A Day At The Races
A Legion of Lawndale Heroes 'Mini', by Brother Grimace
Legion of Lawndale Heroes created by James Bowman
CONTINUITY NOTE: This 'Mini' takes place between on the first Saturday in May, several months after the events of Chapter Thirteen. Consider it an aberration, slightly outside the continuity as it currently exists – but you'll see pointers inside as to what events have occurred before and after this takes place.
EDIT: Several changes in dialogue have been made to reflect current happenings in the series.
No one could ever know me
No one could ever see me
Since you're the only one who knows what it's like to be me
Someone to face the day with
Make it through all the best with
Someone who always laughs at
Even when I'm at my worst, I'm best with you
- from 'I'll Be There For You', by The Rembrandts
"So, what's it like being a Legionnaire, Julia? All sorts of high-tech stuff, that cool plane, not having to wear a uniform all the time, and – ooooh – Trent Lane, that Mack Mackenzie and Tom Sloane, all under the same roof!"
Julia Carlyle rolled her eyes, and drew a slender carrot stick from her plate as Sidney Simon - perfectly dressed for 'Derby Day' in her flowing peach-hued gown and matching hat - sipped her mint julep before continuing. "Of course, we all know that you're not interested in those hotties – you've always been more into a guy with a brain."
"You know, Sid – the both of us are really tired of hearing that," the stunning redhead said, very happy that the cream-colored gown and flamboyant hat she wore easily outdid Sidney's outfit. (All four were dressed up for the festival-like atmosphere at Churchill Downs, where tens of thousands of people had gathered for the annual running of the Kentucky Derby.) "If you're interested in David Allen, then just go and make your play for him. We're good friends – and if anything else happens, okay, then."
Amorette Molyneux smiled at the look that crossed Sidney's face - even though she could easily feel the sharp pain that lanced through the Legionnaire as she spoke the name of their fellow cadet. "The only way you'll make the earth move for you and Farrington is to use your geoforce powers, right? Silly little girl – there's a difference between having a woman's body and actually being a woman..."
Sidney's eyes lit up. "And someday, you'll find that out for yourself," she growled in French, to match the slender, leggy French-Canadian girl's speech; she received a very cold glare, and felt the glass in her hand began to heat up. "Don't try me, telepath. I'll show you all about heat."
Amorette's dark, anime-large eyes didn't blink as she held Sidney's gaze. "I'm not male or curious. I have no reason to keep from housebreaking you."
"Ladies – let's try and act civilized," Zoey Robertson said, the happy tone in her voice never reaching her eyes as she stared both of the cadets down. "This is Julia's day, remember? While we're cracking the books, our Lady Carlyle's been stomping on bad guys!"
"And you'd love it, Zoey." Julia finished her carrot stick, washed it down with a long drink of her sweet tea, and watched as Sidney waved for another drink. "Still, let's talk about what's going on back at 'the Axe', okay? We can always talk about the other Legionnaires – so, who's gotten their claws into Jefferson Davers, or is he still going through townies like they're made of chewy mints?"
"Well, with Allison Cockrum transferring into the Elite Academy back in January, he's been paying a lot of attention to her – and after getting a good look at her at the Christmas Ball, he's also tried talking to Lillian a time or two!" Sidney told her. "That's not the big story – are you ready for this? He tried to-"
"And I pushed him into the pool, didn't I?" Zoey blurted out, her luminous, pale-brown skin taking on a flush that Julia would have sworn was a-
"Zoey – are you blushing?" Julia's jade eyes went very wide as her fellow member of The Alliance looked down at the 'virgin berry spritzer' in front of her, the flush flowing down her very long limbs. "Zoey Marguerite Robertson – what exactly were you doing in the pool area with Jefferson Davers, besides talking about money and family?"
"The question is, 'what is it that she would not have been doing - if David Allen and Leda hadn't brought an entire class of 'sprouts' in for an extra free swim period," Amorette cut in, her words bubbling up through her giggling. "They are doing TA duties with General Geller's Psi-Ops 110 class. Thirty Class Threes and Fours, all of them thirteen and fourteen years old - and this, on the very first day since they've been in 'the Axe' that they've been off the 'flush'."
Julia turned to Zoey with a look of mirth and shock; she knew how telepathic cadets in their first three semesters at the Academy used low-level doses of the power-dampening drug 'flush' to control their powers outside of their required training courses. They were constantly monitored, until the second week of their spring semester as Cadets Fifth Year, when the young telepaths still enrolled received-
"Zoey! You got frisky on Banding Day?"
Zoey's blush deepened as the other young women laughed, and Julia remembered how proud and happy David Allen, Amorette and the other telepaths in her year were when they were issued their very first Mark 30 augmenters; to them, it meant that they were mature enough to be trusted off the drugs. "Not smart! You KNOW that they'll always slip up once or twice, and-"
"If Leda had not been there to shield Zoey, they would have known everything about her," Amorette chortled, looking up from Zoey's uncharacteristically girlish behavior. "Kendra! Over here!"
Julia turned around to see Kendra Read and Sherrie Klein, both dressed incredibly well - the former in a canary-gold sundress and matching hat, the latter wearing an similar outfit and hat of robin's–egg-blue - as they waved from the door. Oh, my God. Trent Lane's really great in the sack if he managed to get Sherrie in a dress like that – oh, wow. Look at him...
"Oh, come on, Julia – everybody promised that we wouldn't make one joke if Sherrie wore a dress!" Sidney said, seeing the twinkle of joy in the Legionnaire's eyes as she saw her Academy roommate – and an especially handsome Trent Lane as he came through the door and took Sherrie's hand in his own. "She should have a chance to show off her boy-toy – and do you know how tough it was to get her into that dress? She was not down with the idea of bouffing up, not even for Trent Lane!"
"Well, it won't be rough for Lane to get her out of it," Kendra chirped, sipping a boysenberry daiquiri as she took a seat at the table. "I hear that those Lanes are some – energetic folks – and they don't stop when you get them anywhere near a bed. I bet that before she beat the hell out of little Tommy Sloane, he and Jane Lane were probably causing little cracks in the walls of Legion Tower from all of the rocking of the bed!"
"Wow, Kendra," Julia snapped, her tone and glare one that any Fashion Club member would remember – and cower beneath. "I guess it's true that you can take a girl out of the Garden State, but you can't take the Garden State out of the girl - no matter how much money her family has."
Kendra turned so pale at Julia's comment that Amorette reached out with her telekinesis to catch her drink before it fell from her fingers – and then, quickly glanced around to see that no one has seen what she'd done. "Julia! We all know that you're 'the QB' – but could you let that go, at least for today? This is supposed to be fun for everybody!"
"Sorry," Julia said, actually meaning the words as she gave Kendra an apologetic glance, and then turned to a passing attendant. "Pardon me? Hi. I'm Julia Carlyle. Could you go and get the Star Platter I ordered for my friends and me? Thanks!"
The attendant took a look at the three neatly folded one-hundred dollar bills that Julia had slipped into his hand without his even noticing – and a smile slid across his face as his eyes went from his palm to her face... taking a detour to admire her legs. "Yes, ma'am. I'll be right back with that for you!"
"Let me guess – your Nana's been giving you more grief about 'not being a proper Carlyle woman', so you're splurging in the hopes that it'll get back that there might be some hope for you yet."
"If you get up and hug me like this is some bad teen show on TV, I'll deck you," Sherrie growled, an annoyed half-frown on her face as Julia did just that, anyway. "God! Didn't becoming a Legionnaire toughen you up any?"
"Stop being an old lady," Julia replied, smiling broadly as Trent held Sherrie's seat out for her. "Oh, look – you've got him trained!"
"Hey – I like doing things for Sherrie," Trent said, his voice making the other girls at the table swoon as Julia let her smile widen at the sight – it's about time some of the other girls showed her the proper respect. After all, if she can bag a hot guy like Trent Lane, whatever she's been doing is exactly the right thing to do!
"I picked up things after years of being a Queen Bee's roommate," Sherrie responded, her smile radiant as she took the glass of lemon tea offered by Trent, who accepted the drink (and one for himself) from the attendant who has suddenly appeared with drinks for them and additional drinks for the others. "Wow – quick service. Word's gotten out that a Carlyle's here."
"No – word's gotten out that a Carlyle and her best friend are here," Julia emphasized. "Oh, yeah. There are also a few other girls that she went to school with that are hanging around, too."
"Thanks a lot, Julia," Amorette laughed. "Any of us could walk down any street in North America and have guys walking into walls and doors – but around you, we're the 'B' list."
"Molly, you're not on the 'B' list," Julia said, reaching for her tea. "You're one of us; a member of my court. My clique. My... 'posse'. No girl who's only rated 'B' list could ever hang out with me..."
"I know that," Amorette sighed; several men couldn't help but glance in her direction as she shifted in her seat, giving them a good look at her long, exquisitely-sculpted legs before patting Sherrie's hand gently. "But, as the most beautiful woman here, I feel that it is my duty to give the plain girls a boost in their morale."
"She's joking, Trent," Sherrie said, noticing how the young man's eyes had started to narrow as he looked in Amorette's direction. "Those two been doing this for ten years. Julia's the youngest, so she has to do something to get attention - and, well, what can you say about Molly here? She's French-Canadian!"
"And trying to become the 'Quinn Morgendorffer of the campus' was her 'thing'", Sidney continued, letting her eyes run over Trent as she spoke. "Nine years old, and actually getting Elite Academy cadets to do things she wanted!"
"Not all of them," Kendra said, her brilliant smile catching everyone's attention. "I can thing of one or three older cadets who always caught you in every little scheme you tried to run – well, the ones you did outside Williams Hall."
"Excusez-moi," Amorette growled, slipping momentarily into French. "All those who are Phantom Eagles at this table, raise their hands, yes? No? There. Enough said on who is the best."
The conversation was interrupted as the attendant Julia spoke to earlier returned to the table with two fellow attendants; all three carried a large platter adorned with many types of bite-sized sandwiches, sliced fruits and veggies, a variety of snack meats including meatballs, chicken wings, various seafood puffs and sauces. "Nice timing, boys," Julia said, casually shaking the hands of each as she slipped him a tip. "Why don't the three of you drop by every now and then? We may need our ice re-chilled, or a chicken wing moved."
"Okay, Carlyle – now you're just going overboard."
Julia spun around as she heard a familiar voice from behind, and she came to her feet. "Ma'am? Cadet – I mean, Commander Dean?"
The short-haired brunette, fully six inches shorter than Julia and dressed in a nice outfit that still paled next to Julia's wardrobe, smiled as she looked the group of young women over. "Thought I recognized this little coffee klatch of yours from the Academy – you always gather together as if you're holding court. Your grandmother's training, right?"
Julia shook her head sheepishly, grateful that she didn't salute – which would have been a major faux pas, with both being out of uniform "Never mind that – invite me to have a seat!" Mallory Dean said, looking around at the other cadets, "Well, it seems that you've all grown up since I left the Academy – nice work, Klein. Excellent catch."
Sherrie blushed, and Trent squeezed her hand beneath the table as Julia motioned Mallory in. "Commander Dean – I thought that you were supposed to be up in Seattle, or something," Sidney spoke up. "Why are you here at the Derby?"
"Because I like horses, Simon," she said as she took a seat next to the girl – and without giving her the verbal smackdown she'd probably earned for her earlier comment, the other girls all thought. "I haven't been here in five years, and I thought I'd treat myself before my next assignment."
"You got your ship," Zoey said, already perked up by the presence of another Coast Guard officer (as she held a brevet rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade). "I heard that you were being transferred from Port Angeles – where are you going?"
The twenty-something woman took a sip from her peach mint spritzer, and looked around the table. "Further north – all the way to Alaska," she replied. "I'm getting a cutter – the Centralia. If you can keep from beating up on people, Robertson, I might be persuaded to keep a spot open for a junior officer, come next year."
Zoey's eyes lit up, and Julia whacked Sidney's hand as they both reached for a particularly large chicken wing. "Always the size of the fight in the dog, eh, Carlyle? Piece of advice – let the others get the big piece of chicken every now and then. It'll let them think that you're human."
"Do you let the guys that you work with think that you're human, ma'am?" Kendra asked, leaning forward and snatching another chicken wing away from Sidney just before her fingers reached it. "I –I mean-"
"I know what you mean – and girls, for today, rank is not an issue. Ease up, already!"
Sidney wrinkled her nose in annoyance as she reached for another wing, and Zoey got there first. "I am so gonna rock the world of the next person who takes the chicken wing I'm reaching for, and I'm talking igneous here," she growled, brushing her hair out of her face
"Like I said, Simon – ease up," Mallory said, taking a trio of wings and placing them on a saucer before handing them to the girl. "People are waiting for an opportunity to rattle you, and when they get it, they'll try to never let you forget."
"Thanks, ma'am." Sidney reached out for two more wings, faux-growling at Kendra as the other girl moved to take one of the wings, and dug in, totally ignoring the looks of the other girls.
"That's what I'm talking about – I think," Mallory said, turning to face Julia. "So, Carlyle – I heard that you've gotten an interesting little thing going on now... tell us what the hell's been happening in your world! What's this that I've been hearing about you joining up with that kids' club out of Maryland? Is it really what I've been hearing?"
"Oh, yes," Zoey said, lowering her drink from her lips. "Those Legionnaires are exactly what the memo says – especially that Sandi Griffin. She not only got offered a scholarship to the Academy, but the Phantom Eagles wanted her – and she said 'no'. I think that she's not going to go anywhere until she gets to become Legion Leader..."
"I was surprised that she didn't freak when Daria won it – or that she's done a good job as Leader," Julia said. "I was surprised when she didn't freak out that Charles Ruttheimer came in second."
All of the girls except Sherrie gave off a little gasp at the sound of Charles' name. "Oooh, yeah – 'Chameleon'", Kendra said, a little shudder of pleasure rolling through her. "He's got the right code-name; I bet he can fit in everywhere."
"So, you all have code-names in the Legion, just like in The Alliance?" Amorette asked. "What are they calling themselves?"
"Well, since you're only interested in the guys, Mack's going by 'Inferno', and Tom's 'Ultra'"-
"Ultra full of himself," Zoey snapped off, reminding Julia (as if she needed the reminder) that not many of the members of The Alliance liked the strongest Legionnaire much - and sending a sudden pang of sadness through her as she realized that she, along with everyone else in her cadre, would be graduating in about six weeks.
Julia drank quickly, remembering what had happened on the previous Halloween and silently thanking the young cadet who had helped her afterward. Even though it turned out that it never happened, I'll never forgive Tom for all that happened on Halloween. Never.
Julia's teammate in The Alliance continued. "What a jerk. At least he got his butt kicked good and proper last fall by your sister, right?"
Zoey turned to Trent as she spoke, and the young man gave off a small but winning smile as he nodded. 'That's my Janey," he said, pride radiating from him. "She doesn't take crap off anyone."
"So I heard," Mallory said, also turning towards Trent. "Your sister made a name for herself – both with the battle simulation at 'the Axe', and with that fight last year. We saw the aurora borealis over on the West Coast, and thought there was some major solar disturbance until we got the news."
"She's a hell of a lot tougher than any of us thought," Sidney chimed in. "What's she calling herself?
"Polaris," Julia told them. "Sandi had a few choices – 'Xerox', 'Triplicate Girl', 'Trinity' - oh, and some smart-ass put 'Three-way' in the suggestion box – I think it was Tom, trying to get Charles in trouble. She shot that one down right away, and nobody blames Charles – we all know he didn't do it."
No one noticed the small smile that went across Trent's face as Julia shook her head, almost as if she were shaking a bad memory away. "She settled on 'Triad'. Quinn Morgendorffer – well, she likes to stand out from the crowd, so she's 'Lightning Lass'.
"What about your little Daria?" Amorette asked, always curious about other telepaths. "What name did she choose?"
"Well, that was an interesting little session," Julia laughed. "Oh, some of the names that came up to be considered! After a while, she finally came up with what everybody thought would be the perfect code-name for her..."