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Aberrant: Nova Reality - Unfortunate Duties


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A beautiful Sunday morning, with all the promise of a beautiful day. Rhayne in her arms. Four more days of blissful vacation. All such lovely things...and all gone in the ring of an op-phone.

When she heard the distinctive ring, Sandcaster's heart sank. This was her business line...and whoever was calling it wasn't calling from HQ. With a sigh, she opened the faceplate to check the caller...and a long-absent frown began to reform. CPD? Why are they calling me here? Why not the front desk? Another sigh, and the phone was active. "This is Sandcaster...."

"This is Chief Mallory. We've had an...incident. Normally, this would be something that we would go through the Knights on, that is, we'd ask for your help, but...um..." The chief of the Chicago Police Department wasn't given to hemming and hawing; his display of such now raised warning bells in Sandcaster's mind. "....well, we think there might be a conflict of interest on this one."

Those warning bells turned into full-fledged klaxons. "Exactly what are you trying to tell me here, Chief?"

A moment of silence on the phone, then: "Someone attacked a church early this morning. With a dragon." Another bit of silence as the absurd phrase sank in. "Or as a dragon," the chief continued; "we're not sure yet. But yeah, definitely a nova. And the church is totalled. Looks like the thing just tore it apart, stone by stone. No one killed, but the priest has some broken ribs, and, uh...big tooth marks."

"So why exactly would this be a conflict of interest, Chief?" A niggling suspicion built in Sandcaster's mind...and a moment later, the chief confirmed it.

"The church was the Michigan Avenue Church of Michael Archangel."

Oh, hell. With that bit of confirmation, it all fell into place. In her ear, the chief went on.

"The priest, a Reverend Peters, is screaming bloody murder to anyone that will listen. And whoever did this wasn't exactly subtle; there's a whole boatload of bystanders - and not all of them congregants - that saw this thing tear into the church.

"This is bad, Sandcaster. You know I don't like CoMA anymore than you do, but this is somewhere between vigilanteeism and a vendetta. And well...there's no secret how the Knights feel about these, um...people. So we're not going to be asking for your assistance on this. In fact, the reason I'm calling you is to ask you personally to keep out of this one."

It was like a slap in the face; Sandcaster could almost feel the redness push to the front of her grit-covered cheeks.

In the most even voice she could manage, she replied to the head of Chicago's police. "Chief, the Knights are a professional organization, and our charter calls us to help and protect the citizens of this city. We don't pick favorites, and we're not going to do so now.

"You have someone running around turning himself into a dragon or commanding one or whatever and tearing down buildings. That's definitely our territory, regardless of what individual Knights may think personally of the target of this person's displeasure. We'll do our jobs, Chief, and we'll do them to the best of our abilities.

"So I want you to hang up this phone and call the Knight's trouble desk. Bring them in on this just like any other call. Theoretically, I'm on vacation until Thursday, but if they need me, they'll call me in on it. But do not make me call my fellow Knights and tell them that the chief of police doesn't have faith in us to do our jobs. Is that clear?"

Another moment of uncomfortable silence on the line, then: "Yes, ma'am. Sorry, ma'am. I'll give the WCK a proper call, ma'am." A click, and the line went dead.

She stared at the phone for a moment, then with a sigh went back to bed and her lover's arms. But despite the soft morning light and Stormwarden's gentle breathing beside her, she knew that the vacation was over.

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