I left Karl and Joe behind and drafted some runners to chase down the people I needed. I knew where one I needed would be and it was time to go check the ambush his daughter and her best friend had gotten caught in. I seemed to have picked up a devil on the way, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. They were almost like translators or local guides sometimes.
At least the site where it had happened was above the slide line caused by the tsunami. Damn what a mess that was going to be. The weather had messed up the site but, to a practiced eye the body pattern of the catamount like animals (the devil started yelling “varg, varg!” when we got near them) read like a book. Seeing a full eight of them down made me happy I had asked Mariana to do a few specialized blood tests for me.
The Lab / Hospital looked like a war zone when I came in but Mariana looked like she was just wrapping up. “How’s it going,” I asked?
“Better than I thought a couple of hours ago. Jai is stabilized and she’s going to be OK. Em is still touchy but I’ve moved her off of critical, the baby I have no idea. Don’t know if the shock or the quick heal is going to cost her that or not. And May’s fine – up and about. She’ll have a nasty bruise from where that stick hit her, but the only leftover from the concussion she’s got is a bad headache.”
I was amazed, “So I guess that stuff really works?”
“If you had not got us the power to start making this stuff we could have easily lost at least two by now!”
“But it’s not enough Mariana, it’s never enough. Now we got a legitimate threat the military has to handle when I should be helping Karl.”
She smiled and reached out to grab my hand. “What was that speech about Span of Control, you know it has to be this way. That’s why Karl is the Top Cop and you are the Chief Grunt, it was too big a job for one person and you know it.”
I muttered and then asked, “OK you win, and did you get those blood tests I asked for?”
“Yeah and you were right, she was way up in the Red and she got there fast.”
My turn to grin, “I thought so, you have no idea how close she was to getting off a shot on that slizzard. The physical evidence at the ambush site backs it up. By the way Sally.”
The RN came over, “What can I do for you?”
I reached out a grabbed her padd and hardwired it to my wrist comp. “Yeah, when Jai wakes up in the morning; make sure she reads this.”
Sally took her padd back and looked at the file. “I am just learning to speak grunt but this reads like it’s a damn miracle those two did not get eaten.”
“Yeah, and the miracle’s name is Gabriel Benjamin. You just cannot operate that high up without the skills and reflexes pounded into you. He did not produce a particularly socially graceful young woman but he damn sure trained a survivor. Anyway, pry Connor away from her and get him over here.”
As we were waiting for Connor, Sinopa and Ash came dragging in, looking pretty much like everyone by this time, bedraggled. I turned to Mariana, “Is Washington’s mom here?”
“Yes, they brought her down about an hour ago hyperventilating and I know what you want, already done!”
About that time, Connor came up looking beat to hell. “Sorry to drag you into this but, Jai needs the rest and I need your body.”
Connor gave me a weary look that slowly turned into a wry grin. “You’re right. What’s the problem?”
I gave the whole group a slow look before starting with a question, “CPT. Sinopa are you as tired of this damn rumbler as I am?”
“Oh, you know that’s a yes!”
“Good, you are in charge. LTC. Andrews and CPT. Benjamin will take your orders on this one. It’s just fed, so track the bastard down and kill it.
“CPT. Benjamin a second weapon for you in case the .30’s don’t take it down.” I then gave him a carrying case with a plasma rifle and three extra charge modules. “I assume you know how to operate it?”
“We avoided using them – too imprecise, too much power for most jobs – but yeah, I know my way around one. I’ll save the ‘where the frack did that come from?’ discussion for later.”
“Good. Get a salvageable carcass if you can but don’t take any chances. If you have to fry it down, fry it down.”
“What about the Washington kid?” Ash asked.
“Spotter and I will go get him. When we find him he’s probably going to need Medical attention anyway; might as well kill two birds with one stone. Let’s go!”