Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 14 – Fools Rush In

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, March 28, 2066 – A shocking surprise

Last Sunday’s teasing continued today, but it was different this time. It would seem my big brother has been learning from my younger brothers how to not only take a ribbing out but how to seek revenge in creative and amusing ways.

It started when someone thought a joy buzzer was a good way to tease me. What they didn’t think about was the fact that Jonathan is, among other things, his own personal, portable joy buzzer.

Couple that with the fact that he’s been talking to the hearth spirit since he was 12… and it was easy for him to identify the culprit and make sure that justice was served.

I never would have pegged my darling daughter as the guilty party. I could see where Case would be her accessory but still… She’s eight. Then again, I didn’t put Puck past her.

We’re really going to have to watch that child.


Monday, March 29, 2066 – Snow job

It snowed. It’s March and it snowed… It’s late March… and it snowed… in Seattle!

The big problem is that if there was ever a day where we needed quick response it was today, and the weather meant our two fastest vehicles were grounded: bikes and choppers.

Snow is rare enough that it’s a problem under the best of circumstances but add to it the fact that people were expecting rain and well… it’s almost April… No one was prepared or thinking. Let’s face it, if it’s cold enough to snow, the wet stuff on the ground may be wet pavement… it may also be glare ice and you aren’t going to know until you hit it.

Accidents abounded, and the busses were running almost non-stop. By 11:00 all the ambulances had chains on them and I was starting to look for snowmobiles…

The weathermen were scrambling to come up with an explanation but ultimately it came down to admitting that forecasting is just an educated guess. I don’t think anyone is capable of admitting it. One day I would love to see a weatherman look at the camera and just say… “We must have slept right through this one… sorry folks…”

Not that it would have helped us, but I think it would have made the next 19 hours bearable. The warning to stay where you were was late in coming. On the bright side, by the time the warnings were issued, those who were out had either hit something or had been stopped by something that had hit something…

It was also a great source of entertaining trids, I expect to be seeing on the news for the next three weeks.


Tuesday, March 30, 2066 – Winning Friends

I love the weather. Then again I love a mystery which can pretty much explain my fascination with the weather. Let’s face it we get a lot of it here, mystery and weather.

Yesterday was freezing and dangerous, today is… well rainy and dangerous.

I ended up visiting Ray in the hospital, but not the way I wanted to: I was checking up on Hugh who’d literally had a run in with an SUV.

You’d think the flashing red lights and the “Paramedic” on the front of the bike and the back of his jacket would have clued in the nice suburban soccer mom that she wasn’t dealing with some crazed biker… but all she saw was Tusks and a Harley and he was ‘bearing down on her.’

Actually, he was bearing down on an accident about a mile ahead of them, but she didn’t know that. To hear her side of it as she explained to the officers what had happened, you’d think that Hugh had lobbed a grenade at the poor dear.

Fortunately, Hugh had a few things going for him. One, his boss is paranoid and has made sure all her medic’s vehicles are rigged for recording and the motor medics have an additional camera built into their helmets. Two, said recordings include sound. Three, by now there isn’t a cop in Seattle who hasn’t heard of or met Dwight and Hugh. Four, Ms. Flirty picked the most married men on the force to try and wrap around her little finger. Fifth, and finally-said officers knew darn well that they had to get the poor dear out of there before Hugh’s boss got there and explained items 1-4 to her.

I overheard one of the training officers explain to the rookies, “never get between a momma bear and her cubs held true for Citywide’s Chief and her team.”

By the time I got to the hospital, Hugh had been moved to an all too familiar semi-private room. The doctor explained that it was best Hugh have a familiar face to wake up to, so they’d put him in Ray’s room.

The nurses said something about quote ‘keeping the whining know-it-all medics in one manageable place’. end quote.

I was still a bit… tense when I left the hospital. I was ready to track down Ms. Flirty and give her a piece of my mind, but as I headed for my car I saw a familiar figure leaning my new vehicle. He never turned as I walked out, he just merely shook his head.

“Jess, you know I could hear you all the way in Takoma… you’ve really need to learn to channel this aggression.

Philip.

I have a feeling him teaching me to channel said aggression is going to be like… the immovable object meeting the unstoppable one. I’m just not sure which is which.


Wednesday, March 31, 2066 – Don’t ask

I think April Fool’ came early this year.

I’m used to people doing stupid things it’s part of why I have a job. To be fair, we all do our fair share of stupid things. Thankfully most of the time when we have those momentary lapses in judgment or focus, someone else is paying attention and makes up for it.

When they don’t… well, that’s where I and my buddies in EMS come in. And believe me, we came in a lot today.

We started off two medics down and it went downhill from there.

It got so bad that by the time I arrived on scene on my last call and saw a clown car, complete with clown in big shoes, dangling from a tree I just looked at the officer in charge and held up my hands up in surrender. “I don’t want to know.”

Sometimes… it’s just easier that way.


Thursday, April 1, 2066 – Day of Fools.

You know those stupid things we all do from time to time… well, today it seemed to be our turn and let me tell you… too many days like today and we’ll pretty much take ourselves out.

As it is, I have three more medics on the injured list, Four medics on administrative leave pending investigations and five medics on ‘sick leave’ due to a failed ‘prank’.

Of the four medics on administrative leave two of them will most likely be told to look into another field of specialization like… shower curtain installation. The other two are going to require some basic, remedial classes like “How to Tell if Your Patient is Dead 101” and “Why You Don’t Leave Your Keys in Your Unlocked Ambulance 102”

A few additional classes will be offered to the pranksters and the prankees – like… ‘if the coffee smells bad… don’t drink it’ and ‘I will not mess with peoples’ beverages of choice as a joke…’

I swear, the hospital is threatening to give us our own wing at this point and Dr. Shapiro is looking at me like it’s my fault. I tried to explain I wasn’t even supposed to be working but according to his nurses that’s no excuse and one thing you can say about the good doctor, he stands behind his staff.

On the bright side, Ray and Hugh are doing better and champing at the bit to get out and April Fool’s day only comes once a year… I hope.


Friday, April 2, 2066 – Programs

Do you have your scorecard ready, ’cause this is about to get really interesting

Okay, five medics in the hospital, four on administrative leave and another five still under the weather… That’s a bad start to the day any way you look at it.

All right… it wasn’t too horrific… I managed to juggle a few schedules. With me and Charlie on duty, that meant we were only down twelve medics. We keep about 5 in reserve and with them activated, that left us down seven.

With a little rescheduling, we managed to work it so each shift was only two men short. At least that’s how it looked on paper on the streets it was a bit different

A lot of what we do would make the OCD think we’ve gone overboard, but trust me, when you need certain pieces of equipment within easy reach, you really don’t want to have to look for them. It’s part of why we tend to pack our own kits. Motor medics have to be even more particular since we only have a limited amount of space on the bike.

That’s the first difficulty we faced. While the medics were juggled and working on setting up things according to the plan… the first alarm hit: a high-rise fire, midtown.

That took Charlie off the rig and back into a command position running the command center. I have no problem with Charlie running the scene, but if I’d known what was coming I would have taken the high rise call.

As it was we ended up with another sniper incident in Tacoma, really close to Ares’ Campus. It’s funny if you think about it: Ares scares me more than a sniper trying to kill me. I guess if I’m dead I don’t have to worry about anybody picking through my brain and opening doors that really should be locked and bolted.

If Ray had been on duty I would have sent him, but as it was I got a pleasant surprise from KE. They told us to stage outside the cordoned off area and they would bring the injured to us. Normally I wouldn’t go for that, but they were actually doing a decent job of containing the situation, and they did bring us the injured to triage and treat… and it was in an area outside their jurisdiction.

I did see Marcus and Evans briefly as they helped us offload a batch of injured from the back of an armored van. One of them had a snide “I bet you’re loving this.”

I looked at them, looked at the injured and just shook my head. They weren’t worth the bother and there were other people who needed me. I saw them once or twice more over the next four hours, but Dwight became my self-appointed bodyguard.

I heard him tell them once “we got a job to do and you two are the ones trying to make it into something it’s not. Look to the injured and the dying-and keep your comments to yourself.”

Something I would have said if I’d been there. As it was I just smiled and got back to work. By the time Ares and KE had dealt with the situation, I was ready for a nap, and the day wasn’t even half over.

By the time we were back in service Charlie and I had been not only running our scenes but directing a third remotely.

And yes, by the end we needed a program to figure out where everyone was.


Saturday, April 3, 2066 – Trials and tabulations

This morning KE wanted to debrief me and my people on the sniper incident.

Now that sentence alone was enough to put me on the defensive. I’ve experienced something KE called a ‘debriefing’ and well… I have some other names for it. No way I was going to willingly step into one of their stations for a ‘debriefing’ let alone put my people through one.

I set it up so they could talk to people at Citywide, with supervision, one at a time. We can’t tie people up for long blocks of time, not when where running pretty much at capacity

They weren’t happy, but let’s face it they’re used to getting what they want and getting the respect they feel they deserve. Sure they have a reputation for getting their man, but let’s face it I’ve seen their methods up close and personal.

Before they could accuse me of either favoritism or worse obstruction I turned over the video feeds. “With these,” I told them, “You can see everything we did. If you find you need further details, then we’ll make arrangements.”

Now I know the cameras don’t see everything and there are things that the human brain may notice that there’s no way the film could… People can recognize patterns in victimology or types of injuries. The film will just see reflections of light.

While they were viewing the feeds, I started tabulating the injuries we’d treated. By the time they’d finished reviewing our tapes, I’d cross-checked the tallies.

The shots were all clean, no graze wounds… the sniper was looking for targets in the open, not ones who were hiding. Most of the injuries were serious-he was trying to kill, but kill slowly. There were no headshots… almost all were to the torso, a few shoulder injuries but one of them was on the way out, and the other had gone into the armpit and lodged in the torso.

It was particularly nasty, but it didn’t match the recent sniper incidents. The others were more random… taking the trick shots, this one, like I said they were going for a clean shot.

I’m not sure what the investigators were expecting but they seemed more understanding after I’d given them more than what they’d hoped to find.

I guess the efficient Chief is a far cry from the seriously mucked with sister. Hopefully, it will make them think, but I doubt it.

It wasn’t until the end of the day I noticed them… an array of friends and family who were watching over me and watching to make sure the boys in blue kept things civil.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 13 – Skirting around the issue

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, March 21, 2066 – Running Gags

You can always count on family to be there when you need them, and to laugh their butts off when you do something monumentally stupid.

It doesn’t help if you know it was monumentally stupid. It doesn’t matter how brave you were, or how heroic… they’ll celebrate those too, but it’s those momentary lapses in judgment, or control that take on a life of their own.

It’s like Michael and the flame retardant couches… Nathan and the ferrets… it’s expected

But when you get something like yesterday… where two family members are involved in the same situation-well, then you get matching gifts…

Like the “High Voltage” sign someone attached to Jonathan’s chair and the ‘Remember to wear your protective gear at all times…” warning attached to mine… those are the moments you really wish you were an only child.

I’m pretty sure Jonathan got the worst end of the ribbing on this… let’s face it, I do a lot of things that deserve getting teased about but Jonathan? Mr. ‘in control at all times’… he is so inexperienced at being on the receiving end… or even deserving to be on the receiving end of the teasing that it’s not funny.

Well, okay, it is funny but that’s another story.

The fact of the matter is I started feeling sorry for him, so I changed the subject and instead of focusing on our mutual misfortune… I asked about the elemental. It’s not the first time I’ve seen faces in the disasters I’ve faced. Some I know are my imagination getting away with me-but others…

I mean… I really did see a face of sorts, and I wonder if Jonathan saw the same thing I did.

It got the boys (Jonathan, Case, and Nathan) thinking about the elemental and its presence, I mean let’s face it: it’s the second ‘waterspout’ incident in the area in the past few months that affected mass transportation. Besides, I’m pretty sure Jonathan appreciated having the attention drawn away from teasing him.

Jonathan really does like to be the quiet man in the corner, the one you don’t mess with – the nice calm stable one. I like him better that way too: he has a lot to learn as a hair dresser.


Monday March 22, 2066 – The Good Part of a Bad Day

You know it’s been a bad day when the first thing you remember about it is waking up on a backboard with your neck immobilized and one of your best friends standing over you shining a light in your eyes to test your pupillary reaction.

I’ve had days like that, thankfully today was not one of them… for me. It was however one of those days for Ray.

It started out simply enough. I got into the office early so I could discuss my proposal for adding magical staff to both our first response and tactical teams with Charlie. If there’s someone making magical trouble for our people-we need to be ready to work against it and if there’s someone who knows how to make it happen, it’s Charlie.

He smiled and shook his head as he jerked his thumb towards my office. “Your partner’s waiting for ya. I got this.”

I’d forgotten that I was going to be riding with Ray for the day. Mr. “I’m not running the program” still hadn’t approved me for solo runs. I’m not sure if he was doing it to keep an eye on me or just for old times, but either way it was a good thing I was there.

The first few calls were simple enough and we fell into a balanced routine. We took turns leading the way, sometimes riding side by side, others in a single file line-whatever traffic would allow.

We were on our way to a probable coronary when it happened. Ray was in the lead… it could have just as easily been me. One minute we were riding and the next there was a blur of yellow as a cab ran the light and plowed straight into Ray.

The first few minutes were some of the most nerve wracking. As I’ve said many times-you deal with things by compartmentalizing. You divorce yourself from the person so you can treat the injury, but you remain connected enough to be comforting and reassuring.

Involving a person you care about involves a much deeper compartment and having seen it happen… we’re talking a very deep, multi walled compartment here. Fortunately I’ve been building a lot of those lately.

Come to think of it, it’s not a very good day when you’re the person kneeling over one of your best friends looking for signs of life. There’s also nothing better than the feeling you get when the said friend looks up at you and groans “What are you smiling at?”


Tuesday March 23, 2066 – Motorcycle madness

I checked in on Ray this morning. He was obviously feeling better since he was insisting that yesterday’s accident was his way of field testing my skills to make sure I could handle being a motor medic again.

I think it was abundantly clear I wasn’t buying it. I wonder if he’s figured out yet that I’m the one who’s going to have to approve his return to the bike. Maybe I’ll just keep that to myself for now.

His prognosis is good, and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the day. When I got to the office, Charlie was waiting for me. He knew I’d be checking on Ray-I always check on a medic who’s hurt on the job, but he’s noticed that I’m a lot more mother-hen-ish towards the motor medics.

“Are they really that different from the regular medics?”

It took me a while to explain it, but in a way I am their mom in this. I’ve either trained them, or I trained the people who trained them. Being a paramedic is not a safe job to begin with, but when you add the hazards posed by doing the job from a bike all bets are off

I mean let’s face it, if someone T-Bones the bus, they’re going to do a lot less damage than if they hit a bike.

I love the fact that he wants to understand, but I agree, it’s not something I can really explain. We have a ‘session’ scheduled at the arcade Thursday. It’ll give him a feel for what we do, and it’ll be fun to play the game version again. Things can be a lot more interesting when you don’t have to worry about actually getting hurt.


Wednesday March 24, 2066 – Ferret sitting

Ferrets, can’t live with them, and it seems you can’t leave them home by themselves either.

Nathan’s officially started physical therapy today, he’s still got a ways to go but they fitted him with a walking cast so he’ll be a bit more mobile.

That means he’s starting his investigation and as I pointed out Puck is an escape artist. I love Nathan dearly but his apartment is by no means Ferret proof. Heck it’s not even Michael-proof. I can just see the sorts of trouble Puck could get himself into looking at some of Nathan’s ‘Formulae’ paintings.

Fortunately Nathan figured out the same thing and called us last night to make arrangements. When he’s working evenings Bri will be Puck sitting. Otherwise Case or I will make arragments.

Today Puck spent most of the day on the back credenza in my office… sleeping in his cage happily tucked away in his little ferret hammock dreaming of ferret havoc.

Another interesting fact about Puck: he snores. For the most part it wasn’t bad.

I had to spend the day in the office, doing administrative things. The first part, working with Charlie on the proposal, was fun and profitable. While I came up with reason to have them, Charlie worked on the legal ramifications of not having them. Between the two of us we developed a presentation that should answer most of the questions and or objections.

It felt good to do something positive, but there were a few less than pleasant issues I also had to deal with: first quarter reviews came in and there were several people I needed to talk to.

It’s very hard to be all stern and administrative when there’s a snoring ferret behind you. Then again it’s hard for me to be stern under normal circumstances. The key is for me to be focused on something else.

Do you know how hard it is to ignore a snoring ferret?


Thursday March 25, 2066 – Coverage

With Ray on the injured list and several medics out with flu-like symptoms I ended up working in the field today. I filled in at the 97th working with Dwight and Hugh. It was good to visit the old stomping grounds.

As Chief I do have the right to pick and choose assignments, but I don’t usually do that. There’s just too much to do and rearranging the entire structure of our staffing isn’t really justifiable.

Lately though I have a very good reason to exercise that power. With Ethan’s map in mind, I chose the 97th because it has the fewest Ares/KE ‘no go’ zones. That should help even the odds, but even the best laid plans of Chiefs and medics don’t always work out. Fortunately I have people who watch over me, which is just as well since I’m pretty sure I my guardian angle ran away screaming long before I hit thirty.

The day was pretty mellow and straight forward, a few accidents, a fire-nothing clandestine or suspicious and only one call to a KE protected shopping center.

Even as I started to move to take the call, Hugh was standing over me gently guiding me back to my chair.

“You aren’t going anywhere near there boss-lady,” he said in a protective yet teasing tone. “So sit right back down and let us do our job.”

It would seem Ethan got a copy of his map to all my ‘siblings’ to make sure I didn’t do anything heroically stupid.

As it was, there were more than enough calls that didn’t involve our friends in black, so I was still useful, but we have got to do something about this insanity. There won’t always be people to cover their turf and there won’t always be ways for me to avoid dealing with them.

Right now it’s a balancing act of epic proportions, but even the best balancing act is going to fall, and this promises to leave a lot of hurt people in its wake when it does. We have to do something to minimize the damage before it happens.

I hope Case is having better luck than I am.


Friday, March 26, 2066 – Spin clean

It’s amazing what a little spin can do for a story, even more amazing is how much it can change things.

I have gone from person of interest to potential witness, to suspect, to escaped felon to… get this… trusted agent.

Now I’m not really stupid enough to totally trust KE, they did, after all, install some less than trustworthy add-ons to my new vehicle, but, in theory, I can now do my job without the danger of being ‘taken in for questioning.’

Again, I’m not going to trust them half as far as I could throw them but, as far as all the CEO’s involved are concerned, everything is settled. Nick isn’t taking any chances: he’s heading east for about six months.

That’s how long his Federal Training will take. Yep, looks like I’ll have another brother in the Marshal Service. On the outside, everything is picture perfect.

On the inside, I’m still raging and Case has ended up calling Philip. Since Sensei won’t teach me tai chi… Case figures Philip might have a better chance.


Saturday, March 27, 2066 – New Blood

I showed up at the office today, looking less than professional since it was a Saturday and I rarely have to do ‘representative’ type things for Citywide on Saturdays. No, Saturdays are for getting paperwork done-and inducting new medics it would seem.

Another truth in the medic vs administrator debate: medics will celebrate anything with reckless abandon: administrative types, not so much. Since their parties are less enjoyable, the administrators make up for it with pomp and circumstance. I, of course, prefer the medic way.

I got to the office ready to settle in with a bad cup of coffee and my terminal. As I sat down Charlie entered my office dressed in his class A’s: my first clue I’d missed something

I couldn’t even plead that I never got the memo since…. since… well…it came from my office. Fortunately, I keep my Class ‘A’s at the office.

Charlie just shook his head as I went from looking like someone reporting for PT to the Regional Chief. I swear he looked prouder than dad did when I came down the stairs ready for prom.

I did my best to make what was a big day for some of the medics, a memorable and pleasant experience but… well… it’s hard to have fun in Dress Uniform.

I’m happy to report, my medics tried.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 12 – The long and short of it

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, March 14, 2066 – A step too far?

Either someone didn’t get the memo or they improvised… either way, I ended up with a rather annoyed looking ferret in my boot this morning.

I’m not sure which of Nathan’s co-conspirators did it… but I can venture a guess… especially since she already has a name for him. I tried explaining to Bri that Schrödinger may not like sharing the apartment with a ferret but she seems convinced that Puck, the ferret, would get along famously with Shrodie…

Schrödinger, on the other hand, seemed to have other ideas. One of the problems with having a ferret as a pet is the fact that ferret musk can be a bit… pungent.

Within a half an hour of getting home, Schrödinger had the ferret pinned down and was giving him what the cat felt was a proper bath. We learned very quickly what an unhappy ferret sounded like.

For now, the ferret will remain in his cage, in Bri’s room while Schrödinger will remain at liberty in the rest of the condo.


Monday, March 15, 2066 – Puck

Whoever came up with the idea of making plans, obviously never dealt with a determined ferret and an equally determined cat.

It seems that a cage hasn’t been built that can keep Puck contained for long-at least when he’s awake. From what I gather a ferret sleeps for about 20-24 hours a day saving up all their energy so that the remaining time can be faced at full tilt.

It didn’t take him long to figure out the cage, once he was awake, and after that the space between the door and the floor was nothing.

I woke up at 03:00 to the sound a very indignant ferret being groomed by an equally un-amused cat. I no sooner broke them up then Puck started darting around the couch in an almost spastic manner than had Schrödinger and me watching in a combination of concern and amusement.

I found out later that this is what happens when a ferret gets too excited… but it’s a bit disconcerting the first time you see it.

I’m not sure Schrödinger knew what to do with the funny looking, strange smelling cat when he started acting that way, but he decided that more grooming was needed.

Whatever passed between the two it became very clear that they could not be left alone in the same house together. I ended up taking Puck to the office. Fortunately, he slept most of the day, which gave me time to work and read up on ferrets.

This is either going to work out amazingly well or terribly, terribly wrong… I know which way my luck runs… anybody want a ferret?


Tuesday, March 16, 2066 – Saving Schrödinger’s Ferret

This is so not going to work. I like my sleep way too much to allow this to continue… I also value my cat’s sanity and Puck’s nerves. This time the fun and games started around 02:00, with much breaking of items that had been resting comfortably on the mantle until Puck ran by.

As near as I can tell he was on the couch when Schrödinger tried to clean him again and Puck made a bid for freedom, jumping from the couch to the mantle. I managed to get Puck back in his cage long enough to clean up the glass only to hear more breaking in Bri’s room.

I mentioned Puck’s an escape artist didn’t I?

While I had been planning vengeance on Nathan involving the large supply of ferret toys I’ve amassed, I really need his help with this. So, as soon as it was a decent hour, I called a truce and told him I needed to talk.

Now, to be fair I did need to talk to him about the job Cummings had told me about, but I really needed Puck taken care of.

It was priceless. Nathan walked in and asked me if it was about ferrets and I answered. “Just one…”

Then he noticed the cage….

To his credit, he apologized. It was never his intention to include a real ferret in his ‘game’ and he said as much.

I know Nathan was being honest, but after two sleepless nights, I wasn’t exactly the most diplomatic of people. I thought I was being humorous when I asked if he knew anyone who could take him… preferably someone who’d let Bri visit and perhaps shared the ferret’s temperament.

I believe his phrasing was “Real subtle Jess.”

So much for clever.

In other news, Nathan will be taking the consulting job, especially since it’s a paying job and it will cover his physical therapy.

Now we just have to break it to mom.

Nathan appears courtesy of Follower.


Wednesday, March 16, 2066 -Saving Schrödinger’s Ferret part II

This morning started out much like the last two mornings, but with a difference. This time the furry antics woke up Bri. If anything she seemed perplexed and perhaps a bit… let down?

“I really thought they’d get along better than that…” she said.

I did try to assure her that different animals have different ideas of play, but in the end, she seemed perfectly happy. She picked up Puck and dragged him back to her room where she helped him burn off energy until he was asleep again.

As I drifted back to sleep I swear I heard her whisper, “you’ll like uncle Nate.”

Getting up part two involved seeing Bri off to school and hauling Puck back to the office so at least the cat could get some peace and quiet, and for a change that actually worked out. Several of the medics stopped by to ‘check on me’ but what they were really interested in was the ferret. Seems there were a lot more people involved with ‘ferret-gate’ than I thought. Normally I’d seek revenge, but sometimes it’s just not worth it.

And tonight, Bri surprised me by asking me if I thought Uncle Nate would like Puck. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of my daughter than I was when she asked Nathan if he could take care of Puck. I know how much she wanted him, and how much she’d hoped he and Schrödinger would get along, but she’s accepted, at least for now, that that was not going to happen.

I’m also thankful that we did not have a fight on our hands about it. I know we let Bri get away with a lot, but I don’t know what I would have done if she’d put her foot down and tried to out-stubborn me. I’m not sure I ever want to learn.

Fortunately, Nathan had been prepared for it and accepted his new roommate graciously.

When we got home, Schrödinger was pacing the house anxiously. I don’t know if he was relieved that the ‘funny cat’ was gone or was searching for his new playmate. Thankfully things settled down relatively quickly.


Thursday, March 18, 2066 – Long vs. Short

I don’t think I’ll ever understand bureaucracy, but Case got a good laugh out of my story… I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole thing.

It started at lunchtime when Case came home and handed me a new set of keys and informed me that he had removed the tracking devices and automatic engine cut-off controls KE had installed in my new SUV.

It was great to have my own vehicle again, but that meant filling out paperwork so Citywide would allow me to use my personal vehicle in the line of duty. That meant facing the bureaucracy.

As chief, I am allowed and have been issued an official Citywide Chief’s SUV, which is all well and good if I’m on duty when the need arises but if I’m not…I’m going to want to get there as quickly as possible in whatever vehicle is available at the time. That’s where the paperwork comes in. I have to accept that they’re going to be making modifications to my SUV, I have to acknowledge that those modifications are theirs, and while they will insure my vehicle while I am using it in the line of duty-they will not cover it under normal usage.

It should be a simple 10 minute trip to the office followed by a 45 minute stop at the DMV… Should be…

Since this was my day off, I figured it would be a good time to get the paperwork out of the way, and since I’ve done this before… I filled out the proper form and headed to Corporate.

When I turned in the form the woman behind the counter informed me that they’d done away with that particular form and replaced it with the Short form.

Now, I’d just filled out the long form that should more than cover the short form, but of course, they couldn’t just accept the long form-it was no longer valid.

So I took the new ‘short form’ and sat down. As I started filling it out, I realized it looked awfully familiar. It looked so familiar I pulled out my old form and compared them.

They were different, I will give them that. The most important questions and agreements were on the first page, but the subsequent pages very quickly added up to ‘not short.’

When I asked the woman at the counter about that she smiled and assured me that the long form had indeed been done away with and replaced with the much shorter form, now displayed on the wall. When I looked at my form, it didn’t match the sample, so I ended up back in line to ask about that.

She greeted me with a plastic smile and a pre-programmed answer, but when I pointed out the discrepancy she looked at the sample on the wall… then she looked at my form… she asked me to wait a minute while she went back to ask her supervisor about it.

When she came back the plastic smile was back in place. “Yes… it seems you’ve been randomly selected to answer an additional usage questionnaire.”

“Additional usage questionnaire?”

She nodded.

“Have you looked at this form?”

She again smiled and nodded-I think that’s all she was capable of if there wasn’t a script involved.

“So.. there is no long form?”

“No,” she answered cheerfully. “We did away with that.”

“But there is a secondary ‘additional usage questionnaire?'”

“Yes ma’am.”

She looked at the form again, trying to understand why I wasn’t getting it and being a good little employee and filling out my forms and leaving.

“So… basically… you’ve done away with the long form… and replaced it with an ‘additional usage questionnaire… that asks all the same questions as the long form… it just has a different name.”

Her smile was at least a little sheepish this time when she answered: “Pretty much.”

It was my turn to nod and sigh. At least she’d admitted the ‘change’ wasn’t all that much of a change. “Just checking…”

I filled out the new improved ‘Short Form’ and handed it in.

There are some fights worth fighting and some that are so pointless all you can do about them is laugh and say ‘I need another pen.’ This was one of those times.

Special thanks to the US Census Bureau for inspiring today’s story.


Friday, March 19, 2066 – Just a day

Nothing happened today.

I’m serious here, nothing. Not the *nothing* as in I can’t talk about it nothing… nothing as in the absence of anything.

I’m guessing that Puck kind of ended people’s fun ‘ferreting’ me, because there were no ferrets, no ferret toys or stuffed animals… nothing.

This scares me.


Saturday, March 20, 2066 – Complications

I wonder sometimes if I missed something growing up… something that would have taught me by now to not go borrowing trouble. Maybe I was absent that day-maybe that skill is tied to the gene associated with other abilities I seem to lack, like the ability to detect trouble… or be subtle. Whatever the case may be, I’ve never learned it… and I was once again reminded of why I really should want it.

The day started off normally enough but I was on edge because of yesterday. Let’s face it, there’s a reason “if everything seems to be going right, you must have overlooked something” is our mantra.

It was my first day back out on the bus and everything was going normally until we got an emergency callout for a capsized ferry. That in and of itself is bad enough, but it got oh so much more ‘interesting.’

Water rescues are hard enough, but when the problem seems to involve a waterspout with a mind of its own, well that’s where I, as Chief of Citywide, start thinking ‘we really need some mages on staff.’

As a member of the Walker family, I started thinking about all the mages I know and could easily call and ask to help out. But as Chief, I can’t ask-it’s frustrating to have access to the help we needed knowing I couldn’t ask for it. Fortunately, I didn’t have to, my family was watching over me.

Even as I was thinking, ‘I could really use some shamanic help about now,” Jonathan was standing next to me. I think I had enough time to smile before his expression changed.

“Jess,” he said in a very cool, distracted tone, “Get your people out of here.”

Over the years I’ve learned to not only trust my adopted big brother, I’ve learned that when he gets that tone-it’s something I can’t help with and all I can do is keep our casualties down.

I ordered everyone to fall back to the staging area and to keep the boats away, but by that time the waterspout was moving closer and closer to the shore. That’s when I saw the face in the water.

I stood there frozen for a moment as two opposing urges fought violently for control. One side was saying “Run away,” the other side was saying “Get Jonathan out of there.”

The only problem was “Away” and Jonathan were in opposite directions. I stood there unable to process either signal, and it probably saved my life.

If I had run towards Jonathan, I probably would have been hit by his offensive spell, if I had run… I would have been crushed by the deluge as the water elemental was banished and all the water it had gathered to itself crashed to the ground.

As it was I was soaked to the skin and almost hypothermic by the time I reached Jonathan. Word to the wise… don’t touch a fully charged Thunderbird Shaman when you’re soaking wet… it’s a bad idea


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 11 – The best defense is a strong… ferret?

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, March 7, 2066 – Hitting the bricks… or hitting with them

By now Mom Walker has long suspected that Nathan and I are completely mad, but today I think she finally realized that leaving the two of us together is pure insanity.

Admittedly I thought Nathan had taken a step off into the deep end when he proposed working with me on a way to protect myself against a mental attack. I mean, he just got out of the hospital but as he pointed out, this wasn’t a physical thing.

It helps that my chances of actually hurting him are pretty slim and even if we did manage to figure out what I need to do… well there’s only so much a brick can do against something that’s the comparative equivalent of a granite building

All things considered, she took it rather well-set us up in her study with pillows all over the floor and orange juice and snacks.

The idea was simple enough… teach me to recognize when I’m reflexively fighting against a magical attack (which proved to be the easiest part) then focus all my energy at the source. It was really easy to say, harder to explain and well… very difficult to do.

It took several hours, a headache and three glasses or orange juice before I produced something that could even be recognized as a response and even then Nathan had to confer with Mom to see if it actually happened.

The first time I actually produced a notable response I was laid out on the pillows and Nathan had his head bent over, at first I thought he was laughing, which made me angry… but then I realized I’d actually gotten him with something.

After that, it was a question of reproducing and honing my response and overcoming my fear of hurting Nathan, but after that Nathan pulled out the stops, pushing every button he knew I had and finding several I didn’t even know about.

We stayed for dinner: Ethan and Michael were in the final death match of Michael’s new video game and Ethan didn’t want to leave it there. It was just as well.

By evening I was an emotional noodle, but we knew I could at least give a response that might give me enough time to at least hit my panic button if nothing else. Nathan has threatened to field test me on this to make sure I hold nothing back, but right now I couldn’t push my way through a wet paper back in the tub.

That night I lost it. I was soaking in the tub and the next thing I know I was crying in Case’s arms. He was worried, but he could see the difference. All the other ‘episodes’ were dealing with the memories the boys from Knight Errant had shaken loose, tonight-it was all about what they did to me.

It was a turning point and we both knew I was going to be all right. Tomorrow I’m setting up my eval to go back to the real work.


Monday, March 8, 2066 – Yesterday’s Madness is Today’s Method

If we’re really lucky, Mom Walker will let us out of her sight… sometime next year.

The worst part is it wasn’t even our fault, in fact, today proved to be the method to yesterday’s madness. I realized last night that what Nathan did was a mental version of the self-defense classes I tend to avoid. While they work-it’s a lot more brutal and emotional than I like my training to be, but sometimes it’s what works.

Nathan had warned me that he wanted to field test me-attack me when I didn’t expect it. It’s not that he was afraid I might hit him too hard, no he wanted that. Truthfully he wanted me to hit him with everything I had-he just didn’t want me shooting at him or worse, hitting my panic button and having Citywide shoot him at my behest.

It was a good plan, only there was no way for us to know that someone else had plans of their own. We’re safe on Council Island now but for a while – things really didn’t look good.

It all started normally enough, me driving to the office, Nick tailing me to make sure I was safe. I’m not sure if Case put him up to it or not but it doesn’t really matter, it was a good thing he was there.

Everything was planned out like an elaborate game of chess, with one extra player on the board-my attacker hadn’t counted on Nathan. I’m amazed he missed that since he had planned for everything else, including Nick.

Case and Jonathan were at Ares picking up my bike and my personal effects as I was heading out for lunch, Nick never followed me into the parking garage- that was Citywide turf and I was safe there. I was supposed to be safe there.

The attack came as I approached my car on B2. The advantage of being the chief is a set parking space next to the elevators. I don’t think I’ll be parking there anymore.

As near as I can tell, the plan was for me to collapse from an apparent panic attack when he would load me into the back of a Citywide Ambulance, stolen from the repair shop on B1. It would have looked like a case of being in the right place at the right time.

I was almost to my car when I felt the push of magic against my mind and I responded the way Nathan had taught me. I’m glad to say I didn’t hold back. Let’s face it, the real power behind my ‘attack’ is that it’s unexpected, not enough to do any real damage, just enough to hit my panic button and maybe put some distance between me and my attacker.

What we didn’t figure on was how much it would tick off the would-be attacker and just how hard they’d ‘hit’ back in retaliation. I did manage to hit the panic button when I realized it wasn’t Nathan testing me but I almost didn’t make it.

Next thing I know I’m in pain, half shackled and Nick is yelling for the guy to put his hands up. I’m not sure what all happened, I’m not sure I want to know. I do know I was flung across the room and unceremoniously dumped behind a car, and by the time the Citywide Tac-Team arrived I needed a new car… and there was an ambulance and a fire door needing replacing as well. Thankfully Nick and Nathan were both semi-ambulatory. Nathan had ditched his crutches opting to levitate his way down to the parking garage… but, to be honest, -we’re lucky to be alive.

The mage was not so lucky.

Knight Errant arrived soon after and tried to take control of the scene. They had a decent argument: the mage was one of theirs and I, a suspect they were investigating, had been one of the people to shoot him, but that was not the whole story by any stretch of the imagination and someone had briefed the tac-team so they weren’t letting anybody take over until the Star got there.

I’m not sure if the mage was a psychopath or a true sociopath, I don’t really care anymore. He went after me and my family and tried to push Nathan’s buttons into killing him. When that failed he tried to kill Nathan while he was walking away.

I reacted without thinking. Nick’s reaction was trained and precise, and in the end-we walked away, he didn’t. Okay, we limped away… but we’re still, more or less, standing.


Tuesday, March 9, 2066 – The Casey Method

This morning was disorienting enough that I ended up going back to bed. Every time I started to even think about what I needed to do, I’d realize I had another problem. It didn’t help that I was tired enough I couldn’t remember where I was when I woke up.

Okay, I knew I was in bed and I knew my husband was with me, but it took me a few minutes to figure out that we were on Council Island and even longer for me to remember why.

Aside from being our home away from home, and probably the most secure place we could be, Council Island has the added advantage of being a sovereign nation with nothing even close to an extradition treaty with Ares or more to the point, Knight Errant.

When I started to get up, Case pulled me closer,

I laughed and pointed out that we had to get Bri to school, but he assured me that Bri was staying right where she was. When I objected he informed me that he’d already called the school and let them know that we had some issues that needed to be dealt with.

“Besides,” he added, “it’s not like you can drive her anywhere in your car.”

He had a point. The remains of my car were sitting in Lone Star’s impound lot as we spoke.

“I could take yours,” I threatened without really trying to go anywhere.

“You could if it weren’t in the shop,” he answered, draping the covers over my shoulders. “And I’ve already called Charlie… so you are officially sleeping in.”

There were things that needed to be done, but Case was right, the most important thing was spending time with family and celebrating what we have.

Who am I to argue?


Wednesday, March 10, 2066 – Game Plan

I may not be as suspicious as my husband, but I have learned to recognize people’s moods and body language. With patients it helps me figure out if the person is going to try and hit me and yes, I sometimes get that one wrong, or just don’t react quickly enough, but when it comes to family… it means I can at least tell when something is bothering them.

In Case’s case it had everything to do with Monday and KE’s investigation of what happened, not to mention their investigation of the boys and how they went about ‘investigating’.

I could tell it was something he couldn’t exactly talk about, especially since anything he does is going to be questioned considering the fact that one of the ‘suspects’ is his wife.

Still, he had something and it was bothering him.

I finally asked for a rundown and he sighed. He looked away from me as he spoke which is never a good sign. It took a long time for him to turn back to me and answer my question, but I could see it in his eyes.

Somehow he knew what they had done to me-more than just the clinical analysis. He probably knew more than I remembered. I felt a cold chill as I realized what that meant.

“They taped it, didn’t they?”

He gave a slow nod and I could tell by his expression that they had indeed taped the session and he’d seen it.

“Once they brought in the mages… They never asked about the boys…”

They knew I was hiding something and they didn’t really care what. They wanted me… hurting… lost… helpless… they didn’t want information, they wanted bait. I started to clench my fist, only to have Case hold me close. Resting his chin on my head he spoke. It was both protective and reassuring and it meant he didn’t have to look me in the eyes.

“It was dropped off by an anonymous source,” he said, and I knew he was lying… I could probably even guess the name of the anonymous source, or… which of Bri’s uncles “Felix” had been talking too. “So I can’t use it in court… but if the anonymous source were to leak the information… ”

I nodded. If the press got a hold of it-it would hurt KE in ways they wouldn’t be able to measure but it would also hurt me. People would see what was done to me in their ‘pursuit of justice’ and KE could make things difficult for me, for Case and for Citywide.

“Or…”

“Or I could use it as a bargaining chip-make the case go away… make it look like we were working with them-an interagency operation.”

Revenge or a graceful exit-those were the best choices we had, and it wasn’t just us-it was the Marshal Service… Citywide… Nick.

“They clear all charges against Nick, they don’t bury the fact that they had a predator working for them-they leave us alone… ”

Case nodded. “Just remember-a threat is only good if you’re willing to follow through with it.”

That’s what it came down to, not a bluff but a good faith ‘bargain.’ For Case, and Nick-it was worth taking the bargain

“And I want a new car.”

It wasn’t what I really wanted, but you can’t undo what’s been done. You can only pick up the pieces and move on… and moving on is much easier when you have a car to do it in.


Thursday, March 11, 2066 – Ferrets

I’m not sure, but I think Nathan found out about my ‘ferret’ comment. It may be just a coincidence but I found a toy plastic ferret in my breakfast cereal this morning… and another ready to dogfight from the windscreen of my motorcycle…

I was going to go into work, but Case still has a few ends to tie up with KE and he’d rather I stay safe on the Island with family to watch out for me and watch out they do. Besides, technically this is my day off as opposed to the days I’ve taken off to ‘recover’

Recovery seems to consist of good food, family and long walks along the shoreline. It does feel good to be alive and in tact, but I’m already twitching due to inactivity. I need to get back in the game and to do that I have to get back work.

Bri is back in school-Case arranged for a driver (Jonathan) to take her to school and make sure she gets there and back safely.

I had suggested Nick, but as Case pointed out until KE agrees to our proposal, Nick is still wanted for… questioning. He gave up so much for me-Case assures me he’ll make sure Nick is well taken care of, but Nick is used to taking care of himself and no matter how well-intentioned Case’s actions may be… it’s not the same.

All I can do for Nick is commiserate and beat him at chess.

Nathan, between bouts of solitary contemplation and ignoring meals, is working with me on honing my response to an attack. Let’s face it, it worked but it still knocks me for more of a loop than my would-be attacker.


Friday, March 12, 2066 – Meeting meeting.

Today I drove to work in a shiny new sedan. It’s a rental but from what I understand it takes a while to customize a vehicle to Case’s specs… plus there are the electrical and radio modifications I need as Operations Chief of Citywide… and Mom Walkers ‘enhancements’

I’m not sure where things stand, but Case gave me the keys last night and told me to be careful. I could tell by the looks he Jonathan and Nick exchanged that I’ll be having a tail for a very long time.

I made it in on time and while things have been running relatively smoothly, it was well past time for our first semi-monthly meeting. It had been over a month. We went over the major issues we’d noticed and I’m happy to say the staff has learned to express themselves. I also have to admit that Hernandez does make the best paper airplanes. I, on the other hand, make the best ‘stunt’ planes which usually loop back to me. While not exactly ‘good’ they are almost always amusing.

In other news, I have been cleared for working on a bus but to get back on a bike I have to talk to Ray ‘I’m not running the Motor Medic program’ Schmidt. You know for not accepting the position, he sure acts like it’s his baby now…

I found a stuffed ferret in my desk. It wasn’t there when I went into the meeting, but it was there when I got back. I also found one in the glove compartment of the sedan. I don’t think I’ve seen the end of it-but Nathan’s forgetting one simple rule of siblings…

Big sisters get revenge. Looks like I’m going to have to remind him and on the bright side, he’s giving me plenty of ammo.


Saturday, March 13, 2066 – To the point of overkill

From the looks of things, the children’s ward is going to have a very large supply of stuffed ferrets by the time this is over.

This morning, while I was getting ready for work, someone was loading my sedan’s back seat with toy ferrets. There were plush toy ferrets, plastic ferrets, ferret balloons and a stuffed toy that looked more like a camel than a ferret but judging by the markings it was supposed to be a ferret.

There was a ninja ferret, a burglar ferret, a pair of police ferrets and a ferret trooper… you get the idea. It there was a costume… there was a ferret wearing it.

On a hunch, I left them in the car and oddly enough by the time I headed home the number of ferrets had doubled.

When I met with Ray he admitted he just wanted to make sure I was ready to get back on the bike. People seem to forget I’ve never been a good damsel in distress. I’m much better when I’m up to my elbows in someone else’s trouble.

I’ll be working the job my way again next week… with Ray at my side… just in case.

I may have to rent a storage locker for the ferrets.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

Posted in Editing, Fiction, Story, writing | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 10 – Problems are easy, when they belong to someone else

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday February 28, 2066 – The Party’s Over

I had a long talk with Nathan today.

Okay, I had several long talks, with Nathan, with Mario and Case, and Mom and Dad Walker and Trina and Nick and with Father Mike at St. Matthews.

They’re giving me time, letting me set the terms on what is done and when. What I need, what anyone needs when control is taken from them be it physically, emotionally or in my case mentally… what they need is to be able to call the shots. It’s what I need.

The boys would have been up in arms telling me what I had to do when I needed to do it, Case asks me ‘what do you want to do?’ and I love him for it. They all do, they all wait for me to make the decisions about what I need, but I can also see what it’s doing to them.

Case feels like he let me down, Jonathan feels like he’s let Case down. Mario’s angry not only about what was done to me, but why and the fact that they were doing it not because of something I’d done, but because of my brothers.

Mom and Dad hate to see anything done to ‘their little girl’ and Trina’s treated enough victims of assault to know what I don’t need and to let me vent. Yeah, I’ve been through the ringer and I’m worried about what it’s doing to my friends… Trina’s the only one I’m really free with and I’m worried that I’m abusing that gift.

Then there’s Nathan. I can tell he hates what was done to me, but it goes further than that. I’m not sure I’m the right one to talk to but he’s going to need to talk to someone. I’ve seen the gears turning in his head as he figures it all out, and I can see he doesn’t like where it’s leading.

He once told me that Renraku was training him as a security mage-is this what he’s afraid they wanted him for? I’m going to have to have a talk with that boy… man. He’s grown up a lot in the five years since I met him and been through so much, but in many ways, he’s still innocent.


Monday, March 1, 2066 – Counseling the Counselor

I wanted to go to work today… but Case said I wasn’t ready-then recanted. He said he wasn’t ready for me to go back to work, not just yet anyway.

It didn’t help that he had to go in and Jonathan went with him.

I was left under the watchful eyes of Nick, Nathan, Trina and Mom Walker. Bri was more than willing to stay home with me, and I think she’s afraid that I’ll leave for an unknown period of time to figure it all out… again.

Sometimes it scares me how much she remembers.

I promised her I’d be here when she got home, a promise that was echoed by her big brother who’d just gotten home for Spring Break. He assured the Terror that I wasn’t going anywhere and he had two seasons worth of Saturday Cartoons recorded to seal the deal. Only then would she allow Uncle Nathan to take her to school.

Ethan and I had a lot of long talks after his mom died and it feels strange to have all that understanding and wisdom turned back on me now. I finally shook my head and asked him when he got to be so wise.

He told me blames it on his evil step-mom.

He’s getting to be more and more like his dad, but he’s got his mom’s nose for journalism. I could already see the gears turning when he suggested the headlines of “The High Cost of Justice” and my favorite “Laws Need Not Apply.”

I still feel a bit… strung out from ‘the ordeal’. Yep, I’m already separating it with quotes. Just another coping mechanism brought to you by Jess Miller.


Tuesday March 2, 2066 – Embarrassing moments

So… I thought I’d gotten rid of all my revelers-all the skeletons and nightmares carefully classified and tucked away in their safe little niches. But like the uninvited guests they where… they seem to have left some embarrassing things lying around to remind me of their party.

Nothing like watching prerecorded trid and having a flashback on something that happened more than three years ago and finding out you hadn’t dealt with it nearly as well as you thought you had. Even worse is when such an episode occurs with your ‘Evil step-son’ watching, at least Bri wasn’t there to see it.

One minute I was laughing along with Ethan, the next I was curled up on the floor and he was calling Nathan.

Right now, when something like this happens we try and get Nathan or Mario to help put me back in the driver’s seat. It isn’t always pretty but it gets my mind trained to respond instead of freeze or worse fall into step with the nightmare.

Unfortunately Mario and Nathan had both gone home to get some much needed rest. Which meant Ethan had to put in a call and do his best to help me until help arrived. I’m not sure how long it took, but I’m pretty sure it took a lot longer than Ethan was ready to deal with.

I mean, hearing that I might have a problem is one thing, seeing just how bad it is-well, that’s another thing entirely.

From the looks of things, he had a nice long talk with Nathan afterwards, ’cause he didn’t hover over me and let me set the pace of what we were doing. He even teased me when he realized I was more upset over losing in front of him than I was about it happening.

I asked Nathan about it later, but he pled the 5th… something about Shaman patient confidentiality. He did tell me that he explained what he was doing when I had an episode, episodes which thankfully are getting fewer and further between.

I also talked to Jonathan, Mario and Nathan tonight. I asked if there was any way to defend myself in the future against this kind of attack. While they all agreed there was very little I could do against someone who was magically active, let alone trained mage, Nathan got that twinkle in his eye when I said ‘Yeah, but even a brick wall can collapse on someone… ‘


Wednesday March 3, 2066 – How to lose a nightmare without even trying

The CEO called me this morning to tell me that Saturday’s venue had cancelled. I’d forgotten about the Medic Appreciation Banquet. It seems that Arthur’s company has a contract with Knight Errant and they heard all about last week’s debacle.

Only they heard Knight Errant’s version of the situation. In their version, the ex-SEAL who’d seen enough and walked out with his little sister in tow was only part of a crack shadowrunning team who left a trail of destruction in their wake when they extracted a known suspect who’d been taken in for questioning.

Now, I’m pretty sure that Nick couldn’t just walk out with me and I know some of it turned violent, and it is the sort of thing Nick was trained to do, but let’s face it: the suspect was me and the questioning was a lot closer to torture than an interview.

Other than that… it was a Thursday, I was in Knight Errant’s Custody and they were questioning me… so… there was some truth to the matter.

When the guys heard about the whole thing, they sent flowers-not because of what happened to me no not my people. They sent flowers because I got them out of a black tie event.

As a bonus, I managed to get through the day with only one ‘episode’ and this one was over before anyone realized it was happening, well anyone who wasn’t furry and purring. Schrödinger seems to know when it’s coming, and he just started rubbing his head against my leg, as if to help anchor me in the here and now instead of getting lost in a memory.


Thursday March 4, 2066 – PSA

Today Ethan revealed his ‘project’ at breakfast. It seems one of the other points he’d taken away from his discussion with Nathan was that any time I was on Ares’ turf or any other company with a contract with Knight Errant, they could take me into custody again. So he took it upon himself, (with Bri’s help coloring in the map) to mark where I could and couldn’t go in the area. He told me the world map would have to wait until his summer break.

With map in hand I headed back to the office. The CEO is allowing me some ‘light duty’ while I’m recovering. It seems that even Chiefs have to have a psych eval after an incident like mine, and I agree-on the bright side, one of my changes means that when I seek counseling, I get to choose who I work with and right now my family are the only people I trust rambling around in my psyche.

I did a first pass on a PSA which Case described as a cross between what I really want to say and what I think they’ll let me say, and he pointed out the difference between what I think they’ll me say and what they actually will let me say.

He was babbling, but he knows that a return of my humor means I’m recovering, and I know his babbling meant he was relieved.

PSA – A few things to keep in mind when you’re out and about.

Cones:

  • Contrary to popular belief, the orange cones will not explode if you get too close to them.
  • They are there to warn you to slow down and be alert.
  • They do not mean, speed up and get out of here as quickly as possible
  • They will not damage your car, hitting someone because your avoiding the cones is not a good excuse.
  • If you aren’t sure what EMS /Law Enforcement want, slow down and pay attention to the road, not whatever they’re blocking off.

Flares

  • Flares, like cones, are there to warn you to slow down and be alert
  • Unlike cones, parking over a flare can be bad.

Flashing lights

  • The idea of the flashing lights is to get your attention
  • Once they have your attention, SLOW DOWN and pay attention to your surroundings
  • The life you save may save yours some day.

Emergency Vehicles

  • I know you want to get where you’re going but letting the Emergency Vehicles through means you’ll be on the road that much sooner
  • If you see an emergency vehicle with its lights going… let them go, someone’s life depends on it.

Our Purpose

  • The ambulance is for transporting sick and or injured parties. It is not a cab
  • Medics are there to stabilize you and get you to the hospital- we are not diagnosticians.
    • If we were, we’d be making a lot more money
    • We would not be riding in the back of the bus. (or in my case motorcycle)
  • The motorcycles are to transport medics only-we are not expecting you to ride on the back while you’re in labor.

Answers to some commonly asked questions

  • Yes, that’s a motorcycle
  • Yes, I rode in on it
  • Yes, I know you’re in a hurry and our being here is an inconvenience but
    • We did not create it
    • We are working as quickly as is safe
    • No I don’t know who you are, but if you aren’t sure, please talk to the nice officer
    • Uhm… use your mapping software or talk to the nice officer… I’m not here to give directions.
  • You know the operations Chief of Citywide? So do I.
  • You pay my salary?
    • So do I.
    • I need a raise.
    • Can you just sign a check now?
  • No!

Use common sense

  • If you use common sense and pay attention, there will less need for us.

I still don’t see anything really wrong with it.


Friday March 5, 2066 – Twenty Questions.

Today was supposed to be a nice quiet low stress day, something to ease me back into the real world and fight what KE did to me on my terms. In the beginning it was exactly that.

I got a lot paperwork done and started to make headway on an ‘acceptable’ PSA. It was almost quitting time when I got a call that changed everything. It was Nathan’s LTG on emergency dial.

It’s the phone equivalent of my Citywide panic button. Press the button, a call is made to a preset number or numbers, in my case it was preset to Central dispatch, in Nathan’s case it called Jonathan and me.

I found out later than Jonathan got through first and had already started looking for him when I got through. In both our cases there was only the auto answer from his phone but I finally did get a response. I ended up doing a lot of double talk – trying to talk to Nathan on one line while coordinating the search on the other.

It took an agonizing few minutes to get a response, I mean, I could tell someone was very definitely there-but they weren’t talking… finally Nathan managed hit a button and after a few tries we got started on ‘yes or no’ and ‘scale of;’ type questions.

What ensued was a stressful 20 minute game of 20 questions trying to find out where he was, what had happened and what kind of shape he was in, all the while updating Jonathan and dispatching Dwight to the area as a stand-by Medic.

It was almost a flashback to the first time I met Nathan six years ago, only this time I was the one trying to remain calm. I knew if I lost it, I’d lose him and that was not going to happen.

It’s amazing how much you can compartmentalize under those conditions.

I kept playing twenty questions while Jonathan had the lodge looking for him and Case was trying to locate him through his signal and through surveillance equipment.

The problem was, he was in the Barrens, in an alleyway, surrounded by buildings that bounced his signal off of too many things to pinpoint. It took precious time. By the end I was saying ‘hon’ a lot more than I have lately and waiting…. praying they’d find him in time.

It wasn’t until I heard Jonathan’s voice on the other side that I allowed myself to relax and that was almost enough for another episode, but I held on. I hadn’t lost it as I listened to a friend literally dying as I talked to him I wasn’t going to lose it over a memory that was well past… not this time.

I will admit I had a good dose of the shakes after that but that was the result of what I’d just been through nothing more, and by the time Case came to pick me up I was in control.

I spent the next several hours in the ER waiting room with the family, listening as Jonathan and Mom Walker discussed watcher spirits and the merits of installing lo-jack in Nate’s head. I was there when he came to the first time. He was still a bit out of it, concussion and blood loss will do that to a person, but it did me a world of good to talk to him.

… and tease him. It’s my prerogative as his adopted big sister and he deserved it.


Saturday, March 6, 2066 – of Concussions and Repercussions.

Last night, I pretty much had Nathan convinced a) this wasn’t a dream and he was indeed alive and not bleeding out in an alleyway in the Barrens b) that his Glasgow coma scale was a solid 8 and c) he had to be very careful around Mom Walker.

She is very much our mom, but when she gets to the point that she’s speaking 95% Salish, we’re in trouble. They want to keep Nathan in for observation again tonight-and if anyone needed observation, it’s Nathan.

It isn’t even mid-day jello time and he’s already champing at the bit. I know I’m not the most patient person in the world, but when you couple that with the impulsivity of a ferret, pain meds and Nathan’s general nature well… things can get interesting.

He was working out theories about non-magical tactics against mages when I had to go into the office. I could have just as easily done the work from his hospital room, but regulations are regulations, and sometimes it’s for the best.

Now, I know I bent some serious rules yesterday but Nathan is family and he’s helped out Citywide often enough that they shouldn’t complain, but when the CEO stopped but I was more than a little apprehensive.

Thankfully all he said was “How’s Nathan doing?”

I smiled and nodded, finally answering “a lot better, thanks.”

Then he dropped the bombshell, but he dropped it with me rather than Nathan, knowing that he is my ‘little brother’. It seems that Lone Star’s Magical Forensics team agrees that something was very wrong with the high rise fire he helped with and it’s not the first. The Star wants to talk to Nathan about it.

The CEO wants Nathan to talk to them… as our consultant on magical investigations. I think I’ll wait until Mom has calmed down before broaching the subject.



Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 09 – It’s not what you know that can hurt you, but who you know

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, February 21, 2066 – Hostile witness

Today was a perfect Sunday… if your perfect Sundays involve being drawn down on by a Knight Errant Tactical Squad, when you’re coming home from Sunday Dinner with family and have your eight-year-old daughter with you in the car.

I’m guessing it wasn’t their idea of good day either considering the fact that before Council Island Security forces drew down on them, and the Marshal HRT Team showed up they had to deal with two very angry, highly protective parents. Parents who by the way were fully armed and in a heavily armored SUV and said SUV was being driven by a man who teaches at the Marshal’s EVOC course.

It was, however, a great day for Bri. She was having too much fun to worry about just how serious the situation was and I for one am thankful. Don’t get me wrong, she knew it was serious, but she had complete confidence in Case and me… and the Walkers and her Uncles. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t want to face us down either.

It turns out that Suspicious Boys really didn’t like the Marshal plan of conducting their interview with me at the Marshal’s office and they definitely weren’t happy about having to wait until Thursday. That unhappiness led to them keeping a surveillance team on me at all times. Church and brunch were fine with them, but Sunday Night dinner on Council Island proved to be too much for them to deal with.

It seems our trip to Council Island was just what they needed for what they considered probable cause to take me in then and there. Something about traveling to a sovereign nation with no extradition treaty.

They also figured that one tactical squad was all they needed to take us down. I’d hate to think what would happen if we were actually trying to evade them.

We had to wait until the Regional Chief Marshal arrived on scene to ‘discuss’ what happened and what the options were. Case had the authority to negotiate, but the sense not to try in his current state. While they were discussing the situation, I put in a call to Citywide, I mean, why should Case’s people have all the fun?

After what they pulled I wanted as many guns pointed at them as possible. It was determined that in the interest of safety and the fact that as a Citywide Medic I could be deployed almost anywhere at any time and we did not want a repeat of todays ‘incident’ that I would meet with the Knight Errant Investigators in three hours at the UCAS Marshal’s Office, and that I was in no way ‘turning myself in’ to the authorities but I was simply doing them a courtesy in their investigation.

They weren’t happy about the three hours, but that was the time needed for us to make arrangements for Bri, for the Marshal’s office to arrange an interview room, with complete monitoring, both magical and mundane and to give me a chance to cool off. They obviously didn’t know me or the depths to which my anger can simmer when it comes to people pointing weapons at my child. It’s a good thing we don’t have more. I don’t think the world is ready for that kind of anger.

Taking care of Bri was easy, we handed her off to Mom Walker and the rest of the lodge that was ready to crispify the Knight Errant boys if they tried anything. Getting me settled, well… let’s just say I was a hostile witness.

They started off with some baseline questions to get a feel for me. They gave up pretty quickly on trying to ‘break’ me since I had the home court advantage and a bevy of lawyers advising me on what to say or do.

They tried to talk me into only having one lawyer present, but I had no intention of having any of them leave.

It would have been fun if I weren’t so pissed off.

Suspicious boys, Marcus and Evans tried to manipulate the scene playing ‘reasonable law enforcement officers to my needlessly hostile and evasive suspect, but the time for that game was well over.

Marcus: “Ms. Miller, why do you need so many advisors?”
Me: “Because right now, they’re all that’s keeping me from being up on assault charges.”
Evans: “We just want some answers.”
Me: “You could have gotten them on Thursday.”
Marcus: “You must see how your reluctance to help looked to us…”

Before I could say anything, they were answered by a chorus of lawyers.

Lawyer #1: “She was a willing witness.”
Lawyer #2: “She was co-operating.”
Lawyer #3: “But her job does not allow her to simply drop everything whenever investigators have a few questions for her.”
Marcus : “But, she was off duty today, why couldn’t she have met with us today and saved us all.. this…”
Lawyer #1: “Because she was on call.”

Chorus of Lawyers: “On Call.”

Me: “On call.”

Then, Evans, bless him asked the stupidest question of all: “why are you so hostile?”

Again, my response was drowned out by the chorus of lawyers but it was a beautiful thing to watch.

Lawyer #3: “You aren’t a parent are you?”

Evans managed a head shake before they descended on him.

Lawyer #2: “You endangered her family…”
Lawyer #3: “You endangered her child…”
Lawyer #1: “If you were a parent, you’d understand.”
Lawyer #2 ” and you wouldn’t be asking such a stupid question.”
Lawyer #4: “So we suggest you ask your questions and get your answers instead of feeling out our client and drawing this out any further.”
Lawyer #1 :“You aren’t setting her at ease, or making her regret her stance and you aren’t going to. The only thing that’s going to mollify our client is an official apology and getting this out of the way so she can prepare for the day ahead… you have ten minutes.”

I’m guessing that’s they figured that was all the longer I could control myself.

As near as I can tell, the boys pulled a job against a corporation that hired Knight Errant to bring them in, and in keeping with their reputation of always getting their man, they figured that harassing their targets’ little sister would do the trick. They didn’t say that but when you’re questioning someone who hasn’t seen her brothers in ten years… well.. it’s kind of obvious.

They tried to threaten me with ‘We’ll be watching you…’ but before they could finish the sentence the chorus of lawyers had pulled out a copy of a restraining order and handed it to them. It had been duly signed and notarized, they’d just been waiting for something ‘threatening.’

Case wasn’t nearly as patient. After the interview, he had a few choice words for Marcus and Evans… A few words I think everyone in the building could hear, and loud enough that Sifu may not allow Case back into Tai Chi class next week.

If you ask me, they got off easy.


Monday,  February 22, 2066 – Surveilling the Surveillers

Still no apology. Not that I’m holding my breath or anything, I just thought I’d get that off my chest right off the bat.

I did, however, get to spend the day under surveillance. They didn’t go out of their way to be conspicuous, but they didn’t really try not to be noticed either. That’s the purpose behind this kind of ‘investigation’ read ‘harassment.’

Thing is, while they were watching me, I know the cameras Case has had watching me have been repurposed and are now watching them. They have been good about keeping the prescribed distance and they haven’t interfered with me doing my job.

They’re just waiting for my brothers to make contact.

Part of me wants to tell them, “They didn’t contact me when Bri was born, they didn’t contact me when Case almost died, they didn’t contact any of us when I was almost killed– they aren’t coming back.”

Hopefully, they’ll figure that out for themselves, or break containment so we can press charges. I really hope they just give up– I have enough enemies who’s careers I’ve ‘ruined’ by standing up for myself.

Sometimes I think I should come with my own surveillance guide.


Tuesday February 23, 2066 – Stand Like a Tree

It seems Sifu did indeed hear Case the other night, or at least heard about Sunday.

When they got home, Bri excitedly told me that Sifu had made Case stand in the corner, and then demanded to know what daddy had done wrong.

To be fair, Sifu did not kick Case out of class, but he did make him practice some Qi Gong exercises off by himself to get centered. The exercise was called Zhan Zhuang, or Standing Like a Tree. And while Case did practice it off to the side, Sifu did not actually tell him to stand in the corner, but when you’re eight and your dad is pretty much told to take a time out… well, that’s the thing that sticks with them.

Case wasn’t entirely amused but we’ve both had two days to calm down and that’s begun to help. Still no apology and I’m still not holding my breath.

I did end up explaining that daddy had used some very strong language with the men who’d pointed their guns at us, and Bri bless her nodded solemnly and said, “because they forgot that you should never point a gun at someone like that because that’s how accidents happen… unless you’re pointing them at the bad guys and you mean it.. then it’s okay.”

Some folks may disagree, but I take that as a sign we’re raising her up right. I just hope the surveillance team heard every word of it.


Wednesday February 23, 2066 – Extended Coverage.

We have gone well above and beyond the need for a formal apology. It’s one thing to watch me and ask questions about me. Do your background checks, I don’t care. I have been fully vetted by the UCAS Marshal’s office… do you really think you’re going to find dirt on me?

Go ahead and look, BUT LEAVE MY DAUGHTER OUT OF IT.

She has never met her uncles, she has no idea what you’re doing but she knows you’re there and oh yeah… she’s EIGHT!

I got a call at 11:05 this morning from the Principal at St. Nick’s telling me I had a very distraught daughter who needed to speak to me.

I think the worst thing for Bri was the fact that she is still just settling in at a new school and people are getting used to her and she’s just beginning to make friends, but when Knight Errant shows up trying to make her look like a criminal it was just too much for her.

As I recall I said nothing soothing or mollifying to Bri, but my righteous anger did the trick, as did the return of the Chorus of Lawyers. The restraining order now extends to Bri and they are pretty much not allowed in the same state my daughter.

They actually made the mistake of calling Case to try and smooth things over and see if he could get me to calm down… They quickly learned that I’m the mellower of the two.

I think Case is going to be standing in the corner again tomorrow.


Thursday, February 25, 2066 – Reflection… interrupted

My morning started with a follow-up visit from the Lone Star Detectives who were investigating my leaky bathroom. They have a very good case against the boyfriend but they want to make it solid. I don’t blame them.

I handed them the disc from my Paramedic cam. I guess that’s another advantage of having met some of the people I have here. Always document everything and if your camera burns directly to a disk, there’s no way to say the footage was edited.

I’d just been waiting for them to ask for it (and yes, I dubbed a copy and yes there’s a copy in a safety deposit box)

With nothing else to do I decided to go through the mail and I’m glad. I got a letter from an old friend back in Baltimore-Rudi. He’s looking into moving out this way and was asking about schools and job prospects. Considering the fact that he’s a motor medic and his wife is an RN, I’d say better than average.

I mean, I do know the medic in charge of the program out here.

Then he asked the loaded question: “what have you been up to for the last ten years?”

That gave me a lot of room for thought. Ten years ago, when I first got to Seattle I was green. I was greener than green if that was possible. To be fair-I wasn’t a green medic, I wasn’t even a green motor-medic. I was the program pilot transferring from Baltimore Shock Trauma and places like Johns Hopkins.

I was used to dealing with people on the worst day of their lives… I was used to fighting and that put me ahead in some areas, but I was so… unaware of the underside of the city, the corporations and the people working in the ‘gray’ areas.

Overall I don’t think I’ve changed that much… I mean, I’m still me… I’m maybe a little more cynical but a lot more hopeful too. I’ve seen the worst, lived through it and came out on the other side-a bit worn for wear but I like to think I’m better for it.

I found and lost my brothers and gained a family I wouldn’t trade for anything. I’ve lived, I’ve loved, I’ve lost and I’ve recovered. My losses have made me all the more thankful for what I do have, and I’m even more determined to hold onto it with both hands.

I.. gotta go… three alarm high rise fire… more later…


Friday, February 26, 2066 – In parallel – by Jess Miller

I feel like I was hit by a freight train… no, better yet, like I have a monster hangover with none of the supposed fun prior to the feeling.

I thought Mario’s night terrors were bad, but it seems that the skeletons in my closets were invited out to play and haven’t quite gone home yet.

I’ve woken up a few times, totally disoriented. It took me a moment to figure out where I was and even then, everything seemed out of kilter. The only constant has been Case, holding me. So much to process… Consciously I only remember bits and pieces, and I’m pretty sure that’s my brain’s way of saying ‘you don’t need to know.’

Nathan and Mario agree I need time, and I think they need a break as well. Knight Errant has a lot of explaining to do, but I’m not sure if they will…

I’m going to write more later—when I’ve had a chance to process everything when I’ve had some real sleep… and about a year’s worth of therapy.


Friday, February 26, 2066 – In parallel – by Jonathan Walker

04:30

I have spent the last eight hours trying to keep my best friend from going off the deep end and storming the Ares compound in Tacoma. The thing is—I’m not sure if stopping him is really the right thing to do.

It almost came to blows a minute ago, but he’s calm again, calm enough that he’s got me really worried.

We underestimated our enemies; we forgot one rule in the game of Jurisdiction… a UCAS Restraining Order carries little to no weight within a Corporation or its enclaves.

No one thought about that until Jess answered a callout to the Ares Campus in Tacoma… it was late enough when she got that call that Case knew he and Bri would be on their own for class and dinner, so he took Bri to Tai Chi class, trusting Jess to take care of herself.

It’s what you have to do. Jess does it when Case is working a detail, it’s a fact of life and we accept the risks. But this was not the risk we’d signed up for.

It took them four hours to clear the scene, another fifteen to twenty minutes for dispatch to realize they hadn’t heard from Jess since she’d called in to say she was en-route. Turns out she’d never called herself on scene, but that’s not uncommon. Major incidents are just this side of total chaos and calls get lost in the confusion: another hazard of the job.

It wasn’t until 18:45 that they started looking for her. Charlie thought she’d gotten waylaid by a sucking chest wound and taken them to the hospital, but she would have returned. Thing was no-one saw her, no one.

By the time they’d figured out she was missing Case was in class and had turned off his LTG and didn’t turn it back on until halfway through dinner with Bri. That’s when things really came to a head.

The good part of this whole fiasco is the resources Case has access to puts Citywide to shame, and while they couldn’t find their Chief and medic, Case’s people found out what happened within a half an hour of being on the case.

It took precious time, but they found footage of her arriving on scene, parking her bike, and heading through towards the command center to report in. Five minutes later someone moved her bike into an unmarked garage.

Figuring out what happened from there was like a roller coaster. The tension kept building when we started thinking about what was probably happening.

Odds are Marcus and Evans hadn’t really planned this out—they probably haven’t even thought it out, or perhaps they have. There isn’t that much we can do legally and the timing couldn’t be worse since it’s after hours everywhere.

I think on one level we knew they were trying to lure her brothers out of hiding, and we were all pretty certain they felt she was hiding something. Part of why we insisted she be questioned at the Marshal’s office is the fact that they couldn’t use any ‘Invasive means’ of questioning.

Again, a Corporation on their turf is a sovereign nation and allowed to use whatever means they feel necessary to produce results. I think knowing that only made things worse.

At times Case has been like a caged cougar, pacing the confines of his cell, waiting for an opening. Other times, like now, he is calm and silent.

Unnerving as his pacing is—I’ll take the caged cougar over a calm and silent Jason Casey.

06:30

Mom arrived with coffee about twenty minutes ago and for a minute it looked like I was going to seriously have to hurt Case. His mood has been sour and unable to lash out at those who were hurting his family he lashed out at those of us around him. It’s one thing when he yells at me, or Nathan or Michael for that matter. We don’t take it personally, but when he yelled at mom… is was a totally different story. All three of us reacted almost immediately but not as quickly as Case.

He apologized in earnest and then left the room. I know he needed to gather his thoughts, I know he wanted to be alone where there would be no need for apologies, but I also knew it was the last thing he needed—and if I hadn’t followed him, mom would have.

I’ve been there for him in the mornings after Jess has had a ‘bad night’. It’s been almost six years since the shutdown and she still has nightmares bad enough to give Case nightmares. When I come into the station in the morning and Case is going at it with the heavy bag—I know it’s been another bad night and we talk.

Those occasions are fewer now, but a bad rescue, not enough sleep… an odd noise in the middle of a peaceful night is enough to trigger a nightmare, and now…

Now my best friend’s wife, my sister in all but blood, is being held in a cell on corporate turf and we both know they will hold nothing back to find out what they think she is hiding. When they meet with resistance, and they will, they will think she’s hiding something and pull out all the stops. Magic will be aided with drugs in an effort to get to whatever it is she’s hiding. Lord help them when they succeed.

It’s only a matter of time. Jess is strong-willed, but she doesn’t stand a chance against a mage who knows what he’s doing. She’d be the first to admit it—but she’d still fight. It’s her nature. It’s why we love her. It’s why what’s happening hurts as much as it does.

Two half hours now until we can try and resolve this legally. The unofficial/more dangerous means is already in the works. I hope it doesn’t come to that but everything will take more time than Jess has.

14:00

When things happen around here, they seem to happen all at once, thankfully this time it was for the best. While I was and trying to keep Case on track, Nathan was calling a few of Bri’s ‘Uncles’

Bri may have never met her real uncles she has more than made up for that with the people who’ve adopted Jess as their sister or Bri as their niece and or goddaughter. I am happy to say that while several of her ‘Uncles’ were working on obtaining Jess’ release one-way others, including myself and Case, were working on gaining her release through proper channels.

In the end, it was Nick who got Jess out.

We’d kind of lost track of him after Jess was ‘liberated’ from her ‘cave’ back in Atzlan but it turns out he retired from the military and… being well versed in security protocols and well-vetted had found himself a job with Knight Errant—a job, I’m rather happy to say, he left this morning.

Jess is sleeping off the worst of it—in this, I have to defer to Nathan and Mario which is frustrating. All I can do to help is keep her asleep until the drugs wear off and keep Case from driving everyone crazy.

I feel so useless.

23:00

Jess is finally resting normally, but we all know she’s got a long ways to go. Fortunately, there are people who care about her and Case isn’t letting her out of his sight for a good long time.

Me, I’ll be spending some time on Case’s couch watching over my friends, my goddaughter, and my girls.

Never mind keeping your enemies close. Keep your friends close and your family closer, and believe me, the Walkers have circled the wagons around the Caseys.


Saturday, February 27th – Picking up the pieces

My emotions are on a roller coaster right now, and I’m trying to put things in order, so please bear with me.

I arrived at the Ares compound, it was a full call out and they needed every medic they could get. The problem was, Knight Errant is a subsidiary of Ares, and handles their security. That meant as soon as I stepped on Ares’ campus, I was subject to their law enforcement.

It’s something I usually don’t think of and I wasn’t thinking of it then either. I was too angry at the time to realize just how bad things were. No, I was more worried about the lives they were endangering by keeping me from doing my job.

If they’d listened to logic I would have been fine, but they were more concerned with their end-goal rather than mine. Knight Errant does have a reputation to uphold and I have to admit, after I while with their ‘specialists’, I wished I did have something to tell them.

Logically I understand what they did… I even understand why they did it, but emotionally…

The UCAS Legal System has a series of checks and balances and is based on the belief that a person is innocent until proven guilty. A Corporation has policies and guidelines, and a corporation like Knight Errant operates on the assumption that everyone is guilty and they’re the only law that matters.

At least… that’s the way it feels.

I’m pretty sure that early on they figured out I didn’t know where my brothers were, but that didn’t mean my brothers didn’t know where to find me, or what was happening to me. I also have a lot of skeletons in my closet, my belfry and I’m pretty sure there are a few that hide in my left kidney, and a group like Knight Errant loves skeletons.

I deal with them by compartmentalizing them, to the point I lost track of just how many of them there were. For over twelve hours they were pulled out of their compartments given a party hat and favors and served hors de oeuvres.

To save their team of mages from any more headaches than I’d already given them, they used some sort of drug that not only ‘relaxed’ me… it made it impossible for me to control where my mind went… I couldn’t even hide in one of the closets until my party guests got bored and left.

If I did manage to get away from one of them, there was a mage working to bring them back to me.

Again, I understand the mechanics of what was done. Instead of wearing me down or tricking me into admitting something or giving something away and actually working they just kept pressing, kept pushing every chink in my armor until it all fell apart like adobe bricks turning to mud.

I didn’t have any information they wanted or needed, but I had plenty of buttons to push and plenty of points where they could break me and they used every one of them.

Nathan tells me I didn’t stand a chance.

Again, it’s something I understand intellectually, but emotionally…. I have a long way to go and plenty of people to talk to… and from the looks of things, plenty of time to do it in. Citywide has some choice words for Knight Errant—especially since I did co-operate, especially since as far as Citywide’s concerned, I was at Ares as part of my job and therefore was not subject to their rules, as long as I was not violating my contract with Citywide and the city for that matter.

Righteous or not, it can’t undo what was done.

I just have to sweep out the broken beer bottles and herd the reluctant party guests back into their appropriate hidey holes and move on.

While I have help—the clean up is something I pretty much have to do on my own, but I have plenty of people here to help me as I deal with them and Mario tells me I can’t just put everything back where it was—the skeletons know the way out now so I need to examine each one and rebuild my walls against them.

That and I need to make sure no one from Knight Errant gets anywhere near me, not that they’re going to have a chance with an armed and angry husband and a plethora of family all ready to defend me.

The boys may have left me for my own protection, but my real family stays with me for my protection. It’s all I’ve ever asked for.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 08 – You Can’t Prove What You Don’t Know

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday – February 14, 2066 – The Heart of the Matter

I really need to lay off the late night pizza. Either that or the trouble that’s coming has arrived… in Technicolor and 3D

I think this was the first Valentine’s Day Case and I got to celebrate on Valentine’s Day, and let me tell you Jason Casey is a romantic who does nothing in half measures. It started with breakfast in bed and convincing Schrödinger that it was my breakfast not his, but he seems to think the bed and anything around it is his.

The afternoon and evening were picture perfect, a picnic with Bri, an evening out on the town, just the two of us. Perfect except for the part where Case gave me the classic heart shaped box of chocolates.

Something in my mind clicked and suddenly I was somewhere else. Another place, another time—none of us are sure exactly what happened, but I much prefer the ‘late night pizza theory’ because the other options are I’m either under psychic assault or losing my mind.

Something shifted in my mind, that’s the only way to describe it. One minute we were smiling and Case was handing me a foil wrapped box of chocolates, the next I was standing on a pyramid… his beating heart in my hand.

Needless to say I dropped the box.

I wanted to end the evening in Case’s arms…. just not that way. I’m really going to lay off the pizza.


Monday, February 15, 2066 – Observe and Report

I’m happy to say there were no Quatl feathers, no paw prints or bloody visions involved with my day. It’s just as well since it was my first full shift alone on the bike since I became Chief.

Case had been against it, but his arguments against my doing it were exactly my arguments for doing it. When you’re on the bike, you can’t afford to have your mind anywhere else, which was exactly what I needed.

I needed to be active and buried in normal. Okay, my idea of normal is rather messed up, but it’s the normal I know and I would far rather be helping people than jumping at shadows or trying to figure out where the next batch of weirdness would be coming from.

I’m pretty sure Case abused his power and made sure there were eyes on me at all times, but at least his people are high tech enough that they could follow me without leaving the command center, and I kind of like it that way.

Although I admit, there were a few times I was tempted to look up and wave.


Tuesday, February 16, 2066 – The Unknown

Today went a lot like yesterday one but there was less arguing and more urges to wave.

Sometimes like today, I need to remind Case that he likes my self-sufficient stubborn streak and that was what drew him to me.

He informed me that he was stuck with me because my self-sufficient stubborn streak meant he was the only one who had a chance of keeping up with me and protecting me from myself, but I could see the pride in his eyes.

He may not like the situation, but he understands my need to face the unknown on my terms. It’s one of the reasons we work well together.

I just wish there weren’t so many unknowns in my life.


Wednesday, February 17, 2066 – The Devil You know

Today was another first. For the first time since I became chief, I had to switch from being a responding medic to chief medic on scene, to chief in the command center. It started out as a normal call – collision with entrapment.

Somewhere between the initial call and my arrival three more vehicles had joined the scene. As soon as I arrived I called in for more units. It was a good thing I slowed my approach because I almost found the cause of the accident(s) the hard way.

I don’t know if it was black ice or grease or what have you, but it was slippery and it made rescue difficult and dangerous.

We ended up having to leave our bikes where they were and head down on foot, which of course made extraction that much more interesting. Once we had the extractions underway I climbed back to the top of the hill to coordinate getting the heavy equipment where it was needed.

We learned some rather creative uses for choppers and remotes, but we got the job done. It really did help having a medic on hand with a knowledge of the scene, the equipment needed and the medics involved—but it’s not something I want to repeat.

When I got home, I knew Case had been spying on me. He simply shook his head and said something about having never thought of using a roto-drone as an extraction tool.


Thursday, February 18, 2066 – The Other Devils you know

Today should have been easy. I was off duty, I had nothing more strenuous planned than playing with Schrödinger and sleeping in. I can’t even get that right.

One of the advantages of living in an apartment/condo is the fact that if anything goes wrong, you call maintenance. If your microwave breaks down, you call maintenance. Find a leak? You get the picture.

While living in a house is nice, security does seem to have better control over the building than they do individual houses. Granted, we had the break in the other day but I’ve never had anybody shoot me through the building here either.

On the downside, when you’re living on top of other people, what goes wrong in one unit, it can affect your neighbors. A fire is a good example, or something as simple as an overflowing bathtub… well, that can quickly become your problem.

It started off small enough I wouldn’t have noticed it but since the cat-box is in the bathroom, Schroedinger noticed it and he let me know in no uncertain terms that he did not like what was happening. Let me tell you, that cat puts the ‘cat’ in caterwaul.

I put a call into maintenance and they assured me they’d take care of it. That should have been the end of it, but the building managers are nothing if not thorough and they knew their tenants and their professions. When the maintenance team found an unconscious woman in the overflowing bathtub, they immediately called management who immediately called me back and asked me to bring my kit.

Talk about a fast response time.

All I can say is she’s lucky she didn’t drown, but that would have been overkill. There were enough tranquilizers in her system to put down a devil rat. Once the on-duty medics arrived, I put a call into Lonestar and tried to preserve as much of the scene as possible.

When the detectives arrived they, of course, had to ask why I’d called them on an apparent suicide. The answer is simple: suicide by pills is usually not done in the bathtub.

People trying to kill themselves with pills usually go for the whole, clean up the apartment and lay themselves out on the bed scenario, thinking it would be neat… but it’s not. It never is.

Suicide in tubs usually involves slit wrists and warm water. There are some things I wish I didn’t know as a medic.

Needless to say, I didn’t really feel like taking a long soak tonight.


Friday, February 19, 2066 – Suspicion of being suspicious department

The un-meeting seems to be working. I know I’m just as glad to not be meeting every week, but some of our staff doesn’t seem nearly as happy about the weekly status reports that have taken their place. Then again, some of them aren’t very happy with anything I do and never will be.

As I was leaving the office, I swear I thought I saw someone hiding a voodoo doll. It’s not like they could really do anything to me that I haven’t already done myself. Let’s face it if they really want to do me in– all they have to do is leave me to my own devices. Like today. Instead of sitting in a nice safe climate controlled office, I’m heading off on a motorcycle to the Lynnwood area.

The place has changed a lot since I first arrived in Seattle. A lot of the people who were there ten years ago have moved out and new people have taken their place. It’s the whole ‘things changing and staying the same’ situation. I’m not a complete stranger here. After Case and I got married I ended up renting out the condo to a couple of poor starving medics I know and Mario still lives here so we stop by from time to time, but it’s not home. I’m not sure it really ever was.

It was where I stayed when I was looking for the boys, it’s where my journey began but home is with Case and Bri, as it should be.

I ate lunch at the diner and found the ‘Jess Special’ was still on the menu. It really was like old home week. Even the two suspicious looking guys who entered the diner while I was eating seemed normal– at least for the way things were when I was living here.

Thing is, I don’t work for Lonestar, and I’m not even sure if my PI license is still good and let’s face it looking suspicious isn’t a crime, it’s just a warning sign.

I took the warning for what it was and headed out, but not before warning the waitress and making sure Mario knew something was going on. Part of me worried that I was endangering Mario unnecessarily but let’s face it if anyone knows what’s going on in that neighborhood and is equipped to deal with it, it’s Mario.

I don’t know what they were planning, but I do know nothing happened in Lynnwood today. I’m pretty sure Mario had something to do with that.


Saturday February 20, 2066 – Suspicion of being suspicious department part II

My second day in Lynnwood and the suspicious boys were back. Mario met me at the diner. Turns out they were asking about me… and the boys. I guess my being back in the neighborhood must have stirred up some old memories, or, more likely some old hornets’ nests. The boys never did do things by half measures and Lord help me, when I got here I was well on the way to being just like them.

There was a time when something like this would bother me, but I guess after everything I’ve been through I got used to it. I feel bad because my first response is almost always to call Case and let him know what’s going on. Early on I’d wait until my suspicions were confirmed, but that was before I got shot and Therese was killed.

That’s the downside of being a Marshal’s wife. There are people out there who are more than willing to go through family to get their jobs done, and those jobs are usually quite messy. We kind of came to an understanding after that. I tell him everything and he doesn’t try to handcuff me to a bodyguard.

I mean, it’s not like I could hide anything from him anyway. It’s that whole suspicious nature thing and the only way I can keep a secret from him is if I don’t know or don’t remember it myself. Either way, Case got the call.

This meant that as they closed in on me — two UCAS Marshals descended on them. There was a lot of badge pulling and a rather heated discussion on both sides until it was established that the Marshal Service does indeed beat Knight Errant in the authority department. That established it was agreed that they could talk to me… downtown at the Marshal’s office, when I’m off duty, on Thursday.

Suspicious boys didn’t like it, but since two Marshals beats a pair of Knights Errant, and the fact that I am pretty much a public figure, they agreed to wait.

Something tells me this is just the beginning.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker


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