tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 22

Life as a New Hire Ch. 22

byFinalStand©

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

If your heart starts the fight, you can lose without regret.

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

(No actual sex scenes - I apologize)


*****

(Thursday Night)

It was well past the descent of Night's veil when the Havenstone jet landed outside of New York City. Naomi and team gathered us up and led us to the main building downtown. An unlooked for conflict developed. Naomi's team was there to present me to Hayden. Rachel's team was still focused on securing my wellbeing and they didn't like the attitude Naomi's squad was giving off.

With Buffy (Helena was in a different car), there was no concealing Rachel's hostility toward the latest group of SD ladies. The new group was treating me like a 'package', not a Head of House, and that infuriated my First too. All of that ill-will simmered as we made our way to Havenstone. The situation was compounded by the elevator ride.

Naomi, her team, Buffy, Rachel and I went into the first elevator. By the time we made it to the top few floors, it was clear that the rest were not immediately following along. The situation ratcheted up to nasty when Naomi demanded Buffy's firearm. Buffy looked ready to use it.

"Buffy - gun," I held out my hand, palm up. Buffy reluctantly handed it over.

I walked over to the nearest trash can, dropped out the clip, chambered out the first round then dumped the entirety into the trash receptacle.

"If they touched it, the weapon would be fouled and not fit for a true Amazon," I explained to Buffy. "Best to save your noble tool the indignity and dispense with it instead."

Buffy snorted with amusement, Naomi's crew pretended not to care while Rachel was deeply disturbed. It took a perfunctory gesture to stop Buffy outside Hayden's office. In I went to face Hayden, Katrina, St. Marie and Troika of House Šauška alone. Šauška was the 'sister goddess' of Ishara - together they formed Ishtar in later incarnations.

I didn't believe Troika was here for any sister solidarity this time around.

"Why did you do this? Start a war...is this your hatred of Amazon culture shining through, trying to get us all killed in some global struggle against the other Secret Societies?" Hayden opened up with in an even tone.

"No," I kept it succinct. They waited for more of an explanation.

"Do you have anything you can say to defend your actions?" Troika glared.

"I don't need to defend my actions," I regarded her as if she was of alien origin. "The actions speak for themselves."

"Why don't you explain it to us, Ishara?" St. Marie rumbled. Insulted yet again. As an equal, I warranted the use of my first name.

"Do I have your permission to fully and completely lay out my reasoning without everyone closing in like a pack of hyenas on a leopard?" I looked to Hayden - not happy. She gave a curt nod. It wasn't like running away would get me far.

"I will speak slowly because all of you appear to have become incredibly stupid," I started. "My parent and carrier of my Amazon ancestor's genetic heritage was murdered. The leader of the Amazon Security Detail i-d-e-n-t-i-f-i-e-d herself, THEN they were fired upon. Somehow you do not see those actions as Casus Belli. [cause for war]

There are three possible reasons for your blindness: you are all cowards who bully behind closed doors, but fold up like gutless wonders when a true challenge presents itself. Or, the male penis renders you incapable of intelligent thought and induces irrational and unsustainable hostile deductions in your though processes. Or, you want me and the line of Ishara dead and are willing to accept any accident of fate that will render us so," I laid things out for them.

"Or, you were in pain over your father's loss and used Havenstone as a tool to lash out at your perceived foes without concern for what price the other houses would have to pay for your personal vendetta," Hayden suggested.

"Your gender bias is appalling, High Priestess St. James," I shook my head.

"Have I been such an out of control, emotional male that yours is the logical assumption for how events unfolded?" I smirked. "Except for the meeting where I learned your secret - only Katrina caught that. I've risked death three times for Amazons - yet I hate all of you enough to kill those people and myself. Besides, St. James, your opinion has been rendered irrelevant."

"You will call me Hayden," Hayden simmered.

"I will when you and your lackeys get around to calling me Cáel," I countered. "I don't like being insulted any more than you do. I could keep up this childishness forever, but, as I was pointing out, we don't have forever.

War is coming. Between my father's murder and my threats to the Condotteiri and Seven Pillars' emissaries, I've guaranteed that. Apologizing won't do any good. They won't believe you. Offering me up won't do any good. They think you hold male life to be worthless - the truth of which I am personally witnessing here and now. They are coming for you no matter what you wish.

The best chance for an alliance rests with me. I can establish truly good will with the Nine Clans, Illuminati and the Earth & Sky. Without me, they don't trust you enough to do any good. I'm sure only Katrina believes this - I did all that alliance-building for Havenstone. I am House Ishara and the fate of the Amazons is my fate.

Yet here I am, being insulted, being treated like a traitor - an infantile traitor at that, and being informed you will not honor your oaths and obligations to me," I shook my head. "Are there any other issues to discuss, or can I go home now? I'm beat."

"You will be housed downstairs for your own safety," Hayden informed me.

"Unless you arrest me, I'm going home," I shrugged. "Not only do I not want your protection, I have ceased to trust you. You do not treat me like a sister. Instead you accuse me of atrocities against MY people and layer on the petty insults. Goodnight." I made to leave so St. Marie interposed herself.

"That wasn't a request, Ishara," Hayden murmured with menace.

"Beat me up," I chuckled, "and you will be more fucked than you know." The Golden Mare and I locked gazes. I tried to move around her so she put a hand on my chest. "Welcome to the consequences of being known liars and bigots, ladies."

"I am tiring of your insolence," St. Marie growled.

"Runners'," Katrina sighed with melancholy amusement.

"What about them?" Troika mocked.

"The majority of the 'Runners' aren't going to see this as the Council punishing Cáel for starting the upcoming conflict," Katrina chided her cohorts.

"They are going to see the Full-blooded shutting down the ONLY House letting them in. Going to war? They are willing to fight and die for our cause. They assume we are too," Katrina regaled her unwilling audience.

"Pleased with yourself, Ish...Cáel," Hayden's eyes narrowed.

"He has almost nothing to do with it, Sisters," Katrina chortled. "We were the ones who promised to let the 'Runners' join the houses then reneged on that promise. The worst you can say about Cáel was that only after we picked out, loaded and handed him the gun, did he use it for what it was intended for."

"We are not punishing him for this 'Runner' insult," Troika spat. She meant my 'hasty' inductions.

"Then why are we punishing him - and thank you for making Cáel's point for him...'Runner' insult indeed. Since your disgraceful attitude is overwhelmingly common, the 'Runners' are not going to believe your excuse for dealing with Cáel."

"Katrina," Hayden cautioned.

"Hayden, as your 'First Bearer of the Sun Spear through the Halls of Night and Death', I am required to give you this news," Katrina bowed her head in reverence. "I tell you Cáel's actions have been a lightning rod for the 'Runners'. He gives them hope where there was none. Putting Cáel down will have repercussions you do not understand.

They will then 'KNOW' for a certainty we look down on them and treat them little better than slaves - which is the truth," Katrina responded to the others. "Not only are we going to war, we are successfully convincing half our population that they CANNOT trust the Council to spend their lives wisely."

"How dare you?" St. Marie seethed at me.

"Are you seriously blaming me for keeping the oaths the rest of you made in my name - while Ishara was dead to the Council?" I laughed. "The 'Runners' are your idea, St. Marie, not mine. You promised to bring them into the Houses ...and didn't. You lied and I chose to not perpetuate that lie, thus honoring my ancestors, my founder and my Goddess."

"Do I need to remind you who Ishara is? The Goddess of Oaths - particularly military oaths," I added. "In case you missed it, I AM implying that you have failed your ancestors..." and I went flying. Damn, St. Marie was fast. I rolled as best as I could, ending bumping into Hayden's desk.

No one said a word which I found tragically consistent. My follow-up pain wasn't 'Mare' induced. Spiritual flames consumed me internal organs, causing me to cry out in torment and vomit copious amounts of something. I was cradled inside a horror film as first my esophagus, then stomach and finally my intestines seemed to flush forth from my lips.

The stench was beyond horrid - putrid and corrupt combined with the atrocious odor of bloated flesh left to rot in the Sun for weeks. Considering the minimal amount I had eaten on the flight home, I was even more baffled by what felt like 100 liter quantity of discharge. When the ordeal eventually ended, I half-rose then flopped backwards into darkness.

I hurt. I hurt in the same way you have 'pins and needles', except mine were industrial capacity and giving it 110%. My head was resting at a slight incline and someone was flipping a lock of my bangs on and off my forehead. I opened my eyes into infinity - seriously worse agony consumed my brain pan.

"That is too much for you to know, Cáel," she murmured.

Those eyes had been feminine, just not in a human way and definitely filled with more joy and suffering than could be granted by a thousand lifetimes.

The pain faded, so I tried the whole eye thing again. At the top of the lap that cradled my head was a really nice pair of boobs clothed in thin wool - lush, mature, yet firm like a young virgin's.

"Thank you," she lilted. Mind-reading?

"Do I want to know what has happened to me?" I groaned. I reached for a boob because if it was a toxin-induced delusion, what was the worst that can happen?

"Careful, I haven't been with a male in 1800 years, my Preciously Odd Amazon," she laughed.

"I like challenges," I bantered with my mental conjuration. Definitely mind-reading.

"I am not the creation of your fevered dreams, my Cáel," she flicked my nose. "I have pushed you near death to place a curse on the Host. As a side benefit, I am able to have metaphysical contact with you."

"To date you, I have to have a near-death experience? I don't know if I should admire 1800 years of male common sense, or that last guy who risked everything for one night with you," I shrugged.

"So much compassion...and so little fear," she petted my scalp.

"Since you clearly aren't getting into the name game and I am more than happy to doubt everything I've experienced in the past five minutes," I smiled at her, "what am I supposed to do?"

"You know," she smiled back.

"No, I don't," I insisted. "Something extra-concise that doesn't come from a fortune cookie."

"I've always wanted to eat a fortune cookie," she looked away.

"I'll start walking around with one in my pocket so next time you nearly kill me, you can indulge," I offered.

"Save my people, Cáel," she placed her hand over my eyes. "Save their spirits."

"A bit of help would be nice," I pressed forward blindly.

"I've given you help," she whispered on my lips. Since I didn't consider that to be helpful, I opted to give a gentle twist to her nipple.

Either something was really going on inside my head, acting as a conduit between me and something else, or I was experiencing a psychotic break with reality. If it was the former, I was a Class-A idiot. If it was the latter, it was me being me, rolling the dice with the pretty girl.

"I wanted you to be brave," she laughed melodically, the echo of every woman I'd ever given a reason to sing out with joy, "yet now I find myself wishing you would expend a tiny bit more caution on my behalf." Sensing my dissatisfaction, she added "I cannot give you 'the' truth, so I will give you 'a' truth. Nothing is set in the future while much is foreseen."

"As long as you know I've disappointed every women I've ever been with," I reminded her, my eyes still shielded and her lips tantalizingly close to mine.

"Oh, you like to think you are selfish, Cáel Nyilas of Vranus and Ishara, but you justifiably take pride in the sensuality you bring to so many women's lives," she pointed out.

"Many lovers are far more truthful yet far less giving," she said.

"Pain heals while an education is forever," I countered. Another joyous note.

"It is time for you to wake up, my Cáel," she sighed. "Go now." Wakefulness required a return to the putrid qualities of my current surroundings. I forced myself to my knees.

No one did anything - no reaction, or assistance, so it fell to me to save myself.

"What...what was that?" Troika nearly retched at the stench. Katrina stood, visibly pale and shaken.

"Hayden?" Katrina requested of her leader.

"Cáel, what have you done?" Hayden snapped. She also stood up so she could look down at me from her desk. I mumbled something. Even I wasn't sure what I was trying to say. The last touch of a lady far chillier than the one in Chicago caressed me and I knew the gist of what had happened. Why was I the one suffering at the hands of my Goddess?

I was the easiest to get at because I was already devoted to her, her chosen children and I was Patron and Head of the house dedicated to her honor. The forecasted ass-kicking wasn't aimed at me, though. I was the necromantic shotgun barrel into this reality. Too many bitches had spat on me, her hand-picked patsy and punching bag, and her temper was beyond sending some vague signs and portents to the Host.

I didn't know the particulars of this curse, yet I didn't doubt for a second it was both fiendishly evil and well-deserved. My jacket, shirt and tie were goners. The lower part of my tie which had been thoroughly drenched in my vomit was already decaying into filth, soon passing into nothingness. I tried speaking again.

"Having exhibited no faith in me, you have committed apostasy to Ishara," issued the words from my acid-scared throat. "You are condemned to live with that choice. Good night."

I fumbled and stumbled to Hayden's door, weakly opened one of the two double doors and left. The confrontation I had departed outside remained in force - Naomi and detail versus Rachel and Buffy.

Helena, and a former 'Runner' named Madori who worked at Havenstone HQ with us, had not been sent up.

"I am going home," I rasped. With no orders to keep me there, Naomi let me pass. Rachel and Buffy closed in.

"Boss, you smell like..." Buffy searched for words.

"A red tide," Rachel said. "All those dead fish floating on the water for days and days - it is that level of horrible smell."

"Rachel," I stated as we got on the elevator, "thank you for the loyalty, intelligence and understanding you have given me in this trying time."

"I am a member of the Host, Ishara. I would do no less for Hayden herself...but you are welcome," she sighed.

"How about we postpone our date night until I've cleared up a few things with the Council and Ishara?" I suggested. Rachel nodded. I briefly talked to Helena over the phone, went with Buffy to the basement where she checked out a car then sat back as she drove me home. I must have looked like a disaster because Buffy didn't give me an ounce of grief.

Home was home now. There was a house with my name on it now, but it wasn't my hearth; this mid-town, 'just above the poverty line' apartment was definitely home now. I would suspect that business travel was like a clothes dryer - you mystically pulled out less clothes than you put in. I was coming back with twice the amount of luggage I had departed with

Odette would be home in an hour, so it was me and Timothy for a bit.

"Hey Bro," Timothy greeted me. He set down one of those fanciful Asian vegetable mish-mashes that he liked from time to time, stood up and gave me a hug. "How bad was it?"

"Let's just say I finished it up this evening by vomiting all over the Big Boss's rug, and that was the highlight of the trip," I mumbled.

"That would explain your bare-chested look," Timothy snorted. I had been so out of it, I had spaced on the need to put on clothes like a normal human being. "Something to eat?"

"Nah, my insides were spewed forth, so I'm foregoing food for a while," I mumbled. That reminded me. I went to the bathroom and gargled repeatedly with mouthwash. I could still smell the aromatic abomination, but at least I couldn't taste it anymore.

"Do we want to go down the lists of women who have called you?" Timothy was trying to cheer me up. I wanted to be cheered up so I told him to go right ahead. Brooke and Libra - an immediate call back with the briefest of details - no weekend date for Brooke and I yet. Jason, the bar-back I had met chasing down Katy Lee, had called. I dialed his number and we had a short chat.

He and his buddies were coming along well, I was invited back any time, and the Latin Kings had gotten the message because they hadn't been around since. I requested he and his friends keep their eyes open just in case and I'd be around for another pick-up game soon enough. Since most of those LK's were dead and the remainder scattered, I wasn't worried about Jason.

Nikita...I called and she 'agreed' to come over. I was too fatigued to fight her off. Ulyssa called and I had to inform her that this weekend didn't look good for me - funeral and all. I initiated contact with Nicole. She was still wrapping up some of my business in Chicago and would be gone until Saturday morning.

Timothy crashed for the evening, I was nibbling on some of his fodder and the doorbell rang. A check at the peephole revealed Nikita. She came in, hugged and I could sense something was definitely wrong. We were back to first date material. We hadn't been separated long enough...crap. I gave us space on the sofa.

"That was incredibly fast," I groaned. "What tipped them off?"

"What do you mean?" Nikita tried to scoot down the sofa to me. I held her off with one hand.

"I am hardly one to uphold honesty in a relationship, but I normally consider it a selfish endeavor and not done for the benefit of a third, unrelated party," I sadly met her eyes.

"Cáel, what do you...?" Nikita stammered.

"You are not a very good liar," I pointed out. "You are wearing a wire of some kind?"

"Have you done something wrong?" Nikita evaded.

"My loss," I moped. "All I wanted was the semblance of a normal life and now that's gone down the tubes."

"Nikita, what do you want to drink?" I restarted the whole fiasco. Drinks were served and we kept to our separate ends of the sofa talking about mindless shit until Odette showed up. Then I could politely show Nikita the door and be with someone who did care about me. We made slow, passionate love. I gave her orgasms and giggles with the added benefit I felt more human when we finally fell asleep.

(Friday)

The morning started out with the same routine. I pulled up various routes for my bike ride into work, chose none of them and off I went in the pre-dawn dark blue/grey sky. I came within 20 seconds of my best time, so I was feeling pretty positive about what lay ahead. Security was a full 180 from their normally sour selves.

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