Endangered Ch. 05byltpc©
I hope the final product is worth the wait. I've enjoyed refining and polishing the chapter quite a bit to get it up to scratch.
Again, this chapter does contain soft-core incest. If this is distasteful to you, please skip over it.
Etaski has once again put in a stellar effort, keeping me on track, improving the story, and zapping bugs. She's the best.
Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy.
Michelle Hamund fumed in the back of the van, angry at herself for letting Susan Baryst escape, but more at the dead team in Scotland for somehow fucking this all up.
She watched the young man sit quietly in his restraints. He exuded a strange air of power and calmness that was a bit disturbing, like this was all part of his plan somehow. Most people broke into hysterics or went into shock when arrested so violently.
Now, as Michelle watched his calm body rocking slightly with the movements of the vehicle, she grew more concerned. The images of the UK team's bodies flashed in her mind. His apparent nonchalance disconcerted her; in her experience only the hardened criminals remained so silently stoic, not even bothering to proclaim his innocence or ask where they were going.
The ranch kid wasn't old enough to be that hard.
She went over her plan again, which had been forced into early action by the unexplained blunder in Scotland. She'd pulled the trigger, deciding not to give Chris and his mother the time to bolt now that they knew someone was onto them, arresting them publicly at JFK almost as soon as they'd stepped off the plane.
His mother's escape was another huge setback; she'd somehow disappeared out of the woman's bathroom. They couldn't afford to stick around and start a fruitless search, it would only attract more attention so they'd aborted. Susan would know that he'd been arrested but what she didn't know was that there would never be a record of his arrest in any system.
Hopefully, his disappearance would fade into the background and little resources would be devoted to a search after the initial rush to find him proved unsuccessful. Where he was going, no one could find him with either magical or conventional means. His manacles were reinforced titanium and his cell would be a two inch thick steel box, several levels underground.
To ensure secrecy, he would need to be locked away until these Beings were revealed to the entire world, hopefully he might even prove to be a useful source of information. He would be treated firmly but well; Michelle didn't really feel animosity towards the young man himself, but rather towards what he represented.
She held his wallet, passport, and smartphone, turning the ordinary-looking device over in her hands. It was even made by a human company, modified magically to only communicate with other like devices through some sort of encrypted wavelength they couldn't detect. The screen wouldn't even turn on for her. Amazing.
What else could these creatures do? she thought. Imagine what the government could do with this kind of technology, imagine what society as a whole could do with magic. When this got out, it would be both the end of the scientific era and the beginning of a hybrid one, the best magic and science could offer, combined.
That is, of course, if humans and Beings didn't wipe each other out in the process.
Feeling talkative, Michelle decided to try building some rapport with the Being. They were going to get to know each other well over the coming months, years even.
"Christopher, my name is Michelle and I'll be your primary handler. I have a lot of questions for you and you probably have some of your own but they're going to have to wait due to our present company. No offence, boys."
"None taken, I don't need to know. He's a terrorist," one of the commandos replied.
"That's what you told them?" Chris accused, turning towards her voice from under his hood.
"Well, I have to put something in the system to requisition these guys. Besides, I think terrorism is the perfect charge. Couldn't you cause mass destruction and terror among the civilian population?"
Michelle was surprised, he seemed genuinely upset to be called a terrorist.
"It doesn't mean I would." He would have liked to look at her during the conversation but it was impossible.
"The jury's out on that, Christopher, especially after what happened in Scotland. I know who and what you are, keep that in mind. This isn't a mistake. Your mother may have escaped but it won't matter."
Chris's curiosity got the better of him. "How? How do you know? And do realize how much danger you're in just by saying that to me? There's no way you're a familiar."
He tried not to make it sound like a threat but it kind of came out that way.
"I do and I'm not," replied Michelle seriously. "Which should indicate to you that you won't be going anywhere until this entire issue has been resolved. We have mechanisms in place to prevent any means of escape."
Chris mulled that over in his mind, something clicked. He really must be dealing with the purely human authorities and so he considered his next words carefully. There was no way this was a coincidence; she had recognized "familiar" in the context he had meant.
"Given what I know about my personal situation, I have to conclude that you have a source, that someone is feeding you information."
"You don't-" Michelle started.
"Let me finish."
Chris raised his voice a little behind his hood, a slight echo of his power trailing into it. Michelle shivered and everyone else in the van was still.
"I know this, and I know that this must be your first or maybe second attempt at capturing one of us. Otherwise, you would have been shut down long ago. You don't know who or what I am. Your complete lack of preparation and containment proves this. Someone told you to collect me. You're clearly intelligent and experienced but if you had the whole picture, you'd never have taken someone as high profile as myself, given recent events. You don't know what you're doing, Michelle, and therefore, you're being used by someone who does."
There was a long pause as Michelle considered his warning. He seemed genuine, which was concerning, but she knew better than to let her subject truly rattle her on their first encounter. It didn't change the plan in the short or long term. Beings would be exposed one way or another and humans would no longer be oblivious.
"You seem very confident, time will tell," she said.
"I doubt I'll have much time with you Michelle and I doubt even less that you'll remember it. I'm sorry."
He sounded genuinely apologetic, and Michelle's countenance turned instantly stormy at his thinly veiled threat. She glared at him in silence. That was one of the worst things, that these Beings wielded the terrible power to take memories and alter people's minds. No one should be able to do that.
Hours later, Chris could tell they had arrived at their destination.
The surface of the road changed, then a little bump, and a downwards slope. They were in an enclosed space now, underground by the echo as they unloaded him very carefully and doors were slammed. He was handed off to another team of guards and the tactical team was thanked for their effort before being dismissed.
At this stage he went along quietly, chains clicking, as Michelle guided him into what he assumed was an elevator. Sight being one of his weakest senses in his human form, he relied on the sounds and smells around him and discovered that it came quite naturally. Her hand felt hot and tense on his forearm. He could sense from her strong aura that she was concerned but determined.
They went up what must have been fifteen or twenty stories before he was put in an artificially quiet room and bolted to the floor and table when he sat on a plastic chair. After a few moments however, he realized that the room was actually very noisy, his ears picking up whatever they were using as noise cancellation.
His dragon enforced his calm but there was a moment where he almost panicked as someone clipped a steel band around his neck below the hood. It made a little beep as it locked into place.
"That's a tiny explosive, rigged to detonate if you step outside of the building or if it's tampered with. Don't try anything. Your magic won't work here either."
"That's a bit harsh," Chris muttered, shuddering from both the feel of the cold metal and the imagined effect a detonation would cause.
"It's just a precaution. If you don't escape or try to break it, it can't hurt you."
He was silent and still long enough that she turned to leave the room and prepare for his initial interrogation.
Her claim of his magic not working was a bit more worrying but as he sent his senses out, his dragon detected no traces of such anti-magic anywhere. He wondered how he might test it without drawing attention.
A tiny purple flame sprung alive unbidden in the cavity of his mouth. It tickled and warmed his pallet without burning. Chris smiled behind his hood after making sure the flame was extinguished. He still had his magic, and his captors were woefully misinformed about their magic dampening capability.
"Michelle," Chris called, just catching her before she opened the door. "When you come back, bring face masks or something to block your sense of smell for whoever questions me... it's just a precaution."
Getting her or anyone else dragonstruck would only make things worse, and at this point he was here to figure out what was going on and how much they knew about Beings. That was probably more important than escape.
The door closed without a reply and even he couldn't hear the conversation that went on outside; the soundproofing was good, as one would expect.
"What was that about?" Nathan asked in the observation room. The peppered man looked up from the screen he'd been leaning over to type on. Everything seemed to be recording smoothly across the board.
"I don't know, do we do it? And what kind of mask?"
Michelle was trying to feel confident but this... this teenager kept throwing curve balls at her. Something was wrong; her instincts were ringing every alarm bell she had and she was having trouble quieting them.
"Damn it, Nathan, did we move too soon on this? We don't even know what he is, the team in the UK got destroyed. He could be powerful. And how did his mother get away? I saw her go into the bathroom myself."
"Calm down, Michelle, he's trying to fluster you and it seems to be working. I'll go dig up some dust masks and crack open one of the biological kits for a filter mask, too. I can do the questioning if you like."
"No. No, I got it, but thanks."
He gave her a reassuring touch on the shoulder and headed back through the security checkpoint, down the hall to one of the equipment lockups.
The NSA had bought this low rise office building in Harrisburg cheaply, converting it into a server farm with the top floor used as a field station and monitoring outpost with living facilities. Unusual for a building like this, it had two sublevels underneath the car park that had recently been upgraded to house holding cells. It was a discrete, secure location staffed by twenty or so people, the headquarters for field operation of their anti-Being taskforce on the East Coast.
Meanwhile, Michelle watched Christopher through the one-way glass and on the screens displaying every angle of the room covered by cameras. Everything their captive did was being recorded in high definition from multiple angles and even infrared.
If his claims weren't enough to unnerve her, the screen indicated that he ran at least a degree warmer than a human should, and she doubted he had a fever. Forcing herself to ignore her uneasiness, she took a deep breath and decided to have some lunch and relieve herself after their long drive.
A few hours later after filing a report on the operation so far, having a short cat-nap, and rehearsing her plan again, she went to find Nathan, ready to start the interrogation. Michelle wasn't particularly hopeful; they'd tried talking to the captured werewolf but he'd been tight-lipped and she wasn't qualified or willing to torture him. Torture had actually been a recent subject of debate among the taskforce but it was decided that it set a precedent which would only breed further animosity.
Once Nathan was set up behind the one way window, Michelle entered the room with two bottles of water, some snacks, and the masks.
"I was beginning to think you would make me 'consider my situation' all day, Michelle."
Chris was relieved to get underway, boredom and his dragon's eagerness to turn the tables on his captors over the last few hours had him feeling safe in his situation for the moment. It was time to extract his own information.
"Sorry, Christopher, I had to set everything up for this. I brought you some snacks and a drink, though."
"Just Chris is fine," he said warmly. There was no need to be unfriendly... well, perhaps there was, she had arrested him at gunpoint. But if anything, that almost endeared her to the dragon, who could admire her courage even if it was misplaced.
"Thank you, Chris. Now, why do I need a mask and what kind should I use? I hope this isn't some sort of joke," Michelle warned.
"It's no joke, I'll explain. Could you please take this hood off?"
Michelle was going to take it off and let him drink soon anyway so she came around the desk and undid the Velcro around his neck. Chris blinked for a few seconds and looked up to assess her.
Pretty but somewhat plain, Michelle wouldn't jump out at you in a crowd, which given her occupation was a good thing. She wore thin glasses and had her black hair short, around her ears and neck. Her body appeared to be thin and athletic beneath her jeans and black blouse. She was quite tall, probably just below six feet. Her eyes were intent and brown, studying him in return.
Chris's eyes dropped to her thin lips, then lower again to the firm, smallish breasts before roving the rest of her body. He suspected she had some sort of southern European ancestry, given her olive complexion and thin, tall structure. Perhaps some Italian or Portuguese heritage.
Michelle watched as he sized her up, felt his blue eyes on her face and body, watching them wandering. She was used to this kind of assessment from men, both those she worked with and those she worked to catch. She'd already had time to study his tall, well-built body so with his hood off, she focused on his face. He was blond, naturally pale but sporting a worker's tan. The eyes roving her had a happy sparkle she wasn't used to seeing across the table. His jaw was well set and he had nice lines to his face, having lost almost all boyishness.
With his height and broad shoulders, she thought he looked a little like some sort of wild Viking. Yes, he had an air of ...something. It only backed up her intuition, something powerful and savage lurked inside this boy, if he could really be called that.
"I think the cleaning mask should be okay. Although your man in the other room should turn up the extractor fans in here just to be sure. I don't think it would be very practical for you to question me in that," Chris pointed at the gasmask.
Michelle looked thankfully back over her shoulder towards the control room as the air pressure changed slightly.
"Now, here's what I propose," he continued. "You obviously work for the government in some capacity, but you're not a familiar. Yet you're in contact with one of us. You're probably a small splinter group that's been lead to believe you're helping people. I don't know why but it doesn't matter. You want to know about Beings and I want to know how much you know about Beings, so here it is. I'll answer your questions honestly if I can, but you need to answer some of mine as well. Also, you drop whatever plans you have for my family while I'm in your custody. Oh, and this is all under the caveat that if I ever get out of here, I'll hunt everyone down and have all this knowledge removed from your memory."
Michelle cocked her had at him; just who exactly was he to be striking deals? For a moment she was tempted to walk out and let him stew for a few hours, evaporate some of that cockiness. However, the opportunity for recourse between them was too great to pass up. Besides, his threats didn't change anything. He wasn't getting out of their custody any time soon. What was she supposed to do, reject freely given information?
"I can agree to that, although I probably won't answer your most important questions," she replied, pulling the dust mask over her nose and mouth, her voice becoming slightly muffled. "So, why do I need to wear this?"
"Starting with the little things, hm? I like it," Chris chuckled, settling into his seat and opening one of the small packets of peanuts.
They were awkward to eat in his restraints but he could manage if he moved his head down to his hands. He munched a salty mouthful thinking how to best explain.
"I have pheromones which can make some people very... how do I say this... amorous? If you got a good enough exposure and already found me attractive, you'd probably throw yourself at me."
Michelle snorted in blatant disbelief but he only smiled wryly before feeding himself some more. It was too far fetched, even for Beings; although, she had noticed that he did smell nice when she'd been leading him into the facility. She'd automatically assumed it was some scent he wore.
"Pheromones. Like moths? Like those date rape perfumes you hear about?"
"Hey, I'm not a rapist, I've got a girlfriend... well, I guess you could say she's my fiancé." Chris smiled to himself. He couldn't wait to get home and see Annabel. "She proposed to me on the phone last night. Can you believe it? I know I couldn't, I think it's mostly to keep her parents happy though. We're already going to be together for the rest of her life... Anyway, sorry about getting distracted. My pheromones are a pain in the ass so far. Ruins any chance of regular interactions from what I've seen."
"Congratulations. I'm sorry to break you two apart but I'm sure you can understand our position. Now, about your pheromones, how do they work? Do they effect both sexes?" Michelle felt a little guilt about breaking the young couple apart, but he was a Being. There was every possibility that he'd used his powers to gain her interest in the first place. Especially if he was serious about the pheromones.
"Oh, I think I'll be reunited soon enough," Chris smiled cockily and watched his interrogator scowl. "Well, the way I understand it, the pheromones amplify feelings and attractions. They can embolden a woman to approach me and even make her need me desperately if she really liked me to start with. I don't know if they work on men, I haven't had an opportunity to find out and don't really want to. I'm very new at all this, technically I wasn't even a proper Being until about a week ago. There was an enchantment that kept me as a human but it was released. That's how I know you're being set up, only another Being would know I even existed, let alone choose me as a kidnapping target. I'm highly valuable you see, an endangered species."
If he wasn't lying, Michelle wondered why she hadn't succumbed to his influence. Objectively he was physically attractive, he was young but still very masculine and somehow self-assured. He was a Being, though, a suspect. Maybe it was just too big a mental block.
"Well, if that's all true, I'll admit I'm a little concerned. I will look into your claims once we're finished for the day, okay? Now, will you tell me what kind of Being you are?"