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  | Asymmetry | Role-Playing | Villains & Vigilantes | The Revolution | Story So Far | Whiteout |



The war's going to break the world in half, there's nothing I can do. - Patricia Hoagland, the Storm Crow



November 3, 1987 (contined)

    Having been reunited with my cat, there was still business to take care of. "So, we're going after Silverblood."
    "Do we have anything else we can do today?" Scott asked.
    "I'm still worried that Jack might try again on the girl."
    "Well, it's what, 10:30?" Thunderbolt remarked.
    "If we wait a little, we could do that tomorrow," the robot laughed. "We haven't gotten our butts kicked in oh, twenty minutes. So, Silverblood? I guess, sure, sounds like a good idea."
    Our phones rang.
    "What?" I snapped, picking up.
    "It's Albert. I think I found her."
    "She's at that building that we kept knocking over."
    "Which one?" Scott asked.
    "The only one we've knocked over multiple times. She's at the Caduceus Project."
    Perfect. We left J.T. to oversee the unconscious Wuxia until a new SWAT team could scramble, and got back in our borrowed helicopter, which was quite the godsend because I was pretty sure if I had to haul the entire gang across town again I was going to drop someone. The monitor was still on.
    "As we understand from the homing beacon that we have on the WAMT fliers, the Revolution is currently moving toward these coordinates...."
    Shit. Maybe the League wasn't watching TV.
    Scott called WAMT, for reasons that became apparent as the conversation progressed.
    "Hello, WAMT studios?"
    "Hi, this is Scott Silver. How you doing today?"
    "Ah, you're in our helicopter, aren't you? That's how you got the direct line."
    "Sorry about that, we kind of need it at the moment. We'll give it back."
    "That's understandable, we hope to get it back in one piece, however."
    "We're trying on that one. So, I wanted to know if you wanted to give us a hand," he suggested.
    "What do you mean?"
    "You see, there's a German telepath and mind controller who is currently involved in the city, who is attempting to erase everybody's memory of the fact that it was the League of Nations behind redirecting the money out of the budget for the Revolution."
    "Hang on just a second. Holly?" she called, then returned to Scott. "Would you mind going live on the air? Just your voice?"
    "Sure, why not."
    "Hang on." She connected the call through. "We have a special report coming in here, we're actually on the line with Scott Silver of the Revolution, in the WAMT helicopter. Holly... and go!"
    "Hello, Mr. Silver, this is Holly Shapiro, how are you tonight?"
    "Beaten up, blasted, and lit on fire a little, but other than that not too bad Holly. Yourself?" Nothing, absolutely nothing, could make Scott less than polite.
    "It's been a trying day for everyone here, probably far more so for you. I understand that you have information for us about the funneling of money out of the Revolution accounts and the police department accounts, the story that was originally broken here on WAMT. Do you have additional information that you'd care to share with us?"
    "Yes, actually. The operation, and we're trying to get one step ahead of the people who are currently busy stealing the evidence on this, was run by the League of Nations."
    "The same international terrorist organization that's currently threatening the city?"
    "Yes. Apparently they had previous connections with some of the state senators, and they used this to attempt to redirect some of the money from the government funding for the project into, well, as far as I can tell a couple of weapons labs at the moment."
    "So you're saying that they not only had facilities in Boston already, but that these facilities were being funded by the budget that was supposed to be going for our law enforcement opportunities?"
    "That's correct."
    "And you're also claiming that one or more senators were involved in the funneling of this money?"
    "Well, not since Rue Morgue and Ley Lady threw him out the window of his office."
    "You're saying that Senator Jacobs' death was not an accident?"
    "No. We should have, assuming it wasn't in the base when it was blown up, I'll have to check through my files, copies of the original records from the forensics team which proved that, including film footage, but between their actually stealing the evidence and Mind Lazer erasing the memories from people's minds... he directly is in the city doing that, or some representative thereof. Telepaths kind of confuse me," he admitted.
    "It's a confusing concept to many, Mr. Silver, and a frightening one at that," she told him. "You're saying that he's actively in the city attempting to erase the memory of the embezzlement from the minds of the people who knew in Boston?"
    "So your hope is that by broadcasting it live on WAMT, you would be able to foil his long-term plans?"
    "Well, we certainly are glad that you called. We're ready to aid you in any way. Including the use of our chopper."
    "We really do apologize by the way for borrowing your chopper, we do plan on returning it, however they blew up all of our bikes today," he pointed out.
    "We are aware of that, we've been doing the occasional bit of footage from your base." She paused while Simon said something to her, too low for the mics to pick up, then told Scott, "We do want to pass along that we're very thankful that Newton the cat survived the conflagration at your base."
    "So are we."
    "Is Newton with you in the helicopter, by the way?"
    "Do you anticipate another encounter with members of the League of Nations within the next few hours?"
    "Unfortunately, probably. They've managed to steal a number of high-tech weapons and they are attempting to kill Ms. Hoagland."
    "Ms. Hoagland is still alive?"
    "As of the last information that we had, yes."
    "Could you tell us where she's located at this point?"
    "If I did know, it would be a particularly bad idea to broadcast it over an open radio signal, I'm sorry," he pointed out.
    "Perfectly understandable. I wish you all the best of luck in locating Ms. Hoagland and stopping these criminals, and protecting the city."
    "Thank you very much, Holly. Have a good night."
    "You, too."
    The call disconnected.
    "She was actually nice," Talon noted. "Something's wrong."
    "When's she actually on the air, she at least makes the venom look like professionalism," Scott shrugged.
    The skeleton of the partially (or is that perpetually) rebuilt Caduceus building came into view. I passed over the roof and let Phoenix Town rappel down to it, then set the chopper down on the smoothed-out area that had once been a parking lot and would be again (maybe) once all the heavy equipment left the scene. Albert was waiting for us.
    "Good evening," he greeted us. "She's in there." He pointed with his cane. "For the moment."
    "Why here?" I wondered. "I suppose it's as good a place to hide as any."
    "I was able to track through her back history. It seems as if whenever she's come into a town, she almost invariably visits sites of recent battles."
    "That would fit with the Storm Crow image," Scott noted.
    "Exactly. Once I was aware of that, I was able to narrow it down and begin searching just in places where there had been recent violent encounters. This one, with its half-finished construction, multiple shadows, plenty of places to hide, and open areas for winged flight, seemed the most logical."
    "Ley Lady should be arriving in the near future, I suggest keeping an eye out for her," Scott told us.
    "I will do that. I will head back into the shadows now." He retreated to a less exposed position.
    Scott slipped over to the building and began working his way up. Phoenix Talon was an invisible shadow on an I-beam high above. They found her curled up in a half-built room on the second floor, cloaked by the black feathers that grew under her arms.
    She stood suddenly. Phoenix Talon approached cautiously, katana drawn but not obviously ready.
    "Ms. Hoagland?"
    "Yes?" she replied in a whisper.
    "Hi. We're looking for you because—"
    "The League of Nations is trying to kill me."
    "Yes. Now, we're not exactly sure what is really going on around here, but anything the League of Nations does, we pretty well try to stop, just as a matter of principle. If you could fill us in on why, what's going on, I'd really appreciate it."
    "The League of Nations is unimportant; it's meaningless."
    "Okay... they are trying to kill you," he reminded her.
    "I know. But... I didn't know, then... the war's going to break the world in half, there's nothing I can do."
    "This war doesn't involve the winter trying to fight the wolf for the dawn, would it?"
    She looked confused. "No."
    "Great, that's a different war...."
    "No, well—where did you get that?"
    "A Hispanic gypsy shaman type woman who was talking to Scott. There are certain elements in there that kind of involve me, so I'm a little worried about it," he admitted.
    She shook her head. "I don't see things like that, I just know that a battle is coming, here. There is a tall man with one eye."
    Scott made an unhappy sound. "Odin."
    "Earlier today he escorted a woman into the city, I saw that. The woman will start things. There is a man with flame hair. I don't know what they're going to do, but it's going to tear the world in half," she repeated.
    "There's not a woman with a raven?" Phoenix Talon asked.
    "There is a raven," she nodded. "The one-eyed man and the woman have a raven."
    "He didn't have a raven before...."
    "He had a couple of women dressed as ravens, but not actually a raven," Scott agreed.
    "Whoever is going to do this, it's the woman the one-eyed man is with, he has bound himself to her. She thinks for him."
    "Dear," Scott remarked.
    "Remembering Odin, yeah, he pretty much needed something like that," Talon said.
    "You don't happen to know where they're going to start this?" I heard several voices above, but since there didn't seem to be a fight going on up there and I was pretty sure the League would be arriving post-haste, I remained where I was.
    "So what role did Mr. Mort play in all of this?" Talon asked her.
    "Nothing," she laughed, though it sounded despairing. "Nothing, you don't understand."
    "No, I don't. That's why I'm asking."
    "I have a job I don't want," she told him, "so I avail myself of the perks without trying to fulfill the function. Unfortunately, the function finds me."
    "Okay...." Scott said thoughtfully.
    "Is there anything you think we should do?" Talon asked her.
    "You're a faction in the war to come."
    "Do you know where they're going to start this?" Scott asked.
    "I don't know. I thought originally it would be the Common, but... I don't know now," she shook her head.
    "Did a young lady named Dawn come into this at any point that you know of?" Talon wanted to know.
    "I can only tell you what I've seen. Whatever is responsible for this, it's not a lady."
    "I wish I was in better shape right now," he sighed. "Well, now that we've got her...?" He kept his guard up, not so much against Hoagland—who seemed extremely tense, but not as if she was going to attack—but in case anyone else showed up. "They almost certainly traced us, and by they I mean, well, everybody. So we should leave." She didn't seem inclined to do so.
    "So what job do you have that you don't like?" Scott asked her.
    "I am the Storm Crow. I am drawn to where fights are going to be, or wars will break out. I am a predictor, a dowsing rod, the final indicator that things have gone too far. I was doing archeology on a burial site in Europe, collapsed due to the gasses, had a mystical vision, all of the sudden I'd inherited the job of being the Storm Crow," she shrugged.
    "Weird Shit. It's like diabetes, really," Talon sighed.
    "You mean one in ten Americans has it and they don't refer to it?"
    "It just strikes kind of randomly. Okay, it wasn't that great a metaphor."
    "Archeology is the single most common source of origin stories between the years 1925 and 1960," Scott told her.
    "I didn't know that. I perhaps might have chosen a different career."
    "It's almost double the odds. The next closest thing is in fact nuclear science."
    "That's pretty impressive, especially for the 1950s. Where did you compile these figures?"
    "If we all live through this, I will be happy to share some of my data with you," Scott promised.
    "You did have a very nice costume at the party."
    "Thank you."
    Black birds—crows or ravens, I couldn't tell—began landing all around the area. Thunderbolt and I went into defensive mode.
    Someone emerged from the shadows across the street and walked across the lot towards us. No one I recognized, but his aura was highly variant, and I was pretty sure who we were dealing with.
    "Evening Needle, Thunderbolt. How are you?" he asked.
    "Fine, and yourself?" I replied warily.
    "Not too bad," he allowed. "Better off than I was after our last encounter. I'm just here to try and negotiate something."
    My eyes narrowed. "I think I can tell you right now that the answer is no."
    "Nonetheless, I feel that there's a certain time in which we could make good use of diplomacy. If the answer is no, then we can start this. But you know that all we want is her, and she's a killer, multiple times over," he pointed out reasonably. "She's apparently been sucking people's souls out and binding them to her, so that she can have their knowledge."'
    "Pretty nasty thing to do, I have to agree," I nodded. Right up there with slicing people into small pieces with razor-edged pseudopods.
    "Not overly defensible. You just give us this, and we'll go, and there won't be any more trouble. I do appreciate by the way, the television broadcast," he added with a slight smile. "Mind Lazer was... not happy, but I can admire the deft subtlety of the move." He looked at us expectantly. "What do you say? Just let it go?"
    "Afraid not."
    "Understandable," he sighed.

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© 2001 Rebecca J. Stevenson