tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 41

Life as a New Hire Ch. 41

byFinalStand©

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

Love is like a crossbow quiver. You only have so many bolts to shoot before it runs out


*****

{11 pm, Monday, August 25th ~ 14 Days to go}

{Late that night with Hana}

"So, who was the guy who gave you this?" I looked over at Hana while running my hand over the silk scarf some lama in Lhasa had given her to give to me ~ a 'Thank You' gift for the liberation of his homeland and the aid package heading his peoples' way.

"I never got his name, but my translator said he had traveled for three days straight to be there for the celebration," she smiled warmly.

I picked up my second gift and began to play with it. The object was a fascinating toy, all the more so because it was more than a child's plaything. It was a simple prayer wheel. I put the handle between my two palms and rubbed them back and forth, causing the two balls to beat against the drum heads.

"I think you find that thing more interesting than you do me," Hana pouted.

"Oh no you don't," I pounced on her. With one hand I tickled her while I placed my Tibetan gift aside. I didn't want us rolling over on it as we frolicked naked on her queen-sized bed. "You were a happy little camper ten minutes ago and you certainly drove your vigor home with this grand Lothario."

"Eeeekk!" she playfully tried to bat my hand aside. She began giggling hysterically.

Even when I pulled away so that she could breathe, she kept snickering.

"What?" I worried. I had been ramping us up for a second round of sex. Round one had been 'comfort' sex, helping her compartmentalize her feelings for that bastard of an ex-husband and the threat he posed to her custodianship of her daughter, Õnnela.

Those were emotions she'd deal with later. Fretting about them tonight, her first night back in the States, was counter-productive. She knew that, which was why she'd accepted my dinner invitation. We had now been seen in public together for the first time since she became famous; afterwards we had traveled back to her place. How serious was I about cheering her up? I'd brought a spare suit, biking clothes and my bike. I was planning to spend the night and make my way to work my usual way come sunrise.

"I," she gasped, "asked Libra how you "compared" in her experience, which seems to be extensive, as a lover on the way over. And after several - very long, I must say - seconds of introspection, she told me you were indescribable and incomparable. I've been trying to put my thoughts together since Rome and ... why are you scowling?"

"That was rude of you two," I now play-pouted. "I like to think I'm 'thunderous', though 'stunning' will do in a pinch."

Hana helpfully pinched me. "Ow!" I squalled. And back to tickling I went. I quickly showed her my 'sheet-fu' was superior to hers ... which meant I tangled her up in her sheets before she realized she was helpless before me. Or so I bragged. Hana played helpless well.

"Oh please, Mr. World-Conquering Wombat," she pleaded. Wombat?

"Wombat?" I questioned her. "How have I become an irascible furry marsupial?"

"Well Honey, you need a shave," she teased me. "You are a little furry."

"Romantically that is called a five o'clock shadow," I protested.

"It scratches my thighs," she murmured.

I had a remedy for that. Sliding down to her hip, I turned my palms toward me, interlaced my fingers and positioned my thumbs pointing up. My chin rested on my fingers and the thumbs covered the sides, so when I stuck my tongue into the three-sided void created, my hands, but none of my scruffiness, touched her intimate flesh. Once I had this technique in place, I rolled over her thigh and got to work.

"I find," she gasped, "that you have the answer to that conundrum down pat. It makes me ... aaahhh ... think I'm not your ... aaahhh ... first girl." My dedication to my erotic task (and the carnal reward that waited) kept me from responding. Besides, my upper lip was busy rolling back and forth over her clitoris. There I let the bristles of my oncoming moustache teasingly tickle her. I was pleased when the pleasure I caused quieted her and she settled down to running her fingers across my crown as she ramped herself up toward a climax. 'Not my first girl' indeed.

Forty-five minutes later, I was coming back to her room from the kitchen with a glass of tomato juice for her and rice wine for me (she was out of beer). I heard a noise from Õnnela's room, so I deviated to make sure she was okay. I was in boxers, not totally naked. Õnnela was out like a light, caught up in some sort of childish dream. By the cherubic grin on her face, she was having a good one.

She was another delicate female issue in my life. I had made her existence harder by just being me. Hana let me know that nothing 'bad' had better happen to her ex-husband, Sten. I couldn't beat him up, threaten him, or sic any of my Amazons on him. Stupidly, I had asked if using the CIA was okay. She'd banned all of JIKIT intervening as well, negating the use of the best pest removal people on the planet - the 9 Clans.

"You are going to have to get used to children making sounds while they sleep," Hana surprised me. "You'll learn to tell the dreams from the nightmare."

"In spades ... I'm going to have to learn that in spades," I nodded.

{4 pm, Tuesday, August 26th ~ 13 Days to go}

My schedule had remained steady. I had firearms practice at 6 am every morning, was in Katrina's office by 7 and working my cue by 7:15. According to my regular morning briefings, I continued to be a menace to the foundations of freedom, civilization and the terrestrial biosphere. It was wonderful to stand there side by side with my fellow New Hires.

At lunch, around 11 o'clock, I had a brief get together with the other members of the Amazon diplomatic corps since I was still Chief Diplomat of the Host ~ we were a small unit. Daphne, who now worked with JIKIT, would give me a brief briefing on what the 'office' was up to in my name. I gladly kept my distance from their regularly scheduled mayhem. The truce in China didn't stop the Secret War from raging on and on.

My three o'clock knife training with Pamela was slowly evolving into a greater study of human fighting philosophy and anatomy. I still studied the techniques of a larger single bladed hunting knife as well as the hilt-less, double bladed Amazon Honor Blade. Pamela promised me she'd start teaching me how to do the 'long-distance' and 'short'/snap throw for the blades. She made it look so easy.

Pamela also began educating me on the basics and basis of the Amazon personal hand-to-hand fighting style. The eight points of emphasis in Amazon combat were: the finger, fist, elbow, shoulder, foot, heel, knee and hip. It encouraged channeling both your energies and the energy of your opponents by using fluid blows and throws. It also worked well with the close-in knife fighting Pamela was teaching me. Working with her once more did her as much good as me. We had come to feed off one another's moods, which was a good thing.

Tuesday, walking to the elevator at the end of the session, the door opened to reveal Rachel talking to an SD chick I barely knew, Meridian.

"Oh, it is great to see you, Rachel," I enthusiastically stated. Her hesitation as she replied worried me.

"It is great to see you too, Cael Wakko Ishara," she responded softly ... compassionately.

"Ladies, can you spare Rachel and I some private time," I asked Meridian and Pamela.

"Come on," Pamela addressed the SD Amazon, "we have tons of nothing to talk about."

"As you wish, Ishara," Meridian answered. She looked to Rachel. She stepped off the elevator as Pamela stepped on. Away they went.

"I heard you were back in New York," I told her.

"I heard you were off of JIKIT for the time being."

"I was running on fumes psychologically and my body wasn't too much better. Javiera gave me a week off. I go back Thursday."

"That was the right move, Cáel," she said. "You've been stuck sweating both the small stuff and being caught up in the big picture. That is a humongous burden to bear for someone with your training and background."

"I know ... I'm not ready for where my life has taken me."

"No one is, Cáel. You have training that has let you get this far when most of us would be lost. You carry that weight, plus you've had to work the physical side of the equation. I get to focus on you. You've had to focus on all of us."

Rachel was being both honest and kind. I felt a sudden renewed kinship with my primary guardian.

"Thanks for that ... Rachel, can I tell you a secret? Something you can't tell another soul. Something I've never told another living person?" I could tell Rachel. I couldn't tell Katrina because she was so close to Hayden. Pamela ... Pamela had already prepared herself for a miserable afterlife and wouldn't have connected with my pain for another.

Since she was my 'sister' in Ishara, I couldn't really confide in Buffy, but only an Amazon would understand my thoughts on the matter. It had to be Rachel.

"I cannot betray the Host, but you know that. What is it you wish to share?"

"Hayden lived life as an Anahit, yet lives forever in the Halls of the Isharans." Since that was now well known, Rachel knew that couldn't be the secret.

"When I was trying to induct her, Dot Ishara refused her entry. I thought she was challenging me and I was right."

"I recall that she wouldn't accept Hayden, even though her death was righteous in the name of the Host. Has no one ever asked you what changed Ishara's mind? Not Buffy, or Helena?"

"Neither one ever asked. I think it was because they sensed I didn't want to talk about it, nor insult them by not opening up. Ishara refused Hayden because of me. I was refusing to accept my place in the Host. I kept playing - pretending - I was not really one of you. I kept thinking I could divorce myself from the evil we did because I was special."

"But you weren't special in the way I think you are using the word," she nodded. "You were chosen by the Ancestors to be one of us - man, or not."

"Yeah. I stupidly put my life on the line because I wanted to be the 'good guy'. I've always wanted to be the 'good guy', even when I hurt people. I'd tell the girl it was my fault, yet I excused that behavior by thinking that I hadn't meant to hurt anyone, so I was okay. I have never blamed myself for any of the shit I caused."

"That has always been a rather annoying quality of yours," she noted.

"When I was on the roof of Havenstone, daring Ishara with my life on the line ... that's when I felt it. I owed and owned my Amazon heritage in that moment. I finally blamed myself for something ... for not accepting sacrifices were being made for me and I was dishonoring every one of you by denying their purpose."

"You are Ishara," Rachel stated firmly. That was her entire argument.

"I had to believe that. I had to believe I was nothing more than one Amazon in a long line of Amazons dating back to that first night of betrayal. I had to realize I was one of many, not someone special ... with special rules. I wasn't getting to be the good guy, or even the bad guy. I was just ... an Amazon. One more Ishara among the hundreds that stood in my place."

"And it took that moment for you to realize what most Amazons know from the age of five," Rachel stroked my cheek. "It is easy for us to forget your bravery comes from a place that is uniquely you and you didn't grow up around the fires with tales of our mothers, grandmothers and all those who have come before. We see our honor is gold and sing the songs in the First Tongue. We live as Amazons."

"I wanted you to know because," I faltered at the last memory.

"Charlotte. You want to make peace with me about Charlotte," she touched my cheek yet again. "Cáel, I told her mother and daughter about how she died. They want to meet Vincent when he is feeling better. They want to talk to you. They worry about you not understanding that Charlotte lives and will live on until the Sun dies and the stars burn out."

"Charlotte was in the Warband that killed Ajax the Unconquered, Cáel. She fell on that ridge, looking down on Ishara's triumph over Ajax and her spirit took the news of that victory to the next life. She is a welcome exemplar to House Skaði. She will be remembered in the lists of the Security Detail, our Warrior Elite. Charlotte was my friend and I didn't wish her to die, but war is what we do. And she buried her enemies and saved our lives."

Skaði was a jötunn and the Nordic goddess associated with bow-hunting, skiing, winter, and mountains. I had known her house. The SD didn't talk about their families much because of their devotion to the craft of war, so I had never known her mother was still alive, or that she had a daughter.

"She did much more than die, Cáel. She killed men so that when you finished with Ajax, none of them, left on that field, could avenge him," she added.

"I hadn't looked at it that way," I confessed. "I'd like to meet her family. You said she has a daughter. I didn't know."

"You didn't need the distraction. We all knew you would have only done incredibly stupid things trying to keep us alive. If it helps, she is five and cried freely, deeply and long. Her mother is fifty-two and runs a freehold in Saskatchewan. She'll be around for a long time, trust me."

Charlotte's mother had to be one tough DOB (daughter of a bitch) to see sixty. I did know she was the second of five daughters, with the middle one being in the Skaði House Guard.

"I am doing something for ... well, for me, but for Charlotte too. Sakuniyas is leading seventeen House Isharans and two ladies from MI-6 in West Africa."

"I'd heard about that," she smiled. "Charlotte's Fist." Four (the core of any war band) was a sacred number to the Amazons, as was five (the number of digits) so twenty was a classic warrior unit. It was also the number of the original houses. Normally these groups were referred to by their leader's name, but I wanted the Condotteiri to know they'd killed the wrong Amazon and Sakuniyas agreed to the naming convention.

The Condos had sent Ajax to Hungary and Romania to kill me. Charlotte had died stopping them, but this was not a matter of revenge. This honored her and was a request for her to watch over those who sought inspiration from her when they went into battle. West-Central Africa was one of the three Amazon Homeland (Eastern Europe and Southern India being the other two) and was where the war was heating up.

JIKIT (Joint International Khanate Interim Taskforce) became involved when the Condos and Coils of the Serpent (one of the 9 Assassin Clans) began killing local civilian and military leaders. The Condos did it to spread chaos for them to use as a smoke screen behind which they could hide the large numbers of mercenaries in the area hunting down the Amazons. The Coils attacked any official that was on the Condo's payroll.

As the body count began to rise, the US and UK began having 'normal' covert agencies investigate the killings, yet they remained blind to the reasons behind the actions. It wasn't until a whole Condo 'training camp' ended up being extinguished that they realized there was a third player in the game (as opposed to the governments and the rogue mercenaries).

The Coils of the Serpent were one step ahead of the intelligence agencies. And that allowed the Amazons to hunt down the Condos. We in JIKIT had estimated it was roughly 15,000 Condotteiri foot soldiers (consisting of mercs, local paramilitaries and the occasional regular army commander) versus the roughly 3000 Amazons and 1000 members of the 9 Clans. The Golden Mare was asking for Havenstone and the Freeholds in North and South America to raise up 'fists' to join the struggle in Africa. In Belize they would be trained for two months to ten weeks in jungle warfare before heading over.

"Are your people going to be ready?" Rachel inquired.

"We have done well in Japan," I replied. "The former 'Runners' actually do better moving through urbanized society than their Old School Amazon sisters."

"I heard they are more prone to taking orders from the Ninja," she looked me in the eyes.

"I told them to. This is the Ninja's war and we serve them best by doing what we do best ~ taking the fight to the Seven Pillars when they expose themselves," I clarified. "And you got me off talking about Charlotte," I realized a second later.

"A long period of mourning is not our way, Cáel," she confided. "You were our friend, but you were our mission first and foremost. That hasn't changed."

"Are you going to ...," I began to say 'remain my bodyguard'.

"Yes. I have a dozen House Guard members expressing a desire to join the Security Detail and be our new electronics expert. Eight of those I'm giving serious consideration to."

"The other four?" I asked.

"Three are too young and are too interested in you for my taste. One is too old and a rather odd individual."

"I like odd."

"I will reconsider her then," she allowed.

"Are you saying that to make me happy?"

"No," Rachel grinned. "I admire your instincts. Do you know how soon you will be needing us?"

"I'm going to stay in town until the Great Hunt. After my stupendous victory, I'll see if I can get to Brazil ... so mid-September."

"It will take longer to integrate a member ~ the last week of November," she bargained. I really wasn't in the mood to argue. I was too much the boy who was glad to see his primary guardian standing before him. Pamela was by far the most loving and lethal one of the pack. Rachel was my rock. She kept me alive and I helped give her something to live for, even if it was a flawed 'me'.

"And Wakko, you don't need to give me a piece of your soul to replace Charlotte. What is hers is hers and what is ours is ours. I'll always miss her and I'm okay with that. She was a good friend and a proud compatriot and I loved her. I never had any sisters of the flesh. Mona, Tiger Lily and Charlotte have been the only real family I've had. I will find another sister and I can now accept that."

"Is it alright if I still miss her?" I pondered.

"Of course, Ishara. Will you still be capable of taking my orders when required?"

"Yes. If I started ignoring your advice ... I wouldn't have been worthy of leading someone like Charlotte into battle. I can honor her by letting you do your job."

"Thank you. I still worry about you trying to save everyone, but now I'll worry a little less," she confessed.

"I still plan to do crazy stuff ... hey, do you have a daughter?"

"No."

"Want one?"

"I'm in the final drawing of lots for the Great Hunt," she smiled once more.

"You could just ask."

"My way is more fun. This way I'll be sure you'll obey," she let her eyes sparkle with a mirthful fire.

"Don't think I'll go easy on you. I plan to win," I pledged.

"Of course not. Why would you change now?"

"I'd rather you bust my balls than mock me?" I pouted. "Instead of spending a moving moment, you are cheering me up."

"It is my job to look after you, even now," she stroked my neck affectionately.

"Especially now," I added as I hit the elevator button.

"Let's catch up with the others. I need to tell Meridian that she's back in the running."

"Oh ... that is fortunate," I grinned. "Oh, we'll start our mission to Brazil on Thursday, February 12th."

"Is there a significance of that date?"

I laughed. I put an arm around her shoulder as the doors opened. There were two others Havenstone ladies onboard.

"Carnival in Rio de Janeiro!" I exulted. "Half a million tourists a day. Two million Brazilians. Everyone wears a mask. What's not to love?"

"You are so fortunate you waited until you had witnesses around," Rachel groused.

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