One Year On (Interlude)
28th March 2017, Griffin's house...
After Griffin had dinner, he said to his father, "You know what today is, Dad?"
"Today is exactly one year to the day when I died, came back and actually sparked up!"
"I remember now! And you've had quite a time since then, Simon! You've come out of your shell!"
"And I'm glad you've been supportive of me. These past twelve months, I've successfully aided a First Contact, slew a dragon, stopped World War Three before it started, faced SHADOW and stopped a warlock from wrecking the Imperial War Museum."
"When did you stop World War Three?!"
"You remember when I made the news, fighting that dragon in Rochester? That was when I stopped it. That dragon made for a serious distraction, I'm telling you! But it wasn't enough of one as you can see!"
"I'm still surprised you killed it!"
"I was surprised I could actually take it down without getting burnt!"
"This trip you're doing..."
"Does Annabelle even know you're doing this?"
"Of course she does, she's my commanding officer!"
"Are you sure she even has that kind of authority over you?"
"Yes, Dad. She does. The Almighty herself publicly appointed Archangel Annabelle to be my commanding officer in front of me. Annabelle's authority over me is legitimate and the source of said authority over me is indisputable. I discussed the tour with her and why I was doing it in the first place. She agreed to me doing it on one condition."
"And what's that?"
"She had me swear an oath that I will not knowingly or willingly take any domestic flights during the journey."
"...Does Annabelle even know just how big America is?"
"I asked her that very same question, and she said she knew. She made it clear that international flights are allowed, as is the use of my own wings. It'll take a domestic flight before I become an oathbreaking idiot. You've flown from London to LA, Dad. You know better than I do just how big the place really is. Very soon, I'm going to know it better than you! And I get the feeling that the oath she had me swear is so I can actually understand it better. There aren't that many Britons who understand the sheer size of it, Dad. Then again, a lot of Americans stick to the cities and simply don't get how big the place really is!"
"That's true. I have to ask... how are you getting your sword past Customs?"
"I have a plan for that."
"Care to share it?"
"I'm afraid not, Dad. After all, what you don't know, you can't tell the Ministry under interrogation... And what they don't know, they definitely can't tell AEGIS. Suffice it to say, this will work!"
"Are you absolutely sure it'll work?"
"I know it! Look, I'll prove I made it past them by sending you a selfie of me at JFK."
"That'll do it. Have you sorted out a place to stay in New York?"
"Yeah, I have."
"Which hotel is it?"
"It's not a hotel, Dad. I'm staying at someone's house."
"Does your host know that you're a power?"
"Yes she does. My host is Ms. Magus of Brooklyn, she's a power herself. I fought alongside her at the Museum of London during Operation Inundation, so she knows I'm alright. I'm paying her $50 a night as well."
"As long as you're both aware. When are you leaving for America?"
"This Friday via Heathrow. Ms. Magus knows, by the way. Tomorrow evening, I'm going to a hotel in London for the night. Friday morning, I'll be on a plane and later that afternoon, I'll land in JFK!"
"How much have you prepared?"
"I’ve got everything ready, Dad. Suitcase is by the door, passport's in the safe along with the U.S. visa waiver, business class tickets from Heathrow to NYC and out from Emerald City to Tokyo, insurance, fully loaded pre-paid Mastercard and $9,500 cash, which is near the maximum I can legally get past the border without having to declare it."
"You have a ticket to Tokyo?"
"The waiver requires me to present both a ticket into the States and a ticket back out again. The Embassy’s website specifically points out that when you leave the States, they don't care if you're going to a different country to the one you came in from, as long as you’re gone before the 90 days are up. Remember, they must assume by law that I’m trying to illegally immigrate into the States. The business class tickets in and out should be hard enough proof that I’m not."
"Can you even speak Japanese?"
"Yeah, I can. The Gift of Understanding that the Almighty gave me means that I can speak, understand and read any language, Dad. Foreign tongues and scripts are no issue to me any more. In Europe and North America, I can even pass for a local! In places like Japan, I can at the very least pass for a tourist or businessman who knows what he's really doing."
"Good to know. Have you worked out your American itinerary?"
"Yeah, I have. I’ll spend time in NYC, Gotham, Freedom City, maybe Metropolis and then I’ll go west to California. I plan to hit LA and San Francisco, then head to Oregon and finish the American leg at Emerald City, the traditional end stop for such a long journey and where my Tokyo ticket departs from."
"You're not mucking about, are you?"
"You know I don't, Dad. And sparking up means I have even less of a reason to mess about."
"And where will you go after Tokyo?"
"I’m planning on Singapore. Then I’m thinking Dubai, Tangier, a boat to Spain..."
"If you’re going to Spain, what about Gibraltar?"
"It's where I'm going when I arrive in Spain. As a British citizen, I can legally get to the Rock without any undue drama, even with Brexit negotiations about to kick off for real tomorrow. Then I’ll make my way through Europe and then take the ferry home from Holland. Once I enter Europe, I’ll be in the Schengen area. I won’t even need a visa for it, given that we’re still in the EU for now. There’s one thing I must ask."
"And that would be?"
"If you hear about something going on in the same area as me, please don’t ring me up! How many people do you think died during Operation Inundation because someone rang their phone and gave their position away?!"
Griffin's father was putting some papers in a brown briefcase, saying "I... can't really argue with that. Look, I've got to go to the church hall for a meeting. Make sure you wash and dry up everything in the sink before you go out tomorrow."
"I will." Griffin then hugged his dad, wrapping his wings around him. He said "See you later, Dad!"
"Safe travels, Simon."
Five minutes after Griffin's father left the house, a white light appeared in the living room. When it faded, there stood Annabelle. Griffin went "Good evening, Annabelle! What's happening now?"
"I'm sure you understand that Mother's busy at the moment, so she sent me to give you a gift for your journey in her stead."
"When isn't she busy? So what is it she's giving me that's so useful, Annabelle?"
"Take my paws and you'll find out."
That was when Griffin took her paws. Then they started glowing with a dim light. Griffin asked her "What did you do, Annabelle?!"
Annabelle giggled. "That is your gift! The Gift of Healing! One touch will heal almost anyone other than yourself of their wounds and afflictions."
"Lady's Heart, that's a gift! I can see how I could serve her with this!"
"Indeed. Is that your luggage there?"
"Yeah. Packed it myself. I'll have to let Customs search it, but there's only clothes in there, maybe a few electrical leads for my laptop's adaptor."
"I thought you only needed one lead."
"I used to only need one, but now I need one with a British plug, another with an American plug, an European plug, I could go on."
"But why? Why not use just the one?"
"Because they use different voltages and frequencies, Annabelle. I use the wrong one, I destroy the laptop!"
"I see. You know that discussion we had about your sword..."
"I'm still... not comfortable with the idea of keeping it in Heaven to withhold it from inspection by the local authorities."
"Do you know what a diplomatic bag is?"
"Yes, I do. I understand why they would need to... OH! I see what you're thinking, Simon!"
"What do you think I'm thinking?"
"You're thinking that as Mother's Chosen, you're technically an ambassador to the Kingdom of Heaven and can therefore claim a diplomatic bag!"
"Spot on. Since Heaven isn't going to be recognised by the UN any time soon, we need to use other measures. Justice is something I need to get across the border to perform my official duties to the Lady and I would get arrested if I tried to get it through myself. It's the only thing I've got that needs to get past them for me to do so, Annabelle."
"I'm afraid you're right. I have to ask... Where do you intend to pick it up when you arrive in New York?"
"Ms. Magus' house is the only place in the Five Boroughs I can think of that's at all secure and private enough. And she's a mage, so she won't freak out if she actually sees me get the sword out of the mirror. I mean, she sees and even does weirder stuff every day! I'll make sure to tell her, of course."Griffin does a Persuasion check on Annabelle, who's currently not so sure (Indifferent) about the idea. He gets 17 and makes her Favourable to the idea! He hasn't got to worry about airport customs on Friday!
"Of course you will. Have you got everything ready?"
"Yeah, Annabelle. Passport, insurance, luggage, plane tickets, I'm all set. The only thing I need to fill in is the landing card and I can't get one of those until I reach the airport."
"You forgot one more thing."
"Don't you have some washing up to do?"
"Oh right. I need to do that soon."
"I'll be seeing you tomorrow."
"See you then, Annabelle."
That was when Annabelle revealed her wings and disappeared through the mirror in Griffin's living room.
Griffin said to himself "Well, let's finish that washing-up..."
Griffin spends 6 PP on Gift of Healing: Healing 4; Persistent, Stabilise, Limited: Affects Others Only.