Ursa Non Gratis

Part III

Lei Kai - preparations

I watched as Davy briefed his people on what had happened, and was amazed at how he had turned it into something of a rallying cry. The man behind me snorted as the others began cheering Davy. When I turned, he just shook his head.

"Tell you 'bout it later," he said. It was the one they called Eclipse.

I admit that piqued my curiosity, after seeing so much dedication to each other and their cause, I did not expect to see dissension among them as well. As soon as was prudent, I joined Eclipse in the hallway.

"Look, I know you're a friend of the Duck's and that she's probably asked you to watch out for us, but she's the one you really should be worrying about," he told me sharply.

"I don't understand," I started to object, but he just shook his head.

"Knowing Duck, she'd probably tell you as much as Davy just told everybody, probably less. I saw the attack at Lady D's and let me tell you, it was organized and they knew exactly what they were doing."

I could see the anger in his eyes as he talked. He shook his head as I tried to follow him, and then he finally led me to a private room.

"Look, I know Duck's asked you in on this, and knowing Duck, she's asked you to watch over all of us. Those attacks last night, they were aimed at Davy, Geoff and Derrick, but it was Duck, Rico and Boomer that got hurt."

"But Davy only said that Boomer was hurt," I objected for I knew no reason for him to lie to his family.

"Davy doesn't want to worry people," Eclipse informed me tersely. "They had more numbers than they let on. As near as I can figure the guy with the bombs, he was supposed to lure Davy out. I think they were set to use the gun on him, as a demonstration. But then things went to hell. I saw the whole thing from the control room. Duck was running the boards."

I tried to follow him, but the man was pacing the room, filled with tension. "You are saying that..."

"They're in more danger than they'll ever let anybody else know," Eclipse answered my question. "Let me tell you what really happened..."

I sat patiently as he told me what had happened that night.

It started out simply enough, Geoff and Rabbit went to Jamaica Blue's place to meet some of Lightening's friends. They had Boomer, Rico and Kenny follow them and they were watching from another table. Lightening's friends showed up and Rabbit went into one of his rambles

Now, when Rabbit starts into a tirade, it means somebody's got some pretty strong emotions flowing. That's when the two troublemakers showed up. They had a package they said was for Geoff and Lightening's friends stepped in and stopped them.

A fight broke out, Mickey and Minnie, Lightening's friends, the CyberTwins, took on the delivery boys while Rabbit and Boomer dealt with the package. Crowded bar and these people brought in a bomb with enough of that toxin to take out the entire block, not just Geoff.

Their driver booked, but not before somebody managed to mind-read the delivery boys. Seems they had another hit lined up, Davy.

Like I said Duck and I were running the boards that night, so we were monitoring them. Rico tracked their driver with his remote, and the trail led to Lady D's, and if you haven't guessed by now, that's where Davy and Gina were.

Duck hot-linked a team over there, then transpoed all but the CyberTwin's over to Lady D's. I can't really explain the way the T-Unit works, you'd have to talk to Tommy about that. But only he, Duck and Rico really understand how to hot-link. Suffice it to say, she got the team to the safest rallying point and let them handle it from there.

She used one of her 'golfball' remotes. Not much more than a flying eyeball really, but it gave us pictures. Geoff took command of the situation and had Lightening and her friend Wind go in first. He realized that the hitters knew him and Davy, and it was most likely that Rabbit would be next on their list. So he had to use people they wouldn't know.

When they got to Davy and Gina's table, the man was already there. He had enough C-12 to take out most of the dining area, and he gave Davy a simple choice, go with him outside, or stay in and let a lot of innocent people die, including Gina.

Davy was ready to go when Lightening and Wind showed up. The man never knew what hit him. Wind used his 'natural abilities' to confuse him and Lightening 'helped' him with the deadman's switch.

They managed to get him out to the van where Boomer could deactivate the device. Lightening had to hang with him and keep a hold of the switch. That was a trip to listen to, but anyway...

Nice, neat package, but it wasn't over. Rabbit went back in to see how Davy and Gina were, just as the CyberTwins rolled in. Good thing too, 'cause somebody was running a remote on the attacker's van. It made a bee-line for Rabbit.

The CyberTwins launched their van at the other, and Geoff tackled Rabbit. Twisted his knee out, but it takes more than that to keep any of them down. It was down hill from there, let me tell you. Boomer had a van full of explosives, we had what turned out to be 5 attackers in the alleyway nearby. They took out Rico's remote, with Rico locked in contact, got Mickey and Geoff with a flash bang. Mickey's doing fine, but you may have noticed that Geoff's been wearing shades all day. Had some flash damage a year or so ago, still a bit more sensitive to light anyway,

They were on their way back when the sniper shot Boomer. He could have hit any one of the Big three, Davy, Geoff or Rabbit, but he targeted Boomer instead. It doesn't make sense, unless the Archer's Fist is just playing with them.

Boomer tried to dodge it, but it tracked his movement. Duck threw the remote in the path of it, but he still got hit with the shrapnel. She probably saved his life, but she felt everything when that projectile collided with the remote. I don't ever want to see anybody in that kind of pain again, ever!

As it was, one three inch piece got through and almost killed Boomer. but what it did to him... No Davy didn't tell anybody everything. He's trying to protect them, but he can't. None of us can. And Duck's in the greatest danger next to Bear, no matter what she says, not matter what Davy tells you... That's the truth of the situation.

I listened to him and realized that Davy was trying to protect us all, but as Eclipse was trying to warn me, nobody was safe. Now I understood more of what Minh was asking of me, to watch and protect them as much as I could, to learn their ways so that I can know why they are important. And mostly, to understand our human allies.

"I will watch over her," I promised. For that was the plan for the interviews. Geoff, Rabbit and Davy would cover the front room, Lightening the door, and I would be the final line of defense in the room itself. But now I had much more to think about.

Eclipse seemed to relax as I made my promise. "I like Duck," he told me. "What they did to her, what they're doing now. Its gotta stop, but somebody's got to keep their eyes on the Duck, see to it that she's okay. Bear's not there to take care of her, and Tracker, Government can't afford to allow him anywhere near this. Other than the folks here, she's on her own, and there's no way she's going to risk them."

I looked at him and I realized, he knows a lot more about me than he's letting on. I shook my head, hoping he'll tell me more.

"You just keep your eyes on her, you hear?" With that said, he left the room and disappeared down the hallway.

I had a lot to think about, but at the time, I knew I had a mission to do. I reported to the receiving area and waited for Duck and the others to join me. As I waited, I reflected on the events as they had been presented. I began to wonder what this Archer's Fist is really all about.

"Don't think too much," I heard Duck whisper.

She surprised me. My reaction surprised even me. 'How could a mere human sneak up on...'

"Easy, Kai," she urged gently as I allowed myself to relax. We were alone, so there was no one else who had seen, I hope. Once my form once again solidified I looked at her.

"Sorry," I stated evenly.

"I'll try to be louder next time," she countered as she looked around. "You clear on what we'll be doing?"

I nodded. "You will hold your interview in a private room. If anybody tries anything, I am at liberty to, handle the situation."

Duck chuckled and I could see the pain in her eyes as she winced. "Damn," she swore, but she was still laughing.

"There will be no cameras in the room," Duck assured me. "We'll verify on the final sweep, then everybody stays in their place until its done."

I nodded. We waited in silence as Davy, Geoff, Derrick and Lightening arrived.

"Tommy's already in place," Davy informed us. With that we were on our way.

The interviews were rather uneventful, at least from the inside of the room. After Derrick, the one called Rabbit and Lightening had finished their checks, I took my place in the room. I shifted into my true form, then blended into the room. We figured that If all went well, nobody would even know I was there.

It felt good to be free of the human body I wore outside, the room was still cramped, but now at least I could stretch, if even for a little while. One by one, people were led in. Each one was told the minimal information. Duck was using the name Red again, as Minh had warned me.

She told them she needed a group, and that she was willing to train them. She offered four weeks of low pay, room, board and training. When complete, she mentioned the possibility of a mission. Almost all were suspicious. One was belligerent, another tried to prove to Duck how good he was and how stupid she was.

I hate to admit it, but I had fun with that one. He ran from the room screaming. Lightening poked her head in, but when she saw that Duck was not only fine, but laughing, she went back to watching the door. Davy brought in a new chair after that, but judging from his expression, Duck hadn't told him everything about me. Only that she was perfectly safe while I was watching over her.

The interviewees were mostly respectful. Some were cautious, all of them were armed. A few scoffed at her offer, and there were several who attempted to surface scan her thoughts. That I was to allow, anything deeper, and Duck had given me her permission to rend them in two. The need never arose. They never told me what happened outside, but I assume all was well.

Copyright 1998 - M.T. Decker

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