Meeting Althea

From the Story Arc: There's No Place Like Home

Previous Story in the Arc: Got the Red Blues by Althea Nagy (Tuesday, May 10, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: A wolf in sheep's clothing? by Bestial Boy (Wednesday, May 11, 2005)

(posted Tuesday, May 10, 2005)

I had just finished working a case for a local contact of mine. He had told me several small businesses in Talos Island were being ransacked by a group Freak Show extremists on a regular basis, and that the local police did little to intervene. It did not take me long to complete the mission and I was eager to find out what I could about the Nemesis involvement with these creeps. I paged him upon completion and I was about to gain a vital foot hold on the situation, but that is when the invitation came.

“Damn it, hold on Neal I got something coming in from headquarters”. I looked at the display on my small hand held computer it was from Commissar Saviour. Her communication read the following, “Comrade Home World please join us in Atlas Park to work with some of our newest recruits. By the way this is an order not an option”.

Even her words had a tone about it, I knew exactly what she meant, I had found ways in the past to skip these kind of things, and it would aggravate her deeply. She would not get angered but she would fine ways to discipline me as best she could. I would routinely have to move a large pile of stone behind head quarters from one stack to another, keeping each stone exactly where it was. I swear that stone is only back there for that reason, what other use could there possibly be for it? The first time was horrible it took me a week before I got it right. It is easy now and I have done it several times, not because I remember where the stones go but I found it easier to switch forms and move them all at once.

“Neal it’s going to have to wait, Super Group business, I will contact you later”.

“Sure thing Home World”.

The damn trains were running slow and it was getting late, I did not need the setting sun to tell me but the consistent communications from Saviour demanding my location. I flew in landing near the giant statue in Liberty Square. It was unusually busy for this time of day, but you could spot the red and black uniform of CCCP from a mile away. I engaged Quantum flight and glided in, without making a sound a landed just behind Saviour, her uncanny hearing ability gave me away.

“This is Comrade Home World”, she spoke with her arms crossed stepping out of the way so that everyone could see me. A couple of the recruits jumped as their skills of detection were not as finely honed as hers. Quantum flight worked like phase shift, I was just a blur to everyone out of synch with time and space. I quickly scanned the group, no one of any interest to me, although I was an alien, I have seen it all. However, one stood out in particular, “this is Althea” Commissar Saviour spoke as she pointed towards the young woman. I stared at her for a moment trying to figure her out, she smiled and said “hello” but quickly turned her head down. She was pale white, very similar to the glow around a Peace Bringer when they are in their true form. “She is from Transylvania, but schooled in Moscow…she is here to assist us with the growing Vampire problem”. Saviour spoke proudly as she looked through her notes, she continued to talk but the words did not register I was in a trance staring at this young woman.

“How could someone so young want to hunt Vampires?” I thought to myself as I rubbed my chin. “You know I am very skilled at hunting vampires…” I only said this to see if it would peak her interest, it did, the problem now was I knew nothing about them and she would probably see right through me.

“You are?” she looked almost bright eyed as if she was about to open from her shell.

“Certainly watch this…” a glow of white formed around me, a hum echoed through Atlas square as I changed to the giant White Dwarf creature. The White Dwarf one of the three forms of the Kheldian an eight-foot tall creature mainly consisting of claws and teeth. Althea jumped and ran around the corner to hide, Saviour in witnessing it smacked me with her metal binder.

“Comrade knock it off...,” she yelled through her gritted teeth, pulling me aside by the arm.

“Ouch what did you do that for…?” I yelled as I changed back to my human form.

“You scared her, I mean that thing would intimidate anyone who has never seen one before”

“How was eye supposed to know?”

“Use your brain Comrade…think before you act”.

“I understand that Commissar…but if she truly is to hunt Vampire like you say she is…I mean that shouldn’t have frightened her”. Saviour would continue to lecture me over the next few minutes and quietly she filled me in on Althea’s past and present. I walked around the corner to find her huddled, crouching down against the large cement walls.

“I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to scare you…please let me help you up”. She looked up at me with those large eyes, “I understand how you feel…I mean you know being in a new place and all it can be a bit frightening”. I did my best to sound reassuring but I was not sure she was buying it.

“How can you?”

“I am not even from this planet…ponder that for awhile” She only managed a small smile but for me that was more than enough. She reached out her hand into mine, “I apologize, I just was not expecting that and I must say I have never seen…what are you again?”

“A Peace Bringer…actually looking back on it changing my form probably doesn’t fit the name well”.

“Is everything alright Althea?” Saviour asked with a concern in her voice.

“Yes…I will be fine…it was just a misunderstanding, I will be ok”.

“You think that was cool you should see my squid impression” I began laughing but no one got it at first although they all laughed when Saviour once again whacked me on the side of my head with the back of her metal binder.

“Hey I was just joking…damn that’s going to bruise…you know how easily I bruise”.