Silk appeared on the scene. Only if you looked very carefully, Kang recalled, would you observe that she was now wearing a force field bracer. Any number of people noticed that she was armed not with her usual Ruggels 0.60 pistol but with a Krell disruptor. The flame breath had no effect on her. Her first shot took down the creature, who reverted into the Society’s Occult Master. Asked why she hadn’t mentioned having the extremely rare and powerful Krell weapon, she said that she hadn’t had it. The now very ex-boyfriend had lent it to her. He had it back. They’d agreed, when they broke up, that they would forget each other. An unnamed mentalist had ensured that she had no remaining memories of him. The boyfriend was not the ex who had, for a while, shared breakfast with her. No one knew who he was.
The usual third at her table was the seventh-grade boy who, if pressed, announced he was Silk’s heroic side-kick Jim, he who protected her from truly dangerous villains. Jim had his trusty slingshot for that. He confessed that he never carried his slingshot. Someone could get hurt. Today Jim was missing in action.
Kang had gone no further in reviewing his customers and what new dishes he could inveigle them into trying when the doors slammed inward. Running through them at top speed was Kang’s number-two man, Wang the Imperturbable.
“Lord Kang! Lord Kang!” Wang shouted in Mandarin. “The Sun! The Sun! It rises with a central eclipse!”
Kang tapped the computer screen above his chopping block. ‘Central Eclipse’ had an unfortunate implication, at least if you wished that people did not try that insanely dangerous stunt that always killed them, and sometimes killed large numbers of their minions. Headlines scrolled across the screen. There was much news, but the astral omen was not yet reported. He tapped the screen again. The All-Continent News Network was usually fast off the start. There was the ACNN “Special News Bulletin” warning. The text alternated every few seconds between orange lettering on a blue field and violet lettering on a yellow field, colors reserved for the most serious emergencies.
A half dozen split-screens came up. There was the sun, blinding white, a black disc covering its middle. As Kang watched the disc grew wider and wider. In a few minutes the central eclipse would block all sight of the sun everywhere on earth. Voices from different video bands spoke. “First seen ten minutes ago in London… Observers in Athens heard celestial trumpets… Moscow reports the sky has turned imperial purple… We now join PNN reporter Vera Durand. Where are you, Vera?”