Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 19 – Denial or Reality

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, May 2, 2066 – The eyes have it.

Sundays used to be so nice and peaceful… simple even. You get up, you go to church; you rescue a few people from a rampaging elemental then go have dinner with family. Why did people have to make it so complicated?

Things were looking like a nice normal Sunday. We were dealing with an elemental one minute and the next thing I know I’m waking up in the hold of a freighter headed south with some very tightlipped people making sure I’m staying hydrated.

I’ve never thought of canvas bags as a comfortable pillow and I still don’t. My head hurt and felt like someone was still pressing it in when I tried to sit up… either that or it could have been the concussion…

Typical there wasn’t a medic in the lot. Oh sure there was someone who could deal with bullet trauma, but nothing as mundane as a concussion. I mean… if you’re going to give someone one, you should know all the inherent dangers and how to treat them but people never seem to think about that.

No, they see people get knocked unconscious twelve ways to Sunday on the trid and think it’s just that easy. All I can say is someone really better check our security.

On the bright side, I’m home… or in Harborview which is close to home. The extra cameras came in handy, as did having a husband in the Marshal service, a brother who has enough magic backing him up to find me and the combined firepower necessary to bring me back.

It also helped to have actual camera footage of my attackers this time, several people who tried to blend in with the crew claiming they had no idea I was there. Hard to be believable when there’s footage of you a) hitting me, b) carrying me on board and c) giving me water.

Blindfolds only work on the eyes…

Whoever they are, they’re good and they’re not talking. Case is better. We will know something. I hope.


Monday, May 3, 2066 – Finding a replacement

I turned in my resignation today.

It took a lot of thinking and soul-searching and I realized-yes I can do the job, but not with the way things are going right now. I’ve spent more time sidelined and unable to work since I took the job than when I was just in charge of the motormedic program.

Charlie said he understood, but he doubted anyone could bring what I bring to the table.

“Chaos and mayhem?” I asked.

“A fresh if chaotic perspective.”

The CEO declined my request. He said he likes having me around because he never knows what’s going to happen next and I make his life interesting.

Yes, job security through entertainment?

I don’t know… but, as Charlie pointed out… I couldn’t even get someone to take my place as head of the motormedic program, how could I hope to find someone to replace me as chief?


Tuesday, May 4, 2066 – The trail winds home

Sometimes all the pieces fall into place and what was unknown is suddenly known. On those occasions, one can almost hear the celestial choir sing as the truth is revealed.

This was not one of those times.

Case’s investigation ended in him being arrested and Internal Affairs taking over. I didn’t understand it all until Nathan came home from his own investigation and asked if I knew anyone named Felix Lighter.

Felix Lighter, a name I haven’t heard in over ten years. The fixer who’s arranged for my kidnapping went by the name Felix Lighter. The same name used by the Marshal Service in general and Case in particular when hiring runners like my brothers for their more… clandestine missions.

Until IA can identify who this particular ‘Felix Lighter’ is, Case will remain under arrest and Bri and I are to remain in protective custody. Fortunately, IA agrees that Council Island is the safest place for us. IA thinks we’re not safe with Case around-I know we aren’t safe without him.

This is all so wrong on so many levels. Who knew that celestial choirs sang the blues?


Wednesday, May 5, 2066 – Paranoia, a game we can all play

Today was an interesting trip into the paranoia zone.

I used to think I was paranoid, and lately, I’ve realized that I’m just not paranoid enough. IA seems to be trying to make up for all the lack of paranoia I’ve been displaying and then some.

I tried to arrange to see Case, but IA was there trying to perform an interview disguised as an intervention.

“Why won’t you accept the truth that your husband could have hired these people?”

“I accept that it is possible for him, or anyone to have hired them… My question for you is ‘Why?’ ‘Why would he? There are much easier, much less traceable ways including the most obvious-leave me to my own devices.”

I don’t think they really understood until I talked to Case on the phone about arranging a visit and he just laughed.

“Jess darling,” he said between chuckles. “You know full well that if you came here… with your luck? There would be a riot… a tornado… an earthquake. I don’t think I can take that right now.”

“You forgot flash flood…”

Case laughed again. “Especially the flash flood… you just stay safe and I’ll see you soon, okay?”

“If I’m not busy with a riot… or a tornado… ”

“If you’re not too busy.”

It’s kind of interesting when unhealthy paranoia gets a good look at our relationship. I just hope they can clear him soon. I miss him.


Thursday, May 6, 2066 – One night too many

I had a long talk with Jonathan tonight.

He saw the looks Nathan was giving me and figured I’d listen to him more than I would one of my little brothers. I think he was surprised to find out that I’d already visited my shrink over this.

I don’t see him on a regular basis-he’s more on retainer than anything. It’s more like one of those prepaid service contracts where I’m covered for 10 incidents a year. If things keep up like this, I’ll have eaten through that before well before the end of June.

Case is still in jail which, no matter how light he makes of it, is not nothing. I know he’s doing it for me but he’s a law enforcement officer in jail. He’s in what they call ‘administrative segregation’, solitary confinement by a less depressing name. It keeps him ‘safe’ by keeping him out general population, but that’s a long cry from actually being safe.

I know the union has supplied him with a lawyer and he won’t go through the sort of nightmare I went through but keeping a man like Case in a position where he can’t do anything to protect his family is probably worse than what I’m feeling right now.

I had a hard time explaining it to Jonathan but I think he understands. Heck, he’s known Case longer than I have.

It doesn’t help that IA has actually cleared Case of any involvement in my kidnapping. They were just too late to get the judge to sign the paperwork for Case’s release.

I should be happy that he’s only in there one more night but it’s one more night too many and the angels are still singing the blues.


Friday, May 7, 2066 – Flying the coop… well… walking

When they told me Case would be out ‘first thing’ this morning I forgot to factor in processing time. The release forms had to be reviewed, verified and signed. Then the forms had to be notarized, copied and filed in triplicate at the courthouse.

Once they were filed, they then had to be taken to the jail and then it had to be sorted, filed, copied and verified before they could even begin processing Case out.

I’m pretty sure I drove Jonathan crazy as he tried to keep me from carrying the paperwork over to the jail myself. Fortunately, he knows I’m not the world’s most patient person at the best of times.

In the end, it took two rolls of duct tape and a 5th of coconut rum to keep me from getting in the way, and once Case was home well… the only person who even had a chance of pulling me away from Case was Bri and thankfully she had no intention of doing so.

Case is sleeping now, and I’m not far behind. I sleep a lot better when he’s here.


Saturday, May 8, 2066 – The tough go for a picnic

This morning I woke up to the sound of Case having a nightmare. He was so tense he almost hit me when I tried to wake him up. Guess I’m not the only one who’s got ghosts to deal with.

Today, however, we dealt with them by giving them a picnic. I had been planning on going into the office, but when I came downstairs Mom Walker and Trina were packing a basket for us. I may be slow at times, but I can take a hint and after everything we’ve been through Case, Bri and I needed some time together, and a picnic in the Walker’s backyard was perfect.

There are still a lot of questions, but for now, I’ll settle for coleslaw and BBQ chicken.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker


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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 18 – Manipulation

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, April 25, 2066 – Food Poisoning

… and… it would seem I spoke too soon.

No, no one needed medical care during or immediately after the luncheon, but almost every one of us needed it later. The only people spared the midnight trip to the ER were those where were lucky enough to have opted for the kid’s meal.

Thankfully Bri still prefers chicken fingers to almost anything else… and as I’ve said before… she’s her father’s daughter… there is no wondering where she gets that. The two of them ate chicken fingers, I had the ham salad sandwich.

At least this time, if I miss work, I’ll be in good company.


Monday, April 26, 2066 – Just Poisoning.

It would seem the ‘Food’ part of yesterday’s diagnosis was incorrect.

I’m a lot better off compared to some of my compatriots and all tolled we got off relatively lightly. First shift, our back up medics and several ‘on call’ medics from other companies managed to keep the city covered but only just.

I’ve talked to Charlie about some of the alternatives but as it is neither of us is really in any shape to do more than mull it over in front of the trid.

Tomorrow; I’ll deal with the outcome tomorrow and let the Star (and Case) deal with the investigation, really.


Tuesday, April 27, 2066 – From the ashes

Things just keep getting better.

It feels like we’re sitting in concentric circles and yet somehow-it’s like they’re pointing out our weaknesses instead of pressing them and taking advantage of us. It’s almost as if someone is trying to tell us we need to shore things up and make sure we have contingency plans in order.

That may not be the case, but that’s the hint I’m taking.

Charlie and I have worked, with the regional CEO’s blessing, on an agreement with the area EMS corporations. If something happens like Sunday’s food poisoning case, whoever is affected will have back up from the others.

Let’s face it, competition is all well and good but in the end, we can all agree that patients dying is bad for everyone’s business.


Wednesday, April 28, 2066 – Symmetry

On my list of things I’d expect people to do in the name of power and manipulation … eating something you know might kill you has never been on the list. At least it wasn’t until we found out, from Bri, that Arthur knew full well he was allergic to shellfish.

Case, bless him, was much better at cross examining our daughter than I was-and far more diplomatic afterwards when dealing with Arthur and his family.

It took some more… intervention in the form of Jonathan to get to the bottom of things… Case’s diplomacy only goes so far where his family is concerned.

It had nothing to do with Saturday’s poisoning. Oddly enough it was an effort to get in with me in hopes of meeting the Walkers. He got his wish, but not in the way he wanted. I don’t think he’ll be getting that raise or an audience with the Walkers.

Jonathan, it turns out, can be as diplomatically challenged as my husband. No wonder they get along so well.


Thursday, April 29, 2066 – An un-pretty picture

There are times when I feel like Case and I are on the same page today, however, was not one of those days. It was one of those days where I was working on building things up, he was breaking them down.

We’ve got the Medic Accord signed and ratified, we’ve hired our first magical staff in the HRT teams and we have one Mage/Medic now on the payroll with two more in the pipeline… like I said, we’re building things up.

Case, on the other hand, was breaking down everything we know from Saturday. The toxicology reports and victimology profiles helped him determine how the poison was delivered. Breaking down the scene and things he hadn’t noticed because he was busy worrying about me led him to a very disturbing conclusion.

The goal was not to poison the adults, but to incapacitate them… thereby leaving the children…

Yeah you know where that’s leading…

Someone’s taking marrow samples from me, trying to take my daughter… it’s a very unhappy Jess.


Friday, April 30, 2066 – He sees you when you’re sleeping.

Remember what I said about vetting St. Nick’s… and finding out that they’d vetted us long before we got to their campus? Well… it would seem they really did their homework.

Last night, as soon as we suspected that kidnapping was the objective and just how far the people planning said kidnapping were willing to go we realized they wouldn’t stop. When Case remembered the helpful medics he didn’t recognize hovering around us… hovering around Bri well, that’s when we started to suspect Bri was their objective.

Once we realized that we had no choice but to contact the school. It wasn’t safe for Bri and it definitely wasn’t safe for those around her. While I made an appointment, Case called Jonathan.

We showed up for our emergency meeting ready to pull Bri out and homeschool her for the time being when several ‘educators’ we hadn’t met showed up for the meeting asking if they were late.

I was about to object when the head administrator nodded to Jonathan. “Mr. Walker,” he said calmly. “Would you mind telling your friends what you see when you look around this room… around this campus?”

I’m not sure what he saw but it didn’t take long for Jonathan to be smiling. “Case, Jess-they are more than ready to protect everyone here….”

He paused then looked back at the administrator. “My question is how do you hide it all?”

That brought a smile to the man’s face but he quickly turned back to Case and me.

“This is why we accepted your daughter-because you both are concerned not only about her safety and well being but that of those around her. The student body here shares common dangers and common parental values. This needs to be nurtured. You keep doing what you do, all we ask is that you allow us to do our part.”

Any argument I could have come up with was washed away when he turned back to Jonathan and added: “When your daughters are old enough, I hope you will consider St. Nicholas’.”

I think I’ll just blame Jenna and leave it at that.


Saturday, May 1, 2066 – Too much time on my hands

Sometimes a slow day can be nice-it gives you time to get everything organized. Sometimes it gives you too much time to think. Sadly this was one of those days.

I got into the office early to get some paperwork done, but there wasn’t nearly as much as I’d feared. And that left a lot of time for mulling over things that are probably better left un-mulled.

I realized some things I’m pretty sure Case has already thought of and investigated, but that’s his job and his way of thinking. Me, I don’t tend to think about things analytically until well into post-game analysis.

Whoever attacked me-they knew to avoid the cameras. It’s surprising enough they even know about them, let alone their location. The only way I can think of knowing where they are is to either have seen our footage or worked with us.

Filming everything isn’t even a companywide policy. It’s something I instituted first with the motor medics, then with the regular medics when I took over as chief. Let’s face it, I’m the paranoid masochist who makes sure my medics are protected. I’m the one who taught them to be paranoid and the boys were the ones who taught me.

That means they know my medics… they know me.

Then there’s the matter of the sample that was taken.

Bone marrow samples are very specific and the reason for getting a sample is usually a matter of checking for compatibility. It all points to someone who knows me or is related to me and the only people who know me that well are my brothers.

The thing is-skulking shadows are so not their style.

Like I said, too much time to think.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 17 – Old Ways

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, April 18, 2066 – an unexpected request

Sometimes I really wonder what is going on inside my daughter’s head.

I should have known something was up when she arranged for Schrödinger to join our family, but I was just happy to have a cat around again and truthfully I wasn’t thinking. I thought having to find a new home for Puck would have cured her, but it seems to have just redirected her energies.

It came to a head this evening at dinner when she announced, to the entire family mind you-that she wanted a baby brother. I don’t think anyone was expecting that, but if they were they did a really good job of hiding it.

It’s amazing. I can discuss medical procedures with almost anyone, but my daughter can turn me into a blathering idiot with one simple question. I tried to point out that a baby wasn’t something you could just ‘find a new home for’ if it didn’t work out, but something in her eyes told me that that was exactly why she’d opted for a baby brother.

I did a lot of stammering until Case intervened and assured her that “We will take it under advisement.”

I could tell from her expression she wasn’t going to accept his dodge for long. Little did I know it wasn’t a dodge and we did indeed… discuss… the matter.


Monday, April 19, 2066 – Miniature Secret Camera

In the interest of getting at least one job done, Case and I decided it was probably a good idea that I stay off the road as much as I can. on those occasions where that is not an option, however, I have added a button cam to my shirt… two actually one in front and another in back-at least until we figure this out.

Of course, it’s a little late to tell us anything useful about my attacker, but if someone tries it again I’ll be prepared.

I kept thinking about the sample and realized that anyone with proper connections would be able to get that information from the donor network no need for cloak and dagger which means that they either don’t have access to the database or they have other uses for it.

Case is looking into a few possibilities but he’s being very tight-lipped about it. On the bright side, I was able to get a coffee at lunch without incident.


Tuesday, April 20, 2066 – Bad Chips

Sometimes playing it safe is not a part of my job, and sometimes the risk isn’t even a choice.

Things started off normally enough. I gave Nathan and Ray a ride in to the hospital then stopped off to see Deputy Chief Young to pick up the JD files for distribution. I still don’t know if it was a good thing I slotted the chip to review it before heading into the office or not.

On a personal level it wasn’t the brightest thing I’ve ever done, but I’ve done it so many times the thought of it being corrupt or worse, virus-laden hadn’t even entered my mind. Well, it’s entered my mind, and wormed its way into every app and data file in my head. Still, if it had hit the computers at Citywide, or worse, some of my medics’ headware… it would have been that much worse. So I’m plus several hundred points for saving the corporate network and minus several hundred for corrupting my own files.

All I can say is: it’s a good thing I keep backups.

I ended up working with Lone Star’s Computer forensics department tracing down the virus and trying to figure out exactly who the target was. The jury is still out on the who and why, but the how was simple: the data chips had been delivered pre-corrupted.

The good news, we have 25 corrupt chips taken out of circulation. The bad news… it was a 30 pack…

When I left Young was coming up with some new and creative explicatives guaranteeing I won’t be letting Bri anywhere near the station for a while.


Wednesday, April 21, 2066 – Mapping Trouble.

Sometimes, things that might be considered good are overridden by the bad they bring, which I think is a left-handed way of saying ‘I’ve got some good news and some bad news.’

The good news is we’ve found four of the five missing chips. The bad news is we found them and the real purpose behind them today. There was the obvious threat I’d figured out yesterday in my head… or with my head – data corruption.

But this particular corruption was designed to cause issues with mapping software. That in and of itself isn’t all that bad… unless of course said mapping software is attached to a dispatching system used by Law Enforcement and EMS.

Sending assistance to the wrong place is bad enough, that can get people hurt or worse, but imagine if you will a sniper situation, not that those ever happen around here, where HRT is sent to the wrong address and the backup teams cordon off the wrong area and set up a staging area that rather than being safe turns out to be a killing zone.

Fortunately, my medics wear their vests and use their eyes. The first time they were shot at they sought cover and radioed in the situation.

It’s amazing how quickly someone can learn to depend on the latest and greatest technology and forget how to do things the ‘old fashioned way’. All things considered, we were lucky: Four wounded, one critical… it could have been much worse.

And the final ‘bad? There’s still at least one chip out there… I wonder if I’m too young to retire.


Thursday, April 22, 2066 – One of those days

Today was one of those days where it would have been better to have woken up on the wrong side of a dimensional rift.

Okay, maybe not that bad, but let me explain…

My day off, which I didn’t take since I was out most of last week recovering.

The plan:

  • Find funding for Magical Staff
  • Find funding for Specialized Training
  • Negotiate Medical Supply contract
  • Price out new vehicles and establish a budget
  • Review team performance
  • Go to the bank.

Of those you’d think, going to the bank would be is the easiest thing on my agenda and you’d be wrong. I know I was.

To be fair it wasn’t the ‘going to the bank’ part that was hard, it was the whole ‘getting out of the bank alive’ part that got tricky.

All I can say is, convincing a stressed out chip-head that you’re not the police when you’re wearing body armor, packing a gun and a radio is just about as improbable as it sounds. It is, however, a lot easier to convince said chip-head that you’re a medic when he’s been shot and you’re the one keeping him from bleeding out.

Thankfully the Star arrived before the nervous security guard acted on his assumption that I was in on the robbery and would probably kill them all when my ‘buddy’ died.


Friday, April 23, 2066 – Communication breakdown

Just a few days ago I was complaining about people forgetting the old way of doing things because something comes along that’s more convenient.

Today I have a new reason for the same complaint. It seems that sniping isn’t enough for some people-some people have to bring technology into it and add all kinds of complications we don’t need.

It’s simple – one sniper, one place to look for the sniper. If we have two snipers, you usually have two places to look and two people to take out. When you have one sniper using drones and remotes… well… the actual sniper could be anywhere and the bullets are flying everywhere.

Needing to get things under control quickly the Star broadcasted a blanket jamming signal, taking out the sniper’s connection to the remotes and in the process taking out all communications between all interested parties.

The Star couldn’t tell the medics to stand-by while they searched for the very human element of the sniper. They couldn’t call for help when he made himself known using a silencer and they certainly couldn’t call for us when they were finished. They couldn’t even call anyone to turn off the jamming equipment.

Not the way I wanted to spend my afternoon, that’s for sure.


Saturday, April 24, 2066 – Just Lunches

Well, it went from a Grand Gala affair to a dinner banquet to a luncheon, but Arthur finally got to show his appreciation for the medics who saved his life.

Three of the honorees were in wheelchairs; a fourth was walking with the aid of a cane. Looking at us, you’d think we were the ones in need of saving not Arthur.

The Mayor was in attendance, as were the heads of KE, Ares, Citywide and of course, Arthur’s company. I am happy to say we managed to get through the luncheon without anyone needing medical care.

Score one for us.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 16 – Detour

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, April 11, 2066 – Observation for Easter

Have you ever looked at something and you knew it was out of kilter but you couldn’t put your finger on it. And every time you looked at it, you were struck by how wrong it was but your brain just couldn’t process it.

That’s how today felt. Something was wrong and whenever I tried to face it head on it would vanish, but I could see it out of the corner of my eye.

I know memory is a tricky thing but the armed guard outside my room seems to tell me that whatever happened was intentional and bad. Well, that and the fact that I woke up in the middle of the night screaming, that’s usually a good sign that what happened wasn’t good.

Fr. Martin stopped by to see me, but as it is I’m still in the hospital for at least the next few days.

So, instead of observing Easter, I’m stuck being observed. At least the nurses are starting to complain to Dr. Shapiro about me. I’ll take that as a good sign.


Monday, April 12, 2066 – There’s no place like home, home

I remember almost everything leading up to the big blur, so I’ll take that as a good sign.

I went to work, which was probably my first mistake. The CEO was waiting for me… he told me I was “a hard person to get a hold of…” but then again, he wouldn’t leave a message so I never knew he was looking for me.

Now that everything is cleared up with KE, at least on paper, Arthur and his people still want to have their shindig, although now they’re talking about making it smaller… just the ‘attending medics’ and their families sort of gathering.

The CEO pointed out that it would do a lot for my public image, of which I’ve never really cared about. Before I could say anything he pointed out that part of the job is PR and I needed to learn to play the game. It seems that if I can enhance our company image-we can get the magical support we need.

Another difference of opinion: I see that as blackmail he calls it quid-pro-quo.

It’s weird. I can remember the stats on the last patient I treated. I can remember my ending mileage from the last trip but the actual incident is still a blur.

Case keeps telling me not to worry and not to push it, but he’s worried and so am I.

On the bright side, I got to go home tonight-although I didn’t go home, home. I went to Council Island home, which is probably better and safer but sometimes… sometimes I want to be alone and that can’t really happen here (which I guess was actually the idea)


Tuesday, April 13, 2066 – Waking to the nightmare

I don’t know which is worse, shadows of memories or the real thing.

It is both better than I feared and worse than thought. In the morning everything was still a blur… just a haunting feeling that something was looming over me. With mom and Michael watching over me, I started to relax and that’s when it hit me.

I wasn’t screaming this time at least. One minute I was sitting out in the garden staring at the geese, the next I was having trouble breathing as I remembered being tackled and as I fell all the pieces fell back into place.

The call came in around 17:30… I was about to head home, but it was the middle of rush hour-a standard motor call. I took the call so Dwight could go check on Hugh. By this time I’ve gotten used to being shadowed although I’m still very iffy about KE-or at least I was.

They ended up breaking the restraining order-but at the time they were actually trying to protect me, taking that into consideration no one’s complaining.

I got to the scene… an overturned vehicle. I made sure that Lone Star had secured the scene-but who hides inside a trunk in an accident scene? I’d moved towards the injured driver and the next thing I knew someone body slammed me to the pavement and hit me with something …

I was paralyzed. I couldn’t open my eyes, but I could hear and feel the person looming over me. I remember listening to him talk to someone-sub vocalizing… Then I felt the needle. It was agonizing but I couldn’t move… I couldn’t even scream.

Remembering that, I realized that my attacker didn’t inject me with something… he took something… I’ll need to check with Dr. Shapiro-but I think it was a marrow sample.

I told Case everything I remembered. It’s not much but it is something.


Wednesday, April 14, 2066 – Three ‘w’s’

Today, after mom and Trina verified that I was well enough, Case took me down to Lone Star’s offices so they could take my statement. At least now I had something to state. It’s still surreal for the most part but at least I know what happened.

The ‘what’ may help us figure out the ‘who’ and the ‘why’ but it’s not going to be easy. Especially when you consider that the attacker either knew about our cameras and their placement or they were very, very lucky. They managed to stay off both the Bike cam and the helmet cam and they were gone before Marcus and Evans could get anyone nearby’s attention

I don’t know if it was healthy or not, but Case and I spent most of trip home trying to come up with plausible ‘why’s’. There are a lot of them and none of them are very comforting.


Thursday, April 15, 2066 – If only…

We all know that “What if..” is a game you can’t win… and yet we are always more than willing to play it: “What if” and it’s variant “If only…”

The more I remember the more I find myself playing those games, especially “If only.” As soon as I start playing, things get all kinds of bad

“If only I’d checked the area before I focused on the driver.” “If only one of the officers had stayed with me instead of going to direct traffic.”

Those are bad enough, but when you start adding in “What if Marcus and Evans hadn’t been following me?” “What if they’d been a little slower?”

By the time Case got home, I’d all but driven myself crazy with it.

“Jess?” He asked.

“Playing ‘What if’ and ‘if only’ ” I explained with a sigh.

“What if?”

“And if Only.”

When he still didn’t quite get it, I shook my head. “If only I could keep myself from playing this stupid game…”

He tilted his head and winked. “If only I could distract you…”

“What if you tuck me in?”

Maybe there are ways to win these games… if only for a while


Friday, April 16, 2066 – Pencil Stabbing

You know, for being on medical leave, I sure am spending a lot of time in the office. Not just my office mind you, no, I’m splitting my time between Citywide, Lone Star, and the Marshal Service. Citywide is trying to figure out how to protect me that won’t involve a padded cell, Lone Star is trying to find out the who and why of the attack-not to mention the ‘are we going to get sued?’ side question. The Marshal Service is still trying to decide if it’s their case or not.

The only people I haven’t heard from are KE. To be honest I’m surprised and pleased with the restraint they’re showing. They even gave statements with all the involved parties.

I found out from Saunders that they had actually asked about my video feeds. They’re learning.

Ray and Nathan are doing as well as can be expected with PT-although Ray got a taste of sweet just deserts… all his teasing about pencil stabbings… you know it was bound to happen.

Fortunately… it was at a hospital. I would have said something but sometimes even I know it’s the wrong thing to do.


Saturday, April 17, 2066 – Best Served

Today was a good day for getting even with Nathan. I figure Puck was a good enough ‘payback’ for all the ferret toys, but there was still the matter of testing out his new illusion spell on me, and this revenge was sweet, just not the way you’d expect.

I think it was something both of us needed.

I took him to the hospital this morning, which was interesting since he knew I was up to something but he was still in no shape for running away from me and he said as much.

When he found out what we were doing, he accepted it graciously and as I said it was just what we needed. You should have seen the faces of the kids in pediatrics when I wheeled him in a wheelchair.

Okay, I wheeled him in, in a wheelchair, buried under a pile of stuffed ferret plush toys. (I kept the fighter pilot ferret and the paramedic ferret for myself but the others became get well soon presents). We handed them out and spent a lot of time with the kids.

Let’s face it cheering folks up is a lot better than wallowing in your own troubles and even Nathan could live with this ‘revenge’.

I still haven’t told him about the retirement home…


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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Yet A(nother) Year in Seattle – Week 15 – When Plans Collide

Yet A(nother) Year In Seattle

Sunday, April 4, 2066 – Grill happy

Ray hasn’t been released from the hospital so much as kicked out. I got a call from him around 10:00 this morning, so after church, we went to bail him out… I mean pick him up.

Since he’ll be doing physical therapy on about the same schedule as Nathan, mom figured he’d be better off staying with him on Council Island. Ray tried to object, but let’s face it I’d rather face him down than mom. Besides, she always wins anyway.

With a warm pleasant spring day on our hands, mom got a taste of her own medicine as the men decided it was time to cook over an open fire and to the men belong the grill.

We had almost every meat imaginable grilled by no less than five grill masters. Sausage, beef, pork… lamb all cooked over glowing coals. No one could argue with that.

We also had enough left over to take a care package to the injured medics who had not been lucky enough to escape.

It was the kind of day I think we all needed.


Monday, April 5, 2066 – Unreasonable Reasoning.

Charlie and I met this morning to go over our options when it comes to hiring new staff, authorizing overtime and keeping our men, and ourselves from burning out.

The younger medics are all for O.T. It means more money, and they’re young enough that they bounce back faster. I really didn’t feel that old until I pulled two double shifts within three days. I also remember how I could keep going for a while but then I’d crash and I’d crash hard.

We’re still running multiple shifts, but the key is going to be making sure that people get rotated out of the high traffic zones before they wear themselves out.

There will be review board hearings on Thursday for our four medics on administrative leave. That will be held by a panel of reps, medics, and advisors so it won’t be just me investigating them.

Our sick medics all reported for duty so the main drain has been relieved. Now we just need our injured medics back in rotation.

I was preparing to report to the 197th when I got a call from KE. Marcus and Evans had some questions for me so I got to do another juggling act so I could meet with them at lunchtime.

They were civil, we met at the station and no, I did not get the coffee recipe from my Pranksters… it was tempting but they behaved and so did I.

They did pose an interesting question, and even more interesting was the fact that they actually wanted my impression on why it was done. To be honest I really hadn’t thought about it. The attack was precise, almost clinical in nature. I pointed out that sometimes the reasoning makes no sense except to the person doing it but… as I pointed out it was different from the recent rash of sniper situations. Something this precise usually means planning and planning usually indicates purpose.

It could have been a distraction or meant to study their response, deployment and how the perimeter was maintained. There were too many possibilities without knowing specifics. Specifics they weren’t ready to share with me.

It’s taken them long enough but I think Marcus and Evans might actually be catching on to the fact that I am not my brothers… at least not the brothers they’re looking for.


Tuesday, April 6, 2066 – Equal and Opposite

This morning I dropped Ray and Nathan off at Physio on my way to work. Thankfully they’ll be done and long gone before I get off work so Michael was the one who got the challenge of driving them home and keeping them from killing each other.

Well, to be fair, to keep Ray from killing Nathan for being so uber-cheerful.

Ray can be an eternal dismal cloud when he’s down, and let’s face it not being able to do for himself is enough to trigger his less than stellar behavior. For some perverse reason, this makes Nathan all that more cheerful.

The two seemed to feed on each other, the more cheerful Nathan got the more dismal Ray’s outlook turned, which only seemed to make Nathan’s cheer that much more pronounced.

Sometimes I think they deserve each other.


Thanks again to Follower for lending Nathan to the cause


Wednesday, April 7, 2066 – The Pitch

Today Charlie and I met with the board of directors with our proposal. I could tell by their expressions they’d heard almost every argument for it, but Charlie bless him knew how the game was played.

While I outlined the usefulness, Charlie went for the bottom line. I talked about lives saved, including our medics-he talked about cost-effectiveness and return on investment. When the board talked about the liability of having magic users on our teams, Charlie talked about the liability of not having them.

Them hiring Nathan as a consultant has set a precedence but, he’s working after the fact.

In the end, it is being taken under advisement but at least it is on the table and we have a decent chance.

That problem worked on I had to tackle our Paramedic Deficit. From the sound of things, it won’t take much to lure Rudi here. Luckily he’s nowhere as curious as I am and that can be a very good thing.

We have a few applications including one or two medics who look good on paper. I arranged for interviews and worked on an offer for Rudi.

We’ll see how it goes.


Thursday, April 8, 2066 – R and R… and R

I wasn’t going to take the day off today-we’re still short a few folks, but things seemed to conspire on my behalf for a change. Can something conspire for you?

Let’s face it I’ve been burning the candle from both ends, and the middles and well… it looks a lot more like a bonfire than candlelight. I got up this morning and had almost convinced myself that I was up for this when Case told me to go back to bed. You can usually tell just how tired I am by my argument level-it’s an odd kind of curve.

If I’m tired, the stubborn gene kicks in and I get defiant, if I’m really tired, like today, there is no fight just a simple nod and going back to bed.

When I woke up it was time to go to bed.

I think I could use more days like that.


Friday, April 9, 2066 – 24-B

Today was the sort of day when you kind of wish you could hit reset and start the whole thing over again. I started the day off as the Regional Chief of Citywide, Northwest on her way to the office. I ended it as the concussion in 24-B, with Dr. Shapiro fielding status calls from my husband, the Regional CEO of Citywide and half the medics from Citywide, not to mention diplomatic liaisons from the Tir, the Salish-Sidhe Council and a representative of the Kachakashqa Amaru. He was getting a bit exasperated until Bri asked him if I was going to be all right.

It seems he hadn’t been warned. One should never underestimate the powers of a precocious eight-year-old with a knack for adopting uncles.

I’m still not entirely clear on what happened and Case hasn’t told me anything. It seems I need to remember, or not, on my own.

I told him it wasn’t fair and he agreed. He kissed me on top of my head and told me, “the important thing is you’re here to complain about it.”

I guess that’s true, but right now I’m not feeling all that lucky.

I remember… I remember feeling like someone was following me. I remember being hit with something… then… it’s all a blur.

Something tells me it being a blur might be a good thing.


Saturday, April 10, 2066 – Altered States

Well…I’m still in the hospital at least for tonight. The classification is ‘being held for observation’ which is a nice way of saying “You look fine, but we’d rather not risk giving you cause for a lawsuit.”

It doesn’t help that I’m still unclear as to what happened. I remember meeting with the CEO… something about good PR for the company and keeping our options open.

I remember bits and pieces of the day and the last thing I remember was being on my way to a call on the bike.

Someone was following me, but I wasn’t too worried. If anything I was annoyed which means it was probably KE following me. It’s amazing how they can decide I’m not guilty and then still keep following me… I remember being vaguely amused by the thought.

I’m not sure if what I’m remembering is a dream-like interpretation of what happened or if it’s really what I remember. I do know it’s very surreal.

I can see a car overturned in a fog, its wheels still spinning. I remember walking towards it, med kit in had and then everything went black.

After that I can remember voices. There was worry and concern in their tone, but I couldn’t make out what they were saying. I can remember the sting of a needle… someone starting an IV line.

I know there was something about what happened that has everyone concerned, not just my family and friends but LoneStar and KE have both been in to see if I remember anything else.

The problem is… I don’t.


Copyright 2010 M.T. Decker

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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

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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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