Joanna's Tale

From the Story Arc: The Essence of Life

Next Story in the Arc: Joanna's Tale, Pt 2 by Krasnaya Zvezda (Sunday, March 21, 2010)

(posted Sunday, March 21, 2010)

The CCCP base was quiet, which currently suited Red Star just fine. She was not in the best of moods for company; the search for Astra and the Murdocks was still ongoing - with no sign of any progress being made - and she had just received word from Sun Kai that the Self-Defence Force would not be mobilized to mount an assault on Cap au Diablo.

The proposed assault was a sound one - she had conceived it herself as a way to draw out the person responsible for the disappearance of her sestra and her sestra’s family. Garvey had gone underground and could not be found by normal means; a strike on his former colleagues may have provided information on his whereabouts and this, in conjunction with a nuclear assault on the Power Transit System, surely would have driven him out into the open. Garvey was, by all accounts, a scientist; any place he called home would be bound to require a power supply and, after a few days without power, he would have to leave his laboratory and then someone would see him. It was just unfortunate that the Commissariat had decided against this course of action, saying something about a disproportionate response. Humans could be strange beings.

Red Star began to move around the base, searching for inspiration. There must be something she could do either directly or indirectly to assist her sestra. She’d been asked not to go near Portal Corps for the moment, having been accused of interfering with their efforts. It seemed they did not recognise appropriate guidance when it was offered – a failing, she’d noticed, that was common in most scientists. While she could go and assist Commissar Petrograd, it would not be appropriate to appear to be watching over a Commissar. Which only left Garvey...

Red Star found herself in the communications room, staring at a representation of Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. While it would be a relatively simple matter to travel to the Rogue Isles alone, the Commissariat had ordered her not to travel there and it was a decision she would abide by for the moment. Things had not come to the point where she disagreed with the Commissariat enough to challenge for the leadership of the Clan. If only she could... Red Star sighed, if only she could do something but it seemed as if all her efforts –

Red Star gave a slight start as her communicator bleeped; there was an incoming call from Shadowstar.

“I am sorry to disturb you, Red Star, but I am in need of your assistance. Can you come to Galaxy City; I have something that is in need of your attention.”

Red Star frowned slightly, this was most unusual and, while she thought about declining, it wasn't as if she was of much use to Astra at the moment and assisting Shadowstar could allow for a fresh perspective on how to locate her sestra or Garvey. So, with one last look at the overlay of the Rogue Isle, Red Star strode over to the teleporter attuned to Galaxy City and initiated the activation procedure.


---


Shadowstar was not in her usual place outside of the Freedom Corps building. Making her way towards the crowd of people surrounding Back Alley Brawler, Red Star debated attempting to push through them and quickly decided against it. It seemed that Brawler had more than his fair share of trainees to look after today, all of whom were clamouring for his attention. Reaching out telepathically, Red Star asked Brawler if he’d seen where Shadowstar was. Casting a quick glance in her direction, Brawler gave a slight nod of greeting and shouted back that he’d seen Shadowstar entering the building with another Warshade a short while ago. Giving her thanks, Red Star walked up the steps to the Freedom Corp building and left Brawler to the new recruits.

It had been intimated that this was urgent so Red Star bypassed the reception and made her way to the door leading to Shadowstar’s office. One arm raised, she hesitated slightly before knocking. Unpleasant memories of the last time Red Star had entered this office, and the aftermath of the Council assault on the CCCP, swam before her but these distractions were quickly pushed to one side and she knocked upon the door, heard Shadowstar’s cry of "Enter." and then opened the door and stepped inside the room.

The room looking exactly how she remembered it; a few images graced the walls but other than that it was rather spartan in appearance with the main focus being some padded chairs seated before a tidy desk - upon which sat a few ornamental rocks on the desk and a radio broadcasting the Paragon City Hero channel. Shadowstar could be seen in the adjacent room; a library of some sort with book covered shelves along one wall and various armchairs and sofas located around the room, including around a low table which was off to one side. It was around this table that Shadowstar sat, along with another figure Red Star recognised, that of Sister Joanna. Star had seen Sister Joanna many times and the female had seemed unflappable but her expression was currently showing she was far from comfortable and there was a generally feeling of anxiety in the room.

“Privyet, comrade Shadowstar, Sister Joanna. I hope I am not interrupting...” said Red Star.

“Not at all, Red Star,” replied Shadowstar. “Please, come in and sit down. Can I get you anything?” Shadowstar motioned towards a drinks cabinet, tucked away in a corner of the room.

“Spasibo, comrade, but I am fine.” Star made her way further into the room, sat down awkwardly on the sofas indicated by Shadowstar and attempted to get comfortable. “May I ask why you called me here?”

“Well--” Shadowstar hesitated and Sister Joanna looked down at the floor, “it involves a Warshade that you have met, I believe; Jokers Ace.”

Yes, that was a name Red Star recognised. Jokers Ace was a young Warshade that Star had worked with on a couple of occasions. She didn't like him too much; he was a fusion and his personality must have been formed from the worst part of the Human and Nictus sides. He was unable to take anything seriously and was brash, cocky and reckless, as well as prone to insist on betting on what seemed the most unlikely occurrences which then, by some random chance, seemed to occur. This was not to say he didn’t have a few good points; he was prone to take events as they occurred - ‘happy go lucky’ was the phrase she’d heard used to describe him – and he seemed to be popular with most people he met. In fact, the only time she'd seen him annoyed was when she’d tried to make him see that that there was not a lot difference between a Nictus and a Warshade and that he was, in fact, still a Nictus. She shook her head slightly, the reaction she’d received was most unexpected; she’d been meaning to have a talk with Thanh Ha to see if that was possible with human anatomy.

“I am aware of him. What happened? I take it he has done something stupid?”

“No, nothing like that, it's--” Shadowstar stopped, “It will be better if I let Sister Joanna explain. From the beginning if you would please, Sister.”

Star turned to face a subdued Sister Joanna and pushed her whimsical thoughts firmly to one side; whatever the youngster had gotten himself into, it did not look good.