Authors: Christopher De Sousa
Margaret briefly turned to Blake, before she headed back up the sand dune towards the organisation's utility. “We'll need to take him back with us and run a full analysis.”
Upon hearing this, Blake noticed Albert look over to his truck and attempt to run for it. But as Albert scampered, fighting his way up the sandy embankment, his legs were knocked out from beneath him by a strong surge of water. Kulullu, having now caught the young man by the scruff of his collar, dragged him through the sand and toward the utility.
“You don't intend to probe my mind or anything?” Albert whimpered, squirming about, and straining to wriggle free from the guardian's clutches.
“That dependsâ¦,” Blake sighed, as he too headed back for the utility.
Albert snivelled. “Depends on what?”
“On how much you know,” Blake casually replied.
“Keep concentrating Kat, you're very closeâ¦, I can sense it,” Monica encouraged, as she observed the young Indigo focus her mind on controlling the flow of her own energy.
Once Katherine had obtained a meditative, trance-like state, Monica instructed her to visualise a dimly lit space within her mind's eye; one where the only light emanating would be from that of smouldering blue flames.
“What you should see is the manifestation of both Anzu's and mine own celestial energies,” said Monica, as she tried to grasp a sense over Katherine's progress. “Like in your dreams; this is how we detect the presence of other spirits; by seeking to find the other celestial energies that surround our own.”
As Katherine persisted with the exercise, Monica would frequently glance down at Anzu. Since the guardian had access to his master's thoughts, dependent upon how Katherine was progressing, Monica often looked to see if the gryphon either nodded back at her when his master was getting closer, or if he shook his head when Katherine had strayed.
Katherine soon opened her eyes and beamed up at her. “I've done itâ¦I could visually see the blue flames of both your celestial energies.”
“You've done very well. This is often the fundamental technique required of all the â
operatives. And now that you have a sense of it, you should have a greater understanding of what surrounds us all.”
“So we are all capable of learning how to detect celestial energy?” Katherine asked, noticeably disappointed. “I thought it was a special ability only available to those who had already ascended?”
“With time and patience, we all have the ability to strive for, and obtain higher levels of consciousness,” Monica responded, thinking back upon how she herself had first reacted â when she had learned all the other operatives already sensed other celestial energies.
When she mulled it over, what she could recall was of how incredibly frustrating her training had been. Also how entitled she must have sounded when also at the age of seventeen. Back then, she had thought she was something special; an anomaly of sorts, with the organisation's hopes all hinging upon her success.
“It should be hardly surprising,” Monica said to her, although not willing to share of her own experiences of toiling with one pencil after another. “We are after all, every one of us, a child of Atlantis.”
“Then why are there so few Indigo?” Katherine asked.
She stroked her hand through Anzu's feathery mane. “Although each of us might find our own way to ascend; both a guardian and an ascended human must mutually decide to form a celestial bond. Not wishing to change the subject, but I sense there's something else bothering you?”
“It's justâ¦I'm afraid,” Katherine mumbled. “I was so helpless against those earthen Corrupted. I fear that if I try to help, I'll only get in the way and someone else will be hurt. Just like my fatherâ¦”
She placed a comforting arm about her. “You were not to blame for your father's death. However, if you wish to protect those you care about, you have no choice but to fight.”
“The boy knew little,” Margaret sighed, entering the facility. Lance also followed at her side.
“You found Albert?” Katherine asked.
“We did,” the Senator replied. “So Monica, we're now without any further leads.”
“Not exactly,” they heard Walter's hoarse voice echo about the walls. “I'm afraid we shall require your assistance for a little while longer. One of the victim's we'd recently assigned to Anabasis Public's care has suddenly awoken from his coma.”
“Recent victimsâ¦,” Katherine blurted, shaking. “Is it Justin, is he going to be okay?”
Walter glided out from the control room. “Curious that you know, but yes, I can confirm it is Justin Ellis who has woken.”
Monica couldn't hide how happy she felt for Katherine and gave her a hug. But at the same time she felt anxious about their next action taken, and what they could come to learn. She knew that Katherine had been going out with Justin for a couple of months now, and that from the beginning they'd grown inseparable. She also knew how damaging it could be for Katherine, if she were to learn that the organisation now suspected Justin might be connected with the Corrupted they'd been hunting.
“This Mr Ellisâ¦, isn't he the new enrolment at Anabasis about whom David had spoken?” Lance questioned.
Katherine gasped. “You can't possibly suspect that Justin is somehow involved with the Corrupted?”
“We don't know what to think,” said Monica, her lips starting to quiver. “All I can say is that since he's arrived, both David and I have sensed a familiar celestial presence roaming the halls. This may be due only to the emergence of new Corrupted here in Anabasis, but we don't know that for certain.”
“You mean Namtar? That's whose presence you've felt, isn't it?” Katherine responded. “I don't see how he could possibly have anything to do with Justin.”
“We won't know for sure until we've questioned this young man,” Margaret affirmed, taking a puff of a fresh cigar. “Sorry, I need a smoke. All this talk of Namtar gives me the creeps.”
“Monica, you are to go with Margaret,” Walter ordered from above. “Lance, take officer's Harkin and Spears along with you to assist them if they need it.”
Lance nodded up at him and headed for the door.
“Monicaâ¦I need to go with you.”
“It's out of the question,” Walter declared, having heard Katherine's plea.
“But Iâ¦,” Katherine murmured, looking to Monica for support.
To provide her comfort, she placed her hands upon the young Indigo's shoulders. “I'm sorry Kat. You'll see him soon enough, I promise.”
With that, both she and Margaret left the training facility and headed along the corridor toward the vehicle bay.
It came as little wonder to Monica that Walter would be reluctant to let Katherine go with them, for she was young and might prove susceptible to the bond she shared with this boy. Although Monica didn't necessarily agree with Walter's cynicism, she wasn't willing to take the risk of questioning his suspicions in case they proved to be correct. After all, he had been made the director of this â
for a reason, and she rarely found his instincts to be wrong.
“Has Walter spoken to you at all about this young man?” Monica questioned, interested to learn of how much the Senator knew.
“He has, and he's not the only oneâ¦,” muttered Margaret in response, further arousing Monica's curiosity.
“If you don't mind me asking, who else has spoken to you of this?” Monica asked, as they entered the vehicle bay and boarded the nearest utility. “It wasn't David?”
“I'm afraid not,” Margaret replied with a sombre tone. “It was actually the girl's father who reached out to meâ¦, that is before he died.”
Monica gasped. “Duncanâ¦What did he say?”
“Nothing specific about the boy,” said Margaret. “But he suspected there was something “off” about his uncleâ¦”
She now had a bad feeling about this trip to Anabasis Public; Duncan's suspicions had frequently proven to have merit in the past.
It was late in the afternoon by the time they'd reached Anabasis city. On their arrival, Monica and Margaret entered through the front doors of Anabasis Public hospital. They found themselves roaming the corridors of a silent wing. Considering the recent from the earthen Corrupted and his minions attack, as they roamed along the silent halls of this hospital, Monica thought it astounding that the hospital wing was so empty.
“This hospital wing is eerily quiet,” Monica whispered, intrigued with how Margaret might choose to respond. “At least, it is far too quiet for a city which faced such destruction less than twenty four hours agoâ¦”
“It's the â
handy work,” Margaret casually replied. “Once I reported our suspicions, they saw it fit to act quickly. They immediately cleared the ward of those recovering from the attacks, and to ensure their safety in the event that the worse might yet come to pass.”
you keep speaking of; who are they, and who is on it?” Monica asked, seeing it an ideal opportunity to better understand the organisation's hierarchy.
Margaret sighed. “I wish I could tell you, but I only communicate with an intermediary. And if I told you who I thought they were, you'd think I'd gone insane.”
“I don't believe I'd have the right to question your sanity, given our bizarre line of work,” she contended. “I've just never known them to pursue such lengths before in support of our cause.”
“I've often suspected that its members extended beyond even that of the fabled
,” Margaret confessed, having decided to share her theory. “In truth, I believe the
consists of those even closer along the hereditary lineâ¦”
“You meanâ¦to the Naacal?”
“I do,” said Margaret. “Just as both Walter and I are of the first iteration of the â
I believe the
comprises those who'd lived through the rise and fall of Atlantisâ¦, and whom continue to live on in this era.”
“If I might be frankâ¦, why is it that you choose to agree with their decisions?”
“Aside from funding, their main objective is one our first generation of Indigo's had come to collectively agree upon: to rid the world of the Corrupted who sought to harm humankind,” Margaret replied, confirming for Monica that she possessed similar reasons for continuing to follow this mysterious
“Then there is Namtar,” Margaret continued. “With whom the
has a personal grievance...”
A grievance most justified
, Monica thought. For Namtar, at least as far as she understood, had been the spirit set to destroy of their homeland.
And now that this Wraith intended to repeat history; to resurface and ruin the New World the Naacal had created, she was more than happy to accept this
support in pursuit of their mutual agenda. However, if she knew a little more about this
and its members, she was convinced it'd be easier to act without questioning their motives.
As both she and Margaret peered through a glass window, she spotted Justin sitting up in his hospital bed.
Monica then whispered into her wrist communicator. “Lance, we're in position. Best be on your guard.”
“Ready?” Margaret asked her.
Monica nodded. She lightly knocked on the door before parting it open.
“Good afternoon Justin, how are you feeling?” She asked the young man, as he sat there reading a book.
“Ms Hawthorne? â¦And Senator Gates? Are you here to see me?” Justin replied, startled, and putting the book down on a bedside dresser.
“I apologize for the interruption,” Margaret said, as she wandered over to the foot of the bed. “But I'm here to conduct a state related investigation of sorts. Mr Ellis, do you have any recollection of last night's events?
Monica watched as the young man adjusted his position under the bed sheets. She could sense he was troubled by the Senator's question.
“It's okay Justin. Just take your time to answer.”
He looked up apprehensively. “To be honest, most of last night is a blurâ¦I only remember hosting a party, and I guess I had a little too much to drinkâ¦”
“You don't seem so naÃ¯ve to me as to recognize the severity of your situation,” Margaret bluffed. Underage drinking, providing alcohol unlawfully to others also underage, and openly admitting your guiltâ¦, to a Senator no less?”
“There's little point in denying it. It's so obvious that I'm guilty,” he replied. “But please don't tell my uncleâ¦”
“I won't tell him, but I do need to talk with him. So I suggest you come up with a satisfactory excuse in case he was to find out.”
Justin groaned. “Sound advice. But I'm not really good at âcreating' excuses. Now my girlfriendâ¦, she has an amazing imagination.”
“About your uncleâ¦,” Monica began, but then stopped mid-sentence.
Why do I suddenly feel so light headed?
Monica wondered, now shivering and feeling nauseous.
“Monica, are you alright?” Margaret asked, watching Monica prod at her jaw as though it were numb.
“Yesâ¦, I'll be fine.”
What's wrong with me, could it be he'sâ¦?
She fixed her eyes on Justin.
No, this is all in my head.
“Now Senator, you're not here just to interrogate me about a poor decision made by an adolescent, are you?” Justin asked, rubbing at his temple. “If you don't mind, I have a headache and need to get some rest.”
“My word, you are a very confident and articulate young man,” Margaret replied. “But I also think you're a little too smart for your own good.”
“I have some great teachers and role models. Also, English has always been my favourite subject. A way with words is something I'll most certainly need if I'm to persuade my uncle not to kill me when he finds out about all thisâ¦”