Sunday, February 12, 2012

American side trip

So, we came to Washington DC to help Nate out with a little business down at Langley. It seems an old foe from Las Vegas wasn't quite dead after Jack & Co. threw him off the top of a Vegas High Rise.

Harlan waved some badges and got us in, and long story short, I made like St. Patrick and drove out the snake(s)...or more properly, skewered what was left of old Canopus against the wall...but like a bad videogame boss, he--birthed?--a few final progeny, which I helped to cut down.

Flushed with a new sense of confidence, we got some new intel on Carmen and headed out to California to track down some leads. With Nate's help, I commandeered an American learjet and flew us West. It was a long, long trip.

We managed to get the drop on Carmen's little mass-murder scheme; Kass definitely impressed me...she damn near killed Carmen with the butt of her rifle; Laurel managed to stabilize her.

Meanwhile out front Nate and I flashed badges and intimidated the assembled groupies with threats of incarceration for drugs possession...felt like my first days back on the beat in Dublin...we "let them off with warnings", saving their lives, actually, clearing them from the area before things could get hairy.

Harlan pulled some of his illusion work and that was all we needed for Gunnar to sneak in, and for Kass and Laurel to sneak round and lay an ambush...Aisling kept well out of harms way and out of sight.

We captured Carmen and took her with us to...I wanna say it was...Albuquerque, NM? Some place out West; It doesn't matter really. There we interrogated her. Gunnar tried first, the Nate and Harlan. They didn't seem to be getting anywhere fast.

I indicated to Laurel that I wanted to try something...after the DC encounter, I felt the flow of Enech change around me, felt as if I could start to ever so slightly bend it to my will. I felt finally I had reached a point where I could begin to lay Geasa of my own. I also had begun to recover some of my refinement and charm from the sudden de-aging process from the China episode.

I walked in to the debriefing room...after a few preliminary questions about Cordelia, which Carmen answered seemingly truthfully, I got down to business.

I knew Carmen sort of liked my Irish accent so I played it up for her, fixed her with my green eyes and said, "ok, here's the deal..."

I can't remember exactly how I worded it; it's as though Enech itself took over my lips to form the words...as if my body became its mere instrument...it both was--and wasn't--my voice speaking to Carmen. I seized upon the fact that her powers are anchored in her ability to keep and manipulate her lesser followers. Enech commands you, I said, that you must stop and render aid and bind the wounds of anyone injured in your presence...Enech had chosen this blood-based Geas...ironically appropriate for the daughter of a blood-thirsty Aztec goddess...outwardly, Carmen's face remained defiant, but I could detect a quaver in her voice, her dark eyes met mine then looked away. She could feel something in the air between us had changed; I could feel the flow of Enech envelop her briefly and then release, having changed its course to include her in its natural ebb and flow.

I motioned to Laurel to come next..."Your witness," I said, and exited the room.

I don't know precisely what Laurel did to Carmen, everything she said to her was in a whisper, inaudible behind the one-way mirrored glass. Laurel took Carmen's face with both her hands and locked gazes with her. Within a minute Carmen's defiance collapsed, her resistance collapsed, and she burst into tears, mentally broken. Laurel embraced her firmly, and Carmen kept crying and sobbing...

Harlan had probably made things easier for us by bewitching Carmen with some kind of love magic, but it hadn't been enough to make her betray Kane or Ixion. Working together, Laurel and I had managed to break through to Carmen and turn her. I swore to Carmen that I do not take the laying of Geasa lightly, and that it was for the purpose of making her a better person, and she couldn't well become better if she was dead, so I would endeavor to do my utmost to ensure her safety.

I then took a sidelong glance at Harlan and then said to Carmen: "...and please, work on that self-esteem of yours, because you've frankly horrible taste in men..."

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