Tondzaosha Police Station
“Amelia, you need to wake up,” a voice spoke out of the nothingness, reverberating through her skull with such force she gasped and her eyes snapped open.
A bright light shone in her face and she reached an arm up to shield her eyes. She angled her head, sharp stabs of pain pulsating in her temples.
“Amelia,” the voice repeated her name, and she shifted her head, gritting her teeth against the accompanying agony.
Though her eyes were still adjusting, she could see just well enough to make out a familiar set of features. Amy sucked in her breath and studied the teal-framed face of Ashtar.
Amelia groaned and clenched her eyelids shut. “Ugh, I must have taken a hit to the head.”
Ignoring the strange shade, the agent instead shook her head, and blinked, her vision at last snapping into focus. She drew in another deep breath and cursed. She was in what looked like a garden variety police holding cell, save for one detail that produced a shiver down her spine.
A familiar green paint coated the walls, ceiling, floor and even the bars on the cell. The shade was used exclusively by AEGIS. The substance which produced the color had a long, uninteresting chemical name, which she could neither pronounce nor remember, but most of the agency’s personnel just called it GUNQ.
Though it sounded rather harmless, it would block most any form of psychic powers and a fair number of other exemplar abilities. She was able to use her abilities anywhere within the cell, and the room itself, but anything coated with the GUNQ or beyond its boundaries was out of reach. Under any other circumstance escape would have been a cinch, but now it was not at all likely.
She swallowed, bile rising in her throat as she considered the implications of this fresh development. The only way Odalrik might have gotten hold of the GUNQ, was if he’d managed to compromise AEGIS. Its production was strictly regulated and controlled. The substance was manufactured by two separate companies and then combined by AEGIS employees. No one, save for a representative of the agency, would be able to obtain even a small quantity.
A puzzle piece fit into place. Someone enslaved to Odalrik must have been the one to redact her mother’s name in the case files, but why? If it was his intent to bring her here, he must have some reason for it. Was it to enthrall her to him as he’d done to the Tondzaosha Police? No, it made no sense. Her new powers hadn’t even surfaced yet. What need would he have of her?
Perhaps, she shuddered, he sought to make use of her retrocognizance.
“Amy!” Ashtar snapped.
The agent spun her neck back around to face her. She studied the once-goddess in all her glory. Ashtar was stunningly, jaw-droppingly beautiful, in an out-of-this-world unearthly sort of way. Though her form was human, there was a strange, almost imperceptible quality about her that spoke of her genuine nature. She was an alien entity of a sort, Amelia hadn’t quite been able to classify, but there was no doubt she was powerful and it was she who had granted Sapphira and, indirectly, Amelia, their powers. There was just one problem, she’d died months ago combating Chemosh and Garos.
“I am not a hallucination. I am an imprint, a shadow of the person who once was. When the true Ashtar died, she imprinted a piece of herself upon Sapphira and, in turn, when you joined with her and a new seed of power bloomed within you, a duplicate of that imprint passed into your subconsciousness.”
“Listen very carefully, there isn’t much time,” The strange alien specter said a tension in her words, that spoke of urgency.
Amy complied, and felt a tremor work down her spinal column, as the other issued her warning.
When Ashtar finished, a loud clank and a groan of metal on metal sounded from the doorway. Before Amy could even so much as blink, Chief Avery stepped into the room, raised her dart gun and opened fire.
A sharp jab of pain shot up her neck and Amy clasped a hand over the dart. With her other hand she threw out a wave of telekinetic force at the Chief and sent her hurtling back through the door.
Amelia struggled to her feet, but fell back onto her knees just a second later. She clenched her jaw, attempting to fight the effects of the tranquilizer, but soon she fell face-first onto the cold concrete floor. She looked up just in time to see Avery approach before everything again faded to black.
The person once known as Odalrik regarded Agent Van den Broeke’s inert form, a slow smile creeping over her youthful face. She’d come so far and waited so long, but at last that which she desired would soon be within her grasp.
She glanced down at her slight, feminine body, and let out a low throaty chuckle. This was the third form she’d taken since coming to this world. She’d discarded the first, a frail old wisp of a woman, after again learning to tap into the essence of life. The second, that of an unassuming man, had perished in that incident at the old police station, and this one she now possessed… well in the beginning it was that or death.
The girl was but a child, a few weeks shy of seven years old, when she’d first come to possess her. At first she had loathed it, and thought to steal a new form, but few had seen anything but a little girl when they looked upon her and the sorceress realized that it was advantageous to remain within. When puberty hit, she again thought to abandon the body, but more than anything her innate stubbornness won out and she adapted.
Now, just a year removed from her teen years, she could scarcely imagine life as anything but a woman. If nothing else, the sex was amazing. She shivered at the thought and put it quickly out of mind. Such things were better reserved for her bedchamber.
All this time operating in the shadows and it would all soon be over. She would at last find the crystal so long concealed and gain utter control of this backwater little town.
She had long disdained using the artifact, fearing the risk of invoking its power, but this was not Erda and she did not possess the resources she once had. With it in hand, a much greater conquest would be but a small step. Even Leoffa with all her illusions would be hard-pressed to stop her.
Kruhl’s appearance, while unexpected, was fortuitous. It forced her to accelerate her plans, yes, but she relished in the opportunity it afforded her. Without it, she might never have lured Amelia back to her hometown and without the exemplar woman’s retrocognizance, the sorceress doubted she’d ever locate where Leoffa hid the crystal. Well, short of imprisoning and torturing her for information, but the woman had been as elusive as she was devious.
Her eyes alight with her magic, the sorceress, now known as Daisy Fischer planted her staff into the carpeted floor, green energies swirling within its jeweled top. She placed a hand upon the agent’s forehead, unleashing her magics upon her subconscious mind.
She had wanted the agent for her retrocognizance, but now she had become so much more valuable. When at last her resistance crumbled, the sorceress would bend Amelia to her will, and she would have a weapon at her command, possessing power perhaps even greater than her own.
Soon, she would have her revenge, and her enemies would tremble before her might.
“You’re mad!” Kruhl yelled, clutching her hands around what Teressa had referred to as the “Oh shit handle” above the doorway.
The younger Van den Broeke grinned and winked at the once-king, a manic grin stretching across her face. “You’re the one that wanted the sword, aren’t you?” When the light turned green, she stomped her foot down on the accelerator without waiting to hear the other woman’s objections.
The vehicle lurched forward, speeding down the roadway. It careened off the side of the road, across the walk and through the parking area, before slamming through the glass facade of the Tondzaosha Police Station. Glass shattered all around them, pelting the car hood and windshield.
Kruhl threw her arms up to protect her face, as a particularly large shard hit the glass, but the windshield held and she lowered her arms only to throw them back up as the car slammed into the reception desk and the wall behind it.
The vehicle screeched to a halt as a cloud of white dust and debris exploded before them. As it settled, a pair of officers made a beeline for the car, but Teressa’s eyes narrowed and settled on a steel door along the east wall.
The Diadem jerked forward, tires screeching, and slammed into the doorway with another eruption of dust and a shriek of metal.
Kruhl felt something wet drip down her brow. When she reached out to touch it, she winced against a sharp stab of pain. A small sharp fragment of glass was wedged above her right eyebrow. She brought her hands away, rubbing the blood between her index finger and thumb. She glanced to her left, the window had shattered. When had that happened?
“Kruhl, come on!” Teressa screamed, snatching at Kruhl’s arms with her right hand and clasping hold of her throat with the left.
The once-king slid over the seat, tailing Teressa out the door as that familiar black mist oozed out between the exemplar’s fingers. Weapons fire rang out, but the illusory fog had already risen between them and the police clan could only fire blindly into the haze.
Kruhl’s heart pounded in her chest as they flew threw the debris ridden room. Towards the back they found the sword within its metal cage scattered amidst a wooden bludgeoning weapon and a slew of fire sticks. When Teressa tried to open the enclosure, it wouldn’t budge.
“Shit,” she cursed, rapping her knuckles on the metal. “It’s locked, what the hell are we supposed to do, now?”
At once, both women glanced back at the car and a twinkle showed in each of their eyes. “I have an idea!” They both said in perfect unison.