.
”Hello there!” Said the border official.
“Hi!” Lockley drew his driver’s licence and showed the matching cab registration. “Just ferryin’ this guy across the border to Vancouver.”
“He got papers, yah?”
“Charles Prince” produced his driver’s licence and handed it to the official. Who gave it the briefest of looks, more cars coming in behind them.
“Vancouver, eh? That’s a pretty steep fare.”
“You know how it is, some people have more money than sense…”
“Well, you’re all good to go then…”
And that had been it. For all the panic and rigamarole of crossing international borders, the total experience could be measured in painless seconds, and it mostly came down to choosing a crossing point and driving out of his way.
The rest was just Lockley and the open rode. For over a thousand miles of open road. Jack Russell put his seat back and started to sleep. They’d driven a long way already. The Keno City Hotel awaited. At least for 2 weeks until his new home could be built.
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