THE TALE OF JET & QUARTZ

By: Darian Deamos

 

Chapter Seven: Righteous Wrath

 

Chicago.  It’s one of the strangest cities in the world.  In the North American Continent, it ranks behind only New York and Los Angeles for significance, and behind only New York and London world wide.  It is the center of transportation and shipping in North America, the hub of the American Midwest.  It is the perpetual younger brother of the great Alpha Cities.  But if something is going from one place to another, be that something a person or parcel, on the North American continent, then there’s a good chance that it’s going to wind up going through the windy city.

It’s international airport is the busiest in the world.  It has, despite being in the middle of the landmass, practically on the Great Plains, access to the Atlantic shipping lanes, via the great lakes.  The interstate highway system funnels almost all land traffic in the Midwest through it.  And it is the major rail hub for all freight going from east to west, or vice versa.

So, is it any wonder that, by simply hopping on a passing freight train, that Wolf and his pack would find their way to ChiTown?  Or that the Carmichael twins found getting here to be the simplest of things.  For both, it was almost as simple as falling down.  Get on a train, and wait.  And here they were.

Or, at least here Jet and Quartz were, standing outside of Her Lady of Angels, disguised under one of Jet’s illusions, as they got out of a cab.  Jet was talking to the cabbie and paying the shot, while Quartz pulled their luggage out of the trunk.  The cabbie seemed perturbed slightly by their destination.

“Look, lady, I can take you to a hotel.  It’s not a problem.”  The cab driver seemed the type who wouldn’t simply walk away.

Jet smiled, and shrugged.  “It’s fine, we’re expected here, and we’re meeting some friends who we’re staying with.  I’ll call your service if we need a ride.”

Quartz finished unloading as the cabbie scowled, but then he did, eventually, drive off.  She walked up to her sister and smirked at her.  “How is it we always get the curious ones?”

Jet sighed, and took the proffered suitcase.  “I know.  Like that damned conductor.  Or was he a concierge?  Either way, he was a damned pest.  We booked a private car, for Christ sakes.  Couldn’t he take a hint that we wanted privacy?”

Quartz just laughed, and hugged her sister with one arm.  “Just our luck, eh?”  She turned them both to look up at the church.  It was big, an old stone edifice, in the style of St. Patrick’s in New York.  While not technically a cathedral, as it was not the seat of a bishop, Her Lady of Angels was still an impressive piece of architecture, particularly in this neighborhood.  Quartz whistled.  “Nice place.  Shall we?”

Jet smirked.  “You just want to get in there and see Lisa, you slut,” she taunted her sister.

Quartz smirked back.  “Damn straight.”

Jet shook her head.  “You are incorrigible, you know that?” she remarked, as the two of them ascended the steps up to the main doors of the church.

From a vacant apartment across the street, Wolf sighed, and adjusted the microphone.  The targets were here.  His friends.  If he ever got this collar off, the first thing he was going to do was to kill that asshole.  He had thought he had gone numb to this kind of pain, had excised his ability to care.  He guessed he was wrong.  Between the two old friends walking up the church steps, and the family he had in his pack hiding in Lincoln Park, he had people he cared about again.  The fact that he was being compelled to stalk and kill two of them hurt.  It hurt more then any of the tortures that had been inflicted on him in his captivity.  But he had no choice.  The collar gave him no choice.

He just hoped that when this was over, if he lived, the collar didn’t make him go back to the lab.  They would follow him back, and he wouldn’t let them become weapons like he was.  He’d kill them himself, first.

He sighed, and turned his attention back to the telescope.  It looked like Crystallis and her sister were at the door.  Odd.  He hadn’t recognized the Carmichaels after their change.  They had gone through the wringer as thoroughly as he had.  Not for the first time, he wished that he wasn’t leashed to the cursed collar.  It would be nice to be able to talk to someone who understood what it was like to wake up one morning and not be yourself.  He shook his head and kept up his surveillance.  It wasn’t like he had a choice.

If there had been anyone else in the room as the twins entered the church, they would have heard a very strange noise.  They would have heard the sound of a wolf the size of a bear whining in loss.

As the door closed behind Quartz, a short, compared to her, blond haired missile shot down the isle and impacted her middle and clung to her waist.  “Oh, pooh,” a voice drifted up from her stomach, “you didn’t even budge.”

Lisa Braynt stood up and jumped into her arms, and lip locked her.  It was a very deep, very welcome, kiss, and Quartz returned it with equal fervor.  When they came up for air, Lisa looked into the featureless eyes of her lover, and whispered, their faces only a few inches apart, “Miss me?”

Quartz laughed, and brought one arm up between them, to disengage the two of them.  Lisa responded by latching on to the arm and being swept around to the side.  She squealed in childlike glee as Quartz effortlessly swung her around, clinging to the larger woman’s arm like a bur.

Quartz smirked at Lisa’s play.  “Yes I missed you, you minx.”  She held her arm out to the side.  “Where are we staying so I can put this stuff down,” she said, gesturing with her other hand, currently full of suitcases.

In between giggles, Lisa directed the pale powerhouse to the door down into the basement, where the rectory was.

As the two of them waked off, Jet sighed, and shook Malcolm’s proffered hand.  “What,” she remarked, “not going to tackle me squealing like a girl?”

Malcolm smirked as he shook the ebony girl’s hand.  “It’s nice to see you too, Jet.”  She smiled and waved his free hand at the man standing next to him.  “Jet, this is Monsignor Douglas Rosenfield.  Doug, Jet Carmichael.”

The monsignor was a very strange man for his position.  He looked young, in his early twenties.  He was fit, with bright red hair, and green eyes the seemed to sparkle with mischief.  He was possessed of a tall, lithe frame, taller the Jet, and he had the air of someone of infinite compassion and patience.  Jet liked him immediately.

She extended a hand to him, but he ignored it, and instead pulled her into a hug.  He crushed her too him, and whispered in her ear, “Welcome home, child.”  After a moment, they separated, and he held her at arm’s length.  “So, you are the so famous Jet.  It is good to see you in person at last.  Come, I have set aside some rooms for you in the rectory.”  He put his arm around her shoulders and  started walking her down the center isle of the church.  “After that greeting your sister got, you looked like you needed a hug.”

Jet looked up at the carved buttresses and the carving and engraving adorning the ceiling.  “Yeah.  I know my sister’s happy, and I’m happy for her.  It’s just that, seeing that…”

Malcolm snickered.  “Oh, if you thought that scene was bad, you should have seen her before you got here.  I nearly had to hold her down to keep her from running outside when you were still a block away.”

Jet laughed.  “Yeah, Quartz was fidgeting the whole cab ride.”

The Monsignor chuckled.  “Ah, love.  It’s good to see that Lisa has found someone who suits her as well as your sister does.  Come, It is just me and the sister’s here in the rectory.  We have a service that comes in and cleans, as the church is a historical building, but there is no one down here who is not safe to trust.  You have my solemn word on it.”

Jet smiled.  “That’s good enough for me, Monsignor.”

The Monsignor laughed.  “Please, no.  You are the friends of Lisa and Mal.  To you, I’m just Doug.  No titles here.  Now, please, I’ve had a room prepared, and you must be tired from your long trip.”

Jet laughed.  “All right, Doug it is.  And you’re right.  It’s been a long trip.  It’ll be nice to sleep without having to worry that someone will walk in on me.”

Malcolm smiled.  “Then go crash kid.  Someone will wake you in the morning when breakfast is ready.”

Since they were already at the door of the room that the Monsignor had set aside for her use, she made no answer to that, merely smiled, nodded, and slipped inside.  And then followed Malcolm’s excellent advice.

Quartz woke in the morning and cuddled a little with the smaller blond sharing her bed.  “We need to help Jet find a friend.”

Lisa cuddled back.  “Hrmmmm?”

“Jet needs someone to care for.  A close friend, a lover, or something.”  Quartz smirked.  “Someone who’s not me.”

Lisa sat up and looked at her lover.  “Why do you say that?”

“Because she just woke up alone in bed, and she’s trying very hard not to be to jealous of me.”

“Why would she be…” Lisa trailed off.  “I forgot.  You two read each other, don’t you.”

Quartz sighed into Lisa’s hair.  “I wish we could do something to help…”

Lisa shrugged.  “I know what you mean, but there’s nothing we can do that won’t make it worse in the long run.”

Quartz let her head fall back  onto the pillows, sending her white hair rippling.  “I know, I know.”  She let out another sigh.  “Enough of this.  We have better things to do then get depressed.”

Lisa nodded and rose from their bed.  Quartz watched he go with an appreciating eye.  God, she thought, if you’re listening, could you do me a favor and let Jet find someone who suits her this well and makes her feel this happy.  She sent up her prayer with fervent hope, and then got up herself.  There was work to do.

The morning meal in the rectory was a pleasant affair, if not lavish.  The food, while not haute cuisine, was old fashioned home cooking.  The Monsignor had told the other priests what was towards, and it was a measure of the respect and love they held for him that they placed their trust in his word, over that of the media blitz of the last month.  The other clergy had finished quickly, and with words of encouragement left to attend to their duties and meditations.  That left only the five of them, Jet, Quartz, Lisa, Malcolm, and the Monsignor.

“So,” the Monsignor was saying, “your mother was a Roman Catholic?”

Jet was busy stuffing her mouth with waffles, so Quartz answered.  “Quite devout, in fact.  It was one of her few points of contention with father.”  The pale twin chuckled.  “She was devout enough to get us catechized Catholic, despite our father.  Never missed a Mass, either.”

The Monsignor smiled.  “So, then her name would have been registered on her Parish roll.  I can look that up.”

Jet and Quartz shared a look.  This would make their search so much easier!  Jet swallowed quickly.  “She wouldn’t have used Carmichael.  Her maiden name was Giordino.  I think that’s how she ditched dad’s search.  Arrogant as he was, he wouldn’t have thought of her going back to her maiden name.”

The Monsignor nodded.  “And she would not have abandoned her Catholic name.”  It was a statement of fact, not supposition.  “Very well, I shall investigate the Arch-Diocese records.  If she is living in the greater Chicago area, or has done so in the last twenty years, I will find her.”

Malcolm nodded.  “And on that note, I think I should let you all in on what Nora has gotten done back at her end.”  Suddenly he had everyone’s attention.

“Well,” he smiled, “that certainly woke everyone up.  Ok, for Doug’s sake, I’ll explain.”  He turned to his old high school friend and smiled wickedly.  Then, in his best lecturing voice, he pontificated, “Nora Davies was an investigator from the San Francisco branch of the FBI.  She was the head of the initial investigation on the whole Carmichael Kidnapping thing.  She smelled something funky in the wind, and managed to find evidence that the ‘kidnappers’ were in fact the Carmichael twins themselves.”  He smirked, and continued, “So, of course, she was promptly taken off the case on trumped up charges and politely ‘suggested’ that she take a vacation.  She did.  Then Internal Affairs called and she was put on the investigation into who was fu… excuse me, ‘interfering’ with the investigative process.  She has just managed to get he preliminary results to me.”

“And,” Jet inquired, with none to little patience in her ebon face, “what’s the news?”

Malcolm smirked again.  “Well… it’s good, and it’s not so good.  The good, is that they have, in fact, determined that the security files were altered, and that means that the identification that Nora made at the scene is the one that they should be using.”  Malcolm paused as the twins did an impromptu victory dance.

“But,” he continued, “That’s not all!  The MP’s investigating the raid my team made on your house have handed over information that the authorization for the action came from a General Milton Greene.  Old Milton is, after further investigation, both an old friend of your father’s and the head of several research projects into MORFS.  Including one run by a certain Dr. Caverhall that we know so much about.”  His expression turned grim.  “This is starting to look a lot more, involved, then we first thought.

“The consensus is, the FBI and Military investigations into this are going to let the whole thing play out.  They’re hoping to catch the larger players, your father and Dr. Caverhall, in something indictable.  They do know that the charges against you are bunk, but both my boss, and the Director of the Bureau, believe that if you two stay on the run long enough, the people chasing you will screw up, and we’ll be able to nail them all.”

Jet smirked, and Quartz laughed out loud.  “So,” the white woman crowed, “we just lay low, and let them all go hang!  Brilliant.”  It appeared that she was about to say more, when one of the nuns attached to the cathedral knocked on the door, and poked her head in the room.

“Monsignor Rosenfield?” she asked nervously.  “There’s a rather distressed looking woman out in the church praying.  She’s been beaten.  Sister Maggie is bringing her back to the sanctuary, her and her son, and I think we’ll need you.”  She paused.  “It’s Lucy,” she added, as she quickly scampered off.

The Monsignor cursed loudly.  “Fuck it all.  Of all the timing.”  He looked around at the personages assembled at the table and came to a swift decision.  “I may be breaking confidentiality, but this is important.  Come with me, stay out of sight, and listen.  I can’t say any more.”  He then stood, and quickly headed out the door.

Jet looked around the table, and sighed.  “Fine, fine, stay close.”  The four of them rose to leave, and before the reached the open door, they vanished.

The foursome arrived in the Monsignor’s wake, following the sounds of his footsteps and then the sound of sobbing.  What they found shook the twins to the core.  It was a very beautiful woman, beaten bloody.  She was stunning, with large, firm, if rather artificial, breasts, and a classic, aristocratic beauty.  She was also bruised and battered nearly beyond belief.  Her eyes were blacked, her upper and lower lips were split, her nose was obviously broken, and she had one of her arms in a makeshift sling made of a bath towel.  She was sobbing miserably into the Monsignor’s shoulder.

Off to the side, standing with barely concealed fury, and no less battered, was a young man of perhaps fifteen, maybe younger.  He also had split lips, blacked eyes, and you could see heavy bruising on his ribs, under his opened shirt.  His hands were both bandaged heavily, and the look of impotent fury in his eyes was soul searing.

The Monsignor focused on the woman, who was rather obviously the boy’s mother.  “Lucy, Lucy, what happened?” he asked gently, doing his best to comfort her obvious distress.

“Oh, GOD!” the woman, rather obviously named Lucy, wailed.  “God forgive me!  I couldn’t protect her.  I couldn’t keep her safe.”

“What happened Lucy,” The Monsignor coaxed.  “Did Mike touch her?  I need to know what happened if I’m going to help.”

The simple offer of help, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, broke whatever reserves the woman had left.  “Oh god, I almost wish he had.  No, he SOLD her!  His own daughter!  Like she was a thing!” she wailed inconsolably.  “Oh, god, my baby!”

Jet dropped her illusion.  She was nearly shaking with rage.  So was Quartz.  Nobody was quite sure which twin spoke, or if it was both of them.

“Lisa.”

It was one word, said before anyone else had realized that the four of them had suddenly appeared.  Almost before it was said, Lisa was moving.  She crouched next to the crying woman and simply placed a hand on her shoulder.  She collapsed as if a switch had been thrown.  Without a word, the priest helped her to get the woman lying down on the padded bench.

“Fuck,” Lisa muttered under her breath.  “Four broken ribs.  And I the bastard ruptured her uterus.”  She turned to Malcolm, “Mal, get the story from the kid.  He’s got busted ribs and a broken collar bone, kid gloves,” she rattled off in a voice that would make any corporal or sergeant proud.

Malcolm was already halfway there.  He guided the child, because up close he saw that he was, in fact, only a boy, to the bench on the other side of the small sanctuary.  “What’s your name, kid?” he asked gently, guessing from what he heard that calling him ‘son’ or ‘boy’ would probably cause some rather negative associations.

“David,” he murmured, his voice roughed with unshed tears.  “Who are you people?”

“Friends of mine,” the Monsignor said, having come over with Malcolm to help manage the boy.  “They are friends of mine who were visiting with me when Sister Steph came to get me.”  He smiled disarmingly at the boy.  “This is Malcolm.  He’s a soldier.  He helps people who need it.  The pretty young lady helping you mom is named Lisa.  She may not look it but she’s a doctor.  She is also the most powerful Bio-elemental I have ever heard of.  Your mom is going to be fine, and once she’s done with her she’s going to patch you up.”

Malcolm nodded reassuringly at the young man.  “But before she does, I need to know what happened.  If we’re going to get your sister back, we need to know.”

David nodded, and shivered.  “’Bout, uh, two weeks ago, Steph got sick.  Mom had a MORFS testing kit, you know just in case I got sick, and she tested Steph.  Just to be safe, right?  So, the stupid thing comes up positive, and Steph and mom go to the clinic to get the medicine she’d need.”  He sniffled a bit, and then started to take a deep breath, stopped, and continued.  “Well, she took whatever it was, and she was out like a light.  So, when Mike, there is no way I’m calling him my father, comes home, he asks if anything’s up, like always, and mom hem’s and haw’s but eventually he gets her to tell him that Steph’s down with MORFS.  So he gets all pissed, and starts cursing, and heads out to his truck.  I stay inside, cuz he hates it when I bug him when he’s home.  I hear banging out by Steph’s bedroom though.  When he comes back in, he’s got his tool kit, and crap, and he heads up stairs.  There’s more banging, and then he comes down.  When mom asks him what he did, he just said he took some precautions.

“That’s what he said.  ‘Taking precautions.’  God I HATE him so much.  Sorry father.”  David looked sheepish.  The Monsignor just smiled, saying without words ‘I think that this time God will understand.’

“So,” David continued, “Things stayed like that for the next day, mostly.  Mom tried to persuade Mike to let her have the key to the locks, he said no, she begged, he hit her.  Like usual.”  The bitterness in his voice could have soured the ocean.  “The next day, I’m staying in my room, out of the way, doing some reading, and I hear something in the bathroom.  I figure it must be Steph, and I go over to see what it is.  She says that she’s goin’ scaly, I say that’s no good, she says yup.  So I went down to tell mom.  Only He overhears, and starts in on his gloat.  How he knew something like this was gonna happen.

“I never shoulda said nothing,” he said, choking back tears.  “If I had just kept my mouth shut, stole the key, and let her run, he never woulda…”

Malcolm held the boy’s arm.  “It’s ok, David.  Now’s not the time to worry about ‘what if?’  That’s for later.  Just tell me what happened.”

David nodded, started to take a deep breath, winced, and took up the thread of his story.  “So, after that, Mike goes out, and comes back late, looking scared, but happy, and just conks out.  The next day, I hadda go to camp, so I don’t know what’s up, but when I get back, Mom and Mike ‘r fighting.  I don’t mean like usual, nether.  I mean they’re standing there screaming at each other.  I make myself vanish, cuz I don’t wanna get beat on, and things go like normal.  Later, though, Mom comes to my room, and tells me that we need to keep Steph safe.  No matter what, she says.

“So, the next day, Mom says I can skip camp, to help keep an eye on Steph.  Most of the day, things are all quiet.  But that afternoon, Mike comes back, with these two goons in cheap suits and a stupid cheesy black SUV.  He heads up stairs to Steph’s room, Mom follows.  They start arguing, him saying something about getting fair value for what’s his, Mom begging him not to do whatever he’s got planned.  He opens Steph’s door, and drags her out.  The first time I saw her, holy crows.  She was all covered in these bright green scales, with these green eyes that looked like they was glowing.  She was HOT.  I mean she had BOOBS now.  Real big ones, bigger then Moms.  And her hair.  Or I think it was her hair.  It was like all these snakes were on her head.  She looked so cool.  But dad was dragging her off, and mom jumped in and started smacking him, So I jumped in to help, cuz he was trying to hurt Steph, and I had said I’d keep her safe.

“Didn’t work, though,” he said as a single tear rolled down his cheek.  “He smacked us all down, even Steph with her snake hair trying to bite him, and dragged her off to the men outside.  Then he took mom upstairs and stuck her in Steph’s room, and stuffed me in mine, told me not to leave if I wanted to live, and went to go drink.  So I waited till the thug was passed out, and then I went and got all sneaky, like Snake.  I couldn’t find the key, so I got his tools, and pried the boards on the bathroom door up, and got mom out that way.  We took his car, and we ran away.  We hid for a few days, cuz mom was feeling to bad to drive, so eventually, she gave me some money and I went and got her some aspirin, only it wasn’t aspirin, and some girly stuff, and then we came here.”

David looked at them both and finally started crying.  “I tried so HARD.  But I couldn’t stop him.  He just took her, and hurt Mom!  You gotta help!”

A strange voice made him look up, suddenly.  “Don’t worry about it, kid.  You did good.  You did your best, and you got your mom here.  We’ll handle the rest.”  Quartz loomed over the three of them, with Jet in her shadow.

Malcolm nodded.  “If they say it’s going to happen, it will.  Now, do you know WHO the men Mike sold your sister two were?”

Dave shook his head.  “No, I never saw ‘em before.  But…  I did hear Mike ask if he was square with Big John, I think.”  He paused a moment.  “No.  Jim.  It was Big Jim.  The men said that this squared Mike with Big Jim.  Does that help?”

Malcolm smiled.  “Oh yeah.  That’s exactly what I needed.”  He patted Dave on the arm and gestured with his head.  “Now let’s let Lisa patch you up.”

Lisa stepped over, as David promptly passed out.  Malcolm and the Monsignor lowered him to the bench as he did.  Lisa just stood there, and stared at him for a few minutes, then sighed.  “OK, Doug, in the future, if you ever see someone who looks like that, call the paramedics FIRST, then get the story.”  She scowled fiercely.  “They were both battered, and bleeding internally.  It was a minor miracle that they made it here at all.”

Quartz interrupted her lover before she could wax medical.  “So, what are we going to do now.”

Malcolm stood up.  “I’m going to head over to the local pig pen, get the kidnapping report filed, and offer my services on the retrieval.”

Lisa shook her head.  “Wait a bit.  I’ll have a talk with this ‘Mike’ person.  Get us more intel.”

Malcolm shrugged.  “Sure.  Just leave him alive.  We’ve got a more or less blank check for the General on this one.  I’ll tell them to talk to my boss.”

Quartz nodded, and stalked from the room.  Jet stayed behind for a moment, to put in, “When you do find her, call us, we can do a retrieval a lot better and faster then some cops.  I can bring a friend, for short periods.”  And so saying, she followed her sister, fury in her wake.  With her departure, the rest of the crowd dispersed, each to their separate tasks.

Lisa had found the Marks residence easily enough.  She had asked Doug.  Now she was sitting out in front of the home of the man responsible for so much pain.  And he had the misfortune to be home.  She wasn’t stupid, though.  She had taken the time to alter her appearance.  She was a black woman now, thinner, and with a slightly smaller bust then usual.  She steeled herself for what was coming, and then extended her senses.

She cast her mind into the bio-signature she felt in the small house at the address she had been given.  It was a male, the right age, and it was experiencing very high levels of anger.  It was most likely the right man.  She scanned again.  There were no other bio-signs in the area.  Most likely, all the other residents had gone to work.  That would make this easier.  Thunder rumbled overhead, as the wind began to pick up.  Today was going to be a stormy day.  She took her briefcase and got out of the car.

She strolled up to the door, forcing an air of casual calm about herself.  She marched right up to the door, and rang the bell.  Then she waited.

And waited.

She rang again.

And waited.

She rang.

And waited.

Finally, as she was about to ring for the fourth time, the door was jerked open in front of her, and a large, six and a half foot tall man loomed over her.  He was broad shouldered, muscular, and stank of booze.  She was repulsed many times over.

“Mike Marks?” she queried.

“Who wants to know, bitch?” the blond giant rumbled at her, menacingly.

She looked up at him and smiled.  “Are you Michael Marks?”

“Yeah, you cunt, that’s my name.  What, you here to blow me?”

“Just checking,” she replied cheerily, as he collapsed.  She had forced his brain into a deep sleep, one of her more effective, and non-lethal, ways of stopping big hairy men like him.

She stepped over the threshold, and dragged the slumbering male out of the way, and then closed the door, and threw the deadbolt.  She then picked up the unconscious man, and dragged him by the collar into his living room.  She hauled him up into his recliner and the busied herself setting up the holo-recorder on its stand.  Once she the scene all set, she severed all the nerve connections in his neck except those that carried automatic responses, like breathing and heartbeat.  Then she stepped back, sat down on the couch out of sight of the camcorder, with it’s remote, and woke him up.  This promised to be entertaining.

“Whu…”  His initial response to the sudden disorientation was comical.  He shook his head, the only part of his body he still controlled, and tried to get his bearings.  The look of swiftly dawning horror on his face as his body did not respond to his will was hilarious.

“Don’t try to run, Mike.  You’re paralyzed from the neck down.”  Lisa smiled a wintry smile at him.  “Just sit there and answer my questions.”

“Like fuck I wi…”  He cut of as his eyes bugged out of his head, and he tried to howl in pain.  Lisa had triggered every pain receptor in his body at once, while paralyzing his vocal cords.  She only held it for a heartbeat, but that was more then enough to leave him gasping for minutes.

“Now,” she continued politely, after giving him a moment to recover, “you were going to answer my questions.”

“Go to hell, bi…”  She repeated the treatment.

“Alright.”  She stared at him, while keeping his vocal cords paralyzed.  “Here are the ground rules.  You will answer my questions, fully and completely.  If you say anything else, I will make you hurt.  If I think you are lying, I will make you hurt.  I can KNOW when you lie.  You will answer with a simple, Yes, Ma’am.”

He glared at her, and when she released his vocal cords, began spewing invective.

She caused him pain.

He lied to her.

She caused pain.

He claimed ignorance.

She caused pain.

He begged for mercy.

She caused pain.

It took a while.  But eventually, he broke.  After all, he was no secret agent, or toughened operative.  He was just a thug, a scumbag carpenter in the bat part of Chicago.  Eventually, just to make the pain stop, he did what he was told.  He told the truth.

“Now then, are you ready to cooperate?” Lisa asked again.  She had lost track of how many times she had asked.  This time though, the answer was different.

“Yes, Ma’am,” Mike whimpered, his tone beaten.

“Good.  Now then…”  Lisa switched on the holo-recorder.  “You are Michael Marks?”

“Yes.”

“Husband of Lucile Marks?”

“Yes.”

“Father of David Marks?”

“Yes.”

“Father of Stephanie Marks?”

He sobbed.  “Yes.”

“When your daughter exhibited MORFS, what did you do?”

He looked at her, and she glared at him.  He cowered.  “I sealed her windows with plywood, sealed David’s door to their bathroom, and put hotel bar locks and a padlock on her door.”

“Why?”

“Because she might have become something valuable.”

She stared at him.  His brainwaves said his was telling the truth.  Interesting.  “When you determined that she was becoming a hybrid, what did you do?”

“I…”  He looked at her in entreaty, silently begging for mercy.  She granted him none.  He continued.  “I… I owed a man, Big Jim, half a G, over a poker game.  He was after me for the cash, so I went to one of the guys in the game.  Lucky Lenny.  He runs a brothel for Jim.  I said my daughter just got turned into an animal, but she was still hot.  Could I clear my debt with Jim by unloading her on him.”

Lisa graced him with a glare that froze the blood in his veins.  “What did he say.”

“To get him pictures.  I did.”

“And?”

“He would pay me five grand for the freak, and clear my debt with Jim.”

“Did you know what he was going to do with her?”

“Yes.  He said that he wanted to try a new cocktail for his meat.  He’d try it on the freak first.  It was supposed to make them compliant and horny.  If it worked, I could have her cherry.”

“Did you go through with it.”

“Yeah.  The next day, he sent some guys over, and I gave him the girl.  My whore and the brat got all upset, but I corrected them.”

“What then.”

“Next day, I got a call, they said that the stuff had worked, that I could come back that night.  She was all mine.”

“Did you?”

“Yes.  I went back that night, and took the freaks cherry.  She had nice knockers, and she was a good lay.  She loved it.”

Lisa stared at him, appalled and horrified at the horror of the man sitting in front of her.  It took her a moment to collect her thoughts and calm her rage.  “So then.  Let me summarize.  You, upon discovering that your daughter had exhibited MORFS, imprisoned her in her own room.”

“Yes.”

“After learning that she was becoming a hybrid, you arranged to sell her to the owner of a local brothel, that you owed money to.”

“Yes.”

“When you went to hand her over, your wife and son objected, and fought you.  You beat them into submission and handed over the girl to be drugged and raped.”

“Yes.”

“You did this for the canceling of five hundred dollars of debt, five thousand dollars in cash, and the right to take your own daughters virginity.”

“Yes.”

“The next day, you went to this brothel, and raped your own drugged daughter.”

“Yes.”

Lisa turned off the holo-recorder.  “What was the address of the brothel?”

Mike blanched.  “They’ll kill me.”

Lisa simply stared at him.

“Fine, fine,” he stammered.  He gave her the address.  She memorized it.

She then stood up and packed up the holo-recorder.  She put the recorder in her briefcase, and took the memory card from the recorder, and a packet of papers, and put them on the coffee table.

Then she turned to Mike.  “Now then.  What am I going to do to you…” she mused.  She reached out with her power, and started to insinuate herself into every part of his body, and his brain.

Mike looked at her and whimpered.  “Let me go,” he pleaded in a small voice.

She smiled at him.  “O.K.”  She turned and walked away.  Behind her, she heard his screams to let him go, to let him move.  She just smiled a little wider as she shut to door.  As she walked to her car, she pulled out her E-Com, and dialed Malcolm.

“It’s done,” she said.  “I have the address with the girl.  Get the cops over here to nab the confession, and a present.  Once the cops are on board, send the twins.”  She closed her phone, got in her car, and drove away, whistling.  When she got back to the church, she was SO going to get her dildo…

Malcolm thumbed his cell off with a sigh.  He turned to the twins, who had been practically gnawing on the furniture with frustration.  A level of tension he found particularly unsettling in Quartz, knowing the extent of her capabilities.  “Come with me,” he told them, and got up and headed to his room.  He didn’t check to see if they were following.

He entered his room, and began unpacking his luggage.  He moved the contents out of his trunk, looked behind him.  The twins were standing there, Jet smirking, and Quartz with a puzzled look on her face.  He smirked back at Jet, and opened the hidden compartment in his trunk.  “Girls.  I have some things I think you’re going to need.”  He flipped a small case at each of them.  “Get ready, it’s starting.”

He gave them some basic instructions, and told them the location for the extraction, and left them to plan the thing.  He didn’t think that they weren’t quite ready, but they would act regardless, he just had to make sure that they minimized the effects of their mistakes.  He took out his own gear, including his com gear, and the big rifle.  He was very careful to make sure that the twins were out of the room for that.  He then headed out to his bike, and headed to the local cop shop.

The ride was uneventful.  The reaction of the locals to the arrival of such a well armed individual in their midst was not.  He was, to put it mildly, the center of attention.  When he simply smiled at all the small arms, and asked to speak to the captain, he was met with some stares, and a rookie quickly scampered off to find the august personage.

When the captain arrived, he nodded, and passed over his Id-pak.  She looked at it, blanched, and told the troops to stand down.  Then he accompanied her back to her office.  Once they were inside, she sat down, and glared at him.  “OK, Sergeant, what does the MORFS Tactical Response Team have brewing in my town?”

Malcolm smiled at her.  “An extraction, actually.  MORFS-TRT is only my current assignment.  If you want my current rank, look up Master Sergeant Malcolm Stark, ATR-CI/CT.  I’m on loan.”

The captain apparently knew enough about the army to recognize the acronym soup for Army Tactical Response - Counter-Intelligence/Counter-Terrorism.  She blanched.  “What’s black ops doing on home ground?”

“It’s a long story, that I can’t go into, really.  It’s also rather incidental.  I assume you know about Big Jim?”

She nodded.  “Yeah, scumbag’s got his fingers in almost everything, and he’s managed to buy off enough people in the courts building that as soon as we try to get a search warrant, he’s burned or moved the evidence.  We call it a good day when we nab one of his goons and make it stick.”

“Well,” Malcolm chuckled, “he’s in for a world of hurt.  I’m on baby-sit duty for some unfortunates who got involved in things way over their heads, and we were laying low here in town, when, well, I’ll just fill you in.”  Malcolm quickly recapped the story of the morning.  “My partner has already dealt with the father, so you just need to send over a black and white to pick up what’s left.  Unfortunately, my charges are probably going to assault the brothel that she’s being held at.  It belongs to one ‘Lucky Lenny’.  I doubt he’s gonna be lucky for much longer.  Run your warrants based on this conversation, and what your men find in the Marks house.  It doesn’t matter if Jim warns them.  They’re not gong ANYWHERE in a minute or two.”

The captain looked torn between horror and glee.  She settled for pissed.  “Do you have any idea how many laws you’ve broken?”

Malcolm shrugged.  “A bunch.  They’ll come out in the wash.  Given what these people did, I really don’t care what we have to do, they go down.”  He let some of his anger show, just for a second.

She stared at him for a long bit.  Finally she came to a decision.  “Fine.  I’m holding you here, stay put.  I need to go start things moving.”  With that, she got up and left her office, the door still open, and started bellowing orders.  The precinct immediately erupted into chaos.  When she came back into her office, Malcolm was gone.  She smirked.

Malcolm revved his bike as he sped to the brothels location, through the whipping wind of the lowering storm

Earlier, in his lair, Wolf listened in on his eavesdropping devices.  “It’s done,” a familiar female voice said.  “I have the address with the girl.  Get the cops over here to nab the confession, and a present.  Once the cops are on board, send the twins.”

He made careful note of the address, and loped off to set his ambush.

Jet wiggled into her pants, and started buckling on her combat rig.  Quartz grabbed their coats and tossed the white one at Jet as she finished.  They both made sure of the new toy they had gotten from Mal were in place, and then they headed out.  They both touched the ear mounted Tactical Communication set, and sent a test ping.  They recalled Malcolm’s advice on the practicality of them, from a few minutes ago.

“These things are essential to any sort of good teamwork on the battlefield,” he told them.  They let you keep in touch, keep in touch, keep appraised, and keep located.  I’m going to have my own set up.  Don’t move till I get there and ping you.”

They smiled.  While sniper cover would be nice, they didn’t think it would really be necessary, but Malcolm was paranoid like that.  In any event, they were ready, and they got themselves outside, and left, under a cloak of illusion from Jet.

When they arrived, it was just after noon, for all that you could tell for the weather.  It was dim and gloomy, the sky obscured by low, black thunderheads.  The light was enough that the streetlights had already come up.  The road the twins landed on was deserted, for the most part, except for the occasional car parked on the street.  Quartz sneered at the classic Cadillac parked right out side.  Especially with the court parking tag in the window…

The two of them waited a few minutes for Malcolm to get into position.  Eventually, they heard his voice in their inner ear.  “Com check.”

“Check,” the twins sub vocalized, in unison.

“Whenever you’re ready, girls.”

“Ok, final check,” Quartz sent out.  “I’ll take the entrance, and clear the first floor.  Jet will enter during the confusion, and extract the girl.  Overlord will stay on high point, taking care of unexpected threats.  Check?”

A round of “Check,” returned.

Quartz raised her hand, and said, “Go.”  Simultaneous to this, she released an energy lance.  This lance was in the mid range of what she could do.  Before the word had a chance to echo once in the deserted street, the lance had hit the door dead center.

Then there was no door.  There a burst of light, a deafening roar, and scorched splinters and bits of masonry went flying.  When the dust cleared, Jet was gone, and there was a hole where half of the front of the where house was.  At its height, it reached almost to the roof, shy only by a foot or so.  The street was filled with the sound of falling ruble, and the blare of car alarms from every car up and down the block.  “Well, that was exciting,” came Malcolm’s voice over the com.

Quartz ignored him, and strode into the building.  When she got there, she could see almost a dozen men lying about, all but two of which were drawing guns.  “Oh, goodie.  You want to play,” she sneered at them.  Then she set about making sure that they wouldn’t be ‘playing’ with anyone else for a while.

Jet waited till her sister said “Go,” and then dialed down time.  The by the time she manage it, the wall was gone, and bits of stone were filling the air.  She slipped between the falling rubble, and past the guards as they were flying through the air.  She slipped though a closing door, and smashed the man who was heading down on the back of the head.

His companion met the same fate, and she grabbed the set of keys out of his hand as he hung there, falling.  She checked the keys.  How convenient, they were labeled.  There were only three with labels.  One was ‘Basement’, one was ‘Storage’ so that meant that the one labeled ‘Slut 1’ was probably what she was looking for.  The basement had a low ceiling, not so low that she needed to duck, but she wasn’t going to raise her hands above her head, she might never get them clean.  She quickly looked about, and found that only two of the rooms had locks.

One was right below the stairs, and had the look of a janitor closet.  It also had a built in lock.  She unlocked it with the key labeled ‘storage’ and found it was a hotbed of evidence.  Drugs, money, a safe, some filing cabinets.  She detached the key from the ring, and left it in the lock.

The only other locked door down here was a padlocked room, farther down the only corridor.  The door was sturdy, and metal.  She heard a moan from behind it.  Quickly, she unlocked the padlock, and threw it down the corridor.  She flung the door open, expecting to find a man in the act of rape.  She didn’t.  She found an extraordinarily beautiful woman in the act of masturbating.  She was stunning.  Tall, but not quite as tall as her, with a figure that rivaled her own.  She had glistening emerald scales over most of her skin, and her eyes were a similarly brilliant, almost glowing green.  Her most exotic feature was her ‘hair’ which was really not hair at all, but a mass of tendrils that cascaded off of her scalp.

She was immediately smitten.  Jet realized that she had imagined the moan.  She was still in accelerated time.  There was no way for any sound to be made at speeds that would require her to react to it.  She forced herself to calm down.  Then she walked over to this beautiful woman, and let time resume its normal pace.

“Stephanie?” she whispered to the young woman.  “Stephanie Marks?”

The girl was lost in whatever drug trip these bastards had put her on, but her name got her attention.  Her eyes drifted over to Jet, and she murmured, “Are you here to hurt me too?”

Jet almost broke down crying.  She did collapse and embrace the lovely creature.  “Oh God, no, honey.  I’m here to get you out.  Your mom got help.  I’m here to help.”

Stephanie started crying.  “Mommy sent you?  I can leave?  No more men will hurt me?  They won’t feed me any more things that make me feel funny?”

Jet shifted slightly, and moved one of her arms under Stephanie’s legs, with one behind her shoulders.  “Nope.  We’re going somewhere safe now,” she said, as she lifted the obviously high woman up and stood.  “Now, let’s go get my sister and get out of here.”

Quartz slipped under the shaky swipe meant to ward her off, and seized the wrist still holding a pistol.  She twisted and squeezed lightly, snapping both of the bones in his lower arm.  It also brought his head into line for a light tap behind the ear, knocking him out.  She looked around at the dozen bodies lying on the floor of the warehouse.  “Not even a workout.  And I was going easy.”  The scorn in her voice brought a chuckle from the door down to the basement.

“I take it to mean that they weren’t much of a challenge then?” her sister said, as she walked into the room holding a fairly attractive green scaled woman.

Quartz twitched her wings.  “Not really.  I unfurled the wings mostly to keep them from cutting up my clothing with the gunfire,” she commented, as she folded the aforementioned appendages back under her coat.  “Let’s go,” she commented as she turned towards the street.  “Do you want me to carry her?”

Jet was getting ready to respond, when a strange look came over her face.  Just as Quartz was walking out onto the sidewalk, she sub vocalized over the com, “Q, Wolf High back!” and ducked out of the way.

Quartz heard her sisters warning, and swiftly stepped forward.  Without looking, she thrust her hand through the hood of the Cadillac, and grabbed the front of the frame.  She crouched down and looked up.

Wolf was in flight, having just left the top of the building they were just in, and was falling right at her, almost from directly above. Judging the distance, she paused a fraction of a heartbeat, and the stood, turning as she did so, and swinging her arm, with the car attached, in a wide arc.  The car swung up, and the roof of the car caught a surprised looking Wolf at the height of its arc.  The Car smashed roof first onto the street, and Wolf went flying down the road.

“Overlord, cover Jet and Target, Jet, retreat with the target,” she snapped into the com.  “I’ve got Jack.”

There was confirmation form both.

She moved down the street, stopping to grab a parking sign as she went and yanked it out of the ground.  She swung it about, getting a feel for the heft as she walked down the street towards Wolf.  Wolf shook his head to regain his senses.  He crouched, looked at his prey, and leapt to attack.

Quartz swatted him aside, and followed, coat billowing in the wind.  Wolf recovered before he hit the wall, and hit feet first.  He absorbed the impact, and leapt out, flying back towards Quartz.  He hit her right in the face, and she rolled backwards, into a suicide throw, flinging him across the street, into the other building.  He hit with enough force to crater into the wall.

Quartz got to her feet, and looked at Wolf freeing himself across the street.  She looked down at the signpost in her hand, and hefted it.  She looked back at Wolf.  She hefted the signpost again.  Then she threw it through Wolf’s chest.  “Hold still, doggie.”

Wolf gasped in pain, as the signpost pinned him to what was left of the wall.  He grabbed the bit of cement against his gut, and squeezed.  The cement shattered, and he shoved himself off the bit of pole that was left.  He gasped in pain, as Quartz walked over and punched him in the side of the head, sending him down the street again.

Quartz started after him again.  “I can keep this up all day, Jack,” she said in a completely neutral tone.  “And I really don’t think you can hurt me.”

Wolf looked up from his crouch, and growled.  He leapt forward, clawing at her head.  She didn’t event try to block.  She just took it, right in the face.  Then she grabbed his arm.  She squeezed down hard enough to break both the forearm bones, and tossed him into the bashed up caddy.

She walked over taking her time.  Then she heard sirens.  Wolf looked up, and then glanced around. Then he bolted down the street.  Quartz cursed, and leapt into the air, unfurling her wings as she did so, and flew off in pursuit.

Jet watched her sister swat Wolf out of the sky, and was more then happy to get out of dodge.  She looked around, and lit out in the other direction.  She got around the corner when she realized that there would almost certainly be cops coming, and Malcolm was probably scrambling to get into position to keep her covered.  “Jet,” she heard, “Switch to channel 2.”

Muttering under her breath, she slipped into an alley, and shrugged her com gear over a channel.  “What.”

“Jet, stay off the main roads.  You may be spotted by a telepath.”

“Right, right,” Jet grumbled to herself, and headed down the alley.

Quartz kept above Wolf, waiting for him to stop his flight.  She hit her com to get in touch with Malcolm.  “Overlord, Wolf pulled a rabbit.  I’m in pursuit.”

“Where are you headed, Quartz,” Malcolm answered.

“I’m not sure.  He seems to be heading to a large park.  It’s big and full of trees, at least.”  She gained a little height.  “He’s definitely trying to get there.  I don’t think he realizes I can fly.  I think he thinks he lost me.”

“Lincoln Park.  I’ll get on the horn with the cops, have them issue and evac order.”

“Thanks.  I’ll try to finish this there.”

Wolf looked around the clearing, and sighed with relief.  He didn’t seem to have been followed.  He staggered over to a tree and slumped to the ground with a sigh.  That had NOT gone well.  Not only was she insanely strong, reasonably fast, and capable of throwing energy around, she had to be fucking invulnerable too.  He hoped that the Director wouldn’t hurt him too much for loosing to fucking superman with tits.

Then came a crash of lightning, a gust of wind, and thunder enough to deafen.  And with the decent of the storm, came the decent of a black clad woman.  Crashing into the clearing in a plummet, and landing in a kneel.  Quartz looked around, and found Wolf, startled under the tree.  She looked him in the eye, and smiled.  “Are we done running yet, Jack?”

Wolf rolled up to his feet, and snarled at his unexpected adversary.  How had she found him?  Then he noticed the wings adjusting themselves behind her.  Shit, she could fly.  How much more like the big blue boy scout was she going to get?  He needed to find a way to disable her, and escape.

He started to circle her.  She rotated in place, keeping her feet squared to him as much as she could.  Eventually, he found her weakness.  She still had to play by physics.  That meant she still had to live with inertia.  Judo should still work on her.  He leapt forward, trying to grab her.

Quartz saw the tactic he was trying almost as soon as he started to move.  It was one that Malcolm had drilled her in the counter to.  As he came at her, she stepped back and crouched to meet his lunge, and in doing so, she was not forced over by his weight, and could grab him by the throat and shoulder.  Then she put him in the ground.

Wolf panicked as she stopped his rush cold, and then slammed his face into the dirt.  He felt her put her foot on the small of his back.  “It’s time we ended this,” he heard her say, and he thought, thank god, it’s over.  She felt her hand grab the top of his head, and another the scruff of his neck.  He closed his eyes, and prepared to die, gladly.  Then there was a terrible yanking, and he knew no more.

Jet carried the semi-aware woman through the back alley’s of Chicago for some distance, till she got clear of the sirens.  Malcolm’s voice guided her through the com unit in her ear.  She looked around the area she was in, her precognition tickling the back of her brain.  Something wasn’t right here…

Then she got an image of mines going off with her inextricably in the kill zone.  She froze.  She turned to leave.  The same vision, on the other end of the alley.  She looked around.

“Ok, nice trap.  What do you want?” she addressed to the voice on the com unit.

“Well, you’re still quick, Samuel.  I do remember that,” Malcolm’s voice gloated.  “I think you know what we want.”  A hover transport descended at the end of the alley.

The side opened and five men with assault rifles took up positions.  “If you try to move, we will shoot the snake,” the leader stated, completely business like.  “Remove your coat, weapons, and com gear.”

Jet looked at the girl in her arms, and then at the men.  She set the girl down on the concrete of the alley, and took off the coat and her weapon harness.  She slid the katana out of the harness, and lay it down on top of the harness.  She did a little pirouette and then picked up the girl.  Then she looked at the guards.

The guards motioned her to sit on the bench.  She started walking towards the vehicle, and as she did so Stephanie’s eyes focused for a moment.  “Are we going home?”

“Not yet.  Someone want’s to chat first,” Jet responded.  “Just relax.  Everything will be fine.”

One of the guards chuckled as she passed.  “Heh, fine.  I’m going to enjoy you two.”

Jet did not respond, and merely seated herself on the bench in the center of the transport.  She looked down at the alley as she was taken away.

Quartz stood up with the bloody mass in her hand as the storm clouds broke and the rain poured down.  She sighed, and walked away from the body.  As she leaned against the same tree that Wolf had used earlier, she hoped that she had made the right choice.  As she leaned there, reflecting and getting wet, she heard a growling in the storm.

The enormous forms of six dire wolves stalked out of the darkness around her.  The smallest of them was nearly as tall as she was.  One nosed Wolf, and the rest stared at her and growled.  “Well, shit,” was her only response.

Then, as she was about to make herself a way out of this mess, she heard a voice she had been hoping to hear.  “Down.  Back down, pack,” came the sound of a very battered Wolf from the ground.  “She’s on my side.  I hope.”

Quartz grinned.  “Damn straight I am, fuzball.”  She walked over and helped him up.  “I was afraid I killed you there for a minute.”

Wolf looked at the mess of cybernetics in her other hand, with bits of his brain still sticking to it.  “No, I lived through them sticking it in there, and that wasn’t a whole lot more elegant.  Good to see you Crystallis.”

Quartz smiled and hugged him.  “You too, Black Label.  The name’s Quartz now.”  The two of them clapped each other on the back, and laughed, two old friends meeting again.

Then Quartz looked up, and stared at the city.  “Jet.  FUCK.”  She reached up to her ear, and didn’t find her com gear.  She looked around, and found it on the ground where she landed.  She pulled it on and tried to get a signal.  “Overlord.  Overlord, respond.”  All she got was static.

Wolf looked at her.  “We got a problem?”

Quartz looked at her friend and scowled.  “We’ve got a problem.”

END CHAPTER SEVEN

 

 

 

The entire MORFS  Universe can be found at http://morfs.nowhere2go.org

 



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