Chancy Connections: Part 2

I typed back, “That’s just for recon, right? If you’re talking just the two of us.”

It didn’t take long for Daniel to reply. “Recon first, but not just me and you.”

His next text said, “Haley and Izzy too. A good combination. Intelligence gathering. Muscle.”

I paused to think about it, looking up from the phone, aware of HQ again, and of my monitor—which still showed the words “Conference ended.”

Haley stood up from her chair. “Who are you texting?”

“Daniel,” I said, realizing that I had Vaughn’s attention too.

I felt a little weird about that. The moment Haley asked what we were talking about, I’d have to tell her, or lie. This wasn’t one of those things that I’d be able to hide though. Everybody would know when we were done anyway.

I didn’t want Vaughn to feel like we were keeping him out of it though. “Daniel’s thinking we should investigate the site near Chicago. Probably Haley because she’s good at sneaking around, Izzy because her sonic abilities let her see through walls, and me because of roachbots.”

A smile flickered around the corners of Vaughn’s mouth. “Don’t worry about it. I’m not going to be any good at stealth. Lee says my power’s best as heavy artillery, and manipulating the battlefield.”

I thought about it. “I can see that. We might need you anyway though, but more as one of the reserves if things go wrong.”

Vaughn stepped away from the table, pushing his chair in. “Don’t get me wrong, I’ll go, but you’re not going to need me when you’ve got Guardian and the Midwest Defenders nearby.”

“You never know,” I said.

Vaughn nodded. “You don’t. Call me if you need help. In the meantime, I’ll keep thinking about how to get everybody together.”

Then Vaughn left, heading toward the League’s locker room.

When he was out of earshot, Haley said, “What was going on there? I missed something.”

“Vaughn felt left out. Since Cassie left, the only time we’ve been paying attention to him was practices.”

Turning her head toward where he’d disappeared, Haley said, “I didn’t know. I thought he’d seemed a little unhappy lately, but I thought he might have too much homework to do after practice.”

She frowned. “I should have noticed.”

Then she pointed toward my phone. “Daniel sent you another message.”

I must have missed it while we were talking. I picked it up off the table.

It said, “What do you think?”

I wrote, “It sounds like a double date.”

Leaning in to see the screen as I typed, Haley said, “They’re not dating, right?”

Almost at the same time, Daniel texted back, “We’re not dating.”

I wrote, “Why? You seem like you’re dating.”

No reply, and then my phone rang. The screen said, “Daniel Cohen.”

I took the call and held the phone to my ear.

“Nick, it felt weird to be texting about this, and way too slow.” Daniel’s voice had more intensity than his words suggested.

“It’s like this—we do like each other, but it’s complicated. She’s not Jewish, and if we did date, and it lasted, maybe we’d want to get married, and that’s where it falls apart.”

I kind of knew where this was going. Daniel was good looking. When we’d been hanging out in high school, and even middle school, it wasn’t uncommon for girls to find a way to talk to him, sometimes going as far as getting one of their friends to talk to me in order to get him alone.

He’d sometimes told them that his parents wouldn’t allow him to date non-Jews. Thing is, I was pretty sure he was lying, mostly because not everyone he’d dated in high school had been Jewish, and his parents hadn’t seemed bothered. Of course, that’s not the kind of argument you’d share much outside your family.

“Marriage is pretty far in the future,” I said. “Chances are you won’t marry anyone you date in college.”

Daniel said, “But I might. Nick, I’ve seen futures where we’re together—not in detail because I can’t control anything I see that’s that far ahead, but I’ve seen us together with kids.”

All I could manage was, “Wow.”

Then I said, “That’s not bad, right?”

He said, “No, but if we did that, I’d want her to convert, but I don’t want her to convert to something she doesn’t really care about. Like you said, that’s pretty far in the future, but if we get to that point where we’d be thinking about it, what if she didn’t want to? I don’t want that either. I’d rather avoid it, and just be friends. That way it’s simple.”

Something about his logic felt off to me—not totally wrong, but mostly it felt like being friends wouldn’t make it simple.

All I said was, “I understand a little better now.”

“Uh-huh,” he said. Even outside of his telepathic range, he knew me well enough to know that I wasn’t saying everything.

Something beeped on his end of the phone. “Oh,” he said, “that’s Izzy. Do you mind if I—”

We said good-bye and hung up.

27 thoughts on “Chancy Connections: Part 2”

  1. Real simple…when Daniel dies! Or when he goes back to the future! Or…something else lonely and dramatic!

    Also, I somehow doubt converting for her husband is going to cause potential problems for the mixed race daughter of an alternate universe white supremacist superman. Chances are she’s had those issues already.

  2. There’s a part of me that wonders how a person who can look inside the head of a religious fundamentalist or extremist can manage to find any faith at all. Then again, faith is one of those things that defies both logic and rationality.

    1. Well, A. Zionism has nothing to do with racism. It’s belief in a homeland. B. It’s not nessecarily his belief that’s hindering their relationship.

  3. @ Luke:

    That may be countered by looking into the minds of actually nice religious people. They do exist you know. Not all of us fondly look back at the days when we could burn anyone who disagreed with us. 😉

  4. So, having kids with Izzy will improve Daniel’s chances of survival on the long-ish term due to prophecy, right? Goes to show that telepath does not equate psychologist. Denial is not just a river in Egypt…

  5. Luke/Jerden: What Jerden said is more or less what I’d say. Extremists of whatever faith (or none) are outliers. The majority of human beings are pretty decent.

    Someguy: I don’t see him as racist. He cares about Judaism and about it continuing to exist. “Jewishness” is technically passed through the mother. If your father is Jewish and your mother isn’t, you’re not Jewish according to many Jews. If he has children with Izzy, their children would have to convert to Judaism if she doesn’t even if they’ve been raised Jewish.

    Also, of course, many religious people (of various faiths) worry that children growing up in a house with mixed religious views won’t be part of either. Is this true? I haven’t seen studies on this.

    Amaral: I tend to think that being a telepath gives you a wider exposure to other people’s thoughts, but it doesn’t necessarily make you more rational about your own. It’s always easier to keep other people’s problems in perspective.

  6. Hey, I’m mostly against Judaism just because of the snippy snippy they do to the guys. Lost highly sensitive nerve endings, increased chance of ED, lack of health benefits in 1st world nations, that sort of thing. I’m not one of those who would go so far as to say it’s the same thing as the female version. In fact, I disapprove of that procedure much, much more.

    Aside from that, even if I may think they’re wrong, everyone can pick whatever religion they want and it doesn’t involve hurting people. No using religion to kill, injure, maim, torture, or deny people rights. As long as they back off and don’t try to overstep their bounds, like into science classes, then we aren’t going to have a problem. Though I would appreciate it if some of them would stop handing out Chick Tracts too.

    1. PG: I’m sure there must be Christians who find them appropriate tools for evangelism, but most Christians I’ve know find Chick tracts hyperbolic and embarrassing.

      I’ve occasionally wondered if they’re real or a parody.

  7. To clarify, due to my phrasing being poor and the way they are often persecuted, I don’t dislike Judaism or Jews. I think Jews haven’t made their case about the deity thing, and I don’t like the practice of circumcision. Aside from that, perfectly fine with them. They’ve been crapped on enough already as a group.

  8. he’s psychic and thus empathic as well. I’ve noticed that guys who are empathic to a degree, and really good at reading emotional states and responding to people based on their emotional states, seem to get categorized as being gay.

    (says the guy who has in the past asked out 3 different women he’s known and gotten the response of “I thought you were gay!” from them. sigh)

  9. A mixed religion marriage is complicated. Believe me, I know from painful personal experience. But the alternative (marrying someone that you don`t really love because he/she is of the same religion) is worse.

  10. I’ve known people to give them out at Halloween and hand them out while preaching on the median of a highway. I even read on Roll to Disblelieve about members of this church who would leave them in a Mexican restaurant. Apparently some of them look a lot like tip money when left on tables and it pissed off the wait staff and manager, even more so because they were Roman Catholics.

    Some people do like to read them online for fun though.

    Eduardo’s right. It becomes a big deal. I’ve heard of marriages falling apart when one of the partners deconverts.

    It might help with Izzy that her resistance might mean she can’t feel things the same way physically. A guy like Daniel who can connect with her mind, though…

  11. Alex: I’ve never had that happen with a woman, but a guy did leave me his number once. It took me the longest time to figure out why.

    PG: I read the Chick tract about Dungeons & Dragons ages ago, and found it amusing. Apparently I was doing it wrong when I was playing D&D because I never learned any spells or consorted with demons.

    PG/Eduardo: A marriage with more than one religion would be a challenge from what I’ve seen (not experienced). It’s one more possible point of conflict. On the other hand, being the same religion doesn’t automatically guarantee future marital happiness either.

  12. Let´s just say that it makes raising children quite interesting. To say the least.

    OK, … a little bit of personal info: my wife is very, very catholic and I tend towards spiritualism.
    After a series of incidents (they even sent me to see an exorcist) we are in a kind of truce now. No talk of religion at home. I tolerate the catholic TV channel and she doesn`t ask what I`ve seen today.
    So, it is possible, it may even work very well, but demands a lot of mutual respect and friendship … wait, this means that it is equal to all marriages in the end.

  13. Actually it was uglier.
    Less the exorcist and more Torquemada.
    Something like:
    – Do you believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ or that of Alan Kardec?
    Swear over the bible that you will abandon your Kardecist ideas …

    With my wife crying in the background and the certainty that if I didn`t swear everything that the guy said to swear I would never see her and my baby girl again.

    Reality can really surpass fiction, you only need one priest that believes that Satan and his court are free in the world …

    Well, let`s just say that I committed perjury. Although, I never really believed in Alan Kardec …

  14. “Not all of us fondly look back at the days when we could burn anyone who disagreed with us”
    @Jerden : See, in my past that’s the point in the thread where I would make some snarky, not serious comment about me being one of those, which would get taken seriously and get me in a lot of trouble. Fortunately as I’ve grown older I’ve learned not to make those comments by developing a sense of self preservation.

    On another note, Two of my friends who are married get along just fine. He’s Catholic, she’s Islam. They decided while dating to keep their religious differences out of their relationship and 3 kids later it still seems to be working.

  15. Daniel gets a little drama in his life then? Good. He’s been on cruise control as the cool and collected mental guru for too long. It was pretty obvious that it was going to happen soon.

    Hey, I just realized. With Izzy’s shielding powers, there is literally zero possibility of unplanned pregnancy as long as the condom is not damaged before things heat up.

  16. The world of Legion of Nothing is certainly different in many ways compared to our own. It makes me wonder.

    How are the religions doing in this world? Do we have the same major ones? Do they have as many followers? Which (if any) of the gods are real? Did the witch hunts involve actual witches?

    1. The way I imagine it, history is more or less the same until about the 1920s or so when people with the first (minor) powers became known. So yes, same religions and approximately the same number of followers. I’m figuring that genetically based superpowers are more common than magic based (though both are still rare. Magic powers are VERY rare.).

      Whatever gods and goddesses may exist in Nick’s world have made their existence approximately as clear as they have in ours–meaning that a reasonable person can still be an atheist or religious.

  17. Seems weird that someone who knows an alien space god basically who exists in all universes and is on the run from an entire group of murderous space gods who destroy all other sentient life also believes in any god of the human religions. For all Daniel knows, the 10 commandments could have been a joke Lee played on Moses or whatever, and in Christian terms Jesus could have been some kind of super. Not to mention all the actual magic in the story, just the scifi stuff could easily explain away all the gods of humanity. Lee has after all played the saviour in the 70s before, seems likely that he’s done it more than once

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