Episode 25: The Supple Side of Steel

Steel Bolt walked into the breakfast room with a broad smile on his face and a spring in his step.  “Hello, dear sister ... dear brother.”

Daedalus flinched upon being greeted—a fair reaction given that Steel hasn’t spoken to him for weeks.

“Ah Daedalus, I really must apologize for my behaviour of late.  I now see how wrong I’ve been.  After all, we’re family; why should I care if you’re dating Trixie Testosterone?  Especially since her amnesia shows no signs of relenting.  Why should I wish to re-establish a relationship with her just because she inhabits the body of my former wife?  It’s clear that the two of you have much more in common than she and I do.  In fact, if anything I should be happy she’s with you, as I know you will treat her well.  All is forgiven, Daedalus," said Steel magnanimously, "all is forgiven.” 

“What do you mean Daedalus is dating a woman who inhabits the body of your former wife?" Viveka asked.  "Are you saying Chastity is alive?” 

“Yes, yes she is.  Not exactly the woman she used to be,” Steel laughed, “but very much alive.  It’s quite a story.  Get Daedalus to tell you all about it after I leave.”

“Uh, alright.”

Viveka and Daedalus exchanged puzzled glances, each silently asking the other if they knew why Steel was in such a good mood.  Both shrugged in response to the other’s telepathic inquiry.

Their puzzlement grew when Steel did not immerse himself in the Business Section as he normally did.  “So Viv, tell us how things are going with your new man.”

“Fine,” she answered warily.

“What’s his name?”

“Hugh Rection.”

“Well, you must bring him around for dinner sometime.  Or we’ll all go out, that might be fun.  It’s time Daedalus and I got a look at this guy, eh Daedalus?  The brothers have to approve of their sister’s boyfriend, don’t we,” Steel chuckled.  “Now then, where does this Hugh work?” Steel continued with genuine interest.

“At Tequila Mockingbird.  He works in the kitchen.”

“Oh, I see.  He’s a chef, is he?”


“You know, I’ve always regretted my lack of culinary expertise,” Steel said thoughtfully.  “I realize there’s never been a reason for me, or any of us, to learn how to cook, but I bet you get a real sense of satisfaction from preparing a meal: getting your hands dirty, seeing it come together, ultimately eating it.  That must be nice, don’t you think?”  He looked at his siblings to see if they agreed.

Both were confounded by Steel’s attempts to engage in what could only be termed “small talk”, for Steel was never one for small anythings.

“I don't know,” and “I guess you’re right,” were their responses.

“Well, Viv, if you are serious about this gentleman, say the word and I’ll hire him.  Bolt Fasteners is always looking for bright people with fresh ideas.”

“I will let him know that,” Viveka managed to answer.  Normally, Steel tried to have her boyfriends killed; now he was offering one a job?

Steel looked at his watch.  “I have to get going.  By the way, just so you know, we have a guest staying with us.  An enchanting creature by the name of Charity Hope.  She fled from the nunnery up by Euphonious Bay.  I don’t know how long she’ll be here, but I suspect it might be awhile.  If you run into to her, introduce yourselves and be nice.  Okay?  Great.  I’ll see you later.”  He patted both of them kindly on the shoulder before leaving.

Viveka and Daedalus looked at one another, suddenly recalling the last time they’d seen such behaviour from their brother.

Continue reading: Episode 26: Cloistered Hope