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Phoenix's first experience with mind control. Also the last good day Needle has for a really, really long time. You've been warned.



February 9, 1987 continued

The gorilla's trail led us to an abandoned warehouse not far from the diner. In a rare burst of team-oriented feeling we coordinated our movements, checked the roof first and saw through a skylight the ape Lucky had trailed, a second gorilla, and a man we hadn't seen before—tall, maybe middle-aged and in visibly good condition. Not Fimbulwinter, to judge from the file we had on him, so this meant a new variable for the mix. I've looked him up since we got back; he calls himself Traveler and claims to be a wizard from another dimension, a telepath with an "ape totem," whatever the heck that means, and he says that all of mankind's cousins are his to control. Lucky and Phoenix moved down to ground level; I stayed on the roof. The plan was for Talon to sneak into the building and attack from the shadows, while Lucky charged in to back him up and I caused whatever havoc I could from above.
    It worked really well until Lucky made her entrance, at which point Phoenix turned around and attacked her. Traveler had mind-controlled him.
    Fortunately, she realized that he wasn't himself, though it doesn't seem she had much luck in the fight, either; she's the stronger of the two, but he's faster. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to watch them go at it. I had just gotten a good targeting lock on Traveler's bio-aura, which was disconcerting because he seemed to be both a human and a gorilla at the same time, when one of his servants swarmed up onto the roof and was practically on top of me much too quickly; I'm afraid I killed it. That out of the way, I could attack Traveler directly, which didn't seem to do much damage but did annoy him. After my second try he lost patience, and I barely broke the contact in time before he could use the link I had created to turn my brain into pudding. Phoenix covered his escape and then seemed to come back to himself.
    That was it for the night, more or less. We've talked to Reilly and looked over the files on our new local most-wanteds, but it doesn't seem like there's much we can do until they show themselves again; even Lucky couldn't track them through the storm. It does seem that Traveler and Fimbulwinter are working together, but we're not sure what they're after yet. Traveler is a bit of a mercenary type, I gather; he often takes his pay in small art objects of the kind which had lately gone missing. What Fimbulwinter hopes to accomplish by burying Boston under a glacier is anybody's guess.
    It's late; I'll spend the night here, I think. Mrs. Wu says she'll look after Newton. Tomorrow, we continue the hunt!

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© 1999 Rebecca J. Stevenson