Bridgitte is dead. We found her body yesterday, at the scene of a fire in Fresno. We need to get word to Baron Samedi. I’m sorry, Samedi. For what it’s worth, these words on the paper, I’m sorry. We weren’t fast enough.
There are at least ten other kids, still missing. They got Horace too, it sounded like.
They. Them. The other guys. They are the enemy, I’m certain. Whoever they actually are, they’re running a “re-education” center. They take Scions. Apparently they kill, if they have to, to do it. We know where the place is. We know Father Joshua O’Brien is directly involved. We’re going soon.
We just need a plan. A good plan. We were surprised tonight, and being surprised hurts.
Let me start over. Today we covered Fresno, looking for Carmen Saavedra. We started at the school, which when we got there was a literal hot mess. We passed a fire truck leaving as we were coming in. I didn’t find much, with the whole “no good at any sort of investigation” type skills I have. I mean, I’m good at asking the questions but it’s much better when I go in knowing what I want to ask. I tried talking to a sergeant? cop guy? I don’t know who he was but he looked like he was in charge. I chatted him up a bit, and he seemed friendly enough but basically he told me to go be somewhere else.
The guys were much more productive, as it usually happens when we go into these types of situations. Gunnar walked me over to look at some bodies. One of them was Bridgitte.
Brendan spotted someone watching us as we combed the place over, and after doing some Interpol magic, or maybe it was Deputy Nate magic, we had a name – Sheila Rodriguez – and an address.
We convoyed over in two cars, and I sat it out for maybe ten minutes before the boredom started to set in. I left the bird with his hero, Nate (in my head, I wanted to phrase this such that I gave Nate the bird, especially after he arrested me, but I think we’re trying to move past that now). Gunnar and I found a place nearby to just hang out and not be bored out of our gourds.
You know, as we were leaving, Nate made some smartass comment, and it occurs to me that it’s only been a few days, and I haven’t said a damn thing about the ride back from LAX and being Gunnar’s girl.
It was probably the bird. There are times when I catch him, Nevermore, just sitting on the nightstand, or bed, or couch, or kitchen table with his beak in my journal. Not much is sacred to that feather head. On the bright side, I don’t think he’s tried to run Gunnar off.
Anyway, we had a while to talk, Gunnar and I. We stuck close to the other guys so they could call us back in a hurry and just hit a place down the road. I got a good chunk of Gunnar’s life story. All he’s missing is a cape, it seems. It feels like I’ve got my own superhero watching my back. You know, I guess he technically has that cape we made him out of snake skin back in Vegas. I hate to gush, but he’s really quite incredible.
Ok, I’ll gush a little. He shot a sniper across the freeway with his handgun, but I’ll get to that.
The guys called us around 10 pm and we came back to the house Nate and the guys were staking out. I went in with Nate and Brendan to talk to Ms. Rodriguez. From her we found out what the “re-education center” looked like, and who was in charge of it. She made me tea.
While we three were inside and Gunnar was around back, watching for trouble, Jack and Nevermore were listening to the radio and sharing their feelings (I imagine). Jack heard something about some arrests being made for the arson. We collectively decided that we should go talk to the “suspects,” and Nate suggested we go in pairs. Gunnar decided to play legal counsel and I went as his incredibly goodlooking assistant. Nate and Brendan pulled their badges. Jack and Nevermore paired up to talk about hitting things (probably).
Turns out the suspects are Scions. Good guys, trying to get the kids back. They almost had Carmen, but a big fight broke out. The other guys brought tactical gear and full-auto weaponry. The girl we talked to, Naomi, slipped something to Gunnar: a hotel room key. We searched the place when we got there. I found a gorgeous sword, then I found the couch and T.V. while Brendan gave the laptop a stern talking-to. That’s how I picture it in my head, anyway. I’m not all that great with computers, either.
So, a bit like an idiot, I dropped my guard. I sat down with Nevermore and Jack and we started watching Scarface. I should have heard them coming. I should have expected the attack, but I didn’t and it almost got Brendan killed. Kabul all over again.
I got shot at, a lot, and actually got hit a couple of times. Bullet holes, for the record, still fucking hurt.
Nine guys poured into the room, heralding their entry with a canister of tear gas. I held my breath, but that only helped so much. Jack was a whirlwind, as usual. Nate kept his head pretty well, too. Brendan and I valiantly caught most of the bullets, except Brendan forgot to catch them mostly with his vest. He was a mess. I had to weave between the attackers to get over to him while he took cover. I told him it’d be ok, I had his back, and then I got the feeling he’d be able to take a few more hits before bleeding out. I turned around and started shooting, which didn’t do a whole lot of good. The unfriendlies had tactical gear; helmets and vests and such. So I took a cue from Jack, and held one down while Nevermore tore one’s face off.
Nate kept knocking one over, which would have been hilarious if I weren’t bleeding.
Gunnar was shooting through the window, across the freeway. Yeah, across the freeway. Apparently there was a sniper there whom he managed to spot, then hit, then kill. I’m a little awe-struck, to be honest.
The fight felt like it lasted an hour, but it was more like two or three minutes. I kept an eye on Brendan and the second the room was clear I started treating him. I needed him not to go into shock, I needed him not to bleed out because this team needs him. I’m not sure what I did. I was freaking out somewhere in the back of my head, but the part of me actually working on him was calm. I wanted him to be okay, and then I think I managed to turn some of the wounds into bruises. Bad bruises, but still. Then Brendan managed to muster … something. I’m not sure how it works, but it’s the same thing I can do. I don’t want to be hurt anymore, and then I’m not.
I can feel myself getting stronger, better. I just really wanted to help Brendan, and then I could. This will be helpful in the future. I remember having to ask my father to help Gunnar just a few weeks ago, because I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the skill, then. I’ve had his blood on my hands so much since then, it hardly bothers me anymore.
I’m certain now that this is where I’m supposed to be, this is what I’m supposed to be doing. Nate, Brendan, Jack and Gunnar are all such good guys. They need someone to patch their wounds, and eventually to tell their stories. Epics don’t write themselves.