tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 21

Life as a New Hire Ch. 21

byFinalStand©

This story plays fast and loose with Ancient History and Linguistics; be warned.

Birthed by stars, in immortal light, so why do we assume we pass into Darkness.

Editing magic performed by KJ24 and Shyqash, plus contributions by the regular gang of brigands and neer-do-wells.


*****

A maniac conducted the orchestra, while every section fought for dominance without a thought to the opera unfolding under its twittering cacophony. That is how it felt as I steeled myself for the service, but my musings were a fantasy. I had a swirling company of my twenty inductees, two Amazons, plus Rachel's detail and Esmeralda coordinating all the traffic.

Pamela was absent. Buffy was the one in charge, deciding who got how close and under what level of scrutiny. The presence of law enforcement was made obvious by our vigilance, with mutual hostility being declared. The government was catching up with how they'd been fucked over. They couldn't prove a thing yet, although they had missed an entire day trailing after me.

They also had new leadership. Pamela had expelled Theodora with the simple application of Conflict of Interest. Nicole and Pratt had joined me in my suite, so I was suitably armored when the Feds made their next run at me. I had stepped up in the world, so I was rewarded with a new attack plan.

Her name was Assistant Federal District Attorney Javiera Castello, and two seconds of eye contact made precisely transparent what a hurricane she was going to bring to my life. Sex? Oh yeah, she was already figuring what penitentiary to send me to so she could make monthly visits. An impressive dicking wasn't going to save me this time.

She was professional, polite and courteous concerning my mourning without being false. Theodora's strategy assumed I was the man who graduated from Bolingbrook a few months back. My history was clear and muddy enough to be real. I was what my documentation said I was...until Havenstone.

Theodora had waved the flags and charged the barricades only to discover too late that my defenses weren't manned by a lone yahoo with a bow and arrow, but with mortars and machineguns and her troops had been scattered, her plans shredded. Javiera had my measure now. I was a Prince. Of what, she didn't know yet.

She was going to find out. Not out of some fatalistic curiosity, but because that's where the bread crumbs led. Dad was what he appeared to be, that plot of land was relatively worthless and two groups of professional killers had fought and died dragging my father either away, or to safety. I work with some scary-smart ladies.

"Ms. Castello, would you care to travel with me to the service?" I turned to her at the last moment. I was a clever puppy, good with women and I wasn't trying to be a politician. Javiera took my gesture for what it was - an olive branch. I was offering to be less of an obstructionist, and she was willing to forgo retribution for my earlier stunts.

Five minutes down the road in the stretch limo, I could see the question eating Javiera up inside. She was honoring my melancholy...I could almost hear Dad saying, 'Son, you have company' as a persistent reminder to his petulant teenage slacker that I was a member of the Human Equation.

"What do you want to ask me?" I gathered my civility to the fore. Nicole shifted so that we were making eye contact.

"Is there a limit to how many questions?" she started off with. I didn't say 'One and that was it'.

"I've been told it will take us thirty-two minutes to the cemetery," I looked at my watch.

"That gives us...twenty-six minutes," I offered.

"Why all the hostility?" led the charge.

"A variety of people consider my life to have some value. For a few it is personal. For most, they attach a more esoteric price tag on my existence," I replied.

"That is vague enough to be useless," she gently scolded me. Oh, I could see that both Javiera and Nicole were about to play Nutcracker with my heritage until it was the consistency of warm peanut butter.

"I am the member of not one, but two secret societies," I kept steady eye contact with her.

Yes...there was that look I was slowly becoming accustomed to; that one that conveyed 'what you said made no sense, so why aren't you lying to me?'

"Which ones?" Javiera rebounded quickly.

"Perhaps we should discuss this at a later time," Nicole reposed.

"Nicole," I patted her knee, "how would you feel if you got Javiera murdered?"

"That thought shouldn't even be..." she stated.

"Nicole, I'm worried enough about you. People know I like you, so they may not kill you for looking in the wrong trash bin," I explained. "She doesn't even have that rather tenuous screen."

"Was it one, or both secret societies that shot and killed your father?" Javier continued.

"Without a doubt it was an accident. The all-female group was simply scouting the location out as part of forming a contingency plan," I said. "The other group showed up to kidnap my father to interrogate him - I'm not going to tell you why."

"The first group identified themselves and the second group began shooting. In the process of grabbing my father, they shot him three times. In the process of taking him to one of their cars, the living lady engaged them in a final firefight. They abandoned my father and left."

"You seem to know a great deal about what happened," Javiera noted.

"I've seen the footage the first group took from their helmet cams," I told her.

"Is there any way I could see that?" she prodded.

"By no human means I can think of," I shrugged. "Feel free to ask that extremely venomous lady sitting next to you. Her name is Rachel," I made the introduction.

"She remains under the impression that killing people around me will somehow save me from myself," I added. "I not only trust her, I trust her with the lives of my daughters."

"You don't have any children we are aware of," Javiera wondered.

"Rachel knows what I mean," I gave a lopsided grin.

Rachel knew alright. I wasn't asking her to save me with that statement. I was asking her to save my future.

"What is with all the women? I'm a believer in gender equality. You seem to lack any male employees, period. Is this a permutation of a harem?" Javier opened another line of investigation.

Rachel and Buffy quickly snorted their amusement then returned to their not-so-subtle aggression. I was sure my chauffeur, Tiger Lily, was snickering it up too, beyond the glass. Sigh.

"That was uncalled for," I frowned at the Fed. "Five Google searches and you should know all about Havenstone's hiring practices. Ask what you want to ask. Don't try to trick me. I am definitely not in the mood."

"Why are you in charge - a male over Havenstone employees that certainly have more skill and experience at...just about everything?" Javiera came clean.

"Put on your hip-waders," I groaned. "This is going to suck." I waited until I had her undivided attention.

"A long time ago, I killed a group of really bad people," I grunted. I could see that she wasn't buying it despite her interrogation senses saying I was being truthful. "When I say a long time ago, I mean about 2500 years ago." Sigh. "Before you start tossing Thorazine at me, all you need to accept is that every one of those women around me believes that to be true."

"So this is a cult?" Javiera inquired bravely.

"Put it this way. I'm sure you practice a martial art of some kind. You probably have a chromatic belt that you are rather proud of. It will not help you. These women are professional killers. I'm pretty sure there are a dozen unidentified corpses that could be attributed to these two."

I already knew that Buffy killed some guys. Rachel? She was a team leader, so I was willing to have faith in her ability to remorselessly end another person's life. Javiera must have volunteered for my personal fiasco.

"Are you being held against your will?" she looked so vigilant and intent. "I can get you out."

"No," a dry chuckle. "I'm...not good - getting by. There is no way in Hell I'm leaving Havenstone. I can hardly kill all the people responsible for my father's death if I did that."

"If you seek personal vengeance, I will be forced to bring every legal power to bear to stop you," she felt bound to threaten me.

"Don't stop being you on my account, Ms. Castello," I finally managed a smile. It was sincere and Javiera knew it.

"Who? Maybe I can catch them before you do?" she offered me an escape clause.

"You will know it when you see it," I took a deep breath.

"Do not try anything at the funeral," she warned me. "Law enforcement will be all over the place." She really wanted to fuck me in prison. I knew those things.

"I'm not going to kill them there," I assured her. "They will be the ones running for their lives though."

"How is that going to work?" Nicole finally broke my silence.

"I have 27 ladies willing to kill on my command," I exaggerated. "When I tell those men I know they were responsible and that they should run for their lives, they are going to run for their lousy stinking lives."

"But you are not going to give the order to have them killed," Javiera stated. She was getting my measure now.

"No, but they don't know that and being horrible human beings, they will assume that I will have them murdered over my father's grave," I turned positively wolfish.

"They will run and they will keep running because of you and yours, Javiera. They won't have guns because they don't want to be arrested," I finished.

"Why are they afraid to be arrested?" Javiera was putting the puzzle together. That was our deal after all.

"I can have repeated, heavenly sex on a train with a nun," I confessed. "I'm pretty sure I can arrange to have a scumbag killed in prison."

"I think we can both agree my client is under a great deal of stress at this time," Nicole intervened.

"I think we can agree your client is not Al Capone, much less Osama bin Laden," Javiera allowed. "I still think he is exceedingly dangerous."

"Dangerous? Dangerous is dating in this town," I groaned. "Went out late last night to a dance club, met two sweet girls visiting the Windy City, stepped outside and they tried to kill me."

"Do these two count as 'public'?" Buffy snarled. She meant Javiera and Nicole. Pratt was in another car and the only others with us were Rachel and me. This was going to hurt.

"No," I sighed. WHAM! The Charlie Horse from Hell!

"That's why you have bodyguards, you jerk," Buffy nearly cried.

"Ah...we were with him," Rachel tapped Buffy's upper arm.

"Oh." Long pause. "I...I apologize," Buffy said sheepishly. "I had no idea you were getting smarter." That was probably the best apology I was going to get. It was still my fault.

"You do it out of love, Buffy," I rubbed my arm. Buffy gave me a heartbreaking smile.

"Was that domestic violence, or assault?" Javiera snarled. "Neither one is allowable under Illinois law."

"It is a Human Resources Team-building tool," I lied. "In some places it is called Obedience Training, or Negative Reinforcement."

"I have never seen another human being take a beating like Cáel can," Rachel complimented me.

"He is also incredible in the bed room," Buffy added on. Javier didn't know what to make of the menagerie of 'not-normal' women who hung around me. She locked eyes with Buffy.

"I mean REALLY fantastic," Buffy licked her lips. Nicole nodded in agreement.

"I can't use any of this," Javiera muttered after several minute of silence. "It is all a type of shared delusion...with fourteen dead bodies attached to it."

"Ah, the guy with both femoral arteries shot out made it? Whoa, we've got some top notch surgeons in this city," I nodded.

"Yes. As opposed to those two men who had their heads shot off," Javiera added bitterly. Reminding her that poor Horace of the Burnham PD had done the deeds was pointless.

"Who died?" I attempted some reciprocity from Javiera. She'd read through every public aspect of my life and had talked to me for less than ten minutes. She excelled at her craft - punishing lawbreakers.

"I conclude you know the name of the three dead women and the one living one," she began, "because we haven't a clue who they really are. Their cover identities aren't perfect. We simply can't get anything about them behind the fallacy of their existence." She waited.

"If you can help us put the wounded woman in some sort of shared protective custody, I can probably 'suggest' that she be more cooperative," I counter-offered. Rachel nodded.

"The eight other bodies at the house..." Javiera shook her head. "Four were dead and by that I mean reported dead from four to nine years ago. The rest - Hell, they were all twisted fucking savages. Every one of them had Interpol warrants out for them, for questioning. No accusations seemed to stick to them: misplaced evidence, dead witnesses and falsified death certificates."

"Does this mean anything to you?" Javiera paused to get some more information.

"Yes. Reference the men running for their lives," I nodded.

"Cáel?" Rachel cautioned me. "This is not something you can rush into."

"Actually, it was you who clued me in, Rachel," I looked at her.

"Given an opportunity to have only one gun of a given type, would you choose one you knew intimately, or a totally random one?" was my rhetorical question. Professionals trained with a large variety of weapons, yet every Amazon I had met had a preferred weapon; one that if they could have it with them, they would.

"The Zastava M2," Rachel nodded.

"It is not used in too many places and only Peru in this hemisphere. Someone really loved that gun - enough to bring it from whatever killing field where he was currently employed to my home," I said. "Since the other likely culprit passed on a chance to kill me last night, I am sure enough to pick a fight."

(Holy Cross)

It had to be odd in so many ways for the people who knew Dad and, to a lesser extent, me. They gathered by the graveside. It wasn't much. Dad had been cremated as had Mom. They had these small granite markers - no headstones for them. They had been so much in love. All they wanted is to be laid to rest, side by side. Mom had insisted on cremation. I thought I knew why, but it had done no good.

The true oddity was obvious. The islet of normalcy was the small funerary party with me. My Aunt - my Father's Sister - was here and somewhat in shock. She and Dad hadn't been close...so much unsaid. When my Grandparents died, Dad was only nineteen and Stella was sixteen. Stella's lifelong friend had moved to Maryland a few months previously.

Stella reached out to her friend, her friend's parents talked to Dad and Stella went to off to be a mariner. Seeing her occasionally as I was growing up was the extent of our relationship. The priest did his thing. I wondered what Christ thought of this mystic fur ball that was the amalgam of my life. My hope was that he was quietly urging me to do the right thing.

The Padre finished, the co-workers and neighbors came by to give their condolences and then ran the gauntlet. The gauntlet? Yes, the herd of Amazons, O'Shea kin and four other clumps of people who I didn't know, yet undoubtedly would soon. Selena and Miyako were present along with a third female who looked luscious in a burqa-shaped covering and a diaphanous veil. Javiera, Pratt and Nicole were somewhat out of place with their lack of arrogant lethality.

A limo driver came to take Stella away.

"I have some issues to deal with, Aunt Stella," I comforted her. "Vér a vér." It had been ages since she'd heard Hungarian so she wasn't sure what I meant, but she knew it was bad. One of my O'Shea aunts was coming my way until the menace of the closing Amazons halted her.

The others had no clue what they were about to behold. I doubt outsiders had ever been privileged to witness anything like it. This was a declaration; it was my mission statement. Ishara did not hide. I took off my coat, folded it, placed it on the damp grass then knelt on it. Buffy stepped up with the bowl of incense and followed my 'coat to keep your knees clean' stunt, sitting perpendicular on my right.

Helena followed suit on my left, placing a shroud over my head and leaned over the bowl. Gamble number one: the incense lit up instantly. Gamble number two: it really did burn my eyes - no more Desiree slapping me around. I was sure she'd be heartbroken. Gamble number three: while using my nifty little Amazon blade to gather my tears, I managed not to cut myself.

The inductees were much more impressed when they realized what I was doing under my head covering. The next step had me pulling back the shroud, standing up, and striding over the burning bowl of incense. Helena called out the first name. The lady didn't need any prodding. The Amazon walked over to my coat and knelt.

Helena wrote down her name and handed her the slip of paper. My Keeper motioned to the bowl. The first applicant placed her named slip of paper on the embers. The simple message flashed up and was consumed. That was unlooked for. I declared her old self dead. With my tears, I opened her eyes to our ancestral history and with blood, I brought her into our future.

She had entered House Ishara. She wasn't the only one crying either. What Rachel and her team thought was unknown to me. They were being hyper-vigilant. Esmeralda kept stealing glances our way. Things went along with joyous solemnity until the fourteenth woman, Alicia, knelt before me. Helena handed the paper over, the Amazon dropped it on the incense and nothing happened.

I was about to move on to the next part of the ritual when I caught sight of that. Buffy, Helena and the lady were all staring at the offending bit of tinder. I bent over and, with my index finger, pushed it into the embers. Nothing - no heat, or fiery consumption. I put some spit on my finger and pushed again. This time it burned me. The paper was fine. Damn it...

'Come on Ishara!' I screamed mentally. 'Can't I have a simple bit of theater without you mangling someone's dreams?' There was no supernatural scolding, or retort.

"Alicia, Ishara believes you have not yet finished your walk outside our House," I consoled the woman - Alicia Holt. As she stood up, faced gripped with disbelief, Buffy rose and took her away.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Alicia shoot me a poisonous look. Buffy had anticipated this and was making sure the woman didn't make a scene. The last six women were even more nervous than the previous thirteen. Thankfully, Ishara was accepting of the remainder and we all transited to the group celebratory hug.

Act one has passed safely, Act two had an unexpected bump and here came round three. The 'dignitaries' started swooping in. Outside of the O'Shea's, none of the guests wanted to have another group behind them, or hemming in them. Two of the groups held back and since one was composed entirely of Asians, I was betting the other group was the Egyptian Rite.

One of my now four aunts came forward. My small crowd of Isharans gave her barely enough room to approach the grave. She placed a green rose upon my Mother's small marble marker. I wondered what my Mother would have thought of her sisters finally finding her...green rose? Who made green...probably the same sick son of a bitch who made female clones of himself?

The other three followed suit, placing the roses in a radiating sunburst on the small piece of marble. Through the wall of Illuminati security came...the Missing Link. Oh My God. I had heard of V-chested males, but this was insane. I swear his upper arms were as big as my thighs. The problem was the hips and legs of the body didn't match-up to the torso, arms, neck (or lack thereof) and shoulders.

The upper, steroid-addicted half belonged to a two meter tall giant. The lower half belonged to, maybe, a subpar man of a meter and a half This monster didn't have a receding hairline (actually, he did); he had a receding forehead. In homo-sapiens, if you roll a marble off their heads, it drops and hits the eyebrows. On this guy, it was a gentle ski-slope all the way down.

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