A Darker Shade Of Pale

Details and a record of the characters exploits, successes and failures within the Parallel Worlds.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:51 pm

“Captian Donovan, sir,” the Corporate Force squad commanding officer introduced himself to Boris Karkarov.
“Ah, Captain, a pleasure,” Karkarov offered his hand to the officer.
Donovan was surprised, normally these corporate types wouldn’t give a man like him the time of day.
It amused him how things soon changed when their lives were threatened in some way.
“Captain, there has been a breach of security again, this time at my home and two of my personal body guard have been killed. I’m not sure if this place remains secure anymore.”
Donovan tried to adopt his most reassuring face. “Right now, sir, this is probably the most secure place for you.”
It was true that the lakeside lodge was a very secure and safe place, but Karkarov couldn’t shake that icy feeling of fear and decided that he needed to be somewhere familiar.
“I’m sorry Captain,” Karkarov said in a decisive tone, “I must return to Zenith Headquarters. You will make the necessary security arrangements please. And your men will supplement the Zenith guards too.”
“What if your enemies have infiltrated the guards? It will not work well having us under their control and authority.”
Karkarov nodded. “Agreed, Captain. You and your men are better suited to dealing with this threat. You will have Zenith’s troops under your command, though I do doubt any of them are planning my downfall!” Or no one he knew of was, anyway.
Donovan checked his watch. “I will have a chopper ready in one hour, Mr Chief Executive.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:54 pm

The sun had long set over Illinois State and the inside of the small boathouse was pitch black.
Fumbling around in the darkness, Caleb Black found a light switch and flicked it on. He didn’t care if anyone saw the light, that was something he would deal with when it arose.
He was a mess, he noted, catching sight of his reflection in the small mirror on the rear of the cabin door.
With difficulty he removed his coat and the tight black top he wore under it, though his body was so bruised it looked as though he still had it on.
Wincing he held his broken arm across his chest and closed his eyes, concentrating first on the bone, then on the ruptured tissue throughout his body.

After several minutes a noise on the boat drew his attention and he noticed the yacht rocked gently in the water.
“Hello?” came a small voice. “Daddy?”
The cabin door was pulled open and two things happened simultaneously.
A small girl, twelve or thirteen years old, her hair dyed jet black, a diamond stud in her nose and heavy black make-up on her eyes and black lipstick framing her mouth stepped in.
And Caleb Black’s hand shot out grabbing the pistol with the inordinately long silencer and thrust it at the unexpected visitor. He noticed that his hand wasn’t shaking like it had been yesterday.

The girl stood staring at the black round opening at the end of the gun, and Black stared, equally as horrified at the girl.
If this had been anything but a kid he would have put them down there and then.

What happened next surprised Black more than anything else could have.

“Oh, cool!” the girl said as though she had just discovered some crazy new fashion accessory.
The girl tore her eyes away from the gun and looked at Black’s bruised, half-naked form.
“You don’t look so great!” she said, an unexpected warmth to her voice.
Black didn’t move or say anything.
“There’s, like, medicine in the bathroom cabinet,” she pointed to the door on the opposite side of the small cabin. “Shall I?”
Black glanced at the door. It led forward, into the small head at the bow of the yacht.
Lowering his gun, but not relinquishing it, he nodded.
With a truly friendly smile she went into the bathroom.
Black looked down at his arm, the bruising there was just a faded sickly yellow colour.
He moved his hand around flexing his fingers and then gingerly put some weight on it. No pain, no odd movement of bone over bone. Good!

Marcie Lucas stood in the doorway looking at the man’s back. He had a strange tattoo the covered his back and looked like a stylised angel. There were other tattoos too, odd looking symbols and words that she didn’t recognise on his shoulders and arms.
As she watched, the man slowly stood up and she saw more tattoos on his chest and abdomen, but they were obscured in part by the almost black bruises that covered his torso.
Marcie knew she should have run away and called her parents or somebody as soon as she saw the man but his face had not been sinister, he had looked worried.
She’d reasoned then and there that any man who had a gun pointed at her but looked that concerned to see her couldn’t mean her any harm.
Besides, not only did this guy look cool, but any help she gave him would really piss her parents off, and anything that pissed her parents off had to be a good thing, in Marcie’s eyes!
“Someone did you over real good,” she said.
“How do you know it was a someone? I could have had an accident.”
“Yeah!” she said sarcastically. “That’s why you’re hiding out on my dad’s boat with a gun!”
Black allowed himself a grin at her poignant observation.
“You were silly coming here, I could be anyone, anything.”
“If you were some sort of pedo you wouldn’t be hiding here, you’d have tried to kidnap me or something. And if you were a bad-ass psycho you’d have shot me straight off.” Marcie sat down n the edge of the bunk.
“That’s some dodgy logic going on there,” Black warned but the young goth’s smile was infectious.
“I don’t need the medicine thank you,” Black said, “But I could do with some food, rest and not being found by anyone else.”
Marcie sprang to her feet. “Rest you can have here, food I’ll bring you and the other I can guarantee!”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:08 am

Olivia Lucas was surprised to find her daughter to be one of the first out of school.
Marcie jumped into the seat beside her mother and threw her bag onto the back seat, narrowly missing Sam, her older brother.
Sam shoved the bag away. “Drop out!” he cursed his sister.
“Dweeb!” she fired back.
“All right, that’s enough,” their mother chided as she pulled the white SUV out into traffic.
“So why are you out so early and looking so happy this afternoon?” Olivia asked her daughter. “Is it a boy?”
Marcie pulled a face as though she had just licked the terminals on a nine volt battery. “Ew, mom, no!”
She gave a little smile which she knew her mother wouldn’t see as she was watching the road ahead. “Well you know how it is mom, I got those Crystal Meth Blues today.”
“What?” Olivia gawped at her daughter in panic, worry and the general disgusted terror that only a parent can have when they discover something horrendous about their child’s activities.
“Marcie!” she exclaimed, she couldn’t come up with any words. Her daughter was taking drugs?
“It’s all right, mom! Don’t have a cow or nothin’” said Sam. “It’s the name of one of her lame-o bands that she listens to. Shit Marcie, you wanna give mom a heart attack, do it while she ain’t driving, huh?” Sam laughed and Marcie grinned, happy she’d scored points.

For the rest of the journey she was quiet, her mind had drifted, like it had been all day, to their mysterious guest.
Last night she’d snuck into her own house, raided the larder, then snuck back out again.
The man, Caleb, had scoffed the food down like he hadn’t eaten in days, then he’d fallen asleep again.

Now Marcie dumped her gear in her room, grabbed a CD and scoured her room. “Mom!” she called, “have you seen my Walkman?”

Within ten minutes of being home, Marcie Lucas was walking down the gravel path from the house towards the lake.
Slowly, quietly, like a cat stalking its prey she crept onto the boat. As her had reached out for the cabin door handle a voice from within called, “Hello Marcie, come in.”
With a huff she pushed the door open. Although about to ask how he knew she was there, the sight before he made her voice catch.
Caleb Black was standing in the doorway to the bathroom wearing his trousers but no top, this he had in his hand.
There wasn’t a mark on him, not one sign that there was ever anything wrong with him.

“How?” Marcie finally blurted out.
“I’m afraid I can never explain,” Black said as he finished dressing.
“You’re going?”
“Yes.”
“Where?”
Black thought about his answer. “To kill a man.”
“Cool!” Marcie whispered in awe.


She watched silently as he checked his weapons and stowed them about his person.
He had a presence now, one that foretold of danger and Marcie found it exciting.
“Oh my god!” the girl whispered. She’d developed one hell of a crush and had been dreaming about the man all day.

Black moved in front of her and took her chin in his hand raising her line of sight to that he could look into her eyes. She had been very kind to him so he had to repay her.
His face came close to hers and she tensed.
“Marcie,” he whispered, his mind and hers already connected.
She slumped backwards onto the bed in a deep sleep.
Black lifted her legs onto the bed so she would be comfortable and then put a hand on her forehead.
Again he entered her mind, searching himself out in her memories and erasing the images and thoughts, some of which made him chuckle at their innocence, and others which made him smirk for completely the opposite reason.
Satisfied that he was gone from her mind and thoughts, he leaned down and kissed the sleeping girl’s cheek.
“Thank you, Marcie Lucas.”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:10 am

Jeremy Stephens let out a long sigh.
Although he understood the reasons for the Corporate Force Alpha troops to be guarding the house, he didn’t have to like them being there.
They got in the way of his work and interfered with the normally smooth running of the household.
Already the evening meal was behind schedule because the guards had not let young William from the butcher’s through with his delivery.
And now one of the men wanted to see his identification. He had more right to be here than this bloody jar-head!

There was a sudden crash behind the two men, out in the dark garden, and the soldier advanced with his weapon at the ready.
As Stephens peered over his shoulder he saw the crumpled form of another soldier. The first was checking the second for signs of life.
“He’s dead the trooper said to no one in particular and scanned up at the roof. Seeing nothing of interest he pointed his gun at Stephens. “ID, now!”
There was something in the man’s tone that said ‘argue and die’, so Stephens complied.
“Man down, man down! It’s Rooftop 1, sir!” the soldier said into his lapel mic.
Stephens now looked up at the roofline but in the darkness couldn’t see anything.
“Get inside, Mr Stephens,” the soldier ordered and Stephens obeyed without question.
The soldier followed him in, leaving his colleague’s dead body where it lay.


The unit commander arrived moments later. “Sit rep!”
“Bellamy’s down, sir. No obvious signs of death or assault. Assailants, if any, are unknown.”
The unit CO, a tall red haired man with a Bostonian accent quizzed the trooper. “If any?”
“Sir, I was up there earlier. Not the easiest place to get around on. He could have fallen.”
The lieutenant nodded in agreement. “It’s certainly a theory, private.”

Gunshots rang out from the front of the house, automatic fire from several weapons.
“Bang goes your theory, private. Get the civilians to the safe room.”

A shadow moved in the darkness, circling the two armed men who remained guarding the large black front doors.
They were watching the garage where a mysterious figure had appeared. The figure had ducked down behind a car and must surely still be there, they would have seen him move.
“You see him?” one soldier called across to his companion. When he didn’t get a reply he turned to see him sprawled forward over the steps.
“Shit!” he said. “Contact, front door!” the then called into his radio.
He caught movement in his peripheral vision.

Black squeezed the trigger twice, spitting silent death into the man’s face before proceeding in through the front door.
A soldier stepped out of the sitting room doorway.
Black shot him through the throat.
Two more men rushed in from the opposite end of the marble lined hallway.
Then Stephens appeared being led by a third soldier.
“Target spotted, all troops converge on the main hall,” the lieutenant ordered.
“It’s him!” Stephens blurted, almost unable to believe his eyes.
The LT and his companion fired towards the man dressed entirely in black. It unnerved the LT slightly that the man hadn’t tried to run or hide or even take cover, he just stood there one hand out as though signalling them to stop.
“Like hell!” the LT quipped firing again.
The walls around the black clad figure were exploding in chippings and dust as the bullets that missed the man dug into the expensive stonework.
The guy wasn’t down, why wasn’t he going down?”
Stephens couldn’t believe it either. How was this man not road-kill?
Eventually both soldier’s weapons clicked empty. It was then that they noticed that although many of their bullets had missed and taken chunks out of the décor, many of their projectiles now hovered in the air feet away from their target.
“What the….?” The LT said, astonished.

With a flick of the wrist Black sent the two dozen or so hovering bullets back at their senders.
Both soldiers were lifted off their feet as at least a dozen rounds each tore into their bodies.
“Back… back!” the Private urged, shoving Stephens through the rear lounge door.
“What was that?” Stephens squeaked.
“Dunno, lets move,” the private urged again as gunfire erupted in the hallway once more.

A massive crash that sounded very much like a grand piano smashing into a wall brought all other noise to a halt.
Stephens ant the soldier moved on through the back half of the house . there was another set of stairs for the servants to use that led to the second floor.
Karkarov had a sizeable panic-suite built into the house and had deigned to allow his staff to take refuge there in case of an attack on the house, which he had seriously doubted would happen.


More gunshots and the odd yell or scream echoed up through the building as the two made it to the self-contained rooms.
Both were surprised to find only one guard there, a young ‘newbie’ who looked petrified.
“Get inside,” Stephens instructed and both soldiers complied.
Stephens shut the door which clunked noisily as its thick steel bolts slid into place.
“Who is attacking us the young soldier asked his companion.
“Don’t know.”
“Well, do we know how many?”
“No, but there must be a lot,” the older soldier surmised.
“I’m not so sure of that!” Stephens mumbled but neither trooper picked up on it.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:01 pm

Jeremy Stephens called his boss from the wall mounted phone beside a bank of monitor screens, all of which were full of static.
“Mr Karkarov’s office,” said a tired female voice with an Eastern-European accent.
“Dania, it’s Jeremy, you’re working late. Put Boris on quickly.”

“Yes?” Boris sounded angry.
“Boris, he’s here. He’s attacking the house!” Stephens blurted the words out like a child seeking the protection of his parents.
“Not him Jeremy,” Boris corrected. “It must be more Infinity agents. He’s in no condition to walk, let alone fight.”
“No Boris! It’s him and him alone.”
“Well, it should be a very short fight then!” The Russian laughed at his own joke.
“Boris!” Stephens snapped. “You aren’t listening to me. It’s him, alone, and he’s killing them all. He can do things, Boris, I’ve never seen anything like it!”
Boris Karkarov had never heard Stephens sound so…. Scared. It shook the bravado from the Russian. “What do you mean he can do things? What sort of things?”
“like pass though solid walls,” Caleb Black answered for the butler.
Stephen and the two soldiers turned to the source of the voice, all three unable to believe what they were seeing.
Caleb Black, unharmed, was standing at the back of the room, his pistol levelled at one of the soldiers. He fired, the swung the gun round to the other Corporate Force Alpha trooper.
Both men lay dead within seconds.
“He’s here!” Stephens squeaked.
“What? Who?” Karkarov was annoyed that he didn’t know what was happening.
“Jeremy? Stephens?” No reply came. “Stephens?” the Russian yelled down the phone.

Jeremy Stephens was suddenly yanked off his feet by some unseen force. He flew across the room, matching the movements of one of Black’s hands.
Black held the man high on the wall where he had crunched into it, all breath being forced from him.
The Infinity agent walked to the phone where it swung on its cable. The handset leaped up into his hand.
“Mr Karkarov?”
“Who’s this?” Boris demanded, his voice high pitched.
“Mr Karkarov, this is Agent Black.”
Boris’ heart skipped a beat, adrenaline surging into his system.
“You bastard,” Boris cursed.
“Where are you Boris?” Black asked calmly.
“Fuck you!” the Russian replied.
“I’ll find you, Boris, There’s nowhere you can hide,” Black promised.
“I do not think you realise the situation, Mr Black. You see, I don’t have to hide. I have a shield that is more than enough to stop you.”
Black glanced across at Stephens who was trying to gurgle some message to his boss, and mentally pressed harder, crushing the man’s body against the wall until he let out a strangulated cry of pain.
“There’s nothing that will stop me, Karkarov.”
“Oh but there is. I have Chrissie Simmons, or Nikki as your Miss Wallace has informed me you know her better as. Your Inspector has been keeping me company. We talk about many things.”
Black was silent as he considered this latest development. It didn’t take him long to come to a conclusion.
“I take it you’re having a change of heart?” the Russian goaded, taking confidence from the long silence.
“I was considering your fate. I have decided… Now I’m going to kill you.”
Caleb Black hung up the phone.
“Where is he?” he asked Stephens.
The butler shook his head defiantly.
With a flick of his wrist Black’s mind reached out and snapped one of the butler’s legs at the knee.
Stephens screamed in agony.
“Where?
“Go to hell,” the man hissed through gritted teeth.
Black sighed; they always took the difficult path.
He released Stephens from his mental grasp and the man screamed again as he landed on his broken leg before collapsing.
Next, Black reached out with his mind, finding Stephens’.
He wasn’t subtle, just bashed his way inside and the butler stared at Black in horrified realisation.
“Oh, yes, Jeremy. Boris caught me by surprise before. But he doesn’t know I’m better at this than he is. He cannot explore your mind like I can. He can’t tear memories from your mind, and delve into your deepest thoughts. Normally I’d be careful, make sure I didn’t do anything drastic, but today I don’t care.”

All the terrible things Black had seen and even done over his many years, along with the emotions that accompanied them poured into Stephens’ mind at once. The effect was the sudden overwhelming of his own psyche which in self-defence started to shut down the higher functions of his brain.
Stephens let out a terrified cry and anguish and mental pain.
“I know,” Black said, understanding the mental turmoil the man was going through.
After a few minutes Black closed the lid on that particular box.
Jeremy Stephens sprawled out on the floor, drool seeping from his mouth, unable to resist Black’s further intrusions.
The agent ripped through his mind, tearing memories out, throwing away the ones he didn’t need, but careful to leave the traumatic ones behind.
By the time Black had finished, Jeremy Stephens had very few memories of his own and those he did retain he would rather have forgotten. What he did have though was the recurring nightmare of Black’s own worst memories.
He couldn’t talk, walk, think or do anything but suffer the torment silently in his mind for the rest of his days.

Without remorse, Caleb Black opened the panic room door, dialled 911 on the house phone and requested an ambulance.
Most of the men here were just soldiers doing their jobs, and now that their duty here was ended Black made sure that any who were still alive would live through their injuries, minus any specific memories of him, of course.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:02 pm

Chicago Police Department’s Detective Lieutenant Marcowitz pulled to a skidding halt on the road just outside the Karkarov residence.
He knew from his shift briefing that security on the property had been beefed up after the gunman attack on Karkarov. This case was proving difficult in coming up with any reasons for the men, all of whom had been caught, to act the way they had.
Now calls were flooding in about automatic gunfire at the Karkarov residence, a lot of gunfire.
He’d called in SWAT already and was desperately trying to get a handle on these attacks before the Fed’s took the case off him.
Already Chicago PD’s shareholders were complaining about his lack of results and the Federal Bureaux of Corporate Investigations wanted to take the contract over.

“Anything?” he inquired of the SWAT sergeant who was leading the specialised police team.
“No, sir,” the sergeant, a stocky man with a crew cut hairstyle and the top of his left ear missing. The man liked to tell people that it had been shot off during a raid on a drugs den, but in truth he’d come off his skateboard as a kid and hit his head quite hard on the corner of a wall, severing the top of is ear.
“Lots of shooting earlier, according to the neighbours, but all quiet again now, and nothing since we got here.”
Marcowitz sucked on his Marlboro and stared contemplatively at the huge iron gates. “No contact with the sec-team inside?”
Sergeant Deacon shook his head.
It was a difficult situation for Marcowitz. Normally the Residence would come under his jurisdiction, but Corporate Force Alpha current had the contract for protection of the property and its occupants. There would be a serious breach of contract if the local police were to go in know whilst CFA held the rights, however, if the capability of CFA had been compromised to a level where they could no longer provide the service they were being paid for, then CPD’s own standing contract would take over.
Marcowitz threw his cigarette to the ground and crushed it under his show.
“All, right, Sergeant, get your men ready to go in.”
At that point there was a clunk from the gate that drew everyone’s attention.
The gates swung open.
The roar of an engine, higher pitched that a car, met them. Then out of the blackness, no lights on, came a speeding motorcycle that weaved amongst the crowd of policemen and vehicles gathered at the entrance.
“Somebody shoot him!” Marcowitz yelled but it was too late, the rider was already out of sight.
“Get a team up to that house, Sergeant. Everybody else after that bike!”
Policemen sprinted off in every direction, cars turning, their lights and sirens ablaze, giving chase to an unknown biker.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:07 pm

“What is he doing?” Boris Karkarov yelled into Susan Wallace’s face. The violence threatened by the man’s demeanour and the force of the command that battered in at her, frightened her, and that with that fear grew a tiny source of light, one that made her aware that things might not be as they should.
Again the command pressed home but there was no satisfactory answer that she could give, and the little light nagged at her subconscious and annoyed her. In turn her own anger flared and governed her response to the insistent Command.
“Coming to get you.”
It was the truth as far as she knew it and given the ferocity of the Command, the truth was all she could give, but the truth earned her a fat lip none-the-less.
His anger boiled over and he grabbed her by the hair dragging her across the room so that she was lying across the arm of a sofa.
Tearing at her skirt and panties he exposed her rear to him then he viciously took out his frustrations on the Infinity woman by sodomising her.

**

Susan Wallace sobbed quietly in the corner of the room where Boris had thrown her after he had finished.
The man was wiping his blood and shit streaked member on her own panties then threw them at her.
“Put them on,” he ordered. She had no choice.

Karkarov’s cell phone rang and he answered it tersely.
“Mr Karkarov, we have intercepted a police call about an attack on your residence.”
“Yes, I am aware of it.”
“Right, sir. The cops are following a suspect, this must be your man.”
“I’ll be right there.” The Russian left the crying woman where she was.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:09 pm

“Tell me what is happening,” Boris said as he entered the Zenith Tower security control room.
“Police are following this target,” the duty security manager told Karkarov, pointing to a tagger icon in the huge main display screen.
“We have redirected a Zenith Corp Defence Satellite to enable us to follow real time.

Karkarov nodded appreciatively. No doubt someone in the Department of Defence would have a moan about that – Zenith would just have to refund them some air time, with a little extra chucked in free and that would be the end of that.

“The target ,” Captain Donovan continued on with the briefing from where the manager left off, “is proceeding along this road,” he zoomed out on the map. “I am assuming that he is coming here, so I have set up a road block here, here, and here. Another team will close in from behind, ahead of the police pursuit and block his escape. Once at this junction, which he will reach in approximately six minutes, there will be nowhere left for him to go.”
And Chicago PD was only a minute behind to help reinforce the Corporate Force Soldiers if need be.
“Very god, Captain,” Karkarov couldn’t put his finger on it, but for some reason he felt very nervous as he watched the icon on the map race through the late night traffic at ninety miles an hour.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:09 pm

Caleb Black weaved through the streets of Downtown Chicago, making his way steadily towards Zenith Tower.
He knew the police were following, knew that it was likely that there would be some sort of cordon around the building and more heavily armed troops in the tower itself.

The motorcycle shot through a red light and he picked his way between the few cars that had pulled away and were crossing his path.
It was just after midnight on a Friday and Chicago City was buzzing.
As the powerful motorbike raced through the crowded streets, heads turned at its passing and then again at least a minute later as nearly twenty police cars hurtled through , their sirens clearing a path for them.

As Black passed another set of lights he spotted the Corporate Force Hummers that were obviously waiting for him.

The vehicles closed in behind, plugging the gap between him and the cops.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:12 pm

“Captain Donovan, SPYSAT cameras are now online – going to night vision true-view,” the satellite operator announced.
The basic graphics map was suddenly replaced by a aerial view of Chicago at night, which zoomed in so that the target was being viewed in low light mode.
“Impressive system you have here Mr Karkarov,” Donovan said. “Here we go,” he added as the road blocks came into view.
Karkarov merely grunted acknowledgement of the compliment.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:14 pm

Black saw the road block ahead. It was positioned to encourage him to slow and turn either left or right at the junction where, no doubt, there would be another road block waiting.
He wasn’t much interested in their plans.
Twisting the throttle he gunned the bike towards the blockade.
By rights, the bike shouldn’t have been on Colicos, but Black wasn’t always too concerned about that kind of protocol.
He knew he had it covered in any case as he flicked a switch under the bike’s fuel tank.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:16 pm

Karkarov watched the tag that indicated Black. The bike had just accelerated to one hundred and forty miles an hour.
“What is he doing?” Karkarov was astonished at the foolishness.
“I don’t know,” Donovan said absently as he watched the screen avidly.
One hundred meters – seventy – forty – the bike wasn’t slowing.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Apr 07, 2012 10:18 pm

Black knew that what he was about to do would no doubt get him into trouble with his superiors, but he didn’t have time to worry about that now.

At twenty meters out Black leapt upwards off the bike, the forward momentum carrying him on as his mind lifted him high over the road block.
The bike crashed into the blockade, imbedding itself into the side of a Corporate Force hummer.
Many faces stared in amazement as Black soared overhead, but the disbelief was short lived.
The bike exploded in an electric blue ball of energy that encompassed the entire blockade and some of the surrounding buildings.
It expanded further, disintegrating anything it touched.
Onlookers, who had gathered to see what the road block had been about, ran in panic, screaming as the ball got bigger still.
Then the blue turned to a blinding white and the ball of energy collapsed in on itself like a dying star in fast-forward.
The final act of the Obliteration Bomb was the sudden explosive and dramatic expelling of that condensed energy in the form of a shockwave that made the ground shake like an earthquake.
For half a kilometre from the epicentre, walls shook and cracked, windows shattered, tiles rattled on rooftops and underground pipes ruptured.
The bomb, which had contained the most powerful obliteration spell Black had ever come across left a crater almost one hundred meters in diameter.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:03 pm

Karkarov and Donovan watched the screen in surprise, both astounded that their quarry wasn’t stopping. Surely he wasn’t going to try and ram his way through on a bike?
“Shit!” Donovan exclaimed as they saw the bike hit the Hum-Vee.
A second later the screen went a blinding white colour and everyone in the room gasped but remained staring in shocked disbelief.
“Get that image cleared up, Donovan instructed quietly not taking his eyes off the image.
It took several minutes for the technicians to re-boot the satellite’s infra-red cameras.
When a normal image returned to the screen it showed utter devastation.
“Zoom out!” Karkarov ordered frantically.
What they all saw made the gasp.
“Holy mother of Christ!” someone at the back of the room said, echoing the thoughts of every man and woman there.
“Was that a nuc?” Karkarov wondered aloud.
“Too small a blast radius,” Donovan absently pointed out.
As they watched, still somewhat aghast, small computer tags began to reappear on the screen. Some showed the positions of blockade’s 1 and 2, both within the blast radius and both highlighted in red to indicate loss of contact.
Blockade 3 was still there, although many of the squad was now moving in the direction of the blast. The computer indicated that it had failed to establish any known position for the tailing CFA vehicles.
Then a green tag icon appeared labelled ‘Target-A’.
“Target Alpha, re-acquired, Captain,” one technician announced.
“He’s alive? And moving?” Karkarov said in desperation. “How?”
No one answered.
“Send all of Blockade 3 in, take that guy down!” Donovan ordered.
Before the blockade 3 unit could react to the order however, the police arrived, their vehicles trapped on the other side of the crater from Black.
“Tell team three to hurry up. We want him before the cops get to him.” To Captain Donovan, who had just lost contact with a dozen men at Karkarov’s mansion and seen over forty troops eradicated before his very eyes, this was now personal.
“Target on the move,” someone announced.
As Karkarov watched the bright green blob that was Caleb Black began to move rapidly away from the scene.
“Has he got a car?” Karkarov asked the room.
“No, sir, he’s on foot.”
It didn’t make sense, Black was moving, according to the tag, at over thirty miles an hour.
“Target speed increasing,” a technician said, having noticed the oddity too.
Black was shooting through the streets now at incredible speed. Karkarov couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“Your satellite line must be broken!” Karkarov stated. “This is impossible.”
Black was now picking his way through the streets and his course looked like that which a jet fighter might take if it were flying so low as to be between the buildings.

One hundred and seventy miles an hour, all pursuit left behind now. Speed still increasing.

“Two hundred… two-ten… two-twenty… two-forty…” came the call.

That was it, Black was now on a long straight road that led directly to Zenith Tower.
Karkarov and Donovan ran out of the security control room and across the open-plan office to the windows that faced down the road upon which Black was approaching.
It was gone midnight and despite the well-lit streets it was too dark to see anything.
Suddenly a shadow passed across their view, a momentary thing noticed only because it obscured the street lights behind it.
“What was that?” Karkarov asked.
“I have no idea, but I think I should get you out of here, sir.”
Donovan’s face was stern, the sort of expression that brooked no argument. The soldier did not want the loss of an influential person like Karkarov on his record.
“But he’s only one man!” Karkarov couldn’t help himself. He had to be in control of this situation, he just couldn’t conceive of not being so.
The truth was though, that he had somehow lost control and that thought frightened Boris Karkarov more than anything. People did as he wanted, they always had, it was foreign ground for the Russian to find things going so drastically off-plan. ]

But Boris still had a couple of aces up his sleeve.
Susan Wallace and Chrissie Simmons were waiting for his in his penthouse suite. They were the sword and shield he needed to fight this particular enemy.

“Mr Karkarov, my men are going ahead to get the helicopter ready.”
Boris conceded. “Very well, Captain, though I doubt Black will be able to penetrate our defences single handed.”

A CFA corporal rushed out of the security office. “Captain, we are breached and taking losses.”
“Which entrance?”
The corporal shook his head. “Fifty-eighth floor, sir.”
“Fifty-eight?” Donovan couldn’t comprehend. This couldn’t be just one man, they had to be assaulting from multiple directions at once. “Any reports from downstairs?”
“None sir, all quiet.”
All three men turned to the windows as something burning streaked passed.
“What the hell is going on?” Donovan said to no one in particular. “Corporal, get Mr Karkarov to the chopper immediately.”
“I need the women,” Karkarov said adamantly.
Donovan nodded. “Send someone from the roof to collect them. All other units to converge on the upper floors. Go!”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:04 pm

Caleb Black had soared down 22nd Street towards Zenith Tower as fast as he could. He could easiliy have gone in a direct line over the skyscrapers, but the last thing he had wanted was any defence radars picking him up and thinking he was some sort of missile.
Once at Zenith he had flown up, clear of any floors with lights on and blasted through a window.
It had been floor fifty-seven.
Not knowing where Karkarov might be, Black had assumed the egotistical man would have his offices and residential suites at the top and so had started for the stairs.
One floor up he had encountered resistance.

Smoke was beginning to fill the office from the burning furniture, and people.
Alarms and flashing lights had gone off throughout the building now and the sprinklers had engaged on his floor.
Pistols in hand, Black made his way away from the fire, finding the elevators. Normally these would be shut down in a fire but he noticed one was already passed him, on its way up. Someone, probably security had overridden the shutdown order.
The other five elevators were below, though one was steadily climbing.

Black pulled the doors open revealing the shaft above the rising elevator.
Mentally reaching out he dragged desks, filing cabinets, chairs, partition screens, whatever was nearby, and dropped them down the shaft.
It took quite some time for the flotsam to his the small box, but when it did it was like a freight train hitting a small car.
A desk smashed through the lift’s roof like an axe blade, killing one guard and injuring another.
Then the next desk hit, rocking the elevator further and putting enormous tension on the already over-taught cables.
Then another desk, and another, and a filing cabinet crashed on top causing many of the bolts securing the cable to the top of the car to shear.
The elevator creaked, groaned then as yet more debris hit it the cable gave out and the elevator plummeted several floors before the emergency brakes eventually managed to halt the fall.
Those few still alive within the box were trapped and would take no further part in the day’s activities.
Black stepped out into the shaft and rose quickly towards the top.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:05 pm

In the elevator on the way up, Boris Karkarov’s fear of his lack of control over the situation coalesced into anger.
Stepping from the lift he was met by three CFA soldiers who were escorting Chrissie and Susan.
Both women were wearing very little, as they had been instructed to do, but the sentimental soldiers had removed their own flak jackets and covered the women with them.
Karkarov glowered t Chrissie, about to unleash his anger but he stopped himself. No, the dumb bitch didn’t know what was going on, but the blond Wallace – she must.
Pushing past the soldiers Karkarov lashed out at Wallace, striking her in the mouth and splitting her already swollen lip.
She stumbled backwards onto the floor with a yelp, her mind fuzzy.
One of the soldiers made a move towards Karkarov but the corporal held him back. None of the men agreed with hitting women, but in this instance they had to bite their tongues.
“Stupid bitch!” Karkarov spat at Wallace. “What is going on? What is Black?”
Wallace glared at Karkarov as an insidious whisper in her mind told her to answer him, but she didn’t want to tell him what he wanted to know. “He’s coming for you, Boris. And that’s never a good thing,” she said it with venom.
Karkarov’s face screwed up in fury. “Shut up,” he screamed, “shut up… shut up!” He moved to strike her again even as his commands battered at Wallace’s willpower, and she would, of course, obey him without question.
It was enough for the corporal. “Mr Karkarov,” he shouted, “we don’t have time for this.”
Whirling around, Karkarov was about to tear into the soldier but he managed to regain his composure.
He nodded, “Bring them.”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:17 am

Black pulled open the lift doors at the top level and poked his head out quickly to take a look.
There was a single Zenith guard manning a door beyond the reception area.
Not nearly enough.
Emerging from the lift shaft Black had his hands raised in surrender.
The guard immediately called for him to halt and approached the unknown figure.
“Keep those hands high, buddy,” the guard said watching Black down the barrel of his gun.
Black remained motionless as he was told. He was relying in the fact that Zenith’s own security guards were just that. Some training in combat and weapons skills, but mainly here to ensure people stayed in the areas they were authorised to be in and keep the odd protester or journalist out. Killing didn’t come naturally to them.
“Don’t move, don’t you fucking move,” the guard hissed as he fumbled for his hand cuffs.
Close enough, Black thought.
Suddenly the man in the long black coat and dark glasses was gone, vanished in an instant.
“What the?” was all the man managed to say before someone grabbed him from behind in a choke hold.

Black held him until his body went limp, the lowered the unconscious man to the floor.

Beyond the ornate smoked glass door was a polished bright corridor with a rich blue carpet. The corridor was lined by numerous doors all of which led into large of small offices and a mixed gender bathroom.
At the end of the corridor were some stairs leading up.
Up?
Had he not just risen to the top of the lift shaft? So there were yet more floors above?
Black broke into a run, pistol poised and ready to shoot.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:18 am

A man appeared at a doorway and fell back against the frame as a silent bullet penetrated his skull, killing him outright.
As black passed he realised the man had been nothing more than a janitor, or cleaner, her on the late shifty.
The Infinity Agent didn’t let it bother him.
Approaching the stairs at just below a sprint black had to dive sideways through an open doorway to avoid a hail of bullets from two CFA troopers stationed at the top of the stairs.
Black winced as regained his feet aware of a large glass shard from the coffee table he’d just landed on, protruding from his shoulder.
Smiling perversely he pulled the six inch razor sharp sliver from his flesh. It floated out of his hands, moving out through the doorway and as he peered around the door frame, he sent the shard like an invisible arrow into the eye of the guard on the right.
The man screamed, his sub machinegun clattering down the stairs.
“Jesus Christ!” his companion cursed and unconsciously backed away from the man not understanding where the glass had come from.
Turning back to face the man they had shot at, the guard saw the business end of his colleagues weapon mere feet from him. Again, he didn’t understand.
It was his last vision.

At the top the stairs turned back on themselves leading up to a corridor that mirrored the one beneath. On this floor the offices were larger and plush and Black noticed Karkarov’s name on the biggest one of all.
Ignoring it, he moved swiftly on stopping at a plain door with a discreet tally that read ‘Electrical Switchboard’.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:20 am

The lights went out.
Captain Donovan had stopped with his hand poised over the grip of his pistol and his men followed suit, weapons ready.
“The damned fires out of control down there,” he mused quietly. “Okay, team let’s keep mov…”
His last word was cut off by the sound of gunfire from the floor below.
“You four, secure this location, the rest of you, with me,” Donovan instructed, marching quickly up the stairs before him.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:21 am

Darkness pervaded everything as the power went off leaving only the emergency lighting and the strobe effect of the flashing red fire alarms.

A shadow moved forwards in the darkness, utilising the natural cover that walls and doorways created.
Phut, phut!
A soldier fell.
Rat-a-tat-tat.
Bright-white strobing flashes emit from a MP-5’s barrel as another soldier fires into the darkness but it is he that falls, clutching his head in the worst agony he has ever felt.
Another wave of pain comes as the shadow passes and he falls, his brain in shut-down.

The shadow advanced quickly.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:22 am

There were a dozen men, arranged in a protective semi-circle around the helicopter as Black opened the door at the bottom of the steps that led up to the roof and landing pad.
Each man was armed with an SMG, kneeling and ready to use that weaponry on him.
Captain Donovan was behind them, standing, with a loud speaker in his hand.
“Hold it right there, Mister!” Donovan hailed.
Black did stop, these were tough odds, even for him.
Slowly and deliberately Black held his pistol out high, pointing away from the soldiers.
The soldiers tensed but Donovan could see what he was doing and so his order to fire never came.
Black pulled back on the casing ejecting and unspent cartridge, then another, and another. He kept this up until the weapon was empty.
“Kill him,”
Karkarov yelled from the rear door of the chopper.
Donovan wasn’t an executioner, so he ignored the irate businessman.
Black noticed them now, Susan and Chrissie, both sitting in the back of the helo.
Anger and fear suffused the agent’s body and turned into rage.
“Aaaarrrrggghhhhh!” Black yelled, expelling his anger through a mental scream that had every man and woman on the roof holding their heads.
Black focussed his anger, blasting at the Russian who slid off his seat holding his head as though trying to stop it exploding.
Blast after blast crashed in on Karkarov’s mind.
“What’s happening?” Donovan called but no one on board the helo heard him.
“What’s wrong with Karkarov?” Donovan eventually asked into his radio.
“You’ve got me sir!” came the confused reply.
“I’ll tell you what’s happening,” Black told them directly into their minds, “I’m going to kill you all.”
Another concerted effort from Black and Karkarov screamed like a girl.
Donovan stared in bewilderment at Black, still trying to decide if he had heard Black’s voice inside his own head or if he’d imagined it.
Karkarov collapsed onto the floor of the helicopter his hands clasped to the side of his head once more.
“Fire!” Donovan yelled his order, not understanding what was going on, but realising whatever it was, it wasn’t good.
As he heard the word, Black ceased his mental assault on Karkarov and projected a wall of force around himself.

As his men opened up, Donovan stared in amazement that no one was hitting the target, who was now moving rapidly towards them.

Behind Black, unspent bullets lifted off the ground and shot toward their intended targets.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:22 am

Boris Karkarov groaned from the back of the helicopter, his head throbbed like the worst hangover known to man. Panting he looked around.
Chrissie and Susan were watching him. Both had looks of disgust on their faces, Chrissie’s might even have been one of hatred.
“What?” he growled annoyed, pulling himself into a more dignified position.

There was gunfire coming from outside and he saw Black moving like a demon amongst the soldiers.
They were scrambling to get clear of the madman who had already felled three of their number and at least twice that many were injured.
Karkarov couldn’t comprehend how this man had survived. How he was defeating these highly trained personnel with such ease?
Actually, he decided, he really didn’t care right now, he just knew he had to get away.
“Get us out of here, now!” Karkarov ordered the pilot who, of course, had little choice but to obey and increased the torque on the rotor blades and upping the power to begin lifting the helo from the ground.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:23 am

Black whirled in on a soldier, his mind set on nothing but getting to that helicopter.
The distraction left an opening in his defences and a bullet smacked hard into his shoulder.
The agent was thrown to his knees by the impact.
He turned on the source and realised that he had to deal with this situation before he could move on to dealing with Boris, but he couldn’t wait that long.

The helo was now five feet above the roof and increasing. As he turned, sweeping a Sai around to thrust the point into the man’s neck, he caught a glimpse of Karkarov in the rear, watching him, but the aircraft was already turning.
He left the Sai where it was, maybe if the soldier left it in place the medics would be able to remove it properly and he’d fully recover.
The helo turned through 180.
He left the Sai where it was, maybe if the soldier left it in place the medics would be able to remove it properly and he’d fully recover.
The helo turned through 180° and now Susan was sitting closest to him.
Reaching out quickly he mentally yanked the door on her side open and pulled her out.
With a scream of surprise more than fright she fell to the hard landing pad and lay still, completely winded.

Black didn’t have time to see if she was hurt as more CFA troops arrived, coming up the stairway.
Snatching up a discarded MP5, Black began shooting. There were too many here now for him to worry about not killing, so the Infinity agent aimed higher.
Pinned as they were in the stairwell the men could only retreat to escape the gunfire.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:23 am

Captain Donovan pulled himself to his feet after being shot by someone, he could only assume it was Black. Luckily his armour had saved him but it had still been like getting kicked by a mule.
Most of his men were down now, and even the reinforcements were unable to help.

“Wait, go back!” Boris ordered the pilot when he saw Susan Wallace drop out of the aircraft.
He needed both of these women badly. Wallace was his key to obtaining conveyor and Chrissie Simmons was the best shield he had against Black.

The helo turned and circled back in.

Donovan saw his opportunity for victory laying on the floor not too far away. He didn’t know why the women were so important, but Karkarov valued them and they seemed to be why Black was here, so it seemed logical that they meant something to the strange, deadly individual.

He ran over to where Wallace lay winded on the floor.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:24 am

Susan screamed when she was roughly yanked to her feet.
The scream pulled at Black’s attention. With the reinforcements pushed back it was simple enough to barricade the door so that they would have to struggle to get back through so he turned from that task to face the CFA commanding officer who was now holding a gun to Wallace’s head.

Wallace looked into Black’s eyes and her heart warmed and her mind focussed. She had been unable to disobey Karkarov, had had to do whatever he told her, but there were no such instructions concerning anyone else, except for Jeremy Stephens, Karkarov’s butler, and he wasn’t here.

Her situation wasn’t good, not only was her opponent bigger and stronger, and armed, he also had on full combat fatigues and body armour. Whereas she was dressed in an oversized flak jacket and underwear. Not exactly regulation combat attire.
Letting herself relax, as Black himself had taught her, she suddenly sprang into action, ignoring the protest from her aching knees and elbows.
Her hand knocked the gun away and at the same time she turned in towards Donovan, hooking her left arm over his bicep and gripping his wrist with her right fist.
Her intention was to use both her momentum and the pressure forcing his elbow to bend in the wrong direction to bring him down into an arm lock that would end with him lying on the ground, disarmed and her having complete control over her opponent.
But Donovan was no rookie and saw the move coming so he was able to both resist using his own superior strength and then step into the attack, taking more power out of her move and giving himself better balance.
His left hand shot in striking her in the kidneys, knocking all her strength out of her with the pain of it.
Even so, as Wallace released him from her failed hold, she brought her foot up into his groin. She wished she had shoes on.
Donovan grunted in pain himself but managed to keep his footing.

The door behind Black blew outwards with a bang and thick cloud of smoke.

Donovan raised his pistol to Wallace.

Men in CFA uniforms rushed out onto the roof.

Black looked from them to Donovan and looked like the Devil’s own wrath, incarnate.

From the helicopter Karkarov watched things as they played out. It finally looked as though Donovan and his men had the upper hand.

Sweeping his arm as though back-handing an annoying fly, Black lashed out mentally.

Donovan, thirty yards away, was plucked from his feet and thrown out over the side of the building.

Karkarov watched in horror as the commander of his protective forces plummeted nearly a thousand feet into the darkness that surrounded the base of Zenith Tower.
“My god! What is this man?” Karkarov asked rhetorically.

Black moved quickly, raising one of the soldier’s injured comrades as a shield but the men, who had just witnessed their c/o swept to his death with such as ease as someone sweeping crumbs off a table top were wary of progressing this attack.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:24 am

A corporal, leading the reinforcements looked from Black to the half-naked woman and then to Karkarov.
His feelings for the businessman were not pleasant ones and he knew that this whole affair was over the woman.
The intentions of the man they were fighting were far more honourable than those of the man they were supposed to be defending.
It offended the soldier in him that it was that way around.

“Back off, back off!” he ordered his unit.
His c/o was dead and they currently hand no contact with the Company’s No.2, who had been running the operation at Karkarov’s house. He was the highest ranking man still alive now, and could blame any bad decision he made in the eyes of his superiors on him being just a lowly grunt.
Either way, he decided, he was not going to die for a woman beating mother-fucker like Karkarov.

Boris saw the CFA troops retreat and he was incensed.
He glared at Wallace. “Take a long walk off this very short pier,” he said, knowing that although his voice wouldn’t reach her ears, his command would.

Wallace took a step towards the edge of the roof.
“Black!” she screamed in panic.
Caleb spun to face her.
“I can’t stoop myself!” she shouted as another leg moved her towards the edge.
Black saw Karkarov grinning.

“Go!” Karkarov barked and the pilot swept the helicopter around, away from the Tower.

Black looked from Wallace to Karkarov. He was not going to let the Russian get away.
He was tired, mentally and physically, and he knew he’s struggle to hold a helicopter here even if he was fully fit.

A pistol lying discarded on the rooftop leaped up into his hand.
Without hesitation he fired, hitting Wallace in the back of her leg.
She screamed, dropping instantly and clutching at the painful wound, but she wasn’t trying to walk off the roof anymore.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:46 am

Boris Karkarov sighed disappointedly. How had it all gone so wrong?
He had planned he deceit for many years now, since Mavin had revealed his knowledge on the world-jumping organisation.
Karkarov didn’t believe in monopolies unless, of course, it was him doing the monopolising. So why should Infinity Inc. be the sole owners of such technology.

As the helicopter flew away from Zenith Tower, Boris sat back on the seat and allowed himself to relax.
Next time, he’d make sure his bodyguard were more prepared.
It was a shame about losing Wallace, she still had plenty of use, but she had served her main purpose. And he still had Chrissie – the shield with which to defend against Black.

The helicopter rocked as if something had struck it.
“What was that?” Karkarov gasped.
“Don’t know, sir,” the pilot replied.
Black suddenly appeared on the seat next to Boris.
“Me,” he said.

On impulse more than anything else, Karkarov lashed out catching a lucky punch on Black’s jaw.
Even the agent hadn’t expected that and Boris surprised himself again by leaping on the man and throwing more punches.
There wasn’t a great deal of room as the two scuffled and although both men were hitting home with feet, knees and fists, neither man could put his all into it.

“BORIS KARKAROV, YOU FUCKING BASTARD!” a high pitched voice screamed causing both men to stop and stare at Chrissie Simmons.
She had picked up the pistol which Black had dropped in his scuffle with the Russian. She was pointing it at Boris.
“Simmons!” Karkarov chastised.
“Shut up!” she threatened and Karkarov went still and silent as the gun, whose 9mm barrel looked more like 120mm at this close proximity, prodded in his direction. “You bastard!” she hissed.
Karkarov said nothing as he and Black disentangled.

Simmons looked to Black. “Were you and Nikki happy? Together, I mean?”
Black blinked slowly, the memory still fairly raw. “I think so. I know I was.”
Chrissie smiled sincerely. “Then I’m happy for us both.”
Black knew that he wasn’t included in that statement.
Nicola Christine Simmons cast an evil glare Boris’ way. “Bastard!” she hissed again.
“You will not shoot me!” Karkarov said outraged.
And the command settled on her mind and she could not disobey.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:46 am

Slowly the woman dragged herself towards the edge of the building. Her leg hurt like hell, but she had something she felt she had to do and so ignored the pain.
But she didn’t want to do it so every inch closer was a battle between her desire and her compulsion.
She hooked her hand over the edge of the low wall that bordered the rooftop and pulled herself up.
Then she was over the edge.
She screamed and her hand naturally shot out clutching with her fingertips to the stonework.
It was enough to arrest her fall. Thank god for pursuing climbing as a hobby when she was younger.
Her free hand swung up to grab onto the ledge too, consolidating her hold.
But in the back of her mind she wanted to let go so badly.
She fought the urge and instead tried to pull herself back up. Fear flooded her body with adrenaline and her heart pumped faster to distribute it where it was needed, but that just increased the flow from her leg, draining already low stock further and she felt her arms weakening.
She just didn’t have the strength to pull herself up.
And she was cold too. Was that blodd loss, or the fact that she was hanging off the top of a skyscraper in just her knickers, she thought ironically?
Her fingers began to slip and she adjusted her grip in panic, screaming uncontrollably as she did so.
“Black!” she yelled. “Black!”
Her voice was full of the terror of a person who knows they are going to die.
“I don’t want to die in just my knickers!” she sobbed hysterically.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:47 am

Her voice carried further than sound could carry it.
“Wallace?” Caleb Black exclaimed, turning to look out the window back at the distant tower.
“Has she gone for a dive yet?” Karkarov asked callously.
Chrissie didn’t know what the problem was, but she could guess.
She threw open the door. “Go!” she shouted at Black.
Black saw the determined expression and remembered his late wife.
“I’ll take care of Boris,” Chrissie said.
“You cannot shoot me!” Boris laughed maniacally.
Chrissies face screwed up in a snarl. “You cunt!” she growled swinging the pistol away from Karkarov and shooting the pilot in the side of his head.
Boris stared at the pilot in horror as she slumped forward.
Immediately the helicopter began to rotate out of control.

“Caleb!” Susan Wallace screamed as a hand slipped leaving her dangling by just four very tired fingers.
She felt piss flowing down her legs as she realised that she was about to lose even that tenuous grip.


Black blanched white as he sensed Susan’s fear.
He was torn. He couldn’t do both, so should he save Wallace or Nikki?
No! She wasn’t Nikki. “You’re not her,” he said aloud not rrealising it.
“No I’m not,” Chrissie said. “Go and save your girl, Mr Black.”
“You’ll die. I wont be able to make it back.”
“I know I will,” the woman said smiling, holding onto the seat back as the chopper continued it’s wild spin.
“Thank you,” she said with absolute sincerity. She wanted to go.
Black nodded and waiting for the helo to pitch to starboard, stepped out of the port-side door.

“Aaahhhhhh!” Susan Wallace screamed as her fingers lost their strength and she dropped like a stone, the wind a hurricane in her ears.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:48 am

One hundred… two hundred… three… four hundred miles an hour.
Blood poured from his wounded shoulder, his eyes his nose and his ears as Caleb Black pushed himself far beyond ant limits he had.
Down he flew towards the base of Zenith Tower.
He saw her and arced in towards her.
When he grabbed her in his arms she was barely conscious.
“Grrrrrrrrrrr…..” Black growled as he struggled to both change direction and slow their descent.
The ground was coming up[ real fast.
Looking into her glazed eyes he took heart and through a monumental force of will swept them both in a huge arc back up into the sky.

He knew he couldn’t keep them up for long, had to find somewhere to land.
Spotting a flat roof atop an apartment block he brought them in gently.

There was a distant explosion and Black knew it was the helicopter crashing.
A lance pierced his head as he looked in the direction of the sound.
Then he looked back at Wallace as Karkarov’s hold over her vanished.
“My god!” Susan barely squeaked as the memories of the horror she had lived through flooded her mind.
“Shhh!” Black whispered gently as he brushed stray strands of hair from her face.
He held her in his arms as she cried her shoulders shaking as sobs wracked her body.
“It’s all right, Suz,” he said softly, “I’ve got you now.”
Suz! Her dad always called her Suz. She snuggled into the protecting arms.

She was shaking now, adrenaline, fear, shock and the cold night all having taken their toll on her physical body, on top of everything else she had suffered.

“Susan?”
She moved her head from his neck where she had buried it at his soft call. Had she been asleep?

“I have to fix you,” Black said. “Let me take the pain away.”
His hand moved towards her head and she grabbed his wrist stopping him, knowing what he was going to do.
“Not all of it Caleb,” she said weakly. “You’ll need me to remember.”
Black shook his head, “I’ll be okay.”
“No!” she was as stern as she could muster.
He stared into her beautiful eyes for some time.
“I’m stronger than you think, Caleb.”
No you’re not, he didn’t say. “Okay.”

He brushed more hair away. “I like your hair down like this,” he said a little awkwardly.
She smiled up at him then winced as she moved her leg. “You shot me!”
Black shrugged. “I had to improvise!”
His warm hand went to her blood soaked leg, his tired mind already reaching out to flesh and bone, wanting to heal her more than anything.
Although his power concentrated mostly on the gunshot wound it extended throughout her body, healing the cuts and bruises and abrasions it had suffered over these long few days.
Colour came back to her cheeks.
Looking down at the bullet hole he could see there was still some work to do.
I’ll have to concentrate on that some more,” he said more to himself than to her.
“It’ll heal,” she said, her voice stringer now.
He looked over the rest of her mostly naked form.
Her slender athletic body was in good shape. He checked over her legs, arms, stomach and back.
Other than a few scrapes she was perfect.
She was perfect, he thought.
“I’m cold,” she announced softly.
Black took off his coat and wrapped her in it.
“Caleb,” she sobbed, her eyes filling with tears.
“It’s all right. I’ll make the bad stuff go away,” he said cupping her cheek gently.
She held his hand there, pressing her face into his palm, enjoying the warmth.
“I’ll take away the worst moments, and all of your emotional attachment so that you will have purely clinical memories of events.”
“Okay,” Susan whispered still not releasing his hand, her eyes locked with his. “Thank you, Caleb.”

“I love you, Susan Wallace,” he said to her.
Wallace smiled and closed her eyes as Black’s hand pressed to her forehead and his mind connected with hers.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:49 am

There were some awful memories.
Black took them from her and locked them away in a place where he kept such things.
She would never remember them to their entirety, but he would.
In his dreams sometimes, such memories would leak out into his subconscious mind and he would awake with a start having had horrendous nightmares.

He walked stoically alongside the gurney as the Infinity paramedics wheeled Susan Wallace towards the conveyor.
As he looked down he saw Nikki’s old photo in his hand.
He looked across to Wallace’s sleeping face then back to the photo. Did Nikki’s expression seem pleased? “I’ll always love you,” he whispered to it and screwed the photo up tossing it into a bin as he passed.

Looking once more at Susan he sighed.
And he knew that he would gladly take away a million such terrible memories from this woman.

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A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by arcanus » Sat Jul 21, 2012 11:15 pm

Juneau, Alaska - Homeline
The clandestine nature of the previous night continued at a pace, having acquired his funds he awaited the call, when it came he was directed to another location and then another and so on.
In the shadier grey worlds such things were common, however it was a little irksome that he had to go through it.

Eventually he found himself outside The Red Dog Saloon where he encountered a slight man, the man quickly ushered him to a boat.
Three hours later he found himself aboard a small plane heading for Wakes Island, icy wind swirled beyond the cockpit window, brooding grey clouds surrounded them as far as the eye could see.

He could stabilise the plane to avoid the horrendous turbulence, however it didn’t concern him overly, instead he looked ahead to see through the swirling shades of grey.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:15 am

His destination brought up memories that he had filed away many years ago. Pheonix, as UNIC had designated his home worldline.......

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:20 am

UNIC Designation: Pheonix

Quantum: 4

Washington DC, 1950 LWT (Local World Time – 27 Years behind Homeline)

“Mrs Mustenen, you’re nearly there….” The midwife said encouragingly, “just one more strong push…”
Chaya Mustenen’s dark brown eyes looked pleadingly into the equally dark ones of the midwife, but she knew there would be no help, no respite.
“It’s all down to you honey, now come on, push!”
Chaya’s knuckles whitened as she gripped the small rail at the sides of the bed, her knees parting further and she bore down with the muscles of her distended abdomen, squeezing, pushing, forcing the new life within her out into the world.

**

Stark white walls and pale green linoleum floor was all Petrick Mustenen had looked at for the past five hours.
Five hours of purgatory as far as he was concerned.
He was a man for whom taking a life was no harder a life-experience than blowing his nose, however waiting on the outcome of crating one was proving to be hellish.
He was sitting on one of the plain wooden chairs that lined the wall of the sterile white corridor nest to the entrance to the maternity ward, with his head in his hands like a man condemned.
He hated the waiting, the not knowing what was happening. And he felt that he was superfluous to the whole thing, almost in the way.
America! Here he was just an annoyance to the hospital staff. At least back home in Finland he would have been allowed to go in and sit with his wife, encourage her, hold her hand and share the experience.

The door opened and a nurse poked he head out.
“Mr Mustenen,” she beamed, “you can come in now.”
Petrick almost leaped from his seat and followed the nurse in through the door, glancing back only briefly at the four other men waiting outside the ward.
Two were other expectant fathers, but the other two were men who worked for Petrick’s boss and colleagues of his who claimed to have nothing better to do so had agreed to hang around here for hours on end.
Petrick wondered what their real motive had been.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:21 am

Entering the small ward where two more nurses were tucking in the sheets and making Chaya more comfortable in the bed.
Petrick gave his wife a furtive smile to which she returned a weak one of her own.
The midwife gently lifted a bundle of cloth from a small cot at the bottom of the bed and carried ot across the room to Petrick who had remained nervously by the door as though he was reday to make a run for it if things got too much for him.
As she offered the bundle across he saw amongst the folds of material a round, red face with puffy eyes and a thin smattering of black hair.
“Congratulations, Mr Mustenen, you have a bouncing little boy,” the midwife said as she placed the baby in his eager arms.
He looked at the child and his heart was filled with the sort of joy he couldn’t describe.
Glancing to Chaya he saw her eyes glistening with happy tears in the artificial lights and returned her broad grin.
The midwife looked to them and asked, “Do you have a name for him?”

How stupid Petrick felt, of course the child should have a name. All this time and he hadn’t given it a thought. “I….?”
“Yes,” Chaya said confidently, as though challenging Petrick to say otherwise. “He will be called Caleb, after my father.”
CHaya had said it with such finality that Petrick didn’t really have the desire or where-with-all to disagree and so just nodded his head. “Yes, and Toumas after mine. He’ll be Caleb Toumas Mustenen.”

Suddenly the baby started to cry, a harsh distressed cry that immediately got the midwife back over and grabbed the child from his father.
“Perhaps he didn’t like the name!” Petrick joked nervously.
Quickly the midwife checked the child over and could find nothing obviously wrong with him but still the child cried.
“Oh shit!” a junior nurse called out in surprise, drawing attention and stern disapproving looks from her fellow nurse and the midwife. She was standing in a pool of blood, drips feeding into it from the steel bed frame. The young nurse looked confused.
The midwife’s face blanched and she thrust the screaming child into her father’s arms and dashed over to the mother.
Chaya too looked confused, having not seen the bright red puddle beneath her bed.
Whipping back the sheets the midwife and everyone else in the room saw that the mattress was now a bright crimson colour.
“Oh shit!” the midwife exclaimed before pulling herself together and calling an instruction for the nurse to fetch a doctor immediately.
The baby stopped its hysterical crying as soon as the doctor entered the room and both father and midwife cast the child an odd look, but dismissed the timing as pure coincidence.

**

The doctor stepped through the doorway into the patient family room.
“Mr Mustenen?”
Petrick stood with a nod to the doctor.
“Your wife lost a lot of blood. There were some post-delivery complications. I’m ever so sorry…”
Petrick didn’t hear what else the doctor said as although he seemed to be standing there blankly staring at the opposite wall, inside he was screaming: “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:53 am

UNIC Designation: Pheonix

Quantum: 4

Miami, Florida, USA, 1965 LWT (Local World Time – 27 Years behind Homeline)
The black Lincoln pulled to a halt outside Leewood Elementary School in the Kendal district of Miami-Dade.
A man in a smart suit, with long black “winkle-picker” shoes stepped out and placed his fedora on his head, adjusting the headpiece and then his tie before subconsciously checking the pistol he carried in a shoulder-holster was still there.
The man was tall and dark haired, with piercing blue eyes and a genuinely friendly smile that bellied the stone-cold killer that he really was, or at least he used to be before the birth of his son.
Despite his ‘retirement’ from his former life, his bright eyes still swept over the other people gathered outside the kindergarten, looking for threats but he found himself smiling at the few he knew.
“Good morning Mr Mustenen!” a shrill little voice called out and Petrick turned to see a small figure with a head full of deep red ringlets and wearing small round glasses that magnified her almond shaped hazel eyes.
“Hi Maggie,” Petrick replied jovially as the little girl skipped towards him, leaving her mother and pulling the back door of Petrick’s car open.
“Hello Cal,” Maggie Shaw said.
Caleb Mustenen looked across the car to Maggie. She was his best friend.
He’d only been here for a couple of months, since moving down from Washington DC.
“Look!” Maggie said excitedly pointing to a gap in her top row of teeth.
“It came out last night, I got a dollar for it!” she announced proudly.
“Cool!” Caleb responded with a broad smile of his own, showing a gap in his lower teeth. “I got a dollar too!”
Maggie’s eyes widened like saucers. “Last night?”
Caleb nodded enthusiastically as he slid across the seat dragging his school bag with him.
“That is so cool!” Maggie turned to her mother who was having some dull conversation with Caleb’s dad about ‘those idiots in congress’ or some such rubbish.
“Mommy? Mommy?” Maggie said trying to catch her mother’s attention.
Mommy wasn’t listening.
Maggie stepped out in front of the car walking around Caleb’s dad. “Mommy!” she said.
Caleb stiffened, darted between his father and Mrs Shaw and grabbed Maggie’s hair, pulling with all his strength.
Maggie yelped and stumbled, falling to the hard road by the kerbside grazing her knee and the palms of her hands.
A fraction of a second later a large blue truck thundered past, clipping the wing-mirror of Petrick’s car with a resounding thump.
Petrick Mustenen and Lucy Shaw stood in horrified stupefaction as Petrick’s wing mirror lay spinning in the road, its reflective surface shattered into tiny fragments.

Maggie wailed, getting up and holding her grazed hands up to her mother.
“Caleb!” Petrick wasn’t sure if he should admonish his son or not.
“Oh my god, Petrick!” Lucy said in horror as she hugged at Maggie. “That truck would have hit her. Thank you Caleb,” she added turning to the boy and giving him a grateful smile.
Caleb just nodded casually at her as though partly nonplussed and partly embarrassed.
“Come on darling,” Lucy said taking Maggie’s hand. “Let’s see if Mrs Cairnes has got some magic cream we can put on your hands.”
She led Maggie away towards the school yard.
“Shit, Caleb, well done my boy,” Petrick said in Finnish, his head shaking in disbelief.
“How did you see that truck and we didn’t?”
It was a rhetorical question and Caleb knew that – even if he didn’t know what rhetorical meant. So he didn’t tell his father that he had seen it happen last night, in a dream.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:26 am

UNIC Designation: Pheonix

Quantum: 4

Miami, Florida, USA, April 23rd 1966 LWT (Local World Time – 27 Years behind Homeline)
Emilio Desousa watched the young 2nd grader enter the refectory.
The boy was immaculately dressed and clean and something about that bothered Emilio. It went against his own rebellious code of conduct.
The big (some might say overweight ) 4th grade boy tapped Jethro Luckett’s arm and once he had the boy’s attention, he nodded silently towards the younger lad.
Jethro, another boy of too many burgers gave the sort of sadistic grin someone might display while they quietly pulled the legs off of a spider.
The 2nd grade boy didn’t join the queue for lunch, he merely grabbed a couple of bananas from a fruit bowl, dropped some coins on the counter which the old woman behind the till accepted without counting, and then walked back out of the refectory again.

All around them children were sitting noisily chatting and eating their lunch and so Emilio and Jethro were able to leave the dining hall unnoticed.
Unnoticed that was, except for miss Harrison, the new second-grade tutor.

Caleb Mustenen was one of her quiet students, who sat somewhere in the middle of her classroom where he wouldn’t get caught up in the naughtier goings-on at the back of the class and where he wouldn’t gain the notice of the teacher by sitting at the front. Or so he thought.
Unfortunately Caleb had caught her attention because the answers he gave in both his verbal and written responses were both technically correct, no not correct – exact, and were intellectually mature beyond his seven years.
Yet he wasn’t just a bookish nerd either. Almost like he flicked a switch in his head he could go from swat to jock and back again.
Miss Harrison had, out of chance, watched Caleb enter and leave again and was about to turn back to her own lunch when she saw the other two boys cast furtive glances about the room before hurrying after Caleb.
Normally Miss Harrison wouldn’t make much of it, but Emilio Desousa had lost a brother in one of the first engagements of the war in Vietnam. Since then the boy had gone off the rails and was always in trouble.
With a sigh Miss Harrison followed in the wake of the three boys.

Caleb found Maggie sitting on her own in their classroom, finishing off the last mouthful of her sandwich.
The half-Finn, half-Israeli boy studied her from behind, watching the way her shoulders rose and fell, listening to her breathing, and noticed that her carrot coloured hair had darkened somewhat compared to how it had been a year ago.
Having finished her sandwich Maggie Shaw threw her lunchbox in her bag and turned for the door.
“Oh!” she said, startled. “What are you doing here?”
Caleb gave a sheepish grin. “You’re going to the sports-hall to practice gym, right?”
“Yeah, how did you know?”
Her head was cocked to one side and she seemed to be looking at him through only her right eye. It reminded Caleb of a flame coloured crow.
“You’ve been on about it all week and you think you won’t make the team.”
“Never said that!” Maggie pouted.
“No, but you think it.”
Maggie thought he sounded like her mother, always saying she knew what Maggie was thinking and it annoyed her, but somehow Cal always did seem to know exactly what was on her mind.
“Come on, I’ll help you practice,” he said.
She smiled her radiant smile and grabbed his hand, pulling him down the corridor.

“Hello?” Emilio Desousa whispered suspiciously as he and Jethro peered out of the third grade classroom door watching Caleb and Maggie rushing in the opposite direction.
“C’mon Jeth!” he said as he walked quickly in the younger kid’s wake.

Miss Harrison frowned as she looked down the two empty corridors. Damn!
Then she saw Caleb and Maggie Shaw cross the far end of the left-hand corridor, shortly followed by Emilio and Jethro.
She briskly followed.

The hall was dark and when Caleb flicked on the lights the two were greeted by a light wooden glossy floor, marked out for the school basketball team and surrounded by several tiers of seats. The hall was already laid out with mats and apparatus ready for the gym try-outs tomorrow.
Maggie gulped.
“I’ll get changed,” Maggie said rushing for the girl’s locker room.
Caleb hopped up onto the low beam and sat there, legs swinging while he ate his banana. “What you doing here, amigo?” Emilio barked in his best tough-guy voice.
Caleb was startled by the sudden noise and nearly lost his balance causing the two fourth-graders to laugh.
“What do you want, Emilio?” Caleb asked calmly as he jumped down from the beam. “I know who you are,” Cal shrugged in answer to Emilio’s quizzical look.
“You annoy me,” the Mexican boy said. “You’re too tidy! So me an’ my hombre here are going to scruff you up a bit. You dint ought to go round lookin’ so square!”
“Hey, where’s your girlfriend?” Jethro jeered. “You come here for some kissy-kissy?” he chuckled at his own joke.
“She’s not my girlfriend,” Caleb blurted almost automatically and the statement annoyed him. It was a knee-jerk response and now he had a moment to analyse it he realised it came from a natural aversion, common to his peers, about having anything to do with girls.
Although only seven and far too young to be worrying about having a girlfriend, he decided that if he had to have one then he would want her to be like Maggie, and therefore, logically, he would be happy if Maggie was his girlfriend.
But either way, what the heck business was it of Jethro’s?
“Mind your own!” Caleb said annoyed.
“Ooooo! Check out the mighty wiener!” Jethro mocked, stepping back with a theatrical look of horror on his face.
“Go away, Maggie wants to practice her gym.”
“No one tells us to go away,” Emilio said and shoved Caleb in the chest.
The smaller boy fell backwards onto the mat.
“Jeth – rough him up a bit!”
Jethro lunged forward grabbing Caleb’s leg and dragging the boy along the floor.
Caleb tried to kick out at the older boy but his position on the floor made it difficult.

Jethro stopped as he dragged Caleb alongside Emilio.
The Mexican boy crouched down and grabbed Caleb’s crumpled shirt, popping some of the buttons.
“Hey!” a high pitched voice shrilled from the far end of the hall as Maggie Shaw, now dressed in her leotard ran across to help Caleb.
Jethro released the boy’s leg and rushed to intercept the girl.
He managed to grab her arm and then get his own arms around her, pinning her in a bear hug.
“Let me go!” Maggie screamed, kicking and wriggling.
“Hee, hee!” Emilio chuckled as he watched Jethro struggling to contain the little red-haired hell-cat.
Caleb scrambled to his feet.
“Get off her!” he yelled.
Emilio answered his shout by punching him in the stomach, then as Caleb doubled over he grabbed the back of his shirt and threw the boy to the floor before sitting on him.
Caleb grunted as the air was pushed from his lungs when the fat Mexican boy dropped all his weight on his back.
He struggled and fought but was pinned.
Emilio grabbed the boy by the hair and slammed his face into the green waffle-backed mat. “Sit still,” he barked tersely.

Maggie screamed as she flayed around.
“Shut her up, esse!” Emilio called and Jethro used his weight advantage to yank the girl into a position where he could get his hand across her mouth.

Caleb was struggling to breathe now. “Get off me, Emilio,” he hissed, but the older boy merely forced more of his weight down.
Then Cal spotted Maggie’s frightened face and something inside him broke loose like a lion suddenly released from a cage.
He snarled as he pushed himself upward off the mat enough to enable him to turn and get his arms into a more usable position. He remembered what his dada had said on his first day of school. “If someone starts picking on you, just hit them as hard as you can in the balls!”
So, despite the awkward angle, he did.
Emilio yelped and rolled off Caleb but the blow hadn’t been overly powerful and the Mexican recovered from the shock of it quickly.
“You little shit!” the boy swore as he grabbed the now standing Caleb by his collar and dragged him close enough to slap.
“Stop it! Get off me!” Caleb squeaked at Emilio but the boy just gave him another slap.
As his head turned from the blow Caleb saw Jethro holding onto Maggie and saw the tears on her cheeks and his anger flared again.
“Let her go, you asshole!” he growled trying to pull away from Emilio but the hefty ten year old was a lot stronger and had no problem holding on.
“Ouch!” Jethro suddenly yelped as he yanked his hand away from Maggie! “She bit me!” the boy said incredulously.
His face was screwed up in a mixture of pain and anger and he lashed out, striking Maggie a backhand across her face.
She went down with a shrill cry, tears pouring down her cheeks.
Caleb surged towards Jethro and almost pulled Emilio over but the bigger boy yanked him back by his collar like he was a dog being brought to heel.
“Get off!” Caleb roared at his captor, his anger at boiling point and as he said the words he felt that anger solidify and take form inside him as some enormous force. That force was suddenly expelled from his body in an almighty whoosh, and Emilio was plucked from the floor like an ant being brushed aside.

**

Where had those boys gone? Miss Harrison regretted being new to the school and not having bothered to find her way around every part of the building. All right, it was quite a big building, but not that big! She’d kept up with them and then the boys had just vanished. She had doubled back on herself and checked all the classrooms and even gone outside but there was no sign of any of them.
Then, just as the tall, slender brunette was about to head back to the hall for her lunch she heard a muffled scream.
She instantly turned for the corridor to her right. It was deceptive as the passageway appeared to continue on to the door at the end, but in truth there was a wall which could be walked around to gain entrance to the sports hall and the entrance was hidden from here.
Miss Harrison yanked the sports hall doors open and what she saw took her breath away.

Caleb Mustenen roared at Emilio Desousa and the boy was thrown across the room where he crashed into the upper row of seating with a resounding crunch and lay motionless seemingly folded in half across the seat-back.
Miss Harrison stood, mouth agape and eyes wide in bewilderment and terror.

Caleb Mustenen didn’t know how, but he knew he’d just willed that to happen. There was a savage look on his face, completely unbefitting a seven year old boy as he turned to face Jethro and reached out as though to grab him by the throat. Although more than thirty feet away Jethro choaked and grasped at his own throat and began to struggle for breath. Then, with a slight movement of his hand Caleb lifted Jethro off the ground.
He rose, feet flailing uselessly as some unseen power tightened like a noose on his neck, causing his eyes to bulge and his face to turn a strange shade of puse.

Finally her voice came back to her. “CALEB!” Miss Harrison screamed furiously.
Caleb’s concentration broke and Jethro fell almost twelve feet back to the soft gymnastics mat where he lay gasping for breath and shaking with shock.
Caleb looked horrified and blinked rapidly looking first at Miss Harrison who was rushing towards Emilio and then at Maggie who was staring blankly, like a startled rabbit caught in the headlights.
Caleb deflated ashamedly and burst into tears, running to hide behind the vaulting box.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:17 pm

When Petrick Mustenen arrived at Leewood Elementary school there were several police cars and an ambulance in the parking lot.
He had received the message that there had been an incident at school and now his mind was summoning up all sorts of things.

When he entered the sports hall, as directed by a young police officer, he was so relieved to see Caleb sitting in one of the spectator seats next to Maggie Shaw that he laughed aloud causing several of the nearby teachers to scowl disapprovingly at him.
He ignored their looks and rushed over to Caleb and wrapped his arms around the boy.
“Thank god you’re ok,” he said and smiled at Maggie. “Hey Mags, where’s your mother?”
“She’s shopping. They haven’t found her yet,” the girl said in a monotone voice, very unlike her.
“You okay?” the man asked concern creeping into his tone. “What happened?” This last he asked of Caleb as he released the boy.
“Maggie just wanted to practise gym. And those boys got hurt.”
Petrick was about to say something but the sound of someone clearing their throat behind him made him turn.
“Hello, Mr Mustenen,” Miss Harrison said in cautious tones.”
“Uh, hello?”
“Hi, we met at the beginning of the semester. I’m your son’s teacher. Em, can I have a word with you in private?”
confused, Petrick shrugged, “Yeah, sure,” he said, then “Wait there son,” to Caleb.
“Can’t we just go home?” the boy asked his father in Fluent Finnish, shocking the young teacher who was momentarily distracted by the fat until she saw the paramedics with the gurney and Emilio Desousa strapped to it.
“In a moment,” Petrick responded in the same language before following Miss Harrison out into the quiet corridor.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:19 pm

Barbara Harrison led Petrick to a deserted classroom and closed the door.
She didn’t really know how to broach the subject as it was quite a sensitive matter – and one that carried a lot of scepticism with it.
“Err…. Mr Mustenen, what language was that?” she decided to ask knowing full well she was just avoiding the inevitable.
“Finnish,” Petrick stated.
Caleb speaks Finnish, at his age?”
“Yes, it is my native tongue. He also speaks Hebrew, but not so well. That was his mother’s language but she’s dead and I can only teach him what I know, which is far from perfect.” Petrick was animated and seemed to enjoy speaking about his son’s abilities.
“That’s incredible,” she stated and saw an opening for the real point of this conversation.
“Mr Mustenen, that’s quite a talent for a boy his age to speak two additional languages.”
“He’s a clever boy,” Petrick agreed.
“Indeed. Erm… have you noticed any other talents he may have?”
“How do you mean?” Petrick asked truly unsure of what the attractive school teacher was getting at.
Barbara sighed. “I saw him, Mr Mustenen.”
Petrick picked up on the accusatory tone in her voice but was still baffled as to what she was accusing.
He suddenly felt like he was a naughty schoolboy being told off by teacher. It was a feeling he didn’t like.
“What are you talking about?” he snapped getting angry at the woman’s patronising expression and poise. Her mannerisms might work when she is telling off one of the seven year olds in her class but certainly had a detrimental effect on the man’s attitude towards her.
“He’s a psyche, Mr Mustenen! Your son is a Psychic – he has powers.”
“What?” this time Mustenen was incredulous.
“I saw him cast a boy nearly twice his weight across the hall then lift another boy by his throat clean off the floor even though he was more than twenty or thirty feet away from him!” she stared hard at the man now and noticed the way his face paled.
“You shouldn’t believe the things you read in some of those papers, Miss Harrison. All those stories about people reading minds and moving cars with just their thoughts is utter rubbish and you should feel embarrassed!” Petrick accused bitterly.
The trouble was, there was a nagging doubt in his own mind.
Of course, there were stories everywhere, in the more sensationalist rags and the conspiracy theorists loved the subject of psychics in their midst.

Many tales had come out of the war of Hitler having formed a division devoted to psychic research and that they had succeeded, just too late to put the psychic soldier to good use.
Then there were stories about Russia, the new enemy, and the United States both developing secret programs researching the subject.
Together with the old tales of legend from England of St George stopping the dragon in mid-flight before sending a giant sword hundreds of feet into the air to pierce its heart, and Norse tales of great battles between Loki and Thor which could be attributed to psychic powers. The Celts had flying ships that were powered by a lode-stone, an obelisk carved in runes and imbued with psychic energy.
Or so the legends went. All of this fanned the flames of rumour.
And all the time there were stories in the newspapers of people claiming to have witnessed the said phenomenon, and just like the images of Jesus Christ the Saviour that appeared in stains on someone’s bedroom ceiling, of in the leaves of some Mexican farmer’s cabbage patch, they were all pretty much discredited.
Yet in the back of Petrick’s mind there was a nagging little voice pointing at hints and memories which could mean that Miss Harrison was right.
There were small things like Caleb’s favourite teddy somehow managing to end up in his cot was he was small, despite Petrick having put the thing out of reach himself. Then there was the time he’d lost Caleb in a shopping mall, he had somehow heard the boy crying for him, yet no one else seemed to notice.
There were more obvious times too, like him dreaming about Maggie getting hit by a truck then saving her when it was about to come true. Caleb hadn’t told him this, it came from Lucy Shaw who had mentioned the story Maggie had told her. It was said in passing, along with a request for Caleb to dream up the lottery numbers, but it had stuck in his head for some time.
In fact, Pterick could even relate the day Caleb was born. When he had thought about that day, when the pain of Chaya’s death had allowed him to actually think about the events of that day, Petrick had been convinced that Caleb had known his mother was in danger and had tried to tell them. His sudden silence the moment the doctor had arrived was spooky, but the Finn remembered everything being so hectic that he’d not taken the apparent coincidence in.

“It’s not rubbish, Mr Mustenen,” Miss Harrison was saying. “I know what I saw and I have to report it.”
“Report it?” Petrick asked in bewilderment. “Who to?”
“Principle Chalk, of course.”
Principle Chalk, of course, Petrick mused. How typical of a teacher to regard the school principal as the supreme authority in all things.
“Fine, you tell the Principal if you feel you have to, but he’s not going to believe you. I don’t damned well believe you!”
With that the Finn turned away and walked out.

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Re: A Darker Shade Of Pale

Post by Keeper » Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:19 pm

Petrick Mustenen drove home, slowly, his mind occupied with today’s unbelievable events more than the road. He kept glancing in the mirror at Caleb and wondering whether he was reading his mind right now, or not.
In the end he pulled the car over on a quiet suburban street and turned to face his son.
“Cal, I need to ask you something, and I need you to tell me the truth.”
“What is it dad?”
Caleb looked so much like an ordinary seven year old boy, his innocent eyes full of excitement, a small figuring of a knight in one hand and a dragon in the other.
Petrick considered dropping the subject but silently scolded himself for being a coward.
“Cal,” he paused lost for the right words all of a sudden. “Can you do things? Unusual things?”
“Like what?”
“I don’t know, move things with your thoughts, read people’s minds, you know?”
“Oh!” Caleb sounded surprised. “Yes.”
It was said with such obvious certainty and a tone that said – of course, didn’t you know?
“Really?” now it was Petrick’s turn to sound surprised. He had to admit he’d been expecting, no, wanting the boy to say no.
“I can do some things, Dad.”
“Like what?”
Caleb looked around the car for something small, and then noticed the figures in his hands.
Closing his eyes he concentrated on the knight, picturing it moving up off his hand and floating across to his father.
He opened his eyes and concentrated.
The knight rose, gliding through the air towards Petrick’s astonished face.
The man grabbed the knight from the air and looked at it as though he had never seen it before.
Petrick looked from the figurine to his son and he saw the concern on the boy’s face.
“That’s incredible!” Petrick half whispered, his smile genuine. “Just incredible!”
“I can do more!” Caleb said enthusiastically.
“So I gather, Caleb. What did you do to those boys?”
Cal’s face fell.
“I didn’t mean to, they got me so mad and it just happened. I didn’t know I could move something that big. I’m sorry dad.”
“Cal, calm down. You say you got angry and did that?”
Cal nodded.
“My god, son! What you can do is amazing, but people won’t understand that, they’ll just be frightened by something they don’t comprehend.”
Petrick sighed and pulled out a cigarette from his pack.
Caleb grinned, closed his eyes picturing the end of the cigarette and before Petrick could get a match out of the box in his hand the end was aglow.
Petrick took the smoke out of his mouth and peered at the end then looked wide-eyed at the boy who gave him a sheepish smirk.
“Shit!” Petrick shook his head in disbelief. “Cal, you’ve got to keep a lid on this, you understand? And no more getting angry.”
“I’ll try not to, dad.”

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