The fight in Kansas City is over, and it’s time for some rest and reflection. This scene–the first of only two in Chapter Thirty-Eight–is a big change of pace from what’s happened before. One, no one is watching someone else, running all over town, and trying to puzzle out mysteries. And two–they’re not in Kansas City any more, Dorothy.
Time to see what happened, right? After all, it’s time to wind down a bit and reflect . . .
All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)
Erywin sat back and looked up and enjoyed the feel of the sun on her face. Compared to Kansas City, it was much nicer here—brighter and warmer. And from her position on the bench she could turn to her right and look out over the small lake just below this quite viewing area.
She spotted Helena, wearing her ever-present leather jacket, heading her way. She glanced towards the lake every so often, but for the most part kept her eyes locked on Erywin. She didn’t acknowledge Erywin’s presence until she was four meters away. “We’re all packed and checked out.”
“That was quick.” Erywin crossed her left leg over her right as Helena sat to her left.
“When you have four other people having you pack it’s easy to clean up and clear out in fifteen minutes.” She slid her arm over the back of the bench and behind Erywin. “I checked us out while our luggage was sent back to Salem.”
“So no need to return to Kansas City?”
“No.” Helena snorted. “There’s nothing there for us to do anyway. The Link walkway has been cleaned up, and the Guardians are all over Kaden’s house looking for additional clues. We were the opening act—” She turned to Erywin and grinned. “The headliners are on-stage now.”
Yeah, those lucky headliners: they let you set up the audience and talk all the abuse from the fans who didn’t come to see you. Helena has the right attitude: you do your job and get out. There’s usually no glory in what they did–even though they did save someone’s life. Or is that lives?
It’s pretty obvious that they aren’t in Kansas City any longer, either, since Erywin’s asking if they have a need to return. So where are they?
“The headliners never had to worry about getting killed.” Erywin looked at the long building within her line of sight. “They told me they should be able to release Annie and Kerry about sixteen.” She glanced over to her partner. “Did you see them?”
“I did. They’re getting the finest Foundation care a fake biosafety level 4 unit at the CDC can offer.” Helena looked around, taking in the campus. “You know, this is the first time I’ve been here.”
This was the first Erywin learned that Helena had never visited The Foundation facilities at the Center for Disease Control. “They never brought you here when you were hurt?”
“I was never injured while operating in North America.” Helena chuckled. “You three got lucky. I figured with you hurt they’d take you off to San Francisco or Minneapolis or Tucson—here you get pulled to the best lab facilities The Foundation has to off on this side of the world.”
Yep. When I mentioned that The Foundation has places where they “hide in plain sight,” many of those places are pretty well known facilities. We know Helena had access to underground bunkers used for continuation of government purposes, and that they held meetings at the World Trade Center, but now we find out The Foundation has facilities at the CDC? Sure, why not? After all, wouldn’t getting diseases under control be something they’d want to get their hands around?
Did The Foundation help build this place? Maybe. Do they help run it? Perhaps. Do they have a hospital here? Damn right. They do a great job keeping the image of the place up, too–
Which is probably one of the reasons the CDC put out their information on getting ready for the Zombie Apocalypse. Don’t forget to check out the comic, too, if you go to the website.
And now that they’re here, Erywin has a question about someone that came in with them . . .
“Probably because of Kaden.” Erywin looked around to make certain no one else was within range of their voices. “I saw that rig they pulled off him. Is that what you found him in?”
“Yeah.” Helena sighed and stretched. “Hanging in the goddamn closet. The Deconstructor doppelgänger was using the enchantment in the crown unit to leach off the real Kaden’s memories so Tanith didn’t know she wasn’t living with her father. The rig was keeping him alive, too.”
“So I heard. One of the doctors told me he was dehydrated and malnourished, though.”
“Happens. Those rigs are only good for keeping someone alive for a couple of months.” Helena shrugged. “That’s about all they’d need if Tanith was their real target.” She faced Erywin. “Did you see Tanith?”
So now you know why Helena called an abort: ’cause when you see the guy who just left the house trussed up like a turkey in the closet, you know the Deconstructors got there first.
And what about Tanith? Glad you asked:
Erywin nodded. “For a little bit. She thanked me for saving her father and her, and she wanted to know if she could see Annie and Kerry.” She gazed out over the small lake. “I told her ‘our people’ might let her in to see them, but it really wasn’t up to me.”
Helena nodded. “Good answer.” She’d not told the children that once the operation was over their access to Tanith would be cut, and the likelihood that if Tanith did meet Annie and Kerry again in the foreseeable future, it was unlikely she’d know who they were. Standard procedure on a field operation like this— She tapped her fingers against her thighs. The people who come to bring you in are erased from your mind so you can’t ever go after them should Deconstructors get you again—or you decide to turn. “I’ll have to talk to them tomorrow about the operation followup—just in case she were to show up at school next year.”
“They need that.” Erywin placed her hand on top of Helena’s. “Did you see them before coming down?”
The good news is Annie and Kerry saved the girl. The bad new: she’ll never remember them bringing her in. Just as Isis talked about sending in “memory speicalist” to take care of Kerry’s and Emma’s parents and family if it turned out they’d died during the Day of the Dead attacks, those same people will go to work on Tanith to make certain she can’t even blow Annie’s and Kerry’s cover in this field operation. It’s sort of a crappy thing when you think about it, because they were probably starting to bond and stuff, and now . . . nope, she won’t remember them.
Oh, and Helena has other news . . .
There was a lingering pause as Helena debated telling Erywin this next, and figured she needed to know. “I met with Gabriel up in the ward.”
This surprised Erywin greatly. “What was he doing here?”
“Wanted to see how the kids were doing, and pulled me aside to get a quick update. He told me we don’t have to debrief until Tuesday morning.”
“Why wait so long?”
“For one, Kerry’s a bit out of it and anything he says is going to be crap, and two . . .” Helena chuckled again. “I think he’s giving us a chance to get our stories straight. He told me he was at the walkway scene for a few minutes—said he was a bit surprised by what he saw.”
“Getting your stories straight” is usually a euphemism for, “You guys left shit really messed up and I don’t wanna have to ding someone.” Which is what comes up next–
Erywin snorted. “I’m sure he was.” She turned to Helena. “Are they going to red flag Annie’s file?”
“I don’t think so. I made a point of telling him that she’d been under orders not to kill anyone if she could help it—” Helena shrugged. “Spells must have gotten away from her.”
Erywin nodded slowly, a slight smile on her face. “Must have. What about Kerry?”
“They’ll yellow flag his file for sure.” Helena slowly ran her finger over the bridge of here nose. “Did you hear about what he did to that last Deconstructor?”
“I just heard something quick after they brought in the bodies, but nothing specific.”
“He had four broken ribs, a ruptured spleen, perforations to his small intestine, and damage to his liver.” Helena gave Erywin a slight nod. “You told me he used an Air Hammer—he used dark energy on it, didn’t he?”
“Yes. No way I didn’t feel that.” Erywin cleared his throat. “Definitely trying to kill him, wasn’t he?”
“Probably why the guy was so pissed off. If Kerry hadn’t been trying to juggle two spells at the same time, he might have pulled it off.”
Erywin took a long, deep breath before asking her next question. “Any news on Ruth?”
We now learn, for real, that Kerry was going for the kill shot. Unfortunately, he was also trying to charge up shields, and as good as the kids are right now, that’s a little too much on their plate to put up incredible shields and bounce off killer spells. At least there was enough energy in the shields that no one was killed, just a little messed up. Kerry: once again saving lives and getting messed up in the process. And, yet again, the girl came in and saved him . . .
“Any news on Ruth?” Well, you’ll get that when I finish this scene, and a whole lot more. That’s coming tonight, and then, for New Years Eve, I finish out the chapter and part while finishing the year 2014. So when Beltane starts up in the novel, it’s a new year, and I have the impetus to finish the novel by the end of January.
Almost there, people. Almost.