I tried for ages to find a book review site that would help promote The Helios Legacy, but was roadblocked at every turn, as almost all of these sites refused to touch books that had violence, sex, and especially profanity in them. It kind of boggled my mind, but it also made me chuckle at least, because this one scene with foul-mouthed villain Ganymede is enough to keep Helios off of these websites’ feeds.
Finn’s Mead Hall was the last place in town that would let Ganymede, Duzie, and Peggy run a tab, but that was before they were fired. Not that the two were related; it was just bad luck (or karma, or whatever you would call it) cashing in its chips all at once, making a bad week even worse.
Finn was a tall, broad-boned bartender with a pink mohawk who could have bench pressed all three of them together, and looked like she was planning to when they strolled through her door in casual clothes and plain overcoats, rather than the white coats of their office. The place was mostly empty that night: to the right of the entrance, across the room from the bar, two college coeds sat in a booth. It was hard for them not to notice the three ex-valkyries, all of them loud and carrying themselves as if they owned the block.
“Give us a bottle o’ mead, Finn,” said Ganymede, slapping the counter with her hand. She spat the words out as if they were a challenge. “I don’t care if it’s the cheapest you got.”
“You know the drill, girl,” said Finn, leaning on the counter with an exasperated look. “Your tab’s so big it’s got a gravitational pull. You get caught up, I’ll start servin’ you again.”
In her woolly brown coat, red scarf, and snug black candy-striped sweater, the pixie-like Ganymede was alarmingly cute, which greatly annoyed Finn. She made a curious note of the bruise over the girl’s right eye.
“Show a little fuckin’ charity, Finn,” said Ganymede. “We just got shitcanned by the Cyclops.”
“You three? Fired?” Her round face gawked melodramatically. “Whu’d you do, break another poor boy’s arm?”
“Blasted a coupla breeders during a riot. They’re tryin’ to fuckin’ murder and rape everybody, so we regulate on their asses. We’re pretty much the only ones gettin’ anything done, too, while the rest o’ those cock-suckin’ sorority girls are runnin’ around, squealin’ for somebody to save ’em. Cyclops throws a hissy-fit and takes our badges, writes us up for courts-martial. Zero fuckin’ gratitude.”
Finn whistled long and low, almost as if she didn’t believe her. “That’s pretty rough. Wish I could help ya.”
Ganymede responded with a dirty scowl.
“Didja tell yer mom yet?” chuckled Finn.
Ganymede snarled. “That’s all I fuckin’ need. Mom would ride my ass for not sneezin’ the way she wants me to. My little sisters fuck somethin’ up, she tells me it’s my fault for bein’ such a bad influence, and we don’t even live together anymore. I’m gonna call her up and tell her my four years o’ military training went down the toilet this week. Fuckin’ brilliant.”
Finn finally gestured to her bruise. “That part o’ your severance package?”
Ganymede stabbed a thumb at the door. “Courtesy o’ the two cunts with badges who stopped us on our way over here. A valkyrie loses her wings, it gets broadcast all over the fuckin’ city. What’s wrong, little birdies, get yer wings clipped? one of ’em says. Big bull-dyke with a busted nose. I say, Keep laughin’ and I’ll clip yer horns, ya fuckin’ bull-dyke.”
Ganymede loudly smacked her gloved fist into her palm. “Wham! She fuckin’ pistol-whips me. She says somethin’ else, but I miss it ‘cos I’m too busy seein’ fuckin’ stars. Fifty people on the street watchin’. They prolly know I been kicked out, too, ‘cos they don’t do shit to help. Some clam-diver walks by, spits on me, messes up my fuckin’ coat. Peggy wants to skin her right there, but the fuckin’ cops haven’t left yet, so we can’t do shit.”
Peggy glanced over her shoulder and spotted the two young women in the booth watching Ganymede as she told her story. The mere fact that they were looking in their direction didn’t seem to sit well with her. Duzie noticed this as she brushed the snow from her magenta hair, and her annoyed expression slowly gave way to dread.
Peggy approached the booth and leaned menacingly over the two women, who were no longer talking: they stared up at the towering Iberian with terror in their eyes.
“The fuck you lookin’ at?” growled Peggy.
One of the coeds responded with a whimper.
“Peggy…” said Duzie, afraid to interfere without Ganymede’s help. Peggy listened when Ganymede pulled her leash; all it ever got Duzie was bitten.
In came Phoebe, lighting a cigarette. She strolled over to the bar, stood next to Ganymede like she wasn’t there, and said to Finn, “Give us all a round o’ mead, Finn. The Old Lady’s buyin’.”
Finn wasn’t one to show fear: the closest she ever came was when she spoke quietly, a woman who usually spoke like a truck horn.
“Sure, Phoebe,” she said quietly, digging out four glasses.
Ganymede, her elfish face seething with surprise and mistrust, watched Phoebe like a snake.
“Sangrid, right?” Phoebe said coolly. “Ganymede Sangrid?”
“Who wants ta know?”
“Then you two would be Reyes and Hrist,” Phoebe threw over her shoulder.
Now Peggy and Duzie were watching the smoker with the wild brown hair at the bar. So were the two coeds, who were beginning to wish they were somewhere else.
Ganymede flailed her arms. “Who the fuck are you?”
Phoebe smirked. “Question you should be askin’ is, ‘Why’d the Old Lady un-freeze my accounts when I’m facin’ a court-martial?'”
The three ex-valkyries responded with stupefied looks.
Phoebe tapped her cigarette ash into the ash tray on the bar. “Happens that you might not hafta face a court-martial. Happens that the Old Lady’s got work needs to be done, and you’re just the patriots to get it done.”
While Ganymede, Peggy, and Duzie looked stupidly at each other, Phoebe brushed past Ganymede and walked into the back of the bar where the private booths awaited.
“You wanna get paid to serve yer country,” said Phoebe without looking back at them, “come have a drink with me.”