Searching for the L.A.-based Resistance at night was
far easier than in the daytime, the young girl decided. No crowds, no cops, no people
asking questions about a twelve (almost thirteen!)-year-old girl wandering the streets of
the Open City with a large backpack and rather conspicuous rifle. . .
No people to ask questions of. . .
"All right, so it has its drawbacks." The
young girl, Alexey Landry by name, said in frustration, kicking at a can lying on the
sidewalk. The can rattled into a nearby alley, startling a couple of cats scrounging in a
garbage can. They hissed in unison then took off across the street.
Alexey watched the cats until they disappeared into
the darkness of another alley then slipped off her backpack and leaned against a
lamp-post. Tiredly, she sank down next to it and rested her rifle across her knees,
looking down the deserted street with sober golden eyes.
With a sigh, she pulled off the dark cap she wore
and ran a hand through short auburn hair. Idly she thought over the past couple of nights
of searching. Nothing! No Resistance, no Emergents. She expected that of the latter but
the Resistance. . .well, maybe they had learned something from Tyler after all.
Unfortunately, it appeared they'd learned too well. It was beginning to look as if this
search would ta. . .
A loud wail interrupted her thoughts.
Alexey's head snapped up at the sound. It was a
siren, a police siren and, as she listened, two more joined it. And they were close. Too
Quickly Alexey scooped up her pack and shoved both
it and the rifle into the shadows. She carried no personal weapons--her powers made it a
very dangerous thing to do--and willed her body to air, the one-piece bodysuit she wore
Air. Intangible, invisible air. The perfect disguise
for an inspiring mutant-cum-resistance fighter.
Despite the fact she no longer possessed a physical
form, Alexey could still, in a sense, 'see' and as she watched, three police cars
screeched around a corner and sped by her. She watched until they were out of sight then
willed herself back to human.
"Well, hell, who could they be after?"
Alexey muttered as she retrieved her pack and rifle. Slinging the pack across her back,
she reviewed the possible answers to that question. Common crook, jaywalker, murderer,
Resistance fighter. . .
**Hit the nail on the head, 'lexey.**
Startled, Alexey whirled, bringing up her rifle as
she turned. Behind her, floating about a foot off the ground, was the semi-transparent
figure of a young--perhaps 11 years of age--mulatto girl, her multi-hued hair swaying in a
breeze Alexey couldn't feel. Her silver eyes met Alexey's golden ones calmly.
"Jame!" Alexey lowered her rifle. It
wouldn't do much good against a mental image projection anyway. "What are you doing
**Same thing you are, ah think.** The
younger girl's mouth didn't move, Alexey noted, she was hearing the voice in her head.
Even after all this time, she still wasn't use to it. **But that isn't important right
now. What's important is that Resistance fighter the cops have cornered near here.**
Alexey wondered briefly if Jame meant the 'here'
where she was or the 'here' where Jame was then saw a slight smile appear on the girl's
face as she caught that wayward thought.
**Both of us, actually. We're about five blocks
straight ahead and two to the right. Hurry!** She started to fade then paused. **An'
Hurriedly pulling on her cap, Alexey raced down the
blocks, moving as quietly as possible. It took her less then two minutes to reach the end
of the fifth block, thanks in part to her father's strict exercise program. Carefully, she
peeked around the corner. Almost two blocks away, lights flashed and men in uniforms
crouched behind a number of cars set in a semi-circle in front of a deserted,
Visitor-scorched building. To Alexey's surprise, not all the men were cops. Some appeared
to be private police.
"Bates!" Alexey muttered. "Gotta
"Pssst! 'Lexey! Up here!" A whisper
rumbled from above.
Alexey looked up. High above her, on the roof of the
three-story building she was peering around, was the familiar hulk of Yvette Revok.
"Toss up your pack, 'Lexey." She rumbled
With a grin, Alexey shifted to her stronger earthen
form and tossed up first her pack and then the rifle, the big girl catching them deftly.
Shifting casually back to air, she floated up to the rooftop and settled down on it
gently, reverting back to human form.
"'lo, Yeti." She said, calling her friend
by the name the Emergents had dubbed her. "Got taller, didn't ya?"
White teeth flashed briefly in the
fourteen-year-old's ebony face as she straightened to her full height of 8"3'.
"A couple inches. Yvonne's still a little
shorter though. C'mon." Yeti turned. "The others are over this way."
"How'd you get here?" Alexey asked as she
fell into step with the giantess, taking fours steps to Yeti's one.
In a few easy sentences, Yeti told how she and two others--her cousin,
Jamethial Revok and a fellow Emergent, Nadine Dubios--left the main Resistance
base in the Cajun Bayou and traveled to L.A., walking--like Alexey had
in her journey--at night.
"Why didn't Yvonne and Rashea come?"
"Me an' Yvonne thought one of us should say
with the Bayou Resistance an' Rashea's too young. Jus' 11. 'sides, her powers just ain't
that well developed yet."
Alexey nodded thoughtfully. Odd how most Emergents
'emerged' with their powers complete and ready to use while others had to learns slowly
how to use them. She'd been one of the lucky one, she supposed, being able to use her
powers since she'd found out about them and with little problem. "Where's the
others?" She asked as they crossed over to a second rooftop.
Yeti didn't answer, just lowered Alexey's things and
jerked her head at two figures watching the scene below. Nadine turned to greet her, a
smile on her lips and a mischievous glint in her silver eyes. Jame, on the other hand,
made no move to acknowledge her presence.
"Hey, Alexey." Almost three years her
senior, Nadine was tall, her slender form clad in black jeans and turtleneck. Her long red
hair--just a few shades lighter then Alexey's--was pulled into a chignon at the nape of
her neck. A M17 was slung over her shoulder and a handgun--a .375 Magnum by the look of
it--was strapped around her waist along with a Commando blade.
The sight of the handgun made Alexey painfully aware of her own lack
of personal armament. A quick glance at the other two girls showed that
they both wore holstered guns--Jame had a H&K MP5 submachine gun in
a low holster while Yeti had an Ingram (minus the trigger-guard) strapped
around her waist--and knives, though Yeti's was more of a machete. Yeti,
however, carried no rifle--none had ever been made for an eight-foot-three
marksman--and, on second glance, Alexey realized that Jame didn't either.
Instead, the giantess had a cased long bow and a quiver of arrows slung
across her back while in one hand she held a thick blackthorn quarterstaff
roughly three inches taller then she. Jame, on the other hand, had a crossbow
and a quiver of bolts leaning on the pack next to her.
"What's up?" Alexey asked, her attention
caught by the eerie glow of police lights.
"Take a look." Nadine invited, turning
back to the street.
Alexey walked to Jame's side. The young mulatto
leaned forward, the palms of her hands resting on the low wall that enclosed the rooftop.
The multi-hued mohawk was now hidden beneath a black pull-over cap while her dreamy silver
eyes looked down at the scene below. Alexey followed her gaze.
There were six police cars below, plus one with the
Science Frontiers logo on it. Well over a dozen men scurried about, firearms ready. One of
them, dressed in a Science Frontiers uniform, was obviously in charge. They were all
staring warily at the building the four girls were standing on.
"Her name's Brandy Lightfoot." Jame said
suddenly in a far-away voice. "She's 30 and a Cheyenne Indian. She worked for Bates.
Appears he found out about her bein' a Resistance member yesterday. A friend--security
guard--went to her place to warn, only they killed him an' she escaped out the window.
She's holed up in this buildin'." She paused then added. "She's got an important
message fer Ham but ah can't read it. Her mind's blocked pretty well. Too much
Yeti grunted. "Does she know the way to the
main Resistance base?"
Jame concentrated briefly, her eyes losing focus
"Good. Me an' 'lexey'll. . .ah. .
.divert the boys
in blue while you and Nadine get down there an' help her out. 'kay?"
The other girls nodded. Yeti set down her bow and
pulled out her Ingram, giving it a quick check before stepping up onto the low wall.
Alexey followed suit.
"Ah'll take the car just to the right, 'lexey,
you take that one over there." She pointed toward the Science Frontiers car and
Alexey nodded, grinning. "Ready?"
Simultaneously, the two girls leaped from the roof,
Yeti feet-first, Alexey in a perfect swan-dive. As soon as she left the roof, Alexey
shifted to her much-heavier earthen form, gaining speed rapidly as she descended toward
the car. She hit the car with the force of a well-projected cannonball. Metal buckled and
tore like paper then flew as sharp, jagged shrapnel as the gas tank exploded. Through the
flames, Alexey saw three men fall, bleeding as the shrapnel hit them. Looking to the left,
she saw more men fall as pieces of the car Yeti destroyed struck them.
"What the hell was that!?" The private cop
in charge yelled.
"We're being bombed." A young cop
screamed, almost in hysterics. "The Resistance. . !"
The first man grabbed the other roughly and slapped
him. "Shut up, you damn fool!" He shoved the other man around and turned to
another cop crouching behind the open door of a squad car. "Peters, get on the radio
and call for reinforcement and fire trucks!"
"Right, Mr. Jenkins." Peters said as he
reached for the radio."
"Ain't necessary, man." Yeti's voice
rumbled as she stepped from the wreckage of the car. She presented quite a sight what with
the trigger-guardless Ingram in one hand and the quarterstaff in the other and flames
licking up her massive frame yet not burning the simple dark tunic she wore.
The sight of the flames brought Alexey's attention
beck to the fire surrounding her own earthen body. Casually she shifted form, becoming one
with the flames then stepped from the car. The men gaped at them in mute astonishment.
"Who are you?" Jenkins demanded, stepping
"Someone y'all don't wanna mess with,
Jenkins." Yeti rumbled. "So why don't you an' your boys-in-blue take a hike, eh?
'fore me and Elemental here get nasty."
The cop snorted in contempt. Puzzled, Alexey studied
him. He didn't look very alarmed at the sight of a giantess and a girl composed of fire.
That seemed to support the theory that Bates had a few of the missing Emergents.
"This is police business, 'children'!" He
turned back to Peters, who was also gaping at the strange duo. "Make that call,
The other man broke off his staring and nodded,
reaching inside the car for the mike.
"Now, now, Peters." Alexey said, her voice
the crackling hiss of flames. "That isn't very wise." With a fiery smile, she
aimed a fire bolt into the squad car Peters was reaching into. The cop barely managed to
draw his arm back and get out of the way before the bolt totally incinerated the inside of
Jenkins stared at the burning car then at Alexey
incredulous then turned to the remaining officers. "Fire!" He bellowed.
"Whatever has the LAPD degenerated into?"
Alexey asked Yeti as the men opened fire. They both ignored the bullets, which merely
shattered when they struck Yeti's near-invulnerable hide and melted long before they hit
Yeti shrugged. Idly she swung her quarterstaff,
taking out two officers with that single swing. "You want the rest?" She asked.
"Sure. There's this little trick I've been
wanting to try. Why don't you take care of the cars? No use letting the cops keep them
With that, Alexey turned back to the men. The remaining men were clustered
in a group, she noted. Good, that made what she wanted to do much easier.
Shifting to water, Alexey reared up into a tidal wave then swept forward
to crash down on the men, driving them to the ground. Immediately, Alexey
began to spin, becoming a land-bound whirlpool. The men screamed and choked
as they spun in her watery gasp. In mid-spin, she released them, sending
the men flying into walls and cars. Those still able to run did so. .
.in every direction except the one she was in.
"How was that, Yeti?" She bubbled to her
large companion. Yeti laughed and tossed the last intact police car onto the scrap heap
had made of the other cars.
"Not bad, 'lexey. An' we finished jus' in time.
Here come the others."
Alexey shifted back to her normal human appearance
and turned to follow Yeti's gaze. Nadine and Jame were just exiting the building. With
them was a young woman with two black braids that fell to mid-thigh and dark eyes that
held a hint of suspicion and a lot of wariness. She had the classic high-boned features of
the Plains Indian with an almost perfect copper-hue to her skin. Her only noticeable
weapon was a .45 which she held in her hand.
"Probably all she could grab." Alexey
"C'mon, y'all. Firetrucks'll be getting here
soon an' we best be long gone 'fore then." Jame concentrated briefly and the gear
they had left up on the roof appeared next to her in a flash of silvery light.
"You're getting better, Jame." Alexey
picked up her pack and rifle. "Last time I saw you, you could barely teleport 20
pounds maybe 10 feet."
"Practice makes perfect." Jame said,
ignoring the woman's astonished look. "Now, what say..."
"Alexey! Look out!" Nadine interrupted.
Alexey spun. Jenkins stood not ten feet away, gun in
hand. He was aiming straight at her. The young girl quickly ran down her options. Air,
earth, water, or. . .
A black disc spun over her shoulder and exploded
just above the man's head. Ignoring it, Jenkins took careful aim, pulled the trigger
and. . .
The gun jammed.
"Thanks, Nadine." Alexey said, recognizing
the black disc as one of her friend's bad luck 'charms', capable of affecting the
probability fields surrounding a person or thing in her favor.
"Anytime." Nadine stood ready, a second
black luck disc in her hand, watching as Jenkins, unable to unjam his gun, whirled and ran
down the street. "You want me to stop him?" She raised the disc.
"No, don't bother." Jame said. "We
Nadine shrugged and concentrated. The disc turned
from black to white, from bad luck to good. Idly, she tossed it to the woman. "Here,
Ms. Lightfoot. Have some good luck."
Startled, the woman caught the disc. It dispensed,
leaving her staring puzzled at her empty hand.
"You know the way to the main Resistance base,
Ms. Lightfoot." Jame asked.
"Uh?" She looked up. Her black eyes
narrowed as she digested the question, staring at the four girls politely waiting for her
answer. Coming to a decision, she nodded.
"Good. Then ah suggest we be goin'. With luck,
maybe we can reach it 'fore dawn."
Nadine grinned. "I'll provide the luck..."
"And I'll provide the car. . .as soon as we can
find one I can hot-wire." Alexey grinned.
"Make it a van. Or truck. With tarp." Yeti
rumbled. "Which way, Ms. Lightfoot?"
"This way." She started down the street.
"And it's Brandy."
There was something wrong, the young woman could
feel it. On her third step, it hit her.
She'd never told them her name.
Five hours later and several miles away, a young
woman stirred, waking slowly. Her green eyes opened and she looked around in momentary
puzzlement at the unfamiliar surroundings then memory returned and she smiled. Stretching
lazily, she rolled over the intention of greeting her avid bed-partner of the night
Only he wasn't there.
Frowning Maggie reached over to touch the still-warm
pillow. He couldn't have been gone long. She sat up. "Ham?" She called. There
was no answer. Slipping off the mattress that served as the mercenary's--and, at least for
one night, her--bed, Maggie walked over to the door and eased it open just in time to see
Chris Faber, Ham's best friend and fellow mercenary, pass by. Suddenly aware of her
nakedness, she positioned herself statistically behind the door and smiled self-consciously
at the big man.
"Ahhh. . .have you seen Ham?" She asked in a
small voice. Chris grinned cheerfully.
"Probably downstairs, hon, fixin' breakfast."
"Breakfast?" Maggie blinked in surprise.
Ham had never seemed the cooking type. Then again, last night. . .She smiled fondly in
"Yeah, he's pretty good at it." His smile
grew broader. "You're showin', hon."
Maggie hurriedly slipped back behind the door,
acutely aware of her full-body blush and Chris' teasing smile. "Um. . .is there a bath
Chris gestured toward a door across the hall.
"Shower." He grinned at the surprised look on her face. Showers were a rarity at
the base. "With hot water. Or, at least, lukewarm. We've a limit though, so you'd
better hit it 'fore Becky does."
"Thanks." She started to close the door
then paused as a thought struck her. "Speaking of Becky, do you know if she and Jeff
are up yet?"
Before Chris could answer, the door he'd just
indicated was flung open, revealing one of the kids she'd just asked about, Becky
Tyler-Harper. Very naked and dripping wet, the young girl threw them an amused-sheepish
look and promptly shifted from her natural human appearance to that of a young wolf. With
an almost human look of smugness on her lupine face, she leapt forward, planted her feet
firmly and shook as hard as she could. Water flew in every direction.
"Hey!" Maggie took refuge behind the door
while Chris, unable to take shelter, let out a series of raunchy curses. Finished shaking
off the excess water from her soft brown fur, right down to the single white forelock,
Becky shifted to her transitional form, a form that combined the best qualities of girl
"Is something wrong?" She asked,
claw-tipped hands folded primly before her.
"Why, you little...!" Chris growled,
towering over the little girl threateningly. She stood there, balanced easily on her hind
paws, completely unimpressed. After a moment, Chris lowered his arms. "Get outta
She got, laughing. Chris shook his head, chuckling
despite himself. "Better hurry, Mag. Can't be much hot water left."
Maggie grinned and ducked back into the bedroom. Ten
minutes later, dressed now in faded jeans and a t-shirt that proclaimed 'Reality is a
crutch for people who can't handle Science Fiction' Maggie trotted down the stairs and
started across the main room of the mock-up saloon only to pause at the sound of a thump.
She stiffened and wished she had brought her gun. "Who's there!?"
There was a second thump and a reptilian head
appeared over the bar. Maggie relaxed immediately. "Jeff. You scared the hell out of
me." Maggie smiled as the young Visitor walked around the hard-top bar, rubbing his
injured crest with a clawed hand.
"Sorry about that." He apologized as he
walked toward her. Early morning sunlight flashed into his exposed eyes and he hissed a
curse in his native tongue, hurriedly pulling up the goggle-like sunglasses that hung
around his neck. As the sunlight flashed on the boy's scales, Maggie was surprised to see
an intricate pattern of blue, green, black and even yellow scales appear. She had thought
Visitors had a plain green-black shade. Then he was out of the sunlight and the patterning
"Still wearing Becky's clothes?" She
asked, indicating the jeans and sleeveless t-shirt he wore.
"Yeah. An' she's starting to get mad about it,
too. Wants them back." As he spoke, his red eyes dated about, obviously looking for
"I'll be going shopping later. Maybe I can get
you something then." She watched him for a moment then curiosity got the better of
her. "What are you looking for?"
"Breakfast. Seen any mice around?"
"No, sorry. Why isn't Becky helping?"
"She's in there." Eyes still searching, he
gestured toward the kitchen. "Trying to beg some breakfast off of Ham."
"Oh. Good luck."
Jeff grunted in reply, eyes now glued on a movement
in a corner. As he began to stalk toward it, Maggie walked to the kitchen door and eased
it open, smiling as she caught sight of the scene within and realizing that when Jeff had
said Becky was begging for her breakfast, he wasn't kidding.
Ham Tyler, her lover of the night before, stood by
the stove, a plate in one hand. With the other, he was filling the plate with hot,
steaming food. Sitting up at his feet, watching his every move, was his niece in her full
wolf form. Paws tucked up against her chest, she whined occasionally and, every time Ham
walked away from the stove, reared up on her hind legs to follow, sinking on her haunches
when he stopped.
Ham ignored her until, at last, the plate was
heaping full then he turned to look down at her, face expressionless. "You want some
of this?" He asked, indicating the plate. She barked and wagged her tail hopefully.
"Gimme one good reason."
Looking up appealingly, Becky whined deep in her
throat then barked again.
"Not good enough." Ham walked to set the
plate on the table then started to fill another. Becky's ears drooped and she fell over
backwards, hitting the floor with a thump. She laid there, crying pathetically, until Ham
once again held a filled plate. However, instead of putting it on the table, he turned and
thrust it at her.
"Here." He growled in his deep voice.
"Take it. Shut up. Get out."
His niece promptly lunged back onto her hind legs,
shifting to human form as she snatched the plate and ran for the door. The single white
forelock bobbed as she threw Maggie a grin.
"Works every time." She muttered as she
raced by. Maggie caught a glimpse of the sharp canines the girl possessed even in her
human form then she was gone and the door swung shut behind her.
With an amused smile, Maggie turned back to look at
Ham. He had a smile on his face, a real smile, not his customary wolf-grin, as he watched
his niece disappear out the door. It changed his whole appearance, taking the hardness
from his dark eyes and giving his face a gentle look. Then he realized she was looking and
the smile vanished to be replaced by his habitual indifferent expressions. He turned back
to the plates.
Still smiling, Maggie moved behind him and gently
slipped her arms around his waist, resting her cheek against the roughness of his t-shirt.
"I woke alone this morning." She murmured softly.
The corners of Ham's mouth twitched and he set down
the spatula long enough to pat her hand gently. "Sorry. You looked so. .
Didn't have the heart to wake you up."
This time, he did smile.
"After all, you didn't get much sleep last
Maggie's smile turned wicked.
"Neither did you." She reminded him.
Ham laughed as he returned to filling the plate. The
young woman studied him thoughtfully, noting the fact that this time he retained his
"You should do that more often." She said
He threw her a puzzled look. "What?"
"Smile." She traced his lips with a
Unnerved, Ham stared at her then dropped his gaze,
fixing on the filled plate in relief. "Uh...hungry?" He almost stammered,
changing the subject abruptly. "There's coffee on the machine and some juice and milk
in the frig."
"Real coffee?" She couldn't keep the
surprise from her voice.
"Yeah. Real juice, too."
Maggie started to ask him where he got real coffee
then decided not to look a gift coffee cup in the mouth. As she found the cups and reached
for the coffee pot, her smiled deepened. She'd never seen Ham so flustered.
"You know, I was surprised to find you have
electricity here. Do you have a generator?"
Ham grunted. "Two."
"Two? Why two? We haven't a one over in the
Ham shrugged as he set the plate down and pulled out
a chair for her. "Always keep a spare, someone once told me." He said.
Becky catapulted into the room, once again in
transitional form, dirty dishes in hand...er, paw. "Ham, me an' Jeff are goin' over
to the tavern." The dishes clattered as she set them ungently on the counter and
whirled to dash back out the door.
"Hold it, young lady!" Ham bellowed in a
voice that shook the rafters. The girl-wolf froze, tottering on one paw. "You wash
those dishes off and put them in the drainer!"
Meekly she obeyed then stood there, hands once again
folded in front of her, total innocence in her silver eyes. "May I go now, Uncle
Ham?" She asked politely.
"Go. Be careful." He growled as he sat
down next to Maggie. "Pass the butter, Mag."
Maggie waited until Becky was out of sight before
she spoke. "You're nothing but an old softie." She commented softly, smiling at
him fondly as she offered him the butter.
Ham's head snapped up and he stared at her with hard
eyes. His voice was chilled as he spoke. "What?"
"You heard me." Maggie's smile deepened.
The look on Ham's face grew even harder and he
scowled then abruptly he laughed. Shaking his head, he looked at her with eyes still hard
yet with a faint trace of quiet fondness in them. "Dammit, woman, you're gonna screw
up my mean reputation. I just know it."
Chris strolled into the mock-up tavern that served
as the main meeting room for the L.A. based Resistance and looked around, grimacing at the
mess left by Linda's birthday party. No one had taken the time to clean up last night--or
rather this morning--when the party ended. Ah, well.
Ambling over to the hardwood bar, he noted that the
three coffee-makers were brewing. Pulling a mug from the mismatched assortment on a nearby
table, he filled it with the chicory-laced coffee and headed for a table, only to pause at
the sound of a voice.
"Hey, Chris." Mike Donovan emerged from
the back room, Julie right behind him. Both were carrying armfuls of computer printouts.
"Mornin, Mike. Julie." He eyed the
printouts. "Are those from the disks Ham gave ya last night?"
"Yeah." Mike said in disgust. "She
stayed up all night running this stuff off!"
"And this is just from three of the
disks." Julie placed the printouts onto a table and sat down. "There's seven
more. It's going to take forever to go through them."
Mike groaned, dropping the bundle he carried.
"I'm gonna kill Tyler when I see him for giving her those disks. Want some coffee,
"Yeah, sure. Cream and sugar."
Pulling out a chair, Chris sank down next to Julie.
"You read any of these?"
"Not yet. I glanced through them but..."
Julie shook her head and sighed, rubbing her eyes tiredly.
"It's gonna be a long job, sortin' these
out." Chris commented.
"Yes. Especially since I still haven't finished
the printouts I got from Science Frontiers on these. . ." Julie, at a loss or words,
gestured at the printouts.
"Emergents." Chris supplied.
"Emergents?" Mike and Julie chorused.
"Well, technically they're called Homo Post Hominen. . .man that follows
man. . .but the kids started callin' themselves the
Emergents. Short for the emergin' man."
"Technically? I never saw that name in the
Science Frontiers printouts."
"That's probably 'cause Bates didn't know about
it. Ah doubt very much any of the kids told him about it." He sipped his coffee.
Elizabeth walked into the room, more printouts in
arm. "Here, Julie." She set her load on the table and looked shyly at Chris.
"Last time I saw her she was still at the
saloon." He threw the young Starchild a warning look. "Don't expect to be too
friendly, honey. Beck's a lot like her uncle. She don't cotton to many people."
Elizabeth's face fell and she returned to the back
room. Julie scowled at the big man. "Was that necessary, Chris? Elizabeth just wants
to talk to someone unique like herself."
"Trust me, Julie. They may each be unique but
they ain't nothin' alike. Becky an' the rest of the Emergents just ain't that friendly,
'xcept maybe to their families. An' even then it's up in the air."
Julie sighed and pulled her glasses from a breast
pocket. Slipping them on, she pulled a printout to her. "Listen, Chris, do you think
Becky could come see me today? I'd like to check her out. That wound she took yesterday
was a pretty bad one. I still can't see how she could recover from it so quickly. Or even
just recover from it."
Chris shrugged. "She's an Emergent an' a
metamorphic one at that. They heal real quick."
"I'd still like to examine her."
Chris finished his coffee and stood, walking over to
the bar to refill his cup. He could guess at Julie's real reason for wanting to examine
Becky. "Ah wouldn't worry about it, Julie. In a day or two, you'll have all the
Emergents you want to study."
"What do you mean?" Mike asked sharply.
"They'll be arrivin' for the next few days.
Becky contacted them before she left Wisconsin." Leaning back against the bar, he
looked at Donovan. "Better tell the sentries so they don't freak out too bad. That
is, if they even see them."
Mike scowled at Chris but before he could say a
word, another interrupted him.
The trio turned to see Caleb Tayler saunter into the
room, carrying a rifle. Behind him, they could see a dozen other Rebels, all armed and
looking tired, walking down the dirt road. Some followed Caleb into the saloon.
"Hey, Caleb." Mike gestured the older man
over. "Have a sitdown. How'd it go?"
"It didn't." Caleb grunted in disgust as
he pulled out a chair and sat down. The other Rebels gathered around the coffee pots,
chatting among themselves.
"What didn't?" Chris asked, puzzled. He
offered Caleb a cup of coffee and sat back down.
"We were supposed to raid an ammo supply truck
that was going to Bates." Caleb explained as he took the cup. He shifted his gaze to
Donovan. "Only there wasn't anything left to raid. That New Moon on Monday cleaned it
out two miles up the road."
"Damn!" Mike swore. "We needed that
"Well, at least Bates didn't get it."
Julie consoled. She looked at Caleb. "Did you see them?"
Caleb shook his head, sipping at the coffee,
grimacing at the bitter taste.
"Damn!" This time it was Chris that
cursed. "Who are they? What are they?"
"Coffee." A voice groaned from the
doorway. Looking up, they say Rico Jones stumble into the room and over to the bar,
looking pale and hung over.
"'What' is a good question." Caleb
returned to their conversation. "You know, I heard they were Visitors."
"Yeah, so'd ah." Chris looked up briefly
at the sound of laughter erupting from the group near the bar then turned back to Caleb.
"Maybe someday well meet them."
"Hey, Faber!" Chris looked up. Heather
Jenkins, one of the just-returned Rebels, was leaning against the bar, Rico gulping coffee
next to her. The others sat on barstools, amused looks on their faces. "Who spiked
the punch last night?' She continued.
Chris looked at her, puzzled. "I told them
about Becky," Rico scowled. "But they don't believe me."
"What's there to believe?' Heather said in a
patronizing tone. "You just had far too much to drink. I mean, girls turning into
"Uh-ohhhh." Mike said. "I
forgot. . ." He grinned at Chris.
Chris grinned cheerfully. "Girl." He said
"Uh?" Heather gaped at him and the others
"Girl. One." Chris held up a finger while
Rico grinned broadly, obviously relieved that he had not been seeing things. "Wolf.
"You're kidding." Caleb stared first at
Chris and then Mike.
to be continued. . .