Achilles, Winning

So Achilles has now killed two people who are referring to themselves as Roman gods, plus a nemean lion. There’s another Roman god on the loose, Bacchus. Who is he and how does this all tie in to the terrorist group, Chronos? Tales of a Ginger proudly presents:

Achilles, Winning

Reid sad down at Ceres’ desk in the CEO office of Pet Ink. He sat forward, resting his elbows on the desk and holding his head in his hands. Battling a nemean lion as Achilles took a lot out of Reid. The bond between the human and the mythological warrior was a mysterious one. The gods came to him and basically made him a superhero like the comic book version of Thor with Dr. Donald Blake–which is not how Thor really exists here in the mortal realm–or Shazam with little Billy Batson. But for Reid, the physical effort exerted by Achilles takes its toll on Reid and vice-a-versa.

He looked at the computer screen on the desk and stared at the message to “Bacchus,” “Achilles knows.” He had been found out, or at least Achilles. The message said nothing of Reid. His next move will have to leave out the great warrior of the Trojan War. But he had to continue hunting down Chronos. He had to know why he was too late. He had to know what Val’s secret was. And he had to know why these people were calling themselves by names of Roman deities.

He looked around the desk for anything that could lead him to this Bacchus, which happens to be the name of the Roman god of wine. That’s when Reid looked next to the laptop to see an invitation to a wine tasting. Reid picked it up. It was from a Charles Estevez who had a vineyard in Barcelona, Spain. The date was for today. That couldn’t be a coincidence.

Reid stood up and walked out from behind the desk into the open area of the office. He pulled out his iPhone and unlocked it. He scrolled through the apps, swiping the screen until finding the “Suave-ify” app. He pressed the icon, extended his arms into a crucifix position and let the magic happen. His black suit began to glow in vibrant light. The speakers in the office began to play music and the lyrics could be heard, “I be on my suit and tie sh*t, tie sh*t, tie. Let me show you a few things.”

When the light faded Reid’s suit had changed. It was still a black suit. But now he wore a vest and had a handkerchief in his jacket pocket. His shirt was white with navy stripes of various thickness that criss-crossed to form various patterns of squares. He had a navy tie with little white dots. His head was freshly shaven and a pencil-thin beard draped around his jaw-line until it met his goatee. If Justin Timberlake sang about bringing sexy back Reid was dressed to actually do it. He had his sexy on. If Timberlake were to be standing next to Reid, JT would be wearing garbage bags.

Reid exited the building through its main lobby and got in his car, a replica of the 1966 Batmobile. He plugged his phone into the dashboard and activated the Hermes app. The car roared to life again, batwings extending from the hubcaps of the wheels.

Reid pressed the talk button, “Hermes, can you get me to this wine tasting?”

“I can in this car. But since time isn’t a factor, Apollo left something else in the Batcave back in Texas that you might want to try instead.”

“What?”

“Just head back to the cave and I’ll show you.”

Reid didn’t like the waiting. The anger began to seep into the forefront again. The anger is what drew the gods to choose Reid to bond with Achilles. Achilles is famous for his rage, a rage so fierce it cost Hector his life. So great was Achilles’ rage that after he dragged Hector’s body behind his chariot to disfigure the fallen warrior’s face in the afterlife. Reid didn’t have that kind of anger issues, but Reid could get hot under the collar easily enough. It could be a chore sometimes to keep it under control.

Reid floored the accelerator and the car raced forward. He weaved in and out of the frozen traffic until he was clear of the city. Then the car shot forward so fast that the sky and ground blurred together into contrasting colors of blue and greenish brown. The car slowed back down as he turned back down the long tunnel that entered the Batcave that Apollo had built under the Texas state capitol.

When he stopped the car he pressed the talk button on his phone again, “Okay Hermes. What is it that I should take to Spain?”

“Follow this hallway. Your surprise awaits.”

A door opened next to the poles on which Reid had slid down earlier from the old Governor’s office in the capitol.  Reid exited the car and began to walk to the opened hallway. Behind him he heard a slight humming noise. He turned around to see that he had parked the car on a circular table that was now turning the car around so that it faced the tunnel he just drove through.

He entered the hallway and followed the lights on the ceiling. The walls were still made from the rock that the rest of the cave was made from. After walking several paces he could see natural light up ahead. He picked up his pace to see what it was that Hermes wanted him to find. Reid wasn’t ready for what he saw at the end of the tunnel. But he loved it.

Sitting on a helipad was another working replica from the old 1960s Batman TV show, the Batcopter. It was a bubble canopy attached to a red hull. The tail was a triangular design with metal cross-bars down the tail. At the end of the tail wasn’t the standard tail of a helicopter, but the metal circles out and comes back. Painted onto the canopy is the head section of Batman chest symbol. Actual batwings extended out from the hull by the engine housing beneath the main rotor. At the end of the tail, on the bottom where the metal circles out, was a small fin shaped like a bat’s wing.

Reid ran to the helicopter and hopped into the pilot’s seat. He couldn’t hold the joy back from appearing on his face as a giant grin. He found the USB port and plugged the phone in and activated the Hermes app. The engine behind him roared to life. The two rotors began their rotations. He put the headset on and grabbed the controls.

“Hermes, this is awesome. Such a great idea.”

“You are welcome, Reid. Now off we go.”

Reid checked his instruments and saw that he had enough speed in the rotors to lift off. He pulled up on the control and the helicopter lifted off the ground. He continued the ascent into the air while throttling forward. The strange looking helicopter dipped its nose as it sped forward, quickly leveling off. He then pushed the throttle all the way forward to move into Hermes’ hyper speed.

After what seemed like a few moments Hermes said, “Reid, we are near the coordinates for Charles Estevez’ address.”

Reid throttled back and the horizon returned to normal. Standing on a cliff, as if to guard the coast line from any invading force that would seek to harm mother Spain, was a magnificent castle. Spotlights danced over the sky above it to draw attention to it. Its walls were tall and proud. The main tower of the castle stood proudly against the cliff, daring time and nature to do its worst. It was a stone castle that was the essential medieval castle. It didn’t have the tall spires or round tops, but all blocks. It looked like it was the original castle that all others were modeled after.

As Reid flew over he noticed that the walls enclosed a small town, as castles did. But this town was alive. Horses were being led to stables. Large beings were walking around beholding the external architecture. Spotlights were randomly placed on top of the wall. He saw a helipad and began his descent down.

As he landed the batcopter he saw the pad crews come out to the pad to secure the aircraft. He unplugged his phone and pocketed it. He tipped the crew and walked towards the main structure. The town was a small spanish village. Almost too typical. It was as if someone looked on Google for Spanish architecture and had it constructed. There was nothing to say it belonged to this area of Spain, except may be the typicality of the buildings. The cookie cutter effect is what made it belong with this cookie cutter castle.

As Reid neared the door to main building where the tasting was to take place, he heard a live band playing. It was hip-hop with an extremely familiar voice. Reid smiled as he pulled his phone out. He unlocked the phone and activated an app that hacked the sound system to let him play whatever song he wanted. He pulled out his music list and turned on a track that would both properly introduce him while at the same time rub the live performer the wrong way: “Sexy Back.”

With the song playing over the loud speakers, Reid threw the door open. Inside he saw the most peculiar sight with the effect he intended to have on the people. Everyone was looking at him, trying to see why the music stopped and then changed to the song that was playing. However, it was as if Asgard had invaded the castle. Valkyrie, Sif, Frigga, Thor, Hogun the Grim and Volstagg the Voluptuous were all there. Other Asgardian deities were there. It was very peculiar to see deities who drink ale to be at a wine tasting.

Reid walked inside with a swagger that was intoxicating. The men looked at him with malice and contempt. The women looked at him with lustful eyes, as if he were an apple and they wanted to take a bite. Reid looked at Frigga, and she blushed. He pointed at Valkyrie and she hid her face in ecstasy. He winked at the Lady Sif who fainted in delight into Thor’s arms.

Thor propped her up against the wall and marched over to Reid in anger, “Why art thou here? This is for immortals only?”

“Relax, Point Break, I’m on a noble quest.”

“Verily I do not appreciate what thou didst to my lady and my mother. It is distasteful and without honor.”

“Don’t tell me you never walked into a room or bar and winked at the ladies to make them blush.”

“Oh indeed I did. But this my mother and my lady we speaketh of, not some common girls. And never to such an awful tune.”

Reid slapped Thor a reassuring pat on the back, “You have nothing to fear from me, my friend. And besides, the Midgard is tired of waiting for Justin Timberlake to bring me back.”

Both men laughed a hearty laugh with that line. Thor then grabbed Reid in a warrior’s embrace, like a long-lost buddy from an old war. The kind of embrace that all warriors who enter the halls of Valhalla can expect from the other warriors. As Thor released Reid, the mortal looked up and saw an older gentleman with a long, dirty white beard in a grey robe with a grey hat that had a wide brim all the way around while the center rose to a point that fell to the side.

Reid pointed the strange-looking person to Thor, “I thought this was a wine tasting and not a Halloween party?”

“I do not understand your meaning.”

“Who’s dressed up like Gandalf over there?”

Thor laughed in amusement, “That is my father, the All-Father Odin.”

“So he likes to dress as Gandalf?”

“No, Gandalf was written to look like my father when he wouldst wander Midgard.”

“Didn’t know that. Learn something new everyday.”

The music died down again. The guests turned their heads to see why, but not to the door. They turned to an interior hallway to see a middle-aged man in a black suit-coat and pants with a pink dress shirt unbuttoned at the top, exposing some of his chest. He had black hair with an aged face. He grinned at his guests.

“My fellow deities, I am Bacchus, the god of wine in Rome. My mortal name is Charlie Estevez. Welcome to my humble home here in Spain. It pleases me to see that the gods of the North would come down from Asgard to a wine tasting.”

Reid was puzzled by this. But he couldn’t dwell on this. This was the man he had traveled across the Atlantic to meet. Who was this Charlie Estevez claiming to be a Roman deity? And what was his connection to Chronos? Reid needed to make contact and get what he could out of this man.

Charlie continued, “The wine you are tasting was grown only from the best of grapes, mine. I believe in my wine so much that even the Norse gods will love it. Let’s begin.”

Servants came around and gave each attendee a glass of wine. There’s a normal way of going about tasting wine in a formal wine tasting. You’re not really supposed to drink it. But these kinds of manners were lost on the Norse gods. It was hard enough not to break the glasses in their hands. They just downed the whole glass, almost too quickly to taste the beverage.

Which probably was a good thing. Reid took a sip of the wine, coming from a culture that better understands what was going on around him. As soon as the drink hit his palette he regretted it. It was horrible. It tasted more like someone took store-bought grapes, sugar, and yeast and combined them into a juice. It was disgusting. He almost spit it out, but swallowed it immediately. He felt like he was living out an episode of Duck Dynasty.

Many of the Norse gods did taste the horrific taste of the wine. Puzzled faces gave way to disgust and anger. They had left their ale in Asgard to try the garbage of some mortal who claimed to be immortal. Some threw their glasses against the wall in their frustration. Grumbling began to dance amongst the gods.

Bacchus could see the room turn against him, “My honored guests. I have other types of beverages. No need to get angry.”

Bacchus looked to the band, who was led by none other than Justin Timberlake, “Get the music going again. Let’s have some fun.”

The music kicked back on and the Asgardians moved to the bar to get some ale. Charlie began to mingle with the crowd. He spoke to Balder, Thor’s half-brother. He hugged Frigga and kissed her on both cheeks. He shook hands with Odin. Reid took the time to move closer to him, leaving Thor to tend to his fainted Lady Sif.

“Charlie, I’m Reid,” he said, extending his hand.

Charlie took his hand and they shook hands, “I don’t believe I know you. Reid who?”

“Just Reid.”

“Ah, a man of mystery. I like that. Come sit with me, Reid.”

Charlie put an arm around Reid and guided them to a couch in the corner of the room that overlooked everyone. Bacchus wanted to keep an eye on the event. He waved a man over who sat a pitcher of water down with two empty wine glasses.

“So, Reid,” began Charlie as he poured the water into the two glasses. “What do you do?”

Charlie handed Reid a glass. As Reid took it from him, he noticed that it wasn’t water in his glass but a white wine. This puzzled Reid at first. He took a sip and it was a sweet wine. It had a fine fruity flavor to it. Reid wasn’t much of a wine drinker, preferring Scotch and other liquors. But he liked his wine sweet and this had hit the spot. Perhaps there was more to this man’s claim to being “Bacchus” than Reid first appreciated.

“Well, Charlie–”

Charlie interrupted, “Please, it’s Bacchus now.”

“Sorry, Bacchus,” said Reid, correcting himself. “I’m a problem solver. People have problems and I solve them.”

“Such as?”

“Today I helped a political problem in the southern United States. Then I helped a business problem in Canada.”

“So there’s no area of expertise.”

“Yes. The people are the problem that needs to be solved. I’m not so much a politician or business man.”

“Ah yes. I see. I appreciate that. I could use a man of your talents.”

This caught Reid’s attention. A way in to find Bacchus’ connections to Chronos. “How so?”

“I have problems from time to time that need to be solved.”

“Well then, here’s my card.” Reid pulled a business card out of his inner pocket. It was a simple card that had a shield and spear on it for a logo, the name “Reid” and a phone number that would connect to his phone in an untraceable way.

Bacchus took the card and placed it in his jacket pocket, “Winning.”

“So Bacchus, how did you get involved in a vineyard and wine?”

“Well, I used to be an actor in America. I did a show about the mayor of New York City when the main actor had to step out due to medical reasons. I did a show where I was a wealthy commercial jingle writer whose brother and brother’s son had to move in with him.

“I ran into some trouble and had to leave the show. I had another show but then this opportunity arose and I seized it.”

“I thought you looked familiar. You were hilarious.”

Bacchus sized Reid up, as if looking to see if he could trust the man. He then reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a silver case. He opened it up to reveal a syringe and a small computer device. He took off his jacket and then unbuttoned his right sleeve, rolling it up past the elbow. He then took the syringe and small device out of the case.

“Here,” he said as he handed the syringe to Reid.” Take this and draw some blood. I want to show you something.”

Reid looked at him puzzled. Was this man drunk?

“Just do it. It’s not going to hurt you.”

Reid took the syringe from Bacchus. He then took Bacchus’ arm and found the vein. He inserted the needle and drew back on the syringe to draw blood out of the vein. He pulled the needle out of the arm and handed the syringe back to Bacchus.

“Now watch this.” Bacchus then took the device and opened up a small port to reveal a pad of some kind. He placed some of the blood on the pad and closed the device. He pressed a button and the device came alive. After a few seconds the small screen read in green, digital letters: Blood analysis complete. Blood type identified as the Bengal Tiger.

Reid chuckled, “You really do have tiger blood.”

Bacchus laughed and nodded. “Drink up, Reid. There’s more where that came from.”

As Reid took another sip of his wine there was an electronic sound. He pulled out his phone but it wasn’t him. Bacchus pulled out his phone and saw that it had a text on it. He unlocked it and typed a response in and sent it.

“Excuse me. I have to get this.”

Reid nodded as Bacchus stood up, buttoned his coat and disappeared down the hallway from which he had emerged at the start of the evening. Reid waited only a beat before getting up himself and following him down the hall, making sure no one saw him. Reid mirrored Bacchus turn for turn, making sure that he was unseen.

Bacchus entered a room that had a large circular table in the middle of it. At the appropriate positions there were Roman numerals, 1-12. Each number was placed as if the table was a clock. Sitting at each number was a person, only they were holograms and not the actual people. Bacchus sat down at the “IV” position. The “I” position was empty as was the “VI” position. The group calling themselves Chronos made more sense to Reid.

Each person wore a hooded robe so Reid couldn’t see who each person was. He saw Bacchus putting his own robe on. He pulled out his iPhone and opened an app to record the conversation. Hopefully the Oracle of Delphi could analyze the voices and give some clues as to who these people are.

The man at the XII position opened the floor, “The Council of Chronos is now in session.”

The other members nodded their head in agreement.

The man at the XII position continued, “Vulcan, how goes the construction on the Sword of Omens?”

The person at the II position answered, “Lord Jupiter, Ceres was able to deliver the paw of the nemean lion to store the sword. I’m waiting on the parts necessary to build the actual sword.”

Jupiter nodded his head in approval, “Excellent. How goes the rest of the search?”

The person at the VII position spoke next, “Lord Jupiter, with the help of Lady Venus, I have found the metal for the blade. I go now to retrieve it.”

“Well done, Mars,” Jupiter replied and then turned to III, “Mercury, when he is finished you will continue to bring the materials to Lord Vulcan.”

The person at the XI position spoke next, “I believe we must speak to the absences at our table. Ceres and Apollo have both been found dead.”

Jupiter nodded, “Yes, brother. Neptune raises a fair issue. What do we know?”

Bacchus spoke this time, “Lord Jupiter, it is Achilles. He has somehow stumbled onto our plans. But he knows nothing. Ceres gave him nothing.”

“Are you certain?” Neptune asked, not believing Bacchus.

“I am certain. He killed her and the nemean lion before she could tell him anything.”

“Very well,” said Jupiter, “We must be more cautious than ever now that we know he’s on to us. Achilles could undo everything we’ve accomplished so far. We are too close to lose to that imbecile now!”

“As soon as my party here at the Cheesecake Factory is over I’ll join Mars in recovering the blade material,” said the woman at the V position.

“Very well, Lady Venus. But leave Pasadena quickly. We can’t afford to waste time,” commanded Jupiter. “We are too close in unleashing Saturn and ascending to our rightful place as the gods of the world. Hail Kronos!”

The other nine members of the council echoed his last words in unison, “Hail Kronos!”

The images disappeared, leaving only Bacchus in the room. Reid knew he needed to get to the Cheesecake Factory in Pasadena, California to find this Venus. But at least he had a better idea of what Chronos is up to for when the Oracle analyzes the recording.

Reid quickly turned around and quietly retraced his steps back to the party. He did manage to chuckle about one thing though. The council called themselves Chronos, which was a reference to the lord of time. Yet for some reason they want to unleash Saturn, who is known to the Greek gods as Kronos. This council was made up of some really questionable people. People who were questionable and confused. He knew he had to stop them not because he knew a titan walking around wasn’t safe for anyone. These people had no clue what they were doing and somehow thought they were Roman gods. They were insane. They were ridiculously insane.

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~ by hankimler on August 7, 2013.

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