Steed's Tale - "Esprit de Corps"
- Chapter 10
Journal of Prince "Major" Jonathan Steed of Amber:
Based on a Scenario by Rain Donaldson
Written by: R. Cal Westray, Jr. in 1996.
Steed's history was written in 1994.
"Extraordinary crimes against the people and the state,
need to be avenged by agents extraordinary..."
Episode A3-10 - Invasion of the Creed
In which Steed must choose sides
... and Emma protects his back.
Waiting in the TARDIS control room seems to be the best course of action. Since Trumps are blocked, there is little chance of leaving the TARDIS that way. The TARDIS is surrounded by Creed, so going out the front and only door is not an intelligent idea. Even if we were able to sneak out the front door and evade the Creed, I doubt if Trumps work outside the TARDIS either.
We do have a way out, but the last thing I want to do is give away Emma's little trick. So far, we have only used it for 'extreme' emergencies. I prefer to keep it that way. I also prefer to have its existence unknown.
I still feel that waiting is our best option. The Doctor is bound to make a move soon. Anyone wandering around the TARDIS looking for him, is bound to get lost. Another argument for sitting tight.
I look over the control panel that the Doctor uses to operate this little beastie. They seem to make little sense. I've watched the Doctor 'and' Oberon/Eric operate the controls; there was nothing consistent about it. I would guess that either the controls are randomly used or the buttons, switches, dials, levers, and knobs change functions repeatedly. Further, I don't think the gadgets themselves operate single functions, they probably utilize a mathematical progression or formula to control it. I haven't the foggiest notion of how to figure it out. I would wager my best bottle of 1929 Bordeaux, that Emma could figure it out if she saw the Doctor working on it. I softly mention to her that she should observe the Doctor next time he controls the TARDIS and offer my theory. She agrees to watch next time.
After a brief discussion, I mention that I am going to reach the Doctor via the intercom, if it works.
Morganth approaches me, he is a bit nervous. "Steed, if the subject comes up, tell the Doctor that it was 'not' my idea to attack him. He may not be willing to talk with me about it, since Suehprom yelled 'Now Morganth!'. That 'couldn't' have been received well."
"I'm just glad that he didn't include me in on that, or he wouldn't listen to 'any' of us. Regardless 'who' the Doctor is now, I plan to see this mission through. 'If' he is the Master and he plans treachery, I'll deal with it then. We need him. We are stuck here."
It has been nearly forty minutes since the Doctor ran off. I go to the intercom. Before I can press either button, a screen turns on and the face of the Doctor appears. He is sitting at the head of the table in the dining room, having a relaxed dinner. Is that a bottle of Dom Ruinart champagne, 1971 from Shadow Earth? Any 1971 champagne would be wonderful. I didn't see that when I raided his cellar, during our time on Time Beach.
He sips his glass and looks contemplative, tapping his finger tips rhythmically. He appears to be mulling over his thoughts. "Steed."
"Yes, Doctor. It looks as though we need to resolve some concerns."
"Yes, I suppose. Why don't all of you come down to the dining room. We can talk things over."
"That sounds splendid. You 'do' have some Dom Ruinart left. By the way, is that a 1971?"
"Of course." The connection is broken.
I suggest that someone stay at the control room in case the Doctor has something planned. Suehprom and Morganth stay. Emma and I go to the dining room.
As we enter the room, the Doctor is finishing his meal. He motions us to enter and be seated. I take the bottle, verifying its contents. I pour three glasses, one third full. I hand the glasses to Emma and the Doctor. I take the remaining glass and approach the chair the Doctor offers. I examine the chair closely to make sure there are no trap gadgets. It looks safe, I sit down smiling.
I examine the champagne, a Blanc de blanc; made almost exclusively with Chardonnay grapes. First, the color; I hold it up to the light. It is a pale gold, with an almost undetectable greenish tinge. It is crystal clear; with small, lively, persistent, and plentiful bubbles. I swirl the wine, by holding the base and rotating the glass gently. The swirling will expose more wine to the air, releasing it's bouquet. It concentrates in the top of the glass. I lift the glass to my nose and take sharp, shallow sniffs. "The champagne has a complex but unobtrusive nose, suggestive of further pleasures. I detect flowery, fruity, and herbal odors; all in perfect harmony."
I raise the glass to my lips and take a mouthful of wine, a tablespoon in measure. I tilt my head forward, purse my lips, and draw air through the wine in my mouth; holding the tongue rigid. I exhale through the nose, distributing the flavors and aromas throughout my mouth. With my lips closed, I relax my tongue and move my jaws in a chewing motion; so the wine flows around my mouth and comes in contact with my tongue and palate. I swallow. "It is aromatic, lacy, silky, and feminine with subtle finesse. It surrenders its bouquet joyously." I am lost in the moment, it incites the senses to experience further pleasure.
"An elegant champagne, Doctor. Unquestionably, a 1971 Blanc de blanc. Supple and noble, a treasure beyond measure. You must have a special place for one of this caliber. Thank you for your generosity." I lean back and relax, enjoying this oasis in a glass.
He nods and examines me closely. He thinks I am utterly transparent and predictable. Well, when it serves me.
During this time, Emma refrains from tasting it until the Doctor drinks his. She trusts my 'nose' in such matters and she is still assessing the Doctor. She has been around Amberites long enough, I can count on her to be more objective. I make an entry in my mental notebook. 'Next time I raid the Doctor's larders, I must be more thorough.'
1971 was an excellent year for most champagnes. They are rarely ever found in circulation. It is outrageously hoarded. It takes one who can move through Shadow to get ready access to the rare vintages. Also, when making wine; it helps to visit a shadow that has the specific conditions to duplicate the grapes for the best vintages. It was a hobby of mine during the war to shadow walk, retrieving the grapes needed to counterfeit another vintage. It was fun then, but it is best to find the 'real' thing.
On to business. "You must forgive Suehprom. He is purely concerned about your welfare, Doctor. He was disturbed by your last regeneration. He seems to think that you have been taken over by the Master. As hard as that seems to accept, you must admit your current form is strikingly similar to the chap we saw in the Corridor of Mirrors." Silence. He seems to want me to carry the conversation.
"Personally, since I don't know him, I have nothing against the Master. We still have a mission to accomplish. I also don't know how you are currently disposed towards your fellow Galifreyans."
"They are still weighing heavily on my mind."
"I would like to accompany you to Gallery, if you would like help."
"I don't see why you couldn't. However, we must complete our current mission first. We also have a little problem to resolve."
The bottom line is the Doctor is giving Suehprom his choice of destinations. Morganth will be given an option, stay or go. He will be happy about that. We are to tell the others.
I finish my drink, we get up and walk back to the control room. Suehprom seems a bit nervous. He probably felt outnumbered. He was right. I explained the situation, carefully and deliberately. Suehprom means well, he feels that we have been duped by the Master. Even if he is right, the Master would be no greater threat than the Creed invasion has been.
Thinking about each of us, we all have our little eccentricities. Things are uncertain since the Doctor's regeneration, prior to that he has been trustworthy and selfless. Kesa and Kat have both proved untrustworthy at times. Their loyalties tend to shift with the wind. My task seems to be one of wind control and crowd control. Blazer has been trustworthy and is more of a danger to himself than others. Suehprom is dangerous to have around because of his impetuousness and tendency to make things over complicated.. Creed is just plain dangerous.
Morganth - well, he is a Chaos wild mage. He has been very trustworthy. His spells are formidable, yet I would prefer not to be in the area when his spells are released. It is just a natural aversion I have to magic in general. That doesn't color my opinion of him. He would be my first choice after Emma to guard my back. I just don't know if his Psyche is more powerful than the elders we are facing. We need more. Correction, 'I' need more.
Scout is the one I have the most in common with, and I actually 'like' him. I am sure he doesn't 'like' me. He has learned enough about Amberites not to 'trust' me either. I represent the best and the worst of himself and all Amberites. We are both investigators or agents. We search for facts and truths; they are not necessarily the same. Both are often unpalatable.
He is an Amberite who didn't grow up in a low tech environment, that gives him a severe disadvantage. Even though I was brought up in luxury, it didn't prevent me from learning how to survive in the medieval environment of Amber. I can ride horses and fight with my hands and other weapons better than most people. I can survive in the wilderness if I need to. Scout is talented and struggles to learn quickly. I would guess that he relies too heavily on firearms that don't work in Amber and other places. He would probably die of exposure or starvation in the wilderness, without a proper guide.
Most importantly, I was exposed to the Pattern at an early age. He will have to face it as an adult to achieve his place in reality. I hope Scout gets the guidance he will certainly need. I offered my help, but he is as stubborn and independent as I am. He just doesn't take me seriously enough to trust me. The others may see me the same way.
Ironic - I see myself as a present day Scarlet Pimpernel. I serve the Amber monarchy and have been the protector of the innocent, deliverer of the persecuted, and avenger of great wrongs. Yet I am perceived as a pompous fop. Whether others consider me as trustworthy or not, I don't know. They may even doubt my sanity or just see me as a drunk with style. Possibly some current situations may have caused some uncertainty among them. Well, spending time as a vampire (Pattern ghost) or their discovery that my great grandmother is the Unicorn. The way I take to Pattern usage and Hellrides may cause them to question my sanity. Lets face it; every crisis that comes along, becomes my personal quest. You pick it, there are many reasons they may not trust me.
Emma sees through my image. She has called me an unmitigated fraud. She understands and respects my motives, my abilities, and my true self: a cheat, a lecherous carouser, and selfishly unprincipled. I take after my mother, what can I say? Emma? I respect her, too.
I have dragged the majority of our group through hell into several confrontations that have cost many lives so far. I will probably drag them through more; if they don't go, I will most likely go alone. It is wonderful to have Emma by my side again, I have dragged her along with me countless times. She frequently complains but quickly acquiesces. She also keeps me tethered to reality, so I don't do anything completely foolish. Often she is my conscious, my counsel, and my common sense. When I hear her say 'Steed' in her stern voice, I pay attention; I have learned to 'trust' her intuition.
Some of our members are lost already or absent. Creed fell into the Abyss. Blazer disappeared around the same time, but no one has mentioned him since. Kat's mind has left her body. I haven't heard a word about Coral. Scout is on some unknown mission with the Jewel. The Unicorn didn't provide any insight about it; it is just as well. I can't reveal what I don't know. Kesa left to help Eric (that saddened me - we could have killed Eric). I suppose she felt that she was protecting the underdog, but Eric is anything but an underdog. Next to Brand, Eric is the most dangerous man in all reality. Maybe she likes to support men of power. Men of power tend to blatantly use people like tools and discard them. I would never do something that cruel, intentionally. Well, Mrs. Gale once accused me of that, but I am getting better.
Suehprom wants to be dropped off at Castle Amber and Morganth would like to stay to continue the mission. It seems to be the most equitable solution until Suehprom and the Doctor/Master resolve things; if that happens. The Doctor even agreed to remove the block on Trumps within the TARDIS.
During our discussion, the Doctor returns. He looks smug, very smug. Trust me, I 'know' that look. Emma glances at me, with the same look, she is amused.
Shortly, a large purple dinosaur walks into the control room. It looks like a huge stuffed animal, with its arms behind its back. Suehprom is reacting rather badly to it. He releases a spell at the plump purple prehistoric Puck. Sorry, I couldn't help it.. It shrinks a bit, then regains its size. The Doctor asks me to separate Suehprom and the purple dinosaur, so he can set the controls for Castle Amber. Before I can step between them, it stands before Suehprom and Suehprom attacks it with a sword. Morganth is referring to the creature as a spawn of Moander. He cuts into it, making a nasty gash in the neck of the dinosaur. Emma kicks his arm away stopping further damage. The Doctor fires a gun at Suehprom, firing a dart; hitting him in the shoulder. Suehprom shifts his hand into a claw to attack the dinosaur again. A spell is released from the dinosaur and before Suehprom's claw connects, he disappears. The dinosaur cast a spell? After Suehprom disappears, the dinosaur runs out of the room.
Within moments, Kat enters the room. So, Kat made it back to her body and left the TARDIS infirmary. She is in her black leathers with a turtleneck, an interesting change in accessories.
The Doctor explains to Kat our current mission to stop the Creed invasion. She is intrigued, she even lets the Doctor inject her with the hunter seeker nanites.
The Doctor returns the TARDIS to the site of the Creeds. On the monitor, we see two Creed cyborgs nearby. Others are further off doing menial tasks. Long range scans provide information about the installation. There are humans nearby being fitted with cybernetic implants and injected with nanites. They are ingesting large quantities of proteins to help provide sustenance to help the bodies adapt to the nanites. Every one within sensor range is beyond rescue, no one can be saved.
I suggest we try to see what effect reality shifting will have on them, using Pattern. I have to be outside the buffers of the TARDIS. We choose one nearby and I open the door, very slightly. I bring up the Pattern, extend my awareness, and try to envelop the single Creed like a Pattern bubble to disable and isolate him.
The other Creeds become alerted to my manipulation. They turn to the one I focused on, then to the TARDIS. We have been discovered. Bloody hell! If I only had more Psyche, I could dominate the lot of the beasties. I close the door and the Doctor sets the controls to get us out of there. All the power of the Pattern is at my disposal, but I don't have enough force of will. I am trying to fight for control over reality with an elder Amberite who is helping them.
I have been just getting by in the past, but I am getting damned tired of it. I want to be on the offensive, in spades! I need an artifact, a very 'special' one. As I said earlier, I am not sure I can trust the others to give me what I need. I dare not ask an elder for it, the price would be too high. Either way, I may lose control of my mind and body to others. It happened twice to me, I 'don't' want it to happen again. I need to be dropped off for a little Hellride. Once I find what I am looking for, I can Trump back to the others. It shouldn't take too long, but it is the only feasible way. I just need a horse, preferably one of my Andelusians.
A discussion between Kat and the Doctor indicates that they want to Trump Doctor Plutonium into a shielded holding cell. I would like to be able to assist with a Pattern bubble or pocket Shadow, but I need to find the aforementioned item first. I will patiently wait for the opportunity to leave.
I'm sure the others can provide the Psychic boost I need to defeat the Creed invasion: Kat, Morganth, and the Doctor. There is a danger and one that I do not want to risk. Instead, I want to find an artifact that will boost my Psyche, hopefully above Kat's level. Just for a short period of time, I may be hedonistic, selfish, unprincipled, and greedy; I am not stupid. There is an equal risk in keeping such an item. Such an item will make my control over these Shadows and the Creed invasion absolute, regardless if an elder is helping them. It will be an artifact, based on Pattern energy, that will want to return to its place of origin when I am done.
My plan is to return to the Cineverse with the artifact. Boost my Psyche and bring up the Pattern. Scan for signs of Pattern usage and Amberites, to be alerted and aware. Use the Pattern to draw all the Creed from nearby Shadows into the main one and then block them in with no possible chance of escape. Then 'erase' them from existence: the Creed, the cybernetic equipment, the nanites, and equipment that converts the Creed. I scan again all nearby Shadows for signs of Creed that were missed and 'erase' them as well. Then 'erase' Doctor Plutonium's castle and anything he possessed, making the Cineverse safe again. Then take the artifact back to its place of origin. Then roll the credits and fade to black. Sounds simple and straight forward? Not bloody likely.
Meanwhile, the Doctor and Morganth are beginning construction of the triple reinforced field over a titanium wall, with another field within the holding cell. I will provide a Pattern bubble around the entire cell if necessary. If he escapes the cell, I can use the ever compressing Pattern bubble; like I used on Sweeney, the beige man. Well, his shape shifting impostor anyway.
I receive a Trump contact. Who could it be now? The Doctor dropped the Trump barrier? Good. I let the others know, in case I find myself under attack. I would rather not be an instrument against the others. I open contact, it's the enigmatic Kesa. She wants to know what is happening. Kat, who is in the room with me but not touching me, is now in contact as well. She apparently got through to Kesa as Kesa got through to me. I didn't think that was possible; but since Kat is involved, I'm not surprised. I also find I got edged out of the conversation and I lose contact. I suppose I should be offended or feel slighted, but I don't. After an extended conversation, Kesa comes through.
Our group in the TARDIS is now comprised of: myself, Emma, Doctor, Kat, Morganth, and Kesa.
Doctor. "Kesa, did Kat explain our situation and our plan?"
Kesa. "We are supposed to take Doctor Plutonium out of action."
Doctor. "We want to Trump him and pull him through, putting him into a shielded holding cell. We need his Trump."
Kesa. "I can do that." We knew she had the Trump. That is why Kat brought her here.
Doctor. "The room is ready. I have made all the preparations possible. Can either of you make preparations for magic?"
Kat. "Some magic protection spells. Once he is inside, I can paralyze him; to keep him from escaping."
Doctor. "I think that can be arranged."
I offer. "Doctor, you may want to have your hunter seeker nanites handy to use on Plutonium."
Doctor. "The fields are nanite proof. If we disrupt them, he may die before telling us anything useful."
Kat. "I take it you want me to stay in there to force my will on him?"
Doctor. "If you really want to."
Kat. "I would also like to cast a spell inside the room to prevent spells from being cast. I will prepare the spell and Morganth can help with it. Once he is inside and paralyzed, I will cast the no Trump, no magic spells."
The Doctor brings out K9. Still switched off, he gives it to Kesa. "Kesa, I have no more use for him. He needs a good home. Here's the power button."
Kesa. "Will he attack me?"
Doctor. "There were some problems with his programming, I had to reboot him. He will be fine."
She turns him on. His metallic voice responds. "Hello, mistress." He moves to her side, at a heel position; waiting for her commands.
She is excited about K9 now.
We are nearly ready. Nothing has been prepared to block Pattern, Logrus, or pure Psyche. Kat will handle the Psyche defense. I will handle Pattern defense. The Logrus can't be addressed with our group, possibly my Pattern abilities will counter it.
The Doctor checks his scanners again.
Everyone double checks their preparations.
As we complete our preparations, Kat mentions that Scout walked the Pattern recently carrying the Jewel of Judgment. She was in the Jewel at the time. I didn't think that was possible either, but it is another thing to file away for later reference. I'm glad that Scout finally made it through the Pattern.
Now, we are ready.
I bring up the Pattern in my mind, ready to bring it to the fold.
Kat is in the special room with the Trump of Doctor Plutonium. She initiates contact with him and pulls him through with sheer force of will. She mentally paralyzes him and dumps him in the room. She then runs out of the room and activates a Trump block.
The Doctor begins feverishly working on the control panel. He excuses himself to check on something. Kesa follows him, in case he needs help. K9 follows behind her like a shadow. "Mistress."
It is my call. "Kat, can you extract any information from Plutonium?"
She looks at me knowingly. "What do you want to know?"
"Anything he knows about stopping or controlling the Creed. Do they have any weaknesses?"
"Your want me to rape his mind." A statement of fact, not a question.
"That is an indelicate way to put it, but - yes." I care little about someone that has been involved in damage to 'my' Shadow. I care only for the elimination of the invasion of the Creed. She finds a comfortable place to sit and begins to probe Plutonium's mind. Morganth checks his spells on the holding cell.
I expand my awareness. Everything in the immediate area is stable. What is the Doctor concerned about? I expand my awareness to the full inside perimeter of the TARDIS. The barriers of the TARDIS block my abilities to see beyond the TARDIS itself. It is much larger than I suspected. Wait a minute. The interior is reconfiguring as I watch. It seems to be losing total volume, i.e. it is shrinking. Rooms are vanishing and the surrounding rooms move in to take up the vacant spaces. The rooms are vanishing quickly, at random. There seems to be no pattern to it. Our room could vanish next. I let the others know our situation and ask Morganth to contact the Doctor or Kesa to let them know. I suspect that this is what the Doctor is checking out.
Morganth reaches them by Trump. "They found out about it around the same time you did, Steed."
"Ask the Doctor if his Eye of Harmony is in danger. We don't need another crisis, like before."
Morganth relays the messages from the Doctor. "I'm working on it." There is more. "Provided I and the controls stay intact, I can get this under control. However, just in case I'm wrong. It would be a good idea for the rest of you to leave the TARDIS for awhile. I will remove the Trump barrier in the TARDIS."
We better leave the TARDIS before our room vanishes. I 'don't' want to know where the rooms are going. I withdraw my Trump deck and withdraw a suitable Trump. The one to my room is still in Scout's possession, I hope. I'm ready. Kat is still busy with Plutonium, she needs more time. I will carry Plutonium. The others are a little disadvantaged when it comes to physical exertion, excluding Emma of course.
After consulting with the others, it is agreed we use my Trump; to Castle Amber. Sometimes they 'do' trust my judgment. Morganth pulls Kesa and K9 through to us. I drop my Pattern awareness and concentrate upon my Trump. Once the rainbow portal is open; I have Kat, Morganth, Kesa, K9, and Emma step through. I follow with Plutonium on my shoulder and close the contact.
The guards are alerted to our sudden appearance. I am sure the guards hate having people pop up in front of them like this. Some Trump artist must have decided that the front gate would be a good place to make a Trump. There is no way of knowing how many Trumps there are of that spot. So, it is a spot where people frequently pop up out of nowhere. The guards must really hate it. As I said, the guards are alerted to our presence. They have their weapons drawn. My companions are not 'known' by the elite Castle security. When they see me, they stand down from alert. There is a lot of good to be said about being the only recognizable member of our group in Amber.
They recognize me and I instruct the guards that I have a patient to take to the infirmary. One guard I recognize as Lieutenant Caephus, steps forward. "Major, I mean Lord Steed, do your guests need rooms prepared?"
I look around, who was assigned rooms earlier? All except Emma. "Thank you for your concern, Caephus. Lady Emma needs quarters. Please have Michael have the room next to mine on the third floor prepared. If it has been assigned to someone else, we can be found in the infirmary. Thank you, Lieutenant."
"Very good, sir. My pleasure, Lady Emma." He smiles and bows deeply. He has a bit of a reputation as a ladies man in town.
Emma smiles back and curtsies. "Thank you, Lieutenant Caephus."
He looks at our group and is startled at seeing K9 and he turns back to me. "Lord Steed, there is one other thing. Be careful, there is a minor infestation of alien creatures in the castle. They are quite nasty and dangerous. They are variable sizes, very quick and graceful, a cross between insect and lizard, tough hides, acid blood, and rows of razor sharp teeth. A search party is tracking them down now."
"Thanks for the information, Lieutenant. Fare well." He directs a subordinate to be a runner to the castle.
We move quickly to the castle. We enter the castle, down the hall, up the stairs, and into the infirmary. It seems to be the place our group spends the most time in. More so than their own rooms or the Great hall. Our adventures tend to result in many injuries, some more so than others. I place Plutonium on a bed, next to another patient. A guard with a flower shaped object on his face, very strange. I take out a pair of handcuffs and put them on Plutonium, in case Kat is done and he tries to escape. I don't want the Creed to come to Amber with Plutonium's help.
Kat, Kesa, and K9 stay with Plutonium, while the rest of us go to present ourselves for an audience with King Random. I am long overdue to report my activities to him. After all, I 'am' an agent of the King. The guard outside the infirmary mentions that King Random is not in Castle Amber. I ask if Queen Vialle is in the castle. She is here and the guard leaves to make arrangements for a private audience.
He returns shortly to escort us to the Queen: Morganth, Emma, and myself. We enter her studio and I approach the lovely Queen Vialle. There are a large variety of statues and statuettes artistically arranged in her chambers. I kneel before her and kiss her hand. "I am honored to be in the glow of your presence again, my Queen. Please allow me to introduce my companions. Lady Emma Peel from my Shadow Earth, and Morganth a mage from Chaos. Friends; this is Vialle, Queen of Amber. Beloved Lady of the Realm."
"Hello again, Steed, thank you. Welcome Emma Peel, I have heard so much about you from Steed. He holds you in the highest regard. Welcome Morganth of Chaos, you do us honor with your visit."
"My Queen, how fares my Uncle, King Random?"
"Very well, last I heard. Have you heard different?"
"Not at all. I dropped by to brief him on my activities. Standard procedures, but a bit overdue. Since he wasn't available, I thought of you. Reporting to an underling would have been unwise, some information is best kept within the family. If you are interested, I would be delighted to weave you a tale of high adventure. The ending is undecided yet."
"Most certainly, please do. Would you care for tea?"
"That would be delightful." I give a warm smile.
She gets a tray from a table and brings it over. She moves with great precision; slowly and gracefully. She hands each of us a cup. Then she sits down and looks attentive, while we have tea and biscuits.
I tell her of the meeting of the cadre, the capture of Creed by Flora and the others. The Chaosians visiting Amber, claiming we held their Prince prisoner. The confrontations. The Chaosians leaving with Creed. The maiming of Coral and theft of the Jewel of Judgment. My encounter with the Ty'iga and my time as a Pattern ghost. Reuniting with the others to rescue the Jewel. Tracking down the Jewel through Chaos.
Floating across the Abyss on a boulder guided by Lord Merlin and fighting hoards of creatures to regain the Jewel. An accident occurred which resulted in the Jewel, Creed, and my Ty'iga inhabited body falling into the Abyss. All but Creed is rescued from the Abyss by the Unicorn. I regain my body and I am reunited with my friend Emma, who was possessed by a Ty'iga and brought to the Abyss to fight us.
The Unicorn gave the Jewel to Scout and I think he is on a mission with it. (Vialle already knew about the Jewel and Scout, from Random.) We lost companions in the Abyss. Morganth wonders who I am referring to. I mention Creed and Blazer. He tells me that Blazer Trumped to Castle Amber after shrinking. Excellent. We only lost Creed. I omit the information about the problem with the time lines and the return of Eric and Deirdre. (Vialle mentions that she has heard about their return, she 'knew' I omitted that detail.)
When Emma was taken over by a Ty'iga, she came to me for help. Our Shadow Earth was being invaded by cybernetic creatures, an invasion of the Creed. (Vialle asked if there was a connection to 'Prince' Creed.) I explain the connection and we have their creator in the infirmary. We will attack the Creed next. As I told her, the end of my tale is unknown.
I tried to keep the tale as brief as possible, but she has a way of gathering information. I notice that I was rambling. Emma rolls her eyes, she thinks I just like to hear my own voice.
When I finish my tale, she smiles and thanks me. "Steed, is there something you need for your mission?" She can sense that I am withholding something. I am seriously tempted to ask her about what I need, but I must find it on my own.
"Thank you, no. I truly appreciate your offer, my Queen. I have to find my own way, you understand."
"I understand. Emma, Steed has told me so much about you. Do you mind if I see you for myself?"
Emma looks puzzled. "Certainly." She walks over to Vialle and sits next to her.
Vialle raises her hands and reads Emma's face and features. She smiles broadly. "You are as beautiful as I imagined, Steed was correct in his description of you." Emma and Morganth now realize that she is blind, no one would know it or easily detect it.
"Thank you, your Highness." She actually blushes, that is a first.
"Visit me again when you get the chance, you are always welcome. I enjoyed your company, and the tale." She embraces Emma. She offers her hand to Morganth and myself. I kiss her hand. "Thank you for your time, my Queen. The pleasure is ours. Give Random our best regards. He is by far, the most blessed man in the realm." I am giving her a heart felt compliment, she would detect flowery and empty flattery.
She smiles. "Stop by again when you have more time, we could have a more leisurely chat. Good luck on your mission. Steed, thank you for keeping us informed. Random appreciates your support.
We depart for the infirmary to see how Kat and Kesa are doing.
Kat fills us in on what she has learned. Plutonium was working on a way to control the Creed. In order to stop them, it is necessary to find and stop the original Creed cyborg, made from the arm of Creed of Chaos. The code words and access codes are supposedly on a file on a high tech device. It was the file the Doctor had; the codes may or may not work. It is only Plutonium's best guess. He still intends to rule the world, so he is still a threat who must be neutralized.
He had no memory of Creed or the others from the alternate time line. He began his robotic experiments with the found arm. The experiments went horribly wrong. The Creed went rogue. I think that rogue is a term that best describes Creed
We will need to locate the original Creed cyborg to use the access codes. We stopped Plutonium as he was trying to find and control the original Creed. Plutonium thinks it is still in his castle, he wants to use the Creed.
Kat decided to remedy Plutonium's urge for world domination. Other than that, she left him relatively intact, mentally. It took longer to sift through his mind gently. It would have taken a very short period of time to just rip it from him. However, there would have been very little of him left.
Kat seems to be done playing with her food, i.e. Plutonium. She does seem to derive the same pleasure that a cat would have with a mouse. With the same intensity, ferocity, playfulness, and little mercy.
She instructs a guard to keep Plutonium under guard. If he tries to leave, put him in a dungeon. The guard understands how important that is, Kat mentally emphasizes her point. I give the guard the keys to the handcuffs. Some things are impossible to do with cuffs on, they can watch him.
Ge`rard is not currently in the infirmary, otherwise we could explain the importance of this as well. He is helping with the alien infestation.
Kat hears of the current infestation and it catches her attention. "What infestation?"
The guard explains the infestation to Kat. The patient next to Plutonium has a larval alien host on his face. It looks like a flower or bizarre starfish.
Kat has found another plaything, she was too busy earlier to hear about them. Now she sits down again and focuses her attention on an alien species. She looks at the larva, then looks upward and outward. Soon we hear inhuman screams in the castle in the distance.
We hear guards outside dealing with a newly berserk alien creature in a great deal of pain. Morganth leaves to check on the situation.
Kat has a self satisfied look on her face as she was playing with the aliens. I would swear that she is even purring.
Morganth returned before Kat was done with the aliens. Kesa suggests a card game. We had a foursome, so we played: Kesa, Emma, Morganth, and myself. Morganth gets bored and decides to play a harmless little prank.
After a small spell, Kat begins changing colors, a rather colorful display. She became a cat of a different color. This went well until Kat came back from playing. As she returned, her skin is blue, green, yellow, then red. She sees the dead alien with contempt, manipulating its arm; it fans out and knocks over our table scattering the cards. I even had a winning hand, pity.
She gets up and sees her color, bright yellow. With a hand motion, the color vanishes
Morganth makes a fatal mistake. "That was a neat trick, how did you do that?"
Her face darkens, without a spell. She gives him a look that can kill. Morganth finds himself now locked in mental contact.
Morganth tries to convince Kat that it was a harmless joke. He also ask me to stop Kat from squishing his mind.
I try. "Kat! That is quite enough. We have other things to do now. We have a lot of Creeds to squish. Stop it."
She ignores me, I expected as much. The impetuousness of youth, she thinks she is unbeatable. I suppose if you could kill someone with a thought, it would tend to affect your judgment. By the way, in my ever increasing file of things to remember: 'Never play a practical joke on Kat. Unless, it can be unquestionably blamed on someone I want to eliminate.'
The contact is becoming serious. Morganth calls out. "Kat Askiir!" I detect magical energy. Somehow, Morganth is getting an edge and is not backing off. He is walking toward Kat. She kicks at him. He sidesteps the kick and gets kicked in the leg. He still advances and backhands her. If she doesn't take a joke well, a slap will only make it worse. She leans back to avoid him, to no avail. He makes solid contact. She rolls over a table to the other side. If she learns 'anything' about this, she has neglected physical combat training.
Morganth is visibly upset at Kat, she wouldn't let up when he asked and I doubt if he will now. "Kat, don't make me do that again; stop the attack."
"Kiss my ass."
So much for reconciliation, unless this is her idea of courtship. Not likely.
He advances again. He plans to stop her physically before she can dominate him mentally. Neither will back down. And they played so well together, earlier.
I grab a bucket of water nearby, it just happens to have ice in it. I hand another to Kesa, she likes the idea.
Kat rolls over and kicks the table at him.
I step forward, armed appropriately. "Stop it, both of you. Don't make me use this." Kesa and I have the buckets at the ready.
Morganth stops. "I am willing to call this a draw if she is."
"Next trick, you die asshole." She backs off a bit. She sees the table and kicks it toward him. Next she uses telekinesis to lift and throw the table at him. It careens at Morganth.
"You asked for it." Kesa and I both release the icy water at Kat. Splash! Kat is stunned and distracted, losing control over the table. Crash! It lands at Morganth's feet. I get in front of Morganth, with my Pattern raised in my mind, to keep Morganth from attacking Kat. I don't expect him too, anyway.
Hopefully, she is too wet and cold to attack further. I hated to do that, I would rather not be added to her list. In my peripheral vision, the alien is becoming animated, almost mechanically. It was the one Ge`rard killed earlier. I withdraw Shadowveil from the brolly sheathe and slice the arms from the body of the alien. Then with the flat edge of the blade, I force it back to the table. "Let's stop this fighting!"
Kat is furious. "If he wouldn't have played that freaking trick! He needs to be taught to respect those who are superior to him."
A guard speaks up who was cowering in the corner. It's the one that Kat told to watch Plutonium. "I'm just a guard here, and I don't have a place in this confrontation. Maybe if the guy would apologize to the girl, the girl would stop trying to kill the guy. Then everything would be peaceful in the infirmary."
It is a genuine attempt at reconciliation by the poor guard. She withdraws a Trump, it doesn't seem to function.
Morganth offers. "Kat, I'm sorry I pulled my prank. Let's call this off."
The guard gathers courage. "He apologized, cat lady. If you don't accept, will you please take it outside?"
Kesa withdraws a Trump and activates it. They both step through and K9 quickly follows.
The guard's legs give way. I help him to a seat. I remember to breathe again.
Emma and I exchange glances, shaking our heads.
Morganth looks like he realizes that his days are numbered. If anything, he has learned a valuable lesson.
Well, it looks like I will have to go on my little excursion after all. With Kat, Kesa, and K9 gone; our odds have drastically been reduced. Furthermore, if I now allow Morganth to be the conduit for my plan; it is too dangerous now, because he may get attacked from Kat at a crucial step.
Emma asks. "Is she always like that?"
"Pretty much, yes."
Morganth adds. "I just didn't realize how badly she would take my little joke. She has absolutely no sense of humor."
Emma continues. "Steed, if she comes after you; I'm kicking high. I think I can take her, physically."
"Hopefully it won't come to that, my dear. By the way Emma, would you care to go for a little ride in the country? Maybe a little picnic.
In her sultry voice. "Steed, you have something in mind. Whatever it is, it is not going to be a picnic."
"My dear, I am genuinely hurt." The undercover man feigns injury.