"Lumen in Coelo"


by Susan M. M.

Standard fanfic disclaimer that wouldn't last ten seconds in a court of law: these aren't my characters, I'm just borrowing them for, um, typing practice. That's it, typing practice. I'll return them to their actual owners (relatively) undamaged. This is an amateur work of fiction; no profit beyond pleasure was derived from the writing. Based on characters and situations from the movie Megamind, created by DreamWorks, borrowed without their knowledge or permission, merely because, A, I was curious to see what happened next, and because, B, I promised Qoheleth that I would participate in the Great St. Malachy O'More Fanfic Challenge. This story is debuting as 'netfic; it has not previously been published in any fanzine. Saw the movie Sunday, wrote the story Monday, posted it Tuesday. Since it was written in such haste, readers ought not to be surprised to find that it's PWP. There, you're warned.

The Great St. Malachy O'More Fanfic Challenge: St. Malachy O'More allegedly wrote a list of Latin phrases, generally two to four words long, that described/prophesized the major popes and anti-popes. (Malachy, an Irish archbishop, died in 1148; the list wasn't published until 1595, and some think it's a medieval forgery.) Qoheleth has challenged authors on this site to write a story using a phrase from the list (assigned at random) as the title and inspiration for a story in any genre. Mine is "Lumen in Coelo," which translates to "light in the sky," and is associated with Pope Leo XIII (1878 - 1903), whose coat of arms had a shooting star. If interested in participating yourself, contact Qoheleth at FanFiction-dot-net.

"Lumen in Coelo"

Roxanne Ritchi, ace reporter for Channel 8 News, lay on a blanket on a grassy hill in Abigail Adams Park, looking up at the stars and listening to the bagpipes. The brunette wore a kilted skirt in the Clan Ritchie tartan, mostly red, with intercrossing green, blue, and white stripes, and a red polo shirt with 'Channel 8' embroidered on it in white thread. Beside her lay her boyfriend, the former supervillain Megamind. The blue-skinned alien was using a holographic projection to look like Bernard, the former assistant curator of the Metro Man Museum.

The real Bernard had found life in Metro City too weird, and had moved to take a job as curator in a small natural science museum in Neshoba, Tennessee, where the weirdest thing he had to deal with were Elvis fans who thought they'd grown potatoes that looked like the late Mr. Presley's face.

"I can't believe you don't like Colin Grant-Adams," Roxanne said.

Megamind gave a half shrug. (It's difficult to shrug properly when you're lying down.) "I've just never been that into folk music. Besides, his voice is ... too thin."

"So you like Alex Beaton better?" she asked, naming a Scottish folk singer with a rich, baritone voice.

Megamind hesitated before answering. All day at the 17th Annual Metro City Highland Games, Roxanne had been drooling over CDs in the vendors' tents, jabbering on about musicians he'd never heard of: the Browne Sisters and George Cavanaugh, Golden Bough, Heather Heywood, Andy Stewart, Robin Laing, the Boatwrights, Archie Fisher, Uncle Hamish and the Hooligans, Cara-Anne Phillips, Smithfield Fair. She'd asked him if he preferred Needfire to Brother. He was embarrassed to admit his ignorance to her; he was a super-genius. Weren't super-geniuses supposed to know everything? "We didn't listen to much folk music at home. Mostly rock and a little country/western." He paused a second, then added, "Uncle Billy Bob was very into country. He liked to whistle Johnny Cash songs as he dug escape tunnels."

Roxanne shuddered, but not from the cold. It always freaked her out a little when Megamind referred to the Metro City Prison for the Criminally Gifted as home. "How old were you when you first went to prison?"

"Less than a month old." He wasn't entirely sure himself just how old he'd been. He'd been eight days old when his parents had launched his escape capsule from their dying planet, but between the time-dilation effects of Faster-Than-Light travel and as young and scared as he'd been, he'd never known how long the trip to Earth had actually taken. His capsule had landed in the prison exercise yard, and the prisoners - the greatest master criminals in Metro City's history - had taken him in and raised him like a pet. A few bribed guards had been let into the secret. The warden hadn't learned of his existence until he was five years old. By then, the nurture vs. nature battle had already been lost. His environment, combined with his superior alien intellect, had him well on the path to supervillainy.

The fireworks began. Roxanne oohed and aahed appreciatively.

Megamind said, "They remind me of home, except the search lights were all white, and they didn't make geometric patterns."

Roxy changed the subject. "So how did you like your first Highland Games?"

"This isn't my first one. I robbed the 14th Annual Highland Games, when the Duke of Glenfinnan's jewelry was on display," he reminded her. "Oh, look, those fireworks are forming a dodecahedron in varying shades of red."

"Bernard," she pointedly used the alias under which she finally gotten to know him, after years of being kidnapped by him, "this is your first Highland Games for attending and enjoying. So what did you like or dislike?"

"Well, the girls danced in formation very well - almost as well as my brainbots. Good synchronization."

"The Irish dancers? They're children, Bernard. Little girls, not mini-soldiers." She smiled at him, an expression of fond exasperation in her blue eyes. He'd only made the switch from supervillain to superhero six months ago. She ought to expect him to still look at things from an evil overlord's point of view occasionally. "What else did you like?"

He waved a hand in the direction of the bagpipes. "Those I like - a remarkable example of sonic weaponry."

"What!" She sat up, ready to do battle for the honor of Scottish music.

"Kidding, kidding," he told her.

She lay back down on the blanket.

Megamind pointed up at a giant circle of white, with concentric rings of blue. "That one reminds me of the blueberry scone you bought me at lunch."

"Uh-huh," Roxanne agreed. She'd had a meat pie, a chocolate chip scone, and an Irn Bru. He'd had haggis, a blueberry scone, and an Irn Bru. She'd had to coax him to drink the Irn Bru; he claimed it looked like one of his chemicals from his lab. A bright orange flare exploded into a thousand pieces. She wisely decided not to compare it to Irn Bru, the Glaswegian soda pop only available in the USA at Highland Games and in specialty import shops. She didn't want him to start complaining again that Irn Bru tasted like one of his xenochemical formulas. So it was an acquired taste. She liked the soft drink, and she wasn't able to get it often. "Ooh, look at that one!"

"I've blown things up more times than I can count," Megamind confessed. "But pyrotechnic explosions just for the sake of aesthetic pleasure," he mispronounced both 'pyrotechnic' and 'aesthetic', "it never occurred to me." He reached across the blanket and squeezed her hand. "Or that such a display is twice as special when I share it with you. Inconceivable ... incomprehensible ... but true."

"I bet you say that to all the girls," she teased.

"Just you," he assured her. Just because he didn't kidnap her on a regular basis anymore, he didn't want her to think that he was taking her for granted.

They lay on the blanket in companionable silence for a few minutes, other than an occasional 'ooh' or 'ah.'

After a bit, she asked, "Did you like the sheepdog demonstration?"

"Yes, I liked it."

"What did you think of the athletics? The caber toss and the hammer throw and such?"

"Interesting." Had he wanted to move a telephone pole, he would have commanded his brainbots to carry it, or built an anti-gravity device and just floated it away. He wouldn't have picked it up and tossed it, and he certainly wouldn't have worried about accuracy or it landing neatly.

"That reminds me, I've got something to show you." Megamind played with the button on his holographic projector. He still looked like Bernard, but now he appeared to be wearing a blue kilt and an oatmeal-colored Jacobite shirt. "It's the MacBeth tartan. I always thought King Macbeth was terribly misunderstood."

Roxanne agreed, "The historical Macbeth was nothing like the theatrical version. But then, James I was descended from Duncan and Malcolm, so Shakespeare had to make Duncan's killer a villain if he wanted to keep his job. The real Macbeth was king for seventeen years, had as much right to the throne under contemporary Scottish law as his cousin Duncan, was noted for his generosity to the poor, and was peacefully succeeded by his stepson." She glanced at the blue kilt and the brown leather sporran. "Why did you buy it, uh, scan it? You're not a member of Clan MacBeth."

"I'm not a member of any clan. I don't have a surname," Megamind confessed morosely, his tone as blue as his skin. "Even 'Bernard' isn't my real name." After a moment's awkward silence, he forced a cheerful tone, continuing, "I thought the colors looked good with my complexion. It was this or Elliott."

Roxy rolled over on side, looking at him instead of the fireworks. She offered, "You could share my name."

"Very kind of you, but don't you need it?" Megamind asked.

"Husbands and wives share names," she pointed out.

"Husbands and wives - are you suggesting?" He sat bolt upright.

Pulling herself to a sitting position, she nodded.

He kissed her. Neither one paid attention to the fireworks in the sky. They were making fireworks of their own.