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[Fiction] Echoes of Thunder

z-Sean McCline

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[OOC: The IC time of this post is 3:00 PM Central US Time, 7 Aug 2017. Continued from Dying Thunder.]

The landscape rolled underneath Sean, a green stream of crops broken by the occasional interstate or building. It was almost relaxing, or it would have been had he been looking forward to his destination. Oh, he was looking forward to the company, but not certain aspects of the company’s life.

When he’d called Ptesan-Wi to see if she could meet with him about Iharra, he’d been pleasantly surprised to find out that she was alone. He hadn’t been pleased to hear that she was ill, but as he was in on her secret, he was one of the few people who could come to see her. He’d even picked up some chicken soup, which he planned to fix for her while they talked.

If only Ptesan-Wi would come to Chicago, Sean sighed, wondering if he was going to bring it up to her again. She’d refused to come see him, agreeing only to go halfway. He figured it was a mixture of her hard-core embrace of her heritage as well as her misplaced loyalty to her ‘husband.’

Still, the last few months had been promising. Wakinyan had been conspicuously quiet. While Sean wasn’t ready to wipe the giant raptor’s slate clean, he did have to admit that the massive nova had seemed more in control of himself lately. The redhead even allowed himself to think that given time, there might be a chance for association between Sean and Wakinyan.

The muggy summer air fluttered through Sean’s goatee, reminding him that he still hadn’t shaved it. The thought was quickly banished as irrelevant. His appearance, beyond keeping himself clean and groomed, was extraneous. All that matter was his job, his daughter and his mind. Sean sighed, a little sad for the days when he hadn’t been trying to keep a tight rein on his emotions. He quickly banished that thought as well; it was weak and selfish.

Only his toughened body saved him when the flash of light screamed from the heavens; most baselines and many novas would have been permanently blinded. As it was, Sean found his vision reduced to blackness, bisected by a purple-green line. A second later, the roar arrived, mixed with a pelting tangle of debris and dust. Sean was forced to stop his forward motion, hovering in the air over South Dakota.

Before he could recover, two more flashes and screaming rumbles tore through the sky, each time stopping the progress of his body’s attempt to restore his sight. Finally, he saw light, real sunlight, when he peered cautiously through scrunched eyelids. Slowly, the Irish-toned nova straightened from the crouch he’d tucked himself into, glancing ahead of him, to the west.

What the hell? It took twice to swallow right; his hands were shaking, because he knew without a shadow of a doubt that had he left home ten minutes earlier, he would have been in the heart of that maelstrom. He would have been dead.

“Oh god,” he whispered as realization hit. That was a weapon; had it been a test? Was it aimed at someone? Was that the same thing he’d heard about in Ibiza? Sean threw himself forward without further hesitation, despite the voice in the back of his head screaming that the weapon might hit again.

Air and body alike were tortured as Sean pushed his speed like never before, forcing quantum through his node to move faster than he was normally capable. Within seconds, he’d covered the distance, and he hovered near ground zero. There was a set of blackened craters staining the gentle earth, barely visible in the billowing dust as Sean scanned the area with his inhuman eyes, trying to find some answer to the worst question ever asked: Why?

He should have asked ‘Who,’ but fate gave him the answer when the wind blew at the hovering dust, and brought the answer in the form of a feather longer than Sean’s arm, untouched and perfect. As it fluttered past him, Sean grabbed it, staring in stark disbelief. He knew whose feather that was; the entire world knew whose plumage this flight feather had adorned.

The nova dropped altitude suddenly, shooting forward through the dust, skimming the earth. He cursed his lack of special vision as he hunted against hope in the near-darkness. Sean wasn’t thinking, not really; there were no thoughts of whom he now prayed he could help. There was only the need to save, to find hope in horror.

He shot over Wakinyan without seeing him; only a backwards glance caught the strange shape on the near side of what Sean had assumed was a boulder. He turned sharply and hurried back, waving away the thick clouds of debris with a fan of eufiber. When he was close, he realized that he was looking at the black curve of an empty ribcage.

Guilt roared in, answered by rage. Even as Sean pressed his healing hands to the remains, the part of him that always chose fighting was howling for vengeance. It didn’t matter that the nova before him was a man he considered to be dangerous at best, and an enemy at worst. It was easier to be enraged than acknowledge that he’d wished for this exact thing more times than he could count.

The rage and guilt worsened when his gifted hands were useless.

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A few minutes after 4 PM, Eastern Time

Just a moment ago, GNN had broken in with a live report about a series of violent explosions in South Dakota. The seismographs at the University of Utah had registered a significant event though whether an earthquake had struck or something else had happened no one yet knew. South Dakota wasn’t the third world, and Doctors Without Borders had no representation there, but Lou Anne couldn’t wait for an official call for volunteers to help. While many people might already be dead, more could die as time passed.

Changing quickly into rugged clothes with her eufiber underneath LouAnne grabbed her field bag of trauma and medical supplies and left her house in a puff of rose scented air. She appeared again in South Dakota. It has been just over a year since she had attended the Pow Wow at the Pine Ridge Reservation near Oglala. She was a few hundred miles from the reservation, near a rest stop she remembered from the long drive. It sufficed to get her near the explosion for what was not the safest of ways to find the site. Taking a deep breath and gripping the straps on her pack tightly, Lou Anne disappeared again.

She appeared in the air high above the rest stop. She fell. The wind was cold, bringing tears to her eyes. She blinked them away while looking for signs of the explosions. She started to tumble, the heavy bag throwing her center of gravity and air resistance off, but she saw it, a plume of dust and smoke rising high into the air. Once more she disappeared.

Her feet were solidly on the ground, her bag however, was still tumbling around her and she lost her balance, falling onto the blasted, blackened earth. She thought for a moment that she had damaged her hearing but after a moment she realized it wasn’t the rush of the wind she heard, but screaming.

She looked, a red haired man stood, his hands wrapped around what she first took as the metal rib of an aircraft, but realized, was bone. His knuckles were white with the pressure as if the rib were the only thing keeping him on his feet. She looked around seeing no other people, but huge feathers, some burned, others bloodied and fluttering down out of the air. Feathers she well remembered from meeting Wakinyan at the Pow Wow.

She swallowed the lump that formed as cold dread settled in her stomach. She walked carefully towards the man, not sure what had happened, but knowing that he at least needed help that she might be able to give.

“Sir? Hello? Can you hear me?”

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A few more minutes after 4pm, EDT

It only took a few minutes for the word to get to him, but its appearance filled Preston with an abiding sense of foreboding. He couldn’t put a definite picture to the action, but he knew the events at Wounded Knee had far-reaching implications. His sight failed him, so he once more began to work his way through the incoming data looking for a solution to his dread.

An added complication to all this was what Neil would think and do. With everything so cloudy … with one son already in an uncertain state, he wanted the impossible. He wanted Neil to remain safe. Since that wasn’t going to happen, Preston knew he had to get ahead of this.

“Boss, something has happened on Wakinyan’s turf,” Selena said, stepping half way into the office. “I’m going to go check it out.”

“Not yet, Ramirez”, Preston said. “Let’s wait to get this jurisdiction figured out on this one. It’s going to be public … and ugly.”

Selena stared at him in disbelief. She knew she cared about Wakinyan. He cared enough to invite him to his house for Christmas two years ago, Waki and his little wife … the woman she had nearly killed

“Now you’re scaring me, Craig. Let me know the second we can go. I don’t want to miss out on this.”

“I understand.”

With that, Selena headed out of his office. She had a tense gait. Preston thought over his options and decided to start at the closest law enforcement option to Wakinyan. The number sprang readily up in his mind and he dialed the number. Within seconds it rang.

“Hello Sheriff WhiteElk. I’m C.T. Preston, captain of Boston’s NRT and adoptive father to Wakinyan. I’m coming to your jurisdiction to see Wakinyan and his wife, Ptesan-Wi.”

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Guest Sheriff_WhiteElk

"This isn't what they told me." The voice at the other end of the static-filled line was shaky, cracking; anguish and guilt resonated in equal measure. "Please tell them, tell her, this isn't what they told me would happen."

A tell-tale click was heard across the line, even through the slowly clearing static; then, a boom that distorted for its volume. Despite the distance, despite the poor line, Preston knew that Sheriff William WhiteElk was no more.

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"Get up!" Sean roared at Wakinyan. The massive griffin lounged lazily on his side [He's dead, Sean.] ignoring the Knight's command. "I said, get up! You won't leave her alone! She loves you [You mean, he won't leave you holding this guilt-], you dumb fuck! God only knows why [-because this is what you've always wanted.] though that means you should know! Did you hear me? I just said you weren't a god! Get up! Prove me wrong!"

Or did you want to do it yourself?

In the silence that followed, Sean heard, "Sir? Hello? Can you hear me?"

"No, he can't," Sean said, turning to look at the beautiful woman looking at him. "He's dead." His green-on-black eyes shivered with tears, not of grief, but guilt, rage and frustration. "I don't know how to tell-"

Memory rushed back: Thoughtwave, so still and silent on the pile of blankets, lying next to Wakinyan. The fight with Revenent had seriously injured Ptesan-Wi--

But now, Wakinyan is dead.

Sean's eyes widened; Lou Anne saw the first of the tears fall just as the young man shot into the sky, flying rapidly toward the west.

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[[The time of this post is exactly what it says in the post. It was vague whether or not this was an open thread, if not please say so and I'll depart.]]

2:58:57pm CST.

The winds howled through the spires of Chicago. Quiet and alone The Revenant listened, for the winds of fate brought with them this day an eerie portent. Like a midnight cloak his dark leather duster flapped in the tempest.

“Ashes to ashes.” The grim nova spoke in the hushed tones of the long damned. Motes of tainted quantum energy swirled about in his hand until they eventually formed the misty outline of the great Wakinyan. Its form mimicked the same actions that he was performing at the very same moment several hundred miles away in South Dakota.

Patiently the Lord of Death perched upon the edge of the great skyscraper, the ferocious winds did nothing to teeter his balance. Slowly the seconds ticked away and all he could do was watch the misty Wakinyan in his palm. Slowly as each second passed his fingers clenched tighter and the mists wavered, suddenly impeded by The Revenant’s cold grasp.

2:59:59pm CST.

“Dust to dust.” He muttered again and the winds picked up and howled like the Gates of Hell had been thrown open. His fist was clenched tight but his topaz eyes looked out into the horizon, towards the direction the winds had come from.

For a moment, sorrow filled those eyes.

3:00:00pm CST

The Revenant lifted his hand and with a gentle exhale blew the dust from his palm. The winds gathered and swirled about like the damned fighting over the scraps of a soul.

“Farewell warrior. Farewell.”

His body tipped from its perch and he started to free fall to the world below, his descent stopped suddenly by the black feathered wings that spawned from his back. As he soared through the cityscape of Chicago the Angel of Death tried to shake the sensations of his trade. He had dealt in death for as long as he could remember, so why suddenly did the thoughts and images of tortured souls mourning for the loss of their loved ones now gone seem so different this day?

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"No, he can't, he's dead. I don't know how to tell-"

Lou Anne recognized the man in the brief instance that he had looked at her, though his accent made the visual identification much easier. What is one of the Windy City Knights doing up here? I guess they’re investigating this too. Taking time to replay his statement in her mind, Lou Anne realized he must be talking about Falling Star. Given his current apparent mind frame, Lou Anne wasn’t sure that he was the best person to be breaking the news to the young woman.

Setting her pack down momentarily, Lou Anne retrieved her portable Op Device while she said a prayer over the apparent mortal remains of the Wakinyan. She figured she should let Sheriff Whiteelk or Officer Preston know where she was and that Wakinyan was dead.

<No Signal>

Damn! Is this ECM or disruption from whatever *this* was? She tried accessing a different way.

<No Signal>

Okay, places I’ve been or seen. Maps of the Dakotas that she had downloaded a year ago were still in the phone's memory. Finding her position, she saw most population centers were far enough away that they should have only received secondary damage from the ground shock and the shock wave of whatever had hit the griffin.

Evidence, who else will see this? Who will believe this?

She looked around and activated the camera on her phone, recording the macabre scene. Large, irregular crater that appeared to have exploded multiple times. Smoke rising from the shattered, smoldering earth, feathers floating from the sky, the charred remains of the once majestic nova now reduced to splinters of bone. She shut down the camera as she stifled the desire to start crying.

She needed to get to Oglala and to Fallen Star before Sean McCline, or at worst, not long after. Concentrating and thinking back a year once again, she disappeared. She reappeared on the outskirts of Inyan Kara. Her Op Device was immediately in her hand, she walked quickly while she dialed. The signal was weak, but she was able to dial out. Loud static filled the normal silence as her call went through – and then an angry busy signal bleated from the handset. So much for the police in Oglala.

She put the phone away and hurried faster. She was nearing a cave, albeit one that seemed to have a door as a loud whistle like an incoming rocket or bomb grew in her perception. She looked around, wondering if whatever had killed Wakinyan was making its way here. Her eyes found the streak though not before it was nearly past her. Sean McCline had beaten her to the cave. She hitched her bag on her back and ran as fast as she could.

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Hell. Ptesan-Wi - Thoughtwave, Fallen Star, Renee, Mystic, Melinda - was in hell. And hell was a singularity of seeing and feeling her mate die.

Time had no real meaning, not within this place. If it did, the torment could not continue as it did. The shaft of brilliant light would be long gone, the battering winds settled to a memory, the impact of the hammer of the gods past. The scream of Wakinyan would be an echo. But they were not. They continued, endlessly, mercilessly, a static realm of unimaginable pain.

The pain was killing her. This girl, this goddess, this not-nova knew, without a doubt, that the pain was killing her. But there would be no release in death; the sweet release would never come, not in this place, because to do so would end the unending, would bring time to timeless agony, and that could not happen here.

In a universe within her shock-ridden mind, Ptesan-Wi suffered.

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Preston could not afford to hesitate for his fallen fellow officer. His hands flew over the keypad typing in 4 copies. The telephone whirred momentarily then his computer clicked. Seconds later 4 identical disks came out. Preston took them, pocketing one and walked out of his office. Stopping at his assistant's desk, he handed her two disks and said,

"Anne, send this one over to Terry Lipper at the FBI. Label it Sheriff WhiteElk with this time/date stamp. Mail the other one to my address."

He then looked over to his senior detective.

"Bruce," Preston said handing him the third disk, "hide this somewhere."

"That bad?" Bruce O’Bannon queried.

The grimace on Preston's face was answer enough.

Now it was Selena's turn. She couldn't help but smile a feral grin when Preston came out. The waiting was over. It was time for action. Her fingers itched to lash out and tear flesh and she ached to smell blood and fear once more.

"Selena, we are going to Wounded Knee ... on our own. Then we will go to Inyan Kara."

She nodded to Preston. Words were not needed. Following a trail wasn't as rewarding as actually pouncing on the prey, but she knew this part of the hunt was only the beginning.

The warp portal opened up into a blasted wasteland. What should have been vibrant prairie would now be devoid of life for years, and decades to recover. Selena held a hand out to stop Preston from stepping through.

"Let me go first," she told him, not brooking a challenge.

Preston waited.

Selena stepped into a growing whirlwind of dust and debris. She absently motioned for Preston to follow. Her main senses were keyed for locating any type of life close by. There had been too much fire and too much dust kicked up in the air for her to make anything out.

From Preston's point of view this was a chilling reminder. His mind raced back to that summer so many years ago. The craters were ... neater, more numerous, and deeper, but definitely cousins to what he had seen in Ibiza. Through the dust he spotted ... what could only be Wakinyan's ribcage. He ground his teeth.

He hadn't been doing anything! Damn it, he was only doing what was best for his people.

Preston knew what he had to do. He carefully made his way down the pulverized rock pile to the ribcage and he touched it. The visions came.

Selena circled the perimeter. She was casting about for scents and found one she recognized. Dr. Lou Anne Burgess had been here and recently. Another scent was unknown. Both people were gone now, or had somehow moved beyond her senses.

The rest of the scene was hellish and chaotic. Fires burned along the periphery. The soil inside the rings of death had been scorched clean of all life. Rock had been broken down to dust and ... here was a clawed forearm. It was carbonized and cracked. Only the residual quantum energy that had rendered Wakinyan so tough had kept it together this long. Selena took out her camera and took some pictures of it. Only when that was finished did Selena suddenly feel frightened and somehow empty.

Preston's mind flowed back, through Wakinyan's death and along with him as he flew toward his final moments. Of course, there was no way of Preston to warn Wakinyan and bend his path. This was the past and inviolate. Back he went to the meeting with Sheriff WhiteElk. That is were the clues diverged. Wakinyan's trail would wind back to his home and his wife ... sick. Now Preston would have to follow WhiteElk's trail to find out the truest meaning of his last confession. Sadly, the aging cop let go of the massive nova frame and stood up. He didn't realize a lone tear had streaked the dust on his face.

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Sean shot into the entrance of the cave, braking only when the shadow of the cave crossed his body. The maneuver should have hurt him, or torn off a limb, but Sean's quantum-hardened body didn't feel the stress. The displaced air cracked like a whip under the surge of pressure, but the impressive sound was wasted. One person wasn't paying any attention, while the other was limp on the ground. She appeared to be sleeping, but Sean knew better.

He stopped his flight, and his booted feet landed next to the young woman. His knees hit the cave floor next, creating two small craters in the stone. But his inhumanly strong hands were gentle as he touched the fallen goddess. For a painful second, nothing happened; then regret flooded his mind, and Sean smiled as he felt the healing energy leave him and slip into the woman before him.

When the warmth from the healing faded, Sean quickly checked over Ptesan-Wi. A little more relief came over him as he found her to be mostly whole. It brought a measure of peace to him, and Sean drew his first calm breath since the flash of light. The lack of panic brought him some clarity, and he began to think. "First things first," he mumbled, scooping the woman up in his arms. "Get her somewhere safe. Call the Knights."

He was already mulling over his options as he stepped out the cave entrance, only to nearly run down a red-headed woman on the path up. Sean's strange eyes narrowed as he sent out a wave of energy and got back an answer. She's a nova, and she was there... at the... place. "Who are you?" Sean asked, his entire body tensing.

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Rianna turned off the radio and snatched up the gateway control she'd created and started punching in the coordinates for Inyan Kara. A quizical look from Liz was met by a haunted gaze from her. "Something major just went down to the east of us. Feels very, very bad. I think we really need to go check on Thoughtwave. This may have something to do with that griffin mate of hers."

She finished typing in the coordinates and a blue-white rimmed gateway opened showing the cave a ways off. "Are you going to come with me on this or do you want to stay here? If something has happeded we are still responsible for her. I have to make sure she's alright."

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“Who are you?”

Lou Anne stopped abruptly, her eyes flickered between the tall red headed Nova she had been racing and the woman he cradled in his arms. He looked a little less crazed, but she didn’t know him well enough to judge accurately. Falling Star however looked horrible, her skin was pale, but flushed, heavy sweating, perhaps feverish, her breathing was labored and a deep coughing fit wracked her weak body spraying blood and phlegm. Infection? Compounding this were were the other signs of internal trauma due to blood coming out of the nose and ears. Lou Anne hefted her bag opening out outside pocket and fishing out a stethoscope which she put around her neck.

“I’m sorry we couldn’t meet under better circumstances Mr. McCline, I’m Doctor Lou Anne Burgess. I don’t expect you to recognize my name, but I would ask for you to let me examine Falling Star, she’s obviously just suffered some sort of severe trauma and that’s an area in which I’m a specialist. I’m also a psychologist and am concerned about how she’ll be when she wakes up, if she wakes up.” It was obvious that she was concerned about the young Indian woman, but Sean got the distinct impression as her eyes locked on his that she was just as concerned about him.

“So, while I have no way to stop you if you object, I really must insist that you take her back to her bed and let me examine her. This is her home, as such it’s the best place for her to be right now. It’s also shielded by a mountain, something that should protect all of us more against any future bombardments than your Eufiber covered back. Unless you’d like to play Russian Roulette with her life against whatever Giant has invaded this particular playground.” Her face and posture said that while she was concerned, she was not about to back down easily.

“By the way, do you prefer Sean, Mr. McCline or some other nom de guerre?”

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"Sean's fine. But we are moving her," he said, shifting her carefully in his arms. "We're moving her because they won't need that thing to kill her, and they could be coming here right now. And before you suggest that I can protect her, you're right, I can, but all it takes is one area attack that I can survive that she can't. So, we're leaving. You can stay, if you want, but she's not.

"If you come with me, then I want to see some documentation first, that you're who you say you are," Sean added, scowling. "I remember the name, from the opnet, vaguely, but I want something other than your word and your pretty little prop as confirmation."

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"I'm coming with. She's still so young, we do have some responsibility here." Liz waits for the portal to open, then she steps thru with her sister. They step out on the other side of the portal near the entrance of Inyan Kara. Liz settles for the power of her voice, but only due to the lack of a door knocker, doorbell, or the compete lack of a traditional door.

"Ptesan-Wi!!" Liz cringed on the inside when the name reminded her of the decisions the young Thoughtwave made, almost all of which she didn't agree with. Rianna, what were we thinking when we let her actually stay here?

After a brief pause the two stop waiting for a response. Forget it, let's go in.

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We weren't Liz, we really weren't.

Rianna rounds the mountain to the cave entrance and sees a red-headed man and woman seemingly arguing over the limp body of Ptesan-Wi who's cradled in the man's arms. She picks up that the woman is a Doctor and upon closer inspection she recognizes the man as Sean McCline, a member of the Windy City Knights.

Rianna does her best to keep her voce even and not let her anger slip in. "I'm not going to ask the obvious question of where is Wakinyan, but I do want to know just what you're doing with our Little sister and what on God's green earth is going on here."

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Lou Anne’s voice dropped in pitch and volume. She spoke quietly so as not to disturb Falling Star and to force Sean to pay attention and think about what she was saying. “Sean, you’re making my argument for me. You’re right, it won’t take a bombardment to kill her, that would be required to kill both of you. Right now a first grader could kill her with a B.B. Gun.” Lou Anne went to a different pocket of her duffel and removed a wallet that held her identification. It floated out of the pocket, spreading itself open for Sean to look at. Her identification including her Medicines sans Frontieres card and her Boston PD Nova Response Team ID were neatly laid out. “I’m sure that Officer Preston would be more than happy to vouch for me. I was going to call him once I make sure Falling Star is okay.”

“To be brutally blunt Sean, if you move her, you’re far more likely to kill her from shock to her system than any assassins that might be stalking her. I’m also in agreement that you can protect her. In fact, I think I need you to protect her. But not by moving her, take her to her bed, and stay out here, keep anyone from getting in to get to her. That’s the most efficient way to accomplish everything you’re trying to do. If worse comes to worse, I can evacuate us all, but I’d rather not subject her to that either.” She started to smile. “Heck, if you want back up from the Knights, perhaps you could have The Crusader come out, I’m sure protect--”

"I'm not going to ask the obvious question of where is Wakinyan, but I do want to know just what you're doing with our Little sister and what on God's green earth is going on here.”

Lou Anne looked around seeing two red headed women behind and to the side of her. “Sister?” Lou Anne looks at the two fair skinned, red headed women and again to the Indian woman cradled in Sean’s arms. When does this stop getting more complicated? She turned slightly so as to be able to address both parties equally.

“Hi, I’m Doctor Lou Anne Burgess,” she motioned towards Sean, “this is Sean and we’re discussing the best care for Falling Star. Sean wants to fly her to Chicago which considering her condition I strongly advise against for a number of reasons, not the least of which being her fragile condition. And I want to keep her here which Sean finds to be far too lacking in security. I don’t think she should leave and he doesn’t think she should stay.” She turned back to Sean. “Does that about some it up?”

She looked between the two parties wondering whether she had swayed Sean and which side the two women would jump in on.

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"Yes, sister. Good afternoon Doctor, Mr. McCline."

Rianna's face returns to normal and her demeanor instantly becomes more buisness like. "As for moving her, Nonwithstanding that the flight to Chicago isn't a short one, there are other matters to be concerned with. Her unique quantum signature causes alot of quantum static that interferes with relocation abilities. I know this for a fact. So trying to teleport her there or carry her through a warpgate could do more harm than good. I fully agree with you Doctor that she should not be moved."

She looks to Sean. "When she wakes up it will be better if she wakes up here in her home, rather than some sterile hospital bed, considering the way of life she's chosen. So if you would please, just return her to her bed. I will gladly transport anyone here you wish to be brought here, but I think we need to make her comfortable and wait for her to awaken."

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"She's fine, physically," Sean growled. "None of you seem to get that she's suffering mentally, not physically. Yes, she looks like shit, but I've healed the trauma. Now she needs a psychic, not a healer.

"And I wasn't taking her to Chicago, because she wouldn't like that. I was going to move her away from all these holy sites that are going to be targeted if people are killing the nova godheads of the Lakota. If there is an assassination attempt, they won't be using at fucking light-boom-thing again, they'll send in a team of Elites or novas. And if you all stay here jack-jawing, they'll succeed in killing you.

"I know about her trouble with her unique signature," Sean added, his flat eyes boiling with anger. "In fact, I probably know more about her than you do. She's my friend, and I'm going to make sure she's safe." He shouldered forward and took to the air.

[OOC: If someone takes an action against him, let me know and we'll work it out, and I'll revise this post. But right now, he's getting the hell away from Inyan Kara.]

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Sean bulled past Lou Anne, she turned his words over in her mind. He had just taken to the air when she screamed towards the cave mouth,“Sean, if that’s the case, they’ll follow you right to her. Come back here and we’ll move this somewhere else where we can talk without being under the gun.” She hurried to the cave in case he hadn’t heard her. “Wakinyan’s already dead, don’t hand ...” She saw him coming back and stopped what she was saying in mid sentence.

Lou Anne stepped back, her identification wallet folded itself back up and leapt to her hand so she could put it away, as did her stethoscope. She looked around the cave quickly getting a feel for the things in the large chamber. Sean had come back in with Falling Star and Lou Anne hurried back over to cave entrance. “For simplicity sake, since I’m not sure how you got here, we’ll go to my house. Any objections?” No one raised an objection. A moment later, the scent of roses enfolded them and they were no longer standing in the cave.

The wince on Lou Anne’s face at the sound of something shattering in another room was the only indication that everything might not have gone perfectly. “Put her there on the couch Sean if you don’t mind, or if you prefer there’s a guest room upstairs to the left at the top of the steps. I’m going to get something to clean her up, the kitchen’s over there - help yourselves as much as is possible on short notice,” Lou Anne said nodding towards a door off of the Dining Room. “And if you don’t mind, I’m going to let Preston know we’re here Sean, that way Boston PD will be able to help if necessary. If you object then I’ll wait.” She dropped the satchel by the door to the kitchen before going in and running warm water.

Lou Anne's four guests stood in the living room. It was sparsely furnished, but comfortable with plenty of open space and enough places for everyone to sit comfortably.

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"Wakinyan's dead.."

The words echoed across the link just prior to what She knew was an area teleportation, but she'd never heard of one actually emitting a scent. She registered their new surroundings quickly enough.

"Ok that was certainly different." She turned to Sean and smiled. "So what will it be Mr. McCline, shall we set her down on the couch or shall we take her to the guuest room?"

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They stepped from the dust bowl into the midst of Sheriff WhiteElk's office and his small number of very worried, and grieving deputies. Two quickly drew their sidearms as the novas walked into the room with the hellish backdrop behind them. The oldest looking deputy quickly waved them down while looking back through the portal.

"That's Wounded Knee, isn't it?"

"Yes it is," Preston said in a voice barely above a whisper.

The guns were lowered. Another deputy, this time one of the youngest ones said,

"Your that Preston guy from Boston; father of Neil, Wakinyan's waku ... white blood brother."

Preston nodded then let his gaze wander over to the partial obscured body of Sheriff WhiteElk and the blood spatter on the wall behind him. The senior deputy was about to say something - most likely asking/telling the two Boston cops to leave - when Preston pre-empted him.

"I was the last one to talk to the Sheriff alive. I need to look at the body. You can stay here," he added, pointing the the oldest member of the tribal police, "but the rest of you are going to have take care of the gathering storm here amongst your people. Think about what the Sheriff would have wanted."

The message was unwelcome, but the voice held the weight of a command. Adding that to their confusion and shock over the twin tragedies in the past half hour and the message took hold. Slowly the deputies filed out and began talking about what had to be done.

Deputy Robert "Screeching Owl" Potter looked at the two novas who stood before him. The man had an aura of eerie power and a sense of justice about him that sent a shiver down his spine. The woman was a Feral, with obvious feline features; a cross between a puma and a lynx. Beyond that, she looked to be the more hostile ... and dangerous of the two.

Preston knelt beside the body, took a deep breath and touched it. Deputy Potter was about to say something about disturbing his old friend's corpse when a look from the woman stilled him. The older man seemed to be in prayer for several seconds, kneeling there, eyes staring off into space.

Selena put the time Preston was using to view the past to good use. She reached out with her mind to the NRT member she knew was close. Her mind was surprisingly difficult to pin down and once she had contact she could sense why. Various greek goddesses confronted Selena's mental image of herself in a variety of hostile poses. Selena raised up her hand in a non-violent gesture and spoke softly to Lou Anne's mind.

Dr. Burgess. This is Detective Ramirez. We are close by. Do you need assistance?

At almost the same time, Preston stood back up. He had what he had come for. He looked at the equally tired old lawman and said,

"He was a good man who was decieved. I can't agree with his final decision, but I know that he was manipulated into it."

Preston believed that WhiteElk was motivated as he was - to do what was best for his people, to keep them safe and within the law society provided. He had no way to be sure though. Mind-reading wasn't his thing.

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Preston? Boston PD? Well, I guess we're in Boston. Sean quickly dismissed the thought as unimportant, though it did remind him that he needed to report to the Knights, though that could wait until he'd secured the woman he carried. Instead, he answered, "Upstairs. Bed is better than couch." Without waiting for further comment, he bounded up the stairs, following the directions that Lou Anne had given him.

In the room, he set Ptesan-Wi on the bed and turned to the two women following him. "I take it you're not really her sister, given your appearance versus hers," Sean said, crossing his arms. His young, handsome face was unyielding as he asked, "So who are the two of you, really? And I don't just mean to Ptesan-Wi, but in general."

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"Rianna and Elizabeth Connelly, Head and CEO's of Connelly Securities. Before she decided to live with Wakinyan, Ptesan-wi was adopted into our family. She made her choice and we always watched out for her if we could, ready, if she needed or called for assistance."

"And you Mr. McCline, who is she to you that you'd be so far away from Chicago? I wasn't aware the Windy City Knights had such far reaching jurisdiction." her tone of voice was flat, but it betrayed a hint of annoyance at the questioning.

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Getting things together to clean Falling Star up was the matter of a few minutes. Warm soapy water and warm fresh water, a cloth and sponge and a tray. While getting everything together, she called the Boston Police Department. “He’s out? Okay, could you call him for me please and let him know that I had been out, I’m home and he may want to stop over when he gets a chance. We have a potential security issue.” She waited on the line. “Thanks, no that’s all, I’ll go into detail when I talk to him.”

Gathering the various things together she pushed the kitchen door open and headed upstairs. Her duffle bag rose from the floor and floated behind her. She could hear talking from the door as she approached. She went in, setting the tray down on the night stand by Falling Star as one of the young women finished asking Sean a question about his involvement. “If I may burst in a moment, did I miss anything important, and I’m not sure I know what to call you two ladies, might I inquire your names?” She turned and began tending to Falling Star, getting her cleaned up and looking more herself.

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Sean sounded just as annoyed when he said, "I already said, I'm her friend. She was sick, and I was bringing her some soup and some company. For an adopted sister, she doesn't talk about you much." The second he'd said it, he wished he hadn't; he had no idea why Ptesan-Wi hadn't mentioned them.

Lou Anne's entrance was a welcome interruption, and Sean introduced the Connelly's. "Rianna and Elizabeth Connelly, Ptesan-Wi's adopted sisters," he explained. Seeing the tray of water and realizing that Lou Anne had already decided to do what he was going to request of her, he added, "Ladies, shall we step outside, and give the doctor some privacy to do her work?"

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Rianna bristled at the comment. There were few things that could really upset her, and that comment was one of them. Fire seemed to show in her emerald green eyes but she kept it in check. "Yes, Doctor we'll be outside if you need us."


She left the room only just barely keeping her anger from roiling over. Tell me one reason why i shouldn't deck this bastard right here for that Liz. In truth she already had at least five but it didn't lessen the sting of his remark.

"She doesn't speak of us because most likely we are the life she left behind to immerse her self in Wakinyan's culture. She chose to live as she has and we did our best to respect those wishes. Though looking back on it now and the current state of affairs, I think we were wrong to let her make this decision. Ryu was right to be mad with me." Her eyes seem far away as she thinks about things, it's obvious there's still alot of hurt in this old wound.

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Immerse herself? Sean realized that there were things that Ptesan-Wi had never told him about herself; he'd thought she'd always been Lakota. And who the fuck is this Ryu? That's Long's real name, but does this woman know him?

That was unimportant. With a sigh, Sean followed them out into the hallway. "Fair enough," he replied to Rianna's - or was that Elizabeth? - statement about Ptesan-Wi's distance from her sisters. "But she's old enough to decide what she wants, so I wouldn't blame you for 'letting' her do anything. She's cert- She was certainly happy with that fu- bird."

Reality hit hard and Sean crouched, balancing on his feet. Rubbing his face, he groaned, "What a horrible day." He cracked his neck and muttered, "And I need to report. If you'll excuse me ladies..."

Standing, Sean moved down the hall, pulling out his communicator. I'm not going to enjoy this at all, he mused as he dialed Cade's number.

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Cade pulled out his phone just as the board meeting for the Cicago Foundation finished. Most the members were already leaving, satisfied with today's proceedings. They'd gotten most of what they wanted from today, Cade had been in a generous mood.

He saw that it was Sean and had a sense of impending doom. Oh God what has Revenant done now???"

"Hello Sean, what's going on?"

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"Wakinyan's dead." Cade repeated the words. "OK Sean, where are you? I'm not going to ask the obvious about the how and why, but what I want to know is what you'd like for me to do. I'll call up Access and see if he can locate this orbital weapon. In the meantime what do you need? I can have an EMT team where ever you need them in about three minutes. You're the man onsite, I will back your call."

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"I'm with a doctor; I need Samhra because Ptesan-Wi is in psychic shock. At least, that's what I think it is - I've healed her, and she's being further tended by a doctor," Sean advised. "We're fine, but you're going to have people going batshit soon enough, just from the reaction."

Sean glanced up the hall at the women, and lowered his voice. "Cade, this thing is bad. It killed Wakinyan, and you know what that would take."

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"Something that would flatten a city normally. I'll have everyone out on patrol trying to keep the peace as well as we can. I'll call some friends and see what I can find out."

He frowns at the mention of Samhra. "I haven't been able to raise her for a long time Sean, no one has. With her Teragen ties you know well what that can mean. I will try though. Now should I not be able to get ahold of her, I can engage a DeVries telepath for this in the meantime if you want. They will be extremely discreet and I assure you He will do an excellent job. Or if need be, I can come there myself and handle it. But my time is going to be limited once this hits the fan."

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Lou Anne listened intently to the conversation in the hall, but it didn’t slow her down. She bathed Falling Star as well as she could in the bed. Lou Anne worked quickly. Unlike most doctors with her amount of experience in the United States it was obvious to anyone peeking in the room that she was used to being both doctor and nurse at the same time. Once Falling Star was again dressed Lou Anne brought out her instruments and gave the young woman an examination.

True to Sean’s word, she appeared healthy. There were still signs that she had been through a rough trauma, and truth be told, perhaps an illness. With proper care, they would pass quickly. She was somewhat dehydrated and probably a bit undernourished right now. What concerned Lou Anne the most is that the girl was not as responsive as she should be. The signs didn’t point to a coma exactly. But there was some sort of impairment. Perhaps something was going on in her mind, some echo of whatever she had received from Wakinyan’s death. She prayed that the poor girl wasn’t experiencing that over and over and over.

She covered her with the blankets and moved the tray and pans onto a dresser. She would get them later. Lou Anne stepped quietly out into the hall closing the door mostly behind her waiting for Sean to get off the phone. “I called Officer Preston while I was downstairs, he should be coming over at some point. However, we collectively I would assume are going to have to decide what to do with her. Keep in mind that assassins or no, when the Lakota find she’s missing they are likely to assume the worst. Getting her home as soon and transparently as possible is going to be a political necessity.”

“She can stay here if no one objects, I don’t mind, but regardless of where she stays, she’s going to need medical attention. I have no problems with going somewhere else if that’s what’s required for her safety.” Lou Anne looked at all of them, wanting to judge who was surprised by what she was about to say. “She’s dehydrated and needs nutrients and there are going to be long term care concerns soon. Fortunately I can get most of what she needs fairly easily given the nature of my practice.”

“The good news, is that as Sean said, she seems to be fully healed. The bad news is, that it’s only her body that’s healed. I don’t want to say she’s in a coma, but there’s some sort of Mental Trauma that she’s still experiencing. Unfortunately, it’s possible that it’s being compounded by a pre-existing condition. I can’t go into detail, partially because I don’t have any, but if she has had an ongoing problem, it could be making what’s going on now worse.”

She looked around at the tense group in the hall. No longer looking for surprise, just looking at their postures. “Unless we want to take guard positions out here in the hall or in her room, we might be more comfortable talking downstairs.” She smiled. “It’s up to you.”

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Cade punches in the number he'd been given for contacting Samhra and waits while it rings. "Now would be a hell of a time for you to either wake up or actually be there Samhra. I have enough on my damn plate." Indeed he could hear the other lines ringing already, calls puouring in from the citizenry.

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They were back in Boston and Lou Anne's message was in his hand. Preston needed to wipe the South Dakota dust off his face and gargled the grit out of his teeth. This was going to be one of those days he wished he could forget.

"Alert Virgil to go to Mrs. Burgess's residence immediately," he told dispatch. At the same time he raised a hand to Selena.

To her he said,

"Conserve your juice. Today is far from over. We are going to drive over there."

He thought about alerting some patrol cars to be close by, but realized how futile that would be. They wouldn't know to stand their ground against any Federal-seeming types if they showed up. Better to keep this one in a close circle. Preston called O'Bannon and his other section heads over to him to explain the situation. Once Ptesan-Wi had entered their jurisdiction, they had gained a toe-hold into a murder investigation of Wakinyan.

The implications were huge. Had a U.S government agency murdered a citizen without due cause and due process? Had they killed him for the perceived crime of being a nova? For being an American-Indian nova? If so, this boded ill for future relationships between novas and humans world-wide and everyone in the room knew it.

"No Federal agent or agency is going to like us poking our noses into this," Preston cautioned. "Even those who are not guilty are going to be covering their asses. I also can not begin to state how poorly the Native American segment of our population is going to take this. It will get messy. What I believe in though is that the truth be known. A murder has been committed and they can not be allowed to get away with it."

The group of men and women around him had been hand-picked for this job. They were very much Preston's people and he relied on their loyalty, fierce dedication to the people and the law, as well as sheer competence. They separated and began their assigned tasks - technology assessment, weather patterns, reaching out to various federal contacts, and seeing what the local news agencies could dig up.

For Selena and Preston, it would be a long ride over to Lou Anne's and the mess that had descended their.

Virgil's trip was quick and uneventful. He landed on the front stoop and rang the door bell. He felts sorry for Mrs. and Mrs. Burgess. They had a lot of tragedy in their life this summer already and the cryptic call to hurry over here only filled him with concern. In the back of his mind, he was wondering how the incident that had just happened in South Dakota would affect his family in North Dakota. Right now, it was only a small thought.

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A time like this, and he's making jokes, Sean sighed, rolling his eyes about Cade's 'jest' about having mental prowess. Then he remembered other rumors, quiet whisperings that Cade had spoken as if he were part of the Teragen when Procyon had come to speak to the Knights. This might be one more secret he's hidden. Sean's face was already tight with tension and stress, but it tightened further at these dark thoughts. Still, he waited patiently as Cade put him on hold and called Samhra.

In answer to Lou Anne, Sean replied, "We can call White Elk to let him know she's safe and elsewhere. I don't mean to keep her away long - I'm thinking that by tomorrow morning, any threat would be passed. If no one has attacked by then, then I'd say they aren't going to do so."

Sean rubbed his eyes and said, "I know that she kept a mental link with Wakinyan; when he was injured in Gary, she collapsed, too. So she got backlash from what happened to him, is my guess. And no, I don't know how that works or how to fix it, beyond calling a telepath. Samhra, formly of the Project, currently of the Knights, fixed her last time."

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Trooper squinted his remaining eye and lined up the dart. A flick of the wrist and...




Twenty yards away the dartboard registered a hit.

"Heh, not bad dude. Nice to see losing a peeper hasn't made a total puss of you.", Cinder Jack laughed and adjusted the score.

Trooper grinned in his lopsided manner and tossed his drink down his throat. It was good to get out with the guys again. Good to spend time with the boys.

Simulataneous rings cut through the bullshit and music that filled the air. Callused hands flipped open pocket terminals and hard eyes read through messages.


"Holy shit..."

"About fucking time..."

"I wonder what..."



Discussions immediately started. Suspects listed, motives ascribed and comments made.

Trooper read his own message and walked over to the "Big Board of Targets". Under Wakinyan he entered a date and time. He turned towards the crowd, "Okay doys and girls. Who had Hinger of God as the cause? Cuz you just un a shitload o dough."

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Hmm, no reaction from any of them about her being dehydrated or undernourished, and he was bringing chicken soup and wasn’t surprised at the whole respiratory situation. Going on about this unique quantum signature, hmmm. They obviously knows something more than they’re saying. Now’s not the time to pry though. Maybe I’ll ask Neil later. She didn’t let the thought show on her face.

“I tried calling Sheriff Whiteelk while I was on the way to the cave, the phone was busy then, and I suspect it’s not going to get any better for them for a few hours." She chuckled, "I might have beaten you there if I hadn't stopped to call." She shook her head turning serious again. "The Fax line might be the best way to get through.” Lou Anne froze as a though obviously over took her. “Um, Sean, since you know Wakinyan’s family better than I do probably, how many other family members are there, particularly brothers?” She paused a moment.

“The reason I ask is that while I’m not completely sure about how the Lakota Culture handles such things, there’s a possibility that there may be wedding bells awaiting Neil Preston and Falling Star because isn’t the brother supposed to marry the wife left behind as a widow, or is it widows?”

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"Widows... crap." Sean put Cade on hold, then logged into the Knights database to get another number. Thankfully, she had one, kinda; she had a secondary number on one of Wakinyan's accounts. "Let's worry about survivors, rather than weddings. That will be worked out, somehow." I hope.

Now, he just had to tell a fox-dragon nova that her mate was dead. Why did I take this job again? The dental ain't that good. At least if she flipped out, she was out in the middle of nowhere, and wouldn't hurt anyone. I hope.

Nervously, he waited for the phone to pick up, wondering what to tell Silvertalon when she answered.

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Silvertalons ear twitched with each ring of the phone attached around her right ear. The soft buzzing in her ear slowly pulled her from her slumber while she stretched out upon the rock she was sunning herself upon. The cool mountain air played across her fur and scales as she took a deep breath inhaling deeply the fresh air. A smile played across her muzzle as she wondered if it was Wakinyan calling coming to meet up with her and teach her more about his tribe.

“Com, open.” The view screen slides into place in front of her right eye as the transparent screen flickers a bit with no picture just yet. The voice link activates with in a few moments as she smiles warmly with a soft rumbling mirr.

Wakinyan... Are you on your way? I been waiting all day for you to show up.”

The long pause begins to catch her attention as her ears perk slightly hearing soft breathing coming from the com, but yet strangely no picture.

“... Waki?”

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