A Little Bit Of Guidance 3-02

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“Trust me, Dad, I’m probably eating better here than at the old school. Yes, I know the rules about staying away from anyone suspicious. I’m almost seventeen, not four. Yeah, I’m sure the school runs enough background checks. No, I don’t need help and you don’t need to run any names past ‘your guy in the department’. Trust me, everything’s fine. I’m okay, I just wanted to hear your voice. I miss you.”

Leaning against the side of the athletics building a little bit after dinner the next day, I smiled while listening to my father’s response. I really had missed the sound of his voice, just like I missed spending every evening listening to his stories. Sometimes they were about what he’d done that day, the people he’d talked to or leads he’d followed, while other times they were about his past. Dad had spent a lot of time working for one of the big newspapers in Los Angeles back before I was born, and he had a ton of stories about the people he’d encountered back then. I was pretty sure he exaggerated a lot of it, but it was still fun to listen to. And hearing my dad reminisce had been one of our traditions for a long time.

While listening as he started in about something one of his friends had said about the governor, I glanced down at my free hand and examined the smooth skin. Leaning a bit closer to see my index finger in the light from one of the nearby windows, I noticed that the tiny scar that I’d had there ever since cutting it badly on a nail when I was a little kid had smoothed over, leaving unblemished skin.

Huh. Still listening to Dad talk, the sound of his voice comforting in a way that I couldn’t explain, I switched the phone to my other hand so I could look at my arm. Sure enough, the other scar that I’d gotten as a kid, a long, thin one about two inches down from my wrist had disappeared as well.

Apparently the healing ability granted by killing those few peridles had extended as far as removing old scars. That was going to make things a little awkward if Dad ever happened to notice. Not that he paid close attention to my hands all the time, but still. He was my father and he knew every mark I had.

Shaking that off, I waited for a lull in his stories. “Hey, Dad, I wanted to ask you something else.”

“Sure, kid, what’s up? You need more snack machine money or something? Care package to bribe the RA’s with? Wait, do they have resident assistants there? I’m not sure how private high school works.”

“We’ve got a mentor. Sort of.” I replied with a roll of my eyes. “But he’s worthless. He’s just lazy and doesn’t actually do anything. I don’t think any of us have even seen him since that first night.”

“What?” Dad sounded annoyed. “What kind of adviser is he then? If he won’t do his job, they need to replace him. Do you know who to talk to about that, or do you want me to give them a call?”

“I definitely do not want you to call anyone.” I shuddered at the thought. “I’ve got it, Dad. It’s fine.”

“Are you sure?” Dad was clearly reluctant to let that go. “This school is a big deal, Flicker. I don’t want you getting screwed out of getting everything you can out of it because this kid won’t do his job.”

Smiling a little in spite of myself at his protective instincts, I shook my head. “I promise, it’s okay. I’ll deal with it, Dad. Just let me take care of things, okay? It’ll just be better that way, trust me.”

“Yeah, I guess you don’t really need your old man anymore,” Dad teased. “Just promise you’ll give a good eulogy at my funeral in thirty years or so. You can start with, ‘This guy was my dad, I sort of paid attention to him once in awhile until I turned seventeen. Then I ignored the old fart for the rest of his life. I wonder if he ever bought that cat he was talking about.’”

I laughed out loud in spite of myself. It felt good. “I’m not going to ignore you for the rest of your life!”

“That’s what they all say.” Dad teased, though there was a note of sadness not fully hidden behind it.

Swallowing slightly as I realized what he was thinking about, I closed my eyes. He was still hurting so much from Mom abandoning us. Even now, a decade later, I could hear the hurt in his voice when he thought about it. He and Mom had been very much in love, and the next thing he knew, she was gone.

I had to find out the truth. If there really was anything unnatural about Mom’s disappearance, or if it had anything at all to do with Strangers or Heretics, I was going to find out. And then… well then I’d find a way to give Dad closure. I wasn’t sure how, but I would figure it out when the time came.

“I’m serious, Dad. I’ll visit, you know I will. And we can talk any time you want. I love you.”

Dad’s voice was softer then, the emotion in it making him almost whisper. “I love you too, Flicker.”

We were quiet for a few seconds, and I used the time to wipe a damp spot under one of my eyes. As I rubbed it away, my father was the first to break the silence. “So, what was it you wanted to ask about?”

Well now this was even more awkward than it was always going to be. I flinched and took in a long breath before letting it out, steadying myself as much as possible. “It’s about Mom. Is that okay?”

There was silence for a second before my father responded. “Flick, have I made you think that it’s not okay to talk about your mother? Because if I did, I am very, very sorry. Of course you can ask me about her. I’ll tell you anything you want to know. Anything I can. I know we don’t… I know it’s hard sometimes, but I don’t want you to ever feel like you can’t bring her up, okay? She’s your mother.”

“No, I just—you didn’t do anything.” I flushed a little. “I just didn’t want to make you upset or sad.”

“Listen to me, Flick,” Dad’s voice was firm. “It’s all right. I will always answer any questions you have that I can answer, okay? I will never hide things about your mother from you, and you can ask me anything you want, any time. Never, ever feel like you have to avoid that subject, is that understood?”

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I quickly spoke up. “Y-yes, Dad. I was just… it’s probably wrong, but I umm…” This was the tricky part. I kind of wanted to just tell my father that I’d found a picture of Mom here, but I was afraid that doing so would make him want to visit. While the Heretics would probably find a way to fix his memory of that if it came down to it, I really wanted to avoid that entire situation if at all possible. Especially since I didn’t want them to know that I was looking into my mother at all. Which meant that I had to lie to my father. Again, after everything he’d just said.

Sighing at the thought, I pressed on anyway. This was too important. “I sort of think I remember something about her. But I can’t figure out if I’m just making it up in my head or if it’s a real memory.” For a second, I bit my lip and hesitated before pushing through the lie. “I keep thinking that I remember hearing Mom talk about being at a private school. You know, one like this, with uniforms and everything. I just have this sort-of memory of her talking about it, and I can’t figure out if it’s real or something I just invented in my head because I’m here now. Do you remember anything about that?”

“About your mother going to a private school?” He echoed before considering for a moment. “Well, I met Joselyn when she was twenty-four. She’d been out of college for a couple years by then, but you know she just went to the University of Wyoming. Before that, ahhh, I don’t think I can remember all the high schools, but I don’t remember her mentioning any private ones. They were all public.”

I blinked at that. “Wait, Mom went to a lot of schools? Why?”

“You know about that, don’t you?” Dad sounded surprised, and a little guilty. “Your mom moved around a lot as a kid because of your grandfather’s work. He was in the military or something, I never really had a clear idea of what it was. They weren’t really talking by the time we met, but it was something to do with the government. That’s part of why Joselyn wanted to settle down here in Laramie Falls, because it was quiet and stable.” There was a pause then before Dad let out a long sigh. He didn’t say anything, but I knew what he was thinking. Mom had wanted stable, and then she’d abandoned us.

Still, I had to focus on something else he had said. “My grandfather? Mom’s dad? Do you… still have any contact with him?” It was a long shot, I knew, but if there was any chance of getting more information, where better than from my mother’s father? Even just a name would be nice, since looking for every person with the last name of Atherby (mom’s maiden name) would take way too long.

“Sorry,” Dad replied, obviously wincing. “Like I said, he and your mom weren’t on speaking terms. She never told me what happened there, but that was why none of your mother’s family came to the wedding. I had the impression that it was some kind of major disagreement.”

I heard his fingers snap. “Oh, hang on, I almost forgot. We still have the birth certificate. One second.” There was the sound of the filing cabinet in Dad’s office being opened and ruffled through until he found the paper that he was looking for. “Here we go. Your mom’s parents were Dustin and Fiona Atherby. Born at that University of Utah Hospital. Hey, that’s funny.” He went silent for a few seconds.

“Dad?” I frowned, pushing off the wall again before looking around. “What’s funny?”

He coughed. “Sorry, just the name of the doctor that delivered your mother is kind of amusing.”

“What is it?”

“Pericles,” he answered. “Zedekiah Pericles.”


Talk about ending up with more questions than you started with. Poor Professor Pericles had been the one who delivered my mother at the hospital where she was born? Was that real, or just part of the Heretic cover they’d given her later? How much of my mother’s history was real and how much was an invention after she’d either left or been kicked out of the Heretics? If it was just a cover history, why would Professor Pericles have his name on the birth certificate at all? What the hell was going on?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t dwell on those questions at the moment. Since it was Friday evening, I had to get to my Investigation track meeting. Unlike every other class, track meetings were only attended by students in that particular track rather than everyone on the same team. Apparently each grade level had their own meeting nights and times with their track adviser. For first years, they were held twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays in the evening. We had still been in the middle of orientation on Monday, so tonight was my very first one. I had no idea what to expect, but I was crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t end with me having even more questions about my family’s history for once.

Sands, Scout, and I were walking together. Apparently the meeting was taking place on the grounds in front of the Pathmaker building, which was intriguing enough to sort of distract me away from the riotous cacophony of thoughts that had been flooding my mind ever since Dad said that name.

There were already other students there when the three of us arrived, including the other black guy from my orientation group that wasn’t Columbus. Travis, that was it. He was standing with another boy that I’d seen him around with, a shorter, still kind of chubby guy with pale skin and even paler blonde hair. I thought his name was Rudolph or Randy or something. There was also (sigh) Koren.

I would have made a point of trying to ignore the other girl, but she already seemed to be pretty busy focusing on her chat with a couple of the guys who had grown up ‘in the knowledge.’ She kept bending slightly to ‘accidentally’ give them a good look down the front of her shirt while they chatted, and they were taking thorough advantage of the opportunity, flirting back and forth.

I rolled my eyes, but whatever. Her life. I was just glad she was leaving the rest of us alone for the moment. Instead, I looked toward Sands and Scout. “You guys excited?”

“Hell yes,” Sands blurted, head bobbing up and down. “Do you have any idea how long we’ve been waiting for this? Classes were one thing, but track training? Scout and I decided what we wanted to be when we were four. Then we changed it when we were six. Then we changed it again when we were seven. And then… well, you get the idea. But we’ve wanted to be in the Investigation track at least half of all those times, and for the longest. It’s gonna be so awesome.”

Even Scout was smiling in agreement by that point, and I couldn’t help but return it. “Well, here’s hoping it’s as interesting as you think.”

“Indeed,” the voice of Professor Dare spoke up from behind us. “I shall do my best to meet expectations.”

Turning to look at the woman with a slight flush, I wondered how much she knew about the situation with my mother. Probably all of it. The urge to blurt out a demand for the truth was almost impossible for me to resist, but I managed it. Barely. “Sorry, Professor.”

“You have nothing to apologize for,” the blonde woman informed me before looking to the rest of the group. “Good evening. You all know me, so I shall skip the introduction. It is now seven o’clock, the time that you will be expected to be in the location that I give you for this meeting every Monday and Friday from now on. I will not say that excuses for being late will not be accepted. However, I will say that if you give no excuse, the punishment for your tardiness will be less severe than if you attempt to give one and I find it lacking. For those who find that confusing, allow me to simplify. If your excuse for tardiness is a valid and reasonable one, I will accept it. If it is not and you attempt to use it anyway, your punishment will be worse than if you had said nothing. Is all of that understood?”

We agreed, and Professor Dare nodded in acceptance. “As you all know, this is the Investigation track. Here, you will learn to investigate possible Stranger incursions and other situations, identify both new and established threats, and deal directly with the Bystander law enforcement. We have multiple ways of doing this, but one of our most important tools is lying. You will lie a lot. You should not feel ashamed of this. Lying keeps these people safe, and prevents them from making our jobs far more difficult.”

She looked around at all of us, eyes lingering slightly on Koren before moving on. “Tonight, you will be given an opportunity to witness one of several ways that the Pathmaker building is used to aid us in these investigations. You will stay with me, you will touch nothing that you are not told to touch, and you will not disturb the people who are working. Is that understood as well?”

Once we again chorused our agreement, she turned on her heel and walked right up to the edge of the circle. Giving us all a careful look, she put her hand out and spoke a quick series of words that were impossible to follow. The air seemed to shimmer a little, and she gestured. “Come through, all of you.”

After the warnings that Sands and Avalon had given, I was a little afraid of getting too close, even if it was obviously okay now. I slowly walked over the line with the rest of the group, shaking my head in a failed attempt to stop the warning hum.

Thankfully, the sound faded once we were a few feet past the line, and Professor Dare walked up to the door, tugging it open before lifting a hand to indicate that we should precede her.

As a group, we filed into the building. This first room was fairly small and circular, obviously a lobby of some kind. There was a desk with a woman sitting behind it in one corner, and she smiled as we entered. “Good evening, Virginia. This is the new class?”

Before Professor Dare could respond, a group of men came right through the same doors we had just entered from, bustling straight past us in a rush. They barely slowed long enough to nod an acknowledgment to the secretary before moving on to one of a handful of doors that lined the circular wall.

“Hey, where the hell did those guys come from?” Koren spoke up. “Seriously, we were just out there.”

The woman behind the desk glanced down at something before responding, “They came from Indiana, actually.”

Professor Dare explained. “The Pathmaker building exists within multiple locations at the same time. Its existence on the island is only one of a dozen or so locations across the world that it simultaneously occupies.”

My mouth fell open and I made a slightly strangled noise. “Wha-how—huh?”

It was the receptionist who spoke up, her tone simultaneously amused and gentle. “Magic, sweetie. You’ll get used to it. Basically it means that if you enter the building you see in Crossroads, the place in Indiana that those gentlemen came from, our location in Tokyo, London, Calgary, or any other place it exists, you will enter there and appear here. One building, one interior, a dozen exterior locations. Magic.”

I was still staring, trying to wrap my mind around that as Professor Dare started walking to one of the doors. “Come, I will show you one of the reasons that the Pathmaker building is so important to our work.”

Together, we trailed after the professor, following her through a series of hallways and up two flights of stairs. We passed about another dozen people that were hard at work doing… whatever they were doing before we finally reached a short, out of the way hall with a single door.

“This,” Professor Dare announced, “Is one of several projection rooms in this facility.”

“Projection rooms?” I asked with a frown.

She nodded. “In situations where it may be impossible to retain an untouched crime scene, where Bystander authorities make it impossible for us to effectively take over the situation and ensure that the view remains exactly as it was when we arrived, the Heretic may deploy one of these.”

From her pocket, the woman produced a small silver and violet orb, about the size of a golf ball. “This is called a Panoptic Analysis Window System, or PAWS. The PAWS, when deployed, will cloak and take a full scan of the entire designated area. Later, it can be connected to one of these rooms, which will allow the room within to project a three dimensional holographic view of the crime scene, untouched so that our own investigators may see what occurred. But the PAWS does more than take pictures. Its scan runs deep enough that objects within the room may be manipulated and moved around. If, for example, the view is of a motel room and the end table drawer is shut, the investigator may open the drawer within the hologram and see what was inside at the time that the PAWS was deployed. This allows a full investigation of the crime scene to take place, even if the authorities shut off the area and tromp all over the evidence.”

We were still staring at the little orb in her hand for a few seconds after she finished. For my part, I couldn’t help but think of how useful something like that would be to the legitimate law enforcement agencies.

“Now, as a group, we are going to investigate one of these recorded crime scenes.” Professor Dare gazed at us briefly before continuing. “Together, we will see what we can determine as a group before reviewing what conclusions the assigned investigators have come to.”

“What kind of crime scene is it, Professor Dare?” I asked with a raised hand.

She paused, glancing to me before responding. “An incident that occurred at a gas station. A man, who was believed to have attempted to rob the store was found shot in the back multiple times, presumably by the clerk. The clerk herself then exited the store, duct taped the gasoline nozzle into her own mouth, and proceeded to kill herself by choking on the gas.”

Collectively, we stared. I felt sick inside, and somewhere nearby, one of the boys muttered a curse under his breath. Beside me, Scout gave a soft whimper.

“These are the situations we will be dealing with. I will not coddle you from them because to do so would be a disservice to your education and training. If you do not wish to continue, you may at any point speak up and be excused to re-evaluate your track.” Professor Dare spoke seriously, then put her hand on the doorknob. “Now, come. Let us see how much information you can find as a group.”

She opened the door, allowing us to enter the horrific scene. I took a breath, steeled myself, and then stepped through.

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  1. Ah, imagine how sick Flick is going to feel when she finds out that she’s looking at her little brother’s handiwork… or when she finds out that he’s going to her hometown specifically to find her… or when she realizes that Ammon is probably going to find her dad.

    Please don’t do anything horrible to her dad. I will literally get down on my knees and beg if I have to.

    Moving on from that horrible thought, I’m glad to finally have a name for mama… whichever last name os most appropriate. Joselyn Chambers neé Atherby, probably just going by the maiden name at this point. Thank you. And so many new questions raised! I’m already filling in the blanks with wild speculation.

    I want to ask if Dustin and Fiona are heretics, but I seriously doubt you’ll answer that question in the comments section, or just give me the “That’s a good question… anyone else have a good question?” treatment like when I asked if Flick and Ammon have other siblings or about why Intrepid!Sophia wasn’t sent to juvie or when I asked Patrick Rothfuss how Kvothe was able to get past all the defenses around the Ctheah.

    Oh what the hell, I’ll ask anyway. Are Flick’s Atherby grandparents heretics?

    I loved that little speech of Dare’s about lying. Blunt, straightforward teachers are my favorite, and I got a chuckle out of it. My smile quickly faded when the implications of the spiel sunk in. The altitude says a lot about the Crossroads M.O., and I don’t agree with many of those things.

    Flick’s idle thoughts about how the holographic imaging tech (very cool by the way) would be a big help to bystander authorities underline some of my feelings on the matter. I predict tension over whether or not bystanders should be told of the dangers they’re not aware of.

    Speaking of which, I’ve been wondering how Heretics view the rapidly developing technology of the twentieth and twenty first centuries.

    Are there generally held opinions among Heretics of, say, the dropping of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Modern drone tech? Global communication? The Space Race?

    Are heretics as condescending to ordinary people as the magical community of Harry Potter?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. “Oh what the hell, I’ll ask anyway. Are Flick’s Atherby grandparents heretics?”

      That could be interesting.

      “Are there generally held opinions among Heretics of, say, the dropping of A-bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?”

      They better have opinions on it, since they made sure it happened.

      “Modern drone tech? Global communication? The Space Race?”

      There’s a few different schools of thought and opinion on subjects like that. Some see it as a nuisance, others see the benefit.

      “Are heretics as condescending to ordinary people as the magical community of Harry Potter?”

      Depends on the Heretic.Saying more would be spoilers.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. “They better have opinions on it, since they made sure it happened.”

        Oh, boy. I’m starting to be very curious about Stranger involvement in WWII. If there was something in Japan that made the Heretics think that nukes were a good way of dealing with it … interesting. I’m reminded of how Morgan said he dealt with a naagloshii in the Dresden Files, and those things are pretty much demigods. Is that a deliberate reference, btw?

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Hmm, wondering just how many technological advancements did the Heretics have a hand in…

        And hearing that Heretics were involved in the use of the atomic bombs on Japan- now I’m wondering if in this ‘verse, whether the insanity & nastiness that militarist Japan (as well as Nazi Germany) got up to was the result of Stranger involvement.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. So, I found the jokes between Flick and her dad about her ignoring him for the rest of his life disturbingly ominous, particularly when combined with Ammon’s little road trip.

    And as to Joselyn’s background, that really isn’t enough to explain anything. Her missing parents and apparent high-travel background could mean anything, from they were Heretics, to she did come from a military family – her dad just happened to fight in World War I. One thing is odd, though. I thought Professor Pericles was an engineer, not a medical doctor. I’d check, but you don’t have tags up here yet, and I’m feeling lazy.

    And it looks like Flick is not going to get her wish for less questions about her family, though she may not realize that. I was actually expecting them to go investigate Senny’s latest snack/rescue mission. Then again, seeing as they apparently are running parallel investigations on Ammon, we may still see her. I’m looking forward to seeing how this investigation runs, particularly as we actually know what happened. That’s actually pretty rare in mystery/investigation type stories, and should be interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, and I meant to say, the Pathfinder building reminds me of Howl’s Moving Castle.

      And I just remembered, I like Professor Dare’s tardiness policy. Seems pretty reasonable, and likely to do a good job of dealing with people trying to play the system.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m half expecting Senny to catch up to Ammon just in time to save Mr. Chamber’s life (and now we need a name for him). They will then proceed to team up on an epic adventure to kill Ammon’s dad, save his wife, and rescue his daughter from (what Senny describes as (and may be correct)) the dogmatic Heretics.

      And when I say I’m half expecting it, I really mean I’m hoping for it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. So Flick had an interesting little talk with her father. Though with Ammon coming to town in an effort to look up Flick, that bit about how they miss each other & his quip about her not needing him anymore could take a sad turn. And even if that doesn’t happen, all the lying & dissembling to her father that Flick will have to do to maintain the masquerade is going to be hard on her. It was also kind of interesting how he was once a reporter in LA before moving to Wyoming & has a lot of odd stories about the people he ran into there- kind of wonder just how many of the things Flick thought were exaggerations were actually Heretic/Stranger related incidents .

    However what was most interesting about that conversation was finding out a bit more about Flick’s mother- Joselyn Chambers, neé Atherby. As far as Flick’s father knew, Joselyn moved around a lot as a kid because her of her father’s government job (possibly an army brat), but had some sort of massive falling out with her parents (David & Fiona) before he met her. Though that raises a number of questions- was Joselyn Atherby even her real name or was it an alias generated as part of creating an ID for her to live in the mundane world post-Banishment, and for that matter, whether the David & Fiona listed on her birth certificate are even her real parents. The thing about the falling out would make sense as an explanation for why she’s not in contact with them, whether or not her parents were Heretics too, because if they were, doubt they could contact her after she left/was Banished, and if they weren’t, they’re long since dead. Also interesting that the late Professor Pericles was listed as the doctor who delivered Joselyn on the birth certificate- guess that means that he’s somehow connected to Flick as well.

    Neat that the healing ability Flick absorbed from killing those peridles not only healed her injuries but has caused her scars to regenerate.

    Then we get to see how track training goes. The twins certainly seem happy to be there. Unfortunately, Koren’s decided to have a go at Investigation as well. Professor Dare’s policy on tardiness is nice, certainly better than that of any teachers I had who bothered with such things. Though why do I get the feeling that Koren completely missed the Professor’s hint that she should stop spreading gossip about Avalon.

    The Pathfinder Building is certainly interesting and has to involve some very high-level Heretic magic at work for it to act as a hub where a bunch of disguised portals connect to allow Heretics to move about the world to take care of business.

    The projection rooms & the PAWS scanners are a nice bit of gear, that as Flick observed, would be really useful for law enforcement applications, and in a way, that’s what the Heretics use it for- creating exact holographic duplicates of scenes of suspected Stranger activity so the Investigators can pour over them to see if it was in fact the work of a Stranger without having to worry about local law enforcement getting in the way and/or damaging evidence. And indeed, that’s what the introductory exercise for the Investigation Track students will be- having a look at a projection taken from a scan of a certain gas station we saw a couple arcs back to see what they can come up with. Understandably, Scout & some of the other students are kind of freaked out by Professor Dare’s description of what happened there.

    And at this point, I’m feeling pangs of sympathy for those who end up going into the Investigation field for their career, as a big part of their job is going to be poking around some truly horrific stuff that would look like the aftermath of a horror movie. Good thing that Vanessa’s choosing a different direction to go in.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. you’re neglecting the possibility that Joselyn Chambers did not get banished but went into hiding. if this is the case, then she is the mother of that brother of Flick’s and we’ve got ourselves an entire menagerie of strangers to include in Flick’s family, with her mother possibly being the daughter of that vampire or whatever that race’s name is


  4. ““That’s what they all say.” Dad teased, though there was a note of sadness not fully hidden behind it.

    Swallowing slightly as I realized what he was thinking about, I closed my eyes. He was still hurting so much from Mom abandoning us”
    Me: Ouch. Those kind of mental/emotional wounds seldom heal fully.

    “He coughed. “Sorry, just the name of the doctor that delivered your mother is kind of amusing.”

    “What is it?”

    “Pericles,” he answered. “Zedekiah Pericles.””
    Me: !! There’s a surprise. The Heretic community seems like a well-connected place. Forget the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing, it’s more like two or three here…

    “From her pocket, the woman produced a small silver and violet orb, about the size of a golf ball. “This is called a Panoptic Analysis Window System, or PAWS. The PAWS, when deployed, will cloak and take a full scan of the entire designated area. ”
    Me: So, they have magical UAVs too? Huh.

    ““What kind of crime scene is it, Professor Dare?” I asked with a raised hand.

    She paused, glancing to me before responding. “An incident that occurred at a gas station. A man, who was believed to have attempted to rob the store was found shot in the back multiple times, presumably by the clerk. The clerk herself then exited the store, duct taped the gasoline nozzle into her own mouth, and proceeded to kill herself by choking on the gas.””
    Me: *winces* Oh. I wouldn’t be surprised if Flick’s Investigation group runs into Asenath at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. “Apparently the healing ability granted by killing those few peridles had extended as far as removing old scars.”
    That was a question I had about that version of regeneration. As someone who is ‘under the human average’ health wise for my ‘baseline’ I would /prefer/ the sort of healing that takes you to ‘human normal, or better yet ‘human peak’ over ‘your normal unhurt body’. It looks like flick didn’t think to question what sort of healing it was until now. Got to be careful about what powers you absorb.
    Though, that brings up another question; could a Heretic chose /not/ to absorb powers from a Stranger they kill? Do they have a choice in that matter? I mean, if you’re going after something who’s power is to endlessly produce bile from all of it’s pores that’s not really a power you’d want to have… .

    Joselyn! That’s her name! And now I can’t remember Flick’s Father’s name! Argh. *Remembers to look at the tags* Lincoln! i’ll forget them both after a few chapters anyways… .

    And now Flick is aware of what her little brother did, though she doesn’t know it was her little brother yet. Why do I get the feeling that Flick and Sunny are going to wind up running into each other and there’s going to be some kind of fight between the two of them, with Flick getting her ass handed to her and Sunny walking away without a scratch.

    Let’s see, order of powers one should acquire;
    1) Healing (thankfully they’ve got the easy to deal with bug-dogs for this, at east easy to deal with when someone doesn’t set up a summoning circle).
    2) High pain tolerance slash sock resistance slash ability to push through pain slash turn it off (anything that has this would be hard to kill though, just keep beating it until it stops moving and then beat it some more just to be sure).
    3) Enhanced reflexes (again, anything with this sort of thing is going to be hard to kill to get the ability from, maybe get it into an enclosed space and AOE it to death or use some sort of wide target paralytic or gas and kill it when it can’t move).
    4) Enhanced ability to /use/ the reflexes (tough anything with the former should have the latter, this one is really how the Heretic’s “power coping” works. Do they only get one power from one kill, even if said kill has more than one power? and if they do only get one power, do they get to chose which power to get? This is only counting “Primary” type powers, like the super reflexes is the Primary and the ability to /act/ on what those reflex tell you is Secondary, Does the absorption give you the Primary and all Required Secondary Powers as well or only the Primary and you have kill more to get the Secondary?).
    5) Some sort of extra-sensory awareness, to see or somehow find hidden foes (this is under the assumption that The Edge doesn’t give this ability by default, that it only shows them as “non-human” and any Stranger that has some kind of invisibility or camouflage ability isn’t just trumped by The Edge).
    Then after that I’m not really sure what else you’d really /need/ to stand a chance against most foes. When you deal with things. Maybe super strength, but if you can dodge a foe you don’t need to match strength for strength. It’s all depend on your fighting style past that point I’d guess.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “Though, that brings up another question; could a Heretic chose /not/ to absorb powers from a Stranger they kill? Do they have a choice in that matter? I mean, if you’re going after something who’s power is to endlessly produce bile from all of it’s pores that’s not really a power you’d want to have…”

      Ewww. Yeah that sounds like a pain. As for whether they can refuse abilities or not, well, that sounds like something Flick’s going to have to learn. You know, before the bile-producer shows up.

      And speaking of names, I notice you refer to Asenath’s nickname as Sunny. It’s Senny. 😉 As amusing as Sunny would have been in hindsight…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Whops, my bad.
        But yes, I thought “Sunny” was funny as a nickname for a vampire, I misread that ‘e’.


  6. Bro have come for you sis.
    OMG! she must investigate that scene of her bro handiwork.
    I wonder what she will do when she found out.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Flick: Hm… I sense something. Something strange. This presence, he is kin.

    Ammon somewhere else: Why do I keep getting this weird feeling someone or a couple of someones are looking for me…? Ah well, time to pay a visit to my half-sister’s house! *knock knock knock*

    Liked by 1 person

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