Achilles vs Fandral the Dashing

So the Council of Chronus is really confused! They are playing with fire and the earth stands to bet burned by it! Can Reid find a way to stop them? Or will the earth be doomed and Chronus succeed in unleashing Saturn? Find out in the next installment of Tales of a Ginger:

Achilles vs. Fandral the Dashing

Reid walked out of the hallway that had led to Charlie Estevez’s secret hologram room with the strange clock-designed table. Chronos was building the Sword of Omens to unleash Saturn upon the world. And their hail was to Kronos, the original Greek form of the Latinized Saturn. So somehow these people who have taken the names of Latin gods are going to build a sword–that sounds like something from the kids cartoon Thundercats–to unleash a titan. They swear allegiance to a Greek titan even though they want to unleash the Latin version. And they’ve named themselves after the lord/god of time even though they have nothing to do with him. These people confused Reid.

All he knew was that he had to get to a party in Pasadena, CA, at a Cheesecake Factory. The woman who calls herself “Venus” has just sent the man who calls himself “Mars” to get a metal for the sword. In the meeting they didn’t say where he was going to get the metal so Reid needed to speak to Venus right away.

The only problem was going to be finding Venus at this party. In the meeting the Council all wore hooded robes, looking more like the Emperor from Star Wars than anything else–which Reid found to be kind of cool and lame at the same time. So he had no idea of what she looked like. Add to that the way the council was seated put Venus’ back to Reid. So even if they weren’t wearing Palpatine-like robes he wouldn’t have been able to see her face.

Reid quickly strode through the party. Timberlake was still playing music, though most of the guests were leaving. He no longer saw Thor and Sif, Volstagg and Hogun, Odin and Frigga. Valkyrie was still there and blushed again when she made eye-contact with Reid. Reid had that way about him. Women constantly blushed when they saw him. It was part of his charm as a ginger. They say that ginger is the spice of life. Reid was living, breathing, walking proof that the saying is true.

He made his was back through the town, the buildings being the cookie-cutter design that made this castle so not unique that it was unique. The town looked more like someone went through a kid’s book about castles and built the images of the castle and town.

At the helipad the Batcopter was waiting for him. He had sent a text when had left the hallway to have it ready for him when he arrived. He got in and plugged in his phone to activate the Hermes app. He turned on the motor to start the rotors. When they picked up speed he lifted the bird off the ground and throttled forward. Once high enough above the ground he banked the helicopter on a leisurely turn back over the Atlantic Ocean towards the United States. He then throttled forward to engage the hyperspace mode, blurring the nearly 2:00 pm local time sky that was frozen in time.

After a few “minutes” Reid throttled back to reveal his destination. Pasadena didn’t look like the other cities he had been to so far. There were no ziggurats built by men to reach the heavens to declare to the world humanity’s own hubris and arrogance and self-declaration of divinity. Rather, the buildings were shorter and the city looked more like a Spanish colony than an American city. Coming from Spain this place was a welcomed relief. There was originality to it. There was life.

However, as Reid flew over the city he noticed that the homes were very elegant and opulent. Pasadena wasn’t just a place for someone to try to make it big. It was a place for those who have made it big to live. The desire to show off one’s fortunes came across in a different way. Instead of tall towers there were large homes. The same hubris just displayed differently.

He saw a building lit up in a way that Bacchus’ castle in Spain was lit, drawing in all who would travel to Pasadena to stop by. It was inviting him. Reid knew this had to be the place. The building sat on a large intersection so Reid set the Batcopter down in the middle it. He powered down the helicopter and then unhooked his phone from the USB port. He got out and looked at the sign over the door of the building, “Cheesecake Factory.” All he needed to do now is find “Venus.”

He walked inside and saw the party. The party was alive and kicking. People were sitting at tables conversing over wine and champaign. There was a DJ playing dance music for a full dance floor. The faces of the people looked like faces out of ancient Grecko-Roman art. The clothes they wore were as modern and contemporary as Reid’s own suit. He started to head to the bar when a hand grabbed him on the shoulder to spin him around.

Reid turned to see Justin Timberlake with a furious look on his face, “Bro, you can’t do that to me!”

“Cry me a river,” replied Reid, trying desperately to hide the giggle at using a another song against Timberlake.

“Really?”

“Relax. I’m on a mission and I needed to get someone’s attention. It was the best way.”

“Using my own music against me?”

“Yes. Plus, people were tired of waiting for you to bring sexy back so I did your work for you.”

Timberlake laughed at Reid’s jab. But then, mid chuckle, he stopped cold and said, “Excuse me. I’ll be back.”

Reid followed his gaze to the bar. There he found a blonde bartender who was beyond gorgeous. Everything about her was perfect. It was almost hard not to stare her. Her lips, her cheeks, her blue eyes, her slender physique, they were all perfect. This woman had to be Venus. There was no other option. No woman would be invited in on Chronos’ plans as the “Venus” if she wasn’t this beautiful.

Just then he felt a momentary gush of wind behind him. It blew across his back and snapped him back to reality. He turned to no longer see Justin Timberlake but the douche-iest looking version of Robin Hood he had ever seen. His blonde mustache ends looked like checkmarks that pointed up and out. His goatee ended in a point. He wore a skin-tight green tunic with matching green trousers that showed off his chiseled torso and arms.

Reid realized this was why Justin wasn’t frozen like the rest of the world. He was a Norse deity. But then it him, “Wait, Fandral is only in the comics. What is going on here?”

“I do not know, nor do I care. All I know is that I must have that wench over yonder,” replied Fandral, pointing at the bar tender. “Stand back and be amazed.”

“This will be fun,” said Reid as he followed Fandral to the bar, staying back so that he was unnoticed but could still hear the conversation.

Fandral propped himself against the bar, folding his arms over and leaning his weight on them. He made eye contact with the bard tender in the mirror behind the bottles of various liquors and liqueurs on the oak shelves. He flashed a big grin and waited for her to turn around to take his order.

“Hey there,” he said.

“Hey. What will it be?”

“Are you an interior decorator? Because when I saw you the room became more beautiful.” Fandral flashed a wink at her as he dropped his line.

Reid’s reaction mirrored that of the bar tender’s, cocking his head to the side in curiosity. That was his big attempt? He held his laughter in just as well as the girl did.

“You’re so beautiful you make the sun look like the dull glimmer of the moon.”

This time the woman hung her head in either an attempt to hide the laughter or boredom with Fandral’s game.

“Are you from Tennessee? Because you’re the only ten I see.”

“Stop,” she said, unable to hold the laughter in anymore. “You’re cute and flattering. What’s your name?”

“The name’s Fandral the Dashing, of Asgard. If sexy were a crime I’d be guilty as charged.” He winked at her again.

“I’m Nickel. But my friends call me Nikki. What do you want to drink?”

“You.”

At this Nikki burst out laughing. It was too much. The cheesy pickup attempts were all flattering but all stock-and-trade lines that anyone could find on the internet through a Google search.

“Seriously, what would you like to drink?”

Fandral looked her dead in the eye and with all of the confidence he could muster, “You are beautiful, you know that? You pop, sparkle, buzz electric. I’m going to pick you up at eight. Show you a night you’ll never forget.”

She hung her head again. But her body language shifted from amused to something else. Frustration, maybe.

She looked at Fandral and said, “Look. You’re cute and funny. But you’re not my type.”

Reid took that as his queue to make a move. He let Fandral have his fun but now it was time to get back on his mission: finding Venus and getting the location of Mars and that metal for the sword. He walked up to the bar and made eye-contact with Nikki.

“Daddy’s home.”

She completely dropped her conversation with Fandral. She became flush, her heartbeat obviously increased. Her pupils dilated. The attraction to Reid was instantaneous. She stepped down the bar to come even with Reid, giving him her undivided attention.

Seeing this, Fandral knew the window was closed and the door shut on his chances with Nikki. Whatever shot he had was now zero with Reid. And this didn’t sit well with Fandral at all. Rack-jacked by a bro. It was an explicit violation of the Bro Code. And Fandral could tell that Reid didn’t care at all. He came for the girl and he got her.

“Can I help you, sir?” Nikki said, playing with her hair in a shy, coy fashion.

“I’ll take a gin and tonic, please,” answered Reid. It wasn’t his favorite drink, that belonged to scotch, but he liked well enough. And he hadn’t had one in a couple of years and it felt like the right thing to drink.

“Coming right up.” Nikki pulled out a highball glass from under the bar top. She filled it with ice cubes and set it on the counter. She then measured out the gin and poured it into the glass. She did the same for the tonic. She stirred the drink to mix the liquids together in the glass, making sure she didn’t stir to wildly that the beverage swished out the glass. After she garnished the drink with a lime wedge, she placed the drink onto a napkin and gently slid it across the bar to Reid.

She looked at Reid and smiled, “This one’s on the house.”

Reid took the glass, winked at her, and then took a drink of the cocktail. It was perfect. Only Bacchus could have rivaled this mix.

“So what’s your name, stranger?” she asked.

“Reid.”

“Is that your first name or last?”

“Just call me Reid.” He took another sip of the cocktail.

“Ooh. Man of mystery. I like that. What do you do?”

“As I told someone at another party earlier, I’m a problem solver.” He finished off the drink.

“What kind of problems do you solve?”

“The kind that only I can solve.” They were playing the game. Trying to find an “in” to the other person. A way to leverage the conversation to get what each person wanted. In Reid’s case, information about where Mars is going. In her case, well Reid didn’t mind what she was thinking about.

Reid carried on the conversation, “What about you? Just a bartender for the Cheesecake Factory or this there more to a woman like yourself?”

She examined him, trying to determine whether or not she could divulge the information. There was something about him. Something irresistible, something that begged her to tell him her inmost secrets. She decided to gently let him in. Not everything, though she desperately wanted to tell him everything.

“Actually,” she began, “I’m the CEO of this company. This is the headquarters to the company.”

Reid was confused, “I thought the headquarters was west of here, in Calabasas Hills?”

“Publicly, yes,” she said with a sly wink, “But I run the company upstairs.”

“Really,” he grinned. He knew the invitation was coming next. And this is what he was waiting for. If he could get into her office he might be able to find out where Mars went.

“Yep. Care to see it? Your drink’s empty anyways. I’ve got some bourbon in my office.”

“What about the party?”

She reached under the bar and appeared to press something. Out of the floor next to her came an exact replication of her. Her hair, her makeup, her clothes, everything matched perfectly. Nikki reached out to the neck and pushed something. The duplicate’s eyes opened and life rushed into them. She was some kind of android version of her.

The robot version of Nikki approached Fandral, who had turned his back to the bar to watch the party when he saw he had no shot at Nikki. He turned to see his “quarry” had taken a renewed interest in him–with life-like precision Reid noticed.

“Very well then, Nikki. Lead the way.”

He met her at the end of the bar where she took her apron off and stepped out form behind it. He followed her around the back into the kitchen. Next to the refrigerator was a brick she pushed in. The machine slid sideways to reveal an elevator. They stepped in and the door closed behind them. She pressed the button marked office and the elevator hummed to life lifting them upwards.

The door opened to reveal an office out of the 1960s. The carpet, the walls, the furniture looked like a 1960s office. Not a design based upon the 1960s, or influenced by that decade. It literally looked like an office from the Swinging ’60s. Reid was impressed. He followed her through the cubicles to a door that had a sign that read, “Nickel Silver, CEO and President.”

She opened the door and flipped on the lights to reveal her office. It looked like it had come off the set of the show Mad Men. The carpet had a green hue to it. The walls were all wood paneled except the door was flanked by opaque glass. To the left was a wooden desk with a leather-backed chair. In front of the desk were two chairs for visitors to sit in. To the left of the desk was a free-standing coat hanger and a cabinet. Lining the wall behind the desk and wrapping around to the right, opposite of Reid, was the heat radiator topped with a counter. Above this counter were windows enclosed by blinds and a light brown curtains. On the desk, cabinet, and radiator were various items that belonged to the office such as a phone or a filing system. Where the radiator ended opposite Reid was a mini-bar. On top was a small ice bucket, two highball glasses, and some liquors. To the right was a sitting area. On the wall opposite the desk was a couch, flanked by two end table with lamps on them. In front of the couch was coffee table and then two chairs on the other side of the table from the couch.

Nikki walked over to the mini-bar and iced the two glasses and poured some bourbon into them. She pointed to the couch. The two sat down on the couch, leaving a little bit of space between them. The shifted their bodies so that they faced each other a little bit. She handed him a glass and they both took a drink.

“So, what do you think of my office?” she said to get the conversation going.

“I love it. Reminds me of Don Draper’s office on that TV show.”

“Good, that’s what I was going for.”

“So tell me your story. How does a gorgeous woman like you chose to be the CEO of the Cheesecake Factory and not end up in Hollywood?”

She took another sip of the bourbon, as if to gather up the courage, took a deep breath, and unloaded her life’s story on him. She was a farm-girl from outside of Lincoln, Nebraska. She did originally travel to L.A. looking to get into acting. To pay the bills she became a waitress and bartender at this very store. She dated a physicist for a while. He pushed her to get her college degree, a two-year degree, and so she did. But eventually she met another man who was a intellectually challenging as the physicist but still totally hunky. She broke things off with the scientist and got together with the handsome man. She then began to work her way up the management chain until she became CEO of company.

“So, what happened to the guy? The hunk?”

“Well, it didn’t work out so well. He was a jerk and then some. We still work together but that’s as far as it will ever go.”

This caught Reid’s attention. “How does a CEO have time for a second job?”

“It’s not a job per-se. It’s more like a country club. But we all have things we do to help out the club.”

“Like what?”

“I can’t say. Only members get to know what we’re doing. We like our secrets, you know?”

“Come one. Tell me without giving me the specifics?”

She looked at him dead in the eyes, looking for any deception. But there was nothing there to say he was trying to harm her. No malice, no dishonesty. He seemed genuine. Nikki had learned to pick up on those things as a bartender and now CEO. If he was putting up a front, there was no evidence. Just an intoxicating presence about him that made her want to confess.

“Well…” she began, trying to figure out how to indulge without breaking her oaths, “My club is trying to build something that requires a rare metal. I was to find it and my ex- was to go and retrieve it for us.”

“I see. So tell me about your ex-, the jerk. Why did you guys break up? How was he a jerk?”

Nikki finished off her bourbon. Reid had barely touched his, fully listening to everything she had to say. Normally she wanted to get the guy to drink. But this Reid was different. She got up and gave herself a refill on the beverage and then sat back down. She then proceeded to unleash another long tale of all the times this guy was rude and downright awful of a person. He was mean and picked upon people. He did whatever he could to make other’s lives miserable.

“Wow. He is a jerk,” Reid agreed. To Reid this guy sounded more and more like Mars. He needed to get her to tell him where this guy was.

“I know. Sometimes I wish I could just beat the meanness right out of him.”

“How long ago did you guys call it off?”

“Not that long ago. Last week, actually.”

“If you tell me where he is I’ll go talk to him for you. I’ll make him come back here and apologize to you for all that he did to you.”

“Please don’t. You’ll get hurt.”

“No. No woman a beautiful as the goddess Aphrodite deserves to be treated like that. Tell me where he is and I’ll bring him back here begging for forgiveness.”

Nikki looked into his eyes one last time. Could she trust him? Those green eyes said, Yes, you can trust me. I’ll never hurt you. She got up, walked over to her desk and picked up a piece of paper. She brought it over to Reid and handed it to him. On it were a set of coordinates in Israel’s wilderness. She sat on his lap, cowgirl style, and looked deeply into his trusting eyes. They were vibrant, living emeralds radiating a soft, green glow of light that drew her in. She reached down and kissed him deeply, passionately, like she had never kissed another man before and never will when this is over.

Reid broke off the kiss, and looked her in the eyes, “Thanks for this. I’ll go have a talk with your ex right now.”

She stood up and helped him to his feet, “Be careful. He will not be alone.”

“I’m not worried. I can handle this.” He pecked her on the lips one more time and then walked out of the room.

Fandral and long gotten bored with the waitress. He realized that this was a decoy and that the real woman had disappeared with Reid somewhere. He looked up to see Reid appear from the kitchen area, straightening up his tie. Fandral knew what that meant.

“You lucky dog you!”

“Nope. She’s all yours. I’m on a mission, remember?”

Fandral had to know how Reid pulled that off, “How did you do that though? You didn’t have a better line than I did?”

Reid put a hand on Fandral’s shoulder, “I read this blog written by a top executive in New York City. He’s a genius at picking up ladies. Even sent me a copy of the plays he runs to pick up girls.”

“I want to meet him.”

“Sorry. I can’t do that. I have to go.”

With that Reid walked out of the party and got back in the Batcopter. He grabbed his phone and plugged it in. He gave Hermes the coordinates and took off. It was time to go on the hunt again. To unleash Achilles on the god of war, Mars, and stop Chronus’ plans to recover the mad titan, Saturn. It was time to go on the offensive and attack!

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~ by hankimler on August 29, 2013.

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