tagSci-Fi & FantasyLife as a New Hire Ch. 44

Life as a New Hire Ch. 44

byFinalStand©

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

{I apologize for taking so long to publish this installment. The editors were on the ball. I was the one going through a dark period. I'm endeavoring to do better.}

*It is selfish to believe that your family will always love you. At some point you will be asked to earn it*


*****

{Right where we left off}

{9:10 pm, Tuesday, September 2nd ~ 6 Days to go}

"Yes, I'm Sibeal. Are you my son?"

"Do you mean – No! Grandfather Cáel hasn't supplanted my spirit with his own," I took a deep breath. "I'm not sure how I can convince you of this."

"Do you miss your Father?" she queried.

"Yes," I murmured.

"Ahh Cáel ... you are still my son. Thank all that is divine," she sighed.

"Care to deactivate the vest now?" Pamela suggested.

"Do you promise not to shoot me? You two ... and the one sneaking up on me from behind." She meant Juanita, who had sensed the danger and exited the car.

"You are three kinds of crazy, so I'm not making any guarantees," Pamela answered.

"Pamela – Chaz, I really think she is my mother. And I assume she is here to kill Cáel O'Shea, not me," I interjected. I still wasn't leaving Chaz' side. "Please don't kill her."

"No guarantees," Chaz affirmed.

"She's his mother," Odette chimed in. "If it was anyone else, they would be in a cloud of bodyguards, not alone."

"Here is the deal, Mom. You deactivate the vest, then we will talk. Otherwise, I'm taking my security's advice and backing the fuck out of here."

"Okay," she nodded. "It's a fake. I'm upset, but not enough to be suicidal. I wanted to see what you would do. Father would have sacrificed everyone else. You got tackled and you obeyed the man who was trying to save your life."

"Chaz, what do you think?" Pamela asked him.

"We could hold her here until Virginia shows up. That would give Cáel a few minutes to reminisce before she gets dragged off to the looney bin." (That would, of course, lead to her death while in Federal custody – so that wasn't happening, period.)

"I concur," Pamela agreed. She still had her gun out and aimed. She went to a one-handed grip so she could motion Juanita to come inside.

I took the opportunity to walk around Chaz, though I only advanced half way.

"I think it is asking too much from my bodyguards to walk up to you with that vest lying at your feet," I pointed. "You know – just in case you are lying." She nodded, smiled and came forward. A hug was in the offing. I almost missed Odette coming up behind me.

"I'm on a timetable," Mom murmured into my shoulder. "You know why."

"I am afraid I do," (my pheromones were already affecting her). "What brought this on? How long can you stay?"

"The kidnapping made it imperative. But this has been my first opportunity to get close enough to you to determine if my father had won, or not," she confessed.

"I'm not sure how long I can remain ~ maybe a day, or three. I have heard you have an upcoming ordeal you must go through for your Amazons." Odette again by way of Delilah. I decided to give Delilah the benefit of the doubt and just accept that she did what she did because she was worried about me.

"Oh. Mom, this is Odette Sievert, my roommate and all-around better friend than I deserve." Odette extended her hand. Mom reached past me and shook it.

"Nice to finally meet you in person," Mom smiled.

"Nice to realize you aren't as nutty as the rest of the bunch ...and considering you came at Pamela and Chaz with a fake suicide vest – that is saying something," Odette grinned.

"My son is all I have left of Ferko (my dad)," she grew grim. "If my father stole him after killing my husband – I wouldn't know how to carry on."

"Aaahh ..." Odette stammered through this tense family moment. "You are about to be a grandmother in a serious way," she tried to turn things around. "How does a dozen grandkids sound?"

Operational security and secret information were concepts Odette was aware of. She simply refused to use either one.

"Really?" Mom looked from Odette to me. "How serious?"

"How about we get out of here before the FBI shows up," I began directing my mom out the doors.

"Cáel?" Chaz questioned.

"Hey now, I never agreed to hand my mom over to Virginia. The vest was fake. Let's not dwell on this," I urged Mom and Odette out the door.

"Ishara," Juanita repeatedly prayed, "why do you test me so?"

Chaz and Pamela showed their faith in me and my decision-making ability by tagging along. For me ... what does a son who hasn't spent any time with his mother since he was seven (because she was supposedly dead for the past fifteen years) ask first?

Actually, we waited for Chaz, who had the presence of mind to ensure the vest was truly a dud and then called Virginia so she could clean up one of my messes – yet again.

"Thank you, Colour Sergeant," Mom looked toward Chaz as the GL 550 pulled away from One Mi Ma1 Tower. Unfortunately, the look he sent her way wasn't friendly.

"Thanks for reminding me," I nodded to Mom. "Chaz, what in the Hell possessed you to jump on Odette and me? I appreciate it ..."

"Me too," Odette chimed in.

"But please don't do that ever again. Of all the ... let's just say I have too many deaths of people I like on my mind. I don't want you added to that list."

"Tough."

"Well ... thanks for considering my request," I groaned.

"Chaz, three nights ago our boy learned that one of the women he knocked up is going to die and no one will intervene to save her life and they won't tell him where she is," Pamela let him know.

"Who do we talk to?" he asked me. By 'talk' I assumed he meant torture until they coughed up a viable location/suspect.

"The Goddess Ishara."

"Fuck. I apologize, Cáel. That is hard news for a young man like you to take. As for my jumping on you – suck it up. It is my job to make sure you can do yours."

"Juanita," Pamela called out. "Stop driving to Havenstone. Take us back to Cáel's place. He won't let the Amazons take his mother, which means I won't let them, which means Chaz won't let them. Besides, Odette could get killed in the cross-fire and too many people like her for that to be safe for any would-be assassin."

"Really?" Odette perked up. Of course she wasn't worried about being killed. Odette was fascinated that people found her valuable – enough to kill anyone who killed her. She'd more fully grasp that curse later on. She was a genuinely nice person. What Pamela left unsaid was that if 'people' thought someone might kill Odette, they would 'proactively' protect her. Too many people she now hung out with were of that stripe of crazy.

"Pamela, would you miss me if I got killed?" Odette turned to the most dangerous person in the car. (I didn't think Mom was in her league, but then I had never seen her fight, so I was keeping an open mind.)

"You bet your ass, Baby-cakes," she grinned at my super-kind sidekick.

"Me too," Chaz added gruffly. "Of greater importance, Addison would take umbrage. Next to Ms. Love, she's the nastiest bitch I've ever met." He meant that as a compliment.

"Not Lady Yum – I meant Worthington-Burke?" I inquired.

"She doesn't take things personally. She'd miss Odette, but not enough to move off-mission," Chaz explained.

"Let's not forget Buffy," Pamela snorted. "What she lacks in experience she makes up for by being totally psychotic and fanatically loyal to Wakko here. People who piss him off tend to end up as a place holder on the Obituary page."

"Unless they never find the bodies," Juanita commented – from her personal experience disposing of people for me. Groan.

"Cáel, I am so happy I met you," Odette hugged my arm. "My life was going nowhere before you gave me your phone number. Now ... I know my life is at risk and I don't care. Being with you has been more wonderful than I ever thought possible."

Mom was studying me, both pleased and worried.

"What?" I asked.

"You have a lot of your grandfather in you. He did have a gift for inspiring the best out of people. You are like your father in that you care for those people – caring for both their lives and their happiness. Your father inspired that same kind of loyalty because he kept the needs of his people in the forefront of his mind."

"Dad was like Grandpa?" I worried.

"Hell no." That was Pamela.

"Thank the Divine, no," Mom exhaled at the same time. "How do you know my father?"

"I killed him," Pamela grinned.

"You were the one? I'm ... I don't know what to think," Mom murmured.

"Keep that in mind before you try to pull another stunt like you did tonight," Pamela's grin grew feral.

"Pamela is the best Grandmother I could ever hope for," I explained.

"Spiritually speaking," Odette tried to lighten the mood (she was a cracker-jack morale officer). "Otherwise it would make Cáel's having sex with her granddaughters rather ... suspect."

"Odette, you can say 'incestuous'," Mom gave a half-grin. "Do you know much about my family?"

"Your Pa created you and your sisters to be fuck-toys who also ran errands for him," Odette nodded. "They are all loonies."

"Don't share that view with them," Mom cautioned. "When we last met, they had a highly under-developed sense of humor and a well-cultivated mean streak."

"Gotchya," Odette giggled. "After dealing with the Slayers of Testicles numbers 1 & 2, I have learned what kind of wacky girls Cáel attracts without even trying."

"I really should make sure Mr. Fiennes is okay," I reminded myself.

"You would do better catching up with that girl down the hall. The Korean takeout girl also asked about you", offered Odette. Yeah ... the girl in 3-F baked me some cookies when Dad was murdered.

"How many grandchildren are we talking about?" Mom looked at me with some serious maternal affection.

"Who are the Slayers of Testicles?" Juanita wanted to know. My family jewels belonged to House Ishara – at least in her and her sisters' estimation.

"Oneida's bodyguards," Odette let slip out before she saw the warning look in my eyes.

"You are sleeping with the apprentice of House Arinniti?" gasped Juanita – I was hoping her questioning wasn't hurting her driving. "What about the 84 day rule?"

"I'd better not bring up Rhada," Odette nodded thoughtfully.

"I'm going to spank you," I growled at Odette.

"Was that aimed at me?" Juanita.

"Yippee ... and we are going home now, too!" Odette squealed.

"Not you, Juanita – Odette. I want to teach her how to 'not say' whatever pops up in her head," I grumbled.

"You promised to punish me!" she beamed brightly. "Punish me! Punish me!"

"Uuuuuuu ..." I beat my cranium against the headrest in front of me.

"I thought she was the 'nice' girl," Mom chided me.

"She was," Pamela smirked. "Unfortunately, she's been totally corrupted by your son."

"Yep," Odette agreed. "He's opened up a whole new horizon of things sexual for me."

"Son, how many women are you seeing? I thought you were engaged." Mom.

"Uuuuuuu ..." I repeated.

"I'll take care of this," Chaz intervened calmly. "He is as loyal as he can be – within the bounds of his limited moral arsenal – to Hana Sulkanen. So he is sexually and romantically involved with Brooke Lee and Libra Chalmers, civilians he met through contacts at Havenstone. There is Anais Saint-Armour, RCMP, who departed this weekend ..."

"She'll be back," Pamela assured Mom. "They always come back at least once."

"Who has only come back just once?" Chaz laconically questioned Pamela.

"Good point," Pamela acceded. "They keep coming back until he changes the locks, his phone number and address." That made no sense ...

"I am glad you two are my friends," I groused. "I'd hate to think what you would say about me if you hated me."

"You're welcome," Pamela grinned.

"... Ms. Marla Chalmers," Chaz continued without missing a beat, "Libra's younger sibling, who your son indubitably impressed while in college; three teachers at an exclusive school, he met them while body-guarding a group of children; an assistant manager of a hotel he stayed at; six attractive, college-educated European young women ..."

"Don't forget the Macedonian!" Pamela interjected.

"I have removed her from the list because she has no reliable way to hunt down our boy," he explained.

"Good point," Pamela nodded.

"They like busting your chops, don't they?" Mom smiled.

"As opposed to physically busting my chops – this I can live with."

"You have matured nicely. Your father would be very pleased – quietly, of course."

"Thank you Mom." She knew the man better than I ever would.

"We won't count the 189 Amazons who have staked a claim to him for the next nine days," Chaz added.

"WHAT! 189? When did that happen?"

"The thirty huntresses and the 159 members of House Ishara," Pamela clued me in.

"159? When did that happen?" I gasped again. I was repeating myself – not good. I knew I had told Buffy to 'keep up the good work', but still, House Ishara wasn't even two months old yet.

"They are the best of the roughly 20,000 Runners in the Host and thus, all are serious bad-ass bitches," Pamela assured me. "I think Helena would like you to explore a few more heroic Runners who have since passed."

"Passed?" Mom.

"Cáel sees dead people," Odette beamed.

"So does his Aunt Baibre," Mom said.

"Met her ... came off a bit ... off," I confirmed.

"That's Baibre. What other ones have you met, besides Deidre and Brianna?"

She was asking if I had met others outside of Delilah's watchful eye.

"Hmmm ... Imogen, Kelly and Matilda."

"Okay. You haven't met the bad ones yet," Mom nodded. I was stunned yet again. Not by what Mom said, but by ...

"The 'bad ones'?" Pamela inquired. "They come in shades worse than Kelly and Matilda?"

"I'm with you on that. Those two were unsettling," Chaz agreed. Holy Shit! Pamela and Chaz were agreeing that two of my aunts had them worried on a tactical level. So 'not good' for me, since I couldn't take either of my friends. Bad-bad.

"Fiona is the worst. She is the second youngest of my generation and by far the most lethal. She was Father's pet."

"Oh joy," I sighed.

"Is she bulletproof?" Chaz inquired.

"Not quite, but she is definitely hard to kill. She has a greater share of Alal while remaining sane."

"Oh ... she's the sane one?" Juanita joined in.

"On that side of his family, sane is a relative term." Thanks, Odette.

"Relative to how far your dick is into them?" Pamela snorted.

"Hold on now," I interrupted the jocularity. "What do you mean – 'your generation' – 'the second youngest' – what happened to the youngest – and when you say 'worst', define 'worst'."

Pamela's phone rang.

"Father created three generations of daughters and sons. Carrig was the 'success' on the male side of the equation."

Uncle Lumpy was the 'success'? What had the other uncles been like – idiot cyclops cannibals?

"He destroyed all the rest."

"Please clarify," Chaz studied my mother. "Your father murdered his own children?"

"Yes. All but one of the 36 sons. He kept Carrig around as a reminder to not create any more sons. The first generation of daughters were all 'failures'."

"You mean dead?" Odette gulped.

"Yes – dead now, though he viewed all of us as property, not human beings."

"Consider Grandad's low opinion of humanity, that's extra tragic," I put an arm around Odette. Pamela was muffling her conversation.

"Of the second generation of daughters, only Aunt Faoiltiama was kept around. I always had the impression her soul wasn't entirely human. She is rather primitive and predatory. A less horrifically unbalanced Carrig – physically that is. Carrig was somewhat more erudite."

"Wow ... I don't know what to think of that," I mumbled.

"Of my generation, eleven of us were allowed to live. Kelly and Maitilda are the most physically dangerous. That was their purpose – killing things."

"Trained in combat styles by Cáel's grandfather?" Chaz looked ... depressed.

"Yes. The four of us were. Fiona was the only one I couldn't best."

"I would like to spar with you when it is convenient," Chaz requested.

"Okay. You deserve to know how bad it can be," she nodded. "Of the rest, Una was the youngest, the most human and humane. She was Father's final failure. I was never sure why he kept her alive."

"For Cáel to rescue, of course," Odette insisted. Crap. She was right. By the horrified look on my Mother's face, she knew Odette was correct as well.

Alal had let Una live as a contingency card, in case I was a soft-hearted sap. In hindsight, it was obvious. The innocent damsel trapped in a madhouse, at the mercy of her fiendish kinfolk ... she was a perfect weapon to make me do stupider shit than normal.

"Damn," Mom muttered. "Anyway, Briana is the most willful and the family's representative to the Illuminati. Deidre is the most sedate, so she handles the normal business interests that we are allowed to know about. Darcie had Alal's hunger for lost and forbidden lore. In her case, it is all-consuming. She has memorized much of Father's collection."

"She is rather good at it too – or was when I last saw her. Imogen is our tactician and oversees the O'Shea's bodyguard contingent. She has Father's ability to choose the best men and women, to train them to a razor's edge and to inspire fanatic loyalty."

"Sadhbba: she is Father's spy master; with the exceptionally eerie talents of subterfuge, deceit and finding the weakness in others. She and I did NOT get along. Fiona could do it all, except for my talent."

"Which is?" Chaz took over, since Pamela was waving me over for a close, quiet chat concerning her phone call.

"Fiona was an updated version of me. She was slightly better at everything I could do, except for one thing. I had Father's sixth sense about things. Fiona did not ... and that was the reason she hated me so much. Father stoked our internal conflicts to keep us all on edge."

"Good to know," Chaz understated his concern. "Do you have any intelligence on how, when and with what your father will come after our boy?" I wasn't insulted by the 'our boy' moniker. He wasn't calling me a child. He was telling Mom that I was 'one of the boys' – on his team. I felt all warm and tingly. My dearth of long-term male friends had meant I had never really been in a fraternity – the close brotherhood of men – before.

"Problem for you to deal with," Pamela handed me the phone. "It is Tabitha Loire." Tabitha? Vincent's – FBI Special Agent Vincent Lorie's – drop-dead gorgeous daughter. He had taken more than one bullet in Romania. I hadn't heard from him since that morning at the hospital, before being whisked away to the US via Germany. I remained a lousy friend.

"Hello? Who is this?" the weary, angry voice on the other end of the connection spoke.

"Cáel Nyilas. Tabitha Loire, what can I do for you?"

"What can you tell me about my Father?"

"Oh God! He is not dead, is he?" I grunted. Pause.

"No. No, Da is okay. He was released from the hospital a week ago. I would like to talk to you about what happened to him overseas."

"He won't tell you?"

"No. Neither will his boss, or any of his acquaintances. Mr. Nyilas, he is down in the dumps and I want to know what I can do to help out. If you are his friend, you should help."

I couldn't blame her for being both bitter and exasperated. She had run full tilt into the Great Wall of National Security and been stopped cold.

"How about I come down and talk to you?" I offered. "What I can tell you shouldn't go out over a phone and I have been remiss in not catching up with your father sooner."

"Ummm ... when?"

"I'll take the next train down tonight," I decided. "We'll arrange some vehicles at the station. What is your address?" She hesitated. After all, she had Pamela's number, not mine and I was tied into her father being shot – badly. She gave me the address, her desire to know what happened overcoming her caution when dealing with strangers. "I'll give you a call when we arrive in Alexandria."

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