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  1. #131
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    It was a relief that Maria and Sofie would be in a safe place with some backup. He had disliked the idea of leaving them where they might be picked up by the very person they were chasing. At least his family would be safe. He would have worked something out if that weren't the case, wouldn't he have? Riff would like to think that he would. It was odd. Isaac seemed to think Riff would be drawing lines - and those lines weren't necessarily based on his family.

    "Um, I don't mean any offence by this, Isaac, but I am not so attached to the Pack as to preclude me being involved in something that has to do with other people in a town I've just landed in. Of course I will protect the Pack and do my best to strengthen it, but that's not why I want to help. I want to help because people are in trouble and I am in a position to do something about it. Lycan, Fae, Vampire, golem, human - they're all people. We - Maria and I - are not much for drawing lines in the sand. Diversity is what made our community so strong and that's the aim I'm going to continue to pursue wherever I land."

    He took a deep breath and smiled his familiar lop-sided smile.

    "So, let's find Katie, save this kid, and shut down a mad scientist!"
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #132
    Gilda and Isaac Fishblatt

    "No offense taken," Isaac said with a smile. "And I hope I didn't give any offense by offering you the opportunity to bow out. Gilda and I are rather zealous about helping, but... not everyone we have recruited has seen eye to eye with us about that. Immortals can be as provincial about sticking to their own as humans are. It speaks well of you both that you are willing to stick your necks out - so to speak - for those not of your kin. Well. Let's go perform a rescue, shall we?"

    Gilda had worried that they might have difficulty getting to speak to Katie. They had applied to be her foster parents, yes - but legally they had no connection to her yet. To her surprise, the social workers seemed to be under the impression that the Fishblatts were there to collect Katie and take her home. They had been told the paperwork for the school children would be fast tracked; this was a little too fast even for that. Gilda suspected that Katie had been experimenting with her Siren powers to influence the situation - it seemed the girl was ready to get out. Regardless, it was the desired result, so the Fishblatts dutifully signed Katie out, and loaded her meager belongings into their car.

    Once they were outside, Gilda said, "I'm sorry we have to start out on this note, Katie, but something rather urgent is going on. I received a call meant for you..."

    Katie instantly became defensive. "So what? So what if she called me? She's my sister. You people can't keep us apart forever. I'm only going to your house because I have to stay somewhere till I'm eighteen. Then I'm going to live with Alice, and you can't stop me!"

    Gilda was unfazed by the girl's anger. Being a teen was hard enough - and Katie had several layers to deal with on top of that. It was understandable that she was feeling mad at the world right now.

    "I'm sorry they wouldn't let you talk to your sister," Gilda said honestly. "That isn't right, and it will change at our house. We'll make sure you get to have contact with her. But right now she... Alice?... is in trouble. When she called, she said she needed help. She wouldn't tell me where she was. But I think she'll tell you."

    "How do I know you're not lying?" Katie asked. "How do I know this isn't just... some kind of trap to get her in trouble for talking to me?"

    "You don't," Gilda admitted bluntly. "But your sister is important to you, and she needs your help. So I hope you will do the right thing. The brave thing."

    Katie gulped, nodded, and reached for the phone.

    ***

    When they got to the old barn, Alice was slumped against the steering wheel... but her eyes brightened when she saw Katie. She needed help from Isaac and Riff to get out of the car - and she clearly needed medical attention right away.

    "Thanks," Alice said quietly.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #133
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    As he helped the girl out of the vehicle, Riff couldn't help but notice her scent. That, coupled with the fact she was obviously in a bad way, made the leap he was about to take a short one. He made eye contact with Isaac, and nodded, his mouth a grim line. Once they had Alice seated safely in the Fishblatt's vehicle, he hunkered down low next to the girl. He wasn't planning on making the trip to the doctor's with them - not if there was a trail he could pick up.

    "Alice? We're looking for the person who did this to you. Do you know where he is? Can you describe him for us?"

  4. #134
    "It was Doctor Kraus," Alice replied.

    Isaac's mouth dropped open in shock. "I... I don't understand!" he said. "Kraus was dead. I'm sure he was dead. Even an immortal couldn't have survived damage like that. How could he have lived...?"

    But Alice was shaking her head. "It's not. It's not that guy, whoever you're talking about. Doctor Kraus is a woman."

    For a moment, there was silence as Isaac and Gilda digested that information. Then Gilda said, "Alice, do you know the first name of Doctor Kraus?"

    "Yeah, it was... Augusta, or something like that."

    "Auguste?" Gilda suggested, her German accent making the pronunciation subtly different.

    "Oh, yeah, that's the one!" Alice agreed.

    Isaac exchanged a look with Gilda. "Is that someone you knew?" he asked.

    "Sort of," Gilda replied. "It's probably more accurate to say I knew of her, since as far as I recall, we never met. She was Hermann Kraus' oldest daughter. Alice, do you have any idea where this doctor is now?"

    "There's a trailer out in the woods. They have it fixed up like a medical lab. I was so sick when I got away... I couldn't think straight. I'm not sure I could find it again. There was this sound outside, like a humming. It was loud. I could find it by the sound if I was close enough."

    "Probably a generator," Isaac mused. "It sounds like Keisha guessed right about that."

    Katie was growing rather impatient with all this talk that seemed irrelevant to her primary motivation - protecting her sister. "You're going to take care of Alice, right?" she asked. "You said you want to foster me - you should foster her too. She's... she's only sixteen!"

    "Katie..." Alice said weakly. She was not, in fact, sixteen. She was two weeks past her eighteenth birthday. Lying to her rescuers didn't seem like a good idea.

    Katie was forging ahead, though, "She's sixteen! Just a kid too! You could help her. Please! Will you let her stay with us too?"

    "Yes, of course she can stay," Gilda replied.

    Alice knew she should protest. She should be honest, and not accept help under false pretenses. But she was so exhausted. She was so sick of the pain. And she didn't want to die. Maybe this was a way to stay alive a little longer. So all she said was, "Thank you."

    "We'll get Alice to Keisha's office so she can start treating her," Isaac said. "Then we should go look for this lab. There may be more people in need of rescuing today."

  5. #135
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    He was all fired up now. One person safe, a lead on how they might find the rest. Riff couldn't just hop in the car now.

    "Actually, you go on to Keisha's and I will start hitting up the gas stations and see what I can sniff out. If I get a lead at one of the stations, I'll call you and you can meet me there. I really think we need to cover more ground - but absolutely Alice's health comes first."

    Getting directions from Isaac, Riff started off through the woods at a lope. If he could only strike off some potential places to help focus their search, he'd feel like running off on his own in a new country was worth the risk. As he approached the first spot on the list, he slowed and caught his breath. The smell of gas and propane quickly overwhelmed his nose and he realized he'd been overly optimistic about being able to sniff out the target. Well, time for plan B. Pretend to be a hippie homesteader and chat up the locals.

    Taking a deep breath, he pushed through the front door, a friendly grin on his face. Much to his surprise, he was looking into a familiar one. That guy. What was he doing he....probably buying gas. Riff had to rein in his imagination. He stood off to the side so people could pass if they came through and nodded to his friend from last night. "Hey, fancy running into you here." Undoubtedly James would want to ask about Riff's conversation with Gilda, but Riff desperately wanted to cut him off at the pass and get him heading in the right direction. After all, he hadn't been completely wrong about the identity of the killer - just off by a generation.

    "I was hoping to see if anyone had a truck for sale, is there a ad board around here?" Riff asked the question innocently enough, though it had been pretty obvious that such a board did exist - right outside the door he'd just entered. Hopefully simply getting outside would offer some privacy.

  6. #136
    "Good thinking, Riff," Isaac replied. "Call us if you need anything, or if you run into trouble!"

    Back at the gas station, James was in excellent spirits. He was still high on his conversation with Auguste. She had made him feel special. Important. The way she had looked at him... he wondered if he might have a chance with her. He knew he shouldn't get ahead of himself. But she was pretty, and he thought she liked him. Maybe next time he could flirt a little, see how she reacted...?

    He grinned when he saw Riff, and amiably headed out with him to the obvious signboard that he needed 'help' locating.

    "Great news!" James said. "We have another ally. Her name is Auguste. I told her everything, and she wants to help. Between the three of us, maybe we can take the Nazi trash out of this town for good!"

    James was briefly distracted as a pair of fire engines raced toward the Cliff Road, sirens blaring. He hoped everyone was alright.

    "Isn't that great? You're really going to like her, Riff!"

  7. #137
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    He didn't know what he was expecting to come out of James' mouth, but that wasn't it. Wow. How was he going to tell him what a colossal mistake he had just made. Riff took a deep a breath and steadied himself even as the sirens heightened his awareness of the end game's approach. Because this was the end game - he was going to make sure of it.

    "Listen, Mac, I have some pretty big news for you - involves your new friend, actually. We just picked up a survivor of one of those 'experiments' and she told us thatbthe person who did all these terrible things was a woman named Auguste...Kraus. Dude, the girl you met is Kraus' daughter. She's carrying on his work after his death."

    He wanted to break it to him gently, but that wasn't going towork with James' skull or their timeline. That Auguste was now tipped off to their knowing about her experiments...things were now very dangerous for everyone involved, not just the captured Fae.

    "Look, you were close, man. You knew it was Kraus, you were just off by a generation. Don't beat yourself up over it . What we need to focus on is the fact that you just tipped her off big time. We need to track her down. Which way did she go?"

  8. #138
    James O'Brien

    The years of solitude and obsession had slowed James' mental processing time, so Riff would be able to watch the emotions cross his face in turn. Shock. Anger. Doubt.

    But then James laughed. "And who started this nonsense? Who helped you put all these pieces together? You were with Gilda, Riff. I know you went to her. I smell her on you. She set up the whole thing. Now you see just how tricky she is. How dangerous. She twisted the whole thing to try to blame someone else. That's what she does. She's a liar. She makes up stories so she never has to take any blame herself..."

    James was interrupted by the sound of Riff's phone ringing, and James motioned for him to answer it. Isaac was on the other end of the line, sounding stressed. "Riff, I'm just calling to let you know that my parents' house is on fire right now. No one was inside, fortunately. Everything is under control here, but we just wanted you to be aware and... be careful. Apparently things have escalated enough that violence toward the Pack is on the table."

    With absolutely no sense that it was rude or discourteous, James had been eavesdropping on the conversation. As if it vindicated his case, he said, "See? See, I told you! I told you this would happen! You let your guard down around Gilda and she burned down those poor people's house! Do you finally believe me about her now?"
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 03-27-2020 at 07:31 AM.

  9. #139
    Count / Countess Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Riff

    That was it. As much as Riff wanted to be reasonable with this guy and break through his illusions with logic and kindness, now just wasn't the time. Gentleness and logic wasn't breaking through the thick walls around James' theory. His tone was sharp and while he wasn't about to make assumptions about Jame's person, he was about to take some shots at the rest of him.

    "Listen to yourself. How would a woman who is in a car on one side of town start a fire in her in-laws house on the other side of town? Where do you think they are going to live? IN HER HOUSE. Because they are related! Why would a Nazi burn down someone's house in order to end up with more Jews living with them? Yes, I was with Gilda - YOU sent me to go see her, remember? But that information about Auguste? Didn't come from Gilda. It came from a sick, hurt Fae girl whom we found in an abandoned barn. Look, you can hate on Gilda all you want, but right now that is getting in the way of saving these Fae kids and I thought that was why you were after her to begin with. So what's your primary objective - save the kids - or sleight Gilda's name? You have to pick one and if it's the latter, we will go find those kids and save them without you."

  10. #140
    James O'Brien

    For just a moment, James' resolve began to slip. His brain scrambled feverishly to catch up, to try to find holes in what Riff had said and rip it to shreds to let certainty back in. That certainty wouldn't come. Because the truth was, everything Riff said was reasonable. Could it possibly be... right?

    James wasn't ready to go that far yet. But he was willing to consider a concession.

    "I... think I can find out where she lives," he said hesitantly. "Auguste, I mean. She comes to the gas station all the time to buy fuel for her generator. She has to get it delivered. Let me go ask..."

    James darted inside, and just asked the address. It was a small town, and James lived out back - not a local, but he was a known quantity. He got an answer without even being questioned why he wanted to know.

    He poked his head back out, and said, "It's about three miles out into the woods. Down a dirt road. We could go. Look, I'm not saying you're right with all this. I'm just saying... we could go check on her. Just to make sure. If I prove you wrong, you'll still help me with Gilda, right?"

    That way the bases were covered. James could go prove to himself that he wasn't in the wrong. That he wasn't some fool who had been taken in by Auguste.

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