That's what Ash said as I stepped out of that bear suit. "How did you survive that fall?"
I rolled my eyes. "No, you idiot. I didn't survive that fall." I tossed him his shins.
"You lost one of your lives?" He used his fingertorch to start welding them back on.
"NO. Listen. Mr. Bear fell out of the ship. I found Mr. Bear. I cleaned off the fur."
"What about the person who was in it?"
"It was empty."
"Congratulations, Koen. You have succeeded utterly confusing me."
I crouched next to him and gave him a crash course in Demon Psychology 101.
"Look, I've been to Erebus before. Their society is like a wolfpack. One huge pecking order. And on a cramped ship someone has to be the..."
"The Omega Wolf. And that Omega keeps from getting killed by being funny. He's the Court Jester, the chew toy..."
"Like Keenly the Clown?"
"EXACTLY! You met that guy?"
"I've read about him."
As I lectured him I helped him get to his feet. "So the thing about the Bear is he's anonymous. Because no one would submit to be the Bear if they knew they couldn't assume their own station again at some point without being blackmailed. As for throwing the Bear off the ship? That's just not done. That's like throwing the rum off a pirate ship!"
"So that would have been a decision by Marcus?"
"Right. And the crew is too afraid to correct him. Most likely they just let the guy slip out and threw out the costume!"
Ash picked up the mask.
"But I heard it cry out as it fell."
I reached in the mask and pressed a button in the muzzle. A voice roared from the device.
"MOARRRRR!! SAUUUUUCE!! LOL..." I clicked it off.
There was one of those long awkward silences. I could hear Ash's gears spinning double-time.
"I see why the Founder could never adjust to Human society."
"So here's the plan, Stan" I continued, "YOU put on this Bear and slip back on the ship. No one will ask who you are, in fact they'll be relieved that someone had an extra Bear on the ship. You just crawl and wobble around, act obnoxious like a Mainlan..."
"Like Keenly. People will kick you around a bit, pour drinks on you, but you can take it. You can even pull some pranks back on them so they don't forget you're there. If they miss the Bear too long they'll start turning on each other, or those Dolls."
"I can't get back to the ship. My wings are destroyed."
I heard something. I pointed up to the small craft floating down. "Quick. Put this on. Act crazy and they'll take you back to the ship. I've gotta get back to Pretty Ugly's Super Happy Fun Time Cabinet. Later!"
Back in the swing
6 months ago