From the Story Arc: One of Two

Previous Story in the Arc: Memories of Future Past by Belladonna Aura (Friday, July 06, 2007)

Next Story in the Arc: Incarceration by Belladonna Aura (Monday, July 09, 2007)

(posted Saturday, July 07, 2007)

Bella typed in the last keystroke and sent the files to JM, Than Ha and Ivan. There wasn’t a lot there, all things considered. Sure, Blue had claimed he had bopped three months into the future, but it could have been three years, three days or three decades. Still…

She left another in Waitron with a time-lock to Vickie.

She checked her watch, picked up the cat carrier and her bag, made sure her formal uniform was as immaculate as humanly possible, and headed for the waiting cab. She’d have flown on her own to DC, but Ivan-the-cat would have strenuously objected.

“Look….Commissar…with all due respect, all this is just sheer speculation on your part.” The Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee did not do the usual dismissive body language, but he did shake his head. “How many wild-assed prophecies do we get over the course of a day these days? And how many of them come to pass? For that matter, if I can get my little pea-brain wrapped around this whole multi-verse stuff, I understand that sometimes just the littlest things can keep them from happening in the first place.”

Bella wished she’d had a stiff drink before she started all this. So far she’d wrangled meetings with the Joint Chiefs, the CIA, the FBI, the NSA, the Russian ambassador, and she had one scheduled after this with someone from the UN. So far…well, the mythical Cassandra had more luck convincing the Trojans than she was having convincing anyone to take Blue’s warning seriously.

“Senator, all I can say is that I am seeing to it that the CCCP is as ready as it can be for any contingency. My sources are people I trust, and you have as much access to them as I do—more, if you exercise the power you have by invoking Congressional oversight. Ask them yourself. I just suggest that you not take too much time about it.” She stood up. “Meanwhile, thank you very much for your time. And don’t get up, sir, I can see myself out.”

But the Senator stood up anyway. “Bella, you know my door is always open to you.” He chuckled. “Next time, make it something other than ‘the sky is falling, the sky is falling!’ all right?”

She schooled her expression into a pleasant one, shook his hand and left. Her head was pounding. A long string of foul and profane words in three languages streamed through her head.

Next stop, New York City. DC had certainly proved to be a dead—

“Commissar Belladonna Aura?”

She turned, mental alarm bells going off.

There were five uniformed people coming up behind her—and one geeky looking guy with a bag and a pet carrier. Her bag. Her pet carrier. From within Ivan-the-cat growled in protest like Kremlin Gremlin faced with a base full of Council and no way to get at them.

“Commissar, we’re from Vanguard. We’d like you to come with us. Please.” The spokesman was polite enough but…she saw the nullifier cuffs on his belt. And she wasn’t a combat model. And there were a lot of civilians around. And…and…and…

“May I ask what this is about?” she replied, trying to stall a little.

He smiled thinly. “I think you already know. Shall we? Our chopper is waiting.”

Dammit. She sagged in defeat. “All right but—“

“Don’t worry, Commissar. You’ll be in place when...the curtain goes up. But for now, consider yourself a guest of the UN, and we will try and make your stay as pleasant as possible.”

Seething, she allowed herself to be taken away.