Flash: When the Stars Align

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

“Second moon rising.” Leo glances over at me.

“I see it,” I grunt as I continue to mess with the wires.

“You sure about this?” Taurus asks from where he leans against a bula-bula tree.

“You’re here, aren’t you?” I mutter. “When do you ever leave the house if you aren’t sure about it?”

He laughs. “But are you sure, Virga?”

“By the stars, of course I am sure.” I press the last of the wires into place then snap the soldering stick and shake it to heat the tip.

“Our little Virga is always sure, you know that Taurus.”

“So help me, I will solder you mouth shut Leo if you call me little one more time.”

“Little girl, little life, little soft lips.”

“Little patience.” The tip of the stick turns blue, so I tap my glasses, activating the safety feature and they mold to my face.

“Big boobs.” I see Taurus gesture like I have mammillarias the size of a cow, big enough to weigh down his huge hands. Leo makes some gesture back that sets Taurus laughing again.

Gemini arrives with Sagittarius and the first question out of her mouth is, “Did I miss anything?” Her fear of missing out was high.

“Is the city still lit?” Leo waves at the sprawling slums rising into rundown tenant shacks to somewhat sturdy worker class apartments, and finally the soaring sparkling towers of the ultrarich, the few middle-class dwellings hidden under their glare.

“Of course it is,” Gemini walks over to beside Leo at the edge of the cliff, while Sagittarius sits down beside me. “Damn, this is beautiful. Are we sure about this?”

“What is it with everyone?” I ask, setting the spent stick on the purple grass. “Look, if you want to back out now, this is the last moment.” We hadn’t made the kick-off box until now to prevent the damn Pisces psychics from seeing anything. With the soldering done, all the links were clicking in place.

Sagittarius places his hand behind my neck and massages my tight muscles. “We aren’t backing out now. We’ve tried everything else. ‘A riot is the language of the unheard.’ – Martin Luther King Jr.”

“It’s not exactly a riot, Sag.” Taurus argued. “We are turning off the electric to four million people.”

“’A populous never rebels from passion for attack, but from impatience of suffering.’ – Edmund Burke.” Our resident archer moves behind my back and starts massaging me in earnest. “We are only applying a little suffering. It’s fall – not too cold, not too hot. But maybe we will wake the sheep.”

“Careful,” I say, “I hurt my left shoulder earlier, don’t rub too hard.”

“Well, I’m tired of waiting. You all may be of two minds about this,” Leo strides over to where I sat. “Give it here and I will set it off.”

I happily pass him up the activator, taking a little enjoyment at watching the pompous ass juggle the hot object. After pulling his cardigan over his hand, he turns it over in his hand and nods. Returning to his previous position overlooking Skyfall, he announces, “Now they must hear us.” He snaps the switches close, completing the circuit.

After a few moments, with the skyline lights remaining unchanged, he turns the switches to their previous positions carefully then snaps the again. The rapidly switches them back and forth between what he obviously thought were the on and off positions. “Nothing’s happening!” he yells before yeeting the device over the cliff.

I’m not even mad.

I lean against Sagittarius and just say, “Wait for it.”

“Everything is in the right place.” Taurus reaffirms behind us.

Seconds later, a quarter of the Needle, the skyscraper belonging to the Greens, the FirstLanders family owning the terraforming machines who are inching the creation of agricultural land to maximize food prices without anyone *important* starving, flicks off. The west side slums follow. The Crown Cathedrals, owned by the Christians – purveyors of news, entertaining, and publishing, darken one after the other with their surrounding tenant slums. Only the Avery Tower is left of the ones we could figure out on the electric grid how to access.

The lights turn off from the bottom to the top, one floor at a time, with matching rays shooting out of blackness running through the poor sections as though reaching for the full moon opposite us. There will be no banking tomorrow until that gets sorted out. To the East side, the Vella Conglomerate remain shining. Of course the family running the government and governmental services made sure their stations were updated as soon as the rebels in Home-at-Last showed the weakness in the utility structure, but they didn’t bother spending the money they collected in taxes to protect anyone else.

That is going to come back to bite them if the Christian press agents interpret the clues we left for them to find correctly. Some FirstLander infighting will only help the cause.

“We did it.” Leo says.

“Of course we did.” I snap. “Have a little faith.”

Sagittarius stands, “Now we go. I shall miss you. ‘We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere.’ – Tim McGraw.” He holds out a hand to help me up, which I need after being huddled over the switch since the first moonrise.

After shaking out my legs, I say. “I shall miss you too Sag, Bull.” I nod to each. “Gem.” I grab her in a huge hug.

“Virga.” She holds me tight in return.

“Hey, what about me?” Leo opens his arms wide.

I walk away to where I left my backpack giving him the finger behind me.

After the last year, I’m ready to go back to being just Elisa, electrical student at the Vella Training Grounds where Sagittarius had recruited me for his rebellion cell.

Being Elisa again would be nice. At least until those in power figure it out. Best guess, I might live to see tomorrow’s nightfall. If they find Leo first, we won’t last until dawn.

Behind me, I hear motors start for the richer members of our group. Taurus will be going back to wherever he came from on foot. Like me, he was recruited for just this mission. I slide on my backpack and turn around to stare at the half-lit cityscape. Fires brightened some of the darker areas as the riots start.

I did that. Me and Taurus really. We had the know-how they needed.

Now we are on our own again and their super-secret cell will hide among the rich and wealthy.

I shall miss Virga and all the excitement she brought to my life for the last year.

But I shall miss Elisa more. The me from birth.

I drop my IDs on the ground with the two of the trackers the elite put into workers, one for me and one for Taurus. He dug out mine and I dug out his before the bigwigs got here.

“This is the last moment.” I tell myself, looking at the pile. Am I really going to do this?

I pour acid over the batch. “Rest in peace Elisa.” I drop the plastic container that held the acid onto the pile then pull out my two backup solder sticks. Cracking them, I drop them onto the flammable acid and walk away quickly from the cliff and from my life in Skyfall.

(words 1,246; first published 12/24/2023)

When the Stars Align series

  1. When the Stars Align (12/24/2023)
  2. Against the Sky (1/7/2024)

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