An incident occurred today. Two of the CoLs in the study got into a fight. I heard a commotion and the building shaking then screams. When I arrived there was visible damage to the side of the main building, two sets of giant footprints pressed into the soil and grass outside, and two very horrified CoLs apologizing profusely to Book. Ebony and Spine have refused to say what happened other than that they had an argument that was broken up by Book. Neither will tell me what Book did. I've asked Book and they only said they 'dealt with it' and that 'Ebony and Spine won't be a problem again.' I'm concerned they've threatened Ebony and Spine, although that doesn't seem very much like Book. What could possibly scare someone with powers like these? What was it that Book did?
CoL Case Study 0001 Notes of Doctor Rose Hailu, October 10, 2029
I didn't set an alarm, which is good. I'm already confused enough waking up in an unfamiliar apartment. It would have been worse if I had woken more suddenly. I roll around in bed for a moment before I remember this one is bigger than I'm used to and just sit up.
The bedroom is pretty bare bones. There's a chair and desk in one corner next to the sliding doors for the balcony. The bed is a simple queen with a plain wooden headboard and a small side table next to it with a lamp on it. I need to get a bookcase. I don't own a lot but at least three of my twelve boxes are full of books. The strangest thing about this apartment, as well as the other CoL apartment building I looked up, is the presence of a large mirror on one wall of the bedroom. It doesn't cover the whole wall but it is still the largest mirror I've seen in a house before. It looks like it would be more fit for a dance studio.
I'm going to cover it up with a curtain or something when I have the time. Will put curtains on the sliding door windows as well. Maybe get some plants.
All that can wait.
The bacon I bought fries up just like any other bacon. I've just sat down with a plate of scrambled eggs and not too crispy bacon when the doorbell rings. I jump a bit before composing myself, shoveling a couple fork-fulls of food into my mouth, swallowing a gulp of orange juice and wiping my mouth on my pajama sleeve.
I get to the door just as the bell rings again. I don't bother looking out the peephole and just open it. It's not like there's anyone here that could cause me any problems.
Eterna smiles at me weakly. To my surprise she's still in her Basic form. She's got one hand behind her.
"Sorry for yesterday," she says as she shoves a plastic wrapped muffin in my face. "Please, take this."
"Come on in, Eterna," I say as I take the muffin.
She enters and I shut the door.
"I'm so sorry."
I hold up a hand. "I get that it was embarrassing and everything right now is very nerve-wracking but it's okay. Really." I look at the muffin then back to her. "You get any sleep last night? Or did you just cook non-stop?"
"Bake," she says. "I baked, and I didn't do it all night long. I went to sleep about three or so." She sniffs the air. "Is that bacon?"
"Yeah, I bought some yesterday."
She winces. "I don't eat bacon."
"That's fine," I say. I start to head back down the small entry way to my kitchen then stop. "Do you mind if I finish my bacon?"
"Yeah, just don't make me eat it."
"No problem there," I say.
I finish eating quickly and follow my eggs and bacon with the muffin. It's banana nut and very good. I have a feeling it's not made from a box mix either.
"This is amazing," I say.
"Thanks, it's vegan," Eterna explains.
"You drank regular milk yesterday," I say.
"I'm not vegan, the muffin is. I'm trying some new recipes."
"You did an excellent job," I commend. "Thank you again."
Eterna nods then looks down again. "Listen, you might want to stay inside today. There's a thing going on out front you should avoid."
I raise an eyebrow.
"Okay, so you know this is a CoL exclusive apartment building but there's some groups that don't even like the name 'Children of Loki' even if they themselves have powers, right?"
"I've heard about them," I say with a nod.
"One of those groups, the Children of our Lord, is doing a little protest thing out front again. It's Sunday, after all," Eterna explains. "I'm not even going to shift today so I don't get on their radar."
I finish the last bite of my muffin.
I've heard of Children of our Lord, also known as 'CooLs' rather than Children of Loki or 'CoLs.' They're largely people who gained powers that don't like the idea of those powers possibly being tied to a pagan religion. I've never seen one in person nor met one. They're not the sort of people who sign up for the studies I did.
In fact, the last thing I read about them was how they had, somehow, become even more misogynistic. Even before I gained powers ten years ago that sort of thing seemed weird to me. How could someone think they were better than someone else because of their gender? It makes as little sense as racism or queerphobia.
Shit, my powers make more sense and we still haven't fully figured out how they work.
I kinda want to go stare at them.
"What is that look?" Eterna finally asks me after I've been quiet for far too long.
"What look?" I ask.
"I've known you for less than a day and I can already tell you're thinking of doing something bad," Eterna says.
"I wont do anything bad," I say.
If they show up regularly I can stare at them on another day.
"So, what's fun to do here in Austin?"
Eterna smiles. "Give me a beer and I'll tell you."
"Not a chance," I say.
"Fine. Usually I stay in on Sundays to avoid the CooLs. They don't always stay at the front of the building. We've had a couple sneak in a few times," she explains.
"Since you moved here?" I ask.
She's only had her powers for four months. Even if she moved in here immediately after becoming a CoL that's an alarming number of intrusions.
"Mind if I ask when you moved in?"
"Two months ago."
"How many times have these people broken in?" I ask incredulously.
"They didn't 'break in' they snuck in. I think there's maybe two of them who've gotten into the building maybe six times," Eterna explains. "I'm not certain. Once was during a party, but that was multiple guys."
"What did they do when they got in?"
"A couple times they just harassed people, once they smeared eggs all over a hallway. I think one time they spray-painted some stuff."
That's gonna be annoying. People sure can be assholes.
I shut my eyes and breath a calming breath in and out.
"If they do that again, let me know." I say.
"Okay?" Eterna replies.
I don't know what I'll do but I've got to make sure it's not illegal. I'm supposed to be helping Detective Windgate tomorrow.
The laws can be a teeny bit gray when it comes to CoLs policing one another. Gods know the cops have done a shit job of it in the past. They still aren't great even if a few departments now have CoLs on staff or even on patrol. Thankfully, I'm licensed to use my powers for just about anything under the sun, so if there is another CooL or group of them that sneaks in I should be able to deal with it.
"Has anyone ever fought back?" I ask.
"What? When the Cools sneak in?"
"Not really, no. We all go in our rooms and lock the doors until the go away," Eterna says.
I get my phone out. "Let's exchange numbers, okay? You can call me if they show up again."
"You're not gonna fight them, are you?"
I let out a bit of a snort. "No, of course not."
I may, however, just grab every single one of them at the same time, pin them to the floor, and wait for someone to come pick them up for trespassing and harassment.
My apartment didn't come with a trashcan. I've put my eggshells and stuff from breakfast, as well as the cracked plastic bowl, in one of the shopping bags from yesterday to throw away.
The grocery store is bound to have a trashcan and bags, maybe even sheets that will fit my new bed. I write those on a small grocery list I fold and put in my pocket.
I toss the bag of trash in the dented can in the courtyard. Then look over the previously domed canister and body of the can a bit. The golden yellow paint has cracked where Eterna tripping over it bent the metal. It's actually a bit more warped than I thought. Maybe someone else smacked it in the night?
It doesn't really matter.
I pull the lid up and use my powers to strengthen my body enough to pop the metal back into its proper shape. Then I pull the internal can out and bump the exterior body back out into a cylinder shape with my palm. Some more of the paint flakes off after I've reshaped and reassembled the can. Now maintenance only has to repaint, so hopefully I've saved someone a bit of trouble.
There are not many people in the courtyard. Most everyone's staying inside, it seems. I can see movement through the balcony sliding doors and such here and there. A few people walk from the grocery store to the interior security doors to go back up to their homes.
That would be an easy way to sneak in, just slip behind someone who finished shopping. Little Asgard Heights has gates that one needs to use their key card and ID to unlock before entering. Yesterday I kept having to buzz in the moving people as we carried things up to my apartment. The exterior gates are classic metal bars with a computer keypad that scans the key and CoL ID of the resident. The bars are tall and reach nearly to the ceiling of the entry hallway. A skilled CoL could easily slip between the metal posts, under them, or even above them. There are lots of ways I can think of to get around that 'security' measure. The interior security doors have a similar keypad setup but a heavy metal door instead of metal bars. The door is taller than what was standard ten years ago. It's really the only larger-than-standard door I've seen in the building. There are two such entries on either of the long walls of the building and two more on the shorter ones. Going in these doors leads one to a small foyer area that becomes stairs leading up to the second floor and down to the garage. A third door on the longer walls of the courtyard leads to an elevator that can take a person to the underground parking garage, second, or fourth floor since the apartments are each two stories. I try to memorize the layout of the building in case there's some emergency.
CoLs may have supernatural powers of transformation but we're still human and most of us can't do more than change their hair color or give themself elf ears.
It's a beautiful day and would be relaxing to be out in the courtyard if it wasn't for all the screaming. I can see why everyone's staying in their apartments.
The CooL protest? Gathering? Church service? Is still underway in front of the building, almost directly across from the cafe, Freya's. I get a latte and a croissant. The table I pick is near enough the window to see the people with paper signs and posters on sticks lingering in a loose mass across the street.
on a public sidewalk not on the property for Little Asgard Heights so
there's little our building management can do. The signs say things
like "REPENT," "CooLs are Cool!" and "God
Gave You Those Powers!" Their chants don't make much sense
either, but then their whole deal is pretty weird.
A few of them have fake halos above their heads held up by springs on headbands, while at least one has shifted to have small angel wings growing from their shoulder blades and a ring of light behind their head attached at the base of their skull. I sit long enough to watch the person return to Basic form momentarily before shapeshifting to once again have turkey sized feathery white wings on their back and a halo. They're at least a Class B though I wasn't aware many of them could do something like a ring of light.
The leftover fluid in the bottom of my paper cup is starting to dry when my phone chimes with a message from Detective Windgate. It's a hotel room and time to meet him early tomorrow morning. I text back that I'll be there, wondering why he wants to meet at a hotel. According to his website his office is on the other side of town. Maybe the hotel is a bit closer to the client? Whatever. It can wait.
I clean my table, throw my trash away, then head to the grocery store to buy some new sheets and a trash can.
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