((68 — Temple))
June 16th, 802 AT.
“Tell me about Cyclops.”
Spider lay in the air, her head resting against Seth’s bare chest.
“Mm?” He took the cigarette out of his mouth, letting out a breath of smoke. It drifted outwards, mingling with the fog that made up Noh’s outer layers. Noh was currently an opaque black, giving the two teens a modicum of privacy.
“You keep mentioning this Cyclops guy, but no one will tell me who he is.” Spider took a puff of her own cigarette.
Neither of them was sure who exactly had started their rendezvous like this. There’s not a lot to do in a month of freefall, and one night when Spider had been resting on a chunk of Noh, it had just sort of happened. Neither of them thought of the other as anything like a lover—just people enjoying each others’ company and each others’ bodies.
“Cyc, huh.” Seth grinned, remembering. “You ever stole something, Spider?”
She thought for a moment. “Don’t think so. Face wasn’t like that. We worked together, really. If you stole, they sent you over the edge.”
“Huh. Well, the rest of the Void isn’t so friendly. Sometimes people wind up on the edge, and have to use what skills they’ve got to get by. Cyclops, well, he’s good at stealing.”
“What does he steal?”
“Anything. Artifacts. Weapons. Ships. Food. Whatever he needs, and whatever he feels like, really.”
She thought about that for a while. “But why?”
Seth took another puff of smoke. “At first it was to survive. Then it was because it’s what he does. He got known. People heard of him all throughout the Void. Cyclops, the legendary thief. He can steal anything, they say.”
Seth just laughed. “Damn right.”
“How? What makes him so good?”
“Same way he got his name. His eye.”
“When he was younger, he lost an eye to a demon. Took it right out of him. Most people would settle for a glass eye, learn ways to compensate for the lack of depth perception. Cyc’s not most people.”
“What’d he do?”
“Went out and found a demon that could regenerate from its wounds. Took him ages to track one down. Then he cut its fuckin’ eye out, and jammed it into his own eye socket.”
Spider let out a low whistle, impressed.
“It worked, too. His demon eye can see just about anything and everything. Through walls, through crystals… it can see further than just about any telescope, it can trace electricity through walls, track heat signatures of people coming after him… perfect for a thief.”
Spider nodded, blowing smoke through her nose. “How do you know him?”
“He found us, us Talons. Few years back, we stumbled on one of his little bases while out patrolling together. He liked our style, took us in. Taught us how to fight, how to sneak, how to give authority a proper middle finger.”
Spider said nothing, her mind drifting briefly back to her education back on Face, her studies as an architect, as a hookball player.
“Most of us Talons, we didn’t have much family growing up. Cyc’s the closest thing we’ve really got to a father.”
“What happened to him?”
“He got caught. Went after some artifact, this box thing. One of the first times a crystal’s been opened to reveal an object, rather ‘n a demon. Of course, Cyc being Cyc, he wanted it real bad.” Seth shrugged. “Guess he got sloppy, or underestimated their defenses, ‘cause they nabbed him.”
“Did they… did he go down?” Spider raised a hand, and pointed it down into the Void.
“No, no. They just locked him up. He was being stored on the Roost for a few days, but they shipped him off towards Sector One a week before we met you.”
“What’ll they do to him there?”
“Stick him in the Complex. Prison. Impossible to escape from, even for him.”
“So now it’s up to you to rescue him.”
Seth flicked his cigarette, the ash dropping off into Noh. “Damn right.”
Spider rolled over, looking up at him. “That’s pretty badass.”
The teen grinned. “Damn right.”
He bent his neck, leaning down to kiss her, letting the butt of the cigarette fall away into nothingness.