Three Card Dragon Lady: a Psi-Kicks story by GF Willmetts.
Sushi. Raw meat. No wonder the Fey have a liking for Japan, decided Cameron McKensie. They don’t have to hide their eating habit, except both Katya and Callane Oberon told him they preferred red meat, the bloodier the better, to white fish…any fish. The Blank had never thought of it as a blood thing. Considering the Fey baselined with land animals that was hardly surprising but he thought tigers capable of eating fish. Would it look out of place here? Probably not. Exotic cuisine rules. He thought further and hoped there was kippers on the menu when they got to eat.
After their time in Colombia, McKensie thought it was crazy for them to be in Japan seeking a chapter of the Yukuza when Katya was so heavily pregnant but at least they had agreed to a plan not completely their own. However, the Farsighters had warned of heavy Psionic activity here on that date so everything was out of their hands. The Stable had to be here and that meant them.
‘Are you sure this is wise, Kat’, he reminded her. ‘You are pregnant, after all.’
‘Fhuh! We prepared. Medea fascinated seeing shuvvali. Spent time with tigers. Better than last time. Better still if she don’t see you.’
‘You still haven’t given me all the details why this Medea is so important or powerful to be given so much protection from the Yukuza of all people or why she’s kept drunk.’
‘Seeing is believing, Mr. McKensie,’ Callane chipped in. ‘You would not believe it otherwise. She would see modern Psi-people as experiment fodder. Especially men folk. We don’t want her sobering to realise that. The Pattern is far too dangerous if they get to her first.’
McKensie doubted if anything could surprise him but if Medea was an unknown Psionic, who knew what she could do. ‘I’m glad we’re not doing this alone.’
‘An act of co-operation will maintain our leadership. Solidarity is the best protection.’
McKensie studied Callane Oberon, having learnt silence often gave better answers, who simply smiled before saying, ‘It is better to have allies than foes in such matters, Mr. McKensie. Not all believe that Medea cannot be killed. It will fail and she will recover elsewhere. Something her children, the Pattern, can’t do. Takes ages to seek. Even for us.’
‘Then let Sara get her scent.’
‘And will become the prey of one of Medea’s brats. Besides, we knows where she is.’
‘So Medea is responsible for all the sub-species like…the Vampiri and…’
‘The Fey? No, Mr. McKensie. We and the Vampiri are natural. Medea’s off-spring don’t last more than a generation…two if they breed…before they go mad and homicidal. Always follow same pattern. They attack her. She kills them in defence. All pantheons have their apocalypse. She always goes on. If we…or even the Vampiri were Medea’s children, we would be all dead by now. They have a Ragnarok, we don’t. Is clear now?’
McKensie nodded. ‘So how did these…brats…survive so long? I thought they died out after either the Greek or Norse ones.’
‘Fhuh!’ Katya muttered in disgust. ‘Them only two pantheons, Mac. Many others. A minor problem. They never last. We outlive them. Survive their wars.’
‘Watch Medea like a hawk, Mr. McKensie. She will certainly do the same to you when she discovers what a Blank is. If she not see you, then truly more Psionic than thought. If not, she will flee from all. Since her time in Australia, we gave her to the Hebi Go-Ruden and encouraged to keep drinking to forget. They got slack. Worse! We pay them for doing nothing.’
‘I take it you’re after a rebate.’
‘Bloody nose, Mac. Remind them we is boss.’
Flanolla walked down the street, pausing briefly to look longingly through a window of a restaurant where the food was being prepared for everyone to see as the chef sliced his finger with his knife and blood spurt out. She shrugged and walked on. She was hungry but not that hungry. She’d seen that happen before. He could get a bandage. She had been given a ticket to Tokyo and would have to eek out her allowance if she was to survive the week…unless she did what came naturally. She worked better that way. She was supposed to be looking for someone or someones. The numbers didn’t matter. Just finding them all.
A promise was a promise not to go too far. There was always the signal to enter the action. It might never happen although the odds were never that good. She was chosen because she could adapt and tolerate so many people. Looking around, would they survive before she found them all? There was only a few shunts at the traffic lights. Anyone could have caused that. Finding these people would be a lot harder, assuming they would show their faces before they attacked and she could get up close to one of them.
In the meantime, all Flanolla could do was walk around for a chance encounter. Even so, her stomach rumbled, reminding her she could do with something to eat. Behind her, several cyclists shunted into each other. She shrugged and walked on, ignoring the crashed traffic as she crossed the road. That’s what happens when they should have looked before coming out of that side street.
How was she going to find any of them in all this mass of people? Flanolla hadn’t a clue. These things just tended to happen around her. Sara could find anyone but she was a redhound. She wasn’t even loaded with pixiedust like Lucky Heather. The less said about Harbinger the better. Why they believed she could do anything was beyond her. How do you pick out someone you don’t know and don’t know where to look?
‘Oh, hi, Steve.’
‘My name is not Steve’, the tall dark haired man said.
‘You look like a Steve. I find it an easier way to remember men if they’re all called Steve. Are you hungry? Maybe you could buy us both lunch? I’m starving.’
Flanolla fluttered her eyelashes. ‘Would it help to say sorry for calling you Steve without knowing your name? What you doin’?’
‘I’m looking for my mother.’
‘That’s good. I’m looking for her, too. Maybe we should join forces.’
‘Why should I join you?’
‘I found you and I’m hungry.’
‘We spend a lot of time in airport terminals,’ moaned Maxine Caruthers in a private room at Haneda Airport. ‘Why can’t we wait to see where they take her coffin and wait there? It isn’t like she’s going to walk out in the sunlight.’
‘Noose coff’n, chile, travels box. Dey Vampiri kin walks in deylit but continent travels gives dem sunburn. Ages dem reals bad. Misses da flight movie. Dey alsos semi-visible ta somes humans. Causes much confusions wit’ airplane seats.’ She chuckled. ‘Dey woos finds dat spooky.’
‘Sounds better all the time. Not to mention missing the bloody kids.’
‘Youse needs heart, chile.’
‘Well, I wasn’t the one giving them the evil eye on the flight here.’
Libertine Rush gave her usual resonating laugh. ‘Chile, dah kids likes dat. Deys likes ta bes scared. Ahs scares plenty.’
‘Did we have to bring your sword?’
‘Swords. Eye’s boughts youse one dis time.’
‘Thanks a lot. Great lot of good that’ll do against guns.’
‘Da Hebi Go-Ruden likes ups an’ personal. If deys fights, den theys youse swords. Wease ain’t fightin’ dem wit’out dem. Dey onlys understands respect.’
Maxine shuddered. Her last fight with a sword was a fluke. They were up against the Yukuza for Christ’s sake, she decided, whatever else she said. Libertine talked about death so impersonally. Then how could Baroness Samedi be afraid of anyone or thing. She just attacked. How was that going to sound in her report? Another rewrite.
‘How long do we have to wait?’
‘’til shes up, chile.’
The Blank looked down on the human-sized crate, secured with some kind of lock that could only be opened from the inside. They weren’t taking any chance that someone could look inside.
‘Couldn’t we rush it along some?’
‘Noose. Weeze needs hers friendly.’
‘Aren’t you afraid of, you know, her putting the bite on us?’
‘Da Stable has files on da Vampiri?’
‘Only recently. Sara Seeker met a couple of them. Men not women. We are the more dangerous end of the species, right? Will she attack us if she’s not where she’s supposed to be going? See us as a threat. Just because they don’t drink blood doesn’t make us less of a threat.’
‘Eyes doubts shes seensa Blank. Shes mights not evens notices youse. Blanks ans Vampiri vary similars youse knows. Keeps hers in youse sight or shes vanish like Fey. Youse needs ta focus, chile’
‘That’s comforting to know. ‘Cept we don’t drain energy. Why won’t she attack you?’
‘Eye isk Samedi, chile. Whys youse tink da Stable an’ Fey asks mes ta bes heres? Da Vampiri tinks wease equals.’ Libertine laughed. ‘Das not! Eye is better.’
‘Does she have a name?’
‘Ahs doubt shes on das manifest.’
There was a click and the container began to open. A woman sat up and looked around. ‘Do you always talk this much to yourself, Baroness?’
‘She can’t hear or see me’, Caruthers asked incredulously. ‘How about that? And she’s as black as you. I didn’t know Vampiri had the colour option.’
‘Where are my two sisters?’ asked Bazilee, oblivious to Caruthers. ‘Olicia Noctoree. Charlyse Valneria.
‘Youse was alone.’
‘They came in on earlier flight. They should be up and about. They should be here not you. What did you do with them?’
‘Nuthin’. Wease would waits wit’ dem…Dey wonts starts wit’ outs yourse, wills dey?’
‘And what do you imagine we are here to do?’
‘Youse isk afters Madame Medea. Donts deny. Menfolk be sent ifs youse didnts noes. Wouldnts risks a Medea imprint. Wease needs youse fors ah diff’rent plan.’
‘Who for? The Fey? The Stable?
‘Boths. Evens dey Vampiri nots wants ta face sum da Medea brats alone. Dey tries ta kills hers an’ weeze loses tracks wheres shes is. Weeze knows dey is comin’ toose.’
‘Or Medea will kill them and she could just as likely kill us. Or try in our case. Are they aware of this?’
‘Nos. Dey jist wants to kills her. Medea mights kill dem furst. Weaze jist controls da timings.’
‘Which means your people have a plan. What about the Yukuza? The Hebi Go-Ruden? The Fey have been badly let down there.’
‘Dey isk parts o’da problem. Dey Feys sees ta dem.’
‘Da Stable isk workin’ ons control o’de mor dang’rous buts cants bes heir fer alls.’
‘What do we get out of this…doing nothing?’
‘Ones less problems. Youse tink da brats wonts chase youse just fer sport? Dey mights hav’ youse friends. Wease cans gives youse somes o’dem to barters wit.’
‘From anyone else, Baroness, this might have been a problem. We will co-operate for a time. They might not have Olicia and Charlyse? Maybe they were put in freight.’
Libertine smiled. ‘Wease haves times ta looks. Shows da way. Dey Stable thinks Pattern isk heres already.’
‘And they can’t see or hear me. That’s pretty cool, Libertine.’
Libertine pulled Maxine away from Bazilee Elyn as she walked to the door.
‘Youse not immaterial, chile.’
The Vampiri turned around. ‘Human myth. They think we turn into fog and animals.’
‘Keeps dems ats bay.’
McKensie studied the dark-skinned woman before him, who was drinking sake like water. Her skin was really dark, especially around the face compared to her arms. Mother Earth, the Fey called her amongst other things. Gaia. Hera. Frig. Ishtar. Kali. Amaterasu-Ō-Mi-Kami was a bit of a mouthful in Japanese. An endless list of names of mother goddesses. Those were the popular ones. All mothers of various pantheons in the history books. They were all her. One individual. A real long-lifer, travelling across the world, populating with near god-like shape-shifter beings and killing them all off when they attacked her when they reached a particular age. Truly formidable. Then she wanders off and does it all over again. What a history she must carry. Now here she was, a drunken sot, waiting to be picked off by another bunch of her bairns…brats…unless the Fey or she got them first. Who knows what would happen to anyone who got in the way. Whatever, they had to get her cleanly out of Japan and stop any pursuit or risk the carnage of any battle that would make the World War 2 bombs look like chicken feed in comparison. Worse, one of them was actually in the process of stealing a nuke a while back. Could it have been meant for her? Just how indestructible was she?
The Stable had removed two of these Pattern in Karachi but there was no telling how many more would come here, let alone how many brats she had bred that were still alive. The last thing they needed was them chasing her into the UK. This plan was supposed to stop that and find her own secret escape route so it couldn’t be used again.
She had taken back the name of Medea at the Fey’s insistence when she’d been discovered. Less inflammatory and certainly no followers’ organisations who might come to serve her assuming they knew. She hadn’t cared at the time. Amnesia. Medea had gone to Australia and something in the outback had thrown her across the ocean and she washed up in Japan. Not even an attempt to kill her. Just tossed aside as if she was nothing. Some powerful entity that could do that to another powerful entity had never been pursued. Even the Fey hadn’t gone looking. Medea could kill gods, what chance had anyone else against whatever attacked her? She didn’t know neither and chose to drink to forget instead. Was she regaining her memory or still forgetting about it? After all, there was this new pantheon brood out there. How long did it take to get to adulthood?
McKensie looked up Medea while on the plane. Roman mythology. An apparent minor player in the Golden Fleece story and when she’d left with Jason, killed her own brother and threw his chopped up body to delay her pursuing father. She had been hiding then as well. Callane explained history wasn’t quite like that and the brother was actually one of her sons, who had attacked her and had killed him during the escape. Someone who could do that had to be formidable. She later went onto India and became Kali. Same dark face and no one there questioned her ethnicity and a cult developed around her. Things could be troublesome if the Assassins or Thuggees of Kali were also after her, whether as a heroine or enemy. It seemed to be open season on these figureheads from something Maxine had muttered.
Word had spread to the Fey who employed the Hebi Go-Ruden to guard her. It was thought those same two atomic bombs used to stop the Japanese in World War Two were also targeted to include removing Medea but that would mean other players out there determined to kill her by any means. Just how old were her bairns? That had failed because the Hebi Go-Ruden had moved her to one of the villages. One of her bairns had to have been in America giving them that final push. At least whoever it was hadn’t become a bigger nuisance assuming that they lived that long. This could be messy, the Blank decided. Too many hidden players. All they needed was not to make it up close and personal and they’d all be gone.
‘Hello, my lettle animalish.’ Medea looked from Callane to Kataya, raising her glass and drinking down her sake in one swallow, before pouring herself another glass. Her voice was husky but penetrating. ‘Wilsh youse join me?’
McKensie waved his hand in front of her but she took no notice. Better than they expected. She couldn’t see him. The reverse of what happened with the Fey when he lost eye contact with them. He moved back and sat in the chair to one side. Better not to speak in case there was any limitation. The Psionics couldn’t sense Blanks but being totally invisible to people like Medea was something new. The Japanese bar was a long affair, mixing some of British and American in its shape. Apart from themselves and a barman at the far end of the bar keeping himself busy cleaning glasses, the place was deserted. If the Hebi Go-Ruden were around, then they were well hidden.
‘Madame Medea, do you often come out to drink unprotected?’ Callane asked, helping herself to a glass of sake and downing it in one.
If she was aware that McKensie couldn’t be seen by Medea, she hadn’t indicated it. Could this woman read body language?
‘I snuck out. They don’ts care. Nobody cares.’
‘Fhuh! We pay them good money to look after you, in or out,’ Katya repeated. ‘You no safe with them so you come with us?’
‘You’re pregnant, lettle animalish,’ Medea sniffed. ‘Not pure Fey. Who’s the father?’
‘You don’t sound that drunk, Madame Medea,’ Callane said very seriously. ‘Are you metabolising too fast or a determination to become sober?’
McKensie felt himself involuntary shudder a little. Callane had said Medea was dangerous. If he felt it, what must they be feeling with their super-senses?
‘Only whens I’m in trouble, lettle animalish.’
‘Not from us?’
‘No, with them.’
Both Fey turned. Two tall dark-haired men followed by six smaller Japanese had entered the bar behind them. All were armed.
‘Oh crap!’ Medea spun and the glass she had just been drinking from went hurdling towards one of the tall men who caught it in mid-air but got stunned by the second glass she followed it with.
The two Fey stood up but stayed calm in comparison.
‘We are of the Oberon clan. Madame Medea is relatively calm because of our presence’, Callane warned. ‘Put down your weapons and take us to your leader or you’ll never see another morning.’
‘Fhuh! Anata no meiyo wa watashitachi ni kachi ga nai. Anata no fumeiyo wa, josei ni yotte korosa rete kara dokuji nodesu.
McKensie stood up. ‘Unarmed women, too. The Hebi Go-Ruden would be a laughing stock with no power base.’
Medea hadn’t noticed him speaking but the Yukuza had. The two tall men seemed oblivious to him. Were they some of the bairns?
‘Your men do not come and battle. They send women.’
‘You are not even capable of besting us. What thinks you are capable of taking the interest of our men?’
Medea staggered on to her feet and looked blurry eyed at the two men approaching her again before suddenly grabbing both by the throats and throwing down the length of the bar.
‘Bah! They aren’t even full-grown yet!’
Neither of the two men got up. Unconscious or dead. The position of their necks suggested they were broken. Within a split second. The Fey hadn’t exaggerated.
‘Madame Medea, I don’t think they wanted to kill you.’
‘Like I care.’
The remaining Yukuza bowed, totally unconcerned with their allies. ‘We have only come to escort you home, Medea-san.’
Both Fey looked at each other and walked past either side of Medea, looking at each of the guard.
‘Is there anyone of these bosaris you favour, Madame?’ asked Callane.
Medea smiled but shook her head and stepped back. ‘All vermin under my feet, lettle badger.’
As she drank from another glass, behind her both Fey let loose. McKensie, as usual, just sat and watched. Despite Kataya being eight months pregnant, her actions didn’t surprise him. They had no chance against the Fey’s speed and strength. Seeing Callane fight, if that what was called their attack, instead of resorting to her favourite poisons was unusual though.
With the six bodyguards laid out on the floor, the Blank raised his eyebrows at Callane as Medea walked out of the bar. Unlike Medea, they had acted with more restraint and not killed them. Kat had explained once that word would spread back if someone was alive to tell. Here, they didn’t seem bothered. They were a match for any Yukuza.
‘Limbering up for the main event. They always over-staff, even for a simple pick-up.’
‘Didn’t you need one of them to get into the Yukuza?’
‘Fhuh! Find them by smell.’
‘Keep quiet in front of Medea, Mr. McKensie,’ Callane whispered, ‘You may be our ace in the hole when there’s trouble.’
McKensie gave a brief salute and followed them out of the bar. As if they couldn’t stop any trouble.
Where else could the Hebi Go-Ruden be but in a pagoda. A very big expensive pagoda but the Fey acted with restraint, quick blows ending any obstructive people in their way as they all walked up to path to the entrance. Medea didn’t take any notice of the action around her. The Fey neither cared or worried if those they hit were unconscious or dead. Speed was seen as essential to surprise but he doubted if they had killed anyone this time. It was important to show they were unstoppable.
This would make for a very interesting report, McKensie decided, or a great movie as he walked behind them, wondering how much he should omit, simply because it would look unbelievable. Medea, oblivious to him, walked ahead like royalty, but it was obvious that she had quickly put herself in the Fey’s hands. It was either that or she was beyond such things. Royal in name, royal by nature. Then again, after she took out those men in the bar, could the Fey cope with her drunk or sober?
Everything only works if they all arrived at the same time and that depended on everyone knowing where they were going and a little reputation. The problem was would this generation of Yukuza know who they all were when they showed so little respect for the Fey? They certainly hadn’t in Columbia. Cutting the numbers down as they went in would at least speed things up as they left.
As it turned out, they were the ones who were late. In the shadows, were two…no…three…no…four other figures. By the glint of swords, it had to Libertine Rush and Maxie Caruthers, but weren’t they supposed to intercepting the Vampiri? Two. Only one? He had to squint to see her. The other was, he checked, another Medea. They were already outnumbered judging by the forty or so Yukuza waiting for them. How many had they cleared coming in from a different direction?
Only it wasn’t.
‘Callane. Kat. We have another Medea,’ announced Maxine.
All the Yukuza stood up, looking first at the Fey and then at Libertine but then back to the Fey. Sizing up which was the most dangerous.
‘Eyes sures youse boys donts wants mes ta repeats dis ins Nipponese. Youse mights nots fears deaths froms da Fey buts ta mes, ah takes youse souls furst.’
Libertine beat a voodoo drumbeat with her feet.
Without warning, half a dozen Yukuza warriors raced at her. Within seconds they all stopped in their tracks, each falling on their knees with their swords facing their chests.
‘Always somes whos donts believes. Makes ones moves, sug’rs, an’ youse wills commits hari kari.’ The last of them in line said.
Other Yukuza started to rise, instantly, each of the dominoed men immediately fell forward committing suicide falling on their swords. The others hesitated and didn’t move, until the last warrior stood up and held his blood-stained blade in the air.
‘Dats rights, boys, ah’s owns youse souls.’ Libertine, back in her own body, looked around at the other Yukuza warriors who hadn’t moved. For supposedly fearsome warriors, they felt themselves outmatched.
One of the elders who had called out, ‘BARONESU SAMEDI!’
‘Dey knows eyes gots deys souls.’
The surviving warrior looked at his fallen companions but didn’t move, clearly shocked.
‘Dat boy wilt lives,’ she muttered quietly to Caruthers. ‘Gots tas shows benevolency.’
‘So many?’ Maxine muttered.
‘Eyes coulds tak dem alls. Examples enuff, chile. Coulds stills dos.’
The Yukuza elder muttered amongst to the others and as one called out, ‘BARONESU SAMEDI! BARONESU SAMEDI! BARONESU SAMEDI!’
Libertine put her arms up and they quietened down at one. ‘Sos nice toos haves fans and ahs da same in anys language. Ah’s ain’t bean nears heres fors a while.’
Maxine sighed. This was more in recognition of fear than respect. Five executions that looked like suicide was an expressed calling card. They gave her that respect and fear. They knew her. When had Libertine been in Japan?
‘Nows dats whats eyes calls betters.’
Very much non-pussed, Callane Oberon walked onto the stage. ‘The Medea contract ends! GO!’
The remaining members of the Hebi Go-Ruden got up and heads bowed backed out. There was no false bravado. In one demonstration of power, Libertine had probably reduced the bloodshed to a minimum. In less than a minute, Libertine had removed their most dangerous warriors and by their own swords. They might not have admitted defeat and might even regroup but it was an easy victory. To lose too many top fighters now would change their position in Japan. To lose more would lose even more respect.
Libertine and her group walked across to the Fey, as she also sniffed both Medeas, but didn’t say a word, but they all wrinkled their noses.
‘Now we have your attention,’ Callane said seriously, ‘We…’
Another door opened and another group came in, led by Flanolla.
‘What’s up, Doc?’
‘Flamin’ Scobie. You’re late again,’ McKensie complained.
‘I thought I was on time. I was told to collect any stragglers to the party.’
‘Did you stop one of the brats?’
Flanolla moved to one side and the men walked to the front and then a third Medea and some more sniffing.
‘Why does she call you “Doc”, Mac?’ Maxine asked.
‘Mel Blank. Male Blank.’
Maxine looked vacant.
‘Did the voice of Bugs Bunny?’
‘But Scobie creates a Bogdanovich film illusion.’
‘When you get back to the UK, watch the film again, Maxie.’
‘Is Bel Blank in it?’
‘Mel. Only briefly at the end.’
Flanolla introduced her guests. ‘This is the first Steve. Oh, and this is Steve, too. He wanted to join the party. A lot of Steves for the party. All gate-crashers but what’s a party without them?’
Kataya looked at the first Steve and then elbowed under the ear and instantly unconscious.
‘Rogue Pattern. ‘Nolla did well, Mac.’
‘This one is a Steve at that,’ Maxine said. ‘Steven Regal. American’s only Psionic. Did you find out why he was coming here? You have been busy, Scobie’
Flanolla turned to the American Psionic. ‘What about it, Steve? Why’cha come to Japan? You didn’t even buy me that radio.’
‘Is she always this crazy? I didn’t want to even buy a radio. Contacts in Japan said there was something brewing. My people wanted to know what. I didn’t know the Stable was here. I was told to avoid you after the last…what did she do to me?’
‘Can you make him forget we were here, Scobie?’
‘I can try. Well, Steve. We missed the party and you didn’t see any of us. It was just a little rift amongst the Yukuza that we’re sorting out. A few less bad men to worry about. Tell your people that and you won’t get into any trouble. Just say you never saw us and I doubt if they’ll ask any more.’
Regal nodded. ‘You’ve done me again, haven’t you?’
‘It happens. You’re better off not seeing what happens here so you won’t have to lie.’
‘Well…go, Steve,’ Flanolla urged. ‘or I have to teach you the meaning of propriety? Don’t be seen on the way out.’
McKensie groaned. Was Scobie’s jokes not ever literal as Regal left. He suspected only he, Maxie and the Psionics could now see the stealth Psionic. Was the Vampiri immune as well?
‘You seem to have brought quite a party.’
Flanolla turned. ‘Oh, this is Steve with the funny accent.’
‘You mean General Rurik. Russian.’ McKensie immediately identified him. ‘So much for this being a quiet gathering. And the other lady? Where did you find her?’
Flanolla turned to the woman, who walked to the fore. ‘Let me think. Oh, waiting at the door over there. What mother would name their daughter after a brown sugar, Demerara, unless she was sweet?
‘Medea you mean?’
Flanolla nodded. ‘Something like that. She opened the door and let us in.’
‘The Yukuza didn’t go that way?’
‘It was a lonely walk.’
Suspiciously, the two Fey and Libertine still sniffed the two Medeas that was between them and then sniffed the Medea Flanolla had presented.’
‘Two of them have to be a fake,’ muttered Callane, ‘but they smell alike. ’
Kataya sniffed the air more generally. ‘More tikno. Means Medea has bred. Sedrin.’
‘You have these under control, too, Miss Scobie?’ Callane asked.
Flanolla nodded. ‘This one. I’m the pied piper with a bag. Psionics seem to be easier. These cakes are struggling but I’m getting comfortable with their filling.’
‘Can you get them to admit who they are? I mean who they really are?’
Flanolla shook her head. ‘I’m not Sheena. I only tell it as it is. I just trawled those who wanted to meet this Demerara and so we met her.’
McKensie asked, ‘Is this going to cause a problem? Would it be easier to let them loose and lock the others up?’
‘Let them loose?’
‘See what they’d do under their own…er…power.’
Callane ignored the remark. ‘Miss Scobie, were there anyone else like them out there?’
‘Two-facers. I wandered around like I was told but these were all I found.’
Callane sniffed them all again. ‘No remaining male Pattern is going to risk angering Medea. We have to take them all, Mr. McKensie. They all have Medea’s DNA.’
‘Does youse chiles knows wheres ta goes?’
‘Is there anywhere you want to go in particular?’ Flanolla called out. ‘There’s an underground garage over here. The exit is near the entrance.’
Callane led them through a door and sniffed before letting them in. ‘They didn’t stay.’
The Yukuza garage was less than humble with a selection of expensive cars and vans as well as several vacant spots that they had fled in. The Fey picked out a large people-carrier.
‘It would be better if we stayed together.’
‘I’ve never seen Rurik so quiet,’ muttered McKensie.
Kataya looked at the Blank, ‘Flanolla’s vision not yours?’
McKensie shook his head. ‘Why do you think we call her ‘Flamin’? To us, it looks like people are tripping on something until we realised she manipulated reality.’
‘Lights the sky and hearts?’
‘If this follows the normal pattern, we’re due a chase. Get Scobie to drive. We need to draw out all the players and what better way than look like we’re on an ice cream bicycle.’
‘It’s a perfect disguise,’ Flanolla added.
‘Going over 40 miles an hour?’
She shrugged. ‘It works in the movies, Doc. It’s a shame it’s not the Chinese new year. We might even disguise ourselves as a dragon.’
‘This is Japan, not China.’
‘Don’t they have a new year then?’
‘Same as the west.’
The others had gotten into the carrier. McKensie couldn’t helping noticing that the Vampiri looked a little spaced out, too. Maybe it was tripping all but Blanks or she could be feeding off the psionic energy that Scobie was generating and gotten drunk. She had to be draining energy off a lot of people herself and the Vampiri could leech from her.
Flanolla played with the gear shifts before realising that it was an automatic and drove the carrier out of the garage, the doors opened automatically as they approached and down into a tunnel before coming out somewhere further than the Hebi Go-Ruden pagoda.
That figured, McKensie decided. They must have various access points so they could evade anyone watching. They probably hadn’t figured on the Fey making a direct approach, leaving it open for the others to arrive and then take one of their emergency exits.
‘Shouldn’t we be chased or something, Doc?’
‘Be grateful we’re not. Let’s try to go without incident. If we’ve got all the players here then we’re less likely to cause too much of a commotion.’
McKensie looked back at the passengers. The Fey were muttering between each other in Romany and other languages but not loud enough for him to hear.
‘We have to stop, Mr. McKensie’, Callane announced standing up.
All the faces turned towards the badger fey.
‘Kataya’s waters have broken. We can fight on the move but a birth needs a few minutes before we move on.’
‘Kat’s not due for another month,’ McKensie protested.
‘Fhuh! Never could count, Mac. A month. Two month. I drop.’
‘It’s not a problem, Doc. There’s a place over here.’
Flanolla drove the people-carrier down into the garage basement and into a parking lot and looked innocently around as the others looked at her.
‘Flamin’ Scobie. Chaos in practice but nice to see it work in our favour.’
‘Or I could just be early. Fhuh! I can drop the tikno now.’
‘Dos it propers, su’gr,’ Libertine got to the door. ‘Comes, chile, wes betters wit’out whens its comes ta a swords fight.’
Caruthers shrugged, ‘I don’t think I’m ready for a birth anyway,’ and followed her.
Without a word, Bazilee Elyn followed, as did Scobie and Rurik, although they stood watching the carrier as Callane ripped some of the seats out of the way.
‘I know you want to hold Kataya’s hand, Mr. McKensie, but keep your gun facing the three Medeas here.’
The Blank obeyed. looked around briefly only to see the tiger Fey squatting rather than laying down. ‘Do you want a blanket or something?’ he called out.
‘Auntie will help.’
Callane brought the carrier’s first aid kit, opening the lid studying the contents, ‘What use is a small pair of scissors? It’ll have to be claws.’
She spread a sheet on the floor and Kat, on her haunches, crept over it. Callane expertly felt her.
‘Not good, Auntie.’ Kataya strained.
‘Tikno feels tied. Neck tied. One of us can bite the umbilical but need to get out first.’ Callane turned to the Medeas. ‘I’ll need help. One of you will help.’
Two of the Medeas came forward, immediately followed by McKensie, keeping his gun targeted at them.
As one Medea approached Kataya, the other said, ‘She’s right, lettle animalish, you aren’t due for another month.’
‘The nearest one said, ‘Do I have to agree with both of them?’
In a single swift motion, Kat grabbed the other two Medeas by the throat, rising to her feet at the same time. Instantly, both Feys sniffed her.
‘Said it would work, Auntie. She saw someone who wasn’t there.’
Callane took some powder from a bag and blew it at the fake Medeas faces. ‘This will change you back.’
The fake Medeas sneezed. One changed from a brunette to a white brown-haired woman with a slightly bigger nose. The other into a smaller but fatter white blonde.
‘Just add water for a colour change.’
‘Why didn’t you do that before, Callane?’ asked McKensie.
Callane turned and smiled. ‘It’s just dust, Mr. McKensie. Belief, sneezes and surprises. I doubt if Medea would be co-operative if had done that to her?’
‘I could do with a drink, lettle animalish.’
‘Madam Vampiri, time for a little snack,’ the badger fey called out. ‘A choice of two of Medea’s brats.’
Bazilee Elyn came forward, taking the fake Medea from the tiger Fey, ‘We do not eat in front of public. Who were you talking to?’
‘You are feasting off of Miss Scobie. We don’t want her losing too much of whatever she is doing, Madam. It is selective invisibility.’
Bazilee sniffed the two ex-Medeas, who undisguised stood there unrepentant nor afraid and definitely not talking. ‘These would barely make a snack.’
‘Was it the Yukuza who had these posing as Medea or are they late entries?’ McKensie asked.
‘Fhuh! Too new. Medea recognise own brats. Replacements? Why matter, Mac?’
‘Early infiltration. A shell game. A greater chance that anyone would will meet the wrong one. No wonder they didn’t fear Medea going for a drink alone. They probably sent these two to different bars not knowing they were Pattern…’
McKensie pulled a couple pairs of handcuffs from his pocket and interlinking them, locked the two fakes together.
Callane turned to the Blank, ‘We have been here too long, Mr. McKensie.’
‘We could split up.’
‘Miss Scobie is providing an interesting shield in whatever she does.’
Kataya gave a high-pitched whistle.
Libertine stalked down from the entrance, her sword over her shoulder. Behind her, more tentatively was Maxine, muttering to herself, ‘Not everyone can see me. How the crap can Mac get used to this?’
‘Wease needs ta go, chile.’ Libertine and Maxine ran up the ramp.
Bazilee squinted at the space next to Callane, ‘I can hear his voice when I know where to look. There was also someone with the Baroness. Do not think me stupid.’
‘It’s a secret weapon to give an edge, Madame’, Callane quickly put in. ‘Something not in Miss Scobie’s ability. It doesn’t affect everyone. He can’t see us. It’s based off the old myth that you Vampiri put out that you cast no reflection when really it just some people that can’t see you. We found people who do it who aren’t Vampiri.’
‘Another invisible myth.’
‘Where’s Medea?’ Maxine called out.
‘How did she…’
‘Can’t let her get away, Mr. McKensie. It’ll take forever if she gets away.’
‘I’ll get her’, Flanolla said, getting into the carrier and driving off.
McKensie looked at Maxine, who shook her head, and then screwed his eyes up. ‘We have someone who can affect Blank perception as well. Flamin’ Scobie has turned this into a chase. We’d better keep up or Rurik will break out of the illusion. Then she’s also in danger because she’ll pick up any of the brats at the same time.
‘Weeze be betters ons feets. Chile, youses wit’ mes. Picks us boths up ats das street, MacBlank. Weese points da ways.’
‘We’ll need transport.’
‘Fhuh! We steal. Not walking all way.’
They picked out another people carrier and in a few seconds had the door unlocked and jumped the ignition.
Driving to the top of the ramp, McKensie waited while Caruthers bundled a comatose Libertine onto one seat and an oriental onto another, with the two long swords under the seat. The Fey sniffed at both Samedi bodies.
‘Where to?’ he asked.
‘How the fu…Oh! Follow the dancing bodies she said before she jumped’, Maxine said. ‘Libertine said she won’t leave much space between them.’
‘I hope she jumps some traffic police,’ McKensie muttered as he pressed down on the accelerator. ‘Why the oriental?’
‘To get back to her own body, she needs to meet the first body. We bring it and save her a long walk back.’
‘Now we are alone, Mr. McKensie,’ Callane asked from the passenger seat next to him, ‘just what does Miss Scobie really do? We feel confused around her.’
‘She shimmers, Mac.’
McKensie took a sudden left. On the pavement, a series of bodies with an arm pointing down the street couldn’t have been a better direction finder.
‘Scobie is a Screwball, Callane. As in the film comedies. She’s a walking disaster zone once she escalates and creates a danger zone to anyone who falls over their feet in it. A reality distorter. Mary Travers thinks she’s a nanny. Scobie thinks she’s in a Bogdanovich screwball comedy. Be grateful we avoided hotels. She’s a fire hazard in them. At this stage, she’ll initiate a car chase and we have to be the cars following her to stop any other she’s drawing in, just in case she attracts the brats. We have to hope she’s actually got Medea where she wandered off, too. Hopefully, she won’t drive into the sea. Let’s be grateful she never had a fixation on “Driver”.’
‘Why did Medea flee?’ McKensie asked.
‘Self-preservation or wanted a drink. She might have seen something we haven’t, Mr. McKensie, after she saw these Pattern. Maybe stop from killing them.’
‘What else? It seems to be an all women set-up. No males.’
‘Fhuh! They fear Medea. Men excite her too much.’
‘Scobie has a habit of doing the right thing without any clear reasoning even if she doesn’t know what she’s doing.’
‘All Flamin’ Scobie’s done is give a car chase. Let’s hope we don’t end up in the drink.’
‘You really need to watch that film, Maxie.’
‘”What’s Up, Doc”. There’s always a chase. We just have to hope that she doesn’t find a man cementing a road or avoiding a large pane of glass.’
‘Not alone, Mac.’
‘I know, Kat. Time for a detour.’
The Blank suddenly turned sharply.
‘A one way street, Mr. MacKensie?’
‘As Scobie would say, we’re only going one way. Dust her.
Callane blew the dust at both Maxine. Libertine and the comatose oriental, coughing as they transformed back to their normal appearances. Both Fey hit them under the chins, knocking them both unconscious.
They had six Pattern now. How many more were there?
‘Shouldn’t we have asked them where’s Libertine and the real Maxie?’
‘In whatever direction they didn’t come in, Mr. McKensie. The Baroness can look after herself and we know where we’re going?’
‘I don’t and we are being followed.’
They all looked back, two vans were following them.
‘It looks like it’s going to plan, except we aren’t the distraction.’
‘We have Medea or they wouldn’t be pursuing us.’
‘It would have been better if Scobie was leading the chase. At least we would be in her distortion.’
‘Where is she?’
‘North-west,’ the Vampiri said suddenly. ‘I hear you now, Mr. Invisible.’
‘McKensie drove down another side road. ‘How?’
‘How what? It is enough I can hear you and see this vehicle driving itself. Like finding a light.’
‘Only one light?’
‘I met her.’
‘I can stop them…’
‘No. The important thing now is not to lose them.’
‘For this end plan the Baroness said.’
‘In return, we let you keep some of this Pattern. I’m sure they’re interested in your people. You’ll just have more than we previously agreed and you stay out of the limelight.’
‘The Fey trust you.’
‘This is a Fey plan.’
Bazilee turned to the two Fey and nodded.
‘Medea can’t see me neither, Miss Elyn. When we join up, we need to keep that edge.’
‘She’s gone north-west now.’
McKensie took the next turning. ‘Look, all I know is Scobie is driving a carrier. To you, she will appear to be riding an ice cream cycle or a blue Volkswagen. There can’t be many of those around here.’
‘That’s not very helpful, Mr. McKensie.’
‘She’s also a walking disaster area. Any sign of pile-ups?’
‘How you drive through them, Mac?’
‘I’ll try. She got her nickname for messing up everything but her real talent is attracting every player to her and us. We wouldn’t have caught so many otherwise.’
‘Was it wise to attract them all to us while we had Medea?’ Bazilee asked.
‘Bait. We also don’t have Medea anymore.’
Finally, McKensie spotted the exit and got back onto the motorway and the three vehicles before followed. The final one a police car now joined them. How long would it take before it called others let alone let rip with its siren.
‘You play cards, Vampiri?’ asked Kat, totally oblivious to anything outside the carrier/.
‘Three card monty. Chase the lady,’ Callane added. ‘Chase the dragon lady. No one knows who has her.’
‘And a drunk Medea can remember this?’
‘Doesn’t have to. We’re all going to the same place.’
‘We always knew Medea had to have an escape route since 1945 but she chose not to use it or let us see it,’ Callane explained. ‘We can’t leave it here when she goes. Far too dangerous. Don’t know what it would do without her mistress.’
‘She hadn’t used regular vessels to get to Australia. I think that’s her, Mr. McKensie.’
‘It’s a blue car going down the motorway the wrong way.’
‘Well, that’s less of a problem for us on this side of the road.’ He put his foot down on the accelerator.’
‘Why would she do that?’ Bazilee asked.
‘From the film. She’s only going on way. If it was possible to breech these barriers, I’d drive over and join her but we’re going in the right direction. I hope she spots us. She lives in a world of her own when she’s building up to the finale.’
‘What else does she do?’
‘Stand on windowsills multi-stories up. She makes bigger mess of hotel rooms than rock stars. We missed those today. That’s why we restrict her assignments. She makes things too…unpredictable. Considering the effect on you Fey and Miss Elyn here, we’re safer following than being with her.’
‘The eye of the storm is safer, Mr. McKensie?’
‘She might also be affecting Medea as well.’
‘For good or bad?’
McKensie shrugged as he turned a sharp left. ‘Is it possible Medea can affect her and us? I wasn’t going to ask in front of Rurik, but we Blanks are supposed to be immune to psionics?’
‘She did not see you, Mr. McKensie. It is her perception, not you.’
‘If Medea is sobering up, then it’s to the danger she’s in and what she’ll do that will devastate.’
‘Faster, Mac. Need to stay close.’
‘Does she know where the right place is?’ Bazilee asked looking back at the traffic behind them. The three vehicles was now joined by a second police car.
‘We hope so, Mr. McKensie. She didn’t attack her brats, so she must be in flight mode.’
‘Well, she’s with the right person if she’s with Scobie. Anyone seeing the chaos caused would be spooked.’
Cars in Scobie’s path were having time to get out of her way and it would only be a matter of time before there was a major pile up.
Suddenly, they were off the motorway and onto the pier and McKensie quickly drove up behind Scobie, flashing his headlights.
‘Brace yourselves. We might end up in the drink…the water.’
Suddenly, Scobie’s car went flying. McKensie’s carrier twisted and broke sharply preventing it from going into the ocean. The four vehicles behind them just shunted into each other, before skidding off the pier. No one moved, just waiting to see what would happen next.
Scobie’s car didn’t land in the water but floated in the air before landing softly back on the pier. By the side of the pier stood Mary Travers, impatiently tapping her foot on the ground.
‘Fhuh! Would been fun driving with Nolla. Like her more, Mac.’
McKensie looked over the Pattern. None of them had stirred. ‘We better see if everyone is here.’
The two Fey and Vampiri joined the Blank on the pier. Flanolla Scobie adjusted her cap as she joined them.
‘We had problems. Like Libertine and Maxine. Have they arrived yet?’
Mary kept tapping her foot and looked down into the ocean where various Yukuza and police were treading water, free from their vehicles.
‘The Lady Medea’s transport arrived a few minutes ago. A fine intelligent animal.’
McKensie looked around. About the only commotion was being caused in the water and people hadn’t come this far up yet although someone would have alerted the police.
‘We just need Medea.’
From one of the nearby buildings out strode Libertine and Maxine.
The Blank turned to Callane. ‘Please prove these are the real ones.’
‘The swords, Mr. MacKensie, are real. They smell real.’
McKensie raised his eyebrows.
‘Oh, very well.’ Callane blew some dust at the pair of them.
‘We have to check. We took on Pattern copies of you both from first jump off-point.’
Kat sniffed Maxine. ‘Fhuh! Same smelly perfume, Caruthers.’
Maxine shuddered, remembering her stay in hospital after the tiger Fey had attacked her the previous year.
Kat pulled up Maxine’s shirt. ‘Same scar.’
‘Mac, do I have to put up with this…’
‘So where’s Medea? You two haven’t got her. Nor Scobie.
‘We checked the bars on the way down here. No pub crawl.’
‘So what were you doing, Scobie?’
‘Looking for more Steves, Doc. It wasn’t as though you didn’t have the sugar lady.’
All of them looked to the carrier.
‘But he was there from the beginning or an illusion.’
‘What’s the source of psionic ability that was drummed into us? Survival.’
‘And Medea is more than a shape-shifter herself. No wonder she always escapes.’
Rurik climbed out of the carrier, turning into Medea in the process, swigging from a bottle. ‘Goish joke. My chil’ren neder saw me.’
‘Was there ever a real Rurik here?’
‘He tried fin’ing me while back. ‘mazing little memories.’
She squinted in the direction of McKensie and Maxine. ‘Fanshee that. Nearlies invisible people.’
McKensie shrugged at the two Fey. ‘So much for a surprise.’
‘Fhuh! Probablies smells you now, Mac.’
Mary Travers looked Medea up and down, sniffing with a touch of distain. ‘We have a long flight. Amorilla awaits.’
Medea turned and looked around. In the distance, people were approaching the pier. The people in the water were struggling to get to one side and bubbles appeared beneath them. With a slow ease up from the water appeared a long-necked dragon, slowly opening its wings and then perched lightly on the edge of the pier as Mary and Medea climbed over its forearm to sit behind its neck and they leapt into the air and flew off.
‘A dragon?’ McKensie asked incredulously.
‘Why she is called the dragon lady, Mr. McKensie,’ Callane explained. ‘She created one years ago. We didn’t know where it was but it must have been seen from time to time for those Japanese films.’
‘It’s a bit public now.’
Fhuh! Japan filming effect. Who believe it real?’
‘We need to get out of here ourselves.’
McKensie opened a note that Mary had slipped into his hand unseen. ‘Miss Elyn, some consultants are in the process of rescuing your…companions.’
The vampiri nodded, slipping on a pair of darkened glasses. ‘I need to arrange transport for my catch.’
‘Closes mouth, chile, anyones woulds tink youse nevers seen dragons.’
Maxine shook her head. ‘Just another day at the office.’
‘I hope she enjoys whisky.’
Flanolla just smiled. ‘Now for some fun getting out of here. That’s all, folks.’
Psi-Kicks, The Stable Consultancy, Flanolla Scobie, Cameron McKensie, Maxine Caruthers, Libertine Rush, Kataya Oberon, Callane Oberon, Mary Travers, Basilee Elyn
© GF Willmetts 2014 All rights reserved.
bosaris unpleasant people
Japanese: Anata no meiyo wa watashitachi ni kachi ga nai.
English Your honour is worthless to us.
Japanese: Anata no fumeiyo wa, josei ni yotte korosa rete kara dokuji nodesu.
English Your dishonour is your own from being killed by females
English Baroness Samedi
Japanese Baronesu Samedi