Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Las Vegas Nevada
Current Game: Dungeonseige series
He hadn’t changed. Medium height, black hair, green eyes, still the man I had loved. I wanted to sigh.
All of us who shifted lost something that day. Art was on duty, and I had come home after transporting a prisoner to New York. We were living together and had been doing that gentle dance that sometimes leads to marriage sometimes to separation. Our schedules were off the wall so up until now, except for some exceptional lovemaking, we were just room mates. I’d showered and went to bed as myself for the last time that March 31st.
I woke in agony at about five AM. The Shift is still not completely understood. Some shifted without noticing, like the congressman who was on a morning talk show in Washington and didn’t notice that he’d grown leathery wings.
Others have reported the affect. Reporters, psychologists. None of whom have gone through it. Maybe if those idiots had asked us, they would know.
It was like childbirth from both sides. Pressure as you are pushed from the womb, and the agony of that pushing as the mother as your whole body changes. I could feel my body being molded by huge callous hands, biting back screams of agony as I felt my skin ripping. Then it was over, and I collapsed. I slept passed out in all of the effluvia of my change.
I awoke when I heard Art come in. It was after 9 in the morning, and the bed was soaked with blood and other fluids. I was terrified by what I’d gone through. I wanted to be held, to have someone tell me it would be all right. Like a child running to her parents after a nightmare. I leaped up, not noticing I covered the distance to the door in the air and flung it open.
“Lil? Are you-” He turned, then I saw shock in his eyes, then fury. His Sig Saur came up, and I yelped as a bullet smacked into the door frame. “Lil!” He screamed, and I felt a second then third bullet slam into my chest. I had been shot before; a danger every cop has to face. But it felt like a needle rather than the gut wrenching pain of the last time.
I was lucky when it happened. Since the shift Corbon; the company that designed the Glaser safety slug; had delivered big time. The average street cop these days carried KTW rounds to take down a smaller dragon. He carried Teflon bullets with iron filings for elves, iron and lead for Faerie, holy water for demons, satanic holy water for angels, silver nitrate for Were, holy water and silver for a vampyr, and regular jacketed for humans. He hadn’t been supplied with all of those special rounds. I survived his vengeance.
I spun, running to and through the window. I wasn’t thinking, I was fleeing. I felt something catch in the air, then black wings slammed down in the air, and I was falling up as they drove me higher. Behind me I heard his screams as he found the mess I had made.
“Extraterritoriality has been a problem since the Shift; criminals have been able to flee into enclaves and live free. However as of this morning, the POG Act came into effect. Under that law all regional police organizations are to form units composed of all of the races so that they can legally pursue criminals…
The press conference was a nightmare, for him and for me. Deputy Chief Callahan announced the Preternatural Operations Group, using the same hackneyed verbiage every politician uses. When he introduced me, I stepped forward, nodding. Then he asked for questions.
“What determines the requirements for membership on this team?” Someone shouted.
“All members have to be people with skills linked to law enforcement. Ms Andiel for example was until recently an Assistant DA in Reno. Droman was a SWAT team member in California before he moved to Nevada. Brachian was an FBI agent.”
“What about the succubus?” another asked. He pronounced it Suck-You-Bus.
“We pronounce the word suh-coo-bus. Emphasis on the second syllable.” I said softly. “After all, unless I like someone, I don’t suck.” That drew a laugh. “I was a member of the Federal Marshall’s office before the Shift, and am now a member of the Demonic Bureau of Investigation here in Las Vegas.”
“You left the Marshall’s office?” Someone asked, and I could feel all their attention. Like the last piece of chicken at a picnic.
“I was declared legally dead after being missing for three weeks. No one at the Marshall’s office would accept my report. In fact the Federal Prosecutor tried to have me arrested as an illegal. I was alone, tired and hungry with a State warrant ordering my arrest and extradition as an illegal. It finally took a two year court battle to even get my bank accounts open again. The DBI took me on without worrying about what I looked like.” So there, I replied.
“What about the vamps and werewolves?” Another asked. “Why aren’t they represented?”
“Negotiations are still in effect for them to join.” Callahan answered. “The Vampyr have a candidate, but obviously-” he waved at the bright spring day, “-he or she cannot join us today.” There was a general chuckle at that. “As for the Were as they prefer to be called, they are arguing about what specific group will supply the member. After all, counting all police agencies in the state, there are almost a hundred of them to choose from.”
“Captain Morgan. How does it feel to be working with Lillith Banks again?”
I saw his face flush a bit. “No comment.”
“But do you admit-”
“I said no comment.” Morgan snarled. “One more word, and you’ll wish to whatever god you worship that I did not come down there.” He looked at the stunned faces. “Are there any more questions for me? No? Then I’m out of here.” He spun on a heel and stormed off the helipad.
“What is with our fearless leader?” Andiel asked me.
I sighed. “Andiel, I would suggest not calling Art fearless leader. He doesn’t take criticism well, and being compared to a cartoon dictator will only exacerbate the situation.”
“Why is that?” She asked.
I looked at her. Wings like mine except for snow white feathers. How had she gotten so far in the DA’s office without knowing how people felt? “Andiel; Art and I were lovers. When the Shift happened he was on duty. He went into a raid where everyone but him died. Then he comes home and sees a demon.” I waved at myself. “He thought I had murdered his lover, and tried to kill me. The DNA tests agreed with that thought, and he swore to kill the monster that murdered me.”
“But…” She looked at me. “He swore to kill you for killing yourself?”
“Pretty much.” I sighed. “Andiel, how many Paladins have your group run into?”
“Not that many.” Andiel admitted. “Ever since organized religion fell, there haven’t been many who claimed the title.”
“The Paladin is a warrior of God. He fights not for personal glory, but for the glory of his God and honor. Because of that, like a magician, his words bind him. He is bound by his oaths as surely as one of you is by an agreement with a human.”
“Like your own kind in the same situation.” She said.
I laughed. “Yeah, like that.” I had not met a demon of that sort, but I understood the concept. A demon would make a deal with a human in return for his soul. “The words are important.
“Art swore by the God that is his patron. He cannot break that oath. None of his oaths can be broken. It is part of who and what he is.” I wanted to wail. “He must kill me, but cannot because I am innocent of the crime. He would be struck down by his god for such an action.
"Add to that I am not dead yet he has sworn to avenge my death. If he kills me, he must then slay himself because he is the one who killed me. He is caught in the middle. “I am alive, so he cannot kill me for murdering myself. Until I am dead, he cannot get on with his life. What can I do to fix this?”
She looked at me; did I see an angel’s pity for a demon?
Damn her! I wanted to smash something, but I restrained myself.
She had tried to call me back then, beg me to listen, but my Lil was dead, the evidence clearly said so, and no monster would take her place. I threw myself into my work, and the duties I discovered went with being a Paladin.
Paladin, a warrior of god. The problem is, organized religion collapsed not long after the Shift. The Angels looked politely confused if you asked them about god with a capital G. Some of them admitted that they had portrayed gods in different pantheons, guiding mankind in what they thought were the right paths. The upper level demons admitted the same. Whatever one of them was the God I fought for hadn’t bothered to come forward.
The conspiracy theorist got together, and published what they thought. If you take the bible, remove the ‘word of god’ or idea that God could do what he wanted because he was god, what do you have?
A lot of inconsistencies.
A god who is omniscient who didn’t know what his creations had done? Or didn’t realize that he spoke with a murderer? Take that scene in the Garden as an example. Not the apple but afterward God realizes that his perfect specimens now realize their sentience. If you remove the admonitory tone, change the wording slightly, what do you get?
‘Kids you don’t realize how nasty the world out there is. You Eve will suffer because up to now you’ve never dealt with menstrual cramps and childbirth. No handy supplies of food for the baby, so you have to feed it from your own body.
‘As for you Adam you won’t have us supplying your needs. You’ll have to find or catch food and that is hard work.’
Even the Angel with the sword. He wasn’t there to keep us out. He was there to guide us back when our will faltered.
From that point on ‘god’ went downhill. Noah being told to build a boat so only the ‘pure’ people survive. Then you condemn a third of the human race because one guy thinks it’s funny that his father got drunk and went to sleep in the nude. Then to add insult to injury, one verse gets rewritten in the 16th century so one of the other tribes is tagged as that condemned race, blessing two centuries of slavery.
Shall I go on?
It didn’t help when a bible thumping televangelist changed into a werewolf while screaming his hatred. Or a Hezbollah leader who was killed by his own men when he became a Djin.
Everyone wanted to believe the stereotypes, but Asmodeus shot them down because of his rescue of the passengers in that plane. When he was asked, he gruffly said no one messed with his people on his turf. His position as a mob boss made sense when you considered that. A robber baron who thought of New York as his own province.
It’s been worked out by theorists which were which in ther older Pantheons. If the God was authoritarian, into social skills such as animal husbandry or agriculture he was probably an angel, if a trickster or in charge of death, of magic or oddly enough, of love, he was a a demon. War they agreed was Angelic. The Demons believed in gambling, but not in organized slaughter. Only an angel or one following one could look at a battle field and say ‘the ends justify the means’.
Piece by piece our conspiracy theorists worked. The angels found us first, back when humans were still Australopithecus. We were still kinda smart animals then. The Demons became interested, and one by one all of the other races tinkered with us. After all, the life of Australopithecus was boring. Eat, drink, move, avoid predators, maybe get a little love on the side? Technology and the mind to use it was a gift from demon kind, law and society rules came from the Angels. The dwarves taught us to smelt metal, the Elves taught us music beyond what can be made by a human body.
They gave us bad things too. The demons taught us to be concentrated on what we were doing to the exclusion of all else. The Nazis followed through with that with their systematic extermination of ’undesirables‘ and every ‘ethnic cleansing’ before and since. The angels our willingness to be strong in adversity and self sacrifice which led to brave last stands, kamikazes, and suicide bombers in the modern day. The elves taught us about luck, causing people to take chances. The dwarves taught us the love of pure metal, fueling the desire for gold that stripped the new world during the age of discovery.
All of them, angel, demon, elf, and dragon had one thing in common; they can assume human form. As for Vampyr and Were, they had been human before being afflicted with their curses.
What we added to the mix was our own willingness to follow their lead. Magicians bargained with some demons to learn power. They didn’t always bargain for souls as much as we might think. They accepted earthly power, worship, and even positive press. Where an Angel would merely give because of the person’s character, the demons expected cash on the barrel head. That’s why you have so many people ‘gifted’ by powers such as mine giving nothing in return.
One thing we asked was why Hell’s Gate ended up near the Strip, Heaven’s Gate near downtown, the entry to the Seelie Court along Boulder Highway and Flamingo, the entry to the Unseelie Court in Henderson, and the Hall of the Mountain King far to the west on Sahara in the mountains. The answer was merely, ‘that’s where they have always been‘.
Last edited by machievelli; 02-24-2009 at 12:38 AM.