Ayla and the Birthday Brawl is the eighth Ayla story by Diane Castle, leading up to the third brawl with the Necromancer and associated goons in Boston. It's preceded by Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy and followed by Ayla and the Mad Scientist.
Chapter 1 - The Legend of the Red Cross KnightEdit
The Vindicators get taken down by Phase in a Red Team exercise. Fey, Tennyo, Lancer, and Diamondback also are successful as Red Team, making a clean sweep. Tennyo is still pretty shaky; it's been a week since the sim hijacking, and she's just now back in Team Tactics I. Shroud ran the Dark Tennyo sim that Elite League was run through by Gunny Bardue.
Lancer and such really pound on Tennyo not being the Star Stalker, that the Star Stalker was a construct, an emotionless, conscienceless thing, and while Billie may have the Star Stalker's memories now, and a lot of her powers, she's still Billie.
Twilight gets dissed. Embarrassing incidents in various people's past are alluded to. Tennyo makes a joke! (She's getting better, yay!)
Phase is throwing a Birthday Party for himself on Saturday, January 27th. In Boston. At Harrison's Restaurant. And is starting to invite a large number of students. There are those who think this may be pushing their luck, I mean, Boston? Travel by chartered jet, limos, reserved restaurant, the works. Casual dress, no uniforms. No presents. Team Kimba is invited, they each get to bring a guest (or two), plus additional invites by Ayla (inventors, classmates, other friends).
Vox is a go. Mega-Death, on the other hand, is thrilled, then, just shuts down and says can't go; too likely he'd 'drick out, even if he was willing to risk it they'd not let him. Jericho bows out; has OC plans already. Malachi talks about how Phase' 'tood has toned down by orders of magnitude since first grade. She-Beast bows out.
Thuban bows out.
Fantastico shows up with his posse to get in Phase' face about going to Boston for a party. Phase incites to riot, although it doesn't happen. Tennyo and Fey call him on it; he admits to being slightly upset about the food.
Inspired, he orders food in. Dinner with Vox. Brought in from Portland, OR, by warper express. The J-Team will serve.
The Don is called by Hekate's Master, who knows about the trip to Boston. Instructions are given; call The Necromancer, inform him of this opportunity. The Don is pleased; to know already, Hekate's Master must be a student at Whateley...
Darrow visits with Hekate. Who's been reading his books, again. Without permission. And with the wards on her living space overwhelming the protections on his books. And somehow she's immune to the normal effects of reading them. They discuss sundry things, and plot. There will be a warm welcome for Team Kimba when they come to Boston...
Chapter 2 - The Legend of Sir GuyonEdit
Ayla thinks about what Summer break might be like for some of the students, and what he could do to make it better.
Ayla gets ready for dinner. The Great Pyramid of Giza was less carefully planned.
Jinn (actually Jasmine) shows up as six white gloves. Ayla explains what to do.
Dinner is... Dinner is an exquisite affair, to be savored and remembered long after it ended. Both for the food and the company.
And now, what we've been waiting for: The January 20, 2007 Golden Kids Soirée! Well, not quite, there's still setup to go. And waitresses to arrive and change into skimpy French Maid outfits. Vox. Fey and Tennyo. Chaka. Jade and Jinn. Mega-Girl and Delta Spike.
Glitch, not unexpectedly, is the first to arrive. Operation Sober Overload is a go!
The party goes... well. The guests are appreciative, of the food, the Prosecco, the wait staff. Except, of course, Traduce. Who gets silenced. By Fey. Everyone is disappointed, the spell is lifted when she leaves.
Tabby makes arrangements with Jade and the chefs for the February party.
Ayla goes home. None of his hair is growing back. Is his body growing more feminine? Will he have a girl's puberty? Is he paying for the attitudes he had? Are his changing attitudes OK, or is he a moral weather-vane going with what is convenient? How would he have treated Jonathan if he'd manifested, not Trevor?
Chapter 3 - The Legend of Britomart, or of ChastityEdit
Not unexpectedly, we start out with a nightmare.
And then, abuse in the showers. From some because he had Poe girls serving in slinky outfits, from others because they weren't asked.
And then... oh just tons of folks wanting to go or getting in his face about Boston. Man, sometimes it takes forever to get out of the caff!
Aries reports to Phase about the sim attack; no joy, no one knows anything new.
More coprophages visit during lunch. Goodkind Family Compound defenses are discussed.
Hydroflux does her demo; Bugs adds sound deadening devises. Ayla is thanked by the girls.
Tea Party! And then everyone is part of Miss Goodkind's Staff on the phone with Bunny. Bunny's finished the improvements to Ayla's costume's headgear. Yay!
And Techwolf has finished the adamantium tactical baton. Yay again!
Off to have Larry the Sim Tech enter the new gear in. And then to visit Wunderkind for forcefield madness. Ouch!
Dinner. Another dinner with Vox. Nifty foodtasticness.
And then kisses with Vanessa. Awww!
Chapter 4 - The Legend of Cambel and Triamond, or of FriendshipEdit
The Hydroflux system is not for men. 'Nuff said. Ouch!
Contrary to Hank's understanding, Eggs Benedict are not Egg MacMuffins. Like, ick, OK?
And... The IPO happens without a hitch. Marvel Entertainment Incorporated is up and running.
Team Tactics I Red Team analysis. Omega Squad: Teamwork, what is this thing called Teamwork? The Vindicators: Kismet: I duz leadership güd! And then... Team Kimba vs. Crucible! In an old lair of his, that Delta Spike told them about... mwa-ha-ha! Armed with advance intelligence they overcome all obstacles, including Crucible himself. Mwa-ha-ha!
And that worries Gunny and Sam. They weren't supposed to make it through intact. They were supposed to learn they weren't invincible. How to teach them that before one of them dies for real? Permanently, not coming back due to scary regen, but dead dead.
Hunting. Trevor's hunting trip, and why Ayla really isn't comfortable with lethal weaponry. But maybe non-lethal rounds, depending upon how accurate his shooting is now.
Screech succeeds in speaking, she's developed enough control over her talent to do so. She's a lot of practice ahead of her, but it can be done. Then she can learn the dark magics Bloodworm wanted her to learn.
He gathers up lunch, such as it is, and prepares for his meeting with Lady Astarte.
Chapter 5 - The Legend of Artegal, or of JusticeEdit
Lunch is... sad. Just pretty pathetic. A few bites of the best, and throw the rest away sad.
Shakespeare, watching the Ashland Shakespeare Festival performance of Much Ado About Nothing.
Silver Serpent desires that Ayla inform Chou that her message has been delivered. As in the Handmaid of the Tao's message to the Iron Dragon. Quyèn Nũ, overhearing, comes to understand that the Handmaid of the Tao again walks the Earth, and is Phase' roommate. Semi-freak time. Ayla's assurances about what a great roommate she is don't seem to have any effect.
Ayla relays Silv's message, and informs Chou that Quyèn Nũ is now aware of who she is.
Dunn Hall for dinner. There a little early, so asking Aquerna and Prism to come along, they said yes. Phobos is invited, and Jericho finally admits he'll go. Then off to eat the special treat Paloma handed him!
Baton testing. No, not that! Testing the adamantium baton against Destiny's Wave, Spinner, Malachim's Feather, Hank's PK swords. DW could slice through, if she had to, but good for practice, the rest can't harm it. Woo hoo! Billie's anti-matter sword? Not on your life!
Thuban calls, the BIT-slicer is on for Wednesday at eight. Time to call Peril to let him know. And go meet with Peril. Peril's really excited. Really excited about how Ayla just majorly grew his family's business as part of the Marvel distribution network.
When Ayla gets back, Chief Delarose and Circe are in his room. Something's up. The Tong of the Black Madonna has left a threatening note for The Handmaid of the Tao. Circe has him sense for the feel of their magic, and he succeeds; a very icky miasma. Team Kimba assembles and goes off to see the Headmistress. Who says things will be taken care of, don't go cowboy on her, thank you very much.
Dark emo Ayla, waiting to fall asleep. Threats to families, BIT-slicer possibilities. Then nightmares once he finally fell asleep.
Sharisha notices he's a little down, and goes for the kill. Bad move. The response, while only verbal, is devastating.
Team Tactics I. Everyone's tense, so the review of the Crucible sim gets a tad touchy. Then Outcast Corner gets owned by Jade. OK, so it's a tie, technically. Chou destroys Omega Squad, but at cost to her mental stability, given how she did it. See Five Elements Dancing: Book of the Fire for details.
Sun Wu Kong shows up for lunch. Nothing happens!
Accounting studying and ruminations about being raised a Goodkind.
Monolith. The new superhero around Whateley. Asking to take Ayla out to dinner. Awkward! And he's Loophole's younger brother. See The Secret of the Forger's List: Part 3 for another take on this incident (Stronghold, the new superhero around Whateley).
Dinner. Scrumptious gifts from the chefs. But wait! Who's joining them for dinner? Oh ****, it's !
Chapter 6 - The Legend of Calidore, or of CourtesyEdit
Sun Wu Kong. Again. Ayla gets two bites of Calzone, and one of the Meringue Tart. Sun eats the rest. Ayla gets... testy. Leave before trying to kill someone testy. Ayla tells Sun to bus her tray, since she ate the dinner, and sinks through the floor, and thence home. To reheat leftovers.
Zenith calls, can Ayla come up and visit Shrike? She's hopping all over the place because of how the IPO is going. Ka-Boing! Shrike gabbles about how she can go to a good college now, and live in a nice apartment, and eat real food, not ramen, and... well, you can guess. And Zoe says Sahar is pretty happy, too. Ayla tells Zoe & Shrike about how Warren Buffett sent him a Ferrari for his twelfth birthday. It was a candy apple red Ferrari Enzo worth about $800,000.
When Ayla returns to his room Sun is there. Playing on his computer. Wearing a pair of his silk pajamas, with a hole for her tail. Storm clouds gather. Metaphorical storm clouds, it's not Fey getting upset. Sun makes him look in his refrigerator. There, in containers, are six halves of the Lemon Meringue Tarts. All for Ayla. And a bag containing 15 kilograms of the Eight Immortals' special tea. All for Ayla. Despite himself, Ayla mellows a bit. Sun does good bribe. Sun then tries to cheer up Chou, with mixed success.
Dark emo Ayla again, with the nightmares.
Waiting for showers, Ayla talks with Pilar about languages, and why he knows so many compared to most Americans.
Breakfast. Meh. Sahar's freaked; the stock split, so the price is way down. Once explained, she's much better.
Team Tactics I. Omega Squad just doesn't get it. Outcast Corner does. ROE & MOUT for supervillain pursuit, with examples. Don't be a Flying Bulldozer. Power Cats (Diva goes cowboy and gets killed), then Vindicators (Kismet gets sidelined, Sizemax does good!), then Team Kimba!
Reporters illegally obtain information concerning Ayla Goodkind, teen financier's background, confirming what had already been released. Exactly As Planned.
Jade sings J-Pop. Ayla complains. Jade speaks of befriending.
Dunn Hall. Lunch. Or something that claimed to be lunch. Blech.
Shakespeare: More of Much Ado About Nothing.
Chapter 7 - The Legend of Mutability, or of ChangeEdit
Chou is down. As in feeling down. Counterpoint and the New Olympians tried to take her down, she tromped them with the Tao, now maybe she's dragging Team Kimba into another conflict. Operation Cheer Up Chou goes into effect. Including good tea.
Talking with Vox. Reassured, Vox won't dump him if it succeeds.
Dinner. An insult to Mexico.
Paul calls. What they'd been talking about? He could free up 2.
While walking to the BIT-slicer lab, Ayla gives Peril job advice; how to make his fun activities pay for themselves. Devise/gadget testing as a paying proposition.
Ayla bluffs Kew out of more information. Then she prepares him for the BIT-slicer, which really grosses her out, handling boy parts (she's totally not ready for that type of thing). (Totally not, like backing away in horror not.)(And Ayla's boy package isn't small.)
So strapped into the BIT-slicer, away we go, spinning in circles! Meanwhile, back in the lab...
Hmm, eight bits? Twelve bits? All hacked apart and kludged together. And they'd thought Generator's bit was strange! Full Power! Ack! Poof! Burnt Resistor Smell!
And Kew's moved stuff around in the utility belt, gotta get that reorganized before he next needs it...
Kew had an idea. For dealing with Peeper. A charm or something so whenever he looked at a girl's privates, he saw a boy's privates, and big hairy boy bitch tits. Mwa-ha-ha! Ayla relays this to Nikki, as part of not thinking about the BIT-slicer not working for him. And Nikki makes them, with beads Ayla gets from Shove. The big denouement will be the following day at dinner, in the caff; the place for strategic strikes!
And then back to his room, where he finds Vox reading on his bed, and he sits and talks, and it all comes out, and he cries until he falls asleep, while Vox holds him.
Chapter 8 - The Legend of Amoret, or of FortitudeEdit
Phase wakes up to it being his 15th birthday, and muses on the fact that he's not all that the Bit Slicer failure isn't causing him a howling panic. He also thinks about a dozen other things that might have some future relevance.
At breakfast, Belle comes to ask Phase if the invitation is still open. It is, and she accepts it. Then she discovers the cute little schoolgirl she doesn't know is the Monkey King. She beats a very hasty retreat.
In Team Tactics I class, they discuss the previous day's assignments. Then Admiral Everhart discusses supervillain pursuit when the villains have a revenge motive and time to set something up. He uses the Twelve Jurors as an example. STAR League Jr is up first, and they get shot down first because they use the same tactics they've always used and walk right into the trap. Elite League is up against The Carnival, a theme supervillain team, and manages to pull out a win. Team Kimba gets creamed in their Red Team sim, losing four team members and not accomplishing the objective.
After class, the team discusses the Elite League sim (they missed most of the Star's sim because Gunny was yelling at them about maintaining com discipline the whole time). Then they go on their separate ways. Phase works on some stuff. Then there's a knock on the door, from someone who surprises the heck out of him.
Chapter 9 - The Legend of Arthur, or of MagnificenceEdit
It turns out to be Vox, who had just used the special features on the showers. The two of them have a very enjoyable time with Ayla's birthday present; Ayla is almost late to Martial Arts and has trouble keeping that silly grin off his face.
In Martial Arts, Phase is paired against Força, Shadowolf and then Sledge. He works on countering one of Sledge's favorite attacks. Then he's put against Aquerna and finally Chaka. After class, he discusses the mess with Bladedancer and the New Olympians with Judicator, and then estimates how long it's going to be before there's payback against whoever wound Counterpoint up and pointed him at Chou. Then he talks with Reach and Spark, makes some moves toward another development contract and passes the word to keep the yap shut about what they know about Poe Cottage.
Phase spends some time at Hawthorn Cottage. He tries out a new anti-telepath tactic on Fubar and visits Antenna, where they discuss the Brass Monkey poster. She coaches Static Girl on some math and then has to dodge Olympia. Then she does a bit of math coaching for Frostbite and tells her about AJG Consolidated. She drops in on Puppet and finishes up with a speed Scrabble match against Diz Aster.
Don Sebastiano gets some really bad intel from one of his stooges and recognizes it for what it is, but draws the wrong conclusion. Then he gets a call from Icer and weaves him into his plots to take over the Alphas again. Finally, he decides to use Reach as a cats-paw for some deep plot that will eventually lead him to Hekate's Master.
At dinner, Ayla gets a birthday present from the chefs, and then they do their attack on the Peeper. He runs from the cafeteria, horrified. They have a bit of a discussion with most of the Cape Squad, and then Ayla calls the incident in to Security himself.
The Necromancer reflects that the best use for Hekate may well be to watch the Sidhe curse unfolding and taking her. It promises to be fascinating. Then he has a conversation with Major Bert Spaulding of Yashvilikov’s Mercenary Forces about the upcoming battle.
Chapter 10 - The Legend of Scudamore, or of Truthfulness Edit
After dinner on Thursday, Team Kimba runs into the Bad Seeds, and collects a couple of congrats on the Peeper episode. Then Phase discusses contracts for fixing his BIT with Jobe Wilkins. They appoint Nephandus, She-Beast, Silver Serpent, Zenith and Diamondback as the negotiating team.
Back at Phase's room, Lancer and the rest of the team discuss the morning's sim run. Turns out Mule had really rubbed Lancer's nose in how badly he'd screwed up. Then they discuss a private vocabulary of signals based on the various battles they'd been in. Then they go over Damballah's prophecy. No Joy. They discuss marketing the sim technology. No joy there either, although Amelia Hartford had done a really major job on a couple of devisors who had broken in before it was fully operational. Then they give Ayla a prank birthday present. Ayla lets them see that she's set up a bit of retaliation.
Vox has a bad case of remorse over her birthday present, and Ayla has to hold her for a while.
At Roxbury, the Federal Paranormal Detention facility, Mimeo and the jailers continue negotiations to let him escape.
On Friday, Ayla retaliates for the prank before breakfast. Fey gets a subscription to a meat lovers magazine, and Generator gets a subscription to Dragonslayer III. Chaka gets a subscription to Nouns and Verbs, the New Magazine for English Lovers.
James gives Ayla a note to see Mrs. Carson ASAP. She almost manages to make decent contact with Ms. Hartford over the math tutoring programs before going in to see the Headmistress, but it falls apart.
Ayla has an interesting discussion with the Headmistress about the Peeper incident in which references to Loophole figure prominently. They also discuss, or rather the Headmistress attempts to avoid discussing, why the anti-bullying activity has been put in abeyance for the last couple of years. Something is going on, and Carson gives explicit orders not to investigate it. They also discuss the Tong of the Black Madonna's attack on Bladedancer, and Thuban's efforts with Faction 3.
In Team Tactics I, they discuss Team Kimba's performance with respect to facing villains who know everything you can do. Admiral Everheart mentions that Deathlist had been using a predictive simulation of Lady Astarte's movements in the fight. Then Gunny Bardue discusses Cordon and Search operations.
After class, Ayla gets a call that N'Dizi's been taken to the hospital. They make plans to try to keep the incident from breaking the truce between the Tigers and the Dragons. She buys a PFG from Spark, and then they discover something very strange in Fey and Chaka's room. Chou heads over to Security to check it out. She discusses the Chinese New Year preparations with Silver Serpent and Quyèn Nũ. Shakespeare class wasn't interesting. In Martial Arts, Sensei Ito pairs her with Tennyo.
Chapter 11 - The Legend of Florimell, or of WittinessEdit
Tennyo is limited to not using her powers in the match. Tennyo wins the first pass, and then things get a little too tense. Tennyo scrags Spark’s PFG with one punch. Then Tennyo manifests her sword and Phase tries to block it. Goodbye one adamantium tactical baton. There’s one heck of a cleanup mess, and Sensi Ito decides he’s going to have to limit what holdouts Phase can use in future.
The mystic symbols in Fey’s room turn out to be a fake-out for a surprise birthday party most of the floor throws for Phase in Jody's room. Lots of fun was had by all. Phase even admitted the birthday cake was edible.
After the party, Phase has to reassure some of the investors who’ve gotten the “too good to be true” syndrome about how well the stock is doing.
After dinner, she gets a new PFG from Spark, then talks to Mega-Death about the force field disrupter and has a meeting in her room to discuss the operation against the Tong of the Black Madonna. Phase’s summary: may not be a final win. Lancer agrees. Phase fills them in on the background of the DFA on the MIDs. Then they discuss Jade’s Radioactive Condor Suit idea.
Chapter 12 - The Legend of Talus, or of FortitudeEdit
The Necromancer prepares. The Felonious Four are going to crash a party. Sneaky Pete has some kind of an assignment. Major Spaulding is ready for a small horde of mutant teenagers of unspecified powers, with a dead-man switch that can blow the place to kingdom come. “Mr. Black” is ready for a museum assignment. Hekate finishes a prepared spell for the battle.
Separately, at Roxbury C, Mimeo is still stringing the Delahantys along.
At Whateley. Imperious and Prism have a bit of a discussion first; Imperious wants to get information on Tennyo. Phase has rented a specially equipped 767 for the plane flight. The MCO checkin at the airport goes smoothly. Samantha Everheart is startled when Ayla tells her of some of her preparations. Officer Trews and Officer Green are also along as security.
Phase calls Captain Tilly of the Boston SWAT teams, and fills him in on the plan. She gives him a number to call in an emergency to get extra paranormal help. Samantha calls Whateley and discovers that they’ve got a local emergency involving the Power Rangers and a Class X site, so Rev. Englund and Security are holding whatever it is off until the Mystic Arts faculty can put it back into its hole. They tell Samantha that they’ve got a prediction from Mrs. Potter.
“Mr. Black” and his crew: “Mr. Green,” “Mr. Brown,” and “Mr. White” break into the Richardson Clarke Gallery to steal several reliquaries. Sneaky Pete trails them in so he can set off the alarm, steal a scroll and do something with a magic wand that The Necromancer has given him.
At Roxbury C, The Necromancer releases Lady Darke, Lycanthros, the Arch-Fiend, Shadowshell, Matterhorn, Jabberwock, Crater and Cobrafire. They don’t release either Ironhawk or Mimeo. Obsession goes off on a special mission.
Chapter 13 - The Legend of Gloriana, or of GloryEdit
Chaka and Riptide take the burglers at the Gallery with no problems, but Sneaky Pete uses The Necromancer’s weapon to ensorcell the Lamplighter as he arrives, and he attacks Chaka and Dynaman under the impression they’re the Necromancer and Lady Darke. Rip holds off the Lamplighter for a while. A squad of the Knights of Purity arrives to save the day. The Lamplighter heads off in the wrong direction so he doesn’t take part in the Roxbury C mess.
Bladedancer, Generator and Shroud head for the hostage crisis. Bladedancer gets a prediction that all they have to do is wait a few minutes, and it’ll be over with no injuries. Generator sends a couple of the J-Team to check out the place and heal the injured woman. Unfortunately, Skyhawk decides to intervene without checking, which will cause lots of hostage injuries, so Bladedancer, Generator and Shroud attack as well. They’re overmatched and saved by the bell; the J-Team has to heal Bladedancer of serious injuries.
Fey, Lancer, Phase and Tennyo head for the Roxbury C breakout using the transport sphere that Fey used during the Crucible sim. The Necromancer has prepared multi-layered traps for everyone. He finally gets Fey with an iron stake through the guts, and tries to remove her power with a spell based on the three hairs he got during the previous encounter. It backfires. Badly. He escapes through a portal. There are lots of other individual battles.
Major Spaulding attacks the party with his company of mercenaries. Samantha Everheart hears a cast iron skillet fall in the kitchen, and sounds the alarm. Much fun was had by some, not including the mercenaries. The Trin and Macintyre intervention team arrives after having disarmed the mercenary’s outside crew and the dead man switch.
Back at Whateley, Mrs. Carson assigns them a week of detention and grounds them indefinitely. Phase thinks of two different ways of defeating the last sim, not including Generator’s Radioactive Condor Suit scenario.
(partial list, in order of invitation)
- Team Kimba
- Mega-Death (declines in fear of 'dricking out)
- Jericho (wasn't going to go initially, but the rest of the Outcast Corner convinced him to go.)
- She-Beast (declines in Chapter 1)
- Zenith and Sahar (declines in Chapter 2)
- Shrike (mentioned as an invite in Chapter 2)
(full list, by order of introduction in Chapter 12)
- Ayla Goodkind
- Toni Chandler
- Nikki Reilly
- Bunny Cormick
- Elena "Rip" Obregon
- Hank Declan
- Lily Turner
- Elaine "Doc" Nalley
- Elaine Fleischer
- Jade Sinclair
- Jinn Sinclair
- Joe Turner
- Chou Lee
- Molly Harrington
- Dorjee Nawang
- Vanessa Jackson
- Anna Parsons
- Primavera "Vera" Villabianca
- Abby Kitteridge
- Rich Mills
- Marty Penn
- Kendall "Belle" Forbes
- Jay Jay Jendleschmidt
- Jody Cooms
- Billie Wilson
Security team / chaperones: