Mei-Ling stood balanced and waiting. Tim had just turned the corner, being chased by a Samurai. He dove to the side as she vaulted the hood, smashing through the windshield and landing in the front seat. It tried to roll, but she hung on to the wheel, and it gave up, and went back to trying to run over Tim. She popped the hood, used leverage to rip it back, and tore out whatever vital parts she could reach. The motor died, as did whatever force had been animating the car. The Samurai skidded to a halt, winding up on its side, as Mei-Ling jumped free.
This wasn't working. There were simply too many cars roaming the streets, and she and Tim were having too little effect for the number of close calls they were having. It was time to look for someone in charge, who might have a better idea of what was going on. SAT told her that the hospital seemed to be a crisis zone, and that being in that general vicinity would help.
She and Tim made her way across the city to the hospital, which resembled more and more a battle zone. There were flocks of light bulbs floating around the area, and the hospital personnel had managed to net some to keep the interior illuminated. They had had to destroy all the clocks in the hospital, and the TV sets had been smashed.
"What happened to the TV sets?"
"They started showing hypnotic eye patterns, so we thought it was best to get rid of them."
"Oh. What can I do to help?"
"We're trying to find out what happened with a woman who got brought in around 2 in the morning. This stuff started happening after she was brought in. We're trying to locate one of the ambulance drivers who brought her to the hospital, Mike Shermerhorn, but he doesn't seem to be answering his phone."
"Mike Shermerhorn? I know a Mike Shermerhorn... he went to Berkeley, right?"
"Yes, that's right... do you have any way of reaching him?"
"I'll try his girlfriend."
She dialed. Ring... ring... ring...
Sleepily, Rebecca said, "Hello?"
"Rebecca! This is Mei-Ling, people are looking for Mike. Is he there? Do you know where he is?"
"No, he's not here. I can probably get hold of him, though. What's this about?"
"Oh, they want to talk to him about some woman he found. Have him come to the hospital. Bye!"
Rebecca hung up and fought off the urge to go back to a coma state. She bounced a hard thought off of Mike's head.
"Some woman you found? Just what have you been up to?"
Across the city, Bonecrusher hesitated an instant and then smashed two motorcycles.
"Now dear, it's not like you think..."
"It never is. Some people at the hospital want to talk to you about her. Who is this woman, anyway?"
"She was just a drugged sacrifice for some occult ceremony. She meant nothing to me."
"Yeah, right. I'm getting some of your sideband; she was naked and attractive."
"Well, yes, she was attractive, but nowhere near as attractive as you."
"Just don't forget that. Go to the hospital, I'm going back to sleep."
Bonecrusher turned over the job of holding the bridge to a SAT agent, and went off to put away his club and gun. He left his equipment at his apartment, and removed his padded outfit.
Mike Shermerhorn rode his motorcycle through the streets of San Francisco, heading for the hospital. Things seemed out of control, but fortunately the cars didn't go after non-pedestrians. He proceeded to be intensively debriefed by the people in charge.
He told his story, neglecting to mention only his usage of mesmeric abilities. He and his partner had picked her up, she seemed drugged and unusually strong, but was very docile when asked nicely to lie back down. He dropped her off, switched ambulances because his was acting funny, and that's the last he saw of her.
"It seems she's very likely the focus of this effect, somehow. She was quiet and cooperative for a couple of hours, while things started happening around the hospital. Then she just walked out through several doors and vanished."
"Didn't you have her locked in?"
"The doors didn't appear to be locked for her when she went through them."
"Oh. You know, maybe we've been looking at this wrong. Maybe she wasn't the sacrifice at all... maybe she was what they summoned. This could be bad. Do you need me for anything more?"
"No, just try to stay available."
Out of the city, Carl Richter's day was starting well. Traffic seemed unusually light as he drove towards the city, while Bach floated through the air around him from his car stereo. The Golden Gate bridge seemed to have something unusual going on, as he sped towards it, and he slowed, then came to a complete stop as he realized that there were cars being pushed off the bridge, and a couple of semis parked across the lanes. He pulled over to the side, got out carefully and locked the doors. His skin glinted with a faint bluish tint in the sunlight, as he rose into the air and came closer to investigate.
Last modified: September 26, 1996The Other Gretchen <firstname.lastname@example.org>