Doubt: Circle: Television

Eisenfeld was good at drowning her sorrows in music. That was a good thing because, first and foremost she was a pianist, and secondly, though not any less importantly, it was necessary that she not consume anything that might give her system a shock. That meant that getting drunk on Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was infinitely better than doing the same thing on, say, vodka.

So it was that Sorano was sitting on the porch in the dead of night, trying to block out the sounds issuing from the piano room. Somehow, when Eisenfeld was miserable enough to actually start playing the piano – most of the time she merely composed – she managed to make everyone within earshot just as miserable as herself.

Tonight, though, Sorano could understand her frustration, because Falkner had gone missing again.

"Always drawing circles around us. Never know what he wants to do next," she muttered, rubbing her hands together furiously. It was cold outside, but colder in the house with that torturous music playing. It was her own choice, though, to sit on the porch, so she knew that Eisenfeld would not pity her even if she returned with a case of frostbite. Not like Eisenfeld ever felt very much in the mood for pity.

Tonight, though, it would be worse for her worrying, and Sorano was not entirely sure that she was merely worrying over betrayal, like she always did. Somehow, sometime, companionship had started to mean more to her than a mere means of alleviating boredom.

She thought the CD Falkner had left behind had something to do with it. Eisenfeld had not let her listen in; the label said it was for "Baby Eyes" only. What had he said now? Or was it another copy of "Haunted"? Eisenfeld hated her album. Falkner should have known that, since she had snapped the last copy clean in half. Or maybe he didn't care.

"Stupid man," Eisenfeld ground out through gritted teeth. The observation actually quite startled her. Oh, so Falkner of all people was a man now?

Somehow she didn't quite believe he had left her that message. Call it a case of denial, if you would. It had taken her more than enough time to find it embedded in the third track of the CD – Give Me My Eyes – and Falkner wasn't the kind of person to do that.

Her cell phone beeped. Irritated, she lifted her right hand from the keys and rummaged in her pocket for it. At some point of time, it had been necessary to give out her contact to several of the Blades, Falkner amongst them. She called it the "Genocide Hotline".

"Excalibur speaking," she spoke dully.

"Good evening, my friend. Watch the one o' clock news, won't you?" It was an oily voice that she didn't recognise.

The line went dead, so it was impossible to ask.

She didn't have a television. Never in her life would she have dreamed that it were necessary to have a television.

"Sorano! Where in bloody hell can we find a television?"

Sorano heard Eisenfeld calling for her. That wasn't natural; Eisenfeld didn't believe in raising her voice.

"Did you say television?"

That wasn't natural either; Eisenfeld also did not believe in television.

"The bloody prick told me to watch the one o' clock news. Ideas? It's twelve fifty-seven."

"Television store. Can we make it?"

"Doesn't matter if we can; we'll have to."

They set off at a sprint, Eisenfeld not even bothering to lock the door.

Twelve fifty-eight. Nine… We're not going to – oh, there it is.

They arrived just in time to see the opening, then Eisenfeld's eyes opened wide in unadulterated fury.

Falkner.

"I'll kill them."

Her voice, unlike her eyes or the blood slowly dripping from the crescents dug into her palm, transcended the boundaries of human calmness.

Somehow, Sorano knew that Eisenfeld when berserk was not human, and that she meant what she said.

"They called the Genocide Hotline, and it'll be the death of them."