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[Plot Thread 3.2+] Divine Right Team-up Issue One 'Welcome to the Jungle'


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Divine Right Team-up

Issue One ‘Welcome to the Jungle’

 

Cassie sipped her drink as the sun beat down upon her. She watched a few people, tourists she guessed, frolic in the surf. It felt good to just bask in a bit of anonymity here at a little known but very expensive privet resort across the bay from Rio de Janeiro proper.

 

She had been in brazil only a couple of days and was not due back in Houston for a week at the earliest. This was the get her head strait decide if she were going to take the bosses up on the job offer or go her own way vacation she needed after Africa.

She took another sip and her mind drifted back to that early dinner just a couple of days ago…

 

Temple opened the door before Cassie’s hand had completed the knock and the younger girl grinned at her. “Come on in. Davian will be here in a bit, he had to take a call.  You want something to drink?”

 

Temple barely breathed between sentences and seemed full of energy, a far cry from her norm, as she pulled Cassie into the lavishly furnished suite.

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Given a few extra hours, a local bar, and her lost pre-empowerment anonymity, Cassie would have used her fake ID to get herself a drink or three to cut the edge of the hurt gnawing away at her belly. Emily getting caught and brainwashed was her fault, her boneheaded, impatient panic in that dark drowned tunnel. And now they'd lost their one shot at stopping Emily's vague warnings of apocalyptic consequences of Utopia prodding Ye Old Ancient Alien Tech. Good job, Cassandra. Five out of five on the screwing up your first mission with the team scale. Definitely worth cheating a few months onto her age before getting ripped a new one by her boss and banished to some boring training gig for the next forever. 

 

Or at least she would if she didn't have Temple standing there looking like it was snowing for Christmas for the first time in fifteen years. Try to be a good example since something good had clearly happened for the younger girl today.

 

"Nothing yet, thank you," she managed aloud, mustering the wisp of a smile, smoothing the front of her comfy sweater to give her hands something to do, "Good to see you're having a fun time at least. I take it you've enjoyed your first day with him?"

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  • Nina pinned this topic

Temple was very excited and she couldn't wait to let Cassie in on the secret, her secret. She knew that she couldn't keep it secret from everyone much longer anyway and was still a bit puzzled as to why Davian hadn't made her tell yet. She sure wished she could get a better read on him.

 

She reached down and grabbed Cassie's hand and pulled her in and over to a sofa. "It's been pretty wild, kind of boring but then you guys came back. Sit," she indicated one end of the sofa and plopped herself down on the other kicking her shoes off and tucking her feet under her. "Davian won't be long but you need to stop worrying, no one blames you for what happened and Namaka wasn't brainwashed, her switching sides wasn't anything any of you could have prevented.  It's complicated," She shrugged.

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  • Nina changed the title to [Plot Thread 3.2+] Divine Right Team-up Issue One 'Welcome to the Jungle'

Temple got a raised eyebrow for that rather specific series of reassurances. The girl hadn't seemed *that* perceptive before, and good mood or no... Nothing for it, and she wasn't feeling up to prying, not right now. If she had Sherlock Scan powers, all the better for her.

 

She settled down on the couch, mustering her poker face, "I'll take your word for it. If they have access to someone like me and had wanted to turn all of us, none of us would have come out of there in the same state of mind as we went into there. Small mercies that."

 

The bombshell brunette forced a chuckle, blatantly changing the topic, "So! What are we eating over my not-roasting?" 

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Temple chuckled, "Chef usually has a set menu with a couple of main dishes, that's if Davian doesn't order out form someplace, but I always have him make me a hamburger and fries, I'm not big on the fancy foods chef makes."

 

At that moment Davian came into the waiting area from the main office and gave the two young women smiles, "And you can order a burger if you want one too, Ms. Durrant, but Chef assures me that the selections today won't be super fancy.  Thank you for coming."

 

Both women stood and with the pleasantries handled, Davian led them into the dining room and the sat and after the waiter took their orders settled in to have their meeting.

 

"I know that the events of the last twenty-four hours have weighed on all of you and I’m pretty sure you have been blaming yourself for everything that went wrong. Ryan did the same thing, and I’m going to tell you the same thing I told him.” Davian sat forward and looked Cassandra straight in the eye, “None of what happened was your fault, I am the one who made the mistake of acting before I had any clue what was really going on. I sent you in there blind and I am damn lucky none of you were hurt.”

 

 

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She didn't have a lot of faith that the burger she ended up ordered would taste like In and Out Burger, but hope bloomed eternal.

 

The bombshell brunette bit back the instinctive self-flagulating statement on the tip of her tongue. She was sure some of it was her fault at least. "Small mercies, Sir," she answered, "So what about the aliens? I think I missed the bit when the Utopians promised to not poke the ancient hornets nest. Don't want to wake up some day with a deathstar bearing down on us because of them. Deezy's good and Ryan would be able to get us up there, but I don't see that ending so well."

 

She made an overexagerated exploding ball motion with her hands and smiled at Temple, "Endor Holocaust Theory. Look it up. Fun reading."

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Davian sat back, he liked the direction of Cassandra's thinking, there was a vast well of untapped raw potential in her much like Deezy but in a completely different direction.

 

<I agree. she's my favorite. 🙂 > came temples thought, complete with emoji.

 

"Yes well my contacts at the state department have corroborated the Utopians claim that they adequately compensated their neighbors for the , hmm, land acquisitions, and they have begun correcting the current disruptions causing damage to the ocean, as they told you they would.

 

Fact of the matter is, we have to take them on face value that they will be cautious safe guard the ruins. I have it on good account that the UN is probably going to recognize them as sovereign, at the request of those aforementioned neighbors, and well outside of a few other Nova's such as Einharjer, we don't have anyone with that power level to compare."

 

The food arrived and a few minutes was spent starting dinner.

 

"Anyway," Davian continued after a few bites. "NovaStorm is private company and not a part of the government, any government, and as such our options are currently limited. We have capital, we have research scientists and engineers, doctors, even a couple of philosophers on the payroll. What we don't have is enough Nova's or other empowered.

 

That is where you come in Cassandra."

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Hmmm. Oh. Oh, okay. This was a good burger. She chewed her first bite a few times, relishing the flavor.

 

"I figured I'd end up in PR at least some of the time after today, Sir. Hammers are used to hit nails, after all," she spoke aloud after his speech, translating it to 'stand by and be ready in case Utopia does open Pandora's Box', biting into the proverbial lemon and asking the ten-thousand dollar question, "Where do you need me?"

 

Cassandra braced internally for the answer, hoping it wasn't too boring.

 

 

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"Miss Durrant?"

 

Cassie didn't quite jump in her lounger nor did she almost blow the young very attractive resort attendant into a million pieces. But she almost did. She looked up at the attendant, Lucas is what his name tag read, right there on the chest of his perfectly fitted light t-shirt which showed off perfect pecs and  a well defined six pack as she could see where the shirt was tucked into a pair of fitted shorts. The standard uniform of attendants, both male and female, of the resort. He had nice well defined legs too, she noted.

 

"Miss Durrant," he asked again? 

 

"Yes that's me."

 

"There is a phone call for you, at the cabana." Lucas pointed back up the beach about forty yards. "I'm sorry it is on the land line."

 

"I'll be right there."

 

When they arrived at the cabana, Lucas pointed out the phone and she picked it up, "Hello?"

 

The cabana bartender placed an iced drink in front of her, she heard a couple of clicks over the phone. "Hello? Is this Miss Cassandra Durrant?"

 

The connection wasn't great there was an unusual amount of static which Cassie was not used too. "Yes this is her." She said a bit too loudly to overcome the static.

 

"Great! My name is Michael Everette, I'm... an associate of your employer. I was told you were looking for... odd... things."

 

 

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"That I am," she chimed brightly into the phone, smiling broadly at the bartender, "I'm really glad to hear from you, Michael. I can call you Michael, right? Or do you prefer, Mr. Everette?"

 

"M-m-michael, is fine, Miss," he responded with a gulp Cassandra swore she could hear over the static. Since the mishap in the tunnel, her ability to make a supernaturally good impression had extended itself to video and phone conversations. Robbed her of those Bring You Down To Earth conversations with her brothers the bombshell brunette was used to getting when she screwed up unless she was very careful with her words, but careful was the catchphrase of the Nova, ha, funny how that word was spreading like wildfire lately, condition these days. At least for her. Much as it was buried beneath the warm good feeling of a task at hand and the prospect of metaphorical fireworks, a stubborn kernel of nightmare doubt about just how much 'Namaka's' face heel turn was because someone like Cassandra had nudged her lingered.

 

"Great. Tell me all about it. Or would you prefer to meet?", she continued, juggling the phone into a comfortable spot on her shoulder, taking a sniff of the drink. Ooooo. fruity. Cassandra chuckled into the phone, voice a soothing melody.

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"Uh...Michael, Mike, dude, whatever you prefer Miss Durrant. And yeah, uh....   i think meeting would be better. Not too sure of these phones. You got something to write on..."

 

A little more than an hour an a half later Cassi, in her rented VW Up, was pulling off the expressa and onto a road that had last seen any maintenance sometime in the last century. Pau Grande was a small village built up hodge podge around a large conglomerate of fabric manufactures whose best days were long in the rear view mirror. Cass had don a google search and found almost nothing on the place.

 

 

Certainly it was nothing to look at. The village was dominated by the fabrics factory which was the center of everything. East of the factory was the most affluent neighborhood and as Cassi drove through she noted several of the houses had fenced grounds and some even had swimming pools. To the north was the more economically challenged homes. Tightly packed, peasant style homes common throughout the region, children playing ball in the narrow unpaved streets. What few adults she saw, mostly women or old men, gave her blank defeated stares as she drove past. There was no traffic and in fact she saw no cars at all only a few business trucks.

 

She saw Everette as soon as she found the store his directions led her too. He was tall and skinny, with light brown hair short and shaggy, and glasses. He was dress in well worn but serviceable clothes, if not for his whiteness he would fit in fine. there were half dozen children ages eight to ten, who were playing in the street but paused when Cassie parked.

 

As soon as he had seen her car Michael had started toward it so that he was already there when she parked. The phone call had gone much differently than he had intended. he had found himself somewhat confounded when he had talked to her. He hoped he wasn't coming down with something. Then he saw her through the window.

 

She was beautiful, he had never seen anyone who looked like her there was a sense of perfection. He felt instant desire for her and even stranger for hi, instant desire to please her.

 

She rolled down the car window and looked out at him. Michael was lost in her gaze. "Uh...um...uh..." he stammered.

 

"Yes," Cassie asked?

 

It was as if her single word had broken a spell and brought the world back into focus. He still felt those desires but they had been shoved back from the forfront of his brain, and he could once again think, remembering what he, they were doing here.

 

"uh, yeah , sorry. Miss Durrant? I'm Michael Everette. We talked on the phone."

 

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Cassandra had seen suffering on her cross country drive from California to Texas, but the people she'd driven past had a look of low expectations ground into their bones for a lot longer than the Storm. Sucked, but not like she had been in a position to do anything about the great failings of the global economy. Now though... Well, maybe not now with her current task, but surely something could be done to put an extra spoonful of humane into humanity. By someone.

 

Michael's stuttering introduction firmly ushered such gloomy ideas, the task at hand bringing a grin to her face, "We did, Mike. You said you found something odd for me?"

 

She chuckled, getting out of the car and perching a wide-brimmed hat on her head to keep off the worst of the Brazilian sun. Sunblock was all and good, but no sense in being stupid. A green t-shirt, black capris, and no nonsense hiking boots rounded out the ensemble, a young American on her first trip out of US wrapped in a quantum glamor made her seem more *present* than anyone else in the area.  

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Mike stared at her, swallowed hard and had to force himself to look away. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. He shook his head and looked elsewhere, anywhere but at her. "Lets go inside." 

 

Inside was a dingy, dirty, company style store sadly in need of air conditioning and a broom. The shelves where only about a third stocked with local branded goods. The counter to the left of the entrance had no cash register but there was a box bolted to the countertop to the left of the box were a wire  stand holding candy, gum, and an assortment of butane lighters. the counter extended about eight feet beyond, creating a makeshift bar. There was a hand written menu tacked to the wall and Cassie could smell food cooking wafting from the back of the store. Behind the counter sitting on a stool by the box was an old man who watched them with hollow eyes.

 

Mike stood at the counter about half way down in front of the menu "Umma fanta, Umma Coca por favor"

 

The old man slid off the the stool opened an old refrigerator and took out two bottles one an orange fanta the other a coke cola. he opened the bottles and set them on the counter picking up the money mike had set there then returned to his stool.

 

Mike picked up both bottle and offered them to her, "Which one you want? These the only flavors they have."  For some reason Mike wasn't feeling as distracted as he had outside when he first saw her, still goddam she was beautiful. 

 

"Ok weird shit time. As you could see outside and in here, these people live in third world poverty. Most of Brazil isn't like this but these people are for want of a better word slaves to the company that owns the mills. Everything here is owned by the company and these people while they get paid have to turn around and buy from the company, pay rent to the company, they are most of them so deep in debt that they have zero hope of getting free of the company. The kids start working in the mills as soon as they are old enough o do a job and so none of them ever go to school much past grammar school. So it's self-perpetuating. 

 

The government turns a blind eye I don't know why. But something happened six months ago. About a month after the storm a couple of Company cops were all juiced up and they decided to have a party with a local girl even though she wasn't in the partying mood. They beat the fu.. stuffing out of her brother and took her to a..., Mike pauses, sighs, "...to a rape house outside of the village. They got out of the car and vanished. She ran back to her house babbling about a Ghost Jaguar taking the men.

 

Similar incidents happened over the next few months. Abusive boyfriends got the crap beat out of them or vanished without a trace same with a father who beat his kids for no reason. More company cops some beat and so scared they wont talk about it and a few that have vanished. None of those who have disappeared have surfaced, anywhere dead or alive.

 

Then there is this."

 

He reaches into his pocket and sets a coin on the counter, an old coin made of gold. "People here started paying off their debts with these coins.

 

451054501_Minas_geiras_moneta_doro_del_brasile_portoghese_xviii_sec.jpg.51ae338a5c5fa6e43ce15b0acf96a9c7.jpg

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Mike had Cassandra's undivided attention during his spiel, leaning in with fascinated focus while sipping her coke. The horror of these people's situation competied with the reassuring flavor of her drink. Real sugar, like the times her brothers would treat her to Mexican coke. This Ghost Jaguar, whoever or whatever it was had a well-honed axe to grind, and having seen a little bit of the rest of the country enroute to the resort, Cassandra didn't blame them, not one bit. Her pupils glimmered darkly, the promise of some sort of righteous retribution dancing in her manner. Surely Davian could nudge someone to do something about this screwed up company town, a carrot to give them a foot in the door.

 

"Sounds like the kind of place you'd find an angry Stormer," she understated, taking the coin from him and feeling it's heft between her fingers, eyes scanning the Spanish, no, Portuguese wouldn't it be, inscription, lips quirking, "Although that doesn't explain the treasure trove. Have to ask them where they got it when we find them. Okay, questions then, Mike. Who's the leader around here, unofficially, I mean? I'd deeply appreciate you setting up a meeting."

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Mike beamed at Cassie, "Already done," he turns to look back toward the kitchen, "Juliana!"

 

A moment later a woman comes out wiping her hands on a stained apron. She is weather-beaten and it is hard to tell her age, could be fifties or sixties, but having seen some of this place on the drive in, Cassies thinks should could be younger. She was probably once attractive and there is still a handsomeness about her. her dark brown hair is streaked with grey, and her brown eyes look different than that of the man at the counter. This woman isn't broken.

 

She says something in Portuguese.

 

Mike, chuckles, and replies in English, "This is the woman I was telling you about. Cassandra Durrant, this is Juliana Benitez."

 

Juliana looks at Cassie, "You did not tell me she would be so pretty. She is like sugar she will draw all the flies."

 

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  • 3 months later...

Cassie was not expecting that. She looked deep into the older woman’s eyes but Juliana didn’t flinch or look away.

 

Cassie wasn’t exerting her otherness, but people still tended to react, well, like how Mike had reacted upon seeing her. Juliana didn’t, she seemed indifferent, and that was throwing up red flags all over inside Cassie’s head as she realized, Juliana Benitez, has been around a Nova, or Novas, long enough to become accustomed to the basic strangeness a baseline feels around the young godlings.

 

Cassie extended her hand, the woman looked at it for a second and just as she was about to withdraw it Juliana took it in her calloused hand and gave it a single firm shake.

 

“Miguel says you will help us with our problems, yes,” she glances at Mike who nods fervently, “how?”

 

Cassie gave Mike her own look at which he shrugged and mumbled something about “I had to give them something.”

 

“Mrs. Benitez…”

 

“It is Ms. I am not married.”

 

“Ms. Benitez, I understand the troubles you and your people have here and I am sure that we can do something to help. But the real reason I am here is that there may be a person here, one who was changed by the Storm last year, they are calling them Novas now...”

 

“You mean O Gato Fantasma, don’t you? That is why you are here? The yanquis want to take him away from his people?”

 

Cassie was taken aback by the bitterness in the woman’s voice and again looked at Mike, “O..O Gato?”

 

“The Ghost Cat, that’s what they call him.” Mike Crossed his arms and was looking at her a strange expectant expression on his face.”

 

“Shit…Gato, cat, I’m from central cali I know…” Cassie’s voice was slurring, what the fu..

 

The dizziness hit her all at once he vision blurred she took a step or more precisely she stumbled and looked at both Mikes. No, wait there's only one Mike, Miguel, no Mike, but why am I seeing two, then she saw the bottle of coke and realized I been drugged.

 

Mike caught her as she fell, and he looked a Juliana, “You better be fucking right about this…”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Temple tapped her nail on her desk impatiently, flipping over her phone for the umpteenth time in the last half hour. Several of the other students noticed and were put on edge by Temples tapping, though none of them could really say why. She was irritated and her irritation was flowing off her in palpable waves. Not enough to hurt anyone or send them into psychotic fits, but it irritated them. The whole class was going to have a bad day now.

 

And Temple Faire could care less.

 

She had thought that going to a normal school would be best and it had been but ever since the day at the beach last month shit had just been going downhill. For starters she had been angry at herself for the jealousy she felt at the outrageous good looks of the three Chicago Novas who had been there. Looks she would never have. It was odd she wasn’t in the least jealous of her best friend Cassie who was just as good looking as them, but something about that trio just set her off.

 

She had been in a bit of a state to begin with her powers had exploded there and she was trying to cope with a lot more than she ever had before and her secret was out and she knew that everyone looked at her differently now. A lot of them were scared.

 

Before going back to school, she had cut her hair short, even combed it,and while she hadn’t colored it with anything it had changed on its own to a deep auburn, which pleased her. then she started to wear a little bit of makeup, she had gotten new clothes, top of the line designer stuff all paid for by her guardian. She was not beautiful, not compared to those Chicago bitches, but she looked ok. At least she looked like a girl instead of a homeless cunt now. But she still couldn’t make friends. These kids were as bad or worse than her, and they could not keep their damn thoughts to themselves. They were horny, selfish, spiteful, little cretins and all they cared about were themselves.

 

At lunch, a boy she hardly knew came up to her and asked her if she wanted to go to the dance the school was having that Saturday night. The whole time he was talking to her he was looking at her chest and wondering if her nipples were big or puffy and whether her bush was red like her hair. His thoughts were so blatant it was like he was saying it too her face. She wanted to grab him and throw him in front of a bus. The only thing that stopped her was that she could have. With just a though. But at the same time part of her wanted to go, to be liked to be like all the rest of them. She told him Maybe she would have to check with her dad. No one at school knew she was an orphan or that her ‘dad’ was actually her guardian and one of the richest men on earth.

 

After lunch she had texted her best friend, Cassie Durrant the Nova known as Bada Boom. Cassie was older and wiser, ok maybe not wiser, but she was the only person aside from Davian who treated her like a normal person. Temple confided in her the things a girl can’t tell her parents or guardian. She had not seen Cassie in almost a month since she took on the role as special envoy for NOVASTORM INC. and was even now off globetrotting.

 

Temple needed advice about what to do about the boy, so she texted Cassie. Usually Cassie returns her texts immediately or if busy within about a half hour or so. But now it was over an hour and nothing. At firs this irritated Temple, but now it was starting to worry her.

 

When the bell rang a few minutes later Temple ran outside the building, she drew a few stares but she paid them no mind once away from the crowd where she could block them all out she sent her mind searching for Cassie.

 

Nothing.

 

She concentrated hard, pictured her friend in her mind, remember the feel of Cassie’s self, her conscience, the connection the two shared.

 

Nothing.

 

That, Temple thought, was not good.

 

Davion’s private cell phone vibrated on his desk, he glanced and saw Temple’s name. He thought abou the conversation he had had with Ryan and then Deezy when they had returned with  Konami, about what Temple had done there. He picked up the phone.

 

“Temple? Is everything okay?”

 

“I can’t find Cassie.”

 

Davion smiled, “Well, she is out of the country hun.”

 

“I know that. But I cannot find her at all.”

 

Davion thought about that for a bit, “She is probably to far away Temple, let me check…” He set the phone down. Temple was standing in front of his desk.

 

Temple glared at her ‘dad’, “She isn’t too far away, not if she is still on the planet and even thin I don’t know if too faraway is possible. She is my friend we have a connection. And I cannot find her.”

 

Davion keyed his intercom. “Rebecca?”

 

“Sir” the blond security woman appeared on the video screen, “How can I help you, Mr Layton?”

 

“When was the last time Ms Durrant checked in?”

 

The security chief took and deep breath and turned slightly away from the screen they could here the sound of typing. “She checked in last night as usual, via text nothing to report.”

 

“Had she made contact with our source.”

 

“No sir. Nothing beyond a text telling him she was in country. We instructed her to just wait for contact from his end.”

 

Davian looked at Temple who was looking glum and determined. “Rebecca, see if you can get ahold of her through the hotel. And see if you can get word to our source. Keep me posted.”

 

He glanced at the clock “Well no reason for you to go back to school. I’ll send a note tomorrow. You  hungry?”

 

“No I need to go find Cassie.”

 

“Honey it’s probably just a range thing…”

 

<No, it isn’t!> Her though speech flowed into his mind which meant she was serious. <She is just like you to me; she is part of my family I can mindspeak to her anywhere just like I can you.>

 

<Okay, Temple I’ll see if Ryan…>

 

Temples though cut his off like a knife <No Davion, I can find her. Tell me where she went and let me go help her. She is in trouble I know it.>

 

Davian thought about this, what if Temple was right. Dammit I have to stop thinking she is a helpless little girl. <Alright Temple, this is what Cassie is doing…>

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cassie groaned, it was stuffy, the air smelled moldy, and her head was pounding, the first headache she had had since the Storm. She opened her eyes and say that something was over her head a sack of some sort, rough cloth, maybe burlap diffused light leaked through, but she could not see out. She shifted her body she was stiff and her hands were tied in front of her ankles too.

 

“Do not scream or yell and I will remove the bag.” The voice was male and young, he spoke English with very little accent, “And do not attempt to use your power. There is a drug in your system that has adverse effects to those of us who can draw the power of the gods.”

 

Cassie tried to speak but her throat was so dry it was little more than a croak so she nodded her head. She senses movement then tugging around her throat which almost made her panic and prepare a boom, but she stopped, worried that the guy might be telling the truth. The sack came off and she saw a bare-chested young man, maybe twenty or twenty-two at the most and damn was he pretty.

 

“Who…who are you,” she croaked out.

 

The man turned and pulled up a bottle of water, unscrewed the top and put it toward her lip. Cassie turned her head away. “It is not drugged I promise, “ he took a large swig and swallowed, “see. No drugs.”

 

He put it back toward her lips this time the thirst got the best of her, and she drank deeply.

 

“So, who are you,” she asked now that her mouth and throat didn’t feel like a desert?

 

He smiled, “I am the Ghost Cat who do you think?”

 

“Why did you drug me? I’m no threat we just want to help.”

 

“Gah… that is what you yanquis always say. You can blow up a tank,”  he makes a  blowing up gesture with his hand and spreading fingers, “BOOM! I have seen the youtube. And it was not I who drugged you, that was your friend Michael, he knocked you out and then injected you with the power blocker.”

 

“But why,” Cassie asked shaking her head not really believing.

 

The Ghost Cat shrugged, “Gold, same thing all yanquis want.”

 

******

Cassie’s room was empty, her bed unslept in from the day before, clothes scattered, her bikin top hanging over the  back of the chair. Then the room wasn’t empty.

 

Temple had stepped from Houston to Rio and felt a momentary strangeness as her body adjusted to the completely different space she now occupied. It was one of the furthest steps she had made, and she had found that the further she stepped, the more reorientation her body had to acclimate to. Something about speed and altitude differentials. She could tell you the formulas that she had read that explained it but she didn’t understand any of it. Not really.

 

She walked slowly around the room, her eyes half closed her other senses open and seeking, she paused by the chair. Temple opened her eyes and looked at the bikini top, she reached out and let her finger tips brush the fabric.

 

Cassie sipped her drink as the sun beat down upon her. She watched a few people, tourists she guessed, frolic in the surf. It felt good to just bask in a bit of anonymity here at a little known but very expensive privet resort across the bay from Rio de Janeiro proper.

 

She had been in brazil only a couple of days and was not due back in Houston for a week at the earliest. This was the get her head strait decide if she were going to take the bosses up on the job offer or go her own way vacation she needed after Africa.

 

She took another sip and…

 

Temple shook her head concentrated closing her eyes…

 

"Miss Durrant?"

 

Cassie didn't quite jump in her lounger nor did she almost blow the young very attractive resort attendant into a million pieces. But she almost did. She looked up at the attendant, Lucas is what his name tag read, right there on the chest of his perfectly fitted light t-shirt which showed off perfect pecs and  a well defined six pack as she could see where the shirt was tucked into a pair of fitted shorts. The standard uniform of attendants, both male and female, of the resort. He had nice well defined legs too, she noted.

 

"Miss Durrant," he asked again? 

 

"Yes that's me."

 

"There is a phone call for you, at the cabana." 

 

Temple sucked in a breath, that was yesterday. She picked up the top and tried again. Nope. She needed something more tangible. 

 

Temple left the hotel room and walked through the hallway until she found a hotel maid pushing a cart full of linen and cleaning supplies. “Excuse me,” Temple had her best I’m a kid looking for my mom look one her face and the uniformed maid bought it hook line and sinker.

 

“Yes dear”

 

“Can you show me where the cabana is I’m looking for my mom…

 

It was hot and the cabana on the edge of the beach was somewhat crowded. Her mind flitted among those present, most were Europeans and Americans. She made subtly mental nudges and they began to clear a space subconsciously allowing her to approach near to the phone at the bar. The bartender watched her. She was obviously too young to drink.

 

Temple hoisted herself up onto the stool closest to the telephone and smiled at the bartender, then she made him forget she was even there.

She opened her self to the whole ambiance of the location and of time…

 

 

When they arrived at the cabana, Lucas pointed out the phone and she picked it up, "Hello?"

 

The cabana bartender placed an iced drink in front of her, she heard a couple of clicks over the phone. "Hello? Is this Miss Cassandra Durrant?"

 

The connection wasn't great there was an unusual amount of static which Cassie was not used too. "Yes this is her." She said a bit too loudly to overcome the static.

"Great! My name is Michael Everette, I'm... an associate of your employer. I was told you were looking for... odd... things."

 

"That I am," she chimed brightly into the phone, smiling broadly at the bartender, "I'm really glad to hear from you, Michael. I can call you Michael, right? Or do you prefer, Mr. Everette?"

 

"M-m-michael, is fine, Miss," he responded with a gulp Cassandra swore she could hear over the static. 

 

"Great. Tell me all about it. Or would you prefer to meet?", she continued, juggling the phone into a comfortable spot on her shoulder, taking a sniff of the drink. Ooooo. fruity. Cassandra chuckled into the phone, voice a soothing melody.

 

"Uh...Michael, Mike, dude, whatever you prefer Miss Durrant. And yeah, uh....   i think meeting would be better. Not too sure of these phones. You got something to write on..."

  

Temple froze the mental re-enactment and stood up and walked over to stand by psychic image of Cassie and looked at the napkin and the address she had written down.

 

It was a start.

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