The following should be treated as the concept art version of novelization. Strictly speaking I would not consider it “canon”. All text exactly matches the text that appears within the comic. This covers, I believe, the first 3 pages. This was just something I wrote on a lark, and I do not know if I will continue or not. Anyway, enjoy:


Arron knew who was approaching before they spoke. This was not because Arron had particularly astute hearing at his age or spent any great effort remembering the gaits of his subordinates. No, rather there was only one person that walked with the angry stalk of a wet cat wearing army boots in his department.

He suppressed a smile as he glanced at the young woman. Kallisto Summers was an atypical IDS Agent perhaps, but a talented one. Unfortunately her expression that hadn’t been north of a scowling glower in some time, and was currently scowling glower with a few degrees of worry. That probably wasn’t good.

As she drew up besides him, she started talking without preamble.

“Two updates from Corporate Affairs, Director”.

He sighed. It was a bad habit of his. One shouldn’t sigh infront of their subordinates.

“How bad are we talking about here?”

That the news wasn’t good was something to take for granted. Leaving aside the mood of the young agent at his side, good news was not something one recieved from the Corporate Affairs branch.

“They agreed to share their information on the whirlpool virus…” she started.

A sure sign they had none, he mentally noted.

“…but one of their suspects is Peter.”

“Then I suppose we hope he stays off the radar as thoroughly as he as been.”

At least some good would come of the fact that his nephew had, by the account of one most thorough intelligence agencies in the world, vanished. He’d had an update just a few days ago warning him he should consider that Peter might be dead.

Of course, he did not, for more than a passing fancy, believe that. No, the facts could point to it, but he did not believe it.

It wasn’t just that he didn’t wish death upon his nephew, no, his belief had little to do with sentimentality. Peter was just not the sort to die. That boy could only be considered reckless by someone that had never glimpsed the depthless clockwork contraption that served for his brain. Incredibly aggravating, yes. Reckless…? No.

Kally, however, was not finished giving her report.

“Unfortunately… that’s the second item. Peter showed up. He… well, he enrolled in a school.”

Arron sighed again. The lines of age etched across his face growing ever so slightly deeper. Age… age he could deal with. Peter, well. Peter would be the death of him.

Kally trailed him as he walked down the corridor, and through the door into his office. Likely she understood why Arron was reluctant to continue this conversation walking down the hallway. Anyone here would have the necessary security clearance to overhear the conversation. Very few of them would have the necessary discretion to not feed the water cooler chat any scrap of news their favorite folk (if now rogue) hero.

He settled behind his desk, eyeing the young Witch. She made no motion to sit, a coiled spring of discontentment did not sit. Rather, she stood with her arms crossed, eyebrows furrowed, and mouth bent.

“He enrolled in a… school?”

Arron emphasized the last word. Getting Peter near a school was something he would have thought best left to a team of particularly stubborn tractors with ropes and pulleys. Heavens only knew what fresh hell this heralded.

He continued, slowly martialling his thoughts.

“Here. In Malsa? With his real name? Our best agents were starting to tell me he was probably dead.”

Kally’s scowl could not deepen further, so she had to make due with flicking her head irritably to show her displeasure.

“Are we ruling out insanity?” she said with thoroughly discontent. β€œThis is him we are talking about after all.”

She had, over the months, honed the word ‘him’ into some form of curse. Perhaps a hex. Maybe Peter experienced a cold shiver every time she uttered it.

Objectively speaking as her boss – and, for that matter, Peter’s former boss – he should probably not find any amusement at all in the situation. As an old man who’d had a front row seat to their youthful bickering for years, however, he couldn’t help it, and barely suppressed a wry smile that wouldn’t have helped his professionalism or her temper in the slightest.

Still, insanity? No. Peter’s mind was a meticulous thing of gears. It did not have room for insanity.

“He’s not insane. Not like that anyway.” He added the amendment on the end. Few, after all, would call Peter particularly normal. He continued, “You know what he’s like. There is a reason for this.”

Arron let his own speculation wonder for only a second, but only a second. Yes, this certainly was Peter’s opening move to some new game, but he frankly guessing at this juncture would be about as futile as it got.

“We need more information. We can be certain that he did not enroll out of scholastic enthusiasm, if nothing else, but we will need more.”

Kally seemed to be pouting. Ah. He should probably make some note of arresting his fugitive nephew, as hopelessly implausible as that was.

“I will see if we can get him extradited to us… but I wouldn’t count on it. I doubt he appeared like this carelessly.”

Honestly, if he could find a reason to arrest Peter through an official channel, he wasn’t sure if he would do it. Not out of sympathy, but out of the sheer certainty that an obvious opening would by far the most dangerous sort.

Arron had served a full career in the military. He was now the Regional Director of Interdimensional Criminal Investigations. He had survived the Incursion. He had seen a world burn. He was standing across the table from a mage that was probably in the top hundred most lethal people on the planet.

His nephew’s clockwork mind still unnerved him.


What was ticking through the mind of the subject of Arron’s thoughts was unknown, even to its erstwhile owner, as Peter was sound asleep.

Noon had come and gone, but the sun and Peter had, at best, a relationship of some ambivalence. He was not, like some of his colleagues, entirely opposed to the concept of the sun. No, he just found that his needs and its astronomical habits of spinning through the sky had little in common.

Unfortunately for his continued rest, the sun had found an envoy with far more direct impact in his life, and that envoy barged into his room loudly.

“Good afternoon, Peter!” It cried out, with a surplus of enthusiasm.

He opened one eye, skeptically observing the envoy. If he hadn’t lived here several years finding someone with striking purple hair standing over his bed would be a sure sign that something in the wake up procedure had malfunctioned horribly.

Here in Malsa, however, Naomi with her purple eyes and hair stood out less than him with his mismatched blue eyes and brown hair, neither of which were natural to the natives in his hues, nor would they be the telltale markers of a designer child, like the entirely too enthusiastic presence that had thundered into his room.

He closed the speculative eye.

“If you’re waking me up instead of Mium, there is clearly no good reason for it. Shoo.”

It was a gambit with a probability of success in the the fractional percentage points. Naomi was neither repressible nor particularly dissuade. While her presence her was almost certainly not a herald of anything important – Mium really would have woken him up in that case – it likely indicated something even more likely to impact his continued sleep plans. She was bored.

She moved around the room, bringing infectiously restless and irrepressible sleep destroying energy into the room. Sunlight, as she opened the blinds and peered out the window.

“You know, a schedule that includes actual mornings is looming large in your future, Peter. Consider getting up in the afternoon a warmup!”

She was of course referring their enrollment into Levenworth. Well. He’d done less pleasant things for worse reasons. Frozen hells only know why she seemed to be genuinely excited about it. Maybe that was something they’d figured out how to add into these Designer Children, though, if they had found a way to control preferences and attitudes, he could only Imagine Naomi was what passed for a factory reject. A useful factory reject though.

He yawned widely.

“I was up late last night. Doing work.” It was an appeal to an entirely apathetic jury.

“If you get up now, you might still be time to get some done tonight, too!”

She smiled broadly.

Of course, she almost always smiled broadly.